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

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Jumbles

No wonder I thought this month was going on forever. Someone threw an extra day in here. We might as well make cookies!

You just have to have cookies on hand. Someone important might stop by, like the cute UPS guy or my funny mail lady, Vicki, and Glenn that reads my electric meter. These people work hard and they need cookies. Of course there is always my brother, he needs food all the time. To be honest, I'm trying to use up leftover ingredients from Christmas cookies. These are very easy and delicious. Plus the cookie dough freezes beautifully.

February Jumbles
11 dozen (they are small cookies)
print recipe

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
1 1/2 cups raisins
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, beat the shortening, butter, and brown sugar together until smooth. Beat in the eggs, then stir in the buttermilk and vanilla. Blend the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl; stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until incorporated. Stir in the coconut, nuts, raisins, and chocolate chips. Drop by level half-tablespoons onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until the cookies are puffed and slightly brown. Cool on a rack. Cookies keep well in an airtight tin.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sausage Biscuits

No, these are not those awful sausage balls made with Bisquick. These really are more like a cheesy cracker. They can be served warm or room temperature and will keep for a week in an airtight container. Perfect to serve with cocktails, salads, or big bowl of bean soup.

Sausage Biscuits
about 5 dozen
print recipe

1/2 pound bulk (country) sausage, preferably hot (spicy)
6 tablespoons (3/4) stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Perfect pecan halves (optional)

Fry the sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat until it is rendered of fat. Drain and allow to cool.

Cream the butter and cheese together, then sift the flour and salt together, over the cheese mixture, stirring well to combine. Crumble the sausage and mix it into the dough with your hands. Chill for about 30 minutes or longer.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pinch off small pieces of the dough and roll them into 1-inch balls. Place the balls about an inch apart on a baking sheet, then flatten each ball. Add a pecan half on top if you like. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they brown. Serve warm or room temperature.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Roasted Pine Nut and Eggplant Sauce

Is it just me or has this been a busy month! Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day, Presidents Day, Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day), Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Just when I thought I had covered everything I have one more, Edie's birthday. Please don't tell her it's not a national holiday, she's been celebrating all month. Her favorite food group is Italian, so this one's for Edie. This is one of my favorites. I don't know if it's Italian or not, but with eggplant, pine nuts and pasta it has to be close. Happy Birthday girlfriend. I have no idea what I would do if I didn't have you to annoy.

Roasted Pine Nut and Eggplant Sauce
4-6 servings
print recipe

1 large eggplant, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups diced tomatoes, peeled and seeded (or 2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes)
3/4 cup red wine, the rest for dinner
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
1/2 cup pine nuts

Place eggplant in a strainer and lightly sprinkle with salt. Set aside to drain excess liquid for up to an hour.

Heat a large pot over medium heat; and add the olive oil and onions and cook until translucent.

Add the eggplant, garlic, salt and pepper and brow the eggplant.

Add the remaining ingredients except the pine nuts

Simmer 30 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering place the pine nuts in a saute' pan and roast over medium heat until they are golden brown, stirring often, about 5 minutes.

When you are ready to serve, wither stir in the pine nuts or sprinkle them on top.

Serve with your favorite pasta.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Saint and Scriptures Sunday

This will be our last visit to the letter of James for a little bit, but it's my favorite.

James 5:13-15
The Message

Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing. Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master. Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you've sinned, you'll be forgiven - healed inside and out.

Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human life us, prayed hard that it wouldn't rain, and it didn't - not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again.

My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God's truth, don't write them off. Go after them. Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Spicy Collards in Tomato Onion Sauce

There is no such thing as too many recipes for collard greens. Joyce at Octoberfarm posted one last week that is to die for. This one is different from "normal" collards in that it has a tomato and onion sauce. Other greens are also delicious served in this sauce - especially escarole. Most greens will need far less cooking time than collards.

I think I mentioned earlier I'm using up stuff from the freezer and pantry from last summers garden. In this case frozen collards and canned tomatoes, plus pork stock frozen from a few weeks ago. These are very tasty.

Spicy Collards in Tomato-Onion Sauce
serves about 6
print recipe
adapted from The Gift of Southern Cooking

About 2 pounds collard greens
6 cups Smoked Pork Stock
1/3 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more or less)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
about 38 ounces canned whole tomatoes, home canned or a good store bought, Drained

Wash and drain the collards. Remove stems and discard. Cut the collard leaves crosswise into 1-inch strips. Bring the pork stock or water to a rolling boil in a large Dutch oven, drop in the collard greens, and cook uncovered, for 30-40 minutes, until tender. Frozen collards will only take about 20 minutes. Drain the greens, and reserve the cooking liquid.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add the onion and cook. stirring often, over moderate heat for 10 minutes, until the pieces are translucent and tender. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Stir well to distribute seasonings. and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the drained tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups of the liquid reserved from cooking the greens. Simmer gently for 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Add the drained collard greens and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Taste again for seasoning. Serve hot.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Salmon and Corn Chowder

This is the real deal! There are three ingredients that make this a traditional chowder; salt pork, day old biscuits or saltines and milk. There is no butter of flour to thicken the chowder. If there where, it would be Cream of Salmon and Corn Soup, not chowder.

Salmon and Corn Chowder
about 4-6 serving
print recipe

1/4 pound salt pork, scored or 2 strips of bacon, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 large or two small potatoes, diced
1/2 cup saltines or oyster crackers, crumbled (even better if you have day old biscuits crumbled)
1 8-ounce bottle clam juice or fish stock
1 can evaporated milk
2 cups water
2 ears of corn, cut corn off the cob set aside. Save the corn cob.
1 pound of fresh, boneless salmon

Heat a medium size stock pot on medium-high heat. Place the scored salt pork in the port. Render the pork for several minutes.

Add the onions and celery to the pot and cook until translucent. Reduce heat to medium, add the potatoes and crackers, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the clam juice or fish stock, evaporated milk, water, fresh pepper and corn cobs.
Reduce the heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, for at least one hour.

Remove the corn cobs, add the salmon and the corn kernels, cover, and cook another 10minutes before serving. Stir the salmon to break it into bite-size pieces before serving.

Traditional chowders are not garnished, but if you have to go ahead.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sausage and Grits

Is there anything better! This makes a lot, but freezes beautifully. You can also simply cut the recipe in half.

This recipes was given to me by a sweet lady, I forgot her name, but she owns a place called The Diner. You can get two eggs, sausage and grits, real home fries, sliced tomatoes, a biscuit, and coffee for $4.00.

Sausage and Grits
serves 10
print recipe

1 cup uncooked grits (not instant)
1 pound good breakfast sausage (I use Jimmy Dean)
1 onion, chopped
One or Two (4 1/2-ounce) cans green chilies, chopped
6-8 tablespoons butter,
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups grated Cheddar cheese (grate your own)
5-10 dashes Tabasco ( more or less)
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cook grits in 4 cups salted water until thick. Saute' sausage, breaking it into small pieces. A potato masher works well. Saute' onion in sausage fat; drain. Add onion and chilies to sausage. Add butter, eggs, cheese, and Tabasco to grits. Combine grits-mixture with sausage mixture. Pour into a 13 x 9-inch casserole dish and garnished with additional small amounts of cheese, chilies, paprika, and parsley. Bake for 1 hour. Can be refrigerated up to 2 days before baking. Freezes well.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New England Clam Chowder

In my opinion this would be a great dish to start the Lenten Season. I have not made this in years. No idea why not, I love it. I had a friend in Florida, Martha Gold, that always made this for supper on Ash Wednesday, and served it with oyster crackers and a skillet of cornbread.

New England Clam Chowder
6-8 servings
print recipe

3/4 pound bacon, diced
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions, including tops
3 cups diced potatoes, cooked
4 (10 1/2-ounce) cans minced or chopped clams with juice
2 1/2 cups clam juice
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon leaf thyme
1/2 teaspoon finely crushed rosemary
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons butter
Minced parsley

In a large skillet fry the bacon until lightly browned, but not crisp. Remove the bacon from the skillet with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lied plate to drain. Add the yellow onion to the skillet with bacon drippings and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until transparent. Add the green onions during the last minute. Transfer the bacon and onions to a large kettle. Add the potatoes, clams with juice, clam juice, seasoning, half and half, and milk. Simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until warmed through. DO NOT BOIL. Stir in the butter. Add additional seasonings to taste. Garnish with paprika and parsley before serving.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Maw-Maw's Slaw

Happy Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, whatever you call it. Today is the day to eat up everything you're thinking of giving up for Lent.

There are Jambalaya, Gumbo's and Etouffee on every blog. What happen to salad? I'm not sure who's Maw-Maw this recipe came from, but neither is Emeril. This is right from his Louisiana Real & Rustic Cookbook, and is recommended with fried fish and Mardi Gras foods. This is not your ordinary slaw. This is good stuff!

Maw-Maw's Slaw
8 servings
print recipe

Make your mayonnaise first or the day before.

1/2 pound white cabbage, shredded (2 cups)
1/2 pound red cabbage, shredded (2 cups)
1/2 pound assorted greens, such as mustard greens, collards, or spinach, trimmed, washed, and shredded (2 cups) Kale is my personal favorite.
1 cup thinly sliced red onions
1 cup chopped green onions, green parts only
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 recipe One_Egg Mayonnaise (recipe below)
1/4 cup Creole or whole-grain mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons sugar

Place the white cabbage, red cabbage, greens, red onions, green onions, and parsley in a large salad bowl. In a small bowl, combine the mayo, mustard, salt, black pepper, cayenne, and sugar. Mix well. Add the mixture to the greens and toss to mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Serve chilled. The slaw can be made(or chilled) three hours ahead.

One-Egg Mayonnaise (pronounced "My-O-naze"
1 1/4 cups

1 egg
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup olive oil
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a food processor or blender, blend the egg and lemon juice for 10 seconds. With the processor running, slowly pour in the oil through the feed tube. Mixture should thicken. Add the pepper and salt and pulse once of twice to blend. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using. Best if used within 24 hours.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cheese Pudding for President's Day

In the 1920's the Lynn Hotel in Hodgenville, Ky., owned and operated by the Wimsetts, was a family-style hotel which drew Sunday dinner crowds from a wide area of Kentucky. In addition to Kentucky country ham with red-eye gravy, fried chicken, fresh vegetables, and homemade ice cream, there was always the traditional Hodgenville casserole known as cheese pudding. When it was served to the late Vice President Alben Barkley, he asked for a second helping. A few years later when President Eisenhower was served cheese pudding, he requested a second helping but the recipe as well. The recipe has been published in several periodicals and in the Senate Cookbook.

Cheese Pudding
4-6 servings
print recipe
From: Kentucky Hospitality, a Kentucky Federation of Women's Club Cookbook 1976

1 cup soda cracker crumbs (saltines)
2 cups medium white sauce
4 eggs, hard boiled, grated
1 (7-ounce) can pimientos, grated or finely chopped
1/2 pound American cheese grated
buttered cracker crumbs

Mix cracker crumbs with white sauce; stir well to be sure all are moist. In a buttered casserole place a layer of crumbs, a layer of eggs, a layer of pimientos. and a layer of cheese. Repeat layers. (If crumbs are not well moistened add a little milk). Top with buttered crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Black Walnut Bread

What is it about black walnuts that I love so much. I could eat them by the handfuls. There are black walnut trees all over the farm. As kids we gathered and hulled them. What an awful job that was. Your hands were black for a week. I'm just too lazy to do that any more. Buy some and toast them and they will be almost as good.

Black Walnut Bread
1 loaf
print recipe
Adapted from a yellow legal pad with grease stains

3 cups all-purpose flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (use your homemade)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup half and half
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup chopped black walnuts, toasted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, sugars, and salt. In a separate bowl combine the eggs, half and half, honey, and melted butter. Add the dry ingredients and stir until thoroughly blended but slightly lumpy. Gently mix in the walnuts and spoon into a lightly greased and floured loaf pan. Bake 1 hour, or until tested with a toothpick.

Saint and Scriptures Sunday

Haven't we all been guilty of this!

James 4:13-17
From The Message

Nothing But a Wisp of Fog

And now I have a word for you who brashly announce. "Today--at the latest, tomorrow--we're off to such and such a city for the year. We're going to start a new business and make a lot of money." You don't know the first thing about tomorrow. You're nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit of to say, "If the Master wills it and we're still alive, we'll do this or that."

As it is, you are full of grandiose selves. All such vaunting self-importance is evil. In, fact, if you know the right thing to do and don't do it, that, for you, is evil.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Piggy and Apple Pudding

What a cute name for a delicious dish! I haven't made this for years. Perfect for brunch, Sunday-night supper or if you're late getting supper started because you've been blogging all afternoon. This really is comfort food. This is a dish an old boyfriend use to make. No, he wasn't old, it was a long time ago.

Piggy and Apple Pudding
serves 4 or 5
print recipe

16 link pork sausages ( I like Jimmy Dean)
4 to 5 tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (I like Granny Smith)
One 7 1/2-ounce package corn bread mix, prepared according to package direction (I like Jiffy)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cook sausages until done, piercing with fork to let out fat. Drain, then arrange in a 9-inch square baking dish. Layer sliced apples on top. Pour corn bread batter over all and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until corn bread is done. Serve with warm maple syrup.

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Favorite Southern Fried Chicken

Hope you've had time to whip up a batch of House Seasoning and my copycat KFC Original Recipe Seasoning Mix. You will need them both.

Did you know that more fried chicken is eaten along the Mardi Gras Parade route than any thing else. What do I know, that's what three New Orleans chefs said on the Today Show a few days ago.

I use peanut oil because it has a higher heat tolerance and doesn't smoke up the back porch, and because my grandmother did. Lard would be great, but even I'm not that brave.

This recipe was adapted from one of Paula Deen's, but she didn't have my KFC Original Recipe Seasoning Mix. Don't worry about all that hot red pepper sauce. It just gives it a little more flavor but it isn't hot. My great-nephew John, says it's his favorite fried chicken.

If you have time, season the chicken with House Seasoning and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight, if not try to give it at least 2 hours, if not just season it and go.

My Favorite Southern Fried Chicken
4 Servings
print recipe

3 eggs
1/3 cup water
About 2/3 cup hot red sauce (Texas Pete is fine)
2 cups of self rising flour (all-purpose works also)
2 tablespoons KFC Original Recipe Seasoning Mix
1 teaspoon House Seasoning
1 - 2 1/2 pound chicken, cut into pieces
Oil for frying, preferably peanut oil

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the water. Add enough hot sauce so the egg mixture is bright orange. In another bowl, combine the flour and 2 tablespoons of the KFC Original Seasoning Mix. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture, and then coat with the flour mixture. Heat the oil to 350 degrees F. in a deep fryer or heavy pot. If using a pot do not fill more than 1/2 full with oil.

Fry the chicken until brown and crispy. Dark meat takes longer than white meat. It should take dark meat about 13 to 14 minutes, white meat around 8 to 10 minutes.

Drain on crumbled paper towels or rack. Flat towels will not let the grease drain properly.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

KFC Original Recipe Seasoning Mix

Already you know I'm kidding. You and I both know that recipe is guarded better than Ft. Knox. Yes it is a copy cat. It does have 11 herbs and spices. To be honest this stuff is great and not just for chicken, pork chops are fabulous prepared like this. Rub some of this on the chicken you're going to bake or grill the next time and let it sit for about 20-30 minutes. You'll be making this stuff by the bucket fulls.

You're in the kitchen anyway make up a batch of House Seasoning. I promise, once you make a batch you will wonder how you ever cooked without it. Okay I'll give it you to again, but this is the last time. I've said that five times.

The reason it's important that you hurry and get this stuff made is because I'm getting ready to give you a Southern Fried Chicken recipe that would make "The Colonel" weep, but it takes House Seasoning and KFC Original Seasoning Mix to do it right. I'll post that tomorrow.

House Seasoning

1 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup granulated garlic (NOT garlic powder)

Mix all this together and put it in a container with a tight fitting lid,( I use a Mason jar) and use as needed on anything that calls for salt and pepper.

KFC Original Recipe Seasoning Mix (my copy cat)
print recipe

2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon basil leaves, crushed
1 teaspoon marjoram, finely crushed

Mix all ingredients as listed in a small container with a tight fitting lid. An 8-ounce Mason jar works for me.

Shake the container to combine the mixture. At this stage, you can keep it stored for months. Keep it out of direct sunlight, heat and humidity.

When ready to use, mix 4 teaspoons of the mixture with 1 cup flour and 1 teaspoon salt, better yet House Seasoning.

Place in a doubled plastic food bag and add chicken to coat. Fry, drain on paper towels.

COOK'S NOTE: I realize "The Colonel" didn't have Essence of Emeril at his disposal, but if he had I bet he would have added a teaspoon of that to the mix, I do. Sometimes I add a teaspoon of Old Bay also, but I was trying to keep it to 11 herbs and spices.

Cornmeal Crisp

Paper-thin and crunchy, these crisps make a delicious nibble and are good cocktail snacks or as an accompaniment to soups or salads.

A few days ago I made a pot of Bean Pot Soup and a batch of these crisps for Larry and Edie, because Ryan, her son was in town for a visit. He is such a love, if I were only 40 years younger.

Lets go see what Miz Helen has for Full Plate Thursday.

See note at the bottom for a slight variation.

Cornmeal Crisps
enough to serve 8 or 10
print recipe
Adapted from The Gift of Southern Cooking

1 cup stone-ground white cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2-2 1/4 cups boiling water

Stir together the cornmeal and salt in a stainless-steel mixing bowl, and add 2 tablespoons of the butter cut into small pieces. Slowly stir in enough boiling water so that the mixture resembles very wet mashed potatoes. Beat vigorously until the butter is melted and absorbed and the batter is smooth. Allow to cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Use the remaining tablespoon butter to grease two 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking sheets. I used one half sheet pan. Put even amounts of the batter on the two baking sheets, and use a rubber spatula to spread it as evenly and thinly as possible (dipping the spatula in water helps with this). Bake in the preheated oven for 20-35 minutes, until crisp and golden brown. Cool on the baking sheets, and break into large irregular pieces for serving. Stored in an airtight container, the crisps keep well for several days.

Cook's Note: As written these may leave a little bit of a salty after taste after, like a cracker. To correct this I would use 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch (1/8 teaspoon) cayenne pepper.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tomato Chili Sauce Salad Dressing

We all know how much I love the Tomato Chili Sauce that we made last summer, or even the Quick Chili Sauce. If you didn't get around to making it you can always use Heinz Chili Sauce. This is quick and pretty darn good. To really keep it simple serve it over a wedge of ice cold iceburg lettuce and sprinkle a little bacon on top.

It's so easy I don't even know how to type the recipe.

Tomato Chili Sauce Dressing

Equal parts chili sauce and good mayonnaise. I don't care if you use low fat.

This would also make a good sandwich spread.

Coconut Cream Pie - Diner Style

Yesterday a friend e-mailed for a coconut cream pie recipe and when I looked it was not on the blog. I really am slipping. Bill thanks for the reminder. This is also my produce growing friend, David's favorite pie. It is time to start bribing him for early vegetables.

This is the kind of coconut cream pie that was once served at old diners across the country. The pie has a thick, buttery filling and a mountain of whipped cream on top.

Coconut Cream Pie
6-8 servings
print recipe
Adapted I think from Southern Living

1 - 9-inch pie crust, homemade or store bought refrigerated
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups half-and-half
4 egg yolks
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
2 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
Garnish: toasted coconut

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Fit piecrust into a 9-inch pie plate: fold edges under, and crimp. Prick bottom and sides of piecrust with a fork. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes of until lightly browned. Cool crust on a wire rack.

2. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch in a heavy saucepan. Whisk together half-and-half and egg yolks. Gradually whisk egg mixture into sugar mixture; bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly. Simmer, whisking constantly, 3 minutes; remove from heat. Stir in butter until melted; stir in coconut and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

3. Place saucepan in an ice-water bath for 5 minutes or until filling is slightly warm, gently stirring occasionally. Pour filling into prepared crust. Place plastic wrap directly on custard (to prevent a film from forming. Chill 4 hours or until thoroughly chilled.

4. Beat whipping cream at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add 1/3 cup sugar and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, beating until soft peak form. Spread whipped cream over filling. Garnish with toasted coconut.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Strawberries and Kirsch


The biggest box of chocolates in the world will not be as good as this. Plus, this is cheaper and healthier. Your five year old could make this before he/she goes to spend the night with grandma so you and hubby can have a nice romantic dinner.

For a marriage made in heaven, serve with Million-Dollar-Pound Cake.

Strawberries and Kirsch
3-4 servings
print recipe
adapted from my restaurant days 30 years ago

2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled
3 tablespoons cconfectioner's sugar
4 ounces Kirsch
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1 cup heavy cream, whipped

Wash strawberries; drain well; and sprinkle with sugar. Cover tightly and regrigerate. One hour before serving, mix Kirsch and Grand Marnier. Return to the refrigerator until just before serving. Serve with whipped cream.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Strawberry Butter Spread

Can't believe I haven't posted this before, at least I don't think I have. You can spread this on toast, bagel, English muffins, biscuits, whatever. It's equally as good made with fresh or frozen strawberries. The strawberries at the grocery looked really good yesterday, so I used fresh this time. Just smash them up a little.

This would be really good on a homemade muffin for Valentine's breakfast.

Strawberry Butter Spread
makes 1 1/4 cups
print recipe

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup of frozen strawberries, thawed, or fresh smashed

In a small bowl cream together the butter and cream cheese. Add the honey and strawberries; mix thoroughly. Chill slightly before serving.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pecan Caramel Clusters

You still have time to make your sweetie candy for Valentine's Day. This is a favorite of mine.

This recipe is from my friend Janice Price, Lexington, Kentucky and was published in Taste of Home Magazine and their annual cookbook. I am so impressed. I've never known a published author before. Janice is a dear person and a fabulous cook.

Pecan Caramel Clusters
approx. 2 pounds
print recipe

1 package (14-ounces) caramels
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
4 ounces white candy coating, coarsely chopped
4 ounces dark chocolate candy coating, coarsely chopped

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the caramels, water and butter. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir in pecans.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Freeze for 15-20 minutes or until set.

In a microwave safe bowl, combine candy coating, Microwave, uncovered, on high for 1 - 2 minutes, stirring every 15 seconds; stir until smooth. Dip caramel clusters in coating; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm. Yield: about 2 pounds or 1-1/2 pounds to give and 1/2 pound to eat while you wait for them to set up.

Saint and Scriptures Sunday - Get Serious

We are continuing with the letter of James today, and also with our prayers for Jo Ann.

James 4: 1-12

Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don't have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn't yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it.

You wouldn't think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you'd be asking for what you have no right to. You're spoiled children, each wanting your own way.

You're cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn't car? The proverb has it that "he's a fiercely jealous lover." And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you'll find. It's common knowledge that "God goes against the willful proud; "God gives grace to the willing humble."

So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud No to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet.

Don't bad-mouth each other, friends. It's God Word, his Message, his Royal Rule, that takes a beating in that kind of talk. You're suppose to be honoring the Message, not writing graffiti all over it. God is in charge of deciding human destiny. Who do you think you are to meddle in the destiny of others?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Finnish Style Strawberry Pancake

A few days ago, or with my memory a few weeks ago, when Joyce posted her Strawberry Cupcakes I remembered seeing this recipe in my new recipe box she had sent. I am not what you would call a great pancake maker. Since this makes one big pancake and you bake it I felt pretty safe. This is definitely the way I'll be making pancakes in the future. I did use some of my strawberries from the freezer and next time I'll use some of my peaches and blueberries. The recipe didn't say anything about whipped cream, but I had to add just a glob.

This might be a thought for Valentine's weekend!

Finnish Style Strawberry Pancake
Serves 4
print recipe

2 eggs
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter

Sift flour with sugar and salt. Beat eggs and add milk. Add flour to egg mixture and beat until smooth. Melt butter in a deep pie dish. Pour batter in lightly and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 35 minutes in a 350-degree F. oven. Serve warm cut in wedges and topped with sweetened crushed strawberries.

Strawberries Romanoff

Do you ever just hit the wrong key when you're getting your post ready? I really didn't mean to post the Bourbon Chocolate Cake yesterday. I was saving it to post with this recipe. Stuff happens! Anyway this is a beautiful Valentine's dessert with or without the Bourbon Chocolate Cake. The strawberries are looking good at the grocery.

Strawberries Romanoff
1 serving
print recipe

Use one scoop of a really good vanilla ice cream per person. the same amount of stiffly beaten whipped cream, 1 tablespoon of cointreau, 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar and 10 sweet ripe strawberries per person. Mix altogether and serve in a champagne glass. Garnish with a whole berry.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Chocolate-Bourbon Cake

This I pulled from the archive, it is just perfect for Valentine Day.

Remember your honey on Valentine Day, or maybe it's your anniversary. More people are married on February 14th than any other day of the year. Why not, it's cupids day. My friends Ron and Marg were married on Valentine's Day. Happy Anniversary, guys. I really have no idea how she has put up with him this long. Sorry, I have forgotten how long you've been married.

Anyway, this cake is perfect for a romantic dinner at home or dinner out and dessert at home. It would be perfect if you have a 9-inch heart shape cake pan, if not it is still beautiful in a round pan. This is an easy, easy cake to make.

Chocolate-Bourbon Cake
1 - 9-inch single layer cake
print recipe

1/2 cup good Kentucky bourbon
1 1/3 cups of sugar
12-ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup (8-ounces) butter, cut into pieces
5 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder, divided
Hot water
Coffee Bourbon Syrup (recipe to follow)
Hazelnuts, Walnuts or Pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9x2-inch cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and set aside.

Combine bourbon and sugar in a large saucepan; bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat, and add chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth. Set aside, and let cool to room temperature.

Beat eggs, one at a time, until very well blended. Fold in flour and 1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder. Pour batter into prepared cake pan. Set pan in a large roasting pan filled to depth of 1 inch wit hot water.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 1 hour and 15 minutes, basting with Coffee-Bourbon Syrup every 15 minutes after a crust has developed on cake's surface.

Cool cake; cover and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight. Transfer cake onto a serving plate, and dust with remaining 1 tablespoon cocoa powder. Top with hazelnut, walnuts, or pecans.

Yield: 14-16 servings

Chocolate Bourbon Syrup

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup strong brewed coffee (I use expresso)
1 tablespoon bourbon

Bring sugar, water, and coffee to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in bourbon.

Butter Beans in Cream with Country Ham and Chives

In the South (USA), butter beans are a popular variety of fresh shelled beans, sort of like fresh limas, but in my opinion better! If you can't get authentic butter beans, baby limas can be used. In true Southern fashion, the country ham and chives are used as seasonings here, like salt and pepper.

As much as I hate shelling these little gems, I do freeze a lot of them in the summer.

Butter Beans in Cream with Country Ham and Chives
serves 6
print recipe

3 cups fresh shelled butter beans
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely minced country ham
1 tablespoon very finely snipped chives
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Put the butter beans in a large saucepan, and cover with water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the pot, and bring to a boil. Skim the surface until clear. Cook, partially covered, at a simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the beans are very tender, but not mushy.

Drain the butter beans completely, and return to the saucepan. Add the heavy cream, ham, chives, butter, salt, and pepper, stirring well to blend. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Taste carefully for seasoning, and add more salt if needed. Serve hot.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mom's Cabbage

We never had a name for this dish. Mom made it all the time and we called it "that cabbage stuff that Mom makes". Every time I wanted to make this I had to call her and say "tell me again how to made the cabbage stuff". One day she wrote it down and mailed it to me, I still have it. Mom's not here any longer so I'm very thankful to have some of her recipes.

This will serve 4, if I'm not there. Normally I double the amounts because it is even better left over. Don't stand and measure everything. If it looks right it probably is. Enjoy!

Mom's Cabbage
serves 4
print recipe

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a heavy skillet
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cups shredded or coarse chopped cabbage
1/2 cup green peppers
1 cup diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
3/4 teaspoon salt (better yet, House Seasoning)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup chopped onion

Cover and cook over medium-low heat about 10-12 minutes. Do not overcook.
When this is finished add another tablespoon butter, just because I said so.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Smoked Pork Stock

We all know about making chicken stock, beef stock, vegetable, stock and even fish stock, but I have never made smoked pork stock until yesterday. I will not be without it again.

The pork you want is essentially traditional "country ham"; dry cured in salt, smoked, and aged (but not cooked). Cured smoked pork shoulder is less available but more affordable alternative. It can sometime be found in Chinese or Hispanic markets, or you can order it from, in the south you can find packages of country-ham trimmings - bits of meat, fat, and skin that are perfect for making stock. This is what I used. DO NOT use supermarket ham hocks, which are usually processed with chemical "smoke". They are fake and taste fake.

This rich stock is one of the best ways to bring that rich, salt, smoke, and aged meat to everyday cooking. You can use it for cooking greens, peas, beans, and root vegetables, or as a base for soups and stews.

Because pork stock can be defatted before you use it, foods never have the excessive greasiness that sometimes thought of as characteristic of Southern cooking.

Smoked Pork Stock
about 3 quarts
Adapted from The Gift of Southern Cooking

2 pounds cured and smoked pork shoulder, sliced or whole, OR 2 pounds country ham trimming. Not supermarket ham hocks
1 gallon spring water, unless you have a well in your back yard

Rinse the pork, and put it and the water into a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Cook, covered, at a full simmer for 2 hours, or until stock develops a strong smoked-pork flavor. Strain and discard the pork, because it will have rendered all of its flavor. Cool the stock completely, then refrigerate until needed. Pork stock may be kept refrigerated for up to 1 week, or frozen for 6 months.

NOTE: Once stock is well chilled, any fat that is congealed on the surface may be removed and reserved for other uses.

Seasoning Mix

This is a great seasoning mix to have on hand for soups, especially bean soups, pinto, navy, black, whatever. I'll post a Bean Pot Soup in a minute that uses this. Heavenly! I have no idea where this recipe came from. I've made it and used it for years.

Seasoning Mix
print recipe

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon season salt
1 teaspoon crushed bay leaf
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil

In a small bowl combine the seasoning ingredients. If not used immediately, cover tightly and store in a cool, dry place.

Bean Pot Soup

There are not enough soups in the world to keep me happy. I would and do eat soup year round. I made this with a big ham bone with lots of meat left on and no sausage. I have also made it with the sausage and ham. It is just plain good either way. This hearty soup could become a family favorite at you house. Serve this with your favorite cornbread.

Bean Pot Soup
6-8 servings
print recipe

2 cups pinto beans
4 slices bacon
1 jalapeno pepper diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 cup diced celery
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons seasoning mix (recipe posted above)
2 1/2 quarts unsalted chicken broth
2 cups chopped canned tomatoes
1 1/4 pound hot smoked sausage, sliced
1 1/4 pounds cooked ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 potatoes, diced

Soak the beans overnight in sufficient cold water to cover by 3 inches. In a 8-quart or larger stock pot fry the bacon until crisp and remove the pan. Add the peppers, onion, celery, and garlic to the bacon fat, and saute' until tender. Add the unsalted broth and seasoning.

Drain and rinse the beans and add them to the pot, ensuring the beans are covered by 2 to 3 inches of liquid. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat; cover, and simmer for 2 hours or until the beans are tender. Add additional water as needed to ensure the free boiling of the beans.

Add the sausage, ham, and potatoes; simmer an additional 30 minutes. Add additional water if necessary. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Cook's Note: If using a meaty ham bone add that when the beans start cooking and let it simmer with the beans. Remove ham bone and let cool enough to handle. Remove meat and return to the bean pot with the sausage, and potatoes.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Everyones a Critic

Last year I was in trouble with the copyright/trademark people for the use of "Kentucky Derby Pie". Now I have someone, Maxine, telling me I should give proper credit to people who's recipes I use. I really make a sincere effort to do that. However, if I've changed a recipe the original person with the recipe might not want credit. I have been making an apple cake for 40 years that Paula Deen featured on one of her shows a few years ago. Her recipe came from her Aunt Peggy, mine from my mom. Point is, it's an old Southern recipe. Who knows where it originated. I have lots of recipes like that. Not every recipe in a cook book originated from that book.

Lets just enjoy reading our food blogs and getting new ideas and recipes and not worry about who's recipe it is. Recipes belong to everyone. Am I right?

Maxine, or anyone else, if you need to tell me something, leave it as a comment or e-mail. I'll be happy to answer anything you ask. But I do need a way to get back to you. Thanks for visiting the Back Porch.

Hot Crusty Buttermilk Biscuits

Now this is the way my grandmother made biscuits. I can still see them coming out of the oven and her brushing the tops with homemade melted butter. Of course she made them with homemade buttermilk also. I can't make biscuits. The only reason I tried this recipe was because I'd just made a new batch of Homemade Baking Powder. Well let me tell you, I impressed myself. These came out wonderful.

You have to start with good very cold lard, fresh, very cold buttermilk, and a very hot oven. Work the fat into the flour with your fingers; stir together and knead the dough as little as possible; don't twist the biscuit cutter when stamping them out; and finally, place them on the baking sheet as close together as you can without touching.

Hot Crusty Buttermilk Biscuits
about 15 2 1/2-inch biscuits
print recipe
Thanks to The Gift of Southern Cooking

5 cups sifted White Lily flour (measured after sifting
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon Homemade Baking Powder (you can use store bought)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1/2 pound) packed lard, chilled (I still don't know how to make it)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, very cold
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. That is not a misprint.

Put the flour, homemade baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl, and whisk well to blend thoroughly. Add the lard, and, working quickly, coat it in flour and rub between your fingertips until approximately half the lard is finely blended and the other half remains in large pieces, about 1/2 inch in size. Pour in the buttermilk, and stir quickly just until the dough is blended and begins to mass.

Turn the dough immediately out onto a floured surface, and with floured hands knead briskly eight to ten times, until it becomes cohesive.

Gently flatten the dough with your hands into a disk of even thinness; then, using a floured rolling pin, roll it out to a uniform thickness of 1/2 inch. With a dinner fork dipped in flour, pierce the dough completely through at 1/2-inch intervals. Lightly flour a 2 1/2 to 3-inch biscuit cutter and stamp out rounds, without twisting the cutter in the dough. Cut the biscuits from the dough as close together as you can, for maximum yield. Transfer them to a parchment lined baking sheet, placing them so they just barely kiss. Don't reroll the scraps. Just arrange them around the edge of the sheet, and bake them - cook's treat.

Put the baking sheet immediately on the center rack of the preheated oven. Bake 10-12 minutes, checking after 6 minutes or so, and turning the pan if needed for even baking. When the biscuits are golden brown, remove from the oven and brush the tops with the melted butter.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Boiled Peanut Butter Cookies

These are, hands down , my favorite cookie from childhood. Quick, easy, and cooked on top of the stove, they are more confection then cookie. And be forwarned, they are powerfully addictive.

My mom and grandmother made these all the time. Especially in the summer because no oven was required.

Perfect for your sweetie for Valentine's Day!

Boiled Peanut Butter Cookies
makes about 32
print recipe

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
3 cups quick-cooking oats (not instant)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Mix together the peanut butter, oatmeal, and vanilla in a mixing bowl.

Heat the butter and milk in a heavy saucepan, over medium heat, until the butter is melted. Whisk in the sugar, salt, and cocoa until smooth. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 1/2 minutes, stirring often to prevent scorching. Stir in the peanut-butter-oatmeal mixture, and continue cooking for 1 minute longer, stirring constantly.

Drop the cooked mixture by tablespoonfuls onto wax paper or aluminum foil. Allow to cool and become firm. Store in a tightly sealed container for up to 1 week.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Saint and Scriptures Sunday - Faith Under Pressure

In Bible study this week, we started the letter of James. The letter of James shows one of the church's early pastors skillfully going about his work of confronting, diagnosing, and dealing with areas of misbelief and misbehavior that had turned up in congregations committed to his care. Deep and living wisdom is on display here, wisdom both rare and essential. Wisdom is not primarily knowing the truth, although it certainly includes that; it is skill in living. For, what good is a truth if we don't know how to live it? What good is an intention if we can't sustain it.

This and upcoming post from the letter of James are dedicated to Jo Ann. We all pray for her.

I, James, am a slave of God and the Master Jesus, writing to the twelve tribes scattered to Kingdom Come: Hello!

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let is do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who "worry their prayers" are like wind-whipped waves. Don't think you're going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.

When down-and-outers get a break, cheer! And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer! Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don't ever count on it. You know that as soon as the run-rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petal wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that's a picture of the "prosperous life." At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing.

Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Hot Ham and Cheese Rolls

There has been a variation of this all over blogland, and all sound wonderful. But none say anything about make and freeze. I want stuff in my freezer and ready for a party, Super Bowl, football night, or soup and sandwich night. If freezing, package these in 12 portion, single layer foil packages, ready for the oven.

This is an older recipe from the 80's.

Hot Ham and Cheese Rolls
serves 15-20
print recipe

1 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons dry mustard
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 medium onion, diced finely
1-2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
4 packages (12-each) party rolls
12-16 ounces Swiss Cheese, sliced thinly
12-16 ounces good baked deli ham, sliced thinly

Mix first 5 ingredients well. Spread on rolls. Cut ham and cheese to sort of fit rolls. Place one slice of each on each roll. If you have leftovers give a few of the rolls extra. Wrap in foil. Heat at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. If frozen heat for 20 minutes.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Beer Kielbasa

How many times have I made this! As a young adult, about 50 years ago, this was at every get together or party. I found this reminder in one of Joyce's cook books, Heinz Family Recipes. Great Super Bowl food!

Beer Kielbasa
depends on what else you're having
print recipe

2 pounds kielbasa (polska), sliced in rings 1/2-3/4-inch thick
1 can beer (any kind)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup white or apple cider vinegar (Heinz)
1 tablespoons horseradish
1/4 cup yellow or spicy brown mustard (Heinz)

Bring to a gentle boil and cook covered the kielbasa in the beer for 15 minutes. Mix the remaining ingredients together with a wire whisk and add them to the kielbasa and beer. Cook and stir until it becomes thickened. Don't leave unattended or it will stick.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ground Hog-Stuffed Vidalia Onions

Well, that doesn't sound so appealing does it. What is sausage other than ground hog, and it is Ground Hog Day. This is so good it doesn't matter what you call it. I know it's too early for Vidalia Onions, but any good sweet onion will be fine. This is so easy you will not believe it.

Sausage-Stuffed Vidalia Onions
serves 6
print recipe

6 medium sweet Vidalia onions
6 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper, to taste

1 pound spicy sausage (I use Jimmy Dean)
2 cups onions, chopped, removed from center of onions, save another tablespoon for the sauce
2 ounces white cheddar cheese, grated

Butter Sauce
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons vermouth
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon chopped Vidalia onion, from center of onion
1 small garlic clove minced
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 stick of butter, cut in pieces

Peel onions. Scoop out centers with sharp spoon, leaving an onion cup. Chop centers for stuffing and sauce. Place onions in a shallow baking dish and place 1 tablespoon butter in each onion. Bake onions at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes, or until very tender, but not falling apart. Or, microwave in circular dish for about 12 minutes. Start checking after 5 minutes. All microwaves are different. Don't let them fall apart.

For stuffing, combine minced onion and sausage in skillet. Saute' until brown. Drain well. Toss sausage with cheese. Spoon stuffing into cavity of each cooked onion.

For butter sauce, simmer olive oil, vermouth, orange juice, onion and garlic in saucepan. Reduce by half. Remove from heat. Add cream, return to heat and add butter bit by bit, whisking after each addition. Keep in thermos until time to serve onions.

Just before serving, heat stuffed onions in 350 degrees F. oven for about 10 minutes, until cheese in stuffing melts Spoon butter sauce over and around onions. when serving.

Happy Ground Hog Day!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Chili - And Happy Birthday Steve

Happy Birthday to one of my dearest and sweetest friends. Happy Birthday Steve! He will certainly be cheering on the Giants on Sunday.

What kind of a food blogger would I be without giving you at least one chili recipe for Super Bowl! This maybe isn't the World's Best Chili, but it is a favorite. Everyone likes their chili the way they make it. This is just a nice easy really good chili. I have never seen any reason to make only enough chili for one meal. It takes two of three days for it to really get good and by that time the chili is gone. So, double the recipe if you want because it freezes beautifully.

serves 4-6
print recipe

3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 pound good ground beef
1 (16-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 (16-ounce) can filled with water
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (16-ounce) can kidney beans (optional, undrained. I have to have beans.)

In a large Dutch oven, saute onion, green pepper and garlic in butter for about a minute. Add ground beef and brown. Drain off fat.

Add all other ingredients except kidney beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer about 2 hours, uncovered, until sauce is thick. Add beans about 10 minutes before serving.