29.8.09

If you could take only one cookbook...



If you could choose only one of your cookbooks to take with you, which one would it be?  I would love to hear which one you would choose.  I had that dilemma when I sold my house and packed everything into storage.  My car already looked like the Clampett’s so one cookbook was all I had room for.

I chose The Joy of Cooking.  It isn’t necessarily my favourite, but it might satisfy my need for any recipe I might need for the next six months.  In all honesty, www.epicurious.com is my favourite source of recipes.  But I find myself now without internet unless I am having orange herbal tea at Starbucks.

Did anyone choose Julia Child?  She is such a hot topic these days.  The Silver Palate cookbooks are actually my favourite and I regret now that I didn’t bring The New Basics cookbook by the Silver Palate gals.  I think it would have been a better choice than Joy.

Buy from Amazon.com
What would you choose?

26.8.09

Okra and tin foil...who woulda thunk?








After a week in Tennessee, I have not had any ultimate foodie experiences yet.  The closest was finding veal demi-glace at Williams Sonoma.  It was $29.  Not inexpensive but I will probably pick some up before I leave for Canada.  I would never use a whole jar while I am here and it must be refrigerated once opened.
I am also living next town to the home of “tin foil”, the city of Alcoa, Aluminum Company of America.
A neighbour lady, Ersa, gave me a handful of sweet banana peppers and one hot banana pepper from her garden.  She had spent her day frying okra in grease and freezing them for use later.  The okra plant is about 2 ½ feet tall and provides a large crop.  I can’t imagine freezing 20 quarts of okra.
 She also told me how to make fried green tomatoes.  They are dusted with cornmeal before frying in grease.  I hate that word ‘grease’ but that’s what they call it.
 The little garden at my house has several herbs, tomatoes, green onions, hot and sweet peppers, canteloupe, eggplant, cucumber and a variety of squash.  Today I am drying hot chilis and picked squash for a nice arrangement in a dish.
 The fresh produce I have found at green grocers is quite expensive and there isn’t a great selection.  I have found corn, all types of potatoes and sweet potatoes, greasy beans (they looked like ordinary beans but a more purple striated colour and tough), tomatoes, romaine lettuce, cabbage and the usual root vegetables and squashes.  Peaches are also available.  
Perhaps there will be more interesting food at the farmer’s market on Saturday.








I bought andouille sausage. It is a typical Creole hot sausage.  I made a simple dinner of diced andouille browned in a skillet, added cooked red beans and cooked white rice along with a diced tomato from the garden.  
Simply divine!  So healthy and satisfying.   The andouille tasted a cross between chorizo and farmer’s sausage.
 I also found Amish butter.  Yum!  I haven’t tried it yet either.  I can hardly wait.  

25.8.09

Mini Appliances


Mini appliances are the way to go!  I am beginning to learn that furnished rentals and house sitting gigs do not usually provide me with a very well equipped kitchen.  I have only one bowl!  I have are a slow cooker and toaster oven and no other appliances.

I picked up this little food processor today from Williams Sonoma in Knoxville.  It arrived in their store this week.  It cost $39.95 and is a 3-cup size.  They also told me that Cuisinart has a new model in the works that has 3 different bowl sizes with one motor.  That is great for the home kitchen, but the little mini is great for traveling.  At home, you can use it for making pesto, guacamole, marinades, herb butters and sauces.

I cheated with the margarita.  No freshly squeezed limes!  W-S has a great mix.  Just add ice and tequila.  This little food processor made shaved ice in seconds.  It had lots of power, has 2 settings, has an auto-reversing blade and the safety feature that it cannot be turned on when the top is not properly in place.  

Now I can have my smoothies at last!

18.8.09

I'll be in Tennessee soon

I left Winnipeg on Monday full of the usual anxiety with a border crossing!  Well, I wasn't disappointed.  They were unusually respectful but not so nice as to just let me pass.  The problem was my story.  I don't own a house, I don't have a job and I am travelling alone with a cat to the southern states for a few months, and no reason to return?  I had no idea they could pull out all that info and make it sound so bad in a few short questions.

They directed me into the garage, unpacked my car and asked me all those questions that totally intimidate a woman travelling alone with her cat - do you have any weapons (does a vegetable peeler count?), have you ever been fingerprinted, that's a long time to travel alone.  Are you sure you aren't meeting up with any other people?  Other people, yes, of course.  My Dad will likely come down and I have several friends who might come down for a visit.  Does that count?

Then, do you have any food in the car?  That was the one that really made me look odd.  I have every spice and herb from aniseed to za'tar.  I have my wonderful chai and Christmas teas from Paris, some dried bing cherries, white vanilla extract, box of Shreddies, baking powder, cornmeal, beautiful multi-grain bread, Morden's chocolate covered ginger, angostura bitters, ham sandwich, bag of raw almonds........well, you get the gist.  And my Weber charcoal grill.

By the end I was baring my soul to this poor woman who was really trying to find a reason why I wouldn't be a risk to their national security.  She even asked how much money was in my bank account.  I think I finally convinced her by saying that if I didn't return to Alberta, I would have no health care and that would be a desperate situation.

I won't have internet for awhile now....so....happy cooking!

15.8.09

Fresh from Nunuvut






I am one of those rare people who happens to have a sister living in Nunuvut.  Her daugher, my niece, visited the north and brought back Arctic char and smoked cariboo sausages.

My dinner to celebrate the wonderful bounties of the north featured a baked Arctic char, braised sorrel & chard, and new potato salad with cariboo sausage.

Baked Arctic Char

Make diagonal cuts through the skin but not through the bone and insert a slice of lemon in each cut.  Stuff the fish with basil, flat leaf parsley, onion and herbes de Provence.  Rub the skin with olive oil and generously sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and sea salt.  Bake for 30-40 minutes at 400F or on a hot grill.

Potato Salad

Scrub new baby potatoes and cut in half if they are larger.  Boil until soft.  In a bowl, mix olive oil, grainy mustard, a splash of red wine vinegar.  Add chopped flat leaf parsley, cooked smoked sausage meat removed from the casing and the boiled potatoes.  Serve warm.

Braised Sorrel & Chard

Saute chopped shallots in a generous amount of olive oil.  Add chopped swiss chard and whole sorrel leaves.  Cook until tender.  Add sea salt and serve hot.

First lesson

So I have learned one thing already, don't hit the button until you have perfected the post!  I have not yet figured out how to amend.  
I made one glaring omission in my first posting.  The name of my blog 'All Our Fingers in the Pie' is the brain child of Claire Mac Dougall.  Claire was with me in my Cooking Club and always has bright ideas!  This is just another example.  Thanks for letting me poach it, Claire!

I'm a blogging virgin

I know.  It isn't a new or creative title, but you get the drift.  I have no idea what I am doing as I set up this blog so, don't you be shy.  Join in and keep in touch!
Tonight I saw 'the' movie.  Julie & Julia, of course, and I cried through most of it.  Why didn't I think of doing something like that?  It seems like so much fun.  And you could feel how much Julie truly enjoys cooking.  And you could feel how truly driven Julia was.  They are both delightful characters and both inspirational.
On Monday I leave for my adventure in Tennessee.  Whilst in that area I will be exploring southern cooking and foods.  This is the reason I decided to start blogging.  I want to share with my loyal and dear friends who have cooked with me, eaten with me and shared a lot of fun times at the table.  I want to continue this sharing while I am away.  I have already enrolled in a Belgian candy making class in Orlando at the end of October with Jean-Pierre Wybauw, a celebrated chef from Belgium.

All Our Fingers in the Pie