🎼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).
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
No, not Red Beans and Rice but White Beans and Rice!
Red beans and rice fan? I like red beans and rice but think I like the white beans and rice with sausage even better. Although, cheese doesn’t really pair that well with white beans so I may keep them both on my menu list.
My sister and I, from almost the day we were married, use to write down our menus for the week. I would not vary from what I had planned for the week. If I said I was having pork lo mean on a Thursday then that’s what I prepared. These days, I still make out menus for the week but hardly ever do I stick to a schedule because it seems like most of the time we end up going out to eat and that is usually for Mexican food or to local JW Steakhouse for fish or chicken night. If I want something really good and different I’m going to make it myself at home.
Southern Living recipe with some tweaking.
I have always loved Southern Living’s recipes. Back in the 70’s I submitted and had accepted about 5 recipes for the SL magazine. For having a recipe published in the magazine I received the yearly annual SL cookbook and also 50 recipe cards with “my recipe that appeared in SL magazine”. I actually still have a few of those cards somewhere in boxes in storage.
When I first saw this recipe and made it I could still buy good “cling free” peaches. This salad would be just as delicious for a Fall dinner using roasted apples. Pork and apples make the perfect combo.
The recipe begged (I think) for some charred corn and definitely some avocado. Wished I’d had some cilantro and I would have given it a good sprinkling. The bread slices are so crusty and oily and when it mixes with the greens and pork make for the perfect bite of food.
Not the time consuming two day project of a traditional cassoulet.
What is a cassoulet you say? Well if you like white beans then let me tell you about this cassoulet. No it isn’t a casserole it’s a slow cooked dish (maybe casserole would be a stretch) that contains meats like bacon, pork sausage, ham, pork skin, duck and can have goose or mutton.
Making a traditional (French) cassoulet would take you a couple of days at least. By the time you make your duck confit and prep everything and then cook for hours the next day, you have invested a lot of time into what you might think is just beans and ham. The first time I we made this (or Paul/Scott made it) we did the confit one day and we used dried beans and not canned beans. It gets stirred during the day while cooking so the crusty top layer gets pushed to the bottom. If you want to see their results look here.
I won’t go into more details in making the tradition version because this Cassoulet Toast is easy. I first saw the recipe at David Lebovitz’s site and was one he had made from Susan Spungen’s book The Open Kitchen. Susan is a cook, food stylist, recipe developer and author. I started following her on Instagram because of her food pictures and now I own her book and can’t wait to try some of her recipes.
Virus inspired weekend breakfast.
(Note: My post may be spaced a little further apart for a few weeks as we are packing and moving to Round Top. Looking forward to many new adventures there.)
Why virus inspired? Well since all this madness started a several months ago I’ve been trying not to waste anything. Normally we don’t like to eat leftovers but even my husband said “lets don’t waste our food”.
Digging through the freezer I found about a cup of chopped ham, some broccoli, had the mushrooms and always have eggs and milk so I whipped this up one weekend morning. Doesn’t every day feel like the weekend?
What are you doing these days for breakfast? Cereal, pancakes, waffles, something fancier. Well now’s the time to try one of my recipes from “morning foods” section. You have nothing but time so give one of them a try and if you do, leave a note (please) in the comment section.
When I made this dish we were in the middle of the pandemic and I was doing a lot of cooking. A few reasons for all the cooking was boredom, we had to eat, had to get some post made in advance of my shoulder surgery, had to cook some meals for the freezer for post surgery, I love to cook anyway, and I am cooking via internet with the grandsons in Chicago (Oliver and Charlie).
Well, we are still the in pandemic, I’m still cooking, I had the shoulder surgery and in physical therapy. And, during all this we listed our house, the first day had 14 people look, 5 offers, accepted one and now in the process of starting to pack up some things to move to Round Top, Texas (population 90) and will start the process of building a house there.
Red grapes with roasted pork?
Several weeks ago before all this sheltering in place started we had dinner with some old (not in age of course) Chevron friends that spend part of their year here and part in Minnesota. It’s always great to catch up on what is going on in each other’s lives.
I loved everything about the meal we had that night, the cocktails (thanks Jane/Tony), the appetizers and just the whole meal. In all my years of cooking I’ve never put grapes in anything I cooked and when I first saw these on our plates I thought they were little stems of cherry tomatoes and to my surprise they were sweet grapes that were delicious with a bite of fork. So the way I ate mine when I made this recipe was to take half a grape (these were huge red grapes I bought) and bite of pork; one delicious bite.