Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ruby red

Brown Derby cake
I've become badly distracted by photography education and the fruitcake project to the detriment of paid work, Christmas tree purchasing, and this blog. Life is full of surprises; I did not see this coming.

We finished Burma. Friday, I opened The Homesick Texan by Lisa Fain because I remembered it contained a recipe for grapefruit sweet rolls and I'm writing a story about grapefruit desserts. As I flipped through the book I thought, yum, all this chili and brisket and poblano macaroni and cheese and ribs looks delicious and I'm going to cook from this book because everyone is going to like it and I won't need to go to the Richmond New Way Mah market for a while, field any complaints, or chop any more shallots.

That night my sister-in-law Laura and her oldest son, Joseph, arrived from Oregon for the weekend. We did some touring and Joseph and Mark watched sports, but mostly we talked and ate Homesick Texan food and grapefruit desserts.
cousins
siblings
brunettes wearing brown
Friday night: Tex-Mex meatloaf, which threw off a lot of unsightly orange chorizo oil, but was delicious, "tender and smooth," as Fain puts it. I'm picky about meat loaf and have two benchmark recipes: Naomi Judd's mother's meat loaf from Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes, and Honest Fried Chicken (a great book I cooked from extensively in the early 1990s) and Paul Prudhomme's Cajun meat loaf. This meat loaf joins them in the pantheon. It's not quite as perfect as the other two, but gets points for uniqueness. You should make it; the recipe is here.  With the meat loaf we ate Fain's potato salad, which I found too vinegary, and leftover Burmese black eyed peas. Full Burma write-up coming soon.

I took pictures, but there was no natural light so the pictures were ugly and I'm not going to post them.

For dessert there was Brown Derby grapefruit cake, grapefruit cookies, and grapefruit mousse. Everyone was game about tasting and opining even though they would all have preferred Nanaimo bars.
Laura: "I don't like fool stuff."
Saturday night: Homesick Texan's Fancy Pants King Ranch chicken casserole which was AMAZING. Ordinarily, writes Fain, Texans make this with canned cream soup, but her recipe omits this distasteful component. I'm glad because I'm a fancy pants. A few years ago I made a Pioneer Woman recipe with canned cream soup and was very, very sorry. Fain offers both a typical canned soup recipe and a fancy pants version on her blog. It's not quite identical to the recipe that appears in the book, but it is close. The recipe involves a lot of steps, a lot of pans, and a big mess, but it is worth it.

With it I served her radish and cabbage slaw (perfection) and slightly mushy (I am not the only cook who had this issue), very tasty red rice.

I should say here that I have noticed that her dishes need additional salt.

After the chicken casserole we ate the best grapefruit dessert I've made. If I tell you about it now I won't have anything left to say in the actual article, so I will refrain. All will be revealed very soon.
not strawberries, grapefruit!

19 comments:

  1. That looks like a grapefruit pavlova, and I am salivating.

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  2. Ooh, I love a good pavlova. Am unfortunately banned from eating grapefruits, however. Maybe a blood orange pavlova instead?

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  3. I see you found our favorite Homesick Texan recipe, that King Ranch Chicken is Sophie's go to birthday dinner. My bushel of grapefruit and I are eagerly awaiting your article.

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  4. I used to make a grapefruit dessert I called a grapefruit "key lime" tart. If you need another recipe for your article, I would happily share it. I made it in individual ring molds, and served it with bruleed grapefruit segments, candied grapefruit peel and whipped cream--because I'm a fancy pants. But it works great as a full-sized tart with whipped cream alone.

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  5. I went from obsessively checking to see if you had posted anything to not checking at all because there were these big breaks. And I got confused about the concept. I was so happy with the "pick a book and cook from it" concept, but then you went to India? Vancouver? etc. etc. and I didn't know why, not that you have to explain why you are anywhere, but some coherence got lost. The fruitcake emphasis? grapefruit? egad. At a time of year when folks are trying to cook their best, this is the focus? I'm really saying that I love your writing so much, I just wish you posted really really often. And I admire how recklessly you charge in to the most demanding dishes.

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  6. Jennifer: you may want to check out Alain Ducasse's grapefruit soufflé. It is fantastic. The New York Times published the recipe several years ago; I am sure it made it to one of his cookbooks.

    Oz

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  7. Kristin -- I'd love that recipe
    Oz -- I saw that recipe! I think the words "monumentally difficult" put me off, but now I see it was in reference to an optional ingredient. I will try this.
    Anonymous -- Thanks for your kind words about my writing. I, too, wish I could keep the coherence to the blog, but it's challenging. When paid work takes me to Vancouver, or I'm supposed to write a column about grapefruit desserts, it becomes a choice between posting about what I'm actually doing and not posting at all. I always hope to focus more steadily on cookbooks. Perhaps I will have better luck in the new year!

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  8. I receive grapefruit every year from three different people. HELP, Jennifer! I am eagerly looking forward to your grapefruit piece. By the way, I think your blog is quite coherent. I really enjoy it when you share your trips with us.

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  9. The recipe is on my wordpress blog thingy:

    http://nougatt.wordpress.com/2010/09/23/hello-world/

    You should cut the recipe in half for a single large (springform) tart or 8 individual ring ones. I gave a recipe for a pistachio graham crust (and a monumental amount of it), but you can use a regular graham crust recipe instead, or supplement the graham crumbs with ground up pistachios, since I don't expect you to have pistachio paste lying around. The crust gets pressed into the bottom of a springform pan, like you would do for a cheesecake, and pre-baked.

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  10. Tipsy, I like all your posts, whether they're about cookbooks, traveling or your family. That's what makes this blog great.

    Looking forward to your Burma wrap up post...

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  19. The crust gets pressed into the bottom of a springform pan, like you would do for a cheesecake, and pre-baked.
    Santa Clarita Senior Photography

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