Sunday, September 20, 2009

"See how much fun they're having on those cooking shows? Don't believe it."

I produced enough hard pieces o' chicken (before I perfected my patented fried chickend recipe), and I totally wrecked my kitchen enough times, to know this is true:

Be warned, though, that the role of a cook is a lot more challenging than you might think, and not nearly as much fun as those on the TV cooking shows would have you believe.

Read the rest here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Joltin' Django can handle his hot peppers ...

Many o' my friends and co-workers can attest that it's nothing for me to eat 1-2 lbs of pickled jalapeños at one sitting.

That said, I ain't never acted like this after eating a hot pepper, I tell you what ...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

"A really good pickle"

George: I've never had a normal, medium orgasm.
Jerry: I've never had a really good pickle.

-- Seinfeld, "The Heart Attack"

The best pickle I ever had in my life was a huge kosher dill I consumed at Katz's Deli in New York City in 2001. I've consumed many, many pickles - in restaurants and out of jars - since I ate that Lower East Side pickle. None of 'em, and I mean none of 'em, held a candle to a Katz pickle ...

Whilst perusing the butter and cheese aisle at my local Publix today, I spied a small display of very expensive pickles (6 bucks for a 16-ounce jar) name o' Bubbies. Intrigued, by the price more than anything, I picked up a jar of Bubbies and started checking it out.

The first thing that caught my eye was the label that proudly proclaimed "No Sugar, No Vinegar, No Preservatives." The whole "no vinegar" thing was enough to provoke me into buying a jar. Pickles are supposed to be "steeped" in vinegar, right? I mean, that's how Ms. Clara made her award-winning pickles.

Tonight, I made me a turkey sammich on honey wheat - with Duke's mayo and sliced tomatoes from my garden - and I garnished it with several Bubbies pickles. Here's the verdict:

Vinegar or no vinegar, Bubbies pickles are the best jarred pickles I've ever had. Period. And they're tastier than any deli pickle I've had since I returned from NYC in '01 (sorry Noshville).

Bubbies pickles have lots o' "snap" to 'em (forget that big white stork), and they tickle your tongue with lots o' fresh dill and fresh garlic (forget vinegar). Again, I've never had a store-bought pickle as good as a Bubbies pickle.

[Sidebar: Actress Hayden Panatierre, a little left-wing Hollywood nitwit (emphasis on little), expressed her "love" for Bubbies pickles in the July 27 People magazine. Ms. Panatierre might not know sh** when it comes to presidential politics, but at least she knows a good pickle when she tastes it!]

Maintenant, je suis retourné ...

Last week I promised to resume daily commentary. Weeeeeeell ... I lied. I was invited to do some serious dove-hunting not long after I penned my "I'm back" post, and, that's what I've been doing the past several days (sans computer, of course).

In the spirit of my recent huntin' exploits, please to enjoy a dove recipe I posted back in '07, which followed a snarky e-mail I received from a PETA fool who took me to task for "promoting" hunting here at A Man's Gotta Eat:

Baked Dove in Wine Sauce


1 cup flour
10 dove breasts
1 stick butter or margarine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 350°.

In skillet, melt butter or margarine. Add garlic and simmer 1 minute to release the flavor of the garlic.

Season dove breasts generously with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Brown breasts in skillet 2-3 minutes per side.

Place breasts in baking dish (do not overcrowd). Pour broth and wine over breasts and cover dish with aluminum foil. Bake 1 hour.

Remove dish from oven and baste dove breasts. Return dish to oven, uncovered, and bake for 10 minutes.

Serve with rice or egg noodles.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

"Carol" on my mind ...

Back in 2000, or 2001, a little meat-and-three opened up on Murfreesboro Road near the Tennessee Highway Patrol's HQ. It was called Carol's Place, 'cause a lady named Carol owned it, and it was very, very good.

Carol's Place had incredible macaroni and cheese. It was incredible 'cause each pan had a half-inch thick crust of cooked cheese on it, and 'cause the underlying mac-and-cheese was infused with lots o' course-ground black pepper. (To this day I put black pepper in my macaroni and cheese 'cause that's how Carol did it.)

Carol's Place also had great meatloaf, beef tips, and fried chicken ... and quaility green beans, smashed taters, and fried okra. One time, Mr. Jimmy literally jumped into the bed of my pickup truck to get him some Carol's Place meat and veggies -- that tells you how good it was back then.

Fast forward ...

Carol sold out to Hlina many months ago, and the little M'boro Road take-out place is now Hlina's Home Cooking Restaurant:

I recently ate at Hlina's when the meat choices were between baked chicken and beef tips. I chose baked chicken, with greens and mac-and-cheese (and a hunk o' sweet cornbread). Here's the verdict ...

Hlina's ain't anywhere near as good now as Carol's was back then.

The chicken was OK -- the skin was crispy and the meat was pretty moist.

The mac-'n'-cheese, however, wasn't very cheesy, and it didn't have the first ****in' flake o' pepper in it.

As for the greens, well, they were non-seasoned canned greens -- emphasis on non-seasoned.

The cornbread was moist and not-crumbly, but it was obviously made from a commercial mix.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: Don't waste your money at Hlina's. Not even if Mr. Jimmy says he'll jump into your truck before you go ...!!!

Hlina's Home Cooking Restaurant
1609 Murfreesboro Pike
Nashville, TN 37217

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

I'm Baaaaaaaaack!

I'm riding/ I'm loading up my pistol
I'm riding/ I really got a fistful
I'm riding/ I'm shining up my saddle
I'm riding/ This snake is gonna rattle

-- Aerosmith, "Back in the Saddle"

Just so you know, folks, I've been on vacation for the past several/many days.

I didn't do no computin' during that time, mainly 'cause I didn't have a computer wi' me.

Well, I'm back. And I've lots and lots to say about eatin' and drinkin' and smokin' ...

Stay tuned.