All posts filed under: Side Dishes

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 …

Under Pressure – Crowder Pea Shellies & Dried Beans

 Another Test on the Cook’sEssentials 4.5 Qt Microwave Pressure Cooker I remember long, hot, late Autumn afternoons, when the lawns have had their last cut, the drying grass  filling the air with such a deep herbal sweetness. I remember visits to my grandparents, sitting on Evelyn’s screened porch, shelling beans and peas… which is an art. There’s a considerable difference between fresh beans and shellies. While a fresh bean can be wickered apart by snapping or with some quick thumb work with a pairing knife, shellies have to be… well, shelled. The long tough side strings have to be removed, a deft thumb employed to separate the casing, then re-positioning said thumb to push through the drying gauntlet; freeing the more than slightly matured beans as you go. For Evelyn and my great grandmother, it was second nature. They’d talk and gossip, all the while casings flying apart and shelled beans dropped efficiently into a pot in their lap. Me?… not so much. Either the strings wouldn’t release, or the casings cracked and broke, or I’d …

Kitchen Fodder Guest Test – Micro Pressure Cooker Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Bah! Humbug! Alright…. I’m not the happiest elf this time of year – and getting my chops in gear to do anything other than just exist, is damned near impossible… (I’m just not your holiday food guy.) Luckily, in talking to my sis today, I found out she was using her Microwave Pressure Cooker to make… of all things… MAC n CHEESE! I roped her into doing a guest post (slash) recipe test on it for Plate Fodder. So… Go grab a bowl of popcorn and get ready to be amazed! (I’m going to go steal the neighbor’s inflatable snowman…. again…) ______________________________________________________________________________ After seeing Toby demo his microwave pressure cooker several times, I had to get one for myself. This seemed like such a marvelous gadget! I have cooked many different things in the pressure cooker… Pot Roast, Chili, Rustic Bolognese Sauce, Lemony Chicken Thighs with Potatoes, Olives and Oregano. Everything so far has turned out well. I had a couple of lamb shanks hanging out in the fridge that I thought I would take for …

Baleful Bounty – Curry Glazed Carrots

Baby . Chantenay . Carrots You remember earlier in the season when I told you about my fantastic brainstorm to create these stunningly amazing growing baskets out of chicken wire, burlap, weed block and my 4-in-1 dirt (1 part hay mulch, 1 part sand, 1 part hummus, 1 part composted cow manure) high above the chomping incisors of marauding rabbits? Well, they were – and are – still stunning…. but I forgot a basic fact when I chose the vegetable to inhabit said stunning suspended medium. Carrots, like a great many other rooty-type vegetables, like a hot head. However – carrots (once again, like any other rooty thing) need cool bottoms in order to achieve maximum rootiness. Hot tops and hot bottoms gives you supreme stunted rootiness…. much like … say… a hot summer day and a 40 year old guy in a very cold swimming pool…. … I’ve got a bumper crop of short, stubby, diminutive chantenay carrots to deal with this year. Which if you’re someone like me that gets all gooey over baby vegetables …

Six, the Easy Way ~ Vegetable Tamales

Mexican Restaurants – Whether it’s the strength of the margaritas, the freshness of their chips, the scoville scale of their salsa, or just how “authentic” it all is; everyone has their own way of judging a good one. Me? I look at two things. 1). Chili Rellenos : Is it a charred poblano pepper? Does it have a light egg batter? And just exactly what have they stuffed it with? and 2). Tamales : This is a harder judging for me. Because I like them a lot of different ways. I’ve had them in banana leaves where the “dough” is a kind of yucca / masa mash. I’ve had them in Mexico where there was a little bean or olive surprise buried in the middle. There has been the random bad one where the dough was fluffy … like a biscuit – or dry as a powder keg and dense like hard tack. Suffice it to say, tamales are like that proverbial box of chocolates.. you never know what you’re going to get until you bite into it. …

Steakhouse ~ Brussels Sprouts

In a perfect world – I’d own a steakhouse. Well… that’s a load of crap. In a perfect world – I’d be perpetually 35, insanely physically fit, and never have to work another day in my life… not to mention riding through town on my lion while eating Walnut Turkish Delight out of a constantly refilling knapsack. So, it’s probably better that I just say in a different world… And this would be my steakhouse. I know.. it doesn’t look like much, yet. About a mile or so towards Dahlonega is this building. Not that it’s any great thing…. but I want it. It is a long abandoned service (slash) grocery (slash) convenience store located approximately on the spot of the original Buckhorn Tavern in the 1800’s. Back when HWY 52 used to be the old “Federal Highway”, and this was the main route to and from the west side of the state and up to Chattanooga. As far as I’ve been able to research, there aren’t any photos or sketches of how it appeared back then, …

Steakhouse ~ Red Spring Onions

  Looking at this year’s garden plan, I realized I had gotten a tad over-zealous with my onion planting. No one really needs 5 dozen red onion plants… especially when I’ve got 3 dozen Texas Sweet and another 4 dozen Late Season Yellows bedded in. I mean, I do like me some onions, but I’d never be able to utilize all the reds before they rotted… or stunk up the pantry… or both. So I’ve harvested them all as tender spring onions. Why, you ask? Because: 1). As a spring onion, they hold less water than the common white variety, which makes them a bit more meaty. 2). Less Water means they’ll hold up better on the grill and not disintegrate into a slimy pile. 3). They are less aggressive than white onions, and can be added to salads without the fear of onions taking the salad bowl hostage. 4). Red onions (even the immature ones) have up to 8 times the anti-oxidants as their paler cousins, making them an excellent choice for healthier eating. …

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 …

Demons 2.0 and some Pilaf

Why do you do that? Why can’t you just appear… Huh? I like watching you jump… and you scream like a girl. Besides, I’m a demon… not a genie …do you see me dragging around a lamp? no. Tail… horns… evil disposition …  …  …  demon. It’s damned irritating. What do you want… So…   need any help?  Did you notice I did write a thing for you the other day. I saw it.. you scribbled all over the photos, got something’s blood on the recipes, and made fun of  me But you didn’t publish it… No, it was mean-spirited and hateful… Helpful is contributing something significant to ease the writer’s block You didn’t… so go screw yourself. Talk about hateful…. So, what are we writing about tonight? I’ve been looking at a pumpkin pilaf recipe that looks good You don’t like pumpkin…. you think it tastes like a**…. LANG-uage! Do you kiss your mother  with that mouth? But yeah, hate the taste… I’ve got a buttercup squash from this year’s garden I wanna use. …

Curb Market Crawl – Persnickety Parsnips

I popped in to one the numerous curb farm markets the other day on a mission. My dwarf long pod okra plants are disappointing – as in puny, sickly little plants – and in my head I figured farm market = farmer. I mean, I can grow okra. And over the past four years I’ve become fairly adept at growing well producing, Jack and the Beanstalk tall okra plants…. so I know a thing or two. But these dwarf plants… there’s just no love there. They are barely 8″ tall, and at the rate we’re going, it’ll be October before I see pod one. I wanted some help. Turns out, Farm Market  = Green Grocer and he wasn’t all that much help in that arena except to suggest that maybe I should pull up the dwarfs and  lay in some Clemson Spineless Okra plants (which he happened to have a large shelf full of right by the register). Not a whole lot of help – but I did grudgingly pick up a couple of pots …