Yay! Beignet!

November 6, 2012 § 2 Comments

High up on my list of cities to visit is New Orleans, and not least among the reasons for its position on said list is the food. Since it doesn’t look like I’m going to get there anytime soon, I’ve bought some cookbooks (Donald Link’s Real Cajun Cookbook and Cooking Up a Storm, the Times-Picayune compilation that was published after Katrina as a combination fund-raiser/attempt to replace recipes that folks had lost in the storm) and played with making some of the dishes I dream about. You may remember that gumbo I made a while back, for instance. My latest attempt to bring NOLA north is the legendary beignet.

I used this recipe I found online at The Cajun Grocer (which is where I get my andouille, alligator sausage, and ‘gator fillets, incidentally). I actually made the dough a while back and froze it but never got around to frying any up, mostly because it seemed like a waste of oil and time to just fry up a couple of beignets. However, I was recently reminded that I love fried mushrooms, and it occurred to me that I could have beignets in the morning and fried mushrooms for dinner, and that plan made it make sense to get the oil out and start frying.

I actually had this plan last weekend, and ended up not being hungry in the evening when it came time for the ‘shrooms, so I saved the oil for this weekend and a second round of beignets. Also, last weekend my oil was a bit too hot and the beignets ended up being raw in the middle. This weekend, the temperature was just right (about 360 deg. F) and they fried up perfectly. They’re very tasty, but this particular recipe is coming out really, really dense, and I’m not sure if it’s because the dough’s old or just this recipe. Guess I’ll have to make some more beignets and find out! (No recipe just yet, as I want to play around and find/make one that comes out nice and fluffy.)

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After the Storm

November 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

For those of you who don’t know, I’m located smack in the middle of the area that just got bitch-slapped by Hurricane Sandy [sidenote: I have always, always hated the name Sandy.]. We got very, very lucky: no property damage, we never lost power, internet, or cable, no flooding. Many of our friends, extended family, and neighbors weren’t so fortunate.

Don’t get me wrong — we’ve been inconvenienced plenty…my darling children haven’t had school for a week and the bloom is quickly coming off the stay-at-home-mommy rose (seriously, homeschooling friends, I have no idea how you do this)…we can’t really go anywhere due to dangerous roads…grocery stores around us have very low stock on perishables… my paycheck didn’t get deposited due to the timing of the storm…but these are truly minor inconveniences compared to the losses and devastation those around us have gone through.

I’m releasing a new hat pattern today, Haimish. 100% of all proceeds for the month of November will be donated to a relief fund for those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Haimish is a Yiddish word meaning “warm and comfortable; homey; folksy.” Easy to knit and wear, this comfy hat exemplifies these characteristics. Offset cables surround the hat, topping off the thick rib and rolled edging. It is rustic simplicity at its best. Offered in three sizes (child, adult small, adult large) for the whole family.

Size:

Child (Adult Small, Adult Large) / 14.25 (18, 21.25)” (NOTE: Hat is very stretchy and is designed with about 2″ of negative ease. I.e., if your head circumference is 20″, the 18″ size would fit you properly.)

Materials:

  • 80 (100, 150)yds Aran weight wool (shown in Katmandu Aran Tweed: Color 115 – Olive (104yds 50gm)
  • US 9/5.5mm 16” circular needle and dpns
  • Stitch marker

Gauge:

18 stitches and 22 rows = 4″ in pattern. Please take time to check your gauge, as this helps to ensure a successful project.

You can purchase the pattern online from Ravelry.com (you do not need a Ravelry account to purchase).

The Taste of Summer

November 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

Summer is my favorite season, no questions asked. I love the sunshine and heat and warm nights and cooling off in the pool or the ocean and especially, I love the fresh fruit. We live in a fabulous modern age of strawberries in February, but they are truly not the same as the strawberries of July, plucked fresh off the plant, nor are the peaches you buy in January anything like summer’s fresh peaches so ripe they practically burst when you bite into them, dripping sticky juice down your chin no matter how fast you eat. And fresh summer cherries, sweet and firm and plump, the perfect size to pop into your mouth – I can eat a pound at a time (and have, but I don’t recommend this…you’ll have a tummy ache). The downside is, I get so excited about all the fresh fruit that I end up buying more than I can possibly eat before it spoils.

So when I found myself with some peaches and cherries that were getting close to passing over from perfectly ripe to rotten mush, I decided something must be done. And then I decided that something was a cherry-peach cobbler. I used my go-to cobbler recipe, only instead of berries, I used the peaches (sliced to about 1/8”, not peeled) and cherries (halved and pitted). The result is a delicious summery cobbler, fantastic as a breakfast treat or as a dessert…especially delicious under a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Delish.

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