Monday, November 11, 2019

Happy Birthday Mom ! - Mom's Favorite Recipes

Mom turnes 84 years young today.
And I owe it all to her, at least where I get my cooking chops (and any good sense I have.) Just check out our cooking videos below to see what I mean.

She grew up in Texas on the Gulf Coast, in a small shrimping town called Port O'Connor. There, I learned to love seafood.

Her father was a shrimp boat captain. So, while we couldn't afford steak, we had all the fresh caught seafood Big Daddy would skim off the top of the catch. Shrimp season was short, but crab and oyster season soon followed.

Big Daddy & Big Mama

Mom had movie star looks (like a young Elizabeth Taylor) and smarts, and a scholarship to college if she wanted it, but had no extra help from her parents.


So after high school graduation, she was soon married and I arrived on the scene, followed by my brother and sister.

Billy, Berry and Brenda

My Dad was in the military so we moved around. Mom and us kids eventually settled back in Port O'Connor, after a divorce. Dad was quite a character and the life of the party, but he was also a little too profligate in the alcohol consumption department.

Billy Doyle Robinson

Mom went back to work as a waitress, so I learned how to literally pinch pennies when she poured handfuls of customer tips on the kitchen table for us kids to separate and count.


Mom got back on her feet and found love again with this shuffleboard-playing fellow below, Ken.

Click on any photo to see larger.

After a couple years, Mom remarried and a final sister, Denise, was born (catch up with my youngest sister Denise's Eggplant Recipe, video here.)

Denise & Radish

We moved to neighboring Louisiana the year I enrolled in Junior High School. There she picked up a whole other way of cooking, Cajun-style.


My high school daze were spent in Gonzales, Louisiana, the self-professed Jambalaya Capital of the World. So you know this town is serious about chow. Click here to see a culinary video tour of some local Cajun cuisine at the weekend Flea Market, including: Crawfish PieBoudin Balls and, of course, Jambalaya.


And here's our first video we made together in my Los Angeles kitchen - and my late wife, Amy, even makes an appearance at the very end of the video. You'll get a kick out of Mom rockin' the cast iron kettle. I make her Cajun Jambalaya more than any other recipe - it's simply delicious.



Here is a link to her Jambalaya recipe with text and yummy photos.

Mom was always popular with my high school buddies...especially during lunch or dinner time. She brought her Tex-Mex Enchiladas to Cajun Country, and my Louisiana friend Marvin ate them up!

Me, Marvin & Dennis

During my last visit to Louisiana, I had him over when I filmed Mom making Tex-Mex Enchilidas. Marvin liked the Enchiladas so much, he had a flashback to our high school daze.


Make sure to watch my wacky recipe video to the end, that's when our flashback hijinx really get to smoking (wink, nudge.)



Mom takes a star turn with her next video recipe, her popular Chicken and Sausage Gumbo.


It's a traditional Southern dish and its cheap, too. Just chicken, sausage and the Cajun veggie trinity of bell pepper, celery and onion. What gives Gumbo it's unique taste is a dark brown roux, which is flour cooked in oil until chocolate brown.

Just check out the video below - Mom will take you through the steps. And, as an added bonus, my oldest sister Brenda makes a nagging appearance a few minutes in.



Click here to read all about making Mom's homemade Gumbo, from roux to rice!

My Mom's Cajun Potato Salad is the perfect side to her Gumbo and Jambalaya. When she visited me in Los Angeles I got her to do it on camera. I couldn't help but give her a hard time about the recipe. I called it Cajun Mashed Potatoes and she called it Cajun Potato Salad - well, I guess you'll have to watch the video below to see who wins that argument!



I satiate my sweet tooth during visits with Mom. And the best of her pastry delights are Mini-Pecan Pies. If I couldn't make it for the Christmas holiday, then she would send a shoe-boxed size package with a dozen of these tasty pies.

In the video below, Mom attracts a kitchen-full of hungry relatives when these pies come hot out of the oven. And it's a miracle they were done right, because this Chef de Shutterbug was shoving a camera in her face (and a hot oven) during the whole procedure. We butted heads a few times, but fortunately, it all turned out fine.

I even came up with a way to dodge the high prices for pecans - so check out the video below to learn my budget secrets.



And click here to see Mom's Mini-Pecan Pies recipe with text and tasty photos.

Mom has lived half her life in Gonzales, Louisiana. My last vacation visit there fell on Christmas, and she pulled out all the stops with a huge holiday spread, that included Pumpkin Pie. I got her on video making it, and it turned out perfect, as you will see below.


The recipe is a traditional one made with simple ingredients. The pumpkin came from a can, but the crust was handmade with wheat flour.



All the easy-to-follow steps are written out here, and with delish photos, too.

Now, Mom is no angel -- hey, who is? Recently my brother from another daddy, the Swamp Chef, with his Spanish moss and all.


When I asked Mom: "Who's the Swamp Chef's daddy?" Her reply was: "That's a very good question!" I guess Mom will spill the beans one day, until then, check out the video below for a dessert good enough to cajole the Swamp Chef out of the bayou!

Cherry Pie - Recipe Video


In Louisiana there are fast food drive-thru's serving slushy Daiquiris. I don't know how the heck they get away with it. Every time I go back to visit my Mom and Sis, I am reminded about this quirky Cajun roadside icy, thirst quenching, to-go cup.


Now, there are rules to this. Louisiana has an open container liquor law. So, when you get your Daiquiri, as both Mom and Sis reminded me several times: "Do not put the straw in!" That is a DUI violation if you are stopped. However parched you are, resist plunging the straw through the drink top -- until you get home. Fortunately, Mom's house was less than 5 minutes away.


Check out my last video below, and ride along with my sister Brenda and Mom for a cool beverage on a hot Louisiana summer day.



Happy Birthday Mom -- I love you !


Thursday, November 7, 2019

Deal of the Day - Del Monte Fresh Guac

Fresh Guac - Authernic Style Guacamole! Well, that's what's on the cardboard band that covers the plastic bin I got at my local 99c only Store's cold deli case. I had high hopes for my latest Deal of the Day as the listed ingredients are all-natural.


And when I dipped a spoon into the gloopy Del Monte Fresh Guac there were real avocado chunks. The other ingredients are onion, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, and salt. Oh and so much lime juice that the fresh Guac is ruined to my taste buds.


It is a pity as this Guacamole is mostly creamy avocado. Maybe the avocado choice by Del Monte is deficient in flavor? I suspect it 's just too much lime juice. And I do like lime -- you could put this in the blender and make a green lime smoothie if you like.

Maybe a lot of lime juice is needed to keep the green color, as no preservatives are listed in the ingredients? Or it's just a poorly mixed batch of Guac? Should I give it another try if it cheaply shows up again?

Click on any photo to see larger.

I tried it with tortilla chips and again all I could taste was lime juice in a green paste.

I guess in a pinch this would work, but as I live in Los Angeles and fresh avocados are cheap enough to make your own Guacamole anytime -- so my party guests would have to be pretty buzzed to enjoy this Del Monte Fresh Guac.

Well you know on my Cheap$kate Dining Scale of 1 to 9, 9 being best, this Guac just doesn't cut it. So I give Del Monte Fresh Guac a lowly 3!

The appearance and texture is there, just the avocado flavor is not, and what is left is an overwhelming taste of lime.


Friday, November 1, 2019

Halloween Recipes with Leftover Pumpkin

The Witching Hour fast approaches and the Cheap$kate Recipe Conjurer is ready to cast his spell on your taste buds this Halloween season.


Once, a couple of days after Halloween I scraped off the melted wax from inside our pumpkin. I split the pumpkin in half and roasted them in a 350-degree oven for an hour and a half. I'll put the sweetly caramelized, soft orange flesh to good use.

And roasted pumpkin is tasty enough as a side dish, right out of the oven.


Roast pumpkin skin is soft to the touch, and the flesh is easy to scoop out when it's baked done. Let the pieces sit for about 5-10 minutes to cool down. Scrape out the cooked pumpkin flesh with a large spoon (discard any skin that may come off with it.) Now you are ready to make a few pumpkin-based recipes.

 

Pumpkins are cheapest this time of year, and they're tasty too, as you will see, so keep on reading and click on any recipe name to visit the original blog post recipe.

Way below 99 cents per pound!

My Rustic Pumpkin and Corn Chowder is easy to put together. The other ingredients are broth, half and half cream (or milk substitute,) a can of corn, onion, garlic, and red or orange bell pepper. Pretty simple, but complex in flavor.


The roasted pumpkin chunks will break apart while cooking in a bath of stock and cream, so there is no need to blend it to mush - as most recipes tell you - hence, my calling this veggie chowder "rustic."


And, if you still have leftover roast pumpkin, I have a Pumpkin alla Fusilli entree you can try out by clicking here.

It's a pasta sauce made with sauteed roast pumpkin, garlic, and onion, and sweetened with white wine. Finish the dish with as much Parmesan cheese as you like.

I use coiled fusilli pasta, but you can use any cheap dried pasta you have on hand.

And this is a pasta dish your vegetarian friends and family will love.

I like to finish up with my Mom's Pumpkin Pie recipe video. She makes hers with canned pumpkin, but just imagine how more intense the flavor will be with fresh roasted pumpkin.



You will want to smooth out the pumpkin flesh like mashed potatoes. You can use a potato masher, fork, or lightly blend roasted pumpkin.

I would also add your favorite sweetener to the pumpkin. It's up to you how sweet to make it, but you can start with 2 tablespoons worth. Just taste the pumpkin puree until it is sweet enough to suit your taste. This recipe calls for evaporated milk and that will add more sweetness as well.


These comfy entrees will feed your whole family. I hope you saved your pumpkin like I did. So, just cut out the soft and moldy bits, scrape off the candle-blackened part and wax, and get cooking! 

Friday, October 25, 2019

Halloween Recipes- Creepy Cool Meat

Gory Halloween warning! Time to get squeamish with the Ghoulish Gourmet's creepy imagery of raw meat and viscera. I'm about to git medieval for Halloween and the following weeks Dia del los Muertos or Day of the Dead.

This Sinister Cheap$kate's ghastly recipes are laid out like a bloody scene from a Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe story. Once you've digested this macrabe blog post, your taste buds may nevermore be the same.

And if you're a vegetarian, avert your gaze! Or peak through hand-covered eyes to read my queasy prose. I'm sure to be on Morrissey's #hit list if he ever sees this - he's pop music's most morose vegan. (And I'm a big fan of his songs with The Smiths.)

Some of my most spooky recipes may make your skin crawl, while others will have your taste buds baying at the moon with pleasure, mouthful after mouthful.

Witches Brew - a bubbling cauldron of Pozole.

So read on, and don't forget to click on any recipe name that will bring you kicking and screaming to my original blog post to see all the hair-raising details -- presented with gory gifs, bloodcurdling photos, grisly videos, and eerie text.

Right off the bat, I like my Chupacabra Carne Asada steak and hamburgers medium rare. Oozing is fine by me - E. coli be damned!


Grilling meat supercharges the flavor and brings out the knuckle-dragging Neanderthal in this Paleo Chef.

The Terminator T-bone

Raw bloody carcasses of meat have been disturbingly depicted in fine art. Rembrandt van Rijn is primarily known as a Dutch painter of moody portraits during the 17th Century, and I am especially influenced by his "Carcass of Beef" (flayed ox) study - just check out the audacious composition with gory details.


And here's the British artist Francis Bacon's 20th Century version, below.


The Chiaroscuro Chef photographs flesh against dark backgrounds lately (shot on a blackened cookie sheet) - usually lit from a single direction, with deep shadows, very much inspired by Caravaggio. An artfully dark and forbidding example is my recipe for Pasta alla Genovese, where I slice and dice cheap beef shank, slaughterous enough to make a zombie weep.


Offal is not so awful to this Carrion Chef. After watching a classic horror flick on the big screen, I cruise LA's fog-shrouded boulevards and alleyways during the midnight hour looking for ways to quell my ravenous appetites...for tacos, that is! 


Buche (stomach,) lengua (tongue,) and tripas (intestines) are on the menu at sidewalk taquerias and taco trucks throughout Los Angeles. Watch the shuddersome viscera-splattered video below to see what stops me in my tracks.



Get your hands dirty knawing on my Rosemary's Baby Back RibsYou'll need extra napkins to soak up the BBQ sauce smeared on your libs and dripping from your fingertips.



My Silence of the Lambs Curry is creepy-delicious. And my video cooking directions are as easy to follow as leading a lamb to the slaughter.



It can get messy cooking with meat. You have to have an iron stomach. Try breaking down a pork shoulder sometime, like I do below for my ghastly Texas Chainsaw Carnitas video recipe.


It's probably the most artistically nauseating footage I've ever shot - but, boy does it taste heavenly when you cradle a stuffed tortilla, plump with citrus and cola marinated, slow-cooked pork.



Ground chicken is mushy and wet, more so, than ground beef or pork.


Check out my ground poultry The Blob Patty Melt video to see what I mean -- yuk!



After chicken, pork is the cheapest flesh. When hacked, mangled, and minced into sausage, it's delicious for breakfast, or added to a stir fry like my Garroted Green Beans and Gruesome Ground Pork recipe below.


This may sound perverse but it's actually fun to animate with ground meat, it's like playing with Play-Doh, just greasier. Check out my video below to see the messiness.



Are you still with me? Man, are you are hardcore! I'm getting extra creeped-out just assembling this blog post.


Ever gut a fish? Whoa, that is one freaky task! Slice the belly open, yank out the internal organs then chop off the head -- oh, I'm feeling faint just remembering the slimy viscera and the nauseating smell - barf!

If you want to scare the bejesus out of your dining guest, then serve them a Jaws Whole Grilled Fish - head on!


This tin-framed, bloody looking slaughter scene comprised of tomato-sauced fat fingers of sardines is one of my most visited food blog posts. And the morbid visitors are mostly from Europe (Translyvania?) - go figure. My pasta dish, Suspiria Sardines in Tomato Sauce with Olive Oil over Pasta, is a delicious mouthful worth sinking your incisors into.



Sushi is typically made with freshly butchered raw fish. It's so artfully presented that you miss the gore that goes into each delicate slice of aquatic flesh.

Here's one of my tastefully shot Sushi recipe videos, the simply presented, Mothra Tuna Sushi.



Shrimp would not seem spooky, right? But, buy head-on jumbo shrimp and try beheading, peeling and removing the spine/backbone sometime...ugh! But, man are they delicious when my Mom serves them up in her Stephen King Shrimp & Rice recipe.


Halloween has a dark streak of humor and some of my recipes do, too. Take my wacky Trump Orange Chicken Nightmare on K Street....please. It's the color and shape of a pumpkin, just like our Twit-in-Chief, and looks like a McDonald's Chicken McNugget, but my entree is made with real chicken pieces, not a pink slime composite.


How about a recipe where a slice of Bride of Frankenstein Turkey Bacon swallows up a Brussels sprout like a disembodied human tongue...yikes!


I like to cook whole chicken or leg quarters. There's nothing like the carnal pleasure of ripping apart a cooked poultry carcass and sucking every piece of succulent meat off the bones. My Tingler Chicken Tinga and Paranormal Poached Chicken are some saporous examples.


My brother from another daddy, the Swamp Chef, visited a butcher shop in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and was feted about behind the scenes. They use the whole hog at Iverstine Farms Butcher.


 Below is the Eviscerating Cuisinier's squishy butchering of a chicken breast and leg quarter. It's the cheapest flesh you can get and I have all kinds of poultry recipes, here.



So get out there and have an entertaining Halloween holiday. It's not all blood and guts! So, I'll leave you with an appallingly tasty ghost story.

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