Category Archives: pork

Grilled pimento cheese spread and bacon sandwiches

Grilled Pimento Cheese Spread and Bacon Sandwiches. Please note the oozing cheese and red pepper garnish for health reasons.

As you all know, the Chicks at the Community Resource Center celebrate every Wednesday with bacon. And we had a truly revolutionary Bacon Wednesday a few weeks ago. Betsy made her grandmother’s pimento cheese spread. We used it on bacon and pimento cheese sandwiches. I am just going to say that we were happy nobody else was here because there was no sharing.

I have Googled this extensively and there is nothing like this recipe on the Internet so this will be a world premiere of Callie Everett’s pimento cheese spread. I will warn you that Betsy’s recipe makes about two gallons of the stuff. You can refrigerate it and use it again. In fact, Betsy had it on crackers this morning, about three weeks after she made it. So the shelf life seems to be, like, forever. It contains Velveeta, after all.

A word about my beloved Velveeta. Yes, I know it’s not real cheese. But I don’t care one bit. Any of you out there wanting to hate on my Velveeta just leave it alone. If you don’t like it, don’t eat it. More for me.

By the way, you will question the use of dill pickle juice. Don’t. It makes the recipe.

Pimento Cheese Spread

1 pound Velveeta

1 16-ounce jar mayonnaise

1 small jar pimentos

Dill pickle juice to taste

Melt the Velveeta in the microwave just until its softened. Fold in the mayonnaise and pickle juice to taste. Spoon in the pimentos, adding a little bit of the pimento juice. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

 Recipe by Callie Everett, Betsy Everett’s grandmother

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Filed under cheese, pork

Chopped

Despite a language barrier, Danielle and I work well as a team using hand signals

We had an hour, but it is 20 minutes now until judging and the chicken is raw. And then there is the peanut butter issue.

In our basket at the Char-Broil version of Chopped are the mystery ingredients: a whole chicken, a fennel bulb, a stick of butter, bacon, a wedge of blue cheese, a pineapple and a horrifying jar of chunky peanut butter. We have to use all of them in our dish. The Char-Broil people, who have kindly invited the All-Star Bloggers to a resort outside Atlanta, have thoughtfully provided us with a nifty “kitchen” consisting of two disposable cutting boards, a half sheet pan, a moderately sharp knife, and four miniscule bowls.

Fear the Diva

But I have the ace card in my corner. My teammate is Danielle Dimovski, the reigning world pork champion better known as Diva Q. I am totally set here. This is going to be a walk in the park. “I know exactly what we’re going to do,” says Danielle as she hacks away at the pineapple. “We’re going to make beer-can chicken but we’re going to use the pineapple as the beer can. We can totally do this in an hour.” I have a slightly difficult time understanding her. Danielle is from Canada and she uses words like “aboat” (about) and “hoose” (house). Then again I use words like “haid” (head) and “bidness” (business). We have a slight language barrier, but we’ll work through that.

There are screaming hot Char-Broil TRU-Infrared grills set up around the Lake Pavilion at Serenbe, an insanely gorgeous planned community. Danielle slams that chicken onto the pineapple spike, rubs on some spices and citrus juice (the bloggers have a common “pantry” of additional ingredients we can use),  slaps the whole thing authoritatively on the grill and slams the lid shut.

If you’ve ever watched Chopped, the Food Network Show where four chefs are given mystery baskets of insanely inappropriate ingredients, you will understand that Danielle and I had to take a few minutes to ponder the butter, blue cheese, bacon, fennel and peanut butter.

Bacon? Obviously, no problem. We cook it on a grill pan. Fennel? Shave it and briefly kiss it with some grill marks. Alrighty then. We’re left with the butter, blue cheese and peanut butter. Yummy, yum, yum.

I am slightly reticent to offer suggestions to the world pork champion, but I wonder if we can’t use the peanut butter with some barbecue sauce to make a dipping sauce for the chicken. Why the hell not? We throw the peanut butter, barbecue sauce, a bit of lemon juice and a bit of Worcestershire into one of our pygmy bowls.  We throw in some bacon grease and butter. It looks like baked beans. But it tastes good.

It is now 20 minutes before turn in. Danielle lifts the lid of the grill. The chicken is…raw. Plan B. Plan B! This woman is a rock star. She takes the knife and dissects that chicken right on the grill! Two chicken breasts off the bird and onto the grill. I retreat to make a vinaigrette for the fennel.

Grilled chicken with fennel slaw and our almost-award-winning pineapple and bacon bites

I am going to cut to the chase.We made a grilled chicken breast over grilled fennel slaw in a citrus vinaigrette topped with blue cheese and bacon crumbles. But the single thing that makes our dish is this: We took some of the pineapple, cut into spears, and grilled it. Then we topped it with our peanut butter barbecue sauce concoction and then we put a strip of bacon on top. Sweet and salty on top of sweet and salty. They were over the top. The chicken and the fennel, not so much. Danielle and I knew this. Even though we don’t speak the same language we are realists.

We got honorable mention, based solely on our pineapple bacon bites. The winner was a New York

Christo modest in victory

City chef, Christo Gonzales, who made a chicken breast stuffed with fennel, bacon and blue cheese with a peanut butter and citrus jus. What a show off. Oh, I’m sorry. That’s not ladylike. But we’re not bitter. We applauded Christo, took a bite of his chicken and conceded we were outdone.

I will say this. After the competition, we had quite a few pineapple bacon bites left. And one by one, our fellow bloggers slowly sauntered over to our station and ate them all. I’m just sayin’.

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Filed under cheese, chicken, pork, salads, sides, Uncategorized, veggies

Bacon Cinnamon Rolls

The three chicks always strive for innovation here at the world headquarters of the Community Resource Center, where I am the executive director, chief fundraiser and toilet cleaner. Especially on Bacon Wednesdays. Yes, every Wednesday we eat bacon in some form or another. Why would you not have Bacon Wednesdays? Section 3, Paragraph 28 in the CRC Employee Manual states: “Employees are required to eat bacon every Wednesday as a part of their job description. Year-end bonuses will be paid for employees who bring special effort to their presentation of bacon. Turkey bacon may be substituted for real bacon in the event of a religious restriction but it won’t taste as good.”

We map out Bacon Wednesday on our Command Central Board to ensure a variety of bacon offerings. Tomorrow it will be bacon and pimento cheese grilled sandwiches. Two weeks ago, we had bacon-wrapped club crackers with cocktails by the dock door (also in the Employee Manual, Section 5, Paragraph 17). Last week it was Betsy’s brilliant rendition of bacon cinnamon rolls. Here’s how you make them:

For each cinnamon roll (from a tube in the refrigerated section of your supermarket, bake one strip of bacon. Unroll each cinnamon roll into a long strip. Bake the bacon at 400 degrees until it’s done to your liking. Now here’s the trick. While the bacon is still warm and pliable, place a strip on the cinnamon roll dough and roll it up. Then bake the rolls according to the package directions.

Oh yes. Sweet and salty. Soft and crunchy. So inappropriate.

 

 

 

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Filed under breakfast, pork, sweets

Bacon-covered goat cheese bites

We are headed down the road to damnation at the Community Resource Center. Bacon Wednesdays. They have become so dangerous.

This all started out innocently. My colleague, Betsy, suggested we initiate Bacon Wednesdays because whose day is not improved markedly by the consumption of bacon? Only there was one thing Betsy was not counting on. Or maybe she was. My competitive nature. So far, I am the sole provider of bacon comestibles on Bacon Wednesday and every week I now believe I have to outdo myself.

We started simply with bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches. We then progressed to a tasting of Benton’s Bacon, the finest bacon in the world. Trust me. It is. Then we had bacon-wrapped crackers. Let me pause to say the bacon-wrapped cracker week was a disaster for me. I had to go to a meeting and “we” were saving the bacon-wrapped crackers for cocktail hour. When I got back, there was exactly one cracker left. And I made them! I spent all that effort wrapping bacon around club crackers and those girls ate all of them but one. If there is not something in the employee manual about this, there will be soon. Under insubordination, I believe.

This week was a triumph, if only in my own mind since I’m the only one contributing to Bacon Wednesday right now. Bacon-covered goat cheese bites. Green olives, covered in goat cheese, covered in bacon. Oh, yes. I was shocked that Betsy has a problem with green olives (yippee!). More for Kim and me. Next week, we’ll go back to something more basic. Bacon-wrapped cocktail weenies? Yes, I think that will work. Pork on pork. Always a good idea.

Bacon-covered goat cheese bites

10 strips bacon

4 ounces herbed goat cheese

2 ounces cream cheese

Small green olives

Bake the bacon in the oven on a foil-lined, rimmed cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until bacon is crisp. Drain on paper towels and chop into fine pieces.

Beat goat cheese and cream cheese together until creamy. Refrigerate about 30 minutes to let it harden a bit.

Pat the olives dry and cover in the goat cheese mixture. Roll in bacon. Chill for 30 minutes.

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Filed under pork, snacks

Grilled meatloaf with garbage can mashed potatoes

Oh, you want this. You so want this. Smoky meatloaf and mashed potatoes studded with all the good stuff. You want it so badly, you need to hop on over to the Char-Broil site and take a look-see. I promise you will not be disappointed.

For those of you new to this blog, I am also a Char-Broil All Star Blogger and the good folks at Char-Broil prefer that my blogs for them are exclusive to their site. So get on over there. And leave a comment! Makes me look good to the guys or gals in the front office. Hey, I want a front office. What is that exactly, anyway?

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Filed under beef, pork, sides

Poor people’s food

Noah has been getting a bit of instruction this week about living frugally when he gets his first apartment. Mark knows something of this subject. Professor Mayhew and his two sisters were raised by a single mother who earned just enough money as a bank teller to keep food on the table. Poor people’s food. Beans, rice, cornbread, greens and maybe – just maybe – a pork chop every now and again. When I first met Mark he would not even eat beans and cornbread. He was saturated. And now he cannot fathom a meal that does not include meat. It’s a symbol of security.

The other night we were talking about the origins of poor people’s food. Some of it has African origins – field peas, okra, eggplant, peanuts and yams. Some was the “waste” the plantation owners thought not fit to eat. Greens and the nasty bits of meat – offal and, believe it or not, pork ribs. Corn, which was introduced to settlers by Native Americans, became cornbread because flour for biscuits was too expensive.

All of that, of course, became the basis for what we now think of as Southern cooking.

The menu for that night encapsulated Mark’s childhood – crowder peas with chow-chow and mayonnaise, cornbread and “killed greens”. Or as Mark’s Granny Belle used to call them “kilt greens”. She also pronounced “idiot” as “idjut” – Appalachian to the core.

Mark boyhood memory: “I have a distinct memory of finding green lettuce-like plants growing in a creek while playing. I went home and described the plants to Granny Belle, who immediately got what she referred to as a “paper poke” (paper sack), and ordered me to show her the plants. We walked about a mile and a half to the creek and picked the branch lettuce (watercress), then walked home. That night, I had “kilt greens” for the first time.

There are no measurements for killed greens. But the preparation goes something like this. Take a bunch of watercress or sturdy lettuce (I actually use turnip greens) and chop it in a bowl. Then fry up some bacon or fatback. As the grease renders add four or five sliced green onions (which also grew wild) and saute them until they’re tender. Chop up the bacon and add it to the greens. Then pour the bacon grease and onions over the greens and toss. Eat immediately.

Is this in any way good for you? No. No, it is not. Is it oddly soul-satisfying? Completely. As Mark says, when you eat greens doused with bacon grease you don’t miss the meat.

We feasted. The mayonnaise on the crowder peas, by the way, came from my father-in-law, a good Georgia boy who knew how to improve on an already delicious bean. Noah is quite the adventurous eater, but I’m proud to say he also appreciates his roots.

For a slightly healthier version of killed greens, try Frank Stitt’s take. The owner of the Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham takes Southern classics and reinvents them. Olive oil replaces the bacon grease in this recipe for wilted greens.

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Filed under pork, Uncategorized, veggies

A college student cooks…well

Noah checks out

Teachable moments. When a child is five, it seems there are a thousand of them. By the time they’re twelve, the stack starts to dwindle. And, at almost 20, I am now down to five or six. Or so it seems.

Noah wants an apartment next year and, with that, will come cooking his own meals. He will have a budget of $100 a week (what, in a year, his meal plan would cost) and I am superior in my assumption that he has no idea how to make that money stretch for a week. So we test the theory. We go to the grocery store with a calculator.

We hit the perimeter of the store first. That’s where you want to shop. The produce, meat and dairy sections. Only go to the dark side for staples like pasta, oil and spices. Hamburger Helper? NO! Chips Ahoy? DANGER! Velveeta? Okay, you’ve got me there. I love me some Velveeta.

So, to make a long story short, he did great. Dammit. He bought (I bought) a package of chicken breasts, thin-cut pork chops and two pounds of bulk sausage. Low rent ham for sandwiches. Lower rent bread. Frozen vegetables, rice, pasta, apples, coffee, canned soup and store brand cheese. He bypassed the relatively expensive convenience foods. He was unsuitably smug in his victory and totally discounted the fact that I had guided him away from the frozen pizza.

Having a basket full of groceries and knowing what to do with them are two different things, however.

Pork chops, mashed potatoes and green beans

Hah! I’ll get him here. “So, son?” I say coyly. “Why don’t you cook us supper with your new groceries? Just whip something up. Anything, really.”

And I leave. I go down to the garage to smoke and play World of Warcraft, confident in the fact that when I ascend again there will be mass chaos, a smoke-filled kitchen and burnt shards of something inedible on the plate.

“Mom?” he says. “Supper’s ready.”

I ascend. I gasp. How did friggin’ Emeril Lagasse find my kitchen? Noah has made coffee rub/breadcrumb coated pork chops, cooked perfectly until just rosy in the middle. He has made buttery mashed potatoes with garlic. He has made hericot verts with garlic. Alright, too much garlic but I am not going to quibble. It was all delicious.

So, tonight we go again. Chicken breasts, chopped green and yellow pepper, red onion, mushrooms.

Chicken, peppers, mushrooms and pasta. Noah style.

He chops the chicken and seasons it with Montreal Chicken Seasoning. Sautes in oil, removes the chicken and then adds the vegetables.  When they’re nice and brown he adds a bit of Madeira (not something he’ll have on campus – I can’t see you)  and then adds a can of cream of mushroom soup. This is going to suck, I think. He thins the soup with milk, adds back the chicken, and then puts the entire mixture over pasta.

Dang it! It’s good. If I hadn’t watched him add the soup, I would never have known. I had seconds. And I wasn’t being polite.

I am proud of my boy. I would like to think that my miniscule attempt at one of the last few teachable moments had the seeds of germination in the hours he’s spent watching me cook over the last 19 years. But as I told him tonight there is no way to teach someone to cook. You either have the intuition or you don’t. You’re a recipe follower or you’re a creator. You can pick up tips and tricks, but you have to just have the knowledge of what goes with what and how much in your gut.

And he has it. No brag, just fact.

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Filed under chicken, pork, sides, Uncategorized