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.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Weekend Herb Blogging Week

It is week #62 of and it is with great pleasure that I am hosting for the first time. I was a bit worried, not only because my internet connection is so slow, but the time and effort required, but I have to tell you, it IS fun. You really read everyone's blog and see the efforts, whereas when you scan the weekend when you are a reader, not a host, you miss things. So I highly recommend it although I will tell you that it takes time. But I really believe that I enjoy it more than just reading because I really read them all! So without further adieu, here's the recap in order of receipt!

The first post I received was from the now infamous and thoroughly dedicated founder of Kalyn at Kalyn's Kitchen from with her post of a wonderful Black Bean and Rice Soup with Lime and Cilantro from Utah! It looks yummy. I think she is hooked on cilantro, don't you? But then again, it won the favorite herb competition so who isn't? To be sure, the lime is the secret ingredient!

Next we have Dhivya Ravi at Thats Y Food with Lima Bean Sambar. It calls for a pressure cooker (I didn't know anyone was left on the planet who regularly used one other than me and my family) but it also uses one of my favorite vegetables in the whole world Butter Beans (or Lima Beans as in here) so this recipe is a must try on my list. Who would have thought of this novel idea?

The next entry is Rinku at Cooking with Rinku in Westchester who uses yet another of my favorites, Haas Avacados and makes a wonderful guacamole that looks good enough to eat. I made some earlier this week and this made me sorry I sent it home with friends! Try out the chunky Guacamole . It'll go with lots of things.

Becky of Key Lime and Coconut is into slow cookin' with her new crock pot and tries out a wonderful Slow Cooked Chicken Chowder with dill. It looks like a perfect winter food for the cold MA area. It's been cold here, so I know this yummy soup warmed up things a bit.

Angie in Singapore (wow!) at My Kitchen My Laboratory made an incredible looking dessert with her ingredient this week, almonds, which happen to be my husbands favorite snack food. You can see this delectible dessert at Friands with Chocolate Sauce and Sugared Blueberries . Friands is a new word to me, which is amazing since I thought I had read more than 1000 cookbooks. If it's new to you too, go here to find out more. You won't be sorry!

My neighbor Sue (aka Coffeepot) from my home state of Virginia at Coffee and Cornbread has a wonderful looking Cranberry Cole Slaw that looks really light and refreshing and everyone knows how good cranberries are for you and cranberries are in season! Pretty colors.

Ulrike from Kronshagen, Germany whose blog is K├╝chenlatein
(another wow! isn't it amazing how we connect all over the world? All because of a love of cooking and eating) has a gorgeous picture of a
Curried Sweet Potato Soup that looks like another perfect winter food. Gorgeous! Someone brought me sweet potatoes early this week. Hmmmmm!

Kate at Thyme for Cooking, The Blog, somewhere in France makes Rack of Lamb, With a Mustard Herb Crust served with Southwest Lentils It looks devine for a rosemary and lamb lover like I and I am happy to say we're having lamb Sunday evening at a neighbors, so I'll get my lamb fix instead of just drooling over hers!

Sher at What Did You Eat has been eating high on the hog (I mean Chicken) with Rosemary And Orange-Glazed Chicken With Sweet Potatoes . You should really check it out. She is an amazing photographer and the food is half as good as the picture, it probably got gobbled up really fast. It looks really good!

Cate from Sweetnicks made another cold weather dish, Short Ribs with Chinese Flavor using her crock pot too. That's the second one this weekend. It must be crock pot kind of cold weather food. I haven't had short ribs in ages, so let's add it to the list!

Anna from Morsel and Musings in Australia posts not one but two Maltese recipes: Chickpea & Lima Bean Salad and Stuffat Tal-Qaqocc (Artichoke Stew) Both dishes look really, really good and you pick up some interesting information on Malta as well. Check it out!

Anh was next from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia with A Food Lovers Journey (those guys must be in the same time zone because they submitted entries back to back!) features oranges this week, my favorite color of the moment with Date & Almond Cake With Orange Syrup . It's beautiful photography too, so you sweet eaters out this is a must! Unbelieveable.

Ruth from Once upon a Feast in Toronto is next in line with Roasted Vegetable Caponata - lots of eggplant, fennel and herb stars: parsley and basil. Eggplant is my husbands favorite veggie so this looks doable! This blog made me laugh, because she thinks like I do: The holidays are here, everyone is partying and we need to diet! But this is too good to be diet food. Try it!

Lakshmi from Boston has a great blog, Flavors of Indian Rasoi which, when this is over, I must investigate more. I have been cooking Indian food of late and would love to try the recipe for Toor Dal with Spinach Fry . I love dal and spinach and everything else in this recipe so I know it's great! I would need to make a special trip to the Indian grocer to get the curry leaves, though. I think I need to figure out if I can grow them!

Christine from Christine Cooks in Trinidad, California is after my heart. She makes a Low-Fat Low-Sugar Persimmon Rice Pudding . I am all about low fat and low sugar (and so should you be!) and persimmons grow wild in our woods AND I love rice pudding (okay, I know I love a lot of food, but that's why I have a food blog and like reading yours). I think this is a creative, original recipe. I haven't had rice pudding in years, it somehow fell off the radar, but this reminds me of how good it is!

Haalo is our third Australian, from Melbourne who has a great blog, Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once. She does an incredible job of informing those of us whose temperatures have dipped into the teens (F) this week, that it is SUMMER there, by making a wonderful looking Watermelon and Lemon Verbena Sorbet with lots of information about her herb, Lemon Verbena. For those of you who do not garden, it is a warm weather annual which would be dead here now, but we can dream of summer through her blog.

Anna from Anna's Cool Finds in Mill Valley, California has an ingredient that I have heard of but never tried (imagine that, salsify that she makes into Sesame Salsify . It looks like a ugly root but the dish turns out beautifully. She says it tastes like a cross between asparagus and artichokes. Doesn't that sound yummy? Check out her pictures and read the whole menu. I want to eat dinner at her house!

Yet another blogger from half way around the world, Nandita from Mumbai, India with the wonderful blog, Saffron Trail choses red pumpkin as the ingredient of the week and makes a delicious looking Spicy Pumpkin Coffee Cake . I made pumpkin muffins for Thanksgiving breakfast and this looks similar but spicier. Great photos too and an interesting blog.

Virginie, from Absolutely Green in Nantes, France made an unusual Spiced Beetroot Cake . Who would have thought of using beetroots in a cake; but if you think about it, they are very sweet and when you see the picture, the cake has a gorgeous pink marbling effect. I love beets too! It is in French but you can click at the top for the Google English translation.

Gattina in New Jersey posted an incredibly delicious looking East and Crunchy Indian Style Chicken in Potato Shells that looks any thing but easy. They are gorgeous and the photography is beautiful. How is it so many food bloogers can take such good pictures? It makes me feel like the amateur that I am! Be sure to go look at it. You'll want to reach in there and grab one of them!

Two New Jersey posts coming in back-to-back.

The next one is from Sandeepa who has a lovely blog called Bong Mom's Cookbook and her submission is for Kancha Aamer Ambol ar Chaatni or Green Mango Chutney. Please go visit, where you will learn about chutney from the Bengali region. I am a huge fan of every chutney I have ever tried and/or made, which is quite a few. I traveled the world in a previous life with an Indian colleague and we ate in Indian restaurants from Ottawa to London to Asia. Give this Mango one a try, like I will!

Funny, I've been attempting to keep up with this as it comes it, to not be overwhelmed and swamped, especially since I am going to dinner down the road. Several back, I mentioned that I had made my first pumpkin muffins and what do you know, in comes a Roasted Pumpkin Pecan Raisin Muffins from Surfindaave in Southern California at The Serendipitous Chef. Once again I am overwhelmed by the pictures and his muffins look very, very good, better than mine! He gives good information too. Really a very nice, artistic blog, if I do say so.

And last (not the last to enter but saving the best for last ha!) but not least is my own entry. My ingredient: Garlic, Cooked in Tapas and Crepes! For recipes, be sure to visit my home website at
Swank Recipes and most of all have a safe and happy holiday. We're off to the Carribbean so this could be the last post of the year! Thanks to everyone who participated!



What's cooking in Carolina this week?

We've had guests for a few days, our really, really good friends from Winston Salem. Monday night we had coconut shrimp with a lime dressing. .

Tuesday night we had tapas:

Sesame Crackers with Seared Tuna and Wasabe Cream

Lentil Salad with Red Peppers, Feta and Mint

Toasted Bread topped with White Beans and Bitter Greens

Buttery Sauted Cabbage with Chorizo

Potato Tortilla

Chocolate Hazelnut Fondue with Strawberries and Pineapple

For breakfast we made crepes: Sauted chorizo with onion, garlic, pepper, cilantro, eggs and cheese topped with guacamole and fresh strawberry and pineapple topped with powdered sugar and some of the left over chocolate fondue. Yummy!

Was there an ingredient that got used in multiple dishes? You betcha! Garlic! Garlic was in the Lentil Salad, the white beans, the bitter greens, the cabbage with chorizo and the breakfast crepe! Who cares about garlic breath as long as everyone's eating!

I am submitting this for this weekend's Weekend Herb Blogging hosted here! Come back on Monday for the roundup and check out our recipes atSwank Recipes

See ya after the round-up! Wish me luck!



This is my first time hosting so have your enties to me at swankcat at swankcatering dot com by midafternoon on Sunday (Utah time) to be included in the Recap for that week. Send a bunch of them to make sure I get really challenged at connect speeds of 28.8! If you haven't participated before , see the rules at the creator, Kalyn's site
THE RULES If you're browsing for recipes, check out our catering website. Swank Recipes

Sunday, December 03, 2006

After Turkey

We've been very thankful! Thankful it's all over! Ha!

Well to be honest, it nice and short and you get to visit and it's kind of fun. We try to squeeze both families in one weekend. This year we went to Virginia to my parents the earlier part of the week. We had turkey and regular ham and Smithfield Country ham (which to this writer/cook/eater is undisputable the best ham in the world), green beans, collard greens, butter beans, boiled potatoes, scalloped potatoes, dressing, baked apples and apple turnovers. That's all I can remember. Oh, and Parker House rolls.

Then we came back to Carolina and took in the in-laws, from Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Chevy Chase MD. We made Venison Bourginon for dinner on Friday night with hand made pasta, bread and a salad, neglecting to tell anyone it was venison, to see if anyone caught it. No one did.

We cooked Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday, after a breakfast of pumpkin muffins (new recipe) and banana walnut chocolate chip bread we started on lunch. We had a big turkey, cornbread dressing, gravy, rice, butter beans, pick-eyed purple hull peas, cranberry apple relish (recipe is one the website and it is a must try recipe of Diane's), Parker House Rolls, a salad, a French Apple tart (new recipe)
and a crust less sweet potato pie.

I sent all of the leftovers home with people except the turkey which was still simmering away when the last of them left on Monday, after we went to see the big Monet exhibit at NC Museum of Art.

We have had turkey hash, turkey tetraziti (ha, a new coined name for turkey tetrazini over ziti) and turkey pot pie. I am making Turkey noodle soup for tomorrow, where I am helping a friend at the Boylan Heights Art walk and we'll be outside all afternoon and it's supposed to be a bit nippy. By the way, check out Tina's website. Motley Critters She makes wonderful whimsical animals. If you are an animal lover, you will love her stuff. She'll do commission work as well and will ship it to you!

We were out of town one day and we had pizza another (yes, made from scratch). And we're finally starting to get greens from the garden: spinach, kale, turnips, pak choy, etc. I can make a me
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