(Recipes are also listed online below the PDF version for your convenience.)
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I am a mid-summer girl. Born on July 13, 1944, in New Orleans, Louisiana, I assume there was no air conditioning anywhere that day. Growing up, I learned to swim at the age of four. My favorite memories are of being a fish in the pool every long summer until I reached adulthood. Then there were those hamburgers waiting, grilled fresh by the pool at the center where we swam!
I celebrate my birthday this year with a love letter of recipes to New Mexico. Historically, it is the eve of the taking the Bastille in Paris and the founding of the French Republic on July 14, Le Quatorze, as it is called in France. To peace, international cooperation, good cooking, and joy in living!
Red Beans and Rice
2 C dried red beans, preferably small red beans rather than large or kidney
2 white onions, diced
2 cloves garlic
2 t coarse salt
2-4 bay leaves
Red pepper, preferably flakes
Dollops of fresh aromatic herbs, basil, thyme, or rosemary
Dollops of pepper sauce, to taste, Tabasco, or Cholula
1/2 C fresh diced tomatoes, preferably Roma
Ham hocks (if you can get them, if not, thick slices of ham)
Cooked white rice, Texmati, Carolina or Riceland; if not, Jasmine
Andouille Sausage, sliced (or Chorizo)
This recipe can be doubled. Cover beans in cold water and soak overnight. Drain and place in a deep, heavy pan. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Add all over ingredients including the ham hocks.
Simmer for an hour and a half. Add sliced sausage for the final 30 minutes. Cool, rest and serve over fresh cooked rice. Extra sausages cooked on the grill and served as a side with a choice of pepper sauces makes a more ample meal. I also like to offer slices of a favorite cornbread made with sautéed spring onions or a stovetop skillet cornbread that can also be put on the grill and cooked while preparing other entries.
1 medium head of cabbage, shredded or sliced in ribbons
2 medium white onions, thinly sliced
1/2 C sugar (to taste)
1 t celery salt
1 t sugar
1-1/2 t salt
1 t dried mustard
1 C white vinegar
1 C salad oil
Split the cabbage into halves. Stir 1/2 C sugar over one half the cabbage. Place the other half of the cabbage and onion rings in a large bowl. Combine all dressing ingredients except the oil, put in a pan on the stove and bring to a boil. Stir in the oil. Bring to a boil again. Cool and combine with the cabbage and onions. Combine with the other half of the raw cabbage. Do not stir. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours before serving. Keeps well.
Nectarine/Peach Ice Cream
6 large very ripe peaches or 8 or more nectarines
1 C sugar (to taste for quantity and sweeteners)
3 C sugar (to taste for quantity and sweeteners)
2 qt milk
1 qt whipping cream
2-1/2 T vanilla
Peel, cut and mash fruit, leaving coarse bits for texture and flavor. Stir in sugar and set aside. Beat eggs in a large bowl, add additional sugar and mix well. Heat one quart of milk to scalding point and add to egg mixture, beating constantly. Pour into a freezer container and blend in the other quart of milk. Beat whipping cream not too stiff and fold into mixture in the container with fruit and vanilla. Freeze. Remove from freezer about five minutes before scooping.
Lemon Icebox Torte
1 C graham cracker crumbs
6 T sugar (to taste and preferred sweetener)
3 T butter or plant substitute, melted
2 eggs, separated
1 C Eagle Brand milk
1 T grated lemon rind
1-1/2 C fresh lemon juice
1/2 t almond flavoring
Dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, or ginger, to taste
Combine crumbs, 2 T each of sugar and butter. Reserve 2 T for topping and press remainder in a 9 x 9-inch pan. Chill. Beat egg yolks, add milk, lemon rind, juice, and flavoring. Cook on low heat until thick. Cool. Beat egg whites until frothy and gradually add remaining 4 T of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold into cooled lemon mixture. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle crumbs. Freeze. Remove from freezer about 5 minutes before serving. Slice into squares and remove to dessert plates or cups with a spatula. Serves 6 to 8. As children, we loved this dessert, always delighted to see it rolling out of the freezer in metal ice trays.
Dedicated to the memory of my sister, Suzanne Brunazzi Paxton, and three generations of the good
cooks in my family.