White Sweet Potato Salad with Chilli Lime Mayonnaise, Et alia

My husband first met Laura Allen when he was in Peace Corps, West Africa in the 70s.  Since then, continuously, Laura has been a good and loyal friend to our family.  We always looked forward to her visits in our homes overseas and in the States, as she opened up her own home to us in Florida.  She arrived with laughter, good advice and  good books.  She is the kind of company admired by my idol, Jane Austin:  “My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company”.  She also has interesting and enjoyable ideas like the tattoo clinic where I got my ankle “rose” tattoo, and now, white sweet potato salad with chilli lime mayonnaise.

I had never seen a white sweet potato until I arrived in an African market,  intending to make a sweet potato pie for Christmas.  As the stall owners pointed out white potato after white potato, I insisted that the potato I wanted was orange or rouge(red) and sweet.  Rolling their eyes and shoving a slice of raw potato in my hand to taste, they asked how many I wanted.  “They’re the wrong color”, I muttered under my breath in English, resisting change, but bought 2 lbs.  The pie was wonderful and I continued to use the white sweet potato in other recipes.  I really wanted to try Laura’s rendition of potato salad but here in Honesdale, we only have “normal” sweet potatoes and yams, orange not white 😦  All the way from North Carolina, Laura addressed that problem and mailed me a box of white sweet potatoes!  Thank you my friend for both the inspiration and potatoes.  A delicious surprise!

Along with the white sweet potatoes and chilli lime mayonnaise, you can include your usual ingredients or switch it up as you like.  I made my usual with chopped onions, pimentos, hard boiled eggs and chopped gherkins.  I didn’t add mustard because I thought the lime juice would be adequate for the zing I usually get from mustard, but you could.

I never measure my potato salad ingredients, unless I’m making Japanese potato salad, but just do a guestimate according to the amount of potatoes.  I made a full cup of the chilli lime mayonnaise so that I’d have leftovers for fish or sandwiches.  If you don’t want to do this, half the ingredients.

I made a small salad as a nest for the potato salad that I could wedge onto my husband’s huge birthday lunch plate.

Today is his birthday but he wanted his lunch yesterday because he started distance working today.  In our twenties, when we had the money, we would eat like this for celebrations; porterhouse steaks, baked potatoes stuffed with butter, sour cream, bacon and chives, plus ice cream.  And we could, and did finish the lot!  Yesterday it was sort of sad because he had to stop at half his steak and half his potato.  No more room for them.  Yet he did get an extra helping of the potato salad 😀

Chilli Lime Mayonnaise

1 cup good mayonnaise

Juice from 1 1/2 limes

2 tbsp garlic flavored chilli – Rooster on the jar front

Mix and refrigerate.






Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Recipes, Salad, side dish | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Easy Beef Pot Roast

I guess I’ve got Michelle Obama’s “low grade” depression.  I made this beef pot roast            un-enthusiastically over 2 weeks ago and am just getting around to posting it, even though it turned out better than I expected.  When ever I think of beef pot roast, I think of dried out meat and overcooked vegetables.  Not so in this case!  The beef was juicy and the vegetables were perfectly cooked.

My husband found this chuck roast at the Sunrise Market.  The Sunrise is a nice, small market with polite and helpful staff and is open everyday at sunrise, in case you run out of eggs or other breakfast supplies.  Most of their products are locally sourced and that’s a good thing 🙂

My herb garden is a nuclear explosion of fresh herbs, so I added lots to the vegetables with olive oil.

This was so easy.  I browned the roast, put it on top of the vegetables, covered, then roasted for 2 – 2 1/2 hours a 350 F.

Sandwiches were also enjoyed.

No, I didn’t bake.  This coconut cake is from The Willow River Gallery & Cafe in Honesdale.

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Roasted Crispy Duck with Vegetables and Garden Herbs

Hudson Valley Foie Gras is a duck farm located in Ferndale, New York, specializing in duck products including foie gras, magret de canard (duck breast) and other parts, or whole duck and chicken.  We’ve bought both from the farm and online.

I think of roasted duck with vegetables as a winter meal but good is good and I just turn up the AC.  Loved using my herbs from the garden; bay leaves, thyme,  sage and a rosemary garnish.

Normally I brown the duck legs in goose or duck fat or ghee.  This time I tried Ethiopian spiced butter and am glad I did.  The spices in the butter were not pronounced but were detectable enough to give a hint of Habesha cuisine.

The turnips, carrots, shallots and garlic with herbs were browned in 2 tbsp of left over oil from browning the duck.  Very nice mix as the base for the crispy roasted duck legs.

Roast Duck with Vegetables and Garden Herbs

3-4 duck legs, seasoned with salt and pepper

2 tbsp Ethiopian spiced butter

3 turnips, peeled and cut into eighths

3 carrots, sliced  into 4- 6 pieces each

5 shallots, quartered

4 large garlic cloves, chopped

2 bay leaves

5 sprigs of thyme

5 sage leaves

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup white wine

Rosemary sprig

In a skillet, brown the duck in the spiced butter, remove to a plate and set aside.  Remove all but 1 1/2 tbsp fat from the skillet, add the carrots, turnips, shallots, garlic, bay leaves, thyme sage, salt and pepper, then cook until the turnips are lightly browned.  Place the vegetables in the bottom of a tajine and pour the broth on top.  Place the duck legs on top of the vegetables and pour over the white wine.  Cover and roast in 400 F oven for 1 hour.  Remove the cover and continue roasting for 20-30 minutes until the duck is crispy.

Garnish with rosemary.




Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Gambas Clemenceau

This is my take on Shrimp Clemenceau, inspired by the dish made famous by Dooky Chase and Galatoire’s restaurants in New Orleans.  I’ve added a poached egg for an elegant brunch dish.  It really is too bad that eggs are dated according to “will begin to rot by dates” instead of the dates they were laid.

Wegman’s vegetable selection was looking pretty good, so I loaded up determined to enjoy and showcase some of them.

I always have headed, peeled and  deveined shrimp in the freezer in case of the Apocalypse which seems to be here, at least in the U.S.   See, I was right  😀

The mushrooms, though larger than I like, were tight capped and firm.

It appears to be the asparagus season in the U.S. Good!  I like them barely sauteed in butter, still a little crisp.  I wonder will I see white asparagus.  Craving them with lemon sauce.

I medium diced the aubergine, sprinkled the dice with salt and allowed to rest for about 30 minutes, and dried them off with a paper towel before browning.  Aubergine fries better after some of the water has been released.

The fried eggplant was nice, slightly crispy on the outside with garlic.

And Voila!  Even with the prep time, I enjoy making clemenceau and of course eating it.

Gambas Clemenceau

2 lbs of gambas headed, shelled and deveined

2 tbsp homemade Emeril’s essence

2 tbsp olive oil, plus 1 tbsp butter

1 large, firm aubergine/eggplant, diced

3-4 garlic cloves minced

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp butter

1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced

1 bunch young asparagus, tough ends trimmed and cut into thirds

1 tbsp butter

Poached eggs (optional)

Toss the gambas with seasoning and set aside.  Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp butter in a skillet, add the aubergine and brown on high flame until cooked but still firm.  Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Remove the mixture to a plate/bowl and set aside.

Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel, then add 1 tbsp of butter and the mushrooms. Saute until the mushrooms begin to release their water, then add the asparagus and continue to saute for about 2 minutes until the asparagus are crisp tender.  Transfer to the plate with the aubergine.

Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel, add the remaining tablespoon of butter and the gambas.  Saute until just done, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the vegetables to the skillet and gently toss and heat.

Divide in to serving plates and top each serving with a poached egg, if desired.







Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pork Stir Fry with Miso Sauce

I remember when stir frys became popular.  I bought a wok, utensils and an how to book on stir frying.  It took years before I realized that stir-frying just wasn’t that complicated.

All that’s needed is your choice of oil, meat/seafood, aromatics, vegetables and sauce.  Once the ingredients are prepped, the meal comes together very quickly.  Starting with the ingredient that takes the most time to cook and adding the rest, one at a time, depending on how much time they need to cook.  The sauce is stirred in last for about 3 minutes.  Stir frys are great because you can prepare them to your taste and/or use whatever is in the fridge.

I used a 2.5 rolled pork roast cut into strips, quartered brussel sprouts, quartered zucchini slices, garlic, yellow bell pepper, fresh ginger and shallots.

Pork Stir Fry with Miso Sauce

1/4 cup mirin

2 tbsp light soy sauce

2 tbsp garlic chili paste


3 tbsp sesame oil

2 1/2 lb rolled pork roast, cut into strips

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 inch peeled, fresh ginger, grated

1 shallot, thinly sliced

2 cups quartered brussel sprouts

2 zucchini, quartered and sliced

Mix the mirin, soy sauce and chili paste together and set aside.  Fry the pork strips in 1 tbsp of oil until just cooked.  Remove the pork and set aside.  Wipe out the pan with paper towels.  Add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil to the pan, heat and add the bell pepper, garlic, ginger and shallot to the pan.  Cook for 2 minutes, then add the brussel sprouts and continue to stir fry for 3 minutes.  Finally, add the zucchini and stir fry for about 1 minute.

Stir in the sauce and cook for about 3 minutes.  Serve with white rice.




Posted in Asian, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Spaghetti Squash with Pancetta

I’m fairly new to spaghetti squash.  I read about it when I was overseas but never had access to it until I spent a year in France.  Everyone in our family likes it and the texture and flavor is just right, especially with pancetta or lardons and a few aromatics.

I sliced this squash poorly; bad knife and not sliced thick enough but nothing was ruined ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

To release the water, I sprinkled both sides of the slices with salt, allowed them to rest for about 20 minutes, wiped off the water and salt before roasting in the oven on parchment paper.  After cooling, the spaghetti-like strands are removed with a fork.  Fun 🙂

We planted these flowers on each side of the walk up to our front door.  The deer ate most of them.  Like thieves in the night, they graze our garden.  And really, sometimes they just walk by during the day and looking like butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths, they stare at us.

Him:  Let’s get the gun.

Me:  You can’t fire shots in town.


I guess they don’t like yellow.

Spaghetti Squash with Pancetta

1 large spaghetti squash, sliced into 1 inch rings


1/2 cup pancetta, diced

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

1/3 red onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tbsp chicken broth

Sprinkle the squash rings on both sides with the salt and allow to rest on paper towels for about 20 minutes.  Wipe the rings with a paper towel, then place on a parchment covered cookie sheet.

Preheat the oven to 400F and roast for 45 minutes.  When cool, gently scrape the strands from the rings with a fork and place inside of a bowl.

Brown the pancetta in a skillet, then remove to rest and drain on paper towels. Add the olive oil to the skillet, then add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and saute until crisp tender.  Stir in the spaghetti squash and the broth.  Steam covered for about 3 minutes on low flame.

Stir in the reserved pancetta before serving.










Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Recipes, side dish | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Asian Style Oxtails with Udon Noodles

I know I’m always preparing oxtails, but we like them a lot and we don’t have access to dependable quality variety meats in our area and oxtails are delicious, however prepared.  We have two more batches in the freezer 🙂  The variety meats specialist, The Butcher Shoppe in Pocono Lake is closed until…..

Normally this recipe uses the rind of a mandarin but I didn’t find any and the orange worked fine.  Also my “bunch” of scallions were dying a hard death in the refrigerator crisper but they were okay.

My herb garden is a bit exaggerated but it looks wonderful and pleases me; 2 types of sage, oregano, basil, tarragon, garlic chives, plain chives, rosemary, parsley, thyme, tarragon, cilantro and who know what else.  All praise due to my totally bored husband 🙂

This recipe is fairly simple.  You don’t need to brown the oxtails before placing in the pressure cooker and cutting and chopping is minimal.  Once the ingredients are lined out, everything comes together quickly.

I love the way the ingredients look in the pot!  Once the bobble gets going the aroma is irresistible!  Pressure cooker necessary.

Fresh udon noodles are the perfect accompaniment for these oxtail because the meat falls  off the bone and the sauce created by the ingredients would be satisfying alone with just the noodles.

Asian Style Oxtails with Udon Noodles

5 lbs oxtails, evenly mixed with big and small

1/4 cup Tamari soy sauce

1/4 cup Shao Shing Chinese cooking wine

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup water

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

1 onion, sliced into eighths

3-4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

8 thin slices of fresh ginger

2 star anise

2 sticks cinnamon

1/2 of an orange peel, cut into 8 strips

Cooked fresh udon noodles

Garlic chives, sliced

Mix the soy sauce, Chinese wine, brown sugar and water together and set aside.  Place the oxtails in the bottom of a pressure cooker.

Sprinkle the scallions, onion, garlic, ginger, star anise, cinnamon sticks and orange peel over the oxtails.  Pour the soy sauce mixture over all.

Put the top on the pressure cooker and seal well.  Put the little bobble thing over the vent in the middle of the pressure cooker top.  Turn the gas up to high and when the bobble starts to swing back and forth, decrease the heat until the bobble continues a gentle swing. Cook for 35-40 minutes, remove from flame and set aside until the pressure button, located at the top of the handle, sinks completely to the bottom.

Open the pressure cooker and place the oxtails in a platter.  Strain the solids from the sauce and then boil the liquid down (no top) until it is reduced by half, then pour over the oxtails.

Serve with the noodles sprinkled with garlic chives.





Posted in Asian, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Light Batter Fried Pork Belly

I collect salt and pepper shakers and, back in the day, I found these salt and pepper shakers in Ferndale, New York.  At first I just laughed out loud, I’m a black American and I’ve never seen any black person who looks like this nor like anyone on rice and pancake boxes.  Nobody has, whatever color.  Then, I got serious.  The shakers were porcelain, cheap and in excellent condition!  When I was growing up these aunty and uncle “colored” people shakers and syrup dispensers were ubiquitous but made of plastic.  Anyway, I know I didn’t pay more than 5-7 dollars for them and they always make me laugh.

Garden roses and orchids.

I had a 2.5 lb piece of pork belly in the freezer and thought I’d repeat a tried and true recipe, batter fried pork belly.  My husband, who was always in some other country when I made this, was delighted.

The pork belly, skin on, is sliced into strips, then marinated overnight in a light batter, before deep frying.  Serve with lime chilli mayonnaise and eat them while they’re hot!

Light Batter Fried Pork Belly

2 1/2 lb -3 lb piece of skin on pork belly, cut into strips

1 tbsp grated garlic

1 tbsp grated ginger

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp garlic chilli sauce

1/2 cup corn starch

2 eggs, slightly beaten


Peanut oil

Mix together the garlic, ginger, chilli sauce, cornstarch, eggs and salt, then stir in the pork strips and allow to marinate overnight.

Heat the peanut oil in a large cast iron skillet, then deep fry 1/3 of the pork at a time.  Drain on paper towels and enjoy immediately.

Lime Chilli Mayonnaise

1/4 cup of mayonnaise

1 tsp of Vietnamese garlic chilli sauce

Juice from 1/2 lime

Blend all ingredients and refrigerate.






Posted in Cooking | 7 Comments

Cherry Cobbler

I was inspired to make this cherry cobbler by my husband’s lovely roses from his garden and Jo cooks.  As you may know, I rarely make dessert but have made cobblers before because they’re easy and forgive the baker’s disinterest and impatience.  I decided to try Jo’s recipe because of the batter and the lavish amount of butter in the baking pan.

Everyone should have a cherry pitter.  The first time I needed one I didn’t have one and had to use a hairpin.  Be sure to look at my Foie Gras with Cherry Sauce blog.  Even better than a one-cherry-at-a-time pitter, the multiple pitter is high tech.  I have one in France that pits 8 cherries at a time and this one here in Pennsylvania pits 6 cherries at a time.  Both are great.

The pitters make a neat little hole in the bottom of the cherries while maintaining the shape.

Jo uses a 12 inch cast iron skillet for her cobbler but I didn’t have that size so used a 12 inch pie pan.  I was amazed and gratified by the amount of butter poured into the pan before the batter and cherries!  As M. Parret says, it was “correct”.  I did decrease the amount of sugar in the batter by half, it just wasn’t necessary.

Thanks to my husband for the rose garden.  I enjoyed making this for him as much as I enjoy the roses.

Cherry Cobbler

2 lbs ripe bing cherries, pitted and halved

1/2 cup sugar

2 tbsp cornstarch

2 tbsp lemon juice

1/8 tsp salt


1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup hot melted butter

Cook the cherries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and salt in a sauce pan on medium heat until the mixture just begins to boil, about 5 minutes.  Set aside.

Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together into a large bowl.  Beat the egg into the milk and then add to the flour, whisking until smooth.

Pour the hot butter into a 12 inch cast iron skillet or pie pan, pour in the batter, then top evenly with the cherries.  Bake in a 375 F preheated oven for 40-45 minutes.

Spoon the cobbler from the pan into bowls and eat as is or serve with a scoop of ice cream.





Posted in American, Cooking, Dessert, Food and Wine, Fruit, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Cornmeal Fried Wild Catfish

I found some catfish labeled “wild caught” (from somewhere, it didn’t say) at Wegmans the other day,   The fillets were enormous.  I had to cut them in two before frying.

I grew up eating catfish caught by my Dad in the wilds of California.  These had a vague catfish flavor but I think they were farm raised, released, then caught in the wilds of somewhere.  They were okay but a little disappointing.

For some reason I had stone ground cornmeal and no normal cornmeal, so I added 1/3 cup of flour to the coating along with seasonings, then deep fried until golden.  Serve with tartar sauce or ketchup, your call.

Cornmeal Fried Wild Catfish

4-5 wild catfish fillets, cut in half if necessary

1 – 1 1/3 cup of regular cornmeal

2 tsp salt

1/2 – 1 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp Old Bay Seafood Seasoning

1 tbsp paprika

Peanut oil

Mix the seasoning together with the cornmeal.  Dredge the fillets in the cornmeal and deep fry in the peanut oil.



Posted in American, Cooking, fish, Food and Wine, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments