writeonthebay

Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

moving on

In Uncategorized on March 10, 2011 at 10:35 pm

writeonthebay has moved to roundthekitchentable

Please come visit the new blog!

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scenes from an expat’s Mardi Gras

In In My Kitchen on March 7, 2011 at 10:01 pm

There are plenty of us expat New Orleanians here in the DC-Metro area, and plenty of opportunities to celebrate Mardi Gras with our Louisiana peeps, but they generally involve expensive tickets sold by lottery, formalwear, and lining up a babysitter. Since I rarely want to deal with all that, I’ll do something like meet my friend Ryan in Dupont Circle for a taste of home. First stop, The Cajun Experience. The owners are from Lafayette (like Ryan and I). The chef and bartender are from New Orleans. Our waiter was from San Francisco, but we’ll forgive him for that.

Seems like other expats have been pounding the Abitas at the restaurant lately. They were out of a couple of Abita drafts, as well as out of Andy Gator, so we went for Abbey Ale a Belgian style dubbel ale.

Ryan had been to the restaurant before (they’ve only been open about 5 weeks), and he said the hush puppies (often a freebie afterthought in many Louisiana restaurants) were the lightest he’d ever had. He was not exaggerating. These little buggers just about melted on the tongue, and the chipotle sauce was a nice surprise.

We ordered an appetizer portion of crawfish mac-n-cheese. Hardly a traditional dish, but a pairing I was up for after loving crab mac-n-cheese here in Chesapeake country.

Pot roast poboy. I would have liked some debris, the gravy from the bottom of the pot that Mother’s slathers their roast beef poboys with. But, nice tender beef on Leidenheimer French bread shipped in from New Orleans.

We also ordered crawfish etoufee, which we were so busy enjoying I forgot to get a pic. I make a great etoufee at home, but right now even Chinese crawfish tail meat is $16 a pound, and Chinese crawfish is just — wrong.

Anyhoo, I was having such a good time, I let the waiter talk us into beignets, despite our plans to get them in Northern Virginia. Sorry Ry! They were good, but a little doughy.

After a ridiculous drive through Georgetown (reminding me how glad I am I don’t have to commute into DC everyday anymore), we popped into Bayou Bakery in Arlington, Virginia. I picked up som Porkorn (spicy caramel corn with bacon — fantastic) to bring home to hubby.

Somehow we had room for a second dessert, buttermilk chocolate for him, red velvet for me. And an iced coffee to fuel the drive home, also fitting since Ryan introduced me to iced coffee many years ago at PJ’s Coffee in New Orleans.

Decorator’s tip: tear up your old cookbooks and decoupage them all over your bathroom for funky wall paper!

Tomorrow morning as the Krewe of Zulu rides down St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans handing out those legendary coconuts, I’ll be in my boot camp class at the gym, sweating off the calories from the weekend. N’awlins, I miss ya, dahlin. Happy Mardi Gras, y’all.

sweet and salty and sassy

In Food, In My Kitchen on March 5, 2011 at 10:29 am

 

Recently I was reading through Bryant Terry‘s cookbook,  Vegan Soul Kitchen, and was intrigued by Terry’s listing of musical pairings with each recipe. How would someone (like me) without a particularly musically influenced background (like Terry) go about pairing up tunes with food?

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I tend to have my own version of musical pairings in the kitchen. When I’m wishing I was there in Louisiana or Texas, cooking gumbo or smoking brisket, I’m likely to turn on the music I love from those places. Maybe Better Than Ezra or Lucinda Williams for the gumbo, definitely Lyle Lovett for the brisket.

But I’m not always homesick in the kitchen. Sometimes the music I turn on will be about my mood. Lately it’s been G. Love, Mumford and Sons, and Ingrid Michaelson. Other times it might be about the particular dish. Like when I was baking these peanut butter pretzel brownies from Joy the Baker. I turned on another Louisiana fave, The Figs, who, like the brownies, are an excellent mix of sweet and salty and sassy (“High-Heeled Stomp” and “Guns” are particularly fun).

What about you folks? What’s the soundtrack of your kitchen? Inquiring ears want to know.

Oh, yeah, and  I know, there’s parchment paper under those brownies. Sue me.

simple beauty

In Food, In My Kitchen on March 3, 2011 at 1:51 pm

 

Here, just because they are so pretty that I had to stop in the middle of making lunches for the kids to take a picture of them, are these lovely boiled eggs. So simple. So beautiful.

uber comfort food

In Family, Food, friends, In My Kitchen on March 2, 2011 at 9:44 am

Not to name any names, but SOMEONE posted a pic on Facebook a few weeks ago of a the lunch he had just made up for himself — a spaghetti and meatball grilled cheese sandwich. My kids saw the picture, and having been reminded of the idea that SOMEONE ELSE (again, not naming any names) had planted in their heads months before of the same sandwich, they wanted that sandwich. And look mom, we just happen to have leftover spaghetti and meatballs in the fridge.

How convenient.

I know, I know, pasta on bread. Carbs on carbs. Crazy isn’t it? Crazy good, I say.

This is not the kind of meal one should have every day, or every week, or even every month. But oh my, what a cozy comfort on a plate.

 

Spaghetti and Meatball Grilled Cheese Sandwich

2 slices sandwich bread (no high fiber, 800-grain stuff here, we’re talking white bread, ’nuff said)

mayonnaise (and not Miracle Whip — what the hell is that, anyway?)

leftover spaghetti and meatballs, roughly chopped, and warmed up

one slice cheese (provolone, mozzarella, havarti all work well)

 

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Spread mayonnaise on one slice of bread, place bread mayo-side down in the skillet. Carefully spoon spaghetti mixture onto the bread in the skillet. Place cheese slice on top of spaghetti. Spread mayonnaise on other slice of bread. Carefully place bread on top of cheese, mayo-side up. Once bottom slice has browned nicely (peek by lifting an edge with your spatula), flip the sandwich and cook until the other side is golden brown and the cheese has melted. Serve with a healthy dose of veggies to assuage any feelings of remorse.

 

*Note: Some of the spaghetti will fall into the skillet, perhaps with a bit of melty cheese attached. That’s okay. That’s a cook’s treat. And if you don’t know what that means, you need to cook more.