mulberryshoots

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

red beans and rice . . .

Red beans and rice. Sounds pretty innocuous, right? Wrong. I decided to make it for supper tonight, mostly following a NYTimes recipe and suggestions. Apparently, it’s a specialty dish from New Orleans or Louisiana, that is.

I was surprised to learn that one of the ingredients is Cajun smoked Andouille sausage (which I found at Shaw’s!) It also requires soaking, boiling the red beans (organic, of course, not canned!) and cooking for two hours, mashing the beans at the end to thicken the pot. Alongside, rice is cooked and served in a bowl with the red beans on top.

To be honest, I wasn’t too sure about this dish as I scraped some of the green pepper out of the pot – thinking there was too much of it, and letting it cook for the allotted time. We’re about to have it for dinner tonight – late for us, but George came back in the afternoon and had lunch after 2 pm. So, I thought we’d have a leisurely Saturday night supper.

After dinner: You can knock me over with a feather! –the red bean mix on top of freshly cooked rice was SO GOOD!! There were complex flavors, enough salt and not too salty – the warm rice was the perfect foil for the red beans

In addition, I made a small apple coleslaw as a complement to the spicy sausage dish – cut up a honey crisp apple to a cole slaw mix with caeser dressing, apple cider vinegar and honey mixed together with it. Slightly sweet and cool and very tasty! WHEW!! I’m a fan now and already thinking about cooking up another batch of rice to go with the red bean leftovers!

soba noodles with cucumber and wakame . . .

Tonight’s supper: Soba noodles with Persian cucumber, Wakame seaweed and a dressing of Marukan Seasoned Rice Vinegar, Teriyaki (soy, sugar, Mirin,) sugar, hot sesame oil.

I marinated the cucumbers and seaweed with the vinegar dressing and when the Soba noodles were cooled to room temperature, added some of the Teriyaki sauce and sesame oil.. Scrumptious!

Alongside, a few choice slices of salmon sashimi with soy/wasabi dip.

making a “margherita pizza” at home . . .

As someone who likes to cook, there are a few dishes that I’ve always wished that I could make as tasty at home as they are in restaurants.

One of them is Pizza Margherita (like one that I had in Minneapolis) and some dim sum dumplings (Shray Jow and Har Gow) – water dumplings and those tiny opaque wrapped shrimp dumplings in Chinese dim sum restaurants. Japanese Bento box dishes are another on my list; maybe Asian “street food,” especially “bing” with scallions and sesame seeds; and Asia noodle dishes of all kinds: Korean, Pho, Pad Thai, like that!

Anyhow, I guess you could call this a kind of “food/cooking bucket list” – and I’ve started today by making a pizza margherita crust, using Italian “tipo 00” flour. The dough has a much finer texture than those I’m familiar with made with all-purpose flour. I’ve refrigerated two of them to keep for a couple of days and will use the other one tonight for our pizza. I also watched a video of how to stretch out the pizza dough to begin and then roll it around on your knuckles to make it larger. As with biscuits, stretching and minimal handling (not rolling it out with a pin) makes the texture of the crust more chewy, I guess.

Although I understand why people make their own pizza sauce, we’re fans of Mezzetta brand tomato sauces. I did pick up a fresh ball of mozzarella cheese and we have a large basil plant out on the deck that will provide the fresh leaves when the pizza is baked and ready to eat.

So, here’s a photo of the dough with the special flour to start – more photos to add later on when the pizza is ready for dinner. What’s on your list of food/dishes you’d like to learn how to make? Would love to hear about them!