All posts filed under: Comfort Food

The Mayo Burger ~ with lettuce slaw

Travelling around in South Brazil I learned a very important thing – “Burger with Salad” on a menu description doesn’t mean lettuce, tomatoes and onion. …it means “Big ass burger patty topped with green peas, cooked carrots and corn“… yes, exactly like a can of Veg-All.  And, it didn’t matter where we traveled in the Southern part of the country, it was always the same. I really shouldn’t be surprised. Half of the hot dogs I ate there had mashed potatoes, corn and french fries smashed into the top; balancing on top of the wiener and bun like a drunken night at the all-you-can-eat buffet.. It’s like they didn’t grasp the whole idea of American Fast food…. they still wanted their “Meat & 2 Veg.” But if you got to have “Salad” on top of a burger… then make it a good salad. My all-time favorite burger topping is a lettuce slaw. There’s just something about a mound of sweet iceberg lettuce steaming on top of a burger that just makes my toes curl. And, once …

Getting to Yes – Double Dipped Buttermilk Chicken Nuggets

The airwaves have been inundated with the talk…  10 nuggets for $1.49. How good could they be, really. And that’s the basis of this whole exercise. The thing is, I don’t make very good fried chicken, and Jane knows it. I didn’t get that grandmotherly gene of tempering flavor / heat / coating to make bone-in Southern Fried Chicken work.    So… a dollar forty-nine, a cheap, easy way to get that crispy fried soulful satisfaction – it seemed like a doer. It’s not. Aside from the questionable oil that it’s fried in, it honestly isn’t even chicken. I’m not sure a chicken walked very close to the factory where they were made. They’re stodgy, spongy… kinda rubbery…. with the most notable flavor being an overabundance of soy protein. And to be brutally honest, it’s the same with any mass-produced, faster – than – prudent establishment serving up the little crispy jewels. So, it’s back to the drawing board and finding a way to get maximum flavor out of a relatively tasteless piece of protein where you …

Hickory Nut Sandies

I guess for most people, Oreos – or some other chocolately, crispy, gooey thing was their cookie of choice growing up. Me? It was Pecan Sandies… I love a shortbread cookie. I love that slightly sweet and a little bit salty, brown, buttery cookie… and there is nothing better to dunk into a tall glass of cold milk… or hot chocolate…. or coffee (in my later years…) The thing is – I can’t buy them anymore. Between the dairy – pecans – and god knows what else in them; it just isn’t a very good idea. Luckily, since we’ve come across cultured butter, making things we all can eat has gotten a lot easier. ____________________________________________________________________________________ On our trip the other week, the cabin we rented had huge hickory trees surrounding the front parking area. I busied myself one morning whacking the fallen shells with a rock, picking out the tender nut meats – thinking that since they weren’t exactly the same thing as pecans (Jane can’t eat them), or walnuts (.. those either) or most …

Baleful Bounty – Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped potatoes – that mainstay of Church Homecoming potlucks – the master of family Sunday dinners – the keystone of just about every holiday get together… And, face it… most of them are pretty dreadful. Flaccid potato slices floating in noxious, overly garlicky gravy. But, it doesn’t need to be that way. Let’s break away from the norm and make something a little lighter, a little more flavorful, and a hell of a lot prettier to look at.   Since I was blessed with a handful  (really, out of 5 plants, I got 2 pounds of potatoes) of beauties from the garden this year, I thought I’d do something to go with the Sage Battered Pork Chops I was making. And, smashing them up just seemed a crime… you know, since I only got 8 taters from all my hard work and all. I decided to do Jane’s scalloped potatoes… except, I really didn’t know her exact recipe… just basically how it was done… So, I did what I always do… I punted. ________________________________________________ Plate Fodder’s …

Peering down the Pie Hole ~ Summer Peach Pie

For a period of time, I lived in the attic loft of a building we operated as a rental house. It was a great space – peaceful – quiet – meditative – that is, until early summer. Because that’s when my next door neighbor’s peach tree produced fruit. And, along with everyone else on the block that helped themselves to the low hanging fruit, the residents of the mechanical chase just above my ceiling squirreled away as many of the fruit and pits that they could stuff through the narrow attic vent. For the next three months, without fail, they would roll the pits from one end of the chase, down the entire length of the loft, and back again. And late into the night they would run and scatter their booty, then spend hours rounding them all up again. I swear they had a rodent bowling alley up there. __________________________________________________   Peach pie is just one of those things you have to get just right for it to be good. Too much thickener, and you have …

French Gibbons, The Number 5, and some peas

  April marks the start of our fifth year at the reins of the madly careening ride that is Plate Fodder. I feel like my somewhat inebriated Uncle Posey heading to town hitched to his blind mule… “I may have connected the wagon correctly”, “He may or may not know the way to town even if I pass out”, “I might not even care if we get lost”. Like my colorful uncle – it’s never about the destination – it’s the journey that’s the gas. and… it has been. You know, I have fellow writer friends that say “I’m taking a break…I can’t seem to find my voice…or my angle… or point of view for my site”. And, I get that. It’s tough to stay within the lines of a prescribed notion of what we want our online persona to be. Maybe that’s why I have three unfinished novels still sitting in boxes and scribbled on moldy index cards (yes, it’s been that long) – I can’t stay focused on a story line. But some time ago I knew …

The Sandwich Diaries ~ Egg Salad

Alright, I’m a fan of mayonnaise-based sandwich spreads. Why? Because I’m basically a lazy person. Nothing says quick eats than slicing some of that tangzhong bread, opening a container and spreading on a little (or a lot… in my case) of some ready-made spreadable stuff… Easy peasy – lunch is done. Besides, these days I’ve taken to making my own mayonnaise since I can’t find a full bodied, soy-free mayo that doesn’t taste like Miracle Whip mixed with cole slaw dressing. (I’m more the tart Duke’s, or Hellman’s kind of guy). And while I’m at it… that’s something else that’s kinda cranking my rice krispies.. so to speak. Why can’t companies that do make  a canola oil based mayo, simply use the exact same recipe as their regular mayo – and just substitute the oils. They never do. They want to monkey around with the formulation – change the ingredients – make it sweeter……. As though the American diet doesn’t already have enough sugar floating around in it. Any who…. I’m making my own… … …

The Sandwich Diaries – You Can’t Tuna Piano…

… but you can Tuna Fish. Since I’ve been looking back at some of my favorites in the meat-n-slab-o-bread world, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the Tuna Melt… What? Of course you can combine fish and cheese. Besides, no one really considers canned tuna a fish, anyway. I used to have a friend that vehemently declared he was (ahem) “allergic” to fish… absolutely refused to eat it. However, he lived on tuna fish pizza, tuna sammiches, and lox. One day after watching him make quick work of 2 slices of fishy pie, I confronted him. “Tuna isn’t fish… it comes in a can.” I gave him a black eye. So… Tuna Melt. It’s a bit of a hazy history. Since canned tuna came into being in the US somewheres around 1903 as a way of extending shelf life and feeding the growing industrial machine, recipes and procedures began popping up almost immediately with ways to prepare it. First came the tuna salad. And yes, it’s pretty much the same recipe most people …

Roll on One – Clara’s Chocolate Roll

Since we’re coming up on our anniversary (we’re starting our 4th year this month)… or birthday… or however it is that we keep track of non-living things – I’m going back to the recipe that started it all at Plate Fodder. It’s my great grandmother’s Chocolate Roll. This is a recipe that speaks volumes of that era; when families were large, resources were short, and prepackaged meals just didn’t exist. My maternal great grandmother, Clara, was an extraordinary woman. With my great grandfather dying early in life, she managed to raise nine children, and numerous grandchildren entirely on her own. (Having no children myself, I consider raising even one child alone an impossible task) and doing so in the early part of the last century when resources, money, and a well stocked mega store were non existent. She was an excellent cook, and my mother, one of the countless grand kids at the house, learned a few things from her. Growing up at home in Marietta, my mom would make one of Clara’s desserts. It …

Aversion Therapy and Lentil Pot Pie

Prior to this past week, I would have told you I hated lentils. Since we were supposed to have the storm of the season here with freezing rain, sleet and a nice layer of snow to top it off – I thought it was best to hoof it to the market and stock up on some staples. The last time I didn’t heed warnings, I was stuck in the house with a 1/2 eaten rotisserie chicken, a can of biscuits and an egg… for a week. So I grabbed the required 2.7 gallons of milk, 6 loaves of white bread and enough peanut butter to choke a horse. Just as I was about to queue into the “Bertha, we haven’t shopped in 3 months “ line, when I thought a nice pot of white bean stew would bolster us against the pending arctic weather nicely, and headed back to wedge a package of beans in next to the slightly squitched bread. There wasn’t any. There weren’t any kidney beans, limas, or black-eyed peas either. However, the nearly bare shelves had an …