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message 1: by Will (last edited Feb 13, 2009 06:46AM) (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments I love Southwestern cooking but I don't lump it into Mexican food category. I live in New Mexico where we put green and/or red chiles in or on almost everything. I'll have to check out the cookbook.

message 2: by Will (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments We grow chile peppers and eat them fresh here. Other areas have to settle for processed chiles--canned, dried and powdered, or frozen. It makes a difference.

I love the foods of Mexico but find little resemblance to what we call "Mexican food" in America. When I think of Mexican food in America, I think of enchiladas, tacos, jalopenos, cilantro, rice and beans all covered in chile con carne (in NM, we call it 'brown goop-) and cheddar cheese. When I think of food in Mexico I think of fresh seafood (shrimp!), civiche, limes, well-seasoned(but not hot) grilled meats, white cheese, papitas or rice, pastries and fruits, maybe some cinammon-chocolates.

I love it in NM where we use chiles in French-style cream sauces and/or Italian-style pastas. If we have enchiladas we serve them flat (not rolled), covered with red chile sauce and serve them with a fried egg on top. We put red chile in our tortilla chips or make them with blue corn. I think of sopapills as a dessert with honey but in NM we serve them with the main course and stuff them with beans or rice at the table. I love food, distinctive cultural flavors, and cooking similar foods in different ways. I really must get your cookbook.

message 3: by Will (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments Recipes? What are recipes? Those things Mom kept in a box and referred to, measured ingredients, set the oven and the food never had any soul? I don't do those. I create! Every cooking experience is new, every dish a potential flavor extravaganza or a potential disaster.

I love sharing cooking tips, tricks, and strange flavor combinations I've found that work, though. We could do that.

Tonight I'm making a Valentines' Day dinner for friends; I do it every year. 1st course--spinach and mixed bitter greens with champagne vinaigrette and bleu cheese crumbles topped with prawn civiche. 2nd course—green chile, tortilla soup. 3rd course—lime sorbet in champagne. 4th course—1 1/2” thick marinated rib eye steak, slow smoked with mesquite wood and then grilled medium rare; topped with shitake mushrooms sautéed in red chile sauce. Dessert—chocolate fudge/pecan brownies with vanilla bean ice cream, shaved chocolate and sliced strawberry garnish. Wines will be white cab, red merlot; cognac, coffee and Bailey’s Irish cream liqueurs to finish.

Sound okay? I hope everyone enjoys it.

I give up, Tamela; where in the Southwest do you live? Not Texas, they don't stack their enchiladas. No seafood? It must be Arizona.

message 4: by Erika (new)

Erika wow that sounds delicious - what is in the soup? you sure have some lucky friends =)

message 5: by Will (last edited Feb 16, 2009 07:28AM) (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments Oh, El Paso. I always think of El Paso as southern New Mexico. I still eat at the Florida restuarant in Jaurez, but not recently. How they manage to serve fresh seafood there, I don't know, but they have for years. I'm not even sure that "Old El Paso" brand foods are made in El Paso, but many years ago I found in a store in Saudi Arabia, some canned basic Mexican food ingredients (Old El Paso brand) and made Mexican food for about fifty friends. It wasn't the best Mexican food in the world, but to us it was. We missed "real American food". What's more American to a bunch of (mostly) Texans than Mexican food?

Valentines' Day dinner was good, I think. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. The plan was for brownies but I had requests for cheesecake so I made a cinnamon chocolate cheesecake with pecan meal crust and strawberry garnish.

What's in the green chile, tortilla soup, Erika? Green chiles and tortillas. Sorry, I couldn't resist. It's chicken broth base with garlic, onions, chiles, some herbs and seasonings. I served it like a consume and added tortillas strips at the final moment and topped the floating strips with green chile, sour cream dollop.

I think we're all lucky to have good friends; I just spoil mine. Okay, they spoil me, too.

It's Presidents' Day. I'm doing arugala salad to make fun of the arugala jokes during the campaign, pork chops (covered with green chile) to make fun of the complaints about the stimulus bill, and lime and simple-sugar marinated (left-over) strawberries with fresh-mint garnish and creme fresh topping. Dinner is at seven.

message 6: by Erika (new)

Erika Too funny. Well, it sounds wonderful. The dinner last night as well - I love the idea of your Presidents Day dinner!

message 7: by Will (last edited Feb 17, 2009 02:16PM) (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments Tamela, we laugh that most Americans think New Mexico is not part of America. I must read your cookbook. I have books on order so it must wait. I don't use recipes, just peruse them for ideas and enjoyment. I love cheesecake, too.

Erika, glad you enjoyed my sense of humor--not everyone does. We had a good time last night, so I considered it a success.

Tonight it's left-over steak fajitas. Speaking of fajitas, I must tell this story.

I've been to Puerta Villarta several times but still didn't have a favorite restaurant. Recently (last Dec.) I told a taxi driver I was on a quest for the best shrimp in all Mexico and he took us to a place up high, overlooking the entire bay, beach and city from the open verranda. The shrimp were served on top of the sizzling onions and peppers and at the table they doused it all with Drambuie, lit it, and it was awesome! Now, I have a fave place there. "Ah Carrumba!" If you're ever there, check it out. Dessert was a complimentary home-made cinnammon chocolate liquer much like Frangelica but better. Isn't the love of good food a blessing? Isn't Mexican-influence the best food-type in the world? Okay, that's debatable, but it is so lively when done well. I love French and Italian and...okay, I love all kinds of food, I admit, but I can't resist adding some Mexican influences to almost all foods when I cook.

message 8: by Will (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments Gryllis or Grillis? What he finds in the wild? That's Grillis, I think. I've eaten most of that. I've eaten live snails in Africa and other repugnant things; sheep eyes in Arabia, etc. I didn't say I liked them all, though. Add some green chile and I might like them.

I'm trying to guess the actor. Tom Hanks. I never had Mexican food in Russia, but I had Russian food in England.

I lived in Saudi Arabia and Dubai, traveled all over the Middle East and ate lots of curry, dates, figs and tons of rice. I've been in over a hundred countries. The food in West Africa is my least favorite, but some of it was good. I love Greek: hummus, taboulli, spanikopita, what are the honey desserts? I can't think of the word.

I was recently given some banana nut, pecan honey butter (from Chilicothe, Texas) I must find some creative way to use. Maybe in some cinnamon rolls?

message 9: by Martha (new)

Martha Cheves (stirlaughrepeat) | 2 comments Will wrote: "I love Southwestern cooking but I don't lump it into Mexican food category. I live in New Mexico where we put green and/or red chiles in or on almost everything. I'll have to check out the cookbo..."

In your discussion about Mexican foods, I have to say that when I went to Mexico a few years back, I was amazed that what we call Mexican food here is not the same as what you find in Mexico. One example was a taco. It was bland, not as spicy as what I receive when ordering in a restaurant here in the US.

message 10: by Erika (new)

Erika Will wrote: "Gryllis or Grillis? What he finds in the wild? That's Grillis, I think. I've eaten most of that. I've eaten live snails in Africa and other repugnant things; sheep eyes in Arabia, etc. I didn't..."

Oh YUM to Greek! I could eat just about any of it and be happy. Was it Tom Hanks? Or Mel Gibson? Wow - you ate sheep eyes. Did they taste like chicken LOL. That butter sounds delicious - you'll have to let us know what you used it in and how it was!

message 11: by Erika (new)

Erika You're making me hungry. I could eat fresh pita and feta, some cucumber, onion - a little olive oil... sounds like a heavenly breakfast.

I totally agree ... "when in Rome...". How were the snails? What were some of your favorites you tried while there?

message 12: by Will (last edited Feb 18, 2009 06:31AM) (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments I've watched as Americans leave cruise ships and head straight for Taco Bell on the wharf. What is that? I eat snails frequently, but prefer them not so fresh as in Africa--still wiggling and with no garlic butter.

We made tamales in Africa (we brought the masa from the U.S.) with banana leaves and to this day, I still prefer them to corn husks. I don't care for the sweet tamales with strawberries and banana in them you find further south in Mexico, though.

I had a crew of Americans in the Yucatan years ago, who didn't speak Spanish, so I was the interpreter--not a good one, I fear. One of them ordered enchiladas and got salad. "What is this?" he asked. The server was perplexed. "You asked for ensalada, Senior."

"Baklava" was the word I couldn't remember, with honey; maybe I'll make baklava with pecan honey butter.

In my book, "Shifting Sands; A Clash of Cultures," I wrote that Bill (that was me) said that lizard "tastes like chicken." I never really said that, I just thought it was funny to write in the book. Sheep eyes taste similar to chicken eyes, I'd guess.

With all this talk of Greek, I may have to cook something Greek, soon. It's so easy to fall into southwestern everything; it's so good and diverse, but Greek does sound good. Hmmm...what to make? Gyros! With green chile, maybe?

message 13: by Will (last edited Feb 18, 2009 09:23AM) (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments I prefer tamales with shredded pork and red, green or both, also. There's just something wrong with sweet tamales. I used to walk across Paris following my nose from bakery to bakery. My brother lived there for a year and I visited every chance I got. We lived on wine and cheese or pastries and coffee. I don't remember nuts in them, though.

Kabobs are a good idea; easier than gyros to make. I don't put veggies and meat on the same skewers any more. I seperate them and cook them to different heats. I do love the mix of flavors and textures of gyros, though. I won't tell my stories of overindulging on ouzo, here, but I have several... Ricard, Pernot, Sambukah, etc. Something about the anise that gets me, but I love it. Funny, I don't care for licorice that much.

I love to make finnel dishes (kind of licorice tasting, right?) but don't care for the way sweet Italian suasages taste with finnel seasoning, though. Strange!

New Years I made escargot and caviar, both, for friends; some had never tasted either. I poach snails in white wine, butter and garlic; served on home-made whole wheat toast (escagot with fresh toast and caviar on twice-toasted) with sour cream, chopped white onions but not chopped egg as some people like. I could live on the stuff but save it for special occasions. I should add some green chiles, huh? Nah! It should be good, though.

Now I have a craving for éclairs, Tam; your fault.

message 14: by Erika (new)

Erika That's really funny - I just bought fennel at the market, was craving a big fresh salad - you can't beat the taste of fresh fennel. Not that I know what I'm talking about like you 2 do - just know what I like. But now I bet everyone wants an eclair AND canollis - with a steaming cup of coffee. Thanks guys....

message 15: by Erika (new)

Erika So in how many countries have you lived? Turkish coffee - I've never tried it, what is it like? Gluhwein on the other hand, and it won me over from the very first second.

Not a professional cook - surprises me, but you know a lot, and I love to learn. I have so many questions - I probably ought not put them here...we have strayed far from southwestern cooking, so my apologies!

message 16: by Erika (new)

Erika Ooh, I know it's off subject but I'm watching GMA and they just showed Thai pumpkin soup and lobster salad, it made my stomach grumble, mmmmmm!

You make a very provacative argument to try the Turkish coffee, and no wonder you are a writer - the images you paint jump off the page. That is a cute story about your daughter as well. Coffee is a must in the morning at my house before ANYONE talks to me (for their own protection ha).

Yes - a we love food group is exactly what this seems to be! And I'm loving it! Although definitely missing Will - wonder what he had for dinner last night...

message 17: by Will (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments Turkish coffee!! Grounds an inch deep in the bottom of the cup.

Goodreads seems to have bounced me for some reason. I don't get daily updates any more and when I tried to refresh it, my computer went wonky. Maybe it needs coffee or something.

My son-in-law loves coffee more than anyone I know. Me, I just drink coffee. I don't care how good it is, just as long as it has coffee in it. My son-in-law roasts, grinds and makes his coffee fresh every morning, double-strength with imported robusta beans. Sheesh! I just dump grounds in a Mr. Coffee and hit the 'on' button.

I do love food, all kinds. I mostly love to share good food with friends. I love to invent and experiment. Cooking provides infinite opportunities to combine, alter, and discover new flavors, aromas and experiences. It's fun to have friends who feel the same way, so count me in as a charter member of "We Love Food."

message 18: by Erika (new)

Erika I saw that movie and I laughed so hard I cried. I L-O-V-E coffee, so it resonated.

Will's back yay - I'm still wondering about dinner? Tamela yours sounds delicious - you make all that yourself? I'm just having some croissants, cheese and a glass of vino...while I enjoy the Friday - ness knowing I don't have to get up tomorrow...listening to some good music, reading a good book, {sigh} a nice leisurely evening.

message 19: by Erika (new)

Erika Well it sounds delicious. I would love to know how you make the beans, although maybe I should ask that in a different thread?

Well - the music, a CD I just bought - Francoise Hardy - Clair Obscur and I already love it. The book - The Burning Time by Robin Morgan which I borrowed and have to have back soon but is shaping up to be a nice read all at once. The wine - I randomly picked it up at a party, and I don't even know the name of it - the front has a black and white label that looks very generic and all it is called is House Wine - it is red, and delicious.

A new book, how exciting! What genre?

message 20: by Will (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments Francoise Hardy - Clair Obscur --"I'll be seeing you" is my fave on that CD. My favorite kind of wine--red and who cares what it is, it's fine. Actually, I like really good wines; I just like red table wines, too, and like being a reverse snob, extolling the virtues of cheap wine. I had, for years, a bottle of "Cheap Red Wine." I dsplayed it on my bar with pride and had a lot of giggles with it; then I drank it. Yuck! Gross!

Historical Western romance? Careful with the "historical" claim; there are those who will roast you over a spit if it isn't absolutely historically perfectly accurate.

I've had a cold and food isn't as fun. Just green chile chicken soup-- "Hispanic penicillin," I call it--and tortillas.

How do you make beans, Erika? First, you plant a bean in the soil, and then water it, and...sorry, can't stop myself. I haven't felt great so may party poop this weekend, but if I feel like it I'll have friends over for Mardi Gras food. Gumbo or jumballayah, beans and rice....

message 21: by Will (last edited Feb 21, 2009 02:10PM) (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments Caldo de Res? Beef soup? Nothing like chicken soup and green chile for colds.

Beignets...good idea. Finding good crawfish here is difficult so I use shrimp, usually. I love crawfish but eat them where they are indigenous, not in New Mexico. When I was a boy we "fished" for them (and called them crawdads) with bacon on a string. A huge bucket of them made one small meal of tails; I was so disappointed. Then I discovered cajun food! Personally, I don't like really dark roux; cajuns overcook the roux in my opinion, but hey...to each their own. I use Southwestern churrizo sausage, shrimp and chicken with the trilogy of peppers, onions and celery -- and garlic-- to make gumbo or jumbalaya. Real cajuns would criticize it but hey...to each their own, huh?

Yes, I grimace at Asti. I keep sweet white wines for people like you, Tam, but don't drink the stuff. I cook with it, but can't inagine drinking it. At least it's cheap. Like I said, "to each their own." I'm not crazy about Italian wines, either. Oh, well. Spanish wines! Mmmm.... Sangre de Torro rocks!

I feel much better this morning so it may be party time tonight. Depends on who is up for cajun.

message 22: by Will (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments My budget just recovered from my last book order, so went to buy your cookbook. It looks like it will cost me about $25. I'm sure it's worth it. What I thought I'd ask is, "If I send you a check for $25, would you send me a signed copy of it?" You can say, "No". I just thought it'd be fun to have. I've done that with other authors and fans before; both ways.

message 23: by Will (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments Because I'd rather do that than send $25 to amazon for an unautographed copy of it. Where is Erika? sleeping?

We mentioned coffee and France, which reminded me of some stories. Interested? NO? Too bad.

I like my coffee with no sugar or cream, just coffee, right? But in France and Spain, I learned quickly to love cafe au creme/cafe au lait. I just liked that I could say, "cafe au lait" in Paris so I learned to love it that way. In Spain, cafe American is common for Americans. They pour half a cup of coffee and fill it with hot water--it's terrible. I accidentally forgot to specify 'American' one morning and learned to love it spanish-style,IMMEDIATELY.

I enjoy cappuccino after dinner, occasionally, but have never gotten into the new habit of stopping at Starbucks for a half-caf, double foam latte with blah, blah, whatever as so many now have. Just coffee. I think the fad is about adult coffee-flavored candy...and expensive!

I love veal, also. I don't think it's as cruel as so many make it sound. It's always good for an argument, though. My fave veal is scalloppini and then next is cordon blue. Schnitzel, I can take it or leave it and never make it. My favorite restaurant in London was an Italian place --13 1/2 Beauchamp Place (the name of the place and the address)-- where the veal in lemon sauce was melt-in-your-mouth to-die-for. I seldom serve veal, though; it's so politically incorrect, now. Sheesh!

Improvisation is an art. I do it all the time and have huge successes and occasionally, huge failures, but it's always interesting. My fave story of substituting is:

One aunt made a recipe from another aunt that wasn't very good and brought it to a pot luck. "Don't blame it on me, it's her recipe." No, I never made that in my life. "Well, I substituted the veal with chicken and the butter with cream and the green beans with peas and...." (I just made up the ingredients; I don't remember the dish, just the story)

Oh, and I'd rather have the cookbook than romance novel; I don't read romance novels; I love romance, just not the novels. I will admit that my novel, "Castle in the Wind" is kind of a romance novel but with more action and other stuff in it than just romance. It's also a little bit naughty in places.

message 24: by Erika (new)

Erika I guess I have a lot to catch up on... I was sleeping, good guess. Actually, it just seemed to be a busy weekend. But in the mix I got some of the best onion rings ever, decent calimari, and really good beer. It was nice. How were your weekends? I did miss my fix, I have to say, it's nice to be back.

Will, how is the cold? I hope you feel better. And I liked the stories. And thrilled you like the music, I really like that song as well.

Tamela - I like Asti too. And Mardi Gras food sounds all so good I can't pick what to have! Although I've never had crawdads or crawfish, or veal. So much food, never enough time to try it all. And your book sounds good, did you have to work on it all weekend?

I missed you guys - nice to be back =)

message 25: by Will (last edited Feb 23, 2009 08:35AM) (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments Erika's back! Calimari--One of my favorite treats. So many places make decent calimari but make a terrible sauce to go with it. Speaking of onion rings, someday try bell pepper rings battered and fried like onion rings; it's even better than onion rings.

The cold is gone...yay!

Asti! You are both such girls.

Don't be offended; I give my daughters the same abuse for drinking girly wines. They're forever buying me wine club memberships where I get one sweet white wine and one manly red wine each month. They know I'll give them the girl's wine (or cook with it) when they sign me up.

Fat Tuesday dinner at my place. I found some crawfish at the seafood store. I'll have some white or pink wine to go with it if you'd like. I'll drink some Malbec, though.

message 26: by Erika (new)

Erika Well thanks, I must say, you two are very sweet. Bell pepper rings - interesting. I'll have to try them sometime. The cold is gone? Where do you live Will? It's snowy here right now, and I am not a cold weather girl. I can't wait for spring.

I love big band - and jazz. I just love music period.

The feminist in me wants to do battle Will, but I'll chalk it up to an honest mistake ;p. I do like "girly" wine, I like the red too, and dark beer. Go figure.

Can I stop by both your houses tomorrow? It all sounds delicious! I don't have a lot of patience for the baking thing, but YUM. And Paella at one house, crawfish at the other? Mmmmmmm.

Tomorrow is the last day I'll be eating meat for a while, we're giving it up for Lent at our house ... any ideas for a fantastic meat dish I should make?

message 27: by Will (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments Oops, I know well the drill on geting side-tracked and off on another quest. It happens. Paella is always a good idea...Mardi Gras, shmarty gras...whatever.

I was telling a story earlier today I thought I'd share, here, if you're interested. No? Too bad.

I was on the Yucatan in late 1978 (I think) working on a well that was blowing oil which was drifting up onto Padre Island. We turned a sleepy fishing village into a supply depot for the job. The local motel was over-crowded with tired and hungry oil field workers. On the menu -- in a small, never-to-be-noticed restaurant -- was Beef Wellington. "I'll give that a try," I said in my best Spanish. I wondered about the wisdom of my choice and the choice of my words, both, while I waited for either something I hadn't intended or something not resembling beef Wellington. To this day, it was the best beef Wellingon I've ever eaten anywhere. I drool as I remember it.

Paella sounds like a great idea...Wednesday, maybe, or Thursday.

message 28: by Erika (new)

Erika PS - Side note, what kind of seafood do you put in your Paella? Do you use have a special "paella pan"? Just wondering. Sorry - seems like I'm always the 21 questions girl...

message 29: by Will (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments I'll let Tamela answer you about what seafood she'll put in her paella, Erika. I don't think of paella as Spanish as most Americans do; I think of it as Portuguese. The Portuguese put any kind of protein (often muscles or shrimp) with some starch (usually rice) and some pickled veggies (usually olives) all in a clay (what we think of as a paella) dish and bake it. It doesn't matter what they put in it, it's always delicious.

I didn't have a paella dish for years but made lots of paella-type dishes in a covered Pyrex casserole dish; it works fine. I'm not a huge fan of muscles but it is the traditional paella ingredient. I love shrimp so that's my choice, usually.

Many Mediterranean restaurants that feature paella often have on the menu "garlic shrimp." I eat the shrimp while others are having the paella; same idea, just more shrimp, no muscles or scallops. When I make paella, I use jalapenos and olives, both, to make it spicier than traditional paella, but hey...to each their own, right?

message 30: by Erika (new)

Erika Jealousy is streaming out of my pores. 80 degrees really? You both have some nice weather going on, send some of it up to me.... and ENJOY!!!! I'm glad you get to relax in the sun, but thanks for coming to say hi as well.

Baby octopus? I've never even seen it. Your paella sounds like a winner to me. I hope you have a good Fat Tuesday, both of you. Will - you still working on those crawfish?

Yep, giving up meat. Had to be something big so it means something, and that is a big one. I'm a little worried, especially because I'm currently quiting smoking as well, so I've been all about food... but I digress. I haven't figured out what to make tonight, so I guess I'll let a restaurant pick for me.

Happy Fat Tuesday!

message 31: by Erika (new)

Erika Oh and I forgot - Will that "garlic shrimp" and the spicy paella sounds marvelous!

message 32: by Erika (new)

Erika Very impressive - kudos to you!!! I would love to know how you did it, but again, I suppose this isn't really the best place.

No smoking - the first word that comes to my mind is hideous. No smoking and no meat - it definitely feels like a punishment. I'm trying to be positive and tonight will be researching vegetarian options, as I know almost nothing on the subject.

If I don't end up weighing 300 pounds by stuffing myself on a ton of junk - I will be oh so healthy!!! (And then, Easter dinner will be at my house with a huge juicy ham, maybe a side of steak, and hamburgers for dessert.)

message 33: by Will (last edited Feb 24, 2009 01:56PM) (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments Happy Fat Tuesday to all, also. Yep, the gumbo is simmering and roux will come later. I used shrimp (surprise!), crab, chicken, chorizo, bacon, lots of garlic, onions, peppers, but no saffron. I forogt that part; I don't like safron. Cajuns call it "fillet-gumbo" and dump it in everything. I put it out for guests if they want it. French-style bread from the store; I was lazy and didn't bake it. White rice.

No meat? That means no beef or pork, right? For 40 days? You can do that, no prob. You may cluck like a chicken in a month, or swim like a fish, but hey....

It was 73 yesterday and about the same today, here, with tons of sunshine. Yay! Spring! Cooler tomorrow...booooooo....

message 34: by Erika (new)

Erika Oh Mmmmmm... you two are making my stomach growl and my mouth salivate. I guess I better find a good place to eat tonight before I go crazy.

No beef, pork, or chicken. Eeek!

I think it may have gotten all the way up to 27 here today, and we only have a couple inches of snow left on the ground. Spring can't come fast enough.

message 35: by Will (last edited Feb 24, 2009 02:40PM) (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments 27 degrees? That should be enough suffering to qualify for Lent, Erika. Just fish and veggies? Have fun with that. Veggie dishes can be really good; use lots of eggplant--it's a great meat substitute.

I should give up something for Lent, I guess, but I like all my vices. Maybe I'll give up whining; I don't like that; or listening to whining, even better. Good idea, Erika, thanks.

I need to whip up some dessert. What sounds good? King's cake is so lame. Lime cheesecake? Lime cake; that's it. thanks.

message 36: by Erika (new)

Erika Excellent burn. Ouch.

Eggplant, good idea, I love eggplant. And this will also be a good excuse for some good mushrooms, and CHEESE yay!

Lime cake - sounds like a perfect end to a fantastic dinner.

message 37: by Will (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments So what did you have for your lest carniverous meal, Erika? Rib eye steak?

One friend, when I draped them with Mardi Gras beads, said, "These look like last year's beads." They are; I keep them from year to year. "Wow, that's wierd." Huh? Okay, I'm wierd.

message 38: by Will (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments It's a long story I won't tell, but I lived on a vegetarian diet for a few years to heal my internal organs. The truth is: I didn't miss meats. I eventually weaned myself back onto them, gradually, though. I wanted to become a "real" person again. I made it, I think--maybe a bit wierd.

If I lost my vices there wouldn't be any "ME" left, Tam.

Ever tried Lime cake? I discovered it in Florida on a trip to Ft. Lauderdale. It's just a yellow cake made with concentrated lime juice (thawed, frozen concentrated lime-ade). I put a bright yellow lemon icing on it and some crude purple icing trim to get the Mardi Gras colors into the meal. No hidden baby, though. You're familiar with "king cake" and hidden baby, right?

Try grilling eggplant...uh, 23 degrees...maybe not, never mind; it's too cold out to be grilling.

How does a casserole of green chile, chicken enchiladas sound for a big group this weekend? Any better ideas? Say, 12 to 15 people.

It's starting off like a beautiful Spring day, here. I thought it was supposed to cool down, but I'll take it.

message 39: by Erika (new)

Erika Hey everyone, hope you are enjoying your nice day!

Funny enough, someone surprised me with a plate of red beans & rice and a fried fish po'boy. It was such a sweet gesture I didn't have it in my heart to eat meat instead. Ah well, it was good.

Thank you both for the ideas. Wow, years without meat Will? I hope everything is better now. I would definitely miss it, but compared to that 40 days seems a breeze.

Ahhh...vices. I have too many to count, but agree with you, that is really interesting to think about Tamela. Making them "you". Or "me", as the case may be. Guess I'm losing a part of me with the smoking, but it's been a long time coming. Maybe I'll find some sort of vegetarian dish to replace it.

Chicken enchiladas sound good! Big party Will?

Are either of you grilling tonight with your beautiful weather?

message 40: by Will (last edited Feb 26, 2009 07:36AM) (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments I'm grilling tonight, yes. The cool front turned out to not be that cool. High today of 70, clear skies. I got a great deal on pork spare ribs a few weeks back and drug a slab out of the freezer to thaw. I slathered them with red chile sauce and put them in the smoker to marinate, thaw, smoke and slow-cook, today. Tonight, I'll crisp them up on the grill and serve them with SW slaw and Mac'N'Cheese.

Have you noticed that all the top restaurants are serving upscale Mac'N'Cheese, now?

Po'boy! Mmmmmmm.... I love shrimp po'boys. I love shrimp; did I mention that?

Big party? Nah. Looks like 12. A big party is a hundred. I do those in the summer. My house is to small to handle much more than 20 and 12 is cozy. The dining table only expands enough for ten comfy or 12 scrunched.

message 41: by Will (last edited Feb 26, 2009 09:21AM) (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments I don't do recipes BUT, I thought you might be interested in the closest thing I have to a recipe--the southwestern slaw I mentioned.

I shred regular cabbage, slice into slivers--red, yellow, and green bell peppers, carrots and jicama. Toss it all together.

The dressing is:
2 green chiles
one onion, quartered
white pepper
coarse salt
half cup lime juice
olive oil
dash of tobasco
Half cup sour cream
1 tbs. mayonaise

Put it all in a blender and whir 'till it's smooth. You could add some feta cheese, Erika. Pour it over the slaw and toss, put in fridge (covered) for a couple of hours, toss again and serve. It's pretty, kind of crunchy, it's tasty, tangy, and someone will always ask for the recipe. "I don't do recipes," I answer. I just make this stuff up and if it works I repeat it. This one has become a staple for summer parties.

message 42: by Erika (new)

Erika Ribs.... you're torturing me. And that slaw recipe sounds just mouthwatering, I may have to try that out this weekend. Mmmm and chili con queso, YUM.

Well, the snow here is finally all melted, and I can finally see the grass in my backyeard. Maybe I'll dust off the grill and have some portobella "burgers" tonight. Grilling, it always makes food taste good, I bet I won't even miss the meat.

Man v. Food - who is in that? What channel is it? I don't think I know about that one...

message 43: by Will (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments Man v. Food? Never heard of it. I watched the finale of Top Chef last night.

I have the chiles roasted when I buy them, Tamela, and then freeze them whole, peel and all. The peeling comes right off and they taste fresh roasted. I have to ship them to Seattle to the kids, who can't buy them there.

Portabella burgers...mmmmmmmmm, sounds great. Try soaking them in some marinade of Worchestershire sauce, olive oil and garlic before grilling, Erika. They may be better than real burger.

message 44: by Erika (new)

Erika I need to find join the green chile club apparently, this stuff all sounds good. Well, it started thundering and raining, but you don't hear me complaining, I'm overjoyed it's not snow. So no grilling, maybe roasting some veggies tonight instead. I can still dig it.

message 45: by Erika (new)

Erika Random question: Anybody ever tried "heirloom lemon cucumber"? Saw some seeds on sale, looking around for veggies to start my garden soon, and I've never heard of these.

message 46: by Erika (new)

Erika Good morning! Hooray for Friday! OK, thanks for letting me know. I may have to try those seeds in my garden for the summer.

How many times have you been to Disneyland? Sounds fun, I should put it on my to - do list one day.

That sounds like a good show, and I like that other one with Guy Fieri, every time I watch that show I get an itch for a road trip.

It started pouring rain last night, so I didn't grill. I got lazy, and put off making dinner for a long time - and then ended up with fried PB&J. Will's probably rolling his eyes at that one too, but it was good! The portabella burgers will be coming this weekend though, whether I stand in the snow or not, I'm grilling!

message 47: by Will (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments You won't be able to get good green chiles there, Erika. If you find any they'll be canned and not that tasty, sorry.

Roll my eyes, Tam? Not at stuffed portabella mushrooms...awesome stuff. I had some of the best fajitas ever at Six Flags over Texas years ago. I was at Disneyland the first year it opened, mid-1950's as a small child.

"Diners, drive-ins and dives" is hosted - I think- by the winner of "Who will be the Next Food Network Star." Spiky bleached-blonde-hair guy?

I once did a battered and fried peanut butter, banana, honey and chocolate sandwich once just for fun; it turned out awful, but we ate it anyway.

message 48: by Erika (new)

Erika Will, that is the right guy, it's a good show. That fried sandwich sounds like heaven, I should have added banana last night. Mmmm. Talk about heaven, one of my friends was just telling me about a fried Snickers bar she had, she said it was the best thing she's ever had in her whole life.

Is your party tonight Will? What's on the agenda for everyone's weekend?

message 49: by Will (last edited Feb 27, 2009 08:03AM) (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments They're frying everything, now--snickers, baby ruths (my fave), pb&j's. As an occasional treat it's kind of fun.

No, the dinner party is Saturday evening. I made the chicken enchilada casserole yesterday so I just have to pop it in the oven. I'm making lime sorbet or sherbet for dessert, I think. I'll make that today. Sorbet is a bit light to finish and sherbet maybe a bit heavy. Any thoughts? Something sinfully sweet but not overwhelming?

Any recipes for dessert in your cookbook, Tamela? Since you weren't interested in shipping me a signed book, I'll order it Monday from amazon.

message 50: by Will (new)

Will Kester | 865 comments Too late for suggestions; it's going to be lime sorbet (essentially frozen jello with some pineapple juice in it) and cheesecake filling swirled together, frozen and scooped into martini glasses with ginger ale in the glass. Kind of a lime/cheesecake float.

Appetizers? I don't know yet. Something light. Hmmmm...maybe just some tortilla chips, guacamole and salsa.

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