What's Cooking in Carolina?

Mainly creative menus and recipes (usually healthy) and always from scratch with tips for party planning, theme parties, weddings and decorating tips so you can give swank parties or dinners to delight your guests from a part time caterer, owner/operator of a coming soon Entree Vous, but mainly a cook and eater who grows much of her own food and loves to laugh.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Moroccan Tuna, Couscous and Arancini

What's new in your neck of the woods?

We planted asparagus last year for the first time and although you can not eat very much of it the first two years, it is pretty exciting to watch it come up and grow. The starwberries and the blueberries are blooming, so it won't be long before they are coming in. We just finished pruning the grape vines last week and got the vineyard cleaned up and are going out today to get fertilizer and other chemicals. Maybe we'll get potatoes too and at least get the potatoes, peas and lettuce in the ground. Lots of other things (eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, etc.) are in seed trays in the growing chamber and should be sprouting soon. Spring is in the air! Lots of fragrant plants in our landscape are blooming (viburnum, Sweet Betsy, gooseberry) as well as in the orchidarium and the grape seedlings are doing better than they have in years.

So what's cooking in Carolina? I made wonderful grilled tuna kabobs with Moroccan spices and served it with couscous and an orange, radish and carrot salad, all from the Weir book, From Tapas to Meze. They were all superb. I highly recommend the book. I have not had anything out of it yet that wasn't great!

I didn't make it to the store before Saint Patrick's Day for corned beef, but had it on the brain so I bought some and cooked corn beef with cabbage. My favorite way to cook cabbage is to saute onions and peppers and when they get soft, add the shredded cabbage with thyme, salt and pepper and just a touch of water and just cook a minute until the cabbage wilts. Instead of the traditional boil, I roasted onions, potatoes, carrots and turnips. Very flavorful.

We had a big bonfire to burn the vines we took out as well as some trees we had taken out last year. We use the best part for firewood but the limbs we added to the fire. I can't have a fire with out going back to my childhood and thinking about a weinie roast and s'mores so we had hot dogs and mac-n-cheese. You didn't think we always ate gourmet did you? Well, I do make my own mustard and hot dog chili.

And I finally made great arancini. Have you had it before? I first had it as a side dish at a wonderful restaurant in Durham called Star Lu so I came home and read all I could find about it and tried several methods until I came up with one I was happy with. It is basically risotto that has cooked and cooled, then is breaded and fried, usually with a stuffing of some kind. It is our recipe of the week. I hope you'll try it.

I had to bring a picnic lunch to an 'event' we volunteered at yesterday. I am making turkey burgers with avocado cream, fontina and a pablano, pepper relish for our sandwiches and a potato salad with yukon golds cooked in chicken broth, Black Forest ham, celery and sweet onions to share. Doesn't that sound great?

I love this time of year! Wish you were here. Check out more recipes at our website Swank Recipes


  • At 12:49 PM, Blogger juliebean said…

    Oh, everything looks so good!!! I lived in N.C. for most of my life and when I saw your blog, it took me back to fond memories of BBQ, southern dinners, and seafood! Great site...


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