All posts filed under: Featured

Tales of Woe ~ The one with the Cauliflower

Since in this month’s Raw Spice Bar shipment I got an extra packet of Memphis Rub Dry Mix, I didn’t want it to go to waste… so I put on the thinking spurs. Jane and I have both seen wondrous, spiced, roasted cauliflowers on various media outlets and really wanted to give one a try… this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Slather on your spice mix – roast for 30 to 45 minutes – be rewarded with amazing roasted cauliflower deliciousness. It sounds easy… right? It sounds too easy to be true… right? Okay.. like everything else that sounds too good to be true… so was the cauliflower recipe. Here’s the thing. Cauliflower is dense. 30 minutes… 50 minutes… 1 hour in an oven just isn’t going to heat deep enough through all that bulk to do anything more than softening up the outer lobes a bit… and heat the center….maybe. All in all – cooking time was 1 hour and 20 minutes at 375. I then turned off the oven and let the head rest in there …

All that Lemony Goodness ~ #10

The other day while Jane was doing a bit of research, she came across the little jewel of information that hazelnuts aren’t the same thing as other tree nuts. Meaning – supposedly, she should be able to eat them and not have to hop on the train to Crazytown. I bought a small (1 cup) pack of dry-roasted chopped nuts, gave her a teaspoon to eat… and waited…. Nada.. Encouraged..Elated…Excited… I decided to make her up a batch of Trisha Yearwood’s Pecan Pie Muffins (you know… using hazelnuts). Because you all know that with her particular food triggers, anything I can do to make her life suck a little less – I’m going to do. Well…. we were a bit premature in our assessment. Hazelnuts didn’t effect her cognitive functions, the problem was much further down the pike (if you get what I mean)…. I had to toss them out. So why am I talking nuts when this is about lemony goodness? Because lemon is my go to for her. She loves lemon almost as much as …

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 …

On the road to Persia – with Raw Spice Bar©

To be all legit & legal  – We were offered a free sample of the Rawspicebar.com March Spice Blend to try out. Any insights, opinions, and general impressions are all our own. You all know I don’t dance for just any company out there. I have standards… and rules. So, for some company to approach me (even after reading my disclosure) and ask me to review their product… well, it’s a big thing in my book. Rawspicebar.com is a limited, small batch production spice outfit. For a nominal fee, they will ship a monthly selection of three to four unique spices and blends from a geographic area on the map. The monthly selections aren’t pre-listed on their site so it is always a mystery until the pack arrives.   Some months ago, I received a message to check out their website and get back to them if I would like a free sample of their spice blends. After some serious reviewing, I agreed  – and received their March Shipment which consisted of:  Saffron Threads Mast – O – Khiar Herbs …

No Buns for You

Historically speaking – since this isn’t even Good Friday, I really shouldn’t be making them at all. that is… if I were English… and lived in Elizabethan England, where they considered the buns were too special and sacred to be consumed any other time of the year… … and, if I cared a great deal about goofy superstitions (I don’t, by the way). And if you get right down to it – these really aren’t Hot Cross Buns, because the recipe isn’t traditional – the fruits are all wrong – and the bun isn’t dry like a powder keg. No, these are soft, lush, pillow-y, enriched brioche-style buns… with an “X” on top – and they’re delicious any time of the year. But – if you still feel hinkey about flapping in the face of superstitious traditions – then share one with a compadre, so that your friendship will grow stronger and you’ll both enjoy excellent luck throughout the year. . [amd-yrecipe-recipe:4]    

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 …

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 …

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 …

Crumb Cake ~ The One with The Apples

About four months ago, I came across a picture of a particular apple crumb cake. No recipe, mind you… just the picture. And that kind of irked me. I’m all for finding food pictures on the internetowebbyversothing – it’s like porn, without all the uncomfortable naked bits. But like porn, it kind of leaves you wanting something else. So I went looking for the creator of that slice of Bow-Chicka – Wow – Wow. I found her at Seasons & Suppers (a great little food site with some serious Yum going on.) She had found the recipe through some forum, and did all the heavy lifting to translate it into something she could cook. I loved the (butter butter heavy cream sour cream) recipe, except for the (butter butter heavy cream sour cream) ingredients that just weren’t (butter butter) going to work in this camp… you know, lactose intolerant and all. So I set out to strip the recipe down to the bones and try to make it less (butter butter cream) heavy and deadly …