Archive for the ‘Household’ Category

Patchwork project celebrates community

by on Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

ari-quiltersA new club in town wants to square things with you. Specifically, the New Toulouse Quilters Association wants your square.

“The idea is to create a quilt using squares donated by residents,” said Ms. Arijah Ankh Khalid-Zyn of the New Toulouse Christmas quilt project. “Each square should represent something personal or inspiring to you. Ideally, these would be things representing your business, hobbies, interests, or life here in New Toulouse.”

The deadline for contributions is November 30, after which the squares will be stitched together into Christmas gift quilts for the people of New Toulouse. Find details on how to participate in the mayor’s multipurpose room at the land office.


Gigi Lapin is still looking for her pet crawfish, Jimbo.

What’s Cookin’

by on Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

whats-cookin
Dear Miz Beedit,
 
I have finally taken the plunge and moved out of the proverbial parents’ basement to make it on my own in the world. This means that now I’m entirely responsible for stuffing my own craw full of presumably nourishing things. Do you have a good recipe for a new bachelorette?
 
Miz Soto


Miss Hax,

Congratulations upon your foray into independence, rent checks, utilities, and foraging for the ever-evasive home-cooked meal. 

Of course the first thing that comes to mind isn’t the utilitarian craw-stuffing material, but rather a dish to elevate the senses for comparably few pennies. If you’re clever—and I know that you are—you’ll only dirty one pan. Your guests will look on in curiosity as you stir and pour by the stove with your primitive wooden spoon (I use my Italian grandmother’s). But when you serve this pile of heaven, conversation will lapse as their mouths revel in your awesomeness. Not a euphemism.


Mushroom Risotto

Thanks to Biba Caggiano for inspiring this recipe. Her book Trattoria is great.

5 oz. (or more) fresh wild mushrooms, chopped (porcini, chantrelles, portobello, etc.)
Olive oil
Garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt
Pepper
3 tablespoons butter (vegans, substitute another fat)
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
6 cups chicken or veggie stock
Parsley

Heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan until it smokes, and sauté the mushrooms for 3–5 minutes, until golden.

Toss in some chopped garlic and 1/2 cup or more of dry white wine. Let the wine almost reduce, season with salt and lots of pepper, and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet and toss in the onion; sauté till translucent. Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat with butter.

Add the wine, and stir the rice with a wooden spoon until the wine is almost absorbed.

Turn the heat under the risotto to medium and continue to stir it, adding about 3/4 cup of stock at a time—6 cups of stock in all. (I also add water from soaking dried mushrooms, which makes the mushroom flavor very rich.)

When most of the stock is absorbed and the risotto is soft but not gummy (it’s almost chewy, like there’s still a tiny, hard granule inside the individual grains), add the mushrooms and some chopped fresh parsley, and stir the risotto well.

Garnish with more parsley when serving. Enjoy! 


Miss Beedit recently inherited a breezy old shotgun house in New Toulouse. She welcomes trespassers and can predict your future.

What’s Cookin’

by on Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

whats-cookin
Today we examine an essential universal question. Personally, I ask it at least three times a week, maybe more. And I bet it comes up for you too as part of your natural human condition, like when you wonder about the afterlife at unexpected times. The question is, “Who doesn’t like goats?”

I recently came into possession of some goat milk yogurt. “Came into possession” may be a bit of a stretch; I spent my own hard-earned money on it. Having no beef against cows, I suppose I had some propaganda in my head about goat cheese being fantastically good for you. And anyway, who doesn’t like crostini broiled with a little goat cheese, laid out so nicely atop micro-greens and then drizzled with lemon vinaigrette? And who doesn’t like goats?

So I thought, this yogurt is made from goats. It has to be great, like yogurt on steroids! And it was indeed powerful: it was like putting a bunch of grass in your mouth when you were expecting blueberries.

So there it sat, looking at me every time I opened the icebox. I needed to force myself not to waste it.

Miss Kari suggested a Jordanian national dish called mansaf. But mansaf is all about huge chunks of melt-in-your-mouth, beautifully spiced lamb. Lambs are cute, and they taste good too, but being a hurried vegetarian, I just haven’t had time to drum up a variation. I haven’t given up though, Miss Kari.

So, thus ensued this simple yet delicious recipe. It’s not vegan this time. Because goat.

Greek Tomato Yogurt Soup
Adapted from Cooking for Health, by the Moosewood Restaurant, and the Wishful Chef

Makes about 6 one-cup servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced or chopped
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 sun-dried tomatoes
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
Generous dash ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh)
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup goat milk yogurt

Heat a large pot on medium. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, until soft. Add the tomatoes and cook down for 8-10 minutes.

Add the vegetable broth, sun-dried tomatoes, thyme, and honey. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool.

Using a hand blender, puree the soup until nice and creamy. Season with salt and pepper, then mix in yogurt. Serve hot or cold.


Miss Beedit recently inherited a breezy old shotgun house in New Toulouse. She welcomes trespassers and can predict your future.

Pet of the Week

by on Monday, May 5th, 2014

Miss Maggie Hawksby's goat, Trollbait, relaxes in the Voodoo House garden.

Miss Maggie Hawksby’s goat, Trollbait, relaxes in the Voodoo House garden.

“Pet of the Week” is over for now. Many thanks to all who sent in pet photographs!

Pet of the Week

by on Sunday, April 27th, 2014

SalomeProsperoPetoftheWeekEntry

Send a captioned photograph of your pet to tattler@newtoulouse.org, and it may be featured as Pet of the Week!

Pet of the Week

by on Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Cap-for-Tattler

Send a captioned photograph of your pet to tattler@newtoulouse.org, and it may be featured as Pet of the Week!

Pet of the Week

by on Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Poofer and Doofer, owned by Mr. Pazzo Pestana, have become fascinated by cats since they moved to New Toulouse.

Poofer and Doofer, owned by Mr. Pazzo Pestana, have become fascinated by cats since they moved to New Toulouse.

Send a captioned photograph of your pet to tattler@newtoulouse.org, and it may be featured as Pet of the Week!

Pet of the Week

by on Saturday, April 5th, 2014

Jimbo is allergic to corn, and owner Gigi Lapin asks that he not be given bourbon.

Jimbo the crawfish is fond of dancing but allergic to corn, and owner Gigi Lapin asks neighbors to please avoid giving him bourbon.

Send a captioned photograph of your pet to tattler@newtoulouse.org, and it may be featured as Pet of the Week!

What’s Cookin’

by on Thursday, March 6th, 2014

whats-cookin

Now and again on an especially balmy night, we indulge in wistful thoughts of the old Sugar Mill out there in Bayou. So many memories, but sometimes memories are even better without soaked feet.

Back then, everyone thought it was such a good idea to “modernize.” “Oh yes, doll, you can throw parties here in the swamp—everyone will slog over in their finery.” But to citify a sugar mill in a swamp is akin to revamping a tallow buggy floating in tapioca. If you think bringing plaster to a swamp is a good idea, I have some sixty-pound yoga balls to sell you.

In desperate social measures you’d row over to the city with your nice shoes stowed in your satchel for last-minute burnishing on dry land. The ladies would be waiting at some gazebo or another, filled with birdsong and chatter. If we were all lucky, the pralines would have survived the trip, not melting, getting too greasy, or mysteriously disappearing.

These are especially good because the nutritional value might balance out the sugar. (Like Pazzo once said while floating through town in his merman costume, “My trident offsets my tiara.”)

Vegan Salted Caramel Pralines

2 cups whole pecans
1 cup almond butter
1 1/4 cups pure maple syrup (use half this amount for a less gooey, more savory praline—it tastes fine)
3/4 cup solid coconut oil
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Lay out the pecans in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Toast them in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes. Keep an eye on those pecans! They can burn quickly.

Put all ingredients for the salted caramel into a food processor or a high-speed blender. Blend on high for approximately 2 minutes, scraping down the sides periodically. (Blending this long will create a somewhat sticky, caramel-like sauce). You must beat the caramel for at least two minutes. If all you have is a bowl and a wooden spoon, your mileage may vary.

So now you have your nice caramel, and to that you want to add your pecans. Stir it all together or mash it with your hands.

Lay the resulting blobs on waxed paper—you want about two tablespoons each or maybe eight nuts’ worth, in a fairly compact disk.

Chill the pralines overnight in an airtight container between the sheets of waxed paper.

They are tasty!

Caramel sauce adapted from bakerbettie.com.


Once a Bayou bait shop owner serving the best leeches and pie, these days Miss RMarie Beedit can be found in the St. Louis Cemetery, looking for night crawlers and shiny pennies.

What’s Cookin’

by on Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

whats-cookin

King Carrot Cake pour Gigi

One of my favorite activities is walking on the railroad tracks in Bayou. There’s something about those rutted industrial tracks raised above the wilds, the shimmering canal, and the ancient trees beside those humble, rickety old ties. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen anybody maintaining those tracks in almost forty cat years. And if you’re wondering, I’m anything but a cat.

I’m closer to a rabbit, I guess, but only by virtue of my relationship with our neighbor Miss Lapin. Speaking of whom, I’ve been seriously worried about her over the past few weeks. Ever since the publication of a certain vegan fettuccine recipe, that rabbit seems to be suffering a nutritional deficiency due to a diet consisting almost solely of alligator pears.

Of course, aside from being concerned about her well-being and girth, I’m also feeling a bit responsible. After all, not everyone has common sense when it comes to sound nutrition, plus rabbits are delicate creatures; too many sweets, and they’re down for the count. Too much fat, and they look more like hedgehogs than hares.

So I consider it my duty to influence a change in regimen, and what better time to do it than just before Mardi Gras?

Please note: this recipe is not only vegan, but it also glutenless, since I can’t bear to use or hear the term “gluten-free” again. AAAAGH.


Glazed Carrot KING CAKE
(adapted from a recipe on theveganscreen.blogspot.com)

1 cup oats
1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
1 1/2 cups date sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup cooked and peeled sweet potato
1 cup vanilla soy milk or vanilla almond milk
3/4 cup olive oil
1 cup water
1 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup currants or raisins (optional)
2/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 baby

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a regular-sized bundt pan and set aside.

In a food processor, grind the oats into a fine meal. Transfer the oats to a large mixing bowl, and set the food processor aside. Add the buckwheat flour, date sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the bowl, and stir until combined. In the food processor, add the sweet potato and “milk”; combine until smooth, and add it to the dry ingredients, along with the olive oil and water. Fold in the carrot, and stir until the batter is combined. Fold in the raisins and walnuts. Transfer the mixture to the bundt pan, and smooth out the batter with the back of a spoon. Bake the cake for approximately 35 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for about 30 minutes, then carefully flip the cake out onto a plate. Allow it to cool for about an hour.

Tuck the baby into the cake so that it is hidden.

For the glaze, combine:

2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup refined coconut oil
2 tablespoons non-dairy milk
1 pinch salt

Split the glaze into thirds, and add a drop of purple, green, or yellow food coloring to the individual portions. Drizzle the glaze over the cake, and cover the cake until ready to serve; refrigerate any leftovers.


Once a Bayou bait shop owner serving the best leeches and pie, these days Miss RMarie Beedit can be found in the St. Louis Cemetery, looking for night crawlers and shiny pennies.