Friday, October 09, 2015

RIP Chef Paul Prudhomme

Chef Paul Prudhomme dies. He brought Cajun food to the world's attention back in the 1980’s.  He changed the way Americans eat and definitely for the better. I was lucky enough to meet and spend some time with him in 1988 while he was touring and promoting his spice blends. I was also lucky to get his original 1984 cookbook, Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen autographed by both him and his wife. You can be jealous if you want. That book and his later The Prudhomme Family Cookbook are two must have cookbooks if you seriously want to learn about Cajun and Creole food and cooking. The second book is more a collection of traditional Cajun recipes that he collected from his friends and relatives. You might not want to cook from it but it explains the roots of Cajun food very well.
I've got to figure out what recipe I'm going to cook in his honor this weekend.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Fooled Again

Fairly decent day yesterday but a little hot. Today is heavily overcast and forecast to rain. I got good work done in the garden yesterday after the days of rain that kept me out but I only got two hours in this morning before it started to sprinkle. I headed in thinking I was done for the day and changed clothes. I ate lunch and the sprinkles departed. I changed back into my garden clothes and the sprinkles started again. Screw it...I'm in for the day.

This overcast day is calling for chili so that's the plan. Madam will be unhappy but every once in a while I just have to have some chili. My chili has beans and  tomato sauce along with onion, garlic and ground beef. The standard seasonings, chili powder, cumin and chipotle chili. Nothing fancy but very tasty. Today I have a container of fresh salsa that is still sealed but past its sell by date that will wind up in the chili as well.

All you folks up the coast from me, say Norfolk and to the North better hunker down because is looks Joaquin is going to roll in over the weekend. It's a Cat 3 right now  but it could gain a little strength if it stays over water a little longer. Stay safe and Goddess' sake pay attention.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Rainy Saturday

Still mushy today. Not really raining hard but misty and drizzle seem to be our deal for the day. Looking ahead I got two batches of bread started yesterday. Sourdough whole wheat and dough for Parisian baguettes so I have baking to do today to keep me busy. Keeping the fingers crossed that the weather allows us to see the eclipse of the Blood Moon tomorrow. I've also got the new Jodi Taylor book ready to go so I'm set for the day.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Since today is the first day of Fall in our hemisphere and the Pagan/Wiccan holiday of Mabon. One important aspect of Mabon is that of balance where we have an equal amount of day and night. Here is a Mabon prayer on balance that seems appropriate for the day.

Equal hours of light and darkness
we celebrate the balance of Mabon,
and ask the gods to bless us.
For all that is bad, there is good.
For that which is despair, there is hope.
For the moments of pain, there are moments of love.
For all that falls, there is the chance to rise again.
May we find balance in our lives
as we find it in our hearts.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Baguette Challenge

Gardening done for the day and now I'm on to perfecting the homemade baguette. I am so tired of being disappointed in the so-called baguettes they have in the stores that I am determined to make real Parisian style baguettes myself. 

I've sorta kinda almost made them before but cheated with a pan and I didn't follow the traditional two day process for fermenting the dough.I just made some dough, shaped it and baked it.  No crackly to the crust and no deep fermented flavor not to mention the tight crumb. I'm following all the rules and traditions for these loaves. I even went out bought me a couche (linen sheet) to raise them in.

 I started my dough yesterday and now I am in the process of shaping the bread. The traditional method calls for letting the dough rest for 30 minutes between each step so that's where I am. Two more shapings and one more rest and then the final proofing and baking. We shall see.

I'm using a trick of mixing a tiny bit of whole wheat flour that has been sifted to remove most of the bran with my all purpose to try and duplicate the French flour. King Arthur does sell a "French" flour blend but I'd like to be able to do it with all purpose. 

I'll post a picture if they turn out stellar.  The recipe makes four loaves but I am only doing two today so I'll have another go tomorrow. That's the nice thing about a cold fermented dough is that you have a few days to work with. I should have a two or three more day window to get it done.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Going With The FIre

Too wet to do anything but weed in the garden today but I did get a lot of that done today. Staying ahead of the weeds without chemicals is really getting to be a PITA. I did try to use an organic weed killer made from orange oil and it knocks the weeds back but doesn't seem to kill them. Long story short I've decided that fire is the answer and I've just ordered a 400,000 BTU "Red Dragon" burner. Reviews are pretty positive so I'm giving it a try. A whole day on my hands and knees was a big incentive. Going to have to figure out how to haul a 20 pound around the garden but I think I can rig something with my hand truck. Amazon should have it to me in a couple of days and we'll see if fire is the answer. I refuse to go back to Round-up or the generic versions now available so this had better be the answer. I'm also think walking around and flaming things might be  fun.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Nice Birthday

Nice birthday yesterday. Number 66 but who's counting? Indulged myself with bacon and cream cheese on homemade sourdough toast for breakfast and then a BLT for lunch. I splurged a while back and bought 3 pounds of Benton's bacon which many consider to be the best. It is very good but Madam doesn't like it because it is very smokey. Dinner was a nice rib eye and frites. I pan fried the steak is some of the bacon grease from breakfast and that was tasty. I splurged on a nice Bordeaux as well. St. Emillion Chateau St. Louis. Very nice.

Got a lot of work done in the garden. Purple top turnips in as well as bok choy and more peas. I also got two beds turned and planted with buckwheat for a cover crop and it will be ready to turn over in about a month and a half.

All in all a good day. Looks like rain most of the day today so gardening may be minimal. We'll see. Right now a little dog is looking at me and wanting to know why it's already 830a and still no walk.