Party Success!

Today I went to a 25th anniversary party. It was basically a cook-out, as there was a grill and some really great hotdogs, but it was mainly pot luck for the rest. There were crockpots of pork barbeque, and of beans, and there was cole slaw and potato salad, crackers and cheese, chips and dip… and a really fabulous cake from a local bakery. I brought a huge pan of my mac & cheese and a pan of triple layer mint brownies. Both were a big success! Everyone was asking who made them, and I even wrote out the mac & cheese recipe for a lady who doesn’t do the internet. I passed out little cards to everyone else who asked, telling them how to find Grammy’s Treats and Eats. Go me!

I love bringing my recipes to people, getting them out of their kitchen comfort zone and trying new things.

Even though today was cold, damp, and rainy, I started thinking about this summer’s cookouts. One thing I always get asked to make is Red Potato Salad. It’s really good, a little different, and very popular! Even among non- potato salad eaters.

Start by washing and scrubbing 4 to 5 lbs red potatoes. If they are large, cut them in half. I usually use 2 pots to boil them. Place them in pot(s) and fill with enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Salt generously. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes til soft but not mushy. Drain. Pour potatoes onto a large rimmed baking sheet or two, and allow to cool completely. Cube potatoes, but don’t skin them. Some will slough off, but don’t worry. Throw it all in a huge mixing bowl. Or the pot. Something big.

Now, in a small bowl, put 1-3/4C mayonnaise. Add 2t black pepper, and 1T celery salt. Whisk together well.

In another bowl, put 1 bunch celery, finely chopped, and 2 bunches scallions, finely sliced, white, light green, and a bit of the dark green parts. Pretty colors!

Add the celery and scallions to the potatoes. Use a large rubber spatula to lift and turn to combine. Don’t want to smush the potatoes. Add mayonnaise mixture, and use the same lifting and turning motions to thoroughly combine. Put in a big pretty bowl, cover with plastic, and chill well, at least 2 hours.

Sometimes I decorate it with quartered hard boiled eggs and a sprinkle or two of parsley and/or paprika. Sometimes not. Whatever mood strikes! My kids really like the eggs!

So my friends, let the cookout season begin! If it ever stops raining!

Love, Grammy

Is It Just Me, Or…

I love reading recipes! I get a lot of ideas, I love trying new things, and I especially love new techniques.

But…. and this is a big pet peeve of mine…. why, why, when someone tries something amazing somewhere and they make it at home, do they put the recipe out there for all to see and everything is already prepared??

Get a frozen pound cake, frozen strawberries in sugar, and (ick!) Cool Whip, and say you “made” dessert?? I mean, do what ya gotta do, but why post it as a recipe?

Whew. I feel better.

The concept was good: making the strawberry shortcake in a 13 x 9 pan for easy assembly, carrying somewhere, and serving. But this can be done using a real recipe. Cut and sugar fresh strawberries, make my vanilla cake from the earlier posted Strawberry Shortcake recipe, and take 3 minutes to whip your own sweet cream. Cube the cooled cake, layer cubes, berries, and cream twice in the 13 x 9 pan, wrap it, chill it, ready to go! BOOM!

The homemade goodness of doing it this way doesn’t take that much longer and it totally eclipses anything made with prepackaged ingredients. Don’t knock it til you try it! With a little guidance from Grammy, you too can make all kinds of totally homemade fare without too much trouble. It is worth it, believe me.

Hopefully, I will inspire you to be more adventurous in your kitchen. The occasional shortcut is okay, but as a rule, homemade is best!

Love, Grammy ❤

Party, Party, Party! ❤ Party Size Mint Brownies!

Who doesn’t love brownies? Rich, chocolatey, fudgy brownies. Yum. Ok, Shane doesn’t like chocolate. Anyone else? I didn’t think so!

Ok, so what if you take those rich brownies and spread a layer of mint creme on them, and top them off with chocolate ganache? Oh. My. Goodness. Then you make enough to bring to a large party, and everyone loves them and thinks you are a baking genius. Sounds good, right? Now, how about this: The Recipe Is Easy!

In a nice big mixing bowl, put: 3C sugar, 3C flour, 1C unsweetened cocoa, and 1-1/2t salt. Whisk together. Make a well in the center.

In another bowl, crack 6 eggs, add 1-1/2C oil, and 3/4C milk. Whisk well. Pour the liquid into the dry and beat well with a wooden spoon til combined.

Heat oven to 350 F. Spray a 10 x 15″ jelly roll pan with cooking spray. Use a rubber spatula to spread evenly to edges of pan. Smooth top. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes til done. Cool in pan on wire rack.

For the mint layer, soften a stick of butter. Beat in a total of 5C Confectioner’s sugar, (1 cup at a time) 2T peppermint extract, and up to 1/4C whole milk for a creamy consistency. Spread over completely cooled brownies. Chill to firm it up.

For the chocolate ganache topping, melt 6T butter in the microwave. Add 2C semi-sweet chocolate chips. Stir well. Put the bowl back in the microwave at 50% power for 30 second intervals. Stir well in between. Repeat til melted. Let stand 15 minutes. Spread chocolate layer over chilled brownies/mint layer. Spread to sides. Chill for 1 hour, and cut into squares.

You will be the hit of the party with these sweet, minty, chocolatey, creamy, more chocolatey, fudgy, moist, yummy brownies. Dee-lish!

Happy Brownie Day! (If it isn’t, it should be!)

Love, Grammy

What The Heck Is Porkchop Gravy?

That was my response when sweet Miss Mabel asked me if I had ever made it. Made it? I never heard of it!

As I have delicately implied before, I’m not a gravy person. I like it occasionally, made a certain way on certain things, but as a rule…. uh, No! And porkchop gravy did not sound good.

Miss Mabel is not much of an eater though, so if she was asking for something, I wanted to make it for her. She sat in the kitchen and directed me as I made pork chops and gravy. It was delicious! I’ve made it a dozen times since, and we all love it! Unbelievable!

Here is what you do, according to the Queen Bee of Southern Cooking, our own Miss Mabel:

Pat dry 4 loin bone-in pork chops. Season both sides with Kosher salt and black pepper. Heat 1T vegetable oil over med-hi heat in a heavy skillet. Cast iron is best. Melt 4T butter in the oil. When very hot, add the chops to the pan. Sear the first side about 2 min, and flip. As soon as the second side starts to sizzle, turn the heat down to med-lo and cover the pan.

Measure 4T flour (Wondra is best for gravies) in a small bowl. Add 1/2t Kosher salt, 1t black pepper, and 1/4t cayenne pepper to the flour and stir. Measure 2C whole milk into a measuring cup. If the chops are especially thick, you have time to peel your potatoes and put them on to boil. If not, you should have done that first! 😀

Check the chops for doneness. When cooked through, move to a plate and cover with foil.

Ah, the magic moment. Turn the heat under the pan to medium. Use a whisk to stir and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the surface, and whisk continuously. Cook and whisk a couple of minutes. Don’t let it burn. Slowly pour the milk in while whisking continuously. Cook and whisk til it just starts to thicken and boil. Turn heat to low, cook and stir a few more minutes.

This gravy is meant to be on the thick side, but if it’s too thick whisk in a splash or two of milk. You can’t fix it if it’s too thin. You can’t add more flour at this stage, so be careful!

Serve the pork chops and gravy with fluffy mashed potatoes, some bread or biscuits to sop up the gravy, and if you must, a vegetable. This isn’t exactly a heart healthy meal so why bother?

Of note: a lot of the flavor and “gravy juice” comes from the bone-in chops. It just doesn’t work with boneless chops.

This recipe is a Miss Mabel (and husband Doc) favorite. I actually saw her dip a spoon in the gravy and put it in her mouth! Just gravy! But folks, it’s that good!

I hope you enjoy this truly wonderful Southern meal. If it’s gravy, and I like it, you have to know it’s fantastic!

Love, Grammy

Party Chicken Wings!

Last night my son Joe came for dinner and said, “You should put your party wings on the blog. You always make them for parties, everyone really likes them.”

I hadn’t thought of that, but he was right. They are good, and I do make them frequently for gatherings. They are so very good!

This recipe makes a lot of wings. But that’s ok. If you do happen to have any left, you can take them home and eat them yourself!

Take 6 pounds of chicken wings, split them in two and discard the tips. Now you have an equal number of drums and flats.

In a large bowl, mix together well the following:

1C soy sauce, 1C honey, 1/2C molasses, 1/4C chili sauce, 2t ground ginger, and 4 cloves garlic, minced.

Divide the wings between 2- 1 gallon zippy bags. Pour the sauce over wings, divide evenly between the bags. Seal the bags, and turn them several times to totally coat the wings.

Refrigerate at least 1 hour, up to 12 hours. Turn the bags occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 375. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Arrange the wings on the baking sheets. Brush with reserved marinade.

Put the wings in the oven. Cook 50 to 60 minutes, brushing frequently with marinade and turning wings once. The wings are done when nicely browned and juices run clear.

Party on my friends. These wings are always a huge hit!

Love, Grammy

Grammy’s Intensely Delicious Mac & Cheese!

Who doesn’t love mac & cheese? Ok, there are probably a few of you out there. There’s something wrong with you, but don’t worry. It can be treated with this recipe.

This recipe makes a huge mac & cheese casserole, but it is very easy to cut in half. Another choice is to make the whole thing, divide it into two pans, and wrap and freeze one. I usually give the second pan to my son Joe.

This weekend though, I am going to a party my friend Robin is having to celebrate 25 years in business at her hair salon, Creative Clippers. I said I’d bring the mac & cheese, so I’m bringing one huge honking pan of it. Yum yum!

Ok: In a large pot, bring 2 quarts salted water to the boil. Add 1-1/2 pounds elbow macaroni (or any small pasta) and cook til almost al dente. Drain it, but don’t rinse it.

Put the pot back on the stove over medium heat. Melt 1 stick of butter. When melted, sprinkle 8T flour (I like Wondra best for sauces and gravies) over surface of butter. Sprinkle in 1t Kosher salt, 1t black pepper, and 1/2t cayenne pepper. Whisk well to combine. Whisk and cook another full minute. Two minutes if using regular flour. Now, slow and steady here, whisking constantly, pour in 4C whole milk. Whisk and cook until it comes to the boil and thickens. Turn down the heat, whisk and cook 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.

With a big wooden spoon, stir in 2C Colby Jack cheese and 2C sharp cheddar cheese. Beat well until all that cheese is melted and fully incorporated.

Now for some magic: add the drained macaroni back to the pot, mix and stir, stir and mix, til all that mac is coated with all that cheese sauce.

Now, I happen to have a huge, deep, 9 x 13 casserole dish (courtesy of Henn Pottery). If you don’t have something that big, buy a foil pan. Spray the dish with cooking spray, and scrape every bit of that mac & cheese into it. Use a rubber spatula… you don’t want to miss any!

Ready for more magic? Ok. Melt 1 stick butter. Stir in 1C crushed cornflake crumbs, 1/2C Parmesan cheese, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Stir well. Spread this mixture evenly over the surface of the mac & cheese. Even you doubters…. admit your mouth is watering!

Bake in a 350 F oven for 30 min, til browned and hot and bubbly.

This, if I do say so myself, is fabulous mac & cheese. My girl Jessica adores this recipe. Sorry Joe, the next half pan goes to her!

See you Saturday Robin! This will be a crowd pleaser!

Enjoy!

Love, Grammy

What To Do With That Fryer Full Of Oil? Hmmm.

Okay, so as you know I made a big batch of fabulous glazed donuts this morning. They were so good Mama Mabel ate three. No kidding. I gave half of them to my sweets loving neighbor Dave, or else we would eat them all!

But then I had a Fry Daddy full of oil… pretty clean oil since I only fried donuts. Note: If I cook any kind of meat in there, I dispose of the oil. I keep an empty oil jug and pour it in with a funnel when it’s cool. When that fills up I throw it out. Period.

Anyhow, I didn’t feel like frying chicken. I had some leftover pork chops from last night anyway. So, I thought, fries? No. Ahh yes. Mashed potato puffs.

I hadn’t made these since my boys were small, and I couldn’t find the recipe. So I made one, partly from memory, partly from luck.

Peel 2-1/2 lbs potatoes and cut in chunks. Bring to the boil in salted water. Cover, reduce to simmer, cook about 15 min or til soft. Drain well, put back in the pot on med heat and shake ’em around to dry them out. Put them through a potato ricer, or just mash them really well if you don’t have this awesome gadget.

Add 1 beaten egg, 3T butter, 2T dry milk powder, 3T Parmesan cheese, 1/2t Kosher salt, and 1t black pepper.

Flour your hands and roll this yummy stuff into golf ball sized balls. Heat the fryer oil to 350 F and drop in 4 or 5 at a time, turning to brown all over. Drain on paper towels. Keep going til you’ve fried all your balls.

Place fried balls on a lightly sprayed baking sheet and reheat at 350 F for about 10 min til hot. This is the way to reheat leftovers tomorrow too, just for about 15 min cold from the fridge.

These were delicious and sure spruced up my leftovers. We are eating the rest tomorrow. Yay!

Have fun! Now you can ditch the oil!

Love, Grammy