Wednesday, October 31, 2007


By popular request, here's how I make meatloaf:

Joltin' Django's Meatloaf


1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 large white onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
2 eggs
2 heaping tablespoons Cavender's Greek Seasoning
1 tablespoon ground sea salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 can Viette Creole Sauce
1/4 cup ketchup


Cover 8 X 8-inch baking dish with aluminum foil. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour Creole Sauce into a large bowl. Add ketchup. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix ground beef, onion, bell pepper, bread crumbs, eggs, Greek Seasoning, salt and pepper. Fashion mixture into a brick-like loaf and place in baking dish. Cook for 45 minutes.

Remove meatloaf from oven. Drain grease from baking dish. Pour half of Creole Sauce/ketchup mixture over meatloaf. Return to oven.

Cook meatloaf for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with remaining Creole Sauce and ketchup. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Serve with fresh-mashed potatoes and green beans.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Vive El Inca! (Actualización)

Now that cold winds are - finally - blowin' in and around Nashville, I think I should mention this:

El Inca has many fine seafood-based dishes on its menu. My favorite, without a doubt, is the mussel soup.

El Inca's mussel soup consists of a flavorful broth full of fresh mussels. Onions and scallions swim at the top of the broth. The heartiness of the soup is made complete with the inclusion of potatoes, spaghetti noodles, and spices.

Like I said, I adore El Inca's dish o' beef, tomatoes, cilantro, onions, and rice. Sometimes when it's cold, however, I just have to eat me a bowl of mussel soup.

Damn, I want one now ...!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Vive El Inca!

Of all the restaurants that have opened in Nashville in the last, oh, five years, El Inca is definitely my favorite. Tucked away in a strip mall between K-Mart and Food Lion, El Inca don't look like much. However, it is a place in which a feller will a feller will eat like he's never eaten before ... and then some.

As far as I know, El Inca is the only Peruvian restaurant in Nashville. Peruvian cuisine is quite unlike the cuisine you find in Mexican or Central American restaurants. That is, no dishes come slathered in chili sauce and/or cheese, and no plates are served which feature a pile of dog food-esque refried beans.

My favorite item on El Inca's menu is lomo saltado: strips of juicy beef, grilled onions, tomatoes and fresh cilantro, served on a bed of rice. (The same dish is also available with chicken -- saltado de pollo.)

As much as I like the food at El Inca, what really makes me keep going back is the "green sauce" they place on each table as a condiment. It consists of olive oil, celery, cilantro, boiled potatoes, and imported Peruvian peppers. Ask nicely and they'll give you a big cup of the stuff to take home ...

Tell 'em Joltin' Django sent you!

El Inca Peruvian Restaurant
2485 Murfreesboro Pike
Nashville, TN 37217

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Great-Aunt Caroline's beef and cabbage casserole

Your truly took in the Jack Daniel's BBQ contest in Lynchburg on Saturday. The food was good, the weather was perfect, and I had a great time. The highlight of my weekend, however, was lunch at my great-aunt's house in Fayetteville earlier today. She served up a beef and cabbage casserole that was out of this world.

I can't wait to make this myself:

Beef and Cabbage Casserole


1 head of cabbage
1 lb ground beef
1 medium white onion, sliced into thin rings
3-4 potatoes, cut into 1/8-inch slices
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can tomato soup
Salt and pepper


Core and quarter cabbage. Boil in salted water for 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, brown ground beef and drain fat. Pour cream of mushroom soup into ground beef and stir until well mixed.

Place boiled cabbage into a rectangular baking dish. Place sliced onions in a single layer over cabbage; place sliced potatoes in a single layer over onions. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

Pour ground beef/soup mixture into baking dish and spread evenly. Cover with foil and place in a preheated oven (350 degrees). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove foil from dish and spread the tomato soup evenly over the ground beef/soup. Bake uncovered for another 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hot fish!

Nashville, TN, is famous for many things: Country music, churches on every other corner, education (Vandy, Belmont, TSU, David Lipscomb, etc.), and numerous printing and publishing companies.

More importantly, however, Nashville is famous 'cause restaurateurs within its city limits created "hot chicken," which will be the subject of a future A Man's Gotta Eat post, and "hot fish" sandwiches, which'll be discussed, well, here:

What's a hot fish sandwich, you ask? It's cornmeal-breaded whiting fillets on white bread, with mustard, slices of white onion, pickles, and hot sauce. Sounds like an odd combo, I know, but a hot fish sandwich is just what the doctor ordered when a feller's hungry, indeed.

My favorite hot fish joint is Ed's Fish House in Priest Lake. Ed's does business out of a trailer in the Compton's Foodland parking lot (Smith Springs Road, 'bout a mile and a half south of Bell Road). Ed has been selling fried fish out of his little trailer for over 25 years. That says a lot about the quality of his food.

Since I'm getting up early tomorrow to head to Lynchburg for the Jack Daniel's BBQ fest, I decided to head over to Ed's to pick up my dinner. It'd been a couple of months since I'd had one of Ed's sandwiches. After taking my first bite, I says to myself, I says, "Man, I gotta get to Ed's more often!"

Ed's fish sandwiches are truly two-hand sandwiches. That is, you'll be using both hands from bite one until all you have left are crumbs. (I guess you could cut the sandwich half, or into quarters, but that's not really a manly thing to do.) The cornmeal Ed uses gives the fish a terrific crunch, and he tops the fish with just enough "stuff" on top to enhance, rather than overpower, the crispy fish underneath.

If you've never had a hot fish sandwich, you can't go wrong by heading to Ed's Fish House for your first.

Ed's Fish House
2808 Smith Springs Road
Nashville, TN 37217

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Love that Frito Pie!

Frito Pie is a protein-rich casserole that should please any man who's gotta eat, indeed. Frito Pie is also a running gag on the FOX television program King of the Hill -- which, by the way, is a fine program for men who want to laugh their arses off.

Earlier today, I engaged in a short conversation 'bout Frito Pie with my colleague Mr. Jimmy. Imagine my surprise when I arrived home to discover an AOL link in which Frito Pie is a topic du jour!

Check this out:

"Pardners, for the record, Frito Pie is as follows ...

"[Frito Pie is] a package of Fritos laid on its back and opened like a cadaver with an incision (X, not Y). Hot chili (which, for the record has beef in it; there is no such thing as vegetarian chili; if you ever encounter authentic vegetarian chili then immediately look around the corner for a leprechaun and a unicorn) is ladled into the bag, and then the whole thing is drenched in shredded cheddar cheese. That's it: no sour cream, no taco lettuce, not even onions. The bag is placed on a paper plate if you're a pantywaist, and the whole mess is presented to you with a plastic fork, a plastic spoon, one (1) paper napkin which will disintegrate within ten seconds of being pressed into service, a beer, and a smile."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Meatloaf rules!

I'm a man who likes his meatloaf. Nay, I'm a man who freakin' loves meatloaf. No other foodstuff on earth gives me greater pleasure than a juicy hunk of well seasoned, onion-filled ground beef.

My Granny Hobbs could turn out a mighty fine meatloaf. Since I learned to cook in her kitchen, I can make a mean meatloaf myself. But don't take my word for it; simply check out what the Nightly Daily's Chris said 'bout my culinary skills a few months back:

"Joltin' Django makes good meat loaf. I know this first hand."

That said, I heard Mitt Romney on Sean Hannity's radio program yesterday. During a discussion about preferred campaign "road foods," Governor Romney announced that his all-time favorite entrée is ... MEATLOAF!

We all know great minds think alike. Looks like great minds eat alike, too!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Ce weekend

If you've never been to the annual Jack Daniel's BBQ championship in Lynchburg, Tennessee, you should - nay, you need - to make plans to attend this coming weekend. To ape a line from Jerry Seinfeld, it's a scene, man.

Since I have family who hail from Lynchburg, not to mention a few family members who still live in and 'round the 'Burg, I make it a point to attend the Jack Daniel's contest each and every year. I don't make an annual pilgrimage just to see family, however. I can honestly say that when I go each October, I fully expect to have a better time than I did the previous year. (And I always do, too!)

At this year's contest - official name: The 18th Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue - more than 60 teams from around the world will be on hand to smoke whole chickens, whole hogs, pork shoulder, ribs, and beef briskets. And when I say "from around the world," I mean from around the world:

In 2002, I struck up a conversation with a feller who was a member of a BBQ team from the Czech Republic. The feller in question - whose name I couldn't remember if I had to - and I first debated whether pork shoulders or pork butts made the best BBQ (the Czech team favored butts), and then our attention turned to Alexandr Dubček. We spent a good two hours discussing Dubček and the 1968 "Prague Spring." Our conversation ended when Mr. Czech had to sign in for a certain contest his team had entered, and I didn't get a chance to meet up with him again. (Unfortunately, despite my earnest wishes, the Czech team did not return in 2003.)

That said, make darn sure you're hungry when you head to Lynchburg this weekend. There will be some two-dozen vendors who'll be serving quality pulled-pork, chicken, ribs, slaw, beans, tater salad, rolls and cornbread. Plus, you can visit more than one booth at which you can purchase an ear of smoked corn as long as your arm, which is served dripping in real butter.

When you've finished eating, take a stroll around Lynchburg's historic town square to "walk off" your lunch. Then head immediately to the Jack Daniel Distillery - about 200 yards - for a free tour. That's right, it won't cost you a penny to tour the buildings in which Tennessee's most famous whiskey is mashed, filtered, fermented, and stored. If you've never seen how whiskey is created, you'll be in for a treat. No matter what you think 'bout al-kee-hol drinkin', whiskey-making as a craft is every bit as impressive as painting, sculpting, carving, etching, sewing, stitching, etc., etc., etc.

Finally, if you're heading to the BBQ contest from Nashville, do NOT go the "popular" route from Shelbyville to Lynchburg. If you do, you will be sitting in traffic for quite some time. Instead, take 231 into Fayetteville, then head to Lynchburg. If you need directions, e-mail me and I'll tell you 'xactly what you need to know.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Real men don't eat tofu

I guess a better way to put it would be to say: Eating tofu may make you less of a man. To wit:

"Men who eat just half a serving of soya a day have drastically fewer sperm than those who do not consume such foods, according to a small, preliminary study. ...

"Soya foods contain high amounts of isoflavones, compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. For this reason, women sometimes increase their intake of soya foods to treat hot flushes caused by declining estrogen levels in menopause.

"Estrogen-like compounds can also have a dramatic impact on the male body. And previous rodent studies have suggested that high intake of soya products can reduce male fertility. This has led scientists to wonder how isoflavones might influence men's reproductive function, which is highly sensitive to hormones.

"Jorge Chavarro at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, US, and his colleagues identified 100 couples seeking treatment for infertility. Researchers asked the men to provide semen samples and complete a questionnaire about their intake of 15 soya-based foods such as miso soup, 'power bars,' and tofu over the preceding three months.

"An analysis of the data, which controlled for factors such as age and weight, revealed that those men who consumed half a serving of soya-based food each day -- about the equivalent of half a soya burger -- had 65 million sperm per millilitre on average.

"That is about 40 percent less than the typical sperm count of men who do not eat such foods -- normally between 80 million to 120 million sperm per millilitre. Men with counts lower than 20 million sperm per millilitre are generally considered infertile."

Friday, October 19, 2007

A recipe fit for fall weather

Per my request, Creeder Reader Kim has provided this recipe for taco soup. If you want an easy-to-make, rib-sticking meal, make yourself a pot of this:

Taco Soup


2 pounds ground beef
1 large white onion, chopped
1 can pinto beans
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
1 pkg. original Hidden Valley Ranch mix
2 cups water, to make broth


Brown ground beef and drain fat. Add onions to meat and cook until soft, 2-3 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 1 hour. When ready, serve in big soup bowls, and have a skillet of hot cornbread to eat, too.

Note: I always add a jar of Mrs. Renfro's jalapeño peppers to all ground beef-based soups and stews. Not only do the peppers kick up the heat, they add a distinct crunchiness to each bite. Indeed, Mrs Renfro's-brand peppers are adored far and wide for their crunchiness.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Seoul food

Sokkori Jchim has been a topic du jour in my workplace this week. Since contracts, non-disclosure forms, and magazine subscriptions preclude me from saying anything further, I reckon I'll just post the following recipe, which I found in a Korean cookbook.

Here 'tis:

Sokkori Jchim, aka Korean Oxtail Soup


10 cups water
2 lbs oxtail, cut by butcher into 2-inch sections
2 medium onions, sliced
2-4 whole dried red chili peppers, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 scallions, chopped


Bring oxtail and water to a boil in a large pot. Skim off the foam that rises and cook over low to medium heat, covered, for 2 - 2 1/2 hours.

Add onions, peppers, garlic, soy sauce, salt and pepper and continue to cook for 20 - 30 minutes. Add chopped scallions and let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Serve warm with rice and kimchi.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Whitt's sucks!

Creeder Reader Dustin insisted I publish the following at A Man's Gotta Eat ...

'Tis a Nigh Seen Creeder original:

I didn't get around to reading last week's Nashville Scene until today. I had a lot of stuff to read last week: Baseball America, Baseball Digest, The American Conservative, The New Yorker, Wine Spectator, just to name a few. Thus, the Scene's annual "Best of Nashville" issue made its way to the very botton of my to-read pile.

I was chagrined - nay, I was pissed - to learn that Whitt's Barbeque was chosen as Nashville's "best" BBQ restaurant for the 18th straight year. I posted this last year when Whitt's won for the 17th time; and I just might post it every year until folks in Nashville wise up and recognize that a pile of pork from Whitt's ain't fit to feed to dogs (as my late Granddaddy Hobbs used to say):

"I have a newsflash for the folks who participated in the Nashville Scene's 'Best of Nashville' contest: Whitt's is NOT the best barbecue restaurant in Nashville. The fact that this sad excuse for a restaurant has been chosen as the best in its particular category for over fifteen freakin' years reveals much about the taste(s) of those who read the Scene.

"Whitt's is to barbecue what McDonald's is to hamburgers. That is, Whitt's is cheap and will fill you up in a pinch, but any serious BBQ-eater will tell you that the pork shoulder served there is too dry and mealy to be considered first-class. Furthermore, why is it that in all the years Whitt's has been doing business in Middle Tennessee, the folks there have yet to develop a passable BBQ sauce? Could it be that the owners and operators of Whitt's are reluctant to do away with their one and only condiment, which is 95 percent straight cider vinegar, because it's the only thing keeping customers from choking to death?

"Local barbecue aficionados are well aware that Nashville's best barbecue joints, i.e., Neely's, Pop's, Mary's, and Hog Heaven, aren't chain restaurants, and they're not located in Hillsboro Village, Green Hills, SoBro, or the 'District.' (I hate to pass judgement, but I'd be willing to bet a dollar to anyone's dime that a majority of the individuals who took the time to partipate in the 'Best of Nashville' contest head to, well, Hillsboro Village, Green Hills, and downtown to eat out.)

"Nashville's sidestreets and backroads are filled with restaurants dishing out unique and well-crafted meals. Far too few of these restaurants made their way into the Scene's 'Best of ...' issue.

"Pretty sad, if you ask me."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"It's always chile weather at Varallo's!" (Update)

Today's Nashville City Paper has a feature on Varallo's owner/king cook Todd Varallo. Check it out here.

Happy Birthday, Varallo's!

Monday, October 15, 2007

"It's ALWAYS chile weather at Varallo's!"

When I worked in and 'round Capitol Hill in the early and mid-90s, my favorite downtown restaurant was Varallo's on Church Street. A crusty East Tennessee legislator treated me to lunch at Varallo's the day before the 1994 ice storm, and for the next few years I ate at Varallo's once a week -- winter, spring, summer and fall!

Varallo's specialty is chili (at Varallo's, they spell it "chile". However, they serve up a mighty fine spread of meat-and-three items: Fried chicken, turkey and dressing, well-seasoned green beans, turnip greens, etc.

Apparently, Varallo's serves a style of chili that was popularized in Italian-American restaurants at the turn of last century. It's not like what passes for chili today. That is, it's not full of beans, canned tomatoes and huge dashes of chili powder. Instead, it is more like a thick stew, with slow-simmered meat and spices. It's the kind of food that a feller can feel sticking to his ribs as soon as he swallows!

When it comes to Varallo's chili, there's only one way to order it: 3-Way. 3-Way chili includes chili and tamales on a bed of spaghetti noodles. Add several big dashes of hot sauce, and you have heaven in a bowl.

Varallo's is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Today's Tennessean has an article in which the paper's chief food writer, Jim Myers, extols the virtues of Nashville's Finest chile parlor. Check it out here.

For an even better Varallo's tribute, check out this 1998 Nashville Scene article.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Joltin' Django down by Oktoberfest

A detailed post 'bout today's Oktoberfest celebration just wasn't meant to be. First of all, I made it all the way to Germantown before I realized that I'd forgotten my digital camera. D'OH! After arriving home, I sat down and typed out five long paragraphs describing what I did - and, more importantly, what I ate - at Oktoberfest. When I tried to publish my post, I kept getting "error" messages. Not only that, but Blogger failed to save my post as a draft. D'OH, again!

Wanna know why I never miss Nashville's Oktoberfest celebration? here's the very short and sweet answer:

First, Oktoberfest affords Nashvillians the opportunity to walk down certain city streets in broad daylight whilst drinking beer. Not only beer, but German beer in big mugs.

Second, I don't know who's responsible for preparing the sauerkraut served during Oktoberfest, but I can tell you this: it is gooooood sauerkraut. Plus, it's served in big trays so folks can put it on their wieners and sich. I'll bet I loaded my plate with 2 lbs of the stuff before sitting down to eat.

If you've never been to Oktoberfest, I highly recommend that you make plans to attend next year. Look for me. I'll be the feller wearing a Red Sox -- eating a pile of sauerkraut as big as my head!

Friday, October 12, 2007

I'll take my steak with lime and jalapeños!

A friend sent me this recipe (courtesy of PBS's Everyday Food program) a couple of months ago. I decided to give it a whirl tonight. It was every bit as good as my friend said it would be.

Lime-Marinated Skirt Steak


3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 jalapeño chiles, chopped*
1 ½ pounds skirt steak, cut to fit skillet

* Note: The recipe called for removing the seeds and ribs from the jalapeños. Real men do not remove seeds from jalapeños!


In blender, combine lime juice, soy sauce, garlic, and jalapeño; purée until smooth. Transfer to a shallow dish or large resealable plastic bag. Toss with steak to coat. Let stand at least 30 minutes, and no more than 2 hours, to infuse with flavor.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high, until very hot. Cook steak, in two batches if necessary, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing thinly. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Roselli's rules!

Regular readers know that my favorite place in Nashville to get a pizza pie is Picnic Pizza. Sometimes, however, I get an urge to make my own pizza pie; and when I do, I always - and I mean always - use Roselli's Pizza Sauce.

What's so great about Roselli's-brand pizza sauce? For starters, it's all natural. The only ingredients on the label are tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt, and parsley.

Second, Roselli's is so thick and rich, a little will go a very long way. You can easily make three large pizzas with one 15 oz. jar of sauce.

Finally - and this is important - Roselli's does not taste like store-bought sauce. Indeed, it tastes like something you'd get at a premium pizza joint.

As far as I know, Publix is the only grocery store in Nashville to stock Roselli's products. If you're heading to Publix any time soon, I urge you to give Roselli's a try. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Joltin' Django knows ... beer!

Yours truly only missed two on AOL's beer quiz:

"What is the fear of an empty glass?" Answer: Cenosillicaphobia

"In Great Britain alone, what is the estimated amount of beer lost in people's mustaches and beards each year?" Answer: 24,502

Take the quiz here. See if you can beat 87 percent!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Publix has its mojo workin'!

I spent the better part of three hours at Southern Hills Medical Center this afternoon undergoing various tests -- the nature of which I won't yet reveal, lest I be jinxed. (Let's just say that my problems are "down there," and we'll leave it at that.)

After departing from the hospital, I headed to a nearby Publix Super Market to pick up a couple of things that I can only find therein. (Publix, you see, has frozen, pre-prepared, and canned things on its shelves that no other freakin', frappin' grocery store in and 'round Nashville will stock.)

Having no plans for dinner this evening, I decided to get something from the Publix deli. What I got was a fresh-roasted Mojo Rotisserie Chicken. Man, what a damn fine chicken it was.

I'd never had a roasted chicken from Publix before; and, to the best of my knowledge, I'd never eaten anything that'd been mojo-seasoned. (Mojo seasoning consists of onion salt, garlic, pepper and spices, and it gives whatever foodstuff upon which it's been placed a tongue-satisfying zip and zing.)

After my Southern Hills adventure, I really didn't feel like cookin' anything tonight. So I sat down to watch the Yankees-Indians game with just chicken and homemade pico de gallo on my plate.

I'm very glad that I decided on such a simple dinner. If I'd added anything else to my menu, I may not have noticed how freakin' juicy a Publix roasted chicken is; and the crispy skin may have escaped my attention as well. (Crispy skin and juiciness is a mark of a quality roasted chicken, indeed.)

Next time I get me a Publix chicken, I'm going to make mashed potatoes and fry some corn. Hell, I might even fry up some cornbread to make it a culinary hat-trick, plus one.

Wanna join me?

With all that said, here's some "corporate" info about Publix's deli chickens:

Facts About Publix Deli Rotisserie Chicken

● Publix Deli Rotisserie Chicken is roasted fresh throughout the day and is never more than three hours old.
● We marinate our chicken, so it's always tender and flavorful.
● Publix Deli Rotisserie Chicken comes in four exclusive seasonings: Original, Barbeque, Lemon Pepper and Mojo.
● You can pick up a Publix Deli Rotisserie Chicken hot or cold.
● Our chicken is roasted fresh, never frozen.
● Publix Deli Rotisserie Chicken can be a great time-saver and a delicious alternative to the typical fast food burgers or take-out.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Beer: It does a brain good!

According to a new study, a couple of beers each day can improve a feller's memory:

"You may be hard-pressed to recall events after a night of binge drinking, but a new report suggests that low to moderate alcohol consumption may actually enhance memory.

"'There are human epidemiological data of others indicating that mild [to] moderate drinking may paradoxically improve cognition in people compared to abstention,' says Maggie Kalev, a research fellow in molecular medicine and pathology at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and a co-author of an article in The Journal of Neuroscience describing results of a study she and other researchers performed on rats."

Friday, October 05, 2007

Chee-burger, chee-burger, chee-burger soup!

Thanks to Creeder Reader Holly for sending the following recipe. Sounds pretty good, but I think I'll throw in a big bunch o' sliced jalapeños when I make it!

Cheeseburger Soup


2 lbs ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 tablespoons dried parsley
4 tablespoons margarine
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups hash brown potatoes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
8 ounces Velveeta cheese
1 1/2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup sour cream


In a 3-quart pot, brown beef. Drain and set aside. In the same pot, saute onion, basil and parsley in 1 tablespoon butter until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.

Add broth, potatoes and beef and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 - 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet melt remaining butter. Add flour and cook and stir for 3-5 minutes or until bubbly. Add to soup. Cook and stir soup for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low.

Add cheese, milk, salt and pepper and cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from the heat. Add sour cream. Stir well. Serve immediately.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Quote of the day

"In the entire world, only a few sounds bring joy to all but the most jaded. One is the purring kitten, another is the thwack of a well-pitched baseball hitting a perfectly swung bat. And a third is the pop of a cork being pulled from from a bottle of wine." [Emphasis mine]

-- George M. Taber, To Cork or Not to Cork (excellent book, by the way)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Sriracha is hot!

A co-worker who knows how much I like hot sauce gave me a bottle of Huy Fong Foods' Sriracha Chili Sauce a few months back. It took me all of two weeks to empty that 17-ounce bottle. I then headed to a local international market and purchased a 28-ounce bottle. I emptied that sombitch in less than two weeks.

Yeah, I'd found me a new favorite hot sauce.

Sriracha, which is made from sun-ripened chilies, has a slightly sweet taste with a temperature just a bit hotter than regular Tabasco sauce. It tastes good on anything, but I've found that I enjoy it most on non-red meats and white rice. Indeed, sometimes I'll make a meal out of nothing but Asian white rice and Sriracha -- a lot of Sriracha.

I've seen Sriracha in several grocery stores in and around Nashville (Publix, Kroger, Food Lion). If you want a big bottle, however, you'll have to head to an Asian or an international market.

If you like hot sauce, get yourself a bottle of Sriracha. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Captain D's steps up (and then some)

I'm not, nor have I ever been, a big fan of fast food. One fast food joint I have regularly frequented over the years, however, is Captain D's (mostly 'cause it is my mother and father's favorite after-church-on-Sunday restaurant). Until tonight, I don't think I ever asked myself, "What's so great 'bout Captain D's?" Asking now, I know.

A feller who lives down the street from me - a fine feller and a trusted golfing buddy - is undergoing treatment for lung cancer. As if that weren't bad enough, his wife left him and his two children two days after he returned home from the hospital after having one of his lungs removed. He is in bad, bad shape.

Early this afternoon, I called my neighbor - nay, my friend - and told him that I would bring him and his kids dinner tonight. He said baked fish was one foodstuff that he could eat and keep down with regularity; thus, I decided to hit my local Captain D's on my way home for him, his, and me.

Captain D's was quite busy; thus, the manager was working the register and helping place orders on trays and bags. While I was standing in line, my mother called me to ask me a question. During our conversation, I told her that I was picking up dinner for "Vince," whom she knows as well, and his kids.

As mothers are wont to do, she then asked me a dozen questions 'bout Vince - a dozen plus, really - each of which I dutifully answered. Then ...

The manager, who was taking orders, asked me if I was the customer purchasing dinner for a cancer-stricken friend. As soon as I could muster a "yes," Mr. Manager told me that my order was on the house. I was so taken aback, it took me a good half-minute to collect my thoughts and place the order I had in mind before I even walked in the D's door.

When I didn't ask for any drinks with my order, Mr. Manager asked if I'd like drinks. Since my order was already well over $20, I said, "You've done enough!" He wouldn't take "no" for an answer, and I called Vince to see what he and his kids wanted to drink. While I had him on the phone, I told him Captain D's was providing dinner.

Vince insisted on speaking with the manager. As I handed Mr. Manager my cell phone, I noticed that most of the folks standing in line behind me had "If you knew how many important things I'm going to do after leaving Captain D's, you'd be floored" looks on their faces. I felt like yelling, at the top of my lungs, "This restaurant's manager is using my cell phone to talk to someone who is dying of cancer. He's not only dying of cancer, but he is now raising his two children ... alone. You don't know how ****in' good you have it!"

Vince was looking at me through his kitchen window when I pulled up in his driveway. As he opened the door, he said, and I quote, "He didn't have to do that." He didn't, but he did. I guess I - we - should never underestimate the capacity of our fellow man to "do unto others," indeed.

Goodness, I cannot tell you how good vinegar-soaked fried fish from Captain D's tasted tonight.

Note: I did not mention Mr. Manager's name because (a) I do not wish for him to get "nut-kicked" for fronting a $30 bill, and (b) he did not ask for any praise. I intend on dispatching a card to him tomorrow. If he gives me the okay to use his name, I will give him BIG props here.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Coo-coo for Yoo-hoo!

When I was a kid, practically all of the milk products that were consumed by my family had been delivered directly to our house by Purity Dairies. Thus, if Purity didn't deliver it, yours truly didn't drink/eat it.

I was in college when I first tasted Yoo-hoo, my curiosity sparked by a Seinfeld re-run. (You know, the one with the Bubble Boy -- "Yoo-hoo?! I love Yoo-hoo!") I purchased a bottle at MTSU's on-campus convenience store ... and I was hooked.

My Yoo-hoo one-bottle-a-day habit, indulged by the above-mentioned store, quickly became a two or three-bottles-a-day habit when I discovered six-packs at Wal-Mart for $1.99 (if memory serves me correctly). I was practically living on a Yoo-hoo-fueled sugar high, until ...

Until I made the mistake of attempting to use Yoo-hoo as a pick-me-up the morning after drinking a lot of cheap draft beer at a party. Let's just say that Yoo-hoo is not an effective hangover cure (I'll leave it at that).

I still enjoy an occasional Yoo-hoo, but I can only wonder how much enjoyin' I'd be doing if I hadn't once attempted to make my head stop pounding with a bottle of Yoo-hoo!

All that said, here's an interesting post 'bout Yoo-hoo from AOL food blogger Kat Kinsman. A sample:

"There's a purity to Yoo-hoo -- a hearkening back to the childhood glee of guilt-free indulgence (and yes, there is a Yoo-hoo Lite with a fraction of the sugar and calories). It's sweet, easy-sipping, and thoroughly un-serious -- perfect with a PB&J or just cold from the fridge."