About Me

I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Cookies

I really got into cookie decorating a while back with the help of one of those Martha Stewart kits.  Now I have over 350 cookie cutters but some get more use than others. I have Frankenstein, witches, bats, spider webs, owls and lots of others, but my pumpkins are a favorite.  No matter how elaborate the decoration, it's got to start with a good cookie otherwise, nobody will eat it.  Here is my classic sugar cookie that holds its' shape and bakes well.  I roll out my chilled dough onto a pastry cloth and use a rolling pin sock to avoid sticking.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of a food processor:

1 stick unsalted butter at room temp
1 cup sugar

Process until combined and creamed, then add

1 large egg

and process until combined, then add

2 cups all purpose flour, 1 cup at a time and process,
then add

1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Process, then scrape dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hrs or overnight.  Flour the pastry cloth and rolling pin in its sock. Cut the chilled dough in half, returning other half to the refrigerator.  Roll to 1/4 in thickness and cut out shapes.  Bake on a cookie sheet 10-13 mins. depending on size.  Makes about 3 dozen 4 in. cookies.

Decorate with royal icing:

2 egg whites beaten until foamy
Add 2 cups powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
You may adjust the thickness of the icing to suit the need by thinning with a few drops of water or adding more powdered sugar for thicker icing.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Tailgate Tacos

When I was growing up, it was a great tradition to go to the world famous Varsity before a Georgia Tech or Georgia football game.  The Varsity is the largest hamburger joint in the world.  A "red steak", fries and a frosted orange or a Coke with crushed ice, mmmmh.  A special memory and still a great experience; just don't have your cholesterol checked for a while afterwards.
Then, tailgating came in vogue and became a hugh part of the sporting event.  You just need a legal place to park, set up your seats, food, cooler and friends.  Some folks don't even have tickets or care.  They just have a party and listen to the game on the radio.  There are all sorts of tailgate competitions.  Chili cook offs are pretty popular, but my chili just doesn't burn the gut enough to make a statement.  Now, here's a thought, with that South of the Border flair.  Pulled pork tacos with all the fixins.

For the Pork:
5+ lbs pork shoulder
Spice Rub:
2 tbls smoked paprika
2 tbls kosher salt
2 tbls pepper
2 tbls onion powder
2 tbls garlic powder
2 tbls brown sugar
1 tbls chili powder
1 tbls ground cumin

Season pork shoulder liberally with rub then sit in a large foil pan and seal tightly with foil.  Refrigerate over night.  Heat oven to 325 and cook pork shoulder, fat side up, 6 hours or until fork tender. Remove the pork from the pan to a large bowl and shred the meat using two forks to pull apart.

Serve pulled pork with warm soft tacos and your choice of salsa verde, pico de gallo, guacamole, slaw, roasted corn salsa, lime, sour cream, etc.  GO TEAM!!!

Pico de Gallo:

3 large tomatoes chopped
1 onio chopped
 1/4 cup cilanto chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 tsp salt
1 jalepeno diced
juice of 1 lime
1 avocado chopped (optional)