Thursday, July 14, 2016

Rustic Roasted Red Potato Salad with Brown Sugar Vinaigrette

 I haven't cooked for a year! No really, I haven't!
Not enough to write home about anyway. 
I have been caught up in life happenings, work obligations, family matters and health issues. 
Although none of those are better, well health seems to be heading in the right direction, I am itching to make some new dishes and some new recipes for you guys to try.
I perfected this dish today.

 We have red potatoes coming in right now and I like them anyway they can be whipped up. Hubs does not care for them as a regular potato salad with mayo dish.
He will devour a baked potato peeling out in a steakhouse but he snarls his nose up when I have the nerve to leave a red skin on his taters that he grew himself! 
Crazy fella!

The red potatoes also remind me of something his sister in law said one time.
Her and the family were at our house, actually my father in laws home where we lived when I was just a baby, and I had little red potatoes out of our garden that I had boiled with the peeling and then browned them up in some butter.
When she was offered some of them she said "I do not care for red potatoes because they taste like the earth."

Sorry but that seemed so odd to me at that time! LOL

I can now see where that came from. Red potatoes do not keep very long and can become dry and mealy......whatever mealy means!
With this recipe I have a feeling that you will not have to worry about them turning mealy.....

Rustic Roasted Red Potato Salad with Brown Sugar Vinaigrette

4 pounds Red Skinned Potatoes 
3-4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Dried Dill Weed
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper to taste

1 Cup diced crunchy sweet pickles (I use my home canned Lime Pickles)
1/2 - 1 Red Onion sliced thinly
1 Cup White Vinegar
2/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Honey
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Dried Dill Weed
a little kosher salt and cracked pepper to taste
3-4 slices Bacon, cooked drained and broken in small pieces

Wash and cut potatoes in approximately 1" cubes and place on a large sheet pan with room enough to be only one layer of potatoes so they can roast evenly.
Drizzle with the olive oil, dill weed, salt and pepper. Toss to cover potatoes evenly. Roast at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until browned and tender. Allow to cool to almost room temp.

Mix chopped pickles, onion slices, vinegar, brown sugar, honey, garlic powder, dill, salt and pepper in a small glass bowl. Taste this and add to it as to your preference of sweet/tanginess. Allow this to steep while potatoes are cooling. 
Place potatoes in a serving dish and pour dressing over.
Sprinkle bacon pieces over.
Toss gentle every so often to make sure coated evenly. 
Serve at room temperature for best flavor.


ps. Hubs loves red skins now!!!
I wonder if my sister-in-law will??

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Sunday Dinner fit for my Prince Charming.....

 Prince Charming and I live by ourselves as we have an almost empty nest. The two daughters are married and out living with their own families. However, they DO like to come home as often as they can as does the 5 grandkids....especially the oldest one! She likes to eat!! LOL
Since Prince Charming (PC) built me a new screened in porch this summer, we have eaten almost every single meal out there on this tiny vintage table.
This morning the Blue Ridge Mountains had a chill and we decided to enjoy our coffee inside. This makes me sad because we both dearly love the outdoors and dining alfresco especially in the mornings.
Today PC wasn't feeling good so we decided to not go to church and I was in a cooking mood, putting up the harvest has kept me in the kitchen for far different reasons for several weeks and it was time to put that on the back burner for a few hours and cook!

 I have made this dish, Chicken Braised In Milk, before using Jamie Oliver's recipe and I liked it, PC didn't really see the thrill. So I tweaked it to suit both of us, Quite frankly I can now say it is our very favorite way to eat chicken, bar none!
Oh you aren't supposed to take pictures when you serve out of the pot? Ha, I will try to remember that!
 The meat is so juicy and fork tender. Seasoned to perfection. The 'curdled sauce' LOL is divine.

 I added potatoes to the pot while cooking and they were perfect.
 Desert was my Plum Custard Crumb Tart.
Smack Yo Momma!
 I have put the best of all plum tart worlds together with this concoction, shortbread crust, custard filling, crumb/struesel topping and the plum slices all in a pretty ugly pear halves for my special tart! 
 Even tho I slapped a crumb topping on there I know they are lined up sorta pretty.
 Baked to a golden shade of YUMMM.
 This crust is Da Bomb.....stays together, just the right degree of flaky and it DID NOT stick!!!!
Slap a little vanilla ice cream for the perfect ala mode and call it dessert! 
Tangy/sweet/tart all rolled up in one!
I hope you enjoy my versions of these great dishes.

Chicken Braised in Milk

One Whole Fryer Chicken (WHOLE) 3-6 lbs (Mine was 6.5 lbs)
2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Cracked Black Pepper
2 Cups Whole Milk
1 Red Onion, Large & Sliced
Fresh Rosemary Sprigs
Zest of 1 or 2 lemons
5 or 6 whole cloves garlic, peeled
A few shakes of fresh ground nutmeg
Potatoes (If desired)

Place oil in a 5-6 quart dutch oven. 
Coat the whole chicken with salt and pepper. Sear on all sides until a beautiful brown color. Makes for great sauce with the pan goo that releases later during cooking.
Once the desired color is reached let the meat rest in Dutch Oven.
Add all the other ingredients, shave a little nutmeg on top. 
Add potatoes if desired and add a little salt and pepper to them.
I placed my dutch oven, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven because I wanted to bake my tart at same time. If Making this chicken by itself you can increase the temp to 375.
Bake uncovered, basting the bird and potatoes occasionally for flavor and moisture.
If you start to lose juices you can cover the pot.
Bake until chicken starts to pull away from the leg quarters approximately 1 1/2 hours.
The lemon will cause the milk to separate/curdle and that is a GREAT thing. This makes the most awesome sauce to serve over both the meat and potatoes.

Plum Custard Crumb Tart

Shortbread Crust:

1 stick Butter, cold (I used salted)
1 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Almond Flavoring
(If you don't care for almond - who doesn't like almond?- you can use vanilla)
the almond flavoring is a perfect combo with the plums because they are both stone fruits

Custard Filling:

3 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
1 Tablespoon  All Purpose Flour
Pinch of Salt
1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1 Large Egg
1/2 Teaspoon Almond (or Vanilla) Flavoring

Crumb Topping:

1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
3 Tablespoons Cold Butter
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
A few shakes of freshly shaved Nutmeg

4-5 large red ripe plums

Preheat oven to 350.
Prepare crust: Stir together dry ingredients and sprinkle flavoring over top. Cut in butter until well mixed but still not together, clumps of butter but evenly mixed. Pat mixture in the bottom and sides of a well buttered 8" tart pan. Bake at 350 until light golden on the edges and slightly puffy. Aprox 15 minutes. Cool before adding custard so it doesn't curdle when it touches the too hot crust.

Prepare the Custard Filling:
Whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl. 
Wash plums, remove seeds and slice in half or 1/3" slices.
Arrange plums in crust.
I like mine sliced and placed in rings around the pan....cause I am OCD enough to do that even tho they are covered with crumb topping!
Arrange plums to your liking and pour filling over plums.

Crumb Topping:

Simply cut butter into dry ingredients, add nutmeg and sprinkle loosely over pie.

Bake in a 350 degree oven until custard is set and bubbly, approx 35 min. Increase temp to 400 for about 5-7 minutes to add a golden and caramelized glaze to the pie.
Allow pie to cool before slicing.

Baking times always vary with different ovens.
I use convection for all my oven use and I adjust accordingly.
I have given times that should work for most all regular ovens. If you bake with convection you know to adjust and to always watch your creation closely!


We served this chicken dish with some creamed corn from our garden.
Tart ala mode and we are happy campers!

After's a good day to eat!

God Bless You All,


I appologize for the horrible tiny photos. I used my iphone for these. Follow me on Facebook and you can see the much better version of them. I promise I will use my big camera from here on out! 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Where It All Began.....

 Welcome to my blog! I think today is a good day to eat, how about you???
I will start off with a tutorial of the first food I ever made. 
Homemade Biscuits!
 When I was around 3-4 years old my mom would make biscuits almost every day for our family. 
I thought this was the coolest thing to do, ever!
She would let me sit on her lap at the kitchen table where she made them and cut them out for her, then I advanced to cutting and placing them on the pan.
 Before long she had me making them all the way to having them ready to go in oven.
By age 7 or 8 I made them all for the family.
 If one is going to make biscuits they MUST have cool tools that have been tried and true such as this vintage flour sifter. Would you guys believe I have a friend that I was yardsaling with one day and she did not know what a sifter was??? I still love her!!!
Also you must have the perfect biscuit bowl such as this Pyrex mixing bowl.
 And the perfect biscuit pan!!! How sweet is this cast iron pan???
I have to fess up that I have only owned this biscuit pan for maybe 5 years. Any old well seasoned baking will do, just not as much fun to use!
 I have lightened up the recipe a little over the years and now use regular whole milk instead of buttermilk like my mom used.
I have to admit that my biscuits are made totally from scratch without a recipe, however, I have made a recipe for them just so I can share with you guys.
How can you understand a dab of this and that over the internet???

So....start with 2 1/2 Cups of Big Spring Mill Self Rising Flour *
6 Tablespoons Butter, very cold
1 Cup Whole or 2% Milk
1-2 teaspoons White Vinegar (optional)
a little more flour for "working" the dough

Sift Flour into a pretty Pyrex Mixing Bowl (just because)
Add vinegar to the cup of milk, if a buttermilk biscuit tang is desired, or use 1 Cup of Buttermilk
cut the cold butter into the flour using a pastry cutter or two butter/case knives until it sorta resembles peas......only not need to still see chunks of yellow butter, this is what gives you a flaky biscuit! 
Add the milk slowly mixing with a fork.....I use the meat fork that came with my set of stainless, perfect size.
Incorporate as much milk as you can, until the dough is sticky/wet, you can and will add more flour. If the stars are not lined up properly the one cup of milk will make the dough soupy, should only be sticky/wet, tho.
Sift extra self rising flour ( 3/4 Cup-ish) out on your counter, table or dough cloth as you see here.....I suggest you have one of these, cleanups are so easy!!
Plop your sticky dough out into the middle of your flour on your cloth.
Start gently incorporating some of the flour around the dough glob as if to coat the outside.
Continue rolling dough over until its no longer sticky. DO NOT OVERWORK your dough! 
When your dough ball looks like mine above stop.

Use a rolling pin and gently roll dough out to about 1/2" thickness.
I am showing two of my cutters that I use equally as often. One is an old baking powder can with a couple air holes poked in the bottom. This is approx 2" and the other is an old biscuit cutter that I have had for many years and it's approx 2 1/2" Of course I only make one size at a time except for this tutorial!
I told you I do not usually use a recipe with real measurements and I guesstimate as to how many biscuits I want/need. Today I sorta doubled the recipe and had lots of biscuits of various sizes.

I even made out a "hoecake"!
Can you tell I love to cook in cast iron??
My husband made this cool rolling pin out of wormy red oak!
I love the things he has turned out on a lathe over the years.
Bake in 400 degree preheated oven for approx 20-30 minutes until browned.
Biscuits must be served with butter and my Homemade Black Raspberry Jam!

I have to say that when I actually made out the recipe/measurements to share my biscuits came out PERFECT!!!!! Even better than my guessing all these years! So very flaky!!!
I am happy to share this recipe with you and feel certain your biscuits will be just as good!!

Homemade Biscuits
makes approx 12 - 2 1/2" biscuits

2 1/2 Cups Self rising Flour
1 Cup Milk
1-2 teaspoons white vinegar
6 Tablespoons Butter, very cold
Extra self rising flour

*As I mentioned above I ONLY use Big Spring Mill Self Rising Flour that comes from a mill about an hour away from me here in SW Virginia. 
I feel sure you can find a flour that is close to as good as this!!!

Now for a variation:
I have had a request for a recipe using lard instead of butter.
I used to only make these with lard when we killed hogs and had access to home rendered lard.
Just use 2/3 Cup cold lard in place of the Butter in the above recipe.
Follow me on Facebook and let me know how your biscuits turn out!!!

It's a Good Day To Eat!

God Bless You All,