Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Who are the Best Cooks: Men or Women? Round 3

September has been a busy month for me. I suddenly realized that I had not posted anything new and exciting for you to read. So I decided to make this first post in September another round in the Best Cooks Competition.

The two recipes that I am featuring are from two men that I have had the pleasure of knowing. One is my stepfather who is now deceased and the other is a former teaching colleague who now lives in Florida. How you enjoy their recipes.

Kielbasa and Cabbage

6 slices bacon, cooked, drained

bacon drippings
1 large cabbage head, cut in wedges

4 carrots, cut in thin rounds
1/4 c. water

1 lb. Hillshire Farm's kielbasa, cut in 1" rounds

Place cabbage and carrots in bacon drippings in large skillet; add water; stir gently to coat cabbage. Cover; cook over medium heat, 10 - 15 minutes, until carrots are fork-tender. Add kielbasa; cover; cook 20 minutes or until water has evaporated. Serve with crumbled bacon on top. Can lightly brown kielbasa before adding to pan. Serves 4

I loved to visit my Momma. It was an added treat on the days my step dad was cooking this dish. I am convinced that it was tastier because he cooked it in an old deepsided cast-iron skillet.

Submitted By: James D. Baucom, Jr.


1 each red and yellow bell pepper, chopped

8 large tomatoes, diced
1/4 c. garlic, chopped

1/2 c. cilantro, finely chopped
1 Serrano pepper, chopped

1/4 c. white vinegar
1 Hungarian pepper, chopped

8 green onions, chopped
1 c. mild banana peppers, chopped

salt/pepper to taste
1 (6 oz.) can Contadina roasted garlic tomato paste

Combine all ingredients; mix well; chill. Serve with favorite tortilla chip. Serves 20

Rob shares this recipe that he got from his mom.

Submitted By: Rob Hornyak

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Do You Sweat, Perspire, or Glisten?

Today my friends and I sat in the cool of the air-conditioned restaurant and sipped a tall tall glass of Southern Ice Tea (yes there’s a difference) and discussed the effects on our bodies of the 100+ temps. We then discussed which word we preferred to use to describe our state of dampness:

Sweat - to make something dripping wet with the clear salty liquid that passes to the surface of the skin when somebody is hot.
Perspire - to make something wet with the fluid secreted through the pores of the skin.
Glisten - to shine lightly from a wet surface.

Now, I have decided that the first two could better be used to describe other people. When I think of sweat I think of Matthew Fox on Heroes with his shirt off trying to survive in a hot jungle after a plane crash. He is stripped to the waist and his muscles are wet with sweat. When I think of perspire, I think of the politicians who become wet and wipe perspiration from their foreheads as they wish they had prepared for the debate as they watch other candidates charm the audience with their knowledge.

The third term, I have decided is the one I would chose to describe me as I walk from the air-conditioned restaurant to the air-conditioned car to the air-conditioned house. I will not give my body time to sweat or perspire. Been there, done that!

If you have to be out in this weather, please take care of yourself and drink plenty of water and take rest breaks in the shade. You are all special and we need you here to fulfill your purpose.

Here’s my favorite cool summer drink. It is best enjoyed in the evening as you sit around and cool down from the day. Fix and enjoy.

Southern Sweet Tea
4 c water
8-10 regular-sized (3 family sized tea bags)
Pinch of baking soda

Sugar Syrup:
4 c sugar

2 c water

To prepare Sugar Syrup: Combine water and sugar in saucepan; stir; bring to boil; reduce heat; stir until thickened; remove from heat; set aside.

To prepare tea: wrap teabag strings around handle of spatula (I prefer a wooden spoon). Bring 4 cups of water to boil in saucepan; turn off heat. Place teabags on spatula in pan with pinch of baking soda. Once tea is suitably darkened, and still hot; remove tea bags. Do not squeeze teabags, it clouds the tea. Add 1 cup of sugar syrup to tea; stir until thoroughly blended. Pour mixture into 1 gallon glass or metal pitcher; fill to top with water. Stir; chill in refrigerator. Pour remaining sugar syrup into glass jar; cover.

To serve tea: Once tea has cooled; fill tall glasses 2/3 full with ice; pour tea over ice. Place reserved sugar syrup on side so guests may sweeten according to personal taste. Enjoy!

Use Lipton or Luzianne orange pekoe tea.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Happy Friday the 13th!

How many times have you stayed home on Friday the 13th to prevent anything bad from happening to you?
How many times have you made an x on your car windshield after a black cat ran across the street in front of your car?
How many times have you thrown salt over your shoulder after spilling some on the table?
How many times have you stepped over the crack in the sidewalk or walked around the ladder instead of under it?
Your answers to these and other such questions just might tell how superstitious you are.

I really like the one about the left palm itching means you are going to get some money. Every time my palm itches I head for my nearest store and lottery tickets. Alas, that isn’t the money my itching palm must be announcing. All I can say is that if all those left palm itches every come true, Bill Gates watch out; there is a new multi billionaire.

Seriously speaking, there are many people who do believe strongly in superstitions. I must admit I am not one of them.
I stay home around most holidays because everyone is away and the streets and restaurants aren’t as crowded.
I find black cats beautiful majestic looking animals.
Open ladders mean that some much needed painting is getting done.
Rain on a wedding day means a nice cozy night with this person you have just promised to love no matter what.
Oh and the beautiful four leaf clover, please leave it and let it stay green and beautiful where it grows.
Let’s not forget the rabbit’s foot. The only bad thing I remember about it is that my brother always chased me with one to scare me because I felt sorry for the poor three legged rabbit.
And the chicken wishbone, again my brother always rigged it so he got the longer end.
The chill up my spine usually means I have run outside in the cold just for a second and didn’t wear a coat.
A bat in the house could mean serious illness or death as their droppings are highly toxic.
And finally, the idea that a great horror turns your hair white. I was graying by the time I was 18. According to family photos many of my ancestors did too. Hum. Do you suppose we all saw the same horror?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Who's the Best Cooks: Men or Women Round 2

Happy 4th of July. It is a special day for me. It is my daughter's birthday and yes she was and still is a firecracker.

Well, it is time for another round in the battle of who's the best cooks, men or women. This time, I am including four recipes because they are a family affair. Neit, Edith and Mat are sisters who are fantastic cooks and Ollie Mae Pearson is their mom. Enjoy these.

Taco Soup
2 lbs. ground beef, browned, drained
2 (15 oz. each) cans pinto beans
2 (15 oz. each) cans whole kernel corn
2 (15 oz. each) cans diced tomatoes
2 pkg. taco seasoning mix tortilla chips
sour cream
grated cheese

In large pot, combine beans, corn, tomatoes and taco seasoning: mix well; add beef. Simmer over medium heat until soup is thoroughly warm. Place tortilla chips in bottom of soup bowls; ladle soup over chips; top with sour cream and cheese. Can substitute tomato sauce for tomates. Serves 6-8.

Submitted by: Juanita Pearson Watkins

Strawberry Pudding
2 pt. frozen strawberries, thawed, undrained
1/2 small box strawberry Jell-o
1/2 c. sugar
1 large box vanilla instant pudding mix
1 large carton Cool Whip
1 box vanilla wafers

Use 3 quart casserole. Place strawberries, Jell-o, and sugar in saucepan; heat until sugar and Jell-o dissolves; set aside to cool. Prepare pudding according to box directions; fold in 1/2 of Cool Whip. In casserole, layer: wafers, pudding, and strawberries. Top with remaining Cool Whip. Refrigerate until set. Serves 6

Submitted By: Mat Pearson Wolfe

Pineapple Cake
2 c. sugar
1 c. Butter Crisco
3 eggs
2 Tbsp. vanilla flavoring
2 c. Red Band Self-Rising flour
1 c. milk
1 box 10X powdered sugar
1 c. Crisco
1 medium can crushed pineapple, drained
reserved pineapple juice

Preheat oven to 350~. Grease and flour 3 - 9" cake pans. Blend sugar and Butter Crisco with mixer until smooth; add eggs, 1 at time; mix well; add 1 tablespoon vanilla. Add flour and milk, alternating; mix until smooth. Divide batter evenly among pans. Bake 25 minutes or until middle springs back at touch. Remove; cool. To prepare icing: Combine powdered sugar, Crisco and 1 tablespoon vanilla; mix until smooth. Place bottom layer on plate; prick with fork; spoon 1/3 of pineapple juice over layer; frost with icing; spread 1/3 of crushed pineapple on top. Repeat with juice, frosting, and crushed pineapple with remaining layers. Refrigerate.

Submitted By: Edith Pearson Battle

Bread Pudding
4 - 5 homemade biscuits
3 eggs
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 large can evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla flavoring
1 stick butter, sliced

Preheat oven to 400~. Use 9x13 baking dish. Place biscuits in bowl; just cover with hot water; cover and steam until soft. Add eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla; mix well. Place in dish; dot top with butter slices. Bake 40 minutes. To make chocolate bread pudding, add 1/4 cup cocoa. To make rice pudding, substitute bread with 2 cups cooked rice. Serves 8 - 10

Submitted By: Ollie Moore Pearson

Mrs.Pearson lived to be 92 years old.

If you would like to purchase a copy of the Timeless Treasures cookbook, you can call the Interact office at 828-7501

Interact is a non-profit agency in Wake County that assists victims of domestic violence and rape/sexual assault.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

There are still Good Samaritans

A friend of mine sat with her husband who was waiting for tests to be done at a veteran's hospital. She looked up to see an elderly man being pushed into the room in a wheelchair by a young woman who had a noticeable limp. The man in the chair was thanking the young woman for being so kind and helping him into the hospital from the parking lot.

The young woman was an employee of the hospital. She called for someone to besure that the man had a wheelchair to help him during his entire visit at the hospital. She helped him from the wheelchair to one of the regular chairs in the waiting room.

Then, with some difficulty she managed to turn and sit down in her wheelchair. The man thanked her again and wanted to know who her supervisor was. He wanted s/he to know how wonderful the young woman had been to him. When the young woman was leaving the older man assured her that God would reward her. She smiled and told him that God had already rewarded her. Eleven years ago, the doctors only gave her one year to live.

It seems that the young woman had come up on the man struggling in the parking lot and gave him her wheelchair and then pushed him into the hospital.

"The Samaritan used his own bandages, wine, oil, donkey, and money to care for a hurt man he did not know. Luke 10:30-35."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Who are the Best Cooks? Men or Women

I have always loved good food and love to cook good food for people who love good food. With that said, I will not use the words "love" and "good" again in this post.

Several years ago, I prepared a cookbook called Timeless Treasures and sold it as a fundraiser for a local agency that aids victims of domestic violence and rape/sexual assault. I had many recipes from my Granny, my Momma, and my friends. The cookbook was going along smoothly when I heard about a gentlemen in Wake Forest, NC who made the best Cherry Pound Cake.

I contacted him and he met with me and shared his recipe. When the book was published it was reviewed by Helen Moore of the N&O. She chose his Cherry Pound Cake as one of the recipes she wanted to feature in her column.

So I have chosen it to be the first of many recipes from North Carolina that I will share with you.

Cherry Pound Cake
2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 c. Crisco
3 c. white sugar
5 large eggs
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. almond flavoring
3/4 c. + milk
1 small jar marachesion cherries, drained, roughly chopped
reserved cherry juice
3 - 4 drops red food coloring

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Use greased and floured 10" tube pan.
Blend butter, Crisco, and sugar; add eggs, 1 at time; mix after each addition. Add flour, 1 cup at time; mix after each addition.
Combine cherry juice, red coloring, and milk to make 1 cup; add to batter; add flavoring and cherries; mix.
Pour into pan; place on bottom rack in oven.
Bake 1 1/2 hours. Do not open door. Cool in pan, 10 minutes, place on wire rack to cool completely. Serves 10-12

Submitted By: Clarence Briggs, WWII Veteran, Wake Forest, NC
Judy Briggs loves her dad's pound cake. It is her official birthday cake.