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
Shrimp and Grits. One of the quintessential low country dishes great for breakfast, brunch, or in my home, the perfect after work snack. Low country cooking is unpretentious, yet flavorful. It is representative of true American flavors! Low country refers … Continue reading
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
I prepare this cranberry sauce every Thanksgiving. When my sister and her family visit I omit the additional fruits and add chopped jalapeno peppers and culandro/recito. Other times, I boil cranberries with a whole cinnamon stick and cloves for a … Continue reading
BLOGGER’S NOTE: PHOTOS ARE NOT INCLUDED AT THIS TIME. I WANTED TO ENSURE THAT THE RECIPE WAS POSTED PRIOR TO THANKSGIVING. I WILL UPDATE POST WITH PHOTOS AFTER THANKSGIVING, IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS.
This recipe juxtaposes my two favorite versions of macaroni and cheese: classic U.S. southern style baked macaroni and West Indian macaroni pie. There are several imitations of macaroni pie on the internet and do not do the real thing justice. Both macaroni pie and southern style baked macaroni are staple on holidays and Sunday dinners often served along side a green vegetable such as callaloo, steamed cabbage, or collard greens and of course, stewed or fried fish and fried chicken! I like my baked macaroni a little spicy so I add finely chopped habanero pepper, but feel free to leave it out. What separates my baked macaroni from that bland stuff is all of the flavor, the creaminess, and richness. Note, I did not include the calorie/nutrition information here. Why not? Because it’s calorie free of course!
Seasoned Bechamel Sauce
3 cups evaporated milk (carnation or Pet; you may also use whole, 2% or 1% milk)
1 stick (8 tablespoons) salted butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons ground/dry mustard
1 teaspoon white pepper
***optional***- 1 habanero pepper seeded and finely chopped OR 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce/hot sauce
1 lb “elbow” macaroni or this for traditional style
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt for boiling pasta
1 teaspoon vegetable or olive oil for boiling pasta
2 eggs whisked (remove the white string with a knife FYI this makes your eggs taste and smell “fresh” or eggy)
2 cups (1 lb) shredded sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup (1/4 lb) shredded pecorino romano
1 cup (1/4 lb) crumbly cubes (coarse chop using food processor) mozzarella or muenster cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large heavy bottomed pot (such as the IMUSA castiron pot) melt the stick of butter over medium heat. Sprinkle in flour by the heaping tablespoon full whisking thoroughly and constantly before adding more flour. Be careful not to burn.
Once all flour is incorporated add milk slowly while constantly whisking.
Reduce temperature to medium-low and add garlic powder, onion powder, dry mustard, white pepper, and optional hot sauce or chopped habanero.
Cook for 5-7 minutes or until rather thick. Reduce stove temperature to low.
Take a cup full of bechamel sauce mixture and add it to bowl that contains 2 whisked eggs. Slowly pour cup of sauce into eggs, whisking constantly, as not to cook/scramble eggs. Pour egg mixture back into remaining bechamel sauce.
Add 1.5 cups of shredded cheddar and pecorino romano into bechamel sauce.
Boil pasta with salt and oil until al dente/cooked but firm (about 8-10 minutes).
Drain pasta reserving about 1/2 cup of water. While still hot, return pasta to pot it was boiled in and add the reserved pasta water. Set pot aside. Be careful not to return pot to hot eye of stove.
Pour cooked pasta into pot with bechamel sauce. Stir. Season with salt (approximately 1 teaspoon).
Pour 1/2 of macaroni mixture into well greased/buttered (you can use a cooking spray to reduce the calories, Ha! Ha!) casserole dish or pan. Sprinkle with crumbly cubes of mozzarella or muenster cheese. Add remaining macaroni mixture. Top with remaining 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese.
Bake 20-30 minutes or until just beginning to turn golden brown.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
* Full disclosure: I am not from the Midwest. My mother was raised in OH, but even she doesn’t eat the typical “Midwest diet” of meat and potatoes. This is simply my interpretation of a meat and potatoes meal. Also, I never ever order meatloaf when dining out because nothing compares to this moist flavorful meatloaf!
HOMESTYLE MEATLOAF Serves 8
3 lbs of meat loaf blend (equal parts ground chuck, ground pork, and ground veal) OR 2 lbs ground chuck and 1 lb ground pork OR 3 lbs ground turkey (not turkey breast alone, make sure ground turkey is mixed with dark meat for better color and flavor)
2 yellow onions pureed using food processor
2 bell peppers (preferably red), diced
3 cloves garlic minced
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon beef seasoning OR salt
2 large eggs, whisked
1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
3/4 cups favorite bbq sauce or light brown sugar, extra sauce or sugar to top before cooking
Optional- 1/2 cup 1% milk or 1/2 cup plain tomato sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In large bowl place ground meat of your choice. Create a well in the center of meat.
Fill well with onions, peppers, and garlic.
Liberally season meat with dry mustard, cinnamon, ground black pepper, and beef seasoning or salt.
Mix meatloaf mixture with clean hands until seasoning is well incorporated.
Add eggs, bread crumbs, milk or tomato sauce, and bbq sauce or brown sugar.
Mix meatloaf mixture for another 3 minutes or until all ingredients are well incorporated.
Line a large glass dish (do not use a shallow dish) with foil. Spray foil with cooking spray.
Place meatloaf into pan and shape into a loaf using hands.
Top loaf with 2-3 tablespoons of bbq sauce, brown sugar or 3-4 strips of bacon.
Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes – 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Please note that while cooking the meatloaf will generate liquid. Drain this from pan. You can save this liquid to make a quick gravy.
(CHEESY) GARLIC MASHED POTATOES
2.5 lbs butter potatoes (all purpose potatoes, not white potatoes), peeled and cut into quarters or eighths
1/4 cup sour cream
2 cups half and half
1 stick salted butter
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 tablespoon salt
Optional: 1/2 cup shredded pecorino romano cheese AND 1 cup shredded Muenster cheese
Directions Serves 8
In large stock pot bring potatoes to boil in (salted) water. Once potatoes are tender (fall apart when fork is inserted) drained potatoes, but return them to same warm pot and return pot to the stove. Turn of the heat/eye.
Immediately, add stick of butter, and half and half. Begin to mash in pot using a masher. FYI NEVER put potatoes in the blender. the starch becomes glutenous.
Once potatoes are smooth add sour cream, white pepper, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir until smooth and seasoning well incorporated. If too thick add more half and half (or another milk) by the tablespoon full. Top with parsley flakes and serve.
If making “Cheesy” add shredded pecorino romano and Muenster cheeses when adding seasonings. Then top with parsley flakes.
GLAZED CARROTS Makes 8 cups
12 large carrots peeled
2 tablespoons salted butter
1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Optional: 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Julienne carrots (find instructions here, you may also slice them on a mandolin)
In a large sauce pan melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar. Add carrots to pan and coat with butter-sugar mixture. Liberally season carrots with ground ginger, nutmeg, salt, and if using, cayenne pepper. Stir carrots until well coated.
Turn heat down to low and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until carrots are tender, but not mushy. Serve.
FRESH STEAMED PEAS
4 cups fresh snapped peas
1 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable base OR 1/2 tablespoon salt AND 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons unsalted/salted butter
In 4 quart pot, melt butter over medium heat.
Add rinsed peas, seasoning, and water. Bring pot to boil for 3 minutes. Reduce temperature to low. Simmer on low for additional 3 minutes. Serve.
This is a fairly easy recipe for a great Spring time dessert. I created this recipe Easter 2014 because every lemon cake recipe I’ve ever used was never lemony enough. Trust me, if you like that tart lemony bite, this cake has it. How? I use lemon oil!! Lemon oil is approximately $10 for 0.5 ounce and goes rancid rather quickly, so it is best to refrigerate it upon opening. This is a great recipe for cupcakes too. I simply sliced the tops off horizontally, topped with curd, replaced the top and frosted. Makes 24 standard sized cupcakes, 1 3 layer 9 in round cake, or 1/2 sheet cake. By the way, this cake recipe is amazingly moist!! Simply remove the lemon ingredients and you have a great yellow cake recipe.
Ingredients for Basic Moist (Lemon) Yellow Cake*
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup milk in a 2 cup measuring cup, add enough vegetable oil to bring milk level to 1 1/3 cups
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs room temperature
1/2 teaspoon lemon oil (use an eye dropper)
2 teaspoons lemon powder
2 teaspoons ground lemon zest
2 drops lemon food coloring
*Simply omit the lemon oil, lemon powder, ground lemon zest, AND yellow food coloring for a very moist basic yellow cake
Ingredients for Lemon Curd Filling
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest OR 1 tablespoon ground lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
4 teaspoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon salted butter
Ingredients for Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
2 tablespoons ground lemon zest/finely shredded lemon zest
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1/2 cup softened salted butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon powder
1/2 teaspoon lemon oil
5 cups confectionery sugar
Ingredients for Coconut Coating
3 cups shredded sweetened coconut
Optional- 3 drops food coloring of your choice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Prepare three (3) 9 x 1.5-inch round pans OR 1/2 sheet pan by either spraying with cooking spray or cutting wax paper to fit bottom of pans (spray pans with cooking spray, place the wax paper in the pans and spray the paper)
In large mixing bowl combine cake flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix until well incorporated.
Add the milk/oil mixture and butter to dry ingredients. Beat on medium-high for 2 minutes. While beating add vanilla (and lemon oil, lemon powder, and ground lemon zest if making a lemon cake).
Add eggs one at a time and continue beating on medium an additional 2-3 minutes.
Pour batter into prepared pan(s). Cut wax paper to fit the bottom of (3) 9 x 1 1/2-inch round pans. Spray the pans with cooking spray, place the wax paper in the pans and spray the paper.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until inserted knife comes out clean.
While cake is baking make lemon curd. In a medium sauce pan over medium low heat add water, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice,corn starch, and salt. Whisk ingredients until well incorporated. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes. Reduce temperature to low and remove pan from heat. Stir in butter and cool. Refrigerate until ready to use. FYI the curd will be a pale yellow color. If you desire a more intense yellow color then add a drop or two of yellow food coloring.
Cool cake on wire rack for 15-20 minutes or until cool.
For frosting, mix cream cheese and butter on medium speed. Once well blended add confectionery sugar one cup at a time, adding next cup once the previous cup is completely incorporated. Add lemon zest, powder, and oil. Mix/blend an additional minute. Refrigerate until ready to use.
When ready to assemble, place curd between cake layers. Frost cake. Immediately, mix coconut and food coloring. Pat coconut evenly over cake while icing is still wet. Cover/store cake appropriately.
This is a quick and easy recipe using all fresh ingredients! This is a perfect appetizer to accompany your Valentine’s Day meal. You can serve these mussels in the shell or removed from the shells and over a bed of fresh pasta. Make sure you have fresh crusty bread on hand to sop-up the flavorful broth. Please note, when choosing a white wine, do not buy a “cooking wine” from off of the shelf. Do not cook with a wine that you won’t drink. I suggest buying an inexpensive dry wine that you enjoy and cooking with it. This rule applies to white and red wines.
4 lbs mussels debearded and cleaned
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) salted butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion quartered and sliced thinly
5 cloves garlic peeled and sliced
5 sprigs fresh thyme
3 roma tomatoes chopped
2 fennel bulbs sliced thinly
2 cups good quality dry white wine (i.e. chardonnay)
1 tablespoon salt
If possible, buy mussels fresh, the day in which you plan to use them. If you are unable to do so, remove mussels from plastic bag and place in the back of your refrigerator with a damp paper towel covering them, for one to two days. This will allow the mussels, which are alive, to breathe.
When ready to prepare, place mussels in a bowl and fill with cool water. Allow mussels to sit for 20 minutes to allow them to expel the sand and dirt inside. Begin to debeard and clean mussels. For tips on debearding mussels please visit this site. Any mussels that are opened, do not close when tapped, or chipped, discard (they are not viable/they’re dead). Once mussels are clean place them in another bowl. Do not simply pour cleaned mussels and water into another bowl, for the sand and dirt that was expelled will transfer to clean bowl. You may use a slotted spoon to transfer mussels.
Meanwhile, in a large heavy pot heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add slice garlic, red onion and fennel. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring often. Add tomatoes, thyme, and salt. Cook an additional 5 minutes. Pour in two cups of wine and increase heat to medium high. Add mussels on top of vegetables. Place cover on pot.
Allow mussels to cook covered on medium high for 10 minutes. Remove cover and stir so that vegetables are no longer at the bottom of the pot.
Cook mussels an additional 5-10 minutes. Remove/discard any mussels that are unopened.
Serve mussels w some of the liquid in bowl with crusty bread. Provide guests with a plate/bowl for discarded shells.
If serving mussels over pasta, remove mussels from shells and continue to cook in liquid for an additional 5 minutes. Remove all of thyme stems. Pour mussels w sauce/liquid over cooked pasta.
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.
All soups require a 2 quart minimum purchase.
2 quarts (serves 4-6) $35
4 quarts (serves 7-8) $60
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)
Beef Short Ribs (Braised or BBQ)
BBQ Pork Ribs (Regular or Peach Tamarind BBQ sauce)
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
2 quarts (serves 4-6) $20
4 quarts (serves 7-8) $40
Greens (mustard, kale, collard, or mixed)
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
Jasmine, Basmati or Vegetable Fried Rice (white or brown)
Dressing (Sausage +$5)
Homestyle or Baked Macaroni and Cheese
BBQ Baked Beans (Sausage + $5)
Corn Bread or Muffins (Regular or Jalapeño Cheese)
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
Habanero Hot Pepper Sauce
Seasonal Fruit Salsa
Grilled Cheese Croutons
Croissant Bread Pudding w Rum Sauce $30
Banana Pudding $25
Praline Cake $25
Flavored Lemonade (Mango, Passion Fruit, Watermelon, or Peach) $20 per gallon
Sangria (White or Red) $50 per gallon
Sorrel with Rum $40 per gallon