Posted on

Southwest Cornbread Dressing

Southwest Cornbread Stuffing for 20

PRINT RECIPE

8+ cornbread crumbled

6+ cups jalapeno cheddar sourdough (from Schmaltz) cubed

¾ c butter

8 stalks celery sliced thin

2 medium yellow onions diced

4-5 eggs

4 cups chicken broth

2+ cups milk or cream

½ – 1 t cayenne

Salt

Pepper

1 T rubbed sage

1 T dried parsley

1 T dried thyme

1 T dried oregano

 

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Sauté celery and onion until translucent. While this is cooking, toss cornbread and sourdough in a very large bowl. Combine eggs, chicken broth, cream and seasonings in a mixing bowl and blend together with a whisk. Pour egg mixture breads and toss together. The combination should be a little bit soupy but not overmixed.

Butter two 10-12 cup Bundt pans (traditional pan). Put half of the bread mixture in each, tamping down to ensure that there are no air bubbles.

Bake for 40-50 minutes until firm and browned.

 

Posted on

Thanksgiving Turkey with Seasoned Herbed Butter

Whether you’re roasting a turkey for the first time or looking for an easy, foolproof recipe, this one is worth a try. We’ve used this method to roast our holiday turkey for years and it never disappoints.

Thanksgiving Roast Turkey with Seasoned Herbed Butter

PRINT RECIPE

Serves 12

  • 12 – 14 lb turkey, thawed, giblets and neck removed from the cavity
  • 12 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons Pepper Creek All Purpose Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 – 3 large carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 large onion, cut in half
  • Fresh herbs such as sage, thyme and rosemary (optional)
  • Water

Directions:

  1. Add the seasonings to the herbed butter and mix to combine.
  2. Place some of the carrot, celery and onion into the bottom of the roasting pan and add two cups of water.
  3. Place the remaining carrot, celery, onion and optional herbs into the cavity of the turkey.
  4. Loosen the skin from the breast and add the butter under the skin.
  5. Place the turkey on a rack inside the roasting pan.
  6. Let the turkey “rest” for 30 – 45 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  8. Loosely cover the turkey with foil.
  9. Roast the turkey for 15 min per pound.
  10. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, remove the foil and increase the temperature to 375 F.
  11. Remove the turkey from the oven and keep covered with foil until serving. (Internal temperature of the turkey should register 165 F.)

Crockpot Turkey

PRINT RECIPE

READY IN: 7hrs 10mins

SERVES: 10

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 -7 lbs  turkey breast, thawed, if frozen
  • 1⁄2 cup chopped onion
  • 1⁄2 cup chopped celery
  • 8 T unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons Pepper Creek All Purpose Seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper
  • 1⁄2 cup  chicken broth
  • Option: fresh sage or thyme leaves

GRAVY:

  • turkey broth, from crock pot
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons  flour

DIRECTIONS:

Place onion and celery in cavity of turkey breast. (If using herbs, place them inside with the vegetables.)

Sprinkle turkey with seasonings and place in 5 to 6 quart slow cooker.

Pour broth over turkey, cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours.

Remove turkey to serving platter, cover with foil to keep warm while making gravy.

Place liquid in saucepan after straining out veggies, and add 1 to 2 cans chicken broth- depending on how much gravy you want to make.

In a covered jar, shake together the flour mixed with about 1/2 to 1 cup of water until smooth- or you can whisk it in a bowl.

When liquid comes to a boil, slowly stir in flour mixture, adding just enough to thicken it to your liking.

Cook until it bubbles and thickens, stirring often.

 

 

Posted on

Cooking with Seasonal Produce: Bok Choy

Whether the weather in Central Texas is indicating it or not, the Fall season is officially here. It’s the season when we start thinking about pumpkins and heartier holiday dishes like chili, apple pie, and pot roast. We always look forward to this time of year. Our culinary artist within comes alive with the anticipation of creating new recipes and dishes and sharing them with our friends and family.

Have you ever thought about why some dishes are more popular during the current season? Why do we always have pumpkin pie in the Fall or tomato salad in Summer? It is because of the seasonality of produce. Eating vegetables and fruits that are “in season” have so many benefits:

  • You get a broader variety of foods in your diet.
  • You save money (seasonal produce is less expensive).
  • You get the best tasting, healthiest food available because they are picked when ripe and travel a shorter distance to get to you, the customer.
  • You end up supporting local, more sustainable farmers ( Downtown Waco Farmers Market ).

How do we know what is really “in season” in our area? The local farmers market is a great resource! The produce offered by these local farmers is all seasonal. We make a point to go every week and see what is available, and even chat with the vendors to see what they will have in the following weeks. (Another great resource: Seasonal Food Guide )

Last week we picked up some fresh Bok Choy from The Home Grown Farm. This Chinese vegetable, which is a cross between romaine lettuce and cabbage, is very versatile. Serve it raw in salads, add it to soup, or just saute and serve as a side dish, which is what we did! What’s great about Bok Choy is you can use the whole vegetable. Talk about getting your money’s worth.

Sauteed Bok Choy

Serves 4

PRINT RECIPE

½ cup water
1 ½ teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
2 teaspoons avocado or extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon finely minced ginger
1 lb. bok choy
pinch of coarse sea salt
Sesame Seeds, optional for garnish

PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Whisk water and tamari in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan over high heat.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and cook just until they begin to sizzle, tilting the pan so the aromatics and the oil get a little bath, all in all just about 30 seconds.
  4. Immediately add the greens along with pinch of salt to the pan and stir to coat greens with garlic and ginger.
  5. Add the reserved soy sauce mixture and cook just until the greens begin to wilt, about 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

 

Posted on

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Even a dish as simple as mashed potatoes has room for improvement. Here are the “10 Commandments of Mashed Potatoes” to guarantee perfect, fluffy mashed potatoes every time.

1. DO USE THE RIGHT POTATOES: Yukon golds or Russets
2. DO CUT YOUR POTATOES THE SAME SIZE: start them in cold water, and bring to a simmer until they are cooked through.
3. DO NOT ADD YOUR FLAVORINGS AT THE END: add garlic and herbs in the pot with the milk or cream
4. DO EMBRACE THE TANG FACTOR: add cream, buttermilk, crème fraîche.
5. DO NOT LOSE THE FLUFF: drain the potatoes and put them back in the pot without a lid after they have boiled. Cook them just for a couple minutes on medium-low, shaking the pot, until all the excess moisture is evaporated.
6. DO NOT ADD COLD LIQUID: Make sure the milk or cream you add to your potatoes is HOT.
7. DO NOT SKIMP ON THE SEASONING: Salt the water you are cooking your potatoes in.
8. DO USE A POTATO MASHER OR RICER.
9. DO NOT SERVE A NAKED MASH: top with butter, crispy shallots or chives.
10. DO WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE: peel & cut potatoes the day before, cover with water and keep in fridge. Assemble your milk/cream/butter mixture in a small saucepan and refrigerate that, too. That way, all you need to do on is boil, drain, and mash on the day of your holiday meal.

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Makes 8 servings

PRINT RECIPE

INGREDIENTS
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2″ pieces
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 2″ pieces
Kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter; plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
Special equipment: A potato ricer

PREPARATION
Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water by 2″. Generously season with salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, 10–15 minutes. Drain and transfer potatoes to a baking sheet; let stand until dry, 10–15 minutes. Set pot aside.
Meanwhile, heat cream, milk, and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; season with salt and pepper.
Pass potatoes through ricer into reserved pot. Mix in warm milk mixture, then sour cream; season with salt. Serve topped with pepper and more butter.

Posted on

Summer Ceviche

Summer Ceviche served in glasses rimmed with salt and lime
Summer Ceviche

Summer Ceviche
Makes 8 – 10 servings

1 1/2 pounds seafood, diced small, such as shrimp, scallops, yellowtail or tilapia
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 medium tomatoes, diced
1 red onion, diced
2 English cucumbers, peeled and diced
1 ear fresh sweet corn, kernels only
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish
1/3 cup Sriracha
1 cup Clamato with Clam Juice or Tabasco Bloody Mary Mix
Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
2 firm avocados, sliced, for garnish

In a large bowl with a tight fitting lid, combine the seafood with the lime and orange juices. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator, stirring occasionally until the flesh becomes firm and opaque, about 3 hours.

Add the tomatoes, onion, cucumbers, corn, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, oil, and Sriracha. Season with salt, pepper and stir. Add the tomato juice and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes, allowing the flavors to marry. Season with more salt and pepper as needed. Serve in chilled bowls or glasses garnished with avocado, lime and cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips.

Posted on

Aioli Deviled Eggs

Aioli Deviled Eggs

 

6 eggs, room temperature

1/4 cup Stonewall Kitchen Aioli

Salt and pepper

Crumbled bacon, cilantro leaf, parsley leaf, paprika, or dill sprig for garnish

Mayonnaise (if needed)

 

Place eggs in a pot large enough for the eggs to be in a single layer. Cover eggs with cold water, enough to cover eggs by 1-inch. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook eggs. 14 minutes for large eggs, 12 minutes for small and medium eggs, and 15 minutes for extra-large and jumbo eggs. Add 1-2 minutes more if eggs are cold directly from refrigerator and not room temperature. Plunge eggs into cold water to prevent further cooking.

Once eggs are cooled peel off shells. Cut eggs in half lengthwise. Remove egg yolks to a small bowl. Add Aioli, salt and pepper. Mix until smooth and uniform. If dry add more aioli or mayonnaise. Spoon or pipe egg yolk filling into each white. Garnish and serve.

Tip:  Older eggs are best to use when making hard boiled eggs, they will peel easier. 

Roasted Garlic Aioli
Roasted Garlic Aioli
Posted on

Healthy Bean Thread Noodle Salad

Chicken Salad with Bean Thread Noodles (Serves 6)

Chinese Cuisine Made Simple, Chef Dorothy Huang
Chinese Cuisine Made Simple, Chef Dorothy Huang
1 pound boneless chicken breast 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
¼ teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 ounces dried cellophane noodles  

Salad dressing:

1 teaspoon minced garlic 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil 4 tablespoons rice vinegar

Salad:

2 cups shredded carrot 2 cups shredded cucumber
Several sprigs of cilantro 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

 

In a mixing bowl, mix chicken with oyster sauce, salt and pepper. Preheat oven to “Broil”. Broil chicken on the upper rack for 5 to 7 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Slice chicken across the grain 1/8- inch thin slices.

Soak dried cellophane noodles in a pot of hot water for 10 minutes. Drain well. Cut into 3 to 4-inch lengths.

Combine salad dressing ingredients in a jar. Shake well.

In a mixing bowl, toss noodles, carrots, and cucumber with 2/3 of dressing. Transfer to a serving platter. Place chicken slices on noodles. Drizzle the rest of the dressing over. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro.  Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Serve at once.

** Make it vegetarian! Add tofu, mushroom or edamame instead of chicken.

Posted on

Early Summer Recipe


Fried Green Tomato

Late Spring and early Summer is the prime time to find green tomatoes at the Farmers Market. What exactly are green tomatoes? There are two types of green tomatoes, those that are green when fully ripe (generally heirloom varieties), and unripe tomatoes. Here are two recipes for a favorite dish using this seasonal fruit.

Fried Green Tomatoes

1 cup stone-ground cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 pinch cayenne

1 1⁄2 cups buttermilk

kosher salt

fresh ground black pepper

4 large unripe tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices, ends removed

1⁄2 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

hot pepper sauce, for serving

lemon wedge, for serving

 

In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, garlic powder, and cayenne together.

Pour the buttermilk into a separate bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Dip the tomatoes in the buttermilk and then dredge them in the cornmeal mixture, coating both sides well.

Place a large cast iron skillet over medium heat and coat with the oil.

When the oil is hot, pan-fry the tomatoes (in batches if necessary) until golden brown and crispy on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

Carefully remove the tomatoes and drain on paper towels.

Serve with hot pepper sauce and lemon.

 

Crunchy “Baked” Fried Green Tomatoes

4 large firm green tomatoes

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon Kosher salt, more for sprinkling

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cup Panko Bread Crumbs

Pam Cooking Spray or olive oil for drizzling

Slice tomatoes 1/8 inch thick. On a large plate mix flour, salt, and pepper. Place yogurt and buttermilk on a second plate, and Panko Bread Crumbs on a third plate. Coat tomatoes with the flour mixture, then the yogurt – buttermilk mixture (you may want to put the yogurt in a small bowl so that dipping them is easier), then the Panko Bread Crumbs.

Place coated tomatoes on a cookie sheet and spray with Pam Cooking Spray liberally on both sides or drizzle them on both sides with olive oil. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 7 minutes on one side then flip them over and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with extra salt and serve warm.

 

Buttermilk dipping sauce: 

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup mayonnaise

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon chopped chives

hot sauce

In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chopped chives and stir to combine. Add a few dashes of hot sauce to taste. Chill until ready to serve.


 

Posted on

Farmers Market

The Waco Downtown Farmers Market offers FREE cooking demonstrations using farm fresh ingredients from their vendors. Enjoy these recipes from our demonstration on March 4th using many ingredients available early spring.

Waco Downtown Farmers Market Logo
Waco Downtown Farmers Market Saturdays 9 am – 1pm

Pumpkin Bread French Toast

  • half a loaf of pumpkin bread or zucchini bread, sliced thickly (about 6 pieces), The Wine Maker’s Pantry
  • 3 eggs, Various Vendors
  • ½ cup whole milk, Richardson Farms
  • a splash of Nielsen Massey vanilla **
  • Cinnamon honey syrup, recipe follows
  1. Whisk the eggs, milk, and vanilla together. Heat a nonstick or oiled skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Dip each piece of pumpkin bread in the mixture and soak for about 20 seconds. Let excess drip off, then transfer to the hot skillet and fry for a few minutes on each side (and repeat if needed) until both sides are golden brown and almost crispy (but the insides will still be soft).
  3. Serve with Cinnamon Honey Syrup.

Cinnamon Honey Syrup

  • 3⁄4 cup honey, Round Rock Honey
  • 1⁄2 cup butter
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground Ceylon cinnamon**

Heat all ingredients in 1-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until warm.

Herbed Pecan Pesto:

  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves, Various Vendors
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans , Pecan Shop
  • 4 cloves garlic, Various Vendors
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup olive oil, Texas Hill Country Olive Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1 pinch ground black pepper to taste **

Blend the basil, pecans, garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt, and pepper together in a food processor until the mixture becomes a slightly chunky paste.

Bowl of Vegetable Soup and a slice of bread topped with Pesto
Farmers Market Soup

Farmer’s Market Italian Soup

  1. In a heavy bottom pot, heat 1 tbs olive oil over medium high heat. Add in the sausage and brown , about 5 minutes. Put the sausage aside on a plate.
  2. Add more oil, the carrots, celery, leeks and onions. Add in 2 tsp salt and 21 tsp pepper. Cook over medium heat, scraping up any brown bits from the sausage on the bottom of the pot, and stirring occasionally. Cook until the onions turn translucent, about 10 minutes.
  3. When the onions have turned translucent, and the vegetables have cooked through, add in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Then add in the can of diced tomatoes, bone broth, sausage, and thyme. Cook over low heat, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Add in the spinach (or other leafy green).
  4. Add in pasta. Stir and continue cooking until pasta is cooked, 5 – 10 minutes depending on type of pasta.
  5. Taste to see if it needs more salt and pepper.
  6. Serve it topped with herbed pesto and warm bread.
  7. Will keep in an air tight container for 1 week in the fridge. Can be frozen for up to 6 months.

** Ingredients available at Gourmet Gallery

Posted on

Making Marshmallows

The Making of Marshmallows & Memories – Family Holiday Traditions

By Karyn Miller

Reprint from October 2013

 

The scents of the cool fall air always spark different emotions and trigger memories for me. As a child, once the Trick-or-Treat candy was consumed (or otherwise mysteriously disposed of), my family got to work on the next series of events. Football, Homecoming, a few fall birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day inspired us and gave us all something pleasing to anticipate.

My father owned and managed retail businesses during my youth. He worked six days a week as long as I can remember, holidays being the rare exception. Mom taught high school homemaking and was a foodie before the word existed. While she managed to deliver some amazing meals for us despite the limited help from her industrious husband and her three indolent children, her magic really sparkled when the cool weather and fall fog rolled into town. From homemade hot chocolate to the best pralines ever, from candied orange peel (still not my favorite) to sand tarts and divinity, Mom’s greatest gifts flowed forth from kitchen. For our family, holiday traditions focused on these sweets and other favorite foods.

My daughter and I rely happily and heavily on those holiday traditions from my mother’s kitchen. With the first breath of chilly air, we make homemade hot chocolate just like we did when I was a kid – that perfect combination of chocolate with the tiniest pinch of salt and spice. After I pour it into mugs, my daughter Molly mounds marshmallows so high that it takes half an hour to get to the beverage. By the time the marshmallows are gone, she and I are halfway through another longstanding family holiday tradition, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.” Never a drop of hot cocoa remains in either of our cups by the end of the show.

One of our newer traditions is to make our own marshmallows – not for the ordinary cold night hot chocolate, but as holiday gifts for teachers and friends, and of course, as a gift to ourselves. The recipe isn’t difficult, but it is time-consuming and messy. And worth every bit of waiting, togetherness, powdered sugar, and fun. That time together is the stuff that holidays are made of, the stuff I remember as a kid with my brother and sister.

Thanks to a mother who was and is a fabulous cook, both of my siblings and I love cooking and eating good food, bantering and being silly with each other; so, what many might view as an onerous tasks in the kitchen I see as luxurious indulgences when we truly take the time to create good food and good memories. I savor the hours “slaving” in the kitchen, even if I complain about how little time we have to sleep, to relax, and to relish the season. Despite my family’s mutual admiration of all things food and all things cooking, our holiday season typically starts with the same friendly sibling argument:

“What are we doing for Thanksgiving this year?”

“I don’t know. I don’t even know what I’m having for dinner tonight.”

“How about turkey?”

“I don’t want turkey this year.”

“How about ham?”

“I don’t like ham.”

“Fine. I’ll ask Gary.”

“Gary, are you and Beth in town for Thanksgiving this year?”

“I think so. I don’t know. You’ll have to ask Beth.”

Aaaaarghhhh! Thus the holiday tradition in the Miller family begins. Eventually my sister and I will congregate over a glass of wine and talk about our plans through the season. We ponder over recipes, menus, new and old favorites. Finally we emerge with our Thanksgiving dinner plan, typically a mix of a new twist on a turkey we likely found in Bon Appetite, our grandmother’s traditional Southern Dressing, Gary’s Potatoes Dauphin, Beth’s rolls, something green (changes every year), a variety of pies, and of course, Mom’s pralines. Perhaps we should just keep that same menu every year, but then we would lose the traditional pre-holiday argument I have come to anticipate and enjoy.

I “interviewed” my daughter before writing this article to find out what she considers her favorite family holiday traditions to be. Without any prompting she said, “Grandma’s pralines. Grandma makes the best pralines ever.” Next she mentioned hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows. She even mentioned how her Aunt Caryl and I have to wrangle over our holiday dinners and gatherings.

She mentioned how she loves for our whole family to get together, usually after New Year’s, to have our official family Christmas where each family member gets to open his or her gifts one by one for all to see. I don’t know why, but it surprised me that Molly defined her holiday traditions and memories so similarly to the way I define mine.  I realized we all have our own traditions – an imperfectly perfect blend of all the traditions that have graced and cursed us through the years. I can only hope she is so lucky with her own family someday.

Mollymallows

Molly and Karyn’s traditional homemade marshmallow recipe for gift-giving and hot cocoa.

4 envelopes unflavored gelatin

1 ½ c water

2 ½ c white sugar

½ c brown sugar

1 ¼ c light corn syrup

¼ t salt

½ t cinnamon

2 t vanilla extract

½ c confectioners’ sugar

½ c cornstarch

Combine confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside.

Line a large jellyroll pan with lightweight foil. Spray with vegetable spray and dust pan lightly with sugar-cornstarch mixture.  Set pan aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, soften gelatin with ¾ c water.

Place the white and brown sugars, corn syrup, salt, cinnamon, and ¾ c water in a heavy saucepan. Stir to mix well. Bring to a boil and cook over high heat until the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage (234-240°F). After it reaches the soft-ball stage, remove pan from heat and add vanilla. The mixture will be dark at this stage.

With the whisk attachment and the mixer at high speed, slowly pour the hot syrup mixture into the gelatin until the mixture is very stiff. This takes about 15 minutes. The mixture will fluff up and turn almost white.

Pour the mixture into the foil-lined pan and smooth the top with a well-oiled spatula. Allow the mixture to sit, uncovered, at room temperature for several hours, overnight it usually best.

Light sprinkle some of the cornstarch-sugar mixture over a cutting surface. Turn the stiffened marshmallow mixture out onto the cutting surface. Dip a slightly oiled cookie cutter into the remaining cornstarch-sugar mixture, and cut the marshmallows into shapes. Drop freshly-cut marshmallows into cornstarch mixture, then store in an airtight container.

These make beautiful homemade gifts, especially when combined with a cup of homemade cocoa mix and a peppermint stick in a mug.

Variations: Chocolate marshmallows, chocolate-cayenne, peppermint marshmallows, coconut marshmallows. Call me for more ideas or for specific recipes for these. Enjoy.

Posted on

The Accidental Fried Chicken Salad

It all started with my trying to improve on the proven. Family gathering coming up, and I wanted to make the ULTIMATE fried chicken–being the matriarch and all. Surely the recipe from one of the top Food Network chefs would be the ticket! SO—I bought a large cast iron chicken fryer from “you know where,” bought just the right sizes of Organic Chickens to the tune of $3.00+ per pound along with a large amount of Crisco, buttermilk, and fresh flour. (Flour gets stale if you don’t cook anymore than I do, and you forget to put it in the freezer.)  The instructions read to be sure to keep the cooking fat at a steady temperature. Borrowed a cooking thermometer and  I was ready.

After work on Saturday I began the process of making this perfect fried chicken. I learned from my grandmother that chicken needs to be put in salty water–brining, it’s called now. Buttermilk, salt, some 
seasonings  All set for the first step toward perfection. Place chicken pieces in the mixture. Refrigerate overnight. Done.
The next day all the ingredients were assembled:  Crisco melting in the pan, thermometer clipped to the side of the fryer, chicken drained and dipped in the flavored flour. When the Crisco reached the appropriate temperature, I strategically placed the chicken into the frying pan. Temperature watched carefully to be sure it is steady, letting brown, turning (h-m-m–seems to be getting a little TOO brown at that temp, but must follow directions.)
Eventually, all the chicken had been fried, and after it had cooled, I took a bite–Yum? NO-O-O! Yuck! TOO SALTY!!!!! We had to order TAKE-OUT. But I couldn’t throw all of that expensive chicken into the trash. SO–Strip off the skin and crust, debone, boil in fresh water three times, shred, add chopped hard-cooked eggs, finely chopped celery, dill relish, mayonnaise and a few red grapes, and, believe it or not, just a little salt. Delicious! Just what I had in mind in the first place.

Thus my recipe for Accidental Chicken Salad. Enjoy! But as for fried chicken, I’ll go back to doing it the way I ‘ve done it for 60+ years.
Posted on

How About Pancakes?

by Jo Ann Miller (Karyn’s mom)

Well, how about them? You’ve probably eaten some version of them most all of your life, and  have not given  a second thought to the fact that this quick bread has been around on this earth about as long as any food made with grain. Crushed grain mixed with a liquid and baked on a hot stone was probably the first pancake (or stonecake.) In the United States we call them flapjacks, pancakes, griddlecakes or hotcakes. They may be made with white, wheat, oat or buckwheat flour. Johnnycakes are a variation made with ground corn. Different names in different countries: French crepes, German Pfannkuchen, The Netherlands Pannekoekenk, Swedish pannkakor and on and on and on. If you are interested in all the variations in all the world, Check http://en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancakes.

My experience with them started when I became engaged. I was teaching a Home Economics class, and one of my students wanted to know how to make pancakes. I confessed that I had never made them,  He said, “Well, Miss Orr, if you are getting married, you’d better learn.” This was good advice since pancakes were my husband’s favorite food. And I’ve made many a pancake in the last 55+ years. They are quick, easy, versatile and so wonderfully delicious in so many different variations.

After we had children we had pancakes EVERY Sunday Morning. Pancakes, sausage and syrup. It’s our tradition!! When we had company, I would simmer sliced apples or peaches with butter, cinnamon and sugar.. Just slather THAT on the pancake for a company meal! Throw in a few blueberries to the batter before baking. Sprinkle some chopped pecans on the top when the pancake is poured on to the griddle. We had orange, thyme pancakes at a B&B in Maine; my friend makes wonderful ones from a biscuit mix. There are as many ways to make and serve as there are kitchens–almost.

On Shrove Tuesday, March 8, beginning at 8:30 a.m. we will be serving the British Isles version of pancakes along with some American ones from my “old family recipe.” (Come and enjoy. No confessions required.)

The following is the British Isles pancake recipe:

1 cup flour
2 eggs
2 cups milk
Pinch of salt
Butter for cooking

Whisk together milk, eggs and salt.
Fold in sifted flour a little at the time and whisk until smooth.
Let rest for 10 minutes.
Heat a small amount of butter in a small skillet until it almost smokes.
Pour enough batter to thinly coat the pan.
Cook until lightly brown. Turn and brown on the other side.
Serve with lemon juice and sugar.
Note: the first one will be a disaster. It’s the “one for the dog.” The first one seasons the pan.
(Our neighbor always said that kids are like pancakes. You practice on the first one and pitch it out.)

My basic recipe is as follows:

l cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons cooking oil

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together all dry ingredients.
In a smaller bowl or a large measuring cup mix the milk, egg and cooking oil.
Pour liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and stir. Do not over mix, Mixture will have some lumps. Let rest about 5 minutes.
Drop by spoonfuls on a preheated griddle (about 375F.) that has a bit of cooking oil to prevent sticking.
Turn when light to medium brown and cook on other side to desired doneness. Remember that the first one seasons the pan, and the others will be better. To keep hot while cooking the entire batch, place a cookie sheet in a warm oven and place cooked cakes on that. That way maybe the cook can eat when everyone else eats.
Serve with butter, syrup, jams, jellies–with any of the variations mentioned or any other food that strikes your fancy.