Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How Your Cooking Habits Change When Your Husband Leaves You

Recently my husband left me and being faced with being single and alone I decided that my cooking habits should change a bit. I didn't want to spend a lot of money at the grocery and I certainly didn't want to spend hours in the kitchen making huge meals. So I emptied the contents of my pantry onto my kitchen island and took a quick inventory.

I made the command decision that I would only cook things that could be made with the ingredients on the island. After a few days of Pasta Roni, Corn Bread Muffins, and Grits I missed cooking. Cooking is what I do. The loneliness was beginning to set in and I wanted something to take my mind off the fact that my husband was gone, so I hit the Internet for a recipe. What could I make with zero fresh ingredients? Shortly after I settled into my search I found this recipe and decided to give it a try. I have never made homemade hush puppies and luckily I had and onion in the fridge. These "puppies" were delicious and just what I needed to get my cooking fix.

By the way, my husband didn't technically "leave me" leave me. We are moving home to New Orleans soon and he had a job opportunity that he needed to take in New Orleans before I could leave D.C. So I am living alone and cooking for one, but I am not exactly single ;-)

Hush Puppies

Adapted from Cooking Light April 2010

  • 4 cups of Peanut Oil
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons grated onion
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

1. To prepare hush puppies, heat 4 cups of peanut oil to 385 degrees in a dutch oven. Lightly spoon 3/4 cup flour in dry measuring cups; level with a knife.

2. Combine 3/4 cup of flour and remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Mix ingredients together until incorporated.

3. Drop batter 1 tablespoonful at a time into pan; fry at 375° for 5 minutes or until browned, turning frequently.

Remove hush puppies from pan using a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels.
Serve hot with butter.

Click Here for My Adapted Printable Recipe

Monday, April 12, 2010

2 Year Blogiversary !

Thursday is my two year blogiversary. I am traveling for work this week and won't be able to post on Thursday to celebrate the big milestone. I am posting a sweet treat today to revel in the occasion. It has been another great year of blogging and I have learned so much in my kitchen, about photography and even blogging. I have had a blast and feel fortunate for all of my followers and regular readers. Thank you for your interest!

Coconut Cupcakes
Adapted from Sunset June 2006

  • 2 3/4 cups butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons each vanilla and almond extracts
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon each baking powder, baking soda, and salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup flaked coconut, toasted
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Toast coconut in a dry skillet until browned, but not burned.

2. In a large bowl, cream together 2 cups butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Mix in 1 1/2 teaspoons each vanilla and almond extracts.

3. In another large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter and sugar mixture in 3 batches, alternating with coconut milk.

4. Fill 30 paper-lined muffin cups (1/2-cup capacity) in two or more muffin pans about 2/3 full with batter.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing muffins from pans. Cool completely.

5. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, 3/4 cup butter, and 1/2 teaspoon each vanilla and almond extract until smooth.

Gradually beat in powdered sugar.

Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with remaining coconut.

Click Here for My Adapted Printable Recipe

Monday, April 5, 2010

Catfish Dilly Days

When I was a young girl my Grannie always took my little brother and me to Piccadilly. No, not the major street in London, but the chain of cafeteria style restaurants found primarily in the South. It was my favorite place to dine with her and I got the same exact meal every time - The Catfish Dilly with macaroni and cheese, French fries, and the soft roll. Very balanced, right?

Later in life, even after Grannie had passed I found another partner to dine at Piccadilly with on a regular basis. After college, my old college roommate and I were in Grad school at different Universities and we wanted to find a way to keep in touch and stay current on each others lives. Lauren and I met every Tuesday at Piccadilly for lunch. Even though several years had passed and my palate had definitely matured, I still got the same meal from my childhood - The Catfish Dilly with macaroni and cheese, French fries, and a soft roll. What can I say? I like nostalgia, or maybe I just LOVE catfish. This recipe had a very similar crust to the Piccadilly catfish and I couldn't help but think of all the special meals I had at the caloric cafeteria with those two special people in my life.

Cornmeal Crusted Fried Catfish
Adapted from Cooking Light April 2010


  • 8 cups peanut oil
  • 6 (6-ounce) catfish fillets
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 9 ounces all-purpose flour, divided (about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs

1. To prepare catfish, clip a candy/fry thermometer to a Dutch oven; add oil to pan. Heat oil to 385°.

2. Sprinkle fillets evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place 4.5 ounces (1 cup) flour in a shallow dish. Combine remaining 4.5 ounces (1 cup) flour, cornmeal, cayenne and black pepper in a shallow dish. Combine 2 cups buttermilk and 2 eggs in a shallow dish. Dredge fillets in flour;

dip in buttermilk mixture.

Dredge in cornmeal mixture; shake off excess breading.

Place 2 fillets in hot oil; cook 5 minutes or until done, turning occasionally.

Make sure oil temperature does not drop below 375°. Remove fillets from pan using a slotted spoon or spider; drain on paper towels. Return oil temperature to 385°. Repeat procedure twice with remaining fillets.

3. Serve filets hot with lemon wedges.

Click Here for My Adapted Printable Recipe