Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Start Your Ovens contest winner

I got some help from my youngest son this afternoon to draw for the winner in the cookbook giveaway. Shelia Bates won a copy of Start Your Ovens, Cooking the Way it Ought’a Be. It’s the official cookbook of Bristol Motor Speedway, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. A disclaimer on the winner: I worked with Shelia for many years when I was a reporter and editor at The Coalfield Progress in Norton, Va. When I read the slip of paper my son pulled, my husband asked if it was a fix. Ha! You can’t argue with a 10-year-old who pulled the entries blind from a cereal bowl. Shelia will receive a copy of the cookbook (which is dynamite, by the way.) Many thanks to Shelia and to all who entered the contest. I appreciate you reading the food blog and offering your ideas. Anyone who wants to order their own copy of the cookbook should contact the Junior League of Bristol TN/VA by e-mail at info@jlbristol.org or by mail at Junior League of Bristol, Tn/Va, P.O. Box 1599, Bristol, VA 24203-1599 If purchased from the Junior League of Bristol, one dollar from the sale of each book goes to Speedway Children’s Charities, a non-profit group that funds all kinds of important needs in the region. For a full list of the recipes I featured, click here.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Supreme Ham Sandwiches

If you love to grill out and want a new twist on an old favorite, this is a fun recipe from "Start Your Ovens: Cooking the Way it Ought'a Be," the official cookbook of the Bristol Motor Speedway.

The book suggests packing these sandwiches in a cooler and warming them over hot coals on race day. What a fun way to grill a meal at the track or in the backyard! I love the addition of poppyseeds to the sauce. My mom would toss poppyseeds in with buttered noodles -- yum!

Supreme Ham Sandwiches

Mustard poppy seed sauce
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 ½ teaspoons poppy seeds
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

For the sauce: Combine butter, onion, prepared mustard, poppy seeds and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl and mix well.

Sandwiches

8 large hamburger buns, split
12 ounces shaved or sliced cooked ham
8 slices Swiss cheese

For the sandwiches: Spread the sauce on the cut sides of the buns. Layer the bun bottoms with the ham and cheese. Top with the bun tops. Wrap each sandwich individually in foil. Heat at 400 degrees foe 10 minutes. Serve hot.

May prepare the sandwiches several hours in advance and store in the refrigerator. Heat just before serving. Yield: 8 sandwiches.

Friday, August 26, 2011

It's Bristol, baby!

Things are a bit crazy here in Bristol, in anticpation of the night race at Bristol Motor Speedway and in celebration of the track's 50th anniversary. You tend to notice an extra 100,000 people milling around.

We recently went to the track for a monster truck rally and I wanted to share this photo:


I may post other photos of the trucks, crowd, etc., but I thought this pic epitomized the monster truck rally -- excitement, earplugs and all. Happy Friday!

Easy peasy: Favorite pea salad

I made pea salad for my husband’s family reunion earlier this month. I’ll not tell you that the children line up for it, but the adults sure do. This recipe is modified from one that my former mother-in-law has made for years at Christmas. She uses the tiny Le Seur brand peas (which are much better than any other canned pea). I started using frozen peas, thawed, more recently and I love the fresh taste it gives this recipe.

I used turkey bacon in this recipe because it’s what I had on hand. Whenever I make this dish, I always think it should be called “breakfast salad” since it has both bacon and eggs. The creaminess of the mayonnaise and tang from the vinegar make it delicious.

Here’s what you need:

1 pound green peas, thawed
¼ cup diced onion
4 ounce jar diced pimento
6-8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (I used turkey bacon)
3 hardboiled eggs, chopped
½ cup mayonnaise or plain yogurt
2 tablespoons sugar
2-3 tablespoons white vinegar
Salt and black pepper

Thaw the peas in a large bowl, then drain off any excess liquid. Add the onion, pimento, cooked bacon, chopped eggs, then the dressing ingredients: mayonnaise or yogurt, sugar, vinegar and salt and pepper. Blend all to combine, but be gentle so you don’t smash the peas. Refrigerate until serving. This recipe will make about 10-12 servings.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cake and candles

Our family will gather in Wise, Va., later today to enjoy some fun and fellowship for two birthdays; mine is today, my father-in-law's is this week. As much as I love to cook, I don't expect to do any today. My wonderful mother-in-law is making lasagna and salad for the feast. What a great gift -- time spent with family and someone else plans and makes the meal!

Happy Sunday, all. And for the record, my cake would need 39 more candles! Talk about a fire hazard...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Best ever: London broil you will love

Nearly a year ago I posted a recipe for this delectable marinade – the ultimate go-to marinade recipe my family has used for more than 40 years. It is named for my brother’s godfather and a longtime friend of my parents. Don Farris came up with this marinade after years of dining out with my parents and having a similar beef dish in a Norfolk restaurant. He would order the dish then experiment at home.

I love to use this marinade on chicken, but it was designed for a London broil cut of beef. That is a tougher, muscular cut that benefits from a prolonged bath in the marinade; three days is ideal. My youngest son claimed he didn’t like beef or steak (what?) until he tried this version.

The original recipe is:

Don Farris marinade

1/3 cup corn oil
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons brown sugar

Blend all ingredients and use it to marinate a London broil beef roast for about three days. Grill the meat over direct heat. Cook about 7 minutes per side, for medium rare. Slice thinly on the bias.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Blue crabs in Bristol?

Greene’s Seafood in Bristol
is advertising live blue crabs for sale, $35 a dozen. Many years ago, I bought a half-bushel of crabs in Norfolk and drove them back to Wise County for a crab feast in the mountains. It was a fun event and memorable for everyone – many folks had never eaten blue crabs or seen the process to cook and pick them.

The Greene’s Seafood offer is intriguing enough that I will stop in soon, at least to check out the crabs. The thought of a crab cookin’ for Labor Day makes me happy.

I have had local friends ask me how my dad cooks crabs. He is as much of an expert as you will find, with about 45 years of experience. For about 15 years, he and my mother have lived on the Lafayette River in Norfolk, where they can put about a dozen pots off their dock.

My dad always puts the caught crabs in a large bucket, then covers them with fresh water. Crabs are muddy scavengers and it helps to get them as clean as possible before cooking.


He steams them with cider vinegar, salt, black pepper, a tiny bit of red pepper and a liberal sprinkling of Old Bay. Taste it once, love it forever is the Old Bay slogan -- and anyone who has tried this delicious spice blends knows that is true!

When I was a child, my dad would cook the crabs on the stovetop indoors. Today he cooks them outdoors, using a gas-powered trivet. Less mess and less heat indoors.

The more I write and think on this, the more eager I am to get down to Greene’s and take a look. Happy cooking, friends!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Start Your Ovens: The Best Carrot Cake

I made this cake last month when my parents, brother and niece and nephew came to Bristol for a visit. It was a huge hit, especially with the kids. This recipe is from "Start Your Ovens: Cooking the Way it Ought'a Be," the official cookbook of the Bristol Motor Speedway.

The Best Carrot Cake

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups sugar
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
4 eggs
3 cups grated carrots
½ cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg into a bowl and mix well. Combine the sugar, oil and eggs in a bowl and mix well. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and stir until blended. Stir in the carrots and nuts.

Spoon the batter into two greased and floured 10-inch cake pans or three greased and floured 8-inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the layers test done. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

I used a Bundt pan and cooked the cake for about 40-45 minutes.

Cream cheese frosting

3 cups powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
Evaporated milk

Combine the powdered sugar and cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Beat until creamy, scraping the bowl occasionally. Beat in enough evaporated milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, to achieve spreading consistency. Spread the frosting between the layers and over the top and sides of the cake. Yield: 10-12 servings.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Start Your Ovens: Bristol Barbecue

The combination of vinegar, pepper sauce, garlic and onion will intoxicate you. This recipe is ridiculously easy and will feed a crowd – you will easily get a dozen sandwiches from this recipe. It’s no wonder this is a favorite from “Start Your Ovens: Cooking the Way it Ought’a Be” the official cookbook of Bristol Motor Speedway. The track is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2011.

If you are a barbecue fan, mix up this recipe and let the slow cooker do the work.

Bristol Slow-Cooker Barbecue

2 small pork tenderloins, trimmed
¾ cup white vinegar
½ cup ketchup
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika

Cut the pork into 2=3 inch pieces, and then place in the slow cooker. Combine all the barbecue ingredients, mixing well; then pour over pork.


Mix all ingredients well, cover and cook on high for 3 hours.


Reduce the heat to low and cook for 3-4 hours longer. Shred the meat.

To serve, mound the barbecue onto soft sandwich rolls using a slotted spoon. Top with coleslaw if desired. Also good as an entrée served with potatoes, rice or baked beans. Serves 10-12.


Yes, this sandwich is a sloppy mess, especially if you add coleslaw (which I love!) Just use a paper plate and toss it when you are done.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hearty Pork Chili, even in summer

I used the best of several different recipe ideas to come up with this creation. It uses white navy beans that my youngest son loves, along with green chilies for some heat. I got a creamier, thicker finish (without adding cream or milk) by removing and mashing some of the beans, then returning them to the pot.

I know the weather is hot – maybe too hot for some people to try this recipe in summer. But I love that you can put a meal like this together without heating up the kitchen. Any season, this one is a winner.

Pork chili

1 pound boneless pork chops
1 medium onion, diced
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup dried navy beans; soak them overnight, then rinse and drain before using
½ cup white wine
2 cups corn
4 ounce can green chilies
Salt and pepper
Optional: Shredded cheese to top the bowls

In a medium skillet, heat a teaspoon of oil then brown the pork chops on all sides. I added the onions and garlic and browned all slightly. Season all with salt and pepper.


Once the dried beans have soaked overnight, drain and rinse them.


Then add beans to a 6 quart slow cooker. Add the browned pork chops, onions and garlic to the slow cooker. Return the skillet to the heat, then add the white wine to deglaze the pan. Pour the liquid into the slow cooker.


Cook on low for 4-5 hours. Remove the pork to a plate to cool slightly. Also remove about a cup of cooked beans and place in a medium bowl. Mash the beans with a potato masher or the back of a fork. Return the mashed beans to the slow cooker and add the corn.


Shred the pork into bite-sized pieces and return it to the pot. Add the green chilies and mix well. Some recipes say to drain the chilies, but I never bother. The spicy vinegar adds to the flavor.


You can use a 14 ounce can of corn, drained, or 2 cups of fresh corn in this dish. I used a freebie from my mother-in-law – a bag of corn from their garden that had been put up on my birthday last year. Kinda ironic, don’t you think?


Let the soup cook another 2-3 hours until the beans are soft and all the flavors have melded. Put a scoop of rice in each bowl, top with a ladleful or two of soup and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese. So yummy! This recipe makes about 8 servings.

Here's the step-by-step

Pork chili

1 pound boneless pork chops
1 medium onion, diced
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup dried navy beans; soak them overnight, then rinse and drain before using
½ cup white wine
2 cups corn
4 ounce can green chilies
Salt and pepper
Optional: Shredded cheese to top the bowls

In a medium skillet, heat a teaspoon of oil then brown the pork chops on all sides. I added the onions and garlic and browned all slightly. Once the dried beans have soaked overnight, drain and rinse them. Add beans to a 6 quart slow cooker. Add the browned pork chops, onions and garlic to the slow cooker. Return the skillet to the heat, then add the white wine to deglaze the pan. Pour the liquid into the slow cooker.

Cook on low for 4-5 hours. Remove the pork to a plate to cool slightly. Also remove about a cup of cooked beans and place in a medium bowl. Mash with a potato masher or the back of a fork. Return the mashed beans to the slow cooker and add the corn. Shred the pork into bite-sized pieces and return it to the pot. Add the green chilies and mix well. Some recipes say to drain the chilies, but I never bother. The spicy vinegar adds to the flavor.

Let the soup cook another 2-3 hours until the beans are soft and all the flavors have melded. Put a scoop of cooked rice in each bowl, top with a ladleful or two of soup and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese. 8 servings.