Friday, November 24, 2017


On my list of things I was most grateful for this year were...

1) the fact that Alexis volunteered to host Thanksgiving at her house this year

2) that those two little imps, who drove me bonkers with their quarreling when young, somehow grew up to be best buddies, and that both of them love to cook

3) that Lex and Nate brought this amazing little creature into our lives

4) that both our kids found their perfect match

and, most of all...

5) that Papa John overcame several life-threatening incidents a few years back, in order to stick around and be a part of it all!

I am one very grateful gal.

Monday, November 20, 2017


Although my sister-in-law Priscilla and I may never agree on the correct pronunciation of this delicacy, we do agree on one thing. This miracle microwave recipe for making them, which her Cajun mama Alma shared with us many moons ago, is da bomb! She found it in a microwave cookbook from back in the 70s or 80s, called Tout de Suite. I was making a batch the other day for good buddy Toad's birthday, when I realized it had been years and years since I shared it here on the blog. What with the holidays coming up and all, I thought it might be worth sharing again. Hoo-aah! They'll be the hit of your holiday celebration, I gar-on-tee!

(makes 3-5 dozen, depending on size)

3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups sugar
2 cups pecan halves
1/8 tsp. salt
2 T. butter
1 tsp. baking soda

1. Stir together buttermilk, sugar, pecans, salt and butter in a 4 or 5 quart glass or ceramic dish. Cook in microwave on high for 12 minutes, stirring at 4 minute intervals. (Note: microwaves vary, and you may have to tweak the setting to match your oven. Mine cooks a bit high, so I make these using power level 7, or 70%)

You need the giant bowl because of the next step.
2. Stir in baking soda until foamy.

Cook on high for one minute. (This last step gives the pralines a caramel color.)

Now here is the only tricky part: Beat mixture by hand until "tacky" (about one minute). Drop by teaspoonful on a sheet of foil.

The first ones you take out will be more glossy, smooth and thin.
As the mixture cools, they become thicker, with less sheen.
I experimented with things other than foil this time. Silicone mat worked great. Regular plastic mat, not so much.
So, how do you know when you've reached "tacky"? Well, it took me a few tries when I first made them, but you eventually learn to notice when the mixture starts to lose some of it's gloss and your spoon starts to feel more resistance. I count one-and-two-and... as I stir, and usually by the time I get to 145 or 150, I know it's time to get them out of the bowl fast. If you wait too long, they may harden right there in the bowl. Take them out too soon, they won't ever harden. The good news is, the over- hardened ones make great crumbles to serve over ice cream. The under-stirred ones can go back in the bowl and get stirred some more. Also, I wouldn't recommend making them on a rainy/super humid day.

So, there you have it! You can thank me later. Better yet, thank dear Alma -- the most amazing Cajun cook ever -- for letting us know it's OK to use shortcuts, if the result is just as good as the original!