Buttermilk Biscuits

This versatile biscuit recipe takes only three ingredients to make.

1/2 cup cold butter
2 1/4 cups self-rising soft wheat flour
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
Self rising soft wheat flour (for rolling on surface)
2 Tbsp. melted butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut 1/2 cup cold butter with a sharp knife or pastry blender into 1/4 inch thick slices. Sprinkle butter slices over 2 1/4 cups flour in a large bowl.  Toss butter with flour. Cut butter into flour with pastry blender until crumbly and mixture resembles small peas. Cover and chill 10 minutes. Add buttermilk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 3 to 4 times, gradually adding additional flour as needed. With floured hands, press or pat dough into a 3/4 inch thick rectangle (about 9 x 5 inches). Sprinkle top of dough with additional flour. Fold dough over onto itself in 3 sections, starting with a 1 short end (fold dough rectangle as if folding a letter size piece of paper. repeat entire process 2 more times, beginning with pressing dough into a 3/4 inch thick rectangle (about 9 x 5 inches).

Press or pat dough into 1/2 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface; cut into 2 x 2 inch squares with a pastry cutter, or cut with a 2 inch round cutter, and place, side by side, on a parchment paper lined or lightly greased jelly roll pan. (dough squares or rounds should touch).

Bake at 450 degrees for 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven; brush with 2 Tbsp. melted butter.

Okra-and-Corn Maque Choux

1/4 lb spicy smoked sausage, diced
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups fresh corn kernels
1 cup sliced fresh okra
1 cup peeled, seeded, and diced tomatoes (1/2 lb.)
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1. Saute sausage in a large skillet over medium high heat about 3 minutes or until browned. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic, saute 5 minutes or until tender.  Add corn, okra, and tomatoes; cook stirring often, 10 minute, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Hot Pepper Sauce

Here in the South this is a staple on just about every table and it's so easy to make. A little bit of this spicy sauce goes a long way. Use it in place of your favorite hot sauce on dishes such as sauteed greens.


1 cup red and green Thai Chile peppers stemmed
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar

Fill 1 (14 oz) glass jar with red and green Thai Chile Peppers, filling to about 1 inch from top of jar. Bring vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until salt and sugar are dissolved (about 2 to 3 minutes). Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Pour hot mixture over peppers in jar. Cover and chill 3 weeks. Store in the refrigerator up to 6 months.

Kitchen note: Chilling for 3 weeks allows the peppers to fire up the vinegar mixture. The longer it sits, the spicer it becomes.

Mexican Grilled Shrimp

If using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them at least 30 minutes before grilling to prevent from catching on fire.

2 lb. unpeeled, large raw shrimp (or you can buy peeled shrimp with tails on)
20 (12-inch skewers)
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
6 garlic cloves, pressed
1 canned chipotle pepper in adobe sauce, minced
2 Tbsp. rum
1 Tbsp. adobe sauce
1 Tbsp. tamarind paste
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Peel Shrimp, leaving tails on; devein, if desired. Thread shrimp onto skewers. Set aside.

Cook brown sugar in a small heavy saucepan over low heat until melted, Add garlic, 2 Tbsp. water, and the next 5 ingredients. Cook 5 minutes or until tamarind paste melts. Remove from heat.

Brush shrimp with olive oil. Grill, uncovered, over medium high heat for 4 to 6 minutes or until shrimp turns pink, turning once,  basting with the tamarind glaze.

Sizzling Flounder

While flounder is a favorite, use any firm fleshed fish such as tilapia, grouper, or catfish. Adjust the cooking time according to the thickness of the fish.

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. paprika
4 (6 oz.) flounder fillets
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup butter
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Place 1 oven rack 5 inches from heat; place a second rack in the middle of oven. Combine Parmesan cheese and paprika.  Season fish with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat butter in a broiler-safe 13 x 9 inch baking dish in oven 8 minutes or until butter is melted and beginning to brown. Place fish in hot butter, skin side up.

Bake at 450 on middle oven rack 10 minutes. Carefully flip fish; baste with pan juices. Sprinkle with lemon juice and Parmesan cheese mixture. Bake 5 more minutes or just until fish flakes with a fork. Remove from oven, increase oven temperature to broil.

Broil fish on oven rack 5 inches from heat 2 to 3 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

Make-Your-Own-Taco bar

Chipotle Turkey Filling

1 teaspoon EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey breast, the average weight of 1 package
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 chipotles in adobe sauce, chopped
1 round tablespoon chili powder
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
salt (to taste)

Pork & Bell Pepper Filling

1 tablespoon EVOO
1 1/3 pounds ground pork
1/2 red  bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
several drops of cayenne pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon allspice
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup water
10 jumbo taco shells, warmed to package direction


1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar or smoked Cheddar, about 1 pound
1 1/3 cups shredded Monterey pepper Jack, about 1 pound
Shredded romaine lettuce, 2 hearts
6 scallions, chopped
Diced red plum tomatoes
Yellow Pico De Gallo (recipe below)
Taco Sauce of any kind

Yellow Pico De Gallo

3 yellow wine ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 small jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Coarse salt to taste

To make Chipotle Turkey filling:

In a medium skillet preheat over medium high heat, add the oil and turkey meat. Brown the meat for 2 to 3 minutes, breaking up any lumps, then add the onions and garlic. Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, Stir in the chipotles in adobo chili powder, and tomato sauce. Add water and season the filing with salt to taste. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until ready to serve.

To make the Pork and Bell Pepper Filling:

In a medium skillet preheat over medium high heat add the oil and pork. Brown the meat for 2 to 3 minutes, breaking up any lumps. Strain off any excess oil. Add the peppers, cumin, cayenne sauce to taste, allspice, and salt and pepper to taste and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add water and reduce the heat to medium low and keep the filling warm.

To assemble the bar, arrange the taco shells next to the stove top. Serve the fillings from the skillets that they are cooked in. Place toppings in small dishes on the opposite side of the stove top. Serve with a side of Red beans and rice or store bought refried beans.

Taco Bites

These tasty morsels are always the first to go. I have to be careful not to make too many because everyone fills up on them.

1 Jar or homemade salsa
2 to 2 1/2 cups Guacamole
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 pound ground chuck
2 tablespoons taco seasonings
1/4 cup water
1 package mini-filo-shells (you can find them in the frozen food section)
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded small (I like to use the white cheddar, but yell is fine or mix)

Leaves from 2 to 3 cilantro sprigs for garnish (optional)

Heat a heavy skillet on medium high heat. Add the oil and swirl it around the pan. Add the ground chuck, breaking the meat into really fine bits with a metal spatula. Brown until the beef starts to form a crust and most of the juices have evaporated.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the taco seasoning over the beef. Add water and cook until all the water has evaporated and the meat starts to sizzle. Keep breaking up the beef into the smallest pieces possible using the metal spatula.

Place a bowl underneath a mesh strainer and pour the beef into the strainer to strain out the excess oil. Discard the oil.

Heat the filo cups according to the package directions. Cool.

Place 1 teaspoon of the beef on the bottom of the filo cups. Spread a teaspoon of the guacamole over the beef as you would icing on a cake. Add 1 teaspoon of the shredded cheese, and top with a touch of salsa. Add one small cilantro leaf on the top for garnish.

Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken

A platter of this crispy, tender, golden brown chicken would be a hit at almost any potluck or picnic. Immersing the chicken pieces in the buttermilk brine for several hours gives the chicken loads of flavor and helps keep the meat moist as it fries.

4 cups Buttermilk
Fine sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons rosemary
2 teaspoons sage
1 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Whole chicken (cut up about 3 1/3 pounds)
Canola oil for deep frying
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup salt

To make the buttermilk brine, in a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and 1/3 cup salt. In a mortar, crush together the oregano, thyme, rosemary and sage with a pestle (or pulse in a spice grinder) until finely ground. Whisk the ground herbs, garlic, and cayenne pepper into the buttermilk mixture. Cute the chicken into 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, 2 wings, and 2 breast halves, reserving the back and giblets for another use. Cut each breast half crosswise to make 4 breast portions, for a total of 10 chicken pieces. Add the butter milk brine, making sure that the chicken is submerged. (If it isn't, transfer everything to a smaller bowl) or plastic zip lock bag. Cover and refrigerate for a least 4 to 6 hours.

Pour oil to a depth of at least 3 inches into a large, heavy saucepan and heat over high heat to 350 degrees on a deep frying thermometer. Set a large wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet and place near the stove. Have ready a second rimmed baking sheet.  While the oil is heating, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Remove half of the chicken from the buttermilk brine, letting the excess brine drip back into the bowl. Add the chicken to the flour mixture and toss to coat evenly, then transfer to the second baking sheet.

When the oil is ready, in batches to avoid crowding, carefully slip the chicken pieces into the hot oil. The temperature will drop, but adjust the heat to keep the oil bubbling steadily at about 325 degrees. Deep fry the chicken pieces, turning them occasionally with tongs, until they are golden brown and show no sign of pink when pierced at the thickest part, about 12 minutes. Using a wire skimmer, transfer the chicken to the rack to drain. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Serve warm.

To make gravy:

After frying the chicken, in a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the cooking oil over medium heat. Whisk in 2 tablespoons flour, simmer for 1 minute, then whisk in 2 cups heated half and half or mild. Bring to a oil, then simmer until thickened about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over rice and your chicken.

Baby Back Ribs

Folks can't eat these tasty ribs without licking their fingers. The double-cooking method first rubbed with pungent spices and slowly baked, then finished outdoors on a hot grill with a zesty glaze.

2 racks (about 5 pounds total) Baby back ribs
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon Smoked Spanish Paprika
1 teaspoon Dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup peach or apricot preserves
2 tablespoons dark molasses
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
Canola oil for grilling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cut each rib rack into 2 or 3 section. Mix together the salt, paprika, oregano, thyme, granulated garlic, onion powder and pepper.  Sprinkle the mixture on both sides of the ribs and rub into the meat.

Arrange the ribs, overlapping slightly if necessary, in a large roasting pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil, place in the oven, cook for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, turn the ribs, and return to the oven. Continue cooking until the ribs are tender and browned, about 30 minute more.

Meanwhile, make the sauce.  In a small sauce pan, stir together the chili sauce, peach preserves, molasses, vinegar, mustard and hot sauces and bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Remove from the heat and set aside.

While the ribs are cooking, prepare a grill for direct heat cooking over medium high heat. Lightly oil the cooking grate.  Brush both sides of the ribs with the sauce. place on the grill, cover, turning once until shiny and glazed, about 3 minutes per side. (Alternatively, increase the oven temperature to 425. Pour off the fat in the roasting pan, then return the ribs to the pan. Brush the ribs with some of the sauce and cook until the ribs are shiny and glazed, about 5 minutes. Turn, brush with more of the sauce, and cook to glaze the other side, about 5 minutes more.

Transfer the ribs to a craving board and let stand for 5 minutes. Cut between the bones into individual ribs, heap on a platter, and serve with any remaining sauce.

Put a spin on it: Pork spareribs are also excellent prepared with the oven barbecue method. They are larger, meatier and a little tougher than baby back ribs, so they will take about 45 minutes of covered baking, another 45 minutes uncovered and a final 15 minutes for the glazing on the grill.

Ruben Sandwiches

2/3 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Ketchup styled chili sauce
2 tablespoon finely chopped bread-and-butter pickles
Cooked corned beef (about 3/4 pound, sliced)
8 slices Rye Bread
8 slices Swiss cheese
1 cup well drained refrigerated sauerkraut
1/2 cup butter (at room temperature)

To make the Russian dressing, in a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, chili sauce, and chopped pickles. Set aside

To make the sandwiches, preheat a griddle or 2 large frying pans over medium heat. Add the corned beef and cook, turning occasionally, just until heated but not browned, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Lay the bread slices on a work surface and spread each slice with 1 tablespoon of the dressing. Trim the slices of Swiss cheese to fit the bread slices, then place 1 cheese slice on each of the 4 bread slices. Top each with one fourth of the corned beef, followed by 1/4 cup of the sauerkraut, and then 1 more slices of cheese. Top with the remaining bread slices, dressing side down. Spread the outside top and bottom of each sandwich with 2 tablespoon of butter.  Place the sandwiches on the griddle and reduce the heat to medium-low. The sandwiches should cook fairly show to allow the bread to grow without burning while the cheese melts, Flip the sandwiches and brown the second sides, about 4 minutes more. Transfer to a cutting board and cut in half.

Philly Cheesesteak

Boneless beef top loin or rib-eye steak
1 1/4 pounds, in one piece
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1 large yellow onion thinly sliced
1 red large seeded and thinly sliced red bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Canola oil for cooking
6 ounces, thinly sliced provolone cheese
4 Crusty French or Italian rolls

Freeze the meat until it is firm but not frozen, about 1 hour. Using a sharp thin bladed knife, cut the meat across the grain into slices 1/4 inch thick.. Using a meat mallet, pound  the meat until it is a uniform 1/8 inch or thinner. Cut into pieces about 3 - 4 inches.

Meanwhile, in a frying pay, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and stir well. Cover, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender, 23-30 minutes. Uncover and stir in the garlic. Cook until the garlic is tender, 2-3 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat the broiler. Heat a large griddle or 2 frying pans over medium high heat until hot. Lightly oil the griddle, or add 1 tablespoon oil to each frying pan and tilt to coat the bottom evenly with the oil. Add the meat slices and cook until browned on the undersides, about 1 minute. Turn the meat slices and divide on the griddle into 4 equal mounds. Top each mound with the equal amount of the Provolone. Cook until the undersides of the mounds are browned and the cheese is beginning to melt, about 1 minute longer.

Meanwhile, place the rolls, split side up, on a baking sheet and toast in the broiler until lightly crisp, about 1 minute. Transfer the rolls to plates. Using a metal spatula, transfer each mound of beef and cheese into the toasted roll bottom. Spoon equal amounts of the onion-pepper mixture onto each mound, place the top of the roll on top and serve at once.

Note: if you want you can add Mozzarella, mild cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheese are all good choices to replace the provolone.

Stuffed Bean Poblano Chiles


  • Preparation
  • medium poblano chiles, halved and seeded
  • (16-ounce) can fat-free refried beans
  • (8.8-ounce) pouch microwaveable cooked long-grain rice (such as Uncle Ben's Original Ready Rice) $
  • 1/2 cup picante sauce $
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) preshredded reduced-fat 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese
  • Chopped fresh cilantro (optional) $
  1. 1. Place chile halves, cut sides up, on a round microwave-safe plate. Cover with wax paper; microwave at HIGH 3 minutes.
  2. 2. While chiles cook, combine beans, rice, and picante sauce in a medium bowl, stirring well. Spoon bean mixture evenly into chile halves. Cover with wax paper; microwave at HIGH 2 minutes. Uncover chiles, sprinkle each half with 2 tablespoons cheese, and microwave at HIGH 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Sprinkle evenly with cilantro, if desired.

Pesto Sauce


2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese


Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/basil-pesto-recipe2.html?oc=linkback

Linguine with Shiitake (or button mushrooms) with Cream Sauce

5 to 6 dried shiitake mushrooms (or button mushrooms)
1 pound uncooked linguine
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup whipping cream

In a small bowl, cover shiitakes with 1 1/2 cup boiling water. Let stand 30 minutes to re- hydrate.  Drain mushrooms, reserving water.  Chopping the mushrooms, and place between paper towels to dry.  If using button mushrooms, slice mushrooms and saute with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Salt to bring out the excess water. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare linguine according to package directions; drain and keep warm

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and coat stirring, 1 minute or until fragrant but not brown.  Carefully add wine and simmer until reduced by half.  Add mushroom water and reduce again by half. When the water level gets low, turn heat down significantly. Add mushrooms and cream; reduce until desired consistency.  Add cooked linguine and toss to coat. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

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