Friday, February 29, 2008

Call Me.

Hello, faithful readers. Notice at the top right of my blog, there's a new button. If I set this up correctly, you will be able to call me and actually leave me a message. Oh, please, somebody try.

Dinner And Breakfast At The Hawthornes.

Mr. Hawthorne slo-kukked dinner last night.
Pot roast with potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery with a nice helping of Merlot in the pot.
I got to clean out the pot this morning.

When I checked outside, there was Middle Hawthorne's car.
He'd gotten in late last night.
I checked Daughter Hawthorne's room and that was occupied by
so, I decided to make one of my boys' favorites -
homemade sausage biscuits with gravy.

As Mr. Hawthorne is fond of saying, if there ain't no biscuit dough on the ax handle, then you know I've been shirking my chores.

Here's the sausage.

Now, I'm making the roux. Add a bit of flour to the sausage joos and cook.

Season with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and onion powder.

Add melk, cook and stir until nice and thick.
('n rich 'n delicious)

Here are my flaky buttermelk biscuits.

All six sausage patties and 8 biscuits were gone in minutes.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Outer Banks Taste Of The Beach.

Check it out folks: I've already signed up for FIVE different events. On Monday, March 3, from 4-6, I'll be "Learning the Secrets of Seafood." Learning the Secrets of Seafood Join others in learning how to cook some of The Outer Banks most popular catches. Learn how to break down a fresh tuna and prepare it three different ways. Explore North Carolina Shrimp, local clams and whatever is fresh on the docks that day. On Thursday, March 6, from 10-12, I'll be "Learning the Basics of Soups, Stocks, and Sauces." Learning the basics of Soups, Stocks & Sauces Learn the basics of classic stock, soup & sauce making. Create traditional recipes using a variety of bone & shell based stocks. Featured will be beef stock, fish stock & crab stock. Make & taste homemade onion soup, seafood chowder & crab bisque. On Friday, March 7, from 6-8, I'll be at Kelly's Restaurant, enjoying OYSTERS. Kelly's Outer Banks Restaurant & TavernNAGS HEADNC Ooo, What an Eastern North Carolina Night Nothing finer than the Taste of Eastern North Carolina! Ooo, how good it is... Oysters & Tenderloin Feast Enjoy an Outer Banks tradition at Kelly's Restaurant & Tavern. Savor the flavor of North Carolina Rose Bay Oysters. Have Oyster Stew, Oyster Fritters, Stuffed Oysters (5 selective delicacies), Fried Oysters (perfectly fried and seasoned with corn meal), Raw & Steamed Oysters. Next comes dinner - Delight in Pork Tenderloin, served with a Spinach Salad topped with warm oyster vinaigrette, a medley of winter vegetables, and Kelly's famous sweet potato biscuits. For dessert you have your choice of Sweet Potato Pie or Crème Brulee. Dinner also includes 2 glasses of beer, wine or champagne. On Saturday, March 8, from 9-11 AM, I'll be at "Advanced Culinary Techniques for Food Service Professionals." Advanced Culinary Techniques For Food Service Professionals Take a step outside your current restaurant position and spend the morning exploring new or forgotten techniques. Tips & Tricks of the professional chef. Later, on Saturday, March 8, at 3 PM, I'll be at Lucky 12 Tavern: All About Oysters. All About Oysters Come and join the fun in learning everything you ever wanted to know about Oysters; Where they come from, how to select the best; Shuck them, fry them, grill them and steam them. Enjoy tasting them prepared all ways, then learn how to make the prefect cocktail sauce to enjoy with them! To top off the event you can enjoy some of the newest beers on the market and a famous "Oyster Shooter". Please go to the website and click on purchase tickets. Read it and see if you'd like to suggest anything for me to go to. I'm thinking about the 4 course Asian dinner on Thursday, March 6. Four Course Asian Influenced Dinner Enjoy a four course Asian dinner at Lucky 12 Tavern. Head Chef Felicia Miller loves to cook Asian food and is looking forward to sharing her specialties with you. Begin the evening with Pork Wonton Soup. Next enjoy Salt & Chili Prawns served with a Citrus Dipping Sauce. The entrée will consist of a Thai Style Beef with Soba Noodles in an Asian Broth. Dinner will wind down with dessert; Sago in coconut Milk Pudding Drizzled with Palm Sugar. I'd really love to go to the Seven Course Chef's Tasting Menu, but golly, it's $99. Maybe, just maybe I can talk Mr. Hawthorne into this, or Glowria, or Xmaskatie. Any takers? Seven Course Chef's Tasting Menu Sit back, relax, and enjoy a sumptuous feast! The Left Banks seven course chef's tasting menu prepared especially for your by Chef de Cuisine Joel Sardinha and the staff of The Left Bank. Chef Joe's seasonally inspired menu is sure to be a hit! Paired wines available.
Of course, I'll have my digi-cam and will photograph and blog all this for my loyal readers.

Today's Lunch.

Mr. Hawthorne came home with 2 fillets of mahi mahi (the reddish meat)
and two fillets of flounder.
The flounder was much thinner, so we doubled that over.

I had some leftover mixture to encrust my fillets with:

about 10 minced rock shrimps
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
1 aig
1/2 stick buttah

In the back on the left is my Magic Bullet filled with chopped pistachios.

Here are the encrusted fillets,
with pistachios pressed INto the top.

Heat butter (Land o' Lakes Unsalted - there is NO other butter) and light olive oil in oven proof saute pan, encrusted side down, over medium/low heat.
Brown first side - about 2-3 minutes.

Then flip over and cook second side 2-3 minutes.
You can see the pinkness inside.

Pop INto 350-degree preheated oven and cook for about 7-8 minutes.
Do NOT overcook.

Here are my condiments:
Tall bottle on back left is Mango/Habanero Sauce.
Jar on back right is my Dijon Mustard Emulsion.
Small bottle on bottom right is Basil/Celery infused oil.
Medium bottle on bottom left is Parika infused oil.

In the meantime, Mr. Hawthorne sauteed some asparagus.
I threw in some almonds for good measure.

Mahi mahi on top. Flounder on bottom.

Oh wait.

Needs some "dolling" up.

This was very good.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Gotta Love Those Workmen!

What is it about workmen?
See the two white trucks - one at the end of my driveway, the other IN MY YARD?
Why would one presume that it's perfectly acceptable to park one's vehicle in someone's FRONT YARD?

Are they that damn lazy that they don't want to walk the extra 10 feet?

I know there's nothing green out there, but that's because
my Bermuda Grass is DORMANT!

Actually, my septic system is right there, and it is generally considered to NOT be a good practice to park on top of the septic system.

What is wrong with these people?

If you go to someone's house, do you ever feel inclined to just pull up in the front yard and park?

Rosie Gets New Front Steps.

We decided that the front steps looked like crap after comparing them to the new deck upstairs, so we had Ed tear them out and put the new stuff in.

Too bad I didn't get my "before" picture with the railings and the welcoming pineapples. But there's the pile of 'em. Use your imagination.

If you hadn't figured it out already, Ed's a fast worker.

No more steps.


Rosie Gets A New Set Of Steps.

I'm sure you've all been wondering, "What's going on at the Hawthornes' with regard to their renovation project?"

Well, Ed's pulled up the carpet from the steps.

Here, he's scraping the glue off the insides,

This is the very bottom step, with all the debris the original "carpenters" just dropped down and never bothered to clean up.
On thing about Ed, among many, HE'S NEAT!

Here, Ed's working his way upstairs
putting the new maple steps in.

As I said, HE'S NEAT!

Here's Mr. Hawthorne, sanding down the steps.

This is Mr. Hawthorne, VACUUMING!
Whoot, Ladies!
Step back. He's all mine.

Here's Rosie, cleaning the steps with de-natured alcohol.

Here I am putting a coat of polyurethane on.

The steps aren't done yet. We need to put a few more coats of the polyurethane on (see blue tape on wall), but almost there. And it's looking very nice.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Rosie Tries Her Hand At Indian Cuisine. And It Was GOOD!

According to my Time/Life/ Foods of the World/ The Cooking of India, spices are the key to Indian cooking. The elaborate combinations of freshly ground seasonings are called masalas. The masala blends vary widely and each is designed for a special purpose.

Above, is a picture of the various spices I used for my Garam Masala mixture for tonight's dinner. (By the way, I halved this.)

5 3-inch pieces cinnamon stick
1 cup whole cardamom pods, preferably green
1/2 cup whole cloves
1/2 cup whole cumin seeds
1/4 cup whole coriander seeds
1/2 cup whole black peppercorns

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Spread the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, cumin, coriander, and peppercorns in one layer in a pan. Roast about 30 minutes, stirring and turning the mixture several times. Do not let the spices brown.

Now, here's the bitch part. Break open the cardamom pods and get the seeds out.
Discard the pods and set seeds aside.
Now, how to do this.........?

Hmmmmm..... It's coming back to me.

Certain time-honored traditions and talents honed from a misspent youth come to my rescue.
Apparently, I didn't fry every single last brain cell.

I can separate the seeds from the chaff in a heartbeat.

Here are the toasted spices.

A little Magic Bullet action.

Process. Hmmm. Good smells.
I had enough for two 4-ounce pimiento jars.

Now, on to my Kesar Chaval, or Saffron Rice.
Above, I have 1 teaspoon saffron threads with boiled water on top, a chopped onion, a piece of cinnamon stick, 4 whole cloves, 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar with molasses, and the seeds of 3 cardamom pods.

Here, I've melted about 6 TB butter, then added the cinnamon and cloves, then the onion. Cook about 7-8 minutes.

Add the rice to the mix, stir about 5 minutes, then add 4 cups boiling water.

Here, I have the saffron water and molasses and brown sugar.
Add 4 cups boiling water, the brown sugar, molasses, 2 teaspoons salt, and the cardamom seeds. Bring to a boil.
Add saffron and its soaking water, stir gently, then reduce heat to low. Cover tightly and cook for 25 minutes.

Now, on to the chicken dish.
Here, I have my spices ready for my Murg Kari (chicken curry).From top left, the darker brown is freshly ground coriander seed, the red in the middle is ground hot red pepper, the medium brown on the top right is freshly ground cumin seed, the orange on bottom right is turmeric, and the lighter brown on bottom left is freshly ground fennel seed.

I have sliced onions, minced garlic, and minced fresh ginger here.Here's everything for my chicken.
The chicken has been rinsed, patted dry, and sprinkled with Kosher salt.

In a heavy skillet, heat vegetable oil over high heat, add the chicken parts in, and fry for 4-5 minutes on each side.
Transfer chicken to a plate.

Add the onions, garlic, and ginger to the remaining oil and saute for 7-8 minutes.

When the onions are soft and golden, reduce heat to low, and add the cumin, turmeric, coriander, red pepper, fennel, and 1 tablespoon of water,
stirring constantly.

And you all know how much I love my ACTION shots.

Stir for a few minutes.

Then, add a can of chopped tomatoes.
Stir well to incorporate.
May I just say, I can llllllliteralllllly see all the flavors
and it's really smelling good now.

The recipe called for 1/2 cup unflavored yogurt. I didn't have any unflavored yogurt so I substituted with my homemade
creme fraiche and some Ricotta Cheese.

Here's how to make creme fraiche. It's like a sour cream only much better. Take a cup of heavy cream, add 1-2 tablespoons of buttermelk to it, stir, cover, and let set out overnight at room temperature. Next day, refrigerate it. If you like, add a bit of lemon juice for a nice tang.

Add in the leftover coriander, a bit of salt, some water.

Add the chicken, turning to coat evenly, and bring to boil.
Reduce heat to low, and sprinkle top with garam masala.

Cover tightly and simmer for 20 minutes.

ACTION shot.

Add fresh cilantro.

I'm so glad I finally like cilantro. I used to hate it, but kept on trying it and now I love it. I have read that there's a gene for either liking cilantro or hating it, but I'm not so sure. And usually, it's one or the other. You either love it or hate it - no middle ground. I was the same way with blue cheese. Kept on trying Mr. Hawthorne's blue cheese salad dressing every time we'd go out to eat. After twenty years - yes, twenty years - of trying- one day I suddenly liked blue cheese dressing.
I am nothing if not persistent.
Action shot of lemon drop.

More rip-roaring lemon drop ACTION going on.

Here's the finished Chicken Curry, or Murg Kari.
Before Mr. Hawthorne got home with the fresh cilantro, Youngest Hawthorne came upstairs with a Schwann's chicken pot pie in his hand, ready to nuke it for dinner. His nose started atwitchin' and he asked what I was fixing. Putting the Schwann's aside, he decided to have some of this, sans cilantro.