Month: September 2010

Pride & Prejudice

Growing up, my mom had a pantry that would make any off-the-grid survivalist proud. She and my dad had converted the entire southern wall of the kitchen  and adjoining breakfast room into a never-ending wall of torturous louvered doors (I’m not kidding… it was our punishment to  clean them) that concealed…well… every canned good available at the market…. three of each, in fact. It’s odd to think about it now, but any “good” home cook always had a well stocked canned goods pantry – just in case… you know. The beef stew you made looks a tad shy? Dump a couple of cans of kidney beans into it.. Voila! Food for an army… or for the Corn Clan. We were hungry little buggers… I’m pretty much a snob when it comes to encased, packaged, processed foods in recipes. If a recipe that begins with “2 cans of…” or has more than one ingredient that requires a mechanical device to open it, I toss it into the shredder. I know, I’m a bad person…. Be that …

Shiver Me Timbers

Since it is National Talk Like a Pirate Day,  I thought I would be amiss if I didn’t acknowledge this auspicious occasion with a little holiday fare! So get yer scurvy arses up on the main mast and trim dem sails! Six Pence Peg Legs with Harr-Varr-Tee Serves 4 to 6 Ingredients 1 Pack (12) Chicken Legs 2 Cups Sliced Button Mushrooms 2 Cups Green Chilies or Banana Peppers – Chopped 6 Ounces Havarti Cheese – Grated 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil 1 Teaspoon Thyme 1 Teaspoon Oregano 1 Tablespoon Dill 1 Clove Garlic – Minced 1 Tablespoon Butter 1/4 Cup White Wine 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce 1/2 Teaspoon each Salt & Pepper 1 13x9x2 Pyrex Baking Dish 1 Zipper Freezer Bag 1 Medium Saute Pan Preheat oven to 400 degrees Take a fork and jab holes in the legs every 1/4 Inch or so Place the chicken in the zipper bag with the dill, white wine, 1/2 the oil,Worcestershire Sauce, salt & pepper and marinate for 30 minutes On medium high heat, place the saute …

Curb Market Crawl – White Eggplant

The nice thing about living in a rural area is there is always people selling “stuff” on the side of the road. We have an ample supply of curb markets, farm stands, egg sellers and jam hawkers.. We even have a woman up the road that has a nice selection of baby “pet” ( tasty! ) goats, and you can’t throw a rock without knocking some old guy off his lawn chair selling boiled peanuts. So, when I can’t stomach another trip to Mega-Walla-World, I hit the road and do the Curb Market Crawl. This last week I was out with mom and stopped in at the Tomato House on HWY 52 between Dahlonega and Cleveland. Great people, good selections and you can always find something there to buy. Seriously.. you can. Do you want  tomatoes – they got ’em.. always at least 6 varieties including some heirlooms. Need corn? … boatloads (and it’s Silver Queen, not that overly sweet – engineered – corn they sell at the market.) Heck, if the wall -o – …

Fear and Loaving

I consider myself a fairly unflappable guy. Nothing much in the food world really scares me. I’ll eat unnamed mystery meat in a viscous sauce. I’ll hold my plate up for another serving of  fish with a questionable lineage (or expiration date). I’ll proudly say “more please” to odd, black-eyed, rice shaped little “fish” (if that was truly what they were…) But, the one thing that truly sends me screaming into the night? Bad meatloaf… those cat-shaped dead lumps of tasteless, meat covered in ketchup like road kill. The ones pressed into brownie pans, chucked full of dehydrated peppers and onions, extended with oatmeal and swimming in enough grease to lube a 57 Chevy. Those horrid, indigestion inducing American pates, roasted at 375 until all vestiges of that once noble cow are erased from sight… those are the stuff of nightmares. It wasn’t always the case. The French Pate, a distant cousin, is tasteful, aromatic, and yes, fussy and elegant with its varied meats, savory spices and cognac. Those Greek gyro meat thingies spinning endlessly …

Love and the Lard Bucket

There used to be an old home remedy where you would massage an infants head with sweet oil (olive oil) in order to encourage the hair to grow. It doesn’t work. There is nothing in olive oil to stimulate hair growth. In fact, all you are liable to accomplish is upsetting your infant – and greasing up their head like a huge Idaho potato. Be that as it may…. My aunt came into the world kicking and screaming (like all infants)…. and bald. The kicking and screaming eventually abated – but the baldness remained. And by the age of 2, the hair still had not arrived. Clara and the other family members knitted and crocheted little sock hats for her little shiny head, but the follicles just weren’t cooperating. This distressed my mother greatly – the thought of her sister growing up – going through life bald as an egg – with a wardrobe full of knitted and crocheted caps to cover her shiny, pink dome. And when she was about six, she overheard a …

Baleful Bounty II –

The end of the Straw Bale Garden Experiment. It’s been an interesting summer. We started the straw bale garden with very guarded optimism as traditional gardening efforts here at Turtle Creek have been a complete disaster. Between the impermeable red clay and DR, it became clear that we would have been better off to just Scotch Tape the seeds directly to the patio for all the good it did. Happily, the straw bales were a rounding success. And on top of the bounty, we’ve gotten some terrific soil conditioner for next year. The score card for the year: 1). Yellow Pear Tomatoes – DING DING DING!! They produced super well. So good – that I finally tore the vines down to keep from pushing bags of them off on unsuspecting passer-bys. A “Thumb’s Up” for next year. 2). Okra – DING DING DING!! – its currently the last bale standing because they’re still producing and probably will until frost. We’ve gotten about a mess of okra every 8 days from the 6 plants. Again –  …