Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Last Of The Posole

It's so great to have my laptop back thanks to good buddy Joe.

So far I've gotten two posts (12/17 & 12/19) from the big pot of posole we made, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to do one more.  A couple of weeks ago, Mary from Barefeet In The Kitchen posted about the Pork Carnitas Hash she made from her leftovers and an idea was born.

I made sure I saved enough of the posole, without liquid, to make into hash.  Since the last of our garden garden potatoes were sprouting badly, I fried up a big skillet full, using olive oil with a tablespoon of bacon grease - yum.  When they were about half done, I split them and added the posole to part of them and continued to cook until the potatoes were done. 

This is my serving of the hash with a sunny side up egg cooked in an egg ring.

Just as with the other dishes, the posole was delicious this way and I look forward to our next batch of it.


I'm now responding to your comments and hoping you will stop back by - photos best if enlarged by clicking on them.
Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.
12/22/12 meal date

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lasagna For Christmas

Bev has been wanting to make lasagna and had several folks she wanted to cook something for as a Christmas gift so she combined the two.  She used the no-cook-noodle recipe we got from daughter, Kathy, which I've blogged about previously, but she made an improvement to this batch.

We had eaten lasagna at an Italian friends home and Bev thought is was much lighter than she'd ever eaten and decided to replicate it on her own.  Normally she would beat eggs and mix them into the chesse filling but this time she separated the eggs and beat the whites and yolks individually then folded them both back into the cheese - similar to folding the whites into a dessert.

This is the pot of meat sauce and the bowl of ricotta, cottage cheese, egg, and parmesan filling.

The pans ready to freeze except the one we ate - she forgot and added cheese to one of them.

This is my first serving. 

It was lighter than our usual and absolutely delicious - I hope the folks who received them enjoy theirs as much as we did ours.

My computer is back but not yet re-set with everything so things may still look a little different.

Thanks for stopping by Almost heaven South.


12/17/12 Meal Date


Monday, December 24, 2012

Season's Greetings


We hope your Christmas dreams come true and thanks so much for reading my blog and being my blogger buddy.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Saturday Humor - With Age Comes Wisdom

Since we made it thru the end of the world, I thought I'd post a funny.

An old man calls his son and says, "Listen, your mother and I are getting divorced. Forty-five years of misery is enough."

"Dad, what are you talking about?" the son screams.

“We can't stand the sight of each other any longer,” he says. "I'm sick of her face, and I'm sick of talking about this, so call your sister and tell her," and he hangs up.

Now, the son is worried. He calls his sister. She says, "Like hell they’re getting divorced!" She calls their father immediately. "You’re not getting divorced! Don't do another thing. The two of us are flying home tomorrow to talk about this. Until then, don't call a lawyer, don't file a paper. DO YOU HEAR ME?” She hangs up the phone.

The old man turns to his wife and says, "Okay, they’re both coming for Christmas and paying their own airfares."
Thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pork Butt Dishes

As you know by now, I’m a BBQ’er and regularly smoke a pork butt for us to make into a variety of dishes, one of which was the Posole I recently posted about.  We rarely eat just a pulled pork sandwich but usually prefer to make other dishes – usually Tex-Mex such as these three by Bev.

Pork burrito for breakfast.

Pulled pork quesadillas for supper with some pintos made into refried beans by mashing and adding Rotel and cheese.

The next one she made was using the leftover posole.  It was a flour tortilla topped with leftover refried beans, then the leftover posole, all heated individually, then a little tomatillo sauce.
Finally topped with two over easy eggs and some garnishment.

I thought the posole was delicious as made, but when used like this, it was over the top.

I'm now responding to your comments and hoping you will stop back by - photos best if enlarged by clicking on them.

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

12/16/12 – 12/19/12 meal date

Monday, December 17, 2012


In case you’ve missed me this past week, my laptop is ailing and using the desk top is more difficult, so I’ve been responding to your blogs from Bev’s IPad, but I can’t post from it.  Today, I bit the bullet and am doing this from the desktop.

While we were in Colorado on our RV trip, we met up with blogger buddy Lea Ann from Highlands Ranch Foodie and her husband Bob. They took us to a duplex cabin just outside the Rocky Mtn. Nat. Park in Estes Park, where Lea Ann served up her posole for supper and we'd been wanting to make it every since.

When I BBQ'd this month, I smoked a pork butt just for this recipe, although we had extra for other dishes. Since Lea Ann's recipe calls for cooking the pork in a crockpot, I had to adapt it a little for the pork cooked on a smoker. Check out her site for the recipe she used and following is how we did it.

3 lbs. smoked pork butt
1 ½ cups pork juices from the smoking process-defatted
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, sliced
3 cups water
Two 15 oz cans hominy, drained
7 canned green chiles, grilled (all I had)
2 T. dried Mexican Oregano
1/2 t. cayenne
2 t. cumin
S&P to taste

1. After tasting and mixing, I ended up using  1 ½ cups of the collected pork juices and 3 cups of water (the juices are pretty concentrated).
2. I added 2 cups of water and 1 cup of pork juice to a pot along with the garlic and onion, and cooked for three hours.
3. Chop the meat into chunks of 2-3 bites.
4. Since I didn't use fresh roasted chiles, I grilled the canned ones for a few minutes to get some of that flavor on them – see rant below.
5. Add all but the chiles and hominy to the pot and cook for 40 minutes.
6. Add in the hominy and chiles and simmer for 20 minutes.  At this point I added another cup of water and half cup of pork juice to get the liquid amount I was looking for.
7. Ladle into bowls and serve with chopped cilantro, green onions, jalapenos, shredded cheddar, lime wedges (which I forgot), and warm flour tortillas.

I can’t really compare this to Lea Ann’s version as it was eaten about three months ago but I remember it was delicious.  This version was also delicious and you can’t go wrong making it either way, but I will make the effort to get fresh chiles next time.

Rant - Let's discuss Hatch Chiles, a term that often gets thrown around pretty loosely. I’ve been an avid pepper grower for many years and I take them seriously – I’m wearing my chile pepper pants as I type this.  In the Hatch Valley of NM, several varieties of chile peppers are grown and they are all Hatch Chiles - NuMex Big Jim is a popular variety and maybe the most common one seen in chile roasters around the area. Only the ones grown in this area, with it's soil and other environmental factors, are truly Hatch Chiles. The same varieties grown elsewhere, as in the case of my garden are not Hatch chiles but just Big Jim’s, for example. This same thing happens with Vidalia onions which are grown in a specific area of south Georgia, with a unique low sulpher soil, but the same onions grown in other areas of the world are merely Yellow Granex’s.  Signed the Chile Pepper Police J

Thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South and especially for leaving a comment.


12/15/12 meal date

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sausage and Peppers For Breakfast

Claudia, from What’s Cooking Italian Style Cuisine, commented on my recent post that they like to have their peppers and sausage leftovers for breakfast topped with an egg.  When an Italian tells me how to eat Italian food, don’t you know I pay particular attention, especially when it involves topping something with a fried egg.

As expected, it was delicious and all I can say is “Claudia, when you’re right, you’re right.”

I'm now responding to your comments and hoping you will stop back by - photos best if enlarged by clicking on them.

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


12/7/12 meal date

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Saturday Humor - Only In America

A social worker from the Big City recently transferred to the countryside of deep rural America and was on the first tour of her new territory when she came upon the tiniest cabin she had ever seen in her life.

Intrigued, she went up and knocked on the door. 'Anybody home? 'she asked.

'Yep,' came a kid's voice through the door.

'Is your father there?' asked the social worker.

'Pa? Nope, he left afore Ma came in,' said the kid.

'Well, is your mother there?' persisted the social worker.

'Ma? Nope, she left just afore I got here,' said the kid.

'But,' protested the social worker, 'are you never together as a family.

Sure, but not here,' said the kid through the door. 'This is the outhouse!"
Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sausage And Sweet Peppers

After Susan, at Savoring Time In The Kitchen, posted about Mamma Agata’s Eggplant Parmesan and the cookbook it came from, I had to order one – even though I’m not a big user of cookbooks, preferring your blogs instead.  So for $53, I now have an inscribed copy for us to use and pretend we’re overlooking the Mediterranean from the Amalfi Coast rather than overlooking Tellico Lake from Almost Heaven South, which really isn’t too bad.

Bev had bought a couple of links of fresh-made hot Italian sausage from The Market in Maryville and we had the last of our garden peppers in dire need of being used, so I opted to use Mamma Agata’s Sausage and Peppers recipe, but made the dish with what we had on hand. 
Marie over at Proud Italian Cook made the dish back in May if you want to see it made by Mamma’s recipe – I had saved it back then to try.  She also has more and better photos than me.
Sausage And Sweet Peppers
Adapted from Mamma Agata

½ lb. pasta
2¼ lb. sweet peppers (green, red, yellow), sliced lengthwise
3½ T. butter
½ cup white onion, chopped
1 lb. hot Italian sausage
20 oz. fresh grape tomatoes, halved (all we could find)
1½ tsp. dried basil leaves (no fresh on hand)
2 pinches salt
1 cup tomato sauce – our homemade canned version
Canola oil

1. Saute peppers in oil until softened, 10-15 minutes, remove and drain on a paper towel.
2. Melt butter and EVOO in another pan over low heat, add chopped onion and cook until golden brown.  (I cleaned out and used the same pan).
3. Add the sausage to the pan and sear on all sides, cover the pan, and cook for two more minutes.

4. Uncover the pan and pierce the sausage on both sides to allow the juice to run into the pan and enhance the flavor of the sauce.
5. Add the peppers to the pan and put the sausage on top of them.
6. Add the chopped cherry tomatoes, salt, dried basil, and tomato sauce, cover pan and cook on low for 30 minutes.
7. Remove the sausage, cut into smaller pieces and return to the pan.
8. Meanwhile cook the pasta al dente in salted water, drain and add to the sausage/pepper pan.  Toss and cook for a couple of minutes to marry the flavors.

9. Serve and top with fresh grated parmesan.  (My plated shot was a bust).

For pasta dishes with chunky ingredients, I find shaped pasta easier to eat so I used rotini.  The three of us who ate it all thought it was delicious but mine didn’t look like the other two I’ve seen as my sauce had more liquid – enough that I added the entire pound of pasta I’d cooked.  While I cooked it the specified 30 minutes, I may have cooked it a little too long and should have gone by appearance rather than the clock. 

The sausage wasn’t overly hot and worked very well in the dish.  I had trouble getting it to sear in the onion pan so next time I think I’ll sear it in a little oil before adding the remaining fat to cook the onions.  I’ll remove it while the onions cook than add back at the appropriate time.  It is definitely a keeper recipe and I can only imagine how good it would be made by Mamma Agata - I look forward to the next one from Mamma's book.

I'm now responding to your comments and hoping you will stop back by - photos best if enlarged by clicking on them.

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


12/4/12 meal date

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Lunch At Chuy’s

We went to Knoxville this day to have brunch at the Baker Peters Jazz Club before our half off deal expires, but found the doors locked and no one around, so we went to another place Bev had been wanting to try.

Chuy’s is a nearly 40 location chain of Tex-Mex restaurants headquartered in Austin, TX and we ate at the one in Knoxville for our first trip.  We got there just ahead of the after-church crowd and it was already pretty full.  It was well decorated, warm and inviting with 1950’s vintage Chromcraft type furnishings and a tortilla cooking operation behind a piece of glass for all to see.  This is a shot from our table.

They pride themselves on good, fresh made food and everything we saw seemed to agree.  The chips and salsa were maybe the best I’ve had, with very thin, crispy tortilla chips and fresh (not cooked) salsa like Bev makes during the summer.  Their business model may be similar to the one Cheddar’s seems to have (my guess here) – lot’s of good food at reasonable prices and making their money on the high customer volume.

Bev enjoyed her Chile Rellenos, which were made from Anaheim chile peppers and they had an extra crispy coating on them.  She and I both had the Hatch Green Chile Sauce on ours and it was plenty spicy – I didn’t added any of the accompanying sliced jalapenos.

Pat had the Elvis Green Chile Fried Chicken of two breast pieces which were coated with a potato chip crust – also very crispy - and she liked hers as well.

I had the steak burrito and thought it was very good, but about half way thru it, I decided to remove the stuffing and eat it with the lighter chips rather than the fill-me-up flour tortilla it was in.  It came with charro beans which were just okay (we had some real good ones in Texas last year) and green chile rice which I enjoyed.

Our service was outstanding and the server even sent us home with a bag of chips and a couple containers of salsa.  While I don’t go out to eat very often, I will definitely go to Chuy’s again when I get an opportunity.

I'm now responding to your comments and hoping you will stop back by - photos best if enlarged by clicking on them.

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


12/2/12 meal date

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Saturday Humor

Sign in Doctor’s Office

I'm sure that you have seen pharmaceutical advertising in doctor's offices on  everything from tissues to note pads This one should get First  prize…

I mailed it to my Japanese doctor friend; he e-mailed back: "If light stay on more than 4 hour, call erectrician. 

(This make me raff out roud)
This came to me via email from a friend and since it made me raff out roud as well, I had to post it.
I'm now responding to your comments and hoping you will stop back by - photos best if enlarged by clicking on them.
Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.