Friday, February 5, 2010

Fridays, Feasting With Friends- Featuring Kathleen Jordan

 "One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating.  And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends."
~Laurie Colwin 'Home Cooking'

Kathleen Jordan

For this segment of Fridays, Feasting with Friends I am featuring my cousin, Kathleen Jordan.  She was born and raised here in Cleveland, and I think if you ask her, this is where a huge part of her heart still  remains.  After lots of moving around to different parts of the country, due to her husband Rick's job,  they finally found themselves living in the beautiful Atlanta, Georgia.  It might not be Cleveland, but at least she gets good bragging rights for the early first signs of spring- we get a phone call each year letting us know the daffodils are blooming their bright yellow while we are usually still blanketed in snow.  Although we like to give her a hard time back, it always keeps me hopefully knowing that our Spring is just around the corner!  Kathleen is silly and fun and probably the best girlfriend you would ever want to have for her loyalty and caring runs deep.  Really the only fault I can think of is that she lives so far away.  Hopefully though this won't be forever- Cleveland loves and misses you guys!

What is your favorite thing to cook?
I think my favorite things to cook change with the seasons.  In the winter, I enjoy cooking more comfort foods like soups, stews and roasts.  But in the spring and summer, I try to use my oven as little as possible because it makes it unbearably hot in my Atlanta kitchen.  So, during those months we grill, saute or stir fry.  I have access to a wonderful local farmers market (Suwanee Farmer's Market).  It runs every Saturday from the first week in May all through October.  My weekly menus are inspired by the current harvest and recipes shared by the farmers.   I also like to make appetizer - party foods -- something I get from my mother....

What about your least favorite thing to cook?
Roast Turkey.  I don't really know why, but I just don't like to prepare and roast it.  I'll bet I can count on one hand how many times I have roasted one myself since I have been married.  In fact, the first time I roasted one, I cooked it upside down!

What is your favorite local restaurant and what is one that you are dying to try out?
My favorite local (neighborhood) restaurant is Marlow's Tavern in Duluth, GA. It is a local chain that is owned and operated by the executive chef.  They have a trendy menu that changes with the seasons.  One I am dying to try is the Woodfire Grill It is the restaurant of Kevin Gillespie (one of the Top Chef Finalists).  But since his newly found popularity, there is a 3 month wait list!  Now back in Cleveland, I am dying to try one of Michael Symon's restaurants.

You are hosting a dinner party, what are your top 5 Dinner Party Songs?
I don't really have a top 5 songs. We usually pick music based on the evenings menu and guests.

What would you choose to be your last meal on earth?
I would choose either a lobster and fillet dinner or pizza (but only if it were Antonio's)

What are you currently reading?
Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It  - And Other Cooking Projects by Karen Solomon.  Other than my cookbooks, I am not really reading anything at the moment.  I am looking for a good book though, so I am open to suggestions.

What is your favorite Kitchen Gadget?
My food processor.  Rick bought me one about 3 years ago. And I let it sit for about a year before I even took it out of the box.  Now I wonder what I ever did without it all those years.  Also, I like my microplane.

Do you have a signature go to dish?
I don't really think so.  I love to try new things all the time.  I was blessed with a husband and 2 boys who are not picky eaters.  They are always open to try new things.

What do you miss most about Cleveland and is there anything you always try to make sure to do whenever you visit?
First and foremost I miss family.  I miss the holiday's and family get-togethers. I miss being at the "House of Performing Arts" and just sitting in your mom's kitchen having tea.  I miss the change of seasons and the snow.  I miss the West Side Market and Marc's.  I miss the ethnicity of the city.  We went to Little Italy last time I was home and it reminded me of the pocket neighborhoods with the local restaurants (not chains), deli's and bakeries.  There is nothing like that here in Atlanta.  What do I make sure I always do?  Rick said that is a no brainer.  Antonio's Pizza is a must.  And I always enjoy a visit to the West Side Market..

Do you have a favorite meal from your childhood and do you make it yourself now as an adult?
Perogis.  My mom makes excellent perogis.  She makes them small but full of filling and the dough is so tender.  I made them with her only twice.  But last October, I decided to overcome my fears and make them on my own.  After about a dozen phone calls to her each step of the way and 6 hours later with flour in my hair, I had 125 perogis.  I was pleased with the outcome and my family gave me a thumbs up.

Top 3 Movies of all time?
I only have 2.  Sound of Music (Your mom used to play this soundtrack on Saturday mornings when I was little.  It was our cleaning music at Babchi's house) and Gone with the Wind.

Where do you do your grocery shopping?
Rick would tell you that I don't do the grocery shopping.  And it is true for about 75 percent of the time.  I know that is weird for someone who loves to cook, but I honestly don't like to do the grocery shopping.  I do however make the list!  So he shops at (and I do too when I have to go) The Fresh Market - they sell local and USA produce and also have local meat and seafood, Publix and Costco -- And when in season - the Farmers Market (and I do love to go there each week!)

What is your favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to food?
Pizza and chips and salsa or dip.

Do you have any Culinary Resolutions that you would like to accomplish this year?
Yes. Two years ago, in a Bon Appetit Magazine there was a recipe to make your own homemade Corned Beef It takes 9 days to cure and brine .  This year I am determined to make it for St. Patrick's Day.  Also, I want to go back to baking yeast breads like I used to.  I had gotten quite good at it and had even won a blue ribbon for my egg bread at the Montgomery County Fair (Dayton, OH) when I lived there.  When I went back to work full time, I got away from baking and am really rusty now!

One of my most favorite things to get in the mail (or at least c/o the Trapp House) is your absolutely amazing box of wonderful homemade canned goods.  You have so many neat ones, things you wouldn't find except maybe in a speciality market.  When did you get into canning and where have you gotten some of these recipes?  And lately is there any canning I can do without buying a Pressure Cooker?

In the south they call it "Putting Up"  I started canning a little with my mom when I was first married.  We would can basic things like tomatoes, peaches and peach butter and applesauce.  Your mom canned too and made these things called Dilly Beans (green beans that taste like a dill pickle) which I loved.  But, it was years before I started doing it on my own.  About 5 years ago, we discovered the Suwanee Farmers Market.  It is all local Georgia farmers.  Their produce is typically picked the day before market.  It was there that I really got my inspiration.  I wanted to preserve these amazing fruits and vegetables to enjoy the year round.  So I started with recipes from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.   When things started turning out, I collected more books and recipes and became more adventurous.  I also started talking to the farmers and they began sharing some of their family canning recipes with me.  Where else can you get a recipe for Corn Cob Jelly!  I started keeping a canning diary; dating and notating what I made and feedback - if it was good or not.  This became an excellent reference for the following year, as it prepared me for what was in season when and allowed me to plan ahead.   And yes you can preserve without a Pressure Caner.  The recipes I currently use are preserved using the Water Bath Canning method.  This method safely preserves high acidic foods.  Jams, jellies and fruits are naturally acidic. Pickles, chutneys, salsas, relishes and other condiments contain naturally low acidic foods and the addition of an acidic ingredient such as vinegar or lemon juice; which then makes them safe for water bath canning.  Pressure canning is complex, but something I hope to try soon -- that could just be another culinary resolution!   Home canning can seem like a lot of work, and sometimes when I am halfway through cutting all my beans the exact same size for dilly beans, I wonder why I ever bought those extra few pounds???   But when all is done, knowing that each ingredient was prepared by hand and the freshness of the harvest is captured beneath the lid - it's absolutely worth it.

My recipe -- Party Foods.  My mom was the queen of party foods.  She was always coming up with new recipe ideas and creative ways to serve them.  Two recipes I remember and sometimes make are Bacon Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes and Sausage Pizza on Party Rye.  Today, I find myself being just like her.  Here are 2 of my favorite appetizers .  One is my husband's favorite and a recipe I used to bring to family get togethers when I lived back home - Mozzarella Cheese Dip.  And the other is one of my new found favorites - Spicy Shrimp Cakes with Corn Salsa.

16 oz Shredded Mozzarella
1 Cup Mayonnaise
2 Tbsp Dried Minced Onion

2 Tbsp Chopped Green Chili's 
Dash Garlic Salt 
Dash Worcestershire Sauce

Preheat Oven to 350. Mix all ingredients and spread evenly in oven safe dish.  Bake 20 minutes or until bubbly.  Serve hot with Triscuit Crackers (these crackers work best -- they hold up to the cheese when dipped!) 

1 lb Medium Shrimp - peeled and deviened
4 tsp Olive Oil (or as needed)
1 small Red Pepper - finely chopped
1 Garlic Clove - minced
1/4 Cup Green Onions - thinly sliced white and green parts
3 Tbsp Mayonnaise

1 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
1 1/2 tsp Hot Pepper Sauce - or less to adjust heat to your taste 
1/2 tsp Sugar 
1/4 tsp Salt 
1 large Egg 
1/4 cup Cilantro - finely chopped 
3/4 cup Panko Bread Crumbs 

Pulse the shrimp in a food processor until finely chopped - set aside. 

In a large skillet heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the bell pepper and saute for 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.  Add the shrimp, green onions, mayonnaise, lime juice, hot pepper sauce, sugar, salt and egg stirring well.  Stir in the cilantro and 1/4 cup Panko (or more if needed to bind together - I always add more). 

Divide the shrimp mixture into 8 equal portions, shaping each portion into a patty 1/2 inch thick.  Dredge both sides in the remaining Panko.  Refrigerate for at least an hour. 

In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add 4 shrimp cakes and cook until browned on the bottom, about 4-5 minutes.  Turn and cook until browned and cooked through inside - about an additional 4-5 minutes.  Remove from pan and keep warm.  Repeat with the remaining 4 shrimp cakes and add oil if needed.  Serve with Corn Salsa (recipe below). 

Corn Salsa 
1 cup Frozen White Corn Kernels - thawed (or fresh when in season) 
3/4 cup diced Avocado 
1/4 cup chopped Cilantro 
3 Tbsp finely chopped Red Onion 
2 Tbsp finely chopped seeded Poblano Chile 
1 Tbsp fresh Lime Juice 1/4 tsp salt 

 In a bowl combine the corn, avocado, cilantro, onion, chili, lime juice and salt stirring gently. 

 **Shrimp Cakes can be prepared a day in advance.  You can also make them smaller. 

Kathleen, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with me.  It was such fun to read and I learned so much!  I need to start doing some canning of my own- maybe a new resolution for me as well!  Although if I don't get around to it for at least another year, I know where to go so I can at least appear like I am "putting up"! Goodness, you have no idea how excited I am about your Mozzarella Cheese Dip Recipe!  This is one of those foods that takes me back to my childhood in a big way.  It wasn't a family gathering without it.  Now I just need to go to a party or host one myself, otherwise I could very well eat the entire thing on my own- very dangerous that stuff.  But in the best possible way!  And those Shrimp cakes sound de-lish!  Maybe Scott and I will just have to have an Appetizer Night one of these weekends....


  1. Kathleen, guess what?! I have a party to take this too! It is Miss Anna's 7th birthday party tomorrow- perfect time for a yummy, gooey, cheesy dip! Sooooooo excited! I will be sure to let you know if it comes out the way I remember it tasting "back in the day".

  2. Kathleen, your canned goods are excellent!! One is just at good and tastey as the other one. The jellies, pickles, relishes are delicious. You have surpassed anything I've ever done in canning.

  3. Amie, first of all I cannot believe Miss Anna is 7 years old! I can remember holding her when she was just born! I do hope the cheese dip is as good as you all remember. Please be sure to let me know!

  4. Hey Anonymous, who I think is my favorite Aunt Judy! Thankyou for the compliment on my pickles jams and relishes. But don't forget that you have accomplished the feet of pressure canning -- things like tuna and salmon -- that is a whole diffent ball game. I have been doing alot of reading on pressure canning but for some reason it scares me. Someday though......

  5. I made your dip Kathleen on Saturday for Anna's party and it turned out amazing! Everyone loved it and it tasted just as I remembered. I bought the Cracked Black Pepper and Olive Oil Triskets and they were a really nice paring. Yummmmm! Thanks again for the recipe!



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