Chili and I go waaaaay back. When my husband and I lived in Montana, I entered a chili cookoff. I came in third out of four entries, which did not leave me best pleased. I wrote a food column for the local newspaper, for Pete’s sakes. I could not be coming in second to last in any cookoff. So I perfected my recipe, and the result is this Blue Ribbon Chili.
DIY BBQ rub would make a perfect gift for the BBQ-obsessed on your list. Pulled pork in the South is more than a picnic staple; it is an institution. Southerners guard their barbeque recipes so close, you’d think they were printed on hundred dollar bills. I get it. It’s a serious thing to bequeath a treasure to the world. My mother spent most of her youth in North Carolina and Virginia. I grew up eating only North Carolina style pulled pork; consequently, it’s my BBQ of choice. Continue Reading
Exactly a year ago today, I hit “publish” on my first post for Lemon Baby: grilled Mediterranean-style octopus, which remains one of my most popular posts. Our first blog birthday coincides with my own birthday, which was yesterday. As I said in the octopus post, I am one of those people who genuinely wants to spend their birthdays cooking a sumptuous meal. And if I make the mistake of asking my oldest kid for input, his answer is always going to be “clams and mussels.” It may seem odd that a five-year-old can get jazzed about shellfish, but jazzed he is. We have been known to fork-fight for the errant, shell-less morsels at the bottom of the bowl. These Coconut Milk Steamed Clams with Ginger and Lime were a hit with both the littles and the bigs this birthday.
Years ago, Food52 came up with the hashtag #notsaddesklunch to represent the innovative, creative ways we can actually enjoy lunch at work. Bringing lunch is easier on your waistline and your wallet, but so many people fork out the $10 (on average) a day to grab a lunch to go, which equates to approximately $2400 a year! I’d rather spend that money to go on vacation, personally. Continue Reading
When I was pregnant with Lemon Baby, I (predictably) craved all sorts of random food. Most notably was my craving for a Lobster Roll, which, if you were friends with me on Facebook, you must have scrolled past a thousand times. I couldn’t get enough lobster roll foodporn. Intellectually, I knew it was just making my hankering worse, but I couldn’t stop. The closest lobster roll to Mobile is in Atlanta, not exactly dinner date distance. Then my neighbor Ron suggested I make my own, with one exception: replace lobster with Royal Reds, a particularly succulent shrimp native to the deep waters of the Gulf Coast. I did, and the Alabama “Lobster” Roll (aka Royal Red Shrimp Roll) was born.
Please forgive the bad title pun. I am slightly sleep deprived. In all seriousness, if you’re a fan of easy, quick side dishes that come together in fewer than 15 minutes, this post is for you. It’s just a bonus that my 4-year-old adores chickpeas. In fact, when I told him chickpeas were for dinner, he ran around the house screaming, “Chickpeas! Yes! Chickpeas! Yes!” So I made this up on the spot: Chickpeas with Arugula and Bacon. And he actually ate his whole serving. The addition of bacon helped a bit, I think. (No, I don’t put bacon on/in everything, despite its presence in almost all of my posts so far). Continue Reading
For as long as I can remember, my family has vacationed on the white-sand beaches of Fort Morgan, Alabama. The little beach cottage, affectionately dubbed Déjà Vu and destroyed by hurricanes and subsequently rebuilt, has been in my family since the late 70s. In 1988, we celebrated my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary in that house, crammed in like happy sardines in the front room. In 2002, my parents bought the house from my uncle and aunt, who built a gorgeous house on the lot next door. In 2006, I hosted my bridal party at the cottage before heading to our nuptials in Natchez, MS (ten years to the day this Friday). It’s safe to say that this house, and its surrounding coastline, has more sentimental significance to me than most of the things in my own home (people excluded, of course). Most people don’t realize that Alabama has a coastline, (and that’s fine–it’s crowded enough) but with the Hangout Festival held annually in Gulf Shores, our little “Redneck Riviera” is getting more and more popular, evidenced by the gobsmacking Saturday summer traffic on Highway 59. Continue Reading
Shrimp and grits is by far my most requested dish. Friends routinely email or text for the recipe, and my sister
demands requests it every year for her birthday. If ever I named a signature dish (which I won’t because I don’t play favorites), this would be it. Shrimp and grits is a dish of lowcountry origins, associated with the Carolinas, but has spread far and wide across the Southeast. It is most commonly seen on brunch menus, but I could eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner (or all three). Continue Reading
This recipe for Littleneck Clams Steamed in White Wine and Tomatoes has a special sentimental significance; it was the first article I wrote for my food column for a Montana newspaper, almost ten years ago. I grew up in Brookline, in metropolitan Boston, and had just moved to a landlocked (albeit gorgeous in its own right) Montana town, and I was feeling desperately homesick. Summer, to me, meant clams and lobster, and I yearned for a taste of home.
As luck would have it, the local grocery store stocked gorgeous Pacific shellfish at shockingly reasonable prices (alas, no lobster). Imbued with garlic, tomatoes, and a slightly spicy broth perfect for sopping, this recipe saw us through four blissful summers in Montana. Continue Reading
I have a truly negative habit of overanalyzing almost every social interaction, after the fact. Always after. Perhaps we had a fantastic conversation, but when you walked away, you gave me an odd look (when probably the sun was in your eyes)? Chances are I’ll be dissecting that look for days to come. The funny this is, I’m actually an extrovert. When I teach the MBTI to my college students, I explain that their preconceived notions about introversion and extroversion are awry. What matters is from where you draw your energy, or recharge your batteries. If you need to take a break from people and seek “alone time”, you are an introvert. If you need to get out and socialize after too much time on your own (me), you’re extroverted. But extroversion doesn’t stop me from being paranoid about having said the wrong thing in a social situation. We can never, ever turn back the clock and unsay (most often unintended) things that sting, offend, or cut to the quick.
Yesterday was my birthday. I might be one of the only people you know of who wants, truly wants, to spend his or her birthday cooking an elaborate feast with the ingredients that are usually regarded as too complicated for everyday meals. Lobster, chateaubriand, octopus. Yes, octopus. I have never actually cooked octopus before because, frankly, my sweet, Southern city had never been quite cosmopolitan enough to have a store that stocked whole octopus in the seafood case. Enter Whole Foods. Continue Reading