Down the Bayou

I’m going to stray from my food blogging, which I had pretty much given up on anyway, to do a little bit of a traditional blog.   After a 6 day long motorcycle roadtrip, which I won’t put the details of here:ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage I have landed in the Bayou. Lafitte LA on a ship named the Amara Zee;   Photo027 With a bunch of crazy performers, acrobats, singers, and anything you can imagine as part of the Caravan Stage Company. Photo026  

 

It’s been pretty cool so far. Communal living is exciting to adjust to, and the Bayou is a really fascinating place. The locals, who refer to the Amara Zee as the “Pirate Ship” are a real friendly group of people. A shrimper named Troy has been hanging out with us, and a couple nights ago, he decided to bring a couple fishing poles and we fished for cats all evening. 

 

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Recipe – Pizza Margherita

As promised, here is the recipe for my pizza.

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The Crust

The dough is probably the most important part of the pizza (followed closely by the cheese. I like to use my family’s focaccia recipe. I am not entirely sure where it came from originally, either from a relative somewhere, or a recipe that we looked up and modified. I get it out of our family cookbook (good idea, by the way. Every family that cooks should make a family cookbook). Either way, here it is.

Ingredients:

Flour – 2 1/3 cups (Bread flower or some other high gluten is best. The more gluten, the more stretch.)

Water – 1 1/4 cup, tap hot

Salt – 1tsp

Yeast – 1tbsp

Prep

Put the ingredients in a bread machine on manual and click go. Okay, I know that sounds like cheating, but it works great. If you want to make it by hand, do so, although I won’t be able to tell you how to do it.

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The “sauce”

This isn’t really a sauce, just some tomatoes with a little added zing

The Ingredients

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3 or so nice tomatoes

Garlic

Hot pepper

Olive oil

The Prep

Fry your garlic and pepper, add tomatoes.

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Let that cook for a little while, and then turn off the heat.

The Pie

The great thing about pizza is that to be great, it is really simple to make an amazing pizza.

Ingredients

The Crust

The “Sauce”

Some fresh mozzarella

Fresh Basil leaves

Pecorino, parmesan, or some other hard cheese for grating.

Olive oil (of course)

The Prep

Preheat your oven as hot as it will go. For me that is 550. Make sure you have a rack at the lowest possible setting.

Generously douse your pizza pan in oil, and put your dough ball on it. Slowly work it until it is roughly the shape and size of a pizza. If you have a smaller pan, you might want to divide your pizza up into more than one.

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Add your tomatoes.

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Add your mozzarella. Don’t worry about making it too even, mozzarella melts amazingly and gets everywhere.

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And the basil of course.Image Legend has it that the traditional ingredients of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil were chosen by a chef in Naples to commemorate Princess Margherita’s visit by emulating the new flag of Italy.

That said, I think they are better with a bit of parmesan or pecorino on the top.

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Put your pizza in the oven, at the bottom and cook.

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*Make sure you close the oven though, it won’t work very well otherwise.

Mine takes 15 minutes or so, but I have heard of pizzas getting cooked much faster. Just wait for it to be crispy and delicious.

Serve.

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And, since this is still the Random Rovings, here is the Gratuitous Close-up.

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Ha! I fooled you. You thought this was just going to be another picture of the finished pizza.

A post? Lies!

So, despite having all but abandoned this blog and lost all my readers, to you few, you happy few, we band of brothers, for he today that reads this blog with me shall be my brother, be he ne’er so vile, this day shall… oops. Less talking, more food.

Comfort Food

I have a meal and a recipe for y’all today. First, the meal.

Grilled cheese, collard greens, and turnip fries. Grilled cheese is always pretty good, but the standout in this was the greens. And so, without further ado:

Collards, a recipe of sorts.

Ingredients

  • Greens, of course. This recipe is for collards, but I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t work with Kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, or any of the like.
  • Bacon
  • Some stock
  • Garlic
  • Vinegar (I used balsamic)
  • Hot sauce (I used Crystal, not pictured)
  • Salt and pepper.

 

Preparation

Amazingly simple.

Chop your bacon into small pieces and start it frying/rendering.

Add garlic, then after a little bit, the stock, vinegar, and hot sauce.

Chop and add your greens. This is why you are using a big pot, since to get anything at the end, you really need a whole mess of greens. For some reason I forgot to photo this step. Throw a little salt and pepper in on top.

Cover and cook for a very long time. I have seen things saying up to 2.5 hours, which seems a little excessive. I cooked mine for about an hour.

*ProTip*

The pot liquor is delicious for dipping bread.

Gratuitous close up

I had taken a gratuitous close up of the turnip fries, but they were not very good, so they got cut. So, to substitute, here is a gratuitous close up of one of my recent pizzas.*

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*Recipe to come.

BTW, new kitchen.

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Huevos Rancheros

So, I do still exist, despite not having posted in just about forever. But we are going to ignore that.

I am out in San Diego right now, and this morning I had one of the best breakfasts I have ever had, also probably the heartiest:

Huevos Rancheros from a little Mexican place on Market St. in downtown San Diego. Well, it is a little past the nice downtown area, but definitely worth it.
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The dish consisted of three fried eggs with some sort of salsa and tomatoes on a corn tortilla along with rice and beans, and some lettuce. It was served with three tortillas, so that I could make little tacos, and there were pickled carrots and peppers with the condiments. All in all, a delicious meal that I highly recommend.

MiLa New Orleans

I have amazing luck. I set a trip down to New Orleans to visit my brother for a couple days and just happen to hit Coolinary New Orleans, the city’s restaurant month.

So with that in mind, we decided to go to Restaurant August for their lunch special. However, there was a discrepancy between the website and reality, and it turns out that they only do lunch on Fridays. Hence, the title of this review MiLa, the restaurant we actually ended up at.

So without further ado, MiLa.
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To start out with, I definitely give the restaurant a thumbs up overall. We each got the $20 dollar prix fix lunch menu, and it was fantastic.

Before we ordered, the waiter brought out the bread, and I could tell then that this was going to be a good meal.
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There were two types of bread, a sweet potato roll and a chive cornbread, and two spreads. One was just butter, although very good butter. However, the second spread was pureed lima beans with some sort of spice in it, and it was very good, despite the fact that pureed lima beans sounds like baby food. I will definitely be experimenting to figure out how to make that.

For the first course, I had a summer corn chowder with sauteed shrimp and creme fraiche.
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It was delicious, sweet from the corn, savory from the shrimp and tangy from the creme fraiche.

There was a choice of two entrees.
First, the filo-crusted redfish.
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and the braised veal cheeks.
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at first I liked the veal better, because it was very rich and had a bold, excellent flavor, but the redfish, although a little more subdued ended up being my favorite. The crispness of the filo crust contrasted with tenderness of the fish was amazing.

Dessert likewise had two options: Rice pudding or house made ice cream. The menu said that the ice cream would be peach, which sounded fantastic, but we were later informed that that day it was actually banana, which did not appeal to me so much. So I got the rice pudding, and a small french press of New Orleans style coffee with chicory.
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The rice pudding was good, but the coffee was the standout in the final course. New Orleans coffee has a sweetness to it that comes from the chicory that makes it incredibly smooth and flavorful to drink.

And now I will leave you with the gratuitous close up.
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Father’s Day

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So, apparently I only post when I am not working regularly.  But anyway, we had a great celebratory meal for Father’s Day/my mother’s birthday.

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We had grilled lamb,

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Grilled vegetables,

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A special salad, which came from this recipe, but we made it with lime juice and home-grown lettuce instead of the more flavorful arugula, because that is what we had.

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And it all came together with a (slightly burnt) specialty of mine: grilled garlic bread.

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Dessert was rather fancy looking, even if it was very simple.

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Miniature strawberry shortcakes and coffee.

And, naturally, here is your gratuitous close up.

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A Maryland Summer — Crab Cakes

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For dinner tonight we had a Maryland classic: crab cakes, with some pasta salad and Italian tomatoes.

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And of course, a gratuitous close-up.

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