Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Black Beans & Cornbread #Vegetarian

I was all set to fix supper when Charlie said, "I like black beans and cornbread. Why don't we just have that?"

He so seldom actually asks for a particular food, I naturally agreed.

His was pretty plain, but I gussied mine up a little.

The cornbread is on the bottom. On top is just plain ol' Southwestern seasoned black beans, undrained. Diced fresh tomatoes and the tag end of a head of lettuce on the side, with shredded cheese on top. On mine, I added diced sweet onions gently fried in garlic olive oil and chipotle pepper powder.

Pretty darn good, after all!

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, August 26, 2016

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Tender, slow-cooked pork mixed with a sweet-and-spicy sauce on a toasted bun is a winning combination. Break out your slow cooker for this delicious Texas-style pulled pork recipe. This would be a great recipe to have on hand when you're coming in from a day at the lake or the first day back to school. Just be sure and have a slow cooker liner on hand for easy cleanup!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Eats Shoots -- Yours Truly, Not A Panda

Do you eat shoots? I eat shoots. Some shoots.

Bamboo shoots, for which I do not care, are just what they sound like--shoots of bamboo plants. Fresh bamboo shoots are said to have a mild taste. The milder, the better, as far as I'm concerned. I've had them fresh and I've had them canned, and I like the crunch but not the flavor. 

Bean sprouts, on the other hand, are lovely. I've never met a bean sprout I didn't like. I even have sacks of alfalfa and mung bean seeds in my freezer so I can sprout my own. My only sorrow is that it takes days for sprouts to mature, and when I want them, I want them NOW. Thus do I learn patience. 

I like alfalfa sprouts on sandwiches, but my husband always asks me to "leave the grass off" for him. Water chestnuts, to which I am extremely partial, are nut-like and crunchy.

Linked from Lynn Truss web site.
In case you don't get the reference in the title, EATS, SHOOTS & LEAVES is a  "stickler-tickling punctuation polemic" by Lynn Truss, pictured here. The title demonstrates the importance of correct punctuation, yes? Because that's what a panda does, right? Eats shoots and leaves?

Oh -- and if you want a cheap, legal high sometime, watch Panda! Go Panda! It will Trip. You. Out.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Chicken Fried Steak

Almost as popular as fried chicken, chicken fried steak is a breaded steak cutlet that's skillet-fried and served with a creamy gravy. Ree Drummond's (The Pioneer Woman) chicken fried steak recipe is easy but more importantly, delicious. I couldn't do it justice here, so do yourself a favor and click on through to the recipe right here. Bonus: A recipe for "King of All the Comfort Foods" mashed potatoes is included on this page.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Favorite Brine of Mine

Southern cooks love to brine pork chops and chicken pieces in buttermilk. Brining means to soak meat in a solution to tenderize and add flavor. Since I do not usually have buttermilk, here's my cheat brine: 4 parts milk or 1/2 and 1/2 1 part white vinegar Put meat in zip-top bag and pour brine over. Seal and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. When ready to prepare meat, pat it dry. Bake, fry, barbecue, etc.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Oxtail-less Soup #Vegan

This started out to be mushroom soup, but, as my grandpappy used to say, "There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip."

I had these old, worn-out mushrooms, see. I buy mushrooms, but I don't always cook them right away. If you don't cover your mushrooms tightly, they dry out, which is better than covering them and letting them get all slimy and manky. A little bit dry, they're still good for cooking.

These turned out to be more than a little bit dry. If they were any drier, they'd have been buried in a pyramid with gold and dead cats and stuff.

ANYWAY, I put them in a pot of water and Not Chick'n vegan bouillon. Well, first. Wait a minnit. Here's a picture:
Here's what-all I ended up putting in this puppy:
  • (VERY) dried mushrooms
  • chopped onions
  • coconut oil
  • smoked paprika
  • turmeric
  • water
  • Not Chick'n cubes
  • diced celery
  • chopped parsely
  • barley
  • red wine
  • tomato paste
  • lemon grass
Yeah, that's WAY more ingredients than I usually work with, but I wasn't working, I was fiddling.

Here's what I did:
Heat the oil and fry the onions and spices gently until the onions are translucent and softened and the spices are fragrant. Add the water, mushrooms, celery, and cubes. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Now, I simmered this stuff for, like, hours, but you don't have do, I guess. Add the rest of the ingredients.

All quantities are to taste. We didn't like the mushrooms; they never did soften up and they were just too damn chewy. You might like them. In fact, you can have ours, 'cause we sure didn't eat them.

But the broth tasted EXACTLY like Oxtail Soup! Which we love, but don't eat anymore! I'm pretty sure the dried mushrooms were vital to the overall flavor, so I may try it again with less desiccated specimens.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, August 12, 2016

Fried Chicken

At nearly every church supper and family picnic in the south, you are guaranteed to find a platter of fried chicken. Crispy on the outside and tender on the outside, it's no wonder fried chicken is so popular. If you learn one thing about southern cooking, it's to have a good fried chicken recipe in your repertoire.

Please click this link for the recipe, nutritional information, and video. Just posting the recipe wouldn't do it justice!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

No Actual Bumblebees Were Harmed #Vegan

Well, it depends on how vegan you are, I suppose. Because why? Because this recipe is supposed to have honey in it, and some vegans classify honey as an animal product. But mine didn't have honey in it because I didn't know it was supposed to until later. ~sigh~ A day late and a dollar short, that's me.

ANYWAY, I'm talking about Bumblebee Stew, like we used to get at J. Gumbo's. I thought it was called Bumblebee Stew because it's black and yellow, and I still do, because: Hello? HONEYbees make honey, not BUMBLEbees!

Here's our version, anyway, which IS vegan!
This was: chopped onion browned in olive oil, a can of Southwestern seasoned black beans, corn cut off the cob, a peeled, diced tomato, Jasmine rice, and vegetarian vegetable bouillon. Oh -- and Meatless Griller Strips fake chicken.

If you want a closer copycat recipe, try this one from Nothing if Not Intentional.

You're welcome.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, August 5, 2016

Collard Greens

If you're going to serve any vegetable with your southern meal, give collard greens a try. A vitamin-rich leafy green vegetable similar to kale and spinach, collard greens are a delicious side dish. 

(Click on the link above for nutrition information and reviews.)


1/2 pound sliced bacon, cut crosswise into fourths
3 medium red onions, chopped coarse (about 3 cups)
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
4 pounds collard greens (preferably small leaves), coarse stems and ribs discarded and leaves and thin stems washed well, drained, and chopped coarsely


In a deep heavy kettle cook bacon in 2 batches over moderate heat until crisp and transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but about 3 tablespoons drippings and in drippings remaining in kettle cook onions, stirring occasionally, until browned slightly and softened. Transfer onions with a slotted spoon to a bowl.

To kettle add broth, vinegar, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and about half of bacon, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add about half of collards, tossing until wilted slightly, and add remaining collards, tossing until combined. Simmer collards, covered, 30 minutes. Stir in onions and simmer, covered, 30 minutes more, or until collards are very tender.
Serve collards topped with remaining bacon.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Kinda Feels Like Stealin'...Kinda Like the Feelin'!

If you have an Aldi store nearby, you know what I mean. Here are some of the items/prices from a recent trip: blueberries/.99 bananas/.58 cucumbers/.29 bag a mini sweet peppers/$1.29 Yes, those prices are correct. I'd have to be a thief to get it for less!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Beans and Shrooms #Vegan

We got some bee-you-tee-ful fresh green beans at the farmers' market. I made sure to grab some wee skeeny ones along with the plump ones.

I separate the skinny ones out and pan-roast them in vegan margarine along with portabella mushroom slices.
A sprinkle of vegan uncheese or, if you're vegetarian, real dairy cheese, would also be nice.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes