"It IS all about the TASTE"
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  • Breakfast Bake

    It’s warm, but I want a decent meal. No cold cuts, no gazpacho, no “INSERT CULINARY, NOUN HERE> Salad Sandwich, some thing with taste, texture, umami. The original comfort food was the potato, crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside. But I want a bit more flavor and texture…

    Maybe I’ll par-boil some potatoes, slice or quarter them, and fry them up in my heavy cast iron skillet. along with some cubes of bacon, maybe adding some cheese and a Jalapeño, along with some spices to kick up the flavor a notch.

    Home fries, house fries, or cottage fries are a type of basic potato dish made by pan or skillet frying diced, chunked, wedged or sliced potatoes (sometimes unpeeled) that have been par-cooked by boiling, baking, steaming, or microwaving.

    While it is possible to make “home fries” without par-cooking the potatoes, these are technically raw fries. The texture will be more chewy, and the longer cooking time increases the likelihood of burning the potato pieces. Home fries are also made, as the name suggests, as a simple homemade potato dish and can be prepared even by people with modest cooking skills as a meal or a snack.

    The frying is typically done in vegetable oil or butter. Other ingredients maybe added. If chopped onions and bell peppers are combined with to diced potatoes it creates a dish called Potatoes O’Brien. If sliced potatoes and sliced onions are sautéed together with seasonings it can create a dish referred to as Lyonnaise potatoes.

    The consistency depends on the type of potato used. Although various types of white potatoes are the most popular base, sometimes waxy (usually red-skinned) or sweet potatoes are used.

    In the United States, home fries are popular as a breakfast dish and are sometimes served in place of hash browns. Home fries may be served with a condiment such as ketchup or maple syrup.

    Patatas bravas or papas bravas is a dish of the cuisine of Spain, often served as a tapa in bars. It typically consists of white potatoes that have been cut into 2 centimeter irregular shapes and then fried in oil and served warm with a spicy tomato sauce. This dish is commonly served in restaurants and bars throughout Spain, where it is traditionally accompanied by a shot of orujo or a glass of wine.

    The potatoes are boiled in brine for several minutes to tenderize them. They are then rubbed dry and fried in oil in a manner similar to the preparation of potato chips.

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  • Cool Food – Egg Salad Sandwich


    It is not deadly hot, but hot enough that when I think of cooking, I only want to boil water. Cool foods are defiantly in!

    A nice salad / meal, toasted bread and a scoop of egg salad. Maybe with some crumbed bacon, or b*c*s, perhaps some grated cheddar cheese, mixed in for texture and taste.

    Egg salad is a salad involving a high-protein or high-carbohydrate food mixed with seasonings in the form of spices, herbs, and other foods, and bound with an mayonnaise dressing. Its siblings include tuna salad, chicken salad, potato salad, ham salad, pasta salad, lobster salad, crab meat salad, etc.

    Egg salad is often used as a sandwich spread, typically made of chopped hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, minced celery, salt, pepper and paprika.

    Egg salad can be made creatively with any number of other cold foods added. Tomatoes, onions, lettuce, pickles, pickle relish and cucumber are common ingredients. Other variations can include cooked lentils, peas, beans, olives, peppers, or cottage cheese.

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  • Fish Fridays – Etouffee

    Consider the a gumbo, spicy, hearty, filled with all that runs, flys, swims, or slithers, cooked in a rich roux of bacon drippings and flour with loads of the “holy trinity”, (pepper, onion, celery).

    Now take that and only use fish, or shellfish. So one may use shrimp, crawfish, crab, or even catfish..

    The usual staple of an étouffée is seafood such as crawfish, shrimp, or crabmeat. Other meats, such as chicken, or mix of chicken and seafood, may also be used. Étouffée has a thicker consistency than gumbo.

    The base of an étouffée is a dark roux which is ment to be dark brown in color, but not burned; like liquid chocolate. Like many Louisiana dishes, onions, green peppers and celery (a combination often called the holy trinity) form the base of an étouffée. The holy trinity is usually seasoned with cayenne pepper, paprika, white pepper, fresh garlic, fresh parsley, salt, and perhaps even a host of other seasonings. The dish is usually mounted with butter for richness and then served with white rice cooked in seafood stock, or dirty rice–a Cajun favorite.

    Crawfish étouffée (if made with a roux) usually has a dark brown color with a hint of red: this is sometimes mistakenly attributed to crawfish fat (an important ingredient). However, crawfish fat is bright yellow, and will not color the dish red: the red color can come from the spices, or the tomatoes (if using). In some areas, it has become popular to add tomatoes and/or tomato paste to the dish.

    There is a significant difference between the etouffes of Lafayette (Acadiana Cajun Country), and those of New Orleans (Creole) and surrounding areas. Both are spicy, but Cajun etouffee is usually light brown in color and more rustic and rich. Creole-style is dark-brown, more balanced and prepared with a more Classical French approach.

    In the matter of roux, let the trumpets blare, the banners fly high, and the hosts assemble, for this may be the single most contested point in all of culinarium, hotly contested, many battles joined, but with no final victor..

    In Cajun country, a roux takes approximately 30-45 minutes to make properly on a gas stove. Roux is typically made with equal portions of liquid lard, grease, or oil along with white flour (sometimes a 2 to 1 ratio oil to flour is used). Some Cajun cooks skip the flour and simply cook down onions in butter.

    According to Paul Prudhomme, a roux is used to make étouffée, which requires the use of vegetable oil rather than butter. It is difficult to make such a dark roux without burning the butter, though it is possible with the use of clarified butter.

    Chef John Folse uses a blonde roux and notes that many people use only onions and butter as the base. Such is the variety of all types of Cajun food, and people of south Louisiana (Cajun and non-Cajun alike) can get into spirited debates over the issue of whether to use a roux in étouffée.

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  • Red Neck Thursdays’ – Chili Pie

    A Central Texas School Lunchroom classic, Frito pie. Crushed corn chips, layered with mild chili, and cheese, baked until the cheese turns brown and the chili soaks into the chips, and you have a nice solid block to cut and serve.

    Now I am SURE, (I so hope so), that I can not re-create this in exactly the same manner as the “Lunch Ladies” of Central Texas, but I’ll defiantly add a rogue chef twist.

    Frito pie is a dish made from chili, cheese, and corn chips. It is often served in schools in the Southern and Southwestern United States, particularly the states of Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Typically made by combining Fritos or other corn chips with chili, cheese, and onions in a large pan and baking it as a casserole. Because of the amount of chips used in the dish, they tend to be moistened but not soggy from the chili.

    An alternative method uses a small, single-serving bag of corn chips, with chili or taco meat poured over the top. The combination is then finished with grated cheese, onions, jalapeños, lettuce, and sour cream. This second method is sometimes called a walking taco in the Midwestern United States due to the ease with which one can eat it while walking. It is almost always eaten from the bag with a plastic fork. Served in this way, frito pies are popular at sports venues, fund raisers, open houses, and state fairs.

    The video is here

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  • Hot Days – Cold Meals – Spicy Soba

    It’s been a hot day, and it’ll be an even hotter night. We have had the hottest July on record, and it’s not cooling off.

    Again I do not want to cook, and I need something, tasty, quick and filling. Now I want fresh, and want healthy, I want tasty, and I want it quick.. Maybe if I make my spicy noodle sauce, and toss some cooked and cooled soba with it….

    Maybe organic peanut butter , soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, some rice vinegar, and to balance the flavors some honey…

    I’ll use soba for this, but spaghetti noodles would work, as would just about any other pasta…

    One can add finely stripped vegetables, or perhaps a few marinated and grilled prawns as add ons.

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  • Vodka Gimlet – Cool Drinks for Hot Weather

    One day of relief and then back to the slow grilling in the dog days of summer….

    This is enough to make a man drink. Now WHAT to drink is a different question..

    Vodka frozen so cold that it pours like oil, mixed with fresh squeezed lime juice, sweetened with a touch of honey.. and we have a gimlet.

    The gimlet is a cocktail made of gin and lime juice. A 1928 description of the drink was: “gin, a spot of lime, and soda”. A 1953 description was: “a real gimlet is half gin and half Rose’s lime juice and nothing else”.

    For the vodka gimlet, replace gin with vodka. As of the 1990s, maybe earlier, bartenders often answer requests for the gimlet with a vodka gimlet.

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