Saturday, November 28, 2009
As with many other ethnic groups, Christmas for African Americans has traditionally been a very special holiday centered on an abundance of rich food. What is interesting is how enslaved Africans in North America and the Caribbean appropriated the tradition of celebrating English holidays like Christmas for their own special occasions. They “greatly plundered” their masters’ supplies of “poultry,” for holiday meals. A nineteenth-century diary entry describes how one slave brought a turkey, another bought a pie and pudding or tartlet, and a third bought French preserves. As I did with Thanksgiving, from now until December 25, I am going to provide photos, history, and recipes from my research on African American foodways (traditions, habits, and culinary customs adapted) related to Christmas and food. By the way I cooked my first turkey using a recipe that called for brining my 99 cent per pound Costco bird. Brining reduced the cooking time to about 2 hours and the well seasoned meat from the brining turned out moist and practically melted in your mouth, so my wife and guest told me. Like everything else there is wide range of what you can pay for a turkey. For example, I saw a person selling free range turkeys at a Farmers Market for $5.00 per pound. I also hear of place who had lines of people waiting to buy $100 cooked jerked turkeys. My Costco brined turkey is another example of a recession buster. And because we have a bunch leftover, let me recommend some recipes for leftover turkey. Happy Holiday and hit the gym.
Turkey Leftover Recipes: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/turkey_leftovers/
Friday, November 27, 2009
If your southern, African American, or grew up on a farm, you more then likely had sweet potato pie as one of your many Thanksgiving Day desserts. This year I made my pie from sweet potatoes and a left over Halloween pumpkin. It represented a recession bluster that saved made lots of money and according to my guest it tasted sensational. I never told them that it was a hybrid pie. You make it almost the same way as a regular sweet potato pie but you use both baked sweet potatoes and baked pumpkin. Here’s a tip I learned from tasting a pie someone made this year for a Thanksgiving Day feast in my son’s elementary school; I found that my pie came out better this year with a little extra freshly ground nutmeg added to the recipe. Pie make nice Christmas gifts and it great to have around with you have guest over the holidays.
Fred's Sweet Potato Pumpkin Pie Recipe
2 cups baked organic sweet potatoes and 2 cups baked pumpkin
2 large eggs or egg substitutes
1 cup of the thickets best tasting vanilla soy milk
1-2 cups unprocessed sugar
2 Tablespoons of lemon juice
Dash of cinnamon
Extra couple of dashes of nutmeg
Dash of vanilla extract
Mix the ingredients into a sweet potato/pumpkin purée add milk as needed to make a smooth but thick filling. Bake in a pie crust shell (remember add a little fiber to your crust recipe/http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/perfect_pie_crust/) at 375 degrees on lowest rack for 50 minutes, until filling has set. Cool on rack for one hour. Then transfer to refrigerator and chill completely.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
|Fried Rabbit, recipe below|
Wild Hare in Tomato Sauce
1 young rabbit, cup of
Flour for dredging
Salt and black pepper to taste
4 scallions with tops, cut up
2 gloves garlic, crushed
Sprig Fresh parsley
4 tbs. Butter
2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
2 cups tomato juice
½ cup milk
1 tsp. sweet basil
Roll rabbit pieces in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Brown in bacon fat. Make a sauce with sliced scallions, crushed garlic, parsley, butter, salt, Worcestershire sauce, tomato juice, milk, and basil, Pour over the rabbit while still hot. Cook 2 hours in a covered pan, remove lid and cook 15 to 20 minutes, reducing the sauce. You can thicken sauce with a little cornmeal mixed in water if it is thin.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Southern-Macaroni-and-Cheese Recipe: http://www.macaronicheeserecipes.com/Southern-Macaroni-and-Cheese.htm
Saturday, November 21, 2009
As an adult, my Dad Fred Opie Jr. made regular donations to the Salvation Army as homage to the work they had done in the Tarrytowns during the Depression when he was growing up, especially during Thanksgiving. He would periodically say, “If it wasn’t for the Salvation Army, my family would have never survived the Depression.” My Aunt Dot [Dorothy] told me that during the Depression and the war, “I can remember them knocking on the door, and they would bring us food for Thanksgiving . . . when we lived” in a cold water flat down. The Salvation Army is a London based ministry that William Booth started in 1865 to reach out to the poor in London. During my Dad’s youth in the 1930s and 1940s, the London based Salvation Army provided food relief to needy families in his working class neighborhood. I encourage everyone to give your money and or your time to their ministry this Thanksgiving http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/www_usn_2.nsf/vw-local/Home. With our current economic recession and high unemployment rate, the demand for relief is way up this year and soap kitchens are being overwhelmed for request for people in need. Finally something else you can can do; in the spirit of the Salvation Army and my Dad, who passed not long ago, invite someone to eat with your family who you know will otherwise be alone this Thanksgiving.
Friday, November 20, 2009
|Carurú, recipe below|
Thursday, November 19, 2009
|Monfongo, recipes below|
Traditional Mofongo Recipe
Vegan Mofongo Video Recipe
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Enslaved Africans in Brazil created most of the popular dishes that Brazilian American will serve this thanksgiving. These were dishes they made with the rations they received from Iberians and the food they produced in their gardens. Feijoada is the first Brazilian soul food dish that comes to mind when I think of a Brazilian special occasion food for thanksgiving. Feijoada was made from black beans, rice, and jerked beef; below I have a meat and a meat substitute recipe. Speaking of the popularity of the dish, one traveler to Brazil in the nineteenth century noted that there was “no house so rich as to exclude” feijoada from their table. Feijoada, poultry, fried plantains, orange slices, and a salad represented a classic Brazilian meal; here are two recipes one of them vegetarian for you to consider for your thanksgiving table.
Complete Step by Step Feijoada Recipe on Video
Traditional Feijoada Recipe
Vegan Feijoada Recipe
Monday, November 16, 2009
Yesterday I shared a shrimp recipe for Thanksgiving. In doing research for my book Hog and Hominy, a came across a 1940s primary source that provides insights into race and class and the use of shrimp among whites and blacks in low country south Carolina. During the summer white families ate shrimp dishes like “fried shrimp” for breakfast, and shrimp and stew for dinner. For African Americans, shrimp appeared only one time, and it was on a fall menu as the breakfast dish “shrimp and gravy.” Side dishes common to black and white southern cooks included corn bread, baked sweet potatoes, turnips, and biscuits. Here is a buttermilk biscuit recipe that I translated from food chemist Shirley Corriher. We met as part of a panel last fall at Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina. Shirley did a food demonstration using this recipe and the biscuit was the best I have ever tasted; it just melt in my mouth.
Buttermilk Biscuit Recipe (makes about 10 biscuits)
Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups spelt flour 1/8 teaspoon baking soda to up the flour rise/ or use 2 cups self-rising flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup sugar
4 tablespoon vegetable shortening
2/3 cup heavy or whipping cream/half and half works too
1 cup buttermilk, or until dough is like cottage cheese
1 cup whole-wheat flour for shaping the wet dough into biscuits
2 tablespoons melted butter to brush over the baked biscuits
Preheat the oven to 425; spray cook sheet or cast iron skillet with non-stick spray; combine dry ingredients except for the 1 cup flour for shaping the dough; stir in buttermilk and cream and let stand for 2-3 minutes. Flour your hands and softly shape your biscuits. If you’re rushing, use an ice-cream scooper. Place the biscuits tightly against each other on wax paper so they will rise up instead of out. Sprinkle with flour then place then on the sprayed surface for baking. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with the melted butter and serve; great Thanksgiving Day hot bread.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Photo of Fred’s Smothered Shrimp over Fried Green Tomatoes and my fall garden
Here’s a dish I created that’s rooted in sustainable gardening and adapted from a dish I saw on a Gulf Coast edition of the show Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel—great show! This time of the year in the Hudson Valley, my garden is producing herbs, cucumbers, green peppers, and green tomatoes. So a couple of Saturdays back I saw in my mind a dish that consisted of sautéed shrimp served with a gravy over crisp fried green tomatoes picked from my garden. That’s how I cook, I visualize the dish in my head first and then I check out a couple of related recipes to create an outline of the necessary ingredients. I made the dish I now call Smothered Shrimp over Fried Green Tomatoes as a Sunday afternoon meal. My children, wife, and mother said it was awesome! Here’s the very inexpensive recipe made with some of the last fruits of my garden and a $9.95 bag of pre-cleaned, shelled, and cooked bag of shrimp from Costco:
Fred’s Smothered Shrimp over Fried Green Tomatoes
Sauté 4 cups of cleaned shrimp in canola oil with a garlic clove, ¼ cup diced green pepper, ¼ cup diced onions, add a bit of fresh, sage, parsley, and salt and pepper. Set the shrimp aside after they are cooked. Prepare fried green tomatoes with 5 large tomatoes. Then put the fried green tomatoes on a cookie sheet and bake for about 12 minutes at 325. Use the leftover oil from frying the tomato to make gravy adding flour and water to make it. Then add the sautéed shrimp.
Remove the now crisp fried green tomatoes from the oven and arrange them on a large platter. Pour the smothered shrimp over the fried green tomatoes and serve. Recipe, which serves about 6, would be a hit on Thanksgiving. Or serve it with a tossed salad and some homemade butter milk biscuits for a Sunday meal. I will share a biscuit recipe and some history tomorrow.