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, September 25, 2011

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Gooey Love
Sundays are for relaxing, curling up with a good book, and resting up for the coming week. Sundays are for comfort. Nothing is more comforting than macaroni and cheese.

Servings: 6-8
Time: Prep: 5 minutes, Cook: 40 minutes
Hardware: Measuring spoons and cups, a whish, a wooden spoon, a pot, a sauce pan, a colander, and a 2 quart glass baking dish

  • 8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
  • ½ stick butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese
  • Cooking spray
  • ½ cup bread crumbs

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Cook the macaroni according to package directions.
  3. While the macaroni is cooking, place the butter in the sauce pan on medium and whisk in the flour. You are now making a roux. Continue to whisk until the roux is a golden color. This should take about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the onion, mustard, and soy sauce. Whisk until the mixture has no lumps. Slowly stir in the milk. Allow the milk mixture to reach a simmer, but DO NOT BOIL.
  5. Add the grated cheese to the milk mixture and allow the cheese to melt. Stir often. This should take about 5 minutes.
  6. Drain the macaroni and fold it into the cheese mixture.
  7. Spray the baking dish with cooking spray.
  8. Place the mac-n-cheese in the baking dish. Sprinkle the crumbs on top of the mac-n-cheese.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes.
 Allow the mac-n-cheese to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Hint: I often make macaroni and cheese out of the odd ends and pieces of cheese in the fridge. Only 1 ½ cups of the cheese actually need to be cheddar. I have used gouda, Swiss, provolone, parmesan, chevre, and even a little bit of blue before (of course not all at once). Experiment and you might turn something ordinary into something magical.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Red Beans and Rice

Even though it is still very warm in the afternoons, the mornings are beginning to be cool. Football season has begun. School is in session. This means that fall is here. Red beans and rice is a perfect fall dish: warm, savory, filling, and delicious. Warm your body and your heart.

Servings: 6-8
Hardware: A cutting board and knives, measuring spoons and cups, a large soup pot with a lid, a wooden spoon, a potato masher
Time: Soak: 8-24 hours, prep: 20 minutes, cook 2-3 hours

  • 1 pound bag of red beans, soaked and drained
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 3-4 pieces of cheap bacon
  • ½ pound cooked ham
  • ½ pound smoked sausage
  • 1 large onion (1 cup)
  • 1 small bell pepper (½ cup)
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 ½ quarts chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning (I use Zatarain’s)
  • ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon Cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 bay leafs
3 cups of hot, cooked white rice
Diced green onions and hot sauce

  1. Pick over the beans and place them in a large soup pot. Cover them in cold water, place a lid on the pot, and soak them for at least 8 hours or over night. Drain the beans and discard the soak water. Set the beans aside.
  2. Wash the onion, celery, and garlic and dice them, the smaller the better. Remove the seeds and white ribs from the bell pepper. Dice it. Wash and chop the parsley.
  3. Dice the ham into small pieces.
  4. Cut the smoked sausage into 1 inch pieces then cut them in half length wise.
  5. Heat the olive oil in the soup pot on medium high.
  6. Chop the bacon. Add the chopped bacon to the soup pot to render the fat. Remove when the bacon gets crispy and save it for another dish.
  7. Add the ham and the sausage to the fat in the soup pot and allow it to sear, stirring often for 2-4 minutes.
  8. Add the onion, garlic, celery, green pepper, and parsley to the soup pot. Turn the heat down to medium.
  9. Stir and allow the onions, etc to sweat for 4-5 minutes. The onions should be bubbling, but not browning. Stir occasionally.
  10. Stir in the beans and the liquid and bring to a boil.
  11. Stir in the Creole seasoning, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Add the bay leafs.
  12. Turn the beans to low. Simmer the beans, uncovered, for 2-2 ½ hours or until they are tender. Stir occasionally. You may need to add more liquid while cooking.
  13. When the beans are tender use the potato masher to mash up some of them. Stir them and continue to cook until they are creamy, about another ½ hour.
  14. Remove the bay leafs.
Serve right away over rice, garnished with chopped green onions. Offer hot sauce to your guests.

Warms your tummy and your heart

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Crazy Good Banana Nut Bread

This has not been the best month: summer ended, received some very sad news about a friend, the economy sucks, and the tenth anniversary of 9/11 is very depressing. The world feels as if it were going bananas. When I’m stressed, I cook. Here is my quick and simple version of banana nut bread.

Guaranteed to make you feel better
Servings: 1 loaf
Time: Prep: 10 minutes, cooking: 65 minutes
Hardware: Measuring cups and spoons, 2 mixing bowls, a mixer, and a 9”x 5” glass loaf pan

  • Butter and flour for the pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of butter
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ½ cups mashed very ripe bananas (6-7 bananas)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees°.
  2. Grease and flour the loaf pan.
  3. In one bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.
  4. In the other bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Stir in the eggs, vanilla, and mashed bananas until well blended.
  5. Stir the banana mixture and the nuts into the flour mixture. Do not over mix; it will make the bread tough. Stir until the flour is just moistened.
  6. Pour the batter into the loaf pan.
  7. Bake 60 to 65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then turn it out onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container or plastic wrap for 3 days.