Month: March 2015

Tales of Woe ~ that Madeira Tart

I’ve always wanted to make a Bakewell Tart. But, with our particular allergy set, ground almonds in anything is just asking for trouble.  Back around the first of February, I came across this recipe for Irish Bakewell Buns. The ingenious thing is – unlike a traditional Bakewell Tart,  she didn’t use ground almonds… she used a Madeira sponge for the topping. Okay..fine.. I skimmed the recipe – saw the word Madeira – and my monkey brain said, “How cool! Madeira wine instead of almonds! … just the thing to give that nutty, rich flavor without dealing with the consequences of tree nuts.” If you’re from the UK – you already know where this is headed… feel free to bury your face in your hands. Anyway… I ran out and scoured the mountainside for Madeira to make those lovely buns. It wasn’t easy… it took me nearly 3 weeks to locate a bottle.  It appears Madeira isn’t terribly popular up here in the hills. Then, it was time to make the buns…. The thing is… Madeira Sponge Cake …

The Multi ~ Multi ~ Multi Bread

So, over the past three weeks I got a bit obsessive watching the past seasons of The Great British Bake Off.   After the current season ended on PBS, I picked up all the rest on YouTube… plus the snippets…and the irritating Comic Relief ones… and the Master Classes… and pinned and saved a whole heap of Mary & Paul’s recipes… (I’ll get around to making them …eventually.) I’d like to think I learned a thing or two… actually, I’d like to think I’ve become a master baker just by watching TV, but that’ll happen when I can get ripped abs just by polishing the Bowflex in the basement. But, all this bake viewing has done some very good things – it’s removed a lot of the mysticism, fear and stigma I’ve had about making bread – it’s taught me not to be so anal about the processes –  and most importantly, to relax… even good bakers make crappy bread from time to time.   The Multi Multi Multi I decided to play it kind of safe for my first …

A bit of Yum

Okay, time to try something new… I’ve been poking around looking for new ways to get that fodder out there. I recently found Yummly – and I like their vibe. So, I’m excited to announce that we’re now a “maybe…” official publisher on Yummly.  … just as soon as all the boxes get ticked, the T’s get crossed, and all the other things that has to happen in order for this to work. Yummly — a recipe directory that makes it easier for foodies to do what they love – cook, eat, and share! If you already use Yummly, you can use the Yum button to save your recipes to your personal recipe box. If you don’t yet use Yummly or know what it is, you can sign up here. Make you a batch of that Honeycomb Popcorn, kick your shoes off and start scrolling through our delicious recipe box (more recipes to come) — a world of Yummly Fodder delights awaits… as soon as we get a couple up there. “Yum” your favorites to save them for later. …

Lighter Options ~ Buttermilk Cheese Soup

There are soups I could eat a whole bowl… and leave wanting more. There are some I stand at the cook-top eating out of the pot – never even bothering to ladle it up and at least pretend to be civilized. … and then there are those where you can just hook up a nozzle and hose me down with it.. This is one of those soups. Cheese soups are kind of the red-haired step child of the soup family – Part sauce, Part soup, Part fondue. A cheese soup really isn’t much more than cheese and cream, However, for the lactose intolerant Turtle Creek crowd, getting the proportions just right where it is the balance of richness, cheesy goodness and palatable texture takes a bit of work. You all know I have this unnatural love affair with buttermilk. And being that Cultured Whole Buttermilk is lactose free, it is the base of a lot of dairy type things I do here at the cottage.  I’m calling this a Lactose Free Soup because of the ingredients – and …

Under Pressure ~ Corned Beef & Cabbage

Since Saint Patrick’s Day is coming up, I’d be remiss if I didn’t do the obligatory Corned Beef and Cabbage thing.,, though I’ve already explained why  it really doesn’t belong anywhere near things even remotely Irish. Be that as it may… we  (as in the all-encompassing American “we”) think it’s the pinnacle of Irish cuisine… so there, we’re doing it. Coming up with new and interesting ways to do the corned beef dance is kinda hard. So, this time I’ve decided to put the Microwave Pressure Cooker screws to  that long slow braise, and see if we couldn’t shorten that 3-hour cook time to something more manageable. To do that… we need to talk about beef.  Corned Beef Primarily here in the States, corned beef comes in two distinct cuts of cow. … which is the Eye of Round – or the center, dense, tough, fat-less muscle in the Top Round and  … or full flat –  even though the flat has more fat, it is also tough. This has the added  bonus of being stringy from …

Make mine Deep Fried… with a side of deep fried

Everyone in the world makes fun of people from the South. It hasn’t helped much that every.. single.. food program wants to do a segment on what us silly Southerners are deep frying this time. It’s hurtful. Why not talk about any number of the world-class chefs that operate out of the South, or that we do killer oyster roasts, or that our pecan pies and banana pudding can make you lose your religion… No. They want to talk about chicken frying things that really shouldn’t be fried – be it steak, Snickers Bars, those nuclear fallout surviving cream-filled cakes, or dill pickles. I really came late to the fried pickle party. Although they’ve been around in the South since the mid 60’s, it was something I just never encountered. That is, until 1989 when I spent 2 weeks at a conference in Memphis, TN. I had my pickle induction at B.B. King’s on Beale Street. Super sour, salty, greasy-fried dill pickle chips…. people were scarfing them up like popcorn. So I figured… when in Rome… I have …

The Sandwich Diaries ~ the Meatloaf Sandwich

There’s one important thing to have when making a great meatloaf sandwich Good meatloaf…. and white bread Okay, two things meatloaf, white bread… and mayo bollocks! … three things and pickle chips Dammit! Meatloaf, in a sense, has been around since the Romans. Although with ingredients like finely chopped lamb, pine nuts, rosemary and cream, you ended up with something more “pate-like” than what we call our beloved food of the masses. It wasn’t until WWII that meatloaf truly became part of the working class American diet. Looking to help families stretch their meat rations, numerous government agencies and appliance manufacturers started a campaign to show housewives how to extend meager protein rations to feed a large family. They championed adding stale bread, leftover biscuits, potatoes and rice into minced meat, adding a healthy dose of ketchup and seasonings, and baking it off “roast-style” to create a meat dish that would be fit to grace any Sunday Dinner table. It caught on. And while they were satisfying and filling, they did something much more important. They created leftovers. Leftovers that …

Buttermilk Ranch – It’s a love / hate thing

…you know you do. Back just shy of 1950, there was this guy named Steve Henson. He was up in Alaska somewhere working, doing the bush people thing and cooking for his fellow bush people workers. It was during that mystical time he began developing a buttermilk based salad dressing (I’m assuming to put on their fireweed Caesars…or willow bark chop salads… or moose fodder carpaccio … .. . the whole mental image of bush people in Alaska sitting around a campfire, eating a honkin’ bowl of salad is just kinda funny.). He and his wife later moved to California, and opened a Dude Ranch called Hidden Valley. His formulated buttermilk dressing became the house dressing of the ranch. It was so unique, so flavorful, everybody wanted the recipe. He began packaging up the mix and selling it…. Although to do that, the mix had to be diluted with non-food items (fillers, stabilizers, anti-clumping agents). The popularity grew and people couldn’t get enough. By the late 60’s, Ranch dressing had displaced all of the old salad standbys – Green …