Thursday, September 18, 2014

Birthday Dinner & Football

Like most families, Bev grew up in one that insisted your birthday meal be something special and she still likes to do that – ala Pat’s recent meal.  She’d been asking me what I wanted and several things were considered but I finally decided I wanted something good but very easy for both of us with little mess.

And a couple of days before the meal, rotisserie chicken with vegetables, all cooked on the grill, showed up on Penny’s blog at Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen and it looked like a great solution to my meal criteria.

I decided to cook two chickens and followed the recipe laid out by another Penny on her Comforts of Home blog with a few adaptations – more thyme into the cavity and fresh thyme and rosemary into the veggies along with the Herbs de Provence.  Please stop by both Penny’s blogs for photos and recipes.

I prepared the chickens and added them to the spit butt-to-butt, tightly to keep the goodies inside - I tightened them after this shot and once during cooking.

Add the veggies to a disposable pan, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with herbs and toss to coat.

The main idea behind this recipe is to follow these direction – “Place a disposable pan underneath the chicken filled with sliced potatoes, carrots and leaks,” so the drippings can season them and it is a great idea, but I failed to look at my grill closely prior to cook time.  As it turned out, my spit was not high enough to let the pan sit on the grill grates and I had to set it clear down on the burners.

Unfortunately this put them below the heat and I improvised by putting them over low, direct heat and added a separate pan to catch the dripping which I added to the veggies as they cooked - this did require them to be turned regularly.

I cooked the chicken to an internal breast temperature of 165*-170* and it turned out moist and tender.  Unfortunately, by the time I relocated the veggie, there was not enough time to get them totally cooked when the chicken was done.  We just picked out the more tender pieces and I thought they were very good, especially the leeks.

It was a good and easy meal, but the chicken needed more flavor so next time I’ll brine it and put flavorings under and on the skin, and I'll cover the pan with foil and start the veggies over direct heat sooner – removing the foil when the veggies begin to get tender.

It was a fine birthday (68 if you're wondering) and special by my standards - surrounded by loved ones, no demands made upon me, getting to do just what I wanted, and a good meal - not sure it gets much better.  Getting to do what I wanted mainly meant watching college football and WVU’s win over Maryland – it was ugly and frustrating to watch, but still a win.  Unfortunately, that evening, Tennessee’s young team, especially the offensive line, was totally manhandled by Oklahoma - WVU will likely have a similar experience this week.  Since coach Nick Saban and I share a hometown, maybe I'll become a Bama fan or I've always liked Auburn.

I hope all of your birthdays are special and you get to do just what you want.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


9/13 – 9/14/14 meal date

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Steak, Green Beans, and Horses

The other night, I was in the mood for steak and Bev found some green bean bundles in the freezer from last year’s garden.  I grilled them both on the charcoal grill to get this.

We have a vacuum sealer and I continue to be impressed with the more-than-a-year-old food that we discover and eat.  The beans were as fresh and tasty as they would have been after just a month in the freezer and they were very good grilled - everything is better wrapped in char grilled bacon.  The steaks had been in there awhile as well and I consider the vacuum sealer a must for our lifestyle - we wore out a FoodSaver and now have a commercial grade one from Cabela's. 

On another subject, the small road to the dog groomer takes me through a rural area and past a couple of horse farms and on this trip I just happened to have the camera with me.  I can’t think of many views more serene than the horses leisurely grazing in a lush green pasture.

Another field contained a couple of moms and their little guys.

The farm belongs to Mike Wahl Performance Horses and I understand they train horses from around the world. 

In addition to the real farmers/ranchers, there are also a few gentleman farmers along the road - nary a critter inside their fenced area.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


9/6/14 meal date

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Humor - USRSF

I saw this on Facebook and being from both WV and TN, so after a chuckle, just had to post it here.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Chicken Marsala for Pat’s Birthday

We managed to let Pat’s (SIL) birthday slip by us and to make up for it, we offered to cook her a meal of her choosing and she selected chicken Marsala and invited four of her friends for the event.  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Easy Individual Tomato Pies

As summer and tomato season begin to wind down, it’s time to be sure we’ve eaten plenty of the good ones and this meal was to accomplish this goal.  I had something else in mind for breakfast but Bev wanted to make individual tomato pies using the recipe from the Roseville Bed and Breakfast courtesy of Suzanne Cook & Company.  We served them to the attendees at our RV rally in May and they went over well.  

 Tomato Pie – Slightly Adapted per our notes below

10 count inexpensive buttermilk biscuits
1 ½ cups of grated Monterey Jack/Colby grated cheese
1 cup Real Mayonnaise
Sliced tomatoes for 10 Biscuits
Grated Parmesan cheese
Salad Supreme by McCormick
Butter Pam
Dried Basil or Italian Seasoning 

Spray foil lined cookie sheet with Butter Pam.  Space biscuits and flatten.  Spray biscuits with Pam and sprinkle with basil.  Peel and slice tomatoes and place a slice on each biscuit.  Sprinkle tomatoes with Salad Supreme.  Mix Monterey Jack/Colby cheese with mayonnaise.  Put 1 tsp. on top of tomato and sprinkle heavily with parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees until biscuits are done (about 12 minutes).  Do not let the biscuit get too brown.  Do not be skimpy with spices.

Other Variations:
1. Place 6 raw shrimp on top of tomato before baking
2. Place 2 precooked slices of bacon on top of tomato
3. Place 2 asparagus spears on top of tomato
4. all of the above can be combined for a special tomato pie

Notes: For this version Bev used English muffins in lieu of biscuits so they needed more than a tsp. of the cheese/mayo mix.  She used a whole muffin for each one, but I think a half would have been plenty.  She also added some diced, uncooked country ham on top - call it variation 5 - and her basil was fresh.

They were once again outstanding and definitely worth your consideration before the season ends.  One was plenty but they are like Lay's Potato Chips and it's hard to eat just one.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


9/6/14 meal date

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Fish Meal With The Lusk’s

A year ago, we joined the local chapter of the FMCA called the Tennessee Travelers as a way of having monthly RVing opportunities and meeting new RVers the area.  We have met many fine people and invited one nearby couple over for a fish dinner - we knew it was a favorite of theirs.  Good friend, Joe, and SIL, Pat, also joined us.

We decided on a European style meal (several courses over an extended time) with a menu of raw oysters, chargrilled oysters, oysters Rockefeller, bread, fried crappie, slaw, hush puppies, and homemade peach ice cream.

We bought a box of oysters from the Shrimp Dock in Maryville and according to the box, they came from Sea Farms Inc. in Hudgins, VA so I assume they are from Chesapeake Bay. 

The first appetizer of raw oysters was served with Ina Garten’s Cocktail Sauce, lemon wedges, and saltines.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Adams & Myers Visit Almost Heaven South

We had met Betsy (Joyful Reflections) and George a couple of years ago while RVing in Crossville and of course the Myers are good friends so when Betsy expressed interest in meeting Dave (Big Daddy Dave), we invited both over for an afternoon on the dock.  Betsy agreed to be the official get-together photographer and blogger so I will only post about the food and her post will be up on 9/1 so please drop by her place.  The previous day, I had smoked some ABT’s for our wine group and decided I’d also smoke up some ribs for the dock meal and the menu was:

Appetizer - ABT’s  (stuffed jalapenos)
Main course – Ribs, pulled pork, slaw, chipotle baked beans, buns
Dessert - Tres Leches Cake, provided by the Myers