Pages

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

ROAD TRIP!

Yes, even Pixies take vacations! I know, hard to believe....but true.  We had an amazing nine-day journey, during which we were able to visit FIVE different family groups....one of them TWICE! That would be Dear Daughter S - who had more than enough reason for the double visit. My girl is engaged! We had a great time with everyone, and are very glad to be home safely. The South was hot, humid, and....in my case, tasty.  First, a little visit to a certain "Queen of Southern Cooking". That's right, you'll never guess where we stopped for supper in quaint and charming Savannah, Georgia.


Yes, The Lady and Sons. Now, you know how I feel about certain "celebrity" restaurants.  The food is usually overpriced, the adjoining gift shops selling equally overpriced cookware, etc. It's just not my "thing" as it were.....I am all about one thing......the food.  Just for fun, though....here's Paula hawking radishes through the window...


Here's Paula and I before supper.....


Here's Bobby and Jaime having a quick pick-up game with Dear Husband and I...


And here are some shots from inside the restaurant...
Le menu...


And along one hallway...


OK, this is all tongue-in-cheek. The cardboard cutouts of Ms. Deen, and the mural of the basketball-playing sons are not fooling anyone, I'm sure. Let's get to the important stuff....the food. I ordered the Tilapia with crab butter, which came with jasmine rice, and a saute of asparagus and mushrooms...



It was very good. The crab butter made the dish. I do think the 17- dollar price tag was a little much, considering rice is inexpensive, as is tilapia, and the food cost for approximately 7 spears of asparagus and a few mushrooms were not enough to justify it, but hey, it's a "food celebrity" restaurant.  On to Dear Husbands' dish...the classic Southern specialty...Shrimp and Grits.



Now, if he had not ordered it....I was going to! The grits were creamy and done perfectly, the shrimp were tender and plentiful, the Tasso ham absolutely made the dish, and the sauce was good, too. They too, were pricey - costing more than my dish.....but in this case, quite worth the splurge.  I should mention that each meal came with a Southern style cornmeal hoe-cake with syrup, and a garlic/butter type biscuit.  All in all, a successful dining experience.  Other highlights included a lovely chicken arugula salad with lemon truffle vinaigrette - courtesy of the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale....I apologize for the picture quality...cel phones can be unreliable...


After such a long time of travel, eating more fast food, and concentrated foods than normal, I was totally craving something healthy on our way back up the East coast.  Thanks to the wonderful quickie mart on Shaw Air Force Base, in beautiful Sumter, South Carolina....I found THIS!



I know what you may be thinking.....it just cannot be that good! I mean, it's pre-packaged! Well, carefully unwrapped, and eaten with an Atlas as a place mat, I must tell you, it sure beat the tar out of any fast food place one could eat at while travelling!



It was delightful. 

What surprising and healthy food did you discover while travelling?

It was a wonderful journey filled with laughter and tears (all of them happy ones), good times and good tastes, but, I am very happy to be back in Pixie-Land because.......


That's right! The Pixie-Patch of plenty of pulchritudinous produce is, well, producing! Eat well, my friends, and stay tuned for some kid friendly recipes, a Something From Nothing involving prior pronounced Pixie-Patch, and a visit from those wonderful, weird gals, the Kitchen Angels.

Love and kindness to all,

Pixie

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Something From Nothing ~ Week 16

While trying to use up what I had here in Pixie-land one day, I decided that grilling would be a wonderful way to do so.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other ideas.....



This was our little April 23rd surprise! I was NOT amused. Now, faced with wanting something hearty, instead of a Spring barbecue - looked at the following beautiful bunch of collards from the fridge...


I knew I must use them soon....before they turned into a wilted mess, but what to make?  Well, if you remember when the Pixie kitchen was located in a certain, frigid locale (which I won't mention - to tell you the truth, I think I've blocked it), I was looking for something hearty, but healthy to make my Vegan friend, Happy Aly. I was looking at the lovely Susan V's vegan site, and decided to make these.  Now, back then, I just showed a picture of the final product. Today, I'll show you how simple, and easy this dish is to make!

First, we assemble our ingredients, of course....surprisingly, this dish calls for less than a dozen ingredients!  I know, I tend to overdo it, but I promise....I've got simpler, more kid-friendly recipes coming! On to the dish.


From far left - celery, the collard greens, rice, kidney beans, thyme, pepper, salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, grape tomatoes, garlic, onion, and bell pepper.

First, I set one cup of rice and two cups of water a-steaming, and forgot about it....easy enough, right?


Then, I prepped the leaves by cutting off some of the tough stem, and blanching them for a few minutes in some salted, boiling water. I deviate from the recipe here, because I don't blanch them one at a time, I just put them all into the boiling water, and let them go for about three minutes....like so,



Now, a little prep...oh, and I have been remiss....I also include a little liquid smoke, since I was using fresh grape tomatoes, vs. canned "fire roasted" ones, and some hot sauce, because, well, you know that's how I roll. :)



Clockwise, from left, about a half an onion, diced, chopped grape tomatoes, hot sauce, kidney beans, liquid smoke, the herbs & spices, the garlic, celery and bell pepper, all chopped. We lay out our blanched collard leaves, and begin to make the dish.



We saute' the onion in a little olive oil on med-low heat, until tender...




Then, get our chopped tomatoes into a bowl, to mix with some of the onion mixture....



When the onions have softened, and become translucent, we add our bell pepper and celery....after about ten minutes. Saute' this mixture for another five minutes...


Then, add in the chopped garlic. You want to add the garlic last, so that it does not burn and become bitter while you are cooking the rest of the vegetables...


Then, you take a few Tablespoons of this mixture, and toss it with your lovely chopped tomatoes.



Now, the fun part. We mix our rice (which has cooked by now, and is awaiting use), with the onion mixture and the kidney beans, in our skillet...


Now we build our little bundles of yum...we coat a baking dish with a little olive oil, and put some of the tomato mixture on the bottom...a little "raft" to support the rolls, if you will...



Then, we begin building our rolls. Spoon the rice mixture on to the leaves like so...



Roll in the sides....and roll up from the bottom..




Place in your baking dish, and continue until all your leaves are used up.  Feel free to snack, um..."quality control" on any extra rice mixture....I did.





Spoon the rest of the tomato mixture over the top, cover, and bake just until everything is nicely warmed through, and the tomatoes are starting to soften....thirty to forty minutes at 350.  Here's mine about to go into the oven.



Now, I took some liberties with the recipe, since I used white basmati rice, did not have "smoked" paprika (hence the liquid smoke), and tweaked it in a few other, minor ways. But......the results? I sprinkled a little cayenne and parsley over the top for looks, and a little zing.....



Quite tasty, indeed! I bet they freeze well, too! Not that I have ever had any left to freeze! I thought I would be good, and eat just the one....but NO. The second one, cut in half, and with a little lemon squeezed over it, was even better! My only regret, is that I have not previously squeezed the lemon over them before - it brightens up all the flavors! It is not in the original recipe, but from now on, it is going to be in my version of it! Just delicious, and I did not miss having any meat, that's for sure!



I went to ask the Kitchen Angels what they thought - and what do you think those fun-loving gals were up to? 


That's right, enjoying our little "Spring Surprise" - meanwhile, as you can see in the background, this Pixie has been running around desperately trying to cover her newly-planted tomatoes! Those girls are sometimes no.....help....at....all!

What surprising dish did you cook up this Spring?

Eat well, my friends and stay tuned for more interesting eats on the road...and what could potentially be the biggest announcement of the year from Pixie-Land!

Love and kindness to all,

Pixie