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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Beef Hash with a Spicey Kick

This makes a nice brunch dish for a perfect fall morning. You can spice it up a little more with some extra chipotles, or if you need a little less kick, you can omit the adobo sauce from the marinade and use less chipotles. Either way, it's nice and hearty.


 1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from canned chipotle peppers)
1 1/4 pound beef sirloin or top loin steak, finely chopped
2 large onions, diced (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons minced garlic or bottled minced garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold or red skinned potatoes cooked* and diced
1 tablespoon chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro (we omitted this because I don't like cilantro...)
salt and ground pepper
fried eggs (optional)
fresh cilantro sprigs (optional)

*Note: To cook potatoes, remove eyes and cut into quarters. Cook covered in enough boiling, lightly salted, water to cover for 20-25 mins or until tender. Drain.


  1. For marinade, in a large plastic bag set in a bowl combine orange juice, lime juice, and adobo sauce. Add meat, turning the bag to coat the meat. Close the bag and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes. Drain and discard the marinade. Pat meat dry with clean white paper towels (remove as much moisture a possible from the meat, it creates a crispier hash).
  2. In a 12-inch heavy skillet cook the onion, garlic and chili powder in hot oil over medium heat for 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Increase heat to medium-high. Add meat to the skillet; cook and stir about 2 minutes or until meat is browned. Stir in cooked potatoes and chipotle peppers. Spread in an even layer in the skillet. Cook for 8 minutes more or until potatoes are a golden brown, turning occasionally. Stir in the tomatoes and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. If desired, serve with fried eggs and cilantro sprig. Makes about 6 servings.

Pretty quick and very easy to make. The recipe says 30 minutes Prep, 30 minutes Marinate and 15 minutes Cook time.

Until next time... Enjoy!

And as Jason would say, "If you love someone, cook them tasty food."


Sunday, September 9, 2012


When you first see or hear the word Pavlova you may ask, "what is THAT?" Well, let me tell you. It's a traditional Australian desert typically served during the holidays. It has a meringue crust with fresh whipped cream and fresh seasonal fruit. One year for Christmas we decided to have a traditional Australian Christmas for a very good friend of ours, She's originally from Australia and was kinda missing it that year. So we fired up the grill (in the middle of the snow) and researched a traditional Australian desert. Pavlova is what we found. Give this easy desert a try. You will find that this is definitely going to be a repeat!


  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar (I take the sugar and either pulse it in the food processor till fine or use a mortar and pestle, it dissolves better in the meringue)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • Fresh fruit of your choice, sliced (I used blueberries, strawberries and bananas this time)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually add in the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until thick and glossy. Overbeaten egg whites lose volume and deflate when folded into other ingredients. Remember, the secret to successful meringue is super clean equipment. Gently fold in vanilla extract, lemon juice and cornstarch.
  3. Spoon mixture onto the parchment paper making a 9 inch circle. Working from the center, spread mixture toward the outside edge, building edge slightly. This should leave a slight depression in the center.
  4. Bake for 1 hour. turn off the oven and open the oven door slightly and let cool. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. In a small bowl beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form, adding sugar if you want it sweetened; set aside. Remove the paper, and place meringue on a flat serving plate. Fill the center of the meringue with whipped cream. Top whipped cream with fresh fruit of your choice.

There really is no wrong fruit combination to this desert. My brother even used this recipe in one of culinary classes and used and orange curd instead of whipped cream. So the possibilities are endless. 

Hope you give it a try and enjoy :)


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pear-Raspberry Pie

Jason has been going to the Farmers Market on Saturdays a lot here lately. He tries to come home with something new every week. This week he brought home some pears. I love pears, just by themselves usually, but we wanted to do something special with these pears. We were invited to a friends house for dinner this week and decided to make a dessert with the pears. This recipe is what we found. I'll tell you straight forward, this recipe takes a long time, but it is totally worth it! It can be made with the shingled crust or a solid crust with decorative vent holes... So give a try, you won't regret it ;)


All-purpose flour for dusting
Pate Brisee (recipe to follow)
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 ripe, firm Bartlett pears (about 3 pounds), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4 inch slices (I used the pears from the Farmers Market, I have no idea what kind they were...)
8 ounces of fresh raspberries (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk, for egg wash
1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
extra sugar for sprinkling

To make the shingled crust: On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disk of dough to a 13-inch round. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate, and trim dough, leaving a 1/4 inch overhang (reserve the scraps). Chill until firm, about 30 minutes or so. Roll out second disk of dough to about 1/8 inch thick. With a 2-inch cookie cutter (any shape of your choosing, I used a basic round one for this), cut out about 48 "shingles" (or as many as you can get, I didn't even use all of mine...), using scraps from bottom crust if needed. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and chill till firm, about 30 minutes.

*If wanting to make a solid crust with cut out vents: Follow the same directions but on the second round of dough just cut out a pattern with your cookie cutter or free hand. Then transfer to parchment lined baking sheet and chill.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt and cinnamon. Add pears, raspberries and lemon juice, and gently toss to coat. Spoon mixture into pie shell, piling fruit in the center. Dot with butter. Tuck the overhang under, flush with the rim. Brush edge lightly with water. Arrange shingles around edge of pie: Press lightly onto edge overlapping slightly. Repeat till pie is covered leaving a small opening in the middle. Combine egg yolk and water in small bowl. Brush pie crust with egg wash, then sprinkle with extra sugar. Chill pie till firm, about 30 minutes.

*For the solid crust with cut out vents: Do not tuck under edges of crust, brush the edges lightly with water, then drape the top crust over filling, centering your design. Trim the dough, leaving 1/2 inch overhang. Tuck overhang under bottom crust even with the rim, then crimp the edge. Lightly brush egg wash over entire pie and sprinkle with sugar. Chill till firm about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with rack in lowest third of oven. Place pie on parchment lined baking sheet (you will have over spill), and bake until crust is a golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for 85 more minutes till crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling. Transfer to a wire rack and cool before serving.

Goes great with wiped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Pate Brisee (a.k.a. pie crust):


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup cold ice water
**Make sure all of the ingredients are cold before you begin**

Pulse flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor (or whisk together by hand in a bowl). Add butter, and pulse (or quickly cut with a pastry blender or your fingertips) until mixture resembles coarse meal, with some larger pieces remaining. Drizzle 1/4 cup ice water over mixture. Pulse (or mix with a fork) until mixture just begins to hold together. If dough is too dry, add 1/4 cup more, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse (or mix with a fork).

Divide dough in half onto two pieces of plastic wrap. Gather into two balls, wrap loosely in plastic, press into a disk using a rolling pin. Refrigerate till firm, well wrap in plastic, 1 hour or up to 1 day.

Zucchini and Corn Casserole

With the garden overflowing with zucchini and squash, we are trying to find as many different dishes to make with these garden treasures. This is a different approach to regular old squash casserole and can easily be adjusted to fit your needs. For us I added extra black pepper for a little zing :)


1 1/5 pounds small zucchini
One 8 ounce can cream style corn
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 small onion, chopped
1 small bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Paprika to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook zucchini in boiling salted water until tender, about 6 minutes. Drain, cut into chunks, and combine with corn and eggs. Meanwhile, saute onions and bell pepper in butter until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add zucchini and corn mixture; add salt and pepper. Pour mixture into a greased casserole dish. Sprinkle the cheese on top (more if you like), then sprinkle with paprika. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until lightly browned and bubbly.

Serves 4 to 5

Monday, July 30, 2012

Orange Nut Bread

This wonderful recipe is simply amazing. I was blown away by how good it was.
I think Carson is going to add this to his holiday line up when he does his Christmas 
baking! The dates, walnuts, orange rind, and vanilla all come together to complement
each other in an sweet blend of flavors. You will not be able to stop with just one slice
of this bread, so go ahead have another, we won't tell. :)

Orange Nut Bread

2 c Flour
1 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 c Orange juice
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 c Sugar
1 lg Egg, slightly beaten
2 tblsp. Melted butter
3/4 c Chopped Dates 
3/4 c Walnuts, chopped
1 1/2 ts Orange zest (Zest is grated orange rind.)
1 tblsp. Flour 
Sift together into a large bowl the first 5 
ingredients. In a small bowl, combine the juice,vanilla, sugar, egg, and butter; 
gradually add to the flour mixture, stirring well. In that small bowl, combine 
remaining ingredients; stir into the batter. Pour into a greased loaf pan 
(approx. 8 1/2"x4"x3"). Bake in a 350 degree oven about 1 hour or until 
brown. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack in pan for about 10 mins.
Remove from pan and cool completely on rack. Makes 1 loaf -- about 10 servings.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Green Tomato Cake

Green Tomato Cake

When we first saw this recipe we had serious reservations. I mean how can a cake with Green Tomato's be any good? Well let me tell ya it was delicious! I took some to work and everyone raved on how surprisingly good it was. If you have an abundance of Green Tomato's right now, then try this!

Green Tomato Cake


  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil or melted shortening
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 1/2 cups diced green tomatoes
  • coconut (optional)


Preheat oven to 350°. In mixing bowl, beat sugar, vegetable oil or shortening, eggs and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg; slowly beat into egg mixture. Blend well. Stir in pecans, raisins and tomatoes.
Pour into greased 9x13-inch pan. Top with coconut if desired. Bake for one hour, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. .
Serves 12.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Peach Banana Jam

I bought a bunch of fresh peaches at the local farmers market over the weekend and decided to try this wonderful jam recipe. The banana helped to slightly cut down the peach flavor and gave this jam a unique twist. I used the food processor to grind up the peaches, it worked like a charm. This will make a nice batch of Jam for you to store or give to your lucky friends. :)

1 dozen medium size peaches (2 1/2 - 3 pounds peaches)
1 medium size greenish banana, chopped
1 pkg. (1 3/4 ounce size) powdered fruit pectin (Sure Jell)
2 tbsp. lemon juice
5 1/2 cups sugar
Peel, pit and coarsely grind the peaches, and measure 4 cups ground peaches.
In a large pan combine the ground peaches, chopped banana, fruit pectin, and lemon juice, and bring mixture to a full, rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Stir constantly to avoid sticking and burning.
Stir in the sugar, and return the mixture to a full rolling boil.
Boil hard, uncovered, for 1 minute, stirring constantly to avoid sticking and burning.
Remove mixture from heat, and quickly skim off the foam with a metal spoon.
Ladle at once into clean, hot jars, leaving 1/4 headspace.
Wipe jar rims, adjust lids.
Process jars with jam in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes, starting the timer when the water returns to a boil.
Makes about 6 - 1/2 pint jars of peach jam.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mamaw Ruth's Chocolate Gravy

My Mamaw made the best chocolate gravy for us kids. It was always a special treat when we would wake up on Saturday mornings and she would fix it. Now most people have never even heard of chocolate gravy and think eww, but trust me when I say one bite and you will be in love!  An old southern term to describe it is, "It's so good, it will make your tongue slap your brains out".

Chocolate Gravy

2 Tbls. Cocoa
2 Tbls. Flour
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Hot Water
1 Cup Evaporated Milk
1/2 Cup Water.

Mix Flour, Cocoa, and Sugar in large skillet. Over medium high heat, add hot water into skillet and stir until well blended. Add Evaporated milk and remaining 1/2 cup water and cook until mixture boils and thickens. Stir constantly to avoid sticking.  Serve over hot biscuits and top with butter.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Blueberry Jam

We just picked a lot of blueberries at Old Orchard Creek Farms in North Carolina over the 4'th. A great farm owned by two wonderful people. Check them out at . With all the blueberries we decided we would make some Blueberry Jam! This is the first time we have ever made jam and it turned out wonderful! I highly recommend trying this recipe as the added spices give it a unique and wonderful flavor.


  • 8 cups fresh blueberries
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 pouches (3 ounces each) liquid fruit pectin


  • Place blueberries in a food processor; cover and process until blended. Transfer to a stockpot. Stir in the sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, lemon peel and nutmeg. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Remove from the heat; skim off foam. Ladle hot mixture into hot sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-in. head space. Remove air bubbles; wipe rims and adjust lids. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water caner. Yield: 9 half-pints.