Eat!

Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Sour Orange Pie


Sour Orange Pie

I am from North Florida. Our food is a mixture of the old South, locally sourced food (seafood and citrus) and Asian and Caribbean influences brought here by waves of immigrants. This uniquely regional fare is known as Floribbean Cuisine.

Sour Orange Pie is one such dish. Sour oranges or bitter oranges like the Seville are generally used to make marmalade. They were brought here by the Spanish and can now be found growing wild throughout the state. They are too sour to eat on their own but can be used in place of lemons.

Sour Oranges aren’t available in other places. So, if you want to taste a real Sour Orange Pie you are going to need to visit Florida. Or you can make this very good substitute. I read a million recipes and tweaked one I found on America’s Test Kitchen. I didn’t think their pie was ‘orange-y’ enough. This is very simple and tastes better the next day. Instead of grated orange zest, I used Spice Island Orange Peel. I like having it on hand to mix into seafood dishes.

Servings:  8
Time:  Prep: 20 minutes, active time: 15-20 minutes, allow to rest at least 2 hours, preferably overnight
Hardware:  Measuring cups and spoons, a can opener, a zester, a mixer, a large mixing bowl, a rubber spatula

Ingredients:

  • A pre-made shortbread pie crust
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 tablespoons thawed, frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 6 drops of yellow food coloring and 2 drops of red (optional)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Whipped cream for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 375˚
  2. Separate the eggs. Save the whites for something else. Zest the orange.
  3. Mix all the all ingredients (but the whipped cream) in the large mixing bowl until fully combined. Pour the filling into the crust.
  4. Bake the pie until the center jiggles slightly when shaken, 15 to 20 minutes. When you gently touch the very center, the pie should stick to your finger and dimple, like pudding. Let the pie cool completely.
  5. Refrigerate the pie until fully chilled. Do not refrigerate until the pie is fully cooled or it will sweat and ruin the pie. I find it is better the next day.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Mushroom Not Burgers


Mushroom Not Burgers
I am absolutely NOT a vegetarian. I will tuck into a rare steak like a ravenous dog! However, we do go meat free on Mondays. I also have many friends who are meat free.  Mostly, though, mostly I am making alternatives to ground beef burgers because I am trying to stretch my cooking talents. I have been creating original recipes for almost a decade. I want to try something new.

This was very successful. The trouble with making veggie burgers is finding a balance between patties that are juicy enough to be tasty but not so juicy that they fall apart. The trick with these Mushroom Not Burgers is to refrigerate them. So, make the mushroom mixture the day before and fry them up the next day.

I recently made Bean Burgers. How do these compare? The Mushroom Not Burgers have a consistency closer to a beef patty. They are also ‘meatier’ because of the umami in the mushrooms and soy sauce. Meat eaters would probably prefer the mushroom burgers. I personally liked the taste of the Bean Burger better, but I could eat my own weight in black beans. The mushroom burgers are more labor intensive and more expensive. Both beef alternatives were very good, and I would have either again any time. This summer, if you are having a BBQ, these are good options to offer your friends who don’t eat meat.

If you want, you can substitute a ½ teaspoon garlic powder and 2 teaspoons onion powder for the garlic and shallot. You may also add a teaspoon or two of your favorite steak seasoning to the mixture before refrigerating. I added 2 drips of liquid smoke, too. But that is unnecessary and if you get liquid smoke be very careful. One drop goes a long way.

Servings: 10 sliders or 5 burgers
Hardware: A can opener, a strainer, cutting board and knives, measuring spoons and cups, a food processor, a silicone spatula, a mixing bowl, a storage container with a lid, a spatula, a large, non-stick skillet (I used cast iron)
Time: Active time: 15 minutes; Cook: 30 minutes; the mixture must rest overnight

Ingredients:
  • 2 pounds of mushrooms (I used a mixture of button, shiitake and portobellos)
  • 1-16 ounce can of garbanzo beans
  • ¼ cup naked sunflower seeds
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small shallot (1-2 ounces)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1cup plain Italian style breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup flour
  • Olive oil for the bottom of the pan 
  • Buns and burger topping
1.       Rinse and drain the beans. Roughly dice the shallot and garlic cloves, set aside.
2.       Add the mushrooms, 8 ounces at a time to the work bowl of the food processor. Pulse until 8 ounces of the mushrooms are almost a paste. Place those into the mixing bowl. Grind the next pound into pieces about the size of aquarium gravel. Add those to the mixing bowl. Pulse the last 8 ounces of mushrooms, along with the shallot and garlic cloves, until they are roughly chopped. Scrape everything from the processor into the bowl.
3.       Cover the bottom of the skillet in a little oil and place over medium high heat. Cook the veggies until the mushrooms give up their liquid. This may take about 5-6 minutes. You may need to cook them in batches. Drain the mushrooms in the strainer. You can smash them a little with the back of the wooden spoon to remove even more liquid. Place them back into the mixing bowl.
4.       Place the beans into the processor and grind them up as small as possible. Scrape them into the mixing bowl. Do the same with the sunflower seeds. Allow everything to cool completely.
5.       Mix the eggs, salt, pepper soy sauce, crumbs and flour into the cooled mushrooms. Place this into the airtight container and refrigerate overnight.
6.       Heat the oil in the skillet over medium. Form the mushroom mixture into a little tiny patty. Cook it on both sides. Taste this and adjust the seasonings. Then make ½ to ¾ inch patties. Shape the patties to fit the buns you are using.
7.       When the pan is hot, sauté the patties 4-5 minutes on each side. Make sure that they are not burning. You may need to coat the pan between batches. You can keep the cooked patties warm on the lowest setting in the oven.
8.       Serve the Mushroom Not Burgers with the same toppings you would serve with hamburgers.