Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving at the Ray's

I have no pictures. I was feeling quite ill and not really myself. We all met up at the Ray's and ate. Natalie had cranberry crisp, spinach dip, and a cheese ball. Brian had whipped up some black bean salsa and guacamole. Mimi brought ham sandwiches made from Sister Shubert rolls and Honey Baked Ham. I made short ribs and Tasso cheese grit casserole. Chance had made a brownie marbled cheesecake. Heather made a pecan square desert. We chatted and let the kids run wild. Typical gathering other than I couldn't breathe.

Thanksgiving lunch at the Carriage House in Natchez

The Barkley's, the Hull's, and Mimi and Boppa went to Natchez for lunch at the Carriage House at Stanton Hall. The historic district in Natchez is quite beautiful. The average age of the trees around there has to be on up there. They are HUGE. I had a fried oyster salad that was fine. Some others had a more traditional turkey day dinner. Tanner obviously had fried chicken.

Obama..... Busted

OK, please pardon the pun, but this "art" is directly across the street at Mimi and Boppa's. They get to drink their coffee on the front porch with this view. It has to be 12 feet tall. Look at the detail of the USA outline at the bottom. There are red lights throughout the bottom as well.

Ribeye with chipotle smashed sweet potatoes and blanched green beans

We couldn't decide if this was a steak or a roast. It was huge. I seasoned it with salt, pepper, chipotle powder and put it on the grill pan. Heather specifically requested the sweet potatoes and I thought green beans tossed in bacon grease would be nice. Tony's has the absolute best beef and veal. This steak was incredible. It was moist, tender, and FULL of flavor. There is a difference....

Artichoke Fritters

I wish I could explain how good these things are. See the previous posts for the recipe link.

The Jagermeister

Tanner, aka "The Master Hunter" gets ready to go to Cotton Plant. He made it about 15 minutes before he got out of the stand and walked back to the house. I don't think he needed the hunter orange hat. His hair is the same color.

Osso Bucco

Heather satiated her hankering for veal with another round of Osso Bucco. It was good. Scott @ Tony's Meat Market said he had a customer buy an entire case for a dinner party. We must meet this person....

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Heather's chili

I missed this one while I was in Cotton Plant awaiting opening day of gun season. Heather made chili and served it over acini de pepe with some cheddar sprinkled over the top. I'll have the leftovers later today.

Roast chicken with blackeyed peas and creamed corn

I roasted a chicken after we got back from Heather's back procedure in Memphis. I mixed herbs and garlic with butter and rubbed under the skin as best I could. I placed it on the vertical roaster with celery, onion, and carrots in the cavity. The blackeyed peas were canned, but I put some salsa verde in with it to give it a tomatillo tang. The creamed corn was a hit with C, but not T. Heather was in the spirit world when we ate, but had a bowl of ramen noodles later. Maybe this will be the trick for her trick back.

Mystery Stew

This version of mystery stew was sans shrooms. Peruvian onion and red bell peppers flavored this dish of beef chunks. It was quite tasty over brown rice.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Seafood Alfredo

I took C to TKD and Heather made this very rich meal. She thawed some shrimp and used some "crab" that was on sale the other day. This is a Barkley staple but tonight she added cream cheese. It was very thick and rich. She used linguine and fettuccine. It was one of those cases where too much of a good thing can distract. I LOVE cream cheese and she should use it next time, but it should be a little less. She agreed and I look forward to the experiment.

Strip steak with chipotle smashed potatoes and green beans

This was the intended meal for Saturday night. I lightly seasoned the strips and seared them in the cast iron roasting pan. I finished them in the oven. I had made the chipotle smashed potatoes for dinner at Dad's and simply reheated them and topped them with a pat of butter. I blanched some green beans and seasoned them with some Asian seasoning blend Mimi gave me for Christmas last year. Sounds odd, but this was the convergence I was missing Saturday. Everything complimented each other in different ways. The clarified butter on the steak oozed into the crisp beans, that had the sharp bite that blended with the potatoes with the smokiness shared with the seard steak, etc... I was happy. Here is the potato recipe that everyone should try. It is such a better use of sweet potatoes than the marshmallow topped sweet crap you get every where else.

Pan braised halibut with saffron risotto

We have been waiting for Tony's to get in some fresh halibut. At $20/lb you have to eat it sparingly, but with a 4 oz serving, it really isn't too much of a splurge. We bought the halibut after we had been to the grocery, expecting to have something different. We didn't have any potatoes at home so I thought about making some rice for an accompaniment. I really wanted something with more texture and asked Heather to make some risotto. She did and it was her usual thick, creamy, rich goodness. I steamed some fresh green beans to give us some contrast and color. This is one of the dishes where each part was good individually, but really didn't come together with synergy. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it very much, but will do some things differently next time. The Italian Pinot Grigio was the only thing that pulled every thing together.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Chicken Picatta w/ Angel Hair and wilted spinach

This was one of the impromptu meals you make after a long day. I was planning on using artichokes, but Heather had made all of them into the delicious fritattas. I sliced up some chicken and seasoned them then lightly breaded them. I pan fried them then deglazed the pan with lemon, Sauvigaun Blanc, and capers. I used the "healthy" angel hair. It was good. I wilted some spinach in place of the missing artichokes. It turned out quite nice.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Post flag football tacos

Tanner had a flag football game. He kind of participated. Kind of..... I made some taco meat and Chance crisped up some corn tortillas. I made tostados, but Heather made it clear that she wanted tacos. We made both. This is a pic of her jalapeno laden taco with salsa verde. For a meal that took 4 minutes of effort and $3 of ingredients, it was pretty good.

Veggie night

Heather had gotten some frozen sweet corn and we were in a hurry to get to TKD. I had acquired some fresh green beans. I steamed them till they were tender crisp. I opened a can of lima beans. What do all these veggies have in common? Bacon grease. I had saved the grease from the bacon on Sunday and added generous amounts to all of these. It was tasty. We will get that corn again for sure. It was steamed in the microwave. Amazingly, it was perfect.

Bacon Egg and Cheese Biscuits

I made biscuits from scratch. Then I made the bacon we had left and some sausage patties. I fried some eggs for the boys with busted yolks, but Heather and I had medium, runny eggs. Harrison scarfed his and went back to facebook. Oh well.....

Chance's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Is that title illiteration? I don't know. There are a lot of C's, but different kinds. Oh well. C had the urge to make cookies while Harrison was spending the night. We only had mini chocolate chips. The first sheet pan was a little crisp, but when they settled overnight, they were fine. These went fast...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Swedish meatballs

We, as in Heather, found some ground veal in the cheap section at Kroger. She added some ground pork and made this. She doesn't do it often, but it is a treat when she does. This is a very good meal. Here is the recipe.

Fajita for Tanner

I made some spanish style rice-a-roni (which was scarily good), refried beans, and some fajita mix. I served it with flour and corn tortillas, salsa verde, jalapenos, and sour cream. I ate waaaaay too much. My stomach was killing me this morning after my 10 mile run. I actually thought about that as I fixed my 3rd fajita.
That was a pose from Tanner.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Impromptu Tostados

Chance was still hungry after a plate full of pizza rolls. Imagine that. I had him brush some corn tortillas with oil and bake them till crispy. Then he opened and drained a can of black beans and seasoned them with cumin, garlic powder, pepper, and Pace picante. He mashed them to make a paste. Then he spread them on the tortillas, covered them with a cheese blend and baked them. A dollop of sour cream and a bit of chipotle salsa later, he had his masterpiece.

Shrimp and grits

Did I mention this was becoming a staple? This is a variation because I substituted shallots for the onion. We were out. So much for the "you have the ingredients in the pantry" theory. I was also out of lemon, but didn't really miss it. Sorry Lindsay, you will have to buy the book to get the recipe. Susan Spicer "Cresent City Cooking"

Osso Bucco

Heather needed a fix again. This was less salty than the last batch. I am wondering when the rest of the world is going to realize how fantastic this stuff is.

Artichoke fritters

For you people that bug me about not having recipes, here is one for you. I promise you will love these things.
Don't leave out the lemon zest. It makes the recipe.

Oven fried/baked tilapia

Heather dredged and breaded some tilapia fillets we had. She baked them till crispy. She cooked some corn with some bacon drippings. The fried okra was straight from the freezer to the fryer, but it was really good. She let one batch cook too long for her, but perfect for me. Mom used to cook it till it was very crunchy. I miss her.
Tanner refused to eat this so he went to bed at 6:30. That boy has amazing will power.

Chicken breast with hollandaise

Heather had this going by the time I got home from work. She had made her delicious mac and cheese, steamed some broccoli, and pan fried some seasoned chicken breasts. She made a hollandaise sauce, but while she was plating the food, it broke. It didn't affect (effect? screw it) the flavor, but she was disappointed. I wasn't. No real recipe secrets here. Ask her for the mac and cheese recipe though. It is always a crowd favorite.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Chicken and Dumplings

Heather had been craving these and it has been a while. I started them last night by stewing the chicken with aromatics. I pulled all the meat off the bone and strained the stock while rotflmao to Superbad. I forgot how funny that movie is. I rolled out some biscuits this morning and doubled the recipe to make the dumplings. I must admit this is one of the better batches I have made. Very rich. I get to eat them for lunch every day for the next 4 days. I miss Granny....

Scallop and lobster fettucini

Heather was back from the dead. Kind of anyway. I still had to drive her around. Scallops were on sale at Kroger and we grabbed a pack of "lobster chunks" that were on sale too. I still can't work the camera reliably. Sorry. Chance was out with friends so he missed out too. I opened a bottle of Bixio Pinot Grigio. Wow! Those Italians can make wine. I regret it now. In the future when I taste what I thought was a good Pinot Grigio, I will realize I am wrong. Oh well. Maybe a bonus will be forthcoming to replenish this bottle.

Shrimp and Grits

This really has become a staple. Most of the ingredients are sitting in your freezer right now. If you don't have tasso, substitue bacon, then remember that you can't substitue for tasso. This takes less than 20 minutes from beginning to end and is cheap. I think a lot of trick-or-treaters were bummed they got a tootsie roll while we chowed on this. I know of one in particular that was bummed...

Chili Cheese Dogs

Heather had an epidural injected in her spine and was a bit out of it. The anit-nausea meds put her O-U-T. C had TKD early so I heated up some Kelly's chili and some dogs. Chance "doesn't like hot dogs" so I made him a hamburger patty and cut it up. At least he put onions on it.....

Osso Bucco

We had not met our week's quota for veal. Heather made a batch of osso bucco. She said it was too salty, but I differ. It was good. Not her best batch, but Osso Bucco is like sex. Even when it is bad, it is good; OK great.....

Hamburger Steak with taters and green beans

Much to Chance's chagrin, we had this delicious meal. It is funny because at lunch, we had some potential Dodge's food including green beans and mashed potatoes. Well I pray we don't sell that garbage. Heather made this and it was the way it is supposed to taste.