Gumbo ya-ya, hon….and tales of corned beef hash…
November 8, 2010

Have I ever confessed my love for corned beef hash?

 OK, let’s just  say it out loud….I LOVE corned beef hash…all stemming from a childhood trip I made to California many years ago. My parents threw us three girls into the family Chevy station wagon, and off we went on a road trip see visit relatives in L.A. Oh, the glamour of living in California, to 3 southern girls from ‘bama. One of them even had a pool in their backyard…ourlittle  jaws must have hit the ground. Anyway, as we saw the USA from our Chevrolet… once we entered Oklahoma and parts west, weird things started showing up on breakfast menus, like corned beef hash(and other familiar things, like grits, disappeared). It was shocking to me, having had nothing more adventurous for breakfast than pancakes or scrambled eggs(with cheese when Mom felt like it). Corned beef hash with a crisp hot crust on top, seemed like…a culinary revelation. I ordered in Flagstaff Arizona, and have loved it ever since.

And since Cafe Hon in Hampden makes their own corned beef hash(though it must be said, I’d still order it if it came from a can)…I enjoyed the real deal this weekend for breakfast, with two gloriously poached eggs on top. Simply delicious. I want some right now.

It was a little chillier than this, on Sunday...

Hadn’t been down to the farmer’s market under the JFX for a month or so, and was surprised to see that lots of veges and fruits are still available..even tomatoes. I went down to score 5 jars of Maryland honey for a friend( I still don’t know why she needs 5 jars of honey but hey, who am I to judge)…which we found, no problem. One loaf of French bread, 5 tomatoes, a bunch of tiny potatoes, one blooming Amaryllis, and 3 pounds of shelled fresh black beans and field peas later…we left.

Classic gumbo, a la Emeril....

My afternoon project was sausage and shrimp gumbo….with a homemade roux, which I’ve never done before.  I used an Emeril Lagasse recipe-here, for classic seafood gumbo and proceeded to change it, of course. But making  the roux is a labor of love…and one involving a couple of burns on your hands if you aren’t careful….which I was, but still.

The roux is a pale tan...still has a way to go...

A roux is oil and flour, mixed and then cooked until it reaches the desired color…in this case, a milk chocolate color. It gives the gumbo body and consistancy…and flavor. Some people use okra instead….I actually use both. I love okra in almost anything(except my corned beef hash, and actually it might be pretty good in that). But you have to stir the stuff, and it’s thin and splashy, for about 25 minutes…easy does it.

A little Dixie chic....grilled pimento cheese...

But the gumbo kicked off a little cooking frenzy…I made a big batch of  pimento cheese, and a pot of black bean soup. The pimento cheese was inspired by a recipe I saw from a high falutin’ restaurant in Atlanta, where they make grilled pimento cheese sandwiches-recipe here. That sounds amazing…I have the pimento cheese made(complete with smoked Spanish paprika-my new fave spice), can the grilled cheese be far behind? Doubtful….

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Trying to relax…..ohmmmmmmmmmm……
December 23, 2008

Do I really NEED these wine glasses??

Do I really NEED these wine glasses??

On The Today Show this morning , there was some  blonde chick saying with hands primly clasped over the perfect holiday table, all gittery and golden that don’t kid yourself,  took a stylist to put together, saying ….”And you need wine glasses like these from The Conrad Shop.” Seriously? Seriously? I need to go get some wine glasses like that? What else should I do, lady? Oh, and she just said that brocade napkins are recyclable..”wash them and use then again“. Wow, I would never have figured that out.

Relax,that’s what Monica advised me….she wrote, ” Just relax! It will all be over by this time next week. And you can start planning for next year right away! Sure you will. ” So I just say the word that the lovely Jennifer says whenever she is feeling stressed…”Breezy!” So I’m “breezy” today. My sweet daughter and I are having $20 pedis this morning….our toes look awful…and we’re gonna have a girl’s lunch in Hampden…mybe Cafe Hon? Or Golden West Cafe? So many choices there.  And then we have some last food shopping to do….my son is training in from New York this afternoon…so I debated pizza for dinner. That would have been the breezy choice, but I have decided on a less breezy but still pretty simple(ha-ha-my eye is twitching) chicken in wine with mushrooms and little onions, over creamy grits. Sounds more complicated than it is. Not breezy in all honesty, but still not too bad.

The rest of Monica’s advice? ” Now I am just going to have another drink and maybe, just maybe when I am finished everything will be purchased, wrapped, and under the tree. And all of the food will be bought and prepared. Now if only I could find my red shoes and click my heels together.”  Good one, Monica.

That reminds me….I need to stop by the wine store.  And find my red shoes.