Michelle and I collected a five gallon bucket full of pecans from the ground beneath one of her parent’s trees. As we worked, we talked about what we were going to do with them. Top of the list was to make a Black Bottom Bourbon Pecan Pie (here is our recipe). As I’m a firm believer that you can’t have pie without ice cream, I thought we should keep with the tipsy theme so we fixed a batch of bourbon vanilla.
For extra umph, if you have a vanilla pod, slice it in half and scrape out the seeds. Add pod and seeds to the cream and milk and sugar as it heats. Once you’ve added the eggs and cooked the custard through, remove the pod before cooling the custard.
Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of table salt
5 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons bourbon
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, mix cream with the milk, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Warm the cream mixture over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and tiny bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan, about 5 minutes.
Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Pour a portion of the warm cream mixture into the egg yolks and whisk to temper the eggs. Then pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heatproof rubber spatula until the custard thickens slightly (it should be thick enough to coat the spatula and hold a line drawn through it with a finger), about 10 minutes. Don’t let the sauce overheat or boil, or it will curdle. Remove from heat. Stir the bourbon and vanilla extract into the custard.
Cover the custard with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 4 hours. Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the churned ice cream to an air-tight container and freeze for at least 4 hours or up to 2 weeks.
I had my friend Julie over for dinner and made her and Michelle baked apples to go with the pork chops. Unfortunately, I neglected to take a picture of the dish. So, I fixed pork loin and baked apples for Michelle tonight so I could post the recipe. We only had Gala apples on hand but they still made a lovely side dish. I’ve written up the recipe for four apples but it easily can be cut in half for a dinner for two, as you can see from the picture.
4 Gala or Fuji apples
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Wash the apples. Peel the top of the apples and core them, leaving a bit on the bottom and the rest of the skin, so they will retain their shape during baking.
In a bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, butter and pecans. Stuff each apple core with the sugar mix. Top with a single whole pecan. Place in a baking dish and pour in 1/4 cup water – you want the bottom of the dish covered in water. Bake for one hour or until the apples are brown and soft.
As you travel on US Highway 49 between Hattiesburg and Seminary, there is a farm stand/restaurant over three buildings and a fenced in outside area called Shady Acres Village.
While the outside area has plants, metal chicken sculptures and other yard art, the inside is a tight packed general store with local seasonal produce, a bakery with pies and cakes and an entire wall of jams and jellies. Attached is also a restaurant with hot plates (ribs, chicken, fried fish, etc) and darn tasty hamburgers.
While everything looks good, we usually get the burgers. They are nice and thick with pickles, tomatoes and lettuce on a soft bun. One of us gets one with a side of onion rings:
And, the other with fries and we share our sides. The drinks are refillable.
There is plenty of seating including an outside seating area that is covered (and has fans), so we usually stop there when we are traveling with the dog, as she is welcome there.
The staff are all super friendly and the bathrooms are clean. It is a great place to stop when you’re road tripping along US 49.
If you’re looking for good desserts (as well as other bakery items), Gracious bakery is the place to go. In fact, if I’m out and about in the morning around Earhart Blvd, I try to stop in a Gracious to Go. They are only open until 11am during the week here but, you are in and out fast, with fresh goodies to go.
Today, Michelle and I picket up a selection. We loved the deep, rich flavor of Valrhona chocolate in the chocolate croissant and chocolate pecan hand pie. The croissant was large, flakey and buttery and the hand pie almost had a cookie crust to go with the decadent interior.
We also some savory items, including a seasonal tart with sweet potato, Brussel sprouts and gruyere cheese and a spinach and goat cheese croissant.
The folks are super friendly and ready to make recommendations as well as encourage indulgences. Prices are reasonable and everything is fresh and creatively made. Try their two other locations for sandwiches and other items (one in Mid-city on Jeff Davis Pkwy and the other in the Garden District on St. Charles Avenue).
Wanting something different for breakfast, I decided to try to make a breakfast quesadilla. I’ve done breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs but I wanted my eggs soft cooked this time. I love black beans, so I knew those were going on it and I could use them to corral the egg. I used part of a drained can of Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chilis instead of salsa, so the final result had the added benefit of helping my girlfriend, who woke up with a congested head, open up her sinuses.
Quesadillas con Huevos
4 flour tortillas
1 can black beans
1 cup pepper jack cheese, grated
1/4 cup salsa, drained
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Lightly toast tortillas over the stove burner. Warm the black beans in a saucepan.
Place two tortillas down on a baking sheet. Sprinkle on a layer of pepper jack cheese. Make a ring with some drained black beans. Sprinkle over the ring the salsa. Carefully break one egg in each of the rings. Sprinkle on a little more cheese.
Put the baking sheet in the oven for 3 minutes. Remove long enough to sprinkle on more cheese and place the remaining tortillas on top of the filled side. Bake for 3-5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for up to two minutes more to make the top tortilla crunchy. If you want your eggs runny, instead of just soft, reduce the second bake time to 3 minutes.
Place onto large plates and cut into quarters. Serve with sour cream and additional salsa, if desired.
After Turbine No. 6 went offline on Wednesday, September 20 at 7:25am, the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board took twenty minutes to switch over to an alternative electrical supply. Because the power loss resulted in a drop of water pressure to 15 psi, a boil water advisory was issued an hour later that continues today. New Orleans has an aging and cracked infrastructure and without sufficient pressure from inside the pipes, contaminants could leach into the pipes from the substrate.
Marsha Broussard, the City of New Orleans Director of Health, said no one should drink the tap water for the foreseeable future. Bottled or boiled water should be used to drink, cook, brush teeth, wash fruits and vegetables and to make ice. Pets should also be given bottled or boiled water.
Here is a how to:
Boil Water Safely
- Heat water until large bubbles come from the bottom to the top of the pot.
- Let the water boil for at least 1 minute.
- Turn off the heat and let the water cool.
- Store the water in a clean container with a cover.
If you don’t like the taste of boiled water, pour cooled water back and forth from one clean glass into another to add air to the water.
The Louisiana Department of Health has a ten page pdf on Boil Water Advisories that includes lots of helpful information on staying safe during one (link here)
The grocery store had large bags of Russet potatoes on sale, so we bought a couple and used the largest out of the bags to make twice baked potatoes. I like to keep them in my freezer for a quick, weeknight side dish.
For the ones we were having with dinner, I placed them on the grill and let them warm up in the hickory smoke goodness as the chicken finished cooking for about 20 minutes. After ten minutes, I added the cheese. I choose provolone as it really becomes delicious when you add smoke to it.
Twice Baked Potatoes
12 large potatoes
1 1/2 sticks butter (12 tablespoons)
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese or other melting cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wash potatoes, pat dry and coat with vegetable oil.
Bake potatoes until done, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly, just enough to handle. Cut potatoes in half and scoop out interiors. Leave enough potato in the shell for it to retain its shape. Mash together potato interiors with butter and milk. Add a light amount of salt and pepper. Refill potato skins with mashed potato. Sprinkle tops with cheese.
If you’re making the potatoes to eat immediately (ie not to freeze), replace some of the butter with sour cream. Feel free to add bacon bits and even some cheese into the mash before filling the skins.
Bake the refilled potatoes at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.
From frozen: Bake the potatoes straight from the freezer at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
South of Hattiesburg, in a gas station on Highway 49 is Rose’s Bar-B-Q (here is the link to their Facebook page, as it looks like their domain has expired). We had heard about it from friends and it was on the way back to New Orleans. The parking lot was packed with pick up trucks and sheriff vehicles. There was a heavy scent of hickory smoke in the air, so we pulled up on the curb and went inside.
We bought a pound of the smoked brisket, some chicken on a stick and potato logs. The chicken on a stick was a first for me – chicken, dill pickles, potatoes and onion speared on a stick, covered in batter and deep fried. Not sure I’m a fan but I can now say I’ve eaten this unique Mississippi delicacy.
The potato logs were like wedges on steroids. While the batter could have used a little more seasoning, the potatoes were incredibly fluffy.
The brisket was very tender, with a lovely bark. While it comes with their house made, very good barbecue sauce, the meat was so flavorful, it didn’t need it. We just ate it with our fingers, forgoing the bread.
The prices were reasonable and they got the food to us fast, so we were back on the road in no time. They have even more on the menu than we were able to try (ribs, chicken – bbq and fried, pulled pork, etc), so we’ll be swinging back by soon.
Swung back by for more brisket on September 29th. Also got the pork sandwich (a little too much sauce but piled high with meat) and more potato logs. Still worth the trip!
I think I’ll be trying the ribs next!
I cleaned out the gutters at Michelle’s house and my reward was a special cheesecake. The recipe is from John Besh and instead of making a two layer cake, we combined it all to make a very pretty lavender colored cheesecake that tastes even better than it looks. We replaced the vanilla with limoncello as well as using Michelle’s low and slow method of baking. His batter makes enough for a 10 inch cheesecake – glad we didn’t go with the 9 inch the original recipe listed.
Lemon Blackberry Cheesecake
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
4 packages cream cheese
1½ cup sugar
¾ cup milk
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon limoncello (or vanilla extract)
1½ pints blackberries, divided
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 200°F.
Butter a 10-inch springform pan. Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter in a medium bowl. Press onto the bottom and halfway up the sides of the prepared pan.
In the bowl of a mixer, combine the cream cheese with the sugar until smooth. Blend in the milk, then beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in the sour cream, flour and limoncello (or vanilla) until smooth.
In a food processor or blender, purée 1 pint of the blackberries with the lemon zest and juice. Pour the purée into the cheese mixture along with the remaining 1⁄2 pint of whole blackberries and mix well.
Pour the filling on top of the prepared crust. Bake for 3 hours at 200 degrees F. Raise the temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking for about 20 minutes or until the top is set. Allow to cool for 30 minutes on the counter. About 10 minutes into the cooling, run a knife along the inside edge, so that it doesn’t crack as it pulls from the side. Once cooled, move it to the refrigerator to finish chilling until ready to serve.
Michelle’s nephew had a Plants vs Zombies themed birthday party at her house and they left behind the brain mold. I gave it a thorough scrubbing and then tossed a can of evaporated milk in the refrigerator so the next day I could make Milk Jelly Brains! Using the milk turns the gelatin wonderfully creamy and, when you use a flavor like blackberry, it becomes a thick pinkish and very brain-like!
2 boxes of flavored gelatin
2 cups boiling water
1 12 ounce can evaporated milk, refrigerated overnight
Place gelatin into a large mixing bowl. Stir boiling water into the gelatin. Let stand on the counter to cool down a bit. You don’t want it to cool to setting; just until the water is close to room temperature. Shake the can of evaporated milk well and then pour into the gelatin. Whisk until totally combined. Pour into a lightly oiled mold. Let set for at least 4 hours or overnight.
To unmold, loosen top edge with a knife. Set the mold in warm water up to the rim for about 10 seconds. Cover with a serving plate and then invert the mold. Give it a jiggle and it should come right out.