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

Monday, January 31, 2011

Bed & Breakfast Oatmeal Pancakes

Snug Hollow Farm Bed and Breakfast here in Kentucky serve these wonderful oatmeal pancakes. For more information on the B&B you can visit What could be more comforting for breakfast in the winter than pancakes and oatmeal!

Bed & Breakfast Oatmeal Pancakes
6 large pancakes
print recipe

1 cup thick, rolled oats, (not instant)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/1 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
5 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons brown sugar

In a large mixing bow, combine the dry ingredients and mix well. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and stir in the buttermilk, melted butter and brown sugar. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes and heat the griddle. If the mixture is too dry, add more buttermilk. Coat the griddle with cooking spray to resist sticking and pour 1/2 cup batter for each pancake. Cakes are generally read to turn when they first begin to bubble and stiffen on top. For light, fluffy pancakes, refrain from flipping more than once. To serve, heat pure maple syrup and garnish with banana or blueberries.

I'm linking to Full Plate Thursdays, Miz Helens Country Cottage.

Stylish Blogger Award

Thank you sooo much for this wonderful award. I will be back later in the week to thank you properly and to finish the requirements. Just didn't want you to think I wasn't thrilled by this honor. See you soon. Plus I really have to think about who to pass this on to. So many people deserve this award. I am not taking this lightly.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Saint and Scriptures Sunday - God's Desires

Life is made up of desires that seem big and vital one minute, and little and absurd the next. I guess we get what's best for us in the end. Alice Caldwell Rice

It is often said that we will be granted our heart's "pure desires". When we have many unmet desires, maybe we should be grateful. Wants, ultimately not for our good, can open the way to many unneeded and painful experiences.

How often we sit, wishing for a better job, a more loving relationship, a different weather forecast. How seldom we take positive advantage of what is at hand, not realizing that whatever is, right now, is the ticket to the next act in the drama of our lives.

We have before us a very limited picture. We cannot possibly know just what we need to travel the distance that's in store for us. Our desires, when they are pure, will carry us to the right destination. They are inspired. But the desires that are motivated by our selfish egos will lead us astray. Many times in the past we did not give up those desires. And the painful memories linger.

Desiring God's will is my most fruitful desire. It's also what is best for me; thus, what I need. All things are working for good when I let God's power determine my desires.

If I could only remember this on a daily basis.

Take a minute and visit Dianna at The Kennedy Adventures - Saint and Scriptures Sunday

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cuban Bread

This is an adaptation of one of the most popular breads made at the James Beard Cooking School in New York at one time.

This is the perfect bread for making Cubano Sandwiches .

Cuban Bread
2 loaves
print recipe

1 package yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 cups lukewarm water
1 1/4 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 to 7 cups sifted flour (measure after sifting)

1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and add the salt and sugar, stirring thoroughly.

2. Add the flour, one cup at a time, beating it in with a wooden spoon or use the dough hook on an electric mixer at low speed. The dough hook is my method of choice. Add enough flour to make a fairly stiff dough.

3. When the dough is thoroughly mixed, shape it into a ball, place in a greased bowl and grease the top. Cover with a towel and let stand in a warm place (80 to 85 degrees F). until double in bulk.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and shape into long, French-style loaves or round, Italian-style loaves. Arrange on a baking sheet heavily sprinkled with cornmeal and allow to rise 5 minutes.

5. Slash the tops of the loaves in two or three places with a knife or scissors. Brush the loaves with water and place them in a cold oven. Set the oven at 400 degrees F and place a pan of boiling water on the bottom of the oven. Bake the loaves until they are crusty and done, about 40 to 45 minutes.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Roasted Root Vegetables

This is so easy and one of my favorite sides when I'm in a hurry. Perfect for winter. I normally serve this with Roasted Turkey Breast, which I'll post later.

You can also use only the butternut squash, or include turnip as part of your root vegetables.

Roasted Root Vegetables
4 to 6 servings
print recipe

4-pounds of butternut squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes and turnip if using, peeled, seeded, and 1-inch dice
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, or I have used dried
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place vegetables on a sheet pan, add the olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper, and toss with your hands. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until tender, tossing once during cooking with a large metal spatula so the cubes brown evenly. Check seasoining and serve hot.

Feel Good Friday - I'm Going To Make It One Regardless

I've whined about the cold and the weather for two Fridays now. I'm over it. The weather will not get the best of me.

It really isn't that long until spring, 51 days. I'm trying to decide where to put my herb garden, and what to put in it. The tomato plants are going to be increased by half again. I'm almost out of frozen and canned tomatoes and it's not even February. I need more. Making twice as much of Scotty's Basic Tomato Sauce and Roasted Tomato and Black Bean Soup. That stuff should have a patent.

Remember Edie's Sweet Muffin Mix that was posted on Wednesday of this week? Bake them in mini-muffin tins and little hands just love these.

I received my new tart pan from Williams-Sonoma yesterday. I won a 25.00 gift certificate on Dining With Debbie a few weeks ago. Thank you again Debbie. I haven't decided what I'll use it for first. You know I'll let you know.

Thanks for visiting my world today, of herb gardens, good food, prizes and 75 degree weather, in my mind. While you're visiting stop by The Girl Next Door Grows Up for more Feel Good Friday.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fabulous Roasted Shrimp Salad

We all know it's cold and snowy and shrimp salad and chicken salad is normally eaten in the warmer months, but I don't care. I need something to make me feel spring might be on its way. This should do the trick. If you need something hot make a simple soup.

FYI! Roasting your shrimp and also your chicken will make a much tastier salad than boiling.

Roasted Shrimp Salad
6 servings
print recipe

2 1/2 pounds (16-20 per pound) peeled shrimp
1 tablespoon good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup good mayonnaise
1 tablespoon grated orange zest (2 oranges)
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 tablespoons small-diced red onion

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels and place them on a sheet pan. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and toss together. Spread the shrimp in one layer and roast 6 to 8 minutes, turning once while cooking, just until pink and firm and cooked through. Allow to cool on the pan for 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a large bow, whisk together the mayonnaise, orange zest, orange juice, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. When the shrimp have cooled, add them to the sauce and toss. Add the dill, capers, and red onion and toss well. The flavors will improve if you cover the salad with plastic wrap and allow it to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Otherwise, chill for up to 6 hours and serve at room temperature.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Rice and Ground Hog Casserole

In all the years I've been cooking I have never seen groundhog meat at my local grocery. Thank heavens! They do carry several different kinds of "ground hog" (pork sausage): sage, honey, bacon and sausage, hot, mild, spicy, ham sausage, etc. Choose your favorite flavor for this casserole. A salad and bread and supper is ready.

Rice and Ground Hog Casserole
6 servings
print recipe

1 pound pork sausage, flavor of your choice

1 cup converted rice
1 1/2 cups diced celery
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup green and red sweet peppers, chopped fine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 1/2 cups of hot chicken or vegetable broth, not boiling

1. Brown the sausage and break it into small bits. Drain well and add the celery, onion, sweet peppers. Saute for a few minutes, about 3-5 minutes.

2. Add remaining ingredients, stir and follow one of the cooking options below.

Oven Baked: Place in a 9 x 9-inch casserole dish, covered and bake for one hour at 350 degrees.

Stovetop: Bring the broth to a boil, add the remaining ingredients, and turn down to a simmer, cook for 20 minutes or until the rice is done. Stir before serving.

Slow Cooker: Place all ingredients in the slow cooker; stir and cook 3-4 hours or until rice is done. Stir before serving.

Variation: Use hot sausage and add 1/2 cup cooked and crumbled bacon.

Linking to Dining With Debbie.

Sweet Muffin Mix

What could be better than having muffin batter waiting ready to bake in your refrigerator each morning. But more importantly you can bake as many or as few as you need for that meal.

This recipe is from my dear friend Edie. She got it years ago from her children's grandmother, and would bake these for them when they were small. This is very much like the Six-Week Bran Muffins recipe that I posted about a year ago. This batter will also save in the refrigerator for 4-6 weeks. Store in a crock type container or a container that is tightly covered. DO NOT stir batter when scooping it into the muffin tins.

These are truly wonderful. Thank you Edie!

Sweet Muffin Mix
Yield: depending on the size 2-3 dozen
print recipe

1 15-ounce) box of raisin bran
2 cups sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoon salt
4 beaten eggs
1 quart buttermilk
1 cup cooking oil

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix all wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well. Cook in muffin tins at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes for regular size and 20 for large muffins. Or store in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator for 4-6 weeks. DO NOT Stir the batter.

Edie's Note: You can also cut the receipe in half.

These will be linked to Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hamburger Potato Roll

At one time this was the most requested recipe ever printed in the New York Times. A hamburger roll filled with mashed potatoes. How could this not be wonderful. This will make every age group in your home happy. All you need is a green veggie or a salad and dinner is done.

I haven't made this forever, but I'm making it this weekend.

Hamburger Potato Roll
5-6 servings
print recipe

1 tablespoon dripping
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small clove garlic crushed
1 pound ground chuck beef
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 slices bread, crust removed
Water or milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon oregano, rosemary or basil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
2 cups seasoned mashed potatoes
1 tablespoon minced parsley or green pepper (optional)
3 strips of bacon (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Heat dripping, add onion and garlic and saute until the onions are transparent. remove to mixing bowl and add the ground beef. Add the egg.

3. Soften the bread in water/milk press out th excess liquid and add bread to beef. Add the salt, oregano and pepper. Mix thoroughly.

4. Sprinkle a piece of waxed paper with crumbs. Press the meat out on the crumbs to make a rectangle about one-half inch thick.

5. Beat the mashed potatoes with the parsley and spread on top of the meat. (If leftover potato is used, reheat in a double boiler before spreading.)

6. Using the waxed papeer as an aid, roll the meat and potatoes, jelly-roll fashion, and place in a loaf pan or on a shallow baking pan. I like the shallow baking pan. Grease the pan if the meat is very lean. Place the bacon on top or brush with additional drippins; baste at least once during baking.

7. Bake about one hour and serve with brown sauce made from the pan drippings, or with mushroom, tomato or other sauce.

Monday, January 24, 2011

1970's Wild Rice Salad

Haven't made this in years, don't know why, it is fabulous. The perfect salad to eat year round. Great for buffets, church suppers, cookouts, holiday meals, anytime.

1970's Wild Rice Salad
4-6 servings
print recipe

1 cup long-rain wild rice (6-ounces)
Kosher salt
2 navel oranges
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
1/2 cup seedless green grapes, cut in half
1/2 cup pecans, toasted
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons scallions, white and green parts, chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the wild rice in a medium pot with 4 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 50-60 minutes, until the rice is very tender. Drain well and place the rice back in the pot. Cover and allow to steam for 10 minutes.

While the rice is still warm, place it in a mixing bowl. Peel the oranges with a sharp knife, removing all the white pith. Cut between the membranes and add the orange sections to the bowl of rice. Add the olive oil, range juice, raspberry vinegar,, grapes, pecans, cranberries, scallions, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and the pepper. Allow to sit for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Taste for seasonings and serve at room temperature.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Saint and Scriptures Sunday- Too Many Activities

I think we are all guilty of not spending quite time each day to receive Gods' message. He can't talk to us if we are busy with everyday life things. We have to take time to listen.

Too many activities, and people, and things. Too many worthy activities, valuable things, and interesting people. For it is not merely the trivial which clutters our lives but the important as well. Anne Morrow Lindbergh

We need interaction with other, and we need activities. We have many gifts to offer those who cross our paths, and we need the many gifts they have to offer us. But we soon have little to share, to give to others, if we neglect the special times, the empty spaces needed for nurturing the soul.

Some time away from people, activities, and things, some time away to commune with God, to seek guidance, to seek security in the fullest sense, will prepare us to better give our gifts to others. That time alone will also ready us to accept others' gifts to us.

It is true we find God's message in others. But the time alone with God lowers the barriers that too often prevent us from hearing another of God's messages as expressed through the friends and even foes who cross our paths.

My gift to myself is some time alone. I deserve that gift today and every day.

I'm linking to The Kennedy Adventures - Saint and Scriptures Sunday. See you there.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hamburgers Au Poivre

Here is a ground-beef version of steak au poivre. Julia would be so proud!

The secret to this wonderful meal in the beef. Sirloin or round would be wonderful. It would also be a good time to grind your own, unless you are very good friends with the butcher.

Hamburger Au Poivre
4 servings
print recipe

2 pounds good ground beef
4 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
4 teaspoons butter
Tabasco sauce to taste
Worcestershire sauce to taste
Lemon juice to taste
2 tablespoons cognac, warmed (optional)
Chopped parsley
Chopped chives

1. Shape the beef lightly into four cakes and sprinkle each with pepper. With the heel of your hand, press the pepper into the meat and let stand thirty minutes.

2. Sprinkle a light layer of salt over the bottom of a heavy skillet, place over high heat and, when the salt begins to brown, add the hamburgers. Cook until well browned on one side. Turn and, to produce a rare hamburger, cook thirty seconds over high heat, then lower the heat to medium and cook one more minute, adjust heat and time to cook the hamburger to a greater degree of doneness.)

3. Place a teaspoon of butter on each cake in the pan and add Tabasco, Worcestershire and lemon juice to taste. Ignite the cognac and add.

4. Transfer the patties to a warm platter and keep hot. Lower heat. Swirl the sauce in the skillet, pour over the meat and sprinkle the patties with parsley and chives.

This will be linked to Tuesdays at the Table, come and visit.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Black-Eyed Pea Soup

You might remember that I had mentioned in December that most of my Christmas presents came from my kitchen. This year I gave my brother, Larry, and Edie a Beverly's Back Porch - Soup of the Month Gift Certificate. Which means every month they will get a pot of soup from me. I think I forgot to tell them it would always be a healthy soup. It doesn't matter, it will be delicious. This will be their soup of the month coming up shortly. Their January soup was Winter Soup

Black-Eyed Pea Soup
1 cup = 1 vegetable serving
125 calories per cup

nonstick cooking spray
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 medium celery ribs, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound dry black-eyed peas, rinsed
2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons salt OR to taste
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
6 cups chicken broth

Spray a large pot with nonstick spray and add onion, green pepper, celery and garlic; cook until tender; about 10 minutes.

Add peas, seasoning and broth. Reduce heat to medium low. Cook covered, until peas are tender enough to fall apart and liquid is thickened, about 1 hour.

Uncover to skim off foam as necessary; stir peas often to prevent sticking.

Add more broth if necessary.

Feel Good Friday - If You Say So!

The mood I'm in is not really conducive to writing my Feel Good Friday. It's 17 degrees outside and everywhere you look there is snow. Not as much as other people have, but more than I want.

I like being outside, sunshine, flowers, green grass, vegetable gardens, visiting with the neighbors, sweet tea in the shade of the trees. taking carrots to Pepper, Candy and Wolf, the donkeys and horse, long walks down the lane with Annie and Mazzy, watching the rabbits and squirrels play. You get the picture.

But what do I have! Below freezing temperatures for what seems like forever, snow on the ground forever, layer upon layer of clothes, plus a down coat, gloves, scarf, boots. I can hardly move. If I were to fall no danger of being hurt I'd bounce right back up. It's 8:00 a.m before you ever see daylight and you better hurry because by 5:30 p.m. it's dark again.

No this is not fun. I can't even cook enough to keep myself entertained. I am counting the days until spring.

I bet I really cheered you up today. Well thanks for stopping by anyway. Maybe it will be 75 degrees by next Friday and my whole attitude will have changed.

Stop by The Girl Next Door Grows Up - Feel Good Friday, I'm sure some of those folks are having a better day.

The good thing is, I do believe winter is half over. I'm having trouble getting excited about that.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sausage and White Bean "Cassoulet"

What a wonderful comforting dish this is, and perfect for 2 people. However, it does double nicely.

Sausage and White Bean "Cassoulet"
2 servings
print recipe

4 sweet Italian sausage links (about 10-ounces total)pricked all over with a fork
1 teaspoon oil oil
2 medium onions, halved and sliced thin lenghwise
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1 1/2 teaspoons mixed chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme and/or sage or 3/4 teaspoon mixed dried herbs, crumbles
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup chopped scallion greens or fresh parsley leaves
1 (14 1.2-ounce) can diced tomatoes including juice
1 (19-ounce) can white beans such as cannellini, navy, or Great Northern, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 slices firm white sandwich bread, crusts discarded, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 small garlic clove, chopped fine
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

In a medium skillet cook sausages in oil over moderate heat, turning them until browned on all sides and cooked through, about 8 minutes, and transfer to paper towels to drain.

In fat remaining in skillet cook onions and garlic, stirring until golden, and stir in herbs (including bay leaf), scallions or parsley, tomatoes with juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Boil mixture, stirring, 5 minutes. Cut sausage into 1/3-inch thick slices. Add sausage and beans to tomato mixture and cook, stirring, until heated through. Discard bay leaf and keep "Cassoulet" warm, covered.

Make topping:

In a small skillet heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and saute bread until pale golden. Stir in garlic, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste and saute, stirring i minute.

Transfer "cassoulet" to a 1-quart serving dish and cover evenly with topping.

I will be linking this to Miz Helens Country Cottage - Full Plate Thursday. Come on over and fill your plate.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My New BFFL - Isaac

Not all of you are going to be as excited as I am about Isaac. But you would be if you knew him. With proper care Isaac will live forever. He only has to be fed once a week and lives in his own little pottery jar. Once a week he produces an offspring that can be shared with a friend, or in my case I just keep saving them.

Isaac arrived in the mail a week ago last Saturday. He was packed in a Mason jar with a little hole in the top for air with his new pottery jar home and lots of bubble wrap. When I opened the box he was sitting on top of the jar. I guess he didn't like being confined to the jar so he managed to escape through the hole. Thank goodness the jar was in a plastic baggie. I scooped him off the lid, put him in his new home and fed him. He had had a long cold trip.

My wonderful friend Joyce at October Farm had mailed me part of her sourdough starter, named Isaac. I will love them both forever. She has worked and worked to perfect a fabulous sourdough bread. Isaac and I have been very patient until she got the recipe just like she wanted.

This past Monday Isaac and I got to work on our first loaf of sourdough bread. I can not tell you how wonderful it turned out. The perfect texture, slight sour taste and thin blistered crust. I will never buy sourdough bread again, and probably any other bread. This lady is a genius. She has made a bread maker out of me, someone who never baked bread until she taught me how.

I'm sure she will be posting recipes soon. If I can do it so can you.

Joyce thank you so very much for my wonderful friend Isaac. Could we have a sourdough biscuit recipe now please.

How could you not feel good with friends like Joyce and Isaac.

Japanese Onion Soup

You know that wonderful onion soup that most all Japanese restaurants have. This is a recipe I got a year or so ago from my niece The Jammie Girl, which I dearly love and it is dead on. While the restaurants remove almost all the veggies before serving, I actually prefer leaving them in. You will love this one!

Japanese Onion Soup
3-4 servings
print recipe

1/2 stalk celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon ground ginger, I use fresh grated
1/4-1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (to taste)
1 (15-ounce container chicken broth or stock
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups fresh mushrooms, brushed and sliced
1 beef bouillon cube or 3 tablespoons beef bouillon granules
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives or 2 teaspoons dried chives for garnish

1. In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients except chives.
2. Place over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Continue coking for 45 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and strain out the vegetables.
4. Place a few of the chopped mushrooms from the strained vegetables in the bottom of each soup bowl and pour strained broth over them.
5. Sprinkle soup with chives and serve.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Boiled Peanuts - Matt and Ted Lee Style

This post is going to be way longer than it needs to be, but there is a reason for that. You see boiled peanuts are my favorite food group. They really should have a group all their own.

If you have driven any place in Florida, Georgia or the Carolina's you have seen the cardboard signs leaning against a pick-up truck along the road. You would be wise not to be in the right lane if I see a "boiled peanut" sign off to my right and you are in my way, I will cut in front of you.

When I moved back to Kentucky it never crossed my mind that they didn't have boiled peanuts. Can you imagine. Some people here have never heard of them. So, I found a mail order source for them, Lee Bros. Boiled Peanuts, I was saved. These fine young men, Matt and Ted Lee, are from Charleston, S.C., and in finding the boiled peanuts I also found their award winning 2006 Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook. A truly fine Southern cookbook.

Here's how to boil your own peanuts on the stove top, If for some reason you don't like them please send them to me.

Boiled Peanuts - Matt and Ted Lee Style
snacking for 12, if one of them isn't me
print recipe

1 1/2 cups salt, plus more to taste
2 pound raw peanuts in shell
4 gallons water, plus more as needed

Using a 3-gallon stockpot, dissolve 1/2 cup of the salt into 2 gallon of water. Soak the peanuts overnight (8 hours) in the salty water. use a dinner plate to subdue peanuts that wish to float.

The next day, discard the water and fill the pot with 2 gallons of fresh water and the remaining cup of salt. Cover the pot, turn the heat to a boil, then reduce to medium-low and cook at a low boil for 4 to 8 hours. Add water in 2 cup increments to maintain the same level until peanuts are soft.

After 3 hours of boiling, pull out a peanut to sample its saltiness and softness. After it cools open up the hull and take out the kernels. If they're too salt, ladle out some of the brine, replacing it with an equal amount of fresh water. If not salty enough, add salt in 1/4-cup increments. Turn off heat for a while to allow peanuts to absorb salt. Afterward, continue the low boiling for another 2 to 4 hours, taking an hourly sample to make sure peanuts are getting soft and as salty as you wish. If seeking extreme softness, 12 hours of boiling may be required.

Cut off heat when the peanuts have cooked to your satisfaction. Allow an hour of cooling, then drain and serve immediately, or refrigerate for as long as 7 days. Peanuts will keep for several months in the freezer.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saint and Scriptures Sunday-Completing God's Law

Matthew 5: 17-20 - from The Message

Don't suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures--either God's Law or the Prophets. I'm not here to demolish but to complete. I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama. God's law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet. Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God's law will be alive and working.

Trivialize even the smallest item in God's Law and you will only have trivialized yourself. But take it seriously, show the way for others, and you will find honor in the kingdom. Unless you do far better than the Pharisees sin the matters of right living, you won't know the first thing about entering the kingdom.

Please visit The Kennedy Adventures for more Saint and Scriptures each Sunday.

Have a Blessed Week!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tomato Soup Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This is quick and easy and sinfully delicious. If you are from the South you have probably eaten Tomato Soup Cake. But until recently I had never had Tomato Soup Chocolate Cake. The best part about this cake, you will have the ingredients on hand.

Tomato Soup Chocolate Cake
1 - 9x13-inch cake
print recipe

1/2 cup butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered cocoa
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup warm tap water
1 can (10 3/4-ounces) condensed tomato soup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour 9x13-inch baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl cream together butter and sugar; add eggs, beating until fluffy. In a small bowl mix together dry ingredients, including cocoa.

Mix tomato soup and water together.

Add dry and wet ingredients alternately to the butter/sugar bowl.

Bake 30 minutes and let cool before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8-ounce package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 stick butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk or cream.

Cream butter and cream cheese together, then beat in powdered sugar. Add vanilla, and thin frosting out with milk as needed.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Feel Good Friday - Am I Having Fun Yet!

Last week or sometime, my niece had suggested I go to the tanning salon. If nothing else just to get warm. Why hadn't I thought of that! Well let me tell you how that went.

First you shovel the walkway. I do this before I shower, because I will be frozen when I come back in and can jump in the shower to defrost. Now for the getting dressed, two pair of long underwear (the silky kind, in case I'm in an accident), jeans, sweatshirt, socks, that are good for 45 below zero and boots. Now comes the scarf, hat and down coat. I also put those little "hot hands" in my gloves. Of course I have to go to the bathroom now.

I have used the remote starter for my car so it will be toasty warm when I get in. Wrong! The last time I was in the car I turned the heater off when I got out. It doesn't matter I can hardly get in anyway with all the clothes I have on.

I am at the tanning salon. Do you know how long it takes to get all those clothes off? I don't care, I have 15 minutes of pure wonderful heat. I don't care if I look like a lobster when I get out. Absolute heaven!

Have you ever tried to put long underwear on when you are hot and kinda sweaty? It took twice as long to get dressed again. Plus now I'm getting that burning sensation like I might have stayed in too long, and I'm really hot.

I'm out, might as well get a little exercise. There is a Super Wal-Mart in the same shopping center so I thought a good power walk inside, that would be perfect. You know how all the old people do. You don't power walk with that many clothes on, plus everyone looks at you like you're stealing something. I'm going home.

Undressed again. I have never seen a lobster as red as I am. It is jammie time and please don't ask if I'm having a Feel Good Friday.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Swamp Gravy

Don't be making fun of the name of this delicious whatever it is. It really is a gravy or sauce that is to die for. Now you are going to need some cornbread or hush puppies, cheese grits and slaw to rounds this meal out.

Swamp Gravy
4-6 servings
print recipe

Fry some fish golden brown. Pour off the grease but leave some of the dripping. Use the drippings to brown the following:

4 or 5 potatoes, finely diced
2 or 3 onions, finely diced
1 bell pepper, any color, chopped (optional)

When mixture is tender, add a large can of tomatoes, salt, and pepper to taste and 1 teaspoon Louisiana Hot Sauce.

Pick some of the meat off one or two of the cooked fish and add to the mixture. Simmer for as long as you can resist the wonderful aroma.

This is good stuff!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Twenty-Four-Hour Slaw

We Southerners love sweet slaw. Here is a wonderful recipe from The Food, Folklore, and Art of Low-Country Cooking. I have made this for numerous occasions, tailgating, back yard grilling, pulled pork suppers and yes even funeral food. This will keep for a week in the refrigerator.

Twenty-Four-Hour Slaw
6 plus servings
print recipe

1 large head of cabbage, shredded
2 onion, chopped fine
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 cup salad oil

Mix the cabbage and onions together. Sprinkle the salt and pepper generously over the mixture and let set awhile.

Bring the vinegar, sugar, celery seed, and mustard to a boil and boil 1 minute. Take off the heat and add the salad oil. Pour the mixture over the cabbage and onion mix.

Put into covered container and refrigerate 24 hours. Remember this will save for a week in the refrigerator

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Almond-Orange Biscotti

Okay, I'm hanging around waiting for the big snow today. I already had tons of food around, but still felt compelled to grocery shop yesterday. Everyone should have 3 dozen eggs when you live alone. You just never know. My nephew, Randy, called at 7:30 a.m. to see if this would be a good day to make Chicken and Rice Perlow. Why not! While that cooks I'm making one of my favorite biscotti. The No Knead Rosemary Bread will be out of the oven in about 30 minutes.

It is going to be a good day. These are perfect to serve with snow cream or just coffee.

Almond-Orange Biscotti
about 36 biscotti
print recipe

3 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup lightly toasted and coarsely chopped almonds
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur
2 tablespoons, chopped candied orange peel
or 3 tablespoons grated orange zest
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter or line a baking sheet with parchment. Using the paddle attachment on your mixer, or by hand with a wooden spoon, in a large bowl beat the egg yolks with 3/4 cup of the sugar until light and the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the melted butter, the almonds, Grand Marnier, and orange zest. In another bowl, using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until they just begin to form peaks and gradually beat in the remaining 3/4 cup sugar until the whites form stiff peaks.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Fold one-third of the flour into the egg yolks, then fold one-third of the egg whites in. Repeat, alternating, until well combined. The dough will be form and slightly sticky. If the dough is too soft, add more flour. With floured hands, divide the dough into two logs about 2 inches in diameter. Arrange the logs on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until they are lightly brown and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and set the baking sheet on a rack for 10 minutes. On a cutting board, cut the logs diagonally into slices 1/2 inch wide. Put the slices on the baking sheet and bake for 5 to 7 minute on each side until the biscotti are very lightly browned and crisp. Cook on racks and store in airtight container.

Curried Butter Beans

This is so easy and so Southern, you will love it. I use the butter beans (lima beans) that I froze last summer, but store bought are fine. These go with anything.

Curried Butter Beans
6 servings
print recipe

1 (1-pound) package frozen butter beans
9 slices bacon
1 chopped onion
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons dry white wine (not cooking wine)
1 (14.5-ounce) can mushroom soup

Cook the butter beans in advance according to package directions.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Lightly fry the bacon and brown the onion and curry powder in the bacon grease.

Mix the butter beans along with the other ingredients except the bacon, and bake 10-15 minutes until hot. Place the bacon on top and serve.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pecan Spinwheels Bread Pudding

I mentioned these back in December after having them at a church luncheon. They are absolutely wonderful, and get rave reviews from all ages.

This is the recipe on the back of the Little Debbie Honey Buns package. No, you don't use the Honey Buns in the recipe. You have to buy the Little Debbie Pecan Spinwheels. Pretty clever on their part. However, you could stand in the grocery and copy the recipe from the Honey Bun box. But to make life easier I'm going to give you the recipe. This will become a favorite.

Pecan Spinwheels Bread Pudding
12 servings
print recipe

8 Little Debbie Pecan Spinwheels
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line or grease 12 muffin cups.

Combine milk, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

Cut pinwheels into quarters and add to milk mixture. Add raisins and cranberries. Let stand 15 minutes to soak.

Spoon into muffin cups and drizzle with melted butter. Bake 30-35 minutes.

Cook's Note: Serve these with homemade Caramel Sauce or not. Either way is great!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Saint and Scriptures Sunday - The Lust For Money

As Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:2-10, from The Message. This was our Bible Study this week, taught as only our wonderful Scott can do.

The Lust for Money

These are the things I want you to teach and preach. If you have leader there who teach otherwise, who refuse the solid words of our Master Jesus and this godly instruction, tag them for what they are: ignorant windbags who infect the air with germs of envy, controversy, bad-mouthing, suspicious rumors. Eventually there's an epidemic of backstabbing, and truth is but a distant memory. They think religion is a way to make a fast buck.

A devout life does bring wealth, but it's the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that's enough.

But if it's only money these leaders are after, they'll self-destruct in no time. Lust for money brings trouble and nothing but trouble. Going down that path, some lose their footing in the faith completely and live to regret it bitterly ever after.

Please visit Dianna at The Kennedy Adventures each Sunday for more Saint and Scriptures Sunday. Have a wonderful week.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Elvis' Birthday - January 8, 1935

Elvis' Birthday, for those of you who don't know this "holiday", is January 8, 1935.

I adored Elvis. I remember seeing him on the old black and white TV on the Ed Sullivan show. I remember it like it was yesterday. Don't lie, some of you do too. I also was fortunate enough to see him live in concert at the Hilton in Las Vegas years later.

Elvis liked very simple, basic food - grits, cabbage, fried chicken, corn bread, country-fried steak, meat loaf, mashed potatoes and biscuits. He loved peanut butter and banana sandwiches fried in butter.

Country-Fried Steak with Gravy
6-8 servings
print recipe

8-10 pieces cubed steak (about 2 1/2 pounds)
Salt and pepper
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced into thin rings
3 beef bouillon cubes or two 10.75-ounce cans condensed beef broth or 3 teaspoons granulated beef bouillon

1. Generously season the meat on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a resealable plastic bag and add the steak to the bag, several pieces at a time, shaking to coat all sides. Place the floured meat on a piece of waxed paper next to the cooktop.

2. Pour the oil into a heavy flat-bottomed 12-inch skillet with a tight fitting lid. Heat the oil over medium-high heat for about a minute, then add the steak pieces. Brown the meat on each side until crispy and dark brown, about 3 minutes per side. It may all fit into the skillet, or you may have to brown the meat in two batches. After browning, place all the meat in the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Distribute the onion rings over the top of the meat.

3. Dissolve the bouillon cubes or granulated bouillon in 2 1/2 cups water, or use the canned broth. Pour the beef bouillon over the meat and onions. Place the lid on the skillet, and cook over very low heat for about 45 minutes, until the meat is tender and the gravy has thickened.

4. Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.

Happy Birthday Elvis!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Feel Good Friday - One Year Later

Can you believe it has been one year today since I posted my first recipe on Beverly's Back Porch. What is even harder to believe is that it was a recipe for Cheesy Dog Treats. Boy, I was certainly going for the extreme gourmet in my collection. It doesn't matter, I still make them twice a month for my little angels, Annie and Mazzy, and their friends. Their best friend, Harper (lab). weighs about 10 times more than they do so that involves making little, little treats and big, big treats. If you really love your doggies you will make some also.

Enough of the dog treats, lets move on.

This is simply a great big THANK YOU to all of you that have taken the time to read and comment on the blog. I truly feel like I know you from reading your posts and consider you all my friends.

I am going to have to single out one person that has been a true inspiration to me this year in the cooking department. For 50 years I have not been able to make yeast breads from scratch. Because of my friend Joyce at OctoberFarm I can now make fabulous bread, No Knead Rosemary, No Knead Rye, Italian, rolls, and on and on. I am a bread maker! It's not all about the bread either. Her recipes are just the best. Plus I'm in love with her dog Teddy. Thank you Joyce, it just feels good being your friend.

Jump on over to The Girl Next Door Grows Up for more Feel Good Fridays.

Hope to see you all for another wonderful year!!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sweet Potato Fries

Isn't there a fast food restaurant that has just started serving sweet potato fries? Since I haven't been to a fast food restaurant in over 10 years I'm surprised I know that much. I think I saw an ad on TV. Regardless, I doubt that are going to be anywhere close to these little morsels of joy.

This is adapted from The New Low-Country Cooking by Chef Marvin Woods. I did take the liberty of adding a couple of extra spices, I'm sure the Chef will not mind.

These can be served with pork chops, steaks or grilled chicken, but also make a great stand-alone appetizer.

Sweet Potato Fries
6-8 servings
print recipe

1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Vegetable for deep frying
6 to 8 sweet potatoes cut into julienne strips

In a small bowl, mix together the chili powder, nutmeg, celery salt, coriander, cayenne, and cumin. Set aside.

Place the oil in a deep fat fryer and heat to 375 degrees F. on a deep fat thermometer.

Add the sweet potato strips and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until they are golden and crispy. Transfer the fries with a slotted spoon to several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle with the spice mixture and serve immediately.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Funeral Grits Casserole

For those of you who have never had grits you don't know what you're missing. Grits go with everything. I'm always so excited when I get a new bag of stone ground grits. These casseroles are sometimes called funeral grits because they are the near perfect dish to take to a family following a death, or to a family reunion, that's if you live in the South. I'm always looking for a new "funeral food" idea.

This recipe can be cut in half.

Funeral Grits Casserole
8 servings
print recipe

4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup butter
1 cup regular grits (NO INSTANT)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup chopped sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.

In a heatproof casserole on the stove top, bring the milk just to a boil and add 1/2 cup butter. Add the grits to the casserole, stirring and continuing to cook until it has the consistency of cereal.

Remove the casserole from the stove and, using an electric mixer, add the remaining butter and salt and pepper. Return to stove top at medium heat.

Stir in the cheddar cheese until it melts. Sprinkle Parmesan on top. Bake 1 hour, until crusty on top.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Coconut Bread

This recipe comes to us from my long time high school friend Katy Baker, and you know how old we are. As soon as I read the recipe this is what I thought.

Tropical island vacation! Warm breezes, white sand, crystal clear blue water, and this big beautiful hunk bringing me a tropical drink with a little umbrella. Well, since that is probably not going to happen for any of us, we can pretend.

First thing we do is call the tanning saloon and make an appointment. Next call and get your pedicure, manicure appointment. One of those high end places that serves lunch and wine.

Check the recipe below in case you need anything from the grocery while you are out. When you get home whip this up and put it in to bake. Don't forget to set the timer. Now read for an hour. When the cake has cooled have a big slice with another glass of wine. Now take a nap.

Wasn't that a wonderful afternoon vacation!

Coconut Bread
1 9x5-inch loaf
print recipe

3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 (3 1/2-ounce) can coconut
2 teaspoon orange peel or zest
1 egg beaten
1 1/2 cups milk (Kathy uses Carnation milk)
2 teaspoons oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup of coconut milk

Sift all dry ingredients together - add coconut and orange peel - add all liquid ingredients, except coconut milk. Mix well.

Pour into a prepared 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Make small holes in cake after removing from oven and pour 1/4 cup of coconut milk over warm cake.

Let cool on rack.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Sea Soup

This soup is so amazingly good you will never guess it only has 90 calories per cup. Serve it in the winter hot and in the summer chilled. Nothing this good should be called healthy.

Feel free to use crab meat in place of the shrimp.

Sea Soup
Makes about 20 cups
1 1/2 cups = 1 vegetable serving
90 calories per cup
print recipe

1 pound small dry white beans
7 cups water
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
salt to taste (optional)
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons curry powder
nonstick cooking spray
1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups carrots, diced
1 1/2 cups celery, diced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
1 pound fresh or frozen shrimp, shelled, or crab meat
1/2 cup scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths

Soak beans overnight in 4 times their volume of water. Drain

In a 5-quart pot, combine beans with water, broth, salt, pepper and curry powder. Bring to a boil.

Spray a large skillet with nonstick spray. Stir-fry onions, carrots, celery and parsley. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add vegetable mixture to the pot of beans. Do not wash skillet. Bring mixture to a boil again. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 1/4 hours or until beans are very tender.

Remove from heat. Puree soup in a blender (you will need to do this in several batches).

Spray more nonstick spray in skillet. Add shrimp and scallions and stir-fry 3-4 minutes until shrimp is pinkish-white. Add shrimp to puree.

Serve hot or chilled.

Recipe adapted from Serving You Well Cookbook.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

God Given Gift of Creativity - Saints and Scriptures Sunday

I believe that true identity is creative activity springing from within. It is found, paradoxically, when one loses oneself. We can best refine our self by losing yourself in some kind of creative activity of our own. - Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Creative activity might mean bird watching, tennis, quilting, cooking, painting, writing. Creative activity immerses us fully in the here and now, and at the same time frees us. We become one with the activity and are nourished by it. We grow as the activity grows. We learn who we are in the very process of not thinking about who we are.

Spirituality and creativity are akin. There is an exhilaration rooted deep within us that is a lifeline to God. Creative activity releases the exhilaration, and the energy goes through us and out to others. We find ourselves and God through the loss of our self-conscious selves while creating--a photo, a sentence, a special meal.

Creativity is God given. It is another dimension of Him guiding us all. I'll get our of his way today.

I'm linking to The Kennedy Adventures today for Saint and Scriptures Sunday. Please join me.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Savannah Shrimp Paste

I really wasn't going to post a recipe today, but I'm flipping through this wonderful cook book Dulcie sent me, The Food, Folklore, and Art of Lowcountry Cooking, and came across something I haven't made in years. It is perfect for a New Year's Eve party. A slice of this is sometimes served with grits and scrambled eggs for breakfast in the lowcountry. I could slap a slice of this on two pieces of bread and be happy any time of day.

This is it for this year my friends, have a safe and Happy New Year!

Savannah Shrimp Paste
1 small loaf pan
print recipe

1 3/4 pounds raw shrimp
3/4 cup softened butter, plus additional butter for dotting
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash black pepper
2 cups toasted breadcrumbs (less breadcrumbs if you like)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Cook, shell, and devein shrimp; run through food chopper (food processor) and mash to smooth paste. Mix in softened butter, Worcestershire, salt, and peppers, and blend to a butterlike consistency.

Press into small loaf pan, top with breadcrumbs, and dot with butter.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Chill, slice thin,and serve on crackers.