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Posts Tagged ‘Southern food’

  1. Art, Cooking, and Summer

    July 12, 2012 by The Yum Yum

    Cooking truly is an art form.

    Art typically has to do with taking what we already know exists and replicating, altering it, until some kind of expression is achieved through the interplay of balance and dynamics that are discerned; art, in many ways, is a science because of this.

     

    The real issue is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but perhaps we foodies should say something like, “Taste in the mouth of the eater.”

     

    I can make a perfectly delicious meal- one that I find to be good and flavorful- and someone else may think that the meal in question is too salty, not salty enough, too sweet, too bland, and so on down the list of possible criticisms.

     

    In my own experience, I can say that food should be presented in an aesthetic way, and that the aesthetic need not be extreme; simply choosing the correct color plate or bowl in which to present the food can entirely change the perception of it.

     

    Naturally, it’s probably best to go with the opposite of whatever the season is; in summer, serving foods in cool colors such as green and blue will give a sense of being refreshed and at peace in heat, and in winter, pinks, oranges, and reds will help warm your chilly bones.

     

    High Summer has fallen upon Alabama, and even though I’m sweating, I much prefer the heat in the air to the cold of winter.

    But more than that, I prefer when the seasons find their balance in Spring and Autumn, when the weather stays in the low 80s and is relatively mild. I can handle that.

     

    So it is with cooking. The Fried Rice Rampage had a short break yesterday but will be revived soon. I plan to master Fried Rice and then challenge other people to make better Fried Rice than I. The Shrimp Fried Rice turned out really nice, I think. My big issue now is trying to find balance between soft and crispy rice; I’m not sure which kind of Fried Rice I prefer. The crispier rice actually ends up tasting more savory, something I find interesting.

     

    Gigi’s been sick lately, but after eating my Shrimp Fried Rice, she perked right up. (Okay, that’s not quite how it happened, but I can dream.)

     

    Sometimes, I think that it’s too bad that I don’t eat meat; some of the recipes for various world cuisine require meat, and that would be an interesting flavor to add to the mix.

     

    During the 4th of July week, we had some of the Morning Star burgers, and Gigi had grilled one up, made a burger with all the works, and sliced it in half. I ate the half she didn’t want, and by God, it tasted like an actual, honest-to-goodness hamburger.

     

    My brother and I argued about this the other day because he said that he eats actual meat and that the Grillers do not taste like hamburger in any shape, form, or fashion; I retorted that any kind of veggie meat tastes like real meat in context, and that I had eaten the piece of Gigi’s burger and wouldn’t have believed someone if they had told me otherwise that it wasn’t an actual hamburger had I not known.

     

    Anyway, I think it would be fun to try making fried rice with some Soyrizo…if I can find any. I’ve only had it once, and I can’t remember where I found it, but it was spicy and mouth-watering.

     

    Tomorrow, I’ll try to post some pictures of my fried rice.

     

    Get your nosh on!

     

    Beaux

     

     


  2. Art, Cooking, and Summer

    July 12, 2012 by The Yum Yum

    Cooking truly is an art form.

    Art typically has to do with taking what we already know exists and replicating, altering it, until some kind of expression is achieved through the interplay of balance and dynamics that are discerned; art, in many ways, is a science because of this.

     

    The real issue is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but perhaps we foodies should say something like, “Taste in the mouth of the eater.”

     

    I can make a perfectly delicious meal- one that I find to be good and flavorful- and someone else may think that the meal in question is too salty, not salty enough, too sweet, too bland, and so on down the list of possible criticisms.

     

    In my own experience, I can say that food should be presented in an aesthetic way, and that the aesthetic need not be extreme; simply choosing the correct color plate or bowl in which to present the food can entirely change the perception of it.

     

    Naturally, it’s probably best to go with the opposite of whatever the season is; in summer, serving foods in cool colors such as green and blue will give a sense of being refreshed and at peace in heat, and in winter, pinks, oranges, and reds will help warm your chilly bones.

     

    High Summer has fallen upon Alabama, and even though I’m sweating, I much prefer the heat in the air to the cold of winter.

    But more than that, I prefer when the seasons find their balance in Spring and Autumn, when the weather stays in the low 80s and is relatively mild. I can handle that.

     

    So it is with cooking. The Fried Rice Rampage had a short break yesterday but will be revived soon. I plan to master Fried Rice and then challenge other people to make better Fried Rice than I. The Shrimp Fried Rice turned out really nice, I think. My big issue now is trying to find balance between soft and crispy rice; I’m not sure which kind of Fried Rice I prefer. The crispier rice actually ends up tasting more savory, something I find interesting.

     

    Gigi’s been sick lately, but after eating my Shrimp Fried Rice, she perked right up. (Okay, that’s not quite how it happened, but I can dream.)

     

    Sometimes, I think that it’s too bad that I don’t eat meat; some of the recipes for various world cuisine require meat, and that would be an interesting flavor to add to the mix.

     

    During the 4th of July week, we had some of the Morning Star burgers, and Gigi had grilled one up, made a burger with all the works, and sliced it in half. I ate the half she didn’t want, and by God, it tasted like an actual, honest-to-goodness hamburger.

     

    My brother and I argued about this the other day because he said that he eats actual meat and that the Grillers do not taste like hamburger in any shape, form, or fashion; I retorted that any kind of veggie meat tastes like real meat in context, and that I had eaten the piece of Gigi’s burger and wouldn’t have believed someone if they had told me otherwise that it wasn’t an actual hamburger had I not known.

     

    Anyway, I think it would be fun to try making fried rice with some Soyrizo…if I can find any. I’ve only had it once, and I can’t remember where I found it, but it was spicy and mouth-watering.

     

    Tomorrow, I’ll try to post some pictures of my fried rice.

     

    Get your nosh on!

     

    Beaux

     

     


  3. Fried Rice Rampage Continues in Slocomb, Alabama

    July 9, 2012 by The Yum Yum

    The recipe for fried rice has now evolved. Instead of simply making Golden Fried Rice, I’m now making Shrimp Fried Rice. 

    This is exactly what it sounds like. The recipe’s essentially the same with the addition of carrots and shrimp along with a reduction of egg.

    Make sure that you have enough oil when making fried rice because without a sufficient amount, the rice will quickly become unhappy.

    The shrimp I’ve add to the fried rice is simple, frozen salad shrimp that I’ve defrosted in a cup of water and drained. Though the younger sibling told me a while back that fried rice is technically made by cooking each item, then removing it, and then adding it all together again, other recipes and websites emphasize that cooking all the ingredients together allows the flavor to really come out.

    I hope one day soon to get actual garlic and ginger root to use.

    Today, I finally gave in and tossed in the soy bacon bits to the mix after I had actually prepared the rice. They’re all right, but I’m sure it would’ve been better if I had actually made such an attempt to cook them. Maybe I can get the soy bacon and try cooking that along with the fried rice one day.

    I’ve not acquired oyster sauce or fish sauce yet, so the jury will remain out on their relative effects to fried rice.

    These past few times, I’ve reduced the amount of egg I added to the fried rice. I think my preference is having less egg and not more because though the flavor isn’t altered, too much egg makes the fried rice look strange. I

    Pictures coming soon!

    Get your nosh on!

    Beaux


  4. More Ideas from Beaux

    July 1, 2012 by The Yum Yum

    Today, Gigi made eggplant casserole.

    She was low on crackers, so I told her to substitute the jalapeño potato chips instead.

    This was a total and huge success the likes of which no one has ever known! 

    Also, someone brought us an abundance of peas; I’m not sure what kind they are, exactly, except that they’re small, green, and more flavorful than black-eyed peas. I highly recommend them to anyone who likes Southern food. 

    Gigi made more of the peas today even though we’d eaten a huge pot of them sometime last week. I couldn’t believe after that first huge pot that we had any left at all; talk about amazing. 

    Also, coming very soon: more noodle recipes from Beaux.

    Go get your nosh on!

    Beaux


  5. Fresh Okra Idea: Super Easy, Super YUMMY!

    June 15, 2012 by The Yum Yum

    Take okra, wash, and cut off the tops.

    Cut okra into half-inch slices.

    Place in a bowl.

    Add salt, pepper, and cumin. 

    Add some olive oil.

    Toss well. 

    Eat.

    Fresh, delicious, and exotic all at one time.

    That is all for today.

    Get your nosh on!

    Beaux

     


  6. That Was WILD!

    June 12, 2012 by The Yum Yum

    I woke up to discover Ruru and Gigi eating some food that Ruru had made: normal Southern food including potatoes, fried okra, cornbread, and corn, you know the drill by now. I had some potatoes and then scurried out into the humidity of Alabama to go to work in an un-airconditioned store.

    After I returned home from work, I took some of the okra, corn, and cornbread put it in a non-stick skillet, salted it well, and fried it all more heavily. Ruru didn’t brown the fried okra, and everything was cold by the time I got home anyway.

    The result was uber-yum. 

    It’s amazing how simply cooking something a little longer can change the entire flavor, how adding a little salt can bring out all the flavor, and even more amazing that I bother eating corn at all.

    Now, children, go and get ye your nosh on!

    Beaux


  7. Fasts and Breaking Them

    June 6, 2012 by The Yum Yum

    Supposedly, the origin of our word “breakfast” (meaning our morning meal) comes from the concept of fasting, in which one goes without food. We go without food for an extended period of time during the course of the night, and so in the morning, we then “break the fast.” Hence, “breakfast.”

    One of the awful things about being vegetarian or even semi-vegetarian is the moment when you discover you’ve accidentally consumed meat or something that contains meat. The unfortunate reality is that most of us aren’t going to spend all our time looking at every ingredient that ever existed in the food that we eat, so we can’t always be completely safe from consuming products that come from the slaughter of an animal.

    This happened to me two days ago when I ate some dressing that came from the church homecoming, only to discover that it had chicken in it. I only found the chicken because I tasted something funny and then virtually dissected the bit of dressing in the plate.

    I was furious. 

    So, in order to punish myself and redeem myself from this evil atrocity that I committed, I went right on and fasted for 24 hours. 11:30 PM on Monday to 11:35 PM on Tuesday.

    Naturally, I awoke on Tuesday with a voracious hunger and a growling stomach. 

    But I made it, all 24 hours, and I was proud of myself; I don’t fast often, only once before this, but wow, it was pretty amazing to see how I reacted to the fast.

    Now I have a headache, and so I’m going to stop writing.

    Get your nosh on…or don’t, if you’re fasting!

    Beaux


  8. From Okra to Orthodoxy

    June 4, 2012 by The Yum Yum

    Okay, I seriously hope I’m not running out of steam within writing my food blog. It seems as though it’s been ages since I’ve actually cooked something, and now the Great Publix Adventure that occurs every week has been indefinitely postponed as we seem to aim for pizza as it’s more convenient.

    We’re still eating on the food leftover from Gigi’s Homecoming. I discovered last night the delicious nature of mixing together squash dressing and okra. The fact that I’m loving all this Southern food seriously disturbs me, as it means that my parents’ genes are slowly activating within me, and that fated reality of every person is appearing: I’m becoming my parents!

    Of course, the reality is that my parents aren’t terrible people, so it’s not a terrible thing to become like them or anything. I’m just shocked that I would end up liking Southern food as much as I do.

    But this may also be the fact that I’m getting older and am highly fed up with processed foods in general. Our entire society seems to be so shallow and over-processed in general that my inner crankiness is manifesting early on in life. I’m not nihilistic and suggesting that life is without purpose or meaning, but I am criticizing the skanky, shallow portrayels and manifestations of it.

    Sometimes, I just want to walk to my front door, look at the world, and scream at the top of my lungs, “WHAT THE *BLEEP* IS GOING ON HERE?”

    I also frequently feel so ill-tempered that the characterization of me by my friends that I should be a nun is not far off. People say that I remind them of how a nun is- peaceful, serene, religious, and such- and I reply that I would be the nun who smacks other people with the ruler. In fact, there are many people I hear running their mouths on a daily basis that I think should be smacked with a ruler, including some of my relatives who would do better off not sending me their junk emails. (This is not a reference to Gigi, but you others, watch out- I have a ruler!) :)

    Also, I think I would look good in a habit. 

    Unfortunately, being male, I’m not a candiate for joining up with the nuns and would have to become a monk. If I could acquire an Orthodox monk’s habit, I would still resemble a nun, as the monks’ habits typically have a hood that goes with them. Once again, I defeat the System.

    And then I would equip my ruler and begin the smacking of ignorant people, of which there would be quite a few. I already predict that my arm would be tired, so my monastery would need to hire a full-time masseuse to keep my arm from sustaining permanent injury. I could also charge per smack, so $5 per smack would rack up the dough pretty fast.

    Then my monastery and I could open a business- a restaurant- where you could be smacked to salvation and get a good dinner all at the same time. “Brother Maria Sophia’s Southern Food Smackdown” where you get good food and the Gospel all in one stop: everything from okra to Orthodoxy.

    We could also have pro-wrestling on TV at the same time.

    Can I get an “amen”?

    Now, go get your nosh on!

    Beaux

     


  9. Fried Squash and a Potato: Beaux *BEEPS* Up the System Real Good

    May 19, 2012 by The Yum Yum

    *I should make a note that I actually wrote this yesterday.*

    Today, my awesome aunt, Mimi, sent potatoes and fried squash down to the store. Bapaw informed me of this, and then I had to scramble to finding an eating utensil. Unfortunately, all the plastic forks had been used, and my option consisted of using a plastic knife to not only serve myself but also to eat the potato and squash.

    This potato, I should point out, was actually a single new potato, as my cousin and father had already eaten the other potatoes. If you’ve never had the opportunity to eat a single new potato with a plastic knife, I suggest you take this time to do so.

    What I discovered in my adventure to eat the new potato was that Mimi had cooked the potato so absolutely tender that the knife cut it with little resistance, and yes, ladies and gentlemen, Beaux once again defied The System by eating his potato with a plastic knife.

    The fried squash didn’t prove to be nearly the same problem, and you can probably imagine why; coin-styled fried pieces of squash are essentially a finger food. However, I decided that The System needed a little extra *BEEP*-ing up today; I ate the squash with my knife, too.

    An idea came to my mind after lunch: I should take fried squash, add marinara sauce, cheese, and lasagna noodles to make an Italian dish. I mean, folks eat Eggplant Parmesan, so why not do the same thing with squash?

    I really do seem to have made an about-face on the whole issue with squash, since not long ago I absolutely hated it. But again, it’s all in the way you make the food. I read somewhere recently that people who eat more orange and yellow vegetables also gain a healthier yellow glow to their skin, so maybe the secondary gain has influenced me.

    All right, Foodie Friends, I need your help and your opinions! We need to get some protein in Bapaw, so here’s your mission: we need lean meat that has little fat and little salt content. What kind of recipes and foods can you come up with to help me and my family out here?

    Get your nosh on!

    Beaux


  10. Pizza Rolls and a Wal-Mart Adventure

    May 5, 2012 by The Yum Yum

    Last night had me going out of the house for the first time since Monday. I’ve been really worried about Bapaw and haven’t really wanted to leave him at any point in time, but he seems to have largely recovered his strength. I’m constantly grateful to God for this.

     

    Anyway, I ended up at Earle’s house too late for us to go to Publix, and everyone who was supposed to show up also took a while before they informed us that they wouldn’t. Our last line of defense for food yesterday was a visitation to Wal-Mart, one of the places I hate the most.

     

    Bapaw’s anemic, so I had promised him I would get chicken livers and indeed looked for the chicken livers at Wal-Mart. I found several good recipes online yesterday that explained the best way to cook chicken livers and how they should be browned on the outside but still have some pink in the middle.

     

    Actually, chicken livers, onions, and mushrooms don’t sound like such a bad thing. The recipe’s simple; you cook the onions and mushrooms, and then you add the chicken livers, and boom, you’ve got a delicious meal (for meat-eaters.)

     

    The Wal-Mart adventure was crazy. Alfonzo, Earle, and I all got into Earle’s vehicle, got to Wal-Mart, and then…

     

    …the bread section was roped off for the nightly waxing. The one section we actually wanted to go to had no access.

     

    Ah, but my Totino’s Pizza Rolls that I wanted to badly should be available, I said! So I ducked through another aisle and came to find out that the Pizza Roll-containing freezer had also been roped off because of the wet wax.

     

    So then I beat the system by discovering that there was yet another freezer containing the Pizza Rolls, and I was happy with that.

     

    Earle bought some yogurt pops that had two flavors: Cotton Candy with Vanilla and Orange with Vanilla. The Cotton Candy flavor was odd, and the Orange just tasted like orange sherbert. Nothing impressive here, folks.

     

    I did find some good Cinnamon Cookies, though, and I almost bought bleu cheese-stuffed olives but decided the cookies were a better investment as they were cheaper and there were more of them.

     

    So then we went to purchase our goods, and of course, all the self-checkout lines were closed at that time of night (but they weren’t last week.)

     

    And of course, the line I went to would have the dreaded Wal-Mart situation: people who have made a stupid decision over something incredibly stupid that then requires the cashier to get the manager, followed by a twenty-minute long ordeal that could have been resolved by someone not doing something stupid.

     

    Now, sometimes, things happen in life; things just malfunction, and I’m not referring to the situation where Wal-Mart’s machines just randomly crap out. I’m talking about a concerted effort between customer and store that creates a conflict and drives everyone else bananas.

     

    Anyway, after a new ice age, I was finally able to check out, and we then went to back to Earle’s house.

     

    Earle’s oven made cooking the Pizza Rolls kind of strange, since his bottom burner hasn’t worked the entire two years I’ve known him, but I still managed to get most of them done.

     

    Too bad we didn’t have a real spaghetti dinner, which was our initial plan, but there’s something about a hungry stomach at 1 AM that turns me into an incredible bitch with low blood sugar that has to eat before he sets something on fire.

     

    Also, since today is actually Cinco de Mayo, I bought an apple-flavored drink from Mexico. It basically tasted like carbonated apple juice, so I was able to approve it with flying colors.

     

    So, make sure you have dinner on time, and go get your nosh on!

     

    Beaux