'Martha Moments': Embracing Spontaneity in the Kitchen

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Regina Charboneau


To try Regina's recipe for Creole cream cheese ice cream, click here.

I have a running joke with a few friends about having a "Martha moment." That is when I am suddenly more driven than Martha Stewart to take on a spontaneous project in the kitchen. Every now and then something just comes over me and I am catapulted into an obscure project, making something I could just as easily buy. An example was one very cold and lonely February when, while on my husband's home turf, Minneapolis, I was compelled to make chocolate truffles to mail to friends in California for Valentine's Day.

In retrospect it seems a bit silly, as there were so many superior candy makers, especially Joseph Schmidt in San Francisco, that make a great product, but I had convinced myself that the difference was that these were from the heart. I had brandied clementines earlier in the fall and I decided to make a chocolate ganache with a puree of them. I had to buy the perfect candy molds and of course find the best chocolate. To finish my molded truffle project took a lot of work and patience (and patience equals work to me).

I find canning and preserving not only a perfect "Martha moment" but also
quite simple.

I had to temper my chocolate to keep my chocolates glossy and pay very close attention to get it all right. I did it and loved every minute of it, and I have never made them again. I figured that if I sold these truffles, each truffle would have to sell for $18. And then I came to the quick realization that it still was not worth me ever going into that business, and the more profound realization was that all artisan chocolate makers have a lot of heart and I admire them for it. I have tackled just about everything about chocolate except apprenticing with a bean-to-bar artisan in Europe. Maybe I can do that when I take that time off to live in France long enough to really speak the language.

I missed my opportunity for making pickles this year, but when I make pickles, I like to add pickled baby carrots and baby beets and sprigs of dill to make the jars more worthy of being on display. I find canning and preserving not only a perfect "Martha moment" but also quite simple. I just like the way those colorful concoctions make my kitchen shelves look cozy. I have a bad (maybe good) habit of giving most of what I make away. I just cannot help myself. It must be a gene from my father, and if someone is leaving my kitchen I feel I have to put something in my guest's hands to take away.

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Regina Charboneau is the owner of Twin Oaks Bed & Breakfast in Natchez, Mississippi. She is the author of Regina's Table at Twin Oaks. More

Regina Charboneau is the owner of Twin Oaks Bed & Breakfast in Natchez, Mississippi. She is the author of two cookbooks: A Collection of Seasonal Menus & Recipes from Regina's Kitchen and Regina's Table at Twin Oaks.

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