Sunday, May 31, 2009

Crock-Pot® 'que

Crock-Pot® 'que with homemade sauce has sorta become a specialty o' mine. I posted recipes last year. What was left over from my latest batch was given to Mr. Jimmy. He said it was "real good," or something to that effect. Perhaps he'll elaborate.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hot fish!

I says to myself last night, I says, "A hot fish sammich from Ed's Fish House would sure hit the spot." Well, I went to Ed's and got me a hot fish sammich, and it flat hit the spot, indeed.

I told you about Ed's Fish House back in '07. I'm gonna tell you again ...

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. ...

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

Friday, May 29, 2009

Rampin' it up

I didn't know anyone outside of East Tennessee enjoyed eating ramps. Apparently, ramps are quite popular in Québec:

A few years ago, wild leeks, also known as ramps, were enjoyed only by foragers and gourmets who knew the woodland plant offered a delectable onion flavour with a hint of garlic. This year, the wild relative of the onion is everywhere. In grocery stores such as the upscale Pusateri's in

Toronto, ramps sell for $3.99 a bunch. They are also sold wholesale at the Ontario Food Terminal and distributed at greengrocers across the city. Ontario-picked ramps are even advertised in online classified ads in Montreal.

"It's crazy," says Anthony Rose, executive chef at Toronto's Drake Hotel who in the past few weeks has been approached by about 20 different sellers, more than two times the number of people who contacted him last year.

Then there's this ...

But all this attention isn't good news for the leek, says Gérald Le Gal, president of the Quebec-based Association for the Commercialization of Forest Mushrooms and owner of Gourmet Sauvage, a company that sells prepared wild fruits and vegetables.

He doesn't think anyone should be selling ramps.

"Don't touch the stuff. It's just too vulnerable," he says. When you pick a ramp, you take the entire plant, including the bulb. Once the bulb is gone, there is nothing left of the plant; it will not grow back the next year. The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority considers it to be "a species of conservation concern." And eating a nice sized bulb could be the equivalent of dining on an old-growth cedar. "It's a really, really, slow-growth plant. A bulb could be 18 to 20 years old," Mr. Le Gal says.

WTF?! As any East Tennessee old-timer can tell you, Ramps are like wild onions. In an unattended field, the damn things will grow until you don't see nothing but ramps in said field.

Exactly how much ramp-diggin' are Québécois doin'?!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What a BIG AZ sammich!

My ami Mr. Jimmy recently treated me to a "BIG AZ Meatloaf, with catsup" sammich from the vending machine in our place of b'iness. We both agreed that any product that bills itself as a "BIG AZ" anything just needed to be sampled.

Buying a sandwich from a vending machine is a dicey endeavor, indeed. More often than not the buyer is deeply disappointed. (I vividly remember a sandwich I got from a machine in the old Denver airport. It's a miracle that I didn't leave at least 10 teeth behind.) I wasn't disappointed after eating my BIG AZ Meatloaf, and certainly didn't lose any teeth.

When I was in high school, my classmates and I regularly ate $.99 microwave burgers which, even though we knew they were more soybean than hamburger, were oh-so-tasty (especially with lots o' mustard, catsup, and hot sauce).

My BIG AZ Meatloaf tasted a whole lot like those burgers of yore. Mr. Jimmy and I loaded up our respective sammiches with plenty of Texas Pete®, and damn they was good. Almost made me forget about that bad experience back in Denver. Almost.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wanna be seen at The Steakhouse?

Last time I ate at Morton' Steakhouse, er, Morton's: The Steakhouse, my tab was 80 bucks (and I didn't have nothing to drink, neither). I'm not cheap by any means, but I have been pinching pennies just like everyone else lately.

Dining at Morton's has not been near the top of my dining-out to-do list. After reading yesterday's USA Today, however, I just might have to make my way down to Morton's ... soon. To wit:

With same-store sales down 24% in the first quarter, the chichi steakhouse chain had to do something.

One unlikely move for the chain, where checks normally average $97 per person: $5 mini-burgers at the bar. "This is the worst we've been through," CEO Thomas Baldwin explains. "We have to broaden our appeal and drive guest frequency."

And guests now can wash down their mini-burgers with $4 beers.

Any feller wanna loosen his tie and join me at Morton's for some 5-dollar burgers and 4-dollar beers?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Django hearts Ron's

It wasn't that long ago when I wrote an obit for Ron's BBQ & Fish. Only Ron's didn't die, er, close. The place just re-located to a more business-friendly -- due to leases and sich -- locale.

A friend o' mine was kind enough to treat me to a "plate" from Ron's on Saturday ('cause mon père is in the hospital). I had grilled chicken, turnip greens, and boiled cabbage ...

Lemme tell you something 'bout Ron's grilled chicken, turnip greens, and boiled cabbage: I ain't never had grilled chicken, turnip greens, and boiled cabbage at a meat-and-three, er, two, that's as good as what I had from Ron's. Period.

The grilled chicken was juicy with a crispy skin; the turnip greens were well-seasoned and plentiful (as you can see in the pic above); and the boiled cabbage was crisp and full o' black pepper ... and hot paprika, if I'm not mistaken.

Ron's is as good as it ever was. Hell, it's better than it ever was. (Does that make any sense?)

Next time I eat a meal from Ron's, it's gonna be when pulled-pork is on the menu -- Sundays only. I have it on good authority that Ron's pulled-pork is 'que-contest-winning quality.

We'll see.

Ron's BBQ & Fish
5359 Mt. View Road
Antioch, TN 37013

Monday, May 25, 2009

Next stop: Nolensville

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Food-writing is about the only thing the Tennessean can do right these days.

Today's Tennessean has a great piece on Patrick Martin, owner of Martin's Bar-B-Que in Nolensville, TN. You can read it here. A sample:

When Pat Martin of Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint in Nolensville gets ready to smoke a whole hog, it makes a Memorial Day weenie roast look downright sissy.

On a recent Friday night, he struggled to hoist a 200-pound hog from the back of a pickup onto a steel table. He rubbed it down with spices (deep-tissue style) before wrestling it into a smoker for a 20-hour stay. Chainsaws and small axes were involved.

"That's the thing about these pigs," Martin said ... "They're slicker than deer guts on a door knob."

By preparing whole hog barbecue, Pat Martin and his cohorts practice a time-intensive art that Martin learned from old-timers in West Tennessee, where he attended college. He's been dabbling in barbecue for years, but he didn't open his Nolensville barbecue restaurant until he'd spent time as a bonds trader, a job his father had held on Wall Street. On June 13, Martin also will hit the streets of New York, but he'll have a 32-foot smoker in tow. And he'll join just 13 other pitmasters from across the country in the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party.

"I'm not a young guy," said Martin, who just turned 37. "But I'm kind of the rookie guy up there."

I've dined at Martin's one time ... 'bout two weeks after it opened. I remember the 'que being very tender and juicy, and I remember drinking a Falls City beer with my meal (that impressed me more than the 'que).

I'm gonna have to get out to Nolensville and give Martin's another look-see, and thus give it a proper review.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

From the vault

This is a thing that makes me go "hmm" ...

In the December 17 issue of the American Conservative, John Zmirak discusses his recent visit to a Dallas-area Whole Foods grocery store. This quote stands out:

"[T]here ... lingered in me a sense of excess. Did one really need this many choices of chard, and was it really healthy to cultivate such delicate sensibilities? It's one thing to shop at farmers markets because you want to support the folks who grow apples in your area. It's quite another to learn how to care, really care, about whether your sea salt comes from Brittany. C.S. Lewis dubbed such exquisite awareness the 'higher gluttony,' which consists not in excessive consumption but undue attention to food. He smelled it in vegetarians, food faddists, and others who made of their bodies not so much a temple as a fetish."

"He smelled it in vegetarians, food faddists, and others who made of their bodies not so much a temple as a fetish."

I can think of [several] people I know in whom I smell such, indeed.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Re: La prima pizza

GQ's Alan Richman has compiled his list of the 25 best pizza joints in the USA. Check it out here.

Mr. Richman conveniently, or ignorantly, forgets NYC's Lombardi's. Lombardi's still cooks its pizzas in a coal-fired oven. And let me tell you (I speak from experience), ain't a pizza on earth that tastes as good as a pizza that's been cooked in a coal-fired oven.

Indeed, when a pizza's been coal-cooked, the crust gets little smokey black spots - flavorful smokey black spots - on it; and the mozzarella -- oh, the mozzarella -- melts until its golden brown on the top, and full of whole milk goodness underneath.

It feels kinda good when I can tell an expense-account-wielding foodie that he don't know as much as he thinks he does.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"... looks better than it tastes."

I've had a bad week, a very bad week. I made an executive decision this evening that I needed some quality beer in my snoot. The beer I chose was Boddingtons Pub Ale, which I purchased at Publix.

Boddingtons Ale is a decent beer. That's about the best way I can describe it. Boddingtons ain't as good as Abbott Ale, and it certainly ain't as good as Samuel Smith's Pale Ale.

Boddingtons has a great amber color, and the "nitro" contraption gives each pint a creamy head. However, Boddington's lacks the subtle sweetness of a quality ale, and the more you drink the more you begin to notice a bitterness that just shouldn't be in a British ale that's supposed to taste like it was just poured from a tap. (We'll leave the bitterness to Samuel Adam's Boston Lager, thank you.)

Boddingtons looks better than it tastes. It looks like it'll be a while before I taste Boddingtons again. So there.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sriracha is hot! (redux)

The New York Times' John T. Edge tells us 'bout something I told us, er, you 'bout back in October 2007:

A woman told of smearing Huy Fong’s flagship product, Tuong Ot Sriracha (Sriracha Chili Sauce), on multigrain snack chips. A man proclaimed the purée of fresh red jalapeños, garlic powder, sugar, salt and vinegar to be “the bomb,” and thanked Ms. Lam’s employers for "much joy and pleasure."

Another caller, hampered by a slight slur, botched the pronunciation of the product name before asking whether discount pricing might be available. Finally, he blurted, "I love rooster sauce!" (A strutting rooster, gleaming white against a backdrop of the bright red sauce, dominates Huy Fong’s trademark green-capped clear plastic squeeze bottles.)

'I guess it goes with alcohol," deadpanned Ms. Lam, who, like David Tran, the 64-year-old founder of Huy Fong and creator of its sauce, is both proud of the product’s popularity and flummoxed by fans’ devotion.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I ♥ Sam's Kabab Gyros

There's a new gyro joint in my neck of the woods: Sam's Kabab Gyros. I decided to give it a whirl this evening, and boy was I glad I did.

The two fellers who were manning the counter at Sam's were friendly cuss , I tell you what. I was only ten steps in the front door when they offered me samples of their beef, lamb, and chicken. I already knew I wanted a gyro; after gobbling up my samples I decided to go with the lamb.

As soon as I placed my order for a gyro combo -- gyro sandwich, fries, and a drink -- a large fistful o' hand-cut fries were dropped into the fryer; and then one of the Sam's guys went to work on my gyro. He cut a hole in a pita; stuffed it with lamb, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, tabouli, lots of jalapeños (per my request), and more lettuce, tomato and tabouli.

When my fries came out of the fryer, they were dusted with a spicy seasoning. This seems to be standard procedure in most gyro restaurants, and, unfortunately, a lot of restaurants go overboard when it comes to fries-seasoning. That ain't so at Sam's. My fries were dusted with just enough peppery spice so's not to overpower the starchy goodness of the expertly cooked fried taters underneath.

So, how was the gyro? Very damn good. The lamb was juicy. The tabouli was heavy on mint, parsley and olive oil. The jalapeños were crisp and plentiful. And the yogurt sauce was excellent.

Chicago Style Gyrosis, and has been for several years, my favorite local gyro joint Sam's Kabab Gryos, however, is a close second ... a very close second.

Sam's Kabab Gyros
2500 Murfreesboro Pike
Nashville, TN 37217

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cajun-lovin' ...!

CM, aka The Nightly Daily, tells us 'bout a great eating spot up in Sumner County. To wit:

Last Saturday, a friend and I went to Gallatin on business. After we completed our task, we asked some local folks where we could find a good place to have lunch. They recommended Larriviere's on the square, and it was an excellent experience.

The restaurant is a cross between a meat and three and a burger joint. I took the burger joint option and had a cheeseburger. It had a generously thick cut of Angus beef that was quite juicy. It was piled high with trimmings, and the french fries were also good. They were thick but retained their crispiness.

My friend had crawfish etoufee, and his portion was so large that he could not finish it all.

I highly recommend eating there if the opportunity presents itself. One note: Gallatin is currently refurbishing its town square, so the streets are torn up. However, there is ample parking within walking distance of the eatery, so there should be no problem there. Additionally, there is a Larriviere's located in Mt. Juliet for those who live in that area.

Smothered crawfish ... that's right up my alley. Indeed, there ain't nothing in this world, eatin'-wise, that I love more than boiled or broiled or stewed or baked écrevisse.

So there.

Re: Bœuf déchiqueté

I found this recipe for shredded beef on Jennifer Iserloh's Web site:


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds beef stew meat, trimmed of fat
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon mild chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 star anise pod
1 (15 ounce) can fat free, reduced sodium beef broth


Warm the oil in a large stockpot over high heat. Brown the beef 5 to 6 minutes turning once or twice. Reduce the heat to medium and add the cumin, chili, paprika, and star anise. Cook an additional minute until the spices become fragrant. Add the beef broth and bring to a slow boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover.

Cook 1 to 1/2 hours until the beef is tender, adding a little water if the beef starts to stick. Cool slightly then shred with your fingers or two forks.

Ms. Iserloh, aka The Skinny Chef, recommends using her shredded beef on "burritos, tacos, and enchiladas."

I think expertly-cooked shredded beef would go better on a buttered Kaiser Roll with green leaf lettuce, thin slices o' ripe tomatoes, and a big-ass dash of a quality horseradish sauce. Oh, and a good pickle should be served alongside.

Lest you think I'm busting on Ms. Iserloh, I'm gonna try her recipe soon. We'll see if her shredded beef is better suited for tacos or sammiches.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Gonna sauce you up and work you like a rib ... (what's that from?!)

Like Jerry Seinfeld and coffee, I've always preferred getting my barbecued spare ribs on the outside. I picked up some St. Louis-style spare ribs (cut into three "sets" o' ribs) at my favorite local grocery store on Friday, and I spent about three hours cooking 'em this evening. They were so damn good ... I've been inspired me to try cooking spare ribs at home more often. Here's how I did it:

I have two grills. One is a charcoal grill on which I cook nothing but beef and pork steaks. My other grill is an in-ground gas grill that's hooked into my natural gas line. It preheats faster than an oven; thus, its great for cooking things like hamburgers, chicken breasts, brats and Italian sausages. I decided to cook my St. Louis ribs on the gas grill 'cause I figured I could regulate the heat better. What a great decision I made.

When I started my grill, I only lit one half; and instead of allowing the lit side to preheat on high, as suggested by the manufacturer, I let it heat for about 25 minutes with the heat dial sitting on 1.5 (outta 5).

Meanwhile, I let my ribs warm to room temperature. I rubbed 'em with a mixture of paprika, onion powder, garlic salt, and course-ground black pepper. The ribs rested for another 10-15 minutes, and then they were ready for the grill.

I put my ribs on grill, and not on the side that was heated. They cooked for about 45 minutes before I disturbed 'em. I rubbed both sides of my ribs with liberal dollops of Stubb's Moppin' Sauce, and I closed the lid. When another 45 minutes had passed, I repeated the Moppin' Sauce-moppin' and I closed the lid again. I let the ribs cook for another hour, and I removed them to a shallow baking dish.

While Stubb's Moppin' Sauce is very flavorful, it's also very thin ('cause it's mostly vinegar). I knew my ribs would require a think 'n' hearty sauce prior to serving. I mixed a half-cup of Howton Farm's BBQ sauce with a half-cup of Hunt's ketchup, and I poured it over my ribs -- turning and turning them to make sure every square inch was covered. I put foil over the baking dish and then waited 15 minutes before serving, er, devouring.

My ribs were so tender, the meat was literally following off the bone. And my sauce concoction was damn good, too. You know, if I didn't have any scruples 'bout me, I'd get a lot of Howton Farm's and a lot of Hunt's and market the mixture under the Joltin' Django name.

I'll never be afraid to try spare ribs, baby back ribs, or any other type of rib that needs to be slow-cooked outdoors again. I'm already looking forward to my next rib-grillin' experience. Promise to bring enough beer and you can join me ...!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Love me some Queen City chili!

In honor of the "four-way" Cincinnati chili I made ce soir -- I didn't have any kidney beans, and that's why it was four-way chili -- please to enjoy this A Man's Gotta Eat post from January 2008:

I was 12-years-old the first time I went to Cincinnati. A kid who played on my baseball team that year was from Ohio, and he and his father were huge Reds fans.

One sunny summer day, my friend, his dad and I drove to Cincinnati to take in an under-the-lights Reds-Cardinals game. We stayed at a hotel near the stadium that night, and we started our journey back to Nashville at noon the following day.

Before leaving Cincinnati, however, my friend's dad insisted that we stop at Skyline Chili. Neither my mother or my father were big chili fans (I don't remember my mother ever making chili when I was growing up), and I'd sort of adopted their indifference to the stuff. I don't remember exactly what I ordered, but I know it wasn't chili.

I remember when my friend's dad's chili arrived. It did not resemble any chili I'd ever seen. First of all, it wasn't in a bowl, which was how I'd always seen chili served. And it wasn't just chili on the plate. It was spaghetti noodles and chili and cheese and beans and chopped onions. I was intrigued, to say the least.

My friend's dad asked if I'd like to try his chili. Since what he was eating looked more like a plate of my mother's spaghetti than any chili I'd ever encountered, I probably said, "Yes, please" (I was full o' manners when I was a young boy), and boy was I glad I did.

The first thing you notice about Cincinnati chili is its slightly sweet taste. That's 'cause it is made with cinnamon, cocoa and paprika (Texas-style chili it ain't). I know the sweet taste is what I enjoyed most about my first few bites of Cincinnati chili. I'm sure others feel the same way.

My two traveling companions and I made two more trips to Cincinnati that summer. We saw the Braves play during one of those trips; I don't remember who the Reds played during the other. What I do remember is this: I just begged my friend's dad to take us back to Skyline each time, which he did. I suspect he would've taken us there whether I'd lobbied for the trip or not.

Since those first three trips to Skyline during the summer of my 12th year, I've been a confirmed fan of Cincinnati chili. I've been to Cincinnati a couple-dozen times over the years for business and pleasure, and I've always - and I mean always - go to one of the myriad chili parlors that serve the fine citizens of the Queen City (Skyline, Gold Star, Empress, Dixie Chili, etc.).

Now, if you don't want to drive all the way to Cincinnati to try this unique American dish, you can drive to your nearest Kroger grocery store and get a package of Cincinnati Recipe Chili Mix. (Kroger is the only grocery store in which you're likely to find the stuff, which makes sense considering Kroger is headquartered in Cincinnati.) I've made Cincinnati chili from scratch, but it didn't taste as much like the real thing as the chili I've made with Cincinnati Recipe's mix.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Publix has its mojo workin' (redux)

Back in October 2007, I endorsed Publix's Mojo Chicken as a great from-the-deli entrée. To wit:

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.) ...

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.

Tonight, I paired a Publix Mojo Chicken with French-cut green beans, Mrs. Renfro's jalapeños, and Publix's red potato salad:

I feel kinda bad that it took me so long to try another Mojo chicken. And I feel equally bad that it took me so long to tell you that Publix's red-tater salad is the best store-bought tater salad in the land.

For the record, my mojo's workin' real good right now, and then some.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The power of Pancho!

Let me tell you about a new eatin' place I know. It's a Mexican restaurant in Antioch called Pancho. Sounds like the beginning of a song, don't it?!

I visited Pancho for the first time last week. After my second visit yesterday, the place moved to the top of my Favorite Music City Mexican Restaurants list. Here's why:

Pancho has a buffet Monday-Friday from 11 am to 2 pm ...

... and it's the finest Mexican buffet I've ever visited. Wait, I'd never been to a Mexican buffet restaurant prior to visiting Pancho.

Pancho's buffet "tables" ain't real big, but each and every thing on those tables packs big, big south-of-the-border flavor: warm 'n' fresh lard-filled tortillas; juicy hunks of chicken and beef, served with sautéed onions, tomatoes and green peppers; seasoned ground beef, and spicy seasoned ground beef with onions and carrots; homemade tamales wrapped in corn husks; juicy hunks o' chorizo sausage; black beans bursting with earthy black-bean flavor; and fluffy Mexican rice.

And then there's the pico and the hot and mild salsa and the tomatilla green sauce. Pancho's pico de gallo has lots o' tomatoes, onions, and peppers ... and a whole lot o' cilantro. Same goes for Pancho's salsas. As for the tomatilla sauce, it not only tastes very "green," it tickles the tip of one's tongue with a muted heat; and then it leaves a hot spot in the back of one's throat which lingers for several minutes -- several "Oh, this is good!" minutes.

A Mexican buffet sounds like a real, real bad idea. Thank God Pancho was able to pull it off.

Pancho Mexican Restaurant
1001 Bell Road
Antioch, TN 37013

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Re: Vegetable-Cheese Pie

AMGE reader KH sends us this recipe for vegetable-cheese pie (sounds great!) ...

KH's Vegetables 'N' Cheese Pie


3 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt, if desired
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper or more, to taste
2-1/2 cups skim or low-fat milk
1 tbsp butter or margarine
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced (about 2-1/2 cups)
1 bunch scallions, sliced (about 3/4 cup)
1-1/2 cups shredded Jarlsberg (about 6 ounces)
2 cups sliced carrots, steamed for 7 minutes
2 cups sliced parsnips, steamed for 3 minutes
3 cups sliced zucchini, steamed for 2 minutes
Single crust for 9-inch pie

Cooking Instructions

1. In a medium bowl, combine the cornstarch, salt, and pepper, and whisk in the milk until there are no lumps. Set the mixture aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter or margarine, and saute the mushrooms and scallions, stirring them often, for about 3 minutes.

3. Stir the reserved cornstarch mixture, and add it to the mushroom-scallion mixture. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, and boil it for 1 minute. Remove it from the heat, and stir in the cheese.

4. Add the carrots, parsnips, and zucchini to the cheese sauce, and combine everything well. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.

5. Place the pie crust on top of the vegetable-cheese mixture, flute the edges of the crust to form a decorative rim, and cut slits in the top of the crust to let the steam escape.

6. Bake the pie in a preheated 375 oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How to make a great steak

The Atlantic tells us how to make a great steak ...

Argentina has a reputation for being a "steak only" type of place, a country where the cuisine doesn't really extend beyond a grilled slab of meat, with a little salt (if any) added to the mix.

Yes, on nearly every block, you'll find a steakhouse (parrilla) that uses a wood-fired grill, but next to those steaks on the grill, you'll find short ribs (a prized cut here, but the last one I would ever think of throwing on the grilll), chorizo sausage, blood sausage, kidneys, intestines, and sweetbreads.

As with the steaks, these are all prepared by grilling with just a little salt. There's no brining, marinating, or sautéing, just the grill. There's no black pepper, no option of a mushroom sauce or burgundy reduction. Things are kept simple: Meat. Fire. A Little Salt.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Pour ma mère

For Mother's Day, ma mère put in a request for my patented I-talian-style sketti. I happily obliged. And here's how I did it:

Joltin' Django's I-talian-style Sketti


1 lb ground Italian sausage
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cans Cento peeled tomatoes with basil
3-4 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 small white onion, chopped
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
Salt and course-ground black pepper (to taste)
10-12 frozen Italian meatballs (I used homemade meatballs from my freezer)


Over medium heat, brown Italian sausage in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Remove sausage to paper towels to drain.

Add olive oil to remaining drippings. When pot returns to medium heat, add onions. Cook until clear, 3-4 minutes, and then add garlic. Stir repeatedly for 1 minute.

Pour tomatoes and juice into pot, crushing tomatoes with the back of a large spoon. Return cooked sausage to pot, and add tomato paste, wine, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir, stir, and stir until sauce begins to slowly bubble (10-12 minutes).

Turn heat to low and add meatballs. Cover pot and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes (stirring every 3-4 minutes).

Serve with al dente spaghetti, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and a large glass of red wine.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Good scene, fellas

I picked up Goodfellas on DVD this afternoon -- to replace a so-worn-out VHS tape of the film I've had for some 10+ years. I stayed up very late watchin' it.

I blogged about my favorite scene from Goodfellas 'bout six months ago. Now that I'm in a serious Goodfellas "mood," I'm gonna re-post what I said. Right here:

Screen Junkies has comiled a list of the nine life lessons every guy can learn from Goodfellas. One of 'em is food-related:

Don't use too many onions in the sauce.

When you learn it: When all of the guys are doing their time together, Vinnie is always putting too many onions in the sauce.

Why it's important: Balance is important when you're making a marinara. You don't want to overpower the other flavors with too much onion. And three small onions is too much when you're only using two cans of tomatoes. That's day one stuff.

Naturally, the jailhouse cooking scene is my favorite in the whole movie. Since I'm sure some folks who're reading this have never seen Goodfellas before, I won't ruin it by describing the scene. One thing I will say, however, is this: Paulie using a razor blade to slice garlic so's it will melt when cooked in a little oil ... it works. Try it sometime.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Unless you were living under a rock last week, you know that KFC 'n' Oprah Winfrey offered everyone with access to a computer and printer a free "grilled" chicken meal. You also know that the promotion turned into a big KlusterFuCk, with customers near-rioting, and staging sit-ins, when they didn't get their free chicken. Hell, some folks even cried "Racism!" when over-taxed KFC outlets refused to take their coupons. (Don't even get me started on that!)

I could pontificate for days on whether or not it was wise for KFC to promote a "free meal" coupon on The Oprah Winfrey Show. I'm of the opinion that it wasn't very wise, given that KFC didn't seem very prepared for what happened after Oprah said, "Go get ya one!"

That said, KFC's new grilled chicken is very, very good. I know this because one of my co-workers was brave enough to head to KFC -- with coupon in hand -- for lunch the day after Oprah said, "Have some grilled chicken on me!" (or something to that effect). He got a breast and a wing in his free meal, and he let me have a big pinch o' meat from each of 'em.

The small portions I had were very juicy; and my co-worker, I'll call him "Skippy," said that each and every portion he consumed was not only juicy, he stated that KFC's grilled chicken tasted like something that came off his backyard grill.

I couldn't agree more. And I'll have some pics after I get my rain check.

Good gravy!

Dr. Hibbert: Well, your cholesterol level is lethally high, Homer, but I'm more concerned about your gravy level.

Homer Simpson: Now, wait a second. You doctors have been telling us to drink eight glasses of gravy a day!

-- The Simpsons, "Bart Star"

Today's Tennessean has an excellent article about Southern-style gravies -- with recipes. Check it out here.

I can make one hell of a gravy using dripping from a pork roast. To wit:

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Don't say I didn't warn ya!

Now blogging at A Man's Gotta Eat, Erick J.:

They tasted as good as they looked. I prepared these spare ribs on Sat the 2nd, and I must say that I am getting sooooooo good at this;-) I took 2 racks of ribs, apple juice, Grillmasters Pork rub, Salt, pepper, Onion, at least 5 Bud lites, and 5 hours of my life (in no particular order) and came out with a RACK that Ms Parton herself would be proud of. I am a pretty damn good rapper too. Django for President.

Come check me out on MySpace at

Monday, May 04, 2009

Pepperoni Bread, that's what I said ...!

I like pepperoni and I like bread ... and I love the sound of this (from The Skinny Chef):

Pepperoni Bread


Non-stick spray
1 (1 pound) loaf frozen pizza dough, thawed
6 ounces sliced turkey pepperoni
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons olive oil


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a large baking sheet with nonstick spray. Cut the dough in half. Roll each piece out into a 2-inch by 12-inch log. Divide the pepperoni between the two pieces. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan. Starting with the longer side, roll the dough up and press the edge to seal in the ingredients. Transfer to the cookie sheet, seam side down. Tuck the ends under and drizzle with olive oil. Bake 10 to 15 minutes until the bread is cooked through and lightly brown on the top. Cool 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Get Thee to Uh Wool Lim!

When I find something I like, I stick with it. More specifically, I tend to return to my favorite restaurants over and over again. That's why you'll never find me doing a restaurant-a-day thing here at A Man's Gotta Eat. Hell, I'm lucky to get around to a half-dozen different restaurants a month; and with penny-pinching at a fever pitch these days, that trend is likely to continue.

One restaurant I have visited several times in the last few months is Uh Wool Lim Korean Restaurant in Antioch. Not only is the food incredible there, the service is impeccable. Indeed, the folks who own and work in the place are some of the most gracious hosts I've ever encountered in a restaurant.

A big bunch from my workplace went to Uh Wool Lim on a recent Friday night. I was the first to arrive. I told 'em that there were 12 coming, and they immediately started moving tables to accommodate our large group. As soon as we were all there, and had an adult beverage in hand, we were served two large plates of complimentary fried dumplings.

The dumplings were filled with slivers of juicy pork, and they were served with a spicy soy-sauce based dipping sauce. It took all of about six minutes for all traces of the dumplings to vanish.

When the dumplings were gone, banchan came to our table(s). If you've never been to a Korean restaurant, banchan - sometimes spelled panch'an - refers to small dishes of pickled vegetables, potato pancakes, and steamed rice which are served alongside Korean entrées. (At one point, I counted 18 banchan bowls spread out in front of my buds and me!)

At Uh Wool Lim, kimchi is the banchan dish that stands out most (see oval dish in foreground). In fact, it might very well be the best kimchi I have ever had -- and I've had kimchi in several different Korean restaurants, as well as homemade kimchi that was made by a friend's Korean grandmother.

Now, for those who've never heard of kimchi, here's what it 'tis: fermented cabbage that's been seasoned with chili peppers and salt -- and in some instances brined seafood. Uh Wool Lim's kimchi is of the non-seafood variety and is very, very spicy. Of course, that's alright by me ... and it goes a long way toward explaining why I like it so much.

When it came entrée-orderin' time, I decided I wanted me a spicy soup. I settled on the yook gae jang, which is a stew of spicy shredded beef, clear noodles, egg, bracken fern (talk about authentically Korean!) and green onions.

The soup you see in that picture is one of the best soups, ethnic or domestic, I have ever had. Ever. I asked for it to be "super spicy," and that's just how it was delivered. The heat, however, was not of the sweat-inducing variety; instead, it was the kind of heat that takes a moment to make itself known on the back of your tongue before settling in for a while. In addition, there was lots of beef in my soup, and every - and I mean every - sliver was as tender as butter. That's no lie.

Hopefully, you're now thinking about when you're gonna get out to Antioch to visit Uh Wool Lim. If you need further convincing, check out this simmering pot of squid, shrimp, mussels, tofu, mushrooms, cabbage, radishes, watercress, zucchini, green onions and hot peppers (Hae Mool Tang):

Four of my co-workers ordered the seafood soup you see pic above, and it was brought to the table in a large pot to simmer on a mini hot-plate. I sampled it, and I know what I'm by-God ordering the next time I visit Uh Wool Lim.

Who's going wit' me?!

Uh Wool Lim Korean Restaurant
940 Richards Road
Antioch, TN 37013

Friday, May 01, 2009

A good day for a Parade

Yesterday evening, I bestowed upon my next-door neighbor a bottle of Parade Louisiana Hot Sauce. My neighbor'd informed me he needed "a good hot sauce" to put in some chili he was cookin'; I told him I had just the thing to spice it up. Thus, I gave him a bottle of Parade.

What's so good about Parade Hot Sauce you ask? Well, I 'splained it a few months back. To wit:

I collect hot sauces like Dean Martin collected hangovers. Whenever I see a hot sauce I've never tried before, well, I just gotta have it. Like yesterday ...

I came across Parade Louisiana Hot Sauce at a convenience store on Nolensville Road. At $.50 a bottle, the price was certainly right to give it a try. I was mighty impressed by my half-buck bottle o' sauce; indeed, I was so impressed that I went back to that little store today and bought four more bottles!

I sure am glad that my tobacco craving led me to that convenience store yesterday. Otherwise, I may have never had a chance to try Parade's fine sauce.

At this point, I guess I should tell you how the sauce in my 4 3/4 bottles of new hot sauce tastes. Well, it has a great cayenne pepper flavor with a subtle "tang" that tickles the sides of your tongue. It packs more than a little heat - a heat that kinda sneaks up on you - but the heat in no way interferes with the taste of aged cayenne peppers.

One final thought 'bout Parade's Louisiana hot sauce: A lot of "Louisiana" hot sauces are just too damn salty -- Bruce Foods' "Original" Louisiana Hot Sauce immediately comes to mind. The same can't be said about Parade-brand Louisiana hot sauce. It has salt in it, of course, but you don't feel like you need to take a blood pressure tablet after each teaspoon you consume.