Becoming a Southern Belle?

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I’ve been to South America and South Asia (Indonesia), but before last August (2012), I had never been to the South in North America. That changed when I started dating a Southerner from Louisiana. Born and raised in Colorado, I’m not a huge fan of humidity, and neither is my curly hair, which becomes ridiculously unruly and unmanageable the closer to sea level I get. I’d never had any reason to go until then. It rains more than any place I’ve seen. Colorado is lucky to get a few thunderstorms a year – this is an almost daily occurrence down there. Yep, it’s definitely different.

A Southern Belle is something I’ll never be, but I’ve definitely learned my share of skills and had some crazy experiences down there. A few things I’ve learned and learned how to do:

*A new language. That’s right, the South has it’s own language. They are efficient people – they take one big breath and say everything they have to say in one sentence very long word without breaking in between. Often, they will shorten words so as not to use up energy with those extra syllables. Then, they will stare at you until you respond, whether or not you understood anything that came out of their mouth. Nod. A lot.

IMG_0198IMG_0199*Crawfish season is revered, and you best get your order in asap or watch out for rowdy people throwin ‘bows for the last pound. There is a crawfish hierarchy that is established among restaurants as to whose is the best – this is dictated through a drawn-out conversation by crawfish consumers between juciy bites discussing the seasoning of these ones to so-and-so’s down the street. Yet, they all get eaten all the same. Oh, and size does matter.

*Coke is soda is water. Any sort of bubbly soda is stored and stocked in houses and establishments like they’re preparing for a world-wide shortage. The only thing they’re missing is for it to come out of their faucets. Everything is called Coke – it’s just a matter of what kind of Coke you’d like.

*Some places are dark and dirty, while others resemble an extraordinary oasis. I’ve been on one plantation there, Houmas House, and it is one of the prettiest places I’ve seen. Also, some of the houses we’ve driven by are incredible. Quite a contrast between those and the poverty of New Orleans. They all have one thing in common, though, the culture of the people. The culture is tangible and hard not to get caught up in. It’s a mixture of feelings: old and new, music and art, cajun, french, american, wealth and poverty, history and the present.

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Houmas

House

Plantation

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*The food is phenomenal, plentiful, and very filling.

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And yet we eat, and eat, and eat some more!

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Other things I learned in Louisiana:

IMG_0203How to shoot a gun

 

 

 

 

How squirrell tastes (I didn’t think I’d actually hit the little guy)

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How to wedge, throw, and trim my very first pot

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How to make apple butter

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I’ve also been deep-sea fishing, hurricane drinking, regular fishing, insect identifying, frog leg eating, orange picking, running from slugs (irrational fear), walking down Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, sipping cafe au lait and eating beignets from Cafe Du Monde. Although it’s very different from home and almost like another world, it’s a fun place to visit and I’m excited to see what the next trip has in store for me.

I’ll just be a Colorado girl in a Southern Belle world.

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Tofu pie

No, really. I mean it. No bake blueberry pie. With tofu.

I scrunched my nose up at first, too. Tofu is NOT my thing.

But, it got my attention; I became intrigued. It has a few of my kitchen requirements: minimal ingredients, and minimal time spent in the kitchen. PLUS it’s a no bake concoction. And that’s even better. With the mixture of very interesting ingredients, I decided I just had to try it out for myself! I figured I’d be like a healthy, vegetarian, red-headed Betty Crocker.

Onward to the grocery store.

For those of you who know me, you know that I HATE the grocery store. Everything about it. Couldn’t tell you why, either. I avoid it at all costs; my food supply gets ridiculously low before I decide that a breakfast of condiments isn’t going to do it and I give in to the Evil Food Fortress (aka the grocery store). My goal, if I have to go to the store, is to spend as little time as humanly possible there. I try to pretend I’m a contestant on Supermarket Sweep and have a time limit to grab anything I need. This often results in forgetting items, and running in to things. Or people.

Let me set the premise for you:

I decided to go to a bigger store than I normally do, because I figured they would have a better selection of everything. For a blueberry pie, I needed blueberries. Not a problem. Unless you’re me. I’m calm, cool, and collected, circling the produce section again, and again. And again. There are zero blueberries to be found. I very nicely ask a gentleman stocking fruit if they have blueberries.

“Ah, gosh. I don’t know. We didn’t get an order in this week for them somehow. We’ve got blackberries over there if you want blackberries.”

My immediate, non-censored reply would have been: “If I wanted blackberries, I would have asked you for those! In fact, I wouldn’t even have to talk to you at all because I would have found them on my own in the first place!” But instead, I politely said: “No, thank you.” And walked away.

Then, a miracle happened. As I was passing the clementines, something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. That’s right, 3 little cartons of blueberries, staring straight at me. Since I so conveniently forgot to write down how much this particular recipe called for, I grabbed all 3 and put them in my cart. Thank you, blueberry karma. -I ended up only needing one little carton of blueberries for the pie-

Next stop: tofu land. I have never in my life bought any sort of tofu. Ever. I’m not a fan of the texture or anything about it. It’s a block of something that tastes like nothing. And that’s just wrong. The recipe calls for ‘Lite Firm Tofu.’ Easy enough. I finally find the tofu selection and search through them. I see ‘Soft,’ ‘Firm,’ and ‘Extra Firm.’ Those are my options. Wtf. At this point, I’m thinking of canning the entire thing, throwing a tantrum, and going home. I talk myself out if it, though, and sit there staring at the tofu for a good 5 minutes. I have zero idea which one to get. So I start poking them to see how ‘soft,’ ‘firm,’ and ‘extra firm’ they really are -like I really know what I’m doing-. That is until I catch a lady in the yogurt section next to me trying not to stare. I opt for the ‘soft’ one and head on my way to find Kefir.

I have no idea what Kefir is, but the recipe calls for it. I try to find it on my own for a while. Remember, more time spent in the grocery store is time that I’ll never get back. I find an older gentleman who works there and ask him. He has no idea. Perfect. We find someone else, and she thinks she may know what it is but calls someone on the intercom anyway. And then there were 4. This guy knew where it was and starts leading us there….right back to the tofu section. It, of course, was sitting right there. It’s a probiotic drink in case you’re interested.

The bright side is that I had everything else I needed for the pie at home, so I could get the heck out of there.

Tofu pie.

Ingredients: blueberries, tofu, kefir, lime juice, stevia, sliced almonds, vanilla extract, vanilla whey protein powder (not pictured), and pie crust.

For specifics, this is where I got the recipe.

No bake blueberry pie ingredients

All the fixin’s

Measure it all out, throw it into the blender, blend, and pour into pie crust. Easy as…well, you know.

-sidenote- I had no idea tofu is kept in water (or something liquidy) to preserve it. I had tofu water everywhere in my kitchen when I tried to open it up. Gross.

Ingredients in blender

Appetizing, no?

I topped mine with sliced almonds. There is an almond crust recipe, but I just bought a pie crust instead.

No bake blueberry pie

The final result!

It needs to sit in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving.

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. The pie is delicious. I got confirmation from 3 other people as well that they liked it. No, it does not have the consistency of tofu. In fact, you can’t even tell. The pie could essentially be made with any sort of fruit or fruit combination. I might play around with the recipe next time I make it. After the first slice, I put it in the freezer, and it came out almost like an ice cream pie. I liked it better than just the refrigerated one and will probably do this in the future.

Slice of pie

No bake blueberry pie

Combining a bad grocery store trip with tofu inspired pie turned out not to be so bad after all. …Who knew?

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Watch out, Betty Crocker!

Begin at the beginning

That’s how most things start, right? Step 1 to Step umpteenth. And most people are able to follow these steps, i.e. instructions/directions/recipes, with maybe one hiccup here and there.

And then there’s me.

I’ve never strived to be Suzy homemaker and have tenaciously turned my nose up at cooking, needlework, arts & crafts, and basic home remedies. Which, up til now, is probably a good thing. I am a certifiable klutz -if such certification existed- and have a knack for breaking, burning and/or somehow ingeniously and unthinkably destroying things, despite trying to follow instructions. Growing up, my parents would always tell me that I could probably burn water if I tried. I believe it.

At 25 years old, though, I think it’s time to turn over a new leaf and give these previously shunned skills a go. I am surrounded by talented people in many of these areas, and would like to join this club of sorts. Perhaps by knitting an impressive pair of socks, or pleasing taste buds with and ever-so-decadent strudel, they will welcome me with open arms and we can share tips and tricks of mod podge and homemade dog clothes while sipping a refreshing sangria –which I made myself-.

I enjoy trying new things –win, lose, or crash and burn– and can hopefully hone in on some of these skills…or try and fail miserably at the deserved entertainment of everyone else. In addition to the wonderfully talented individuals I have just so happened to surround myself with, Pinterest is a continued evil reminder of the innate skills that the Talent Fairy forgot to bless me with, and instead gave me an extra dose of ungainliness. Well played, Talent Fairy.

Commence rebuttal process.

This is going to be the documentation of my attempts to branch out and awaken my inner Martha Stewart, and then some. I’m guessing there will be a lot of wine involved…for reward purposes…or condoling purposes…or just for fun. Critiques, advice, suggestions, short cuts, tips, and jests are all welcomed, and encouraged.

Fingers crossed there will be minimal damage to my house. And myself.

Enjoy!

“Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”  -Lewis Carroll