Thanksgiving Day, and I have an extra bunch of celery after making the stuffing, what to do with it? We were having a small dinner party, and I think it’s nice to have a little appetizer with your wine whilst waiting for the big attraction, the turkey.
I wanted to make something that would stick with the theme of the dinner. Usually, I stuff celery with blue cheese and cream cheese, but this time, I wanted something different. Stalk the pantry, and there, in the front, is a bag of dried cranberries. Perfect!
This was a real hit at our gathering. Thankfully, as chef, I made one for myself to taste test. Good thing, because I didn’t get one when I set the tray out – it was gone in minutes. My guests really liked them!
When you make this, please use the hearts of celery. If you cannot get hearts, then at least remove the tough strings. There is nothing more embarrassing than biting into a piece of celery and having strings hanging out of your mouth! Just take a knife, start at either end of the stalk, and pull the strings out. That’s better!
Spane really likes artichoke heart salad, so I thought it was times for him to try a real artichoke. Problem is A) I don’t have a large pot and B) I really don’t want to heat up my kitchen putting something on the stove top to cook for that length of time. What to do?
Well, microwave it, of course! I prepare my artichokes as I would for normal steaming by cutting the tips off the outer leaves, and actually taking about an inch off the top to make a nice presentation. I removed the stem to cook in the water. Then they’re ready for their quick trip in the microwave, followed by the refreshing cold of the refrigerator, and waiting to be presented at the dinner table with some nice herb dipping sauce.
Most Buffalo wings are made with a Louisiana hot sauce, quite often Franks. It’s good, but, I wanted to experiment a little. There is a nice Southern company, Glory Foods, that makes wonderful canned Butter Beans. I love ’em. When I was at the market buying wings, I saw that they also make Spicy Vidalia Hot Sauce. Spicy and slightly sweet, I thought that would make an interesting change from the usual Louisiana style hot sauces associated with this dish. I was right, that sauce was perfect, and it has not become my favorite hot sauce.
When I was growing up in Germany, and my parents went to the PX, sometimes, if I was lucky, my mother would buy Pimento Cheese. I loved it! I’m not the only one. According to Epicurious Regional Favorite Recipes, Pimento Cheese is the second most popular recipe in the East South Central region of the United States.
I know I can buy it at the store, and I know that if I buy it at the store, it’s not going to be as good as mine, and it will have all kinds of nasty preservatives and other ingredients I just don’t want.
I love when spring comes and all the fruits and vegetables you missed over the winter come into season. I especially miss watermelon. There are all sorts of watermelon flavored things, but they are just not the same, and who knows what’s really in them.
Last year, I found a great recipe from Jeff Potter’s book, Cooking for Geeks, for a watermelon and feta cheese salad. It was an experiment in sweet salty that I made one of the times I was Guest Chef at Ascencia in Glendale.
Spane had gotten a good report card and had requested Jambalaya for dinner. It’s spicy food, and with Global Warming Climate Change giving us warm nights already, we needed something to cool down our selves and our palates. I was reminded of the watermelon salad I made last year, and it was time to make another.