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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

BLT Croissant Sandwiches

Is there anything better than a BLT! Well maybe a special BLT. We have to do something while we are waiting for the tomatoes to grow/ripen in the garden, right. I use the really big Sara Lee Croissants unless you are lucky enough to live around the corner from a fabulous French bakery. At least the lettuce is up in the garden and red leaf lettuce makes a pretty ruffly edge.

BLT Croissant Sandwiches
Makes 6 sandwiches
print recipe

1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (3-ounce) package goat cheese, softened
1/4 cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
6 large croissants, split horizontally
12 slices bacon, cooked
3 plum tomatoes, sliced
6 red leaf lettuce leaves

1. Combine cream cheese and goat cheese, stirring until smooth; stir in chopped tomato and basil. Cover and chill 8 hours, if desired, to develop stronger flavor. Let mixture stand at room temperture to soften slightly before spreading on croissants.

2. Spread cheese mixture evenly over cut surface of croissant halves. Place croissant halves, cheese sides up on an ungreased baking sheet.

3. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese mixture is thoroughly heated. Place 2 bacon slices on bottom half of each croissant; top evenly with tomato slices, lettuce leaves, and croissant tops. Serve immediately.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Hot, Hot Dogs

Well it is Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer and the grilling season. I guess we really should have hot dogs on the grill. The least we can do is jazz them up a little. Okay, so this is not very original, but it sure is good.

Hot, Hot Dogs
8 servings
print recipe

1 package of 8 hot dogs or knockwurts
Jalapeno peppers, sliced crosswise
5 ounces Monterey cheese, cut into strips
8 hot dog buns
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Mustard, ketchup, relish and diced onions

Slit each hot dog and grill with jalapenos and cheese. Tie the hot dogs with cooking string. Preheat grill to medium. Place on grill and grill for 8 to 10 minutes, turning the hot dogs. Snip off the string. Brush the buns with the butter , and grill.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Saint and Scripture Sunday - The Spirit of Truth

The Spirit of Trust - John 14:15-21 from The Message

If you love me, show it by doing what I've told you. I will talk to the Father, and he'll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can't take him in because it doesn't have eyes to see him, doesn't know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you.

I will not leave you orphaned. I'm coming back. In just a little while the world will no longer see me, but you're going to see me because I am alive and you're about to come alive. At that moment you will know absolutely that I'm in my Father, and you're in me, and I'm in you.

The person who knows my commandments and keeps them, that's who loves me. And the person who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and make myself plain to him.

For more Saint and Scriptures Sunday please visit Dianna at The Kennedy Adventures.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hot Crab Dip

Wishing all of you a happy and safe Memorial week end.

How many times have I made this! Originally I was given this recipe by a friend, Peter, who was the best man at my sister and her husbands wedding. They have been married over 25 years and it was a few years before that.

With the Memorial Day holiday coming up this is perfect to make to keep the masses at bay while the chicken, burgers and ribs cook on the grill.

To lighten, substitute reduced-fat cream cheese, light sour cream, 2% reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, and light mayonnaise. In my opinion this is not a good thing. It's a holiday enjoy!

Hot Crab Dip
10 appetizer servings
print recipe

2 (8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1/4 cup good mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 pound fresh crabmeat, drained and picked over twice, no shells please
1 cup (4-ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
Garnish with fresh chopped parsley

1. Combine first 7 ingredients, stirring until blended. Fold in crabmeat.

2. Spoon mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish; sprinkle evenly with Cheddar cheese.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until bubbly. garnish with parsley if desired. Serve immediately with crackers or toasted French Bread rounds.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Low Country Spicy Pickled Shrimp

If you are a fan of low country cooking you really need to own a copy of Charleston Receipts. This is absolutely the Bible of low country cooking. Easy to order at or call 843-763-5284. I love this because you have to make it a day ahead.

This can be served as an appetizer with cocktails or on lettuce leaves as a plated first course.

Low Country Pickled Shrimp
makes 12 servings as an appetizer
print recipe

2 pounds unpeeled, large raw shrimp (26/30 count)
3 small white onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup tarragon vinegar
2 tablespoons pickling spices
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Peel and devein, if desired

2. Cook shrimp in boiling water to cover 3 to 5 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink; drain. Don't overcook. Rinse with cold water.

3. Layer the shrimp and onions in a large bowl. Whisk together oil and next 7 ingredients; pour over shrimp and onions. Cover and chill 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir in parsley just before serving.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Grilled Pork Tenderloin With Orange Marmalade

Are you looking for something a little different for this week end. Maybe instead of the burgers, dogs, chicken and steak, or in addition too. You will love this. I promise. This is from Southern Livings top 500 recipes and well deserves the honor. Don't forget to check the various substitutes for the orange marmalade. The japapeno pepper jelly is fabulous.

Wonderful with sauteed Brussels sprouts, or green vegetable of your choice. I picked up fresh broccoli from my wonderful produce boyfriend, Dave, today.

I'll also be linking this to Full Plate Thursday@ Miz Helen's Country Cottage today.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin With Orange marmalade
6 servings
print recipe

1 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup lite or regular soy sauce
1 (1 1/2-pound package pork tenderloins
1 (12-ounce) jar orange marmalade*

1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a shallow dish or large zip-top plastic freezer bag; add pork tenderloins. Seal and chill for at least 1 hour.

2. Cook orange marmalade in a small saucepan over medium heat until melted. Remove and reserve 1/4 cup for basting; keep remaining marmalade warm.

3. Remove pork from marinade, discarding marinade.

4. Grill pork, covered with grill lid, over medium high heat (350-400 degrees F.) 25 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 160 degrees, basting with reserved 1/4 cup marmalade the last 5 minutes. Serve with remaining warm marmalade.

* 1 (10.5-ounce) jar red pepper jelly or 1 (10.5-ounce) jar jalapeno pepper jelly may be substituted for orange marmalade.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

White Bean and Asparagus Salad

This is what's for Bible study this week. If I don't change my mind. After cooking the asparagus, this is practically a dump-and-stir recipe. Plus most of it can be done ahead.

White Bean and Asparagus Salad
about 6 servings
print recipe

1/2 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
7 dried tomatoes
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (19-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 teaspoons drained capers, more if you like
1 (5-ounce) bag gourmet mixed salad greens
1 tablespoon shredded Parmesan cheese

Arrange asparagus and dried tomatoes in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam 2 to 4 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender. Set tomatoes aside. Plunge asparagus into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain. Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces, and chill until ready to use. Chop tomatoes.

Whisk together garlic and next 8 ingredients in a medium bowl; add asparagus, tomatoes, beans, onion, and capers toss to coat. Cover and chill 1 hour. Serve asparagus mixture over salad greens; sprinkle with cheese.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I'm Back!

I think I'm back. For over a week I've had blogging problems. Or maybe it was Google problems. I have no idea what was wrong and how it got fixed. I can tell you one thing, I know more about my computer now than I ever have.

You will notice it is still double posting some recipes. Bare with me I think that will go away also. I have been unable to comment on any of my favorite blogs, or publish your comments. Sorry!

I have suffered blogger withdrawal and am a better person for it. I hope you never have to be without your friends for this long.

Tomato-and-Watermelon Salad

I know I should wait to post this until summer, but I have a good reason for posting it now. Plus I did find a really good watermelon at Kroger the other day. My niece Angie is having trouble with nausea from all the medications and antibiotics she is taking to get ready for her surgery next week. But watermelon seems to appeal to her. I thought this might help. This salad has a really unexpected flavor combination. The acid from the tomatoes and the sweet watermelon are well balanced, really a different and delicious taste.

Tomato-and-Watermelon Salad
4-6 servings
print recipe

5 cups (3/4-inch) seeded watermelon cubes
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
3 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspon salt
1 small red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1/2 cup red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Romain lettuce leaves (optional)
Cracked black pepper to taste

1. Combine watermelon and tomato in a large bowl; sprinkle with sugar and salt, tossing to coat. Let stand 15 minutes.

2. Stir in onion, vinegar, and oil. Cover and chill 2 hours. Serve chilled with lettuce leaves, if desired. Sprinkle with cracked black pepper to taste.

Cook's Note: This salad is juicy, so use a slotted spoon if placing it on lettuce. If serving without lettuce, offer a fork and a spoon so everyone can enjoy the refreshing liquid.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pound Cake Banana Pudding with Meringue

This so much reminds me of the banana pudding that is served at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room in Savannah, Ga. This is just flat wonderful. Paula is not the only place in Savannah that has great country cookin'.

Pound Cake Banana Pudding
Makes about 10 servings
print recipe

4 cups half-and-half
4 egg yolks (save whites for meringue
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (1-pound) pound cake, cubed (Sara Lee works great)
4 large ripe bananas, sliced
Meringue (recipe below)

1. Whisk together first 3 ingredients in a saucepan over medium-low heat; cook, whisking constantly, 13-15 minutes or until thickened.. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla until butter melts. Layer half of pound cake cubes, half of bananas, and half of pudding mixture in a 3-quart round baking dish. Repeat layers. Cover pudding, and chill 6 hours.

2. Spread Meringue over pudding.

3. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Quick Meringue
makes about 3 1/2 cups

1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine sugar and salt.

Beat egg whites and vanilla at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Add sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat 2-3 minutes or until stiff peaks form and sugar dissolves.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cheese Wafers

If you live in the south or have lived in the south, you know all about cheese straws and cheese wafers. No true southern lady would be without a tin of these in the summer or around the holidays or anytime in between.

Keep these in a waxed paper lined tin and bring them out when guest drop by. Tasty with salads also. A must have in the summer with a cocktail on the porch.

Cheese Straws
4 dozen
print recipe

Oven setting 300 degrees

1/4 pound sharped cheddar cheese
1/4 pound (1 stick) butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
cayenne to taste, they should have a little bite
1 cup cake flour

Cream cheese and butter together with salt and cayenne. Sift flour (do not sift beforehand). Make into a roll about the width of a silver dollar, wrap in waxed paper and chill in refrigerator several hour or overnight. Slice thin bake light brown (very important) in moderate oven for approximately 30 minutes. These are very easy to overcook. That light brown is very important.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tomato-and-Watermelon Salad

I know I should wait to post this until summer, but I have a good reason for posting it now. Plus I did find a really good watermelon at Kroger the other day. My niece Angie is having trouble with nausea from all the medications and antibiotics she is taking to get ready for her surgery next week. But watermelon seems to appeal to her. I thought this might help. This salad has a really unexpected flavor combination. The acid from the tomatoes and the sweet watermelon are well balanced, really a different and delicious taste.

Tomato-and-Watermelon Salad
4-6 servings
print recipe

5 cups (3/4-inch) seeded watermelon cubes
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
3 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspon salt
1 small red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1/2 cup red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Romain lettuce leaves (optional)
Cracked black pepper to taste

1. Combine watermelon and tomato in a large bowl; sprinkle with sugar and salt, tossing to coat. Let stand 15 minutes.

2. Stir in onion, vinegar, and oil. Cover and chill 2 hours. Serve chilled with lettuce leaves, if desired. Sprinkle with cracked black pepper to taste.

Cook's Note: This salad is juicy, so use a slotted spoon if placing it on lettuce. If serving without lettuce, offer a fork and a spoon so everyone can enjoy the refreshing liquid.

Friday, May 13, 2011

What's For Dinner Tonight!

It seems blogger might have worked out the problems of the last few days, but I'm not taking any chances of losing more stuff until I'm sure. So this is what's for dinner tonight.

One highball glass filled with crushed ice and covered with 12 year old scotch, garnished with a lemon slice.

Grilled cheese with tomato slices on homemade sourdough bread.

If I feel like dessert later I'll have a Blue Bell Malted Milk Ball shake.

I'll deal with blogging tomorrow. Hope you have had a great Friday the Thirteenth.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Pasta With Eggplant

Here I am with the eggplant again. The combination of pasta with vegetables is routine in Sicily and in many parts of Italy. Here is an incredibly good and easy Sicilian pasta and eggplant dish that is sure to become a favorite. I do make my own tomato sauce, but if you have a favorite brand that you enjoy by all means use it.

Pasta With Eggplant
6 servings
print recipe

3 small eggplants
1/2 cup good olive oil
1 pound elbow macaroni or other pasta
2 cups canned tomato sauce, homemade or your favorite brand
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, cut into slivers
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Peel the eggplants and cut them into one-half-inch slices. Brown the slices in the oil and drain on paper towels. Cook the macaroni in four quarts or more boiling salted water until just tender but still firm. Drain well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Return the macaroni to the pot, add the sauce and stir well. In a large greased casserole, arrange the macaroni, eggplant and mozzarella in layers. Dot with butter and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Place in oven to bake, uncovered, until bubbly and lightly browned, about twenty minutes.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bok Choy Salad

What a quick easy salad this one is. For a salad entree', grill a chicken breast or two, or sirloin, slice and place on top. Grilled fish or shrimp would also the wonderful. I love the almonds and sunflower seeds in this.

Bok Choy Salad
6 good servings
print recipe

2 (3-ounce) packages ramen noodle soup mix
1/2 cup sunflower seed
3 tablespoons slivered almonds, chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 bok choy, chredded
6 green onions, chopped

1. Remove flavor packets from soup mix; reserve for another use. Crumble noodles.

2. Combine noodles, sunflower seeds, and almonds. Spread on a 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan.

3. Bake at 35o degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown, set aside.

4. Bring sugar and next 3 ingredients to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat; cool.

5. Place bok choy and green onions in a large bowl. Drizzle with sugar mixture. Add ramen noodle mixture, tossing well. Serve immediately.

Swiss Steak Burgundy

Everyone loves a good Swiss Steak. Round steak is economical and the simplicity of this dish makes it great for any night of the week. Try adding a little wine to the sauce and see the difference it makes. Not just for this dish, but try it in almost any dish with a sauce.

Swiss Steak Burgundy
4 servings
print recipe

4 servings, round steak, 1/2-inch thick
1 whole tomato, peeled and cut in 8 sections
1 medium onion, sliced
1 cups mushrooms, coarse chopped
1/2 green pepper, cut Julienne style
1 cup burgundy
1 cup water 1 heaping tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Salt and pepper the meat and flour well on both side. Brown quickly on each side in 3tablespoons shortening. Remove from the skillet and put into a roasting pan. Remove the excess fat from the skillet and add the wine and water. Place the rest of the ingredients over the meat and pour in the liquid from the skillet. Cover the roaster and put in a hot oven , 400 degrees F, and cook for 30minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until the meat is tender and most of the liquid evaporated to about half of the original amount. Remove the steak onto a serving platter. Skim the excess fat from the sauce. Adjust the seasoning and divide over each serving of steak. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Vidalia Sweet Onion and Sausage Casserole

You will be sick of Vidalia onion recipes before the season is over. Maybe not if you love them as much as I do. Try making this with venison sausage if you are lucky enough to have some in the freezer, or mix some of your favorite sausages.

Vidalia Sweet Onion and Sausage Casserole
serves 6
print recipe

5 Vidalia Sweet Onion, thick sliced
1 stack of Ritz crackers, coarse crushed
1 pound bulk sausage, your choice, browned and drained
1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, grated
1 small jar pimento, drained

Place a layer of sweet onions half of them) on the bottom of a casserole dish. Then a layer of Ritz crackers. The third layer is sausage which has been browned and drained. The fourth layer is more sweet onion. Fifth layer is cream of mushroom soup. Final layer is cheese and pimento. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Good Stuff!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Eggplant Salad

I was shocked to learn that people in foreign (non-Southern) areas of the country don't have eggplant on the dinner table at least twice a week. African slaves introduced eggplant into Southern cuisine, and for many years it was seen mainly in the wealthy areas of the South. In Charleston, eggplant is often still called "Guinea squash. Today it is a staple vegetable throughout the South; used in salads, fried, tucked into vegetable casseroles, combined with seafood or meat, stuffed or pureed into sauces. This is a great addition to the buffet table or picnic basket.

Eggplant Salad
4-6 servings
print recipe

2 large eggplants (about 1 1/4 pounds each)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
6 green onions (including tops), chopped
1 cup minced parsley, preferably flat-leaf
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried leaf basil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup good olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prick eggplants all over with a fork and place in a baking dish. Bake in preheated oven until skin is blistered and flesh is very tender (about 45 minutes). Remove eggplants from oven; set aside until cool enough to handle, then slice in half and scoop out pulp. Chop pulp; discard skins. In a medium bowl, combine chopped pulp, tomatoes, green onions, parsley, garlic, celery and basil. Toss to blend and refrigerate until chilled. When ready to assemble salad, combine vinegar, Tabasco sauce, cumin, pepper, sugar and salt in another medium bowl; whisk until blended. Whisking, constantly, add oil in a slow, steady stream. Pour dressing over eggplant mixture; toss to combine. Let mixture stand 30 minutes at room temperature before serving, stirring often.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Saint and Scriptures Sunday- Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to you all. This is my Sunday to have children's church. I love it. Finished making Oatmeal Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies a few minutes ago. They love their snacks. Of course today we will talk about honoring their mom's and dads, mostly moms today. Beautiful pictures will be drawn and colored for mom. We also are learning a new song.

Sung to "Pop Goes the Weasel"

We come to worship God today.
We come to praise our mothers
For all that they have done for us"
(Children stand and clap) this gets a bit loud

Then we have prayer time where they can pray for mom, dad, grandparents, dogs, cats, goldfish, whatever is important to them. This goes on a long time.

Then I go home take two Advil and think about how sweet and cute they are.

Exodus 20:8-12

Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don't do any work--not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, not your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day.

Honor your father and mother so that you'll live a long time in the land that God, your God, is giving you.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Watermelon Mojitos

This would make a nice addition to your Derby Party today. Do you remember injecting vodka or rum into watermelons and oranges when you were not quite of the legal drinking age? Come on, I know I'm not the only one that ever did that. Well this cool refreshing summer drink is a little more sophisticated than that, and heaven knows we are all well past the legal drinking age.

Watermelon Mojitos
6 drinks
print recipe

30 large fresh mint leaves, coarsely torn by hand
3 or 4 thick slices fresh sweet watermelon
12 ounces light rum, such as Bacardi
1/2 cup simple syrup (see note)
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (about 3 limes)
Sprigs of mint and spears of watermelon, for serving

Use a mortar and pestle to mash the mint leaves. Remove and discard the rind and seeds of the watermelon. Put the fruit into a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree. Put the mashed mint into a large pitcher with 2 cups of pureed watermelon, the rum simple syrup, and lime juice and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a pitcher for serving.

Place ice cubes in 6 glasses and pour the mojito mixture into the glasses. Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint and spears of watermelon. Serve ice cold.

Cook's Note: To make simple syrup, put 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small pan and simmer until sugar dissolves. Chill

Happy Kentucky Derby Day 137

There really is nothing like Derby Day in Kentucky. The television coverage starts about 8:30 a.m. and runs until after the derby, about 6:30 p.m. The hats are beautiful and outrageous. Everyone parties all day, either in homes, clubs, restaurants or at Churchill Downs. Did I mention this party thing has been going on for two weeks.

This derby day will be pretty special for me. I have been ask to do a telephone interview for the KSRO Good Food Hour in northern California. Of course it's about derby food. Steve Garner and Chef John Ash have been doing this show for 25 years.

I'm sorry to say I don't know that much about Steve, except he was raised in Kentucky and has been in the communications field in California for years. He seems to be a great all around guy.

I am a huge fan of Chef John Ash's cook book From the Earth to the Table. John is a chef, cookbook author, cooking teacher, and food writer and is on the faculty of the Professional Wine Studies Program at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. He has written for Bon Appetit and Fine Cooking magazine. John was also on the Food Network for two years. I'm sure I have left lots of things out.

Do you think I might be just a little excited to have been ask to do this! It is my understanding that if you want to see me make a fool of myself you can go to and hear this live. This should happen today, May 7, 2011, about 2:15 p.m. EST, 11:15 a.m. Pacific. Anything in between you will have to figure out for yourself.

I am so excited that I got a haircut today. You know you have to look your best for a telephone interview. Wish me luck! I'm so happy no one else could do the show.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Pimento Cheese

Pimento Cheese has been referred to as the "pate' of the south", and is one of the all-purpose foods that can be used for weddings, deaths, parties of all kinds,and even lunch boxes. A crock of this makes a wonderful hostess gift, or can be used for sandwiches, cold or grilled, makes a fabulous dip for vegetables, stuff into celery, make into a ball and served with a platter of crackers.

When I lived in Charleston, S.C. this recipe appeared in The Post & Courier, the local newspaper. It's hard to go wrong with a Charleston recipe.

Pimento cheese is the reason I can so many roasted red peppers in the summer.

Pimento Cheese
about 12 people as an hors d' oeuvre
print recipe

1 1/2 pounds good sharp cheddar cheese, grated (please grate your own cheese)
4 1/2 -ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise
1 tablespoon grated onion
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
7-ounces whole peeled pimentos, drained and quartered

In the bowl of an electric mixer, place the cheddar cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, onion, and cayenne pepper and beat with the flat beater at medium speed for 1 or 2 minutes. This is to mix the ingredients not to make them smooth.

Add the pimentos and keep mixing until they are shredded and the mixture is somewhat smooth. Be careful not to overmix and avoid its becoming homogenized.

Pack the cheese in crocks, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Forty-five minutes before serving, remove from refrigerator. Pimento cheese will keep in the refrigerator for 4 or 5 days if tightly covered.

The Old Southern Tea Room 24 Hour Cocktail

Founded in 1941 by Mary McKay, The Old Southern Tea Room in Vicksburg, Mississippi is one of the South's legenday restaurants. What could inspire so much excitement for so many years, you ask? Nothing but plain old Southern home cookin' - the best fried chicken anywhere, the crispest friend shrimp, and desserts that could make you cry, if depreived of them! This cocktail is a long-time favorite at the Tea Room, and is at its best after being refrigerated for 24 hours.

This is perfect for back yard grilling, formal dinners or sitting on the porch sipping. I love the make-ahead part. You could certainly use this for a Derby Party.

The Old Southern Tea Room 24-Hour Cocktail
makes 3 quarts
print recipe

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 quart (4 cups) orange juice
2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
2 cups unsweetened grapefruit juice
2/3 cup Grenadine syrup
3 cups good-quality Kentucky bourbon whiskey
Crushed Ice

garnish with anything you like or nothing at all

Combine all ingredients except ice in a 3-4 quart container. Cover and refrigerator 24 hours. To serve, shake well and serve over crushed ice.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Kentucky Derby Suggestions

Have you started your Kentucky Burgoo for Derby day? Today is a good day to start because it doesn't have to be made all in one day. And as most soups and stews the flavor only gets better after setting for a few days. Not that you will have any left overs, but if you do this freezes beautifully.

Did you make the Henry Bain Sauce? If so add a cup or so to the burgoo.

If you are looking for more Kentucky Derby recipes, type in Kentucky Derby on the sidebar. Don't forget your Mint Juleps.

Mexican Salad Bowl

I know it's called a Taco Salad, but humor me for a minute. There is something about cold hamburger that just doesn't turn me on. If you are okay with it just brown and drain a pound of hamburger instead of the steak. To be honest I can usually buy steak as cheap or cheaper than ground beef.

Mexican Salad Bowl
about 6 servings
print recipe

1 pound of steak, sirloin, flat iron, whatever is on sale
8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated, use whatever you like
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 fresh, ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
8-ounce jar taco sauce
3/4 cup thousand island dressing
1/2 head shredded Romaine or iceberg lettuce
1 (5 1/2-ounce) bag of taco flavored tortilla chips crushed

Season steak with salt and pepper, grill to no more than medium rare. Slice very thin and cut into 2-inch pieces.

In a serving bowl, combine all ingredients except the lettuce and tortilla chips. Chill. Add lettuce and crushed tortilla chips and toss.

Now tell me you really like cold hamburger better.

Green Chili Squares

I know I've posted a Jalapeno Pie last year that is sort of like this. But this is more quiche like without the crust, plus it serves more people. The squares look really pretty on the plate next to enchiladas. You could just serve these as an appetizer with margaritas or sangria for Cinco de Mayo.

Green Chili Squares
about 24 pieces
print recipe

3 (4-ounce) cans diced green chilies, with juice
2 cups (1/2 pound) grated Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups (1/2 pound) grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Big splash of hot sauce
6 eggs beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Spray a 12 by 8-inch baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray.

2. Spread out the diced green chilies evenly over the bottom of the dish. Mix the cheeses together and sprinkle them evenly over the chilies.

3. Add the salt, pepper, and hot sauce to the beaten eggs. Pour the eggs over the chilies and cheese. Pat the mixture down with the back of a spoon.

4. Bake for 45 minutes, until the center is firm. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes, then cut into small squares with a bread knife. Serve warm.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fudge-Filled Dessert Strips

This may not be a traditional Kentucky Derby recipe, but it has all the traditional ingredients, chocolate chips, walnuts, and rich pastry. I found this recipe in Taste of Home a few years ago and have made it tons of times. I didn't change one thing about this recipe, except I use Black Walnuts for at least half of the walnuts called for. But that's a personal choice.

Fudge-Filled Dessert Strips
about 36 servings
print recipe

1 cup butter, softened
1 package (8-ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups (12-ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 can (14-ounces) sweetened condensed milk
2 cups chopped walnuts, English or Black or half and half
Confectioners' sugar, optional

In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually add the flour and mix well.

Turn onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth, about 3 minutes. Divide dough into fourths; cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until easy to handle.

In a microwave, melt chocolate chips and milk; stir until smooth. Stir in walnuts. Cool to room temperature.

Roll out each portion of dough onto an ungreased baking sheet into an 11-inch x 6-1/2-inch rectangle. Spread 3/4 cup chocolate filling down the center of each rectangle. Fold long sides to the center; press to seal all edges. Turn over so the seam sides are down.

Bake at 350 degrees for 27-32 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Cut into 1/2-inch slices. Dust with Confectioners' sugar, if desired. Store in a tightly sealed cookie tin.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Black Walnut Pie Crust

I'm posting this pie crust with the Pecan Pie With Black Walnut Crust, but I can see where this crust would be heavenly with lots of other fillings. Let me know if you come up with something great!

Black Walnut Pie Crust
Makes one 10-inch pie shell
print recipe

1 1/2 cups crushed black walnuts
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
5 tablespoons sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
About 1 teaspoon water

1. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. The mixture should resemble cookie dough. If it does not, add a bit more flour or water as needed.

2. Turn the dough out into a well-greased 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Using your hands, press the dough from the center out toward the sides of the pan, making sure to cover the bottom and sides of the pan as evenly as possible.

3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using. Do not freeze this pie crust.

Pecan Pie With Black Walnut Crust

Just saying the name of this makes my mouth water. I can remember as a kid helping Mom spread black walnuts outside on cardboard to dry in the sun. The hulling would leave my hands and fingernails stained black for a week. I didn't care, all I knew was that I loved black walnuts.

This would make a fabulous dessert for Kentucky Derby Day, May 7th, this year.

Pecan Pie With Black Walnut Crust
6-8 servings
print recipe

Make your Black Walnut Pie Crust first.

3 eggs
1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dark corn syrup (you can substitute light)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 cups pecans, broken into pieces,
plus additional whole pecans for garnish, if desired

1 black walnut pie crust

For the whipped cream topping:
8 ounces heavy cream
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla and mix well, Add the flour and mix well. Add the dark and light corn syrups and the pecan pieces and mix until well blended.

2. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and, if desired, top with whole pecans. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the pie filling is set.

3. Meanwhile, in a chilled medium bowl, whip the cream, ginger and honey together until the cream forms stiff peaks, about 5 minutes if using an electric mixer set on high.

4. Remove pie from oven and cool on a wire rack. When cool, remove tart pan sides. Serve with the honey-ginger whipped cream.

Benedictine Spread

Many Kentucky communities had their noted confectioneries and restaurants. Of them all none are more highly regarded than Miss Jennie Benedict's in Louisville, Ky. Miss Jennie began her culinary career as a cateress but in 1900 took over a forty-year old business on Fourth Street and opened her own dining room and soda fountain. In 1911 her business had grown to such an extent that she moved to larger quarters on the same street, where her meals were rivaled only by her "decorative candy" pieces and her cakes, which were shipped to all parts of the United States and many foreign countries. Discerning vistors thought their stay in Louisville incomplete without luncheon or dinner at Miss Jennie's, and many a housewife relied upon her Blue Ribbon Cook Book, first published in 1904 and reissued in revised edition.

This recipe originated in the 1920's by Jennie Benedict. The spread became a regular feature at cocktail hours and weddings, and still is, and a must have for an appetizer at your Kentucky Derby Party. You can use this as a dip, but traditionally it is used as a filling for finger sandwiches.

It is said that Miss Jennie's mayonnaise was made of three ingredients, lemon juice, olive oil, and egg yolk. I'm more along the line of Hellmann's.

Benedictine Spread
print recipe

Grate on the large holes of a box grater
1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded
1/2 medium onion
1 small green onion

Measure 1/4 cup each of the cucumber and regular onion and combine in a medium bowl. Add in the chopped green onion. Wrap in cheese cloth or towel and squeeze to remove excess moisture.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon good mayonnaise
Pinch of ground red pepper (1/8 of a teaspoon)
Salt and pepper to taste (white pepper is nice)

Combine with wooden spoon or process.

Cut crust off bread, spread with Benedictine Spread, cut into 4 ribbons per sandwich. Make sure you have good bread, homemade or a good bakery bread.

COOK'S NOTE: You will find recipes calling for a dab of green food coloring. That's fine for St. Patrick's Day, but not for Derby Day. Miss Jennie would just die.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Henry Bain Sauce - New and Improved

This is the last week before the running of the Kentucky Derby this Saturday. This is a must have for any derby gathering. New and improved only means that now I know how to can this stuff and have added a fair amount of good Kentucky bourbon to the mix. It is a rich and unusual sauce and is excellent on all types of meat. Since you will have it already made and on the pantry shelf you can also use it for a quick gift. If you are interested in the history of this sauce just take a look at the original Henry Bain Sauce.

I'm taking this to Tuesdays at the Table. Come along for lots of wonderful recipes.

Henry Bain Sauce
4 1/2 pints
print recipe

2 cups Major Grey's chutney
2/3 cup coarsely chopped pickled walnuts
1 3/4 cups good ketchup
1 1/4 cups A-1 Brand steak sauce
1 1/4 cups Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups bottled chili sauce
2/3 cup good-quality Kentucky bourbon whiskey
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce

Sterilize four 1-pint canning jars and one 1/2-pint canning jar; set aside. Place chutney and pickled walnuts in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until smooth. Add ketchup, steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce, chili sauce, bourbon and Tabasco sauce. Process until blended. Pour sauce into sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Seal jars according to manufacturer's directions and process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath that covers jars by 2 inches. Cool jars completely before storing.

This can be served room temperature, cold or slightly warmed. Also makes a fabulous marinade.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Saint and Scriptures Sunday - Obstacles In Our Lives

One of my favorite meditations. I study this one often. I'm a slow learner sometimes.

In the face of an obstacle which it is impossible to overcome, stubbornness is stupid. -Simone de Beauvoir

Sudden obstacles, barriers in the way of our daily progress, doors that unexpectedly close, may confuse, frustrate, even depress us. The knowledge that we seldom understand just what is best for us, comes slowly. And we generally fight it, even after we've begun to understand. Fortunately, the better path will keep drawing us to it.

We may wonder why a door seems to have closed. Our paths are confounded only when our steps have gone astray. Doors do not close unless a new direction is called for. We must learn to trust that no obstacle is without its purpose, nowever baffling it may seem.

We may need to look to God when an obstacle has surfaced, after all He is in control. We may also need to remind ourselves that fighting an obstacle, pushing against a closed door, will only heighten our frustration. Acceptance of what is will open our minds and our hearts to the better road to travel at this time.

The obstacles confronting me invite me to grow, to move beyond my present self. They offer me chances to be the person I always dreamed of being. I will be courageous. I am not alone.

Let's visit Dianna at The Kennedy Adventures today to see what she has for Saint and Scriptures Sunday.