May 27, 2013
It’s Memorial Day. Boysss and Girlssss, your history lesson for the day. Memorial Day (which was actually yesterday, but we won’t quibble, as today is the day the working amongst us are taking off work) is set aside, not to honor all veterans, but specifically to honor those killed in wartime. It was instituted following the Civil War, and has been observed to honor those soldiers, sailors and Marines killed in all the wars since then.
The day set aside for honoring all veterans, living and dead, is Veterans Day, in November.
Today, 3 p.m. is set aside as the time for us all to pause and observe a moment of silence and/or prayer to remember the war dead (and pray there won’t be any more of them).
Here endeth the history lesson. And beginneth the cooking.
Actually — hang on a sec. I need to go mop the chicken with some barbecue sauce.
May 21, 2013
Had a wonderful, wonderful trip back home over the weekend, and a couple of fine meals, as well.
The above would be a view which covers maybe half the people who were eating dinner following the Homecoming service at Liberty United Methodist Church in Camden, TN, on Sunday. The fellowship hall, maybe a 40 x 80 room, did not have an empty seat; some folks scattered out to the Sunday School classrooms.
Back in the center back of this photo, you can see two of my kids’ heads. But you can see us all better in this one, taken after dinner.
Amazing Grandchild 3, who was somewhat underwhelmed with the whole thing, was snoozin’. AGC 1 was her general whirlwind self, and managed at one time to color on a pew and the sanctuary door with a marker before we snagged her. AGC 2 ate. A lot. And smiled. A lot.
And I had a marvelous time, and got to see a lot of old friends and kinfolk.
The food was as plentiful as I remember. There’s a counter separating the kitchen from the seating area, about four feet wide, and every square inch of it was packed with food. Fried chicken. Baked ham. Meat loaf. Barbecue. Casseroles of every description. Green beans. Creamed corn. Sweet potatoes. Potato salad. Cole slaw. Salads, both fruit and green. Cornbread. Rolls. Biscuits. I touch only a tiny portion of the abundance that was there.
Desserts and drinks took up four 10-foot folding tables of their own, elsewhere around the room.
It certainly did not matter to be the last in line. They were NOT going to run out of food. Except for deviled eggs. I hated that. Guess I’ll have to make me some this afternoon, being I have a gracious plenty of eggs. Oh, and they ran out of the cherry cream cheese pie, which was always one of my favorites (cream cheese, condensed milk, cherry pie filling, among other things), so I contented myself with two kinds of fruit salad.
May 31, 2010
It’s Memorial Day.
Yesterday was the first of several summer pilgrimages down to Lake Greeson, a less-crowded lake than my lake, where I have a standing deal that I come down and bring dinner and I get to bask on my friends’ boat all day.
This was dinner: Pernil, Sunday beans, rice, slaw and peach/cherry cobbler.
And it wasn’t half bad, if I did cook it myownself.
Finished it off with a fruit cobbler featuring farmer’s market peaches (tiny, but oh-so-sweet) and Bing cherries, because I love me a cherry and I found them for the first time this spring in the grocery.
The pernil is a big chunk of Boston butt — which had precious little fat on it, by the way, giving rise to some concern it wouldn’t be tender, but it was) marinated overnight in a paste of onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, olive oil and pepper, in the fridge. In my big salad bowl, as I had nothing else large enough in which to marinate it. I started it on the grill when I was cooking Saturday night’s burgers, to take advantage of the charcoal; when the charcoal had burned out, it was about 150 degrees internally, so I moved it to the oven at 300. Turned that off after about an hour, left the thing in the oven overnight, and then turned it back on when I got up the next morning, for about another hour. It was pretty much perfect, if I do say so myownself. Sliced up like a dream — I had originally planned to pull it, but the lack of internal fat meant it sliced really, really well.
The beans — well, you dice four strips of bacon, and while they’re frying up, dice up an onion and four or eleven cloves of garlic or however many you feel like, throw that in and let it soften, toss in a tablespoon of cumin and a teaspoon of coriander and a couple of teaspoons of chile powder, add a cup of orange juice and a half-cup of pineapple juice (seriously!), simmer that a little bit, and then dump in four cans of drained red beans and simmer however long you want to. Then serve it over rice.
And the cobbler. I peeled and sliced about 8 tennis-ball-sized peaches and probably a cup and a half of cherries, simmered them with a couple of tablespoons of amaretto, a half cup of sugar, and about a quarter-cup of water, then put them in the bottom of a foil pan. Mixed up two cups of AP flour, a tablespoon of baking powder, 2 cups of sugar, a cup of milk and two sticks of melted butter, and dolloped that over the fruit. Baked it for about an hour at 350. (The photo is when it had baked about 30 minutes, when I pulled it because we had to head out, and then finished baking it when we got to the lake. It needs to be a nice dark golden brown in order for the doughy part to bake through.) Pretty perfect — not too sweet, not too tart, fed a herd.
The slaw I learned to make from the chief jailer at the Crittenden County Jail, some 30 years ago. It’s shredded cabbage and carrots, with onions and bell pepper if you like (I don’t), all tossed together. Then you heat a cup of cider vinegar, a cup of sugar, a half-cup of water, 1 teaspoon celery seed, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, and a teaspoon of dry mustard to almost boiling, pour it over the cabbage mix, and let it sit, covered, on the counter for at least two hours; then you can shake or stir it and refrigerate it. Best slaw in the world with barbecue, and it’s not half bad with fried fish, either.
Today will be country style ribs, leftover slaw, potato salad, and probably grilled corn and squash. And we will have officially ushered in summer, though it’s not officially here for another three weeks, but y’know? That’s OK.
You and y’mama ‘n ‘em have a grand old celebration.
January 1, 2010
Well, I should have the bases covered.
I got my good luck, I got my prosperity, all here in two pans with copious quantities of smoked sausage. And it makes a damn fine New Year’s meal, particularly with copious quantities of mimosas that I didn’t drink last night.
January 1, 2010
I hope everyone had as peaceful a New Year’s Eve as I did. Someone had to call me at midnight and wake me up; I’d gone to sleep on the couch, Kindle in hand, reading some thriller novel about folks trapped in a cavern with descendants of the Incas, beneath the Andes. Hey, it was free.
I was planning on going to a party last night. But it was way the hell and gone the other end of the lake, and it was going to be 28 degrees before morning, and I was dealing with the remains of the sinus crud, and there was football and basketball on TV and I’d been to the liquor store and grocery store. That, my friends, is a balance heavily tipped in favor of staying home. So I did. Child C, a partier much after her mama’s heart, stayed home as well. We ate potato-corn chowder, which was quite good.
Today I’ll cook black-eyed peas, and maybe some kraut and smoked sausage, just because one is supposed to have cabbage for NY day as well, and, well, kraut is cabbage, and besides, I’ve got some. And cornbread. May make some shrimp dip to go with chips and football. And think about New Year’s resolutions.
December 26, 2009
Holidays and food. Wonderful combination.
Christmas dinner’s take included a ham and a turkey, as well a broccoli casserole, corn pudding, glazed carrots, wild rice, and I’m sure there was other stuff but I’m not certain I remember what. With eggnog pound cake or peach pie for dessert.
Today for after-Christmas brunch with all my family, it was French toast casserole, quiche, a Spanish tortilla with andouille, roasted sweet potato wedges, cranberry salad, and ham biscuits.
December 24, 2009
In the last five days, I have cooked for the holiday:
- Three batches of fudge
- 1 batch of pralines
- 2 batches of chocolate bark
- a batch of toasted chickpeas
- a batch of toasted black-eyed peas
- two batches of cookies
- two eggnog pound cakes
- three loaves of sweet potato bread
- plus a pot of white bean soup and a pot of beef stew
I may not be back in the kitchen for a while, and certainly not making anything sweet.
Y’all and y’mama ‘n ‘em all have a wonderful Christmas (Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, Solstice, or whatever-the-hell), and get ready for your blackeyed peas for the New Year.
December 23, 2009
It is Christmas Eve Eve, and I now remember why I don’t bake much. When I get started, I can’t stop.
You will recall last night I made two kinds of cookies, and fixed treat boxes, because I was quite certain there was someone I needed to give something to that I’d forgotten. So far, I have not remembered who that is.
Tonight, after we got off early, I came home and made an eggnog pound cake for Christmas dinner/day-after-Christmas brunch. And it smelled so good, and I’ve got the eggnog, so I’m making another one, because I can bake it up in little loaf pans and it’ll make a nice gift for a couple of friends I know I’ll see in Memphis.
December 20, 2009
My freakin’ TEETH hurt.
By my count, I have incorporated six pounds of sugar, 1 1/2 pounds of butter, about a quart of assorted kinds of nuts, and a pound and a half each of dark chocolate and white chocolate into a batch of Christmas treats.
Plus I toasted a batch of crostini, and also toasted some pecans in butter and Worcestershire for Sara, because she loves them. And packed up treat bags for the folks at work (well, mostly; I need to add some chocolate bark and pralines, which may mean taking some of the fudge out).
And I made a pot of Tuscan white bean soup — a Big Damn Pot — because the blues society is meeting at my house tonight, which means I need to see if I can get this puppy whipped out, and a shower, and the bread toasted in the next two hours. Whipping out this puppy is winning out, as I am too freakin’ tired to do anything else at the moment, and I write fast, a remnant of the newspaper days.