Lend Me Your Ears

late corn grits

Corn Grits From Late Season Corn

Simply Perfect      The chef, Jacques Pepin, was asked what dishes he would request for his last meal. He said one of his choices would be hand-picked freshly-shelled peas straight from the garden with butter and sea salt. This shows a great culinary experience doesn’t have to involve exotic ingredients, dozens of spices, and complicated techniques. It can be a simple dish. As a matter of fact, in the case of Pepin’s peas, any further additions would detract from this basic but perfect concoction. Another Great but Simple Dish      I recently…

Read More
tango

A Trinity Of Passions – Food, Love and Tango

     Of all the dances we have to choose from, the tango offers the best means for us to demonstrate our individuality, uniqueness and style. But it’s teasingly incomplete.  We must  decide on the recipe for our own individual tango. Like a cooking recipe it requires interpretation, iteration and alteration.  Simmer it on the dance floor and it can become interesting, alluring, and sensual. And like great food the result can be a dish that is absolutely heavenly.      According to a recent ABC News poll, nearly nine out of ten people in our country say they believe…

Read More
BLT

This IS The BLT To Die For

     I love a BLT, and I’m not alone. In polls where people were asked about their favorite sandwich, the BLT was either at the top or close to the top of every list. And it’s so simple: two slices of bread, mayo, bacon, lettuce, and tomato. That’s it.      Not all BLTs are great. I’ve been served many that I didn’t think were very good at all. What I think sets a great one apart from the others are (1) the quality of its contents and (2) the way it’s prepared….

Read More
Tomato salsa

Summer Is Tomato Salsa Season

There’s Nothing Like Fresh Salsa     Fresh salsa has a season; at least it does in the Midwest. It begins when that first July tomato ripens on the vine. In a good year, it might last into the middle of September. In Defense Of Grocery Store Providers     It’s hard to beat the succulent taste of a fresh tomato, and it spoils it for the rest of the year when we have to rely on grocery stores to be our providers. Their tomatoes certainly don’t compare with our homegrown types,…

Read More
Patio Toad

The Margarita Lifestyle – Chippin’ Dippin’ and Sippin’

     There’s nothing like a cool and tasty margarita on a hot summer’s day! It’s a grand accompaniment to go along with the guacamole and homemade chips I posted last week (click on Time To Take Your Culinary Entertaining Outdoors). All are made with fresh ingredients, and everyone knows chippin’, dippin’, and sippin’ is the perfect Rx for summer. So here it is – the best recipe ever for The Perfect Margarita!  Pitcher     Two Servings      6 oz.              3 oz.             Lime juice (two limes = about 3 oz.)      ½ cup           ¼ cup        …

Read More

Getting Ready For The Watermelon Feed

Be Prepared      If watermelons are being served, you know people will be spitting seeds. At some point, usually a competition will ensue.      Most of the time these are simply fun activities, but if you are asked to participate and are directed to a spitway (an outlined 75 X 15-foot area), you know you are in the company of serious watermelon spitters. You need to be ready if this happens, especially if bets will be placed. The Rules Are Simple Seeds must be selected on site. The larger seeds…

Read More
truffles

There’s Gold In Them Thar Truffles

     Pictured Above Is Risotto With Raisins And Both Black And White Truffles.  My Truffle Discovery      My actual introduction to a truffle occurred at The Modern in New York City. I had ordered the tasting menu, and one of the courses was risotto. For an extra $40 I could have sliced white truffle added at the table. Always keeping the words of wisdom from a Schlitz Beer commercial, “You only go around once in life,” I decided to go for it. It was one of the most fabulous foods…

Read More
Guacamole

Time To Take Your Culinary Entertaining Outdoors

     If you live in a four-season climate, you know the first part of June is  the best time for entertaining outdoors. Lawns and foliage are fresh and green; the flies and mosquitoes aren’t yet in peak form, and it isn’t so ungodly hot.  After waiting all winter, margarita season has finally arrived.      Are you looking for something besides salsa to serve with a pitcher of margaritas? Prepare a delicious guacamole dip made with fresh ingredients and serve it in a molcajete (a traditional Mexican version of a mortar…

Read More
secret

Shhh! Secret Ingredients

Vive La Différence      Secret Ingredients can make a big difference in a dish. I would like to tell you about six of my favorites. I had originally planned to take them to my grave; however, I can’t in good conscience not tell you.      Up until now they’ve been closely guarded. The only exceptions where I’ve shared them have been with good friends and blood relatives, and I had each of them sign documents saying they would not divulge this information. The magic six are listed in no specific order: Truffle Salt (an…

Read More
Fried chicken

Yo’ Mamma’s Fried Chicken

    Most of you probably think of chicken as a type of meat that’s found in your grocer’s meat case. Because I grew up on a farm, when I think of chicken, a whole different world comes to mind.      In our hierarchy of animal care, chickens were on the bottommost rung. They were noncompliant, very excitable and mean. They were also free to roam, so on a typical farmstead they would be everywhere, and so were their droppings. As a result every step I took had to be placed with extreme care…

Read More