Dinner Party: A Taste of Scotland

Scottish Highlands | Culinary Cousins

Food. TV. Scotland. Three of my favorite things.

Scotland’s been on my mind lately. Primarily because of my Outlander obsession, but also because of the upcoming independence referendum this week. It’s not my place to explain the issues or to take a side, but I do feel sad. England or Scotland — it’s like watching your parents fight. I love them both. I don’t really want them to separate, even if that might be what’s best and healthiest for everyone.

But back to Outlander. Are y’all watching this show? If not, drop what you’re doing (well, after you finish reading this) and get a Starz subscription, or at the very least run to a bookstore. The story is seriously, beautifully, wondrously epic. Continue reading

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Breakfast Casserole

Breakfast Casserole | CulinaryCousins.com

I know what you’re thinking…”her first post back in the blogging world and she chooses breakfast casserole? of all things??” Yes. It’s delicious, healthy, and only takes about five minutes to make. Who wouldn’t love that?

It’s summer and the LAST thing we want to do is slave away in the kitchen for hours on end…that’s best saved for those wretched winter months, when everything outside is grey and horribly dreadful. (I really hate winter, can ya tell? Summer is where it’s at.) I’m looking for quick 10-minute meals, using fresh ingredients, that are really satisfying. Breakfast casserole fits the mold. Continue reading

Going Green! (Smoothies, that is.)

Green Smoothies | Culinary Cousins

I’ve officially jumped on the green smoothie bandwagon.

They’re very “in,” you know, and I have trouble resisting a food trend.

But, no, let’s think of this as a lifestyle change. I’ve been on a bit of a health kick as of late, with exercise and trying to eat better. So green smoothies found me at the right time. Continue reading

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Homemade Chocolate Syrup | Culinary Cousins I ate a brownie the other day, and I didn’t like it.

This is not a usual occurrence in my world. I was born with my family’s propensity for chocoholism, and I never turn down the opportunity to inhale it. But this was a luncheon brownie, at a catered workplace barbecue, wrapped in plastic and glistening with chocolate(or is it?)-y icing and, well, chemicals.

I don’t eat a lot of processed stuff — especially baked goods — so I think I’m attuned to the artificial when it appears. Ick. That’s a key reason that chocolate syrup in the brown, nostalgic bottle doesn’t permanently reside in my fridge, as it does in many others’. I like chocolate syrup, and everything it is used to create, but I can’t get over the fact that it’s really just gloppy corn syrup with some chocolate flavoring. Double ick. Continue reading

Honey Butter Cheesy Bread

Honey Butter Cheesy Bread at www.culinarycousins.com

I’m a pretty by the book kind of person. Not prone to wild ideas about pairing seemingly unrelated ingredients or reinterpreting classic dishes with an out-of-left field addition. No, my rebellion is subtle. I will follow a recipe to the letter, but throw in my own spin — like adding a pretty normal extra ingredient or a slight fudge of the measurements. There’s always room for more garlic and more sauce, right? I can’t leave well enough alone, and I always make a recipe my own, somehow. Continue reading

Winter Root Soup

Winter Root Soup at www.culinarycousins.com

The Polar Vortex, Part Deux, is still hanging around town. We’re not alone in that, I realize, but this time it brought us the dreaded S word … snow. I’m sure you saw how our “measly” two inches debilitated us.

{Let me go off on a tiny rampage for a second. This week I read some disturbing stuff on Facebook and around social media: those snow aficionados (see, I didn’t say Yankees) scoffing and making fun of us in our “snowpocalypse” crisis. It’s no laughing matter. Not to Atlanta. Nor Charleston. Definitely not to Charlotte. It snows here once every 2-3 years, and we have like four brine trucks to service 100 square miles on 12 hours notice. And our snow isn’t pretty and fluffy and magical and fun. It’s mostly pellets of ice on top of a layer of ice, and we don’t know how to drive on it. So, yes, I run home like every other smart southerner, by way of the grocery store with requisite bread and milk tucked under my arm, as soon as that first flake falls. I’d much rather be snuggled warm and safe in my house than waiting outside at the elevated subway on my way to work in a blizzard, as I did in my former life. It’s no badge of honor.}

So, anyway. It’s cold. And last Sunday, it was 60 degrees. I’m not sick (yet), but everyone around me seems to be. Continue reading

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (in the Crock Pot!)

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls at www.culinarycousins.com

I love grandma food.

That’s what I call comfort food that either was or could have been made by a grandmother.

In the South, it’s chicken and dumplings or cheese grits or mac and cheese or any number of homemade cakes and pies. But it’s also slow-cooked Italian Sunday “gravy” over pasta, roasted beef and chicken, pierogies. Those foods that grandmothers of all cultures made with love and fed us in childhood. Ones that don’t have a place in our everyday diets, or we think take too much effort, but warm our souls when we do eat them. Continue reading

Fluffy Homemade Marshmallows

Fluffy Homemade Marshmallows | Culinary Cousins

Something about this time of year makes me think of marshmallows. Really, it starts back in the fall with camping, fires, s’mores. Then winter brings hot cocoa and fudge.

Or maybe it’s because this year I’ve heard the “It’s a Marshmallow World” theme song on Cooking Channel about 46,123 times since Thanksgiving — at least 84 times per hour.

It’s no surprise that I’m a bit obsessive about making things from scratch. And I first tried my hand at homemade marshmallows a couple of years ago. Inspired by an upcoming camping trip, I had visions of roasting campfire marshmallows until good and charred then smushing them between graham crackers and oozy chocolate. Continue reading

Pie Crust Update — and Dutch Apple Pie!

Dutch Apple Pie | Culinary Cousins

It wasn’t my fault!

Last we talked, I promised you a pie crust experiment. Well, I conducted said experiment (using coconut oil) and was all geared up to tell you about it. Then my annual Thanksgiving cold (going on four years in a row now, like clockwork) took me out. Flat. For a week. Happy Thanksgiving.

In between gulping tea (with shots of Jameson honey) and Mucinex and huddling under a heated blanket, it took everything in me to actually bake the pies for my family’s Thanksgiving. As usual, I overdid it: seven adults, four pies. But it’s really the only time of year I make pie, and I get swept up in the excitement and challenge of it. Plus, I’m not allowed into the house without my great-grandmother’s renowned pumpkin pie. (The recipe makes two.) I also attempted my first latticed pie — cherry, which was edible but needs major work. This pie, though, number four — this pie is it. Dutch apple goodness, with soft, syrupy apples and a crunchy, buttery topping. Keep this one in your back pocket for the holidays — or, you know, Tuesday. Continue reading

Food Find: Coconut Oil

Food Finds: Coconut Oil at www.culinarycousins.com

I know, I know. I’m way late to the coconut oil party.

In light of that, I’m not going to wax on and on about its benefits. You can read those elsewhere. Actually, Mel’s Kitchen Cafe did a great roundup on coconut oil recently. I certainly can’t say it as well as I can just link to her post.

I snapped up a jar of coconut oil at Trader Joe’s, with great intentions of using it in stir-fry and with sauteed greens. Then I realized that Thanksgiving is upon us. And Thanksgiving means pie. Continue reading