Saturday, August 25, 2007

La Greco Camponata

This is a delicious veggie casserole that looks great on any table, very colorful and simple to construct. Lots of garlic, oregano and olive oil and it will compliment either a Greek or Italian meal. Although the recipe calls for fresh tomatoes, I have added a can of diced tomatoes for the added juice to layer the bottom of the casserole.

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with their juice
2 zucchini, cut into 1-inch rounds
2 summer squash, cut into 1-inch rounds
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 large eggplant, cut into 1-inch rounds
1 red onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch wedges
1 potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 to 6 slices toasted sourdough bread, optional for main dish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Pour the canned tomatoes into a 3 1/2-quart baking dish and spread to cover the bottom. In a large bowl combine the remaining ingredients (excluding the bread). Toss to coat. Pour the vegetables over the canned tomatoes in an even layer. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the edges of the vegetables are golden, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Serve as a side with an Italian or Greek meal, or over toasted sourdough bread for a main dish.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

How To Cure A Cast Iron Skillet

A properly cured cast iron skillet will have a jet black sheen, unlike the gray metallic color when purchased new. To get optimum cooking results, you must take certain steps to ensure the cookware will cook properly, especially if you plan to use it for cooking Cornbread.
First of all, buy a good quality solid cast iron skillet which measures 9 inches across the top rim. Wash the skillet with plenty of warm water and a small amount of liquid soap. Rinse thoroughly under running water to remove all traces of the soap. Dry with clean paper towels and let stand until the skillet is completely dry. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees F. Using a basting brush, lightly and thoroughly cover all surfaces (including the handle) of the skillet with vegetable oil. Oil should not drip from the outside and must not form puddles on the inside of the skillet. Place the skillet in the oven for 5 - 7 hours. During this period, if any surface area appears to have dried up, brush on another light coat of oil. When the process is finished, inspect all surfaces to see if there is a light (usually brown colored) coat everywhere. If not, another curing is needed. With use, a properly cured skillet will develop a black sheen.

Never use the skillet for anything but cooking cornbread and it should never be washed. After each use, clean it thoroughly with clean dry paper towels. Be careful to remove all excess cooking oil and any all bread crumbs. Store in a dry place. You can store, wrapped in a clean dry towel and before each use oil the inside surface. Pre-heat the skillet. The cornbread batter should only be added to a hot skillet.

Greeks and Longevity

Several years ago, scientists and nutritionists became interested in the "The Mediterranean Diet" and the research carried out on the island of Crete showed that the excellent health condition and longevity of the Cretans has its basis on their traditional nutritional habits.

It is a fact that Cretan peasants consume little meat and few milk products. Traditionally meat was not consumed more than once per 15 days. The only fat they use is the olive oil which is used abundantly in almost everything served. Also, the Cretans consume alot of bread, veggies, fruits and peas, beans or lentils. Fish is the least advised food, followed by red meat.

In his book "Dietetique: Le Regime Sante", Serge Renaud writes:

"Among all the groups which were observed, either mediterranean or not, the group from Crete presented the lowest coronary mortality rate. After ten years of observation, that mortality rate went up by a hundred eighty four for 10000 in the other mediterranean groups and only to nine in the cretan group, which represented a reduction of 95%. The study made it apparent as well, after an observation of 15 years that Crete had generally the lowest mortality rate, irrelevant to the cause of death."___IHO (International Health Organization)

Source: IHO, Med Diet Pyramid

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Baked Beans Tale

Once upon a time, there lived a woman who had a maddening passion for baked beans. She loved them but, unfortunately, they had always had a very embarrassing and somewhat lively reaction in her. Then one day she met a man and fell in love...When it became apparent that they would marry she thought to herself, "He is such a sweet and gentle man, he would never go for this carrying on." She made the supreme sacrifice and gave up beans. Some months later her car broke down on the way home from work, since she lived in the country she called her husband and told him that she would be late because she had to walk home. On her way, she passed a small diner and the odor of the baked beans was more than she could stand...
Since she still had miles to walk, she figured that she would walk off any ill effects by the time she reached home. So, she stopped at the diner and before she knew it, she had consumed 3 large orders of baked beans. All the way home she putt-putted, and upon arriving home she felt reasonably sure she could control it.
Her husband seemed excited to see her and exclaimed delightedly, "Darling, I have a surprise for dinner tonight." He then blindfolded her and led her to her chair at the table. She seated herself and just as he was about to remove the blindfold from his wife, the telephone rang. He made her promise not to touch the blindfold until he returned. He then went to answer the telephone...
The baked beans she had consumed were still affecting her and the pressure was becoming almost unbearable, so while her husband was out of the room she seized the opportunity, shifted her weight to one leg and let it go. It was not only loud, but it smelled like a fertilizer truck running over a skunk in front of pulpwood mill. She took her napkin and fanned the air around her vigorously. Then she shifted to the other cheek and ripped three more, which reminded her of cooked cabbage...
Keeping her ears tuned to the conversation in the other room, she went on like this for another few minutes.
When the phone farewells signaled the end of her freedom, she fanned the air a few more times with her napkin, placed it on her lap and folded her hands upon it, smiling contently to herself...
She was the picture of innocense when her husband returned, apologizing for taking so long, he asked her if she peeked, and she assured him that she had not.
At this point, he removed the blindfold, and she was surprised to discover that there were twelve dinner guests seated around the table to wish her a "Happy Birthday"!!!

Crocked Baked Beans & Cabbage

This recipe was given to me by my friend Kathleen (Kitty) and had mentioned it often in our telephone conversations. I admit I was skeptical, as Baked Beans and Cabbage did not really strike the right culinary chord with me.....nonetheless, the more I heard her speak of it, the more interested I became in trying it. This recipe calls for 2 lbs of crispy it isn't for the calorie counter!

It's very simple to make and my son and husband consumed an entire crockpot of this concoction in one weekend! So I have added it to my winter cook list! Thanks Kitty!


2 large cans of Bush's Original Baked Beans
1 large head of Cabbage (cooked until tender)
1 onion
2 lbs bacon
1/4 cup drippings from pan
1 cup (reserved) cabbage broth

Fry bacon in skillet and remove, add onion and saute until caramelized.
Combine all ingredients together into crock pot and cook slow.

Serve with Cornbread

Debbi's Bath Salts

As holiday's approach, we are always looking for those nice little gifts to have on hand, when unexpected guests drop in. Everyone, including men, like the occasional tub-soak and most men do not really get into a "tub full of bubbles"!

With winter approaching, and of course, flu season rearing it's ugly head, 2000 mg's of "C", a Eucolyptus bath, and a warm mug of your special brewed tea will put you on the road to recovery fast.

Before you get started you need to have on hand the following:

1 large glass or wooden bowl (salad bowl's work great)
1 box of Kosher Salt (That's salt blessed by the Rabbi, for increased healing)
1 box of Canning Salt or regular table salt
1 box of Baking Soda
Food Coloring
Scented Oils
Bath Salt Jars or Plastic Bags (Mason Jars work, plus they can be decorated!)

To begin with, I usually mix 2 parts canning or regular salt to 1 part Kosher and 1 part soda.
Mix the salt and soda together, blending with your hand thoroughly. Always, when blending the salt, to coin a phrase from J.M. Barrie of "Peter Pan" fame, "Think Happy Thoughts"! In other words, if you are having a bad day, the JW's have infiltrated your neighborhood and interrupted your schedule all morning, the neighbor's dog has turned over your trash and telemarketers have declared open season on you....postpone blending your salts. Whatever type of energy you are projecting will of course, find it's way into the salts. Now if you are making salts for the crabby old lady down the street.....blend at your own risk! Remember whatever you do comes back to you, three times and sometimes seven times!

After blending the salts thoroughly, add the color. Preferably, the best rule of thumb when mixing the color is add a few drops and blend thoroughly until you reach the desired shade. The more you work with the colors, you will figure out how many drops to achieve your desired color effect.

When you have tinted the salt your desired shade, it's time to add the scented oil. This will also take some practice to acheive the desired fragrance. Remember, always add more scent, although it may appear to be strong at first, it will be in a closed container or bag until usage, and you want the scent to permeate your bath.

Before packaging the finished salt, give it some drying time, especially if you have added scent that has dampened the mixture. Just let it air dry for little while. This will scent your home as well, so be prepared!

My favorite bath salt is Eucolyptus and I use pure 100% Eucolyptus Oil which I have located at Walgreens Drug Store. This is something that they keep behind the counter in the pharmacy, and you have to request it. The cost is about $13.00 for a 4 oz bottle and a little goes a long way.

You can experiment with your own colors and fragrances, and obtain the glass bottles you see above in your local Dollar Store.

The salts make perfect gifts for any occasion and to add a special touch, use colorful gift bags, add a candle, a couple of herbal tea bags and create a note with a special affirmation or poem.

It's a perfect gift for a new Mom's arrival from the hospital, for a bridal shower, Mother's day and Father's day! Use your imagination and personalize to be effective!

You can also add a "Mini-Bottle" of Couversier Brandy to the bag for that special man in your life! Be Creative, Have Fun!!

Petite Pot Pies

At my home, everybody loves these and if you prefer beef pot pies, don't throw away that left-over beef stew, works great!

1 (3oz) Package of Cream Cheese
2 tbsp Mayonnaise
3/4 cup chopped cooked chicken
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 can mixed vegetables, drained
1 can refrigerated large, flaky biscuits
sesame seeds

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease 8 muffin cups. In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese and mayo until smooth. Stir in chicken, onion, and veggies. Separate biscuits and then divide into 2 parts by removing the top 1/3 of each biscuit. Place bottom 2/3 biscuit into greased muffin cups. Firmly press in bottom and up the sides forming a 1/4 inch rim. Spoon 1/3 cup of chicken mixture into each cup. Top each with remaining biscuit, stretching slightly to fit. Press edges to seal. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown

Mini Beef Pot Pies
Substitute the chicken with left over beef stew!

Memories Of Chicken Casserole & Millicent

My Mother's beautician was a wonderful lady, her altruistic, warm-hearted hospitality, embellished the word "neighbor" and she was my Mom's best friend. She had a shop in her home and her clientele were mostly what I call the "little blue-haired fairy's" that lived in the neighborhood. Not only was she a wonderful friend to my Mother, she was a friend to everyone. When someone was sick, she would always be there to lend a helping hand. When someone lost a loved one, she was always there, supplying her delicious recipes, offering comfort where needed. She was a fantastic cook and always had a delectable to offer her clientele. One of my favorites was her fantastic Chicken Casserole. Over the years, I have practiced this rather simple recipe but could never duplicate Millicent's. This is my version and it's very simple to prepare!

2 cups cooked chicken, diced
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1-1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup celery
1/2 cup onion
1 beaten egg
1/2 bag (2 cups) Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing Mix
1 tbsp parsley flakes

Spread the chicken cubes in bottom of a 2-quart flat casserole dish. Dilute soup with milk and pour over top of chicken. Combine celery and onion, cook in broth until tender. (If you do not have broth and have used canned chicken cubes, use 1 cup water, 1/2 stick butter and 1 chicken bouillon cube instead). Make dressing by combining broth, celery, onion, egg, stuffing and parsley flakes. Spread the dressing on top of the soup, sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until it's bubbling and brown. Serve with heaping spoons of Cranberry relish.

Momma's Buttermilk Biscuits

My mother loved Country Ham and I can remember breakfast on Sunday Morning of Scrambled Eggs and Cheese, Grits, Country Ham with Red-eye gravy and her biscuits. My mother's biscuits were light, and just simply delicious, especially soaked open faced with Red-Eye!

2 cups Self-rising Flour
1/2 cup Wesson Oil (She never used "Lard")
1/2 - 2/3 cup Buttermilk
Pinch of Baking Powder (1/2 tsp= "pinch")

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder and oil, and blend until the consistency of cornmeal; Make a well, and pour in buttermilk. Some may use hands, but she used a big spoon to work the ingredients into the dough. Form the dough into biscuits with hands or roll out and cut with cutter or glass. Place biscuits on a greased pan, and let the biscuit sides touch. Place in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Makes 6 large or 12 small biscuits.

Country Ham & Red-Eye Gravy

First of all, Country Ham is salty and I always soak the ham for a few minutes in a cool bath to remove some of the brine, add a small amount of Wesson Oil to the skillet, grill ham pieces for about 10 minutes until brown.

Red-Eye Gravy

After cooking the ham, pour about 1/2 cup of coffee straight into the skillet. For all of you that are intimidated by the word "gravy", this is what I call "keeping it simple"!

BBQ - The Plight Of The Pig

NC-BBQ is very slow cooked pork, usually cooked at least 16-18 hours at a very low temperature, often 250 degrees or slightly less, sometimes up to 300 degrees but never more than that.Anyone attempting to do their own...should be aware of the extremely important safety concerns about parasites in pork, it's important for the pork to be cooked completely through!

If you're ever dining out and you notice any pink meat in your barbecue, stop eating immediately and call the manager! On several occasions I have experienced this phenomenon in Gastonia (The Worst BBQ I've ever eaten, by far)! Carolina Country Barbecue, basically comes to mind, right off the pit, served at my table..."Pink"!

RO's is highly popular in the Gastonia area. They serve their minced or sliced pork with "RO's Slaw" which closely mimics Thousand Island Dressing. The BBQ sandwich is basically soaked with this "Slaw" mixture, masking the taste of the meat. Evidently, you have to be a Gaston County native to appreciate RO's. Their slaw is a delicacy here in Gaston County, sold at most of the grocery stores and several convenience stores as a dressing or dip. Rumor has it that the sauce itself is pretty good used in that manner but it does not compliment pork at all.

Getting back to the task at hand, after cooking, the meat is pulled from the bone, and then pulled apart into bite-size chunks, and then usually chopped further with a large cleaving knife until the desired texture is accomplished which differs from individual to individual. You may prefer sliced BBQ, which is my favorite, so when I cook BBQ, I try to reserve a chunk specifically for sliced sandwiches!

By slow cooking at low temperature, the meat is allowed to "age" without drying out. Almost never is any kind of sauce applied during cooking. Basically, I have never cooked a complete piggy in my life, but I have cooked a shoulder, and taken a few short cuts, by par-boiling first, then transferring to the oven, turning often. You can add a little water with hickory smoke to the roasting pan if you choose to do it Debbi's way, and turn out some quite tasty BBQ.

Basically, I do not care for creamy, sweet slaw on BBQ, probably because I'm spoiled over my Dad's! He used a mild vinegar based slaw, actually, just chopped cabbage, marinated in a weak vinegar-water base with salt added. It compliments not only BBQ, but Hot Dogs and Hamburgers with Chili as well.

There are those wide-eyed insomniacs that dig the pit, put the pig in the pit and stay up all night long, partying, drinking beer and challenging the holy-grail of pig pickings. If that's what you like, have a helluva pick-picking time!

Carolina Trash

No Party is complete without this, and it can be made up in advance and stored in giant tins that you can purchase at Walmart, Target or possibly the Dollar Store in your neighborhood.


3/4 cup Bacon Grease
1 1/2 sticks Butter
3 TBL. Worcestershire Sauce
3 TBL. Garlic Salt
1 1/2 tsp. Accent
3 TBL. Tabasco
2 tsp. Chili Powder
1 TBL. Seasoned Salt
3/4 tsp. Cayenne

1 lg. can Cashews
1/2 box Cheerios
1/2 bag (10-13 oz) Fritos
1/2 box Wheat Chex
1/2 box Rice Chex
1 sm. box Cheese Snack Crackers
12 oz. Shoestring Potatoes

Heat the first nine ingredients in a saucepan, and pour over remaining dry ingredients, mixing well. Store in a covered tin. Great for tailgate parties,
and a must-have for Superbowl Sunday!

Celtic Ginger Wine

This is an old tyme homemade wine that tastes more like Mead, an ancient honey wine, or hard liquor than wine. Country people or the ancients often served it alone or in tea as a warming drink when someone had a cold or when the weather was bad and people were chilled to the bone from working outside.


1/2 cup sugar caramelized to light or dark brown (recipe follows)

3 lbs sugar
3 tbsp ginger
1 tbsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp dry yeast ( or wine yeast if you have it)
Juice of 4 lemons

Caramelize the 1/2 cup sugar and set aside. Pour a gallon of boiling water into a 2 gallon crock pot. Add the 3 lbs of sugar, ginger, cream of tartar, yeast, lemon juice and the caramelized sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Cover with a clean dish towel and let the wine ferment for about 2 weeks in a warm spot, until all bubbling (fermentation) has ceased and desisted. Then you skim the top, which is called racking off, pouring off the "dregs" into freshly scrubbed jugs and bottles. (I generally used mason jars and place them in a boiling water bath) You may use bottles instead, and just pour the wine in and cork em! Store in a cool, dry place.
Ginger wine will last for years! The above recipe makes about 1 gallon.

Spicy Sausage Balls

This is not only a great breakfast or brunch treat, it's a pleasant accompaniment to any get-together and especially great at tail-gate parties (this is for my son and his wife, who are away at college)


1 lb. sausage
8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 1/2 c. Bisquick
Dash of Tabasco (There you go, Zack)

Mix well. Roll into small ball. Bake at 350 degrees for 11 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with toothpicks.

Baked Pumpkin Seeds

Remember, after you carve your Jack O Lantern, save those seeds...

1¾ tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp melted butter
2 cups pumpkin seeds
1 tsp salt

Don't remove shells but remove fibers by rubbing off. Combine ingredients in shallow pan. Stirring frequently, bake at 250 degrees to 2 to 3 hours, until dry. Cool, then store in tightly covered container.

Old Tyme Taffy Apples

Everybody likes Candied Apples, and Golden Delicious apples are used in this particular recipe.

4-6 small Golden Delicious Apples
Wooden Skewers
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp butter for (buttering paper)

Prepare the apples for dipping by sticking wood skewer into stem of each. Place the walnuts in a shallow bowl. Have ready a large piece of waxed paper, aluminum foil to dry finished apples.
In a large saucepan heat the sugar until melted and turns golden brown, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Slowly add the water, avoid spattering and stir until mixture is smooth. Stir in the brown sugar and cook until mixture forms a soft ball, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and dip apples in syrup, covering completely and roll bottom of apples in the walnuts. Place on the waxed paper or foil to dry.

Fall Butter

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup butter, softened

Mix all ingredients until well blended. Spread onto your favourite muffins, quick bread, sweet crackers, or pancakes.

Cinnamon Butter

2 sticks butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Serve over sweet bread, muffins, or morning waffles. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Butter

1/2 stick unsalted softened butter
4 tbsp canned pumpkin puree
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/8 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Keep tightly covered in the refrigerator up to three weeks.

Apple Spread

The recipe below goes with crackers, or veggies...


1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
1/4 c. mayonnaise
dash of sugar
1 c. chopped apple with peel
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped pecans

Mix cream and cheddar cheese together until well blended, and add remaining ingredients, mix well.

Summers End....It's Halloween!

All Hallows Eve or perhaps better known to most as "Halloween" is my favorite time of the year.
It's the time of my birth, better known as All Saints Day, but I choose to celebrate All Saint's Day Eve or Samhain. Samhain is a Celtic tradition, meaning "Summers End", and a time which the door to summer, subtly closes, ushering in the harvest.

For me, it's an inbetween time, not only does the trees bring forth their spectacular color hues of gold and orange, but it's the perfect time of the year to "back-up and regroup"! Discard that which is not needed, mend that which is salvageable and prepare for the winter months ahead. So as this Samhain approaches, what is ending in you? What do you have inside that it is time to let go of? No healing is complete until you get beyond recovery. Everyone has vices, mine is cigarettes...The worst possible addiction known to man or woman.

A long time ago, our ancestors celebrated this period of time, between the old year and the new year. It was a time for harvest, for making preparations for the cold winter months ahead. Admittedly, I am preparing my freezer, with home-made soups, chili and sauces.

Also, tis the season for creating change, because when we make a change within, it creates a change without, so it's a good time to make affirmations, discarding unwanted habits and feelings, while bringing forth new ideas and transformations.

So, I will continue to celebrate this period of festivity, free from religious hindrance, persecution and blatant ignorance, thus enjoying the time of festivity, dressing up, and lighting a candle in memory of my relatives who have passed on. You never get too old to be festive and enjoy yourself. Use this time to relax, take stock of your life, spend an evening in retrospect...And you can do it alone or with friends.

In the past, and I'm sure there are current sentiments, attaching sinister connotations to this holiday. Please understand and do not get caught up with all of that ridiculous nonsense. Evil exists in this world, and does well to exist without a "holiday" to herald it. Just turn on your television and read the newspaper, because 365 days a year, Evil runs rampant! Mankind creates evil through their thoughts, words and deeds. All energy comes from one source, but people choose how they use energy. It has always been about choice, from the beginning of time to the present.

There are several recipes that can be used to enhance your festivities, and one of the most widely used is a dish that is Celtic, stemming from Ireland and Scotland, using Mashed Potatoes, Cabbage and Onions and is called Colcannon. It was an old Irish tradition to hide a charm in the dish. A ring for a bride, a button for a bachelor, an thimble for a spinster, and a coin for wealth, or any other item which local custom decreed, or whatever you "choose" that has meaning!
A warm loaf of Pumpkin bread and a tankard of Guinness sets it off, if you can handle it!

Welsh Colcannon

4 cups mashed potatoes
2 1/2 cups Savoy cabbage, cooked and chopped fine
1/2 cup butter (strictly butter)
1/2 cup evaporated milk or cream
3/4 cup onion, finely chopped and sauteed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Sautee the onions. Boil the potatoes and mash them (do not use instant potatoes). In a large pan combine all of the ingredients except for the cabbage and cook over low heat, stirring together. Lower heat and add the cabbage. The mixture will take on a pale green cast. Continue to stir until mixture is heated thoroughly.0. Don't forget to drop your charm and coin in! Stir well and serve.

Pumpkin Muffins

1 cup Plain Flour, Sifted
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 cup Vegetable Shortening
2/3 cup Sugar
1 ea Large Egg
1/2 c Canned, Mashed Pumpkin
2 Tbsp Milk

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; set aside. Cream together shortening and sugar in mixing bowl until light and fluffy, using electric mixer at medium speed. Beat in egg. Combine pumpkin and milk in small bowl. Add dry ingredients alternately with pumpkin mixture to creamed mixture, stirring well after
each addition. Spoon batter into paper lined 2 ½ inch muffin pan cups, filling 2/3rds full. Bake in 350 degree F. oven 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot with butter and homemade preserves or jam.

All Hallows Eve Cookies

These cookies can be made on All Hallow's Eve and can can be shaped like people and the herb rosemary is added to the dough as a symbol of remembrance.

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup softened butter
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/2 tbsp chopped rosemary

Heat oven 375 degrees. In a large bowl, beat sugar, butter, egg, vanilla, almond extract, and rosemary until creamy. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Fold flour mixture into sugar mixture. Beat until dough forms and refrigerate for three hours. Divide dough into halves. Roll out one portion to 3/16
of an inch on a floured surface. Cut out with gingerbread women or men cutters and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat rolling and cutting with second portion.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

1 1/2 c Gingersnap Crumbs
1/2 c Finely Chopped Pecans
1/3 c Margarine, Melted
16 oz Cream Cheese, Softened
3/4 c Sugar
1 t Vanilla
3 ea Eggs
1 c Canned Pumpkin
3/4 t Cinnamon
1/4 t Ground Nutmeg

Combine crumbs, pecans and margarine; press onto bottom and 1 1/2-inches up sides of 9 inch spring form pan. Bake at 350 degrees F., 10 minutes. Combine cream cheese, 1/2 c sugar and vanilla, mixing at medium speed on electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Reserve 1 c batter, chill. Add remaining sugar, pumpkin and spices to remaining batter; mix well. Alternately layer pumpkin and cream cheese batters over crust. Cut through batters with knife several times for marble effect. Bake at 350 degrees F., 55 minutes. Loosen cake from rim of pan; cool before removing rim of pan. Chill.

Harvest Soup

4 pounds of peeled chopped pumpkin
2 chopped onions
2 chopped apples
2 cups chicken stock
1 tsp nutmeg or 3 tsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups water
2 1/2 cups Milk or Half and Half
Ground Pepper
Place pumpkin, apples, onion, stock, nutmeg and salt in the water in a heavy saucepan and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer 40 minutes until pumpkin is tender. Puree in a blender or processor. Return to pan and add milk and pepper. You may garnish with Cilantro if you used the curry.

Accompaniment: Harvest Bread (Recipe In Archive)

Lady Of The Lake Apples

1 3oz package softened cream cheese
4 medium apples
1 1/3oz Apple Cheddar Cheese
1 tablespoon dry white wine

Beat together both cheeses and the wine, with an electric or rotary mixer, until smooth. Core the apples and hollow out, leaving apple shells about 1/2 inch thick. Fill the apples with the cheese mixture and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
Cut apples into 8 wedges.

All Hallowed Mushrooms

2 6oz cans of broiled mushroom crowns
1 tbs. finely chopped onion
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup smoked cheese spread
1 tbs. catsup
1/4 cup finely chopped turnip*
1 tsp. minced garlic
Fine soft bread crumbs

Drain the cans of broiled mushroom crowns. Hollow out and chop up enough of the pieces to make about 3 tbs. In a sauce pan, combine the mushroom pieces, onion, turnip, and garlic. Add the vegetable oil and cook slowly over a low heat. Stir in the cheese spread and catsup. Stuff the slightly cooled mixture into the mushroom
crowns and place on a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle tops with the fine soft bread crumbs. Bake at 425 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes.

Apple Bread

1/2 c. margarine
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. sour milk or orange juice
1 c. chopped cooking apples (no need to peel)
1/3 c. chopped nuts (I prefer Pecans)

Cream margarine and sugar, add eggs and vanilla, slowly add flour, soda and salt alternating liquid with dry ingredients, gradually stirring in apples and nuts. Pour into greased 9X5 loaf pan and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Cabbage Soup

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 head medium chopped cabbage
2 ribs celery sliced
1 small bell pepper (cut up into small pieces)
1 medium onion diced
1 16 oz can kidney beans
1 large can tomatoes (chopped)
4 beef bouillon cubes
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown ground beef and drain. In your soup pot, add remaining ingredients to ground beef, adding enough water to fill the large tomato can.
Bring to a boil, simmer until vegetables are tender. Serve with Cornbread

Cinnamon Snacks

You don't have to run to the border for these!

1/2 cup Sugar
1 tbsp Cinnamon
1 pkg Rice Based Rotini noodles
3 Cups of oil (wesson oil is my favorite)

You can mix the cinnamon and sugar or purchase "Cinnamon Sugar" in the spice section of your grocer already mixed in a neat little shaker bottle, which I prefer to save time! If you have a Fry Daddy....Use it! Heat oil to about 500 degrees or crank up the Fry Daddy, don't let the oil smoke. When the oil is hot enough, drop a handful of uncooked noodles, drop only a few at a time. Deep fry for 30 seconds. When they go under and resurface, they are ready to go! Drain the noodles on a paper towel and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture!

Momma's Tea Cakes

I never knew my Maternal Grandmother, she died when my Mother was a young woman, but I remember hearing my Mother talk about her. One of those stories was about her Tea Cakes. She would prepare these neat little morsels, during the day for my Mother and her sisters to have after school before supper!

Tea Cakes
1 stick butter or margarine
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbs buttermilk

Cream butter or margarine in a large mixer bowl, adding gradually, the 1 1/4 cups sugar and vanilla extract and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs and continue mixing for about two minutes.
Sift flour, baking soda and salt into mixture, adding buttermilk gradually. Drop by large rounded tablespoons onto a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with plain or flavored sugar. Bake at 350ºF for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned on the edges.

My Bread Machine

Yard sales are strictly American as Apple Pie! Sure, you have to get up early, and weed through all of the junk, but every once in awhile you will run across
a treasure. An inside family joke here is "One man's junk is another man's treasure"! My Dad said it to me, and I've handed it down to my boys.
Last summer on a saturday morning, I was enroute to BiLo to do some grocery shopping and decided to cut through a neighborhood yard sale. This was
not just any yard sale, it was an entire community effort and I had to park nearly two blocks away, due to the crowd.
As I browsed over all of the items for sale, I ran across a most unusual item....A Bread Maker! It was in the original package and when I inspected, it was like
For $5.00, I walked away with a "Regal Kitchen Pro Bread Machine"! When I got it home, although it looked as if it had never been used, I cleaned it and made
my first loaf of bread. Seemed easy enough, heck, I didn't even have to knead, push, pull just did it all! Fantastic and the bread was delicious.
My breadmaker is really an awesome kitchen tool, as it takes the "work" out of making bread, and the list of possibilities are endless...from Cloverleaf rolls,
French Loaves, German Pumpernickel, Cinnamon Raisin, Pumpkin, and of course basic white bread!

So it's bread time!

Sweet Potato Souffle

The recipe below calls for mashed sweet potatoes, and you can use canned potatoes, or baked sweet potatoes. To cut baking time, I generally boil the sweet potatoes first until they soften and transfer them to a baking dish in the oven at about 400 degrees. For the recipe below, in addition to the pecans, you can add also add raisins.


3 cups mashed sweet potatoes (Yams)
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 eggs
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Mix all the ingredients together and place in buttered casserole dish, set aside.

In a saucepan, heat 1/3 cup butter with 1 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup flour and 2 cups pecans. Spread over top of sweet potato mixture and bake for 35 minutes, uncovered at 350 degrees.

Baked Sweet Potato

1 large sweet potato
2 tbsp Wesson Oil
2-3 tbsp kosher salt
3 tbsp softened butter
3 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
Rub outside of potato with Wesson Oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake the potatoes at 350 degrees F for 45 to 60 minutes (until soft). Split the potato. Whip together butter and honey and put inside. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve. (optional: Cream Cheese)

Deb's Special Sauce

1 cup Hellman's Mayo
1/4 cup Chili Sauce
1/4 cup Ketchup
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/2 cup Vegetable oil
Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tsp Paprika
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar, cover, shake and put it in the fridge!

Of course, there is a story behind this sauce and it originated in my Dad's restaurant in Greensboro. It all started when I wanted something other than ketchup for my french fries, and out of frustration, began concocting a mixture of mayo, ketchup, garlic and paprika. It wasn't long before it caught on with others in my family, especially my neices and nephews, and some of the Nuckles' clientele.
Some time later, while dining at a cajun restaurant, I experienced Crayfish i.e., Crawdad's, those little miniature lobsters.. for the first time, and the dipping sauce that accompanied them, was very similar to my sauce.

As time passed, I improvised it somewhat, experimenting with the addition of onions, lemon juice, Worcestershire and mustard. So play with this recipe and adjust according to your taste. Use it on Hamburgers, Hoagies, Salads...and of course, French Fries!

Debbi's BBQ Sauce

There are many sauces to compliment the "Pulled-Pork", wait a minute, my Dad was the first to open a Barbecue Restaurant in Greensboro back in the 30's and I've never heard that term until recently....isn't that a trip?
Moving along, there are many sauces out there...vinegar based, catsup based....and lord knows no telling what other kind, but my favorite is "MY SAUCE"! It has a hint of onion because I use my Juicer ...! So either use bottled onion juice or Juice an onion beforehand! I can remember my Dad cooking his barbecue sauce in a huge pot....and he floated lemons on top! You could smell the aroma throughout the kitchen of the restaurant and it would actually open your head up like a decongestant.... His sauce I can't share at this time, as it's a family secret, so mine will have to suffice, and it is pretty good, but not as good as his!

Deb's Barbecue Sauce

1 1/2 cups Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup bourbon
1/2 cup Catsup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 Onion - Juiced!
2 tbs Brown Sugar
1 tbs Worcestershire (whats that here) Sauce
Pinch of Red Pepper (or more, depends on you!)

Mix the ingredients in a saucepan and boil slowly for about 10-15 minutes.

That'll Do it!

Mouth Watering Hushpuppies

One of my most memorable moments while stationed in Hawaii was several weeks after my arrival on Oahu, I was dining out with some friends in Waikiki. First of all, you can't order "Flounder" on the west coast, they don't have it. Their substitution is "Mahi Mahi" or "Dolphin", that's not to be confused with "Flipper", it's the non-mammal version.

That goes for "Hushpuppies" as well! They look at you really strange when you order "Hushpuppies" in a them it's a shoe!

Based on the web research I have done, there seems to be quite a bit of confusion, especially from Europeans over the "Hushpuppy" and it's origin, most ascribing it to an "Urban Legend"!

According to Wikipedia a group of Ursuline Nuns brought the recipe from France to New Orleans in the 1700's. Nonetheless, Hush Puppies are in my opinion an origin of the "Deep South" or shall I say, the Antebellumn period. During this period, there were social gatherings and barbecues, and the small cornbread mixtures were deep fried and thrown to the pups to keep them quiet! Another legend is that the hushpuppies were given to the Dogs by the Confederate soldiers to quieten them from giving away their location to the Yankee Soldiers.

Hushpuppies are an accompaniment to Seafood as well as Barbecue!


1 cup Self-rising Cornmeal (white)
1 cup Self-rising Flour
1/2 Cup Mayo
1 Egg
1 Cup Minced Onion
1 Cup Minced Bell Pepper

Mix ingredients with just enough buttermilk to hold together. Roll into balls about the size of an egg or smaller, whichever you prefer, and deep fry.

By the way, Hushpuppies with green pepper and onion are called "Creole Hushpuppies" and a nice accompaniment to Shrimp Gumbo!


Full of iodine, phosphorus and trace elements, oysters are stimulants and have always been a symbol of femininity. It is said that at the time of the full moon, oysters secrete an aphrodisiac hormone!
So fellas, when you are taking your honey out to share a peck of Oysters on the Half-Shell and a Pitcher of Brew, you might want to ask that guy behind the counter shucking those morsels if he knows when they were fetched!

Oysters are considered to be "In Season" when an "R" falls in the month, according to legend and just like Bubba on "Forest Gump" there are a million ways to eat Oysters. You can Fry em, broil em, bake em, stew em, steam em......or if you are really daring, you can eat them "au naturale"....Raw!

The Basics:

If you don't have access to a waterway, ocean can purchase Oysters unopened, opened on half shell, or in jars. They should be plump, with a natural creamy colour and be free of shell particles, and above all "Smell Fresh".

Personally, as for storage, it all depends on the species purchased, whether they are unopened and other factors...but to be honest, I only buy Oysters the day I prepare them. There are to many concerns about shellfish to gamble on it.

To open an Oyster, hold tight in the palm of your hand, carefully insert a short-bladed, rigid knife, (or you can purchase a special "Oyster Knife") , next to the hinge between the two shells.
Just push against the hinge and twist the knife until the hinge separates the two shells. When you open the shell, just run your knife under the oyster to sever the muscle to free it from the shell. There is a really good pictorial guide.

My all time favorite is about a dozen Oysters, steamed on the half-shell, with tabasco, lemon wedges, crackers and a pitcher of ale! That's what I call "Eating Oysters"!

Nothing warms the spirit like a steaming bowl of Oyster Stew on a cold wintry night!

Oyster Stew


1 Pint of shucked oysters (retain liquid)
1 Pint of Half & Half
1 Cup of Milk
1/2 stick butter
1/3 cup of diced celery
1/2 tablespoon of fresh minced onion
1 tsp of Shrimp spice or Old Bay to taste (Optional)

Note: For super-rich stew, you can omit the milk and add another cup of Half & Half, if you dare!!

Reserve "Oyster Liquor" and set aside. Pour Oysters into a skillet with a little butter, and saute until the edges "Curl". Heat other ingredients in a medium size pot but do not bring to a boil, add Oysters and reserved "Liquor", being careful not to overcook!

This is a hearty meal for the winter nights, served with saltine crackers, garlic bread and a salad. It's also a festive soup for the holidays, especially at Christmas!

Dandelion Wine

This was another recipe that was stashed away in the same fashion, again, modify the recipe according to your needs, this recipe makes 5 gallons.

1/2 bushel Dandelion Blossoms
3 gallons + 5 quarts Spring Water
15 lbs of sugar
1 cake or enevelope yeast (dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water)
2 15 oz boxes seeded Golden Raisins
12 oranges (juiced)
6 lemons (juiced)

Gather half a bushel basket of dandelion blossoms. Wash the blossoms, put them in a large kettle with 3 gallons water. Simmer very slowly for 2 to 3 hours. Strain mixture through layers of cheese cloth into a large crock squeezing the cloth dry. (It looks & smells hopeless at this point but don't give up.) While mixture is still warm add 15 pounds sugar and 1 cake or envelope of yeast, dissolved in 1/2 cup of warm water. Let it ferment in crock for 8 days. Pour the liquid into a 5 gallon barrel and add 2 15 ounce boxes of seeded raisins and the juice of 12 oranges and 6 lemons. Reserve the rinds of the fruit & cut them into small pieces. Put them in a kettle with 4 or 5 quarts of water & simmer for 20 minutes. Add enough of this liquid to the barrel to fill it. Let the wine work in the barrel for 14 days, adding more of the citrus infusion from time to time, to keep the barrel filled, and letting the foam run off. When the wine stops working & the foam settle, there will be an air space at the top of the barrel. It will not effect aging once the barrel is sealed. Close the barrel & seal the bung with parafin. Let wine age for a year, longer if possible. To bottle wine, wait at least a year otherwise keep it in the barrel and siphon off as needed leaving the sediment at the bottom. The resultant air space will not damage the wine as long as the keg is kept tightly bunged between "taps". This recipe makes about 5 gallons.

Fruit Of The Vine Wine

This is a rather old recipe for Grape Wine that I found of all places, stashed away in a family bible. I'm not really sure how much it makes, but according to the amount of water, well, let's just put it this way, I'd cut it down to my needs!

12 gallons of water (spring)
20 lbs Brown Sugar (Dark)
4 Egg Whites
1 Bushel Grapes (Red/Purple)
1/2 Pint Lemon Juice
6 lbs Raisins

Boil 20 lbs of brown sugar & clear it, add 12 gallons of water & the whites of 4 eggs well beaten, then skim it, & set it off the fire to cool, when blood warm, put in the juice of 1 bushel of grapes, when near cold stir it, & put in half a pint of lemon juice, & 6 spoonsfull of yeast & beat it well about in the liquor;
Stir it every day, put 6 lbs. of good raisins in a clean cask & throw upon them the above liquor, then bung up the cask & in 6 months it well be fit for use or to bottle up.

Jack In The Fruitcake

This has to be one of the most out of sight fruitcake recipes around!


1 C water
1 C sugar
4 large eggs
2 C dried fruit
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 C brown sugar
lemon juice
1 bottle Jack Daniel Black Label Whiskey


Sample the whiskey to check for quality. Take a large bowl. Check the whiskey again to be sure that it is of the highest quality. Pour 1 level cup and drink. Repeat.
Turn on the electric mixer, Add 1 cup of butter in bowl and beat till fluffy, adding sugar. Make sure the whiskey is still OK. Cry another tup. Turn off the mixerer. Break two eggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit. Mix on the turnerer. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers, pry it loose with a drewscriver. Sample the whiskey to check for tonsisticity. Next, sift 2 cups of salt. Or something. Check the whiskey. Now sift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Spoon. Of sugar or something. Whatever you can find. Grease the oven. Turn the cake tin to 350 degrees. Don't forget to beat off the turner. Throw the bowl out the window. Check the whiskey again. Go to bed. Who the hell likes druitcake anyway......

The Hot Dog

Hot Dog (Noun); A smooth-textured sausage of minced beef or pork usually smoked; often served on a bread roll .

Webster can call it anything it pleases, but a Hot Dog is one of the most sought after crowd pleaser's, whether at a Football game, a backyard get-together, a Hot Dog will suffice!

Where did the idea come from? Coney Island? Not really....let's go back to the 9th Century....

"As when a man besides a great fire has filled a sausage with fat and blood and turns it this way and that and is very eager to get it quickly roasted. . ." ____Homer's Odyssey 850 AD

(54-68 AD) Emperor Nero's cook, Gaius, is often credited with discovering the first sausage!
Customarily, pigs were starved about one week before they were cooked and eaten. Legend attributes that one piggy was brought out roasted and ready to eat...but someone noticed that the pig had not been cleaned. Gaius ran a knife into its belly to see if the pig was fit to eat and surprisingly, puffed up and hollow intestines popped out! He reportedly said... "I have discovered something of great importance." The Royal Cook stuffed the intestines with ground venison and ground beef mixed with cooked ground wheat and spices, tied them into sections and gave birth to the "Wiener, Weenie, Frankfurter, whatever you want to call it!

Enough of Hotdog 101...onto the recipes. Hotdogs are versatile and fun....again, an imagination can do wonders for a drab Hot Dog!

In the south, a hot dog is a weiner on the bun with chili and other condiments such as chopped onions, cole slaw and chili (without the beans).

It amazes me to watch other people prepare Hot Dogs and at the same time it's quite frustrating for me to see the order in which they add their ingredients or "Build Their Dog"!

Since the "Hot Dog" was an item on my Dad's menu for over 50 years I'm accustomed to the basic "Dog Build" as follows:

1. Bun and Wiener
2. apply mustard
3. apply onions and cole slaw (for some, it's optional but for me, it's essential)
4. Chili (Make sure you drain the chili some beforehand or you'll have a "Wet Dog"!

It makes no sense to me any other way....or else you have a sloppy hot dog that is very difficult to eat.

My choice of weiners are all beef and Kosher! Forget the "Turkey, Chicken, Beef Combo's", if I want to eat Turkey or Chicken I don't need mustard and a bun!

Chili makes the hot dog....and the following recipe is simple, tasty and it's my Dad's! The great thing about this chili is that you can freeze it! The recipe below will consist of one pound of ground beef but if you want to make more, buy the five pounder in the grocer and adjust the recipe to taste.

Southern Dog

1 lb Ground Beef
1/2 cup chili powder (season to taste, may require more, or less...up to you)

Cole Slaw


Chopped Cabbage marinated in a weak vinegar water base with salt added....

Brown the ground beef in a skillet, add water to cover, bring to a boil, adding remaining ingredients and simmer! Fix your Dawg! You can add a few drops of Texas Pete or Tabasco for an added "bite"! Thats your basic Southern Hot Dog, and a novelty is the "Cheese Dog", replacing the weiner with a small log of sharp cheddar cheese....!

While residing on the Carolina Coast I visited a deli that was noted for their Sub Sandwiches and on a particular visit, browsing their menu I ran across an unusual Hot Dog. According to the waiter this was a specialty in Jekyl Island, Georgia. At first, I thought it was hideous....but the more the waiter talked about it and convinced me that no words can describe how good it was, I had to try it.

Jekyl Island Dog

Beef Weiner
Peanut Butter
Chopped Onions

Spread the mayo and peanut butter on the weiner, add chopped onions! Folks, you gotta try's awesome!

The following Hot Dog is what I call the "Reuben Dog" and it's basically a Kraut Dog with a little added flavor!

Reuben Dog

1 pkg Kosher All Beef Weiners
1 jar Sauerkraut
1 bottle Thousand Island Dressing
1 pkg Baby Swiss Cheese
1 jar Mustard

Boil weiners for about 10 minutes. Place weiner with slice of cheese in oven to melt. Remove from oven, spread Mustard, Thousand Island and spoon kraut on the top. Serve with Kosher Dill pickle and Chips and a tankard of Ale!

That's Amore Dog

This is what I call an Italian Hot Dog, and it can be served with a side order of pasta salad and a glass of wine!

1 lb Italian Sausage
1 pkg Mozarella Cheeze
Parmesan Cheese
1 Small Jar Marinara Sauce

Grill the sausages until brown. Start building the dog....add mozzarella grill until cheese has melted and spoon the sauce, add parmesan! This recipe can be improvised to include Bell Peppers, Onions, Mushrooms for added flavor!

Deb's Easy Sandwich Fillings

This list can be perpetual...endless!

Basic Ham or Chicken Salad (Easy)

1 or 2 Cans of Underwood Deviled Ham or Chicken
1 small container of Cream Cheese
Mayo (amount variant to individual taste)
Optional: Chopped Sweet Pickles (Gherkin or Mixed Cubes)

Preparation: If you have a food processor, that'll do it. Just mix ingredients in processor, blend quickly and place into a Tupperware container!

Pimiento Spread

1 lb of Gouda Cheese
1 small jar of pimiento
1 small container of Cream Cheese
Mayo (again, variant to individual taste)

Same as above, blend in processor adding mayo and pimiento's to in Tupperware container!

Waldorf Spread

If you have ever eaten Waldorf Salad, a mixture of chopped apples, raisins, celery, nuts etc, you will love this, and if you add left over chicken or tuna, optional.....out of sight!

Finely Chopped Apple
Finely Chopped Celery
Walnuts or Pecans (crushed)
Raisins (A variation of adding raisins is to replace white or wheat bread with Raisin Bread)

Combine apple, celery, nuts with mayo, and optional ingredients, store in tupper ware container!

Cucumber Spread

1 large gourmet Cucumber
1/2 small vidalia onion
1 carton of Cream Cheese

Combine ingredients in processor, blend and place in Tupperware container.

Personally, this is a summer sandwich! The sandwiches are "dainty", very feminine....especially when you trim the crusts... recipe can be used as a party sandwich for baby or bridal showers, wedding parties...etc. Can't really see these being offered on "Football or Wrestling" Night!

Reuben Hell

1 can of Corned Beef
1/2 cup Jalopeno's finely chopped
1 small container of Cream Cheese
Sauerkraut (use sparingly)
Swiss Cheese

Combine all ingredients except for cheese, in Food Processor, store in Tupperware container.
Serve on Rye Bread with Thousand Island Dressing Swiss Cheese slices..
posted by DJ at 7:43 AM

Strange Twists
Having lived in several different areas of the United States as well as the world, I have been introduced to many different food specialties, novelties....
Raising three boys, I found myself constantly trying new ideas for lunch, breakfast and snack-time, to steer them from the need to emulate friends who thrived on Mickey-D's and Hardees.

Most people from the South have experienced a Banana Sandwich!

Banana Sandwich

2 slices of white or wheat bread
Mayo and/or Peanut Butter
Sliced Bananas

Spread the Mayo (and/or Peanut Butter) on each slice of bread
Add Banana Slices

Serve with Glass of Milk

Grilled PB & J

2 slices of Texas Toast
Peanut Butter (Chunchy Or Creamy)
Jelly (Your Choice, kids usually prefer Grape)

Spread Peanut Butter on Both sides of bread with Jelly
Grill in buttered skillet, browning on each side

Serve with Chips on the side and Glass of Milk

Peanut Butter and Onion Sandwich

Most of you may be wrethching at the thought of it, but it's surprisingly very good! While I was stationed in Pensacola Florida going through AVT school I did not have my car and when I shopped at the local commissary I bought staples mostly, due to the small size of my dorm fridge. A typical day for me was returning to the BEQ at lunch, grabbing a PB&O sandwich and watching "Young and Restless" in the dayroom before returning to Class.

2 Slices of White or Wheat Bread
Peanut Butter
Vidalia Onion

Spread Peanut Butter on bread top with Vidalia Slices. The Onions keep the PB from sticking to the roof of your mouth!

Pineapple Sandwiches (Sue's Sandwich)

My sister Sue, introduced me to the "Pineapple Sandwich" when I was a little girl. It's simple, and if you like Pineapple.....awesome!

2 Slices of White or Wheat Bread
Fresh Pineapple Slices (You can use Canned Pineapple slices as well)

Spread mayo on bread slices top with drained or fresh pineapple.

Apple Sandwiches
There is something about Apples, Mayo....seems to be a compatible pair!

Thinly sliced apples
Raisin Cinnamon Bread

Spread Mayo on bread, layer apple Slices!

P B & DP (Peanut Butter and Dill Pickle)

Flashback from the past! The first time I heard of this concoction was from a childhood friend, who absolutely praised the marriage of Peanut Butter and Dill Pickles. She also liked Dill Pickles and Applesauce but it had to be "Chunky Applesauce! Eventually, I tried the PB & P and really thought it was pretty good! Another crushing chips on PB & J! Just spread Peanut Butter on two slices of bread, add Dill Pickle slices, and you have a PB & DP!

A Tribute To Jesse And Sadie Nuckles

This page is dedicated to my parents, Sadie and Jesse and my sister Marilyn "Sue", who were owners of the one of the first Barbecue Restaurants in Greensboro, N.C. up until the early 90's when the doors were finally closed.

For "Non-Tarheels" and those unfamiliar with Greensboro, Nuckles Barbecue was established in 1937, the oldest Barbecue Restaurant under the same owner in the Central Piedmont town. Nuckles catered to the Northeastern part of the city, surrounded by the early textile elements such as Cone Mill, Webbing Mill and Burlington Mills.

Sadie and Jesse, well known throughout the area with popularity extending into the Southern Virginia region, attracted customers from the border town of Danville and beyond who travelled the distance for Jesse and Sadie's "Southern Cooking Talents" and Carolinian hospitality.

During the early fifties, the business thrived and was typical of the "Happy Days" paradigm of curb hops, juke box speakers blasting out of speakers attached at each corner of the building, and the forever jammed parking lot, with silver trays braced on the side of the car. It was "The In Spot" for the local teenagers and their parents.

Nuckles Barbecue provided a comfortable atmosphere, and clientele returned often, adding "a trip to Jesse's", to their weekly family agenda. Most customers were life-long friends, some of whom had grown up in Proximity, White Oak and Revolution area of Northeast Greensboro.

Jesse Whitaker Nuckles, usually called "Jessie" by those that knew him, one of five sons and a daughter born to Richard, a Scotch-Irishman and Emma, of German-Jewish descent.

Sadie Parker, was one of five daughters born to Sophronia Purvis, of Southern Wales/France descent and an Englishman, named Robert E. Lee Parker. Sadie was born in Marlboro County, on the border of Hamlet and Rockingham. As a young girl, her family moved to Rockingham, where she attended school and later moved to Greensboro after the passing of her Mother.

Sadie and Jesse married in April, 1932 and remained in Greensboro raising their three daughters, Mitzi, Sue and Deborah. It was in the Rankin community, they would build a business that would become a landmark of Northeast Greensboro.

During the depression Jesse left Greensboro, seeking employment to sustain his family during the economic chaos of Hoover's administration, and hopped a train enroute to Washington, D.C., on a trip that would be the catalyst of his cooking career. He landed a job at a restaurant training under a head chef, preparing himself for his future in the food service business. Several years later, he returned to Greensboro, and began working for E.C. White, later known as Jones Barbecue in the Phillips Avenue Area of Greensboro.

Later on, with the financial support of his Mother and Father, he invested in the property located at 3109 Summit Avenue, which would be Nuckles Barbecue, and eventually a family tradition. Jesse worked in the restaurant for several years, with little salary in order to repay his parents for helping him achieve his dream.

Over the course of years, the business grew and hosted a large variety of customers and quite a few from the Entertainment world. During the early 1950's Elvis Presley was reported to make rounds of the Paragon and frequented Nuckles while on the road during his early promotional tours.

George Lindsay of "Andy Griffith" fame dined with Sadie and Jesse, during his guest appearances at the Greater Greensboro Open Golf Tournament, held yearly at Forest Oaks, which is also the home of another regular, Billy "Crash" Craddock, of Country Music fame.

The Building, older, quaint and reminiscent of Bavarian Architechture withstood the test of time. Jesse was not interested in major renovations to keep in step with the rapidly growing fast food chains. Cleanliness was paramount to his operation, and quality ingredients were always of the utmost importance.

Barbecue was his specialty, and he took great pride in his methods. When asked why he did not add his Sauce to the meat, as most Barbecue Specialists are known to do. He replied "I want my customers to taste my barbecue, not my sauce." This was true, as his Barbecue sauce was a compliment to the pork, not an addition. His barbecue was pit cooked by his brother who operated another restaurant and that had pit capabilities. The shoulders were cooked on the pit, and picked up usually by him or his daughters.

He was also noted for his "Chicken Sandwich". He fried 20-30 chickens per day in 9 huge cast iron skillets. He frowned upon deep-fried chicken, claiming that it cooks too fast, and chicken is definately not a meat to be eaten medium well or rare! His chicken was slow-cooked in the skillet's, turning frequently until crisp and mouth-watering.

He would drain the oil (Wesson, his oil of choice) and steam the chicken until it formed a golden gravy. The sight of the chicken basking in the golden gravy could make the most weight conscious person abandon a diet. Chicken gravy sandwiches were the answer to the financially crippled high school crowd.

As for the now popular "value meals" for $3.49..... at Nuckles, a student could get 3 gravy sandwiches and a coke for less than a dollar.

Hot Dogs, the best in town! His chili was 100% Beef, which was simmered slowly, and was the crown topping to his hot dogs and hamburgers. His cole slaw was a simple novelty...fresh chopped cabbage marinated in a weakened vinegar base. It complimented Hot dogs, Barbecue, and Hamburgers.

Dinner Entrees included a choice of meat and two vegetables that were prepared fresh and seasoned to perfection. Meat choices were Barbecue, Chicken, Country Style Steak and Ham, Mom's Chicken and Dumplings, Chicken Dressing and Chicken Livers. The choice of vegetables was a variety including but not specific to Mashed Potatoes, Turnip Greens, Collards, Squash, Lima Beans, Green Beans, Candied Yams, Candied Carrots, English Peas, Pinto Beans, Broccoli and Cauliflower, Macaroni and Cheese....a complete variety, cooked to perfection!

Everyday A large pan of delicious Cornbread, and either a Banana Pudding or Peach Cobbler was available, also prepared by Mother, or my sister Sue.

This was a family restaurant. Nuckles Barbecue was a family household word that encompassed over 50 years of service. In the early 70's, Jesse became ill with Colon Cancer, but continued to work at what he loved. He was limited in the time he could spend however, he remained productive until his passing in the late 80's. His love was the "Stand" as it was called, and his wife, Sadie.

Their establishment was a place to relax, eat, and talk. Dad's favorite pastime was conversing with the customers and reminiscing about old times. He and Mother would often go down on Sunday during close of business hours and sit at the center table and have a glass of tea. This was their special time.

The building is now gone, and a shopping center is located in its place, but Nuckles, aka Sadie and Jesse's "Stand" would always exist on Summit Avenue in Greensboro in the hearts and minds of those that were a part of this era.

After the passing of my father, Mother reopened the doors once more, after minor exterior renovation and continued on for nearly 7 years. This is what he would have wanted her to do..and this was her way of dealing with her grief and remaining connected to him, after all he was there more than he was at home. This was his love, and his customers were his second family, and we loved him for it. Shortly after the business finally closed, Mother passed away at the age of 82.

My sister, Sue and my parents are gone now, but memories of Nuckles will always remain in my heart, and while driving by the area where it once stood is hardly recognizable to me, there is no stopping in for Barbecue, hotdogs, or a gravy sandwich..but the energy is there, because, if you ever knew Mom and Dad, they left their memories behind, and will forever be in our hearts and minds.

To Jesse, My Father

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.__Dylan Thomas

Soup Of The South - Home Made Veggie Soup

This is an excellent "cook now-eat later" recipe for families on the go, as it can be cooked in bulk and stored in the freezer in baggies for quick meals, especially as we go into the fall season.

You can use leftover veggies, add variations and another alternative is using ground beef. When my boys were younger, and I fixed the ground beef variation they called it "Cowboy Soup"!

3lbs of stewed beef or 3lb roast (rump, sirloin, chuck)
6 potatoes (peeled and cubed)
*1 large Onion (onion salt optional)
1 bunch carrots (2 cans)
2 cans of peas
2 cans of corn (1 cream-style corn)
1 can of green beans
2 large cans of tomatoes
Season to taste

Cook the beef in a deep welled pot as above until tender, add potatoes and fresh carrots. If canned carrots are used, add with other canned ingredients. When potatoes are tender, add remaining ingredients and simmer, slowly for 1 hour.

* You can use a juicer to liquify an onion and use in recipes for those that have children or adults with an aversion to the texture of onions. Works great with Green Pepper as well. You have the flavor but not the texture. Children will not know the difference!

Serve the soup with croutons, crackers and a salad a or for a satisfying cold-weather meal!


Persimmons are brilliant orange in color, richly sweet flesh that is soft and creamy in texture, with an edible skin. They're also referred to as the "Apple of the Orient", having originated in the Far East.

As a child, there was a Hachiya Persimmon tree in our backyard and we would gather the ripened persimmons for my Mother's Persimmon Pudding. My Grandmother would always warn me not to eat the un-ripened fruit as it would turn my mouth inside out. Of course, every kid wants to find out what that is like...what she really was trying to say....the unripened fruit is extremely bitter and inedible. We learned that the color of the fruit did not matter, as long as the fruit is soft but not mushy.

Whether you pick persimmons or buy them at the grocer, if they are not ripe, you can store them in a plastic bag at room temperature until they ripen, then refrigerate.

The other type of Persimmon is called the Fuyu which is smaller that the Hachiya and not bitter, and is firm when ripe.

Persimmons are considered a fall festive fruit and are available from October through February.

Harvest Bread

2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter
2 eggs
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups mashed persimmon pulp
1 teaspoon up to 1 tablespoon mace
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans, walnuts (These are Optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cream sugar and butter together, add beaten eggs, buttermilk, and mashed persimmon, mix well.
Combine remaining dry ingredients, mixing well then add to mixture.
Mix thoroughly but do not beat. This is where you add the nuts if you opt.

Bake for approximately 1 hour or till toothpick inserted comes out clean and cool in pan or rack for 15 minutes.

Persimmon Fruitcake

Persimmon Fruitcake

3 cups granulated sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed persimmons
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
2 tbl Wesson Oil
1 cup candied mixed fruit
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup pecans or walnuts

Mix sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and ginger in a bowl. Make a hole and add eggs, mashed persimmons, pineapple, and shortening. Mix. Fold in raisins and candied fruit. Bake in greased and floured Bundt pan at 350 degrees F for one hour.

Persimmon Pudding

Note: About 1 qt of persimmons will make 2 cups of Persimmon pulp

2 cups Persimmon pulp
wash the persimmons and press them through a colander or sieve
making sure the holes are small enough to catch all seeds and skins
3 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 /2 Brown Sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 cups raisins (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
2. Mix persimmon pulp with eggs, milk and vanilla. Combine with dry ingredients.
Mix well, and stir in melted butter.
3. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 1 hour, or until set. When cold, cut into squares. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired.

An Apple A Day!

August is apple picking time and right outside of Hendersonville on 64 East is JH Steppes Apple Orchard. You can pick your own, go for a ride in the wagon through the orchard, have a picnic, and you have 22 varieties to choose from.

So what do you do with all of those apples......

Apple Butter

Apple Butter

Place 8 cups cooked apples, 4 cups of sugar and 1/2 cup vinegar in a covered crock and cook for 8 hours on low.

Remove cover and add
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
2 tsp cinnamon

Continue cooking for approximately 3 hours without the cover.
Pour in to pint or 1/2 pint jars. Clean jar tops and put two part lids on.
Cover and let seal.

Debbi's Apple Wine

"Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities"_1 Timothy 5:23

2 & 1/2 pounds McIntosh Apples pared, cored and sliced
3 cups Sugar
2 cups Hot Water

Let the apples set out in a large bowl, covered in cheesecloth for about four weeks, stirring them occasionally. The apples will get a rank smell and may begin to mold.

With mortar and pestle, crush the apples into as smooth a pulp as possible. Stir in the sugar and then the water.

Pour the wine into casks to ferment for eight to ten months. The longer it is kept the better it will be. The wine will have to be aired every few days to allow building gases to escape. This wine has a gentle port-like flavor when finished.

Variations: Use Blackberries, peaches, apricots, same process...

One of my favorite apple recipes is Jewish Apple Cake, given to me by a very dear Jewish friend, who was a Cellist in the Greensboro Symphonic Orchestra. Like women, it gets better with age!!

Jewish Apple Cake

2 cups Sugar
2 cups Flour
3 tblsp Baking powder
1 cup Oil
4 Eggs
2-1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/3 cup Orange juice
6 Apples, thinly sliced
1 cup Sugar
1 tbsp Cinnamon

Prehead oven to 350 Degrees
Pare the apples, slice thinly and place in a bath of water and lemon juice.
Blend the sugar and cinnamon together and set aside.

Sift flour and baking soda together into a large bowl and existing ingredients of eggs, oil, vanilla and orange juice and mix well.
Pour about 1/4 of batter into a greased and floured tube pan, and top with 1/4 of apples; sprinkle with 1/4 of cinnamon-sugar and continue layering apples and batter, ending with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Bake in 375 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Candy Apples

2 cups cinnamon red hot candies
2 tablespoons water
12 Granny Smith or Red Delicious apples

Insert craft sticks into apples. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.

Melt candies and water in a saucepan over medium heat to about 300 degrees until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms hard ball. Remove from heat and set aside for few minutes to cool slightly, then dip apples in hot liquid and place on wax paper to cool. Be innovative with the apples, using caramels, bitter-sweet chocolate pieces, crushed nuts...have fun!

Baked Candied Apples

3 cups of sliced Granny Smith or Red Delicious Apples
1 stick of Butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup cinnamon red hot candies
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla

Simmer all ingredients in a saucepan over low heat until candies melt. Pour mixture into a pyrex baking dish and sprinkle lightly with Nutmeg

Booze-Baked Apples

4 Granny Smith or Red Delicious Apples
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup rum or sherry

Pare and core 6 apples and place in shallow baking dish. Mix brown rum (or sherry), sugar, raisins , cinnamon and nutmeg with raisins and pack in the core of the apples, dot with butter and bake for 1 hour at 450 degrees

Shrimp Scampi

Sure you've eaten Scampi, with the massive amounts of Garlic....but this is a twist to the original, for All you Bubba Gumps! Greek food is my favorite, along with French Morrocan and this is simply delicious served with Pita Bread and a Greek Salad! Serves 4-6


2 lbs large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails on
1/2 lb unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, crushed, and chopped fine
1 cup Shallots chopped coarse
2 Large Red Pepper, cut into strips and roasted
2 cups Italian Plum Tomatoes, Diced
1 cup Fresh Italian Parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Fresh Oregano leaves finely chopped
1 tablespoon Fresh Basil leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup coursely chopped kalamata olives
1/4 cup capers
2-3 lemons, cut into wedges
1/2 lemon, juice of
1/2 cup dry white wine

In a large skillet or deep fast fry pan, melt butter; be careful it does not burn.
Saute the garlic; when golden in colour, remove from heat and set aside for later use.
saute Onions until softened, remove from heat and set aside for later use.
Combine plum tomatoes with their juice,lemon juice, white wine and bring to a boil.
Combine sauteed onion, garlic, and roasted red peppers and lower heat, allowing the liquid to be reduced. Add Fresh Herbs (parsley, oregano, basil) and shrimp, continue steaming until shrimp is pink. Add capers and olives; allowing them to warm through.
Turn out onto a warm platter or serving bowl -- garnish with lemon wedges, and serve while hot.

Pinto Beans Primer

Beans, Beans The Wonderful Fruit...the more you eat, the more you, well you know the rest, I guess!
Pinto Beans, the "Steak of the South", is an excellent source of fibre, and protein.

Not only are dried Pinto's, or any other dried bean for that matter, highly economical, but one cup of pinto beans provides one quarter of the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance of protein for adults. If you supplement the protein of pinto beans with a little meat, dairy products, rice or corn you will have consumed all the essential amino acids. Because beans contain soluble fiber, you've lowered blood cholesterol. So Pinto Beans....are totally an essential item to add to your shopping list and categorized in your cupboard as a main "Staple".

Low Octane Pinto Beans

Beforehand, wash dried beans thoroughly sorting through dirt and rocks, if any. Cover beans with water in a pot and bring to a rapid boil. Remove from heat, allow to remain covered for one hour, then rinse until all bubbles are gone, it's called de-gassing!

1 package dry pinto beans
I ham bone or two smoked ham hocks.
5 quarts water
1 pinch of baking soda (removes any remaining gas)

Cook slow for about 6 hours. You can do this the night before and use your Crock Pot or you can speed things up by using a "Pressure Cooker"!

Serve with Cornbread, Cole Slaw and Potato Salad


Chili Pinto Beans: Add Onions, Garlic Ground Beef and Chili Powder
Hells Bells Beans: 2 bacon, slices cut into 1 inch pieces 1 medium tomato,
diced 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded,and chopped

Pinto Bean Pie

1/2 cup hot pinto beans
1/2 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup coconut
2 eggs
1 9 in unbaked pie shell

Heat the beans till they are hot - not boiling. Drain juice from beans and mash. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350° for 1 hour.

Serving Ideas : As you would pecan pie, with a dollop of Vanilla Ice Cream. This will really blow your mind, with its similarity to Pecan Pie!

Stuffed Grape Leaves (Mediterranean)

Stuffed Grape Leaves or Dolmathes (greek) is an interesting Mediterranean dish that is both versatile but somewhat time consuming. It can be served as an appetizer or as a main entree. You will find Jars of Grape Leaves, packed in brine, usually in the gourmet section of the market.
Prior to preparation you must wash the grape leaves in cold water to remove the brine residue and drain on a paper towel.


1 small Beef Rump roast
1 pound ground beef or lamb
2 dozen grape leaves, washed
1 cup rice
1/2 onion, finely diced (optional)
6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 and 1/4 cup lemon juice (optional)
1 generous pinch of salt
Cavendish Greek Seasoning

Beforehand slowly cook Rump Roast in Dutch oven, seasoned with salt, pepper and cavendish seasoning until tender and falling apart, reserving 2 cups beef broth.

Grape Leave Filling:
Combine uncooked ground beef, rice, onion and 1 tablespoon of cavendish seasoning in mixing bowl.

Lay each leaf flat and remove any stem. Put a tablespoon of the beef and rice filling on the leaf and roll it up, folding the sides in so that the filling does not fall out.

Place the filled grape leaves in the dutch oven with the roast along with the reserved beef broth, simmering slowly until ground beef mixture is fully cooked.

Serve with with Pita Bread and Greek Salad, and sprinkle lemon juice (optional)

Southern Cobbler

Everyone seems to be taking the fast lane these days. 21st Century people love shortcuts. Everything is geared toward our "Convenience". We plan activities in accordance with our "Schedules". We love "Shortcuts". But we also love "Quality".
The following is a recipe for a "shortcut" cobbler. The uniqueness of this recipe is that it can be modified from a dessert to a main dish meal, by ommitting sugar, and adding meat and vegetables.


1 cup self rising flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup butter (melted)
1 cup Sugar

2 cans Fruit Filling (Cherry, Blackberry, Blueberry, Peach, Strawberry)

Prehead oven to 350
Combine flour, milk, butter and sugar in mixing bowl and pour into greased baking dish. Pour fruit over top and place in oven for 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crust turns golden brown.

Omit Sugar Variations:

Left Over Beef Stew with vegetables
2 cans Chicken Ala King
Italian Sausage, Pizza Sauce, Mozzarella/Provolone Cheese and other pizza ingredients

This is another "Use Your Imagination" recipe! Be creative, Be Frugal and use Leftovers!

Hellfire Potatoes

At the end of my Navy tour of duty in Hawaii, my ex-husband and I stopped off in Seattle Washington to visit my Italian in-laws. At the time I was 6 months pregnant with my first son and eager to eat food that did not contain rice, pineapple, or fish! It was very cold and rainy upon our arrival and the sudden change of climate really gave me the shivers. Mentioning that I was cold, the Italian Grandmother came to my rescue and immediately directed me to the dining room table. She brought me a plate of potatoes that smelled out of this world, a huge glass of milk and a small loaf of freshly baked Italian bread and said...Eat, this will be good for the baby! Not only did it chase away my shiver, but now I know why Italians have such fiery personalities and filled with such passion!

Hellfire Potatoes

6 diced potatoes
1/2 cup Oil
1/2 cup diced Jalopena Peppers
1/2 Tbs Minced Onion
serves 2

Heat oil in skillet, add potatoes, onions and peppers and saute until tender.
Serve with Freshly baked bread or rolls and plenty of Milk!

Country Style Steak

This recipe is often called "Country-Fried Steak" and consists of cube steak, breaded and sauteed until crispy, served in a thick gravy. This is usually served at my home with a green vegetable, such as Broccoli, Green Beans, Turnip Greens, or English Peas, Mashed Potatoes, Honey Glazed Carrots and Hot Buttermilk Biscuits. Another variation is to serve as an open-faced sandwich! As with the Smothered Chicken, save the leftover gravy and bits of steak for the Saturday Football Game crowd as Gravy Sandwich Snacks!

Country Style Steak
2 - lbs of Chuck, Sirloin or Flank Steak (Cubed)
Cut Cubed Steak into bite size pieces
1 - Cup All Purpose Flour

Heat 1 1/2 inches of Wesson oil in the "Tried in the Fire" Black Cast Iron Skillet. Let the oil become hot and reduce heat. (watch out, don't let it burn)

Coat the steak in the flour and grill in the skillet until brown then remove from skillet. Pour off all oil, rendering about 3 tablespoons. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of plain flour or enough to form the consistency of paste. Allow this to brown until it resembles the color of a "Peanut". This my friends, is how you make a "Roux", which is used in most Creole and Cajun Cooking!

After the paste reaches a peanut color, return the cooked steak to the skillet and add either water or milk to cover steak, stirring briefly to start the gravy process. Cover and let simmer slowly, until the steak is tender and the gravy is thick.

Note: If you plan to have left-overs from this dish, I would suggest that you exclude the milk.

The amount of water to add is based on the consistency and amount of paste in the skillet. You have just made Gravy! I've learned over the years that Gravy is an art in itself and having watched my Father and my Mother make gallons of gravy over the years, I eventually concluded that there is no way to learn this art except through trial and error.
posted by DJ at 2:17 PM

Ingredients and Measurements
In a Southern kitchen with recipe's handed down from generation to generation, a familiar description of various measurements are usually a pinch of this, a sprinkling of that, or just a "tad", meaning that you should adopt to individual taste.
For example, in preparing Chili, Chili Beans (Chili-Con-Carne, for Yanks), Chili powder is the main ingredient, along with a pinch of other spices such as cumin and cayenne. Chili powder is a potent culinary spice that must be used with caution. If too much is used, the taste will be very bitter, if not enough is used, it just won't be "Chili".
A rule of thumb is to use spices sparingly while cooking and taste often. Most spices increase in intensity while cooking. Anyone who has over emphasized a recipe with the spice, Bay Laurel, will attest to this. It's better to add a little later than to over do initially and end up throwing the entire pot of chili or soup in the garbage disposal!