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The Virtual Gourmand No. 23: Mango Chicken!

May 29th, 2017

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This is an unusual recipe in many ways, not the least of which is that it is a perennial family favorite. It's the one dish that my college-student son requests whenever he is home. It is a fusion recipe, meaning that it’s a combination of preparation methods and ingredients from two or more cultures. In this case, it combines a Cajun preparation method with a number of spices reminiscent of a more Southwestern flavor. The original recipe came from the late chef Paul Prudhomme’s cookbook (as well as being featured on his television series), Chef Paul Prudhomme's Fiery Foods That I Love (William Morrow & Co., 1995, ISBN 0-688-12153-5 – readily available on the used book market).

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Cigar Weekly Cooks Up A Storm!

Cigar Weekly Cooks Up A StormMarch 3rd, 2017

Mr. Creosote's Diner is the newest room addition to the Cigar Weekly forums. Fried, boiled, smoked, seared or sautéed, this is the place we discuss our favorite foods and their preparation. Grab a knife and fork and dig in! Yet another great reason to be a member of the Cigar Weekly community.

Of course, there's also a wealth of informative (and tempting!) articles available for reading in the Food & Cooking section of the CW Home Page (under Lifestyles).

If you aren't already a CW member, joining is easy. You can register to become a member at Cigar Weekly HERE. Membership offers you access to discussions on a wide variety of cigar (pipes too!) and cigar lifestyle related topics. You'll also get to meet our convivial family of fellow members.

Any way you look at it, there's plenty of 'good eating' to be had!   

The Virtual Gourmand #22: Easy and Tasty Quickbreads

ImageThe word 'heirloom' has overtaken 'organic' as THE trendy term in food circles. It originally applied to fruits and vegetables whose seeds were collected, preserved and passed down through generations. Personally, I thought of it as a synonym for 'charge even more money for ugly fruits'. But the term did capture some of my interest. (When the seed companies start selling 'heirloom' plants, you know the trend is on its way out.)

Instead, the trend shifted to recipes. Jams, jellies, pickles - virtually any recipe you could get from your mom or grandma - were labelled as 'heirloom' recipes. Well, if the Virtual Gourmand is nothing else, it is authentic. And I'm going to share 3 true heirloom recipes that have been passed down to, and enjoyed by, five generations of my family (maybe six, if my distant cousins have started families of their own).

Let me give you some background on the origin of these recipes. My paternal Great-Grandmother, Elsie Iola Zook Workman, was a fantastic cook. Her parents moved on covered wagons to Illinois, following the railroad west after the Civil War. There is a picture in my father's study of her as an infant in front of a sod house built by her parents. She supported six children as a single, divorced mother through the Great Depression and beyond - initially, as a cook in a popular local diner. And once she stepped down from that position, she became the cook in residence at the Theta Xi Fraternity Chapter at the University of Illinois. When Elsie finally retired, she took up running a boarding house near the college campus until her health began to fail (while she was living with her youngest daughter - my grandmother - until her death at the age of 94).

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The Virtual Gourmand #21: Sausage 101

DSC00394Lately, I have begun a culinary journey into the world of charcuterie.  This term is derived from the French words for "flesh" (chair) and "cooked" (cuit). It dates from the 15th Century, and was applied to shops that sold pork products. The definition has expanded to include meats other than pork, and also applies to patés and terrines as well as sausages of virtually any type. I don't expect to teach you how to make a fancy goose liver pate or a seafood terrine (I doubt you would even be interested in that), but every man loves sausages, and I can show you some very basic methods and recipes for some of my favorites.

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The Virtual Gourmand 20: Three Dishes, One Smoker Full of Poultry

DSC00333Contrary to what you might think, barbecue is not the only thing I use my smoker to make. In fact, a smoker is a versatile tool that can smoke everything from poultry to cheese. I've even seen smoked butter, if you can believe that.

Similarly, gumbo is a highly versatile dish that can serve  4, 40 or 400. It can be made from virtually any meat. If I had to guess, I'd say gumbo was the foundation for that old Cajun saw, "If it moves, we can cook it. If we can cook it, we can eat it." Beyond a few simple ingredients, gumbo is a dish that can be customized in more ways than you can count.

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