Tuesday, January 16, 2018

ABC News Article on Honeybees

You can find here an interesting article on honeybees from ABC News.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Roasted Tofu With Peanut Sauce

This is one of my simple-and-effective dinners. The peanut sauce comes from David Lebovitz and his very well-written blog.; it includes peanuts, tea, coconut milk, and various seasonings. The recipe makes enough for four servings, so I can use it for several days, particularly if I freeze some of it. The traditional serving would include noodles and chicken. I cut the calories by eliminating the pasta although I do typically add a little corn to the sauce. Rather than chicken, I use roasted tofu. I first squeeze excess water out of the tofu---try it, it works. I then cut it into cubes and put it in a 400 degree oven for something like 15 minutes. The result is both warm and with a nice crunchy exterior for texture. The sauce re-softens the tofu just enough. The combination is simple to prepare and protein-rich.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Jackson GA: Buckner's Restaurant

Buckner's Restaurant is just off I-75 behind a huge neighborhood of truck maintenance. Once you get there, parking is plentiful and truck-free. Isn't the giant chicken a nice touch?

The service is family style, with very helpful staff, and the food is excellent. My favorite was the stewed tomatoes. They had a bright taste that I really enjoyed; they were especially good when I found one of the whole plum tomatoes in the bowl. The green beans were excellent, well-cooked but not overcooked. The slaw was the local favorite of all-green, no carrots. The biscuits and cornbread were very good. The table came with two proteins, fried chicken and pulled pork. We went through two bowls of the pork. The chicken was prepared skinless with a nice crust. The peach cobbler was very good with nice, big pieces of peach. And the turntable was a lot of fun.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Jackson GA: Fresh Air Bar-B-Que

Fresh Air has been on the highway south of Jackson for close to 90 years. It is a classic BBQ place: order at the counter, pick up your food, sit down at one of the long tables. The place is cavernous---the original building was added onto at some point with a second huge dining room. The ladies who run the place are both very efficient and extremely helpful.

The sign out front is pretty much the menu. You have three choices: BBQ sandwich (pulled pork, of course), BBQ plate (regular or large), or Brunswick stew. I managed to try all three. The BBQ itself is outstanding. It is perfectly cooked and moist enough to not need sauce. The sauce is applied with a kiss, just enough to add a hint of sweetness to the meat. Although I'm sure you can get sauce if you ask, it isn't kept on the table. Thanks to the meat, the BBQ sandwich is the quintessence of its type. As for the plate, it was similarly outstanding. The slaw doesn't have any carrots in it, which seems to be the style in this neighborhood, and it was creamy without being gooey. The pickle was very nice. The Brunswick stew was just as good as the pork: it had that same hint of sweetness and the perfect consistency between a soup and a hearty stew.

The brownie was extra. It was labeled "Real Good Brownie" and they weren't lying. It was the cakey style, which I prefer, and it was wonderfully tender.

I also put away a few Tom's BBQ pork rinds.

After my meal, one of the ladies very graciously let me take a photo of the BBQ pit, running 24/7 since the 1920's.

She even opened up the pit to show me the meat basking in the heat.

This stove sat nearby cooking up a batch of sauce.

This place is worth the trip, folks. There is a reason that they were voted best in Georgia back in the 80s and they haven't lost their touch.

Friday, January 12, 2018

A Simple Breakfast Treat

One of my little addictions is this breakfast: whole wheat bread made into french toast with bananas and Nutella. I generally make one of two breads: the 100% whole wheat bread from the King Arthur whole wheat cookbook or their anadama bread recipe. Some people like puffy bread for french toast but I enjoy the denser bread soaked in egg and half-and-half. The chocolate in Nutella goes well with bananas; it also goes very well with whole wheat. The result is tasty, energizing, and only moderately unhealthy. What more could you ask?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Beef Stew

In a beefy mood, I made a beef stew in the French style with a wine marinade. My stew, however, included a more complete set of vegetables in the style of my Mom.

A little bacon adds fat and flavor.

I sweated an onion.

The beef, bacon, and onions went into the cast iron skillet for browning.

Some tomato paste went into the skillet for carmelization.

I put together a sachet d'epices for flavor.

Everything went into the slow cooker for a few hours.

After the beef had cooked for a few hours, I put together somevegetables: okra, zucchini, carrot, and celery. Adding them later keeps them from cooking too long and losing their flavor. The okra helps to thicken the stew.

A little later, I added green beans.

Corn was the last entry.

The result hit two good spots: meaty from the beef and pork; filling from the vegetables.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Shrimp Etouffee

I haven’t made shrimp etouffee for awhile so I decided to give it a go. I used Emeril Lagasse’s recipe from Food Network here.

I sweated a bowl of trinity: onion, celery, green pepper.

I cleaned the shrimp and boiled the head and shells. Using the shrimp broth really strengthens the flavor---definitely worth the small amount of effort.

In go the shrimp and garlic.

I browned some flour, then added the shrimp broth. I also added some paprika for color---that is what I had. I let everything cook and thicken for a couple of minutes.

A wonderful dinner and another serving for later.