Everyday Gourmet

Everyday Gourmet
We've got a whisk, and we know how to use it!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

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.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Devil in Deviled Eggs and How to Exorcise Them

 Deviled Eggs, it seems to me, are THE most popular item at a picnic or a cocktail party. At Eastertime we all start making them because of so many dyed hen eggs. This past Easter I began to think about "The Deviled Egg." (My grandson observed that at Eastertime, perhaps they should be call angel eggs.) Why the name "deviled"? Wikipedia connects this dish to deviled ham, and maybe that is true. However, after much contemplation (at least 30 minutes) I think the name derives from the fact that, unless certain procedures are followed, the are the "devil" to prepare. And that leads me to the real intent of this blog: How to Take the Devil Out of Deviled Eggs.

Many people contributed to these instructions. And here are the "secrets."
1. Do not start with fresh eggs.
2..Make a small hole in the larger end of the eggs.
3. Place eggs in a sauce pan and cover with tap water.
4. Add salt. Just a tablespoon, may be two.
5. Bring to a boil.
6. Remove from  heat, cover and let sit for 15 minutes--or 12 or 13--just not too long..
7. Drain quickly and shake pan to crack shells.
8. Put eggs in a bowl or pan of ice and water and allow to cool.
With any luck the devil will have been exorcised and the shells will just peel right off.
This blogger does not guarantee smoothly peeled eggs, but if you do all of the above, at least you will know you have done your very best.

I am more confident about what to do next:
Cut in half either lengthwise or crosswise (if crosswise, cut a little of the white from each end so that the egg half will sit straight).
Remove yolks, mash and mix something really yummy with the yolks and refills the halves. I like mayonnaise--real--dill, a little vinegar or dill pickle juice and celery seed.

Some other suggestions for the yummy "stuff" as in stuffed:
From JOY OF COOKING--2006 Edition:
Mayonnaise or cream or sour cream or butter with vinegar and sugar or pickle juice. Season to taste with salt, pepper, mustard, red pepper, curry powder, jalopenos or other peppers.
Other additions: anchovy, caviar, curry powder, crumbled bleu cheese, chopped chive, tarragon,  parsley or, basil, salsa,  etc,
And more specifically, two recipes from "Bon Appetit."

Chipotle Deviled Eggs
12 large eggs
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 to 3 teaspoons finely chopped canned chipotle chiles*
24 fresh cilantro leaves

Place eggs in large saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover. Bring to simmer over high heat. Reduce hear to low; simmer gently 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand  10 minutes. Drain eggs; cover with ice and water and let stand until cold.

Peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Spoon yolks into small bowl; arrange whites on platter. finely grate yolks on small holes of of box grater into medium bowl. Mix in mayonnaise, the 2 teaspoons chopped chipotle chilies. Add more chopped chilies, if desired, for more hear. Season filling to taste with salt, if desired. Using pastry bag fitted with 1/2 inch-diameter star tip, pipe filling into egg whites. Cover and Chill eggs at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. Press l cilantro leaf into filling each egg and serve.

* Substitute the Homestead Chipotle Mayonnaise available at Gourmet Gallery.

Eggs Stuffed with Smoked Salmon and Caviar

3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 fresh lemon juice
12 ounces thinly sliced cold-smoked salmon, finely chopped
1/4 cup salmon caviar
12 hard-boiled eggs, shelled,  halved, whites and yolks separated

Additional chopped chives
Lemon wedges
Assorted fresh herb sprigs

Line rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. Blend 3 tablespoons chives, oil and lemon juice in medium bowl. Mix insmoked salmon. Fold in caviar. Chop four egg yolks (reserve remainder for another use) and stir into salmon mixture. Season to taste with ground pepper. Pile 1 generous tablespoon salmon mixture in cavity of each egg-white. Arrange eggs on prepared sheet. Cover with plastic; refrigerate up to 8 hours.

Place eggs on platter. Sprinkle with additional chives. Garnish with lemon wedges and herb sprigs.
"Bon Appetit". August 2004. p.83

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Cemetery Picnic

(from Picnics I Remember by Jo Ann Miller)

On the fourth Saturday in June, which was always seemed to be the hottest day of the year, we went to the Maple Grove Picnic. All of my Orr relatives were there, too—dead and alive. What I have attended and endured all of my life is the outgrowth of an old tradition to honor ancestors. In the old days in the country in East Texas graveyards were “worked” in the summer after the crops were Laid By. (I don’t remember when we started calling graveyards “cemeteries”.) Initially the clean-up was done on Friday or Saturday with everyone taking a piece of fried ham, a hunk of cold cornbread and a watermelon to share with the other people who came with their rakes and hoes to clear the grass and weeds that had grown up during the spring.

Eventually, full-blown picnics evolved. The work was done on Friday or Saturday, and picnics were held the following day—from about 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. or so if on Saturday, or after preaching if on Sunday. The girls got new dresses and shoes. (Once my cousin, Susie, sat in the car all the day of the picnic because she didn’t like the shoes Aunt Esther had bought for her.)We looked forward to the “all-day singing and dinner on the ground” or on the picnic tables. If the event was held on Sunday, nothing was sold, but any other day there was a STAND with sody water, lemonade and homemade ice cream. Children spent their nickels and dimes there and their quarters to have their pictures taken. During an election the game was to see how many different candidates’ cards one could get.

My families have ancestors buried at Pine Grove, the oldest church in Rusk County, at Concord Cemetery and at Maple Grove. One of the largest cemeteries in our part of the county is at Shiloh, a church and cemetery on SH 315 between Carthage and Mount Enterprise. People from our community who had moved to Texas from South Carolina began using this burial ground in the 19th century. The tradition in the community was to go to Shiloh on July 4th   At one church there was Gospel Singing, requiring a piano and in the other church Sacred Harp singing, no musical instrument required.

However, all that said, the FOOD was the main event. I checked with friends and relatives to see what they remembered their mothers and grandmothers taking to the cemetery on that special day. Here are some of the good foods that we remembered:

Fried chicken                                                           Chicken pie
Fried ham                                                                 Pork sausage
Chicken and dumplings                                        Butter beans
Macaroni and cheese                                            Pimiento cheese sandwiches
Sliced fresh tomatoes                                           Pickled peaches
Sweet cucumber pickles                                      “Light bread”
Watermelon rind pickles                                      Iced tea                                            
Raisin pies                                                                 Fried peach and apple pies
Chocolate pies                                                         Pineapple cake
Coconut pies                                                            Fresh berry cobbler
Peach cobbler

These gathering have changed through the years. This year we’ll gather at Maple Grove on the first Sunday in October. No stands to sell soda, ice cream, no political candidates, no new dresses and hats, no singing, no day before to clear grass and weeds, but the food remains much the same although the ones who prepare it are children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren or even great-great grandchildren of those who once prepared the feasts or brought from Bob’s Barbecue or Chicken on the Run. 

Through the years the meaning of the gathering has remained the same—to honor those men and women who gave us life and who deserve our respect and devotion. We still do that with gusto.


1 pkg (7  oz) elbow macaroni
½ stick real butter
1 egg, beaten
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
3 cups milk(1 large can Pet evaporated and about 1 ½  cups regular milk, warmed
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Cook pasta. Add melted butter, beaten egg, salt & pepper. Add milk and cheese and stir. Pour into casserole, about 2 qt. and bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Put more cheese on top before it is done and let it melt.
*This recipe was always a hit at the picnic as well as at our family gatherings. Aunt Gene was blinded by a tear gas bomb lost from a car that had been parked at Uncle Arlen’s store. A little boy found the fountain pen-like device, and as she examined it, the thing exploded, blinding her. She regained partial sight from a plastic cornea transplant many years later. In the meantime she re-taught herself to cook by feel and smell. Her daughter, Carolyn says, “Everything she made was good and I think it got better after she was blinded. She loved to cook—it was her passion—and Daddy loved to eat.”

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Looking at the Wild Northwest

This Spring  (June 18-25) Gourmet Gallery is sponsoring a Wine, Food and Sightseeing Tour to Washington and Oregon. Not since Lewis and Clark who travelled there as representatives of the United States government has there been so much excitement about going there.  Our transportation to the area will be faster. Consequently, we'll  be able to cover much more territory. Landing in Seattle, Washington on June 18, we will have an orientation tour of the city including the waterfront, the downtown financial district, the Pioneer Square Historic Distrist and the Seattle Center. After checking into the hotel, the rest of the day is free. Downtown hotels are within walking distance of Pioneer Historial Center and other attractions. If we stay at a hotel on 5th Street, we will be about 4 blocks from Pike's Pub. I'm sure there are other fun places around, too. When I googled (the new verb) this pub, I found a map showing hotels, sight-seeing, and restaurants.  Google Red Lion Hotel and see the map.

Three nights in Seattle will allow time for several wonderful experiences. We'll taste wines at Chateau Ste. Michelle, visit Pikes Place Market and go up in the Space Needle for wonderful view of the city, and have a dinner at a local restaurant. All of these are included in the tour.

And on the third day-- we will drive along the shores of Puget Sound to Olympia, the capital of Washington. Next stop is the Mt. St. Helen's Visitors Center to learn about the May, 1980 eruption. We'll spend the night in Portland, Oregon's largest city. Portland is  the city of roses. Our tour of the city will highlight the waterfront, and the International  Rose Test Gardens. On the fourth day we will  drive through the beautiful Oregon coastal Range to visit the town of Tillamook, home of Tillamook Cheese. We'll travel along the scenic coast and arrive in Newport, Oregon, in time for a Clam Bake.

And on the fifth day--Two exciting adventures awair--We will be immersed in the mystery of the ocean at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, and in the afternoon we board giant dune buggies to travel over miles of sandy terrain.

The sixth day--Visit wineries in the wonderful heart of pinot noir area, and return to Portland. This evening is free. Let's see what we can find to do! I don't know where we will be staying, but I have found a website that lists things to do in Portland. Let me see if I can--Well, just type in "Farm to Table Dining." You'll find a plethora of wonderful-sounding places for dining. Surely we be able to find some innteresting and delicious food there.

Day seven will take us to Mt. Hood. We will go to the Timberline Lodge, a National Historic Landmark, on the south side of the mountain, We will have an elegant lunch in the Cascade Dining Room. From there we will drive northward to the Hood river Valley and Columbia River, visit a winery and arrive back in Portland.

Last day--Breakfast at the "Original Pancake House" (if available). Check out at the hotel and have a motorcoach ride to the airport for the flight back to DFW.

What a week!!

We'll wish you were there.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Why Taste Wine at a Wine-Tasting?

"Drink and be merry, for our time on earth is short, and death is forever." A Toast.

 Gourmet Gallery is planning a week's tour of Washington and Oregon in June, and there are seven wineries on the planned itinerary. What can we learn in that beautiful setting? When tasting, does one learn the language of wine? Will I be able to identify different flavors--is it peppery, fruity, buttery, full-bodied? If food and wine enhance each other, how is food paired with wine? I am setting out to learn  these things.

Since we are going to PINOR NOIR country, I have chosen to start with that wine. According to WINE LOVER'S COMPANION, the pinot noir grape is the red grape of Burgundy. It is genetically unstable which makes consistency in this vine extremely difficult. Oregon's long, cool growing season is conducive to the production of some acclaimed Pinot Noir wines. Kevin Zraly writes, "Pinot Noir is a white wine masquerading as a red wine....My favorite wine for lunch is Pinot Noir. Since most of us have to go to work after lunch, the light, easy-drinking style of a Pinot Noir will not overpower the usual luncheon fare of soup, salad and sandwiches. It is a user-friendly wine." Thanks, Jill, for this info about your favorite wine.

The Chateau Ste. Michelle winery in Woodenville, Washington has a good website that helps with food and wine pairing. Some suggestions for Pinot Noir are grilled salmon and tuna, smoked duck with a cherry sauce, smoked salmon, and because of the tannins and slight pepperiness of this wine, Asian foods such as Chinese barbecued pork ribs.

  Maybe I'll learn the answer to all my questions. Maybe I won't, but I plan to enjoy the journey.

Karyn suggested her recipe to go with the aforesaid wine. Let me know how you like this pairing.


2 tsp coarse salt
3/4 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
4 loin pork chops, about 1 1/4-inch thick

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. red onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 sweet red pepper, cut in julienne strips
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into julienne strips
2 tbsp. julienned orange zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

In a small bowl, stir together 1 1/2 tsp. of the salt with the sugar, thyme, allspice and pepper. Rub into pork chops.

For the marmalade, heat oil in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add onions, sprinkle with the sugar and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.  Add red pepper, carrot, and orange zest; cook about 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add orange juice and remaining salt and cook until liquid has evaporated and onion are glossy. Remove from heat.

Rub a grill with oil; gill chops about 4 minutes per side or until cooked through. Serve with onion marmalade.
Serves 4.

Blog assembled by Jo Ann Miller.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bed and Breakfasts That I Have Met

       In my limited travels I have met some good Bed and Breakfast Inns. On a short vacation to the coast of Maine my husband and I stayed in a lovely home, not luxurious, but lovely, near the town of York.We ate the obligatory lobster and waded in the cold Atlantic while the temperature in Texas was 100+, toured the town's old jail, put our heads and hands in the stocks that were meant to humiliate the law-breaker. Breakfast times provided good food and interesting conversations with a mix of people. Some were interested in our "take" on the U. S. Civil War since we were from the "South." The War gets fought over and over! The tour book had proclaimed this B&B breakfast an event. It was!  The most memorial dish was the ORANGE-THYME PANCAKES. I cannot remember the name of the inn, The travel book is packed away. The best I can do is to provide the recipe for the pancakes.

      Another good  B&B was The Hale House in Jefferson, Texas. Jill and Vaughan, our B&B lover friends, met us there for a mystery weekend in town. The dinner-mystery theatre was so-so, but the house had it's own ghost which added a nice dimension to our stay. AND for breakfast we were served FRUIT SOUP. That recipe is included.

        Good stops in Waco include Pam and Rick Allen's COLCORD HOUSE and the JUDGE BAYLOR HOUSE  owned and operated by Bruce and Dorothy Dyer. Both of these hosts/owners are gracious, accommodating, and the houses have ample room for eating and visiting.

        In my limited B&B experience I've met only one bad one. We were trying to save money. We didn't. My husband went out for breakfast every morning. The breakfast at the inn consisted of cereal in a bowl whose sanitation was suspect or toast, coffee and maybe orange juice from a carton. The rooms were unbearably cold. I have forgotten the name. I haven't even tried to remember. I just remember the adage--"You get what you pay for."

Orange Thyme Pancakes
Recipe modified from several sources on the internet.
2 c all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 salt
1/4 c sugar
1/2 t  ground thyme (or 1 t dried thyme)
1 3/4 c orange juice
2 eggs
1/4 melted butter

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Beat eggs in a separate bowl. Add orange juice and melted butter and mix well. Stir liquids into the dry ingredients. If batter seems stiff, add a little more orange juice. Do not over mix. Drop batter on griddle by spoonfuls. Turn when bubbles start to form on top. Serve with maple syrup or try with the Maple and Orange Pancake Sauce.

Maple and Orange Pancake Sauce
1/2 c maple syrup
1/2 c brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 c butter
Juice and grated peel of 2 oranges

Put the maple syrup into a small, heavy-based sauce pan. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir over low hear until smoothly blended and warm. Serve immediately.

Tropical Fruit Soup
Recipe from the Hale House
1 large can crushed or tidbit pineapple, with juice
1 can Coco Lopez 1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 cup water
Bananas, kiwi and/or strawberries
1/2 c toasted almonds for garnish and crunch

Combine first four ingredients in a blender. Blend 15-20 seconds. Chill overnight. When ready to serve, add sliced fruit. (I think some fresh blueberries and peaches would be good, too)

Please leave me a note and let me know of a good B&B--anywhere!!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Recipe for a Wonderful, Unexpected Vacation

by Jo Ann Miller (The Grandmother)

The following is a new recipe that I found over the weekend:

Gather a bunch of family (Your own mixture will work))
Mix together one State Mock Trial Competition for one day. (Almost any activity to bring you together)
The following cannot be changed:
Add at least 2 members not willing to go home after one day.
Mix in a spirit of adventure.
Stir up enthusiasm for finding an unbeaten path.
Results: A wonderful weekend.

All of this started with two grandsons participating in Mock Trial at Waco High. The team advanced to the State finals in Dallas. The Miller family, minus a few who had other things to do, went to Big D for the finals. By Friday Night we had all arrived and some of us found the way to Pappadeaux for a Mardi Gras dinner. (We choose to go there often when in "the city.") Mardi Gras celebration was in full swing. Lots of beads and lots of people. After a l-o-n-g wait we had crawfish etouffe, bacon-wrapped grilled shrimp stuffed with jalapena served over dirty rice, and  different desserts--turtle cheesecake and key lime pie.

To bed late and up early for the trial. Shivering we drove downtown, parked at the old Dallas County Court House and walked the George Allen Court House. Grandsons performed well and placed eighth in the state. Good work, David and Matthew, aka Buckeye Pawpaw.

Next stop--the free parking at Neiman-Marcus's valet lot and a visit to the Zodiak Room for a early lunch. We were treated to delicious chicken broth with a tiny cheese biscuit*, beautiful popovers with strawberry butter, shrimp and corn chowder, sliced chicken sandwich on ciabata and tiny shell pasta with a light alfredo sauce. Yum. Granddaughter tried on hats in Millinery, and then we were ready to head home.

BUT WAIT! Two of us wanted to delay that. And we did. We started searching at Waxahachie where we encountered a Mardi Gras parade and caught beads and doubloons, for a bed and breakfast. The Mother (the Final Decider) nixed the regular type hotel. All the way to Hillsboro we searched via cell phone,and took  a chance on finding a B&B at Whitney and Meridian. No luck. Undeterred the Grandmother suggested Glen Rose. Viola. Not a B&B but a hotel with a warmer atmosphere and better rates than the big city hotel.
So Glen Rose it was on a Saturday Night. We could have gone to a rodeo, but chose instead to go to the Texas Beer Garden and The Green Pickle. We had a surprisingly good Bleu Cheese Hamburger and, of course, fried pickles. And, of course, we drank beer and sat shivering in the Garden to hear some country music.That wasn't all! Next day we giggled our way through the Fossil Rim Wildlife Preserve where we fed emus, zebras, many different types of deer and giraffees.

Hopeful that we could have a light supper at Red Caboose Winery in Clifton, we stopped. Alas, no food, but a nice glass of one of their great reds and a close and delightful encounter with a Wire-haired Pointing Griffon named Bear Hug. We fell in love with him. And after that--home.

Thanks to the small towns in Central Texas for exciting adventures. There may not be a Mardi Gras Parade or a rodeo, but I would bet that with a little research, you will find great adventures  not too far away.

*Helen Corbitt's** Cheese Biscuit Recipe:

2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup grated sharp cheese
3/4 cup milk

Sift flour, baking powder, and slat together; cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Stir grated cheese into mixture. Ad all milk and mix to smooth dough. Turn out on lightly floured board. Knead lightly. Roll or pat 1/2 inch thick. Cut with biscuit cutter. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake  in very hot oven at 450 degrees F. for 12 to 15 minutes.
Note: For small biscuits cut with doughnut hole cutter.
**Helen Corbitt  was in charge of food service at Neiman Marcus for a number of years.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

And Even More Pancakes

Since writing the first ":Pancakes" blog, several pancake variations have come to our attention fLAVORS OF MOROCCO has a recipe for "Semolina Pancakes--beghir." These are served with honey and butter. From TAPAS to MEZE showcases two pancake recipes that are not the usual sweet treats. 'Shrimp and Green Onion Pancakes" are featured at Bodego La Alboriza in Seville. These pancakes, made with chickpea flour, are served with golden, deep-fried sardines. The other recipe from this source is "Chickpea, Olive Oil and Cumin Pancakes." These cakes, crispy and brown, are cut into wedges, drizzled with flavorful olive and sprinkled with freshly ground black pepper.

In the vein of savory as well as sweet, pancakes, Julia Child,  Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck  give us the paths to crepes for desserts AND crepes for entrees. Crepe rcipes for the main dish with a variety of filling such as spinach, cream cheese, mushrooms, chicken, cooked fish, shellflish, veal, ham with added vegetables using appropriate sauces are in their first cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  Desserts crepes are in the cookbook with detailed instructions for making crepes ala Julia.

Having a concern for our friends who have an intolerance for gluten, I tried oat flour pancakes. I didn't find oat flour at the grocery, I made my own in a food processor. Let me just say that the oat flour pancakes that I made have a lot of fiber!!! There are recipes galore on the internet for gluten-free baking, and your grocery store has some mixes on the shelf. And what about Johnny Cakes? Would that be a gluten-free choice?  Help me here.

Some of  the pancake recipes mentioned  follow:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions, white and green parts
3/4 cup chickpea flour*
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Large pinch cayenne pepper
8 ounces small fresh shrimp, shelled and finely chopped
1 1/2 cup cold water
Olive oil for frying
Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the green onions and cook, covered until soft, about 3 minutes.
Combine the chickpea and all-purpose flours, baking powder, salt and pepper.
Add the green onions, parsley, cumin, cayenne, shrimp and water. Stir well. The batter should be the consistency of very heavy cream. Let rest1 to2 hours at room temperature.
Heat the oil 1/4 inch thick in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Drop 2 tablespoons of batter into the oil. spreading it out to form a 2 1/2 inch pancake. (Put as many pancakes as the pan will hold with them touching.)  Fry until golden brown, turning once, 2 minutes on each side. Repeat with the remaining batter. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately..
This is served with fino, a fine sherry.
*Chickpea flour is available at any health food store. Chickpeas were introduced to the Spaniards by the Moors.

1 cup stone ground cornmeal 
1 cup boiling water--add only enough to make a rather thick mixture
1/2 teaspoon salt 
Milk--1/2 to 1 cup
Butter, bacon fat or oil for frying
Whisk together cornmeal and salt.  Bring water to a boil and pour over the mixture, whisking to prevent lumps. Let the batter rest for 10 minutes.
Butter or oil a large skillet or griddle and heat it to about 375 degrees, just to a sizzle (do not burn butter or oil.) Add enough milk (1/2 to a cup) to the batter to make it the consistency of mashed potatoes. Drop by spoonfuls to make cakes about 2 or 3 inches wide and several inches apart (they will spread.) Let the cakes gently sizzle on the grill for about 6 minutes or as long as 11 minutes until you bring them to a deep golden brown on the bottom and slightly firm on the top. Add some more butter to the griddle and/or place a thin pat of butter on each cake, before turning them over and cooking for another 6 minutes (or longer) until they are the deep golden brown color.
Serve with butter and maple.
Makes about 8 cakes.
Recipe borrowed and changed.

Think I'll go practice with these right now. Easier than doing a blog. I haven't quite caught on to all the computer stuff.
Call me about another pancake recipe--Orange-Thyme Pancakes.

Friday, February 18, 2011

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.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

If You REALLY Love Your Valentine, Cook at Home

I really love my Valentine. I love my Valentine so much that I want to stay home and have a wonderful, satisfying, delicious, meal. Of course, my Valentine is my 8-year-old daughter. She is, without question, the love of my life. And, at least for now, she loves me almost as much as I love her. She thinks I am beautiful. She is loyal. She is kind. She is worth everything I can give her on Valentine’s Day. So, I am making a special meal. Okay, so the meal is as much for me as it is for her, but I know she will love it, too. Here it is. (The exception will be that I will also make every kid’s favorite salad dressing – Ranch – but it WILL be homemade!) By the way, you can get the specialty ingredients at Gourmet Gallery in Waco. Stop by and let us help.

Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope you try this simple menu and I hope you enjoy a loving, if not romantic, dinner with your Valentine.

Mixed Greens with Truffle Mustard Vinaigrette
Filet Mignon with Vanilla Wine Sauce
Strawberry Meringue Torte

Mixed Greens with Truffle Mustard Vinaigrette
⅓ c grape seed oil
1 peeled shallot, thinly sliced
1 T truffle mustard
1 t parsley, finely chopped
1 T honey
3 T rice wine vinegar
3 T champagne vinegar
1 T dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together and toss with salad greens.

Filet Mignon with Vanilla Wine Sauce
from the Nielsen-Massey Cookbook, A Century of Flavor
Vanilla Wine Sauce
2 c organic beef stock
¼ c dry red wine
1 small onion, sliced in half
3 large sprigs of fresh marjoram or oregano
2 whole garlic cloves
1 t Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract (we like Nielsen-Massey)
1 ½ T tomato paste
1 t light brown sugar
2 T butter, softened

2 four-ounce 1 ½” thick steaks
Salt and pepper to taste
2 T olive oil

2 c sliced mushrooms
½ c clarified butter

Strawberry Meringue Torte
from the private recipe collection of JoAnn Miller
3 egg whites
½ t baking powder
1 c sugar
10 square (2”) soda crackers, rolled fine
½ c cut-up pecans
½ qt unsweetened strawberries
1 c chilled whipped cream

Heat oven to 300. Butter generously a 9” pie pan. Beat egg whites with baking powder until frothy. Gradually beat in sugar until whites are stiff. Fold in cracker crumbs and pecans. Spread in pie pan. Bake 30 minutes. Cool. Fill with strawberries. Chill several hours. Serve with whipped cream.
We sometimes make individual-sized portions by spooning meringue onto parchment paper before baking. Fill with sliced strawberries. Top with whipped cream or Gran Marnier Cream and some orange peel. It makes a beautiful presentation.