Sunday, January 25, 2015

Field Peas and Grits

Today's post is not a recipe, but instead I am just posting a picture of what I prepared for lunch.  As many of you know, I love grits.  Most people who say they don't like grits, I believe, have never had good grits, cooked with seasonings and butter and a bit of cream. Most people have only had grits that were just dumped in boiling water with no salt or pepper that taste like wallpaper paste.

People will go in an Italian restaurant and pay lots of money for polenta, but then they turn around and say they don't like grits. Go figure?

Anyway, I found a can of Field Peas with Snaps the other day in the grocery store.  I added some bacon grease, a little garlic, and some seasoning to the peas and then I cooked them down to where most of the water/liquid had cooked out.

I then cooked a pot of hominy grits and had a wonderful lunch.  It is rare if I have a meal without meat.  As for the grits, I'm going to give you a quick recipe for making them. I said there would not be a recipe in this post, but I can't help myself. So here goes…

1 cup water
1 cup milk
1 tbs butter
¼ tsp each of salt, pepper, and garlic powder
½ tsp parsley flakes (opt.)
½ cup quick grits (not instant)

Combine the first 5 ingredients on the list in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Next, using a whisk, add your grits to the boiling liquid, stirring briskly so they don't clump up.  Turn down the heat and cook for about another 10 minutes, or until the grits have absorbed all the water and are thick.  Be sure to stir the grits occasionally while they are cooking.  After they're done, I like to let them sit for about 10 mins with the lid on.  Now, serve and enjoy.

For the record, I prefer stone ground hominy grits, as well as stone ground yellow corn grits, but these quick grits are very good, especially if you're in a hurry.  I'd never use instant grits though.

Oh, by the way, check out this book if you're a grits lover.

Glorious Grits: America's Favorite Comfort Food Hardcover - by Susan McEwen McIntosh

Lots of great recipes here for you to try.  I found it for $3.99 at an Ollie's closeout store, if you have one in your area.  Also there are some good prices on some used copies on Amazon.  Click HERE for the listing.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Redneck Prairie Belt Sausage Rice

Steamy, tasty, Prairie Belt Rice
I love one-pot rice dishes, and this has become one of my favorites.  Yes, yes it's about as "low-brow cracker" as you can get.  I'll talk you through this great dish but first let's talk about sausages.

I love sausages of all types, smoked, breakfast, cured, link, pattiy, deer, and whole hog, just to name a few.  One of the bastard cousins of the sausage/hotdog family is the lowly Vienna  Sausage.  The Vienna sausage is not much different in make-up as the hot dog or frankfurter.  Actually in Europe, according to Wikipedia, the Vienna sausage is the length of a hot dog and a bit thinner.

Here in America my Dad and I used to take them with us when we went fishing or hunting.  They have a long shelf life and are very portable.  Daddy pronounced them "Vye-Eena" sausage, or "Vye-Eenie Weenies", as do alot of people in the South.

My favorite
A friend told me her Mom, or someone in her family, made a rice dish with these type of sausages.  The brand she could not remember, but is had a red, blue, and yellow can with a creepy lookin' kid on the label.  I tracked it down and discovered Prairie Belt Smoked Sausage.  These are the best of these type sausages I have had, and they make an excellent rice dish.  I believe Dollar General store carries them at all locations.  You can also use Armour or Libby's Vienna Sausages in a pinch.

No, be prepares for some possible ridicule if you bring these to a dinner party.  They are, however, a great accomp, accom, accompn... side dish for chili.  So, put your Billy Bob teeth in, don your fake mullet, and get that neck all reddened up and let's make Prairie Belt Rice.

2 5-oz cans of Prairie Belt Smoked Sausages
1 cup rice
2 cups water
1/4 tsp salt, pepper, and Tony Chachere's
1/2 tsp dried parsley (optional)

Empty the cans of sausage into a sauce pan on MED/HI, one that has a lid that you can also transfer to the oven (no plastic handles).  Using a wooden spoon, roughly mash up the sausages into bite-size morsels and pieces.  Give them a good mash, this helps flavor the rice later.

With Mustard on it... Mmmm, Hmmm.
Make sure you dump the gelatinous stock in with the sausages.  Bring this little bit of stock up to temp and pour in the two cups of water.  Add your seasonings and bring to a boil and hold for 5 minutes.  Now stir in the rice and let it cook on high, stirring often to prevent sticking or clumping.  Let the rice go for 5 minutes, then cover with a lid and turn down to MED to MED/LO (about 3 or 4).  Now you'll cook the rice covered for about 10 minutes, stirring about every 5 minutes.

The rice should now have absorbed the stock and water.  Give it one more good stir, put the lid back on, and place in a 300° oven for 15 mins.

Once finished cooking, fluff the rice with a fork and let it steam for about 5 minutes with the lid on.  Serve and enjoy.  For an added touch, try a little yellow mustard on it, Oh Law is that ever good.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

It's Winter, It's Time for Meatloaf!!!

Mmmm, tasty Meatloaf!
Well Christmas and New Year's are over, and I have had about as much ham and turkey as I can take. Don't get me wrong I love turkey, and I really love ham, but there comes a time when you have to say no and shift gears.

It's wintertime and there's no better comfort food then meatloaf… simple, glorious, meatloaf.  My Mom used to make some of the best meatloaf I had every tasted, and I have to say, my wife made a meatloaf one time that I still dream about.

My local grocery store has great meatloaf but they put way, way, way too much dang ketchup on top of it.  I saw a recipe not too long ago online, and I thought I would adjust it a bit too suit my tastes and publish my version.

Here you go, this is a big one by the way, it should feed about five or six people to start with, and it'll leave plenty for sandwiches.

Here we go!!!

2 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1 small onion
2 ribs of celery
4 green onions
½ green pepper
5 cloves of garlic
1 tbs salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ tbs Tony Chachere's
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbs Worcestershire Sauce
2 egg (beaten)
1 tsp hot sauce
1½ cup breadcrumbs

¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup ketchup
1 tbs Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp hot sauce
2 tbs Creole mustard
1 tsp Tony Chachere's
½ tsp allspice (opt)
½ tsp black pepper

In a very large bowl, combine the pork and the beef together and mix well.  Rough chop up your small onion, green pepper, green onions, celery, and drop them, and your garlic cloves, into the food processor.  Give them a few good pulses until they're ground up pretty small, about the size of coleslaw.  Add them to your ground pork and beef.

Add your breadcrumbs, two beaten eggs, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and all your herbs and spices.  Now you need to mix the entire contents of the bowl together very well.  Gather the meat and everything up into a big ball and transfer it to a large cake pan you have lined with foil and sprayed the foil with cooking spray.

Make the glaze, by combining all ingredients in a bowl and make sure the brown sugar is dissolved well, stir until the glaze is smooth.  Set aside for now.

Smooth the loaf into a long, cylindrical, mound making sure it's neat and even.  This not only makes for a ice presentation, but helps it to cook evenly.  Put it in a 350º for 20 mins.

After 20 minutes, slide the meatloaf out and spoon the glaze over the top of it.  Spread this out with a spoon or brush until the entire loaf has a thin layer on the top and sides.  Now return the meatloaf to the over for 1 more hour, a thermometer should read 160º.

When it's done, wait 10 mins. after removing it from the oven before you cut it, so the juices won't run out.(Be careful when using your thermometer, once you pierce the outer layer, juices are gonna come oozing out of there and could make it dry.  You can plug the hole with the end of a wooden skewer.)

If you don't have a food processor, try your best to chop these veggies up as small as possible into a fine mince or use a grater.  These really do make this meatloaf recipe.  Be sure and try this, and don't let your meat loaf!