Month: October 2014

Something Fishy Going on…

There are rules – Never run with scissors,,,, Look both ways before crossing the street… Never burn bridges with a former employer… Don’t stick your finger in the electrical outlet… Never.. Ever cook cheese with fish…. … And while with most of those there is some bit of common sense going on, it’s that bit about cheese & fish that’s never rang very true. I mean, every fish sandwich out there has a big ol’ slice of cheddar on it – and tuna melts are just bubbling with melted Swiss. So, why is it that culinary snobs the world over pale and froth at the mouth about cheese and fish….. Eh, I’ll never know. But, that question brings us to tonight’s recipe. I’ve been seeing a resurgence of an old dinner mainstay lately – The Mayo / Parmesan Crusted Chicken. I hadn’t eaten it in years, so when it came time to work up the week’s dinner menu, I thought – “why the hell not?”    You know, it was delicious! I mean… really delicious…. kinda …

Cinnamon Bun French Toast

You can all blame my sister for this…. Not that it doesn’t sound like “Fat Boy Breakfast” on steroids…. because it is. But, because I never… ever… would have considered doing it if she hadn’t told Jane about what she had for Brunch yesterday. … and, Jane wanted them… …and, I can’t buy the Whack-On-The-Counter rolls anymore, so I had to make them from scratch. “Why the tube-type cinnamon rolls, you ask?” Because, to make french toast, you need something drier than a moist gooey, glaze covered, cinnamon roll in order to get all that eggy milk batter to soak all in and make everything yummy. So, yeah… I made them from scratch. … then let them sit overnight just so I’d be sure to have the perfect egg-soaking sponge for the toast. Drier Cinnamon Buns – Perfect for Making Cinnamon Bun French Toast Makes 12 Buns Ingredients 2 Cups AP Flour 1/2 Cup Self Rising Flour 1/2 Cup Butter 1 Egg 1 Teaspoon Vanilla 1 Teaspoon Salt 3 Teaspoons Dry Active Yeast 1/2 Cup Water …

Chicken Pot Pie

In the past, my experiences with Chicken Pot Pie have been nothing to sing about … they’ve been those frozen, gooey,  little individual things with the grainy crust, an over-abundance of English peas, and chicken – like substance.   I knew I could do better than those things. And, I did. Rich, thick, chicken-y sauce…   the perfect blend of seasonings….  a carefully balanced ratio of meat – to – veg – to – peas… … and a flaky crust to kill for…. really, “kill ’em done dead.” So, dig out you favorite big-ass casserole pan and let’s get at it.   Plate Fodder’s – Chicken Pot Chicken Pot Chicken Pot Pie! Serves 6 For the Crust: 2 Cups AP Flour 1 Teaspoon Salt 1/2 Cup Cold Butter 1/2 Cup Cold Lard 1/2 Cup Ice Water (more or less) The tools of the Trade: Food Processor Zipper Bag Freezer Flour for Rolling the dough Rolling Pin For the Filling: 3 (6 to 8 ounce) Boneless / Skinless Chicken Breasts 1/2 Cup Water 1/3 Cup EACH …

Orange Snowballs

YEARS ago, I got on a kick making glasee oranges. I made them by the buckets full. I put them in jars and admired the little translucent orbs for months… then I started giving them away. Here’s the thing with making obscure condiments, unless you have a commercial kitchen or a standing waiting list of people wanting said obscure condiment (I have neither) … it’s a complete waste of time and material. I eventually gave away most of the jars. I did keep one… oh, just because. I thought I’d eventually find a reason to use them.    Oddly enough, that reason presented itself today. Getting ready to make another batch of those killer lemon cookies, I realized I didn’t have something very important…. lemons. And, since this is Gold Rush Weekend here in Dahlonega, I wasn’t about to go anywhere near town. Deflated, I prowled through the pantry; halfheartedly trying to convince myself I could make the cookies with a can of fruit cocktail…. when I spied the lone dusty jar of glasee oranges …

Soup & The Blustery Day

Monday Morning… They said we could be expecting some rain. They said it would be fast-moving, with periods of heavy precipitation. I checked the weather just before bed and things had been upgraded to Rain Apocalypse… or at least, going by the way the weather people were talking about it.  I poo-pooed it all and crawled into bed. Tuesday 4 AM… I woke with a start to a fantastic lightening storm and this…   … on the news. they still said it would fast-moving and everything should be all clear by mid morning. It was’t. It sheeted rain all day.   It poured by the buckets.   It looked like dense, heavy fog… but you know… with rain.  It ran down the hillside in a deluge; gathering bits of forest trash… limbs… small animals – creating waterfalls where they normally don’t exist. My trusty rain gauge worked overtime… I emptied it 3 times during the constant downpour. Around 7 O’Clock PM, the rain abated and left us with a sterilized forest floor and the Fall leaves …

OPA! ~ The Moussaka Experiment

It’s a funny thing when you start researching a recipe. It begins with one simple recipe… then two; both asserting THEY are the traditional recipe. Then there’s recipes three through 15 with only 1/2 of the ingredients – also staking their claim to the birthright. Then there are the ones with potatoes for the base, and an equal number disallowing any knowledge of potatoes. Ones with eggplant stack up against the horde of Greek Mothers that adamantly state there are no eggplants in moussaka. Beef vs Lamb Phyllo Crust vs Bread Crumbs Traditional Greek Cheese vs Cheddar & Parmesan Crushed Tomatoes vs Puree Bechamel vs White Sauce and so it went for 62 separate and distinct recipes… each and every one claiming to be the one and only. In the end, I chose none of them as my recipe. Instead, I became a little like Dr. Frankenstein and created my Greek monster out of 12 different moussakas. So, why all the fuss? Here’s the thing.   Like a lot of people, I have my own ideas what good …

The Weekly Wildflower ~ American Beauty Berry

Say hello to Callicarpa… otherwise known as American Beauty Berry or French Mulberry. She’s a deciduous woody shrub in the Dead Nettle, or  (Lamiaceae) family.  Blooming in Early summer with rather non-descriptive flowers, the Beauty Berry show begins with – what else – the berries. Beginning in Late September, the berries begin to swell and gradually turn from milky green to violent purple. Although the berries are considered edible, the severe astringent nature of the fruit makes them unappetizing to birds and other animals – so typically you can count on the show continuing well into November. Once the berries turn, the leaves transform to a brilliant yellow just before dropping from the branches – leaving you with stark,smooth dark branches and a riot of purple. Even with the astringent berries, the fruit can be made into wine and jellies (sometimes referred to as “Autumn Berry Jam”), which can be a slightly grainy but flavorful preserve. However tasty the berries may or may not be, the Beauty Berry Shrub is best known as a mosquito …

The Sandwich Diaries – The Chicken Fillet Sammich

  Ever since they showed up in the malls in the late 70’s, that chicken sandwich has become just about my favorite option for fast food. That slightly sweet coating, that perfect blend of seasoning, that steamy – steamy bun after it stews in those foil pouches… just perfection in a chicky sammich. But whatever they were – these days they’re just an E Ticket to crazytown for us. The chain uses peanut oil which makes them a serious no-no as far as our current allergen list  goes… and then there’s the whole MSG thing. But, I figured there has to be a work-around… and you know – there is! Chik-Fil-A makes no bones about a secret recipe for their coating. They even tell you what’s in it on their site. But, as I have found through scores of trashed copy-cat recipes, it rarely comes out exactly like the restaurant’s version. And to be absolutely fair… unless you are using a pressure fryer, it still wont taste exactly like theirs… but it comes damn close. …