Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Grillades and Grits is sort of Southern, and what I mean by that, is that it's originally from Louisiana. It's very much a dish that combines southern food and french food. If anyone out there has had Beef Bourguinon, this is sort of like a spicy version of that, and served over those heavenly grits. It's great comfort food. Some people like mushrooms in with their grillades, but I think it takes away from the beef. Add 'em if you want 'em.
Grillades and Grits
1 pound of beef stew meat or chuck roast, trimmed and cubed
2/3 cup flour (for dredging)
1 tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
Cayenne pepper to taste (I like to use McCormick's Chipotle Chile powder, about 1/2 tsp)
1/4 cup of olive oil plus 1 tbsp.
1 large onion chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 cup of shredded carrots
1 tsp. salt
2 garlic cloves minced
For your roux:
4 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
For the sauce/stew
2 cups of beef stock (you can buy this in the grocery store)
1 cup of red wine (Merlot, burgundy, syrah are all good)
2 cans diced tomatoes with chiles (or if you've got a weak stomach, without)
6 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 tbsp. dried)
3 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. of brown sugar
1 batch of Basic Grits (from the last post)
Mix flour and seasonings together in a shallow bowl, or a pie plate. While you dredge the meat in the flour, heat the oil in a heavy pot, or a dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown the floured meat in batches, and remove to a bowl. Add in the onion, bell pepper and carrots, sprinkle with salt and saute until soft. Remove from the pot and add it to the bowl with the beef. Lower the heat to medium.
Now for the roux: melt the butter in the same pot, and whisk in the flour until you have a soft paste. Keep stirring until it turns a light brown and begins to loosen a bit. Toss in your garlic, and mix it in. Slowly pour in the beef stock while stirring so you don't get nasty lumps. Add in your wine, and tomatoes (juice and all), and then add back in the beef and veggie mixture. Add in your seasoning, but save a few sprigs of thyme and the sugar for a bit later. Now, lower the heat and simmer all of this yummy goodness together, stirring every now and then to prevent it from sticking to the pot. I try to let this simmer for about 40 minutes, because it gets the meat nice and tender. An hour is even better. Stir in the sugar with about 20 minutes left in the cooking time.
Once it's simmered, taste for seasoning. You may need to add a bit of salt or pepper to taste. To serve, put about half a cup of buttered grits on a plate or in a bowl, and then ladle the grillades over. I garnish with a bit of fresh thyme. Enjoy it with some warm, crusty French bread, and a glass of red wine.
As always, experiment with the seasonings until you find what you like.
Next post, a twist on a coastal southern favourite: Shrimp and Grits.
Bon appetit, y'all!
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
1 cup of quick cooking grits (I use Quaker)
2 cups of water
1 1/2 cups of milk
Salt to taste ( I like a LOT of taste)
Boil liquid, whisk in grits, then cover and cook over medium-low for about five minutes, or until they are thick enough for you. Stir occasionally with that whisk to prevent any sticking. I top mine with a healthy dose of butter.
Monday, May 28, 2007
National World War II Memorial website (click it and add your loved ones who served in the war)
Lyrics courtesy of The Carter Family....
(and another website for you to check out: http://www.carterfamilyfold.org/)
The Dying Soldier
The sun was slowly sinking o'er the hilltops far away
The land was endless beauty where the dying soldier lay
Tears were streaming down his face as he slowly raised his head
And these were the dying words he said
Oh carry me back to old Tennessee
Let this be my last repose
Lay my feet beneath while I lie
Lay my head beneath the rose
Take this message to my mother for I know she's old and gray
At home I know she's waiting for her boy's return some day
Oh my mother I've come through for my country and for you
And I'm dying for the red white and blue
O'er the hills of Tennessee where the wild wind wanders free
There's a little girl waiting there for me
Tell her that the rose she gave me will be placed upon my grave
In memory of her soldier brave
Thursday, May 24, 2007
But I can't do it on a Sunday, unless I remember to run to Wal-mart by 10 p.m. the previous night.
The Confederate Flag
Beer and why I can't buy one on a Sunday
Southern food vs. Canadian Food
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Mayonnaise was invented in 1756 by the French chef of the Duc de Richelieu. After the Duc beat the British at Port Mahon, his chef created a victory feast that was to include a sauce made of cream and eggs. Realizing that there was no cream in the kitchen, the chef substituted olive oil for the cream and a new culinary creation was born. The chef named the new sauce "Mahonnaise" in honor of the Duc's victory. (courtesy of Howstuffworks )
According to their parent company's FAQ, it is a southern original. It was created by a woman named Eugenia Duke . She lived in Greenville, SC, and used to make sandwiches for the soldiers stationed at Fort Sevier. Everyone loved the sandwiches, apparently because of her homemade mayonnaise. She started selling the stuff, and her company was bought out by C.F. Sauer in 1929.
I'll admit, I don't like their light mayo as much as the full-fat version, and that's partly because it has high fructose corn syrup in it. The original stuff has no sugar whatsoever, and tastes fantastic. My favorite thing to do with it, is make a tomato sandwich. Y'know, the drippy kind where you stand over the kitchen sink to eat it.
1 medium tomato and please get a good one, from the farmer's market, or better yet, from someone's home garden)
2 slices of wheat bread : there's some controversy here, some Southerners say you can only make this with white, but I think the wheat tastes better and holds more juices, so anyone who disagrees can kiss my...well, grits will be another entry.
A really good slathering of Duke's Mayo on both pieces of bread and yes, slathering is a technical term.
A sprinkle of Old Bay or Tony Chachere's seasoning : again, some controversy here, as the purists say you should either leave the sandwich alone, or only put a bit of salt on there. As both of these products have salt, I think it satisfies the requirements. And I like the slightly spicy kick, so ...nyah.
Slice the tomato (that's kind of important) and make your sandwich.
1 12 oz. bag of Broccoli or Rainbow Slaw : this stuff is available in the produce section of your local grocery store, with the prepackaged salads. Broccoli or Rainbow Slaw is made with shredded broccoli, carrots and cabbage (sometime both red and green). It's high in fiber and vitamins, and if you've got people in your house who hate broccoli (Raymond!) then this is a good way to sneak it into them.
1/2 to 3/4 cup of Duke's Light Mayo
2 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. yellow curry powder or 1/4 tsp. of Thai green curry paste
1 small can ( the 8 oz.) chunked pineapple, in juice
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sultanas (golden raisins)
Salt and pepper to taste
Now, mix the dressing up, the mayo, and the apple cider vinegar, and a bit of juice from the pineapple. I don't like a thick consistency on this, but it's up to you. I use less mayo, and more vinegar and juice. Experiment to see what you like best. Then add the curry. Thai curry paste is pretty strong and hot. Go easy on it, but it tastes lovely. As for the yellow curry powder use more or less, depending on how much you like curry. I find if you're not used to eating curry, add a bit less and work your way up.
Then, empty the slaw into a bowl, and toss it with your dressing, and then fold in the pineapple, walnuts and raisins. Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste, and then chill it for at least an hour to let the flavours mix.
Anyway, that's my ode to a true Southern creation, Duke's Mayonnaise. And if you live up north and can't find it in a store up there, you can actually order this stuff from the company. See the link to the website under my links, or at the top of this entry. So slaughter a tomato today and get back to enjoying food! Vive la MAYONNAISE!
Friday, May 11, 2007
There was a junior tractor pull, on mini-tractors, for the little-uns.
We finally got some rain, courtesy of Sub-tropical Storm Andrea.
And Miss Georgia, Amanda Kozak, visited Effingham County Middle School to discourage kids from smoking.
Those are all wonderful things, but best of all, my friend Jill came for a visit.
Sunday, May 6, 2007
These folks are from the Kokomo Dance Collective, and they were awesome. I can't even begin to imagine dancing in the kind of humidity we had yesterday, and in black pants, too.
This is the Savannah River Queen, one of three ferries that bring people to and from Hutchison Island on the river. Some other river traffic I saw yesterday:This the Cap Melville, out of Monrovia, carrying some kind of cargo.
And a tug boat pushing a barge downriver.
As you can see.
Saturday, May 5, 2007
My husband called last week to try and get a land line set up at the new homestead. We have our cell phones, but I tend to get antsy around things that need recharging, or require power to an electrical outlet in order to work. It's just me, I'm sure. Anyway, we here in Effingham County do not have service through Bell South, like much of the region. Some might say this is a good thing, and I really don't mind using the co-op, except that the conversation went something like this: (names have been changed to protect the nice old lady working at the co-op)
First conversation, Tuesday afternoon....
"Sarah": Hi, this is ----Co-Op, this is "Sarah", how can I help yeeeeew?
Husband: Hi, I need to get a land line for -----Drive.
"Sarah": Why sure, honey, we'll have someone out either today or tomorrow.
Except it didn't end there.
I waited, and waited and waited. Nobodyshowed, and no dial tone on the phone. So, my husband calls back Thursday, and the same sweet old woman answered the phone, with the same sweet southern accent. And it went like this:
Second conversation, Thursday morning:
"Sarah" : Hi, this is ----Co-op, this is "Sarah", may I help yeeeeeew?
Husband: Hey, yeah, this is Ray----- from -----Drive. You told me someone would have my phone on by yesterday, what happened?
"Sarah" : Well, honey, we're just so gosh darned busy right now! I tell you, you never saw sucha thing. And I am SOOOOO sorry, and I know I should have called you, but how about Mundee afternoon at 2 o'clock? I think that'd work out just great for everyone, don't yeeeew?
At this point, my husband just nodded and said yes, because "Sarah" apparently sounded a lot like his grandmother.
Did I mention how much I love it here?
Oh, and if you're friends of mine, (which you must be if you're reading this thing), just make sure you call me on my cell phone. I'm not exactly sure when I'll have a land line.
Friday, May 4, 2007
It's not exactly a snowball's chance in hell. After all, Savannah isn't even close to hell, it's one of the most lovely places on Earth, but it is extremely hot, especially if you're born a northerner like me. I've lived in various parts of the south for ten years now, and this is the farthest south I've ever hung my hat. It's also the most rural experience I've ever had.
I just finished a move to South Effingham County, Georgia. For those who have no idea where this is, it's just north and west of Savannah, GA, home to Paula Deen, and where the book "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" takes place.
Right now we have wildfires burning to our south-west, in Ware County. We're not in danger from the fires up here, but the wind shifted, and our little slice of heaven is now covered with smoke. Every time I went outside, I kept coming in smelling like barbecue.
The house is nice, the people are nice, and I'm working on my southern accent. It's surprisingly easy to fall into it, especially since my new subdivision is in such a rural area. So rural in fact, that on Monday, I had a buzzard land in my front yard, and on Tuesday evening, a couple of folks were riding horses through the less developed parts of our subdivision.
But I do love this area. I love watching shrimp boats come back in the evenings, I love the breeze stir palmetto trees, and I love the food. She Crab Soup rocks, and if you've never had it, you don't know what you're missing. the other great thing about Savannah is SCAD, the Savannah College of Art and Design. There are so many talented young people here in this town, it just makes my heart sing. There is always something going on here.
We're going to the Arts Festival down on River Street this weekend. The temptation to buy things will be great. I may have to just settle for some post cards. And some She Crab soup.