Thursday, April 28, 2016

Caroline's Welsh Rarebit

A Regency era favorite snack, lunch or dinner!

So, Welsh rarebit. Kind of a weird sounding food, isn't it? I know I had no idea what it was when I was younger, and just from the word alone, I totally assumed it had something to do with meat. Probably rabbit, especially because sometimes you'll see it spelled "rabbit" on menus or in books. In reality, this is usually a vegetarian dish that has nothing to do with rabbits, and there are a couple different versions of it, most of which are named after different regions of the United Kingdom. What they all have in common is that they're essentially toasted bread with a hot, delicious cheese sauce, spread or just plain old slices of cheese placed on top, and that makes this right up my alley.

I know, I know, I just did a post about grilled cheese. But this is definitely going to be different from just about any grilled cheese you've ever eaten, and it's different in a good way. Promise.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Rebecca's Macaroons

A snack that's perfect for Passover, or just about any other occasion you can think of!

I've mentioned before that I'm a big fan of all things coconut, and while I can't tell you when I tried my first coconut macaroon, I can promise you I was a very, very happy camper. They're not a cookie anyone in my family makes routinely (or at all...), and I've never seen someone make them before, so their origin and how to make them was always something of a mystery to me.

That all changed when I was watching Food Network's Holiday Baking Championship, when one of the challenges was centered around revamping traditional Hanukkah cookies. One of the cookies featured were coconut macaroons, and I was totally surprised! I had no idea macaroons were Jewish.

It turns out their history is a little more complicated than that, and it's one I decided I had to share with you guys this Passover. This year, Passover began on Friday at sundown, and is going to end the evening of April 30th, so even though I'm a little bit late, we're still safely in the window for the most important holiday in the Jewish faith.

But before we get into that, and find out why macaroons are a popular Passover dessert, I'm going to provide a quick aside about why Rebecca suddenly has a twin sister.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Kit's Tomato Soup, Grilled Cheese, and Tomato Soup Cake

Bet you haven't heard of this one!

My godmother is the person responsible for this post. I, like many of you, had never heard of putting tomato soup in a cake before, and when she first mentioned her grandmother used to make a tomato soup cake all the time, I was more than a little skeptical. I mean, that's just weird, right? You wouldn't put ketchup in a cake, and I'd never heard of putting tomatoes in any baked good that wasn't savory, and even then...

But she insisted it was good, and then I started thinking well, we put zucchini in what's essentially a cake, some people use avocado, and obviously there's carrot or fennel. How weird could tomato soup cake be?

Besides, I'd been wanting to do a feature on one of my favorite comfort food meals, and it's not like you guys need me to tell you how to make Campbell's tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich, right?

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Emily's Scrambled Eggs "James Bond"

Who knew that the real question wasn't shaken or stirred, but scrambled or over easy?

Sometimes I feel a little funny saying I'm a James Bond fan. I'm very well aware of how the various incarnations of the character are problematic from a number of angles, and some of the movies are pretty bad, and I haven't seen every single one of them, so labeling myself as yes, I am a huge James Bond fan has always felt a little weird.

That being said, I have seen many of the movies, read all of the Young Bond books, which are very good, and I own and have read all of the original novels written by Ian Fleming. It started on a whim, because I was curious about how similar Casino Royale was to the film version, and then I realized the books are both entertaining and a really interesting piece of literary history, even if they're never going to be held up as an example of great British literature.

The thing is, I went in expecting the books to be a lot like the movies, full of action and Bond seducing extremely attractive women and narrowly escaping increasingly elaborate death traps. And all of that's in there! But that's not what Bond seems to spend most of his time doing.

The international man of mystery actually spends a ton of time eating food.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Tea with Valerie Tripp and Friends at Historic Huguenot Street!

A weekend roadtrip that helped me fulfill a childhood dream!

I love living where I do, but sometimes, it does feel a little bit like all the fun stuff happens too far away from me to take advantage of it. All the D23 events? Florida or California. Big time Civil War reenactments? Pennsylvania at the closest. But a couple weeks ago, Doll Diaries posted saying that Valerie Tripp was going to be visiting New Paltz, New York for a book signing and tea at Historic Huguenot Street, a historic site I'd never heard of before. As soon as I realized that hey, New Paltz is only a couple hours away, I knew I had to go. I've been wanting to meet Valerie Tripp since I was a kid! I'm really not exaggerating in saying her books are very much responsible for the person I am today. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to get out, see the sights, and check something off the bucket list.

So I roped my grandparents into going with me and Felicity on this field trip, and headed up north.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Marie-Grace's Red Beans and Rice

My own twist on a classic from the Crescent City!

Like I've said, one of the best things about doing this blog is getting to try making things I never would have considered making on my own. We've gotten to try lots of food I'd never have thought about eating outside of a restaurant before, like the flan I made last weekend, or the nian gao. Anyone remember that one? Hands down the coolest thing I've made for the blog.

The thing is, sometimes my geographic location means making a truly authentic version of a classic dish is going to be difficult, prohibitively expensive, or just totally not going to happen. I'm not importing camas roots from Oregon for a Kaya post, for example. This one caught me off guard a little with how tricky it would be to find the exact right ingredients up north, but with a little creativity, I think we managed to pull this one off.

It's just not exactly your grandma's red beans and rice.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Josefina's Flan

Some good, old fashioned health food that's now better known as a tasty dessert!

Now that I've been doing this blog for over two years, I've become pretty comfortable going out on a limb and trying things I never would've thought of tackling before. Sometimes, this means I need to get creative in the kitchen, and it doesn't always work out as well as I would've hoped.

That's not exactly what happened here, but there were a couple speed bumps along the way in making this classic custardy treat. I'd never had flan before, and I didn't know much about it besides it's something that usually shows up on dessert menus at Mexican restaurants. Could be fun to try, right?

Monday, April 4, 2016

Maryellen's Molded Salad

The one you've all been waiting for!

You probably should have all seen this coming.

Some objects, fashions or foods are just so emblematic of a time period that it's difficult to imagine what life would've looked like back then without it. Take the poodle skirt: a fashion fad that's become so essential to the modern memory of the 1950's that it shows up in every movie, show and 18 inch playline doll collection that focuses on the period, even if it's not strictly accurate to include it every single time. At least American Girl came up with a plausible explanation for Maryellen owning an outfit that was generally more of a teenage fad!

Molded gelatin creations are the poodle skirt of food when it comes to the 50's, alongside diner fare, TV dinners, and a number of other less than healthy options. Some period recipes sound down right upsetting, and at first glance, this recipe doesn't really sound like it's going to be any different. It's got a weird combination of ingredients, doesn't exactly look too visually appealing, but believe it or not, this is actually an old family favorite that's remembered fondly by those who had it before.

I know that sounds strange, but trust me, this one is going to surprise you.