Thursday, January 31, 2013

Beef Filet Hash

The header is of Madison's three ferrets (Mitchell, Roscoe, Lilly) and this in normal for them.  I don't know how the Lilly is not being mashed.

Bev had bought a whole beef filet and when Rhett and family were her, we had steaks from it.  If you’ve ever bought a whole filet, you know there is a good bit of meat that is not usable for a nicely shaped steak and we decided to turn some of it into breakfast food (surprised you didn’t I) in the form of beef filet hash.  I cut up some of the scraps into chunks and fried them up with some onion, green pepper, green onions, and home fries made from baked potatoes leftover from the steak meal.
I first fried the veggies together and when they were about done, I moved them to one side of the skillet and browned the meat.  The potatoes were seasoned with S&P and Tiger Seasoning and the meat got a sprinkle of Montreal Steak Seasoning.

While this was cooking, I fried up some eggs.  When the meat was mostly brown, I mixed everything together, cooked for a couple more minutes, plated, and topped with a couple of the eggs.

It was delicious way to have steak and eggs for breakfast and all three of us ate a good portion.

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12/7/12 meal date

Monday, January 28, 2013

Chicken Tortila Soup

It was ice storm day in East Tennessee and Bev had been wanting to make tortilla soup as Madison likes it and so do the rest of us.  She found a new recipe on as well as one from the Pioneer Woman and basically used the first one with some additional ingredients from Ree, and adaptations of her own.

Chicken Tortilla Soup – adapted from

6 tablespoons canola oil
8 corn tortillas, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, diced
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 jalapenos (pretty large), roasted, peeled, and seeded
1½ tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder (Larry’s homemade)
3 bay leaves
6 cups chicken stock (Homemade and richer than store bought)
1 teaspoon salt
2 cans black beans (15 oz) drained and rinsed
1 can corn (15 oz) drained
2 huge (Dolly sized) boneless chicken breast halves
Larry's chili powder
Adobo All Purpose Seasoning (Goya)
Shredded monterey jack cheese
Diced avocado
Sour cream (optional)
2 corn tortillas, sliced and fried crisp (optional)
Diced cucumber

1.  Remove the chicken from the bone and pound to about ¾“.
2.  Season with Larry’s chili powder and Adobo Seasoning
3.  Bake at 350* to an internal temp. of 160* and let cool enough to handle then cut into desired size (¼“ for Bev, bigger for me, shredded for others)
4.  In a dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat.
5.  Add the tortillas, garlic, celery, cilantro and onion, cooking for 2-3 minutes.
6.  Add the tomatoes and jalapenos (can substitute Rotel), bringing to a boil.
7.  Add cumin, chili powder and bay leaves.
8.  Add chicken stock and return to a boil.
9.  Reduce heat, add salt and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.
11 Remove bay leaves and stir in chicken, beans and corn and cook another 15 minutes.
12.Add to bowls and garnish with those you like.

My first bowl was out of the pot with a little shredded cheddar and some lettuce and cucumber left from tacos – the cukes provided a nice crunch.  Bev and I both thought it was very good but it needed the dairy to tone down the heat a little.  Using mild Rotel and adding the desired heat with powered cayenne or using less jalapenos are both ways to achieve a lower heat level.  For my second bowl, I began by slicing and frying some corn tortillas.

For garnishments, I added shredded Irish cheddar, a small dollop of sour cream, some diced cucumber, and the tortilla chips. 

After I stirred it up, mine looked like cream of tortilla soup and it was outstanding – maybe the best ever.

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1/25/13 meal date

Friday, January 25, 2013

Brisket & Wine Lovers Spanish Rice

Rhett and his family (Madison’s family) were in for the long weekend and he always wants one meal of BBQ, so we decided on a brisket.  We discussed several side items and settled on slaw and a rice/pasta dish.  We’d recently posted about enjoying Wine Lovers Rice using the recipe from Kathy at A Spoonful Of Thyme and wanted to use it again but with a southwestern flair.  We opted to use Mary’s Spanish Rice recipe from Bare Feet In The Kitchen to come up with the following adapted recipe:

Wine Lovers Spanish Rice

For the rice:
4 T. butter
1 C. long grain white rice
1 C. vermicelli, broken into ½ - 1 inch pieces
4 C. hot chicken broth (homemade)
1 C. dry white wine (Pinot Grigio)

Melt the butter in a large pan and sauté the rice and vermicelli until browned a little (the pasta browned but the rice did not).  When browned, stir in the hot chicken broth and wine. When it comes to a boil, turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.

For the sauce:
2 T. butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
10 oz. can green chiles, diced if whole
6 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz. home canned chopped tomatoes, 4oz liquid poured off
1½ T. Aleppo chile powder
1 T. cumin
1 T. smoked paprika
S&P to taste

Melt the butter in the hot skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and chiles and saute until the onion is translucent and slightly browned, approximately 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic, toss to saute and cook about a minute longer. Stir in the tomatoes and spices and bring to a low boil then reduce heat, cover with lid and simmer for 10 -15 minutes.

Add the cooked rice/pasta mixture to the tomato sauce and stir well to combine thoroughly.  Serve immediately or turn off heat and cover with lid to keep warm.

I sliced the brisket and poured a little of the juice over it.

Bev made the slaw by chopping the following in the food processor:

5" head abbage, 1 small carrot,  1 T. chopped onion, 3 radishes, 1/3 green pepper, 1 stalk celery, 1 green onion.

The sauce began with Marketside Cole Slaw Dressing (from Walmart) and was doctored with red wine vinegar, about 2T. mayonaise, and celery salt (all to taste) .

This is my plate of good eats.

The brisket was good but not quite as tender as I normally like – it could have used another 5* of internal temperature.  I really liked the rice as the Aleppo gave it the right heat for me (Bev still added crushed red pepper to hers) but you must like cumin to use this much – next time (and there will be a next time) I think I’ll use half the amount to start, then adjust, or it can be omitted if you are not a fan (the others thought it was fine as made).  Rhett commented that the slaw was his favorite part of the meal and I agree, it was some of Bev's best.

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1/20/13 meal date

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Crappie and Wine Lovers Pasta

I’ve posted several times about crappie and I’ve posted about lemon butter caper sauce several times as well, but this meal was incredible.  We began by making the wine lovers pasta using the recipe from A Spoonful Of Thyme.  Check out Kathy’s blog for the recipe, which I followed using homemade chicken broth and taking the lid off toward the end to ensure the liquid cooked off.

For the crappie, I sprinkled the fish with a little Emeril’s Essence, dusted with flour, and sautéed it in olive oil.  When it was done, I put it in the toaster oven preheated to 135* F to keep it warm.  

Then I made the sauce in the same pan:

1 stick of butter
2 minced cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
4 tablespoons of capers
Bev had some asparagus she wanted to use so I just added it into the sauce.

When the sauce had cooked for a while, I added the pasta/rice mixture and tossed well.  

For the meal, I added the pasta to the plate and topped with a couple pieces of fish.

Not a very good shot but we all thought it was delicious and since this sauce is one of her favorites, Madison ate a large plate.  We’d invited SIL Pat and it’s a good thing she declined as we ate it all.  I thought it would have been fine with less sauce for this amount of rice and pasta and Bev thought it could have used more – you’ll have to use your own judgment.  The wine lovers pasta will definitely be made around here again when dishes call for either rice or pasta or just as a side dish.

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1/17/13 meal date

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Canadian Bacon And An Old Friend’s Demise

While we’ve discussed erecting a more permanent cooking area, my BBQ area has been covered by a 12’x12’ pop-up canopy for a few years.  After persevering through the summer sun, the winter colds, and several hail storms, its loyal service to me was finally ended by a strong wind the other day.  The material was pretty well rotten and full of holes from hail, so I wasn’t surprised and I’m now looking for just a new cloth – the frame is still fine.

For our Christmas meal, which I took no photos of, I brined and stuffed some thick pork chops and since I had a big pot of brine and several pork loin roasts in the freezer, I decided to make some Canadian bacon – Bev had been requesting it for a few months.  I trimmed the roasts of all fat and silver skin and brined them for six days.  I soaked them for a couple of hours in three changes of cold water as my last ones were too salty.

After drying in the fridge for a day (suggested by Chris at Nibble Me This in his Canadian bacon post), I smoked them at 220* to an internal temp of 150*.  Check out Chris’s post for a good step-by-step how to - I cooked mine at 220* vs. his 250* to get more smokiness and color than I’d gotten in the past.  This is my finished product.

The first meal was an open faced Egg McLarry.

Next up was scrambled eggs and cheese sided with Canadian bacon, raspberries, and an English Muffin half.

The third offering was Canadian bacon hash, originally designed to be with par-boiled potatoes, onion, sweet pepper, and mushrooms, but Bev advised we had no potatoes (hard to believe) and suggested I use the remaining tater tots from lunch (yep, that was the entire lunch).  So I warmed the tater tots in the toaster oven to crisp them, while I sauteed the mushrooms and onions (no peppers either).  When the onions were tender, I added the halved tater tots and Canadian bacon to the pan and started a couple of sunny side up eggs.

The flavors went together very well and the crunch of the tater tots was a nice addition.  

I thought the smokiness and salt of the Canadian bacon were just right in the bacon (perhaps a little too smoky for some tastes) and while I'd like it to be a little darker, I doubt I'll get it without some sort of rub, which I don't want to add.

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1/3/13 – 1/18/13 meal dates

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Couple Of Good Omelets

After learning about our  previous oyster-a-thons, good friend David asked to come to the next one and even offered to buy the oysters – an automatic invitation for sure.  His wife Peggy came and this time, we had raw, char-grilled, and Rockefeller (Peggy's favorite) - I had a small bowl of the spinach topping left over, which sounded like a great stuffing for an omelet.  We ate the entire box of oysters though - they we small ones from the Texas gulf coast.

For my omelet, I warmed the oysters Rockefeller topping in the microwave and let some of Cathy’s (Wives With Knives) seafood remoulade come to room temperature.  I cooked the eggs with a lid to help the top set then added the spinach mix and some crumbled Feta cheese before folding.  I topped with a little remoulade and sided with an toasted English muffin and a couple slices of Canadian bacon (more on this later).

A few days prior to his one, Bev had made an omelet stuffed with some leftover sautéed mushrooms and onions and steamed broccoli.  She topped it with some chopped tomato and smoked Gouda cheese.

Both were delicious and I’d love either one again but I should have omitted either the bacon or the muffin from the first one - couldn't eat it all.

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1/8 & 1/16/13 meal dates

Monday, January 14, 2013

Kentucky Hot Brown Revisited

It’s been awhile, and Bev has been craving a Kentucky hot brown, so she bought some sort of turkey roll that contained both white and dark meat rolled up in a net.  I added a little dry rub to the outside and oven roasted it to an internal temperature of 165* which was perfect for the white meat but the dark meat could have used a little more.

I recalled that Chris, from Nibble Me This, had recently posted a great looking version so I headed over to his site to check it out and especially to get his Mornay Sauce recipe:

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp shallot, finely diced (we used sweet onion)
1 clove garlic, whole slightly crushed
1 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup half and half
1/2 cup mozzarella shredded
1/4 cup pecorino romano (we used Parmesan)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1. Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and saute until the shallot is tender, about 4 minutes. Whisk in the flour, stirring constantly to form a blond roux.
2. Whisk in about a quarter cup of the half/half and whisk until well blended. Add some more, repeat. Then add the remaining half/half. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes.  Remove the garlic clove and discard.
3. Whisk in the cheeses in small batches and stir until well blended. Season with salt and pepper. Sauce should be thick.

The classic version has two slices of bacon crossed on top of the sandwich. 

This makes for a nice presentation but makes it harder to eat and get bacon in every bite, so we diced the bacon, fried it crisp, and drained on paper towels.

Our assembly was: Slice of French bread, turkey, tomato, bacon crumbles, Mornay.

Broil until sauce begins to brown, top with chopped parsley, and enjoy.

It was very good and I really liked Chris’ kicked up Mornay sauce.  The changes I’ll make next time are use only breast meat, smoke it if I have time, put the bacon on the bread first so it will stay on better, and make more sauce.  Even picky eater Madison ate one and a half of them.

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1/9/13 meal date

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Pork Lo Mein

I’m not sure I ‘d ever had this dish, but Madison ordered it the other day in a restaurant and our friend Ashley wanted to make it for us before returning to Purdue, where she’s working on her PhD.  She used a recipe from her America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook, but she opted for making fresh noodles.  While Ashley prepped for the dish, Bev whipped up a batch of pasta using the recipe from Mario Batali.

Here are the pasta makers at work - the Rowoco machine seems to do a good job.  After rolling it out to a thickness of 5, we ran it thru the linguini die.

Ashley got all of her ingredients prepped prior to beginning to cook and as best I can tell we should have invited the neighborhood – she made double the recipe below. 

Ashley used the cookbook, but I found a slightly modified version on the web at Laine’sRecipe Box so I didn’t have to type it from the book.  I made a few changes to Laine’s version to make it more like the cookbook.

Pork Stir Fry with Noodles (Lo Mein) - Serves 4

3 T. soy sauce
2 T. oyster sauce
2 T. hoisin sauce
1 T. toasted sesame oil
1/4 t. five-spice powder
1 lb. boneless country-style pork ribs, trimmed of surface fat and excess gristle and sliced crosswise into 1/8-inch pieces
1/4 t. liquid smoke (optional)
1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 t. cornstarch
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 t.)
2 t. grated fresh ginger
4.5 t. peanut oil
4 T. Chinese rice cooking wine (Shao-Xing) or dry sherry
1/2 lb. shiitake mushrooms, stems trimmed, caps cut in halves or thirds (about 3 c.)
2 bunches scallions, whites thinly sliced and greens cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 c.)
1 small head Napa or Chinese cabbage, halved, cored, and sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch strips (about 4 c.)
12 oz. Chinese egg noodles (fresh) or 8 oz. dried linguine (we had 19 oz. of fresh pasta)
1 T. Asian chile garlic sauce

1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven over high heat.
2. Whisk soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and five-spice powder together in medium bowl. Place 3 tablespoons soy sauce mixture in large zipper-lock bag; add pork and liquid smoke, if using. Press out as much air as possible and seal bag, making sure that all pieces are coated with marinade. Refrigerate at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour. Whisk broth and cornstarch into remaining soy sauce mixture in medium bowl. In separate small bowl, mix garlic and ginger with 1 teaspoon peanut oil; set aside.
3. Heat 2 teaspoons peanut oil in 12-inch cast-iron or nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add half of pork in single layer, breaking up clumps with wooden spoon. Cook, without stirring, 1 minute. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons wine to skillet; cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is reduced and pork is well coated, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer pork to medium bowl and repeat with remaining pork, 2 teaspoon oil, and remaining 2 tablespoons wine. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels.
4. Return skillet to high heat, add 1 teaspoon peanut oil, and heat until just smoking. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add scallions and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until scallions are wilted, 2 to 3 minutes longer; transfer vegetables to bowl with pork.

5. Add remaining teaspoon peanut oil and cabbage to now-empty skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Clear center of skillet; add garlic-ginger mixture and cook, mashing mixture with spoon, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir garlic mixture into cabbage; return pork-vegetable mixture and chicken broth-soy mixture to skillet; simmer until thickened and ingredients are well incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.
6. While cabbage is cooking, stir noodles into boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until noodles are tender, 3 to 4 minutes for fresh Chinese noodles or 10 minutes for dried linguine. Drain noodles and transfer back to Dutch oven; add cooked stir-fry mixture and garlic-chili sauce, tossing noodles constantly, until sauce coats noodles. Serve immediately.

This is it in the bowl ready to serve but I didn’t get any plated shots.

We all enjoyed the dish but had differing reactions to it.  Bev thought it needed something and added crushed pepper to hers while I thought the spice/sauce mix overwhelmed everything else, so it is obviously very eater dependent.  One thing we all agreed on was the fresh homemade pasta was outstanding.

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1/2/13 meal date

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

photo posting

I've gotten several suggestions about helping the with picture posting and responded to your comments on the previos post.  To insert a phot this is what I do (Have done)

1. I click on the insert image icon from the "compose" toolbar on the "new post screen" and a new window opens
2. In the upper left of the new window, it says "Select a file" but it may used to have said "Choose a File"  and it used to after a "browse" icon across the top of the window from there but it is gone.
3. Under the "Select a file" are the following"

    Upload (in red)

    From this blog

    From Picasa web album

    From your phone

    From your webcam

    From a URL

Across from the word "upload", it tells what kind of files I can upload.
In the lower left, just as before, it gives me icons for "add selected" and "cancel"

But nowhere does it give me a way to get to my computer files and I can't find the words "choose files" on either window.  My workaround has been to upload them to the online Picasa then import them from there, but it's an extra step and I'm now wondering if the issue is because I use Picasa or did I just click on a wrong something at some point.

Any help appreciated.  Thanks.  Larry

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Look Mom - No Eggs & Blogspot Help

This is a breakfast from leftovers that Bev fixed me over the holidays - see I don't have an egg on everything.

Blogspot Question - When I want to post a photo, I click the little icon next to the "Link" word and it brings up a "Select A File" box which, until the other day, always included the word Browse on the upper right which allowed me to go to my computer picture files and select a photo. The browse word is no longer there and I don't know why - any suggestions?

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12/31/12 meal date

Friday, January 4, 2013

Oyster-A-Thon 2012

Recently I’ve posted a couple of times about oysters (11/21 & 11/28) and the decision my buddy Joe and I made to eat more of them.  He’d repaired my computer and came over to return it and I promised him oysters and margaritas in return.  When I went to buy them, they were $36 for the four dozen I’d planned to get or I could buy a box of 100 for $55 – no brainer for an oyster lover as they will keep about a week (55 cents each vs. 75 cents each – they were a dime on the half shell first time I had them at a FL oyster bar.)

So on Friday, we had char-grilled oysters, raw oysters, and oysters Rockefeller (a Bev favorite) and used about 65 of them.

Then on New Year’s Eve, Joe and his wife Carol came over for a traditional Southern good luck meal of black eyed peas and collard greens, but we started the event with some more oysters mid-afternoon.  While Joe and I prefer ours raw, Bev and Carol only eat them cooked and for Carol they must be fried.  We found the following recipe from Emeril and since we has the masa, we gave it a try.

1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon Essence, plus 1 tablespoon
16 freshly shucked oysters, about 1 pint, drained
1/2 cup masa harina
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups vegetable oil, for frying

1. In a bowl, combine the buttermilk with 1 tablespoon of the Essence. Add the oysters and marinate for 20 minutes.
2. Combine the masa harina and flour with the remaining Essence in a shallow dish.
3.In a deep-fryer or a medium, heavy pot with high sides, heat the oil to 360 degrees F.
4.Dredge the oysters in the flour mixture and shake the pieces in a strainer to remove any excess. Carefully add to the hot oil in batches, and cook, turning occasionally, until golden on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the oysters with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels, and serve immediately.

We fried up a couple dozen and served them with three sauces: Seafood Remoulade - from Cathy at Wives With Knives, Tarter Sauce and Cocktail Sauce both from Ina Garten.

We all liked this coating for the oysters and all three of the sauces were delicious and will be our go-to versions.

After the fried ones there were about a dozen left for Joe and I to eat raw and the box of 100 was gone.

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One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago: 


12/31/12 meal date

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Grouper In Caper Sauce

Bev wanted fish in lemon-butter-caper sauce and we usually use lake caught crappie for it, but I had a piece of grouper I wanted to try.  We had some store bought asparagus in the fridge and decided to cook it in the same sauce as the fish, in hopes of giving it a little flavor.

I got the melted butter into a skillet along with some minced garlic and lemon juice and dusted both sides of the fish with Emeril's Essense. 

Since the fish was pretty thick, I started it and the asparagus at the same time - normally would have added the fish later.  This is after flipping and the addition of the capers.

Here it is on the serving platter with some garlic bread - this was also Bev's bread day. 

The grouper worker very well in this dish, but it is hard to beat it battered and deep fried.

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12/23/12 meal date