Verify

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Quilted Mac and Cheese

With the holidays fast approaching,  our menus will be brainstormed, assessed and executed with surgical precision and garnished with stress.  Whether you choose a traditional or modern ensemble, there are always little tweaks and adjustments we can make to what we are already comfortable with, to elevate a dish or recipe in no time. 
 The featured photo is what I call "quilted", because of the block style appearance of the melted cheese on top and throughout.  I cubed some of the cheese portions larger than others, as to not completely melt into the dish and retain some of its shape and offer more texture.  I prepped two contrasting color portions of the cheese used for this recipe and scattered the blocks randomly atop, to create a look similar to that of your Grandma's hand sewn quilt, passed down to your mother and one day, becoming your own.  
Now, having an heirloom quilt is not a requirement and is certainly not going to affect the wonderful outcome of this little tip, but hopefully it will create the same warming, cozy and familiar feeling you just had thinking about it. Additionally, if you love the idea of quilting as a hobby, it's never too late to begin one and create some living history and a chance to get your kids engaged in adding some of the swatches that represent themselves or things that are important in their lives. Participation begets Appreciation!  Enjoy!

Quilted Mac and Cheese effect created using two types of cheese, cubed 



 

Friday, September 17, 2021

Spaghetti Pie and a Beautiful Sky


 A fantastic spin on a familiar comfort food and leftovers is a delicious Spaghetti Pie!  I found the original recipe in a cookbook from the early 80's and adapted it in my own style to become one of my own.  This recipe is particularly great for elevating the leftovers from your last night's spaghetti dinner, with the implementation of just a few more ingredients.  By no means does the dish have to begin with dinner past, you may create the components as you go, but this way is ideal for time and efficiency's sake. 
 The noodles of the Spaghetti Pie are tossed with beaten eggs, mixed with some Parmesan cheese, parsley and garlic powder and pressed into the shape of a 'pie' crust in your desired vessel.  This time I used a casserole, but you may use pie pans, if you have them available.  the already cooked noodles are then covered with a blend of sour cream, Parmesan cheese and other fresh aromatics of your choice like parsley, basil and oregano.  Be sure to leave a border, as one would with a pie as well.  
The meat sauce is then spread over the sour cream blend , then covered and baked through for about 30 minutes, give or take depending on the oven.  This allows time for the egg to set up and form a pasta crust with the meat sauce suspended in the middle.  Once the dish has baked and set, you may sprinkle with Cheddar cheese or a cheese blend to your liking ,then popped back into the oven until melted.  Add the finishing touches by garnishing with olive oil, parsley and Parmesan cheese for a dinner makeover that's elevated and phenomenally different, plus even more delicious because everyone knows spaghetti is better the next day!! 
Spaghetti Pie before covering and baking for 30 minutes .

A gorgeous sunrise in North Myrtle Beach with the colors of Summer's End.


Thursday, August 5, 2021

Thank You


 This photo is dedicated to all my viewers and supporters. I want to thank you for helping me attain almost 7 Million views on my photography as a Google Local Guide and a new milestone of views for my recipes, reflections and photography here on my website. Thanks so much and I look forward to sharing  much more. You are Loved and Appreciated. See you soon and as beautiful as this photo is, (taken while on vacation in Clarksville) Don't Let the Sun Set on Your Dreams, Keep It Pushing! #TEAMKIP

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Badeaux's Seafood and Grill: Down in the Bayou by Way of South Boston

Fried Alligator App at Badeaux's

One of the highlights this year during our visits to Clarksville is stopping by South Boston to dine at Badeaux's Seafood and Grill. They have an array of delectables, with Cajun flair, as well as burgers, BBQ, Steaks, Wings and Cajun style seafood options. I was particularly interested in giving the Gator menu items a go. We had the Alligator Basket and Bacon Cheese Fries Appetizers and they were DELISH! The morsels of fried golden goodness were tender and supple, with a hearty crunch and optional Cajun heat. The Gator sauce is a unique and yummy, even on fries! We ordered with Prompt and Friendly service. Our server was excellent and personable, courteous and attentive, without being overly so. We had lunch before heading back up north on our destination. Our food was hot and fresh, Blues played while we enjoyed our burgers, I recommend the "Slap Ya Mamma" Burger, though I wouldn't advise it :), the Collard Greens are BOSS! My girls enjoyed the Mac and Cheese side, which is an option with any burger combo at no extra charge. Next time, we'll be having dinner and checking out the rest of the expansive menu. Smiles all the way around the table and the restaurant was clean. We'll be taking a drive back, sooner than later, it's worth the hour plus. Next time you happen to be in the South Boston, Va area, be sure to look them up, I 'Guarantee' the taste will bring you back!

Friday, July 23, 2021

Smoking Greens

 Rainbow Chard from my garden, along with fresh thyme, sage and rosemary.

 A quick and easy way to incorporate some smoky , flavorful goodness into your freshly picked garden greens is to use a counter-top smoker.  Normally, you would achieve the smoke factor by adding a piece of good ole' side meat or jowl, which has smoke already imparted into the protein, transferring through some long simmering and juices infusing the water therein.  
A helping heaping of hickory smoke can be added with some hickory chips, or chips of your choice, like cherry or apple, and you can add a drizzle of olive oil, to create a healthier, heart healthful bunch of greens without feeling guilty.  Of course, the good ole way is wonderful too, plus you can always use smoked turkey parts, but this way is a vegan way to enjoy your greens, Southern style with no regrets.  
You can add as much or little smoke as you like, just be mindful that too much of it can cause a bitterness you may not enjoy as much.  Fresh lemon juice adds brightness and freshness, as well as fresh cracked pepper.  Put some smoke in the air and some good in your greens with a cold smoker, yet another way to add some Soul and Southern American to your plate!  

Thursday, July 22, 2021

New Adventures in Planting


 This is the flower of a Japanese Eggplant.  A first for me, I am interested in all of its growing phases and properties.  I just wanted to share this photo of my first bloom.  I thought it was really interesting that the center parts or anthers look like a bunch of bananas.  I find it fascinating that they are grouped as such.  I have them individually planted in growing vessels and they aren't going as fast as the ones I gifted my sister, as she has hers planted in her ground growing garden.  

The result should be a long cucumber shaped fruit that is deep purple, like the color of its stem.  I am excited about this new cooking endeavor.  I can see them stuffed and baked with all sorts of delicious fillings, both plant and meat based.  I plan to keep them all, because I need as much experience with cooking them as possible.  I like adding new and different ingredients to my cooking wheelhouse.   I'd love to know what you're adding to yours.  Feel free to share what you're curious about or working into your regime...you may leave your answers in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Cherry Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese with Cherries


Spice up your summer grilled cheese sandwich with some fresh cherries!  Aside from being rich in antioxidants and beneficial polyphenols and excellent for treatment of the gout or excess buildup of uric acid in the body, these deep red dollops of delicious, are a perfect way to elevate your old fashioned grilled cheese.   
The cheeses I used are Gouda, Sharp Cheddar and American.  They complement the cherries excellently and together they make a cohesive and bright addition to any hot summer's day menu.  While they are in season now, you can find the most flavorful and sweet fruits to make lots of fantastic dishes or add ins at a most reasonable price.  The cherries provide a great texture to match the crispy,buttery outer bread and the ooey gooey center of molten cheese.  Simply slice the cherries in half and remove the  pit.  Add the cherries just as the cheeses start to melt, so they are just warmed slightly and won't give up their juiciness on the bread.  
The larger pieces of cherry make for an awesome mouthful of juicy goodness.  I like to use mayonnaise on the bread for our grilled cheese because it provides impeccable crunchtacity (my word) and a gorgeous golden hue. I also like to use Honey Wheat.  Breads, cheeses and fruit go hand in hand, have some all in one! Grilled Cheese with Cherries, Yes, Please! 


 

 


Featured Author
Featured Author
Smokinhotchef
Smokinhotchef
view my recipes
Featured Author