Wednesday, December 30, 2009

my favorite cooking blogs ~

Just a quick post this morning, for fun - I was exploring the world of couscous, which I've never made, and ran across a new foodblog that I immediately fell in love with, and it got me to thinking that maybe I should share my favs here. So, here goes:

1) This one is a combo blog, lots of good food, great photography, cats, and roses. And a great dose of Jesus too. What could be better? :)

2) A fun one to follow, this young girl has a zest for life and photography and baking that will just make you feel young again.

3) My go-to place for great Vietnamese recipes. :)

4) This one has lots of good homey-type recipes. I don't have time to try them all but man, do they look satisfying.

5) Another fun place to hang out and see what warm and comforting goodies she dishes out. I smile just thinking about it.

6) Gotta recommend this one for the wit, great photography, and the recipes that are like, wow! Just found it and went through 3 or 4 pages and loved every single thing I saw. I've tagged her adobo chicken recipe and the coconut shrimp for cooking within the week.

Check them out, and happy cooking, in this Happy New Year season ~

Monday, December 28, 2009

and a Christmas tradition ~

Actually, a Christmas AND Thanksgiving AND Easter dinner tradition...we have these at all of those special holidays - Deviled Eggs. Yum.

This was another request of my daughter's to learn how to make these. It was fun, because she learned that not everything's a 'written-down' recipe. Our Deviled Eggs are made by taste alone, and that's half the fun of making them. The other half is eating them. LOL.


Our Deviled Eggs

Hard-boil and peel as many eggs as you need, we did 8 for 16 servings. Gently slice the peeled eggs in half lengthwise, and scoop out the yolk into a mixing bowl. Place the empty whites on a deviled egg plate with the hole up.

Mash all the yolks well with a fork, and add a couple of large spoons of Miracle Whip (you can use mayonaisse but it's not as good, lol), and a good healthy spoon or so of mustard, either yellow mustard or Dijon - the yellow gives a brighter color but I do love the Dijon. She used yellow for these. Mix that in, and then add dill pickle relish to taste. We like that a lot, so she added about 3 heaping tablespoons. Finely chop as much onion as you like and mix that in. Add a teaspoon or so of sugar, and then salt and pepper to taste. Fill the holes of the whites with a big spoon of the deviled filling, and when all of it's in, sprinkle them all with paprika. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour before serving.


standard Southern fare ~

It's not often that I deep fry anything, just because it's not very healthy and as the years go by, I like fresher flavors than those in deep fried dishes. I did grow up on a lot of deep fried foods, though, and every once in a while, there comes an occasion to make something in this manner - either I get a 'hankering' for it, or my daughter requests it, such as fried squash. She loves that stuff.

She's taken an interest in cooking, lately. I know what's up, she's in college now and when she can afford it, she wants to (eek!) "move out." lol. But she also wants to be able to feed herself good food without spending tons of money on it. So she's wanting to learn to cook from me. We've decided she needs to take care of one supper per week, and she's really excited about it. I got her a cookbook for Christmas that has a lot of basic techniques and recipes, to help her get started.

Here's the first one she did, and I must say, the student outdid the teacher in this case. I've never been good at breaded meats, because for some reason or another, the breading falls off in the grease with me. So when she called me from work saying she wanted to try backstrap, I kind of groaned. lol. But we took our time, and she made some fantastic backstrap, better than I've ever done - we could tear the meat with our fingers, it was so tender. She also learned gravy at the same time, because we like rice and gravy with deep fried breaded meat. Nothing like doubling up on unhealthy, right? ROFL! Seriously, we do this so seldom, there's no guilt involved. Maybe 3 times a year do we cook like this. :)

We didn't weigh any of the meat, so I don't know how to tell you to estimate it, just however much your family will eat, and adjust the amount of eggs and breading accordingly.

Breaded Venison Backstrap

2 packages (approximately 20 pieces) backstrap, thawed
2 cups flour, seasoned as desired (we used salt & pepper, and Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning)
2 or 3 eggs, beaten with a fork
an inch or so of cooking oil, in a cast iron skillet, preferably

Get the oil pretty hot. I think this is the secret to not losing the breading, this and not crowding the meat. We tested ours by sprinkling a little flour in the oil, and when it bubbled and sizzled vigorously, she started cooking the meat, alternating the temperature by turning it down a little after browning the meat on the first side, and turning it back up a bit right before each new batch was added.


As the oil heats, take about 7 or 8 pieces of backstrap and flour them thoroughly, then dip them in the egg, then back in the flour. Your fingers will get really messy so have paper towels handy. Place the meat in the hot oil, and remember to leave space between them, not crowding. Move them around with a slotted spoon or spatula after loading the pan, to help avoid sticking to the bottom. Fry for 5-7 minutes, checking the breading to make sure it's not burning, then flip over and fry the other side. Drain on paper towels.


When you're done, pour out most of the oil, but leave the bottom covered in maybe 1/4 inch, including the browned bits from cooking the meat. Brown a couple tablespoons of flour to desired color (just use some of the flour left from the breading), and then slowly add a cup of milk, stirring with a whisk to blend and avoid lumps. As this cooks and thickens, add more liquid as needed (milk, or even water) to get the desired consistency of gravy. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve over hot rice. Add a salad and you've got a great Southern meal. Well, some might say you need hot cornbread as well, but we skipped that this time. :)

Enjoy supper, then take a walk to work some of this off! LOL