Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

This whole thing started with the croutons entirely because I am cheap. I cannot stand to throw food away and, dammit, onion poppy seed hamburger buns come in packages of eight. I just needed two for a sandwich project. So I had six left over, staring at me every time I opened the pantry door. Taunting me to do something with them.

CroutonsSo I made croutons. I actually have a beef with store-bought croutons and I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t make their own. Store-bought croutons are generally hard as rocks and exhibit all the taste of a hardened cube of sand. And since I have become a dedicated package ingredient reader after several alarming revelations about processed foods, I just don’t want any preservatives or other funny stuff in my croutons. Plus I have to tell you if you make these with melted butter rather than olive oil, you will just end up eating them straight out of the bag without any trip to a bowl of salad.

Once I had my croutons, I had to have something to put them on. Talk about the chicken and the egg. Decided on a Chicken Caesar Salad since that’s also a beef of mine. Why are they so bad at restaurants because they’re so good with a homemade dressing and some grilled chicken?

The croutons store in the fridge for a few weeks. They never last that long at my house. I’ve eaten two bags of them already. Without the salad.


Chicken Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons
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Serves: 2

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • BBQ rub
  • Spray oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • Dash hot sauce
  • 1 10-ounce bag romaine lettuce
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat the grill to medium.
  2. Trim the chicken breasts of any fat or cartilage and sprinkle with the BBQ rub. Spray one side of the chicken with oil and grill for 4-5 minutes, oiled side down. Spray the other side, flip and grill for an additional 4 minutes or until the internal temperature is 160 degrees as determined with a digital probe thermometer. Remove from the grill and reserve.
  3. Combine the garlic and parsley in a small bowl. Add the anchovy paste, mustard, lemon juice, mayonnaise and hot sauce. Combine thoroughly and chill the dressing in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Put the romaine lettuce in a large bowl. Cut the chicken into strips or cubes and add to the lettuce along with the dressing. Toss thoroughly. Sprinkle with salad with the Parmesan cheese and serve.

Homemade Croutons
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  • 3-4 cups leftover bread or buns
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil or melted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon oregano

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the bread or buns into cubes and put on a foil lined, rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil or melted butter. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano.
  4. Bake for about 10 minutes or until they are browned to the degree you like.

These croutons will store in a baggie in the fridge for a good two-three weeks.


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Don’t go South of the Border…at least for breakfast

Oh, my goodness. What an epic fail. King Daddy and I tried out the new Taco Bell breakfast menu this morning. You would think years of research, recipe testing and test marketing would mean something. Apparently, it does not.

I am a huge Taco Bell fan. I know it is not entirely real meat in those tacos I love so much and there are preservatives peeking out of every ingredient. But if you have ever been over-served at a bar, you understand the glories of Taco Bell. In fact, there were two college kids in togas sitting at the Taco Bell when we arrived. Enough said.

So I’ll just show you the photo and run through my thoughts.

Clockwise, from upper left, the Cinnabon Delights, Waffle Taco, A.M. Crunchwrap and A.M. Grilled Taco

Clockwise, from upper left, the Cinnabon Delights, Waffle Taco, A.M. Crunchwrap and A.M. Grilled Taco

1. The Cinnabon Delight: First of all, what a stupid name. It looks like, yes I know, a dog turd. The dough was fine because it was deep-fried and who doesn’t like deep-fried dough? But the filling was cloyingly sweet and exhibited a disturbing texture.

2. The Waffle Taco: No, no, no. You were expecting a slightly crunchy exterior, somewhat resembling a taco shell? Overly sweet and soggy, the waffle was filled with a dry crumbling egg product and the sausage with a precious few cheese threads melted across the top. To make matters worse, it is served with “maple syrup.”

3. A.M. Crunchwrap: This was the best of a bad lot. The fried potato cake saved it only because it was potato and fried. Couldn’t they have tucked some taco sauce or salsa in there somewhere?

4. The A.M. Grilled Taco: I had mine with barely detected bacon dotted between the aforementioned dry egg product.

Taco Bell calls this The Next Generation of Breakfast. I call it horrifying. The Taco Breakfast commercials feature real people named Ronald McDonald extolling the virtues of the menu. Liars, liars, pants on fire. Can it, wannabe clownies. And let’s just talk about the calories. The sausage crunchwrap alone has 710 of them!

So as not to make this a complete downer, let me introduce you to the best fast-food breakfast ever presented. It is from my beloved Krystal.

Krystal's breakfastIt is ALL HOME MADE. The eggs are prepared from scratch in whatever way you like them (over medium, please, for me but this was King Daddy’s plate). The grits are creamy and filmed with melted butter (okay, I lied – margarine). The bacon is crisp and the toast is, well, really toast. And the whole thing is 550 calories.

Okay, I’m done. Stick a fork in me. I hate it when I waste calories. This was beyond wasteful.




Filed under bacon, eggs, pork, sweets

Four pepper chicken

Four pepper chicken

Life used to be so sweet and we didn’t even know it then. Before the recession (which one?). Before the newspaper industry took a nosedive. Back when there was such a thing as an expense account. Which is how I got acquainted with a sassy little dish at Merchant’s restaurant in Nashville called Five Pepper Chicken.

Merchant’s was actually in the middle rung of the expense account ladder. At the tippy top was The Wild Boar, sadly no longer with us. Dinner at The Wild Boar took a minimum of four hours and cost, oh, approximately $500 for a party of four – excluding wine (which was never excluded). Of course, I never paid that. Our kindly Uncle Gan Nett took care of the bill. He had deep pockets back in the day. He once rented out the entire property of Blackberry Farm, a very pricy resort in East Tennessee, for a management retreat.  At which, of course, nothing was accomplished but at which we could fish for our own trout in their stocked pond and have them served to us for breakfast. Oh, yes. Those were the days.

Most of the luxury dinners involved job candidates. In the hinterlands, Uncle Gan Nett squeezed every nickel from the poor wretches who toiled in the shabby small-town newsrooms. But should they get a call from the Mother Ship for a job interview, they saw the promised land – complete with an expensive bottle of French wine and jumbo crab claws.

Even with all the filet mignon, lobster tails and truffle-studded mashed potatoes, my favorite expense account meal was the Five Pepper Chicken at Merchant’s.  The chicken was studded with a combination of sweet and fiery peppers and bathed in a luxurious lemon cream sauce. It never occurred to me to ask for the recipe because A. I assumed my expense account joy ride would last forever and B. I thought they would never take it off the menu.

I was wrong on both counts. So I have recreated it here. But it’s not exact. I am missing a pepper and I can’t figure out which one. So here is my four pepper version of Five Pepper Chicken. It’s still utterly delicious and even I can afford to make it.

Four pepper chicken
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Serves: 4

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • BBQ rub
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • ⅓ cup chicken stock
  • 8 ounces heavy cream
  • Juice of one lemon
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Trim the chicken breasts of any fat and season them with the BBQ rub (use your favorite). Heat the vegetable oil on medium high in a large heavy skillet and sauté the chicken breasts on both sides until browned and cooked through (160 degrees internal temperature using a digital probe thermometer). Reserve.
  2. Slice the four peppers into thin strips, removing the seeds and veins. Add a little more oil to the pan and add the peppers. Saute over medium heat until they are tender and beginning to brown. Reserve.
  3. Add the chicken stock to the skillet and boil, reducing it by half. Add the cream and continue to boil until the sauce is reduced by half. Add the lemon juice and Parmesan cheese and mix thoroughly. Add the chicken and peppers back to the pan to warm them through and serve.






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Not Bobby Flay’s chili (but really good)

Not Bobby Flay's ChiliSo back when it was bitter cold (about three days ago), I decided to make chili. What’s more comforting? And I looked up Bobby Flay’s recipe for Red Beef Chili. Something different. Something gourmet. And, as it turned out, something completely impossible for me to accomplish.

I have a short attention span and I realized that a recipe with 20 ingredients was never coming off my stove. Especially because my beloved Publix does not carry a lot of the ingredients he calls for in the recipe. It’s okay – let Bobby Flay be Bobby Flay. He’s a really great chef. But here’s what he wanted me to scour the greater Nashville area to find:

  • Thai bird chile: I know of one place that has them and that’s the Interasian Market. And they are growing on a tree by the check-out stand. I do not believe they are meant for the patrons to pick.
  • Cascabel chile powder: I have never heard of it.
  • Chipotle pepper puree: I can only guess at what this is. There is no recipe within the recipe for it.
  • Pasilla chile powder: No idea.
  • New Mexican chile powder: I would like to travel to New Mexico to find some but that would add another $1,239 to the cost of the ingredients what with the plane ticket and hotel room.

Plus the recipe requires an immersion blender, which I do not have. I would like one. If anyone out there wants to gift me one, I’ll go back and try this again.

However. HOWEVER. I got maybe halfway there. I used the round steak. I used the beer reducing with the beef in the pan (great idea – so many other applications). I used the chiles I could find (poblano and jalapeno). But, the good Lord forgive me, I added beans to the chili. I know, I know.

Part of creating a recipe is taking someone else’s good ideas and manipulating them into your own good idea. This chili is a good idea. King Daddy ate three bowls of it. And, always a good thing, it freezes beautifully.


Not Bobby Flay’s chili (but really good)
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Serves: 6

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 pounds of round steak, cubed
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cumin
  • 1 bottle of dark beer
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, cored, seeds and veins removed and diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, cored, seeds and veins removed and diced
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 package of mild chili seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 15.5-ounce cans kidney beans, undrained

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy Dutch oven over medium high heat.
  3. Salt and pepper the beef chunks and add them to the pot in small batches, browning all sides. Add the cumin and stir it into the beef for one minute. Add the beer and bring it to a boil. Continue boiling until the beer has been reduced to the point that it is only a thick glaze on the meat. Remove the meat and reserve.
  4. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pot and throw in the red onion, poblano pepper and jalapeno pepper. Saute until the onion is beginning to turn brown. Add the beef back to the pot along with the tomato sauce, chili seasoning, salt, chicken stock and kidney beans.
  5. Put the pot in the oven and pot’s lid slightly ajar. Cook for 3-4 hours until the beef is fork tender and easily shreds.


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Life, death and blackberry cobbler

So I am making blackberry cobbler with berries I grew last summer. I wondered all day what was wrong with me. No, that’s a lie. I knew. Gail’s funeral was today. And if you’re Southern and there’s a huge hole in your heart, sometimes you decide you need blackberry cobbler to fill it.

I sucked it up and went through the receiving line just for Les, Gail’s husband. I knew there would be people from the newspaper I did not want to see. And, sure enough, they were uncivilized enough to show up. But I averted my eyes and moved past them except for one woman who truly gave me the hairy eyeball. Seriously? After 14 years? I wanted to say, “And you’re still fat.” But, of course, I didn’t. There were many more people I was glad to see, old colleagues and friends from other walks of life.

Oh, the former governor showed up. That was nice. But he cut in line. Those of us ahead of him said we didn’t mind, but naturally we did. In the end, the Kings lie down with the Pawns. You’d best remember that, governor.

I’m sure many people thought I’d just randomly shown up. They didn’t know that post 2000, Gail and I continued a deep friendship filled with lunches and gossip and various strains of angst on both our parts. She gave me socks when I had cancer surgery (proper socks are more important than you know post surgery) and I returned the favor when she had hers. She was on that list of five – the five people you can count who are truly close friends.

The service was lovely. The death notice asked for donations to Gail’s causes rather than flowers, but nobody pays any attention to that. There were flowers everywhere. And there was the casket. You just never know about that. Sometimes “memorial service” means no casket and sometimes it does. It was jarring to me, thinking of my vibrant, funny friend in that box. The lid was closed. She was elsewhere, of course. Dust to dust. I can’t believe she died during Lent. What a spectacular exit stage left.

The minister was fantastic. He was funny and profound and now I know why Gail and Les love that church so much. Although it was the oddest sanctuary I’d ever seen. Egyptian Revival.  Giant columns in pyramid colors and stained glass palm tree windows. It kind of gave me a headache.

I thought very briefly about snapping a photo. How inappropriate. But Gail would have loved seeing the tableau. She would have written a column about it. Maybe she’s doing that right now.

The rest of the day was a mess and a half and I can’t imagine what Les and Gail’s family is going through. I kind of sat in the garage playing mindless computer games, smoking and drinking wine. So productive. And then I thought, “What would Gail do?” She’d suck it up and cook some comfort food. So I’m making cobbler.

Life goes on. The hole in my heart will eventually be covered with some scar tissue. In the meantime, cobbler.

This is the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond’s, recipe. It’s not the traditional cobbler, but it’s the best I’ve ever had.

Blackberry cobbler




Filed under sweets, Uncategorized

Bringing home the bacon (for an appetizer recipe)

Bacon, Cheese and Fig Jam Palmiers

I think we can all agree that the price of bacon has gone through the roof. A one-pound package costs almost $7 at my beloved Publix. And, yet, I can’t stop buying it. There are a few basics always in my fridge and bacon is one of them.

Being a bacon connoisseur, I have definite opinions on the best bacon. And every bacon isn’t right for every job so I’ll give you the lowdown on my favorite three brands.

  1. Benton’s Bacon: For straight up bacon consumption without the frills, Benton’s is at the top of the list. It’s made by a guy in East Tennessee who got so caught by surprise when the nation’s star chefs discovered it that he now has a five-week waiting list to ship it. It’s thick, meaty and ultra smoky.
  2. Niman Ranch Applewood Smoked Bacon: This is the gold standard for Pig Candy. It’s thick, but not too thick and has apple undertones from the wood smoking.
  3. Oscar Mayer Center Cut Bacon: This is what you want for wrapping and stuffing. It is relatively thin so it cooks up crisp and is perfect for bacon appetizers like bacon-wrapped cocktail weenies or water chestnuts.

And speaking of bacon appetizers, let’s make some bacon, cheese and fig jam pinwheels, shall we? So simple. If you haven’t met frozen puff pastry yet, shake hands and get acquainted. It makes short work of stunning appetizers.

Bacon, cheese and fig jam pinwheels
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  • 1 sheet of puff pastry
  • Fig jam
  • 1½ cups grated Cheddar cheese
  • 10 strips of bacon, cooked until crisp and minced

  1. Defrost the puff pastry and flatten slightly with a rolling pin. Top with a thin layer of fig jam, then the cheese and bacon. Roll tightly and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the puff pastry into ¼-inch rounds and place them on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.


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Gail Kerr (and one of her recipes)

Catherine and Gail at Oyster Easter 2003

Catherine and Gail at Oyster Easter 2003

First, I would just like to say that I hope the Ryman Auditorium is available for Gail Kerr’s funeral because First Presbyterian Church Downtown is not going to hold all the people who will want to attend.  Side note: For those of you who don’t know, Gail was a prominent and beloved columnist for The Tennessean and tonight you can barely get a word in edgewise praising her on Facebook (for which, I am slightly certain, she would be mortified).

Second, I would like to note that this sucks. Gail would concur. The thought had occurred to her that the end might be sooner than later (we talked about it at lunch a few weeks ago). But it was not the game plan.

You will have to indulge me. I am having a glass of wine. Gail would be – and I hope is – doing the same right now. So let’s take a little stroll down Memory Lane.

1997. The Tennessean. I am the assistant managing editor for news and Gail is a team leader (she wrangled a group of 5-6 reporters). The city editor leaves and I promote Gail to city editor. It was the job of her dreams. And she was a dream of a city editor.

Dang it. I just started crying again. Stop it.

So, we were partners in crime. Human Resources would have been appalled. So many things we did not share with them. I won’t go into them here. She took that to the grave and I will, too. But I will share we had a little ritual when someone we didn’t like left the paper. They would resign, just the leave taker, me and her in my office. We would look very sad. They would exit and I would close the door. And then we had this mini-wave using just our fingers flapping toward our palms. And we would laugh and say, “Bye bye.”

We shared many a night at a local bar drinking wine. Probably ill advised. She was bawdy and smart and compassionate. And here’s the most important thing you need to know about Gail Kerr. She was loyal. After I was essentially booted out of The Tennessean, a lot of so-called friends faded away, my perceived power gone. Not Gail. It did not even cross her mind, for which I will be eternally grateful.

Did I mention Gail was a dribbler? It actually was a joke. We’d eat lunch and no matter the food or the utensil, at some point a drop of food would land on her blouse. Each and every time. She finally found those Tide instant wipe-up things and that helped enormously.

So then she got sick. And it never occurred to me that she wouldn’t get well again. The good die young? No, no, no. When we had lunch at the Turnip Truck a few weeks ago, she filled her plate and ate every scrap. I hadn’t seen her do that in two years. I was encouraged and I told her so. She said she wasn’t afraid of dying, just the process. And I told her I felt in my heart that it wasn’t her time yet. I hate to be wrong. So did she.

Gail was also a very good cook. Here’s your Gail tip: On the weekends, she would fire up the grill and cook chicken, sausage, pork chops, whatever. And then store it in the fridge to use later in the week. Smart cookie.

I wish I had a better ending to a story that has a heart-breaking end, particularly for her husband, Les. It’s nice to go on and on talking about Gail’s legacy and her professionalism on Facebook. And it’s all true. But at the end of the day, this day, one of the few people who had a truly nice, selfless and compassionate soul has flown the coop. I am glad I am a religious person, as was she. I know there’s some splatter of pulled pork on her blouse right now. Tide clean-ups not necessary.


Pepper Steak
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Serves: 2

  • 1 ½ pounds round steak
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce,
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne powder to taste
  • 1 green pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into strips
  • Rice

  1. Cut the steak into strips and brown in vegetable oil in two to three batches so the meat has room to brown and form a nice crust. Set aside.
  2. Combine the ketchup, water, bouillon cube, soy sauce, flour and seasonings. Add that to the skillet you browned the meat in and simmer for five minutes. Add the meat back and simmer on low heat for 90 minutes. Add the green pepper and onion while you cook the rice.
  3. Serve the pepper steak over rice.

This is a 1970s Southern Living recipe that never fails. It’s awesome – makes the house smell good, the cook can drink and watch Dancing With the Stars (Go, Donny!) while it’s cooking, it’s cheap and the round steak ends up totally tender.

I have made this for years, as did my mother and sister.



Filed under beef

Steak au Poivre

Steak au Poivre

Or as we say in the South, Steak aw Poov-ree. Or some such.

We are not very good at pronouncing some things. Like instead of Versailles, Kentucky, it’s “Ver-sales.” And Lebanon, Tennessee, is “Leb-nun.” But we slap know how to light things on fire and this recipe features a spectacular flaming pan with cognac in it. And I am giving you this piece of advice right off the bat. If you have a limited height from your stove to your vent, as I do, do not attempt to light this on the stove unless you don’t care a wit about incinerating the microwave oven above it.

You’re so ’50s if you remember this recipe, but if you’ve never heard of it you need to go retro. There are few things easier to make that produce such an elegant finish. We had this for supper Friday night to reward King Daddy for a long week of sawing up a bunch of pine branches and hauling them down the hill to the road after a killer ice storm. I did not participate in that effort. Payback was slightly expensive, but it was also delicious.


Steak au Poivre
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Serves: 2

  • 2 filet mignons, about 1 ½ inches thick
  • Salt
  • 1½ tablespoons coarse black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup cognac
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Special equipment: Long-nosed lighter

  1. Liberally sprinkle the steaks with salt on both sides, then heavily coat with the coarse black pepper.
  2. Melt the butter and olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add the steaks and sauté them until they are well browned on both sides, about four minutes or 135 degrees internal temperature for medium rare.
  3. Remove the steaks to a warm plate and tent with foil to rest for about five minutes.
  4. Drain any excess butter and oil from the pan but do not remove the crispy bits. Turn off the stove and take the pan to a counter protected with a wooden cutting board (unless you have granite counters). Add the cognac and ignite with the long-nosed lighter.
  5. After the flames have disappeared, put the pan back on the stove and add the beef broth. Cook over medium high heat until the broth has reduced by half and then add the cream. Mix thoroughly and serve the sauce over the steaks.





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Corned beef, cabbage and the sushi nazi

Yes, I am well aware that St. Patrick’s Day was Monday. But I have to tell you what I was doing on Monday so you will understand my tardiness.

We move a lot of surplus inventory from the corporate world to the nonprofit world at the Community Resource Center every year. And Monday we were clearing out a three-story law office. What a zoo. The way it works is that we coordinate nonprofits coming to pick up stuff, in this case massive law office furniture. This particular office was in downtown Nashville with no loading zone. So I staggered the five nonprofits at different times.

First one came and went without a hitch. Second one screwed me up entirely by arriving four hours late, at the same time the third agency was arriving. Block entire alley. Much yelling, by me, at late agency. I make them back their truck out. They’re pissed but they want stuff so they wait.

Security guard repeats to me, oh, about 20 times that we can only turn the key in the freight elevator to load and unload. If we turn it at any other time he will take it away from us. This is in a completely vacated building with no other living souls on any of the floors. Then he comes up the passenger elevator and starts yelling at us not to use it to move out furniture because passengers need it. There are no tenants at all – not even one – in this building.

Fortunately the Sushi Nazi is located next to the building. I am warned not to go there for lunch because he is mean. I go anyway.

sam's sushiI know Sam is mean because King Daddy used to eat there and he told me tales. Sam is a one-man-sushi- band and when he’s busy there’s no time for niceties. You’d better know what you want and you’d better bring exact change because Sam can’t make change while he’s making sushi. “You want customer service or food?” he asks.

sam's sushi 2While Sam will tell you where to sit or, in some cases, that you’re not allowed to sit, he does require that only good people come to his establishment. There’s a sign to that effect on the door and another one that warns you that he takes his time making your order. There’s an average wait time of 15 to 30 minutes (I know that because there’s a hand-printed sign for that, too).

So the entire day I was yelled at by a crazy security guard, ran interference between competing nonprofits fighting over conference room chairs and being verbally abused by the Sushi Nazi (he did let me sit down). I did not have time to make the corned beef and cabbage. But here it is in all it’s glory and I have a few tips for you.

Corned Beef and CabbageFirst of all, I don’t cook the corned beef, cabbage and potatoes in one pot. I like to season each part of the dish (that sounds too fancy, but it’s true). And you have to be patient with the corned beef. It’s done when it’s fall-apart tender. Sometimes that takes three hours and sometimes longer. And, last, most people serve corned beef and cabbage with boiled potatoes. I like mashed. More opportunity to incorporate insane amounts of butter and sour cream into the potatoes.

Corned beef
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Serves: 4

  • 1 corned beef with seasoning packet
  • 1 bottle beer (any kind)
  • Beef broth

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Put the corned beef and seasoning packet into a large Dutch oven.
  3. Add the bottle of beer and enough beef broth to almost cover the corned beef.
  4. Put the Dutch oven in the oven with the lid slightly ajar. Cook until the corned beef is fork tender, about 3-4 hours.

Fried cabbage
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Serves: 4

  • 1 small head cabbage
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

  1. Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage, cut the cabbage in half and remove the core.
  2. Slice the cabbage into thin strips.
  3. Melt the butter in a large saute pan. Add the cabbage, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat, continually turning the cabbage as it wilts and browns on the bottom, about 15 minutes.
  4. When the cabbage is partially browned and tender, add the lemon juice and combine.



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Seared scallops

Fear of food. Fear of expensive food ruined in a pan. My daughter-in-law, Tammy, was feeling the fear in January when we had our Mayhew/Harbin/Mayhew family reunion at the cabin. Tammy is now a world traveler, thanks to her job and she’d had scallops at some fancy restaurant in the middle of somewhere I can’t remember. She wanted to make them. But Tammy can’t cook. Bless her heart.

So we go to the Food City looking for scallops. I am very skeptical. Sevierville is not known for it’s seafood, unless you count fried catfish. But the Food City had them and they were the good kind – dry scallops.

A quick lesson on scallops. When you see them in the seafood case, they’re often labeled “wet” and “dry.” You want dry. The wet scallops have been treated with a solution to keep them fresh. That solution will prevent the scallops from browning in the pan and if your scallops don’t brown, then you’ve just blown $18 a pound and you’ll cry.

So we took them home and Tammy became fearful. I told her, “Girl, there is nothing more simple than cooking a scallop. It’s easier than making Bagel Bites in the oven.” Tammy is known for her Bagel Bites. “All you do is get the pan screaming hot, add a mix of butter and vegetable oil (to keep the butter from burning), salt and pepper them, and throw them in. A minute or two a side. That’s it.”

Seared ScallopsOkay. These are not Tammy’s scallops. I did not have the proper photographic equipment to shoot them in the 17-year-old pan at the cabin. But hers looked very much like this.

The only thing I add is a squeeze of lemon juice at the end. Really, if you have a beautiful ingredient like a scallop why muck it up with anything else? It would be like putting Thousand Island Dressing on a lobster tail.

So no recipe. Just the procedure: Dry scallops, butter and oil, salt and pepper, lemon juice. Hot, hot pan.

Smoke alarm. Did I mention you might set off the smoke alarm? Yes, you might.

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