Getting to Know the Ebullient Epicurean

  1) My favorite item to cook? It’s a tie between seafood lasagna and gumbo. While both items are time consuming they are well worth it. I usually prepare seafood lasagna in the autumn, while gumbo I prepare every Christmas, … Continue reading

Lauryn Tamar Minter, PhD

A little more about me, as told by the Diversely Me Team.

Diversely Me

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Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

Five years from now I see myself as a manager or chief working for the U.S. federal government, hosting fabulous dinner parties on the weekends for coworkers and friends, traveling throughout the Americas, and building a life with a man who holds the same values as me.

How do you culturally identify yourself?

Culturally I identify as Black of the Americas. Culturally, I identify with the cultures of Blacks in the United States, Cape Verde, Trinidad, and the Gulf Region of Mexico. My familial background is one of varied ethnic backgrounds that are all rooted in the African diasporic or Black experience. My culture is also influenced to a large degree by my faith/religiosity. The Anglican/Episcopal church and West African spirituality both have a great influence on my personal identity as well.

What is your career or profession?

I recently earned…

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Seasonal Strawberry Cake

I don’t have a witty story about this recipe. Unlike many of the other recipes on this blog, this recipe was neither passed on to me by a dear grandmother nor is it one that I’ve had in my repertoire for a long time. One day this spring I wanted a strawberry cake so I developed this recipe. It’s not perfect by any means. I’ve made it twice; the first time I made it in a bunt pan and cooked it for an hour… let’s just say that the cake came out dense and heavy. The second time I made it in a sheet cake pan and the cake was moister and less heavy. The “frosting” was the only item that was deliciously ‘perfect’ both times. I hope you enjoy! I welcome your recommendations!

Strawberry Cake

Strawberry Cake

Ingredients for cake

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup strawberries pureed
1 cup strawberries sliced for garnish
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 tablespoons strawberry-flavored gelatin
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup chopped fresh strawberries
cooking spray for pan
Directions 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat salted butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating 5 or 6  minutes or until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating until blended after each addition.

Stir  in lemon juice and vanilla.

In separate bowl stir together flour and strawberry gelatin power, baking soda, and salt.

Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk (start with flour mixture and end by adding flour mixture).

Beat at low speed just until blended. Stir in strawberry puree.

Spray and lightly flour a 13- x 9-inch cake pan. Spread batter in prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes or until a wooden tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Cool completely. Spread “frosting” on top and sides of cake. See recipe for frosting below.

strawberry cake unbaked

Ingredients for strawberry “frosting”
  1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  2/3 cup sugar, divided
  1 cup strawberries sliced for garnish
  1 tablespoon strawberry gelatin
  1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
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Directions for strawberry cream cheese “frosting”
Beat cream cheese and 1/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer until smooth.

Add powdered gelatin; beat until blended. Set aside.

Beat heavy cream and lemon juice at medium speed until foamy, increase speed to medium-high, and slowly add remaining 1/3 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold half of heavy cream mixture into cream cheese mixture; fold in remaining cream mixture. Use immediately or refrigerate. Garnish cake with sliced strawberries.

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Wild Game Butchering The Way Our Ancestors Did in Plantation Days

This is AMAZING!!!! This is true narrative sharing through cooking! This man is doing what I wish I could. Absolutely amazing!!

Afroculinaria

I asked my colleague Chef Harold Caldwell to write about the process of butchering wild game in the colonial and antebellum periods. This is a real treat full of detail about how our Ancestors survived. Our forefathers and foremothers made the original “soul food,” from the ingredients around them: squirrels, possums, raccoons, rabbits, groundhog, eels, catfish, bass, trout, suckers, sturgeons, deer, rail, snipe, partridges, grouse and wild turkey. They made it all taste good because they had to. We know that but we aren’t too sure about how it was all done. Lucky for you Chef Harold and I are preserving this knowledge, and I’m pleased to share this excellent essay he has prepared with you.

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The colonial and antebellum periods were a time in history where most people survived from the land. But land wasn’t the only source for food. Nourishment also came from oceans, bays, lakes, and rivers.

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Cooking as Racial, Cultural, and Religious History #BlackHistoryMonth

For me, cooking and entertaining is performance art. Every time I plan a party, event, or create a menu for my family, I am engaging in a performance that is a reenactment of what the woman in my family did … Continue reading

Professional Food Photography

In 2014, while I was completing my dissertation research and writing, I began working at a local restaurant as an “escape” from the drudgery of writing. One day, while working, I met a talented photographer named Brandon Vick and as they … Continue reading

Autumn Update

Greetings Followers (Family and Friends)!

I pray that you had an eventful summer complete with many opportunities to entertain your family and friends in your home. I hosted a Mother’s and Father’s Day brunch, a 4th of July party, my mother’s 62nd birthday party, a soror’s birthday picnic, and Sunday dinner for friends. Sadly, I did not have as many opportunities to entertain or prepare my “elaborately simple” meals as I would have liked.

Portuguese inspired birthday cake for my mother's 62nd birthday. Almond cake with pastry creme filling, topped with fresh whipped cream and fruits (blueberries, oranges, raspberries, strawberries; not shown peaches and kiwi).

Portuguese inspired birthday cake for my mother’s 62nd birthday. Almond cake with pastry creme filling, topped with fresh whipped cream and fruits (blueberries, oranges, raspberries, strawberries; not shown peaches and kiwi).

As many of you know, I’ve spent that last 5.5 years in a PhD program. Taking a full load of graduate courses, teaching at a local university, completing my research, and writing a dissertation of more than 300 pages resulted in little time to develop new recipes, let alone try to take “perfect” photos of my work. I did meet with an amazing photographer in New York! I hope to work with him this fall!

As my program comes to an end and I prepare for graduation I have lots of projects on the horizon. Of course, I’m looking for gainful employment so if you know of anything policy related let me know (you can check out my CV and research interests HERE). I also have plans to finally finish my etiquette manual to help you in navigating the social shoals of modern day life; a project I began with my best sister-girl back in 2004 with our company White Gloves and Silver Spoons. In addition to the etiquette manual, I will finally begin writing the manual you’ve been waiting for. I’ll tell you more about that a little later. Last, I’m compiling a recipe book filled with my grandmothers’ recipes, which will accompany the aforementioned “secret” manual above. This recipe book will be a little different from what’s on the market currently. I’m super excited about this!

Now that I have my like “back”, I’m excited to share some new recipes and hospitality, decorating, and entertaining ideas. I’d love to create videos too! Remember the character Joan (portrayed by the fabulous Tracee Ellis Ross) from the show Girlfriends? Well, that’s me when it comes to holidays and birthdays! Check out the video below. Around minute 6:54 you’ll see exactly what I mean.

I recently returned from visiting my beautiful great grandmother (grandmere) in Gatineau, Quebec. Although she now lives in an assisted living community and no longer has a kitchen in her home, at 88, she shared with me some recipes that I’ve always wanted. She was an amazing cook!! So I will begin sharing with you many of her amazing recipes! Many of her recipes are perfect for your Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays! I’m trying to keep the integrity of her dishes/recipes, but I realize that many of her methods are “classic” (read: old school), so I will try to update some of them to the best of my ability.

Grandmere Carmen and I (October 2014) in Gatineau, Quebec.

Grandmere Carmen and I (October 2014) in Gatineau, Quebec.

Although I haven’t spent much time blogging or cooking for that matter (side note: I’ve lost a total of 33 pounds since I stopped cooking every day lol hmmm… maybe I’m on to something lol), that hasn’t stopped me from buying new decor. My style is what I like to call bold-classic with explorer flare. Think Kate Spade meets Moroccan excursion. I recently bought a new tablescape for my informal dinning table. Although I won’t use it until the spring, I’m excited to look for vintage hot pink/fuchsia glassware to compliment it.

New Kate Spade tablescape. Photo includes napkins, straws, and table runner. Table cloth not shown, but it's ivory with navy polka dots.

New Kate Spade tablescape. Photo includes napkins, straws, and table runner. Table cloth not shown, but it’s ivory with navy polka dots.

 

I’ve tried out several new recipe ideas! Some good and some great! I created a caramel chocolate bourbon bread pudding… it was good, but needs some work. Next time I’ll make my caramel sauce from scratch and mix it into the bread with the chopped caramel squares. I posted the photos below. I’ve also created some delicious savory ice cream flavors. The holidays are a great time to serve savory ice creams.

Caramel-Chocolate Bread Pudding with Chocolate Bourbon sauce. Shown with vanilla ice cream.

Caramel-Chocolate Bread Pudding with Chocolate Bourbon sauce. Shown with vanilla ice cream.

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My next event is planning my 30th birthday party and graduation! Of course, family members recommended that I “take the night off” and allow someone else to cater both events, but I’m not completely sure about that decision. Actually, I have no idea what the menu would be for either event. Any ideas?!

I hope all is well in your world and that you’re continuously blessed as you’re a blessing to others through your hospitality.

With a servant’s hands and heart,

The Ebullient Epicurean

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Catering and Private Chef Menu

Ebullient Enterprises Catering Menu

Enjoy our delicious soups, main dishes, sides, desserts, and beverages for your next meeting, party or special occasion. Our menu reflects our most common requests. If there’s an item that you’re interested in but it doesn’t appear on the menu, please inquire with one of our ebullient consultants. We offer delivery for a fee, and will return to retrieve the dishes.

                                     Soups
All soups require a 2 quart minimum purchase.

2 quarts (serves 4-6)                               $35

4 quarts (serves 7-8)                               $60

Farmhouse Vegetable

Heirloom Tomato

Southwest Chicken

Country Turkey Noodle

Oaxaca White Chicken Chili

Loaded Baked Potato

Cream of Broccoli

Butternut Squash Bisque

Mom’s Beef Stew

Abuela’s Chicken and Dumplings

Okra Gumbo (Chicken and Sausage)

Seafood Gumbo +$15

                                Meats and Main Dishes

Choice of 2 meats and 2 sides base price $20 per person. 2 person minimum. Pricing a la cart available upon request.

Additional meat + $3 / Additional side + $2

Pork Chops (fried, smothered, or w chutney)

Meatloaf (turkey or beef)

Chicken (Herb roasted, Mojo, Smothered, Curried, Jerk, or BBQ)

Cubed Steak

Beef Short Ribs (Braised or BBQ)

BBQ Pork Ribs (Regular or Peach Tamarind BBQ sauce)

Turkey Breast

Pork Shoulder (Traditional Mojo or BBQ)

Salmon (Ginger Glazed or Jerked) + $3 per person

Shrimp (Etouffe, Curried or Grilled) + $3 per person

Jambalaya (Chicken, Andouille or Turkey Sausage, and Shrimp) + $3 per person

Stuffed Bell Peppers (Ham, Sausage, and Shrimp OR Crab and Shrimp) + $3 per person

Lasagna (Beef, Turkey, Eggplant, Cheese, or Seafood)

Bourbon Baked Spiral Ham Market Price 

                             Sides

2 quarts (serves 4-6)                               $20

4 quarts (serves 7-8)                               $40

Greens (mustard, kale, collard, or mixed)

Callaloo

Braised Kale and Cabbage

Cabbage (smothered and fried)

Roasted butter or sweet potatoes

Broccoli (steamed or roasted w or w/o parmesan)

Vegetarian Red beans and Rice (white or brown)

Vegetarian Black beans and Rice (white or brown)

Arroz con Gandules (contains pork)

Vegetarian Curry Chana and Aloo

Dahl

Jasmine, Basmati or Vegetable Fried Rice (white or brown)

Dressing (Sausage +$5)

Homestyle or Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Potato Salad

Platanos Maduros

Curried Eggplant

BBQ Baked Beans (Sausage + $5)

Corn Bread or Muffins (Regular or Jalapeño Cheese)

Breakfast/Brunch Selections

Quiche (various combinations available)                                                                                                      $23- $43

Breakfast Hash (Ham, Pork Sausage, or Turkey Sausage)                                                                    $15 per quart

Cheese Grits                                                                                                                                                                $15 per quart

Salmon Croquetts w Remoulade                                                                                                                        $2 per piece

Chicken or Tuna Salad (Fruit, Curried, or Plain) w/ an array of crackers and breads               $25 per quart

Kale Salad with Homemade Vinaigrette or Salad Dressing                                                                     $15

Sauces and Accompaniments

Peach Tamarind BBQ Sauce                                                                                                             All $10 per pint

Remoulade Sauce

Habanero Hot Pepper Sauce

Seasonal Fruit Salsa

Homemade Croutons

Grilled Cheese Croutons

Desserts

Croissant Bread Pudding w Rum Sauce                    $30

Banana Pudding                                                                 $25

Praline Cake                                                                         $25

Beverages

Flavored Lemonade (Mango, Passion Fruit, Watermelon, or Peach)                        $20 per gallon

Sangria (White or Red)                                                                                                                  $50 per gallon

Sorrel with Rum                                                                                                                               $40 per gallon

Christmas Sorrel

Sorrel is a drink typically enjoyed at Christmas time throughout the Caribbean. As a child, I enjoyed it at my Jamaican God parents home, without the rum. I knew that sorrel was something “special” because my father, who does not … Continue reading

Peach BBQ Sauce

Peach BBQ Sauce shown atop grilled Baby-Back pork ribs

Peach BBQ Sauce shown atop grilled Baby-Back pork ribs

 

This is a great homemade bbq sauce. You can alter the flavor using your favorite fruit nectars and jams. I often combine flavors, making a tamarind peach sauce or a passion fruit guava sauce. Use as you would your store bought bbq sauces… but as you’ll see, this is much much MUCH tastier! You’re welcome to reduce the sugar content by decreasing the amount of brown sugar and jam, and adding sugar free ketchup or sugar free tomato sauce.

 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion diced

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup brown sugar

8 ounces peach nectar

2 teaspoons ground mustard

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

1 jar (18 ounces) peach preserves

 

In a medium saucepan, melt butter and saute onion over low heat until soft/translucent. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat, covered, for 15 minutes until thick uniform sauce. Yields about 3 cups.