Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday Humor - Moving To Laredo

This happened on a flight getting ready to depart for Laredo. Jim was sitting on the plane when a guy took the seat beside him. The guy was an emotional wreck, pale, hands shaking, moaning in fear.

"What's the matter?" Jim asked.

"I've been transferred to Laredo, there are crazy people there. They've got lots of shootings, gangs, race riots, drugs, poor public schools, and the highest crime rate in the nation."

Jim replied, "I've lived in Laredo all my life. It's not as bad as the media says. Find a nice home, go to work, mind your own business, and enroll your kids in a nice private school. It's as safe a place as anywhere in the world."

The guy relaxed and stopped shaking and said, "Oh, thank you. I've been worried to death. But if you live there and say it's OK, I'll take your word for it. What do you do for a living?"

"I'm the tail gunner on a Budweiser truck."

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


Friday, March 30, 2012

Shrimp With Mango Salsa

It’s funny how a meal can evolve from the need to use a single ingredient and for this meal it was an aging mango.  Bev said we need to use the mango and I suggested grilled shrimp with mango salsa – she jumped at that.  Since we were grilling and having something sweet, I opted for grilled sweet potato as a side and since it’s asparagus time in Tennessee, we grilled up some of it as well.

Bev made a salsa from the mango using the recipe from Ellie Krieger of the Food Network

1 mango, peeled and diced
1/2 cup peeled, diced cucumber
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno
1/3 cup diced red onion
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
Salt and pepper

Combine the mango, cucumber, jalapeno, red onion, lime juice and cilantro leaves and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

We used Home BBQ’s Mango Magic on the shrimp, potatoes, and asparagus and didn't care for it, but the salsa was delicious.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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


3/26/12  meal date

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Perfect Dog – From My Area That Is

I’ve mentioned this before, but I grew up in a small WV town that is crazy about hot dogs and has at least a half dozen stand-alone hot dog shops.  For that area of the world, the dog only had sauce (chili), mustard, and onion and the wiener was usually simmered in water.  I ordered 2 hot dogs at a local convenience store the other day and the lady making them made my two in more time than a WV hot dog shop would have made three dozen – but they are pros.

Bev made a batch of sauce the other day and for supper it was grilled hot dogs and baked sweet potatoes ala Roz for the second time in three days – as I said Bev really likes them as do I.

Bev has been making our hot dog sauce for several years, but I’ve always thought it was a little too sweet for my taste, even though she has cut way back on the ketchup from the WV recipe she started with - she'd been using about a cup.  For this batch, she totally omitted it and after tasting, we both thought it needed a little so she added 2 tbsp – I thought it was her best ever and decided to post her recipe – this is for a double batch. 

3 lb  ground beef – 93% lean
3 large onions, chopped very fine in the food processor
2 heaping tbsp chili powder (my homemade so it depends on what you use)
12 oz tomato paste
2 heaping tbsp ketchup (more if you want sweeter sauce)
Cayenne pepper to taste
Salt to taste

  • Don’t break the meat apart and cover meat with water in an 8 qt pot.  Bring to a boil and simmer until no longer, or just barely, pink in the middle. 
  • Remove meat from water and allow it to cool enough to handle. 
  • Slice the chunk of meat as thin as possible across the grain it has from the meat grinder.
  • After slicing, chop the slices into small pieces (this allows for the very small final pieces of meat in most hot dog sauces).  Change the process if you want larger pieces of meat.
  • Remove about half the liquid from the pot and reserve it.
  • Whisk tomato paste, ketchup, chili powder, and ½ tsp cayenne into water and return meat and add onions. 
  • After stirring everything together add back some reserved water to achieve the desired consistency.
  • Bring to a boil then simmer 15 minutes, taste and add cayenne and more chili powder as needed.
  • After 10 more minutes, taste and adjust cayenne. 
  • After about 10 more minutes, taste and make final adjustment of cayenne and add salt to taste and cook a final 10 minutes (45 minutes total).
It freezes very well so we store in pint and quart containers.

For supper, I deviated from the WV dog by grilling the wieners and by using larger ones – Angus Bun Size, but otherwise they were the same. 

For years, I thought this was the way all hot dogs were made and all of the others were not the real thing.  Now that I’ve seen a little more of the world, I realize that most places do them differently and my little area was the minority.  I’ve even grown to enjoy them other ways and would like to go to Chicago some time for one of their unique ones – “steamed all beef frankfurter, topped with yellow mustard, bright green relish, onions, tomato wedges, pickle spear or slice, sport peppers and a dash of celery salt served in a steamed poppy seed bun” – no sauce at all. 

While I still prefer my Marion County, WV dog, I will occasionally add cheese, or dill pickle, or yes even slaw, but however you like yours, if they include chili (sauce), you may want to give this recipe a try and adjust it to suit your taste.

If I ever open "Big Dude’s Que, Dogs, and Pepperoni Rolls", this is the sauce I’d use on the dogs.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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

One year ago: One Pan Potatoes and Eggs & My Bloody Mary

Two years ago: Bacon Cheddar Meatloaf Ala Katherine


3/26/12  meal date

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It’s Asparagus Time Again

And when it is, we eat it every day or two until we’ve had enough, then we start giving some of it away.  It’s also Spring and thunderstorm time and when one rolled thru about 3:30pm, it knocked out the power for 3 hours leaving me with no TV, computer, or outside work to do (too wet), so I went out on the porch swing with my camera book to see if I could move past the automatic functions.

While I was playing around I managed to get the hunting party of what I assume were seven Red-tailed Hawks against the storm clouds – I don’t have a long zoom.

Supper was grilled salmon, asparagus, and pineapple – I grilled the pork loin as it just needed to be cooked, but we could have had a poor man’s surf & turf had we been hungrier.

For breakfast the next morning, I sautéed a few asparagus spears and lightly nuked a piece of the pork to go with my eggs and English muffin.  I added some garlic Tabasco to the pork and grated parmesan on the asparagus.  I put the plate under the best light in the kitchen and took several shots with various manual camera settings – this was the best of the bunch.

Not great, but better than my normal washed out flash pictures - maybe there's hope for me yet..

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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

Two years ago:  Chicken Piccata ala Kate


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fish And Fries Ala Roz

Back in December I’d posted about a tree falling through the wood ramp leading to my dock (12/4 pic) and I’d been waiting for March to repair it when the weather is a little nicer, but before the lake comes up beginning April 1.  This is how it looked in December and then how it looked after buddy Joe and I took out the damaged stuff.  He'd already removed and burned the tree over the winter to heat his house.

After a couple hours of labor and another hour relaxing on the dock and sipping a margarita, we were ready for a good supper and it turns out both of the dishes Bev and I planned came from recipes from Roz over at La Bella Vita. 

The first one was for her Panko and Italian Herb Crusted Perch Filets which I wanted to make as soon as I saw it.  The second one was for her Baked Sweet Potato Fries With Fresh Avocado Dip which I’d saved and dug out when Bev suggested sweet potatoes for this meal.  Check out Roz’s blog for the recipes and some great shots – as you’ll soon see mine isn’t.

I made the fish per Roz’s recipe, except I used crappie, and Bev modified the potato spices to amp them up a little and this was her result.

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch fries
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. chili powder (my homemade)
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. Tones Southwest Chipotle Seasoning
Salt and pepper, to taste

Bev also made the avocado dip and modified it just a little by omitting the cilantro, which we didn’t have, and adding some sauce from canned chipotles in adobo.

1  avocado
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup cream cheese
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped.
6 scallions, white and light green part only, chopped (increased from 2)
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp adobo sauce
2 tsps. minced garlic (garlic press)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

We didn’t make the garlic butter with the fish recipe and I used the avocado dip on my fish as well as the fries.  We served the fish on a bed of sauteed baby spinach, onion, and garlic.

Like I said, I was ready to eat and didn’t bother to get a good shot, but trust me it was really good food and I’d serve all of it to company - Bev especially liked the fries.  It will be made again and next time we’ll try to remember to buy some cilantro for the dip.  Thanks Roz for a delicious meal.

Potato Update - the red skinned yellow flesh potatoes from yesterday were from Green Giant and are called Klondike Rose - Red Skinned Golden Idaho Potatoes.

Schnitzel Update - The reuben topping hide the flavor of yesterday's schnitzel, but for breakfast I had one that had just been topped with the cheese and it was delicious with the Threadgill's chicken fried steak seasoning I'd used.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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

One year ago: The Fruits Of My Asparagus And Mushroom Labor

Two years ago:  Wings & Grits – Quick But Delicious


3/22/12  meal date

Monday, March 26, 2012

Chef’s Special From Linderhof - Irish Schnitzel

During our recent visit to the Linderhof German Restaurant in Knoxville, the chef’s special, just prior to St. Patrick’s Day, was schnitzel topped with corned beef, kraut, cheese, and 1000 Island Dressing.  Since we still had pork loin in the freezer, leftover corned beef from St. Patty’s Day, an open jar of kraut in the fridge, a new pack of Guyere, and a fresh batch of 1000 Island Dressing, it was a natural.

We turned it in to a Southern meal by frying everything – plain ole potatoes (with fried onions available) and cabbage (same as for St. Patty’s Day).  It's times like these that I really appreciate our cooktop - three 12" and one 10" skillet no problem and two more burners under the cutting board if needed.


6 slices (6 ounces each) boneless pork loin
Chicken fried steak seasoning to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Flour to dust
2 eggs, well beaten
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups bread crumbs – I used Italian seasoned

1. Pound the loins to ¼“ thick and dust with flour, seasoning, salt and pepper.

2. Mix eggs with milk. Dip pork loin in the egg mixture. Cover generously with breadcrumbs and pat very well so breading will stay on the pork.

3. Heat ¼” of oil in skillet and fry the pork for about 3½ minutes on each side to a golden brown.

I cooked three at a time adding the cheese after flipping and kept them warm on a rack in the warming drawer while I cooked the others.  Bev and I discusssed how to build these, mainly where the cheese should go and I thought the way we did it would made for a prettier presentation as cheese on top always seems to hide the other stuff.

The potatoes were a first for me - red skins with yellow flesh - not sure what they are called. I added about half of the bacon grease from the cabbage to the potato skillet and supplemented with some canola oil. Cooked with a lid for a while to steam, then removed the lid to crisp them up.

I sliced the meat, topped it with the kraut, and nuked to heat them.  I topped the cheese-covered schnitzel with the corned beef, then kraut, and finally a dollop of the dressing.

The schnitzel dish was a hit although all of the other flavors overpowered the pork - still a nice twist on a dish and it provided a nice crunch - I only ate one of the two on my plate.  The fried cabbage was again very good but my favorite was the potatoes - they were awesome and I forgot how good they were cooked in bacon fat - could have only been improved with a fried egg (or two the next morning for breakfast).

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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

One year ago: Blogger Party - A Texas BBQ in East Tennessee

Two years ago:  A Little Lions Club BBQ


3/21/2012 meal date

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday Humor - Grilling Rules

We are about to enter the grilling season. Therefore it is important to refresh your memory on the etiquette of this sublime outdoor cooking activity.

When a man volunteers to do the grilling the following chain of events are put into motion:


 (1) The woman buys the food.

 (2) The woman makes the salad, prepares the vegetables, and makes dessert .

 (3) The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, and takes it to the man who is lounging beside the grill - beer in hand.

 (4) The woman remains outside the compulsory three meter exclusion zone where the exuberance of testosterone and other manly bonding activities can take place without the interference of the woman.

 Here comes the important part:


 More routine...

 (6) The woman goes inside to organize the plates and cutlery.

 (7) The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is looking great.  He thanks her and asks if she will bring another beer while he flips the meat.

 Important again:


 More routine...

 (9) The woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins, sauces, and brings them to the table.

 (10) After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.

 And most important of all:

 (11) Everyone PRAISES the MAN and THANKS HIM for his cooking efforts.

 (12) The man asks the woman how she enjoyed "her night off." And, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there's just no pleasing some women.

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

One year ago:  Breakfast Sausage Four Ways


Friday, March 23, 2012

The Philosophy Corner

I like to publish this once a year or so because it’s cute and because it can be food for thought in many areas.  It's a conversation between God and St. Francis and if you haven't read it, you may want to.


"God: Francis, you know all about gardens and nature; what in the world is going on down there in the U.S.? What happened to the Dandelions, violets, thistles and the stuff I started eons ago? I had a Perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of Soil, withstand drought, and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honeybees, and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of color by now. All I see are patches of green.

St. Francis: It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. They are called the Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers "weeds" and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.

God: Grass? But it is so boring, it's not colorful. It doesn't attract butterflies, bees or birds, only grubs and sod worms. It's temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want grass growing there?

St. Francis: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it has grown a little, they cut it....sometimes two times a week.

God: They cut it? Do they bale it like hay?

St. Francis: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

God: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

St. Francis: No sir, just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.

God: Now let me get this straight...they fertilize it to make it grow and when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

St. Francis: Yes, sir.

God: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.

St. Francis: You aren't going to believe this Lord, but when the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

God: What nonsense! At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer.

In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep the moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves become compost to enhance the soil. It's a natural circle of life.

St. Francis: You'd better sit down, Lord. As soon as the leaves fall, the Suburbanites rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.

God: No way! What do they do to protect the shrubs and tree roots in the winter to keep the soil moist and loose?

St Francis: After throwing the leaves away, they go out and buy something called mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.

God: And where do they get this mulch?

St. Francis: They cut down the trees and grind them up to make mulch.

God: Enough! I don't want to think about this anymore. Saint Catherine, you're in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?

St. Catherine: "Dumb and Dumber," Lord. It's a really stupid movie about....

God: Never mind--I think I just heard the whole story from Saint Francis!"

When we built our home, one of my goals was to have Southern Living Magazine cover grounds and for a few years I got close.  Then the reality of trying to do this while surrounded by woods and a less than weedy pasture sunk in.  Now I’m content if the neighbors don’t laugh when they drive by and I’m not embarrassed when company shows up. 

To go a little philosophically deeper, I’m pretty sure when I’m lying in bed with only 24 hours to live and I’m playing “I wish I had of” with myself that "have a great lawn" will not be one of my answers nor will many of the other things I spend way too much energy on.  Not only is it important to stop and smell the roses, it’s also important to stop and ask some important questions – the older I get, the better I understand this.

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

One year ago: Chocolate Truffle Cake, Bloody Mary, And White Bean Soup

Two years ago:  None


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Italian Night At The Werner’s & Veggie Gardening

I know the names in the title may not make sense but as it turns out, German descendent Mark is married to Italian descendent Sue.  The meal was to be lasagna and I decided to take some wine, but decided to do a little research on it.  Most folks who enjoy Italian food, know that the countries cuisine is very regional and as best I could determine, lasagna comes from the Emilia-Romagna region around Bologna. 

Bologna is about three fourths of the way up the Italian boot and toward the middle of the country and is the capital of one of Europe’s wealthiest regions.  The main wine around Bologna is Lambrusco which is usually made in sparkling form and generally made dry – apparently, like the German Riesling, the sweet stuff is shipped to the US and the good dry stuff is kept at home.

Since I was looking for a table wine, I decided to pass on Lambrusco and went in search of something else, but in the meantime, while moving some bottles from a box in the garage to the wine cooler I made a pleasant discovery.  We belong to the Wall Street Journal Wine Club and get wines from all over the word and as it turned out, we had a bottle each of pretty good Italian red and white - Bric Corderi Barbera d'Asti 2010 & Conti Carello Vigna San Lorenzo 2010 – so that’s what we took.  The red was very good but I thought the white was a little too mellow for my taste.  Now for the meal. 

Mark and Sue have a beautiful home in Tellico Village with a view of the lake and complete with a nice little wine cellar - I'm envious and wish I'd had the foresight to put one in our house when we built.  Here are a couple of shots of the bar separting the kitchen from the living/dining area. 

After socializing and sampling several wines, we sat down to a dinner of salad, lasagna sided with meatballs and Italian sausage, and a light cheese cake dessert. 

My favorite ethnic food is Italian and I think I know the good stuff when I eat it and this was definitely the good stuff.  Every thing was well seasoned and the sauce was thick and flavorful.  This was the best Italian I've eaten in a long time and come tomato season, we may have to ask Sue for some sauce lessons.  It was a super evening with good food, good wine, and best of all, good company.

Veggie Gardening Reminder (in case you missed it Friday) – It was late for last year’s garden but I did a series of gardening posts every Thursday, based on my teaching material for Master gardener students.  It began on April 28, 2011 and ran thru August.  If interested, you can go to the Blog Archive on my sidebar, click 2011, then May (first full month), and look at the topics for the Thursday posts.  I love to talk gardening so don’t hesitate to shoot me an email if I can be of any help. 

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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

One year ago: Mid-March Garden Update

Two years ago: Stuffed Shrimp Ala Mary


3/19/2012  meal date

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

St. Paddy’s Leftovers & A Blogger Party

In Case You Missed The First Announcment
After fun events the two previous years, Katherine Aucoin, Chris Grove, and Larry Doolittle are pleased that we will be able to host a blogger party again this year. The date we’ve selected is May 27 – we realize this is Memorial Day weekend and thought the extra day for travel might make it easier for some to be here.

The event will once again be held at Bev and Larry’s home near Greenback, Tn. and the menu will be a crawfish and shrimp boil – if you’re not a shellfish eater, come anyway and we’ll grill you something. Unlike previous times, we’ll be asking for a donation to help with the meat costs.

We’ll send out more details in early April but wanted to get on your calendar now. We’ll be asking for an RSVP later, but so we can start our planning, please let Larry know now if you think you might join us – email Also please feel free to publicize this on your blog to reach more potential attendees. We hope you can join us.

For breakfast on Sunday morning, we just reheated some of the leftover potatoes and corned beef and fried an egg all in the same pan.

Afterward, I thought to myself – dummy you have potatoes and corned beef already cooked, why didn’t  you make hash?  So that’s what I did the next morning, adding a little additional green onion and Dubliner Irish Cheddar and cooking the eggs in

Then there was the required Reuben for supper one night - except it really wasn't because we used 1000 Island dressing and Irish cheddar cheese rather than Russian dressing and swiss cheese - but our corned beef on rye was very good.

I may have I already railed about the restaurant we recently ate at, offering a fish reuben - putting fried fish, cheese, and cole slaw between two pieces of rye bread does not a reuben make - I hate when people take such wild liberties - kinda like calling all drinks a martini just because they happen to be served in a martini glass regardless of what's in them - Sandra Lee did this a while back - no gin or dry vermouth and she called it a something or other martini - why not just give it a new name?  Pretty soon we'll have to invent a new language because the current definitions of things won't mean anything.  Okay rant over.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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

One year ago:  Homemade Sausage & Egg Sandwich And Hash

Two years ago:  Our Belated St Paddy’s Meal


3/18 & 3/19/2012  meal date

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

St. Patrick’s Day At Almost Heaven South

While I’d always thought Doolittle was an English name, the Family Crest the kids gave me several years ago and some follow-up research says it has an Irish origin, so I celebrate St. Patrick’s Day – an excuse for a party.  Last year’s meal was your basic corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots all cooked together in the crockpot.

This year, we decided to try some things from my very favorite recipe book - your blogs.  Please check the respective blogs for the recipes and more pictures.  Our menu was:

2 corned beef brisket flats (Grobbel's) – to ensure leftovers.

A double batch of Bird Flanagan Irish Potato Pancakes from Susan at Savoring Time In The Kitchen. 

Fried cabbage from Mary at Deep South Dish. 

Shamrock shaped rolls inspired by Mary at One Perfect Bite.

Bev’s plan was to make rolls and a loaf of bread, but on TV that morning a local restaurant chef made pepperoni roll pinwheels.  Since pepperoni rolls were invented by Country Club Bakery in my hometown of Fairmont, WV and I grew up on them and then turned Bev onto them, she decided these were a must for this meal. 

We hadn’t planned on a salad or appetizer, but she decided it would be a better use of the dough than just a loaf of bread.  The traditional pepperoni rolls had 3-4 sticks of meat baked inside the roll, but the pinwheel maker used slices and after making some that way, Bev decided a brief spin in the food processor would be even better.  She pressed her dough into a rectangle, spread on the chopped pepperoni, rolled up, and sliced – similar to a sweet roll only much smaller.

After raising, she baked them until lightly browned and served them hot with jarred marinara, grated parmesan, and Irish wine – 2 drops of food coloring in a bottle of white wine.

The corned beef was covered with water and cooked several hours in a roasting pan on the stove top.  We like it pretty tender, so I cooked until my thermometer probe went in easily - same as for smoked brisket.

For the potato pancake, I used a 1 lb. 14 oz. bag of frozen hash browns and doubled the other ingredients – I let the potatoes thaw on paper towels and come to room temperature - also used my homemade Canadian bacon.  I cooked the pancake in a 12” non-stick skillet on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes with the lid on then without the lid until browned. I slid it out onto a plate, inverted the skillet over it and flipped to cook the other side until browned.

I fried the cabbage in a 12” cast iron skillet per Mary’s recipe, including the Slap Ya Mama Irish Cajun Seasoning.

Bev used Mary’s post as a guide for the rolls but used her regular sourdough bread to make them.  We discussed and calculated a while then she used three ½ oz balls for each roll in 3” wide muffin wells and they were a little too small, ¾ oz would have been just right.

Let's eat.  I'd already had a bite of potato when Bev reminded me to take a photo.

I washed mine down with Guinness Draught – sipped a little while cooking as well.  This was the first time I’d had cooked cabbage in a long time and perhaps my first ever fried cabbage – I really liked it.  I love potato everything and thought the single potato cake was very good and an excellent way to feed a crowd - the only issue was doubling the potato recipe made it harder to handle and maybe a little dryer. 

Bev decided to again make the chocolate lava cakes as they are easy and delicious - I was too full to eat any.  We rounded out the Irish meal with some Bailey's Irish Creme before and during dessert - I guess I just had my dessert in liquid form - that stuff sure goes down easy.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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

One year ago:  Our St. Patrick’s Day Meal

Two years ago: Not Quite Bangers And Mash


3/17/2012  meal date

Monday, March 19, 2012

Empanadas - Baked And Fried

One of the nice things about Mexican stuffed dishes, like these and chili rellenos, is that you can use about anything you like in them.  I’d seen empanada’s several times lately on various blogs and have been waiting for some pulled pork to make them – it showed up this last BBQ day.

As it turned out, we had some pie dough in the fridge needing to be used and when I asked Bev what size cookie cutters she had for it, she said “why not use our empanada maker” – we have an empanada maker?  I got them out and discovered we have one that's smaller than I wanted and one that’s larger than I wanted but I went with it. 

As a guide, I used Jenn’s recipe for Chorizo Empanadas over at Jenn’s Food Journey.  One of my criteria was to use some of the poblano peppers we’d roasted and frozen last fall and based somewhat upon my ABT’s my recipe became:

2 refrigerated pie crusts
6 poblano peppers, split, stemmed, and seeded
½ lb. pulled pork at room temperature, chopped to size of choice
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup onion - red and scallions, small chop
¼ cup multi colored sweet peppers, small diced
1 tbsp. butter, melted
3 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
½ cup shredded cheddar at room temperature
½ tsp. Head Country Seasoning
1 tsp. mustard
1 tsp. mayo

Cook the onion and sweet pepper until softened, add the garlic and cook until fragrant.  Stir in the meat just to warm it a little - makes it easier to mix in the cheeses.

Mix the last 5 ingredients in a separate bowl then mix with the meat mixture.

Use the bottom of the empanada maker to cut the dough then put it on top of the maker and brush the edges with water.  Lay in one poblano and top with the meat mixture - 1/3 cup for this 6” size.  this was the first one and I used 1/2 cup which squished out and cracked the crust - the left one on the plate.

  Use the maker to fold and seal.

For baked ones, brush both sides with butter and bake at 375* until crust is a golden brown.  We served it with a little jarred salsa.

We were too full to try the fried ones and saved them for St. Patrick's Day breakfast.  We nuked them for about 30 seconds to take the chill off, then deep fried at 365* until golden brown - about 5 minutes.

While the baked one was good and no doubt healthier, it wasn't in the same league with the fried one, so I'll cut my fat calories somewhere else.  It didn't need any sauce and the filling was killer, as I thought it would be.   For some reason my poblanos were unusually hot last year and no other heat was required - it lit my mouth up pretty good, partially because the ripe ones are always hotter.

This amount of meat mix and dough will make six 6" empanadas - I made five for reasons I won't go into.  The maker worked great and I will definitely use it again and try the smaller one for raviloi.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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

One year ago: Baby Let Me Be Your Salty Dog

Two years ago: The Final Mushroom Meal


3/16 & 3/17/2012  meal dates

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Stroll Around The Grounds And Its Still Technically Winter

It was around 80* here most of last week and I can’t believe we’re having May in March.  I walked around the ranch the other day and snapped a few pictures.  The camellia has the most blooms ever.

On Thursday, Bev and I planted our brassica and lettuce transplants along with potatoes and some beets.  I can’t believe it was so hot doing this work in mid-March.  This is some of them ready to plant.

Some begonias ready to leave the greenhouse.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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

Two years ago:  Pork Tenderloin Parmesan


Saturday, March 17, 2012


This just proves that we have become too dependent on our computers.

 Are you male or female? To find out the answer, look down...


















Look down, not scroll down. Geeez.

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

Two years ago:  Smoked Paprika Potatoes


Friday, March 16, 2012

Another Canadian Bacon Breakfast & Veggie Gardening

Nothing fancy, just a simple throw together breakfast for a busy day:

English muffin - toasted
Homemade Canadian bacon – diced and lightly nuked to warm
Sharp cheddar cheese - sliced
Green onion – chopped
Grape tomatoes - quartered
Fresh farm eggs from a local farmers – cooked sunny side up in ring molds

After toasting the muffin, I assembled evrything starting with the cheese and put it under the broiler - I figured when the cheese melted, everything above it would be ready.

Served with homemade tomato juice, raspberries, and hot coffee - it was a delicious way to start the day.

Veggie Gardening Reminder – It was too late for last year’s garden but I did a series of gardening posts every Thursday, based on my teaching material for Master Gardener students.  It began on April 28, 2011 and ran thru August.  If interested, you can go to the Blog Archive on my sidebar, click 2011, then May (first full month), and look at the topics for the Thursday posts.  I love to talk gardening so don’t hesitate to shoot me an email if I can be of any help. 

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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

One year ago:  Mushroom Pork Tenderloin

Two years ago:  My First Attempt At Stuffed Sausage


3/14/2012  meal date