About Me

I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Lady Cream Peas

Lady Cream Peas with Turnips and a Butterflied Roast Chicken
I've been cooking peas all summer and blanching a good many to freeze as well.  I want to thank whoever invented the machine that shells these little gems making them so much easier to find in the farmers markets. I love any kind of fresh summer pea -crowder, blackeye, butter bean or field.  They are all a variety of the larger species know as cowpeas.  They are not a pea at all but really a bean that was brought to the New World from Africa in the 1600's. They grow well in the South as they are heat resistant and drought resistant.  I like their simplicity and nutritional value.  There aren't too many variations in preparation because you just don't want to mess them up.  Cooking them with a seasoned meat like bacon is fairly traditional but I like them just as well cooked in salted water, pepper, onion, butter and an herb.

First rinse and sort 1 lb peas.  Put them in enough water to cover them and bring to a boil.  As a white foam rises, skim the foam and impurities off with a spoon or strainer and discard.  Drain the peas and rinse with cold water.  They many be frozen at this point.  Return to the pot with fresh water and 1 tsp Kosher salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.  Bring to a boil then reduce and simmer for 1 hour. Add 1/2 cup chopped onion and a small turnip (optional), peeled and diced.  Cover the last 15 minutes. Add a tablespoon of butter before serving hot. So fine!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Brown Irish Soda Bread

We took a lovely vacation in Southwestern Ireland this summer and I was pleasantly surprised at how great the food was.  I was really prepared for something else, heavy on cabbage and potatoes.  This was not the case at all.  We enjoyed some of the best meals I've had in some time.  The freshest fish, tender lamb and organic vegetables were served to us as we toured and golfed our way along the Ring of Kerry and County Clare.  Every meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner) was accompanied by hearty brown soda bread, which was nothing like the currant studded white variety I'm familiar with around St. Patrick's day.  This was a tender loaf style bread.  I thought I'd have no trouble finding it's equivalent on the internet when I got home but, I was wrong. Irish wheat is ground less fine and slightly heated to give it a toasty flavor.  With some perseverance,  I finally found and devised this recipe that most resembles the true Irish soda bread.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with cooking spray, then line with parchment and spray parchment.

21/2 cups stone ground whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup steel cut oats
1 tbls baking powder
1 tbls baking soda
1 tbls wheat germ
1 tsp salt

Mix the above, then add mixed together:

2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
1/3 cup molasses

Combine all ingredients and pour into the loaf pan and bake 1 hour and 5 mins.  Turn out of pan and cool completely.