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Archive for the ‘desserts’ Category

holiday seasonAnother Thanksgiving has come and gone. Another end of the harvest season. Another end to everything orange and pumpkin and in with everything green and peppermint. That’s right, we’ve officially entered the fifth season – the holiday season. (more…)

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Happy Thanksgiving week y’all! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday no matter what your plans.

gobble

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As some of you may know, I was in Orlando when Hurricane Irma came a knockin’ at Florida’s door. Yes, I knew it was going to hit somewhere in Florida. Yes, I knew people were starting to evacuate. Yes, I knew it probably wasn’t a good idea to fly INTO a hurricane. Yes, I went anyway. Hey – it’s Disney and I’m an addict. (more…)

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I know I live down here in the Bible Belt, where you can’t swing a cat without hitting a church, but I had no idea until recently just how seriously these Southern folks are about their Bibles, Jesus and going to church. (They’re also very serious about their mamas, sweet tea, Coca-Cola, and dessert, but that’s a whole different post.) (more…)

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I subscribe to a lot of Disney related websites, blogs, newsletters, etc., because, hey, I am a Disney geek. That’s right, I love all things Disney. Well, almost all things. I’m not a fan of Dole whips. (more…)

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Improvisation: noun: the art or act of improvising, or of composing, uttering, executing, or arranging anything without previous preparation. (Musical improvisation involves imagination and creativity.)

dinner-plate
So, we got through our very first Detective’s Comedy Mystery Dinner event a couple of weeks ago and let’s just say, it wasn’t without a good bit of improvisation. And, I’m not talking about just the actors either; I’m talking about the whole event.

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iced teaWhen we made our decision to move to the south, there were certain things I expected to change about my diet. I anticipated that I would be eating more spicy food; foods with a Cajun or Creole flavor. I knew that gumbo and jambalaya and red beans and rice would be prevalent in most restaurants, along with sweet tea. Let’s not forget about the sweet tea. It is a southern staple. In fact, if you order iced tea and you don’t specify unsweet, you’re probably going to get sweet tea.

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roller coasterDo you make up your mind about some new experience before you even experience it? Do you take one look at a roller coaster and say, “no thank you,” before you even ride it or watch it whiz along the track to learn it’s pattern? Now, if you are prone to motion sickness, I think you make the appropriate decision not riding the thing, but . . . if you’ve never ridden before, how do you know you’re not going to like it?

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Pecan Tree. Courtesy Google Images

Pecan Tree. Courtesy Google Images

Dear lovely ancient Pecan Tree:

Thank you for the lovely fruit. How I adore baking with the tasty nuggets you drop to the ground each fall. I do, however, have a request, if it’s not too much trouble? Would you henceforth please drop your tiny morsels of goodness in one neat pile on the pavement instead of scattering them all over the yard. And, while you’re at it, could you make it a nice sunny spot instead of those inticing shady areas where pesky mosquitos and mud bogs and snakes tend to lurk.

It’s not that I mind bending down and picking them up so much, but because they are all one lovely, non-descript shade of tan, they tend to blend in with everything, making them much harder to locate. Each morning it is like I am on some outlandish Easter egg hunt for the tiniest Easter eggs ever, all cleverly disquised as clods of mud and pebbles and chunks of cement. I am sure you surreptitiously watch me with merriment as I try to locate the delicatable treats through squinty eyes.

Photo coutresy Google Images.

Photo coutresy Google Images.

And finally, after dumping your nutty deliciousness in a tidy pile in the warm sunshine, perhaps you could talk to some of your feline friends, and ask them to protect the mound of morsels from thieving squirrels until such time as I can make my way outside to collect the bounty?

For all of your helpfulness, I shall reward you handsomely by trimming your foliage in an attractive fashion so as to inspire greater productivity next year and to keep your sturdy branches from overload and thus the threat of breakage, like what happened to the gentle giant in the driveway. I promise to take better care your support limbs and to admire the shade and beauty you provide each day, if only would you do your part by helping with the harvest.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation. I am sure by working together we can both become better living beings as a result. Oh sure, we’ll piss off the squirrels, but all in all, who really cares about pissing off the squirrels?

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Forever your most humble servant,

The Innkeeper

And so I ask you dear readers: have you ever harvested your own pecans? Walnuts? Almonds? Any advice for finding and gathering them? Not to mention cracking open those suckers?

Word of the Day: Kulak

Fun fact about me: I don’t really like pecans, but I have a lot of recipes that list pecans in the ingredient list.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, October 2015. Photos courtesy Google Images.

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Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I enjoy trying new dishes and recipes. I love reading and collecting recipes and flipping through cook books. I would love to take some cooking classes. I want to learn how to cook like a pro, flipping omelets with ease, flinging pizza dough over my head, frying up the perfect sunny side up egg. I’m excited just thinking about tying on a pristine white apron.

When I was growing up my mother prepared well-balanced, colorful meals, but painfully lacking in variety. Every week saw the same dishes set before us, spaghetti, meatloaf, tacos, the occasional casserole. These dishes were accompanied by over cooked vegetables or boring green salads with vinegar and oil for dressing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my mother to pieces and she never failed to have those healthy meals on the table for us each evening, for which I am eternally grateful. But, she lacked imagination or innovation or creativity of any kind when it came to cooking. Her spices of choice were salt and pepper and when she did get a little crazy and add herbs they usually consisted of dehydrated chives for the baked potatoes.

I think my husband wishes I were a little more like my mother in that regard. He’d be happy to have hamburgers or pizza (or both) every night of the week without ever seeing a vegetable or anything he can’t pronounce on the table. And don’t even say the word “fish,” when he’s around.

My poor, poor husband. I’m afraid his destiny is to endure experimental meals; meals prepared with love from the caring hands of the woman he loves. At least that’s what I keep telling him.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

After many years of experimental cooking, let me give you a tip, read everything before doing anything. The preparation instructions are just as important as the list of ingredients. On more than one occasion I have been whipping and stirring and folding in things only to discover that my delicacy must marinate or some other such process for several hours before moving on to the next step. There goes dinner for that night. And, how often have you been mixing like mad, adding dashes of this, and pinches of that, only to discover that the next ingredient is something you’re either out of, or have not idea what it is? Yes folks, that has happened to me. I’ve learned to read carefully before assembling products and gathering dishes and utensils.

While cooking is fun and eating is enjoyable, the preparation process can be tedious and downright frustrating. Here are some examples of ingredients I’ve come upon while preparing to serve an outrageously delicious meal: Amchur powder, garam masala, bulls horn peppers, ground sumac, elderflower liqueur, locatelli cheese, dry prosecco, Taleggio cheese, furikake, sharp pecorino, wattleseed, Fleur De Sel. That last one is just sea salt and why in God’s name the recipe doesn’t just say sea salt is beyond me, but what the what? I guess, “sprinkle liberally with Fleur De Sel” does sound better than “salt at will,” but really, do I need to go to the trouble of locating and purchasing glorified salt?

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Well, if I’m anything, I’m persistent. Google is my best friend and the store manager at my local supermarket has learned to run and hide if he sees me in the store, because I have sent him on a wild goose chase on more than one occasion looking for that special ingredient for my dinner. After I discover what furikake or bulls horn peppers are, I will spend way longer than necessary trying to find them at the market. Or, special order them.

And then there’s this quandry: you locate the item, or a close equivalent if you’ve been lucky enough to find out what that substitute item might be, only to discover that it costs like $100 for a half an ounce. You only need an 1/8 of a teaspoon and you’ll probably never use it again, but should you buy it – just in case it makes or breaks the dish you’ve been longing to try? I mean will you even notice if the wattleseeds are not present?

Ah yes, the joys of cooking and experimenting with new recipes. I have an impressive collection of spices and quite an assortment of colored salts (they’re all the rage now apparently), but my pocketbook is also considerably lighter. Was it worth it? Don’t ask my husband.

How about you friends, do you enjoy experimenting in the kitchen with crazy new ingredients and recipes? What’s the most money you’ve spent on something for a recipe? What’s the weirdest ingredient you’ve come across in your cooking adventures? How often have you Googled an ingredient in a recipe? I’d love to know. Please share.

Word of the Day:  Jaup

Fun Fact About Me: I sometimes try a recipe just because I like the name of it (can you say “Pasta Ponza?”)

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, April 2015. Photos courtesy Google Images.

 

 

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