Monday, January 27, 2014


A few years ago I discovered the secret to perfect french fries, truly a recipe developed by the French. It involves frying the fries until they start to float but not brown, letting them drain and cool, then quick frying them the second time. This method allows the inside to remain soft and dropping them into really really hot oil the second time and causing them to brown quickly.

I've been trying to find the perfect recipe for fried hot wings. The secret is the same theory as the french fries. Slow frying the first time, then drain and cool. At this point, you can bag and freeze the wings, then remove how many you want, thaw just long enough for the skin to get soft and finish off with the second quick fry.

You'll end up with yummy, juicy wings with an insane bubbled crispy skin. Pick your favorite dip and you're ready for football!

Keep in mind you can use lots of types of marinades, including really really hot ones. Since I don't want my tongue breaking into flames, I prefer one not quite so hot but still has a nip to it. I use Cajun Injector brand Creole Butter.


The day before the game (or several days before) Clean the wings removing any feathers.
Remove the tip end.
Separate remaining wing into 2 pieces

Inject the chicken wings with your choice of marinade.
Salt lightly, and bag in refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

Heat oil to 250 degrees. Since you're not going to brown the wings at this time, pack as many into the pan as you want. Fry for 20 minutes.
Remove, drain, place on a flat baking pan and place in freezer.

Put frozen wings into a zip lock bag.

Remove the wings and thaw long enough for the skin to soften.

Fry in 400 degree oil until crispy.

Dip in creamy Ranch dressing, buffalo sauce or your favorite dipping sauce.


1 bunch green onions, chopped
6 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
6 cloves garlic, remove middle stem, mince cloves
1 med hot pepper, seeded and finely chopped (Hatch, Poblano, Anaheim)
1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
2 large cans sliced black olives, drained and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 can Refried beans
1 pound good quality ground beef
Shredded Cheddar OR Mexican mix cheese
sour cream

make the morning of the game.
chop and mix in a bowl, then cover and refrigerate until game time. My recipes for a medium hot pepper. I will use a Hatch or Poblano. If you prefer something hotter, be my guest and use a seeded jalapeno or serrano.

1 bunch green onions, chopped
6 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
6 cloves garlic, remove middle stem, mince cloves
1 med hot pepper, seeded and finely chopped (Hatch, Poblano, Anaheim)
1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
2 large cans sliced black olives, drained and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice

Right before game time

1 large can Refried Beans, heated

1 pound ground beef, finely crumbled and browned.
To meat add:
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon cumin

Layer into a 9x13 dish in this order:

Refried beans
Shredded Cheddar OR Mexican mix cheese
sour cream
Top with the homemade pico de gallo
Serve with tortilla chips

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tried an interesting recipe last night. I don't even remember where I heard about spaghetti fritters. It has beam increasingly difficult to get Alan, who has frontal temporal complicated Alzheimer's, to eat. So periodically I try to find something I think he'll love. These are rarely terribly healthy, but almost always guilty pleasure stuff. That's the category where you'd find these.

I read a lot of recipes. Since I saw there didn't seem to be much in common between them, I just threw these together.

You can throw them in a paper bag and take them hiking or walking, use as a snack, or just pig out on them for dinner. I got three. Alan ate the rest of the plate full.

A search for them found them made out of wheat spaghetti, regular spaghetti, spaghetti squash. Most had cheese of some kind. Some had a little meat in them.
A couple recipes called for 1/2 cup flat parsley. I didn't have any so here's what I used. It's a compilation of things that lots of the fritters had in common.

You start with 7-10 ounces of dry spaghetti. Break them in half.
Cook in salted water for about 8 minutes, remove, strain and rinse in cold water until completely cooled.

Mix in a bowl:
2 eggs whipped lightly but not until you have bubbles
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped.
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion or green onions
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoon oregano (this is what I substituted for the 1/2 cup finely chopped flat parsley
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Add the cold spaghetti and mix well.

1 inch of oil in a skillet. Heat to medium high.
WITH TONGS: place a little of the spaghetti in the skillet, making small patties. The spaghetti will be stringing out of the patty some. That's the way it's supposed to be.
Fry about 2 minutes until crispy, turn and again fry until crispy. They should be crispy on the edges and a little soft in the middle.
Drain each fritter and salt on top.

These would be great as a side with fish, hamburgers, steaks, whatever. Just keep in mind they are extremely filling.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Cool weather is going to be upon us early this year. Either that or I'm just looking for an excuse to fix Gumbo.

This is the perfect thing for watching a Saturday football game with friends. Or for entering into a contest. I'm going to do both.

With the exception of having to stand and constantly stir for 30 minutes so the roux doesn't burn, this is a quick easy dish. Make it the day before and refrigerate. It's always better the next day anyway. All you have to do when your guests arrive is reheat over medium, cook that minute rice, dish it up and they'll think you're wonderful. The downside is they're going to want you to host all of the football parties from now on so they can eat your gumbo.

1 cup oil
1 cups flour
One whole chicken
1 onion (diced),
1 bubble pack sliced pepperoni
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
3 Tablespoons creole seasoning
2 Tablespoon black pepper
salt to taste (you're going to want this saltier than usual. When you put it over the rice, it will tone it down.)

I suggest using a metal or wooden spoon for stirring, because mixture is very hot and will melt those nylon or plastic ones.

Over medium heat, cook oil and flour, stirring constantly until the color of coffee. Add diced onion. Continue stirring until onion is done, about 1-2 minutes, then quickly add about 2 quarts water and bring to a boil while stirring. Add all spices at this time.

Add whole chicken. Add enough water to cover chicken. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium low. Cook one hour. Mixture is  hot and will boil over VERY easily. Remove chicken and refrigerate until cool enough to handle.

Take chicken off bones, dice, and discard bones and skin.

Return chicken to pot and again bring to a boil. Add pepperoni, cook for another 15 minutes. Gumbo will be extremely hot. Let cool in refrigerator, then remove excess oil that has floated to top.

When ready to serve, reheat, and serve in soup bowls, over white rice.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


One of the best things you can do for yourself, is grow your own herbs. It's not that hard and you'll be so glad when you have those fresh herbs to use next winter. Plus you'll save a lot of money and the herbs are much better than what you buy all dried up and in a little bottle and have to pay $5 for them.

Sweet bay is a good example. You pay a small fortune for a few dried up leaves of bay, so you use it sparingly.

If you take the time to search for a sweet bay plant and grow your own, it will be time well spent. The plants are hard to root so trust me, just buy one instead of trying to grow it. It takes two years for them to root and then you'll be lucky if you get one.

Just getting a small plant will probably cost you several dollars. A larger plant could run you between $10 and $30, depending on the size. It's worth every penny and from then on you can use as much bay as you want for free. If you can find someone online, who grows them, they probably won't have very many. So pre-order if you can, and pre-pay if you must. Whatever it takes to land one of these.

I promised several people  I would start them one several years ago. I tried year after year with no success. I finally gave up.

I ordered a small one a few years ago. It's now in a BIG HUGE pot. It goes outside in the summer and comes back in before the first frost. I harvest it every fall, cutting it back to about two feet tall or a little more. It will never put out new growth until Spring, so you just water it ever-so-often and it will be happy all winter.

When I harvest it, I wash the stems, cut the stems into pieces that will fit into a gallon zip lock bag and let them drain a little. Keep the leaves on the stems. When you need to use 2-4 leaves, just leave them on the stem and throw them in the pot. That way you can remove them from the pot without having to dig around in the pot trying to find a little dried leaf. I then pack the stems into a zip lock bag and freeze them. It's that easy. And I hope you all know you cannot eat bay leaves or they will slice up your stomach and intestines.

Most of your other herbs will reproduce all year if you keep harvesting them.

Sage is another herb I can't live without. I use lots of it fresh and it's easy to grow in a pot. Water it and it must be kept in full sun if possible. I keep mine outside until the first frost. Then I prune it back, just leaving a couple of sets of leaves on each plant stem. Just like the bay, I wash, cut stems into pieces that will fit in a zip lock ad freeze.

I do the same with rosemary, chives and thyme. The only difference with thyme, it's perennial, crawls along the ground so doesn't need to be brought in. But I do prune it and freeze it in a small zip lock since it's so tiny. DON'T OVER DO THE FRESH THYME IN A RECIPE. That is potent little stuff. Just one small stem in a pot will be sufficient. Just freeze the chives in stems and cut them up when you're ready to use them.

I also freeze my fennel, providing the butterflies have left me any. I don't grow the kind that has a bulb, and the butterfly larva just love it. I grow it for them so they'll leave my other herbs alone.

I do not freeze my parsley but keep it in the house all winter. Parsley has a two-year life cycle so you'll have to replant. If you're in a zone where you can grow it outdoors, let some of it go to seed and you'll have new plants in the spring. Cover it with straw and it will survive the winter just fine.

The only herb I freeze differently is basil. I harvest it all summer long so it keeps branching out. When I harvest, I wash, drain, and chop it finely. When I put it in the zip lock bag, I pour a very small amount of Virgin Olive Oil in the bag and mix it into the basil. When I add more basil to that bag, I just mix some of that oil onto it. It keeps your basil from freezing into an ice chunk, so you can remove whatever you need when you cook.

There is nothing better than a salad with lots of fresh basil mixed into it.


Sunday, April 22, 2012


Here is the actual recipe for the Old South Restaurant's salad dressing. Google it anywhere online and you'll find those who have tried to imitate the recipe have used things like 2 dill pickles or fresh garlic. Trust me, this is the real recipe and you can see it has NO pickles. Being an aficionado of garlic I also tried fresh garlic and discovered it made a change in the dressing that wasn't as good. You cannot get that "almost overwhelming" taste of garlic in this dressing using fresh garlic. The fresh garlic will add "heat" to it that you don't want.

I'm sure others are putting those pickles in to try and get that same taste as the restaurant's dressing. What they're missing is those salad olives with pimentos AND WITH THE JUICE. Also…don't use regular stuffed olives or you'll screw up your recipe. Tried it and it doesn't work. The only difference is Old South makes their own mayonnaise for this recipe and I just prefer recipes to be as easy and quick as possible.

I'm notorious for changing things in recipes and I tried it with this dressing. Learn from my mistakes. Don't add more or less of anything. I tried more olives, fresh garlic, less bleu cheese, etc. Trust me on this one. Just follow the recipe. Don't use a low fat mayonnaise. It gives it a sweetish tang that isn't good.  A quart may seem like a lot but if you love garlic salad dressings, this won't be around very long.

The last time I made this I used a cheaper garlic powder. It turned my dressing a little brown and grainy. So I'll buy good garlic powder that's white from now on.

We love to make chef's salads for dinner in the summer and this is the dressing we always have with it.

The dressing is pretty thick and Old South serves it on the side. So do I. Now I'm craving it and I just happen to have half a jar in my refrigerator so it's salad for dinner tonight.

Put in the food processor:
2 ounce bleu cheese, creamed
1/4 cup salad olives with juice (the kind that looks like olive and pimento pieces)
2 tablespoons garlic powder
(The chef at Old South in Russellville actually said:
"Start with a couple of tablespoons of garlic. Then when
you think you've got too much, add a little more.")

After processing this mixture, add:
1 quart Kraft REAL Mayonnaise
and thoroughly process until mixed well.

Put dressing back in the mayonnaise jar and refrigerate immediately.

Friday, April 6, 2012


It seems to me people have been enticed away from some of the wonderful things in life. Case in point….Southern Fried Chicken.

Want to know what happened to it? A little pudgy guy with a white beard and a knowledge of advertising, knew people will buy anything that's new and different. So he put 11 herbs and spices in his batter. Every chef on TV has some kind of a twist to make their fried chicken different.

I hear so many people say "You just don't get good fried chicken like we used to get". That's because the art of making good fried chicken hasn't been passed down to the kids. It's easier to go buy fast food.

Pastors or visiting evangelists in the South used to get invited to one of the church families for lunch every Sunday. All the southern ladies were very proud of their fried chicken and would fix it anytime they had company. If a visiting minister was holding a revival (and some of the revivals would last up to two weeks) they would be invited to a different household each night. It was somewhat of a joke among them about never getting to eat anything except fried chicken.

Am I the only one who has noticed chicken has a strong obnoxious taste the last few years? They're using chemicals and hormones to produce these oversized chickens. The chickens grow huge so fast the growers have to pick up a bunch of dead chickens every day that have had heart attacks. They're easy to spot because they're all laying on their backs dead.

I always prefer to fry a smaller chicken, but it's hard to find one under 4 pounds anymore. Anytime you buy those packages of nothing but breasts, or thighs or leg quarters, the pieces are huge. I'd rather cut up my own chicken, but that's up to you.

Here's how you can make the true southern fried chicken or a good chicken-fried steak, now known as country fried because it's not "chicken fried" anymore.

2 - 3 eggs
Oil for frying

Six to eight hours before you want to make the chicken:
Heavily salt all pieces of the chicken. (Don't be afraid you're going to get it too salty.) Pepper at this time also. Place chicken into a large zip lock bag and refrigerate immediately. If you don't have a bag, put chicken in a glass bowl and cover well. This process accomplishes two things. It will help remove that strong taste and also season your chicken. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours. You can actually refrigerate overnight, but I prefer 6 to 7 hours.

Put 3 to 4 cups of flour in a bowl and add 1 teaspoon black pepper. Mix pepper into flour.

If you have a whole chicken you're going to fry:
Put 3 eggs into a bowl and whip them with a fork. I just throw in some water, but probably 1/4 cup is good. Beat water and eggs together.

You now have 2 options, deep frying or pan frying. I prefer the pan frying because I can then make gravy in the same pan when the chicken is done. Deep frying is quicker. Just fry until the chicken floats and is a deep golden brown.

Put about an inch of oil in pan and heat it on medium high until it's good and hot but not smoking. Flick a little flour into grease to make sure it's hot.

Starting with larger dark meat pieces, dip into egg and then into flour, and put into oil. (dark meat takes longer than white meat). Repeat until all chicken is in skillet. You want to hear it sizzle when the chicken hits the oil. Immediately drop temperature to a little over medium. (If you use a thermometer, keep it about 350 degrees) DO NOT COVER PAN!

Check chicken in 20 minutes. It will probably be another 10 minutes before you have to turn them. Turn pieces over when they become a dark golden brown. When they are brown on that side, remove. Drumsticks will need to be removed first. If there's any red oozing out of the top of any pieces, Turn them back over and leave them a few minutes longer. When you remove from oil, drain pieces well on either paper or in a strainer.

Steak that has been tenderized at the store
2 Eggs whipped with about 1/8 cup of water
1/2 inch of Oil in skillet

Use EXACTLY the same process to chicken fry a steak, except don't salt it quite as heavily and only leave it in the refrigerator for about 4 hours.

After you lower the heat, you'll only have to fry until the coating has turned golden brown then turn. This is much faster than frying chicken, so be careful not to burn it.

Chicken fried ANYTHING should always be served with a cream gravy. After frying the chicken or the steak, pour out the oil you fried in, leaving only enough to make the gravy. Don't pour out the goodies left in the pan from frying the meat. That's what will make the gravy excellent.

Gravy recipes are in a previous blog!

Saturday, March 31, 2012


Part of the problem with me trying to share recipes is I'm a pretty typical down-home southern cook. My measurements go something like this:

Pinch: a small amount between the thumb and forefinger.
Large pinch: an amount between the thumb, forefinger, and middle finger
A Hand-full: the amount grabbed up with your fist.

Years ago, as a  bride, I fixed my new husband a pot of beans. I remembered my mother de-gassing the beans with baking soda but I had no idea how much she used. I called her and asked. "Just put some in."

I tried to push her on an amount. "Just put some in. I don't know."

So I put some in. In fact, it should have been a large pinch. Not knowing any better, I put in about 1/4 cup. Yep. Damn near killed him.

Here's my last recipe for using up those left over Easter eggs. If you want to cut down on the amount of maccaroni, do it. But maccaroni is a great way to stretch this salad. I prefer the large shell instead of the elbow because the shell will hold the other ingredients better.

1 large can flaked tuna, drained (If you use chunked tuna, mash it up with a fork)
3 stalks celery, cleaned and thinly chopped
1/2 small onion, diced small
4 large sweet pickles, diced small
4 hardboiled eggs, chopped

Cook half of a large package of Large shell macaroni, putting a tablespoon of salt in the water. Drain and rinse in cold water until macaroni is cold. Then drain well.

Here's some of those "southern cook" measurements.
In a large bowl, put first 5 ingredients.
Add some mayonnaise. How much? I dunno. Some. Guessing I'd say start with 1 cup.
Add some of the juice from the sweet pickles. Forced into a guess I'd say about 2 - 3 tablespoons. I just pour some in and mix well. You want this just a little sweet.

When the macaroni is cooled off, put in the bowl and mix until all ingredients are mixed well. Refrigerate immediately. I suggest fixing this ahead so the salad can sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the salad to get completely cold and the flavors to meld together well.