My experiment in doing without has evolved from the original plan. I started and ended my absence from social media (except this blog) early and curtailed my month of meatlessness after three weeks or so. I am returning to my plan, though for reasons of convenience I will not begin doing without restaurant meals until the eleventh of December. I’m all about flexibility.
The replacement for restaurant meals for December will be home-cooked meals focusing on regional cuisine of the U.S. and Canada. I asked, through Facebook, for regional recipes; I truly appreciated the one response I got and will include Joyce’s oyster pie on the menu during the month. Lacking an outpouring of support in identifying prospective regional dishes for my December meals, I did research on my own and came up with recipes for the dishes listed below. I figure I’ll select at least two or three per week for the month; but having so many from which to choose, we could have five or more regional dishes a week if we so chose. The ones I’ve already decided we WILL have are in boldface type.
- Minorcan Clam Chowder (Northeast Florida)
- American Chop Suey (Connecticut/New England) [AKA “Goulash” in the U.S. Midwest]
- Sseafood Gumbo (Creole/Coastal Louisiana)
- Rappie Pie (Acadian/Nova Scotian)
- Sausage/Chicken Gumbo (Cajun/Louisiana)
- Philly Cheesesteak (Philadelphia)
- Chicken Booyah (Northeastern Wisconsin)
- Smoked Salmon Tartare (Pacific Northwest)
- Arroz con Camarones (South Texas Coast, AKA John’s kitchen)
- Succotash (New England)
- Jiggs Dinner (Newfoundland/Labrador)
- Pan-Seared Grouper (Southeast/”Floribbean”)
- Tourtiere du Shack (Quebec)
- Cincinnati Chile (Cincinnati)
- Spiedie Sandwiches (Binghamton, New York)
- Muffuletta Sandwiches (New Orleans)
- Cornish Pasties (Michigan)
- Chicken with Tamarind Ginger Sauce (Southeast/”Floribbean”)
- King Ranch Chicken (Southwest)
- Fish Tacos (West Coast)
- Oyster Pie (Northeast-NY)
- Grilled Pacific Halibut w/ Rhubarb Compote & Balsamic Strawberries (Pacific Northwest)
Some of these recipes I’ve assembled call for ingredients that may be a bit tough to get in Dallas in December. So, I’ll adjust my menus to adapt to availability. For example, the Rappie Pie recipe calls for a dozen fresh cherrystone clams and fresh sea scallops; they may be available, but cost will be a factor.
Speaking of ingredients, I suspect several of the recipes will present challenges. Rather than being defeated by the reality of what’s available, I may decide to adapt and substitute ingredients if I decide a dish is especially attractive. While I’d love to replicate each dish in a way that would mirror its preparation in its place of origin, reality suggests it may be impossible. I’ll cope.