All posts tagged: Lunch

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 …

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 …

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 …

Dumplings with Jane

Clara, my great grandmother, always kept chickens.  And while the majority of the time chickens were for eggs, old layers, non-layers and overly mean roosters made their way into the stewing pot for one of Clara’s specialties – Chicken & Dumplings. Now, a lot of people make dumplings a lot of different ways; there are those thick, dense almost noodle -like dumplings; there are the globs of biscuit dough plopped on top of the broth; then there is Clara’s way – soft, tender, pillow-y dumplings, barely holding together amongst the rich broth and bits of dark meat. Jane tells a story of a time just after she married my dad. She had been on the Square in Marietta, doing some bit of shopping, and stopped in at Clara’s just about lunch time. Clara had just made a big pot of dumplings and served her up a bowl. Those same soft dumplings, that rich, flavorful broth – Jane kept commenting on how good those dumplings were.. “The best Chicken and Dumplings I’ve ever had”, she told her. My …

Chicken Pot Pie

In the past, my experiences with Chicken Pot Pie have been nothing to sing about … they’ve been those frozen, gooey,  little individual things with the grainy crust, an over-abundance of English peas, and chicken – like substance.   I knew I could do better than those things. And, I did. Rich, thick, chicken-y sauce…   the perfect blend of seasonings….  a carefully balanced ratio of meat – to – veg – to – peas… … and a flaky crust to kill for…. really, “kill ’em done dead.” So, dig out you favorite big-ass casserole pan and let’s get at it.   Plate Fodder’s – Chicken Pot Chicken Pot Chicken Pot Pie! Serves 6 For the Crust: 2 Cups AP Flour 1 Teaspoon Salt 1/2 Cup Cold Butter 1/2 Cup Cold Lard 1/2 Cup Ice Water (more or less) The tools of the Trade: Food Processor Zipper Bag Freezer Flour for Rolling the dough Rolling Pin For the Filling: 3 (6 to 8 ounce) Boneless / Skinless Chicken Breasts 1/2 Cup Water 1/3 Cup EACH …

Soup & The Blustery Day

Monday Morning… They said we could be expecting some rain. They said it would be fast-moving, with periods of heavy precipitation. I checked the weather just before bed and things had been upgraded to Rain Apocalypse… or at least, going by the way the weather people were talking about it.  I poo-pooed it all and crawled into bed. Tuesday 4 AM… I woke with a start to a fantastic lightening storm and this…   … on the news. they still said it would fast-moving and everything should be all clear by mid morning. It was’t. It sheeted rain all day.   It poured by the buckets.   It looked like dense, heavy fog… but you know… with rain.  It ran down the hillside in a deluge; gathering bits of forest trash… limbs… small animals – creating waterfalls where they normally don’t exist. My trusty rain gauge worked overtime… I emptied it 3 times during the constant downpour. Around 7 O’Clock PM, the rain abated and left us with a sterilized forest floor and the Fall leaves …

The Sandwich Diaries – The Chicken Fillet Sammich

  Ever since they showed up in the malls in the late 70’s, that chicken sandwich has become just about my favorite option for fast food. That slightly sweet coating, that perfect blend of seasoning, that steamy – steamy bun after it stews in those foil pouches… just perfection in a chicky sammich. But whatever they were – these days they’re just an E Ticket to crazytown for us. The chain uses peanut oil which makes them a serious no-no as far as our current allergen list  goes… and then there’s the whole MSG thing. But, I figured there has to be a work-around… and you know – there is! Chik-Fil-A makes no bones about a secret recipe for their coating. They even tell you what’s in it on their site. But, as I have found through scores of trashed copy-cat recipes, it rarely comes out exactly like the restaurant’s version. And to be absolutely fair… unless you are using a pressure fryer, it still wont taste exactly like theirs… but it comes damn close. …

Goofin’ on Grandma

Oddly, I come across a recipe for Grandma Pizza about once a month. I see it… I think, “huh, all those tomatoes and oil… that can’t be good.” And I pass on to the next sexy bit of food porn that inevitably fills my inbox. Given that I’ve been craving a slice of cheesy heaven lately, my curiosity got the better of me and I drug out one of those “best damned pizza in the world” grandma pizza recipes to see what all the fuss was about. I still didn’t like the idea of just tomatoes and oil, and I wasn’t all that keen on a super thin crust. In my head, I could just see a soggy behemoth coming out of the oven… so I took the idea of it all, and made it something else entirely. So… what is a Grandma Pizza? It’s a pie that appears to be widely popular in Queens and Brooklyn. It’s a Sicilian style pizza with a super thin, square crust – Topped with cheese and scattered with seasoned, crushed …