House or Home

Grannys Ring
cooking with grannyMS Welcomes You20140324-195403.jpg
My grandmother’s wedding ring. It signifies a 56 year successful marriage. I never get tired of looking at it. I wear it proudly and think of her every single day.

This weekend has been a bit tough emotionally. I found out that my grandparents house, the place where I grew up, is being sold (my grandmother passed away one year ago this month).  I know it’s just a structure; just a building and I shouldn’t care, right? Well I do. I can’t help it. My entire childhood is wrapped up in that structure; on that property.  My baby footprints are stamped in the foundation.

We went on vacation March of 2014 to visit Granny (you can read post HERE). Little did I know at the time, that would be the last time I would set foot in that house.  It was the last time my Granny was well and able to live in the house by herself.  She cooked and cooked and cooked.  She was in here true element.

It’s so hard to think that I’ll never set foot in that house again, but maybe that’s for the best. I thought that I might want to go back and see it one last time,  but being in that house without Granny means that it is just a structure. It is just a building because my Granny is what made the house my home.

I miss her.

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The Joy of Cooking

Joy of Cooking

Let’s face it, meal time is the heart of every family. The kitchen is the heart of every home. You’re never more relaxed or at peace as when you’re sitting down to a delicious meal with family or friends. Your guard is down and you can freely discuss the happenings of your day, details of your life, or simply laugh about that crazy thing you did on vacation last month. I come from a family that does not eat to live. They live to eat! So naturally, meal time is important to me and therefore is an important part of my home life.

The Joy of Cooking cookbook is the pioneer of all cookbooks and is the go-to reference guide when cooking most any meal. I have wanted to buy this cookbook for years but always forget what version to order. There are many amazing cooks in my family; most are Cajun French by heritage. Once again, the Joy of Cooking cookbook resurfaced during our meal preparation discussions when recently visiting my uncle who has worked in the restaurant industry for over 30 years. As soon as I had the version in front of me, I ordered it. Not only can I not wait to see what tasty meals come from this treasure, I cannot wait to see what great conversations happen while cooking and eating them.

Vacation :: Pic of the Day 6

cooking with granny

Learned to cook gumbo and beans and rice with my Cajun grandmother. No other food compares. Just in case you’re interested, I’ve gained at least five pounds this week and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it!

Kinfolk Tortilla Recipe with a Gluten-Free Twist

Shrimp Seviche - Kinfolk Recipe

When reading through the “Shrimp Seviche with Chili-Cumin Tortilla Chips” recipe in The Kinfolk Table cookbook, the one thing I was definitely sure of was that the chili-cumin tortilla chips were not gluten-free. I have been gluten-free for five years now (I was gluten-free before gluten-free was cool). Since no one else in my family is gluten-free, I decided to make two versions of the tortilla chips; one using flour tortillas and one using corn tortillas. I was a bit apprehensive as to how the corn chips would turn out.

To my surprise, both versions of the tortilla chips turned out to be very tasty. The part I was not expecting was that the shrimp dish was a cold dish and not a hot one. Apparently I missed that on my first pass through the recipe. It wasn’t what we expected, but coupled with the delicious homemade tortilla chips, the meal was fantastic.

Gluten-Free Chili-Cumin Tortilla Chip Recipe

Ingredients:
3-4 small corn tortillas
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Salt to taste

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Brush one side of the corn tortillas with lime juice then cut them into triangles or to whatever size you desire. Arrange the triangles onto a single layer on a baking sheet.

Stir the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle over the tortillas.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until the chips are crisp and lightly browned. Remove and lightly sprinkle with salt. Set aside and serve with the chilled shrimp seviche.

*For the shrimp seviche recipe, see page xix in the introduction of The Kinfolk Table cookbook.

Kinfolk Cookbook :: At First Glance

Kinfolk Cookbook Cover

I was really excited that Kinfolk was coming out with their first cookbook,  The Kinfolk Table, so I decided to preorder it. It was released and shipped out this week which was perfect timing because I received it in the mail at the beginning of the weekend giving me a good bit of time to look through all the recipes. There are many great stories sprinkled throughout which I will definitely go back and read in detail.

In the meantime, I thought I would give you a quick glimpse inside the cookbook with the pictures below. Also, I’ve marked at least 25 recipes that I want to cook right away and I’ll share my top recipes with you.  I would have to say that I’m most excited about the breakfast recipes since I’m such a huge fan of all things breakfast.

  1. Shrimp Seviche with Chili-Cumin Tortilla Chips
  2. Barbecued Shrimp
  3. Sweet Potato Hash with Italian Sausage and Poached Egg
  4. Smorrebrod (Open Faced Sandwiches)
  5. Steamed Cod
  6. Lemon Drizzle Cake
  7. Spicy Fried Egg Topped with Avocado and Crumbled Feta
  8. Roasted Pork Loin and Apple Chutney

Kinfolk Cookbook IntroKinfolk Coobook Inside Spread 1Kinfolk Cookbook RecipeKinfolk Coobook Inside SpreadKinfolk Coobook Inside Spread 2

DIY :: Cloth Napkins

DIY Cloth Napkins
How great does it feel to use cloth napkins when you go to a nice restaurant?  I know it makes me feel special.  Also, we waste so many paper towels in our kitchens.  Here is a simple and cheap way to stock your kitchen with cloth napkins that you can use for any meal (not just the fancy ones).

1. Go through your craft drawer & find scrap material in your favorite patterns.
2. Cut each napkin 18″ x 18″ in size.
3. Fold each edge over slightly and iron.
4. Sew along the fold.

Cleaning the napkins can be very easy and not add to the tons of laundry you already have to do.  Once the kitchen in clean, pour a small amount of laundry detergent into the sink with a bit of warm water.  I throw the napkins in to soak til bedtime.  Before you go to bed, rinse them off and clip them to a clothes hanger in your laundry to dry.

Cajun Seafood Boil and Dip Recipe

Most of my family is from south Louisiana.  I also grew up next door to my Cajun grandmother.  Growing up on the Gulf of Mexico meant that I ate a lot of seafood.  My grandparents actually had a crabbing business after they retired which meant that at 9 am every morning, I could walk next door and get fresh boiled blue crabs.  I was taught how to effectively pick a crab by the age of 5 (my grandmother would get very upset if you left any meat in the crab).  We can’t get blue crabs where we live but snow crabs and shrimp suffice.  The dip recipe is simple but a favorite amongst Louisiana natives.  So these recipes are near and dear to my heart and one of my very favorites.  It brings me right back to my childhood.  Isn’t it amazing how food can do that.

Seafood Boil RecipeSEAFOOD BOIL
Ingredients:
Any kind of crab or shrimp
Old Bay seasoning
2-3 lbs. of petite red potatoes
2-3 yellow onions
Fresh corn on the cob

Instructions:
Fill two very large pots with water, approximately 2 inches from the brim.  Split the Old Bay seasoning between the two pots equally and stir.  Set each on high heat to bring to a boil.  This will take a bit of time due to the amount of water.  In the meantime, cut the potatoes in half,   slice the onions and break the corn in half.

Once each pot of water and seasoning is boiling add the crab or shrimp into one pot by itself.  Add the potatoes, onion and corn into the other pot.  Bring each pot back to a rolling boil.  See cooking times below.

Crab – 10 minutes after boiling
Shrimp – 5 minutes after boiling
Potatoes, onion and corn – 10-15 minutes after boiling

Pour each pot into a colander, strain and serve.

Seafood Dip 560
SEAFOOD DIP
Ingredients:
1 cup of mayonnaise
1 1/2 cups of ketchup
Small squirt of mustard (optional; not pictured)
2 tsp. of Old Bay seasoning
Few dashes of Crystal hot sauce (not pictured)

Instructions:
Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  You will need to mix aggressively in order to work out the lumps of mayonnaise.  Start small with the Old Bay and Crystal. Mix and taste.  Continue to add more until it is just right for you and your family.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes Recipe

Oven Roasted Tomatoes Recipe

These little gems do require overnight cooking, but are well worth the wait.  I use these tasty oven roasted grape tomatoes and make grilled BLT sandwiches with homemade chipotle mayonnaise.

Ingredients:
1 small container of grape tomatoes
4-5 cloves of chopped garlic
3 teaspoons of EVOO
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
2 dashes of thyme
Splash of balsamic vinaigrette

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Wash, dry and cut tomatoes in half.  In a mixing bowl combine the rest of the ingredients. Add tomatoes to the bowl and blend gently covering tomatoes with the garlic sauce.  Place the tomatoes on a baking dish cut side up.  Be sure each tomato is well covered with the sauce.  Place in the oven for only 10-15 minutes then turn the oven off.  Keep the tomatoes in the oven for 8 hours (while you sleep). Resist the urge to peek inside as the oven door needs to stay closed the entire time.

Dinner Time

The hubs, kids and I have dinner as a family every evening.  I’ve heard this is quite rare nowadays, but very important as it helps each of us connect with each other.  It’s that precious face-to-face time to talk about your day.  This works great for us especially since we have a no cell phones, TV or music at dinner.

Drinking straight from the jug, eating directly from the serving bowl and complete non-sense.  This a little glimpse into our family dinner.  Man, how I love these three crazies!

Popsicle Delight

We sit down in the living room last night for some family movie time when we hear the blender rev up.  We notice that our 12 year old son has sneaked out of the room.  Once the blender stops, we asked him what in the world is he making with the blender this late at night.  He lets us know that he’s making a shake.  I then proceeded to ask what did he put in this shake.  He calmly says, “milk and three popsicles.  But don’t worry mom…I took the sticks out.”

Of course he came back into the living room without a shake.  His statement, “it tasted gross.”  Well, I guess you never know unless you try.