Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How to Make Collard Greens - Crabby Style

My Collard Green Recipe

I really love vegetables. One of my all-time favorites is collard greens. These may be considered soul food or southern food, but to me they are just plain good eating. If I make up a mess of collards, they usually don't last over a couple of days.

Every cook has a favorite method for making collard greens. The traditional method is to strip the leaves from the stems and to cook only the leaves in a pot that has 2 or more ham hocks that have cooked for a long time in seasoned water. This recipe usually takes 2 or more hours to cook. In addition, you have to purchase ham hocks, so you can't just grab what is in the 'frig or pantry for the traditional recipe. This version often has hot pepper sauce or dried chili as an added flavor.

My recipe is simple, but delicious, and requires few special ingredients (unless you want to use oriental chili in your greens). The other nice thing is that my recipe takes around an hour and a half.


1 plastic grocery sack full of collard greens
4 strips of bacon
5 cloves of garlic
1/2 stick butter or margarine
4 Tbsp Canola or Olive oil
Ground oriental chili to taste (optional)
Water to cover greens once they are wilted
Salt to taste

1. Wash the greens thoroughly to remove dirt, sand, etc.
2. Seperate the leaves of the greens from the stems.
3. If you are going to use the stems, cut them into 1/4 - 3/8" lengths.
4. Roll several leaves together and cut them into 1/2" strips.
5. Place the sliced greens into one set of bowls, and the stems into another bowl.
6. Slice the bacon across each strip, into 1/2" wide strips.
7. Put a large pan on medium high heat and add the oil and bacon.
8. Once the bacon has given up some of its fat, add the garlic.
9. Cook the garlic until it starts to change color, then start adding the stems to the pot, about 1/3 at a time, waiting for the stems to soften and change color.
10. Once all the stems are in, stir and add the butter.
11. Cover the pan and saute the stems a few more minutes.
12. Uncover the pan and add the leaves, filling the pan almost to the top.
13. Stir the greens regularly until they have wilted and changed color.
14. Add the remaining greens in batches as they wilt in the pan until you have put all of them in.
15. After all of the greens have changed color, add water to cover.
16. Add salt to the greens. The water should be a little salty to season the greens as they finish cooking.
17. Add the oriental chili (optional).
18. Simmer the greens for a while longer, checking for tenderness. When they reach the desired tenderness, turn off the heat.
19. Put some in a bowl, serve with some buttered cornbread and enjoy!

Below you will find a video of this recipe.

God bless you and yours and have a Great Day!

Monday, September 20, 2010

How to Make Fried Green Tomatoes

Making Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes - You either love 'em or you don't.  If you haven't tried them, then you are missing out on a great treat!  These taste quite different than the ripened version of this fruit.  (Yes, tomatoes are a fruit - do some research...)  Fried Green Tomatoes are tart, and have a flavor that reminds you of citrus fruit more than tomatoes.  One thing for sure - they don't last long around my house.  Definitely Good Stuff!

Now, let's get on with the recipe...


3 or 4 Green Tomatoes
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
2/3 cups bread crumbs (or cornmeal)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground oriental chili (optional)
1/2 cup canola or olive oil

  1. Wash tomatoes.
  2. Cut Tomatoes into 3/8" thick slices, salt them, then place on top of a paper towel.
  3. Beat the eggs, then mix them with the milk, a pinch of salt, the pepper and oriental chili.
  4. Pour this mixture into a wide bowl or plate.  If using a plate, only fill it up halfway, to avoid spillage.
  5. Put the flour into a small bowl.  Do the same with the bread crumbs.
  6. Put 3/8" of oil into a frying pan and turn onto medium low heat - on an electric range, set it on 3.
  7. Drop the first batch of tomatoes into the milk/egg bath.  Flip them if necessary to ensure the entire slice is moistened.
  8. Pull them one at a time and place them in the flour, flip them to cover both sides and the top well.
  9. Set the flour-coated tomatoes into a plate, until the entire batch has been floured.
  10. Put the floured tomatoes back into the milk and eggs, then into the breadcrumbs - coat all sides well, then put into the pan.
  11. Keep doing this, laying the tomatoes side by side, until the pan has enough room left for two or three slices of tomatoes.  Stop adding tomatoes at this point so you don't overcrowd them.  If they are packed too tightly, the tomatoes won't get very crisp.
  12. Check the tomatoes regularly and turn them periodically.  The goal is a golden brown color on both sides.
  13. Once they are done, remove to a plate covered with a couple of paper towels.
  14. Salt, if needed.
  15. Plate 'em up and enjoy by themselves or with ranch dressing.

God bless you and yours and have a Great Day!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken - Crabby Style!

I love oriental cuisine. I have such a passion for it that I spent several years trying to master stir fry, shallow fat frying, and steaming techniques. The net result was that I got fairly good at this type of cooking. In fact, I am so used to cooking on high heat that I start most of my cooking on high, then drop the heat later to suit the dish I am preparing.

One of my favorite dishes is Kung Pao Chicken. This dish is simple, spicy, and very tasty. Care should be taken when using chili oil or oriental chilis. These are hot, and I recommend that you add some, taste, then add more if you desire more heat. Remember that you can always add an ingredient, but rarely can you take it out with ease.

For this recipe, I usually use chicken thighs. Breasts or other parts work well, too, I just focus on the cost factor of the dish. There are 3 critical success factors for this dish - Maintain 3 TBSP of oil in pan, cook over high heat, and do not overcook the ingredients.  This recipe is written to be as fool proof as possible.  Those that are experienced with stir-fry may want to condense some of the steps.

4 chicken thighs, diced into 3/8" to 1/2" pieces, excess pieces of fat removed
2 packages of celery, cut into 3/8" lengths
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1.5" lengths, then sliced lengthwise into 1/4" thick pieces
1 can sliced water chestnuts, liquid removed
4 to 5 tablespoons soy sauce
2 dashes ground white pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons of ground oriental chili
1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon hot chili oil (optional)
2 teaspoons sugar or artificial sweetener
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup water
3 to 5 cloves of garlic, sliced into 1/8" pieces
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 cup wine for deglazing the pan
approx. 1/4 cup of peanut or canola oil
1/4 to 1/2 cup shelled dry roasted peanuts


Chow Sauce: Mix water, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, half of the sesame oil, all but one teaspoon of the cornstarch, a dash of white pepper, the oriental chili and half of the sugar and set aside.

Marinade Chicken: Place half the garlic, all the diced chicken, 1 teaspoon wine, half of the sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch, a dash of white pepper, 1 teaspoon of the cooking oil, and half of the sugar into a bowl, stir well. Let set for at least 10 minutes.

Stir Fry:
  1. Place a 4 quart pan with steep sides on a burner on high heat. 
  2. Place 3 tablespoons cooking oil into the pan. 
  3. Add the chili oil to the pan.
  4. When oil gets hot, put in the carrots. 
  5. Stir Fry until the carrots are crisp-tender and remove, leaving oil in the pan. 
  6. Add more oil if necessary. 
  7. Once it is hot, add the celery and stir fry until it changes color - add the rest of the garlic and cook a minute or two more. 
  8. Remove the celery, retaining the oil in the pan. 
  9. Add oil, if necessary, to bring to 3 Tablespoons in the pan. 
  10. Once it is hot, scatter 1/3 of the chicken around the pan and stir-fry until it has changed color - do not overcook! 
  11. Remove from the pan into the same bowl you put the carrots and celery into. 
  12. Repeat the chicken cooking process until all the chicken is cooked and in the bowl with the other cooked ingredients. 
  13. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the oil. 
  14. Place the pan back on the stove. 
  15. Stir up the chow sauce and pour it in.  It will have a milky brown color.
  16. Keep stirring until the chow sauce becomes more transparent and thickens. 
  17. Add the water chestnuts to the pan and stir.
  18. Add all the cooked ingredients back to the pan. 
  19. Stir for 30 to 45 more seconds then turn off the heat. 
  20. Stir a little more, then remove to your serving bowl.
  21. Serve over white or fried rice and top with peanuts.
  22. Enjoy!

God bless you and yours and have a Great Day!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Quick And Easy Green Chili Soup

Quick And Easy Green Chili Soup - So Easy A Kid Can Make It

This is a simple, spicy soup that I came up with that uses canned items for most of the ingredients. This makes it simple enough for a kid to prepare. For safety reasons, there should be adult supervision when items are being cut. You can vary the heat by deveining the jalapeño, or by adding another jalapeño to spice it up more. With one jalapeño, it is not too hot for my ten year old, so you might want to use this as a guide. If you do get it too hot, add some more American or Velveeta to cool it down a bit. The cooking times are for a 800 watt microwave oven. You can make this on the stove top, but you have to be very careful not to burn the cheeses. For thicker soup, cut the milk in half.

1 family size can cream of mushroom
1 can roasted and chopped green chili
1 can whole kernel corn
1 diced jalapeño
1/2 onion diced
2 tablespoons cream (optional)
1/2 cup milk
pepper to taste
4 slices American cheese
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 inch slice of Velveeta or other processed cheese

1 large microwave safe bowl
1 large spoon
1 knife

  1. In a large bowl,mix together all ingredients except cheeses.
  2. Heat in microwave for 6 minutes, stirring every one and one-half minutes.
  3. After 4 minutes, add sliced cheese and Velveeta.
  4. After 6 minutes, stir in cheddar.
  5. Heat 2 minutes or more if needed, stir mixture until cheeses are melted in.
  6. Serve with tortilla chips.
  7. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

How To Make Popcorn - Foolproof Method

Making popcorn is an easy task. It is one of those snacks that people tend to burn, and if they don't burn it, they waste half the kernels. This is my "sure fire" method that works for me every time. I hope you like it.


One Large Pan with a Tight-Fitting Lid
Large Bowl for serving
Small Knife for cutting up butter

  1. Cut butter into 1/4 inch slices, then cut these into 4ths.
  2. Cover the bottom of the pan with 1/8 inch of oil.
  3. Place the pan on your stove and put the burner on High heat.
  4. Put a SINGLE LAYER of popcorn in the pan - do not add extra kernels - they will only go to waste.
  5. Place the lid on the pan.
  6. When you hear the first kernel of corn pop, quickly lift the lid and toss in the butter.
  7. Recover the pan quickly to avoid getting burned from flying kernels and hot oil.
  8. After the lid is on the pan, shake the pan back and forth vigorously to insure that the kernels pop and do not burn.
  9. When you hear very few kernels popping, pull the pan from the heat and shut off the burner.
  10. After the last kernels have popped, remove the lid, salt the popcorn to taste, and place it in the bowl.
  11. Enjoy!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Quesadillas - Quick Easy and Delicious

Quesadillas - Quick and Easy

If you like Mexican cuisine, you have probably had quesadillas. They are traditionally made by melting cheese along with chilis or salsa in betweem two flour tortillas. I have seen these with both crisp and soft tortillas, but by far my favorites are the crisp ones.

Without further ado, here is the recipe for awesome appetizer.

Flour Tortillas
Grated Cheddar Cheese
Diced, Peeled Green Chilis or Jalapeños
Diced Onion
Butter or Oil to brown the Quesadillas in

Frying Pan
Pizza Cutter (optional)

  1. Turn your stove on medium heat

  2. Place the pan on the burner

  3. Place a pat of butter, margarine or some oil in the pan

  4. Once oil is hot, place a flour tortilla in the pan

  5. Cover tortilla with onions, cheese and chilis

  6. Place a tortilla on top of the filling

  7. Cook until the cheese melts, then flip the quesadilla over

  8. Brown on second side to desired crispness

  9. Flip quesadilla over again if you want the first side more crisp

  10. Plate the quesadilla, then slice into quarters or eighths

  11. Serve with salsa, sour cream or guacamole

  12. Enjoy!

Hope you like the recipe. Have a great day and God Bless you and yours. Check out the video of this wonderful snack.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Quick and Easy Guacamole - Crabby Style!

I have quite a few favorite dishes in Mexican cuisine. I love good tortillas, I really enjoy asado and menudo, but guacamole has to be way up on my list of faves. I could eat this stuff all day and never get tired of it.

There are literally dozens of great recipes for guacamole. Some are very simple, while others are more complex. This recipe is simple and to the point. It is a recipe that you should make an hour or so before you plan on serving it so the flavors can blend. I used lemon and pepper seasoning in the recipe to simplify it. If you don't have lemon and pepper you can just use fresh lemon or lime, some pepper, and some salt to approximate what I have done here.


1 large bowl (2-4 quart size)
1 large kitchen spoon
fork or potato masher


4 to 7 ripe Avocados
1/2 medium onion
1 jalapeño pepper
1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon lemon pepper


  1. Cut avocados down the center length-wise.

  2. Separate the halves of the avocado by twisting gently, remove the seed, and spoon out the avocado from the skin and place into a bowl.

  3. Finely dice the onion and place it into the bowl.

  4. Slice the jalapeño down the center length-wise.

  5. Depending on how spicy you like your guacamole, you may need to devein and deseed the pepper.

  6. Finely dice the jalapeño, then place it in the bowl.

  7. Add garlic powder and lemon pepper.

  8. Mix well by mashing up ingredients with a fork or masher. Adjust seasonings to taste.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Have an awesome day and God bless You and Yours!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Strawberries and Cream

There are a few things that just go together as related pairs:

  • Steak and Eggs

  • Laundry Detergent and Fabric Softener

  • Food and Drink

  • dirty and clean

  • black and white

  • oil and water

  • sweet and hot (spicy)

  • sweet and sour

  • Peanut Butter and Jelly...

OK, so you get the point...

Some things go together naturally as a pair, and others go together because they are essentially opposite in nature. Strawberries and Cream just seem to fit together - and this is why they are so good...sweet and creamy in one place at one time. This has GOT to be good!

The recipe is simple:

1. Wash fresh strawberries, if clean and frozen skip to step 2.
2, Using a small knife, remove the leaves from the strawberries. I usually put the knife in, facing the center of the leaves, at an angle of around 60 degrees. This means that if you are close enough to the center you will waste very little of the strawberry.
3. Quarter the strawberries by placing large end down and making 2 cuts from the tip to the bottom.
4. Spread the strawberries out, then sprinkle them with Splenda or with Sugar. The amount will vary, as some strawberries are sweeter than others. I start with a Tablespoon on fruit that are not too sweet and go from there. You can add a little more just before serving, if you like.
5. Let the sugar or Splenda sit for a few minutes to allow the sweetener to mix with the natural juices of the berries.
6. After 3 to 5 minutes, drizzle some heavy whipping cream over the strawberries. Hint: If you can't see the strawberries, you probably have too much whipping cream. Remember that fats should be an indulgence here - this is not supposed to be cream and strawberries...
7. Eat it and enjoy - which is what I am going to do with my strawberries and cream now.

Have an awesome day, and God Bless You and Yours!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wendy's Chili

No restaurant recipe can remain a total secret. Either someone who cooks the recipe will eventually give it out or someone will eat it enough times that he/she will figure out what the ingredients are and how they are combined and prepared.

I have made the Wendy's Chili recipe from the Recipe Secrets ebook 4 times now, and a couple of things are obvious:

1. The recipe is so much like the one they use at Wendy's that you have a hard time telling the copycat from the original.

2. It is good to even the pickiest eaters because the stuff doesn't last over 2 days in my house (over 4 quarts of chili).

I think that each of the recipes I have tried from this ebook have to be as good, if not better, than the recipe that they attempt to copy. The care that has been taken to match the original is very obvious. Yes, I do stand to profit if you buy the book, but the price would be the same whether you buy it through my link to the author, or as a direct purchase. I hope you get the book and impress your family and friends.

Click here to get more info on America's Secret Recipes. After you have been on this page a few seconds they provide a form to get some sample recipes FREE by email - try before you buy!

God Bless and have a great day!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Snow Ice Cream

Snow Ice Cream is one of my favorite things in life. It is so simple a child can make it, and such a great treat that it should be enjoyed often. I remember having it as a kid and loving it. The winters in southeastern New Mexico are mild, so getting snow ice cream was a super treat. Now that I live in Colorado, I get to enjoy it several times each winter, and I plan on it every time we have a heavy snow.

The version I am offering here is for those that need to control their carbohydrate count, either for dietary or health reasons. Instead of using the Splenda, replace it with the same amount or more of sugar. I usually use twice as much sugar as Splenda, primarily because sucralose, the main ingredient in this sweetener is 10 times sweeter than sugar. You might want to taste the sugared version before adjusting it to suit your tastes.

The cream in the recipe is optional - I don't think that 2 percent milk is rich enough. Besides that, you gotta live once in a while!


1 large bowl - 12 cup capacity
1 large spoon
Glass - at least 20 ounce size

Snow (mounded-over 12 cup bowl)
1/2 cup Splenda sweetener
1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 or more cups of 2 percent milk (varies)
1 Tablespoon Heavy Whipping Cream

Collect snow - find an object that has a large, flat surface and scrape THINLY to get only the best snow. Even though snow has some dirt, large quantities of dirt will really mess this up. In other words, if the snow is brown due to dust contamination - forget it until you can get some cleaner snow. Make sure you pile the bowl full of snow, as it will melt a lot during mixing.

Put the sweetener, vanilla, cream and 1 1/2cups of milk into the glass. Add some snow to it and stir. The snow will make the solution cold enough so it won't destroy all the snowflakes in the bowl - texture is a good thing.

Slowly pour in the milk mixture into the bowl, starting in the center. As you add the solution, move the snow around to mix it well. If the Snow Ice Cream still has white spots in it, put some more milk in the glass, along with some more snow and add this to the bowl, stirring as you go.

The ideal mixture will not be slushy, but will be like partially melted snow. See the photo for example. For best serving, put into chilled bowls - they keep it from becoming liquid too fast.

Have a great day and God Bless!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Coffee Anyone - Part 2: Espresso Machines

In order to have good coffee, you must have 4 things:

1. Good Coffee - if you don't have this, you won't arrive at the goal.
2. Good Water - good water makes any coffee bean brew better coffee. For espresso you should use distilled or other water that has virtually no minerals in it. Hard water can damage the boiler.
3. Good Grind - whether you grind it at home, or at the store, finely ground coffee produces better coffee.
4. Good Equipment - it doesn't matter if it is a drip machine or an espresso maker - good equipment gives you better results.

That being said, we now focus upon item #4, the Equipment. At my home I have a Bunn drip maker which is my personal choice - no intention here to endorse, as I am not a sponsor. I just like having hot water always ready at 165° Fahrenheit - which is, according to another good cook, the "perfect" brewing temperature. For Espresso I have gone through three different machines: A Braun which lasted for over 6 years, a Krups that we had for 4 years and our most recent, a Hamilton Beach unit.

Each of the espresso machines had its good and bad points. It is difficult to compare them as the first two we had were steam machines and the latest is a pump machine. OK, I know I need to explain this to some folks out here it goes: There are two common kinds of espresso machines today, steam driven and pump driven.

The steam driven is similar to the first espresso machines in the fact that water is boiled, steam is created and it is sent through the ground coffee to produce the wonderful, dark liquid we know as espresso. The pump driven unit delivers hot water to the coffee by pumping it through the grounds. Both are effective, but the pump driven unit is what is in most commercial machines and some of the better home units. The pump unit delivers more of the frothy crema on top of the espresso, making it produce a better cup. For more info on this go to Wikipedia .

With the Braun machine, it produced good coffee, that wasn't bitter. The machine was well-constructed and cost us about $80 in 1995 (as I recall). The only weak link was the handle on the filter holder - it was plastic and it broke after several years of heavy use. I repaired it using some JB Weld steel and we got 2 more years out of it before the boiler failed.

The Krups machine was purchased after this. The unit cost around $80 and it produced coffee that was good in quality. Unfortunately, the machine started to leak after a couple of years of use. The leaking got so bad that we were losing one-third of the water! To make 2 ounces of espresso, you had to put 3 ounces of water in the boiler. Since we made a lot of espresso for cappuccinos and making americanos, the leaking water trickled down to the counter where it made a big mess. I don't think most people brew as much espresso as we do, so the leaking may have something to do with the very heavy use it got...and the coffee was good. This may be a good option for you if cost is a concern.

Our latest machine from Hamilton Beach, is a pump unit. It produces excellent espresso and is less expensive than either of the units I bought before. One thing I noticed is that to get the best results out of the unit, I have to use coffee that is a little coarser than true espresso grind. If you use a finer grind, this machine produces much less of the crema, which is a big part of the flavor. When the unit was brand new, I used espresso ground coffee and it worked well, but with time, the quality started to falter and the brew time increased. I went to a coarser grind (I found this tip in a review on the machine on amazon), I found that brew time returned to normal and quality is back to what it was when I first got the machine. If you grind beans when you buy them, go for a setting on the grinder that is slightly coarser and you will always be pleased with the results. I will say the coffee from this pump machine is better than it was from the other 2 units, mainly because the water is coming through at a lower temperature. The resulting coffee is less bitter and isn't overheated as it is when straight steam hits the beans. Gooooooood stuff!

Check out the links to products on this page for more info. I apologize for no link on the Braun machine - they don't make this model anymore, but the other two are still available, and the Krups machine is less expensive than when I bought mine. If you do check them out, I think you will learn a lot, get some great info, and perhaps get a machine that will provide you with Awesome Coffee! I like to put a 20 ounce cup under the spouts and brew it until the cup fills up. This stuff isn't espresso and it isn't regular coffee - it is strong and flavorful. I love this in the morning.

Hope you enjoyed the information. Go out and enjoy some really good coffee!

Have a Great Day and God Bless!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Coffee Anyone - Part 1: Grinders

I love coffee. When my wife and I met, I liked coffee, but it was something that I drank, more often than not, to help keep me alert. Over 16 years have passed, and now I am a confirmed coffeeholic. I still enjoy the pick-me-up that it provides, but I have to say that I can be found, more often than not, with a cup of joe in hand. I have also become a bit of a coffee snob. I must not only have coffee, but it needs to be a well-roasted arabica blend with lots of natural oils and flavor. Coffee aficionados will agree with me. Any coffee can be good, but the "quality stuff" is so much better.

Coffee is good, but espresso, cappuccino, or a latte is even better. For that you need special equipment - enter the espresso machine for home use, and of course, the coffee grinder. Grinding your own beans is the best way to stretch your coffee dollar. The reason for this is that once the beans have been ground, the quality starts to deteriorate - rapidly.

Part 1 of this article is about getting the most out of the beans with a good grinder. The reason I had to get a new grinder was that my old faithful Braun grinder had a bad crack around the bottom of it. You had to hold in down on the counter so it would still grind beans, so I figured that when we purchased our new espresso machine, we NEEDED a new grinder. (Note: I kept the old one for occasional spice grinding...waste not, want not!)

My first trip was to the local Megamart to purchase a grinder. They had 3 models - a Black & Decker Burr Grinder, a Hamilton Beach Coffee Grinder that would do several different grinds, and a Mr. Coffee Grinder.

My first choice was the Hamilton Beach unit. It looked cool, had auto shut off, a safety lock on the cap, and it would grind coarse to espresso grind. It also had a retractable cord - nice! So, out comes the checkbook and I go home with a Hamilton Beach espresso/cappucino maker and coffee grinder.

I got home with my new goodies and proceeded to grind up some coffee beans - after skimming over the instructions, of course. (Note: READING instructions is not a guy thing, but skimming is considered acceptable...) I noticed that even on the finest setting, the coffee wasn't perfect for espresso which should be almost powder-fine, but it was acceptable for drip coffee. I discovered that by running the coffee through the process 3 times, I could get a very good espresso grind. This grinder worked OK until a few days later, the top cracked. The top did seem a bit stiff and it was hard to twist shut - so it cracked when my other half was closing it. After a bit of, uh, discussion, I went to the store to return it and get one of the other grinders.

I came back with the Mr. Coffee grinder. It had similar features, said it had an auto shutoff feature, so I figured this would be the one. Wrong again, even though the grinder did the job, it had a short cord and required you to press and hold the button down until it reached one of the three grind settings - coarse, medium or find. It did do the auto shutoff, you just had to hold the button until it did. So I was in search of yet another replacement...

I was in another store where I noticed a Cuisinart Burr Mill. I looked at it closely and I decided to get it. I finally found a better fit to my needs, even though I was hoping for a super fine grind, this one is still much closer to meeting my needs. It makes a fine grind that is very small and does produce a decent espresso. It is even better if you run the coffee through a couple of extra times to get a finer grind. The extra passes through the grinder are NOT according to manufacturer's specs - just mine - it may void your warranty, so do so at your own risk.

I guess that I am too picky. I do like the burr grinder the best because for everyday use it does produce a grind that is more consistent, and is, even when regrinding the coffee, easier to use. Time will tell as to whether this grinder will remain at my house - but I think it is a better fit. I am too cheap to spend $200 to $300 for a grinder - it is just too much for my budget.

All three grinders are nice and do a good job and produce great coffee - I just need more income and a much larger budget for coffee. I will post an update if I find a better grinder. If you find a better one, please post a comment - I would LOVE to hear about it.

I could have saved myself a lot in gasoline and auto wear and tear by simply buying online, so I have given you links that go to purchase pages for these items.

My next post will be on the espresso/cappuccino maker - it is another INTERESTING story...

Until then, May God Bless You and Yours and Have a Great Day!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Anybody for a BLAND dish?

I am a firm believer in tradition. Traditions are good stuff - they keep us in balance and provide stability in our lives. One of my favorite New Year's traditions is eating black-eyed peas as part of a meal - or by themselves. These are an awesome food that are supposed to bring good luck for the upcoming year.

Personally, I don't believe in luck...unless you follow the equation: luck = preparation meeting opportunity. All the same, I always have black eyed peas every year on New Year's day. This year I didn't use the canned variety, or fresh ones, for that matter. I cooked up some that were dried, but I noticed something about the recipe - it would be great if you want really bland food. Let me explain further...

The package directions go something like this...

Quick Soak Method:
For every one lb. beans, soak in 1 to 1-1/2 quarts water. In a large pot, heat beans and water to boiling. Boil for 2 minutes, then let stand for 1 to 4 hours.

Maybe I am missing something, but this recipe seems to be lacking in flavor! There is no mention of salt, butter, bacon, ham, onion, jalapeños or any other seasoning. This recipe as written, would result in something that would be suitable for the creatures that commonly are fed these - cows. In fact, the common name for these wonderful little beans is cowpeas.

My grandfather was shocked when he moved from Arkansas to New Mexico and he found out people were eating cow fodder for human food! Since it was during the depression, I am sure he thought times must REALLY be tough here in the Southwest, so that had to be why people were resorting to eating cowpeas. Like most of us that have eaten them, he quickly fell in love with them.

There is also one other item that bothers me - soak for HOW LONG? Maybe a couple of days or so? I soaked mine for around 2 hours, which seems to work well.

Now, on to the seasoning. Take the recipe above, soak for 2 hours, then add 1/4 cup of ham, bacon or butter to the boiling mixture, along with 1/4 of an onion, diced. Add 1 or 2 teaspoons of sea salt and you have a really tasty dish. You could also add a clove of garlic or a tablespoon of butter to further enhance the flavor and make them even better.

This will give you a great dish for your New Year's table, or for almost any other meal you want to have them with.

That's it for now - Have a Happy New Year and God Bless You and Yours!