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

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!