Y’all know it’s a real slippery slope. If you start thinking about cooking Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas can’t be far behind.

Help me, Jesus. I ain’t ready for this.

There are two separate and distinct cooking issues to be dealt with for Christmas. One is the Christmas treat baskets, a tradition my peeps have gotten spoiled to, and one I’m determined to continue. I’ll put some canned stuff in these, and I’m about of a mind I may try my hand at canning chicken liver pate and maybe pork rillettes, as well. I have a gracious plenty of pickles and jams and jellies, and I can fill in the gaps with cookies and candies. I will be adding these molasses spice cookies (because they are GOOD, y’all), and maybe coconut macaroons and fudgey oatmeal cookies and pralines and fudge to the mix. And spiced pecans, because those are always a hit, and maybe Chex mix, because that’s always a hit, too.

OK. Baskets, more or less planned. Then there’s Christmas dinner.

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Authentic? Who knows. But decent curry.

Yes, it’s one of those disparate posts. Deal with it.

The above may well not be, as the recipe contends it is, “Authentic” Thai Massaman curry, but it was good. And it’s entirely doable in the Instant Pot, which is always a recommendation.

The recipe is here. How it was, was, like this. I had some beef “fajita strips” in the freezer, and I was looking for a recipe that would accommodate ’em. Indian’s out. I didn’t want anything European, read conventional, nor did I want, well, fajitas. Thai leapt to the forefront. So I Googled “Thai beef.”

And came up with a plentitude of recipes, including this one, which drew my eye, first because it was Instant Pot-able, and second because the fajita strips, which had been in my way every time I’d looked for something in the freezer in the last two weeks, had suddenly become impossible to find.

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The Turkey Day countdown

November 15, 2017

It’s mid-November, which means….

It’s time to start thinking about Thanksgiving!

Anyone who knows me well knows that Thanksgiving is my very favoritest holiday of the year. I think because it’s such a paean to excess (and ain’t NOBODY loves excess the way I love excess) and good food (and not very many people love good food the way I love good food) and family (and I know lots of people love their families very much, but y’all, mine are just special, that’s all). Besides, it was my mama’s favorite holiday, and that apple did not fall far from the tree.

Well, it did, but over the years, it’s rolled back toward it. I think. I hope.

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Kitchen widgetry

September 22, 2017

Kitchen widgetry: Cute little things in which to freeze stock.

Sometimes, you just get all up in your kitchen widgets.

It’s promising to be a kitchen weekend for me. There’s brine cooling for smoked trout filets later on. The Masterbilt smoker is mostly put together.  There’s bread on its second rise in the oven, and  the Instant Pot is busy with beef stew for a friend recovering from surgery. And there’s a cute new little widget, courtesy of Amazon, which I am convinced is a creation of Satan because it’s just Too Damned Easy to spend money. And Jeff Bezos is freakin’ brilliant, for what that’s worth.

Anyway, this little critter is billed as a baby food storage container. It has seven little half-cup wells, and a plastic lid that snaps on the whole thing. I figured it would be quite excellent for freezing small portions of chicken or beef broth, so when I made beef broth a while back, I used these to portion it out. Froze them, and today, I popped them out and threw them in a gallon zip-loc, using three for the beef stew (along with a bottle of Guinness).

Ain’t life grand.

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Sunday salad lunch

June 12, 2017

Clockwise from upper left, peaches and cottage cheese, broccoli cauliflower, cucumber, jail slaw.

I came home from church yesterday absolutely ravenous, with no plans as to what to eat, or cook, for either lunch or dinner. Contemplated stopping by somewhere to pick up something, and decided that was ridiculous, given I had two refrigerators, a pantry and a countertop overflowing with food either already prepared or waiting to be prepared.

So I came home and fixed myself a salad luncheon, which had the added plus of emptying the refrigerator of some odds and ends of different dishes.

Clockwise from top left, we have peaches over cottage cheese (finished off the peaches); broccoli and cauliflower salad I’d been jonesing for for a week, and finally made Sunday morning before church; the last of the other day’s cucumber salad, and a serving of jail slaw to round things out. It made a fine lunch.

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Cooking odds and ends

June 2, 2017

mango chutney

Mango chutney. Which I’m going to try out, one of these days.

It was something of a food-centric day. Albeit I don’t have any pictures of any of it yet, so here’s a picture of something I made a while back and never posted about because I haven’t had occasion to use it yet.

That is mango chutney. From the box of mangoes I bought at Sam’s t’other day, when I was craving mangoes. Mangoes don’t last long, and I didn’t want to lose them, so — chutney. When I made it, I was planning on cooking Indian one night soon, and I haven’t done that yet, so I’m saving the chutney until I do. We will report on that, then.

Today, though, I did bestir myself to make granola, as I have been out for weeks; to make pimiento cheese, because I felt like it, and watermelon tomato gazpacho, because I had watermelon and tomatoes that needed using and that just sounded good. And I went shopping, and went by a couple of meat markets I don’t normally frequent, and bought some breakfast sausage and some interesting smoked meats.

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Those damn stealth holidays

November 16, 2016

turkey3-2016Eeeekk! Thanksgiving is next week!

I’m not sure why it snuck up on me so badly this year. It may possibly be because we’re still having temps in the 70s and have had no more than a light frost so far this fall, or what passes for fall. Normally by this time I would have my menu all planned, and maybe even some early grocery shopping and prep work done.

There will be a few changes this year. We’re moving Thanksgiving dinner to Friday, as Child B and family will be able to come, for the first time in ages, so I’ll have everybody here. (Double eeeekkk. Got to houseclean this weekend!) Also hoping the girls’ godmother can come over. I think dinner will be late afternoon/early evening, which is good.

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Thanksgiving menu

November 20, 2015

turkey dayAs I need to plan my Thanksgiving menu, I figure I might as well make a blog post out of it. Because Thanksgiving, my favorite of all the holidays, is less than a week away, and I will have two-thirds of my family there, and we need to eat early because Son-in-law 2 wants to hit WalMart when it opens at 6 Thanksgiving night.

Me, I’ll sit home and eat leftover turkey and nap on the couch. My shopping will be on Cyber Monday.

Anyway. Menu.

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Crazy for condiments

May 14, 2014

The next big adventure in the kitchen at Chez Brockwell is going to be condiments. Although, being that it is presently 48 degrees outside (in mid-May? Seriously? I had to bring the basil inside!), I might think about something like braised short ribs or beef stew.

But I’m enamored of the notion of condiments, in part due to the fact my Memphis Guinea Pig finally brought back a batch of jars I’d sent home with him over the years with bacon jam and other goodies in them. The other issue was a confluence of three seemingly unrelated things: I bought a smoker box to hold wood chips in the gas grill; the Farmers’ Market has greenhouse tomatoes; and today, the Commercial Appeal published a recipe for Smoked Tomato Jam.

Let me type that again, slowly. Smoked. Tomato. Jam. Are there words on the face of the planet to begin to contemplate how awesome that concept really IS? Would that make a hellacious BLT, or what? And on a burger? Just kill me now.

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Cooking Christmas

December 22, 2013

It ain't Christmas if there ain't fudge. More to come in future post.

It ain’t Christmas if there ain’t fudge. More to come in future post.

Forgive me as I attempt to cobble together several different starts and stops and pieces of posts, as I have been somewhat discombobulated of late.

‘Tis the season, ‘n all that, y’know.

I’ve finished grocery shopping for Christmas, by my count, about three times. And I only need to go back once more. I’ve made some of the Christmas candy, with more to come, likely Christmas Eve. And I have to go to Little Rock tomorrow, pick up NS, and hustle back, and fall into a day-and-a-half kitchen marathon that will wind up with Christmas.


One impressive piece of cow, right here.

One impressive piece of cow, right here.

I decided a week or so ago, in a conversation with a friend, that rather than prime rib, I’d do a beef tenderloin. And residing in my extra freezer as we speak is a seven-pound specimen of same; first time I ever spent more than $100 on a piece of meat. I’ll sous vide him the day before, then sear him off in time for dinner. Mashed potatoes and gravy. Roasted broccoli with lemon and pecans, since Child B requested that we have SOMETHING green.  Homemade rolls. Cranberry salad (It’s Christmas, after all!). Sweet potato casserole. Baked pears with balsamic and blue cheese, more pears with cinnamon and brown sugar. White chocolate cherry cheesecake, and chocolate pots de creme. I suspect I will yield to the pleas of the children and make mac and cheese.

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