Sunday, December 31, 2006

Creole Black Eyed Peas

I'm almost doing the whole Southern thing this New Years Eve, but I have no greens. Just cornbread and black eyed peas. This is from the 1985 Southern Living, but over the years have morphed into my Dad's recipe. Now, I follow in the tradition. I had to call and get the recipe:

Creole Black-Eyed Peas

1 bag of dried black-eyed peas (soaked overnight before cooking)
1 pkg of thick sliced bacon or 1/2 lb salt pork (I chopped it up with scissors)
1 can tomato sauce
1 mega onion, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped
salt, pepper, red pepper, garlic powder
hot sauce, worchestershire sauce
1 pkg kielbasa sausage
Rice or cornbread

Soak the beans and discard bad ones (they float to the top). Put in a dutch oven along with the bacon and cover with water. Cook on low for 45 minutes. Add the rest (minus sausage and rice). Cook for another 45 minutes. Add sausage and cook for another 45 minutes. You may want to taste in the last 45 minutes just to determine spices. We would always eat a lot of it in the last bit of cooking (really tasting it), but it is so good.

Along with mine I'm eating cornbread:

Corn meal mix (2 cups)
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup oil
1 egg
corn and scallions, hot sauce (addition mine)

Heat a cast iron skillet in 400. Heat oil in it for 5 minutes. Mix rest, add in hot oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Put cornbread in the bottom of a bowl. Put peas on top - enjoy it. It is great. Happy New Year - and you always enjoy this meal with some football. Go Colts and Gators!

Cooks in the Kitchen

thought I would introduce you to people that I mention here on the blog. This is my family - and we are all cooks in our own right. From Left to right:

My Mom. She loves to bake - she is a little more adventurous in changing recipes then I am. We always had casseroles growing up and they were yummy.

My Dad - he can cook southern cooking with the best. I always ask him for southern veggie help: like collards, turnips, cabbage, etc. And he is always willing to share his expertise. His favorite recipe I have is his cajun black eyed peas - which will be made today in honor of New Years and then I'll put the recipe up.

Me. I got my love of cooking from my family - and my love of sharing it with others from my mentor in St. Augustine - Phyllis. You can find out who she is by clickin the "My Other blog" link on the right.

Tywonn - the newest and greatest addition to the Davidson family, she loves to bake. Since I am moving back to the Good State, I'm looking forward to baking and cooking with her more. She also loves to make Broccoli salad and pumpkin pie. Both - she is great at. Alan will eat all the pie!

Alan - He is the griller of the family. He loves to grill, anything and everything. Chicken, steak, fresh shrimp from the Keys. My fave thing that he has ever made for us is the broiled garlic whole onions he makes. He made them one year for Thanksgiving and they were incredible. A cross between sauted onions one would get on steak at a restaurant and the bloomin' onion you can get at Outback. Good stuff.

Anyway - enjoy! Now you know more about my culinary history

Monday, December 25, 2006

Gingerbread Waffles

THese were phenom. I'm loving my waffle maker - my cooking tool of the YEAR!! Whoohoo - thank you to MG to helping me make my first batch - and now I've made them all year.
This will probably the last batch of 2006 - my roomie wanted to try some, so I'm freezing them for her. Eggo does not make gingerbread waffles. I looked through tons of recipes and came across this one in an old (almost as old as me) cookbook. Since adapted by someone, I did adapt it too, mainly b/c I didn't have any cloves. I ate one of these tonight - even though I was stuffed - and I served it with ff cool whip and real maple syrup. make em, and enjoy them!

Gingerbread waffles:

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup molasses
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice (instead of cloves)
1 cup boiling water (I heated up my tea kettle)

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and molasses. Mix together dry ingredients. Add alternating water and dry ingredients. Pour into greased waffle maker according to your instructions. Cook them until steam stops rising from the maker.
Enjoy them! Makes 8-10 waffles. They freeze very well - just stick them in a baggy - into your freezer.
Hope you enjoy them Erin - in a few weeks of course.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Big Batch Santa Cookies

Mom made these for her swap, so I wanted to make them today. Since I am taking cookies two different places tonight and tomorrow - thought a big batch would be nice. These make tons!
Mom got this recipe from a kraft website, but she altered it, and I of course altered it some more! Something I like to do with cookies...

Big Batch Santa Cookies (make about 7 dozen)
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cup flour
3 pinches of baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 bag white chocolate chips
2 cups chopped walnuts
1 bag dried cranberries

Cream sugars and butter. Add eggs and vanilla till mixed. Add in dry ingredients, fold in chips, nuts, and berries.
Heat oven to 375, drop cookies onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, let cool.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sweet Potato Hash

My brother had cooked these on Friday night and we devoured the leftovers on Saturday. He got the recipe from Food & Wine and altered it a little, so this is the Alan version, then altered some more for the Kim version. It was much better than I could ever have anticipated! And since they are in season right now, this is a perfect time to make this recipe - try it for Christmas dinner or any other time you are having people over (otherwise you may eat all of it yourself).

Sweet Potato Hash

1 3/4 lbs sweet potatoes, cubed, skinned
1/2 package of bacon
1 large onion
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
s/p - generous grindings

Blanch potatoes for about 4-5 minutes in boiling water, drain. Cook bacon down, drain the bacon - keep some of the drippings to cook the onions in. Cook onions, return potatoes to pot, cook for about 15 minutes until done. Take off heat - add in parsley, bacon, and seasonings. Serve warm.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Restaurant Review - Barnacle Bills

My fave seafood place in St. Augustine. When I was returning from church and passed the one on the beach I saw they were closed for lunch on Sunday. I just about flipped out - not wrecking the car though! But, I looked it up online and saw the downtown one was open at lunch, so we went there. I so wanted Dat'l Shrimp!
Smokin' Smoked Fish Dip - it was pretty good (I ate too many crackers). And I think the smoked mullet dip that my mom makes is even better (she's making that this weekend when my papa smokes some mullet they caught recently). Especially now that she has some Dat'l sauce!
Minorcan Clam Chowder - Phyllis' is better. This one was spicy - but not real flavor, just heat. The crab was in such tiny pieces you couldn't really taste it. Go Phyllis!
Dad really liked his blackened alaskan salmon.
Mom and I split a dozen dat'l shrimp. They use a spicy dat'l rub on the shrimp then fry them and serve it with a mayo dat'l sauce. They were just as good as I was hoping they would be. Worth the wait!
Hushpuppies - they were good too. Mom thought they were a bit greasy, but they were round, fried, and ended up beind dipped in the dat'l shrimp sauce.

Our waitress wasn't the best, the prices are reasonable (8-16$ with 2 sides and hushpuppies) - for dinner prices (the only kind they have on Sundays). I like the beach atmosphere of the Beachside one better - downtown was ok, just a little more rustic.

Still holds the fave fried shrimp place! A close second is Billy and Jeremy's (a homemade take off Barnacle's since Jeremy and Jill both worked there).

Restaurant Review - Vines Grille

This restaurant is in the Dr. Phillips' area of Orlando right off I-4. This is where we as a family went to eat for Ty's and my b-day. There were good things and bad things about it:
I'll start with the good:
Quiet - but we went early and were the only ones in the restaurant until we left
Great WineTaster - he came out and took our picture before we ate
Banana Spring Rolls - Alan suggested these and so did the waiter - they were great. Good ending
Boursin cheese on the board - it was really good. I don't like buying random new cheeses to buy because they are expensive (especially if I don't like them).
The salmon - dad really liked that.
The mushroom risotto - Mom got that and it was very yummy.
The Vineyard salad - great way to start off the meal - probably the best thing I ate the whole meal.

Now, for the negative:
Price - way over priced - dinners we got ranged from 24-38$. So, that is just insane to me. Especially since it wasn't the best thing I've ever put in my mouth.
Cheese board - there weren't enough apples or crackers to go along with it.
I chose the chicken - a little dry, so I didn't eat much of it (but my asparagus was great).

But, it was nice to sit as a family. Enjoy a meal, laugh at some of our knowledge (or lack thereof) of fine dining. Black napkins for black pants - why don't they have red napkins if I have on a red dress? Just a question. Alan said it got better and hopping as the night went on b/c of the live jazz. It probably would be a great place to come for a night out - wine and banana spring rolls and jazz - you can't beat that. So, maybe that is what I'll do next time I want good jazz music!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Restaurant Review - Parizade

Went to Parizade for our holiday lunch today for the office. I was pleasantly surprised in most things as I hadn't heard raving things about it.
Not the easiest place to get to.
Atmosphere is very loud so you can talk with the people around you and can't hear really anything else. So it would be better if you went with a few people and not a large group.
The wait staff was very friendly and knowledgeable. The presentation was great and the dishes for lunch were very reasonably priced 3$-14$. Greek/Mediterranean food.
I had hummus with pita - good, little too garlicky for me, but good consistency and good olive oil. Some of the pita was burnt, too long on the grill! but the ones that weren't were delicious. Also had the spinach salad...spinach, walnuts, red onions, manouri (a new cheese for me, salty, grilled, cut in a wedge on top), oranges, and a sherry dressing. Very nice. The flavors went so well together.
The had a delicious looking dessert menu. But, since I had had the pitas and bread, I went for the sorbet and fruit. The cookie served with it was a spice cookie - a little too crispy for my liking. Fruit was good and the lemon sorbet was cold and amazing way to finish the meal.

I got to taste a co-workers shrimp frittata and it was real tasty as well.

So, maybe a place I would go back too for the hummus or the salad, place I would tell people to go, but I know my Dad wouldn't like it b/c it was too noisy - but overall - a pleasant lunch.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Candy Cane Fudge

Today was baking day. One of the things was Candy Cane Fudge - amazing. I made it a few years ago and thought fudge was really hard till I made this. It isn't as hard as everyone makes it out to be.

Thanks to Mom for the chopping of the candy canes! Priceless...

1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (definitely SIFT it)
1 cup crushed candy canes
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Heat cream and syrup to boiling over medium. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add in choc chips till melted. Stir in powdered sugar vanilla and candy canes. Chill in 8x8 foil lined pan for at least 2 hours - makes 64 pieces of fudge.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

1st Ever Biscotti (Homemade that is)

Wow - why have I been spending all my money on buying adequate biscotti - it is so easy and so good to make.
Today we made Pistachio/Cranberry/White chocolate biscotti... Yummy!

I got this recipe from and it was great! Thanks to the internet:

2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 pinches salt
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup shelled unsalted chopped pistachios
1/2 cup craisins

350 wax paper lined pan
Beat sugar and egg on high speed for 5 minutes until pale, light, and fluffy. Add vanilla. Mix together dry ingredients - add to wet. Fold in nuts and berries.
Mold into a 3x12 log, bake for 25 minutes. Take out, let cool for 10 minutes. Slice, then bake again for 10 minutes, flip over, and bake another 10 minutes.
Let cool, drizzle with white chocolate.

More biscotti coming later this week!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

George's - Worth the second try

Well, I went to George's Garage today in the 9th Street district of Durham. The last time I went there was for appetizers. Didn't care for those at all, so I could have cared less about going there again. But, I had heard better things about their market for lunch, so MG and I went there today for lunch. What a trip!
We split the Grilled Rosemary Chicken Sandwich - flatter bread, shaved grilled chicken, provolone, spicy mustard, lettuce, tomato - soft soft bread - it was delicious!
Hummus - now I am a fan of hummus, but after the stuff at Elmo's I was a little turned off from store bought hummus. Their's is perfect: fresh, great olive oil, just the right amt of garlic, nothing weird in it - just plain hummus. Crispy baked pita chips to go with it.
What a fantastic lunch - and of course the company nor the price was bad either! :)

Ode of great food blogs

If I ever think I'm getting good at baking or cooking, all I have to do is go look at others' food blogs. is my new fave. I have them favorited in my internet column. Can't wait to try some of these. I love the pictures. Its like an online cookbook - why own cookbooks - they take up room.
She may be an amatuer baker - but I want to be able to bake like this. Then I could say I've almost arrived. I'll try some of the recipes...the cinnabun scones, some of her cheesecakes, chocolate toffee bars...

Friday, December 01, 2006

WinterMint Brownies

I got this recipe off the site and they are fabulous. I love doing new recipes and having them be great just like they are - and then they go in that permanent recipe folder - these are them!

WinterMint Brownies

3 sticks butter, melted
3 cups sugar
1 tbsp vanilla (you could put mint extract in here if you want it more minty)
5 eggs
2 cups flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
24 regular size york peppermint patties

325 (glass pan, 350 normal pan). Grease pan 13x9. Cream butter, sugar and extract. Add eggs one at a time. Add dry ingredients. When all mixed together, reserve two cups of batter. Pour in rest of batter in pan, layer with 24 york patties, then spread the 2 cups remainder over the top. Bake for 65 minutes or until done. Let cool overnight - makes them easier to cut.

Enjoy - I saved some of the crumbs and little bits for ice cream topping - yummy!