All posts filed under: Holiday

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]    

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 …

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 …

Independence Day and the Watermelon

  I can remember sitting on my grandparents rusty, green metal slider rocker, eating watermelon. I remember how good they were. How I’d sit there, with my huge leg-sized wedge of summer bounty, enjoying each sweet bite. I remember P’Tooeing! the slick, black seeds across the lawn. I remember the increasing uncomfortableness of being covered in sweet, sticky juice as I trimmed the last bits of red fruit from the rind. … and then, nothing. I grew up; ran kitchens and restaurants; and watermelons became that “thing” I bought because they were cheap… and bulky… and filled up the plate for fruit salads…. not because they were good. They just didn’t have that same pull over me. Prior to this past Wednesday, I can’t remember the last time I actually bought watermelon anything to eat. I did buy one once and filled it with rum… for a party. But even that wasn’t good… it was just bitter and boozy.   So, when Jane asked this week if I wanted to pick one up for the Fourth, …

Bread Whore – Holla’, erm… Challah!

I’m a card carrying member of Bread Hoarders Anonymous.  So, Forget that I have a package of English Muffins in the fridge (and one in the freezer). Never mind that there are a dozen buttermilk biscuits, 8 corn muffins, a bag of Tablouleh rolls, 2 packs of flour tortillas, a tube of canned biscuits, and a loaf of sandwich bread lounging around in the cupboards. And you didn’t even see the  disk of Cracker bread, a half-eaten box of water crackers and assorted saltine shaped things only slightly hidden from prying eyes. I haven’t had any bread in 3 years. And, Unless they come with a warrant – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Because I’m such a pillar of the BHA community, I decided to not do bread this year for Easter Dinner. Regardless what you may have heard, there was none of this… … parading up alongside of the Herb Crusted Rolled Lamb Steaks. and there definitely wasn’t any of this… Served up in hearty slabs with the Broccoli & Leek Cream Gratin. …

The Corned Beef Conundrum

You feel obligated because it’s St. Patrick’s, but does it really belong on the plate? Sadly… no. Although technically corned beef is an Irish thing, you’re not going to find it anywhere close to something that was eaten or served in any true Irish establishment. If they are going to eat beef, it’s going to be fresh. Corned beef was an export item. But, to get your head around that, you have to look at the background of the beef. In addition to the rolling hills chucked full of lamb and sheep, Ireland produces a lot of quality beef. (Currently, they control 16% of the export EU beef market.) The fertile grasslands and the constant temperatures allowing the cattle to graze on fresh grass throughout the year, produced some of the highest quality beef in the world. That, made it in demand, and demand meant money. So, beef was exported to other parts of Europe. England and France being the largest customers, consumed somewhere around 90% of the Irish beef market. So, reasonably speaking, that …

Keeping Tradition – The Turtle Creek Method

When my parents were still building the cabin at the rear of the property where Turtle Creek now resides, it was time divided between two lives. The house in Marietta – where jobs and obligations lived. And the cabin  in Dahlonega – where their new life as retirees would one day begin. They would pack up the vehicles on Fridays and make the long back roads trip to spend every free moment of the weekend hanging drywall, painting and installing the finishing elements of their house in the hills. New Year’s week 1989, my dad had taken the week off in order to do as much as possible at the cabin to get it livable, and decided to spend the week here… “roughing it” and working. And while they had remembered the champagne for the big countdown, it seems they had forgotten to pack…buy… make anything else for the celebration… and all there was in the assorted ice chests and pantry was a lone package of Fig Newtons. They toasted the New Year with pink champagne and …

Get Your Pudding On…

If this were a perfect world, I’d probably publish this recipe on Christmas Eve. You would get all kinds of unreasonably giddy with thoughts of Christmases long past. You’d conjure up memories of diving into that mammoth matriarchal pudding by the fading light of the brandy flame and claiming the little sterling prize. You’d then jump up, run to the kitchen and whip your own Christmas pudding in fifteen minutes – just in time to carve the Christmas Goose. But this isn’t a perfect world… or land of kitchen make-believe… or the 1700’s. And, truth be told, you just can’t whip one of these puppies up in a jiffy… or a semi-jiffy. To be done right a Christmas pudding takes in the neighborhood of a month to do it up. And, if any of you wanted to make your own pudding, then an early start on the pudding beats a mad rush any day. And before you go and get all technical on me – No, it isn’t a traditional recipe (you ought to know me better than …

Shiver Me Timbers

Since it is National Talk Like a Pirate Day,  I thought I would be amiss if I didn’t acknowledge this auspicious occasion with a little holiday fare! So get yer scurvy arses up on the main mast and trim dem sails! Six Pence Peg Legs with Harr-Varr-Tee Serves 4 to 6 Ingredients 1 Pack (12) Chicken Legs 2 Cups Sliced Button Mushrooms 2 Cups Green Chilies or Banana Peppers – Chopped 6 Ounces Havarti Cheese – Grated 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil 1 Teaspoon Thyme 1 Teaspoon Oregano 1 Tablespoon Dill 1 Clove Garlic – Minced 1 Tablespoon Butter 1/4 Cup White Wine 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce 1/2 Teaspoon each Salt & Pepper 1 13x9x2 Pyrex Baking Dish 1 Zipper Freezer Bag 1 Medium Saute Pan Preheat oven to 400 degrees Take a fork and jab holes in the legs every 1/4 Inch or so Place the chicken in the zipper bag with the dill, white wine, 1/2 the oil,Worcestershire Sauce, salt & pepper and marinate for 30 minutes On medium high heat, place the saute …