Food Previews/Food Ruminations

This is not about commercially purchased food. This is about future recipes that I’m contemplating.  That is, preliminary plans to be made in future.

Since one of these dishes involves raw meat that is currently sitting in the fridge, you will see something posted soon. 🙂

Husband and I went to a friend’s house where we celebrated a Lenten feast with Shepherd’s Pie (AKA Chinese Pastry, which is neither– and which I couldn’t eat), home made soda bread (can’t eat), corned beef and cabbage, (which I can) and four different deserts (no can do) etc, and Irish Coffee (my lips cannot touch caffeine or cream). I thought I’d brought with me some pseudo-coffee, which improves greatly after the addition of Jamesons (or any other booze, frankly) but, no.  That wasn’t their fault. It just didn’t wind up in the bag.  However, the Jameson’s was NOT neglected. But because I’m a notorious light weight, I didn’t hit it too hard either.

I also had Conundrum White to drink. I was alone because there was beer… and pretty fabulous beer at that. I think I’m going to need to get a co-blogger amongst my friends who can simply wax poetic about their craft beers. Especially since one of the guys is talking seriously about home brew.  (So is Husband– who doesn’t even drink beer!) Unfortunately all this is wasted on me.

But.. this got me to thinking about which of those things could be modified to be edible by me.  The Chinese Pastry is one, and the Whiskey Pie (a chess pie) is the other.

I have seen recipes swapping out potatoes for sweet potatoes and squash. This works for me. However, corn is also a dire negative, and, since it is creamed corn (at least from this old family recipe) that is going to take some work. I don’t think trying to sub in something made to act like creamed corn is really going to work.

Unless… it merely naturally resembles such, and has a taste that would meld with the flavors already present.  This got me to wondering if it is possible to make a hominy like substance out of Millet.

Now, millet has a taste that is reminiscent of corn. If I can find a millet meal that is stone ground with a similar texture to corn meal, it is even possible I could make a millet bread on the cornmeal model. The two are that close. The flavors are subtly different– for one thing, millet is not as sweet even as field corn. But I don’t know if the texture of the grain is similar enough for a cornmeal-like millet meal to be possible.  I’m tempted to write the Bob’s Red Mill folks to see if they would know.

Hominy comes to mind because I’ve seen recipes for bagels that replace the traditional lye with a different active ingredient (baking soda??). Since millet isn’t as tough as field corn, it strikes me that it might work better anyway.  We don’t want the millet to melt.

So that’s the idea. Try to make a millet “hominy” and then, from there, use it as the creamed corn substitute.  I’ve heard rumors that regular hominy is an ingredient in other Shepherd’s pie recipes, which is why I think of it.  I’m also contemplating going all lamb– though the idea of lamb barbecue (sauced, not smoked…necessarily) patties also appeals. Beef works for either, and I have both left over, so we’ll see how the spirit moves me.

By Glane23 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

 Since this idea literally occurred to me while Husband made his family recipe’s version of Shepherd’s pie (he made it with a combo–which was a big hit at the party!) I had no time to make it happen. Especially since Husband is a lone wolf in the kitchen.  Just having someone there, watching him, is enough to make him twitchy– and sometimes angry.

There were no fireworks this time, because we’ve worked that thing out.  I have friends who like to cook as a chatty group, and I get my social cook time with them, instead. It kind of makes me sad, but at least we will always have co-cooking with the grill. He gets the grill in his own outdoor domain, and I get to make the sides in the kitchen with my guests.  That way he gets his fiery Fortress of Solitude, and I get my social benes simultaneously  so we’ll both be happy at the theoretical party.  Theoretically, at least.

By Kimberly Vardeman [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

So as a topper, let’s talk about chess pie. A chess pie is a custard pie, basically. It has eggs, cream, some kind of binder, and a texturizing element. This makes a lot more sense when you realize that the pecan pie is actually a chess pie in disguise. It’s hiding under all those sweet toasty pecans.   Except (I think) the actual chess pie has more eggs.

My friend has a mashed potato/whiskey/almond meal chess pie which really went over well, too.  From looking at the ingredients one can see a lot of red flags.  However, the friend who brought that swears that there is a crustless version (even if I can make a perfectly fine amaranth ‘graham’ cracker crust) and… cream can be replaced with a number of other creamy fluid options. The mashed potatoes can also be replaced. Said friend also said that there’s a version that can be made entirely with almond flour, so I think that’s where I’m going first. There is a tradition about that, and the mashed potato addition is a later innovation brought to us by poor Irish pig farming immigrants.

Believe me, there is nothing wrong with that. But food denials are in force, so I take a nod to tradition and work with the older recipe.  I don’t know how secret her recipes are. While I reserve the right to give you guys the tasty results of my recipe hacking, there is a good chance I won’t publish her family recipe. I will talk to her about it. We’ll see how it goes.

Oh, and here’s something I ran across in Wikimedia commons that amused me.  It’s an Irish Pub… in Israel.  Talk about going full circle.

By National Library of Ireland on The Commons (Flickr: Happy St. Patrick’s Day!) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


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