I am constantly amazed at how animated and talkative people get when you mention food. The mere aroma of certain foods can evoke memories that transport us back to a special place and time. Food can bridge the gap between all ages, races and ethnicities.
Let's face it, the only thing that should ever come between people is a table and some serving bowls.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jerky Lovers Paradise

My friends over at Jerky.com must have taken my love for buffalo meat to heart. I had just recently done a post on buffalo stew and barely a week later was given the pleasure of trying their buffalo jerky. Whenever I have an opportunity to try a new product I always invite a few friends to taste along with me. It's interesting to hear how other people perceive the flavor and texture of different foods. This buffalo jerky came in pretty good size pieces instead of crumbly little bits like some other brands. The texture was just as you would expect with a well prepared jerky. I was worried about the black pepper element only because other brands of peppered jerky tend to smother the meat with black pepper to the degree that all you taste is pepper. Not in this case, it was peppered lightly enough so that there was a perfect harmony between meat and seasoning. The people at Jerky.com definitely have another winner in their Buffalo Jerky, I highly recommend it as a must try. Please check out some of their many varieties of jerky such as alligator, venison and ostrich jerky. Jerky.com is definitely a jerky lovers paradise.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Financial Pickle

Spit out the pits and throw away the rind......well that is just wasteful! In the good old days our grandparents made a delicious sweet and spicy snack out of all those watermelon discards. We really could learn from the old days of waste not want not instead of our present motto of waste everything and want even more.
It all has to start somewhere so why not with this recipe. I am sure there will be no shortage of watermelon rinds this holiday weekend or the rest of the summer for that matter. It just makes sense to get the most we can out of the things we spend our hard earned money on....so in this particular instance it's not such a bad thing to find yourself in a bit of a pickle!

Watermelon Rind Pickles

3 lbs. prepared rinds
2 c. white vinegar
1 stick of cinnamon
1 tbsp. whole allspice
5 c. sugar
1 c. water
1 tbsp. whole cloves
1 whole lemon

Prepare rinds by peeling skin and removing all pink flesh from rind and cut into pieces 2 x 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide. Let stand overnight in salt water (2 tablespoons salt to 1 quart water), drain. Cover with fresh water and boil until tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain. While water boils in another pan mix sugar, vinegar and water. Put spices in a cheese cloth bag. Add the lemon slices whole, rind and all. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Add rinds and cook until transparent. Remove cheese cloth bag of spices. Turn into clean hot jars and seal.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bourbon Drops Keep Falling On My Head...

It was raining bourbon for us this past weekend, it was in our glasses, it was in our appetizers and it was even in our dessert. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and with each and every bite and sip the day just kept getting sunnier and sunnier.
We began our day with bourbon over ice and nibbled on pineapple chunks that had been soaked in bourbon. Not to go overboard we left the bourbon out of the main entree` which consisted of chicken and dumplings, green beans and a tossed green salad with garlic herb bread. But we just had to end the dinner in the same great way we started so our dessert too got rained upon. Here's hoping that there is bourbon forecasted in your neck of the woods!

Bourbon Peach Cobbler

1 cup butter
2 cups of sugar
1 1/2 cups of self rising flour
1 cup of water
2-13 oz cans of sliced peaches in heavy syrup
1/2 cup of bourbon, mix in with the peaches and syrup

Melt butter. Mix all ingredients together except for peaches and bourbon mixture. Pour into 13x9x2 inch dish. Pour peach mixture over batter, do not stir.
Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees, or until golden brown.

Serve with your favorite ice cream or a touch of whipped cream.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Where The Buffalo Roam

One of my all time favorite places in the world to visit is San Francisco. On one of my first trips there my mother and I made a delicious discovery, a little place called; "Tommy's Joynt". Our family that resides in California kept telling us that we had to go there for their buffalo stew and wash it down with a beer from any where in the world. The beer list is one of the most extensive ones that I had ever seen. I prefer dark beers and was overwhelmed by all the choices so I ended up trying a few. I tried a chocolate stout from England, a stout from Ireland and a rich robust dark from Germany. I wish I could have tried them all but then they would have had to reopen Alcatraz just to keep me off the streets. There were so many things on the food menu that we would have liked to try but since they were known for their buffalo stew and family and friends raved about it we knew we had to give it a try. I was a little skeptical, at that time I had never tried buffalo meat so I was worried that it might have a strong gamey flavor. When the bowl of stew arrived it was thick and rich in color and texture. The aroma was that of the beef stew we all grew up with and the taste was familiar and comforting. Trust me if you like beef you can enjoy buffalo meat with no problem at all the only thing that is different is fat and calories, the buffalo meat is much lower on both counts.

Buffalo Stew

3 lb. buffalo, cut up for stew
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 lg. onion, chopped
1/2 c. dry red wine
1/4 c. ketchup
1 c. mushrooms, sliced and sautéed
Kitchen Bouquet to taste

Lightly salt and pepper the meat. Heat a large Dutch oven and add the oil. In 2 different batches, brown meat on all sides. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Cook slowly, covered, at low heat.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

XXX Mimi

Despite what you are about to read let me make it perfectly clear that this is a family friendly site. Some of the words only sound X-Rated but by the time you get to the end of this post you will quickly realize that we actually have a G-Rating for Gee that's hilarious!
My great aunt Mimi use to love dill bread toasted, she use to get a packaged brand from the grocery store. Then when that became hard to find we found this sliced rye bread that was seasoned with dill which wasn't too bad. I enjoyed the dill toast as well and would usually join her for a slice or two. I noticed that my aunt was really longing for the plain dill bread that she use to get but it turned out the company had stopped making it. I had said; " Mimi we could probably just make it ourselves it's basically just a white bread with some dill weed and dill seed in it". Mimi said; "I don't know sweetheart, I have never used a dill dough before you may have to work with the dill dough by yourself".
The moral of the story.....You do not need four hands to work with a dill dough, according to my aunt Mimi two hands are all you need to make a dill dough rise!

Dill Bread

1 package of dry yeast (1 tbsp.)
1/2 c. warm water (105-115 degrees)
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. dried dill seed or 3 tbsp. of fresh
1 tbsp. dried dill weed or 3 tbsp. of fresh
1 c. evaporated milk
2 tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. salt
3 to 3 1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. of Melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon sugar, dill seed, and dill weed. Let mixture stand at room temperature until bubbly, about 15 minutes. Stir in remaining sugar, milk, 2 tablespoons melted butter and salt. Stir in flour to make a stiff dough. (Dough will be sticky.)
Grease bread pan with Pam. Knead dough and place in pan, covering with waxed paper. Let stand in warm place until dough rises about 1 1/2 inches, about 30 minutes or more if dough hasn't risen enough. Bake until brown, about 35 minutes. Brush top with melted butter. Remove bread and cool on rack.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Take It With A Grain

Taboule is a Mediterranean wheat salad that is healthy to eat, easy on the pocket book and actually tastes delicious. Another added plus to this dish is that it requires absolutely no cooking so it is perfect for the warmer days ahead. Taboule is perfect as a vegetarian main dish or the perfect side that works well with any type of meat or seafood recipe.

Taboule, Tabouleh or Tabouli Salad
tastes great no matter how you say it or spell it!

3/4 to 1 c. sm. bulgur (cracked wheat)
2 c. finely chopped parsley
1/2 c. of cilantro
1/2 c. of mint and/or basil
1 to 1 1/2 c. chopped scallions
2 c. seeded and chopped firm ripe tomatoes
1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. lemon juice
Salt to taste
Cucumbers, optional
Ripe or green olives, optional

Rinse and soak bulgur in water for 25 minutes. Drain; try to remove as much water as possible. Using a large bowl, combine scallions, all of the herbs, tomatoes, add bulgur, mix, then olive oil and lemon juice
I make this salad every week during the warmer months for my family and friends. This is a pretty traditional recipe but feel free to experiment with other ingredients.