Thursday, November 17, 2016

Cornbread and Sausage Dressing

A. O Scott
In this month's Food and Wine, A.O. Scott, who normally writes movie reviews for The New York Times, took it upon himself to cast a critical eye at Thanksgiving.  The man's premise is that the Thanksgiving table is a breeding ground for good manners, "also known as lying".  Specifically, in his family the lies revolved around his Grandfather's Oyster Stuffing.  Apparently this particular stuffing set the standard for particularly dreadful. "A quivering pale mass on the edge of my plate", is how he describes it.  Then one Thanksgiving, his grandfather, who was actually quite a good home cook, showed up with homemade Cornbread Stuffing made to include his own homemade sausages.   Needless to say, it was greeted with great whoops of pleasure, quickly stifled because to love Grandpa's Cornbread Stuffing was to not love his Oyster version. Mr. Scott's story had a certain resonance in our house.   Many years ago, Andrew had brought to the table his Mother's recipe for Cornbread Dressing.  His mother’s Cornbread recipe was the standard that all others had to live up to. And it was delicious, an old southern family favorite from her native Alabama. However when I came on the scene, I insisted on the addition of sausage because that was always in our family version. So we ended up with a blended version. But it still lacked something.  Color for instance.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Steak Tostadas with Cashew Salsa and Red Cabbage Slaw


Taco Tuesday could easily be replaced by these Tostadas, which still keep a South of the Border flavor but add a crunch and cashews to the mix.  It’s from Bon Appetit and it makes a great weeknight change-up.  The tostada is a great discovery.  Easy to make, they take a corn tortilla and a little vegetable oil and crisp up in about a minute. The end result is a perfect ‘plate’ to load with flavor. A red cabbage slaw with scallions tops the tostada and then comes slices of steak.  I’ve used Hanger steak and New York strip both of which came through with great beef flavor.  More slaw is added then more steak and finally the whole thing is drizzled with the Cashew Salsa.  Bon Appetit labelled the Salsa ‘Cashew’ however considerably more red Fresno chiles go into the garlic and cider vinegar base.  Perhaps Fresnos, being one of the hotter of peppers, would scare people off but the cook is in control here.  You can make this as spicy or not as you wish.  This is a perfect way to take off for Mexico any night of the week.  And you may find that once you cook tostados, there’s no end to what you can top them with. First, what exactly is a tostada?