Cool Summer Drinks

June 6, 2013 by  
Filed under Drinks, Juice

These cool summer drinks are non-alcoholic, suitable for adults or children.

Almost Margaritas

1 6 oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 6 oz. can frozen limeade concentrate

I looked on the previous shoot for a long peri...

I looked on the previous shoot for a long period of time yesterday and decided to shoot the same glass of lemonade again with a little fixes: – I placed a lobule of lime on the top of the glass – put a half of lime near in front near the glass – added a little more sugar sirup 😉 Now I’m satisfied, it looks well and tasted very well ) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lime juice
Coarse salt

Combine lemonade and limeade concentrate in blender container. Fill container with ice and add just enough gingerale to process. Blend until smooth.
Dip margarita glass rims in lime juice then in coarse salt. Fill glass 2/3 full with lemon-lime slush and add more gingerale to fill.

Pineapple Mint Julep

For each serving:
Fresh sprigs of mint
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup pineapple juice
½ cup ginger ale

Wash the mint leaves and place in a glass. Crush mint with a spoon. Add sugar and lemon juice. Let stand for a few minutes.
Add pineapple juice, pour over ice in a tall glass. Add ginger ale.
Garnish with a sprig of mint if desired. Enjoy!

Fruit Milk Shakes

In a blender container, combine 2 cups of cold milk and ½ cup of frozen fruit. Blend until smooth. Try any frozen fruit: strawberries, peaches… A little sugar or honey can be added, depending on your taste and the sweetness of the fruit. Garnish with whipped cream if desired.

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Stewed Kumquats and Prunes

June 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Breakfast, Vegetables

Stewed Kumquats and Prunes Recipe
This recipe is from the 1930’s. It was popular in the more southern regions where Kumquats were plentiful. Serve it as a breakfast dish or a side dish. Read more

Tomato Juice Cocktail

June 1, 2013 by  
Filed under Juice, Vegetables

A Caesar sometimes referred to as a Bloody Cae...

This tomato juice cocktail is best served chilled on a hot day.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you have plenty of tomatoes this year, try this wonderfully refreshing and easy tomato juice cocktail. Full of vitamins and flavor… Its like a supercharged tomato juice. This takes a little time to cook and sieve the tomatoes, but it is easy.
Tomato Juice Cocktail

2 quarts tomato juice and pulp made from fresh tomatoes
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 Tablespoon Salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
hot sterile pint or quart jars

Wash and cut up (but do not peel) the desired amount of tomatoes. Boil until tomatoes are soft enough to go through a sieve easily. Put through sieve, then measure. For every 2 quarts of juice and pulp, add the above seasonings (except Worcestershire). Bring to a boil and cook for 5 to 8 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce – 2 teaspoons for every 2 quarts juice. Pour into hot sterile jars and seal. Process immediately for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

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Pickled Watermelon Rind

June 1, 2013 by  
Filed under Pickles

This is the pickle that my family loves the most.  Some cooks color the rind red by adding food coloring to the syrup. This is not necessary or traditional, but it is pretty, especially if cutting the rind into shapes. Back when I had time, I would color some jars red and some jars green, cutting into Christmas shapes for use as garnish at Christmas time. Cutting the rind into shapes takes a lot of time, but is a good activity to keep kids busy. My kids would cut shapes until they got tired using the small cocktail cutters. Then I would cube the rest and throw in all together with the scraps from the shapes. The kids would enjoy finding their shapes when eating the pickles up to a year later.

Seedless watermelon Purchased Feb. 2005 in Atl...

Eat the watermelon then save the white rind for this recipe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rind of a large watermelon (about 4 quarts, prepared)
½ cup salt OR 2 ½ tablespoons slaked lime or pickling lime
3 quarts cold water
1 ½ quarts boiling water
3 cups vinegar
6 cups sugar
3 tablespoons whole allspice
3 tablespoons whole cloves
5 3-inch sticks cinnamon
peel of 1 lemon
hot sterilized jars and lids

  1. Prepare watermelon rind by removing all of the pink meat and the green skin from the rind leaving the white. Using an underripe watermelon is desireable. Cut rind in 1 inch squares and measure. You should have 4 quarts of prepared rind. ( Rind can be cut into shapes using small cutters)
  2. Prepare a brine of the salt and cold water. Pour over the prepared rind. Cover and let stand overnight. If a crisp pickle is desired cover with water and slaked lime instead of salt.
  3. Next morning, drain and rinse well with fresh water.
  4. Cover the rind with fresh water and bring to a boil. Simmer until tender, approximately 10 minutes. (If you used lime, it will still be crisp.) Drain.
  5. Combine boiling water, vinegar, sugar, spices and lemon peel. Bring to a boil. Add the watermelon. Bring to a boil again and boil gently until the rind is clear and transparent, about 45 minutes.
  6. Pour immediately into hot sterilized jars. Seal at once. Makes 4 – 5 pints.

I prefer to use the pickling lime for a really crisp pickle. Be sure to rinse it well until all the salt or lime is washed off the surface. I have made this using oil of cinnamon and oil of cloves, but you have to be very careful, those flavors are intense. Using grated cloves

or cinnamon makes a muddy pickle.

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Baked Papaya Recipe

May 31, 2013 by  
Filed under Vegetables

Baked Papaya Recipe
Baked Papaya has long been popular in the southern parts of Georgia and in Florida where papaya grows like a weed in the back yard. You can find papaya everywhere now. Try this. Read more

Easy Overnight Vegetable Salad

May 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Salads, Vegetables

This makes a lot, great for a large party.

Easy Overnight Vegetable Salad

1 large bunch or carrots
2 heads of cauliflower, separated into flowerettes
1 bunch of broccoli, separated into flowerettes
3 sweet purple onions, thinly sliced
2 cans pitted ripe olives, drained
1 pound or more small fresh mushrooms
5 bottles Italian dressing
few sprigs of fresh dill (optional)

  1. Cook carrots, cauliflower and broccoli until barely tender. Rinse in ice water to stop cooking.
  2. Slice carrots into small thin strips.
  3. Combine all vegetables and dill and pour dressing over all.
  4. Marinate in refrigerator overnight.
  5. Drain and serve on lettuce in a large salad bowl.

Makes 30 to 40 servings.

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Baked Cajun Catfish

May 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Meats, Seafood

This recipe comes from the Mississippi – Louisiana area, but is not spicy hot like you might expect from the Cajun area. Try it! Read more

A Quick and Easy Dinner Menu for a Busy Night: Chicken with Mango Salsa

May 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Meats, Quick and Easy

The Menu:

A Quick and Easy Chicken Dinner

A Quick and Easy Chicken Dinner:Chicken with Mango Salsa, Photo by Mackarus

Chicken with Mango Salsa
Rice Pilaf
Spring Greens with Cherry Tomatoes

Start the rice pilaf first, unless you are using instant it will take longer than the chicken.

Mango Chicken

4 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
garlic salt

Skin and bone chicken, trim off all visible fat.

Lay one chicken breast half on a flat surface lined with plastic wrap.

Place another piece of plastic wrap onto chicken breast.

Pound chicken thin with the flat side of a mallet or the bottom of a bottle by hitting downward onto the chicken then sliding the bottle or mallet outward to the edge. The next blow goes outward in the opposite direction, until the chicken is evenly thin all around. Not a lot of force is needed, most of the thinning is done by the outward slide. This should not take but a minute per chicken breast. If you don’t want to pound the breasts, then just cook them a little longer until done.

Season the chicken breasts with garlic salt.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a sauté pan. Saute the chicken in the butter and oil until cooked. Remove to a warm plate or platter.

Top with mango salsa and serve. I place the chicken on a bed of rice pilaf, then top with the mango salsa.

Mango Salsa

2 cups diced fresh or canned mango pulp
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper (green is ok, but red looks nicer)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 hot chili pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Combine all ingredients, blend well. Allow flavors to blend while chicken cooks.

Serve with a salad of spring greens, cherry tomatoes, and your favorite dressing along side a rice pilaf.

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Pickled Pig’s Feet – My Best Soul Food Recipes

May 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Meats, Pickles

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, in his "Meat...

Yes, you can still buy pigs feet, but you may have to look for them. Ask your butcher. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ok, this recipe is a blast from the past. I used to eat these as a snack with my mother, sitting on the back porch. Pickled Pig’s Feet are a whole lot better than they sound! Remember the old addage that the meat is better next to the bone? Well, pig’s feet are a lot of bone, knuckle and succulent meat! You have to work to get that meat, but boy is it worth it! Try this recipe:

Pickled Pig’s Feet

4 pig’s feet
1 teaspoon whole cloves
4 bay leaves
4 cups white vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 large onion, sliced
1 hot green pepper, whole
Black pepper

1. Take all four feet, clean and scrape ’em till
they’re spotless, flip off the hoofs, and cut between the toes. Put ’em in a pot and cover with salted water. Simmer til the meat is ready to come off the bone, but don’t let it!
2.While they are cooking: mix the cloves, bay leaves, vinegar, sugar, onion, hot pepper and black pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer 20-30 minutes.
3. Add 2 cups of the juice from the foot to the vinegar,
and stir.
4. Put the feet in a jar so they stand if you can,
and pour the vinegar over them. Cover and refrigerate
for 3 days to a week before eatting.
5. The longer they marinate, the more flavor! Enjoy!

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How to Make Incredible Pan Sauces

May 29, 2013 by  
Filed under How To, Meats, Tips

How to Make Incredible Pan Sauces

By: The Reluctant Gourmet

If you want to elevate your cooking skills to a new level and add a whole lot more to your gastronomy repertoire, learn how to make a simple pan sauce. With this technique in your cooking bag of tricks, you can turn a simple pan-fried steak into a mouth-watering meal, a plain boneless chicken breast into a delicious feast, or a modest pork chop into a scrumptious banquet. Ok, maybe I’m stretching a bit but check this out.

Restaurants chefs use this technique all the time. Basically, they cook something in a sauté pan over pretty high heat until it’s done and leaves a bunch of brown caramelize bits of “stuff”in the pan. You look at this “stuff” in the pan and say to yourself, “Now how am I going to clean this ‘stuff’ off the pan? What a mess! I wish I had used a non stick pan.”

English: Fond left in a white enamel pot after...

The fond left in the pan after cooking is the flavor for delicious pan sauces. Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The “stuff” has a name, it’s called “fond” and you want that “fond” stuck to your pan because it is packed with incredible flavors. It’s also easy to remove by adding a little liquid to the pan and using a wooden spoon to dissolve it. This is called deglazing and can be done with wine, brandy, fortified wines, stock, cider, fruit juices or most typically a combination of two. Just be careful if you use wine to remove the pan from the heat so the alcohol doesn’t ignite and blow up in your face. I’ve spoken with chefs who have seen this happen.

The next steps are to continue to cook the liquid in the pan until it is reduced by half and finish by adding several pats of butter to thicken and enhance the flavor of the sauce. If you ever knew how much butter professional chefs use in restaurants to “enhance” flavor, you would be amazed. I sometimes think they make their dishes too rich because I get that uncomfortable “too full” feeling later on, but then again, it’s so good while you’re dining. Now those are just the basics.

To create more complexity to the sauce you’ll want to add some aromatics like garlic or shallots for a subtle but additional layer of flavor. Then you might want to add some additional ingredients such as mushrooms, mustards, chutneys, herbs and/or spices to give even more complexity and flavor.

For more information on making classic and quick pan sauces at home including what kind of pan to use, how much deglazing liquid to use and two example recipes for the same sauce, one classic and the other quick, go to

About the author: G. Stephen Jones, The Reluctant Gourmet, created a web site back in 1997 as a hobby to assist other novice cooks who may find the art of cooking a little daunting. As an ex-Wall Street broker and Stay-at-Home Dad, I try to explore cooking from a different perspective. Visit for more tips, techniques and recipes.

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