Southern Chicken and Dumplings

Here it is. Some real, traditional, down-home southern food. From scratch, yet so easy that you can do it.

Chicken and Dumplings at www.culinarycousins.com

I wish I could claim that this is my great-grandmother’s legacy recipe for chicken and dumplings, but it’s not. I think I found it in some cookbook claiming it’s a copycat of the Cracker Barrel dish. But I’ll take it.

The stock part of this recipe has become my go-to for basic chicken stock, which I make as often as I can. The stuff in the box is great and easy, but there’s nothing like the taste of homemade stock. Continue reading

Food Find: Roasted Coconut Chips

It’s Friday, so I’ll keep it short and sweet… I found these chips at Trader Joe’s and had to give ’em a try, since they sounded so different. The description says, “Mature coconuts soaked in fresh, young coconut milk, lightly dusted with salt and sugar.” Basically, they’re a healthier and tastier version of kettle corn: salty, sweet, crunchy, totally addicting. Try them if you have a TJ’s nearby. Happy weekend!

Crispy, Crunchy Perfection

Strawberry-Rhubarb Custard Crumble

One of the best things about spring is seeing new fruits and vegetables appear in the grocery store. In April, strawberries go on sale, and a unique vegetable appears among the greens: rhubarb.

I’ve always been intrigued by rhubarb, but I’ve never cooked with it — and I never actually ate it until last year in London. On the run, I grabbed a cute little dessert at a convenience store: a rhubarb-apple custard crumble. Rhubarb/apple compote was covered with rich vanilla custard and a crunchy topping, and it was a total revelation. I think I ate one every day.

rhubarb crumble

As soon as I saw rhubarb in the grocery store this week, I wanted to see if I could recreate that traditional English dessert. Continue reading

Raw Kale Salad

Are you tired of hearing about the “raw food” trend? Maybe you’ve never heard of it, and you’re thinking, “raw…kale…salad?! that can’t be right…”. No doubt about it, I’d say the South is probably the last region in the USA to embrace health food trends.

Who can blame us, though? Especially when it comes to a green that’s typically cooked with a ham hock for 3 hours (a┬ála collard greens) ? The thought of eating it…raw…seems so very foreign. Truth is, once you take the leaves away from the tough stem, they are actually very flavorful all on their own. Baby kale is becoming as widely used in salad greens as baby spinach. Bottom line: kale rocks. I have it growing in my yard, and I use it in almost everything! (Kale chips are fab…another post for another day…)

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Tuesday Refreshment…

Sometimes real life is stranger than fiction.

A couple of weeks ago, I kept seeing posts and pictures on Pinterest with instructions for growing romaine lettuce from the stump. Yes, the end piece you’d just throw in the trash.

That sounded weird and intriguing, so I tried it.

And look what happened!

Day 1

To begin, I simply placed the stump end of a heart of romaine in a short glass with about an inch of water.

Day 3

After a few days, the sprouts began. Every so often, I changed the water in the glass.

Growing Romaine, Day 3 at www.culinarycousins.com Continue reading

Food Find: Pistachio Nutella

Yep, you read that correctly. I said, Pistachio. Nutella.

Or, actually, “Crema Pistacci.”

Isn’t that fun to say? Especially in an exaggerated Italian accent, over and over, to myself … I digress.

When I went to NYC in March, I stopped by Eataly, the Italian fine foods mega-market across from Madison Square Park. If you haven’t been, it’s a must.

I first visited last fall, and was captivated by — among other things — rows and rows of exotic kinds of Nutella, in every shape, size and flavor imaginable. But back then I was too overwhelmed to purchase anything. This time I just had to.

Food Finds: Pistachio Nutella at www.culinarycousins.com

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Apricot and Pistachio Biscotti

Apricot and Pistachio Biscotti at www.culinarycousins.com

The morning after I brought Oliver home, he and I went to play in a meadow near my house at about 6:00 am. Neither of us had slept much, and we were both fairly shell-shocked by this new life we’d found ourselves in. Up trotted a neighbor, Fran, with her Schnauzer, Shocky. Shocky was Oliver’s first friend.

I should also explain that I had lived in my neighborhood for two years already and had never met a neighbor. If you don’t garden or cut your lawn, or you don’t walk a dog, you really don’t see other people. Not enough to form relationships, at least. Once Oliver entered my life, we made friends far and wide, of both the human and canine variety. He makes my home feel so much more like home.

We frequently ran into Fran and Shocky on our walks. Even though Shocky was 10 and Oliver just a wee babe, they would run and frolick together as much as their flexi-leashes would allow. It seemed like they knew they were cousins. Continue reading

Vegetarian Moussaka

veg_moussaka

My quest to fill my life with more vegetables continues. I’ve been doing fairly well. I’m a “pescetarian” (veggies and seafood) at home but outside of that anything goes. Hence the trip to a Brazilian steakhouse last week … and the braised short ribs I ate on vacation. (Oops.)

At home, I like that this way of eating is forcing me out of my comfort zone. I’ve had to experiment more with dishes that are hearty enough not to leave me hungry two hours later and satisfy that need for comfort food at dinner. I never realized that part before — a couple of nights ago my friends were talking about what we eat for dinner. Some just have yogurt or a sandwich or crackers. Others of us (like me) feel the need to make a full meal. That’s because, someone noted, dinner is such a comfort meal. So true.

Anyway, I lived for a couple of years in a Greek neighborhood in NYC. Those traditional dishes quickly became my favorite cuisine, and I dream sometimes about the authentic food I could get stumbling right out my front door: creamy hummus and baba ghanoush, Greek olives, lemon potatoes, pastistio and warm, fresh pita. I could go on and on.

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Chia Seed Pudding

Chia Seed Pudding | Culinary Cousins

Long ago I learned I have an obsessive personality. Not in a Single White Female way, though, I promise. More like I find something I like and I latch on to it for awhile. I’ve documented some of my recent obsessions, but I really haven’t had one in awhile.

Until now.

I’ve been talking with a lot of people recently about food and health and the latest trends. One consistent recommendation in all those conversations is chia seeds. It’s the hot thing of the moment in the health food world.

I know you’re thinking about the Chia Pet/Chia Head thing and laughing at me right now. And you’re not entirely wrong. It’s the same seed, but this time we’re eating it. Don’t run away — it’s worth it. Continue reading