Chess Pie – A Southern Staple

To close out 2015 and make good use of my vacation time, I decided to bake  my friends & neighbors pies as Christmas gifts and a way to share some cheer.

Chess pie sometimes called buttermilk pie was on the list. Why? because sugar makes every one happy and any pie with 2 cups sugar is sure to make you happy!

This was my first attempt at it and I really thought I had failed. The color wasn’t perfect and my custard did not raise as high as I would have liked.

But my neighbor was so complimentary. In fact he told us he had been looking for this pie for years and no one new what it was called or where to find it. He had tried all the freezer sections looking for it.

Despite my own disappointment with my 1st attempt, I had the courage to share it anyway and the result was better than expected. ūüôā

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Culture

Chickpea Cornbread

I had decided to make a healthier version of a corn cake. Something tasty yet filling & easy for my baby to handle but tasty enough for my ol’ man to eat it.

As always I don’t work from recipe. Instead I read a lot various recipes & sample from a few to make something brand new.

I season the chickpeas, puree it with a little chicken broth, and an egg white and …. well now is where it gets tricky. In an attempt to keep it low fat i tried a few in the oven for an ‘oven baked’ effect. NO GOOD. Then I try a shallow fry in a just a touch of olive oil. FAIL.

Finally I pull out my cast iron skillet, add some coconut oil and fry the little patties & guess what? I basically just made hot water cornbread!! I guess success or failure is in the eye of the beholder.

 

Hot Chicken

When you we visit Nashville you have eat hot chicken. Its unique this city and worth the pain. Please beware of the KFC emergence of this knock-off. There really is no comparison.  Its spicy & juicy straight through with a local honey drizzle. Underneath a cool slaw and a sweet potato pancake (usually a waffle).

Unfortunately, the mac & cheese did not live up to my expectations, but that’s a post for another time.

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Bao in Knoxville ??

I travel a lot for work. Since having my son I have managed to get travel down about once a quarter. One of the perks of traveling is trying new restaurants, which is right up my alley.

Recently, I was in Knoxville on business and spent the evening at a very quaint restaurant. The atmosphere was so laid back ¬†and actually more of a lounge feel. Many people don’t know this about me but I love Asian cuisine- authentic or fusion, its all deliciousness.

As a home cook it’s incredibly hard to conquer so there won’t be any recipe postings here. One of my favorites which has been so difficult to find in Memphis is Bao.

So imagine my surprise when I ran across a Bao inspired dish in Knoxville. Let me tell you it was pretty darn good. The bun was soft and fluffy with smokey chicken topped with a spicy aioli & Kimchi inspired slaw.

 

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You may be saying, “Jen, when did you start eating Bao buns?” I’m so glad you asked.

A few years ago a my girlfriends and I took a trip to NYC and our curiosity landed us in china town. No doubt we were looking for cliche’ tourist deals that we never found. But what we did find were streets filled with small bakeries and eateries. We had dinner plans, so I thought a snack would be great. I ended up to full to eat dinner and perfectly satisfied with the chicken & pork filled bao.

That’s when my obsession with this amazing asian inspired savory pastry began. Not since my first¬†Jamaican meat pie as a child had I ever been so happy with a¬†protein wrapped in a pastry ūüôā .

 

I Would Cry but I Can’t…

People don’t like to talk about crying but I need to from time to time. I use to be described as ¬†a pretty emotional person, I mean cry at a drop at a hat. At the end of a Hallmark movie, tears. The part in the romantic comedy when they finally figure out the person they really loved was there all along, COMPLETE WATER WORKS.

But now I can’t cry, even when I want to cry…I Can’t. While it seems like I’m over reacting. I did cry once about a two months ago when my gall stones were giving problems. BUT an emotional cry. ¬†Not a single solitary tear.

As crazy as this whole thing seems, without my no cry – keep things level modifier, I don’t think I would be any good at this life at all.

5 things I learned in NOLA

I love New Orleans, LA. ¬†I will go on a limb and say I have been there more than any other city. Quite arguably my favorite city on earth ¬†(comparatively speaking,¬†I haven’t seen a lot of earth).

I started visiting NOLA in college (17 years ago) and most recently visited in April to celebrate my sister’s graduation from college.

So here are 5 things NOLA has taught me over the years:

  1. LEAVE YOUR JUDGEMENTS AT HOME (or at least in your hotel room)- I don’t think this needs any explanation when walk the streets on NOLA on the weekend.
  2. TRAVEL AS A CLIQUE РNothing ruins a great weekend in NOLA  like losing your friend who wondered off or was going to meet you at the corner of Iberville and she thought you said Bienville. This rule was paramount in the days prior to unlimited anytime calling.
  3. BRING AN ADVENTUROUS APPETITE¬†– Many people know that the best part of NOLA is the food. Its simply amazing. By any means don’t take this trip to culinary paradise with your co-worker who only eats “chicken tenders” and openly proclaims Applebee’s as their favorite restaurant.
  4. MY MOM IS WAY MORE FUN THAN YOU THOUGHT SHE WAS– Because I love my mom & mom-in-law, Enough said… ¬†ūüôā
  5. LIFE IS SHORT, ENJOY THE MUSIC!

Brutal Honesty

I don’t know if you have a mother from the south, but if you don’t you are welcomed to share mine. You can’t have her because she’s an integral part of life, but she is open to spread her motherly love & advise.

As I have mentioned before in several places around this blog, I have a 7 other aunts that also have no trepidation about telling you how they feel.

This weekend my mom kept my little guy so I could get some much needed rest. AND rest I did at least I thought I did. Until I saw my mom and she kindly ( I’m being sarcastic) “Did you get some rest you look tired!” I was shocked but then realized she was so right.

I laid in bed but my mind was thinking about what i should deb doing instead of laying around. I caught up on my DVR but stared with hatred at the laundry baskets of clean clothes on the love seat just waiting to be tackled.

Some people would resent brutal honesty but in my family we live by a key rule ” If I can’t tell you the truth, who will? If I didn’t love you, I wouldn’t say anything at all”

What Brutal Honesty have you received that was tough to hear but exactly what you needed.

 

updated 2.9.17 Criticize Word prompt of the day

Above the Clouds

I’m most at peace in the¬†Sky, on an airplane with no demands. Really nothing to do but wait on the next set of instructions. Now as look back, I kinda miss the days when electronics couldn’t be used in flight. It was the only time I had to read a book. You know the thing with pages of typed letters with decorative cover and a photo of a random person on the back.¬†It was the time you could could actually read the article in the magazine instead of just looking at the info graphics or the photo spread.

I’ve been flying since I was a little girl. I had a handle on how it all works pretty well. Looking out the window above the clouds stills overwhelms me and forces me to think about how small we are in the world. Our problems and concerns are so small in the scope of the sky. The clouds seem to swallow you up consume all your worries.

I feel so free when I travel, despite the TSA lines crowds of people. They all seem to disappear for me. It’s as close as I can get to completely going off the map. That need to disconnect, no phones, no contact, be alone. Is a real longing I crave and don’t really talk about. Not sure why, maybe fear of being judged. I think I mentioned it once to my mom in passing, but that lead to a bunch of “is everything alright” type of questions.

Needless to say its been awhile since I’ve been above the clouds, in the sky, time to find my why.

I think I’m addicted to working

Growing up my mom always had multiple jobs, not for sport but because we were poor. At the time my husband proposed marriage i as working 2 jobs and in graduate school. Now I work ¬†an average of about 50 hours a week and tend to the baby while my ol’ man is at work and somehow I think I have time to work a second job or pick up a side hustle.

What’s wrong with me, I have not time to do anything else. I wake up in the morning with the remarkable urge to go right back to bed.¬†Like a car I have to take a vitamin supplements when my light comes on… by light I mean my 2pm conference call.

At some point i guess i will learn to just BE STILL and not just crave busy-ness I guess its a skill i have yet to acquire.