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Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Muffins

As I write this, D.C. and it’s surrounding areas are in the midst of a blizzard.  Yeah.  A blizzard.  My readers from all points north can stop reading here and commence eye-rolling because I am about to exclaim my wonder at the amount of snow that has accumulated in these parts.  As of now, it’s upwards of two feet, and going steadily.  I know, right!  It’s probably the most snow I’ve ever seen, and it’s definitely the most snow I’ve seen recently and in D.C.

When I was growing up there was a snowfall of two feet in North Carolina.  It probably hit most of the east coast, so a lot of you probably had the same experience.  It was incredible.  It started to snow as I went to bed and I remember yelling downstairs to my mom that she should wake me up if there was school.  The next morning I woke up (on my own) to two feet of snow, my own winter wonderland.  And because before college the only places I’d ever lived were southern Florida and central North Carolina, it was the most (naturally occurring- I’d been skiing) snow I’d ever seen.

Durham shut down, we were out of school for 10 days (two whole weeks).  It was incredible, I’d never experienced anything like it.  When I tell my friends from outside the south how incredibly that snowfall impacted North Carolina they can’t believe it, but it’s not like we had that many snow plows.  And while I’m sure today’s snow won’t hurt the District in quite the same ways, I can’t help drawing comparisons.

When I went to the grocery store last night to buy lots of wine (and bacon) they were out of everything, picked clean by the threat of a snowpacalypse.  I made a big pot of soup, thawed some lasagna, and thanked the stars that we always have quesadilla ingredients.  Because in a time like this, you’ll want to hunker down with a bowl of soup or stew and enjoy being inside.  And if you have the ingredients on hand or can find them at the market, these muffins are the perfect mate to a big bowl of warm goodness.

Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Muffins

1 jalapeño

1/4 cup white cheddar cheese, sharp

1/4 cup orange cheddar cheese, sharp

1/4 tsp sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

1 cup flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup milk

1/3 cup canola oil

Chop jalapeño and shred cheese.

Mix dry ingredients.  Slowly mix in milk and oil.  Pour into muffin tin, filling halfway.

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

 

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Barbeque Song

So I have a few recipes planned for later this week but had to share something with you first.  As many of you know, barbeque is a big part of southern culture, and where you’re from totally dictates how you eat it and what your opinion of it is.  I myself prefer the vinegar based barbeque of eastern North Carolina.  Last night my good friend Julia had dinner with us and showed me this incredible video that I can’t believe I haven’t seen before.  It’s amazing and I wanted to share it with you.  Note the part at the end, for my non-southern readers, where it points out that “barbeque” is a noun, not a verb.  That is a very important fact to understand.  And that North Carolina’s is best.  Obviously.

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Seafood Stew

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One of the things I learned at art school was that I’m not special.  That sounds a little harsh.  I mean, specifically, that my life story, the things that have happened to me and the challenges that I’ve faced, aren’t unique.  When I was growing up I was one of the few people I knew that had divorced parents.  But every one of my close friends from college (save Dan) are the products of divorce.  For the first time since I was eleven I had a group of friends that totally got what I was going through, who knew what it was like.  Some of them have parents who still have a friendly relationship, others (like me) have parents whose relationship is rough, at best.  Swapping war stories with them was healing, made me feel like people beyond my  brothers understood what I was going through.

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This Thanksgiving was a demonstration of how things can play out in a funny way.  My parents live just a few miles from each other in Durham, which makes visiting both of them around the holidays easy since we can toggle back and forth from their houses.  This year, my dad and stepmom were supposed to be in Northern Virginia for Thanksgiving, so we made plans to spend the holiday with my mom.  Then we were invited to my Aunt Lori and Uncle Kevin’s house, my father’s brother and his family.   Just before Thanksgiving my dad and stepmom cancelled their trip, which meant they spent the holiday with her family while we spent it with my mom and my dad’s family.  Complicated.

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My dad has a section on b&s called “The Captain Cooks.”  So I was only mildly surprised to get a text (he just got an iPhone and started texting) from him on Thanksgiving morning inviting me to come over and take pictures of him frying a turkey.  Unfortunately we were due at our dinner, so I offered to document his meal for the Friday night dinner we’d be attending, a seafood stew.  I will, however, absolutely have to share his turkey recipe with you soon, because it was delicious.

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My dad does soups and stews really well.  Brunswick stew, chili, seafood boils, they are rich and full of flavor.  I used to love when he would make a few gallons; my sisters and I would just curl up in bed with a big bowl and allow ourselves to be filled with its warmth.  This stew was no different.  Full of flavor, perfect for a big family dinner over a family game of dice.  The biggest conflict on that Black Friday?  The difference between soup and stew.  Thoughts?

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Seafood Stew
Source: Captain James Rosemond

1 pound sausage

1 pound cod

1 pound shrimp

1 onion

2 cups carrots

4 potatoes

2 16 oz cans crushed tomatoes

1 4 oz can tomato paste

1 cup celery

2 16 oz cans green beans, canned

1 bottle V-8

Cayenne pepper

Salt & pepper

2 small cans clams (with juice)

2 small cans oysters (with juice)

4 tbsp olive oil

Chop celery, carrots, onion, and potatoes.  Set aside.  Parboil potatoes.  Drain.

Heat oil in a large stock pot.  Saute sausage until brown.  Add celery and cook 5 minutes.  Add carrots, onions, and potatoes, one at a time.  Stir in the juice from the clams and oysters, but not the fish itself.  Cook 5 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, green beans, and V-8.  Add salt and pepper and cayenne.

Simmer for 2-4 hours.  30 minutes before you’d like to serve, bring heat back up and add seafood.  Cook for half an hour, stirring occasionally, and serve.

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