All posts filed under: Easy

As Thick As Pea Soup

Our 3 year-old back up chest freezer gave up the ghost and died today. It’s an irritation. Not entirely because the thing stopped working… things happen. It is because A.) It wasn’t that old. and, B.) I have to replace it with another like kind of inexpensive machinery. and, C.) I have to go through all the stored bits and bags of veg, meat, stock bones, Parmesan rind, citrus zest, extra egg whites – and the like… and decide what I’m going to keep and what to trash. and then, D.) Do the same thing in the Main Freezer to make room for everything I can’t live without. I had 6 packages of frozen Green Peas in the freezer….. I don’t know why. Since I wasn’t going to throw them away… and I really needed that real estate in the working freezer for a large hen I bought on special (I wasn’t about to trash perfectly good protein, either), I figured it was time for some Spring Pea Soup When I was a kid, The Magic Pan …

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 …

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 …

Shandy Glazed Spare Ribs

Shandy – typically, a wheat beer with lemon / lime soda mixed into it. So, one day while sorting through a “mix-ur-own-6pk” allotment at the market, I came across several different makers of shandys –  I threw in a couple to try out. I know why I thought I’d like it. Back when everyone lived in the forest, we ran a German Deli. It was a great place… lots of sandwiches, a gluttony of sausages, and beer…. all kinds… nothing American. Of the many offerings was a Hefeweizen – a wheat beer cloudy from the heady yeast sediment still present in the bottle. We drank it sometimes with a little raspberry syrup added to the bottom of the glass just before pouring. But, more often than not, it was served with a couple of lemon wedges to be squeezed into the effervescent beverage. It’s still my favorite way to drink beer. If we call hefeweizen with lemon the prettiest girl at the sweet sixteen party, then we have to refer to a shandy as the ogre that …

A New England (inspired) Clam Chowder

Every culture has a dish, or handful of dishes, that they claim the all-encompassing rights to. Here in the South, it’s grits… and fried chicken. Although.. truth be told, I grew up here and I still have no clear understanding exactly what Southern Fried Chicken is. If I go by my Great Grandmother, it’s heavily peppered, pan fried chicken, placed in a pan after cooking – covered and allowed to steam…. it isn’t crunchy. Jane’s is crunchy… but no pepper. Evelyn’s was buttermilk dipped, but not steamed. … and on and on it goes, throughout every single household here in the Deep South – slight differences in techniques, varying outcomes, different seasoning profiles… but all of them Southern Fried Chicken. It’s ours… we Own it. So, I get it when someone from New England foams at the corners of the mouth when some outlander makes a “traditional” Clam Chowder. It’s just one of those things that if you aren’t from here (well, there)… you can’t make. I’m sensitive to that. That’s why you never see me make a …

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 …

Under Pressure – Braised Back Ribs

This was actually the first thing we did in the micro cooker. Seeing that I really didn’t want to waste a lot of money on something just in case the end product was a hot steaming mess. I’ve opted to take the basic timing and procedures for the Lamb Shank recipe in the provided cookbookerlette and apply that thought process to something about the same quality and texture – Beef Back Ribs. This recipe consists of 1 pound of badly cut beef back ribs – 8 Pieces of Rib – $3.95 total…(on sale at the market today) Considering that to get back ribs.. or shanks… or shoe leather edible should take between 2.5 to 3 hours in a conventional oven… or up to 8 hours in a slow cooker, I’m calling this a win. The ribs are very tender, although some of the rib connective membrane hasn’t softened up as much as I like. And to be totally honest, that probably would have corrected itself if I had removed the chine off the backside of the riblettes. …

Tahini Grilled Chicken

  Yes, yes… it does day “eating allergy free” up there in the picture. But, before you go all cat lady crazy on me – let me explain. First off, I’m not calling it “All Encompassing Allergy Free” because frankly if you go that far, you’re just living off air… that’s been scrubbed… and hasn’t been anywhere near people… or farms… We, unfortunately, have a very specific set of allergens that I have to navigate in order to provide food that is tasty, appealing, and somewhat resembles foods we used to enjoy. And instead of dredging all that back up here.. just go back to The Long, Slow Train to Crazytown and catch up. The thing is.. we like peanut satays. Scratch that – we love anything with peanuts. But like the train ride tells you, it’s just another of the things I’ve had to scour out of our diet. Among the substitutions I’ve been testing in our diet, I’ve found that Jane has absolutely no issue with sesame… in any form. Lately, she’s even …