12420252_f1024How to Handle, Harvest, and Prepare the Poisonous Pokeweed
The pokeweed can be found throughout the majority of the Continental United States, but is far more prevalent in the central to eastern states of the south. It is a poisonous weed, related to night shade, but if prepared for consumption correctly, it is actually considered a delicacy by many Southerners. In fact, in its cooked form, the pokeweed is so popular that many southern states hold yearly festivals in the early spring to commemorate it.

The cooked version of this weed is properly referred to as poke sallet, but many are not in tune with the proper pronunciation, so it is not uncommon to hear it referred to as poke salad. The word sallet traces back to Middle English and refers to a mess of greens cooked until tender. For example, cooked spinach could be referred to as a sallet, but raw spinach would be called a salad. This is important because for reasons that will be made clear to you later, the pokeweed should never be eaten raw. How and when one might harvest it in relative safety, and then we will detail a popular way to prepare poke sallet in the South.

12420233_f1024About the Poisoness Plant Pokeweed

First we will start by discussing all the ways in which the pokeweed can harm and/or kill you. It is worthy of note that no U.S. food organization endorses the consumption of pokeweed regardless of how it is prepared.

That being said, I would like to add that poke sallet has never harmed anyone I know that was aware of how to properly prepare it, and even the stories I’ve heard of an unwitting guest or relative finding a bowl of the uncooked leaves in a kitchen and mistaking them for spinach or some other edible, raw, green leafy, only ended with a day’s bout of diarrhea.

In addition, if, for example, pork is improperly prepared, it too can harm and/or kill a person. The FDA and the like are fine with giving pork the green light. My point is that foraging is becoming increasingly popular these days, and whether or not you choose to prepare and eat poke sallet is entirely up to you. It isn’t illegal, and if you are the sort of person who can follow directions and knows how not to cross-contaminate, this recipe might be for you. Now back to the dangerous nature of the pokeweed. Poison can be found throughout this plant, and only birds are immune to the effects. When this plant first sprouts in the early spring, it is at its least poisonous. Throughout the maturation of the pokeweed, the plant’s toxicity increases.

The most toxic part of the pokeweed is the root system. The roots of the pokeweed are by far the most potentially lethal part of the pokeweed. Next in toxicity are the leaves and stems. At some point the pokeweed will fruit. The fully ripened fruit of the pokeweed are quite toxic.
When it reaches maturity, the pokeweed can grow to over ten feet in height. It goes from a green to a beautiful purple color. Its ripened berries are usually a shiny, eye-catching black. Attracted by their beauty, many a child has became ill or died from the ingestion of these berries. Because they have harmed so many children over the years, some have suggested eliminating the pokeweed altogether.

Despite all the negative press, the mature pokeweed is still employed by some in plant arrangements because of its beauty and the plant is also sometimes rendered down to produce ink.
Safely Picking Pokeweed

12420245_f1024The next step is physically harvesting the plant. I highly recommend wearing gloves when you touch the raw pokeweed to avoid any poisoning from skin contact, though many do not. Of even more importance is having a cutting tool and cutting the pokeweed above the root system, as the root system is the most toxic part of the plant. Again, a lot of people just pull it up roots and all and are fine, but being as these roots are the most deadly part of the plant, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Pick a whole lot of it. When you get the pokeweed home and it is ready to cook, you will remove the edible leaves from the pokeweed’s stem, and then the leaves will go through an extensive cooking process to lessen the plant’s toxicity. This will cause what once looked like a great deal of pokeweed to reduce in size immensely. For example, a paper grocery bag full of pokeweed will probably only yield about 2 large servings of poke sallet.

I would recommend that you cook the pokeweed the same day you harvest it, but if you can’t, educate everyone in the household that is mature enough to understand about the plant’s toxicity, and keep the pokeweeds out of reach of small children and pets.
Preparing Poke Sallet

12420250_f1024The following is a southern style of preparing poke sallet, so of course it involves frying. For those of you who prefer your food healthier, poke sallet does not have to be fried, but it is essential that it go through the multi-stage boiling and rinsing detoxification process first regardless of how you choose to incorporate it in your food.

First, I recommend wearing gloves at the beginning of the cooking process. You want to start by removing all the leaves from the pokeweed plant. This is the part you will eat. Dispose of the rest of the plant in a safe manner.

Wash the leaves in cool water. Then place the leaves in a pot of water and bring them to a rolling boil for 20 minutes. Next pour the leaves into a sieve. Rinse the pokeweed leaves with cool water.

Repeat the above boiling and rinsing process at least one more time. Personally, like most people I know that prepare poke sallet, I only do the boiling and rinse twice, but many recipes recommend boiling and rinsing 3 times.

You are likely safe to dispose of your gloves after the first boiling and rinsing process. The thinking behind this is that you probably are no longer at risk of contact poisoning after the first boil/rinse and continuing to wear the same pair of gloves might cause toxins to be put back into the sallet that you have worked so hard to extract.

If you are very precautious, one might use a new pair of gloves for each handling of the pokeweed leaves throughout the boil/rinse process. That being said, many people that have prepared poke sallet throughout their live have never used the precaution of gloves at all with no perceivable consequence.

You definitely want to wash your boiling pot out after each boiling cleanse as not to put any toxins back in the pokeweed leaves that you have taken out. The same goes for your sieve. Clean it before each new rinse.

After you have properly detoxified the pokeweed leaves, you are going to panfry them for a couple of minutes in bacon grease. Last you add a bit of crumbled bacon and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve your poke sallet as a side. It is an excellent compliment for most any meal. The flavor is quite similar to fresh cooked spinach, but subtler in nature. If you like fresh cooked greens and you follow the steps properly, you will enjoy this dish

Cook Time12420255_f1024

Prep time: 2 hours Cook time: 3 hours Ready in: 5 hours Yields: Pick a lot. The pokeweed reduces down drastically.
Ingredients

Pokeweed Leaves
Bacon Fat, Enough to Coat Pan
Crushed Bacon, to Taste
Salt & Pepper, to Taste
Poke Sallet Recipe

Remove Pokeweed Leaves from Plant
Rinse Pokeweed Leaves in Cool Water
Bring Leaves to Rolling Boil in Large Pot for 20 Minutes
Pour Leaves into Sieve and Rinse in Cool Water
Repeat Steps 3 and 4 two more times
Panfry Pokeweed Leaves for a Couple of Minutes in Bacon Grease
Add Crushed Bacon, Salt and Pepper to Taste
Serve and Enjoy

Irish soda bread

Posted: March 17, 2017 in Recipes
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INGREDIENTS:
• 3½ cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 tbsp. sugar
• 2 tsp. baking soda
• 2 tbsp. melted butter
• 1¾ cups buttermilk
irish_ soda_ bread

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with non-stick cooking spray.
3. Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl, until everything is combined.
4. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and using floured fingers, form dough into a round shape and place into cake pan.
5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove bread and let cool on a baking rack.

Candy Coated Popcorn

Posted: March 9, 2017 in Recipes
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candy_coated_popcornIngredients
4 quarts popped corn
1 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon gourmet flavoring (any flavor, flavor amount can be increased as desired)
liquid food coloring (as desired)

Directions
Keep freshly-popped corn warm in large baking pan in 200°F oven.
Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt and cream of tartar in medium saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Cook to 250°F without stirring.
Remove from heat. After boiling action ceases, add flavoring and color. Add soda and stir in quickly but thoroughly. Pour at once while foamy over warm popcorn; mix gently to coat corn. Shape into balls or spread onto cookie sheet and break into pieces when cool.

Popcorn Cake

Posted: March 8, 2017 in Recipes
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popcorn_cakeIngredients
3 quarts popped popcorn, remove unpopped kernels
3⁄4 cup butter
1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
1 (16 ounce) bag miniature marshmallows
1 (8 ounce) container roasted unsalted peanuts
1 (16 ounce) bag M&M’s plain chocolate candy (I use orange and black candy corn for Halloween and no nuts.)

Directions
Butter a bundt pan.
Melt butter, oil and marshmallows in a large saucepan.
Pour popcorn into a large bowl.
Large roasting pan works for me.
Add nuts and candies.
Pour melted marshmallow mixture over corn, nuts and candies.
Mix well, working quickly.
Press mixture firmly into pan.
Turn cake out immediately onto a large plate.
Let “set” overnight for easy cutting.
You may also use a 13 x 9 x 2 inch buttered pan and leave in pan for cutting.
For Halloween make balls.

Slow cooker no-knead bread

Posted: February 28, 2017 in Recipes
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slow_cooker_breadFreshly baked bread is undeniably wonderful. The steam as it pours out of the first slice, the warmth gently melting butter into its nooks and crannies, the soft texture as you bite into it… but who has the time?
Well, now, you do. This easy no-knead slow cooker bread recipe is perfect for bread lovers with busy schedules. No need to plan a day ahead. Start this bread earlier in the day and have a warm freshly baked loaf ready by dinner.

 

6 15 minutes (does not include rising time) 2 hours 5 hours, 45 minutes (including rising time)

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more
1/2 teaspoon quick rising yeast
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups very warm (but not boiling) filtered water (about 100° F)

Directions

Into a large mixing bowl, combine flour, yeast and salt. Pour in the hot water and combine well using a rubber spatula. You can use cold water, but it will take longer to rise. Using filtered water also helps with the rising process. The dough will be sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 3 hours, or until the dough has risen. It will have bubbles and still look a little soft and wet.
Place dough on a well-floured surface. You will need to use a spatula to separate it from the bowl, as the dough will still be very sticky. Sprinkle a little more flour on the top of the dough just enough to keep it from sticking to your fingers. Give the dough a few folds, forming it into a ball. 
Place the formed dough ball onto a piece of parchment paper. Do NOT use wax paper for this. Lift the parchment paper and dough and place into a 4-quart slow cooker. A taller slow cooker will result in a taller bread because slow cooked breads do not rise in the same way as they would in an oven.
Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours, or until the internal temperature reads 190° – 200° F. Check the temperature after 90 minutes if this is the first time you are making bread in your slow cooker. You will soon learn how long it takes your slow cooker to bake the perfect loaf.
Slow cooker bread makes a soft outer layer. For a browned crust, simply toss it into the broiler for a few minutes. Remove when the crust is lightly browned to your liking.
Let bread cool before slicing.

SCOTCH MEAT PIES

Posted: February 15, 2017 in Recipes
Tags:

meatpie2Large numbers of Scotch Pies are sold in Scotland every day – they are an original "fast food" and are often sold at the half-time interval at football (soccer) matches. The pies are made in special straight-sided molds, roughly 3-3½ inches (7.5-8.5cm) in diameter and about 1½ inches (4cm) deep. A pastry lid, inside the pie, covers the meat about ½ inch (1cm) below the rim. This leaves a space at the top of the pie which can be filled, if required – with hot gravy, baked beans, mashed (creamed) potatoes etc. The meat is usually mutton (sometimes of varying quality). Many bakers have their own recipes and add spices to give additional flavor

meatpie3INGREDIENTS
The quantities below should make roughly 8/10 pies.
Ingredients for the Meat Filling:
1 pound (500g or two cups) lean lamb, minced (ground)
Pinch of mace or nutmeg
Salt and pepper
Quarter pint (150ml) gravy
Ingredients for the Hot Water Pastry:
1 pound (500g or four cups) plain flour
6 ounces (175g or ¾ cup) lard
6 fluid ounces (225ml or ¾ cup) approximately of water
Pinch of salt
Milk for glazing
You will also need glasses or jars, approximately 3-3½ inches (7.5-8.5cm) in diameter to shape the pie.

meatpiesPREPARATION
Method:
Create the filling by mixing the minced (ground) lamb, spice and seasoning. Make the pastry by sifting the flour and salt into a warm bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour. Melt the lard in a scant measure of water and, when it is bubbling, add to the flour and mix thoroughly. Take a small amount (remember the mixture should make 8/10 pies, with their tops) and form into a ball and keep the rest warm while making each pastry case. This is done by rolling a suitable amount for each pie and shaping the crust round the base of a glass or jar approximately 3-3½ inches (7.5-8.5cm) in diameter. Make sure there are no cracks in the pastry – you can trim round the top of the case to make it even. As the pastry cools and gets cool, remove the glass and continue until you have about a quarter of the pastry left to make the lids. Fill the cases with the meat and add the gravy to make the meat moist. Roll the remaining pastry and use the glass to cut the lids. Wet the edges of the lids, place over the meat and press down lightly over the filling. Pinch the edges and trim. Cut a small hole or vent in the center of the lid (to allow the steam to escape). Glaze with milk and bake for about 45 minutes at 275F/140C/Gas mark 1. If the pies are not eaten immediately, they can be stored in the ‘fridge but always ensure they are properly reheated before being eaten.

Cajun brunch 8 recipe series

Posted: February 14, 2017 in Recipes
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cajun_brunchThis is one post you can’t just hit the like button, you’ll have to read the entire post of recipes, I have bunched them all together because today is Valentines day and you might want to group a few of these together for your brunch or brunch party

BANANAS FOSTER FRENCH TOAST

This is not diet food.

2 cups heavy cream
2 extra-large eggs, beaten
1 egg yolk, beaten
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
4 slices brioche or Challah
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons canola oil
4 ripe bananas, sliced in 1/4-inch rounds
3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
In a large bowl combine the cream, eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly. In another, smaller bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon. Dip the slices of bread briefly in the cream mixture and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on both sides. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a large sauté pan. When the butter mixture is hot, add the bread, 2 slices at a time and saute on each side until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Remove and reserve the slices and saute the remaining slices. As an option, you may deep fry the slices at this point at 350 degrees for about 30 seconds to make the toast extra-crisp.
Heat the remaining butter and oil in another saute pan. Sprinkle the bananas with the cinnamon sugar, add them to the pan and saute until the bananas are well coated and caramelized.

Place 2 slices of French toast, overlapping, on each of 2 plates and pour the bananas over them. Dust them with the confectioner’s sugar shaken from a strainer or shaker. Serve immediately.

Yield: 2 servings

Crème Brûlée Lost Bread

PREP TIME: 1 ½ hours
SERVES: 6

   
COMMENT:
One of the most interesting breakfast dishes came about because of a need to use stale or "lost bread." There are numerous recipes in and around New Orleans for this traditional dish, but Crème Brûlée is one of the most unique.

INGREDIENTS:

12 French bread croutons, cut 1-inch thick
½ cup melted butter
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2 tbsps honey
5 eggs
1 cup milk
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp praline liqueur or Frangelico

METHOD:

French bread croutons should be cut out of a baguette-style loaf. These slices should be approximately 2 ½ – 3 inched in diameter and 1 inch thick. In a cast iron skillet, combine butter, brown sugar and honey over medium-high heat. Cook mixture, stirring constantly, until bubbly and sugar has dissolved. Pour Brûlée into the bottom of a 13" x 19" x 2" baking dish. Allow Brûlée to cool slightly then top with the French bread croutons. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, milk, whipping cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and liqueur. Blend thoroughly the pour evenly over the croutons. Using the tips of your fingers, press bread down gently to force the custard into the croutons without breaking. Cover dish with clear wrap and chill overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Allow custard to sit out at room temperature, approximately 1 hour. Bake, uncovered, until French toast is puffed and edges of the croutons are golden brown, approximately 40 minutes. Allow to cool 10 minutes prior to serving. When ready to serve, remove 2 of the Lost Bread Croutons per guest and invert them onto the center of a 10-inch plate. Top with powdered sugar and drizzle lightly with honey.

CREOLE RICE CALAS:
Fried rice cakes

What are calas? (or, "I’ve got all this leftover rice, NOW WHAT DO I DO?") Calas are fried balls of rice and dough that are eaten covered with powdered sugar, not unlike rice-filled beignets.

"The way it has been told to me is that long ago, on cold mornings in New Orleans, women would walk the streets of the French Quarter selling these warm fried cakes for breakfast.

6 tablespoons flour
3 heaping tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups cooked rice
2 eggs
Pinch of nutmeg
Cooking oil
Powdered Sugar
Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and vanilla. Thoroughly mix the rice and eggs together in a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the rice and egg mixture. When thoroughly mixed, drop by spoonfuls into the hot deep fat (about 360 degrees F) and fry until brown. Drain on paper towel. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve while hot.
"Other variations are to serve with honey or (my favorite) Steen’s Cane Syrup instead of the powdered sugar.

"Serve with a cup of coffee that is

EGGS PONTCHARTRAIN

8 English muffins, split
16 slices bacon
32 oysters, shucked
16 ounces buttermilk
Flour and cornmeal for breading
Creole seasoning
Oil for deep-frying
16 poached eggs
Finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Tasso Hollandaise sauce
6 egg yolks
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dashes of Tabasco sauce, to taste
2 tablespoons water
3 sticks (12 ounces) butter, melted and clarified, held warm
8 ounces tasso ham, finely chopped, rendered, drippings reserved
Cook the bacon (it’s easiest on a sheet pan in the oven) until crisp. Reserve the drippings for another use. Break each slice in half.
Butter the muffins and toast in a regular or toaster oven; keep warm.

Poach the eggs in barely simmering water to which a couple of teaspoons of vinegar have been added, until desired doneness (I like runny yolks, mmmm.) You can hold in a pan and refresh with hot water before serving.

Soak the oysters in buttermilk for a few minutes, then roll in a mixture of half flour and half cornmeal that has been seasoned with Creole seasoning, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Shake the oysters in a sieve to get rid of excess breading, then drop into hot oil at 360°F; fry until golden brown. Season with a little more salt and Creole seasoning as soon as they come out of the oil; drain on paper towels and keep warm.

For the tasso Hollandaise: In a stainless steel bowl set over a pot of simmering water over medium heat, whisk the egg yolks with the lemon juice, salt, Tabasco, and water until pale yellow and slightly thick and ribbony. (The old test — you should be able to "blow a rose" on the surface.) Never let the bowl touch the water, and never let the water boil. Off the heat, drizzle the clarified butter into the egg yolks in a thin stream, whisking like hell all the while, until it’s incorporated. Add the tasso and drippings and continue whisking for 30 seconds. Serve immediately or hold in a Thermos to keep warm.

Assembly: Place two muffin halves on each warmed plate. Top each muffin half with two half-slices of bacon and two fried oysters. Top each bacon-oyster muffin with a poached egg. Top with liberal amounts of tasso Hollandaise. Garnish with a bit of parsley and serve.

YIELD: 8 decadent brunch servings.

SPINACH AND TASSO BREAD PUDDING
with Gruyère cheese

This recipe is enough to feed about 12 people. You could cut it into 16 small slices or 8 humongous slices, depending on how much you want to serve or how hungry everyone is. Use a 9×13" baking pan for this amount, but it’s easily cut in half for smaller gatherings. Use an 8×8" pan if you’re halving, and cut the cooking time by about 5-8 minutes.

One 16-ounce loaf of good, crusty French bread
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped (or substitute red onion)
6-10 cloves garlic, minced (however much you like)
Two 10-ounce packages of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry with squeezings reserved
8 ounces tasso ham, cut into 1/4" dice (or substitute regular smoked ham, andouille sausage or any good smoked sausage)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup medium-dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio (a good one from Friuli) or Sauvignon Blanc. Don’t use Chardonnay.
12 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (substitute a good Swiss or Monterey jack)
12 large eggs
3-1/2 cups half-and-half
2 tablespoons molasses
A few dashes Worcestershire sauce
Several dashes hot sauce (I love Tabasco Chipotle Sauce with this, for it adds a nice complement of smokiness to the tasso. Use a Mexican chipotle sauce, or just good ol’ Tabasco, Crystal, Cajun Chef or Texas Pete, whatever you like)
Creole seasoning blend
Slice the bread into 1/2" slices and let dry out overnight. You may also dry them in a 200-225°F oven for about 30-40 minutes until they’re completely dried; make sure you don’t brown them.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large heavy skillet (don’t use non-stick), then add the diced tasso. Brown the tasso for about 5 minutes until some of the fat has been rendered out and you’ve got some nice brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Put the tasso on a plate lined with a few paper towels and set aside. Add the wine to the pan, making sure to scrape up all the browned bits with a spatula, and reduce the wine by half. Pour out into a large bowl or 2-3 quart measuring cup and set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter with the rest of the olive oil in the same skillet, then add the onions and garlic. Sauté the onions and garlic for about 3 minutes, until they’re translucent and smelling really fragrant. Add the spinach water and let it reduce almost entirely, then add the chopped spinach and thoroughly combine with the onions and garlic. Continue to cook for 3 minutes or so, making sure that there’s hardly any moisture left. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Whisk the eggs together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined, then add the half-and-half. Add the molasses, Worcestershire, hot sauce, the reduced wine, about 2 teaspoons of salt, plenty of fresh ground black pepper and Creole seasoning to taste.

Butter the bottom and sides of the baking dish with the remaining tablespoon of butter (use more if you need it), then make one layer of dried bread slices on the bottom. Use little broken-off pieces if you need to fill any little spaces. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the cheese over the bread, then cover the bread layer evenly with the sautéed spinach mixture, then sprinkle evenly with another 1/3 of the grated cheese, then spread the diced tasso evenly over that and finish off with the rest of the cheese. Season with more Creole seasoning and pepper, then place a second layer of bread over that middle layer, filling the holes with broken pieces as needed.

Give the custard a final mix with the whisk and pour evenly over the entire surface of the bread, making sure you wet everything. Season the top with more black pepper and Creole seasoning and a sprinkling of salt, then wrap the pudding thoroughly in plastic wrap and weight the top down. You can use a couple of boxes of brown sugar or something like that, but I found that a telephone book worked perfectly. This helps compress the layers of the pudding so that the custard will soak all the way through and so that it’ll cook more evenly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

When you’re ready to get going, take the pudding out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature for about a half an hour, then bake in a preheated oven at 325-350°F for about one hour, until the edges and center are puffed up. Let the pudding cool for about 5 minutes, then slice and serve.

For a brunch side dish I made a fruit salad with whatever looked good at the Farm Fresh Market, and made a dressing by reducing 1 quart of orange juice to about a cup, thickening it with about 2 teaspoons of cornstarch in water, adding the juice of two limes and a few tablespoons of Grand Marnier (strain the dressing before using). Toss and serve.

For a vegetable I blanched fresh green beans (about 3-4 ounces per person) in salted water, then shocked them in ice water to stop the cooking and set them aside. That morning as the pudding was baking I took the largest red onion I could find, quartered it and thinly sliced it, heated about 1/2 cup or so of extra-virgin olive oil in a heavy skillet and started slowly caramelizing it — high heat for about 3 minutes, then as low as you can go for an hour. While that got started I peeled about a dozen cloves of garlic, sliced them as thin as I could get them, then threw those in. Then I finely julienned a couple of carrots, slicing super-thin slices with a vegetable peeler then cutting those slices as a julienne, then threw those in for the last 20 minutes or so of the caramelization. While the pudding was cooling I tossed the beans with the caramelized onion/garlic/carrot "dressing", sprinkled on some toasted pine nuts, seasoned with salt and pepper and stuck the bowl in the oven to warm slightly.

Hell of a brunch, if’n I do so say so myself.

 

GRILLADES AND GRITS

8 thinly pounded veal escallopes, about 3 ounces each
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup green onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 cups bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1-1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend
4 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 quart beef stock
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cool water
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cooked grits

Season veal escallopes on each side with salt and pepper. Heat butter in a large skillet and sauté the veal until it is lightly browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer cooked meat to a platter and hold in a warm oven whilie prepping the sauce.
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Sauté the onion, green onion, bell pepper, garlic and celery until tender. Stir in bayleaf and Italian seasoning, and add the tomatoes, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce.

When the mixture is well-blended, stir in the stock and cook for 5 minutes, stirring freqently. Make a slurry with the cornstarch and water, and stir it into the sauce to thicken it. Add the parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook over medium heat until reduced by 1/4. Remove the bay leaf.

 

ESTOMAC MULÂTRE
(or "Stage Planks")

This bread makes the famous "stage planks" or ginger cakes, sold by the old darkies around New Orleans, in the old Creole days, to those of their own race and to little white children. The ancient Creoles, fond of giving nicknames, gave to this stiff ginger cake the name of "Estomac Mulâtre", or "The Mulatto’s Stomach", meaning that it was only fit for the stomach of a mulatto to digest.
1 Cup of Molasses
1 Cup of Sour Milk (buttermilk?)
1 Tablespoonful of Ground Ginger
1 Gill of Lard (1 gill = 1/2 cup, or 4 ounces)
3 Cups of Flour
1 Teaspoonful of Baking Soda

Melt the molasses, lard and ginger together and blend well. When thoroughly melted and warmed, beat for about ten minutes. Then dissolves the soda in a tablespoonful of boiling water and add to the molasses; mix it thoroughly, and then add the flour, using good judgment and adding just enough of the three cups of sifted flour to make a still batter; beat thoroughly and vigorously. Have ready several greased, shallow pans; pour the mixture into them and bake for ten minutes in a quick oven.

 

Quiche Lorraine  (serves  24-30) For your brunch party

5 pounds of bacon
One big or two medium onions, minced
One pint whipping cream
One block Swiss cheese, shredded
6 to 10 eggs
1 tablespoon dry Mustard
1 tablespoon Ginger (ground)
1 tablespoon Nutmeg (ground)
5-6 drops of Tabasco
salt and pepper to taste
4-5 pie shells
Butter

Fry and drain the bacon well (lots of paper towels), Crumble the bacon.
Saute the onion in butter until the center is clear and the edges start to brown. Drain well in a strainer lined with paper towels.

In a large mixing bowl, whip the cream, nutmeg, ginger, dry mustard, and Tabasco. Add and whip in the eggs, onion (cooled), bacon (cooled), and cheese.

Pour into pie shells and bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes. Place into gallon zip-lock freezer bags after cooling (don’t cook these completely). Re-heat at 375 degrees, and serve with champagne, a light Riesling, or just orange juice!

Spoon the sauce onto warm plates, and center a veal escallop on each. Place grits on the side of the meat, ladle additional sauce over the grits and meat. Garnish with parsley and a few capers. Serves 8.