March 31st, 2004

I'm working on a new project.

I've decided that since I'm going to be spending a lot of time behind the lens this spring and summer that I'd start a new project while I'm collecting pictures for later work. Anyone who knows me knows that I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and that I cook 90% of the meals in our house at any given time. I have tons of recipes, and my friends are constantly asking for them. I've spoiled people on caesar salad, as they have mine and all others fail in comparison. I make gumbo that even authentic Cajuns have said is better than their own - something you'd rarely ever get one to admit! I make about 20 different salad dressings, I make bread from scratch, I even make croutons for my salads.

Anyway, back to my current project. Earlier in the week, I decided (at a close friend's urging, which was more a threat than an urgence) that I should start writing down my recipes. I was told I'd never be forgiven were I to suddenly die and took my recipes with me. Can you imagine? Me croaking and my friends weeping and cursing me with "You bastard! Now I'll NEVER have another caramel apple tart!" So after I thought it through, I started the process of writing down the names of my recipes. Then a realization hit along with the hand cramp. I can type a lot faster than I can write, and the LOGICAL thing to do would be to type out the recipes, no? Well, that's where it began. Now, four days later, I'm on a mission. Not content with mere Word documents, I've decided to make my cookbook a website. I'm going to have an ingredients and shopping list for each recipe, as well as the preparation method and serving suggestions for each that will link to other recipes. I'm going to have a Pantry page that gives you a list of things you should have on hand at all times... A Gear page will tell you what kitchen tools are essential, and where to find them... A Resources page that tells you where to find specialty items and cookware... Tips on prep and cooking methods... The whole thing is going to be pretty extensive once I'm through with it, but that's the best way I can think of. I'm even going to have recipe card templates that you can print and have on hand for your own collection, should you want them. Below is a link to the index page image. Bear in mind that this is just the first draft, and I know that a lot has to be tweaked before it will be ready for content. Pretty cool, huh?

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For My Cookbook

The Recipes

Salads

Blue Caesar Salad ~ My own variation of a traditional Caesar salad, with crumbled blue cheese

Greek Salad ~ The REAL deal, not the second rate crap you find in most restaurants

Mozzarella & Tomato Salad ~ Insalata Caprese, with Balsamic Vinaigrette and fresh basil

Yucatan Tuna Salad ~ With avocado, cucumber, tomato, and a creamy lemon dressing

Mexican Potato Salad ~ With green chilis, corn, cilantro, and more

Cinnamon, Apple, & Pecan Chicken Salad ~ Odd combination, I know - but it works

Cajun Potato Salad ~ With green onions, bacon, a creamy Creole mustard dressing

Curried Rice & Artichoke Salad ~ Addictive stuff, with artichokes, roasted red pepper, and green olives

Shrimp Salad with Avocado & Roasted Corn ~ One of the more unusual but REALLY good versions of shrimp salad

Spinach Salad with Bacon ~ Served with a warm Champagne Vinaigrette

Spicy Asian Cucumber Salad ~ Sesame, chili, rice vinegar, and cucumber

Island Salad ~ Cucumber, jicama, tomato, Bermuda onion, and red wine vinegar

Thai Chicken Salad (Larb Gai) ~ Warm chicken salad with toasted ground Jasmine rice, lime, cilantro, green onion, and chili


Salad Dressings

Blue Cheese Dressing ~ Very thick and creamy

Blue Cheese Vinaigrette ~ Phenominal on a Cobb salad

Cumin Citrus Dressing ~ Toasted cumin, lemon, lime, and garlic in a Ranch style dressing

Garlic-Oregano Ranch Dressing ~ Because regular Ranch is boring

Balsamic Vinaigrette ~ My friend Shannon eats this by the spoon. Excellent marinade for grilled vegetables!

Raspberry Vinaigrette ~ For everything from salads to fresh fruit

Greek Dressing ~ Simple and light, for a real Greek salad


Compound Butters

Roasted Jalapeno-Cilantro Butter ~ For grilled corn on the cob

Garlic Butter ~ The base of many recipes and a kick ass spread for fresh bread


Main Course Entrees

Jerk Chicken ~ Very intense, rustic, and spicy

Peachtree Chicken ~ With peach preserves and pecans

Chicken & Andouille Sausage Gumbo ~ Thick, hearty bayou style gumbo, the one that made the true Cajun concede defeat!

White Chili ~ Chicken, navy beans, chickpeas, cilantro and lime

Thai Chicken Satay ~ Grilled coconut-curry chicken

Chicken in Brandy Cream Sauce with Mushrooms ~ Unbelievable - this is one you'll want to impress people with

Chicken & Dumplings ~ #1 on my Ultimate Comfort Food list

Raspberry Dijon Chicken ~ Tangy and slightly sweet, with fresh raspberries and Creole mustard

Hawaiian Chicken ~ Maggie's mother came up with this one, and it's one of my favorites

Roasted Salt Brined Turkey & Dressing ~ This is the Thanksgiving turkey I make every year

Pan Barbecued Shrimp ~ My version of a New Orleans favorite

Shrimp Alfredo ~ Blackened shrimp in Fettucine Alfredo

Scallops and Mushrooms with Cream Sauce in Puff Pastry ~ Also called Coquille St. Jacques, and a favorite of scallop lovers

Crab Cakes ~ Maryland style

Chicken Santa Fé ~ Blackened chicken with Colby Jack cheese, fresh tomatoes, and green onions

Chicken Pot Pie ~ #2 on my Ultimate Comfort Food list

Granny's Chicken & Rice ~ #3 on my Ultimate Comfort Food list

Pork Chops & Mushroom Gravy ~ Fork tender pork chops, they're like buttah...

Salsa Verdé Braised Pork Chops ~ Tomatillos, garlic, jalapenoes, green onions

Cajun Barbecue ~ Smoky and spicy pork barbecue, and I LOVE me some good barbecue.

New Orleans Pasta ~ Chicken, Andouille sausage, and shrimp blackened and served in Fettucine Alfredo with peppers, onions, fresh tomatoes, and parmesan cheese

Cajun Pot Roast ~ With Cajun gravy, ideal for real New Orleans' style Po Boys

Roadkill ~ Hamburger steaks smothered in mushroom gravy and blanketed in Provolone cheese


Vegetarian Entrees

Eggplant Parmesan ~ Lightly sauced

Spanakopita ~ Spinach, Feta cheese, and pine nuts in Phyllo pastry

Red Beans & Rice ~ The New Orleans' Monday standard

Black Beans & Rice ~ Cuban style

Redneck Rellenos ~ Roasted poblano peppers stuffed with cheese grits, they're amazing

Asparagus Tart ~ Simple cheese tart with Parmesan and fresh asparagus

Pizza Margherita ~ Pesto sauce, artichokes, mushrooms, spinach, black olives, and fresh tomatoes on a crisp, thin crust

Potato Gratin ~ Simple gratin, yet rich and satisfying

Corn Maque Choux ~ fresh corn smothered in onions, bell peppers, & fresh tomatoes - traditional Cajun fare

Fried Green Tomatoes ~ #4 on my Ultimate Comfort Food list

Jamaican Vegetable Patties ~ Spicy and light, with sauteed cabbage, carrots, onions, celery, and chili peppers in a curry pastry shell, served with raspberry sauce

Rosemary & Fresh Plum Tomato Foccaccia ~ #5 on my Ultimate Comfort Food list

Falafel ~ Lebanese chickpea fritters

Hummus ~ a favorite dip & sandwich spread, only mine is a little on the hot & spicy side


Pasta Sauces

Vodka Sauce ~ Tomato, garlic, cream, and a little kick of Vodka

Pesto Sauce ~ Traditional basil pesto, used in several different things I make</i>

Puttanesca Sauce ~ My favorite pasta sauce EVER

Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo Sauce ~ Maggie's responsible for this one


Desserts

Bread Pudding with Praline Sauce ~ Because it's good as hell, that's why

Tiramisu ~ FOOD-GASM

Caramel Apple Tarts ~ Like an individual Tarte Tatin, only better

(no subject)

I've been watching this debate on SR 595 on the House floor for two hours, and I've been so angry that I've screamed at the monitor for the ignorance and outright lies that the Republican representatives have been spewing, and I've been so elated by those debating in opposition that I've cried. My district representative is speaking right now, and after he finishes, we'll know what the final vote is. I'm extremely anxious right now.

(no subject)

SR 595 needed 121 Yea votes to pass as an amendment.

It just got 122.

I cannot believe how completely wrong this is, and how badly I wished I could crawl under a rock until all this insanity passes.
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