All posts filed under: Sauces

Test Kitchen – Fake Soy Sauce – Round 2

The last time I did this, I was convinced I could make a fake soy sauce out of browned mushrooms. And to be painfully honest, it was just okay. It worked like I needed it to for the handful of recipes I utilized it in… but, it still didn’t taste quite enough like soy to make me happy…. in other words – it still tasted like mushrooms. So, I’ve decided to go back the beginning and see if I could bolster those existing fake soy recipes out there and give them what they are all lacking – body / richness / stainable color / umami (god, I hate that word.) First things First ONE – ALL non-soy recipes are essentially the same. Boullion, Vinegar, Spices, Water. – so I’m not listing the original recipe from any particular source… (google “fake soy” and the window fills up with recipes)… I picked one at random just to get the general proportions. TWO – I’ve used good to excellent quality ingredients. Meaning, it isn’t going to be cheap to buy …

Baleful Bounty ~ Sauce Rustica

With Summer in full swing, the garden should be producing to beat the drum. However, after the issues I had earlier in the season, I’ve played it safe on the tomatoes; I only planted one plant of a single variety ( Mountain Pride). And, since it’s a late season tomato… there isn’t anything resembling a ripe fruit on the vines yet.  Thankfully, friends are seeing to it that I have more than enough extra ripe tomatoes to go around. Here’s the thing with being gifted with a dozen tomatoes that are ready to eat NOW – like it or not, some are going to go bad. And the only way to combat all that spoilage is to either cook it down to sauce, or can them (which I don’t do), or zipper bag them up whole – and freeze them (as it happens, I’m all over that action.) Freezing and thawing fully ripe tomatoes allow you to keep that fresh picked flavor that you don’t get with a processed product. Granted, they can’t be used for …

Paprika Roasted Pork & Figgy BBQ Sauce

The thing is – I didn’t start out looking to cook a hunk of pork. I wanted chicken… I wanted chicken of my childhood. I wanted chicken of my childhood that came from the Winn Dixie just down the street from where I grew up. It was “barbecued chicken”, and I put that in those little ” “ because it really wasn’t even barbecue. Long before (and I mean really long… I’m 53 after all) every mass market grocer and discount bulk package foodery started carrying those horrendous rotisserie chickens, just about every neighborhood market carried a whole, fresh-cooked barbecued chicken. It was smoky. It had a funny pasty spicy sauce rubbed into every little skin tuck, arm pit, crack and giblet then baked until it was fall-off-the-bone tender… then stuffed in an aluminium foil bag where all those aromas – juices – steam – permeated every inch of that bird. The wing tips and drumstick joints were always a little extra crispy.  It was disgustingly sticky.  It was instantly recognizable. It is still one of …

Baleful Bounty – Frittering My Life Away

For those of you keeping vigil… Yes, I did an okra fritter back early last February. But –  With the bounty of okra I snagged from the Okra Man, and my own voluminous production… we need to repeat some things.. and the okra fritters were / are something that warrant a second look. The first time around, being winter and all, I used frozen okra. Which in the grand scope of things has a few benefits over fresh. (a) The freezing breaks down the cell structure a bit and allows for quicker cooking, and (b), freezing seems to cut back on all that slime production and general liquid some.  And while still the best fritter thingy I’ve made to date, I wanted to see how fresh out of the garden okra would fare. First off, I’ve sliced the okra THIN – 1/8″, which offsets the concern of cooking time. I’ve also cut back the original liquids by 1/4 cup to account for the ever present slime, and added extra flavors – (Not everyone loves the taste of okra …

Curb Market Crawl – Muscadines

(Hillbilly Grapes) About a mile or so down the road, where the road widens just a bit to accommodate a bridge, there’s this guy. He has the requisite battered pick up, the frayed plastic-strapped lawn chair, and a propane cooker teaming alive with bobbing brown gold ( goober peas…. boiled peanuts). Most days I pass him by. I’m a fully developed Southern man..I know how to boil my own peanuts… and on the rare occasion that I want some, I do my own. But this time as I was cutting the corners off the road as it winds down towards the Etowah River, my eye caught a new addition to  the ramshackle set up. A small card table stacked high with little quart baskets… each one brimming with those unmistakable black-purple orbs. Muscadine Season has arrived to the Mountains. Now, I know, it’s a love / hate thing with muscadines – there’s no middle ground, they are an acquired taste. Not everyone can handle that tannin assault of the skins, the uber tartness, or that odd, over-ripe, Mogen David muskiness of the fruit. But, if …

Spatchcocking Your Bird

– or –  How to Make a Limp Chicken You!   In the back of the class… I hear you giggling… You’re the same one that snickered when we made Spotted Dick… and Sticky Buns… Sheesh… Not every thing that sounds dirty… is. Spatchcocking is a dressing procedure that enables you to remove most of the structural bones in the body cavity of chicken or other fowl in order to maximize the heat-to-surface ratios. It’s particularly useful when grilling whole birds. Although, can be just as helpful when you want to reduce the overall cooking time and simplify carving of the breasts (heh..he he heh..breasts.) What you will need… 1 – 3 to 4 Pound Hen (or fryer) 1 Boning Knife 1 Good Pair of Kitchen Shears Cutting Board 4 Skewers Compound Butter (See Recipe Below) and – Plenty of Lemony Chicken Gravy (See Recipe Way Below)   1. Empty the carcass of the offal, neck, and extraneous fat, place back up on a cutting board 2. Feel along the back, and beginning with the …

Simple Dinner Sunday

Being cooped up in the house this past week, we headed out into the mountains just – to – get – away. Treachery awaited us just getting out to the road, though.. still icy, still 5″ of snow on the ground… still very sloggy. But once out on the open road – it was smooth sailing. We didn’t stop or even get out of the car… it was relaxing enough just to watch the scenery swoosh by at 55 mph. It was the long route today… Cleveland, past the new home of Babyland General (the place where they actually make those disturbing Cabbage Patch Kids) On to Helen, our little bit of Bavaria in the Sticks… Up to Hiawassee, on the North Carolina border… Back through some of the most refreshing countryside to Blairsville Past Ellijay and the Apple Barns… And home… All in all.. about a 3 hour trip. Which, oddly enough, didn’t leave a lot of time to get something started for dinner. Tonight is just a simple meat sauce with spaghetti. Easy …

Caution! Slow Food at Play

I was sitting under my dining room table the other night, leafing through Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Cookbook. …what? …yes, under the dining room table – you pull out the chairs,  drop a couple of quilts over the whole thing, and load it up with pillows and a flashlight, … And, Belshazzar! you have your very own Dome of Pleasure….um…  Fortress of Solitude. Now, Where I understand the whole concept of Slow Food – Sustainable crops… locally and regionally grown food stuffs… Home prepared dinner as opposed to those glowing arches in the dark. (which are the Devil’s spawn – just so you know). When it really gets down to it…. it’s just cooking – and getting people that don’t usually prepare something to eat to try and make something from scratch. I find it a sad state of affairs that we have to “Trick” you with Buzz Words and Conceptual Culinary Ideas into pulling out the pots and pans and whipping up something tasty to eat. If you haven’t spent a lot of time …