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Alligator, Americans, and a Bon Voyage

CEC (cooking group) this week was a jolly affair as folks brought fixings for All-American food. The theme was chosen by our dear friend and meat-smoker extraordinaire, Cameron, who is departing for South Africa this week. A talented artist, he has been commissioned to create a piece for the lobby of a home that provides help and support to victims of the sex trade and human trafficking. If you are interested in understanding more about the need for this difficult but important work, please watch this 10-minute documentary.

We will miss him greatly, but are proud as can be of this good thing he’s doing, and can’t wait to hear all about his adventures later this summer.

Since he’ll be dining on South African fare for the next while, Cameron wanted his going away party to feature home-cooking. πŸ™‚

I was on dish duty this week, but the others made one fabulous American dish after another!!

Deborah made her wildly popular Coconut Pineapple Sliders, the toasted rolls spread with coconut milk solids instead of mayonnaise or butter. Yum!!

Jon made deliciously chunky potato salad with all sorts of lovely spices.

Toby whipped up a wonderfully creamy coleslaw with green and red cabbage.

These are what we fondly refer to as “Don’s Hot Buns.” I do not take any responsibility for this moniker. πŸ™‚

Don’s juicy burgers were topped with crispy bacon and slices of creamy Havarti cheese.

Jason delighted all of us by making two big pans of Blackened Louisiana Alligator Spicy Mac and Cheese. Alligator!!! I was thrilled. πŸ™‚

Jack finished off our meal with this gorgeous fruit salad featuring strawberries, mangoes, cherries and grapes in a creamy base of whipped cream and cottage cheese.

Last, but not least was Darren’s homemade ice cream to go with berry shortcake. Alas, I forgot to get a picture. Sigh. Better luck next time! πŸ™‚

What is the strangest food you’ve eaten recently?

This post is my contribution to Wanderfood Wednesday!

Toby’s Creamy Coleslaw
(From Epicurious)


1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 lb green cabbage, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced (8 cups)
3 medium carrots, shredded


  1. Whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until combined well, then toss with cabbage and carrots.
  2. Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature, tossing occasionally, until wilted, about 30 minutes.
  3. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Deborah’s Coconut Pineapple Sliders


1 pound hamburger
3/4 can pineapple tidbits
1 cup shredded coconut
1-2 Tbsp coconut milk, enough to moisten
King’s Hawaiian Rolls, halved and toasted
3-4 Tbsp coconut milk solids


  1. Mix hamburger, pineapple, coconut and coconut milk together. Let sit in fridge overnight.
  2. Form small patties with ice cream scoop and grill to desired doneness.
  3. Spread toasted rolls with coconut milk solids.
  4. Place burger between rolls and serve immediately.

Jason’s Blackened Louisiana Alligator Spicy Mac and Cheese

Alligator Ingredients:

1 lb alligator tenderloin
1 cup milk
1 tsp white vinegar

Directions for the night before:

  1. Place alligator in glass bowl and cover with milk and vinegar. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Alligator Rub Ingredients:

4 Tbsp paprika
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp white pepper
2 tsp salt


  1. Remove alligator from marinate and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Coat both sides with the rub.
  3. Heat up a skillet with a small amount of vegetable oil until smoking.
  4. Turn to medium high and blacken each side of the gator for 6 minutes.

Macaroni Ingredients:

1 lb macaroni noodles
1 Β½ lb grated pepper jack cheese
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
Β½ cup pickled paprika, diced
ΒΌ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Β½ cups milk
Β½ cup gluten free flour blend
1 tbsp ground pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp garlic salt
1/8 of a red hot chili pepper, diced.
Cayenne pepper to taste
1-2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

Macaroni Directions:

  1. Cook (gluten free) macaroni noodle according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Heat remaining ingredients except cheddar cheese over medium heat, stirring until heated through and has a nice smooth consistency.
  3. Mix the sauce with the noodles and stir in chopped blackened alligator.
  4. Fill two 9×11 Pyrex pans with the Mac and Cheese.
  5. Top with shredded sharp cheddar and bake at 400F for 15 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Jon’s Potato Salad


Four potatoes boiled, then chopped
1 cup of mayonnaise
1 tablespoon yellow curry
Cracked pepper
1-2 tsp paprika
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
A dash of white wine vinegar
4 dill pickles, chopped
Half of a red onion, chopped fine and steamed briefly to soften.


  1. Place cubed potatoes, onion, and pickles in bowl.
  2. In separate bowl mix mayonnaise, curry, pepper, salt, paprika, and vinegar.
  3. Pour dressing over potato mixture and stir until evenly coated. Let sit at least 30 minutes for flavors to meld. Serve.
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RamblingTart - I’m so hungry too, Nancie! πŸ™‚ That feast was absolutely delicious.

Nancie (Ladyexpat) - These all look very American and very delicious. I am hungry now.

RamblingTart - Oh wow, Liv!!! This was my first time and I really liked it! I don’t know what I expected, but it had good flavor and texture. πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for your encouragement. πŸ™‚

RamblingTart - Thank you so much, Wanderluster! πŸ™‚ I’m glad you enjoyed it. πŸ™‚

Liv - I grew up in Florida, so you had me at “alligator.” I’m crazy about the stuff; every time I visit I have to head to a clam shack and get me a basket of gator tail. Alligator mac and cheese sounds fascinating. Keep the great recipes coming!

Wanderluster - Who says there’s no such thing as American cuisine? Great write up and glorious photos!

danishlass - I never make coleslaw either, Joumana! But this was grand. πŸ™‚

Cameron is doing a very wonderful work. And what we respect even more about him is that he’s like this in every day life too, always helping, always loving, humble and kind. We’ll miss him. πŸ™‚

tasteofbeirut - I could eat a whole tub of coleslaw! I just never seem to make it but devour it when it is made by someone else!
This artist that you mentioned is doing wonderful work, I am impressed.

RamblingTart - Isn’t that crazy, Katie?! I was nervous and excited all at the same time. πŸ™‚ Alligator nuggets, eh? I’ve never had those before either. πŸ™‚ My friend Jason ordered his alligator meat online somewhere, so I’m sure you could do the same. πŸ™‚

RamblingTart - Thanks, Susan! πŸ™‚ The sliders are Deb’s invention – and they’re amazing – she gets all the credit. πŸ™‚

RamblingTart - Thanks, Kat! I must’ve left before your cobbler appeared. πŸ™ Sounds delicious!! πŸ™‚

Katie@Cozydelicious - Alligator? Yikes! How fun. As a kid on vacation in the Florida Keys I tried fried alligator nuggets. But that was a long, long time ago. Now I’m curious about this mac and cheese. I might have to go searching for some alligator meat here in Boston!

susan from food blogga - What a fun post! You prove that American food is more than just hamburgers and fries. I do have ask about the pineapple sliders though. I have never heard of them before. Do you know anything about its history? Just curious!

Kat - Here’s the recipe for the berry cobbler. I can send a pic if you want it. This is Mom’s recipe. πŸ™‚

Mom’s Fruit Crumble – makes one 8×8 pan (double for a 9×12)

1 c. rolled oats (can use quick oats)
1/2 c. cold butter (not frozen)
1/2 c. flour (gluten free works as well)
1/2 c. sugar
spices to taste, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.
2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. corn starch (can substitute flour)
1/4 -1/2 c. sugar
Fruit for filling – I usually use mixed berries, apples, or pears. You will need about 3-4 c. of fruit. Make sure the pieces are somewhat of uniform size.

1. Preheat oven to 375*
2. Cut together flour, butter, sugar and spices with a pastry cutter or two knives, until butter chunks are of uniform size.
3. Add oats and mix well. Set aside.
4. In saucepan, mix whatever fruit you have with the lemon juice, sugar to taste and corn starch.
5. Stir fruit over medium heat until it begins to thicken, typically about fifteen minutes. The thicker, the better, but don’t let it burn. Keep the heat low – medium.
6. Once thick, pour fruit mixture into baking pan.
7. Bake at 375* until browned and bubbling.

Top with homemade vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce or chocolate sauce. If you’re feeling adventurous, try a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. The tartness of the vinegar brings out the sweetness of the fruit, and is one of my favorite finds from the Joy of Cooking. πŸ™‚

RamblingTart - We’re going to miss him for sure, Joanne. But he gets to see his girlfriend after a long separation so we’re pleased as punch for him. πŸ™‚ Small intestine, eh? Wow!! From what?

Joanne - It’s so sad that one of your friends is leaving, but you’re right. It’s for a good cause. You gave him such a good sending off party with this meal! Comfort food to the max.

The strangest food I’ve eaten ever is small intestine. It tasted kind of like bacon. But chewier.

RamblingTart - I’m sure it would be perfectly splendid without the alligator too, Paradis. πŸ™‚ I’m so glad you like the photos. It’s such a fun challenge to make gloppy things look interesting. πŸ™‚

mlle paradis - i like the idea of the alligator mac and cheese – but maybe without the alligator. (hunh?!) and your pictures of the cole slaw and potato salad verge on poetry! fun to see what you’re doing krista! thanks for the nice comment over at p.p.

see you!

RamblingTart - Oh, Jacqueline, you poor thing. πŸ™‚ Aren’t they scrumptious dishes?! YUM! πŸ™‚ Happy yoga-ing!!! And happy eating when you get back. πŸ™‚

Jacqueline - Why, why, WHY must you post all this SPECTACULAR food before I have to go to yoga on an empty stomach?!? Ha!
J xx

RamblingTart - I didn’t either, Mary! πŸ™‚ It sure was yummy though. Like a cross between firm white fish and chicken, pretty close to crab. I hope your day is wonderful too! πŸ™‚

RamblingTart - Isn’t that amazing, Stephanie? Last night was my first time trying it and it was great!! Jason ordered the alligator online. It’s definitely not something we can pick up locally. πŸ™‚

Mary - Alligator meat? I didn’t know alligator even had a tenderloin :-). It sounds like you all had a fabulous time and it’s for sure that no one went home hungry. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

Stephanie - Wow, alligator!! Don’t think I can get my hands on some of that here, but it does look delicious! Mmm… the coleslaw looks great too πŸ™‚ Great photos too, yum!

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