Blog number two.... it might explain my current lack of enthusiasm for blog number 1

Thursday, December 27, 2007

small additions to the page

Ah how I love a slow day at work

First off, I got a counter - look at the bottom of the page. So now I can count you people and oh and ah over how many times my page has been viewed.

Second, I wanted a little pin up girl that was cooking to put in the banner at the top of my page. To go along with the theme "I don't look like ya mama and I ain't gonna cook like her neither!" All I could find was the girl to the right, she isn't exactly what I wanted, but will do for now.

Enjoy :)

Friday, December 21, 2007

New Year, New Kitchen

This is a foodie blog, so I can get away with posting a "brag book" of my new kitchen.... right?! Of course! Because I know you are all dieing to see it! But I am dieing to cook in it!!!! OHHHH MAN Do I want to get in there and just cook until my fingers fall off. Right now I can touch pretty much everything in my kitchen at the same time... and fold the laundry... and yell at the dogs through the window. Yes, we are country. This will not be the case any longer! There is plenty of cabinet space, plenty of counter space, plenty of SPACE. It is a little naked right now, but not for long! We take possession on January 7th!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cranberries and Second Graders

Bradley's Great Grandmother's Christmas Party was this past Saturday night. I had planned on making Paula's Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle again, but at the last minute changed my mind. It was just too much to do, on top of making a pie and cooking dinner and packing and having to go to the store, in my pajama pants, while the meatloaf was cooking because we didn't have any potato flakes. So I decided to make a cranberry dip. I love cranberries, and apparently you have to love cranberries to love this dip because I got some mixed reviews. Well I say mixed... basically it was two reviews. Someone in Bradley's family patted me on the back and told me he loved it, as I did the march of shame out of the fellowship hall carrying my dip that was barely touched. Bless that man, he probably told his wife, "I just felt so bad for her that no one had eaten her... whatever it was". Then we went to his parents house and his little brother Raylen said "I tried it and it was terrible". It was as if i wasn't even in the room!!! All I could do was laugh, at least he is honest.

So I'm giving you this dish and fore warning you that in order to try it... you must LOVE cranberry sauce! I served it with pretzels, but it would also be good with home made tortilla chips - think "spinach tortillas in the shape of Christmas trees!"

Ruby Red Pretzel Dip
recipe courtesy of

1 (16 ounce) can jellied cranberry sauce
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cold water

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the cranberry sauce, sugar, vinegar, ginger, mustard, cinnamon, and pepper. Stir over medium heat until smooth. In a small dish, stir together the flour and cold water. Stir into the cranberry sauce. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with your choice of dippers.

Monday, December 17, 2007

a "wild" weekend

Wild Game.... that is!

A co-worker of Bradley's loaded us up with venison and wild hog. The venison steaks were awesome and so were the wild hog chops. Then we had this venison roast. I have never cooked venison, or as us southern folk call it..... DEER. I searched the Internet and people just don't post "venison pot roast" recipes, look for yourself! But now I know why.... because I made up my own "recipe" but I still don't have a list of measured ingredients for you, so let's play a little game. We shall call this.... DeLa's How To.

Today I will be guiding you through a crash course on teaching yourself how to cook a deer roast.

First git cher man ta shoot cha up a 12 pointah and skint it and gut it up real purdy like and take em down ta dolla brathas ta chopim up.

Now that I've got that out of my system.....

Put your roast in a loaf pan, because that is what it fits in best, and think really hard about what you have to marinade it in.

Deer is not known for being the most tender cut of meat.... and what do we know fixes tough meat?? Buttermilk!!!

So just go ahead and give it a nice "wilber" bath in the buttermilk. Let it sit for about an hour, flipping it over every 5 or 10 minutes and spooning the buttermilk on top.

This will free you up for a while. So lets use this time to chop up some veggies to roast along side the meat.

Lets see, we've got big carrots, idaho potatoes and onions. What ever you like to roast, really! Mushrooms would be a nice addition, maybe some leeks, sweet potatoes... the possibilities are endless. Just make sure that it is something everyone likes.

Once the roast is finished marinating and the veggies are chopped, you must pick a theme for the spices. You know, stuff that goes together. You could do it up south of the border style... lil cumin, lil chili powder, maybe baste it in beer. Nah, it is too cold outside to do that. Next idea. Cajun style.... some creole seasoning, whip up some dirty rice as a side dish. No.... this is harder than you think.

Enter your husband at stage right.... he is going on a rampage about why you are going to cook the roast in the oven and not in the crock pot. You mind is running with new and inventive ideas about what to throw at him when suddenly.... ah ha! You kiss his forehead and shout "mama mia! youa just gave me ze perfect idea!!" We are going to do this roast Italian Style, because he loves Italian food!

Rinse your roast and pull of what little fat is attached to it. Then take your roasting pan and put the rack in and place the roast on the rack and salt and pepper it. Press freshly grated Parmesan cheese into the top and sides, make sure it is really stuck. Use as much as you like!

Now you wrap it in bacon. Quick question.... Do you know why you should cook deer wrapped in bacon? Because deer is so lean, there isn't anything to make the meat juicy. If you wrap it in bacon then the grease has no choice but to run into the crevices and down the sides and just make it all juicy and delectable!

In keeping with the Italian theme, you go to pick the spices. Basil, garlic and oregano will be perfect! For the meat, let's use garlic powder, then we will sprinkle minced garlic atop the veggies. Put a bay leaf in each corner of the pan, just because I like to use them in pretty much everything these days.

Now for the gravy. Take one packet of Au Jus Gravy mix. Why, you ask? Because that's how mama did it.

Don't read the directions on the back - just listen to me. Wow, Bradley is starting to rub off on me! Mix the powder with two cups of boiling water until it looks like this:

Now, pour it into the pan, BUT don't pour it over the meat! You don't want to wash off all the good spices!

Now, place your veggies in the pan. Make sure it looks like too many because they shrink up. Just trust me. Besides, they're good for you so you can eat a lot of them. Sprinkle on salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Then mince up some garlic and sprinkle that on top, too. No I don't have measurements.... it was hard to measure it because you just want to be sure that all the veggies have a little bit of each spice on it. Then grate some more Parmesan to put on the veggies... just for good measure!

Oh man, does that look good?! Preheat the oven to 350*. Tightly cover the whole thing with foil and roast for about an hour and a half. Then uncover it and roast for 30 to 45 minutes. This is for a 2-3 pound roast. Adjust your times accordingly. Deer is a little dry anyway so you definitely don't want to overcook it!

Remove it from the oven, give it a chance to cool and let the juices redistribute. Pour that wonderful gravy into a gravy boat, you can add some flour if you like it to be thicker.

Mmm, doesn't that look good? It kinda shrunk up a little! But that's ok because we made extra veggies, remember?? So.... get to cutting!

Yum!!!! Now look at your pan and drool over how great the veggies look!!

Serve it up with leftover dressing that you couldn't write down the directions to if your life depended on it.... seriously I just pour each spice (about 10 different ones) into my hand until I think it is enough and then drop in into boiling chicken stock and then pour it over crumbled biscuits and cornbread and bake until.... it looks done. Haha, somewhere my mom's head is about to explode! But my secret is to use celery salt, garlic powder and onion powder instead of actually dicing up those vegetables because Bradley doesn't like to bite into a big piece of anything in his dressing. The things I do for him ;) But that is a totally different post!!

Now just sit back and wait on your husband to tell you that he was wrong and never expects you to cook a roast in a crock pot again!! And soak in the comments from your loving brother in law who has always been so sweet to you!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Well, I did it

I bought what I have been eyeing for quite some time. I've been saving and scrounging and dreaming about it. Now it is mine.

I want to let you in on a secret about it, also. I didn't pay full price. has select colors for $199. Red, black and I think white. You better get one, too!

I can't wait to make all sorts of blog worthy dishes when my new best friend arrives!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A southern craving -

Yesterday I was craving cornbread like you would not believe. It was to the point that I almost stopped on the way home at Cracker Barrel to buy some. But since I made it for the first time not too long ago, I knew I needed to wait until I got home and make it from scratch.

Corny Cornbread
recipe courtesy of Paula Deen

1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus 1/4 cup for greasing pan
1 cup self-rising cornmeal
3/4 cup self-rising flour
1 cup cream-style corn
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup grated sharp cheddar, optional
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Generously season a cast iron skillet with up to 1/4 cup
vegetable oil. Preheat the pan either in the oven or on the stove over medium-high heat.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, stirring with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until combined. Pour batter into the preheated cast iron skillet. Place skillet in the oven and bake until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes. If making individual size corn breads in smaller pans, they will require a shorter cooking time.


Ok so it kinda rose, a lot. It was incredibly thick. But good! Don't get me wrong. I was going to make dressing with the left overs but there wasn't enough left over. The middle wasn't finished, so I turned up the heat to 400* and left it in an extra ten minutes. Very good! Very spicy! If you don't like spicy cornbread, leave out the cayenne, or just use a 1/4 teaspoon.

I'll have a blue Christmas....

So I found this special beer. It's called "Blue". It was actually an accident that I found it at all, it was mistakenly stuck inside the wrong six pack at the store, and when I pulled out the bottle and saw it didn't match the rest, it was like finding a four leaf clover.

It smelled just like a blueberry muffin and tasted the same way. My eyes lit up and Bradley knew just what I was thinking......
Blueberry Beer Bread
recipe courtesy of me

2 & 2/3 cup of self rising flour
1 - 12 oz bottle of blueberry beer
1/2 cup of sugar
1 cup of blueberries

mix all together with a rubber spatula, pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 375* for 55
minutes. let cool in pan while sitting on a rack for five minutes, then dump loaf onto rack and continue cooling.


We nibbled on the crusty edges and made moans of stomach pleasing pleasure. I planned on cutting the bread into thick slices and icing each one with a brown sugar glaze. So after dinner I returned to the kitchen to start slicing. First slice, great, second slice, great, third slice.... it started to fall apart.

Now is the place where I have to interrupt and tell you, I'm not perfect. If you think I am perfect, then you have obviously been talking to my parents way too much, haha! I know this announcement may come as a shock to you, so I'm going to allow you some time for this to sink in....

You back? Ok...

Apparently..... something went wrong. I don't know what. Maybe I should of "dropped" the pan a couple of times on the counter to let all the air bubbles out before cooking it. Maybe it was t
he different beer that I used. Maybe it was the addition of fruit. Maybe this certain combination needed a lower temperature with a longer cooking time. Whatever the crap it was, it made me MAD! There was a huge air bubble in the middle of the loaf and nothing around the bubble cooked. I wouldn't call it "raw" because there are no eggs in the dough.... it was probably edible, but I wasn't going to risk it. I had to tearfully throw the loaf away. Which then lead to an inevitable pity party where I gave up cooking and apologized to Bradley for being such a bad wife. This was after the cornbread didn't cook in the middle and for whatever reason I messed up mashed potatoes, which I didn't even know you could do!

At least it took a pretty picture -

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bad Blogger....

So.... instead of cooking, baking and having fun in the kitchen together.... we have been house hunting, signing papers, packing and eating out - alot. And wouldn't you know it, the one night we stay in and cook delicious venison tenderloin wrapped in bacon..... i left my camera at work!

With the desire to be in the kitchen and taking pictures of beautifully prepared and easily edible meals nipping at my heels...I decided that maybe I could do something just as fun until we got back into the swing of things. It's something I like to call -

"Rave Reviews" by DeLa Webb

Today's review is for Green Giant's latest invention, Simply Steam.

Now, we did not have the one pictured above, we had Green Beans, Zucchini and Carrots in a light Rosemary Butter Sauce. This was by far the easiest and most delicious side dish I have ever pulled out of the freezer and *gulp* microwaved. The veggies were so crisp, sweet and full of flavor. The butter sauce did not taste "light" at all, and the rosemary really set it off. I highly recommend picking up a few, and if I recall correctly, they were cheap also, I want to say 2 for $3. I bought several different kinds until we figured out which ones we liked best, but I can tell you I will be a repeat purchaser!

Oh! And stay tuned, because I have TWO Christmas Parties this weekend I have to cook for, and I'm thinking about putting a spin on my bread recipe and making it more of a dessert bread.... Did I reel you in yet?!?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Last tailgate party of the season

Except for bowl games, but we won't go there right now....

I think I've mentioned once or twice before, I LOVE CROWDS. I love hosting parties and thank God I married someone who feels the same way. Saturday night was the inevitable Iron Bowl. It was also the time when Bradley told me that I needed to add a little section to my page called "Bradley's Grill Corner". So today is my first installment of his creations, although I won't be posting the recipe to his famous ribs because even I am not worthy enough to know the secret ingredients that make them so delicious and buttery and melty and slap yo'sef tasty!

"Mmmm Mmmm Clark, that is goooooo-uuud!"

While our boys in white (and crimson) couldn't quite pull it off in Auburn, two and a half hours away in a tiny town that is Odenville... the Webb's pulled off yet another satisfying game day spread.

I also added something to my beer bread you might want to try, a teaspoon of garlic powder. Bradley accused me of not really making bread, that's how fast it disappeared. I only made one loaf, and should of taken Bradley's road and made several.... like he did with the slabs of ribs. I think we had about fifty.

Another first for me... crock pot cheese dip. How I missed making this pot of melty love I do not know. But I did a few things non traditional that to me, made it perfect.

Crock Pot Queso
recipe by me

2 lbs Velveeta, cubed
8 oz cream cheese, cubed
2 cans of Rotel, your favorite heat (I still prefer Mexican Festival)
small can of chopped green chilies ("Old El Paso")
1/3 cup taco seasoning

Put everything in the crock pot and make sure you have a hubby around who knows how to work those things, as I would have probably burnt the cheese. Give me a break, I have never made it before!!!


The ribs were great, the cheese dip great and the game... eh! We had fun, as always.

Happy Thanksgiving

Take one homemade centerpiece....

Add a brand new gravy boat...

And, voila! A beautiful Thanksgiving table.... for the beautiful new tradition. This Thanksgiving Bradley and I hosted "the feast" at our home. It went perfectly... almost too perfectly. We got up early and made cinnamon buns and started a fire and mixed up mulled cider in a big pot on the stove.

Since we live in the south, our Thanksgiving weather can take on many forms. We can be in short sleeves or we can be bundled up. Rarely does it snow, like I wish it would. My preferred Thanksgiving weather is cloudy and cold, and wouldn't you know it... that is just what I got for my first Thanksgiving. There were only a few setbacks. We both burnt ourselves and I almost took the end of my finger off.... but that wasn't going to stop us from reaching our 2 o'clock deadline.

Our menu was simple, yet fancy. There was portobello wild rice with barley, green bean casserole, chicken n' dressing, Paula Deen's Mashed Baked (with my little twist, bacon instead of French's Onions), asparagus casserole (a family staple at Thanksgiving), giblet gravy, deviled eggs, cranberry sauce, croissants, caramel crunch apple pie..... and of course... the star of the show, the talk of the table, the feature of the feast.... ladies and gentlemen may I present to you... my very first.... TOM TURKEY!!!!

Maple-Glazed Roast Turkey Breast
recipe courtesy of Gourmet Magazine
my tweaks in red

1 whole turkey breast on the bone (6 - 7 pounds)
3/4 tspn each dried sage, thyme and fresh ground pepper i used whole tspn's
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
3 bay leafs


1/3 cup maple syrup i used 1/2 cup
3 tblspns coarse-grained Dijon mustard i used 4 tblspns

Preheat oven to 375*

Remove skin and excess fat from the turkey breast. Rinse well and blot dry with paper towels. Position the breast in the roasting pan on the rack, put the bay leaves in the bottom of the pan. Melt the butter and mix it with the other 3 ingredients. Rub over the breast, try to keep most of the herbs on the bird.

Cover the pan completely with foil. Roast 1 & 1/2 hours.

In a medium bowl mix the glaze ingredients. Remove foil from bird. Spoon about one third of the glaze over the breast. Return to 375* oven, uncovered, for 20 minute intervals, taking it out and glazing every 20 minutes, equaling 60 minutes. Let the turkey sit for 20 minutes before you carve it, to let the juices redistribute.


The turkey was so so so good! You almost didn't need cranberry sauce, the glaze was so sweet. The balance of sweet and savory was perfect and this will definitely be the turkey recipe for years to come.

Once the spread was on the table, we took a quick second to pause and let the new tradition sink in and start it off right, with a picture to mark the event.

Don't be surprised at the gallon of sweet tea next to every plate... didn't you read the title of my page?! Southern, baby!

Monday, November 19, 2007

"B" is for.... Bring me another piece of that bread!!

I have been saving up for a Kitchen Aid stand mixer so I can really start baking. The main thing I want to bake is bread. I have several recipes saved to christen the mixer. But one bread that really intrigues me is beer bread. I almost bought a mix at the grocery store but it was on the expensive side and I knew there had to be an easier and cheaper way to make it.

People are constantly sending me recipes and cook books, to the point that it is hard to read them all! Mama just gave me a Christmas Edition Women's Day magazine that had several recipes in it. I was skimming through it yesterday and found the tear out recipes they always have. There it was.... a 2 ingredient beer bread. I have 2 ingredients!!! Flour and one beer. I ended up making it a 4 ingredient beer bread, but EXTREMELY easy nonetheless.

Beer Bread
recipe courtesy of Women's Day magazine

2 & 2/3 cup of self rising flour
1 - 12 oz beer (i used Michelob ultra)
1 cup of shredded cheese
a little parsley

Preheat oven to 375*

Lightly butter a loaf pan

Stir ingredients together with a rubber spatula until flour is moist, spread into pan and bake for 55 minutes

Let it cool for 5 minutes in the pan on top of a wire rack, then dump it out onto the rack to finish cooling. Cut into thick slices, smear with butter and enjoy!


This was great great great! It went perfectly with our slow cooker roast and potatoes. To me, it almost tasted like Red Lobster's biscuits. Next time I will add garlic and see what happens. A darker beer would of probably been better but I really liked the way this tasted.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I baked, again!

I've been wanting to make an apple pie since I saw Paula Deen's Savanna High Apple Pie... covered in caramel. WOW! I was pretty sure I could eat an entire apple pie, so I planned on making one to take to work so I could only eat one slice. We celebrated the Iron Bowl a week early at work and had "Tailgating Food" ie. chicken fingers, potato salad and desserts. I made a Caramel Crunch Apple Pie. I ended up sharing my slice with 3 other people, so it worked out in all our favors! :)

uhm yes, excuse the "worn in" look of the plate, it stays at work in the cupboard.

Caramel Crunch Apple Pie
recipe courtesy of

4 Granny Smith Apples, peeled cored and sliced
2/3 cup flour
2 tblspns flour
1 - 9 inch frozen ready to bake deep dish pie shell, thawed
1 cup "Caramel Bits" (or 25 unwrapped caramels)
1 tblspn water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tspn cinnamon
1/2 cup butter (no substitutions)

Preheat oven to 375*

In a large bowl, combine the apples with the 2 tblspns of flour and toss them until they are coated. Arrange them in the pie shell.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the caramel and the water. Once it is smooth, spoon it evenly over the apples.

In a medium bowl, combine 2/3 cup flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter and mix until it looks like brown sugar. Sprinkle it over the pie.

Set the pie on a foil lined cookie sheet and loosely cover the top with foil. Bake the pie for about 45 minutes, removing the foil from the top when there are 20 minutes remaining.


This pie was absolutely amazing! The house smelled so good while it was cooking! It really took care of my apple pie craving.To me, it could of used more caramel, but tasted wonderful nonetheless. I'm going to make another one this weekend for Bradley to take to work.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Happy Birthday to me!

Someone needs to get a T-A-N for her birthday!

Today I turned an un-eventful 22. I can already get into clubs, buy cigarettes and buy alcohol. Now what? I guess waiting around until I turn 25 so I can rent a car or a condo... and maybe my car insurance will drop.

Isn't the box pretty?? That is a bubble wrap bow on top :) I heart my co-workers! Guess what was inside!! The other half of my dessert plates! Just in time for Thanksgiving at my house. We had a great lunch: cheesecake factory and a fun-fetti cake!!! I haven't had a fun-fetti item since I was in high school and Hollie would make fun-fetti cookies for us.

Just stick with what you know... Part 2

Have you ever seen Paula's party? Gah I love that woman! She is amazing!!! I love to tell Bradley her story over and over. I love to watch her wedding show, when she married Michael. And.... I LOVE JAMIE DEEN!!! Even though he is married and I am married and blablabla, let's not get into petty details. He is on Paula's Party a lot!!
There he is... on the right... just standing there like he doesn't know he has my heart. HAHA!

Anyway, now that I've covered my desk in drool.

I was off work Monday and catching up on all the good shows when Paula's Party came on, and Jamie was on with her. The episode was all about pies. The sweet, the savory and the southern. There was a 24 pound apple pie, we won't get into that, but let's just say.... I will be making an apple pie for the co-workers come Christmas time. With caramel.... oh gah here comes the drool again.

Jamie was making a hamburger pie. He used his favorite hamburger recipe, formed them into patties, fried them in a skillet and wrapped the burger and a cheese slice in a piece of puffed pastry and baked them in the oven. GENIUS!!! I couldn't tell if I actually liked the concept or if I just wanted to do something he did. Probably the latter....

So into the kitchen I went, playing good little housewife and planning dinner for Bradley when he got home. WHICH by the way, I could totally be a stay at home wife... at least 2 days a week. I'm still grounded, so I had to change the recipe a little. Instead of making hamburger patties I used my meatloaf recipe (which made Bradley's eyes light up). I omitted the cheese and added chopped onion. Have you ever tried to make patties out of meatloaf mixture and pan fry them? EXACTLY!! Because you can't!!! Something about it doesn't hold up in the skillet. I went to flip and it went to pieces. Great. So I found my happy place and continued on. Instead of puff pastry, I used garlic butter croissant dough. My patties were way too big so it took 4 triangles to make enough dough to cover a patty and cheese slice. Into the oven and onto a plate. They were ok.... I should of listened to Jamie and not tried to make them with meatloaf. Bradley was so disturbed by them. His rant included such comments as "No cheese? It has onions? There is nothing special about this, it is like everyone else's" "When you find perfection, you should not go back and touch it". But it was eaten, and now I know. On a lighter note, they turned out beautiful! I think my best bet would be to make smaller, appetizer sized portions.

Just stick with what you know

Ask any old southern lady what all she has fried in her lifetime, and I bet she will say, "It'll be easier to tell you what I have NOT fried". Just the other night one of my besties called me simply to say "Paula Deen is about to fry DRESSING!!!". And we don't waste any time saying "deep fat fried" or "deep fried", because we know you are waiting to hear what comes after the word "fried". It helped make the south famous!

If Bradley had it his way, we would be eating fried everything for all meals. When we first got married I said "NO" and now we fry a lot more things. Here is where I will insert on of Paula's quotes, "worth the weight". But I still won't just fry to be frying!! Like frozen chicken fingers and frozen fries... those can go in the oven and save us a few hundred calories.

I know I made the remark that I wasn't sure if I could post my famous batter recipe on here. I found out why... it really is going to make me famous. I used a different recipe so I would be able to post it up, and it didn't work out too great. They fried up nicely but the crust did not stick very well. Don't get me wrong... we ate them! But I should of just used my recipe instead of making it "all about the reader".

When I become famous you can just go to my restaurant and buy a "bag o batter". I have used it on everything, I even fried chicken Sunday night with it!

Buttermilk Fried Green Tomatoes
recipe courtesy of

oil to fill pan 1/4 inch deep

1 1/2 cups cornmeal

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons black pepper

2 tablespoons paprika - hot if desired

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

  • Heat oil over medium high heat in a large skillet.
  • Pour buttermilk into a shallow dish.
  • Mix cornmeal with the rest of the seasoning ingredients in another shallow dish.
  • Dip each tomato slice into the buttermilk then dredge it in the cornmeal mixture.
  • Fry each slice in the oil until browned, 3-5 minutes.
  • Turn and cook the other side until browned.
  • Remove to a paper towel lined plate or baking sheet.
  • Keep warm in a 200° oven while cooking the rest of the slices.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

To a southern girl... Green = Love

What a nice Thursday morning surprise... two grocery bags full of green tomatoes in the break room and an email saying to please take all you want. I suppose you know what tomorrow's post will be. Although.... I swore I would never give out my secret batter recipe, it's going to make me famous one day. Maybe I will just share the pictures with you :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I'm grounded.

Grounded? Yes, grounded.

From the grocery.....

It's the other place that my paycheck goes to. Half goes to my car payment, the other half to publix. Car payments make me sad, cooking makes me happy. It's a vicious cycle, really.

So I have been coming up with very inventive dinners based upon what is in my cabinet. Lucky for me I have a gourmet cabinet/fridge. The other night I used the last of my good white wine making a sauce, which I tossed with elbow mac, topped with canned tomato sauce, chopped chicken fingers and shredded cheese. See! Creative, yet.... non gourmet. Eh.

So last night, we had a "fish fry". There was a trio of campfire goodies: baked crunchy fish fillets, "hush puppies" (which were actually mini corn muffins) and the star of the show... twice baked potatoes!

Twice Baked Potatoes for Two
recipe by me

2 idaho potatoes, scrubbed and baked (any potato, i prefer idaho)
4 strips of bacon, cooked, cooled and crumbled
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 tablespoon chopped garlic
4 tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup shredded gouda (or any cheese you prefer)
1/4 cup sour cream
pepper to taste
some sort of seasoning salt (i used emeril's) to taste
splash of buttermilk (milk or cream would work too)

Bake the potatoes, cut a weird oval from the top and scoop out the meat into a mixing bowl. Fry the bacon and set it aside to drain and cool. Fry the onions in the grease until they start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for a minute longer. Drain the onions and garlic and put them into the mix. Add all the ingredients into the bowl, except the milk. Mix well and then add the milk. You want it to be almost too wet. Baking them again takes a lot of moisture out. Stuff your shells and re-bake the potatoes in a 350* over for 20 minutes.


The key to good twice baked potatoes is to actually bake (not in foil) them the first time. I of course did not have an additional hour and a half since it was a week night, so I cheated and used the microwave. It works the same, but it does not harden the skin, which makes it a little tricky when you are scooping out the insides.

Bradley dubbed them "a big hit". I'm glad the fish fry went well.

Can we have a round of applause for me having made cornbread for the first time?! You should of seen bradley's face, "You made what?".

Friday, November 2, 2007

My kiss has something to say!

And I agree with him :D

A halloween dinner... that wasn't spooky at all!

We broke the 2 year running streak of grilling steaks on Halloween night! We also only had 3 trick-or-treat-ers. Weird. Maybe the smell of steak was what lured them to our house in the first place...

This year I made Tyler Florence's Smothered Pork Chops. The recipe below has been halved, and I used a thick boneless chop instead of bone in, and the cooking times he lists are FLAWED. My suggestion so you don't end up with lumpy gravy.... let the pork chops cook completely before you take them out to make the gravy. It takes more than 3 minutes per side!

Smothered Pork Chops
recipe by Tyler Florence

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (i used ground red pepper)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pork chops, 3/4-inch thick, bone-in (i used a thicker cut that was boneless)
1/4 cup olive oil (i just drizzled enough to coat my pan)

1/2 cup chicken broth (although I ended up using almost the whole can)
1/4 cup buttermilk

Put the flour in a shallow platter and add the onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly. Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels to remove any moisture and then dredge them in the seasoned flour; shaking off the excess.

Heat a large saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat and coat with the oil. When the oil is nice and hot, lay the pork chops in the pan in a single layer and fry for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove the pork chops from the pan and add a little sprinkle of seasoned flour to the pan drippings. (I used about 3 big spoonfuls) Mix the flour into the fat to dissolve and then pour in the chicken broth in. Let the liquid cook down for 5 minutes to reduce and thicken slightly. Stir in the buttermilk to make a creamy gravy and return the pork chops to the pan, covering them with the sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes until the pork is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.


These were VERY good and VERY spicy! I should not of halved the gravy recipe, it was SO good! I think this would be a good meal to use any sort of meat with. I plan to try it out with cube steaks, soon.

Happy Halloween!

We had so much fun at work! There was a costume contest, a ton of food and of course, we trick-or-treat'd! Some of us even got a picture in the Birmingham News! I had in my mind what I wanted to bring, and originally I was going to let the Wal Mart bakery make a cookie cake and I was going to decorate it myself. But I figured I would come out cheaper if I just let them do the whole thing. It was cheaper, but they definately did NOT read my mind!! Can you blame them? It is weird in there sometimes...

Oh and of course, one of the costume contest for good measure!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Another trip back to childhood....

We would always have a week long family vacation in Panama City Beach, and it would include lots of.... you guessed it.... incredible SEAFOOD!!! One of my all time favorite seafood items has got to be oysters. Raw, fried, baked.. you name it, I love it! But a real treat, was Oysters Rockefeller. There was only one restaurant there that served them, and of course one of the many hurricanes took care of that. I haven't seen them on a menu since! But they couldn't be that hard to make. Now since I live in Central Alabama and it is almost November, I couldn't just run out and purchase a dozen oysters on the half shell. So I used what I think is the oyster's next of kin.... the mushroom!!!

Mushrooms Rockefeller
recipe by me

5 slices bacon, cooked cooled and crumbled
1 - 9 ounce bag of fresh spinach leaves
12 large mushrooms
12 mushroom stems, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/3 cup heavy cream
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup plain bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400* and clean the mushrooms. Fry the bacon in a deep skillet. Remove and let the bacon drain, but do not empty the skillet. Saute the onion in the bacon grease for about 2 minutes, then add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute. Add the spinach to the skillet and let it cook down. Add the crumbled bacon and finely chopped mushroom stems back into the skillet and mix the ingredients. Add the cream, salt and pepper – bring to a boil. Add the cheese, and be sure that it is all melted into the mix before you remove the skillet from the heat. Remove from heat and stir in the bread crumbs. Stuff mushroom caps generously with the mixture. Bake in the preheated oven 25-30 minutes until lightly browned.


This tasted exactly like it did back then, although I didn't try putting the whole thing on a saltine cracker. Hmm.... anyway! I can't wait to try it out on oysters and get the real effect!

Monday, October 29, 2007

I didn't cook all week!

Bradley had been in Huntsville on business. He was living out of his suitcase and surviving on Burger King and McDonalds (yuck!). I had not cooked all week (aside from the fudge rendezvous) and really wanted to do something fun but special. One of my besties had bought me the Paula and Friends cookbook for Christmas last year, since I had all this alone time and I never finished reading it, I pulled it back out and started reading again. I don't know if it was the rumble in my stomach or the urge to get back in the kitchen, but everything looked homecoming meal worthy. I needed something simple and fast, but elegant and delicious. Back in the summer when Bradley's job took him to Daphne for a week, he had shrimp and grits for the first time... and hasn't stopped talking about them since. Why had I not made these sooner? It is such a down home dish! And of course Paula's recipe was even more down home than any restaurant could of made.

Shrimp and Grits
recipe by Martha Nesbit and published in the Paula and Friends Cookbook

4 cups water
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup stone-ground grits
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 slices bacon, chopped
4 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 large clove garlic, minced

Bring water to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Add grits and cook until water is absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese.

Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned; drain well. In grease, add shrimp. Cook until shrimp turn pink. Add lemon juice, chopped bacon, parsley, scallions and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes.

Spoon grits into a serving bowl. Add shrimp mixture and mix well. Serve immediately.


I did a few things differently, Publix just didn't sale anything other than instant grits, but I'm sure they did the same job. I used a little extra bacon, because we love it so and since the grease is SO hot and it doesn't take much heat to cook shrimp, I put all the ingredients in at once and cooked them together so the flavors would seep into the shrimp. We had a lot ofGouda left over from the pork chops so I used it instead of cheddar, and lastly, I did not mix the shrimp and grits together, I served them side by side.

Oh it was SO WONDERFUL!!! Mama you really missed it, I know it was better than the cheeseburger you had, even if it was the last one you'll have on a Friday night! But I will always be open, you'll just have to catch this dish the next time it is on the menu.

The recipe said it would serve four, and I almost halved it since it was only the two of us, but I figured we both would be extra hungry for some home cooking. We were and there was enough grits left over for us both to have a big serving at breakfast the next morning. So I would recommend doubling the "shrimp" part of the recipe and leaving the "grits" part as it is if you are serving 4 or 5 people.

I only took a picture of the shrimp, the grits just would not take a pretty picture. This'll get your mouth to watering.....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

'Tis the season to eat pumpkin...

We play the cutest game at work - it is called "Boo!". It starts with one person who buys two goody bags and secretly places them on two people's desks and leaves a sign that reads "I've Been Boo'd" and then those two people boo two other people and so on. I love it! This year I got a cute bag with little Halloween themed cookie cutters: a pumpkin, a ghost and a bat. Boo me with something kitchen related??? They knew me too well. Immediately I had a plan.... Pumpkin Pie Fudge, in the shape of a tiny pumpkin!!! I went to the store that night to get boxes for the treats.

I waited for a night when I didn't have much going on to make the fudge. I had never made it before, and I knew I was going to need no distractions. Bradley is out of town this whole week on business, so Monday night was perfect. But let me just say... I probably won't ever make it again. When you bring the candy to a rolling boil.... watch out! My arms were covered in tiny red dots from the million degree liquid coming to a bubble and popping. That and it didn't completely set up... I'm blaming it on the stormy weather.

Pumpkin Fudge
recipe on
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 7 ounces marshmallow creme
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Line a 9x9 inch pan with aluminum foil, and set aside.
  2. In a 3 quart saucepan, heat milk and sugar over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
  3. Mix in pumpkin puree and cinnamon; bring back to a boil. Stir in marshmallow creme and butter. Bring to a rolling boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 18 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, and add white chocolate chips and vanilla. Stir until creamy and all chips are melted. Pour into prepared pan. Cool, remove from pan, and cut into squares. Store in a cool, dry place.
Mine didn't set up that night before I went to bed, so I put it in the fridge overnight and took it out the next morning to cut out the pieces... it was still runny! So I just left it on the counter and went to work with the intention of throwing it away when I got home. But when I returned, it had hardened about half way through. I'm sure that someone who had more experience in making fudge would not of had this problem. It was a pretty easy recipe. Cutting out the little pumpkins was fun, too!!

The experiment turned out ok for my first time. Everyone seems to like it, but I will just stick to my once a year craving for peanut butter and chocolate layered fudge, and let someone else make it!!