Sunday, June 26, 2011


What exactly does the term “Creole” mean in cooking?  The answer is that the dish usually contains celery, bell pepper and onion.  Classic Creole (and Cajun too, a rustic country cooking) dishes such as jambalaya, etouffee and gumbo all begin with this “holy trinity”, so called because the combination is so revered in the Creole culinary culture.

Trinity combinations are what give dishes their signature renown and can be found globally.  The differing aromatic vegetables plus the herb and spice seasonings are what set each culinary group apart. For instance in Portuguese, Italian and Spanish cuisine the three-ingredient combo is called a “soffritto”.   Some trinities are so common and time-honoured that they are treated as a single entity.

In France where cooking was developed into a high art, the trinity “mirepoix” is celery, onion and carrots with a an additional trinity for soups and stews called a “bouquet garni, consisting of parsley, thyme and bay leaf.

In Hispanic cuisine, the trinity is garlic, bell pepper (capsicum) and onion.  What makes Hungarian cooking distinctive are the triple ingredients lard, paprika and onion.

This trinity theme is worldwide. In Asia there is garlic, ginger and onion found in some Indian regions, and garlic, shallot and chili peppers in Indonesia.

In Greece, lemon juice, olive oil and oregano is the trinity.

The Creole culture had the local trinity ingredients to call on and the shoulders of different cultures (Europe, Africa, the Caribbean) to build upon.   Therefore the “Bouillabaisse” turned into gumbo, and “Paella” developed into jambalaya            .

With that in mind, here is a delicious mouthwatering potato salad, perfect for summer days, employing the standard Creole trinity. It is not your mother’s potato salad, unless she is a Creole cook.

Creole potato salad             
Ingredients                                 serves 6  

8 medium waxy new potatoes
1 red bell paper, chopped fairly small
1 stalk of celery, chopped fairly small
3 green onions (scallions) white part only, chopped finely
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of black pepper
1 cup of Creole Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
½ teaspoon hot sauce (Tabasco, or your favourite)
3 green onions (scallions), the green part from above, chopped
1 small handful of fresh parsley (1/4 cup) chopped


Cook the whole potatoes, peeled or not, about 15-20 minutes. Do not overcook; they should be a little firm, not soft.  Let the potatoes cool.

Cut the potatoes into ½ inch slices. Put into a big bowl. Add the bell pepper, celery and white onion.

Add the salt and pepper.

While the potatoes are still warm, mix them with the vinaigrette and hot sauce.

Marinate this for 60 minutes or more at room temperature, stirring from time to time.

When ready to serve, toss the potato mixture with the green onions and parsley.

¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of brown mustard
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Creole spice mix (Tony Chachere’s or other)
Dash of cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon salt
Dash of black pepper
¾ cup of olive oil

Mix all but olive oil in a medium sized bowl.
Gradually whisk in the oil.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Always interested in adding fruit to cooked dishes, I was really amazed recently after I prepared an Asian Orange Chicken dish found at: 
Although there is a bit of sugar called for in the recipe, the magnificent orange flavour was so appealing that we prepared it three times that first week.  Although there is no whole fruit involved in the completed preparation, such as pieces of apple, the peel and juice of the orange is used.

I got to thinking of other citrus dishes I’ve cooked and recall some lovely, simple seafood dishes that should be very popular for their ease of preparation and deliciousness.

I want to offer a couple of scrumptious citrus seafood dishes that can be made in a flash. The facility of either of these two are perfect for those evenings when you may be too hassled to go into any detail, but still want a lovely nourishment.

You can use your favourite fish for these two recipes, such as cod, flounder, halibut, tilapia etc.

FISH IN CITRUS SAUCE               serves 4-6
2 pounds (1kg) fish filets
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1/3 cup (80ml) lemon juice
½ cup (125ml) melted butter
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Turn the broiler on.
Mix everything except the fish in a small bowl.
Put the filets in a pan/skillet suitable for broiling.
Brush with the citrus sauce and broil about ten minutes, basting a couple of times.
Remove and serve; pouring any remaining sauce atop filets.

FISH IN ORANGE SAUCE                serves 4-6
2 pounds (1kg) fish filets
1/8-teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8-teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (80ml) orange juice
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
½ cup (125ml) melted butter

Preheat the oven on 350F (180C)
Combine everything except the filets and nutmeg.
Put the filets in an oiled pan/skillet suitable for broiling.
Pour the sauce atop the fish.
Sprinkle evenly with nutmeg
Bake about 20 minutes.

So if you like the fresh, clean, bright taste of citrus, go ahead and do it. Try these soon.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Foods for Superheroes

 Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep 

Welcome to the 7th day on our virtual book tour. Today we talk with young Zachary, the wonderful main character in Kathy Stemke’s new book:  “Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep,” available at, Barnes and Noble and Guardian Angel Publishing. Zachary goes on an odyssey performing extraordinary heroic actions in his pursuit to keep his new baby sister from awakening from her nap, while protecting her from all sorts of calamities.

Few superheroes exhibit gastronomic prowess.  I suppose they are too busy to read the New York Times on Wednesdays to see what’s up in the food world.  But I would certainly hope that Superheroes could satisfy a super hunger sometime between battling strong forces of evil and saving innocent people without devouring junk food.
Let’s ask superhero Zachary what he eats.
 Hi Zach, thanks for coming by GritsandGroceries: Anthony Stemke.
Glad to be here sir. It smells great here, are you brewing green tea?

Yes, I am Zach. Do you superheroes eat super foods?
Sure, my mom believes in a nourishing diet, not too much salt and sugar, plenty of fruit and vegetables.

So, do you eat a lot of ‘hero’ sandwiches?
Yes, once in awhile I enjoy a special hero sandwich, a roast beef po boy. But I also need a lot of power so I eat a special diet.

So, what kind of special diet?
 I eat consonant blends.

I eat BRoccoli, BLueberries, BLackberries, BLooming onions, BLack beans, BRown rice, BRownies…

Ok Zach. I got it- consonant blends.  Like what you learn about when you read “Sh Sh Sh  Let the Baby Sleep”?

Well Zach, since you’re here in my kitchen, would you care for something to eat?
How about a roast beef, hero sandwich -New Orleans style--  aka Roast Beef Poor Boy?


A 12-inch length of French bread
¾ cup shredded lettuce
½ lb roast beef, thinly sliced
½ cup thick- bodied beef gravy
1 tomato, sliced thinly

Split the French bread lengthwise and toast lightly under the broiler.
Spread the bottom piece of the bread with mayonnaise.
Now layer the lettuce, beef, gravy and tomato slices atop the mayonnaise.
Put the top on and slice the sandwich in half.
Makes two servings.

I’ll tell you what; people who say a hero “ain’t nothing but a sandwich” have never met Zachary. Thanks for stopping by, Zachary.

Thanks for the hero!

To my readers: What is your favorite “super” food and why?

Author Bio: Kathy Stemke has a passion for writing, the arts and all things creative. She has Bachelor degrees from Southern Connecticut State University and Covenant Life Seminary, as well as graduate coursework from New York Institute of Technology and Columbia University. Hanging her hat in the North Georgia Mountains, she has been a teacher, tutor, and writer for many years.

As a freelance writer and ghostwriter, Kathy has published hundreds of articles in directories, websites and magazines. She is a contributing editor for The National Writing for Children's Center and a reviewer for Sylvan Dell Publishing. As a retired teacher, Kathy has several activities published with Gryphon House Publishing. Kathy is also part of the team at DKV Writing 4 U.

Kathy’s first children’s picture book, Moving Through All Seven Days, was published on Lulu. Her next picture book, Sh, Sh, Sh Let the Baby Sleep, was released in May of 2011. Her third picture book, Trouble on Earth Day is scheduled for release in June of 2011.

Mrs.Stemke offers great teaching tips and children’s book reviews as well as a monthly newsletter titled, MOVEMENT AND RHYTHM, on her blog.

 In which comic book (and film) would you find Lara Croft?

Come to June 21 for the answer.
Who would you expect to find in the Bat Cave?

ANSWER: Bruce Wayne. Bruce Wayne as "Batman" first appeared in Detective Comics number 27, and only (only!) got his own comic book in 1940.

Remember; Every answer or comment you make during this book tour puts your name in the hat for a fantastic prize, which includes amazon gift certificates, books, superhero figurines, and much more.

Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep can be found:

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Recently I assembled a classic Italian meal that included a very old, uncomplicated dish that dates back 800 years.

 I’m talking about Cotoletta di vitello nello stile di Milano, aka Veal alla Milanese.

Milan is 200 miles from Vienna, Austria, and both regions have a similar veal dish.  During the middle- ages in northern Italy and Vienna, veal was the customarily consumed meat; baby beef that had been fed only mothers milk and whose flesh was white.  Rather than grazing and feeding the animal, they used it as soon as it was weaned. Properly cooked veal has a magnificent delicate taste impossible to duplicate with any other meat.
The Austrian counterpart to Cotoletta Milanese is the far better known Wiener Schnitzel.  Wiener means Vienna and Schnitzel is derived from an old German word meaning “to slice”, so basically it refers to sliced veal Vienna Style.  Tenderizing tough meat was an old technique from the dawn of history and pounding the veal also makes it look more attractive. Veal alla Milanese was first prepared back in the 12th century and Wiener Schnitzel centuries later. Dredging the meat in flour and spices dates back to medieval times. In the 19th century, Milan was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A Milanese cook went from Milan to Vienna to work at the court of the Emperor. While in Vienna he introduced the breaded veal cutlet to Viennese society, who embraced it with a passion.
This breaded Veal Milanese is also made in France where it is called Escalope de Veau Viennoise and served with hard-boiled eggs and anchovies.

Here is the way I made the classic Cotoletta alla Milanese.      Serves 4
·       4 veal chops
·       ½ cup of milk
·       1 egg, beaten
·       1 teaspoon of olive oil
·       1 teaspoon water
·       About ½ cup flour
·       About ½ cup of breadcrumbs, commercial or made in your blender
·       Salt and pepper

·       3 tablespoons butter
·       3 tablespoons olive oil
·       1 lemon, quartered
·        1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
·        Slice the meat into ½ inch thick cutlets
·        With the flat side of a meat mallet, thin the veal by pounding it gently; pound down and out from the centre towards the edges. Careful attention is necessary at this point. You want to thin down the meat, but not crush it.  You can put plastic wrap under and on top of each cutlet if you want to, or wet the mallet with cold water, which helps it slide on the veal without tearing it.  The pounded slices should be ¼ inch thick, no thinner.
·        Put the milk in a shallow pan and turn the veal in it.
·        Cover the pan and chill in the refrigerator for an hour.
·        Remove the veal, drain it and pat it dry.
·        Dip each slice into the flour, shaking off excess.
·        Add the teaspoon of oil, a dash of salt and pepper and the water to the beaten egg. Dip both sides of the meat into this mixture. Squeeze out the excess.
·        Spread out the breadcrumbs; dip in both sides of the veal, being careful to coat each evenly. Shake off excess.
·        Pat the breaded veal with the flat side of a large knife or a metal spatula.
·        I prefer to lightly cut a crisscross lattice pattern on top of each cutlet, not deeply.
·        Refrigerate the cutlets until ready to cook.
·        Heat the oil in a big skillet. Add the butter. Heat should be medium.
·        Add the veal, starting with the marked side down; don’t let them touch each other, cook for 4 minutes without moving them so they crust up handsomely.
·        After 4 minutes, lift the edge and see if it looks like a nice golden crust has formed. If so, turn and cook the other side.
Plate the cutlets, sprinkle with parsley and garnish with lemon wedges.
This goes very well with Risotto Milanesa a creamy rice preparation containing saffron.
The Veal alla Milanese technique is easy to learn, and makes a wonderful meal. I hope you will try it, but I warn you, Veal loin chops are a premium priced item. You can however use this technique on chicken, pork and many other types of meat.

Be sure to stop in at for the schedule of my spouses Virtual Book Tour, which is happening right now.  Get in on the fun, leave a comment and your name goes in the hat for a prize.

the Milanese and the ienne

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I remember many years ago when I first visited New Orleans, Louisiana, my brother took me out to a local tavern.  It happened to be a Friday evening and when we walked in the front door I saw the entire length of the bar covered with newspaper. In front of every patron was a big heap of boiled crabs atop the newspaper and scattered among them some boiled red potatoes and corncobs. There was an aroma in that place totally unlike the stale beer odor one frequently encounters in such habitats. That spicy seafood bouquet was marvelous. Unfortunately the kitchen was shut down. I’d never seen whole crabs that close up before, but the pleasing zesty fragrance made me want to try it soon.

When they boil crabs, as well as shrimp or crawfish, they use special seasoned water to cook them. The water contains lemons, bay leaves and a wonderful commercial product called Zatarains Seafood Boil.  In season, there are unique mobile seafood boilers that are driven up to a location to make this lovely repast for large groups, who sit at communal picnic- type tables.

I was reminded of crabs when last month I dined at a seafood restaurant in Indian Rocks Beach Florida; a place called Crabby Bill’s.  Weirdly enough, I didn’t order crabs.  I’ve had crab cakes at Pensacola Beach that were fabulous, but I hadn’t eaten Oysters in years so I ordered them. My BW was eating a special broiled shrimp over seasoned rice. As I looked around I saw a waiter (oops, excuse me, a Server) deliver a taglietelle or fettuccine dish with crabmeat a few tables away.

So two days ago I’m in my local supermarket and see this fresh crabmeat in a refrigerator case.  I don’t buy shellfish often, except shrimp for BW, but had a hankering for it after
coming back from Crabby Bill’s. I buy slightly more than a pound and decide to make a pasta dish with it. It’s easy to fix, very delicious` and we both devoured it heartily.

CRAB WITH PASTA              serves about 4 or 3
1-lb crabmeat
1-lb taglietelle, fettuccine or linguini
1-tablespoon butter
3 scallions, chopped including green part
1 large, ripe, meaty tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 generous teaspoon of fresh thyme, chopped, or ½ teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, or 1 teaspoon dried
About 4 ounces light cream
1 egg yolk, stirred into the cream

Cook the pasta as per package directions. Don’t overcook.
While the pasta cooks, fry the scallions in the butter briefly.

Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and thyme, stir and cook for two minutes.
Add the crabmeat and mix until heated.

Stir in the cream and egg yolk combination.
Pour the mixture over the cooked and drained pasta.

Dish out the pasta and sprinkle with the parsley.

This is an uncomplicated, tasty dish. My spouse and I loved it. If you like crabmeat you’ll enjoy this creamy, sumptuous preparation.



There will be drawings at the end of the tour from those who comment or answer a superhero trivia question on this or any other site during the tour from June 13th-July 5th. Please include your email address in a safe format: dancekam1(at)yahoo(dot) com
The prizes include:
·      $10 Amazon gift certificate
·      Mozart in the Future by Tania Rodriges-Peters
·      “The Wild Soccer Bunch”  books 1 & 2 by Joachim Masannek
·      “30 Days to a Well-Mannered Dog” by Tamar Geller
·      Superhero figurines
·      “The Green Bronze Mirror” by Lynne Ellison
·      “The Face of Deceit” by Ramona Richards

Download a coloring page from for the book, “Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep.”  Color it, and email a picture of it to Kathy Stemke at dancekam1 (at) yahoo (dot) com for a chance to win one of the prizes below.
·      “Small Gifts in God’s Hands” by Max Lucado
·      Superhero figurine
·      “Making Memories” by Janette Oke



Monday, June 6, 2011

Book Trailer and Virtual Book Tour!

Get ready for my wife's

virtual book tour: June 13th -July 1st

She'll have the history of superheroes, what heroes eat, all about sibling rivalry, famous brothers and sisters, superhero trivia, your favorite consonant blends, and brother and sister poetry.

There'll be lots of prizes!! (gift certificates, books, superhero figurines and bookmarks.....) Every time you answer a question or leave a comment your name goes in the hat for a prize.

This is not your mother's virtual book tour!!!
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