09 September 2012

autumn makes me so sentimental.

in the morning, i would wake up and listen to our sounds. daddy's circular saw chewing through boards, the woodpecker rapping against the chimney, the faint creak of the broiler door meant mama had to light the pilot.

in the afternoons, a too-bright, clear blue sky. and football -- an endless loop of cheers and announcers. daddy cleaning golf clubs with a halved two liter bottle and a toothbrush.

today has been an autumn day. the sky is that same blue. we opened all the windows. lexie is under the carport; his miter saw is grinding. i am in the kitchen baking hamburger buns for tonight.

29 October 2011

i have been trying to get in the halloween spirit. truly, i have.

with lexie gone on tour, the insanity of an unpacked house, and a totally awful rambunctious puppy, i have been having a hard time feeling the spooky spirit.

this morning, i decided i would do something about my sour attitude, so i woke up early and went out to buy confectioner's sugar and butter.

because that, dear internet, is how i roll.

i decided i would try to make these cookies, and whatever i didn't immediately consume, i would take to work on monday.

what followed, i'm afraid, was less than inspiring and uplifting.

to begin with, i had no idea it would be so weirdly awkward to color the dough. in theory, it should have been easy, but the dough was super sticky and it wound up being messy. i guess that in itself isn't that odd -- when i bake, it's always messy.

then, once i was ready to stack the dough together, i couldn't find my loaf pan.

determined, i stayed the course. i finally got all the dough stacked and let it sit in the fridge for four hours.

four hours is a long time to wait for cookies.

i was so excited to finally take the dough out and cut it into triangles. i was pleased as punch with myself as i laid them out on my cookie sheet. i opened the oven stuck the sheet in, closed the door, and --

suddenly discovered that my oven is too small for my baking sheet.

so, here's some weird misshapen stupid cookies that i baked in pie pans.

sorry, halloween. i tried.

12 August 2011

ok, so, it’s not completely from scratch. but, i did wake up extra early to make biscuits. so, that kind of counts. but, really — this is probably my number one food that reminds me of home.

like my mama and my mama’s mama, it loved me before it knew me.

and i you, sausage and mustard biscuit.

and i you.

10 August 2011

I daresay any fine recipe used ... could have been attributed to a local lady, or her mother ... I often think to make a friend's fine recipe is to celebrate her once more, and in that cheeriest, most aromatic of places to celebrate in - the home kitchen.
Eudora Welty, The Jackson Cookbook

to make a long story short, i'm feeling homesick today.

i had a dream in which my mammaw died. of course, this was not really a dream, as she's been gone for eight years as of august 14th.

sometimes keeping up with the anniversaries of the dead seems wrong, like i'm remembering something i ought to forget. i imagine the back of my calendar is littered with hanging chads, the numbers where the dates should be, punched through carelessly by death's unflinching hand.

august 14th, ruined forever.

so -- that brings me to my homesickness.

typically, when i am lonely for the real south, i go to sonic drive-in, or, as we call it, "the sonic." look, before you make fun of me, in my defense, i have many happy memories associated with the sonic. one of my only memories of mammaw driving was when she was heading to the sonic. when i was a little girl, mama would make me call in orders for the brown bag special. i made it through my senior year of college on sonic's value menu. we have a history.

the sadness brought on by the ugly black hole that was once august 14th -- well, let's just say it calls for drastic measures.

therefore, it is time for a southern food throw down.

every day leading up to august 14th, i am going to make something from scratch that reminds me of my home, which always has been and always will be mississippi.

on the menu for tonight: potato salad.

now, my mammaw's recipes were in her head. i don't know if she ever wrote a one of them down. she might've, but if she did, i'll likely never see them. i was so low on the totem pole at the time of her death that i had to settle for raiding her button jar. so, i am going to use the next best substitution: eudora welty.

isn't she lovely? my favorite southern writer, and a fitting substitute for the most wonderful lady i know.

i found this article, which i just adored. obviously, i am going to adore anything that exalts the south, namely mississippi, but i digress.

without further ado, i present:

eudora welty's recipe for potato salad
a quart of just-cooked, cut-up potatoes
3 chopped hard-cooked eggs
a whole green pepper, chopped fine
a couple of roasted red peppers chopped fine
6 strips of crisp bacon, chopped
a bunch of mayonnaise and mustard
salt and pepper

and, though i am a proud supporter of duke's mayonnaise, i cannot condone using store bought mayo in real southern potato salad. therefore, i made my own.

southern throw down mayonnaise
1 egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

beautiful. mammaw would have been pleased as punch.

i am yet to get the potatoes and red peppers, unfortunately, so the complete outcome will have to wait. but for now, my mayo is chilling in the fridge, and i am going to read why i live at the p.o. before heading to the grocery.

i miss you, sarah lee tilghman, today and everyday.

07 August 2011

kielbasa with succotash quinoa.

this is my last minute oh god i’m hungry and it’s 9:00 supper.

alternately, the man i’m lonely in this house by myself and i don’t want to do anything so i’ll make the rice cooker do the work while i stare at the internet supper.

it’s pretty good. surprisingly.

28 June 2011

I am pleased to announce that I am a good cook.

After a mere 29 years, I have discovered that eating isn't the only joy to be found in food; on the contrary, cooking is totally half the fun. Or, at least a quarter of the fun. Eating is hard to beat, you know?

Since we moved into the new house and spent all our money, we have been subsisting on frozen sale meat from grocery trips past, along with lots and lots of eggs. Don't tell 1999 Vegan Katie that 2011 Katie is subsisting on a protein only diet.

Seriously, though -- growing up, of course we had eggs, but an egg was never the focus of any meal. Eggs were appetizers, like deviled eggs. At Easter, our found eggs were chopped up for tuna salad. We had eggs for breakfast on occasion, sure, though we were a pretty basic scrambled egg kind of family.

I guess my lack of exposure to eggs cooked, for lack of a better term, runny, led to an aversion to them later in life. I have always kind of grossed out by eggs over easy or poached eggs. The slimy, gooey, oddly yellow, semi-solid ooze was always a little too much for me.

It is for this reason that I have recently decided to branch out and start trying to eat common foods in uncommon ways -- at least, common and uncommon as they are for me. My first adventure -- use eggs as a main dish.

The whole idea started with Eggs in Purgatory, which is basically cooking eggs in tomato sauce. I added sliced chorizo, red and yellow bell peppers, onions, and lots of red pepper flakes. It is so easy -- you literally just brown the sausage, add the veggies, add the sauce, plop in the eggs, and simmer. It went something like this:

Unfortunately, I cooked the eggs too long, so I didn't know then the wonders of the creamy yolk. I mean, don't get me wrong -- still delicious.

Did I mention I used to be grossed out by runny yolks?

But tonight, dear internet, that old way of thinking has fallen away, and Lord have mercy, I sure have have been missing out.

All week long, while I've been cooking for one, the joys of the egg have made themselves even more apparent. I came up with a routine: hard boil four eggs at breakfast, and get an egg salad sandwich for "free" come lunchtime! Fry an egg in the morning, making double sure the yolk is broken and cooked through. That's right -- I took the easiest way, the safe way, to ensure all eggs were runny yolk free.


Tonight, I found myself with only one lonely egg left in the carton, and a guilty conscience for taking the easy road so often.

In the pantry, I found a can of baked beans, and was suddenly inspired to make beans on toast with -- the coup de grĂ¢ce for my egg week finale -- my very first real live poached egg.

I quickly skimmed over how to poach an egg in the Joy of Cooking (seriously, thank the Good Lord for that book) while the water boiled, added a dollop of vinegar, carefully dropped the egg in the water, and --

It was so good, I forgot about the beans.