Warm Chicken Salad

Chicken and Rice SaladDelicious option for that leftover chicken and rice you had last night. A side dish but can be your main dish especially for that week-end brunch. I love it hot or cold (refrigerated after baking). Was this the rice dish that made such a hit the fall of ’69? Just seems like yesterday the family was gathering for the first born. Thankfully for me <smile> he looks a lot younger than he is. If you need a make ahead dish this is perfect! If you just love the combination of chicken and rice you can’t pass this up!

 

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Blackberry Cobbler With Port

Summer Evening Dessert-Petite Sirah Drenched

Port Wine Blackberry Cobbler

Perfect summer date-night dessert! Not much prep time ’cause who wants to be in the kitchen on a date-night? And by the way, this is not a dessert for the youngsters. Pick your favorite Port and if you just don’t have a clue the Portuguese Ports easily available are good. Our family travels to Paso Robles frequently and many of the vineyards have wonderful port. Someone I knew liked Petite Sirah, who was that? hmm

Port Wine Blackberry Cobbler

 

 

 

 

 

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Simple Custard Bread Pudding

Custard Bread PuddingWhen I first came across this recipe I knew it was Portuguese in origin. Or at least from my grandmother’s recipe collection. Now that I’ve made this wonderful pudding I’m clueless who to thank. Here is an old fashioned custard bread pudding that isn’t only simple but requires no sauce or additional adornment. Serve this as a dessert or as part of your buffet brunch. It works as a side or lite main dish.

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General Tso’s Chicken to Pork Chops

General Tso's Pork ChopsFrom Cold Cucumber Soup to General Tso’s Pork Chops. It may seem my recipes are random but each has a special meaning for me. Almost all have been cooked or shared by family or friends. I might tweak the recipe a bit to bring it up to date or just provide an easier approach with the same delicious results. My mother has a delightful friend/cook who can create these wonderfully Asian inspired dishes, Adobo Chicken WingsTinolang Manok. Yes, even the Japanese Eggplant Appetizer but without the marinara, of course. That was my idea. But what does this dish have to do with all that! Well, I fell upon this history of General Tso’s Chicken. The dish sounded so good! I knew I had just about all the ingredients to prepare this dish especially now with this new friend of mother’s and mine … But no chicken. I had these pork chops and thought, this will work. Oh yes, how clever. Not really … It’s been done already but not with my recipe anyway. Enjoy this meat dish over rice for just an amazing meal.

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Easy Cucumber Soup

Cold Cucumber Soup

Really refreshing! The perfect summer soup. Serve in your fine china with your table draped in linen for an elegant presentation because this soup deserves it. Give yourself time for this soup for the best flavor. It’s not the prep but rather the hours needed for the flavors to blend while refrigerated. And yes, it does become soupier. My photos just didn’t give this what I’d hoped. And of course, I was tasting this all along until I didn’t have enough soup to photograph. It’s that light, delicious and so low calorie. Add a sprinkle of paprika too if you like. Aubree and Austin, my grandchildren, love cucumbers sprinkled with paprika. So, I added a bit as a garnish … the red shadows seen on the far dish. Don’t forget to refrigerate those sterling soup spoons. Enjoy!

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Deep Pit How To

Deep Pit Barbecue

Dan and David have done it again. My brother, Dan, has been cooking Deep Pit Style for decades. It’s always for a special event where there’s going to be a big crowd. It began with the Willitts’ Pump Company Christmas Celebration. Now he’s asked to do this for wedding receptions, picnics and school or church functions. Even a rodeo! David, his youngest, has taken these photos, and provided much help too. David’s our family’s official chef.

Deep Pit BarbecueDan’s going to tell us about the materials to use and how to use them to achieve the right temperature and cook to perfection!

It’s that time!  I have the full instructions. This is pretty foolproof. But Dan has some funny stories about first timers. Like a friend who had hoped for succulent pit style turkeys for a Thanksgiving celebration. The pit hadn’t been successfully sealed and the fire kept smoldering. When the pit cover was opened hours later only ash was left. It’s important to bring the dirt right to the very outside edges of the metal pit, the complete depth, as seen here. Otherwise air will leak into the interior and the fire will continue.

Just to clarify, we are cooking with hot ash/coals and with the heated surrounding earth. Not flame. With this said know the initial fire is key. In this 30″ diameter by 40″ deep pit Dan makes a hot oakwood or other hardwood fire and maintains this hot flaming fire for 8 to 10 hours, usually starting at 6am. Once this fire is well underway the pit is filled to the top with hardwood adding more wood as the day progresses. (Do not use pinewood.) After the 8-10 hours of burning, the coals are ready for the meat. (During the fire preparation have your burlap bags soaking in a large bucket of water for the same amount of hours.) Dan places (drops it carefully) a 26″ diameter metal plate over the ash … Lowers the wrapped meat with a hook (wrapping discussed later) onto the metal plate … Places a lid over the top of the metal pit to totally cover … And covers the lid and immediate surrounding area with dirt, packing it tightly to keep air out. Follow this packing with a good sprinkle of water. The fire and burning coals inside will eventually go out. The meat can stay in this underground oven 24 hours without overcooking or becoming cold. If the meat is placed into the pit at say 5pm it can be removed the following day anywhere from 10am to 6pm.

 

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Pineapple Cream Filled Cake

Angel Food or Even Pound Cake

Pineapple Cream Angel Food CakeCharlotte’s Pineapple Cream Filling Angel Cake … right out of my mother’s collection of recipes. I know Charlotte. Mother and she were friends for about 75 years. And this recipe is still making the rounds … I’ve seen similar recipes in my computer search. Though the differences of yesterday’s recipe compared to today’s is pretty significant. From whipping cream to Cool Whip and cooked pudding to instant pudding mix. I’m not sure I’m a fan of either of these time savers. I’ve modified Charlotte’s recipe to make this a little simpler but the beauty of this crowd pleaser remains.

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Easy Side: Macaroni and Tomatoes

Macaroni and TomatoesEvery Summer for at least my teenage years my mother’s garden had an over abundance of tomatoes. We definitely were organic in those days because I remember the tomato worms as we called them. It was my job to pull them off the tomato vines. I still squirm to this day just thinking about them. Tomatoes were definitely one fruit my mother canned every summer. She peeled and cooked them for a bit before placing the fruit into quart jars. These canned tomatoes made the best spaghetti sauce. It was also a tradition to make macaroni and tomatoes on the day of the canning, mainly for mother and me. If you’re thinking Italian, this is definitely not an Italian recipe. I’m not sure of the origin. Mother would simply add elbow macaroni to the tomatoes and cook until the macaroni was tender, usually overcooked. Then came sugar, lots of it. I loved it! No this is not exactly that recipe!

This is a great side dish to add to your summer barbecue. Light and tasty!

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