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Entree

Pork

Papa G’s Herbed Pork Chops

 🎼Anything you can do I can do better,

I can do anything better than you!🎼

No you can’t, Yes, I can, Yes I can —  Well that’s not true when it comes to the outdoor cooking in this family. Whether it’s grillin’, fryin’, or smoking.  GA (the person I have shared most of my life with and 53 years of marriage) has been taught by the best — my dad. Even back when we were dating in high school he was learning things that would stay with him and add to his cooking skills.

I’ve always done most of the cooking in the kitchen but over the last 10 years that’s changed. When I had both knees replaced years ago, he was preparing me wonderful “eats”. And, always for the family feast we had the day after Thanksgiving he had his own item he would prepare and present to the group. (These were the best dinners ever! See blast from the past below to get an idea of what went on at a MFF). 

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Entree/ Legumes/ Pork

Hoppin’ John

This could be your New Year’s Eve good luck meal!

Hoppin’ John is a Carolina rice and pea dish made with either red peas or cowpeas. The recipe can be traced back to roots in West Africa. There are a lot of variations but basically peas and rice are the main ingredients. I’ve add some bell pepper, onion and garlic; a little ham hock and fried/crispy pork belly never hurt a recipe.

Most recipes call for Carolina gold rice but I could not find that; maybe I’ll have to check out Amazon or put it on my list of things to look for when we go to “the city”.

Awhile back I used these red peas to do a pea and grits recipe which was quite good also. I think the next time I make Hoppin’ John I will saute’ some fresh jalapeno in with the onions and bell peppers for a little added heat. I think the recipe can also benefit from some sliced celery. Really, you can add just about anything. Maybe a sliced smoked sausage in place of the pork belly would add more spice.

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Appetizers/ Entree/ Game/ Lamb

Lamb Chops with Huacatay Sauce

I love these little chops!

What’s not to love about these cute little lamb chops; a very tender piece of meat, a beautifully Frenched bone and they look just like little “meat lollipops”. They make a perfect appetizer or several for a meal. For an appetizer these little lollipops can be eaten with your hands; no knife and fork needed. And, who doesn’t like eating meat off the bone?

When my mother use to fried bread pork chops or pork steaks, my favorite part was what was left on the bone and I couldn’t wait to eat that part of the chop/steak. We never had lamb growing up, never; and I guess that’s why it took me well into my adulthood to even try them. I have to say that I don’t buy them often unless I’m at Costco and then I will pick up a couple of packages and throw them in the freezer for something special I may be doing.  

These would be great added to your holiday celebrations. My mouth is watering just thinking of making these again. I may be experimenting with some different sauces and dips for this little tidbits of juiciness. 

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Entree/ Poultry

Chicken with Blistered Tomatoes and Paprika Cream Sauce

A pasta dish to warm your belly on a cool Fall night.

I hope wherever you are living you are enjoying some cooler/colder weather. Even here in Texas we have cooled down considerably since all those 100° days of this past summer. Here in our area it may be cool/cold one week and warmer the next so you just never know what to expect. So as this recipe post it is in the 70’s but next weekend our highs are in the 50’s. Whatever the temperature, I think you will enjoy this dish.

Cooler temperatures have me wanting to make some good pasta dishes and since I have a pantry full of beautifully shaped pastas I will definitely be doing that. Usually, if I ask my husband what he wants on his pasta he says “olive oil” and cheese. BUT, I always convince him of a dish that is a little more interesting that pasta and oil. The pasta I used in this recipe just happened to be another one of my giant pastas I picked up and World Market.

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Entree/ Legumes/ Pork

Red Peas with Pork Belly and Cheesy Grits

P-P-P-P’s – Peas Please!

I’ve always loved peas (maybe not English peas when I was a kid); black eyed, purple hull, field, lady, cream, and of course snow and sugar snap. The first peas are legumes but still a pea in my book My dad use to grown black eyed, purple hull and field pieces and my mother would mix them all together when she cooked them. I don’t grow my own peas but sometimes I will buy a can of each, drain and rinse and mix them together; I love the different shapes and colors together

The red pea is a variety I’ve never tried and recently ordered a package of Sea Island Red Peas from Amazon and after looking at several recipes, I knew what I was going to serve with them. Some good barely cheesy grits, topped with the red peas/gravy and topped with some crispy pork belly chunks. I’m making Hoppin’ John this week using the remainder of my bag of peas. Hoppin’ John is a dish I’ve never made before so I’m anxious to make it and maybe have a good crusty bread instead of cornbread.

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Entree/ Poultry

Balsamic Chicken with Figs and Kale

Fall figs!

I spend a lot of my time off from cooking at the brewery looking at recipes. Can you believe that? After helping in the kitchen four days a week; I still want to look at food? Either I’m searching my favorite wineries for recipes or watching food shows or movies about food.

Cooking for company is something I love to do and hope to get back to doing that. I can spend hours trying to pick out the perfect menu; not to fussy (just yet) and not too very complicated (although I do like a challenge) just a perfect meal to enjoy with friends and family. I also think it is fun to get guest involved in the cooking, only if they are into that sort of entertainment. And, I can’t wait to have my first tea party. I should say “tea” because tea party makes me think of old ladies in hats and I’m definitely not a “hat” person. So, if you are ever invited to “tea” you know you do not have to wear a hat.

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Entree/ Pasta

Giant Pasta with Baby Zucchini

A use for leftover Charcuterie meats.

After making my charcuterie board on our girl’s trip to Waco, there was quite a bit of meat left over and I just threw it in the freezer when I got home thinking I might use if for our snack one night while having our “front porch cocktails”. Then recently when I was at Cost Plus World Market I bought several of their pastas. Ya know, buying different pastas is my weakness. Well, they had a giant fussily pasta that I thought would go perfect with my baby (the size of your little finger) zucchini that I picked up at Trader Joe’s. And the results were amazing.

I’m only using the prosciutto and the pancetta out of the meats. I wasn’t sure how frying and browning salami would work and I knew I wouldn’t like the mortadella.  When I make this again I will have the pancetta sliced a little thicker so I can cube it and then cut the pancetta thin and in threads.

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Entree/ Pork

Tequila, Sausage and Vegetable Mixed Grill

Perfect for your Labor Day backyard party.

The night we made this there was only the two of us. As you can see in the picture, we could have feed at least 4 extra people. Where were you?

This isn’t actually a “mixed grill” but I didn’t know what to call it. I had saved the basic ingredients from a Food Network recipe I had seen but then decided to go off road and add a lot of other things to the recipe. Usually a mixed grill has several kinds of meats and I only had my Eckerman’s Smoked jalapeno Sausage with Cheese and besides we didn’t need any other meats.

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Entree/ Pork/ Sandwiches

Pork Burger with Blue Cheese and Grilled Peaches

Who doesn’t love a good burger?

Back in my high school “burger days”  (the 60’s)the only place we would go for a good burger was Knox’s Drive-In. Whether it was with my now husband or my twin sister, Terry and a group of friends that was our go to place for a burger and hanging out. That might have been about the only place back then to get a burger. The Drive-In is now closed but to this day I can still remember the phone number and that is mainly because whenever we would go back home for a visit our three kids always wanted a “Knox’s Burger”. What a burger it was, a thin patty that you could actually get your mouth around topped with my favorite mustard, pickle, onion and slaw. Not any ordinary slaw either; simple finely chopped cabbage with maybe a little pickle juice and tiny bit of mustard.

Fast forward to current times and you’ll find burgers that could feed four people and have to be dissected to get it in your mouth. I’ve never had an egg on a burger and that’s one trend I hope is over. Those poor chickens have been working overtime to provide eggs for “put an egg on it” menu items.

This pork burger is a recipe I found in Erin French’s new cookbook The Lost Kitchen. The Lost Kitchen is one of my favorite Magnolia networks new shows. Erin has her Lost Kitchen restaurant in Freedom, Maine and the only way to get a reservation for the 6 months a year she is open is to send a postcard in sometime in April and hope they see it and you make it on their reservation list. I’m still looking for a Round Top post card that might catch her attention. Maybe I need one that says “90 population” and she’ll think “that girls needs a night out”.

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Pork

Chops and Rice — Quick and Easy

Who doesn’t like quick and easy?

This recipe is something I have made for over 50 years, and it was one of the first things I cooked as a newly wed.

I have to say this recipe was put aside for a couple of decades until recently and I was trying to think of something to make for dinner that could be made after I come home from working at the brewery. During the Spring antique show here in Round Top, (TX) there was no time for cooking when I got home from a long day of prepping and helping out in the kitchen (and I don’t even stay until closing).

What makes this recipe fast is the “instant” rice which I gave up years ago for converted rice, black or red rice and all the other mouth-watering rices available. But, when you are in a hurry this rice will have you sitting at the table in no time enjoying a homemade meal.

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Entree/ Poultry

Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Yellow Rice

This recipe is a keeper!

When you look at this recipe and all the steps DO NOT, I repeat do not click “back” and leave page. This recipe is worth all the effort and a few steps could be don’t ahead.

My son, Scott, is always sending me new and different recipes he’s found. Sometimes I say no to brownies made with soy sauce or tahini cookies but this one was different and it turns out I had all the ingredients and we both ended up making it on the same night. See both our pictures below.

Other than cooking at the brewery, what else do I have to do with my time right now; so I’m up for a challenge for any recipe I come across that sounds interesting. If anyone is ever interested in learning how to make anything I’m in the mood to make just come on over and help me cook.

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Entree/ Fish/Seafood

Smoked Salmon Cakes

And…Red Pepper Sauce!

So, what does one do with a large package of smoked salmon that wasn’t eaten because of COVID. This was going to be on one of my appetizer trays for Christmas when all the kids were here but Covid happened and the week cut short and this package of salmon found itself thrown into the freezer.

We had plans to go to the movie the day I made this recipe and I knew we would eat ourselves sick on popcorn and by the time we got back I wouldn’t want to cook and a day’s diet of nothing but popcorn wouldn’t be that healthy. So, I got busy that morning and made my salmon cakes, my red pepper sauce and even made a Mardi Gras colored slaw for a side dish (since Mardi Gras was coming up). The slaw was beautiful, the cakes laid in the refrigerator just waiting to be cooked that night. Even if it was a late dinner, we had  a “proper” meal.

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