My "back porch" is my kitchen, my favorite room in the house. Come on in, the coffee is fresh, and I just made a pitcher of sweet tea. The cookies will be out in a minute. I have over 40 years of recipes to share with you, along with my opinion on everything. Oh my, you are right, it is cocktail time. What can I get you? Of course I can make you a Mint Julep! Stop by anytime, something is always cooking, and the back door is never locked.

Bon Appetit, Y'all

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Saints and Scriptures

There is a wonderful blog that I like to check in on to see how the Kennedy Family is doing in their day to day life. Each Sunday Dianne has anyone that would like, post a scripture or talk about them favorite Saint. check it out.

The teaching of Luke have been around me the past couple of weeks, sermons, Sunday school, Bible study. Yes, I'm posting from Luke today.

Luke 4: 1-13
Tested by the Devil
4:1-2 Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and led by the Spirit into the the wild. For forty days and nights he was tested by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days and when time was up he was hungry.

4: 3 The Devil, playing on his hunger, gave the first test: "Since you're God's Son, command this stone to turn into a loaf of bread".

4:4 Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: "It takes more than bread to really live.

4: 5-7 For the second test he led him up and spread out all the kingdoms of the earth on display at once. Then the Devil said, "They're yours in all their splendor to serve your pleasure. I'm in charge of them all and can turn them over to whomever I wish. Worship me and they're yours, the whole works."

4:8 Jesus refused, again backing his refusal with Deuteronomy: "Worship the Lord your God and only the Lord your God. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.

4:9-11 For the third test the Devil took him to Jerusalem and put him on top of the Temple. He said,"If you are God's Son, jump. It's written, isn't it that he has placed you in the care of angels to protect you; they will catch you; you won't so much as stub your toe on a stone'?"

4:12 "Yes", said Jesus, "and it's also written, 'Don't you dare tempt the Lord your God.'"

4:13 That completed the testing. The Devil retreated temporarily, lying in wait for another opportunity.

I think we are all tested a little or sometimes a lot. Not so much now as when I was in my twenties and thirties I would do things I would take a second look at now, para sailing, bungees jumping, driving 150 miles an hour around Daytona Speedway, on the wall. I would always say a little prayer asking God to be with me. He was probably says,"Are you crazy, you are on your own, don't test me". I just didn't hear him.

As I've gotten older I seem to hear Him better.

Have a safe, happy and blessed week. Please continue our prayers for the people in Haiti.

Chili- Mississippi Style

I really was not going to post a recipe today, since it was Sunday, but I just couldn't help myself. Everyone has their favorite chili recipe and there must be a zillion recipes out there. and you probably already have your favorite anyway. Mine happens to be on the back of the McCormick Chili-O-Mix package. To each his own.

When I checked the outside temperature this morning and it read 0 degrees, yes, zero. I knew it was a chili day.

I found this, heavens only knows where, and have been using it for about 4 years. My nephew, Randy, loves this for two reasons, one the spoon will stand straight up in it, really thick, and two I chop up 4 habanero peppers with the seeds and put those in. The kid could eat molten lava. This is not recommended or even suggested for the normal person. If you make this as suggested below, it is a wonderful chili.

Chili - Mississippi Style
about 3 quart

2 pounds lean ground beef
4 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large onion chopped
1 green pepper pepper, chopped
2 15-ounce cans of tomato sauce or tomato sauce with tomato bits
1 cup water
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons flour
2-15-ounce cans red kidney beans, undrained

Cook ground beef in a skillet and drain liquid off. Add chili powder, salt, and sugar; mix well. Add onions, bell pepper, tomato sauce, water and bay leaf. Simmer for one hour.

Remove bay leaf and mix vegetable oil and flour, add to beef mixture; add beans. Cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring periodically.

COOK'S NOTE: This just has to be served with saltine crackers or those little oyster soup crackers.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dirt Pudding

I haven't made Dirt Pudding for 10 years or more, however I thought it would be the prefect dessert for my Groundhog Day dinner menu. Groundhogs hole, dirt, you get it, right! Anyway, it's easy and delicious, kids and adults will love it. Vanilla pudding, Cool Whip and Oreo cookies, how can you go wrong.

Try using different flavored puddings. Make more layers, just to keep it interesting. Use different types of Oreo'

Dirt Pudding
6 servings

1 (14-ounce) bag Oreo cookies
1 (3 1/2 ounce) packages vanilla instant pudding
2 cups milk
1 cup powdered sugar
1 (8-ounce package cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
1 (12-ounce) container Cool Whip

1. Break up cookies, place half in bottom of preferred dish, save half for topping.
2. Mix pudding and milk together and set aside.
3. Mix sugar, cream cheese and butter.
4. Add sugar mixture to pudding; fold in Cool Whip.
5. Pour onto cookies and top with remaining cookies.
6. Chill for at least 1 hour, longer if possible.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Good Rice

The next time you're thinking about rice for dinner as a side dish, think about Good Rice. It is exactly what the name implies. It was given to me by a Cuban lady in the 80's. This dish had a Spanish name that I have long forgotten. Being the creative person that I am I simply call it Good Rice. Good Rice is good and good with everything. How corny is that.

Good Rice
6-8 servings

1 stick butter
4 cups chicken stock or broth
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
2 cups white long grain rice, uncooked
1 large onion, chopped
Salt to taste

Melt butter and saute onion until transparent. Add rice and stir constantly until it turns a caramel color. Add chicken broth/stock, then parsley, basil and salt. Bring to a boil and lower flame. Cover and steam rice for 18 minutes. Fluff with a large two-tined fork.

1905 Salad

This is the wonderful salad from The Columbia Restaurant's in Florida. In 1905 Casimiro Hernandes purchased a bar, where he started selling soup, sandwiches and coffee. Hence the name 1905 Salad.

I was surprise after looking a the recipe for the first time that nothing was said about how to prepare the lettuce. The lettuce at the restaurant's were always shredded, not torn or chopped.
If nice fresh tomatoes are not available use cherry or grape tomatoes.

1905 Salad

1/2 head iceberg lettuce
2 ripe tomatoes, cut in eighths
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 cup Swiss cheese, cut in julienne strips
1/2 cup ham, cut in julienne strips (or turkey or shrimp)
1/4 cup green Spanish olives, pitted
2 teaspoons grated Romano cheese

Toss together all salad ingredients except Romano cheese.

1/8 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin Spanish olive oil (any good extra-virgin olive oil is fine)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Mix garlic, oregano, and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl. Beat until smooth with a wire whisk. Add olive oil, gradually beating to form an emulsion. Stir in vinegar and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Add dressing to salad and toss well. Add Romano cheese and toss one more time. Serves 4

Black Bean Soup - Frijoles Negros

It must be this bone chilling weather we're having, all I can think about is soup. Any time I think about Black Bean Soup I think of The Columbia Restaurant in St. Augustine, Florida. The restaurant originated in Ybor City, Florida, outside of Tampa. They have six locations and are the largest Spanish restaurant in the nation and the oldest in Florida. The food and the decor of the restaurants are fabulous.

Their Black Bean Soup and the 1905 Salad (I'll post that later) helped to make them famous. This is a wonderful vegan or vegetarian dish. A hearty dish that would satisfy anyone.

This freezes beautifully.

Black Bean Soup - Frijoles Negros

1 pound black beans, dried
2 quarts water
2 medium onions chopped fine
1 bay leaf
2 green peppers, cut in strips
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon salt (I use less)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
White rice, cooked
Chopped Onions for garnish

Before washing beans, spread on a flat surface and pick out broken beans and foreign particles. Wash beans thoroughly and soak overnight in 2 quarts of water.

Next day, pour beans and water into a 4 quart soup kettle; bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium heat.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, saute onions and green peppers in olive oil until light golden. Add crushed oregano, bay leaf, cumin, and garlic. Add mixture to beans, stirring well. Add salt and pepper and cook slowly over low heat, covered, until beans are tender (at least an hour). Serve over white rice and top with chopped onions. Serves 4-6.

Amish Baked Oatmeal

I thought I never would find the cook book that had this recipe. Good thing I at least remembered it was an Amish recipe. I'd still be looking. I have several old Amish cook books that I just love. Those folks know how to cook. If this doesn't make you an oatmeal lover I give up. It reminds me of a warm oatmeal cookie. This has to set overnight so get organized. I'm making a batch in a minute and praying the power doesn't go out in this big storm we're suppose to get tonight. Your kids will be begging for this.

Amish Baked Oatmeal
Serve 6

1/3 cup butter
2 large eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon nutmeg or cinnamon, or a little of both
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons milk
3 cups oatmeal, regular old-fashioned

1. Melt butter.
2. Grease a 1 1/2 quart baking dish and drop in eggs and beat.
3. Add brown sugar, baking powder, vanilla, nutmeg and/or cinnamon, and salt. Mix well. No lumps.
4. Whisk in butter and both measures of milk, then add oats.
5. Stir well and refrigerate overnight.
6. Bake uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 35-45 minutes, or until set in the middle.
7. Serve hot with warm milk poured over. (I use half and half or cream and don't heat it.)

COOK'S NOTE: I have been known to throw a big handful or raisins in the mix. Now we're talkin'.

Oatmeal - Don't Say Yuck Until You Try It

Come on in, the back porch door is never locked. Hurry and close the door, you're letting all the heat out. Damn, 17 degrees with a wind chill of 9 is cold. We're having oatmeal for breakfast this morning.

Why do so many people hate oatmeal? Is it because the only kind they've ever had are those little packages that you rip open and add boiling water. If that's the case I'd hate it too. Buy a big container of Quaker Oats better yet a can of steel cut. Let's not get crazy yet, stick with Quaker's for now, not instant, it will say on the front Old Fashioned. They still only take 5 minutes to cook. They are heart healthy and help lower your cholesterol, we all know that. Plus on the inside of the lid is the best Oatmeal and Raisin Cookie recipe in the world.

Okay the oatmeal is cooked, (directions on the box) now let's make it fabulous. Stir in a big glop of butter or, honey butter( Mr. Cholesterol, I'll worry about you tomorrow)and/or maple syrup or honey, maybe a dash of cinnamon, a little fresh fruit if you like and finish it off with a big splash of cream. Half and half is okay if that's all you have. Doesn't that sound better than a frozen waffle or bagel? The oatmeal is the canvas you add whatever extras to complete the picture.

Your kids don't like oatmeal, or course that don't because they have never seen you eat it and talk about how yummy it is. Let them add the fruit or raisins to their own.

If you just don't think you have 5 extra minutes in the morning this is the trick. Put equal amounts of oatmeal and milk in a container and stir, set in the refrigerator overnight, heat in the microwave the next morning and add whatever you like. Toasted raisin bread is perfect to have with your oatmeal.

I had never had Baked Oatmeal until a few months ago, I think it must be a northern dish, I'll post that later today if I have time.

The point is, there is no excuse for not starting your day with a nice warm breakfast.

Sorry you have to go now, I have a cake to deliver to my friend Betty and dog food to buy before the big snow tonight. Come back anytime.

Creamy Onion Soup

With the weather forecast for today and tomorrow being 5-10 inches of snow, they always lie, I'm not taking any changes. I have chili, veggie soup and Hearty Turkey Noodle Soup, in the freezer. I made U.S.Senate Bean Soup yesterday and I'm making Creamy Onion Soup today.

I know that sounds like a lot, but you have to remember I have family that live close by that never plan for anything. I also worry about my older neighbors that live alone. Louise (90) might need a hot bowl of soup after she finishes shoveling her drive way. I'm not kidding.

This is sure to make it into your regular soup rotation. Because of the milk this is not a soup to freeze.

I originally got a recipe like this as a copy cat for Outback Steak House's Creamy Walkabout soup. This is so much better and involves no canned soup. I word of caution; do not try to make this without the bay leaves. Boring.

Creamy Onion Soup
Yield: 4 servings

White Sauce
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk

2 tablespoons butter
2 cups sweet yellow onions (thinly sliced)
1 (15-ounce can chicken broth or stock (homemade or canned)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1/4 cup diced Velveeta cheese, cubes (compressed in a measuring cup)
1 1/2-1 3/4 cups white sauce you just made (put it all in)
4 bay leaves (more or less if you like) do not omit
Shredded cheddar cheese or Monterrey jack or Colby cheese, for garnish

For the White Sauce: In a 1-quart saucepan melt butter and add flour, cook on medium heat until the flour turns thick and comes away from the side of the saucepan. Pour milk in flour a little at a time and stir constantly. Stir, stir, stir no lumps please. Mixture should thicken and become like thick pudding. Set aside off the heat until ready to use.

In a 2 quart saucepan place 3 tablespoons butter and sliced onions. Cook at low to medium heat stirring frequently until soft and clear but not brown. Add chicken broth or stock from can, chicken bouillon cubes, bay leaves, pepper, and stir until completely heated through.

Add white sauce and Velveeta cheese to onion mixture. White sauce will be thick because it has been removed from heat. Simmer on medium low until the cheese is melted and all ingredients are blended, stirring constantly. Turn temperature to warm and let cook for additional 30-45 minutes

Serve with a garnish of shredded cheese and run by your nearest Outback and get some of that wonderful dark Russian Bread because I haven't found a recipe yet that I like for the bread.

COOK'S NOTE: If you double the recipe, I always do, double everything except the bay leaves 4 or 5 bay leaves are fine for a double batch.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

U.S. Senate Bean Soup

You and I might call this White Bean Soup. However, every day since 1901 the menu at the U.S. Senate restaurant in Washington D.C. has listed it as U.S. Senate Soup. You will know the reason it has been on the menu so long once to try it.

Before we get started let's talk about the ham hock that you need for the soup. Have you looked for a nice meaty ham hock lately? They don't make them any more. I don't know if they started growing pigs with no hocks or what. Well you have got to have some meat in this soup. Off I go to Heavenly Ham or Honey Baked Ham and I find these beautiful big ham bones, with lots of ham left on the bone. I stock up, can't have too many ham bones. They'll cut them in half for you too.

Now let's make soup. I'm giving you a normal size recipe 6 cups, I always double it, because it doesn't get really good for about 3 days and by that time it's all gone. But do what you want.

U.S. Senate Bean Soup

About 6 cups

Soak in water to cover by at least 2 inches, overnight:

1 1/4 cups of small dried white beans, such as navy or Great Northern, rinsed and picked over

Drain and place in a soup pot, along with:

1 small meaty ham hock (1/2 of one of those big ones)

7 cups cold water

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the beans are tender, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove the ham hock(leave the soup on a gentle simmer). Discard the bone, skin, and fat; dice the meat. Return it to the pot and add:

1 large onion, diced

3 medium celery ribs with leaves, chopped

1 large potato, peeled and finely diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Simmer until the potato pieces are quite soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and mash with a potato masher until the soup is a bit creamy.

Stir in:

2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

COOK'S COMMENT: Serve this with Cracklin' Corn Cakes and a green salad and dinner is ready. If possible make your soup at least 1 days ahead. It's all about flavor.

Creole Lima Beans

There is nothing really to say about this recipe except it is really, really good. Always gets compliments. I use my frozen Lima's from the garden and they are the larger Forkhook Lima and they work great. If your family likes Lima's this will become a favorite.

5 servings

2 slices bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup green pepper
2 cups canned tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups cooked frozen or fresh Lima beans , drained
Salt, pepper and granulated garlic (House Seasoning) to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Saute the bacon until crisp and remove from the pan. Add the onion and pepper to the fat in the pan and cook until tender but not brown.

2. Add the tomatoes and sugar, and cook about fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the beans and season with salt, pepper and granulated garlic.

3. Add 2 tablespoons butter and simmer a few minutes longer. Serve hot, sprinkled with the crumbled bacon.

Cracklin' Corn Cakes

Okay, so I'm on a cornbread kick, I love cornbread. This is from one of my top 5 favorite cookbooks, The New York Times Cook Book by Craig Claiborne, copyright 1961. I found this at a yard sale for.50 cents. this book is filled with real food recipes, not 30 minute meals made from every processed food imaginable.

These are fabulous with your favorite winter soups.

Cracklin' Corn Cakes

about 12 corn cakes

2 ounces salt pork, chopped

2 cups white cornmeal, preferably stone ground

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs beaten

1 cup buttermilk, approximately

1. Cook the salt pork slowly, stirring frequently, until lightly browned.

2. Sift together the cornmeal, baking powder, soda and salt.

3. Mix the eggs, buttermilk and two tablespoons fat from the pork. Drain off the remaining fat and reserve.

4. Add the liquid ingredients to the cornmeal. Add the salt pork crackling and stir until the cornmeal is dampened. The batter should be stiff enough almost to hold its shape when dropped from a spoon.

5. In a skillet heat the reserved fat, discarding the sediments. Or, if desired, use another shortening. Drop the cornmeal mixture from a spoon into the fat to form cakes and brown slowly on both sides.

Corn Dog Muffins

If this doesn't remind you of a state fair, I don't know what will. These are so much cheaper and better than buying corn dogs. Kids love these. So do I. Serve these with your favorite soup, tomato, Hearty Turkey Noodle, potato, etc.

I'm very funny about my hot dogs. I only buy one kind, Hebrew National, not just because they are the best, but because they "answer to a higher authority".

Corn Dog Muffins
Yield: 18 muffins

2 (8.5 ounce) packages corn muffin mix (Jiffy recommended)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
9 good hot dogs, cut in half

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease muffin tins.

Stir together the cornbread mix and the brown sugar in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs and milk in a small bowl until smooth. Fold the eggs and cheese into the dry mixture until moistened. Spoon mixture into muffing tins about 2/3 full. Add 1 hot dog half that has been sliced, to each muffin.

Bake in a preheated oven 14-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

COOK'S COMMENT: I'm posting this to use on Mama Kat's Writing Workshop. One of the topics I could choose today is "Meals you serve to your children in muffin tins." I promise I'm not being a smart-ass, but why do you serve your children food in a muffin tin? I guess you could give them a Corn Dog Muffin in one hole, soup in one, fruit in one and maybe pudding in one. I have friends who have grandchildren that would love to know about this. Please let me know how this works.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sausage Balls

Everyone in the South has a Sausage Ball recipe they claim is the best, and they're all made the same way, with Bisquick. This one really is different and you can make it your own by simply adding what you like. Use Jimmy Deen Sausage and your favorite seasoned flour. Sometimes I grind a pound of Virgina Ham and add it to one pound of sausage. Whatever makes you happy.

Sausage Balls
Yield: Aprox. 100

2 pounds hot sausage
4 cups cheddar cheese, grated yourself
2 cups Kentucky Kernel Seasoned Flour, or your favorite seasoned flour

Mix uncooked sausage, seasoned flour, and cheese. Chill at least 1 hour. Shape into small balls, about 1 inch, and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 15 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature. These freeze beautifully before baking. When ready to cook, allow to set out of freezer about 15 minutes or while oven preheats and bake as directed.

COOK'S NOTE: Add any, or two or three of the following, or none.
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese for part of the cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped seeded jalapeno peppers

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Strong Arm Cookies

Since I have nothing else that I want to do today. Plenty to do, the key word is "want". Lets talk about cookies. I love cookies and getting new cookie recipes. Do you know there are children and adults that have never had home-made cookies. Amazing, when they are so easy and the dough can be frozen until you need it.

You buy that junk at the grocery, slice and bake and those little squares that you bake in the cardboard tray or the ones already baked in the bags that say "all natural". Have you read the ingredients?. Make you own and bake only as many as you need at the time. Any cookie dough will freeze except those that are like meringues, they don't hold up well in the freezer.

Look at the ingredients in this cookie dough. I know what each ingredient is, and can pronounce it. This makes a nice big batch, some to bake now and some to freeze. You will be so proud of yourself.

Strong-Arm Cookies
8 dozen small cookies - 4 dozen larger
Print recipe

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
2 cups dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups pecan halves, toasted and cooled
2 cups dried cherries
2 cups extra-large chocolate chips ("chocolate chunks")

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until the sugar is thoroughly creamed into the butter mixture, about 5 minutes. Thoroughly beat in the eggs, then stir in the buttermilk. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gently stir into the butter mixture until you can see no more flour. Stir in the nuts, cherries, and chips. Chill the batter, tightly covered with plastic wrap, for at least an hour, overnight is better.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with a silicone nonstick sheet or parchment paper.

Using a 1/2 tablespoon scoop (I use a tablespoon scoop), measure out a dozen evenly spaced cookies. Using the heel of your hand, gently push on each cookie to flatten slightly. Bake for 8 to 11 minutes,or until you can touch them lightly and leave almost no imprint.

Allow cookies to cool one minute on the cookie sheets before using a metal spatula to remove them to a rack to cool completely.

Store in airtight container at room temperature.

COOK'S NOTE: To freeze as many cookies as you want, scoop them on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer. When completely frozen place frozen cookie balls in a zip lock freezer bag that you have written the name of the cookie and baking instructions on, and place in the freezer. When ready to bake, no need to thaw, just place on a cookie sheet and let them set out while the oven preheats. Bake as directed. This method works with all drop cookies.

Savory Sausage Cassserole

If you are on Weight Watcher's or Jenny Craig you might want to pass on this dish. Even if you're not I don't think it should be in your regular 14 day meal rotation. But it is sooo good.

This recipe is from a light mystery written by Diane Mott Davidson. I love her books. Her main character is a caterer who really wants to be P.I. At the end of her books she always includes the recipes for the dishes she mentions in the novel. Just fun light reading plus great recipes.

Savory Sausage Casserole
Makes 6 servings

1 pound new potatoes
8 ounces mushrooms, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups of minced onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 pound Italian sausage, hot, mild, or mixed, casing removed
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 13-inch pan.

Fill a large pot with water and add potatoes, bring to a boil, cook until potatoes are just done about 10 15 minutes. Don't over cook. Strain the potatoes and set aside to cool before slicing.

Using a clean cloth dishtowel that may be stained, squeeze the mushrooms by small handfuls to remove all excess liquid. When all the mushrooms have been rendered almost dry, set them aside.

Using a wide saute pan, melt the butter over low heat. Still keeping the heat low, cook the mushrooms and onions until the onions are translucent. Remove the mushrooms and onions from the pan and put them in a heatproof bowl. Stir in chopped parsley and set aside.

Slice cooled potatoes into 1/2-inch slices. Place them in the bottom of the prepared pan. Distribute the mushroom mixture over the potatoes. Evenly distribute the sausage over the mushroom layer. Set aside.

Inn a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the half-and-half on low speed until the mixture is smooth, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour this mixture over the ingredients in the baking dish. Sprinkle the cheese on top.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the egg mixture has set in the middle. Serve immediately.

Sara's Pimento Cheese Spread

Kick the snow off your boots before you come in on the back porch and leave your boots on the rug by the door. Here, let me take your coat. I just made a fresh pot of coffee, chicory of course and a pitcher of sweet tea,. What can I get you? We're having Sarah's Pimento Cheese Spread on Whole Wheat Beer Bread and Vegetable Beef Soup for lunch.

Sara's Pimento Cheese Spread

3 ounces of cream cheese, room temperature
8-ounces grated sharp cheddar (grate your own)
1 pound of Velveeta cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Hellman's mayonnaise (or good quality)
1/2 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing
1/2 teaspoon each or salt and pepper
1 - 4 ounce jar of chopped or diced pimentos
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1 tablespoon pickle relish juice

Using an electric mixer beat cream cheese until fluffy and smooth. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well blended, but not smooth. Use as a dip for veggies or a sandwich spread.

COOK'S NOTE: Don't dump all the mayonnaise and salad dressing in a one time, add about 2/3's and check for spreading consistence. You want a nice easy spreading consistence not real stiff. Add more until you're happy.

Beer Bread - Whole Wheat

Someone gave me this recipe a few months ago and I loved it. A quick hearty bread that is great with chili, soups or sandwiches. Also great as toast. A little later today I'll post my friend, Sarah's Pimento Cheese recipe that is fabulous on this bread.

You may not have time to read all my "today's" postings, what with baking Beer Bread and making Sarah's Pimento Cheese, and that Chunky Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Your day will be filled.

Beer Bread - Whole Wheat

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 (12-fluid ounce) can or bottle of beer, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

If you have a stand mixer, now is the time to use it, or use your hands.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. Pour in the beer, stir until stiff batter is formed. Scrape dough into prepared loaf pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 50-60 minute, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Beer Bread - White

Another beautiful day in paradise! It's 28 degrees and snowing like hell. If I can just blog through another six weeks I should be okay. Bear with me. I was not going to do another post today but I may do ten. I baked three cakes yesterday and put them in the freezer for back up. Made a pot of Hearty Turkey Noodle Soup, froze that in 2 cup containers, without the noodles, I'll add those when I use it. Gave two puppies a bath and feed my nephews cats twice. Oh! gave my brother lunch, Butter Bean and Cabbage Soup with the Garlic and Sun-Dried Tomato Corn Muffins. He loved it, but is to lazy to post a comment.

Instead of me complaining, lets make bread. Easy bread, no kneading, no rising. Dump, stir, bake and eat.

Beer Bread - White

3 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup sugar
12-ounce bottle or can of beer, room temperature
2 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Butter a loaf pan (9 x 5-inch) and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, and beer and mix well. The mixture should be sticky. Pour into loaf pan and bake 55 minutes. At the last 3 minutes of baking, remove from oven, brush the top of the loaf with butter and return to the oven for a few minutes.

Let bread cool in pan for about 10 minutes, remove to wire rack to finish cooling. You will not be able to let it cool so cut off a big hunk, butter it and enjoy.

Chunky Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This is not my "famous" Fresh Apple Cake recipe, however it is easier and faster and in my opinion just as delicious without having to wait 2 or 3 days to enjoy it.

This cake is so moist! I think its fantastic apple flavor is due to the apples being in larger chunks rather than finely chopped. This will be a family favorite.

Chunky Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and sliced
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Cream Cheese Frosting
Chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)

Stir together first 4 ingredients in a large bowl until blended. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; add to butter mixture, stirring until blended. Stir in apple slices and 1 cup walnuts. Spread into a greased 13x9-inch pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Spread with Cream Cheese Frosting; sprinkle with walnuts, if desired. Store in refrigerator. Yield 12-15 servings.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt(that's a pinch)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar and salt, beating until blended. Stir in vanilla. Yield 1 2/3 cups.


Outback Steak House - Steak Seasoning

Of course it's a copy cat recipe. Be careful if you get copy cat recipes on line. Some of them are awful. This one I have used for several years and everyone remarks that my steaks taste like Outback Steak House.

This is a great way to do hamburgers or turkey burgers, also.

Outback Steak House-Steak Seasoning

Mix together:
1 envelope Taco Seasoning
1 envelope Good Seasoning Italian Dressing Mix

1 tablespoon olive oil, approx.
1 bottle Coco Cola (Did I say Pepsi? No.)

Rub oil in steak and coat with seasoning mixture.
Pour Coca Cola around (not over) steaks in a deep glass or plastic container. Seal with plastic wrap or tight fitting lid.
Refrigerate for 24 hours
Drain and grill or broil to your likeness. Basting with marinate if you like.

COOK'S NOTE: If using a less tender steak, such as flank, pierce steak several times with a fork before rubbing in oil and coating with seasoning.

Creamed Chipped Dried Beef

What do you mean you have never had chipped beef on toast! Well if you are under forty you more than likely haven't. This is a favorite thing to have with scrambled eggs for a late Saturday morning or Sunday breakfast, if you have some really good tomatoes, slice them along side. Sliced tomatoes and eggs, very Southern. The chances of anyone having really good tomatoes this time of year is slim and none.

Creamed Chipped Dried Beef
4 servings

1 small jar dried beef
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups of milk
4 to 6 well-buttered toasted slices of bread

Put shredded beef in a small bowl, cover with cold water, let set for 15-20 minutes. This will remove some of the salt. Drain, pat dry with paper towel. Put shredded beef in pan, sprinkle with flour, add butter, and slightly brown. Add milk and stir until thick. Serve over toast.

COOK'S NOTE: I like to add another tablespoons butter and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper before spooning over toast.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sicilian Caponata

The first time I ate Sicilian Caponata was maybe 20 years ago. A friend gave a few of us a jar tied with a pretty ribbon as a thank you gift. We all said thank you and nothing else was said about the caponata, I didn't even know what it was. By the next morning we were all killing ourselves to find Gwen and get the recipe. This is one of those recipes that you can use for anything, appetizer, salad, on crackers, bread, focaccia is my favorite, or grab a spoon and eat out of the jar.

Caponata combines the flavors of Sicily in a special treat. It keeps well in the refrigerator and is perfect for drop-in-visitors, or as a gift.

Sicilian Caponata

2/3 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 large eggplant
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup shopped onions
1/2 cup diced green peppers
1/2 cup diced celery
1 can (14-15 ounces) plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon capers
1/2 cup sliced olives
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon basil (fresh or dried)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
5 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Heat oil with garlic in a heavy skillet. Dice the eggplant in pieces about 1/2' by 1 1/2', leaving the skin on. Saute until golden brown. Sprinkle with salt, then remove the pan. In the same pan, saute the onions, capers, and tomatoes with the remaining ingredients.

Return eggplant to the pan. Simmer the mixture, uncovered, on a low flame for 20 minutes, stirring now and then. Remove from the heat. Place in a pretty bowl and refrigerate. Serve with bread, crackers or may be served as a salad on a lettuce leaf; number of servings depend on how the caponata is used.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Jalapeno Pie

I was so excited to find this recipe again. While rummaging through several old folders I found this appetizer that my dear dear friend Doris Mauldin gave me at least 30 years ago. This was one of her favorite appetizers to make for cocktail parties. If they have cocktail parties in heaven Doris is making this, I promise.

Jalapeno Pie is quick and easy and does not have to be served hot, just as yummy at room temperature.

Jalapeno Pie
approx. 8 servings

3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup whole milk
8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 large fresh jalapeno peppers. Stems and seeds removed

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Liberally grease a 9-inch pie pan with vegetable oil or spray.

Whisk eggs ; add red pepper and milk, whisk vigorously for 30 seconds. Spread cheese and jalapeno peppers evenly in bottom of pie plate; add egg mixture. Bake 15 minutes.

Pie is done when puffy and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let pie cool before slicing into portions Serve each slice with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

Viva la Chicken

Don't you just love when people grab an old recipe and simply change the name and make it their own. This is really King Ranch Casserole in a simpler form, but doesn't Viva la Chicken sound like more fun than King Ranch Casserole and it is wonderful. It is a mixture of chicken layered between tortilla strips, cheese, soups, and seasoning. It is made ahead and all the ingredients are refrigerated for 24 hours to mellow together. Use this for a light supper, lunch or brunch. It is a handy recipe and always a favorite at a party. This serves 10 but is easily cut in half. Half all the ingredients and use only one kind of soup, either one is fine. This is a great way to use left over turkey. Great Super Bowl recipe.

Viva la Chicken

3-4 pounds boneless chicken breast, cooked(Baking them is good)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (10-3/4 oz.)
1 can cream of chicken soup (10-3/4 oz.)
1 cup milk or half and half
2 cups bottled Mexican salsa (any kind your family likes)
1 onion, minced
1 can diced green chiles (4 oz.)
1 dozen corn tortillas, cut in 1 inch strips
3 tablespoons liquid (chicken broth, water, or white wine)
1 pound cheddar or Jack cheese, grated
sliced olives and fresh cilantro for garnish

Cut the chicken breast in small chunks. In a large bowl mix the soups, milk, salsa, onion, chiles, and chicken.

Grease a large baking pan, In the bottom of the pan place the 3 tablespoons of liquid. Layer half the tortilla strips in the pan. Place half of the chicken mixture on top of the tortillas. Add half the cheese. Place the remaining tortillas on top of the chicken. Finish with the remaining chicken and then the remaining cheese. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.

Bake at 300 degrees, uncovered, for about an hour and 15-30 minutes. The top should be bubbly and light brown. Garnish with olives and cilantro.

COOK'S NOTE: It is not necessary to use chicken breast, unless you have found them on sale. I prefer to mix white and dark meat for more flavor.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Southern Funeral Food

Don't be getting all offended by the term funeral food. What else would you call food that is prepared for after the funeral? Bereavement Food? Doesn't work for me. My minister, Scott, thinks I should refer to it as Soul Food. Southern Food, Soul Food or Southern Funeral Food are pretty much the same. However, Southern Funeral Food seems to always have three ingredients that are sometimes missing from the other two, Cool Whip, Velveeta cheese and cream of mushroom soup. If you have never been to a country church for this meal after a funeral you have never had real country cookin'.

If you are driving around in the country during the week or on a Saturday and come across a little country church with lots of cars around ,there is going to be funeral food there soon. Stop in and have a bite. They will make you feel welcome and feed you til you drop. This will be the menu; fried chicken, country ham, city ham, roast turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese (Velveeta), green beans, corn, Lima beans, squash casserole (cream of mushroom soup), cabbage of some kind, kale or collard greens, and ofcourse mashed potatoes, etc., at least 5 different jello type salads, all sweet, homemade yeast rolls, cornbread. The dessert table would put any fine restaurant to shame. These are the basics, angel food cake, jam cake, chocolate cake, apple cake, blackberry cobbler, peach cobbler, apple pie, pecan pie, chocolate cream pie and more. Plus at least 5 tubs of Cool Whip. The beverages are Maxwell House coffee, sweet tea and lemonade. Don't be asking for unsweet tea or any kind of fancy coffee.

The vegetables will all be fresh from the garden unless it's winter then they will use their canned or frozen. Everything is homemade from scratch. Not one of these women have a recipe for anything except maybe their cakes.

At my church these events are all organized by Betty Rose, who I have known all my life and not a more precious person is living today than Betty. She has committees for different foods and it rotates with the funerals. Did I mention that Betty is in her 80's. I have always considered myself a fairly good cook, I couldn't hold a candle to these women. They don't have computers to get new recipes, they don't even want them, they might have an old Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook or Good Housekeeping. They use hog jowl and bacon grease to season with, more butter than Paul Deen ever thought about.

Our oldest church member is Louise Charles, 90. Louise still drives, still has 40 plus people for Christmas dinner and last summer I stopped by to get her pepper relish recipe and she was painting her house. Betty would not hurt your feeling for the world and Louise will tell you what she thinks in a heart beat.div>

I feel very lucky to have been ask to be in this fine group of women. Today will be our first funeral of the year and first since last summer. We had a 15 minute meeting after church Sunday and Betty gave us our instructions. No one knows how many people will be there, she mentioned they were expecting a large crowd. This lunch will be served without one problem, I promise. There is no such thing as running out of food. The Chef at the finest restaurant in the country serving 1,000 people could not do a better job than this group of ladies.

From time to time I will be posting some of my favorite Southern Funeral Food recipes and I wanted you to know what I was talking about.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Les's Seasoned Salt

I know I'm driving everyone crazy with all these seasoning blends, but some things just make life on my back porch a lot easier. I don't know who Les's is, and I've had this recipe so long they are probably dead anyway. Everyone has seasoned salt in their kitchen (Lawry's), why not make your own. It's cheaper and more flavorful and at least you know what's in it. After making one batch you will more than likely double it the next time.

Les's Seasoned Salt
2 tablespoons celery salt
2 tablespoons garlic salt
2 tablespoons onion salt
1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
1-1/4 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Combine all ingredients and sift together three or 4 times. Put in a jar with a tight lid, preferably one with inside shaker-top. Of course I use a Mason jar (8-ounce).

Honey Butter and Vanilla Honey Butter

Don't you just love Honey Butter! This stuff is so good on so many different things. At one time I would buy those little tubs of this at the grocery, until I got a little smarter about not eating preservatives. Keep some of this made in the fridge, set it out to soften and use it on, toast, English Muffins, bagels, muffins, etc. I stir some in my oatmeal and cream of wheat. Let a teaspoon of this melt over the next chicken breast or pork chop you grill. You will find tons of uses for this fabulous easy butter. Spread some on plain old white bread for a quick after school snack for the kids.

I normally double the recipe because I use so much.

Honey Butter
6 servings

1/2 cup of butter softened
1/3 cup honey

Combine and mix until creamy. Store in glass or crockery container. Thank goodness for Mason jars.
Serve at room temperature.

Vanilla Honey Butter

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip buttter and powdered sugar together until smooth: stir in honey and vanilla.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Vegetable Beef Soup

I know it is ridiculous to have a recipe for vegetable soup. Well, maybe for you, but not for me. The reason being I have no control over my inability to stop adding stuff to the pot. I will start out with a 10 quart soup pot and have to transfer part of it to another pot because I have added so much stuff it doesn't have room to cook. I need recipe control.

You may or may not have noticed that chuck roast purchased on sale is half the price of stew meat and twice as good. I don't buy stew meat ever, if you do fine.

Vegetable Beef Soup
approx. 6 quarts

1 1/2 pound of chuck roast
3 quarts of water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Celery leaves
1 large onion, chopped
2 bay leaves, crushed
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 1/2 cups diced potatoes
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 pound green beans, cut in 1 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups shredded cabbage
1 large onion, chopped
2 (No. 303) cans tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
1 (No. 303) can whole-kernel corn
1 package of frozen peas
1 package of frozen Lima beans

Place the beef in soup kettle with 2 1/2 quarts water. Add 1 tablespoon of the salt, pepper, celery leaves and 1 chopped onion. Combine bay leaves, oregano, and thyme; tie in a cheesecloth bag and drop in kettle with meat. Cover and simmer, until fork tender, 2-3 hours. Remove celery leaves. Remove meat from bones, if any. cut into bite size pieces, and add to stock. Then add potatoes, carrots, green beans, cabbage, 1 chopped onion, and 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Simmer for 1 hour. Now is the time to add in that Pot Roast gravy and left over roast if you have it.

Add 2 cups water, tomatoes, sugar, corn, peas, and Lima beans, simmer 1 hour longer. Remove cheesecloth bag before serving or storing.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze

My niece, Angie found this recipe on the Food Network and I decided to make it for her Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner at Christmas. Now I saw the pictures of the cookies and if it had been my decision I would have passed these right on by. Unappealing would be a word that would apply, but ugly would be my favorite, white cookies with pale, pale yellow icing sort of dripping off the side of some of them. There was nothing pleasing to the eye about them. I'm telling you this so you know what to expect. What you're not going to expect is the taste, fresh lemony, moist, and delish. If these don't make it to your top 10 favorite cookie list, I'll be amazed. Everyone loved them, kids and adults. Close your eyes and take a bite.

These would be great for Super Bowl XLIII

Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze
About 3 dozen

2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick of butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 (15-ounce) container of whole milk ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh, not bottled)
1 lemon zested

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh, not bottled)
1 lemon, zested

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 1 heaping tablespoon for each cookie)onto the baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges, don't over bake. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours. Pack the cookies into a decorative container. Heaven knows they need all the help they can get to be pretty.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Original Cuban Sandwich

As I've said before I love recipes with stories attached. This one originated in 1905 in a small bar, that sold only soup, sandwiches and coffee, in Ybor City, Florida, just outside of Tampa. This little bar opened and operated by Casimiro Hernandez grew into the largest and oldest Spanish restaurant in Florida, with I think, 6 locations, The Columbia Restaurant "The Gem of All Spanish Restaurants". The food is always fabulous and the decor of the restaurants, breathtakingly beautiful.

The recipe below is for 1 sandwich, however it is plenty for 2 people, unless you are my brother. The recipe is from The Columbia Restaurant.

Sandwich Cubano
1 10-inch sandwish
print recipe

10- inch loaf of Cuban Bread
4 thin slices smoked ham
2 thin slices fresh pork ham or pork roast
2 slices Genoa salami, cut in half
2 slices Swiss cheese
3 sour pickles (may also use dill)
Yellow mustard

Slice bread down the middle lengthwise. Layer ingredients to cover bottom half of bread in the following order: ham, pork, salami, cheese, and pickle. Spread mustard on top half of bread. Cover bottom half and slice sandwich diagonally. Sandwich maybe heated in oven or served at room temperature. If Cuban bread is not available, you may use French bread (baguette type) or Italian bread.

COOK'S NOTE: Most places grill their Cuban sandwiches now, which I love. Use a sandwich grill if you have one or the way I do. Spread the top of the bread evenly with butter place on preheated cast iron flat grill, place brick that has been wrapped in heavy duty foil on top, and grill until bread turns a golden brown, and is crisp. Approximately 4-6 minutes. After the sandwich is crispy and the cheese has melted, remove the sandwich carefully and slice diagonally, from corner to corner. DO NOT USE A MICROWAVE

Corn Maque Choux

Now my French is worse than bad, really limited to very few words and mostly food terms. So let's see, mon cher. Corn in French is maiis, so that has nothing to do with it. And choux is cabbage and there is no cabbage in this dish. Mon ami, I really don't know. If I had to guess I would say it is American Indian because of the way it is pronounced, mock shoe. Just understand maque choux is good and you're going to love it.

Corn Maque Choux
4 servings

6 ears young corn (4 cups of frozen corn, defrosted works well)
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chipped bell pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chopped, peeled, and seeded tomatoes, or 1 cup chopped canned tomatoes
1/2 cup milk

Cut corn off the cob by thinly slicing across the cops of the kernels and then cutting across a second time to release the milk from the corn. Scrape the cob once or twice to extract the milk. You should have about 4 cups of corn with the milk.

Season the onions and bell peppers with the salt and cayenne. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, and the corn, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15-18 minutes, or until corn is tender. Add the milk, and remove from heat. Serve immediately.

Meatloaf 101

Here I am up in the wee hours of the morning again searching and reading my favorite blogs. It just occurred to me when reading my niece, Angie's, blog,
Ballard Boys, that she is showing pictures and not always giving recipes, and I'm always giving recipes and not showing pictures of the same dish, strange. Since we are making meatloaf today and she was showing a meatloaf picture a couple of days ago, you can look on her blog if you have no idea what a meatloaf looks like, or just need a picture. Yes, I am being a smart ass. This recipe was adapted from a Martha Stewart, 2002 show. Leftovers also make great hot meatloaf open face sandwiches. If you need gravy for the sandwiches just buy the jar kind and add a few dashes of Worcestershire or steak sauce.

Meatloaf 101

8-10 servings

4 slices of bread, torn into pieces, any kind
2 1/12 pound ground beef
1 medium yellow onion,peeled and cut into 1/8's
2 cloves of garlic
2 stalks of celery, cut into small pieces
2 carrots, peeled and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 large eggs
1 cup ketchup
3 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoon brown sugar

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place bread in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade; pulse until fine crumbs form. Transfer to a medium bowl, and add ground beef.

Place onion, garlic, celery, carrots, and parsley in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade; pulse until fine. Add to meat mixture, using hands to mix well. Add eggs, 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 teaspoons dry mustard, salt, and pepper; using hands to combine thoroughly. Place in a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, or close.

Combine remaining 1/2 cup ketchup, remaining teaspoon dry mustard, and brown sugar in a bowl; stir until smooth.

Brush mixture over meatloaf; place in the oven with a baking pan set under the rack to catch drippings. Cook until a meat thermometer inserted in the center reads 160 degrees F about 90 minutes. If top get too dark, cover with foil, and continue baking.

My other favorite meatloaf recipe and was also my dad's, was for years on the back of the Quaker's Oatmeal box. You can still get it on

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Blackberry "Cobbler" Maguire

After having that big bowl of Hearty Turkey Noodle Soup you deserve a great dessert. This is definitely not like most cobblers. The comment you will hear from everyone is "That's the best cobbler I've ever had". I also make this with peaches.

There "were" at least 25 pounds each of blackberries and peaches in my freezer from the summer generosity of neighbors and friends. These cobblers are made for every occasion, summer or winter, church potluck dinners, hostess gifts, friends not well, funeral food (that's a whole posting of it's own later) holiday dinner, etc.

Before we get started let me warn you this will look like the biggest mess you have ever seen when you start putting it together. Don't worry, my oven and yours come equipped with oven angels. They will fluff this mess back together and it will be beautiful. Trust me.

Blackberry "Cobbler" Maguire - Gourmet/June 1996
Printable Version

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, 1/2 stick cut into bits and chilled
1 cup water
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups self-rising cake flour
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups fresh or frozen blackberries (about 1 pound)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a 10-inch glass pie plate or baking dish (deep dish) melt 1/2 stick uncut butter in oven.

In a small saucepan combine water and 1 cup sugar and heat over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is completely dissolved.

In a food processor pulse together flour and remaining 1/2 stick cup-up butter until mixture resembles fine meal. Add milk and pulse just until dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and with a floured rolling pin roll into an 11-by9-inch rectangle. Sprinkle dough with cinnamon and scatter blackberries evenly over top. Beginning with a long side roll up dough jelly-roll fashion and cut into 1 1/2-inch thick slices. (Yes, this is a mess, but remember the oven angels will fix it.) Arrange slices, cut side up, on melted butter in pie plate or baking dish. Pour syrup over slices, soaking dough, and bake "cobbler" in middle of oven for 45 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over cobbler and bake 15 minutes more, or until golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream.

COOK'S NOTE: I can never find self-rising cake flour, so just add 2 teaspoons baking powder and 3/4 teaspoons salt to the 1 1/2 cups of regular cake flour.

Hearty Turkey Noodle Soup

Please, not another Turkey Noodle Soup recipe,how many could there be, 10,000. I really don't care this will be your favorite. For some reason people love this recipe and you will too. I hate seeing the word "healthy" in the name of a dish, that's why I left it out, usually it means tasteless, not so here.

If you have used all your left over turkey or chicken, have the deli cut a couple of thick turkey breast slices, you can chunks them when you get home.

Hearty Turkey Noodle Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons thyme
3-4 cups chicken broth or stock
2 cups fresh spinach, rough chopped
2 cups cooked cubed turkey or chicken
1 - 15 ounce can cannelloni or Great Northern beans, drained
1 - 14.5 ounce can sliced carrots, drained
1 1/2 cups uncooked wide noodles
Salt and Pepper or House Seasoning to taste

In a heavy soup pot saute minced garlic, chopped onion and thyme in olive oil for 2 or 3 minutes. Don't burn the garlic. Add other ingredients, except noodles, and simmer for 20 minutes. Bring to a boil and add noodles, reduce heat and cook for about 15 minutes until noodles are cooked. Check salt and pepper. Ready to eat now or later.

COOK'S NOTE: If kale or another green leafy vegetables looks better at the market use that, I have used broccoli. I can never remember in my life using canned carrots, use fresh. How long does it take to peel and chop 3 or 4 carrots? Cook your pasta, separate and add to the soup just before serving. A really nice change is to use fresh or frozen cheese filled ravioli or tortellini in place of the noodles. You certainly do not have to do this, but I always add a tablespoon or two of unsalted butter to the soup.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Let's not forget the folks in Haiti tonight in our prayers. My condolences go out to the families that have lost love ones in this tragic earthquake. May God be with you.

Sauteed Chicken Livers with Onions and Port

Today is my sister, Sandy's birthday, she is four years younger than me and that's all I'm going to say about that. Happy Birthday sweetie. When we were younger and usually poorer, we ate fried chicken livers a lot. They were cheap, fast and easy to prepare and we both loved them. This is my favorite grown-up version of chicken livers, adapted from Food & Wine Magazine published about 5 or 6 years ago.

Sandy, I wish I were there to make these for your birthday. Love you.

Sauteed Chicken Livers
with Onions and Port

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium red onion, quartered through the core
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons port wine
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 pound fresh chicken livers, trimmed and halved, 2 halves chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
All-purpose flour, for dredging
6 ounces baby spinach

In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the onion quarters and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until golden brown all over, about 15 minutes. Transfer the onion quarters to a plate and let cool. Season the onions with salt and pepper and keep warm.

Add the port to the skillet and simmer over high heat until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the orange juice and cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Stir in the finely chopped chicken liver, reduce the heat to low and simmer until just cooked, about 1 minute. Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the mustard, season the sauce with salt and pepper and keep warm.

Spread the flour on large plate or wax paper and season with paprika, salt and pepper. Dredge the remaining halved chicken livers in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet. Add the livers and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until pink inn the center, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Arrange the spinach on a serving platter. Top with the onion quarters and chicken livers, drizzle the sauce over the top and serve.

Serves 4 or just enough for Sandy and I.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits are definitely in my top five favorite "things to eat". If you think you hate grits just wait, you'll be telling everybody you know about this dish.

Low-country cooking at it's best. Several years ago I lived in Charleston, S.C. for a short while. One of my most favorite places to visit, of course I could also live there, because they have a Harris Teeter grocery. Everyone should make Charleston a place to visit someday.

Years ago the only people who ate Shrimp and Grits were poor people and slaves, and only for breakfast. Grits were cheap, they call them hominy, and the shrimp you caught right out of the creek. This dish now is found at truck stops to the many 5 star restaurants in and around the city. My favorite was a small restaurant on King Street, Justine's , chrome leg tables, paper place mats and a line out the door. Their table wine was the best sweet tea in the world.

This recipe is not from Justine's but it is dead on. The Post and Courier, Charlestons newspaper, published this one week end and that was it for me, I haven't used another recipe for Shrimp and Grits since. I know you will enjoy it.

Shrimp and Grits

2 cups of whole milk
1 cup stone-ground white grits (no instant)
1 oz. butter
salt and pepper to taste

2 oz. unsalted butter
2 tablespoons diced onion
3 tablespoons finely diced red bell pepper
2 oz. country ham
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sherry or water
8 drops of Tabasco or other hot sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pound medium fresh local shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 tablespoons finely snipped chives
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

For the grits: Scald the milk and add grits. Stir for 1 minute. On very low heat, stir often for 10 minutes, stopping occasionally to skim the hulls from off the top. Then continue cooking until tender, approximately 1 1/2 hours, or read directions of grit bag or box, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add butter and salt and pepper to taste.

For the shrimp: In the butter over medium heat, cook the onion, bell pepper and ham until onions are translucent. Add the water, sherry and hot sauce. Cook, stirring and scraping, until amount of liquid is reduced by half. Add the cream and continue cooking until thickened to a light sauce. Add shrimp, stir and cook until it forms light sauce consistency. Add chives and season. Ladle shrimp and sauce over grits. Can sprinkle lightly with Parmesan cheese if desired. Serve with scrambled eggs and biscuits if for breakfast or sliced tomatoes and cornbread if it is lunch. Polite society of Charleston never serve Shrimp and Grits for supper.

Just a word of caution, DO NOT use instant or quick cooking grits. Stone ground are not that hard to find. If you don't have country ham, Virginia baked will be fine.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Winter Soup and House Seasoning

By the time our temperature gets above freezing I will have made and frozen enough soup to supply the whole area of Loradale, Ky. That's where I live. Just a little about Loradale before we move on. No stop lights or signs, one church and one country store that sells beer, day old bread and milk that is two days passed the sell by date. Some of the finest folks you would ever want to meet live in the area. I'll keep you informed about Loradale, if anything should happen here.

I have made this soup for 20 plus years, no idea where the recipe came from or if I've just made it up at some time. It is one that everyone loves. Dig out the crock pot, or not. It can be cooked on top of the stove also. As Jill Conner Browne said," When you use your Crock Pot, you come home and it's like someone else cooked". This freezes beautifully without the macaroni, add it later when you're ready to serve. Keep some in the freezer for the nights when you just don't want to cook. If I'm going to the trouble to slice and dice, I'm going to double the recipe. Eat some now and freeze some for later.

If you have picky eaters as I sometimes do, my nephew, Randy. This is the one that ate ravioli from a can before I started cooking for him, has now become a food critic. He will not touch anything with carrots or celery visible. I put them in the food processor and he never knows. Slick, right.

Winter Soup
4 big servings
print recipe

1 pound ground chuck, chicken or turkey
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon house seasoning (recipe follows)
3 cups hot water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup sliced carrots
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon basil
black pepper to taste if you need more
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce or diced tomatoes in sauce
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup macaroni, cooked and drained

Brown beef, chicken or turkey. and drain most of the fat, place in crock pot. Add pepper, oregano basil, house seasoning and dry soup mix. Stir in water, tomato sauce or tomatoes and soy sauce. Then add celery and carrots. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Turn control to high and add cooked macaroni and cheese. Cover and cook on high 10-15 minutes. Makes 4 nice servings. This is great served with corn bread or crusty Italian bread.

House Seasoning

1 cup Kosher salt
1/4 cup coarse ground black pepper
1/4 cup granulated garlic powder

Mix well and store in air tight container. Use it on anything calling for salt and pepper.

A chef gave me this years ago and told me to use this on all my meats, pork and chicken and let it set overnight in the refrigerator. I know Paula Deen has one very close to this. Maybe she knew Chef A.J. also.

Recipe Reviews

I have been stewing about this for years and I've just had enough. About a third of the folks who think it is their duty to review recipes on some of my favorite food blogs have not a clue what a review is or worse have no idea how to cook.

Don't you just love the moron who rates the recipe 5 star and proceeds to tell you the changes he/ she made. By the time she/he has finished it isn't the same dish. In reality they have just given their recipe a 5 star and has nothing to do with the original recipe. Don't get me wrong I love the little suggestions that people make, a squeeze of lemon here and a dash of something there, that's great.

The ones that make my skin crawl are the ones that can not follow the recipe. One of my favorites recently, "My cake was so heavy and tasteless. I followed the recipe exactly. When you see that statement you know what's coming next. Four cups of flour seems like too much flour for one cake, etc." The recipe plainly states 2 1/2 cups of flour. There were other things she screwed up also, so she rates the cake 1 star. If she had spent the time reading and understanding the recipe that she spent reviewing it there is a good chance she would have had a beautiful cake.

I feel there should be a little quiz before you are allowed to give a review; can you boil water; how do you make a bologna sandwich? That should cut down on about a third of the stupid reviews.

Stay away from the review button, unless you know what you are doing. You are only going to embarrass yourself.

It's not just the food blogs, it's everywhere. "I love the wide slots in my new toaster, but the cheese melts into the bottom when I put my sandwich in to toast." You think! This one was priceless, "I was so happy with this new place I found to service my car. I thought I had a tail light out but it was fine after they added tail light fluid." I couldn't even make up something that stupid.

Thanks, I feel better, until something else pisses me off.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Brabant Potatoes

The menu tonight is grilled strip steaks, brabant potatoes, green beans, canned last summer, corn on the cob, frozen last summer and summer squash casserole, frozen last summer. The most difficult part of the whole meal has been hiking out to the garage, where the freezer lives. I really don't know why I have it plugged in. It is 4 degrees outside. If it were not for the raccoons and other critters that live around my house I could just come home from the grocery throw everything out my back porch door and reach out and get it as needed. Without freezing my butt off every time I needed something in the freezer. I really could sit here and whine all day, but lets make brabant potatoes.

For years, they have been served in both fine restaurants and corner cafes in Louisiana. Sometimes cut into large cubes, other times into small ones, they are often drizzled with butter and sprinkled with salt and parsley. They are Louisiana's version of french fries. Make a nest of these in the center of your dinner plate and plunk a thick grilled steak or crispy-fried fish on top.
This is a Emeril recipe. Don't you just love him.

Brabant Potatoes - 2 servings

2 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons butter

Put the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Boil for 4 to 5 minutes, or until slightly tender. Drain and cool slightly. This can be done hours earlier.

Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, salt, and pepper. Cook, shaking the pan back and forth, for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Add the green onion, parsley, Worcestershire, and garlic. Shake the pan again for about 1 minute. Add the butter and continue shaking the pan until it is melted. Serve immediately.

These are wonderful with scrambled eggs also.

Aspargus, Chicken and Pecan Pasta

I am so happy to have a recipe from my sister, Sandy, actually I have three. She is so cute and so sweet and smart, but she is really better known for making reservations than making dinner. I really don't blame her, if I lived that close to that many fabulous restaurants I wouldn't cook either. She lives in California with her sweet husband, Mac, and their beautiful daughter Biz. They live not far from my favorite grocery on earth, check it out, If I could I would pitch a tent and live in the parking lot. You will love this Sandy dish.

I love California cooking, fresh flavors, simple and healthier than Southern cooking. Not better than, because I do love butter and bacon grease.

Asparagus, Chicken, and Pecan Pasta
(leftovers are even more delicious)
print recipe

1 16-ounce package of penne pasta (or use egg noodles or fettuccine)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 bunches asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (only use fresh basil, it makes all the difference)
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1 pound grilled chicken breast strips, cut into bite size
1 1/2 cuts grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pecan halves

Bring large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente.

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Stir in garlic, red pepper, and asparagus; cook and stir 5 minutes until the garlic softens and mellows. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer until the vegetables have softened, then add the basil, salt, pepper, butter and chicken. Cook and stir a few minutes until the chicken is hot. Stir in the cooked pasta, then fold in the Parmesan cheese and pecan halves to serve. SOOO YUMMY

Oh!, did I forget to mention they have friends that are "chefs". You know this baby is good.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cheesy Dog Treats

Don't you just hate people that talk about their pets and kids all the time. The only thing worse is looking at a friends vacation pictures. Especially when they have been to the islands and you are up to your butt in snow. Well I'll try to keep the pet stories to a minimum and I have no kids, but I do love other peoples kids and I love my animals. All my sweet doggies are rescue animals, Harry, Mazzy and Annie I will include pictures later. but you cannot be too careful about dognaper's. Yes, I do cook for my doggies, horse (Wolf), pony, (Napoleon) and donkeys, (Pepper and Candy). For now I'll just share the doggies favorite treats. So much healthier and cheaper than Milk Bone, which they hate. I make the same treats for my equine friends, just in a larger size. However they prefer muffins.

Cheesy Dog Treats
1 cup rolled oats (such as Quaker, not instant)
1/3 cup margarine (the only time you will see me mention margarine)
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
2 teaspoons chicken of beef flavored instant bouillon
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten
2 - 3 cups whole wheat flour

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees
Grease cookie sheets (2) or line with parchment paper
In large bowl, combine rolled oats, margarine and boiling water; let stand 10 minutes. Stir in cornmeal, sugar, bouillon, milk, cheese and egg; mix well. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. Add flour 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition to form a stiff dough.

On floured surface, kneed in remaining flour until dough is smooth and no longer sticky, 3 or 4 minutes. Roll or pat out dough to 1/2 inch thickness, cut with bone shaped cookie cutter. I use small rounds or heart shapes, sometimes. Place 1-inch apart on cookie sheets. Bake at 325 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely. Store loosely covered. Makes 3 1/2 dozen large dog biscuits or 8 dozen small dog biscuits.

You can get adorable doggie biscuit tins and biscuits cutters from or

So it is a boring post. How exciting can a dog biscuit be!

Welcome To My Back Porch

Come in, Come in, Come in. It must be time for coffee and cake, sweet tea and sandwiches or is it too early for a cocktail? Yes, I am a foodie. As we get to know each other better I will share some of my favorite recipes with you and hopefully you will share with me. I love old recipes, new recipes any recipe is good with me, especially if it has a story that goes with it. If you like the recipe let me know. Have suggestions to improve the dish, I would love to hear it. However if you want to trash the recipe because you either haven't read it correctly or simply don't have a clue about the basics of cooking, keep it to yourself or tell your neighbor.

I live in the country, on a farm, you know, horse, pony, donkeys, cows and three dogs. The house I live in is about 100 years old and the best way to describe it is shabby chic. When I say, come in, you will be coming in the back door and directly into my kitchen, which at one time was the back porch. We all still refer to it as the "back porch".

The largest grocery, Kroger, is 10 miles away, one way. Not a Publix or Harris Teeter, my favorites, for 400 miles. I could cry.

We are going to have our first big snow fall today, 2-4 inches, perfect for making Snow Cream. What do you mean you have never had Snow Cream! Gather up the kids and lets get started.

1 gallon of snow, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla, extract, 2 cups whole milk,half and half, or cream, more of less.

When it starts to snow, place a large, clean bowl outside to collect the flakes. I know it's easier to scrap it off the car, but do you really want car dirt in your snow cream. When bowl is full, stir in sugars and vanilla to taste, then stir in just enough milk for the desired consistency. This does not wait. Serve at once.