July 31, 2006

Back from Destin

We are back from Destin and boy was Florida a great vacation. Beautiful beaches, wonderful weather and shopping and all the freshest seafood you could eat!

This was our first trip to Destin and it was totally worth it. From Jeff City it took exactly 14 hours (that’s with a lunch break and other stops). We left about 5 am on Sunday morning and arrived at 7 pm that night in Destin. Although 14 hours might seem like a long road trip it was surprisingly easy.

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Besides laying out and relaxing on the beautiful white sand beaches in Destin we also took a speed boat out for a day of snorkeling and dolphin watching, aboard the Sea Blaster, a great attraction in Destin. Captain Larry was a wonderful host and provides all beverages, including free beer, wine and soda you want! We saw lots of dolphins and went for a fast, fun-filled ride along the Destin coast. This trip is worth your money.

If you ever do plan a trip to Destin I would suggest going online to the Destin Chamber of Commerce. There I found everything I needed to know: weather info, restaurant reviews, directions to all attractions, photos of the beaches and links to many coupons for boat cruises and other attractions.

Some of the places we ate were: Floyd’s Shrimp House, Old Bay Steamer (my favorite), The Back Porch, Hog’s Breath and FudPuckers Gator restaurant (great if you have kids because the whole restaurant is surrounded by little gators outside). We also took a night on the town and enjoyed great music and drinks at Howl at the Moon.

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In the meantime…here is a great recipe for those wonderful vine ripened tomatoes that you may have in your garden or at the farmer’s markets.

Marinated Tomatoes

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 to 3 green onions, chopped
4 to 6 large tomatoes, each cut into 6 wedges

Combine all ingredients, except tomatoes, in a large measuring cup or mixing bowl. Whisk well. Place tomatoes in a resealable plastic bag and pour marinade over. Marinate at room temperature for up to 2 hours, turning the bag occasionally.

July 21, 2006

Ending the Week

I will be on vacation in wonderful Destin, Florida all of next week. My husband and I leave Sunday morning to make the 14 hour drive there. I'm in much need of a vacation!

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We are planning on going on a dolphin cruise, visiting a Gulfarium to watch a sea lion show, taking in many of the wonderful resturants, snorkling and mainly relaxing on the beach.

I wanted to leave you all with some recipes before I went though...Enjoy and I'll be back on July 31st!

Pork Chop and Feta Skillet

1 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 pinch black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 pork chops
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese with basil and sun-dried tomatoes

In a small bowl, stir together rosemary, basil, garlic, and pepper.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Dip pork chops in lemon juice, and sprinkle both sides with herb mixture. Place pork chops in skillet, and sear both sides, about 7 minutes per side. Reduce heat to low. Sprinkle feta on top of chops; cover skillet, and cook until cheese begins to melt, about 5 minutes.

Creamy Potato Casserole
by Grandma

1 (2 pound) package frozen hash brown potatoes
1/3 cup chopped green onions
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of potato soup
1/4 cup butter
2 cups sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a small pot, heat the soup, butter or margarine and sour cream over low heat.
Combine potatoes, green onion and 1 cup cheese into a large mixing bowl. Mix in the heated soup mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a 9x13 inch dish. Sprinkle one cup of cheese over the top of the casserole.
Bake 30 to 45 minutes. Serve warm

July 20, 2006

Another Dinner for Two

The farmer's market was a trip on Tuesday night! My husband and I talked to some wonderful people and even ran into the old Missouri Director of Agriculture, Lowell Mohler who was selling some of the best sweet corn!

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Charlie and I cooked up a wonderful meal the other night on the menu was saute buttered shrimp, stuffed zucchini and a salad...and for dessert some fresh farmer's markets blackberries with whipped cream.

I found this recipe for stuffed zucchini off the Martha Stewart website. It was delicious and even better the next day for lunch, but I will make some changes next time I make it (I've included those changes in the actual recipe.)

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Stuffed Zucchini

adapted from the Martha Stewart recipe

4 medium zucchini (6 to 8 ounces each), halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp salt
Italian bread crumbs
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. basil
7 1/2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (1 1/2 cups)
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

Preheat oven to 475°. Using a tablespoon, scoop out zucchini centers to form canoes, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Roughly chop centers; set aside.

Arrange zucchini, cut sides down, on a rimmed baking sheet; bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, salt and basil; cook, stirring, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add chopped zucchini and garlic, and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool slightly. Fold in feta and tomatoes.

Turn hollowed-out zucchini cut sides up, fill with vegetable-feta mixture, sprincrumbsread crums and bake until top is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Lift zucchini from baking sheet with a wide spatula, and serve.

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And the best part: Dessert! I just whipped up some cream with sugar and place some fresh blackberries and cream in a pretty little glass. It was perfect!

I perfect dinner for two and can be made in under an hour!

July 18, 2006

Get Out to Your Local Farmer's Markets

It's a great time of the year! Gardens are growing and the farmer's markets all over all open for business. If you have never had to opportunity to take in your local farmer's markets, I say now is your chance!

You can find wonderful produce for a fraction of the cost as in the supermarkets, not to mention how much better all the produce tastes. Here in the Show-Me state there are local markets all across the state. Get out to yours!

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I'm planning on going tonight to the local market in Jeff City with my husband. I am not having very good luck with my green beans this year. I've only blanched three freezer bags of beans thus far and now the bugs have attacked my beans, I don't think they are going to produce much this year.

So, I'm going to buy some fresh beans from some of the local growers. Farmer's market produce is truly the next best thing to your own homegrown produce.

I'm also going to pick up some eggplant and sweet corn. I grew corn this year in the garden, but not the edible kind. I grew what is called Indian Corn. I wrote an article for Ozark Farm & Neighbor Newspaper, a great little farm publication that covers southwest Missouri about the Meyer Family, who runs the Meyer Tree & Berry Farm. They raise berries and put together fun corn mazes and pumpkin patches where children can go in and pick their own pumpkins. Mr. Meyer gave me some of his wonderful Indian corn to grow and it has done very well this summer.

Here is a great recipe to use up more of the squash and zucchini you probably have laying around. And if you don't have any go to a local farmer's market and pick some up and support your area producers. I guarantee you won't be sorry.

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Italian Squash Gratin

2 Tbs. olive oil
2 medium onions (14 oz. total), thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced

Gratin ingredients:
1-1/4 lb. ripe red tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices
3/4 lb. (about 2 small) zucchini or other green summer squash, cut into 1/4-inch slices
3/4 lb. (about 2 small) yellow summer squash or golden zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
3 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. coarse salt
1-1/4 cups frParmesanated parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cooking the onions:
In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute, stirring frequently, until limp and golden brown, about 20 min. Add the garlic and saute until soft and fragrant, 1 to 2 min. Spread the onions and garlic evenly in the bottom of an oiled 2-qt. shallow gratin dish (preferably oval). Let cool.

Assemble the gratin:
Heat the oven to 375°F.
In a bowl, toss the zucchini and squash slices with 1-1/2 Tbs. of the olive oil, 2 Tbs. of the thyme, and 1/2 tsp. of the salt.

Reserve half of the cheese for the top of the gratin. Sprinkle 1 Tbs. of the thyme over the onions in the gratin. Starting at one end of the baking dish, lay a row of slightly overlapping tomato slices across the width of the dish and sprinkle with a little of the cheese. Next, lay a row of zucchini, overlapping the tomatoes, and sprinkle with cheese. Repeat with a row of squash, and then repeat rows, sprinkling each with cheese, until the gratin is full.

Season lightly with pepper and the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Drizzle the remaining 1-1/2 Tbs. olive oil over all. Combine the reserved cheese with the remaining 1 Tbs. thyme and sprinkle this over the whole gratin. Cook until well-browned all over and the juices have bubbled for a while and reduced considerably, 65 to 70 min. Let cool for at least 15 min. before serving.

July 17, 2006

Bake-Off Results and Recipes

The Company Bake-Off was a total success on Friday. There were so many wonderful goodies and good fun with my fellow co-workers. One thing about us here at Learfield, we know how to have fun and EAT! Our motto proves the having fun part:

"Build the Team. Grow the Company. And Have Fun"

This is Roger Gardner, President and Chief Operating Officer at Learfield and me. He was in right after the judging to sample all the great food and he presented the awards to the winners.

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Here are the final results:

Cake Contest:
1st place: Lane McConnell, Carrot Cake
2nd place: Craig Branum, Cherry Delight
3rd place: Paul Roberts, Cinnamon Rolls

Leah's Cinnamon Rolls (3rd Place Cake Division)
by Paul Roberts

Rhode's frozen dough loaves (Bridgeford's brand of dough is best but I can't find it here in MO. Ugh.)
2 cups brown sugar
¼ cup cinnamon MIX all bold items together
2 sticks of softened butter

To make a 13 x 11 pan, thaw two loaves of dough according to package directions.

Roll one loaf of bread dough into a 6 x 11 rectangle. Spread one stick of softened butter across rectangle. Spread 1 cup of brown sugar / cinnamon mixture across butter. Roll dough into a long log. Slide across log at 1 inch intervals and place rolls in greased 9 x 13 pan in rows of four, leaving space between rolls and room for them to rise. Repeat with second loaf. You will have left over rolls, and I usually make a small pan with leftovers.) Cover pan and let rise at least 2 hours, letting rolls double in size.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

2 cups of powdered sugar and 4 tablespoons of milk whisked together. Pour icing over warn rolls.

Pie Contest:
1st place: Sarah Hoelscher, Banana Cream
2nd place: Lane McConnell, Pecan-Pumpkin
3rd place: Jason Vance, Strawberry

Strawberry Pie (3rd Place Pie Division)
by Jason Vance

Bring to a boil and stir until thickened:
1 cup sugar
¼ cup of starch
1 ½ cups water
1 3oz/ strawberry jello
Let cool.
Add 1 quart strawberries, sliced.
Put in baked pie shell and let set in refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

Grandma's Pie Crust Crumble:
3 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 cup butter-flavored Crisco Add:
1/3 cup cold water with
1 egg
2 teaspoons vinegar
Mix and roll out. Makes 2 to 3 crusts.

Cookie Contest:
1st place: Pam Smith, Crinkled Molasses
2nd place: Clarice Brown, Chocolate Chip
3rd place: Rosie Dulle

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Here are some of the great cakes that were entered. This recipe from Clarice was one of my own personal favorites.

Chocolate Chip Cookie- Cheesecake
by Clarice Brown

1 batch chocolate chip cookie dough,
Or 2 rolls of chocolate chip cookie dough
2 8-oz cream cheese (softened)
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees

Mix cheese, sugar, vanilla & eggs until creamy.
Set Aside.

Press ¾ of cookie dough till flat in a 12 inch cake pan (spring loaded works well). Pour cream cheese over the top, then crumble the rest of the cookie dough on the top.

Bake uncovered 40 minutes or till just turning brown.

Cook in pan one hour, then refrigerate 1 hour before serving.

July 14, 2006

Results from the Bake-Off

I've had a bunch of you all email me asking for the results of the Bake-Off today, so here you are:

My carrot cake: won 1st in the cake category.

My cookies: Wasn't in the top three.....oh well.

My pecan-pumpkin pie: received 2nd place.

I'll share some photos and recipes from other entries with you next week.

Company Bake-Off

Today is my company's Bake-Off. There are three categories: Pies, Cakes and Cookies. I've entered all three. There are sure to be some wonderful desserts entered. There are quite a few wonderful cooks around the office and I can't wait to indulge.

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I'm entering my very own recipe for Carrot Cake....I call it Carrot Cake from the Country. I tried to really dress it up this time with sprinkle cinnamon and two cinnamon sticks.

I entered a Pecan-Pumpkin Pie. This was the first time for this recipe, so I'm hopping it taste well. I got the recipe from a very old Farm Journal Pie Cookbook. It’s a book my mother-in-law Josefa gave to me. I think it should taste wonderful, plus it’s got an extra kick with toasted chopped pecans mixed in brown sugar and butter. Taste testers from the Farm Journal cookbook gave this pie excellent ratings…one person even said it was the best pie ever.

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Pecan-Pumpkin Pie
2 eggs beaten
2 c. pumpkin (I use some that I processed last year and froze)
¾ c. sugar
½ tsp. salCinnamonmonnnamon
½ tsp. grated ginger root
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1 2/3 c. evaporated milk or light cream
Caramelized Pecan Topping

Blend eggs and pumpkin. Stir in sugar and other dry ingredients and mix well. Blend in milk or cream.

Place into an unbaked 9 inch pie shell.

Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool Completely.

Caramelized Pecan Topping
Combine 4 tblsp. Soft butter, 2/3 c. brown sugar, and 2/3 c. coarsely chopped pecans. Sprinkle on top of cooled pumpkin pie and cover entire top. Place under broiler for about 3-4 minutes, but watch carefully so as not to burn.

The last category is cookies. I'm not a huge cookie fan. I like them, but I'd much rather have cake or pie. This recipe is from Elise at Simply Recipes.

Mine got a little browner than I would have liked, but they will do. I always double the batch on these.

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Butter Pecan Cookies
from Simply Recipes

3/4 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. unsalted butter, soft
1/3 c. sugar, plus more for dusting
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
1 c. flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast pecans. Cream butter first, then add sugar and cream until fluffy.

Add all ingredients besides pecans. Mix well and fold in pecans.

Roll into small balls and roll into sugar. Then place on to a baking stone and flatten.

Cook until lightly browned.

And finally...here entriesof my entires for today's Bake-off.

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July 13, 2006

Bring an easy dessert to the table

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I found this off the Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry website. There are a lot of great recipes on this site you all might want to take a look at. All the recipes are fast and easy to follow.

There are a lot of recipes for entertaining a large group of people also, perfect for summer parties.

Chocolate Torte
1/2 pkg. Pepperidge Farm Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet)
1 lb. semi-sweet chocolate , cut up
1 cup heavy cream
1 egg yolk
1 pt. raspberries OR Strawberries

THAW pastry sheet at room temperature 30 min. Preheat oven to 425°F.

UNFOLD pastry on lightly floured surface. Roll into 12" square. Cut off corners to make a circle. Press pastry into 9-inch springform pan. Prick pastry thoroughly with fork.

BAKE for 20 min. or until golden. Cool in pan on wire rack.

PLACE chocolate and cream in saucepan. Heat and stir until chocolate softens. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Add some chocolate mixture into egg yolk and stir well. Return egg mixture to remaining chocolate mixture and stir well. Cook and stir 1 min. Pour mixture into pastry crust. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hr.

GARNISH with raspberries.

July 12, 2006

Great way to start off the mornings

If you like quiches, you will love this casserole. I make this for breakfast a lot when company is over. Using a puff pastry dough makes it easier than ever to pull this casserole together in a snap.

I serve this with toast and fruit in the mornings. It would also make a nice brunch for a wedding or baby shower.

Breakfast Bacon Casserole
by Lane

1/4 pound store-bought puff pastry, thawed (I use Peppridge Farms)
12 slices of bacon, cut crosswise
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1 tsp sprinkled paprika
1 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese (4 ounces)

Preheat oven to 400°.
Roll pastry to 10-inch square and place pastry into an 8-inch square baking pan, folding corners to fit.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add bacon; cook, stirring occasionally, until pieces start to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crisp and onions are lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer mixture to a plate; let cool slightly. Scatter onion mixture over pastry.

In a small bowl, whisk eggs, cream, 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Pour egg mixture into pastry shell. Sprinkle Gruyère over top.

Bake until filling is set and top is golden brown, about 40 minutes.

July 11, 2006

Pasta Night Tonight

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I saw this recipe on the Martha Stewart website and have had it in my "to try" recipes. I made it last night and had it ready in no time for dinner. I made a nice salad to go along with it for my husband and me. I didn't use the Kalamata olives though, because I don't usually have them around the house, so I replaced with regular black olives (good quality ones). I was surprised how easy and delicious the recipe was. You only cook the tomatoes just until the juices begin to comes out...and I used roma tomatoes right out of my garden.

Tomato and Olive Penne
by Martha Stewart

Salt and pepper
1 pound penne or other short pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2/3 pound cherry tomatoes (2 cups), halved or quartered
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook penne according to package instructions until al dente, about 13 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook, stirring, until just golden, about 1 minute. Add cherry tomatoes, oregano, crushed red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring, until tomato juices run, about 3 minutes.

Add penne, olives, parsley, and 1/4 cup Parmesan to the skillet and toss to combine. Serve with more cheese if desired.

July 10, 2006

Rosemary makes everything taste that much better

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Ahhhh...Rosemary. I think it is one of my favorite herbs to use...Especially on lamb, pork and chicken. This herb gives the chicken a nice "nutty" flavor that I love. I have six rosemary plants in my herb garden. I like to cut springs and then place them in the freezer in a freezer bag...nomatter how old the rosemary stays fresh, much like basil does when you freeze it.

This is a easy rub to use on chicken and makes a beautiful meal.

Rosemary Lemon Rub for Chicken

by Lane

2 T. olive oil
3 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary, plus one 4 inch sprig
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
Zest from ½ lemon grated
1 tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 lemon, halved

Before roasting the chicken, combine ingredients in a small bowl. Use fingers to loosen skin from chicken. Spread mixture evenly under the skin in the breasts, thighs and drumsticks. Place the lemon halves and rosemary sprig inside the cavity. Roast the chicken until done.

July 7, 2006

Cooking For Two

Being married and not having children it's sometimes hard cooking. Usually my husband and I end us with tons of leftovers and we both do not like leftovers more than two days. So, I'm trying to make more meals that's what I call "Cooking for Two." I know that we aren't the only married couple out there that has this dilemma when planning meals.

Does anyone have any good thoughts about Cooking for Two?

Juicy Beef Kabobs
by Lane

1 beef bone-in sirloin or round steak, 3/4 pound, 1 inch thick
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
1 teaspoon sugar

Remove any fat from beef and cut into 1-inch pieces.

In a bowl mix remaining ingredients. Put beef in bowl and coat well with mixture. Cover and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, at least 1 hour and no more than 6 hours.

Place oven on broil.

Remove beef cubes from marinade and reserve marinade. Thread beef on each of four 10-inch metal skewers, leaving 1/2-inch space between each piece. Brush kabobs with marinade. Place kabobs on rack in broiler pan. Broil kabobs with tops about 3 inches from heat 6 to 8 minutes for medium-rare to medium doneness, turning and brushing with marinade after 3 minutes.

July 6, 2006

Pizza it up

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Making homemade pizza is one of my favorite meals to make with my husband. We always like to experiment in the kitchen with new sauces and toppings. We made one last night with artichokes, black olives, feta and ricotta cheese and a little Parmesan cheese.

I first make the dough and let it begin to rise, then proceed making the sauce. The sauce recipe is very easy.

This meal is a great way to get your whole family involved in the dinner time cooking. You could also double the recipe and let the kids make their own personal personal pizzas by cutting the dough in half.

Happy pizza making!

Pizza Sauce
by Lane

1 can of plum tomatoes or any other type of canned tomato
1 tsp salt and pepper
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp oregano
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp parsley

In a saucepan place oil, canned tomatoes and paste, garlic, and other seasonings. Mix well until combined and let simmer on medium heat for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set to the side off the heat until ready to place on pizza.

Pizza Dough
(adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe)

3/4 cup warm water
1/2 package yeast (scant 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon coarse salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

Place 2 tablespoons of the warm water in a medium bowl. Stir in yeast, and let rest until yeast begins to bubble, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, the salt, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the yeast mixture, and mix well. Using a spoon, stir in 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup at a time. At this point, the dough should be too stiff to stir; if not, gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup flour.

Transfer the dough to a clean work surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes. If dough is sticky, sprinkle with a little more flour, but try to add as little as possible.

Rub a large bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for an hour.

Place dough on a pizza stone and I just stretch it out with my hands to the size of the stone.

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Making your pizza

After your dough is on the pizza stone, place sauce and spread it around your pizza. Place as much or as little as you wish. I then like putting tsp of ricotta cheese about the pizza. The place whatever toppings you like; hamburger, olives, sliced peppers, zucchini, shrimp, chicken....there are endless possibilities. I then like topping everything with fresh Parmesan cheese and sprinkling a little more oregano on top.

Place in a preheated 450 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes. I like my pizza a little crispy...the pizza is ready when the cheese is a little browned on top.

July 5, 2006

My Top 10 Foods

I've been wanting to put a list together of my favorite foods for awhile, but haven't had the time too. Over the holiday day off I finally put my "Top 10" list together. Hope you enjoy...

My Top 10 Foods

10.) Fried Fish with Hushpuppies: With my husband being the great fisherman he is we always have plenty of fish in the deep freeze. Crappie is my favorite. Yes, I have it spelled correct for those of you that have never heard of crappie…..pronounced Craw-pee. It is truly the best deep fried fish. Then served up along my Grandmother’s Hush Puppies…..it’s a winning pair.

9.) Homemade Pizza: I’m not talking about that greasy pizza you get from one of the “chain” restaurants either. I’m talking about pizza you make at home, with from scratch ingredients. I think that homemade pizzas are so much better than anything you could get in a restaurant. When I make myself a pizza, I like loading it up with zucchini, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, a few peppers, feta cheese, and fresh parmesan. Try making your own homemade pizza tonight….

Central Dairy’s Texas Pecan Ice Cream: As I have said before I no longer reside on my parent’s farm, my husband and I live around the Jefferson City, MO area. Here in Jeff City I have found the best ice cream I have ever laid my lips on. Central Dairy manufactures milk and ice cream in Mid-Missouri. Central Dairy opened back when the milk was hauled in by the horse drawn wagon, and it was quality then, and quality now. One of the few milk delivery businesses still going in the entire country, they also have the best pre-packaged ice cream in town, and questionably in the state. Try the Moose Tracks, or the Tiger (after the Mizzou Tigers) tracks, or one of their other specialty flavors. You'll come away knowing why they are listed as one of Jefferson City's must visit places. My personal favorite is the Texas Pecan….it is also my father’s favorite.

7.) Fresh from the garden green beans: Yes, you are probably thinking what is so special about green beans….but have you ever had garden picked green beans? Oh my goodness! My mother cans I don’t know how many quarts of green beans every year, which means that same great taste all year round. I like cooking them in some beef broth, bacon strips and put some freshly toasted almonds on top when served.

6.) Mama’s Homemade Mac ‘n’ Cheese: I don’t care how old we get…mac ‘n’ cheese is still an American favorite. I was never one of those kids that liked the Kraft kind though…..it had to my mother’s own or nothing. She would always serve this with ham and it was the perfect pair.

5.) Cornbread: Any southerner knows what good cornbread is. It’s served with practically everything at a meal. Cooked in oil in a well prepared cast iron skillet and served piping hot with butter (yes butter) not that fake stuff…Although most are familiar with the “sweetened” cornbread, I personally favor my mother’s “unsweetened” batch. Give me a frosty mug, milk and some cornbread and I will be in hog heaven!

4.) Fried Okra: As you can tell…fried foods are some of my favorites. I just got the first cutting of okra out of my garden this past weekend and I can’t wait to whip me up a batch of fried okra. To me the only true way to eat okra is fried, but it also goes very nice in some beef stew. Okra also is a natural thickener when placed in a stew or soup. My husband is one of those “ranch people.” You know has to have ranch dressing on everything he eats. His favorite is with fried okra.

3.) Grandma’s Chicken and Dumplings: I remember as a little girl going to family gatherings and the first thing everyone went for was my Grandmother Hart’s Chicken and Dumplings. When I was sick or not feeling well grandma would make a pot of dumplings and bring them to me. Now my cousin Tracey is the Chicken and Dumplings maker of our family. I am still trying to learn all the tricks to making it just like grandma.

2.) Steak and Lobster: I don’t eat this meal but maybe twice a year…and I never make it at home. I like to eat at the best restaurant in town and order my steak medium-rare and enjoy. A steak must always be medium rare…..that is the only way to get the true taste of the meat….trust me I grew up on a beef farm!

1.) Pie: Apple, peach, pumpkin, cream, pecan, strawberry-rhubarb, blueberry, cherry, lemon, gooseberry, raspberry, coconut cream, French coconut, I could go on and on…..Pie is my absolute… hands down…going for a touchdown favorite food of all time. But one condition: it has to be homemade crust! None of that store bought dough that tastes like rubber and is chewy….I’ll pass on that. It has to be homemade and it has to be pie……

July 3, 2006

Calling all Grilling Goddesses

Yummy PieDo you like to grill...does your family call you to Queen of the Grill...Does you husband envy your grilling abilities?

Will if so do I have the perfect contest for you!

I ran across a grilling contest for women today. I just had to pass along this to you all. The rules are fairly easy and I thought there might be a few of you girls that would get a kick out of this contest..

Ultimate Grill Gal Contest Take a look at the website and see what you think. The contest will run all summer long until Sept 30.

Good luck you grilling goddesses.

Happy 4th Ya'll

Yummy Pie

I've included some good ole summertime recipes for your holiday weekend.

First, I've got my ma's biscuit recipe for your 4th of July breakfast feast. These are easy to whip up and are so tender!

Next, I've got a easy BBQ beef recipe that my husband and I make a lot in the summertime, plus a dessert that will knock your socks off.

Have a happy and safe 4th...

Buttermilk Biscuits from the Country
by my mother

Makes 4 nice sized biscuits, I always double this recipe.
Sift: 1 c. flour, 1 T. baking powder, ½ tsp. baking soda and ½ tsp. salt
Combine with 2 T. butter cut into the dry ingredients and ½ c. buttermilk.

Mix well and form biscuits with hands. Place in buttered casserole dish, brush tops with melted butter and place in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until nicely browned.

BBQ Beef
by Lane

2 c. Jack Daniels Original no. 7 bbq sauce
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
3 beef flavored bouillon cubes
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3-4 pound boneless beef brisket

In a slow cooker combine 1 cup bbq sauce, onion, garlic and cubes.

Place brisket on top. Cover and cook on low setting 6-7 hours or until the beef shreds. Remove brisket and reserve 1 c. of juices, remove fat and shred beef. Return to cooker along with reserved meat juices and remaining bbq sauce. Mix well, adding more bbq sauce if needed. Cook meat mixture on high setting until hot and serve on buns.

Glazed Strawberries
by Grandma Pat

1 pint large strawberries
1 c. sugar
¼ c. water
½ tsp. cream of tarter

Heat sugar, water, and cream of tarter to boil. Reduce heat to medium for 15-20 minutes or temperatures reaches 300 degrees F.

Grease sheet and when syrup is desired consistency remove from heat. Hold strawberry and dig and coat completely and place on sheet. Let stand for 30 minutes in fridge.