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 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! 



Monday, July 19, 2021

Royal Chicken


I used a whole pineapple as the base and baster for a Cornish hen recipe and it turned out AAHmazing. 

The revised plan involves a pineapple after you have used a pineapple cutting device that cuts out the meat and makes slices in a couple of easy steps.  The marinated hen is then slid down on the core that remains inside the pineapple and open roasted or grilled until done.  The finished product is then removed from the stub and the stub can then be discarded.  The pineapple in the featured photo shows a bird that sits on a pineapple throne, with part of the pineapple flanking the back side.  This promotes the self basting aspect and leaves roasted pineapple to be sliced and served alongside as a side dish.  

I open roasted the Cornish hen in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  I then moved it to my smoker and added an elevated, smoky element to the already flavorful protein.  The end result is a tender, moist and absolutely delicious meal for one or light dinner for two.  I used a Kickin' Chicken' rub with a little heat to marinate the chicken, also a bit of liquid aminos, smashed garlic, freshly cracked pepper and a nice glug of olive oil.  I also painted on some of the residual juices with some fresh sage from my herb garden and let those flavors hang out and kiss the bird subtly as it rested.  

I love this dish for several reasons, but most appealing is finding another use for my pineapples when I remove the viable fruit.  The vessel that remains is still full of flavor and juices that can be a perfect cooking add on.  The small tasty bird sits on a throne of golden awesomeness and is fit for a king...or queen, Royal Chicken for the 'commonfolk', Long Live the Queen.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

5n@i1 5p@gh3tt1: Spaghetti a la Escargot

Escargot (Snails)
I have wanted to try Escargot for the longest time.  I had so many questions and I finally got the opportunity for some hands on lab. First off, man are they off putting, to say the least, I won't even tell you the words that came to my mind to describe them, nor will I tell you what my family members thought they resembled.  There were four of us willing to give them a try, my sister Bonnie. her husband Jackie, Bronwyn and myself.  I was relieved that they are not slimy in the can.  I can't say I enjoyed the smell at first though.  These were the giant variety and they were about the size of an average sized meatball.  They are quite firm and have good texture, with an almost rubbery undertone.  I made sure that I cooked them gently, afraid of the potentially irreversible consequences of a tough protein such as this.  
Traditionally, Escargot is prepared with a garlic, butter and parsley compound and broiled lightly to melt the delicious aromatics down into the shell, which are to be purchased separately.  I failed to get my order for the shells in before our vacation departure and I figured I would scarcely find them for purchase in any of the supermarkets or shoppes near the lake, so I took them in a different direction.  I wanted to come from this experience with something different and I think I achieved as much with this recipe.  
To counter the almost scary appearance of the Escargot, I halved them, then sliced them into manageable pieces, hoping to capture the appetites of the naysayers.  Next time, I will keep them whole and follow a more traditional route, preparing them in their I guess you would say intended form, for a more genuine experience.  
This recipe is a good introduction to the world of Escargot, a once exclusive dish for the wealthy, now transgressed into a dish to be served on any given weeknight, full of delicious nuances and mystery.

Snails are not just your average exotic food, they also bring with them many nutritional benefits.
They are rich in protein,  substantially so, providing about 18 grams per serving.  The fat in Escargot, albeit small, is mostly polyunsaturated.  Snails boasts essential fatty acids of the good variety, linolenic and linoleic acids, respectively, they lend brain and heart health benefits. There is a wealth of iron, magnesium and calcium, plus copper and phosphorus.   Snails are a good alternative meat as well as a healthy one.  They have vitamins A, B12 and K, where K is mostly found in the veggie department, particularly greens with leaves.  Vitamin B6 and folate also have presence.  If that weren't enough, Escargot has two amino acids that are also present in eggs, lysine and  arginine, both in higher amounts than it's more familar round buddy!  They are sustainable and have a much smaller impact on the environment than other animal proteins.  Just a thought.

Spaghetti a la Escargot


1 7.7 oz. can giant snails, halved and sliced thinly
1 lb. spaghetti, cooked according to instructions in salted water, al dente
1 large ripe tomato, chopped with seeds removed
1 bunch fresh herbs, about 1/2 c. lemon thyme, parsley and sage, rough chopped
6 tbsp. salted Amish Butter 
2 tbsp. Extra Virgin olive oil
1/2 c. chopped yellow onion
6 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
SPST (Salt and Pepper to Suit Taste)
Olive oil and fresh herbs for garnish
Shredded or Shaved Parmesan Cheese for garnish

Place butter, olive oil, onion and garlic in a large saucepan over low heat and let sweat for about 20 minutes, until soft and fragrant.  
Add Escargots and gently warm through, while pasta cooks.
Once pasta is cooked, drain and transfer to saucepan with butter mixture and turn  up to medium, add tomato and herbs, SPST, tossing until everything is coated and well incorporated.  
Garnish with additional herbs and Parmesan cheese as desired.  
Makes 6 to 10 servings.