Friday, April 30, 2010

Taters And Eggs

I love when this happens. Bev got up about 8:30 the other day, and I offered to take her out for breakfast to which she declined. But I may have planted the idea of potatoes in her mind as she nearly always has them when we do go out. She headed for the kitchen and before I knew it she had whipped up a batch of fried taters and onions with diced jalapeno and cheddar cheese. Oh my, this is good eats. Of course I topped mine with a couple of fried eggs – one of which got a little damaged in transition and sided it with a little Canadian bacon & Czech sausage. I hate it about the egg as I was working on my presentation – note the parsley. Bev said she liked the pic that way and since I cut the eggs up and mix with the potatoes to eat them, nothing lost by the broken yolk. Here’s a couple shots of the process and my plate.

Just another breakfast here at Almost Heaven South. Thanks for stopping by.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Strawberries At Last

Like most places we live, there are some special benefits to living there, fresh shrimp on the gulf coast for example. One of the special treats for Almost Heaven South is a strawberry farm about 15 minutes from our house. I’ve always been a fan of them and have been spoiled by having access to berries that are good tasting varieties and are picked ripe, so they are sweeter and more flavorful than the commercial ones from the store. They grow several varieties that come in at different times over a 6-8 week period, so we can just pick the small quantities we plan to eat, then go get more. Here’s a shot of the ones Bev picked this morning, and the few I’ve eaten are soooo good. She picked a few that were now as ripe as she would have liked, but there had apparently been lots of pickers the last two days. These early ones are not quite as tasty as the later ones, but still light years better than those in the store.

I’d been saving the various strawberry recipes you’ve been posting so now it’s time to try a few. More to come.

Thanks for stopping by.


Wings And Hoecakes Ala Mary

Bev, her sis, Alex, and a couple more friends went off to South Pittsburg, Tn (about a 2 ½ hour drive) Sunday for the National Cornbread Festival, primarily for the crafts show, and even more specifically to buy some unique sun catchers from a vendor she knew would be there. Since I’d been there, done that, and been disappointed, they left me at home to tend the dogs and make supper - a win for everyone.

Earlier in April, Mary, from over at Deep South Dish, posted a recipe for Garlic Parmesan Wings that sounded delicious. I had some smoked wings in the freezer I wanted to eat, but since they were already cooked, I didn’t want to use the oven process. So I let the wings come to room temperature, made up the sauce in a skillet and just sauteed the wings enough to warm up the center and crisp up the skin.

While Bev was in Sint Maarten, she and the ladies ate Johnny Cakes on a regular basis and loved them. They are a deep fried cake of mostly flour with a little cornmeal . In mid April, Mary made Hoecakes to go with some greens and I thought they sounded delicious, then I decided it would also be nice to make up a batch so Bev could compare them to the Johnny cakes – although I knew they would be different. So we made them following Mary’s recipe except I only had self rising cornmeal and used it and omitted the baking powder. This also seemed like a perfect dish for folks who spent several hours at the Cornbread Festival and didn't eat any.

We added some asparagus with sesame, citrus sauce using a Paula Deen recipe and here's my plate.

We thought the chicken sauce was very good but it was overwhelmed by the smokiness of the wings. We will make them again in the oven as prepared in Mary's original recipe, but we'll stick to deep frying or grilling the smoked ones and using the highly flavorful wing sauce on them. The hoe cakes were also very good and just what we expected but, according to the girls, too different from the Carribean Johnny Cakes to make a comparison - we kicked them up with some honey, cinnamon butter I'd made the other day. The asparagus was pretty good, but now that we've had it deep fried it will be hard for another way to compare - except maybe in eggs of course. Thanks Mary for another good dinner.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Azaleas – The Main Event

Before I get into landscaping, do you know how to cure a stuffy nose? According to Alex, you drink Texas Pete Hot Sauce, which she did yesterday evening after being out all afternoon soliciting sponsors for a walk-a-thon. Now this is a kid who says she doesn't like spicy food yet drinks hot sauce from the bottle. I'm obviously way out of touch with modern medicine :) - maybe she's ready to be an honorary Cajun. Now for Azaleas.

When we were landscaping Almost Heaven South, Bev and I both agreed on lots of azaleas – we love the spring color and their being an evergreen. We knew going in that we planned to live here forever and were willing to wait for beautiful shrubs plus I did not want to dig big planting holes in hard red clay. So rather than buy one 3 gallon plant in prime springtime for $15.99, we waited until late spring and bought 10 one gallon plants on sale for $15.99. As a result, we have lots of them around and they put on a big show every spring – here are a few shots. Click on the photo for a better view.

This is pink snow under the bloom-dropping cherry tree.

A bush in the woods.

Every once in awhile, the red ones pop out while the white ones are still full, but not this year.

The front of the house. There are white ones in behind, but the pink ones out grew them.

I've been putting it off for a few years, but I think I must prune them all again this year.

Hope you enjoyed the show and my pics really don't do it justice.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Blackened Crappie Ala Dave

Thanks to our fishing friends, it’s been a long time since we’ve been without crappie. And since it’s Bev’s and her sister’s favorite fish, it’s what we eat most of the time when we want a white fish. After reading Dave’s blackening process over at My Year On The Grill, I’ve been into trying it, and so far have done only pork chops. So for this meal, it was blackened crappie.

We bought some Zatarains Blacken Seasoning and I kept looking in vain for their Cajun Seasoning for other dishes, only to discover they make a Creole but not a Cajun, that I could find. So I began digging around on line and first discovered there is a big difference between Creole and Cajun seasoning. Some of the Cajun ones are basically, red pepper, black pepper, salt and garlic. I found several recipes with more herbs and spices and discovered that Emeril’s Essence, which we use regularly, is a referred to as a Cajun blend, without the heat, and that all I needed to do was add about one part cayenne to four parts Essence and I’d have about the same blend as many of the recipes I found. So I mixed up a batch of Essence for general use and will add the cayenne at time of use. In reading labels, it appears the major difference between Cajun and blackening seasoning is the addition of chili powder to the latter.

Since we had the blackening seasoning on hand, I used it for the fish and I’ll use the kicked up Essence when Cajun is called for.

Knowing Alex likes her fish sautéed with a lemon, butter, caper sauce and is unlikely to like the blackened, that’s what we made for her and her sleepover friend. One of Bev’s most remembered meals was blackened salmon served atop a bed of pasta in lemon, butter, caper sauce at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, so after sautéing the girls fish, we made up a bigger than normal batch of the sauce, topped their crappie, and tossed the rest with pasta. The sauce recipe was to be 2 cups butter, 4 tbsp lemon juice (I added the zest as well), and 4 tbsp capers (I chopped them). I substituted white wine for one stick of the butter.

Here’s my plate and while the picture is very unimpressive, the meal was excellent. We frequently rate our meals as company quality, but I’d serve this if I owned a restaurant – we all loved it and I can’t wait to make it again.

Recap: Blackened cooking– 1 tbsp butter per 1 tsp seasoning. Pasta sauce – 1 ¾ cups butter, ½ cup white wine, 4 tbsp chopped capers, 4 tbsp lemon juice and zest of one lemon. I pound pasta. Give this a try and let me know what you think.

I'm getting a backlog of topics so decided to post these two together. We had blackened fish for dinner the night before, and I thawed two packages to be sure we had plenty and as a result, we had some left over. We decided to use them in fish tacos, which we’ve never made for some reason – and only eaten once before. I looked around at various recipes including some from you all and when I began reading them to Bev, she said she really wanted to do blackened fish – even though we just had it last night for supper. So I hunted around and found a recipe for blackened grouper that included an avocado puree onto the plate, topped with the fish then drizzled with chipotle lime sauce and it sounded perfect.

Here’s the recipe for the chipotle lime sauce:
· 1 cup sour cream
· 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
· 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
· 3/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
· 2 tablespoons chopped green onion tops
· Salt and ground pepper to taste
Whisk everything together in a bowl.

It tasted pretty limey by itself but was perfect on the taco.

Next we blackened the fish in a hot cast iron skillet just like last night.

I shredded some cabbage and sliced an avocado in lieu of the puree and Bev added a little red and yellow sweet pepper to the cabbage for pretty and we gave the tortillas a quick grill and spread the sauce over the entire top side – it was too thick to pour. Then to half of it, we added a layer of fish, then cabbage then avocado and they were delicious. I took several pictures and somehow ended up without them. I think they would have been some good shots too. At any rate, we loved the tacos for our first time ever making them.

Interestingly, just before I made up the sauce, we watched a cooking competition on Food Network and one of the winner's dishes was “Catfish tacos with cilantro lime slaw and chipotle cream sauce” – same basic flavors as we were using.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Living High On The Hog In St. Maarten

If you are a regular reader, you may remember Bev and her sister, along with another friend, spent the week at the beach in Mid March, while I held down the fort. They actually went to Sint Maarten, which is the Dutch part of a Caribbean Island- the other part is the French Saint Marten. Below are some pics of one of their favorite activities – watching the daily boat parade. As it turns out there are some pretty nice yachts moored there – Victoria’s Secret’s and Oprah Winfrey’s to name two. I’d just like to be able to afford the fuel for one, not to mention the full time crew – it’s hard to believe some folks have so much monetary wealth. Here's a shot of the beach where they stayed.

Obviously they don't know about the concept of "what happens in Sint Maarten, stays in Sint Maarten."

And now for the boat parade beginning with the dingy's.

Then moving up to the big boats.

And finally the one with the helicopter ferrying back and forth - sorry about the quality, but I had to show this baby. I'm not sure the power ball lotto winner could afford it.

For some reason, I'm thinking my el cheapo pontoon boat would not fit in too well with this group, but I still enjoy puttering around the lake on it. I guess you figured out it wasn't Bev and friends I was referring to in the title.

Have a great day and thanks for reading.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tuscan Tuna, White Bean and Avocado Salad

I'm getting a backlog of posts, so this is two post day.

Bev made this recipe from a Starkist ad in the newspaper and we both thought it was very good. First the recipe

10 oz chunk light tuna in water
½ cup diced red onion
1 tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
1 tbsp fresh chopped chives
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 cup cannelloni beans, drained
½ cup diced tomatoes
4 cups mixed greens
2 medium avocados

In a medium bowl, flake tuna with a fork and stir in next 8 ingredients. Fold in beans and tomato. Divide greens over four plates. Cut avocados in half, remove pit and remove flesh from skin using a large spoon. Place one avocado half over greens on each plate. Spoon tuna mixture into avocado halves, spilling some over the sides, and serve with baguette toast.

We didn't have any mixed greens on hand which would have made it prettier, but the romaine lettuce worked fine. Also, we made it both ways and while keeping the avocado intact makes for a better picture, it's easier to eat if you chunk or slice it. It is not only tasty but pretty healthy as well.

Have a good one.


Sweet Taters And Aigs

Do you like your sweet taters really done – cook them three times. I’d noticed some leftover ones in the frig and decided to have them for breakfast. They had already been steamed then grilled - see April 24, so I sautéed them in a little olive oil and butter along with some diced homemade Czech sausage, just enough to get everything hot.

I topped this off with a couple of fried eggs to get this.

I liked it much more than I thought I might - I'll make it again. The sausage and potatoes went well together, like bacon or sausage sided with syrupy pancakes and adding the egg was similar to how I normally eat pancakes. So the sweet potatoes became the pancakes with syrup and the sausage and eggs played themselves.

The folks from the garden project I've been helping with planted 300 each peppers and tomatoes yesterday and managed to get them in before the rains came. They now have about 300 feet each of corn and beans plus these plants in the ground.

The main part of day long storms that menaced the South yesterday, passed through Almost Heaven South about 2am this morning and while there was thunder, wind and heavy rain, we appear to have come through it ok. I hate it for those that had tornado damage.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Deep Fried Asparagus And Stuff

Let me preface this by saying, I have very high expectations for restaurant meals, cause I get pretty good ones at home. Here in the Knoxville area, there is a local restaurant that has become a local chain named Puleo’s Grill and after the funeral for Bev’s mom, that’s where she wanted to go, and like many places, sometimes you get a great meal and sometimes not. I had their seafood sampler and it was average from a fish standpoint, then my baked potato was cold and the pasta alfredo side had a flavor I didn’t care for. I had Bev’s leftover shrimp and grits for lunch the next day and really liked them. The one part of the original meal I thought was outstanding was the deep fried asparagus as it had the right spices and a great crispiness. I thought if only I could replicate the outside, with some really good, fresh asparagus on the inside, it would be awesome.

So for dinner, it was to be coconut shrimp, deep-fried asparagus, grilled sweet potato and three bean salad. The coconut shrimp recipe came from a friend of a friend of a relative of a friend in Texas and is as follows as we made it (I increased it for the larger amount of shrimp we cooked).

6 jumbo or colossal shrimp, butterflied
1 cup shredded coconut
¼ cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 cup all purpose flour
S&P to taste
1 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder
¼ cup coconut milk
½ cup liquid egg

Mix together flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder and put in a plastic bag (I used a gallon). You can also just dredge in the mix in a bowl.
Mix together coconut milk and egg.
Mix together panko, coconut and parsley.
Shake shrimp in bag to coat, dip in egg mixture, roll in coconut mix.
Deep-fry in 365* oil until golden brown – just a couple of minutes.

For the asparagus, I did a little research and found that most recipes contain celery salt and Puleo’s had a little heat, so this is what we did. We used a doctored version of the beer batter recipe from our neighbor, so it was:

1 cup self rising flour
1 beaten egg
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp celery salt
½ tsp cayenne
About ¾ can of beer (adjust to get the batter thickness you want)
Panko bread crumbs as needed

Make up the batter and coat each spear then roll in Panko and deep-fry at 365* until golden brown.

Here’s the result.

For the potatoes, I just parboiled them until tender, coated with olive oil, sprinkled with S&P and grilled – added a little butter on top just before removal. I’m not a big fan of coconut shrimp but they were good and those that are fans thought they were delicious. Bev said this was a keeper recipe - the coconut milk assured the flavor came through, but heavy cream can be substituted if its too much. The asparagus turned out good with a creamy but still a little snap center and a crispy coating. I didn’t achieve the spice level I was looking for however, so I still like Puleo’s better and will have to continue improving – all suggestions appreciated. The other thing I should have done was whip up a couple of dunking sauces for the shrimp and asparagus – I thought about it half way through the meal. I’m not usually a big fan of the bean salad, but I really enjoyed this one – even had seconds.

3 Bean Salad With Tangy Dressing.
From our good friend Nancy Cardwell


• 1 can (15 to 16 ounces) cut green beans, drained
• 1 can (15 to 16 ounces) cut yellow beans, drained
• 1 can (about 16 ounces) red kidney beans, drained
• 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
• 1 cup sliced purple onion

Mix separately and micro 1 min if using sugar (Bev used Splenda)

• 1/2 cup cider vinegar
• 1/3 cup vegetable oil
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon pepper

Mix everything together. Bev also added a can of chick peas, so I guess it was four bean salad.

All-in-all I'd have to say good meal and with a liitle more work on the asparagus and some sauces, I'd serve it to company.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Fields Of Yellow

For the past few years, the local farmers have been growing a winter/spring crop of grain (winter wheat or oats) then usually followed up by a summer/fall crop of soybeans, thereby getting 2 crops each year. This is a field of wheat or oats.

This year I noticed several fields with grain in them, but several had a green plant with round leaves – clearly not the grass look of a grain crop. I knew is was too early for soybeans and continued to wonder what it was. Then all of a sudden this happened.

As soon as it bloomed, I knew it was rapeseed, as we had been in France in early May one year and these magnificent fields of bright yellow were everywhere. One of our favorite pictures is framed and sitting on the hearth showing Bev and I standing in front of a blooming field. If you’re not familiar with it, the hybrid variety developed in Canada is called canola, from which we get canola oil. I think they may call it rape or rapeseed oil in Europe. It’s also used to make biodiesel and the farmers must think it will be more profitable this year than wheat or oats. I grew a little patch of it one year as a cover crop and while pretty, it attracted harlequin bugs to my garden, so I didn’t plant it again.

Whatever the farmer’s motivation, they sure have provided some beautiful scenery for us to enjoy. I wasn't the only one impressed as it got front page coverage in the local paper this morning. I love living out in the country.

Bev keeps 2-3 feeders available for the hummingbirds and usually puts them out the second week in April, but with all we had going on, she hadn't gotten them up yet. Some of the liitle hummers are obviously returners here as they were flying up to the windows and hovering as if to say, "duh, where's the food." So she fixed them up on Wednesday and we'll have a long summer of enjoying their antics - mostly one guy perched atop the feeder and running the others off. Seems like they would burn up more energy doing that than they get from the feeder.

Rhett got back to Korea on time and in good shape. Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Next Stop - Korea

Wow, what a week at Almost Heaven South - a death in the family & funeral, a kid in from Korea, the garden project planting, a veggie training presentation, Bev's birthday, and a field trip to Rutledge. This is at least a couple of months of normal happenings for this old retired guy. Think I'll plant my few maters and peppers today and take tomorrow off - if I can work it out with the boss that is.

For my last chance to show off my meat smoking and breakfast cooking for Rhett, this was the final breakfast – this is actually my plate. I wanted him to try the Czech sausage and this one was the pork/beef blend made back on January 13. So it was just a simple quick nuke for the sausage, a couple of sunny side up and toasted English muffin.

Brisket – it’s what’s for breakfast. The previous day he had a brisket sandwich with a little Gates Extra Hot Sauce.

He’s not a big eater (Army guys have to stay in shape you know), but in another couple of days, I could have laid some sausage gravy and biscuits or brisket hash and eggs on him - you other kids should come visit for breakfast more often :-)

He’s about back in Korea now (left he at 8:30am Wed) and it was great that he got to spend some quality time alone with daughter Alex. He and family are due back in the states this summer for the next assignment.

Well, have a special day and thanks for stopping by.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Off And Planting

I’d posted earlier that I’m working with a church group who is growing a vegetable garden and they got started the other day by planting corn and beans. I’d told them they would need a string the length of the garden tied between two stakes to lay out the rows by, but when I got there, this is what I found.

I had to laugh and told them they were just planting corn and not building a rocket ship. They advised they were a bunch of Engineers and couldn’t help themselves and as a fellow engineer, I understood.

Here they are planting away. I told them there were several ways to plant corn, but I prefer a single seed every 6” and I had to convince them not to measure the 6”. I had to leave early to make a veggie talk at a local garden center, so I just have to assume they got it all in ok.

We finally got a little rain yesterday to coax the seeds out of the ground. With the effort and enthusiasm they're starting out with, I sure hope they have a success.

Later today, we're heading out to buy the items for their irrigation system. In East Tennessee, most of the farmers actually raise beef, or grow hay, corn or other field crops, but Grainger County is locally known for it's vegetables, especially tomatos. As a result, the Farmers Coop there carries the items they need for that business and it is the nearest place to get the irrigation supplies. We could order them, but since us retired guys need something to do, a field trip to Rutledge, Tn is in order.

Title pic is a transplanted wild trilium in Bev's woods garden.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

April 15 Rerun

Title pic - Along the little lane coming back to our house, there is a steep bank growing wild trilliums which continue to survive despite the mowings by the county road maintenace crews. For many years, Bev has been transplanting them into her woods flower garden to provide native beauty and ensure some survive. We always leave some in the original area to continue propagating there as well.

Our son flew in from Korea for his grandmothers funeral and since he reads my blog and likes my smoked meat, and asparagus, I decided to cook him the same meal I’d done on April 15 – except I remembered the English muffin this time. He didn’t say it was worth a 26 hour travel day, but he enjoyed it a lot.

Now that we’re past the funeral, hopefully things can settle down around Almost Heaven South and I like that the weather is a little more spring like – still have lots of outdoor chores to get done.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Sirloin & Bean Burrito

Title pic - Along the little lane coming back to our house, there is a steep bank growing wild trilliums which continue to survive despite the mowings by the county road maintenace crews. For many years, Bev has been transplanting them into her woods flower garden to provide native beauty and ensure some survive. We always leave some in the original area to continue propagating there as well.

When Bev arose, I offered to take her out for breakfast and she said she’d rather just lounge around in her PJ’s and make us a burrito - my ears perked up. Like many others have posted lately, one of the great ways to utilize leftovers is to wrap them in a tortilla. We still had a little of the gilled sirloin in the frig from LINK and leftover beans, rice, and salsa from Mexican take out the previous night. This sounded like the makings of one of Bev’s world famous (or at least Almost Heaven South famous) burritos and I’d already been thinking along those lines before she got up. I’ve posted before about her willingness to go the extra mile to make a great, rather than just good, sandwich and she does the same with burritos.

She heated the rice, beans, and meat and stuffed the burrito.

Then added more salsa and cheese and nuked it.

Then the final topping of lettuce, green onion, jalapenos, and a little more cheese (for pretty).

Delicious as usual and we shared the two if them (1 1/3 for me & 2/3 for her).

Have a great day and thanks for reading my ramblings.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Plain Chicken Meal

The snowball bush loves this spot - needs to be pruned this year.

We had a plain chicken meal the other day for supper, no not a plain chicken meal but a “Plain Chicken” meal, thanks to Steph over at Plain Chicken – be sure to stop by if you haven’t. We had three packages of boneless, skinless breasts in the freezer and in continuing my quest to empty the freezer, I keep saving your recipes to try them on, and think I’ve picked up several in just the past week. Since Steph also posted a mac n cheese recipe we wanted to try, we opted for a “Plain Chicken” meal. Check out Steph’s blog for some great photos and the recipes for the Honey Chipotle Glazed Chicken and the Ranch Mac and Cheese.

I think I followed Steph’s recipe as written for the chicken except I used smoked paprika. For the chipotles in adobo, we rarely use the entire can at one time, so Bev puts the extra in a small pimento jar and freezes it. The next time we need some, as in a tablespoon for this dish, we set it out with the lid off and when the top thaws enough, we just scrap out what we need and put it back in the freezer – for this little amount, it seems to work better than using ice cube trays.

For the mac and cheese, I followed her recipe except used farmers and cheddar cheeses, as that’s what we had on hand and just pepper and a little more garlic powder for the garlic pepper blend.

By using the grill side burner, I was able to cook everything outside while my honey sipped wine and kept me company. Here’s a pic of my plate and we thought both of them were very good – as a big mac n cheese fan, I ate more than my fill of it. Bev agreed with Steph, that additional honey would be an improvement, but I liked it as it was – so it’s about the level of sweetness you prefer.

My only regret about the meal is that I didn’t double up on the mac n cheese so I could have it for leftovers.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Kicked Up Egg McMuffin

Went looking around and found I had the ingredients for an Egg McMuffin using my homemade Canadian bacon and that was my plan. Then I remembered the delicious looking meal, including poached eggs and asparagus, made by Vickie over at Part Three .

So, while I didn’t make a hollandaise, I did incorporate some asparagus – big surprise huh? I prepped and sautéed the asparagus, then gathered it into a cooking ring, started heating a couple of slices of bacon, and added the egg.

When the bottom was set, I flipped the egg over to finish cooking and added the cheese to begin melting – I set a small lid over it to help this process.

When all was done, I added it to the toasted muffin with a little mayo (lazy man’s hollandaise).

Pretty darn tasty.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.


Friday, April 16, 2010

When Only A Burger Will Do

The trees are leafing out at Almost Heaven South.

A good burger may be Bev’s favorite meal and sometimes she just has to have a fix. When I asked what she’d like for dinner and gave her several options I believe she said hamburger after each one – so guess what we had. I also suggested several side dishes and she kept coming back to potato salad – one of my all time favorite things to eat.

For my burger, I added about a tsp each of Worcestershire and Cajun Power Garlic Sauce ala Chez – but Bev just wanted her usual of Tiger Seasoning and S&P. Since she was home, Bev made the tater salad ala my mom, which meant potatoes, onion, boiled eggs, celery, celery salt, mustard, mayo, S&P. It’s pretty basic but I ate so much of it as a kid, it’s still my preference, although I can enjoy it with other items – pickles, olives, etc.

Alex, the picky eater, would never eat potato salad, but she likes potatoes coated in oil, sprinkled with dry ranch dressing mix and baked. So we fixed her a batch of them but did them in a foil-lined pan on the grill.

Finally, we had a chunk of fresh pineapple that needed to be used, so I sliced it into three pieces and tossed it on the grill, then after flipping, poured on a little rum. It was a very pleasant evening and Bev really enjoys sitting on the deck and sipping wine while I grill – and I like it as well. The whole meal was very good and we each got our fix, Bev’s burger, my potato salad and burger ala Chez.

In case you missed my late addition of this to my post for Wed, Lea Ann over at Mangos, Chili and Z has a blog spot she calls "Just Grilled" and this time did one on Big Dude. If you want the dirt on me and to visit a great blog, stop by there.

HELP - the other day, I saw a recipe for coconut shrimp and I cannot remember where - if it was one of you please let me know. thank you.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bev's Mom

It’s a sad day at Almost Heaven South as Bev’s mom passed away this morning after a two week effort in the hospital to try to determine her illness – never did find out. She was the last of our parents and lived a full life as an excellent wife, mother and grandmother – and mother-in-law to me. While not as able in the last few years, she has led a very active life, traveling extensively throughout America and always maintaining her total commitment to the nurturing of her family. “Larry and his girls” has just gone down by one and while I know she’s in a better place, she’s been an integral part of my life during the 25 years that Bev and I have been married and she will be missed. Here she is a the beach - one of her favorite places on the planet.


Why Cure Your Own Bacon

Bev wasn't here and I got busy but by 8:45, I realized I hadn’t eaten breakfast and decided to throw a little something together.

I first sliced off a couple of pieces from both the buckboard (BB) and Canadian bacon (CB) and got the BB frying in the skillet. I cooked it slow to give the fat time to render and crisp up some without over cooking the lean. When it was about ¾ done I added the CB, as all it needs is warming up or it quickly dries out.

When we pick asparagus, we put it in a glass of water and stick it in the frig until we’re ready to eat it. For this meal, I got out all of the thin pieces and got them prepped and tossed in the skillet along with the CB. Here’s a shot of this process – I cooked a couple of extra pieces of BB for lunch.

I then removed the bacon and added, you guessed it, a couple of eggs and some shredded cheddar for a little scramble.

The finished product.

The meal was outstanding and had I remembered we had English muffins that I could have toasted, it would have been perfect. In the blog where I described the curing process, I mentioned I wouldn’t change a thing, but after eating the CB fried, I would now soak it several hours, post cure, with a couple of water changes – it was just a little too salty and garlicky.

I had a little unfinished buckboard bacon business, and later I wrapped it up. I sliced it fairly thin on my little Oster meat slicer, put it in stacks of ten pieces, and froze them on a cookie sheet. Since there are various muscles running in different directions, I don't know if it matters which way it's sliced. When frozen, I put each stack in a Foodsaver bag and will have a few meals worth in each pack.

The title pic is of cherry blossoms here at Almost Heaven South.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.