Wednesday, July 23, 2014

You Asked for It!

Recently I posted this beautiful picture (if I must say so myself) on Facebook. Immediately, I got 'likes' and people wanted the recipe. Music to a foodie's ears. To all of my Facebook friends who 'liked' it and asked for a recipe, thank you and here's the recipe.

First of all, this is a recipe for chermoula (no we can't pronounce it either). Chermoula is a sauce of North African origins. After making it, I was reminded of a pesto, but with more oil. According to my resources, it is a marinade, or used to rub onto meats. I tried it on chicken and was impressed, along with my dining companions. I am looking forward to trying it on fish.

Makes 1½ cups.
8 garlic cloves
½ cup parsley sprigs
cup cilantro sprigs
Grated zest of 2 lemons
4 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup olive oil
Combine the garlic, parsley, cilantro, lemon zest, paprika, chili powder, cumin, and salt in a blender or food processor. Puree mixture on low speed until you get a coarse puree; do not process until smooth. With the food processor running, add oil in a thin, steady stream. Blend until a thick paste forms.
Note: You may want to start with less olive oil.  You can always add more.  This mixture will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

How I Used Chermoula

Firstly, I butterflied a chicken. I then rubbed the chicken with salt and pepper. After stirring the chermoula, I used about ½ cup to coat the chicken. I placed the chicken on a bed of sweet potatoes and red onions. You can use any vegetable to wish, Yukon gold or russets work well. I am thinking about trying winter squash next.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Lay the chicken on the vegetables. Cook until the skin has started to brown, turn the oven done to 375°F and cook for another 10 minutes. Finally, turn to 350°F and cook until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160°F. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Traveling South

This summer I had the pleasure of 'traveling south'. As you know, all 'northerners' love to go to the south. Funny, southerners only travel north for a funeral, but that's a blog for a different time.

Mayfield Dairy Cow, the Welcome Sign for Ruby Falls, Chattanooga, TN

My first stop was Huntsville, AL. My friends and I went to dinner at Posey's Restaurant. The food was good and brought back great memories for a displaced southerner, fried chicken, fried fish, pinto beans, and cornbread sans sugar. You get the picture.

Blount Museum in Knoxville, TN
The main draw of Posey's seems to be the buffet. On one of my many visits to the buffet, I noticed an older gentlemen crumbling cornbread onto a plate. Onto which he then poured likker from the pinto beans. He ended up with a few beans, not too many, he was aiming for the likker. He told us that as a child, he would put extra water in the beans, just to make sure there was enough likker for his cornbread.

Nutritionist talk about legumes and grains forming complete proteins. That is, they contain all the essential amino acids in the right proportion to substitute for meat. I am sure this gentlemen knew none of that, but he knew beans and cornbread is a 'darn good' combination. And sometimes, that's all that matters.

Since I also stopped by the Lodge Factory Outlet Store in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, I thought writing about beans and cornbread would be great. I know it's the middle of summer, but I still like beans and cornbread. And besides I break in my new Lodge skillet.

Blount Museum in Knoxville, TN
As I began to think more about this posting, I started to wonder how beans and cornbread came to be. So I googled it. Turns out, there are tons of hits for beans and cornbread. Guess I am not the only one eating them.

Here is my recipe for beans and cornbread. I kept them both simple and original. That is, I am using pork fat.

Pinto Beans

Serves 4 to 6.

1 cup dry pinto beans
2 slices bacon or about 4 ounces smoked meat, pork or turkey
1 hot pepper pod or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper, to taste

1.  Sort beans to remove any rocks and partial beans. Rinse beans in cold water. Place beans in container cover with water to about 2 inches above the beans. Refrigerate overnight.

2. Drain beans and rinse. Add beans to a large pot. Cover with water to about 2 to 3 inches above the beans. Cover and simmer for about 2 hours until beans are tender. Add more water if necessary.



¼ cup bacon fat
1 cup yellow corn meal
½ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup milk
1 large egg


1. Preheat oven to 400F. Place bacon fat in skillet and heat, either on the stove top or in the oven.

2. Combine corn meal, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, milk, and eggs.

3. Add wet ingredients the corn meal mixture. Stir to combine.

4.  Pour hot bacon fat into batter and stir gently. Pour batter into hot skillet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Source: The Pioneer Lady