Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Christmas Menu - 2008

Hi Ms. Home Cook,

What are you cooking for the holidays?


Dear Madame C,

How kind of you to ask.

On this year’s menu:

Brie-Champagne Soup
Brined and Smoked Turkey
Triple-Corn Spoonbread
Sweet Potato – Apple Casserole
Holiday Brussels Sprouts
Mother’s Fruitcake
Cherry Crumble

Many people turn up their noses at Brussels sprouts, and rightly so. Too often they are cooked unappetizingly. Left whole, the exterior becomes discolored and overcooked, while the interior is unpleasantly undercooked.

I have come to rescue the world from horrid brassica. Heavy is the burden, but it must be borne. Christmas feasts across the world are depending on this recipe.

In this recipe, Brussels sprouts are shredded, thereby insuring even cooking. The combination of greens with red cherries gives this a festive holiday look.

Holiday Brussels Sprouts

1 pound Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Salt & pepper, to taste
½ cup dried sour cherries or dried cranberries, halved
¼ cup sliced almonds

Core Brussels sprouts and separate leaves. When the core gets too tight to separate, quarter. (This may be done ahead of time and refrigerated until ready.)

Alternately, slice Brussels sprouts into thin shreds (chiffonade). A mandolin or food processor makes quick work of this task.

Heat a large skillet on medium. Pour in olive oil. Add sprout leaves, nutmeg, salt & pepper. Stir-fry, using tongs to lift and flip sprout leaves. Cook until done to your liking. In the last few minutes, add cherries. Taste and adjust seasonings. Top with almonds and serve immediately.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Simple Test For Readiness

Hey, home cookin',

When I cook meat (sauté a hunk of fish, for example), I can never tell when it's done. I end up having to slice it to look inside, which means that one piece gets all messed up. Of course, I serve the ugly one to my guest.
Any hints?

Medium Rare

Oakland, California

Dear Monsieur Rare,

Different hunks of meat from different critters will have different cooking times. We shan’t go into a discussion on all hunks of meat at this point. After all, we are talking about the entire animal kingdom. For the moment, let’s focus on said fishy.

A simple test for readiness may be executed using a fork. Stick a fork into the thickest part of the fish, being careful not to flake the flesh. If you are met with resistance, it is not quite ready. If it yields, it is ready for your enjoyment. If it crumbles, the moment has passed and there is no hope for salvaging the situation.

This same technique may be used to test the readiness of cooked vegetables. It may also be used on women, substituting a kiss for the fork prodding.

Remember, a good host serves ugly food only to ugly guests. A perfect host has neither.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Dallas Morning News - Guest Blogger

Make It And Mend It, Guest Blogger

I'm not famous, but my towels are.

About Me

Me: I am a woman in Dallas, Texas who sings, writes and cooks. A prize winning cook, that is.

Blog: This blog is not so much about cooking techniques, although they do come into play. This is about looking at life through a culinary lens. So, put on the cute apron I made just for you and let your Auntie give you a heaping dose of life lessons along with bushels of sugar.

Name: Sally-Page Stuck
Age: None of your business
Birthday: May 19
College: Southern Methodist University
Major: Acting
Favorite Color: CC6699
Favorite Food: I’ll have some of what you’re eating.
Favorite Music: “Anything, as long as it’s good.” -- Les Stuck
Favorite Quote: “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” -- Thomas Jefferson
Family: Les Stuck, my brother; Alexandra, his daughter. Many other family members are dining at the Glory Feast in Heaven. Let's hope they use the right fork, for crying out loud. 

Family Websites:
Our Gift Of Music
Stuck Footage

Aunt Sally Good Food

My precious niece, Alexandra, is a guru, she just doesn’t know it. Like the fabled wise men, she can sum up timeless truths in a handful of words. She’s keenly observant: watching carefully the world around her, summarizing its parts.

When she was learning to speak, her name for me was Aunt Sally Good Food. The fact I was force feeding her homemade cinnamon rolls and pastry swans may have had something to do with earning the title. I didn’t actually force her, but who can resist cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven? A wicked temptress am I.

The name stuck. There’s something stunningly truthful about the title.

Aunts and uncles give nieces and nephews a unique perspective on the world. Not having the burden of discipline, we can be more adventurous in our influence over our nieces and nephews. So what if we stuff them silly with sugary treats? We won’t have to endure the giddy sugar rush sure to follow. Just hype them up on candy and send them home to mom and dad. That’ll get brother/sister for stealing our boyfriend/sweater/music in eighth grade.

Music and food are my two passions. Both are universal languages. Both can bring people together. At table or at a jam session we all jive together.

I see the world through a culinary lens. Food is history on a plate. It tells a story. It tells the story of spice routes, religious laws, environment, heredity.

Through this lens, I show my view of the world to Alexandra.

When she came to visit last Easter, we shopped at a Latin market. For the first time, she tried hibiscus, plantains and tamarind. She learned something of Mexican culture. She learned she loved smashing plantains. I learned she likes Sprite.

When I dig out some of mother’s old recipes, Alexandra learns a little bit about her grandmother who loved her dearly; passed too soon.

So there it is; Alexandra’s definition of me. “Aunt.” One who must uphold the time honored avuncular duties: to be a good example and a bad influence. “Sally.” Close to “silly,” but not close enough. “Good Food.” If food brings people together, it’s all good. An adventurous, homey, fun and funny lady who likes to cook and bring people together. Yep. That’s me.