Category Archives: breakfast

Fried apples and what goes together

Fried ApplesI was making supper the other night – pork chops, dressing and fried apples. And it occurred to me there are certain things that just “go together” – food combinations that I return to again and again.

Some of them could be considered odd or quaint. I have always served King Daddy’s favorite mustard chicken with buttered egg noodles. To do otherwise would be unthinkable. It just wouldn’t be right. On Sloppy Joe night, the Joe must be Manwich and it must lean along side Tater Tots. With ketchup. Ditto the ketchup with fried chicken livers.

Braised short ribs require mashed potatoes. Last night I was provisioning the refrigerator for KD because I am heading to Bunny’s tomorrow to help her unpack at her new home. I made the short ribs and mashed potatoes, but stuck some garlic bread in the oven for another meal. KD actually asked for garlic bread with short ribs. I was horrified. They don’t go together. Turkey sandwiches. Just turkey, mayonnaise, iceberg lettuce, salt and pepper. No cheese. Cheese and turkey don’t go together.

Fish and rice go together. Fish does not go with potatoes or pasta. Flat chicken and green noodles. Only a classic in our home, I’m sure. It’s just breaded chicken breasts and thin spaghetti with pesto. But the chicken breasts must be thin and the noodles must be thin, also. The calorie count is not thin. Corned beef hash with English muffins and blackberry jam. The hash must be from a can. And you must fry it with onions until it is crispy. The jam can be seedless or not. That’s where King Daddy and I part ways. He likes the seeds.

A wedge salad demands blue cheese dressing and bacon. Diet Coke must be present with hamburgers and French fries. Iced tea does not go with hamburgers or French fries. Iced tea does, however, go with chicken salad. I don’t know why.

So what foods “go together” for you? What are your odd and quaint combinations? I hope you disagree with me. It’s always more fun when you do.

 

Fried apples
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Serves: 4
 

Ingredients
  • 4 tart apples, such as Honey Crisp or Granny Smith
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions
  1. Core and cut the apple into wedges. As you cut the apples, put them in a bowl with the lemon juice to keep them from discoloring.
  2. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the apples, sugar and cinnamon. Cook until the apples soften, about 10 minutes.

 

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Pull-Apart Bacon Cheese Bread

Pull-Apart Bacon Cheese BreadThere is just no excuse for this. None at all. Yesterday, I was eating curried tofu and a salad from the Turnip Truck and feeling all virtuous about myself. This morning, I made the pull-apart bacon bread. There is not a single redeeming ingredient in this fantastic bread unless you count the red onion and green pepper. I say let’s count them.

I am not sure why bacon has taken off as the “it” food, but it has. There is bacon everything. For Christmas I got bacon bandages (not bandages made with actual bacon – that would be too gross even for me), bacon coffee mugs, bacon tissues and a cute bacon calendar. I have bacon t-shirts and wall plaques. There are even ridiculous infomercials about bacon devices, such as the contraption you can use to make bacon cups. I plan to try that idea soon using a muffin tin. Maybe I’ll fill them with lettuce and tomato and call it a deconstructed BLT. Or fill them with buttered toasted bread rounds and scrambled eggs and call it a deconstructed breakfast. My head is swimming. So many possibilities.

Seriously, try the bread. It’s a snap to make and you can add or subtract anything you like. Smoked dried tomatoes? Yes, indeed. Spinach, just to add even more healthful properties to the bread. Of course. More bacon? That’s never a bad idea.

Pull-Apart Bacon Cheese Bread
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Serves: 10
 

Ingredients
  • 12 strips of bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup diced red onion
  • ⅓ cup diced green pepper
  • 1 16⅓-ounce can buttermilk biscuits
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • ½ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a sauté pan and fry the onions and peppers until they are soft and beginning to brown.
  3. Cut the biscuits into quarters and put them in a bowl, along with the bacon, onions and peppers.
  4. Add the melted butter and combine thoroughly. Add the cheese.
  5. Put the bread mixture into a greased 9-inch bundt pan. Bake for 30 minutes.

 

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Filed under appetizers, breads, breakfast, cheese, pork

Bacon, Brown Sugar and Honey Buns

Bacon Brown Sugar Honey BunsI apologize. As many of you know, we celebrate Bacon Wednesday every week at CRC World Headquarters, where I work. There are 52 weeks in a year and that requires a lot of imagination coming up with bacon recipes. This may be one of our greatest hits. It combines the salty fatty bacon with a butter, brown sugar and honey glaze and little pillows of crescent roll dough. How bad could that be?

Actually, it’s very very bad in a deliciously good way. The dough comes out like a Krispy Kreme doughnut saturated in butter and brown sugar with crowns of crumbled bacon on the top.

Catherine with honey bunsI am embarrassed to tell you that I took these to a health clinic yesterday.  A health clinic! My colleague, Betsy, and I were visiting the Hope Family Health Clinic in Westmoreland, one of our nonprofit partners. It did not occur to me that they might take a dim view of Bacon, Brown Sugar and Honey Buns that contained a stick of butter and a pound of bacon. If they were offended, they were very gracious and ate every last one of them. And then ran en masse to have their cholesterol checked.

This recipe comes from a food website called Oh, Bite It! As the Queen of Bacon, I wish I could claim it as my own, but I’m happy to steal from the best. Here’s the link.

Bacon, Brown Sugar and Honey Buns
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Serves: 4
 

Ingredients
  • Bacon Brown Sugar Honey Buns
  • 1 stick of melted butter
  • ⅓ cup of packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 12 ounces bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled
  • ½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1 container of Pillsbury Crescent Rounds (8 count) or regular Crescent Roll dough cut into 3-inch rounds

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in the microwave and add the brown sugar and honey, whisking well to thoroughly combine.
  2. Divide the butter/brown sugar/honey mixture between eight cupcake wells. Top with the bacon and pecans, if using. Place one Crescent Round or piece of Crescent dough in each cupcake well.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes or until the rolls are golden and firm. When you unmold the honey buns, some of the topping will remain in the cupcake wells. Just scoop it out and add it back to the top of each bun. As the buns cool, the topping will solidify.

 

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We might starve: Part two

We are getting ready for the Mayhew/Harbin/Mayhew Family Reunion. And, as always, if we do not lay in enough supplies, we might starve. Tammy, my daughter-in-law, has already stockpiled the entire freezer section of the Piggly Wiggly because she is the snack lady and a pox will be upon her if she runs out of Pigs in a Blanket and Stuffed Potato Skins.

We barely made it through the last reunion with the few ingredients we had in the refrigerator

We barely made it through the last reunion with the few ingredients we had in the refrigerator

So I made a little trip to the grocery store just in case Tammy forgets the cheese puffs and Bunny, my mother-in-law, does not produce adequate amounts of ham dip and chicken biscuits.

Just a few things. Let’s see. Bacon-flavored smoked almonds. Protein and pork. Have to have those. Crunchy Cheetos – a nice contrast to the softer cheese puffs my granddaughter prefers. Thirty-two ounces of sour cream to make two “servings” of onion dip. Josh, my stepson, has a habit of sneaking out to the refrigerator in the middle of the night and absconding with the onion dip. I shall leave a container under my bed for safe keeping.

Cheese. Five different kinds of cheese. And crackers. Two kinds. Little Smokies. One must have Little Smokies for that mid-morning pick-me-up. Tammy and I need to keep up our strength for the long drive (two minutes) to the spa for our pedicures. Dark chocolate Reese’s peanut butter cups. Quick energy for making our way out to the porch to read. Bacon. Seriously, how can you survive in the wilderness that is just five miles from Dollywood without bacon?

Oh, and Danish Butter Cookies. Honestly, King Daddy should not be eating Danish Butter Cookies. Well, none of us should. But we will. And dried apricots. Because we want to set a good example for my granddaughter, Puddin’.

Sydney Funnel CakeBy the way, here’s a photo of Puddin’ eating a funnel cake. Because we don’t have enough food in the house, Bunny always takes her and Noah to get funnel cake.  I realize when she’s 13 Puddin’ will hate me for this. But right now Nana is willing to take the risk.

Bunny and SydneyAnd here’s Bunny teaching Puddin’ how to create a massive sugar overload by dumping three pounds of candy sprinkles into canned icing for cupcakes. As I said, we try to set a good example.

I can’t even remember how many reunions there have been, but not a single one of them involved kale or carrot juice. I believe we have our priorities straight. Bless our hearts.

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We might starve

weather map

The Peoples of the South are, of course, petrified. As you can see from this weather map of tomorrow’s weather, there are “minus” signs. The Peoples of the South do not understand. What is a minus? And there are dangerous arrows around Memphis pointing directly in my direction. What are those arrows? I do not know, yet I am very afraid.

So I went to stock up at my beloved Publix and I could see that other Peoples of the South had seen the same map. We understand these life and death situations better than most. A few weeks ago we had flurries. I don’t even want to talk about it.

Storm 1As you can see, there are exactly three buggies at the Publix where there are usually about 180. Yes, that means others sense the impending disaster. And they’re all inside. I think I hear screaming.

Storm 2It’s just as I feared. The Peoples of the South are most fearful of running out of milk and bread during a disaster. The woman next to me fainted when she realized there was no 2 percent left. Fortunately, the paramedics revived her and assured her she could get by on skim until the thaw.Storm 5

Eggs. The symbol of life. And death. Death by starvation. I take the last carton, even though I already have two in my refrigerator. Perhaps I will attempt to whip up a frittata as my frigid hands grasp the cold handle of a cast iron skillet never to be warmed again because the power is now off and my life is ebbing away. Oh, the iron. Or irony.

Storm 4But I must live on for King Daddy, for he would surely starve without me. So I load my buggy with staples such as cornbread mix, chili fixin’s, bacon, lingonberry preserves, Smokehouse Almonds and the latest issue of People magazine. As I said, the Peoples of the South have our priorities straight. As I huddle under a blanket with my dying flashlight, I will at least dimly perceive the brilliance of Kim Kardashian’s make-up tips.

 

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Julie’s Granola

Julie Reinhardt's Granola

Julie Reinhardt will probably reject the notion that she is the perfect person, but I will put forth that theory anyway. Her granola is just the latest example of a life being exceptionally well lived.

Julie ReinhardtJulie is a physician. She is mother to Renee and wife to Len. Len has been renovating their house for – oh, I don’t know – more than a year?  Maybe two? That woman has not uttered a single peep of complaint. She single-handedly resurrected the Women of St. Paul’s from a dry and dusty group that met one Sunday a month to hear speakers to the fun-loving, wine-tasting, appetizer-happy group it is today. She is the Children’s Sermon lady every Sunday at the 8:45 service. She makes 300 turkey and arugula mayonnaise tea sandwiches each and every year for the English Tea. She is a fabulous cook, a witty conversationalist and pretty as a picture, inside and out.

And I always learn a thing or two from Julie. Like how to make my own granola. She made some for the Women of St. Paul’s Bake Sale in July and I bought a bag. It was the perfect combination of not-too-sweet, toasty, full of nuts and seeds – the way I love my granola. So as I parceled out the good stuff a fourth of a cup at a time so as to stretch out the duration of my granola happiness, I asked her for the recipe.

This is super easy to do. Excluding the oats, water, honey and oil, you can adjust it to fit your preferences. More nuts or less, wheat germ or bran, coconut or no coconut, fruit or no fruit. Whatever.

5.0 from 2 reviews

Julie’s Granola
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Ingredients
  • 4 cups uncooked old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup sesame seeds
  • ¾ cup wheat germ or oat bran
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup honey
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • Optional: 1-2 cups dried fruit such as raisins, cranberries, apricots, etc

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees.
  2. Combine the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, sesame seeds, wheat germ and coconut in a large bowl. Sprinkle the water over the dry ingredients, then add the honey and oil.
  3. Wipe out the measuring cup that was used for the oil onto a roasting pan and lightly grease the pan and your hands. Using your hands, combine the honey, oil and dry ingredients until evenly mixed.
  4. Pour the mixture into the roasting pan and bake for 1 hour, 45 minutes or until the granola is golden brown, stirring every 15 minutes.
  5. Cool and add chopped fruit if desired. Store in airtight container.

Notes
You can substitute coconut oil for vegetable oil. And add more or less of any ingredient but the oats, water, honey and oil. If you want to reduce clean-up, line the baking pan with heavy duty foil before you add the granola mixture.

 

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Peppery Pork Biscuits

xx-grape-jelly-guy

I would like to have a discussion about a uniquely Southern preference: the addition of jelly to your sausage biscuit. No, let’s back up. Let’s just start with the sausage biscuit. Back in the 1980s, when I lived in Charlotte, my oldest friend came to visit from Illinois. We were driving down Independence Boulevard when she spotted a sign for sausage biscuits. “What is that?” she asked quizzically. What is that? Really? It never occurred to me that the entire country didn’t know about sausage biscuits. It also didn’t occur to me that the sausage meat for patties isn’t sold everywhere in the U.S. A lot of places prefer links, but that would never do down here because they would make awkward looking sausage biscuits.

My preference for sausage is Tennessee Pride Hot when I’m making sausage biscuits at home. King Daddy likes his sausage spicy. I must admit I don’t make biscuits. Pillsbury Southern-Style Biscuits are better than anything I could produce without the assistance of Mark’s Granny Belle, who thoughtlessly passed away before I had the chance to meet her.

There are really only two condiments in widespread use for sausage biscuits. Plain yellow mustard and grape jelly. It can’t be Grey Poupon or honey mustard. And it can’t be strawberry jam or peach preserves. I don’t know why in either case, but Southerners are very stuck on tradition.

Pork tenderloin biscuitHowever, when one strays away from the sausage biscuit to an adaptation, the rules go out the window. So last night, I made Southern Living’s recipe for Peppery Pork Biscuits. Delicious! They include a recipe for Fig Onion Jam, but as much as I want to be a fig person, I am not. I am, however, a blackberry lime jam person. West Wind Farms, run by my not-so-new favorite boyfriend, Ralph, and his lovely wife, Kimberlie (who is completely not threatened by my adoration of Ralph – I don’t know why) sell these spectacular and unusual jams. They’re made by the Farmer family in Signal Mountain, Tennessee, which just tickles me because they’re farmers and they’re Farmers!

I quite honestly don’t know if sausage biscuits have now swept the country and are served everywhere, or if my friend’s quizzical response to seeing the name on a sign still stands.

But here’s your chance to weigh in. Plain yellow mustard or grape jelly? And no fair saying both. That really is not done.

 

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Bacon mushroom breakfast casserole

Bacon Mushroom Breakfast Casserole

So, here we are on Day 2 of the Mayhew/Harbin/Mayhew Reunion and so far we have not starved. We have gone through one Shepherd’s Pie; one crockpot of corned beef and cabbage with buttered potatoes, rice and rolls; a precious plenty of onion dip and ham dip, shortbread cookies from Scotland (thank you, Tammy!); assorted breakfast muffins; cinnamon rolls, three flavors of cheese in a can (yes!) with Ritz crackers; Kit-Kats; crunchy Cheetos and miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

However, I will proudly say that I think the most delicious offering yet is Noah’s breakfast casserole. Noah joined the rotation of cooks and/or snack providers this year. It is momentous. The last time Noah ascended to a major adult group was when Granddaddy, Mark and I invited him outside to the patio for our annual consumption of oysters on the half shell at Bunny’s Thanksgiving celebration. We did not issue the invitation lightly. Rituals are, well, rituals and the wrong participants can totally screw the whole thing up.

Noah thought for quite awhile about his debut dish at the reunion. I can unequivocally report that the bacon mushroom breakfast casserole was utterly delicious. He has been invited into the close circle of cooks and snack makers. Welcome, Noah.

Bacon Mushroom Breakfast Casserole (Recipe by Noah Mayhew)

1 pound of bacon

1 large onion

1 8-ounce package fresh sliced mushrooms

16 ounces fresh spinach

4 cups of bread, cubed

1 cup shredded pepperjack cheese

1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

8 eggs

1 ½ cups whole milk

½ cup sour cream

Fry the bacon until crisp. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease and sauté the mushrooms  and onions over medium heat until the mushrooms release all their juice and begin to brown. Add the spinach and continue to cook until the spinach is wilted.

Grease a 9-by-13 inch baking dish with butter.  Layer the bread cubes in the dish. Top with the cheeses and mushroom/spinach mixture. Whisk the eggs, milk and sour cream together. Pour over the bread mixture and top with crumbled bacon.

Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes covered. Uncover the dish and bake for another 30 minutes.

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Chicken and waffles

This is definitely one of those Southern things that people don’t “get” until they try it. Chicken and waffles. One of my guiltiest pleasures (besides Velveeta and bacon-wrapped cocktail weenies).

The history of chicken and waffles is a bit murky, but it is definitely a soul food thing.  Since there’s no real established history of the chicken and waffle, I can just run wild here and tell you what I think happened. Obviously, fried chicken started in the South. That’s why they call it Southern fried chicken, isn’t it. And, historically, who makes the best fried chicken? You know this one. African Americans. I can tell you without a doubt that if you ask about the top three fried chicken restaurants in Nashville, they will all be owned and/or staffed by black people. Okay, I’ll just tell you: Swett’s, Prince’s Hot Chicken and Monell’s.

However, I do not believe that post Civil War many black people were making waffles in the South. First off, nobody could afford flour. BUT! What freed slaves were doing in droves was getting the hell out of Dodge and moving North. In the case of chicken and waffles, they were specifically moving to Harlem, which is the epicenter of the Chicken and Waffles Movement (no, there is no such thing but it sounds important, doesn’t it?). There was flour up North, thereby making the likelihood of waffles more possible. If you Google chicken and waffles, the joints in Harlem will always be at the top of the list.

That is how I believe chicken and waffles started. Southern fried chicken + people move to Harlem + flour. There you have it.

But maybe you don’t care about the history of chicken and waffles. Maybe you just want to eat some.

Here’s how I do mine. First of all, I use waffle mix. As you can see, my waffle mix is right next to my beloved Bisquick in the freezer because in the South you do not store dry goods in the pantry. Bugs. No need to elaborate. Bisquick is good for pancakes, but it doesn’t have enough heft to make a waffle. I don’t need to tell you how to use a waffle iron, do I? I didn’t think so.

For the chicken, I used boneless chicken breasts. The traditional chicken and waffles comes with bone-in pieces, but I find it irritating to navigate around the bones and then combine the perfect bite of chicken with waffle. Why make your food aggravating to eat? Isn’t there enough trouble in the world?

So the secret to my fried chicken – boned or not – is this: one 1-ounce package of ranch dressing mix to 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour. You can thank me later.

Then once the chicken is done, make the waffles so that they’re nice and hot. Add the butter (real) and maple syrup. Please, for the love of God, do not buy those cheap name brands (rhymes with Hog Baggin’). Look at the label. If the first ingredient is corn syrup, that is not at all what you want. Don’t make me come after you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Warriors with whisks

 

Kathy Berry glazing more than 300 scones

The English Tea presented by the Women of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church  is the closest thing I know of to a full-scale military assault. Relentless in expectation and precise to a fault. There is no room for cry babies at the English Tea. No room for whiners or laggards. No room for failure. There is a core group of tea sandwich makers and sweets producers who understand this. They are the lieutenants on the battlefield of chicken salad, pimento cheese and mint chocolate mousse cups.

Leslie Fraser - 15 batches mixed by hand

But nothing brings us closer to the precipice of disaster than the scones. They are the first thing our guests are offered. It is an English Tea, for God’s sake. The scones better be good. Truthfully, we’ve been hit and miss over the years and I am ashamed to say that as food chairman. Last year, we figured we’d hit the jackpot when a local baker who makes scones to die for baked them for us. And then disaster struck. She went out of business. Boo hoo. BOO HOO.

So after having several major anxiety attacks and a slight case of hives, I turned to my girls. The generals of the army. The women who run into battle, wooden spoons uplifted and whisks at the ready. One of them knew the baker. She got the recipe. We met at Wanda’s house, the tea chair, and just knocked them out. And they were good. They were more than good. They were great.

Wanda grated orange zest - how does the chair of the tea get the worst job?

We caught up on what is politely referred to as “news” in our church family, which would otherwise be categorized as gossip. Discretion prevents me from revealing the exact topics of “news” discussed, of course. And we debated the merits of various ways to clean a cast-iron skillet. We did not agree, but we are always kinder than we need to be so nobody’s feelings were hurt. And we fed Wanda and Leslie’s carpenter, who stopped by to deliver the bad news to Wanda that her new windows will send her over the fiscal cliff. He asked if he could have one of the “cookies” we were baking. We gave him one. And blessed his heart.

Disaster averted. Good time had by all. Scones now safely in the freezer until a week from Saturday. Oh, I suppose you now think I’m going to give you the recipe for the scones. No, I am not. Perhaps, with the baker’s permission, we will put it in a St. Paul’s Tea Cookbook at some point, relieve you of $25 and buy new kneelers for the sanctuary. Warriors for God. With whisks.

 

 

 

 

 

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