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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Southern Green Beans and Potatoes

I cook a lot of green beans for my Wednesday night supper crowd at church. After a while I get really tired of the same old, same old. I'm on a VERY tight budget, so I can't get too fancy. But with just a few extras, you can jazz up some boring old sides. I was cooking hams so I borrowed some of the fat and a little meat and used it for seasoning... browning it in a sauce pan.

I sliced up some onions and added minced garlic. I added a stick of butter a little at the time. You need to remember (before you gasp at the butter) that this is enough for 50 people. I also added salt and lots of pepper.

I used small potatoes, peeled cut into small, bite sized pieces and cooked. I added them to the green beans in the buffet pan. Then I stirred in the seasonings and covered them with foil. I let the heat through.

After they cooked for a while, I added a little more butter and pepper. I covered it and let it simmer on top of the stove. From the remarks I received, they were VERY tasty! :-)

You need...

Meat and fat for seasoning... Ham, bacon or fat back

1 onion, sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 stick of butter
Green Beans

Salt and Pepper to taste

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pork Shanks from Sunny Cedars Farm

I sent my hubby over to our farmer friend, Russell at Sunny Cedar's Farm to pick up the shanks that he had for me! For those that are not familiar with shanks, I'll fill you in...

The pork shank is a cut of meat taken from the lower portion of a ham. Traditionally, the word “ham” is reserved for a pig’s back thighs. The leg region usually comes in three sections, the shank, the hock and the foot. 
Ham is usually a tender, juicy piece of meat, but this isn't always true where the shank is concerned. This cut usually contains a lot of muscle and connective tissue, which can make it somewhat tough when cooked improperly. However, the shanks are less expensive and if cooked right, they can be just as flavorful and juicy as a ham. Slow roasting, braising in a crockpot and simmering are some of the ways to cook this type of meat. As far as pork products go, the shank portion tends to be relatively inexpensive and can be an economical option for many cooks.

Braising is one of the most popular cooking methods. Cooks start out by searing the outside of the meat, usually in a skillet, then putting it in a deep, covered pot with some amount of liquid. Water will work, but stock, broth, or wine can make the dish more interesting. The whole thing is then slow cooked on the stovetop for several hours. A counter top slow cooker appliance, or crockpot, can also be used for this method. This is the way I chose to cook mine...

I put the two shanks in the crockpot very late on Friday night. I poured what was left of a bottle of Palmetto Red Wine over them and added garlic cloves, salt and pepper. I turned it on high and let it cook all night! Do you think they are done? LOL

To finish them off, I made a bbq sauce to top the meat...
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp butter
1 cup ketsup
1/4 cup brown sugar, light or dark
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Texas Pete hot sauce
2 tbsp worchestershire sauce

Saute onion and garlic in butter in a large pan. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer about 10 minutes. Spoon the sauce heavily over the pork shanks. Place the pork in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens and sets, and the shanks are warmed through. (Be careful not to let the sauce burn!)

If you want to get some shanks to try for the first time, or cook with that favorite family recipe, contact my friend Russell at Sunny Cedars Farm!

My plate!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Salmon with a Browned Butter Dill Sauce

Tonight, I wanted Salmon, and no one else here likes salmon! So, I made it special for myself!!! This is Salmon with a Browned Butter, Lemon Dill Sauce.On a funny note... The hubby ate half of my salmon... that he doesn't like! Humph! I guess it was pretty good then! But what do I know?!?! LOL

Browned Butter Dill Sauce

2 Tbsp Butter
1/4 tsp dill weed
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp garlic juice*
Kosher salt, to taste
Cracked black pepper, to taste

*You can substitute a little garlic powder.

Heat a frying pan, sprayed with cooking oil, to medium high heat. Salt both sides of the fish. Place salmon, skin side down, in the hot pan. Do not try to move the fish. It cooks pretty fast. When the skin releases from the pan, it's ready to turn. If you like the skin 'blackened' a little leave it a little longer before turning.

Remove the fish and plate it. De-glaze the frying pan with the lemon juice. Add the butter, dill, garlic. Let the butter brown a bit. (This happens pretty quickly in the hot pan, so watch it closely.) Add salt and pepper, to taste. Pour the sauce over the fish. Enjoy!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Greek Pork Loin with Red Potatoes and Green Beans

I'm used to doing Greek Chicken and potatoes, but I wanted something different. I had a 1/4 of a pork loin left in the freezer so I changed things up a bit. I dusted it very generously with Greek Seasoning and poured lemon juice in the bottom of the pan. I also added potatoes and green beans sprinkled with Greek Seasoning.

Good Dark Crispy Coating on the Loin!

Pork Loin
Cavender's Greek Seasoning
1/2 cup Lemon Juice
6-8 small Red Potatoes
Green Beans

Preheat oven to 400. Place loin in a casserole dish fat side up. Dust pork loin with Cavender's Greek Seasoning very, very generously and pour lemon juice in the bottom of the dish. (not on the loin) Cover and bake for 1 hour so the lemon juice steams into the loin. Then add the potatoes and green beans. Sprinkle with Greek Seasoning and return to the oven (Uncovered) to cook another 1/2 hour or until center reaches 160 degrees and the fat and seasonings forms a dark crispy coating. A great one dish meal! Everything was done at the same time!

I pulled a few chunks off the side of the roast... 
you know that good juicy darker meat?
Oh my Lawd, it's so good!

** You can also add a little butter or margarine to the pan drippings and make a sauce to drizzle over the entire plate. All the flavors compliment each other well!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Rooster and Rice

Granddaddy & Grandmama Bradham
Me eating pickles!

When we used to go to Grandmama and Granddaddy Bradham’s for the day, I remember certain things I used to do with each one of them. We had our ‘together times.’ The house was on the Boulevard Road. Granddaddy was famous for having a green thumb. He had a beautiful flower garden, but the thing I remember most was the strawberry patch. On the side of the house was about a six by six recessed section of the house. This made a neat little area for the wild strawberries. Granddaddy and I would go to the patch and pick the strawberries. We would bring them in and wash them. Then we would put them in a bowl sprinkled with sugar to save until they were sweet and juicy.

Grandmama always had a great big jar of baby dill pickles in the refrigerator. We would sit in front of the TV with pickles wrapped in a paper towel. It seems like every time we sat in front of that TV, ‘Hee Haw’ was on... “I’m a pickin’ and I’m a grinin’!” She loved that show. I do, however, remember Granddaddy sitting in his recliner watching wrestling on tv. He would grip the arms of his chair until his knuckles turned blue.

One afternoon I was going to get the strawberries, Grandmama came in and said, “Oh, I know what you want! I’ll get ‘em.” She came in with a paper towel full of pickles. I thanked her. When she left the room, I went and got the strawberries out of the refrigerator. Granddaddy came in a little later to find me sitting in the living room with a pickle in one hand and a strawberry in the other. I remember he closed his eyes and shook, then he said, “Now that’s love!”

Four Generations...
Mama, Me,
Great Granddaddy White & Grandmama Bradham

I can remember watching my Grandmama Bradham go in to the yard and catching a chicken for Sunday Dinner. She would grab the chicken without even looking at it, and with a simple flick of the wrist, it was done. Now, before I receive hate mail, my Grandparents were simple country folk. They raised chickens for food and eggs. We had goose, goat, chicken, pig, squirrel, doves, fish, frog legs and probably a turtle or two. If you can catch it, hunt it, shoot it or gig it, Mama and Grandmama could cook it... and make it delicious!!! I can remember my Granddaddy BBQ-ing a goat and telling me how to clean and skin them before cooking. He said, "You know how an old billy-goat smells? Well, if you let the hair of that goat touch the meat, that's how it will taste!" I think I was about 5 years old at the time. In their house, nothing was wasted. You fried chicken necks and backs with the rest of the bird. That's why, when I buy a chicken cut up, I get the country-style cut so I get the whole bird! Waste not, want not...

My friend Mary, from All Things Food~Cooking with Mary and Friends, and I have been taking some farm tours on our "Farm to Table trips". A few weeks ago, Denise and Tom from Paradise Acres Farm, called Mary to make her an offer. They were culling chickens. Culling is a part of having a profitable farm, though not the most enjoyable task. By culling certain individuals, farmers can make sure that their flocks stay healthy, and that they are not wasting limited resources on an animal that isn’t earning its keep. In this case, it was two roosters. Mary was asked if she wanted the roosters. She accepted the offer and called me to share one with me. They were processed, vacuum sealed and frozen. 

Now you have to understand that a rooster is not like a frying hen. They are a skinny, tough bird. So they are best slow cooked or stewed. I decided to do Chicken and Rice... or in this case, Rooster and Rice!

Water to cover chicken
1 whole chicken (in this case, rooster)
1 large sweet onion; diced

1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon basil
3 cups long grain white rice

In a large stock, pot bring water, chicken, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, basil, to boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for at least an hour.
Remove chicken to cool in order to debone. Let broth continue to simmer and reduce.
When cool enough to handle, debone the chicken.
Measure the broth from pot and put approximately 8 cups broth back into pot along with the rice, chicken. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until rice is done.
Salt and pepper to taste.