August 22, 2004
more on cooking
I don't cook much anymore, but I once was very good at it. I have a few dishes that I make that I believe are as good as anything you'll ever taste on this planet.
#1-- God's Own Omelet. I use a couple of eggs, diced onion and bell pepper, ham, bacon and cream cheese for the filling. I melt Monteray Jack cheese all over the top just before I take it out of the skillet. You'll take one bite of THAT and slap your mama.
#2-- Pork Ribs a la Rob. The secret to cooking good ribs is to start early. I put the ribs in the oven at 225 degrees for at least six hours before I throw them on the grill. I put a good, spicy rub on them and I make my own sauce. The meat falls off the bone and they are delicious.
#3-- Crab Stew Worth Dying For. I've NEVER bought crab meat in a store. I go catch my own. Then I cook 'em, pick 'em and make a stew that'll blow your doors off. You need the Holy Trinity of celery, onion and bell pepper, plus a whole stick of real butter and two cans of Cream of Celery soup. Throw that into a pot, along with Worchestershire sause, red pepper and black pepper. Cook on low heat until all the flavors meld together. Serve in big bowls with oyster crackers and lots of beer.
#4-- Seafood Pie. You put shrimp, crab and oysters into this, along with the Holy Trinity of celery, onion and bell pepper. I can make a pie crust, but I prefer to buy the frozen ones in the store. Less mess and less work. Throw the vegetables into a skillet and cook with butter and olive oil until the onions are translucent. Toss in the seafood and mix it all together, being careful NOT to over-cook the seafood. Bust up some cracker crumbs and use two eggs to hold everything together. Add grated American cheese, plus any white cheese you can find. Pour the mixture into a pie crust and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees in the oven. Trust me. It's good.
#5-- Fried Southern Vegetibles. Pick some okra, squash, zucchini and a couple of green tomatoes from your garden. Cut the okra and zuchinni long-ways, but the squash and green tomatoes sideways. Dredge them in milk with an egg whipped into it, then batter them with a half and half mixture of flour and corn meal, with plenty of salt, pepper and terrigon. Fry that stuff in a pot of grease (peanut oil is the best), then serve on a bed of lettuce. Wine is better than beer with THAT meal.
I really miss cooking. I once did it every day, but I have trouble cooking for just one person. My talents may wither on the vine.
Do you ever go Mushrooming in the spring? I never have, but my mom used to mushroom every spring for that caviar of mushrooms, the Morel. Pointy little sponge-looking things, they're ugly as can be and taste like heaven. They're so good, they're the only mushroom she'll eat, ever.
Clean them up, slice them or halve them depending on how big they are. The little tiny ones you can leave whole. Heat up your crisco or your corn oil. Take some plain old all purpose flour and season it up good with some salt and pepper, or salt and a little bit of cajun seasoning, and dredge them through it really light. You don't want a lot of breading on these because the flavor's so delicate and good.
Fry them up till they're crispy brown and drain them. Eat them quick. Eat them when they're almost too hot to eat. I don't adorn them in any manner. I don't feel the need to hide their flavor under some dip or dressing.
Damn, I wish they weren't $20 a pound and only around for a few weeks in April....
They make a nice little snack while you're waiting for your "Smothered Rabbit" to come out of the oven.
Don't give up on cooking, even if it's just for yourself. It's important to feed yourself well. (Maybe I'm a fine'example'; I'll make a big pot of Red Beans 'n Rice on Monday, and eat of it for the next few days. But it's GOOD, dammit!)
Anyway, I'm going to try your omlette recipe, also the fried veggies. BTW, I found a recipe for fried dill pickles in a cookbook; the author says its a 'real southern delicacy'. I tried it and it was pretty good. What can you tell me about it?
We talked about this the other night. I"ve posted the Smothered Rabbit recipe, in case you want it.
I may need to pick up a rabbit today up at the Safeway...
Re: Southern fried vegetables.
That mix sounds damn good and I will have to try it sometime. BUT...I think it is the gospel in our fair sunny Southland that, when fried alone, okra is NEVER battered up with milk and or eggs first. Okra has enough of its own natural "sticky". Too much coating ruins it. Shaken lightly in cornmeal, just enough to get a decent glittering over it, (excess shaken out with a strainer), then fried in grease that has a helpin' of bacon drippin's in it.
I batter my okra, but I do it LIGHTLY. You can fry okra in no breading at all and I think it tastes good, but I still like a little bit of golden crust on mine.
The same thing with a fried green tomato.
Yes, I have been mushrooming before. Only the kind we were looking for grew in cow pastures and make a most excellent tea.
Boy... those things will make you see visions in flickering candle-light.
I make a pie with my green tomatoes.
Acidman wrote: I batter my okra but I do it LIGHTLY
I have to say, in retrospect, I shouldn't have used the term "gospel" nor empasized NEVER in referring to okra and additional battering. The only thing that NEVER qualifies in Southern cooking is sugar in cornbread. :-)
Lots of my kin lightly batter their okra as well, and it tastes mighty damn good if, as you say, it isn't so thick as to take away from the natural taste of the critter itself!
*giggle* There's something to be said for being "Battered Lightly." Why should Okra have all the fun?
But I forgive you for anything because of the seafood pie and crab stew recipe.
Somewhere, just out of sight, the unicorns are gathering.
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