Friday, November 13, 2015

Monte Cristo Quesadillas

EACH YEAR AFTER THANKSGIVING, we make Monte Cristo sandwiches, using slices of turkey, ham, and Swiss cheese. The sandwiches are dipped in an egg mixture and cooked in a hot skillet, much like French toast. The sandwiches are then sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with cranberry sauce.

These Monte Cristo quesadillas are not made with Thanksgiving leftovers because I don't yet have any. But I did have some tortillas I wanted to use, left from making Pot Roast Quesadillas. I used deli sliced turkey, ham, and Swiss cheese and served them with homemade Strawberry Ginger Jam.

I did not dip these quesadillas in custard before cooking but I did consider it. . .

Monte Cristo Quesadillas
2 large tortillas
2 - 3 oz. sliced turkey
2 - 3 oz. sliced ham
2 - 3 oz. sliced Swiss cheese
Powdered sugar
Butter for pan

Layer turkey, ham, and cheese slices on one tortilla. Top with the other tortilla.

Heat a pat or two of butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Put the stacked tortillas into the skillet and cook until well browned then flip over and cook the other side until browned and the cheese is melted.

Remove from skillet and dust with powdered sugar. Cut into wedges and serve with berry jam or maple syrup.

Repeat steps for additional quesadillas..

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Pot Roast Quesadillas

A COUPLE OF TIMES A YEAR, I have a craving for a pot roast just like my Mother always made, braised on the stove top. I would eat some of the beef but it was really the potatoes and carrots cooked in that broth that I loved so much. In fact, my brother and I would reach under the table to swap food--I would give him more meat and he would give me his carrots.

My choice of beef cut is grass fed sirloin tip. I season it and then sear it in a screaming hot pan. (I often set off the smoke alarm during this process). I remove the pan from the heat to let it cool down a bit before adding a couple cups of freshly brewed coffee which is Mama's secret ingredient. The coffee helps tenderize the meat and makes a rich and flavorful broth. (Think Southern Red Eye Gravy).

After our original meal, I like to dream up ways to use the leftovers. Sometimes, I make soup. Or it may be enchiladas or tacos. This time I made quesadillas  and served them with some homemade salsa. They were great!

Pot Roast Quesadillas
1 (10-inch) whole wheat tortilla for each quesadilla
1/4 cup grated Monterrey Jack cheese each
1/2 cup shredded beef plus chopped potatoes and carrots each
Sliced onion (optional but delicious) for each

Heat your black iron skillet over medium heat.

Spread cheese, then the beef mixture on a tortilla. Fold in half. Melt a pat of butter in the skillet then add the folded tortilla. Brown on one side then flip to brown the other side.

I like my quesadillas crisp, so I brown them thoroughly, lowering the heat if necessary.

Serve with your favorite salsa.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sweet Potato Biscuits

AT THIS MOST GLORIOUS TIME OF YEAR, my camera had to go to the shop. Sigh.

Last week, I was on a retreat. I stayed in a lodge at a mountainside lake which was unbelievably beautiful with the peak of autumn color. The weather was perfect--chilly enough for sweaters, jackets, scarves, and gloves but not so cold as to need to bundle up. The sky each day was perfectly cloudless and mazarine.

I was feasting my eyes and every place I looked I saw something else I wanted to photograph. The food was delicious and I wanted to shoot that too. Fortunately, my cooking and photographing got ahead of my blogging, so I have some material to post for a while (while my poor camera is in the hospital).

I first learned of sweet potato biscuits from my beautiful aunt, my mother's sister. She makes the most delicious biscuits I have ever eaten. Hers are the standard to which I hold all other biscuits. The children of the family always called her "Aunt Biscuit".

For a special occasion we catered ourselves, she made sweet potato biscuits which she cut very small and served with ham. They were amazing and very popular. I recently tried my hand at them.

Sweet Potato Biscuits
3/4 cups flour
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. chilled butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup cold mashed sweet potatoes
1/3 cup buttermilk

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse sand. In another bowl, stir together sweet potatoes and buttermilk. Pour into the flour mixture and combine until mixed.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead very gently until dough comes together but is still lumpy. Shape into a disk and pat into 1-inch thickness. Cut with a floured biscuit cutter.

Place biscuits on a buttered sheet pan, arranging them close together. Brush the tops with melted butter and bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until golden.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Tex-Mex Migas

WHEN THE WEATHER IS CHILLY, GRAY, AND DAMP, I often want to eat something breakfasty. I started using the word, breakfasty, several years ago when I learned it from a little boy who had spent the night with us. Next morning, I asked him if he would rather have eggs or oatmeal. Nope, he wanted something breakfasty. Fruit? No, something breakfasty. I kept offering more and more options and he declined all of them, repeating that he wanted something breakfasty. Finally, I asked him what he considered breakfasty and he replied, "donuts". Apparently he had already spied the Krispy Kreme box I thought was out of sight on top of the refrigerator.

My idea of breakfasty is more on the savory, even spicy side.  Thus, Migas. My husband is never excited when he comes home and sees me making this dish for our supper. And I admit, it is not a show-stopper appearance wise. But he eats it with enthusiasm and growing appreciation and even goes back for seconds.

Migas is scrambled eggs with onions, peppers, leftover tortillas, and cheese. The recipe is very flexible, any kind of peppers can be used, crushed tortilla chips from a bag work fine, any cheese works. Everything is to taste. I like to use corn tortillas, skillet fried until crisp, poblano peppers, and Monterrey jack cheese.

Tex-Mex Migas
1/4 cup mild cooking oil
5 corn tortillas, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small onion, chopped
2 - 3 poblano peppers, diced
1 tomato, peeled and chopped
8 eggs
2 Tbsp. milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Toss the tortilla pieces in the hot oil, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes, until crispy. Remove to paper towels and set aside while you saute the onions and peppers, in the same skillet, for a couple of minutes. Stir in the tomatoes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Add to the onion mixture along with the tortilla pieces. Gently lift the vegetables and tortillas to let the eggs get evenly distributed.

When the eggs look nearly done, turn off the heat, sprinkle on the cheese and put a lid on it.

When the cheese is melted, serve with salsa, sour cream, avocado slices or guacamole.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Cream of Mushroom Soup

IT HAS NOW BEEN RAINING STEADILY FOR five days. Steady rain day and night, fog, and cooler temperatures mean it is time to bring out the soup pot.

Soup is actually my favorite thing to cook and I made this one especially for my husband who is an avid mushroom enthusiast. I like mushrooms just fine but he really loves them. Any mushroom or a mixture of different mushroom will work equally well in this flavorful and creamy soup.

I believe in washing my food. I wash eggs before I crack them and bananas before I peel them. I wash bagged lettuces that claim to have already been washed forty-seven times. And I wash my mushrooms, just before I use them. I place mushrooms in a colander, then using my faucet's sprayer, spritz away all the black matter clinging to them. Dry on a kitchen towel and proceed with the recipe.

Cream of Mushroom Soup
3 Tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, chopped
12 ounces mushrooms, sliced
3 Tbsp. flour
1 cup milk
2 cups vegetable stock or water
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup sour cream

Melt butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and salt lightly. A few minutes later, add mushrooms and cook until onions are tender.

Stir in flour until thoroughly mixed. Add milk, continuing to stir until mixture thickens and is smooth. Add vegetable stock and soy sauce, stirring until smooth. Cover and simmer over very low heat for 10 - 15 minutes.

Just before serving, add salt, pepper, lemon juice, and sour cream. Serve garnished with paprika and an additional dollop of sour cream.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Rosalynn Carter's Baked Eggplant

WHEN I FIRST SAW THIS RECIPE on Melynda's blog, Our Sunday Cafe, I knew I would make it. The first reason is that I love eggplant and they are in season. Secondly, I am a fan of former president Jimmy Carter and his beautiful wife, Rosalynn. Like most Southerners, the Carters love vegetables, but the eggplant is undoubtedly Jimmy Carter's favorite vegetable.

When we recently heard that President Carter had been diagnosed with cancer, I felt a bond with him on a completely different level. Besides his peace keeping missions, his food preferences, his dignity and courage, his charming  Southerness, when given a diagnosis of cancer, you inadvertently become a member of a club to which you had no desire to be a member. I have been a member of the club for about 3 years. To not leave anyone in mystery, here is a brief post I made about it back then.

Because this is a food blog, not a health blog, I give you the recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Rosalynn Carter's Baked Eggplant
1 large eggplant
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 cup grated Swiss cheese

Slice eggplant about 1/2-inch thick. Place on a rimmed baking pan, rub with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil until lightly browned and fork tender.

Meanwhile heat a small amount of olive oil in a skillet; add onion and cook until golden. Add garlic and tomatoes, cooking until beginning to thicken. Stir in seasonings and bread crumbs.

Spread the tomato mixture over the broiled eggplant then cover with grated cheese. Bake at 350 degrees 15 minutes.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Southern Salmon Croquettes

SALMON CROQUETTES ARE SOUTHERN PATTIES made with canned salmon which is cheap affordable and nutritious. Most of all it is delicious. Salmon croquettes are very popular in soul food cookery where they are generally served for breakfast with grits and scrambled eggs. It is also very popular to serve these croquettes with hot, fluffy, white rice.

I like mine with macaroni and cheese and a fresh vegetable, this time it was ripe summer tomato slices.

I really love these patties and every time I make them I question myself about why I don't do it more often. Kids love them too. They are very easy to make. I use my black iron skillet and very little oil, so there isn't even that "fried food" messiness. The only drawback is that the aroma is very, um, assertive. Pritchard Parker knew what we were having for supper before he even got in the house.

Any brand of canned salmon will work and some people even use canned mackerel, which is even less expensive, yet still has all the great nutrients.

I open the can and pour out all but about 1/2 cup of the liquid, and dump the remaining contents into a bowl. Some people like to remove the bones, but I don't.  They are very fragile, basically disintegrate in the process, and are an excellent source of calcium.

Salmon croquettes are sometimes served with tartar sauce but the child in me likes them with ketchup.

Salmon Croquettes
1 (14 oz.) can salmon
1 egg, lightly beaten
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp. old bay seasoning. or more to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 to 1/2 cup, as needed, cornmeal mix

Drain all but about 1/2 cup of the juice from the salmon. Pour the remaining contents into a bowl and flake with a fork. Add egg, lemon juice, old bay, and salt and pepper. Stir to combine and add 1/3 cup of cornmeal mix. Mix and add more cornmeal, if needed so patties can be formed.

Pour a coating of oil (I use peanut) into a heavy skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the patties and brown on each side. Remove to paper towels to drain.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

BLT Salad - as a meal

AUGUST MUST SURELY BE MY FAVORITE MONTH. Summer fruits and vegetables are at their peak of ripeness, abundance, and affordability. Brilliant pink crepe myrtle and golden black-eyed Susan on every corner cheer me. The scent of lavender fills the air.

Our back yard is alive with butterflies and hummingbirds. Not to mention all the other critters--birds, bunnies, squirrels, chipmunks, an occasional raccoon and snake, even a bear. I have seen foxes and deer around town, but so far not in our yard.

Suppers are casual and relaxed and we often dine by fireflies.

Our next door neighbor gave me a bowl full of cherry tomatoes which inspired a BLT salad. I roasted the tomatoes and also made croutons with some leftover chiabatta bread. I cooked the bacon until crisp, thinly sliced some red onion, chopped an avocado, and served it all atop a bed of freshly washed and dried, crisp lettuce, and topped it with homemade blue cheese dressing.

BLT Salad
Freshly washed and dried lettuce
Thinly sliced red onion
Crisp bacon
Diced avocado
Roasted cherry tomatoes
Homemade blue cheese dressing (Recipe)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place cherry tomatoes on a rimmed sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss lightly and spread into a single layer. Roast for 15 - 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft.

Cube day old French bread or ciabatta into bite sized pieces. Place on a rimmed sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss lightly and spread into a single layer. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes.

Arrange the onions, bacon, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and croutons on top of a bed of crisp lettuce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with blue cheese dressing.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Freekeh Tabouli

NOT TOO LONG AGO, I WAS SHOPPING at a lovely locally owned natural foods store. I had a list but I was also browsing, for inspiration and ideas, at some of the other beautiful and well selected foods offered.

I love shopping in small specialty food stores. The prices are often very good and the service is usually excellent. Not to mention they sell food. Only food. I am so weary of giant stores. If I have a small list of fresh produce, brown rice, olive oil, yogurt, and feta cheese, I really don't want to wade through lawn chairs, market umbrellas, stack after stack of soft drinks, a pharmacy, stinky scented candles that make me sneeze.

I shop for food almost everyday. That way, my food is always fresh and I don't waste. I typically shop for household supplies--dish soap, laundry detergent, bathroom tissue, etc. monthly. So I don't appreciate my food having to share space with all that merchandise.

I know the concept--everything you need in one "convenient" location. Between the huge store, the huge parking lot, the long lines at checkout, it takes seemingly forever to shop at those places.

Back to the lovely food store. . .

A small bag of freekeh, roasted, cracked green wheat, caught my attention and into the shopping basket it went. I had no idea what I would use it for, but I love designing recipes around newly discovered and healthful ingredients.

Several weeks later, I was staring out my kitchen window while washing dishes. I was admiring the beautiful stand of parsley growing in the border garden and thought to myself that tabouli would be a delicious way to enjoy it. I remember the freekah in the pantry and, click, this recipe came together.

Normally I make tabouli with bulghur which is traditional. The taste of this tabouli was not that different but the grain, freekah, had a different and pleasant, slightly chewy texture. It was so, so, very refreshing on the hot day I made it, and we both loved it very much.

Freekeh Tabouli
1 cup freekeh (roasted green wheat)
2 1/2 cups water
2 bunches parsley (about 6 - 8 cups)
1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, sliced (about 1 cup)
2 - 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
1 - 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded. and diced
1/4 - 1/2 cup olive
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Place freekeh and water into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer about 25 - 30 minutes, until water is absorbed and freekeh is tender. Let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, wash and chop the parsley and mint,  slice the scallions, dice the cucumbers and tomatoes, and squeeze the lemons.

Add the cooled freekeh to a large salad bowl. Stir in the parsley, scallions, mint, cucumber, tomatoes, olive oil, and lemon juice. Let sit for 30 minutes or more, then stir, taste, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Smoked Turkey Club Sandwich with Cherry Chutney

CLUB SANDWICHES ALWAYS SEEM so fancy. Maybe it is the way they are cut into triangles and plated pointed side up. Or maybe the extra layer makes them look so pretty. Whatever it is, they really appeal to me--like afternoon tea or lunch at the museum.

Pictured is Pritchard Parker's sandwich. I prefer my sandwiches toasted, which I believe is traditional for a club sandwich, but he likes his untoasted. This is one of the beauties of preparing meals at home--you get to customize according to tastes.

For this sandwich, I used deli-sliced mesquite smoked turkey and provolone cheese. I also used the Fresh Cherry Chutney I recently posted. Recipe here.

We enjoyed our sandwiches at our backyard picnic table while watching hummingbirds zipping from flower to flower. We have a town ordinance prohibiting bird feeders (due to bears) yet we have a very lively bird and butterfly population in our garden.

We felt very fancy.

Smoked Turkey Club Sandwich with Cherry Chutney
For each sandwich:
3 slices bread, toasted if desired
Mayo or butter, to taste, optional
Few slices smoked deli turkey
Thinly sliced red onion
Fresh cherry chutney, or other chutney of choice
2 -3 slices crisp bacon
A slice or two of provolone cheese

On the first piece of bread or toast, apply a thin layer of mayo or butter if desired. Top with a few slices of smoked turkey, then thinly sliced onion, plus crisp lettuce. Spread another slice of bread or toast with a generous amount of cherry chutney. Place on top of the lettuce layer and top the chutney with bacon slices. Add a slice or two of provolone and top with the third piece of bread or toast.

Place a toothpick into all four sides of the sandwich, then slice diagonally to form triangles. Plate with the pointed edge up.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Fresh Cherry Chutney

AS AN ATTEMPT TO FIND MY LOST MOJO and break out of my case of the vapors, I bought a cheerful bag of fresh, ripe, juicy cherries. Due to some recent events in our life, my dear husband was feeling the same way. He came home with a bag of beautiful, velvety South Carolina peaches.

We tackled a dreaded but much needed task, together, over the weekend. Having that behind us and looking forward to gorgeous summer fruit seems to be working its magic.

The first thing I made was a spicy, bracing cherry chutney. Chutney is a condiment or sauce of East Indian origin made with sweet, sour, and spicy ingredients. Think of using chutney in place of cranberry sauce, raisin sauce, even jam or preserves. Top crackers with cream cheese and a dollop of chutney for a fulfilling snack. I especially love chutney with pungent cheese. 

Next up, I will show one of the uses I made of this chutney, but meanwhile, on to the recipe. This is a small and easily manageable batch of chutney.

Fresh Cherry Chutney
1 cup fresh cherries, washed, pitted, and halved
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2/ cup chopped red onion
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 Tbsp. chopped candied ginger
1 tsp. black mustard seeds
2-inch piece of cinnamon 
3 whole cardamom
freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium until boiling. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer gently 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to cook until the sauce is thickened, just a few minutes more. Remove from heat. Remove the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods.

Use right away or spoon into a jar to refrigerate. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

No Bake Oatmeal Cookies

WE WERE SKIPPING ALONG WITH OUR GOLDILOCKS SPRING, not too hot and not too cold, just enough rain to encourage plants to grow but not too much. In other words, just right. Then a week before the official start of summer, a heat wave oozed into town and put down its tentacles.

How about a cookie? Yes, a cookie you can make and enjoy even in summer. There is no baking involved and only a very few minutes of stove top cooking. Plus there are many healthful ingredients here.

No Bake Oatmeal Cookies
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tbsp. peanut butter
1/2 cup butter
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup coconut
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt

Combine milk, sugar, cocoa, butter, and peanut butter. Stir and bring to a boil over medium heat. let boil, without stirring, for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in oats, coconut, vanilla, and salt. Stir until oats are evenly distributed.

Drop by spoonful onto parchment paper. Cool.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Summer Beans

EVEN IN SUMMER, a savory bowl of beans can be perfect, especially at the end of a day of outdoor activities.

When I was a girl, growing up in Alabama, my family would take trips to the nearby panhandle of Florida with the sugary white sands and beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Some of my favorite memories are of the times my Mother, her Mother, my brothers and I would stay for a week at the White Sands Motel in Laguna Beach. It was an old fashioned motel, right on the beach, which had rooms and apartments. In order to make the family vacation more affordable, we always had an apartment. We could eat our meals there rather than eating out three times a day.

Mama made some of our food at home before we left, her famous homemade rolls, a fabulous orange date nut cake, and more. Each morning, we ate toasted rolls with fresh fruit (oh the memory of that fragrant, juicy, and flavorful cantaloupe) with a glass of milk, then hit the beach completely slathered with sunscreen.

Later in the morning, Mama would herd us all back inside to avoid the high sun. We would eat sandwiches for lunch, play cards, take naps, do our shopping. After 2 o'clock, we could go back to the beach, once again smeared with sunscreen.

At the end of the day, as we entered our little apartment by the sea, it would seem so dark after spending the afternoon in the glaring snow white sand. Also cold, with its air conditioning. We would shower, get out of our swimsuits for the first time all day, and Mama would serve a simple and warm supper.

These beans, which are based entirely on pantry items, can come together quickly on the stove top after a day of hiking. They can be cooked all day in the crock pot, they can be cooked over a campfire, or they can be baked in the oven.  They make a great addition to a barbecue, They also taste great leftover and cold.

The recipe is entirely flexible. Start with ground beef if you like, or start with bacon. I made mine vegetarian. Use any beans you like. This is how I made it this time. . .

Summer Beans
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can baked beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can large white lima beans
1 can green beans
1 can condensed tomato soup
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
2 Tbsp. molasses
2 tsp. grainy mustard
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

In a dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the onions and bell pepper, cooking until tender. Stir in minced garlic, continuing to stir and cook for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat.

Rinse and drain the beans as needed and add to the pot. Stir in the tomato soup, barbecue sauce, molasses, mustard, vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour, until the sauce is thickened.

Serve with cornbread and salad.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Two Potato Salads

BOTH IMAGES ARE FROM MY PHOTO ARCHIVES. I have been in a Blog Fog lately.

I have been cooking and we have been eating, of course. I just haven't been inspired to photograph or post. Otherwise, I am loving life and trying to live in the moment. I have enjoyed many beautiful experiences in the past several weeks.

I have mentioned before that we live in a gorgeous small city in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Tourism has always been a vital part of the city's economy.

Saturday, we went to the theatre to see a ballet--A Midsummer Night's Dream. It was a wonderful and impressive performance. Afterwards, we walked through the busiest part of the city to a fun and funky restaurant for dinner.

Along the way, we passed through crowds of tourists (they can always be spotted), hippies, freaks, musicians, artists, panhandlers, vendors, dogs (some dirty and skinny and some pampered and riding in a baby stroller), jugglers and every manner of busker, chic hipsters, sophisticates, you name it. I loved it!

Before I utter these next words I want to acknowledge that I am fully aware I'm of a different generation. Although I love technology as much as the next person and I am  thankful for cell phones, they don't rule my life. I was so amazed by the people walking around in a beautiful and vibrant city, so many great restaurants, aromas, entertainment everywhere, brilliant architecture, art galleries galore, fascinating shops and boutiques, not to mention the glorious mountains, with their heads down and fiddling with their phones. One woman even rammed right into me because she wasn't watching where she was going.

If you want to live a virtual life, can't you do that from home?

Meanwhile, here are a couple of delicious potato salad recipes for you..

Warm German Potato Salad
4 medium red potatoes (1 1/2 lb.)
4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. celery seed
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Wash and scrub potatoes; place into a saucepan and barely cover with water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and cook until fork tender, Drain and let stand until cool enough to handle. Cut potatoes into 1/4 inch slices.

Cook bacon, in a large skillet, over medium heat until crisp. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels.

Cook onion in bacon fat until tender. Stir in flour, honey, celery seed and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly. Stir in water and vinegar. Heat to boiling and stir 1 minute.

Stir in potatoes and bacon. Heat over medium heat, stirring gently to coat potato slices, until hot and bubbly.

Serve warm.

American Potato Salad
2 lb. russet potatoes
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 Tbsp. sweet onions, diced
3 Tbsp. pickle relish
1/2 cup mayonanaise
1 tsp, mustard powder
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/4 cup fresh, chopped parsley
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped

Wash and scrub potatoes. Place into a pan and barely cover with water. Bring to a boil and add 1 Tbsp. salt. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are fork tender. Drain.

As soon as potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and cube. Placce into a salad bowl; sprinkle with the vinegar and toss lightly.

In a small mixing bowl, combine celery, onions, pickle relish mayo, mustard powder, celery seed, parsley, and eggs. Stir well then pour over the potatoes. Gently fold dressing into potatoes.

Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Baked Cheese Grits with Rotel Tomatoes

AS SOUTHERNERS, WE LOVE GRITS. I cook them often, in all sorts of ways. After I made this dish, I realized I had posted only one other grits recipe, ever, here on my blog. That was all the way back in 2009 when I posted Shrimp and Grits, an amazing and delicious recipe.

You know Ro*Tel tomatoes, right? The cans of diced tomatoes with green chilies? They have been around forever, have the perfect amount of heat, and are delicious to use in so many ways. They are a pantry staple in my kitchen.

The other day, I was shopping at the gigantic grocery store, with Rotel tomatoes on my list. On the shelf I saw there are now 6 different types of Rotel tomatoes. Arrgh! Marketing strikes again. I don't mean to beat up on Rotel tomatoes; I love them. But it is the same thing with everything on my list. For every item, I have too many decisions to make. This is why the stores are so huge and shopping takes so long. On some levels choices are good but I don't always want to walk the equivalent of a city block and comb through undesired products, when I only have 8 items on my list.

Baked Cheese Grits with Rotel Tomatoes
2 cups water
1 1/4 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
1 cup stone ground grits
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup scallions, sliced
1/4 cup Velveeta, cubed
2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
1 (14 oz.) can Rotel tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 9 inch baking dish.

In a saucepan, bring the water and milk to a boil. Add the salt and slowly add the grits and return to a boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When grits are thickened, stir in the butter, scallions, Velveeta and 2 cups shredded cheddar. Stir until cheese is melted then stir in the tomatoes, mixing well. Pour grits into prepared dish and bake for 35 minutes. Sprinkle on the remaining cheddar and bake 5 minutes more.

Remove from oven and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.