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Appetizers/ Entree/ Fish/Seafood/ Food Stories/ Game/ HotApp/ Pork

Friday night fights!

Friday night fights!

(There isn’t a recipe today but just a little story about how we love frog legs and our fried fish and another look at a few of our family favorites.)

On any given Friday night when we were kids (my twin sister and brother) we would probably be in front of a black and white tv watching The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports (Boxing). I guess that was my dad’s favorite sport to watch. (I learned a lot about Gillette razor blades every Friday night.)  Many of those Friday nights would  involve a fish fry with family friends or if my dad had gone frog gigging then he would have taken out his boat that he made to float ditches and gigged us some frogs. This boat was made from welding two car hoods together and was perfect for going down some of the bayous like Black Island or Wolf Island or any of the ditches full of rain water and overflowing with croaking bull frogs ready to give it up for a delicious dinner for our family.

Our dad could pretty much do anything. I’ve called him a Renaissance Man in one of my post about his hushpuppy recipe (which is the best hushpuppy you will ever put in your mouth.) Even though a lot of our meals were things like fried pork chops, fish, meatloaf, duck and other game, delicious stews and soups; just simple good food, there was a lot of love and care that went into preparing all those meals. Our mother was a stay-at-home mom and had lunch ready for my dad every day and then a nice meal ready every night about the time he came home.

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Entree/ Game/ Poultry

Asian Grilled Quail with Brown Rice

Love the Asian flavors of this dish.

Well, it’s about time for the Round Top Spring Antique Show to begin and I may not be doing a lot of cooking (at home at least) for the next 2 1/2 weeks. But here’s a recipe I did a few weeks ago that, if you like quail, you will surely like.

Annie Oakley I’m not and I couldn’t shoot a bird the size of goose. Don’t get me wrong, I could shoot a quail or any other bird if I wanted to have it for dinner BUT I couldn’t aim and get one out of the air.

My sister, Terry, use to dove hunt with her husband and they had a special way of doing them on the grill. Can’t say I’ve ever eaten dove. She got all the athletic genes out of the twin thing — racketball, tennis, golf, and hunting. I got the “cooking” gene but of course she can cook too. She got the “tamale” gene for sure and makes the best tamales I’ve tasted. When she visits in a week or so she’s helping me make some for the freezer; so I better get cooking up some of that frozen food I have stashed in my freezer to make room.

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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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Appetizers/ Entree/ Game/ HotApp

Buttermilk Fried Quail Legs

Talk about pretty legs!

Pretty bird legs! No not those thin, little legs you might see on someone so skinny that if you were to put them on a flagpole they would wave in the wind. That certainly doesn’t describe me and probably never will. Although my sister (twin) and I did have little bird legs when we were young. I don’t think we ate much other than Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup. That changed, hence the current results.

So these pretty little legs were from a few quail that gave their lives for us to enjoy them as an appetizer on New Year’s Eve. (That sounds pretty sad – but they were delicious.) They were so good I have to say thank you little quails. Normally I’m not that great frying things and my husband does all that outside on the grill with his huge 13″ cast iron skillet. This particular New Year’s Eve it was rainy and cold, just us, and me not wanting to go all out making fancy appetizers for just two people, I decided to boil some shrimp and make a good cocktail sauce and then decided I’d better fry these little legs inside.

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Game/ Side dish

Roasted Tomato and Corn Grits with Duck Confit

I love grits!

I love grits and I love roasted tomatoes and who doesn’t love duck confit. This duck confit just happened to be given to me by my son Paul.

I’ve made confit the traditional way where the duck is covered with duck fat and cooked long and slow in an oven and I’ve made David Leboritz’s counterfeit duck confit where it isn’t cooked in fat (much cheaper) and is still just as tender. I loved using my son’s confit because I know he put a lot of tender loving care into making it.

All the years I’ve made cheese grits I’ve cooked some on stove top before adding in butter and eggs (to thicken) and then finish them in the oven. For this recipe I’m doing all the cooking on the stovetop and eliminating the eggs.

Since moving to Round Top I’m missing all my cooking utensils, pans and everything from my kitchen. (Update: we are now in our second/long term temporary and I have cabinet full (not all) of my cooking things) I think at least 60% of our boxes were from my kitchen, I have ever pan imaginable and every serving piece I could possibly ever need.

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Appetizers/ Entree/ Game/ HotApp

Jalapeno Quail Legs

Tiny little quail legs made fantastic appetizer.

Sometime last year I was visiting my daughter, Alexis, in Austin and one day her mother-in-law, Kittie took us to Jack Allen’s Kitchen for lunch. We ordered some quail legs for an appetizer and they were so delicious I knew I had to try and recreate the recipe. (Thanks for lunch Kittie.)

At Christmas we rented a house on Lake Travis and it was a nice big house where we enjoyed five nights of being together, playing our favorite game, Catan, and of course cooking. The kitchen wasn’t as well stocked with equipment as I would have liked but we made do with what we had. My son, Paul, and I are pretty hard to please when it comes to the way a kitchen is equipped; but we managed to do some Escargot and these quail legs for appetizers while there.

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Entree/ Game/ Pork

A Very Good Cassoulet

This was fantastic and so good on a cold winter night.

I was hoping to try this in France last Spring but there were so many other things to try and I had already made this a couple of times so it didn’t bother me that it wasn’t on my list of “tried things” while there.

Did you grow up (or still do) eating white beans in a bowl with a big chunk of corn bread on the side (please don’t say sweet cornbread) with maybe some chow chow to add to your beans. We did and they were the best beans you could possibly hope for at the time. A few years ago, my dad showed my husband how he had started making beans. He would soak the beans over night and then he would put the beans in a pot (he used a pressure cooker) with a couple of country style ribs (or backbone depending on where you live) and a ham hock.

Then along came Cassoulet (new to me). A word I had heard but never paid much attention to. I had never had the dish before our French Country Feast a few years ago. It was fantastic. A cassoulet is a stew made with white beans, sausage, duck confit, sometimes lamb, ham hocks and ham bone. Now, how could that not be an out of this world dish.

This recipe may take hours in the making but it will well be worth it in the end. I would either serve my mother’s cornbread recipe or a crusty French bread with this. There are so many recipes on the Internet for cassoulet and methods of making it. I would suggest reading a few before trying this recipe. In the end though, how can you mess up beans and a bunch of different kinds of meat. The end results will be great, no matter what you put in it.

BLAST FROM THE PASTFried Eggplant Chips with Honey Drizzle was an appetizer we had in Seville, Spain. Very delicious. I was excited to see that 2,600 people have looked at this recipe. Back in March I had 1,600 views — WOW. I really get excited when I think how many people just happen to find a recipe of mine through a google search.

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Appetizers/ Entree/ Game/ HotApp

Duck Confit

So you say, “what is duck confit” and what are you going to do with it.

I tried to anticipate what we might be eating and tried a few French recipes. I’m sure I will be taking a lot of food pictures and I will post some of our favorite places and meals when we return.

In just a few more hours and we will be boarding our plane for France. A week in Paris and a week in Provence I’m sure the trip is going to be wonderful with breathtaking scenery, new experiences and lots of wonderful food. I am sure that we will be seeing duck confit on all the menus; so I decided to make it before our trip then I can compare my version to theirs.

I tried to anticipate what we might be eating while there and tried a few French recipes before going. I’m sure I will be taking a lot of food pictures while there an

Duck confit is a French dish made with the leg/thigh of the duck and it is prepared in a century-old process that consists of salt curing the duck legs and then poaching slowly submerged in its own fat for hours.

The duck legs are rubbed with garlic, herbs (thyme) and salt (I love using thyme because my herb garden is full of it), then refrigerated 36-48 hours. After rinsing off the salt and herbs the meat is slowly poached for 6-8 hours and the meat and fat are removed from the bone. After the meat has cooled it can be put into a container and submerged in the fat.  A sealed jar of duck confit can be refrigerated for up to six months or longer. You need to top the meat in the jar with at least 1″ of fat.

One weekend when we were in Austin visiting our kids, my son was chopping up some duck legs that he had confitted (if that is a word). Anyway, my grandson, Milo, who was only two at the time stood on his chair, watching his dad cook and ate a whole pile of chopped duck legs.

My duck legs were not easily found; I looked all over Houston for duck legs and finally found them at Central market (by phone) but at $6.99 lb. So, what I love most about the internet is that after searching just a little while, no driving, traffic, or gas involved, I found the duck legs at Maple Leaf Farms at $2.99 for 12 oz. leg/thigh. So I ordered six. Why not order more than I needed since I had to pay shipping anyway and on top of that I found a promo code for $5.00 off. So I ordered 6 legs for $25 and that included shipping. I search for promo codes on EVERYTHING I order off the internet. Usually one can be found for a percentage off, free shipping or at least $5.00 off. In this case I got $5.00 off so, what a deal; now I don’t have to drive into Houston. So if you need a promo code, just Google promo code for…. (whatever) and you may have to look through a couple of sites before you find one that works.

I did find whole duck at this Asian market in Houston ,BUT, the frozen and fresh ducks had their heads and feet still on and I just couldn’t bring myself to buying them; they kind of gave me the heebe geebies to look at them. I know I have eaten tripe, lamb fries, tongue and different organ meats that most people wouldn’t think of eating but there was just something about seeing the head and legs/feet still on the duck all curled up in the package made me shiver just to think of it.

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Entree/ Game

Fig Basted Cornish Hens

Oh, what good things come from cleaning my refrigerator.

So today I decided that it was time to clean my refrigerator. I don’t know about you, but I tend to find food hiding away under or behind things that I don’t even remember buying. I found a couple of swiveled up lemons, a really mushy tomato, some bottles of stuff that should have been thrown away months ago except for the fact that they calling to me every day “use me”…. and  I kept telling myself one day I was going to use them. Well, that day never came; so today I filled my trash can right before a hungry garbage truck pulled up to my curb.

But, tucked away in all this refrigerated garbage, I found a nice jar of fig preserves, one perfect lemon, some soy sauce and I knew I could come up with something to make with those ingredients and I also found two Cornish hens in my freezer — so dinner in the making.

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Entree/ Game

Game Hens with Tangerine Sauce

I love these little birds, they are so cute sitting on a plate.

Lovely! Is that a word that can be related to food?  I don’t know but these were beautiful.

Cool weather has come to Texas and it is making me want to cook, and what could be better than the aroma some type of poultry roasting in the oven filling the house.

What is it about those cute little cornish game hens that appeal to me? I have no idea but they look so darn cute on your plate and, hey, you get the whole thing all to yourself. Considering these little birds are normally $2.50-$3.00 each, I think this makes an economical meal and a ★★★★ recipe. Although, after eating one I feel like I have plowed the back 40. They are a lot of work to eat for so little meat. The little bitty legs and wings with an ounce of meat! This sauce and rub would be just as good on chicken breast. I wouldn’t use boneless breast and I would try to find breast with the wing attached. They make for a much prettier presentation than a boneless skinless breast. And besides, boneless chicken breast have no taste what so ever.

A cornish game hen is not a game bird but actually a type of domestic chicken. It can be either male or female and even though they command a higher price, they have a short growing span of 28-30 days unlike a chicken which takes about 45 days from hatch to your plate. I have never seen them fresh so look for them in your freezer section.

I’ve had this recipe laying around in my files for awhile and decided to start digging out some of those recipes and doing more cooking indoors since my husband cooked so much through the summer with his new Kamodo Joe smoker. I guess it is my turn to cook. There’s not a thing I would change in this recipe; it was very good and there was enough sauce for 4 cornish hens.

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Entree/ Food Stories/ Game

The Tortoise and The Hare

Slow but steady did not win their race this day!

We all have heard the story about the tortoise and the hare and how the turtle was slow but steady and won the race. Neither one was very lucky the day my dad caught this turtle and rabbit.

While visiting my sister a couple of weeks ago, she found a couple of bags of turtle in the freezer that she had gotten from our dad’s last year. So, we decided to have fried turtle.  If you didn’t know it already, turtle has 7 kinds of meat. These are the seven types that I came up with from researching turtle meat — turkey, fish, poultry, veal, pork, duck, mutton. After thawing the turtle she found that my dad had frozen a rabbit in with the turtle. Maybe that was my dad’s way of giving us one last laugh when we thought about him catching turtles on his fishing lines he put out everyday.

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