Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Recipe Testing Day!!

Ingredients ready to go
I cook to relax, I know, I know, for so many people cooking can be a stressful activity - but nothing (well except for vacuming) calms me more than creating some crazy dishes to serve. The wilder the ingredients, the more extravagant the cooking techniques, the crazier the combination of flavors the better.

I can read a recipe or look at a set of ingredients and know exactly how I want it to taste and when I am on a cooking jag...watch out! I could never make it on any of the cooking shows, because when I am in the zone, tasting the texture, the flavors, the layers of goodies unfolding, being mixed and and matched I go into an alternate universe. Some may call it an altered state, and I spent most of last week in that place trying to relax and as a result ended up with some pretty phenemonal dishes.

Today I am testing the recipes, moving the food from my brain onto paper and I can't wait to share them with you. Each of the dishes are unpretentious but will amaze others when you serve them - all with a mix of semi-home cooking to make the meals accessible for all - no matter your cooking skills. So look for the recipes next week cause I am cooking up a storm today!

Here are some of the delights that are cooking in my kitchen today:

I couldn't wait so had to whip up
a batch to taste test
Coconut curry shrimp poppers
Carmelized onion coconut stew
Spicy ginger fried plaintain
Mango cilantro salsa
Super delicious cheesy  grits
Sweet potato rosemary chips
Corn and bean salsa
Chicken artichoke enchilada casserole

Yummm, can't wait to get these recipes tested so that we can get to eating! From my table to yours...enjoy...Mama Caruso

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

West African Cooking Heating up my Kitchen


Can't wait to transform this plantain
I belong to a book group whose theme is "we read to eat". Each month we read a book and then cook a meal that corresponds to the book - it is loads of fun and creates great opportunities for gathering, eating and laughing. Over the past 9 years we have traveled all over the world through books and this month we are reading "The Witch Doctor's Wife" by Tamar Myers which means we are visiting West Africa...yippiee! I returned from Ghana recently with a suitcase filled with spices, cookbooks and several cooking lessons so I am all ready to go.

After a trip to the local grocery store where I found these plaintain I settled on Kelewele, one of my favs: a spicy, flavorful fried sliced plaintain - it makes my mouth water just to think about it. I can't wait to get cooking tomorrow adn I especially can't wait to get eating. Stay tuned for completed food photos and recipe. From my table to yours...enjoy.

Click here for more on my latest trip to Ghana