Saturday, April 30, 2005

Toad Suck Daze

Today my niece in Conway, Arkansas, called me. She, her husband, and their two sons were busy celebrating the Toad Suck Daze. She asked me, "What do y'all celebrate in Ruston?"

I told her that we don't celebrate toads. If I can help, I don't even eat frog legs--even though many people around here do, much less celebrate toads. Instead we have our peach festival next month.

Quoted from

Toad Suck Daze has been an annual celebration in Conway, Arkansas, since 1981. This small town festival takes place the first weekend in May over a three day period and includes many festivites. The festivities vary from toad and 10k races, carnival paraphenalia, and gymnastics competitions to fundraising breakfasts, arts and crafts displays, and musical performances. This website has been created to give people a history of Toad Suck Daze as well as give them a well-rounded idea of what it is.

Toad Suck Park is a small park on the Arkansas River just outside of Conway. The park is part of a small community which is called Toad Suck. The festival was held there every year until a the early 90's when it was moved to downtown Conway or Toad Suck Square due to a flood.Every year you can always count on the Toadmaster to greet visitors with a warm smile and a joke. He is also the one who officially kicks off the festivities which usually begins with the Mardi Daze Parade.

IN Mid America News there is some helpful information about Toad Suck Daze:

Toad Suck Daze may conger up some questionable mental images, but the name for the festival doesn’t have anything to do with sucking toads.

According to the festival’s official website, the name comes from when steamboats regularly traveled up and down the Arkansas River. When the water wasn’t at the right depth, the captains and their crew tied up their boats and refreshed themselves at the local tavern.

“They suck on the bottle ‘till they swell up like toads,” the residents would say.

Recipe: Mexican Tripe

Some foods, such as chitterlings and tripe, are to be read about, but not necessarily to be cooked. If you should decide, however, to cook some tripe, which is defined by Merriam Webster as "stomach tissue of a ruminant and especially of the ox used as food," here is an interesting recipe:

Mexican Tripe

Dip a thick honey comb piece of tripe in butter, then in crumbs, and broil over a clear fire until well done, sprinkling over it whilst cooking three or four finely chopped green Chilis. Melt in a hot soup plate one ounce of butter, adding salt, pepper and cayenne, and one teaspoonful of made mustard, rub smooth and add one-half teaspoonful of vinegar, one tablespoonful of Worcestershire sauce and the juice of one small lime. Lay the tripe in this sauce as soon as it is removed from the fire. Serve with buttered toast. An excellent prelude to this dish is a plate of onion soup., John Tilden's Recipes--Another Classic Cookbook

The Hawk and the Snake

Terry said:

A few days ago, I was walking through my yard when a hawk flew overhead with a snake hanging from his beak. The snake was about two feet long and very big around. While I was looking up at the hawk, he dropped the snake; and it fell in front of me about a foot and a half away. The snake, which was flopping all around, was injured but not dead.

Before I knew what was happening, the hawk swooped from behind me, barely cleared my head, and dove down to get the snake. Then he flew away.

Since then, I’ve been wondering what message the Lord was sending me.

Duck Tape or Duct Tape . . . or Both!

Every collard grower knows how to use "duct tape." Some of us even thought the tape was originally used only to install and patch heating and air conditioning ducts. Well, it was used that way but not originally.

Duct tape was a by-product of World War II. In 1942, after numerous cases of ammunition were destroyed by humidity, the United States government turned to wartime supplier Johnson & Johnson, hoping for a fix. J&J promptly responded with a waterproof tape dubbed "duck tape" by the military due to its ability to repel moisture like water off a duck's back. It did the job admirably, and soldiers soon found an assortment of other uses for it as well.

After the war ended, the resultant housing boom inspired yet more uses for the material. Homeowners soon realized how effective the tape was at sealing off ducts -- leading to a change in name (from "duck" to "duct") and color (from army green to silver). It then went to a variety of colors and widths.

So, whether you prefer to call it "duct" or "duck" tape, keep it handy for all the other uses around the Collard Patch.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Recipe: Ro*Tel's Cowboy Quesadillas

Hang on tight for the zesty kick of flavor in these hearty quesdillas.

Prep Type: Saute
Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20-30 minutes
Makes: 6 servings

1 package (16 ounces) pasteurized process cheese, cut in 1-inch cubes
1 can (10 ounces) Ro*Tel® Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles, drained, reserve liquid
4 cups shredded cooked chicken, (1 pound)
1/2 cup sliced green onions
6 (10-inch) flour tortillas
PAM® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray

Blend cheese and tomatoes in a 1 1/2 quart microwave-safe dish; cover. Microwave on MEDIUM for 5-6 minutes, stirring once during cooking, or until cheese is just melted; stir.
Drizzle reserved liquid over chicken and toss until absorbed. Combine chicken, green onions to queso sauce (cheese-tomato mix); blend well.
Coat large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Place 1 tortilla in skillet; spread about 3/4 cup chicken mixture over half of tortilla. Cover mixture with other half of tortilla. Cook about 1 minute or until bottom is golden brown; turn and cook other side. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Cut each into wedges; serve.

Printed from

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Recipe: Spicy Southern Chicken

4 (5 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 16 ounce jar thick chunky salsa (choose mild or hot to taste)
1 (2 and 1/4 ounce) sliced black olives, drained
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

Beat chicken breasts to uniform thickness. Spray nonstick frying pan with olive oil flavored spray. Saute garlic over low heat. Add chicken and cook over low-medium heat until golden, turning once. Add salsa and cover. Continue to cook over low-medium heat 30 to 40 minutes. Good served over rice. Top with olives. This is four servings.

The above recipe is featured at the following site, which has several other Southern recipes:
All Things Southern

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Recipe: Cajun Shrimp Salad

1 (15 ounce) can canned tomatoes, stewed - Cajun style
8 ounces shell macaroni
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 bunch scallions, including tops
1 1/4 pounds large shrimp
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, more or less to taste
Cook macaroni according to package directions, cool.
Cook shrimp, by steaming until color turns from gray to pink. Be careful not to over-cook shrimp or it will be mushy in texture. Peel and cut shrimp into 1-inch pieces.
Chop celery into small pieces. Slice green onions. Combine all ingredients and mix. Season with more Old Bay seasoning, if desired. Chill for 1 to 2 hours before serving.
Garnish with sprigs of fresh parsley before serving.
Cajun Shrimp Salad - - Printer Friendly Page: Cajun Shrimp Salad

Delicious & tender baby collard leaves

For all you collard greens lovers out there who grow your own collards, here is a tip.

Collard farmers cut off the whole plant when they harvest the crop. Not so when you grow your own.

Y'all know, when you grow your own collards, you pick your collard leaves starting at the bottom and cut the leaves as they mature. This extends the growing season.

However, at some point the plants will start to "bolt," that is to make a flowering head. When that happens, break off the tops with the budding flowers. (You can use these in a tasty salad.) The smaller leaves will grow larger but only about half the size of a mature leaf or less. Harvest them for very tender and deliciously tasty greens to add to salads.

I call them "baby collards."

Monday, April 25, 2005

Recipe: Lamb Chops Fit for a Queen
"Chops a la Reine

Trim twelve lamb chops very closely and fry lightly in six ounces of
butter. Remove them and in the same butter place two onions, sliced,
four green peppers minced, one can of mushrooms minced, and two stalks
of celery chopped; salt, pepper, cayenne, and the juice of a lime.
Cook until these ingredients are soft. Stir in six ounces of flour.
Then add two cups of milk and cook until the mixture is thick and
smooth. Dust a plate with cracker crumbs and on this place a spoonful
of the fried mixture. Place a chop on top of this, cover it with
another spoonful of the mixture and dust with cracker crumbs. Repeat
with each chop, and when cold roll each in beaten egg and cracker
crumbs, and fry a light brown."

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Recipe: Quail and Onion "Quail and Onion

To each quail allow one good sized onion, sliced, and half a glass
each of oil and vinegar. Stew in a covered pot until the birds are
tender. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with any good "

Friday, April 22, 2005

Seafood & Sausage Gumbo

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large yellow onion, chopped fine
2 ribs celery, sliced thin
1 medium sized green bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 - 1 pound cans of whole tomatoes with juice, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
6 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds raw medium sized shrimp, shelled & deveined
1 pound fresh lump crabmeat
1/2 pint fresh oysters with juice
1/2 pound kielbasa or smoked sausage, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
4 to 5 scallions, sliced
2 tsp file powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 cups hot cooked rice

Heat the vegetable oil in a pot over low heat. Stir in the flour until well blended. Make a roux by cooking slowly and stirring the mixture until it is rich brown in color.
Add the garlic, onion, celery and bell pepper, cook and stir just until the vegetables soften. Stir in the tomatoes with juice, bay leaf and hot pepper sauce, cook for about 45 minutes.
Stir in the chicken broth, shrimp, crabmeat and oysters with juice, let it simmer for 5 minutes.
In a nonstick skillet, cook the smoked sausage until browned it is browned around the edges, pour off the fat. To the simmering mixture, add the sausage, parsley, scallions, file powder, black pepper and salt. Let it simmer for 5 additional minutes.
Spoon the rice in soup bowls, ladle the gumbo over the rice.
Makes 12 servings.

Chef Shane's Cooking Blog

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Recipe: Lobster Soup

Pick the meat from a five pound lobster and pound it in a mortar, adding from time to time a little milk or cream. When perfectly smooth, add two teaspoonfuls of salt, one tablespoonful of chopped parsley (if liked), cayenne and mace. Take out enough to make a dozen small balls, mix this with the yolk of an egg and fry it in butter. Mix the rest of the pounded lobster with two quarts of milk and rub through a sieve. Put this in a saucepan and simmer ten minutes. Add two ounces of butter and stir until melted and smooth. Pour over the fried balls in the tureen and rve very hot.

At John Tilden's Recipes, which is Another Classic Cookbook,
is available for your free, unlimited use. We hope you enjoy these classic cookbooks. It's a delight to be able to bring them to you and arrange them in a user-friendly form.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Simple Italian Cookery by Antonia Isola

As I mentioned, I found the most delightful "ancient" cookbook of Italian recipes. Here is an intriguing recipe for Collard Ravioli.

Now, this recipe calls for "spinach," but any collard lover knows collards should be used instead. Remember, use "spinach" only if you can't get collards.

Keep in mind that "curds" is cottage cheese. Low fat would be fine.

Nowadays it would be more healthful to fry them in canola oil rather than lard.

Browse the others by clicking the link in the lower right corner—BACK TO ITALIAN COOKERY INDEX PAGE.

Monday, April 18, 2005

365 International Recipes--Another Classic Cookbook

Here is another intriguing cookbook of antique recipes!

It has 365 so you can have a different one for each day of the year. Some are not so appetizing to me, e.g., brains, but here is one for Hungarian Spice Cake that makes my mouth water.

365 International Recipes--Hungarian Spice Cake

NutritionData Analysis Help

Here is a government source to help us understand the Nutritional Facts panel on most of our foods. It is sometimes confusing and difficult to figure out the information on these labels.

NutritionData Analysis Help

Sunday, April 17, 2005


An ancient, but still tasty and practical, way to prepare rice with mushrooms:

10 mushrooms if canned, or 5 or 6 if fresh ones 3/4 of a cup of rice
Chop up a little onion, parsley, celery, and carrot together, and put them on the fire with two tablespoons of good olive-oil. When this sauce is colored, add two tablespoons of tomato paste, thinned with hot water (or a corresponding quantity of tomato sauce). Season with salt and pepper. Cut the mushrooms into small pieces, and add them to the sauce. Cook for twenty minutes over a medium fire. Put on one side and prepare the rice as follows:
Fry the rice with a lump of butter until dry; then add hot water, a little at a time, and boil gently. When the rice is half cooked (after about ten minutes) add the mushrooms and sauce, and cook for another ten minutes. Add grated Parmesan cheese before serving.

For more recipes visit:, Simple Italian Cookery by Antonia Isola

Saturday, April 16, 2005


The entire text of Italian Cookery, Tenth Edition, by Antonia Isola is now posted at

Butter a baking-dish and put in the bottom of it slices of stale bread (brown bread is better than white) which have been dipped in milk. Then put in a layer of very thin slices of Gruyere cheese. Take two eggs, beat them up to a froth, add salt and pepper, pour them into a baking-dish on top of the bread and cheese, then put it in the oven until it is browned on top. Serve hot., Simple Italian Cookery by Antonia Isola: ", Simple Italian Cookery by Antonia Isola: Page 62 of 116

Friday, April 15, 2005

Recipe: Aegean Collard-Rice Casserole

A Preview from Our Soon-to-Be Published Story Cookbook: Collards with a Middle Eastern flair!

Non-stick cooking spray
1 cup basmati rice (uncooked)
2 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
16 ounces (5 cups) frozen chopped collards
¼ cup minced onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons Splenda®
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons A-1® steak sauce
1 teaspoon basil
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ to ½ teaspoon ground red pepper
Salt substitute to taste
1½ cups Fat Free Half & Half®
4 ounces Atehnos® crumbled feta
cheese with garlic and herb
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup golden raisins
½ cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter

Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
Place the rice and water in a 3-quart saucepan.
Bring to a boil. Stir once
Simmer the rice covered with a tight-fitting, see-through lid 15 minutes or until the water absorbs.
Sauté the collards, onions, and garlic with the olive oil in the large pot 5 minutes and turn off the heat.
Add the baking soda, Splenda® vinegar, steak sauce, basil, ginger ,red pepper, and salt substitute.
As soon as the collards cool, stir in the cream, cheese, and eggs.
transfer the mix to the casserole.
Top it with bread crumbs and dots of butter.
Bake at 350 º 30 minutes or until the dish bubbles.

3-quart (13"X 9 X 2") Pyrex® baking dish
3-quart deep saucepan
Large heavy cooking pot such as Dutch oven

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Recipe: Creamy Crawfish and Collards

Louisiana myth circulating on the Internet: Collards and crawfish do not taste good when they are cooked in the same pot.

Truth evidenced in Spicemouths’™ kitchens: Collards and crawfish taste wonderful cooked in the same pot. This recipe is proof.

Getting started: The crawfish tails in this recipe are unseasoned. If you plan to use some leftovers, you will need to adjust the seasonings. ( Louisiana eaters never seem to have leftover crawfish.) Plan to cook a fresh pot of collards.

2 pounds (a pot full) fresh collards,
chopped and washed
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup chopped onion
3 cups water
2 tablespoons red vinegar
2 tablespoons Splenda®
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups Fat Free Halve & Half®
12 ounces frozen crawfish tails
2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
½ teaspoon ground red pepper

In the soup pot, sauté the collards, onions, and garlic with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Pour the water into the pot, add the vinegar and Splenda®, and let that pot simmer until the water evaporates.
In the skillet, mix the olive oil and flour. Heat, but do not brown the mix (white roux). Stir in the cream. Heat and stir until the sauce is smooth. Add the crawfish and warm gently.
When the collards are tender and cooked down, add the crawfish mix and seasonings.
Simmer approximately 5 minutes.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Chocolate Pudding Recall

Kraft recalls Jell-O chocolate pudding
WASHINGTON -- Kraft Foods Inc. announced a recall Monday of packages of Jell-O chocolate pudding that may contain pistachio nuts, which are not listed as ingredients.
Read more:
Seattle Post-Intelligencer: AP - U.S. Headlines: Monday, April 11, 2005, Last updated 2:04 p.m. PT

Recipe: Costa Rican Rice Pudding

COSTA RICAN RECIPES: Arroz Con Leche (Rice Pudding)

1 small can of sweetened condensed milk
1 cup of uncooked rice; 1/2 cup of water
2 sticks of cinnamon cracked
1 cup of evaporated milk
6 cup of milk; 1/2 cup of raisins
1 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

First, in a large cooking pot, add the water, 4 cups of milk, uncooked rice, cinnamon, evaporated milk, vanilla and nutmeg. Once on the stove, bring the liquid to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes. Then, add the sweetened condensed milk. Add a little water to the milk can and empty its contents into the pot, by this time the liquid should be simmering, on low heat. The milk should just barely simmer, with bubbles breaking only the outside edge of the surface. As the liquid begins to reduce, add the remaining milk in small
increments as you continue to stir. As you add the milk stir the mixture so that it cooks evenly. Continue to stir intermittently, until the liquid has become a gooey paste. Then add raisins and cook for an additional 10 minutes on.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Recipe: Holiday Dog Biscuits

Don't Forget Fido

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, approximately
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup rye flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 cups cracked wheat (bulgar)
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 Tbs. salt (or less)
1 package dry yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water (105-115)
1 pint chicken stock or other liquid (approximately)
1 egg, beaten, mixed with 1 Tbs. milk

In large bowl combine the dry ingredients. Add dissolved yeast and chicken stock or other liquid. Mix together. Knead for about 3 minutes into a stiff dough. Roll the dough into 1/2 inch sheets. Cut with cookie cutters into stars, circles, trees, bears, cats, and rabbits, any one of which should pleasure your discriminating dog. Place on a baking sheet. Since there is no need to let them rise beforehand, I put the biscuits directly into a 300 degree oven for 45 minutes, turn off the heat, and leave them overnight. In the morning they are bone-hard and guaranteed to clean a dog's teeth.

Land O'Lakes: Ingredient Substitutions

Land O'Lakes: Ingredient Substitutions: "Ingredient Substitution

Out of cake flour? Low on buttermilk? Here's where you can find help on substituting ingredients for ones you don't have on hand.
Also look for answers to many common baking and cooking questions in our Baking and Cooking Frequently Asked Questions.
Allspice, Ground
Baking Powder
Baking Soda
Bouquet Garni
Butter with Canola Oil
Chicken or Beef Broth
Chocolate Chips, Semi-Sweet
Chocolate, Semi-Sweet
Chocolate, Sweet
Baking (German's)
Chocolate, Unsweetened
Cinnamon, Ground
Cocoa, Unsweetened
Cooking Sprays
Cornstarch Corn Syrup, Light
Cream (20% fat) (Coffee Cream)
Cream (40% fat) (Whipping Cream)
Cream of Tartar
Egg Whites
Flavor Oils
Flour, All-purpose
Flour (as thickener)
Flour, Cake
Flour, Self-Rising
Ginger, ground
Italian Seasoning
Milk, Sweetened Condensed
Milk, Whole
Mustard, Dry Mustard, Prepared
Nutmeg, Ground
Poultry Seasoning
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Sour Cream
Sugar, Light Brown
Sugar, Powdered
Tomato Sauce
Vanilla Extract
Yeast "

Monday, April 11, 2005

Recipe:Stuffed Onions

Non-stick butter spray
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 yellow onions
1 cup tender fresh collards, finely chopped
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
¼ to ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
12 ounces frozen crawfish tails
1 can (4 ounces) mushrooms, drained
1 can (4 ounces) diced green chilies
1 cup water
2 cups Fat Free Half and Half®
1 package (6 ounces) cornbread stuffing mix with vegetable seasoning pack
1 cup finely ground prepared breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
Dash red pepper
8 ounces grated Dutch Garden American® cheese

·Spray the cooking pan.
·To prepare each onion, cut a thin slice off the bottom so the onion will sit well and not roll over. Slice off the top third of the onion and remove the skin, along with the tough outer layer. With the sharp point of the knife, cut a small hole into the top of the onion. Continue to dig with the scoop until the center of the onion is removed. Leave the 3 outer layers intact. When you remove the onion center, part of the bottom may pop out. Don’t panic. Simply cover the hole from the inside with 2 pieces of onion. Prepare each onion in this manner.
·Chop and store the remaining onion pieces to use in future recipes. You will need 1 cup for this recipe.
·Cook the onions in the microwave until they are limber—approximately 3-6 minutes. The time required will depend on the number of onions you are preparing.
·Sauté 1 cup chopped onion in the olive oil. Add the collards, and baking soda. Sauté until tender.
·Add the remaining ingredients, except for the paprika, while you continue to stir. Simmer at low heat until the mixture is firm.
·Pile the dressing high into the onions. Sprinkle the tops with paprika. (If you are spice mouth, you may want to sprinkle some more red pepper on top.)
·Bake at 350 degrees until the stuffing is warmed throughout. The baking time and the number of servings will depend on the size of the onions.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Recipe: Scotch Stuffed Eggs

Lately, I've been collecting recipes for stuffed eggs or deviled eggs. Today I'm sharing this unusual one with you:

Boil eggs until hard; remove the shells. Cut out the centres lengthwise; then chop cooked chicken to a fine mince; add the yolk of a raw egg and mix with cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fill the eggs and dip them in beaten eggs and fine bread-crumbs and fry a light brown. Serve hot with cream sauce. Garnish with parsley.

From 365 FOREIGN DISHES, A Foreign Dish for Every Day in the Year, published in 1908

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Recipe: Skillet Supper Sandwiches

You will need to start with some good biscuits, such as Ruth’s. Lately I’ve been serving Pillsbury® Oven Baked Extra Large Easy Split™ biscuits with 280 calories per biscuit. They can be found in the frozen section of the grocery.

They taste just like Mama’s, and as they bake they become ragged looking like hers. With a gentle nudge, they will divide into 2 sections.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped tender fresh Georgia collards
2 ounces sliced tasso
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
3 eggs

Heat the oil in the skillet.
· Add the collards, tasso, and mushrooms. Cook rapidly until all ingredients are hot. Do not overcook.
· Scoot the ingredients to one side, and scramble the eggs in the empty space.
· Just before serving, tilt the hot skillet and add the juices. As they absorb and evaporate, the dish will sizzle and steam like fajitas.

Serving Suggestions
Serve with a variety of add-ons, such as sliced fresh tomatoes, feta cheese, spicy mustard, Wal-Mart Southwest Spicy® Sweet, Hot Mustard, salt, lack pepper, crushed red pepper, and Madras curry powder.

Calorie Chart - Foods Sorted Alphabetically

Here is some useful information:
Calorie Chart - Foods Sorted Alphabetically

Choice Mix Morning Glory

Morning glories are so cheerful. It's time to order some seeds and plant some along the collard patch fence. Go here to find a picture of some beautiful morning glories.

Choice Mix Morning Glory: "The Morning Glory Choice Blend, 'Tpomoea tricolor', is a showy cheery, colorful mixture of large morning glory flowers that will brighten any garden. They are called morning glory because blooms open in the cool of the morning. During the fall, flowers open all day. The flowers of the Choice Blend Morning Glory are 2 to 4 inches wide and are in the colors of blue, lavender, pink, red, and white. This excellent vine will cover fences and trellises, grow as ground cover, or hang in large baskets or pots."

Friday, April 08, 2005

Recipe: Ruth’s Old-Fashioned Biscuits

2 cups self-rising flour
2 tablespoons shortening
¾ cup milk (approximately) any kind of milk—buttermilk is good
More self-rising flour (approximately ¼ cup)
2 teaspoons bacon grease (Ruth has her family on a diet. She substitutes cooking spray.)

Blend the shortening into the flour until it is in pieces about the size of small peas.
Pour the milk into the dry ingredients, and mix the fire out of them. Make the mixture as moist as possible, and still have it in good condition to handle. Form the dough into a ball. Then sprinkle flour onto a cutting board and lift the dough from the mixing bowl to the board. Flour your hands. Knead the dough.

Ruth’s method: shape the dough into biscuits by rolling the in your hands. Place them in a greased pan.

Alternate method: Sprinkle flour thinly over the top and pat out the dough until it is about 1 inch thick. Cut the dough with a biscuit cutter, and place the biscuits in a greased pan.
If a crusty surface is desired, place the biscuits in the pan so that they are about an inch apart; but if thick, soft biscuits are preferred, place them so that the edges touch. Bake 18 to 20 minutes in a hot oven.
6 servings

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Recipe: Marinated Green Beans

(Great Side Dish – Keeps Well)

3 cans whole green beans, drained
¾ c oil
½ c vinegar
½ c sugar
1T. poppy seed
1 dash pepper
1T. lemon juice
1t. salt
½ t. dry mustard
1 clove garlic, crushed


Mix all ingredients together and marinate at least 24 hrs.

Note from Georgia:
The Marinated Green Beans are sooo simple and easy to make. They can be made ahead and kept in the fridge until ready for serving. I think they improve a lot when made at least 24-36 hours ahead of time. One of my FHS alum friends who is also a nurse brought this to one of our covered dish suppers... she had eaten it at a church covered dish supper. And, it is soooo simple and quick to do but tastes like you took a lot of time!

More about Hydrangeas: The American Hydrangea Society

The American Hydrangea Society:

There are some beautiful pictures at this site.


The American Hydrangea Society is a relatively young society. Our founder is Penny McHenry, who lives in Atlanta, GA. Her story of how she started this society is a simple one:

In 1975, I was given a gift of a blue hydrangea. It was love at first sight. As I explored the genus, my passion grew. A few years later, I learned I was not alone; many gardeners share my addiction. By 1994, I was convinced that the world's perfect shrub deserved a plant society to celebrate and explore its versatility.

Penny McHenry
Founder of the American Hydrangea Society
President Emeritus"

Grandiflora Hydrangea

Don't you love hydrangeas? Some of my fondest girlhood memories are of standing and gazing in awe at Aunt Idell's hydrangea bush with its giant gorgeous blooms. She had placed it on the north side of the house because she said it needed to be in the shade, and she had fertilized it so that it had blue and pink blooms on the same bush.

Here's a pretty one.

"The Grandiflora Hydrangea, Hydrangea paniculata, is a common American garden plant and highly valued for its vigor and bloom dependability. Sterile flowers appear in August and remain on the plant until the first hard frost.The large conical shaped white flower heads turn to pink in the fall with gray-green leaves. Sent to America from Japan in 1861, this continues to be one of the best loved varieties. The blooms can easily be used for drying. 6+ foot height at maturity."

Go here to see a picture of a Grandiflora Hydrangea and for other information.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Recipe: Fried Chitterlings and Hog Maws Soul Food Recipes

Quoting Willie Crawford from his Chitterlings site:

In my part of the country, chitterlings come in 10 pound buckets. Hog maws come in smaller packages found in the freezer case. If you can find the larger containers and like the recipe, simply use several times the ingredients to end up with the same percentages. Local supermarkets also carry smaller packages. After cleaning the chitterlings of the fat you will only end up with about half as much volume.


2 pounds hog maws (pig stomach)
2 pounds chitterlings (pig intestines)
3 quarts water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper (flakes)
1 medium peeled onion (white or yellow)

The hog maws are the thickest and will therefore take the longest to cook. Rinse them thoroughly as you trim off the excess fat. Put them in a 6 quart pot along with your 3 quarts water, onion, pepper, and salt. Bring them to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 1 hour 15 minutes.

While maws are cooking, rinse chitterlings thoroughly and trim the extra fat off them. Like most organ meats, they have a lot of fat. Add chitterlings to pot after maws have cooked for 1 hour 15 minutes. Cook another 1 hour 30 minutes or until tender. Add a little extra water if necessary.

Prepare a large cast iron skillet with 1/4 stick of butter. Remove maws and chitterlings from pot and slice. I use to slice them right in the preheated skillet although you can use a cutting board. Then stir with a large metal spoon as you lightly brown them. You can pour out the water from the pot, including the onion. The onion added a little flavor and made them smell nicer while simmering.

A variation on this recipe is to slice the chitterlings and hog maws into pieces as above, but them put them back in the pot with the stock. Again, you can get rid of the onion. Cover the pot and simmer the cut up mixture for another 50 minutes.

If you don't like onion or don't have onion, you can add four or five bay leaves to the mixture instead.. Again, you throw the bay leaves away before frying or cooking down the chitterlings.

By now the hog maws and chitterlings should be thoroughly done and almost falling apart. You can serve them with your favorite side dishes such as greens, maccaroni and cheese, or rice. I actually prefer to eat them by themselves, with several splashes of hot sauce. However, they are fattening and it's tough not to eat too much. So you probably should have a side dish.

Store the leftovers in the refrigerator. Like so many other great soul food dishes, chitlins taste even better after the flavor has soaked in for a few hours. The leftovers won't last long.

For food like you thought you'd never taste again, buy Willie Crawford's SOUL FOOD RECIPES

RECIPE: Pecan Pralines

(From late 1800’s New Orleans Godchaux Sugar Cookbook)

3 cups white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1½ cups water
Pinch of salt
3 cups of pecan boken pecan pieces e (pecan halves if you prefer)
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
1 tsp vanilla

Place sugars, water & salt in large heavy pot (cast iron or stainless steel)
Bring to boil over medium heat, when sugars are dissolved, add pecans and turn heat down lower until mixture is gently simmering.

Simmer until “mixture grains when a silver spoon is rubbed against the side of the pot.” This will take a while… 40-45 mins at least. (I usally fold a load of clothers, practice piano, check my email, etc.….)

Remove from heat, add margarine and vanilla. Stir mixture until it begins to adhere to the pecans. (I can hear when the mixture begins to grain while I am stirring it.) Then, quickly drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Let pralines cool completely before trying to remove from waxed paper.

There are no failures with these pralines… if you cook them too long and they harden before getting them all out of the pot, add a little water and reheat. If mixture never grains or adheres to the nuts… put it back on the fire and cook some more. Once you get the hang of ït” you will know what to do.

NEVER EVER try to substitute molasses for the brown sugar. It WILL NOT work!

These pralines have no milk, buttermilk, etc. in them. They taste just like the pralines, my parents use to buy for me in the New Orleans French Quarter back in the 1940’s.

Georgia F. Huckabay

Note from Georgia:

The praline recipe came out of a Godchaux Sugar paperback cookbook... like the ones they use to give out in the grocery stores or somewhere. It came out of a box of old books and papers from a very elderly woman... she died back when I was in grade 5 or 6, and my mother and the Eastern Star ladies were the only ones left to clean her house and dispose of her items after her funeral. She had no family... I came upon the cookbook and kept it..

Monday, April 04, 2005

Recipe: Onion Soufflé

This recipe is shared by my Georgia Huckabay.
It is from
Faculty/staff treats at St. James Episcopal Church VBS 2003:
Fairhope, Alabama 36532

Onion Soufflé

12-16 ounces Frozen Onions (thaw & press water out)
1/2 Cup Parmesan cheese grated or shredded
24 ounces Cream cheese (room temperature)
1/2 Cup Mayonnaise

MIX all together; Bake 350° until top is browned. (About 30-40mins)
SERVE with any type chips... UMmmmmmmmm Good!!

Note from Georgia:
The Onion Soufflé is a great hors d'ouerve. One of the church ladies brought it to us VBS staff members for our morning snacks while the kids were eating, cookies, juice, popcorn, etc. It was like Lays potato chips... we could not stop eating it. She brought those little white corn chips that look like teeny tiny saucers.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Recipe: Mrs. Hope’s Spaghetti

Thirty-five years ago Frances Anthony, who was a great cook, gave me this recipe, and I have treasured it. It is a simple but tasty way to cook spaghetti.

NOTE: Frances always used high quality lean ground steak. The cheese in this recipe was cheddar. Some of the amounts are left to your discretion.

Mrs. Hope’s Spaghetti

2 pounds ground meat
1 large onion
1 large bell pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
Mushroom stems and pieces
1 large can tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 package vermicelli
Salt to taste

Cook meat in oil, but do not brown.
Add chopped onions and bell pepper.
Add tomatoes, tomato paste, and seasonings.
Add water to make soupy.
Put in vermicelli.
Bake in oven.
Thirty minutes before done, add mushrooms and cheese.

Sunrise Forsythia for Your Collard Patch

Another colorful and effective border for your collard patch is Forsythia. This delightful "Sunrise" variety gives purple leaf color in the fall contrasting with the bright yellow in the spring.

It takes root well, grows quickly, and is ideal for the new gardener.

Sunrise Forsythia: "The Forsythia 'Sunrise', Forsythia x 'Sunrise', also known as Border Forsythia and Golden Bell, is a deciduous shrub noted for its colorful yellow spring flowers appearing before the foliage. All it requires is a sunny area and well-drained soil. It's also a very easy plant to grow and transplants well.This plant is good in container plantings, the border plantings, and as a specimen or ground cover. Prune after flowering to keep the plant compact and to thin it out. 'Sunrises' display a purple fall leaf color."

Walkers Low Catmint

This "Walkers Low" Catmint is a glorious plant to provide natural beauty and the "mobile" beauty of the butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. It will go beautifully well as a perennial border along the walkway to your collard patch.

Get this long blooming delight now so you can enjoy it all summer and fall.

Walkers Low Catmint: "Walkers Low Catmint
Nepeta faassenii

The Nepeta `Walkers Low', Nepeta faassenii, also known as Catmint, has a low mounding gray-green foliage with deep lavender-blue flowers and is one of the most vividly colored in its family. Blooming from June to September, it has a plant height of 10 and a plant spread of 18-24. It is very drought tolerant but does need a well-drained area. It harmonized beautifully with Penstemon `Pike's Peak Purple.' Not to mention, `Walkers Low' attracts butterflies, hummingbirds and bees and is a perfect first gardeners perennial."

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Java Red Weigela

This weigela has beautiful red flowers. The plants can be put close together to serve as a hedge for your collard patch to keep out dogs and racoons or as a border along your path down to your collard patch.

This dwarf variety is especially popular, 'cause you can still jump over it, if you have to chase some critter or somebody out of the collard patch.

Java Red Weigela: "The Wiegela 'Java Red', Weigela florida 'Java Red', is one of the oldest Wiegelas. It is a dwarf, only rarely exceeding four feet of height, making it at its biggest half the size of the majority of Weigelas. Due to its compact habit it is one of the least prone to ranginess when left unpruned, though some degree of ranginess seems inescapable even with a compact dwarf. This plant is useful as a background planting, summer screen or in shrub borders. This shrub is deciduous."

The Weber One Touch Silver 22-1/2 grill for that wonderful grilled seafood

Speaking of the wonderfully healthy issues of grilled seafood. . . . Look at this Weber charcoal grill. Its nickel plated cooking grate makes clean up much easier.

Get one today to start enjoying that wonderful flavor of grilled fish fillets, shrimp, or scallops. Even throw on some corn on the cob, potatoes, or veggie kabobs. Umm, umm—can you wait?

Detail Weber One Touch Silver 22-1/2 grill as presents Acme Hardware's tools, building, and hardware products for professional and do-it-yourselfer builders, remodelers, and homeowners: "Weber One Touch Silver 22-1/2 grill

Charcoal grill with rust-resistant black porcelain-enameled steel bowl. Heavy duty construction with welded grate couplings and leg supports. Glass-reinforced nylon handles remain cool to the touch during use. Durable cooking grate is nickel plated."

Friday, April 01, 2005

10 Tips for Grilling Perfect Seafood

Shane has outdone himself this time! This article by Shane is superb.

Chef Shane on Seafood Blog: "10 Tips For Grilling Perfect Seafood
Been working all morning on that article I promised you yesterday. Its to a point where I'm happy with it, so here it is. Note: this article is about grilling seafood. Smoking fish on the grill is a whole different topic. Maybe you'll also see an article on that soon too :-)
10 Tips For Grilling Perfect Seafood
by Shane Bryan
Grilled seafood can be a delightful culinary experience if done right. Many people shy away from seafood because they don�t know what to do with it. Seafood makes a tasty, healthy meal on the grill. Did you know most fish has less than half the fat of beef? I would rather put a nice salmon fillet on the grill any day. Grilling great seafood does takes a little practice. I�ve put together 10 tips to help you get started.
1. Always start with fresh fish if possible. You will have a better grilling experience. Previously frozen fish will also work; its just harder to work with. Plan on 6-8 ounces per person for fillets and 8-12 ounces per person when buying whole fish.
2. When grilling directly on the grill it is best to use a firm fleshed fish like grouper, marlin, salmon or tuna. A special fish and vegetable grid will make grilling easier. The finer mesh will help keep your food from falling through. You may even want to use a wire grill basket, especially for those more delicate fillets. This way you can turn your fish over without worrying about it breaking apart. You can even stick lemon slices between the fish and basket, if you wish.
3. Always make sure your grill is clean and well-lubricated with oil to prevent your fish from sticking. Fish breaks apart easily. If it sticks to your grill, you will have nothing but little pieces to serve. I like to saturate a paper towel with cooking oil and wipe down my grill before putting my food on. I haven’t tried it yet, but PAM also has a cooking spray made just for grilling.

4. If your fish came with the skin on, leave it on. Always place your fish fillet flesh side down first. This will sear the flesh, locking in the flavor and moisture. Turn over one-third to halfway through the grilling.

5. Always grill your fish over a hot to medium-hot fire. To test this, hold your hand about 5 inches above your heat source. Your fire is hot if you can only hold it there foe about 2 seconds. 3-4 seconds would indicate a medium-hot fire. When cooking whole fish instead of fillets, you will want a slightly lower temperature as the cooking time will be longer.

6. So how long do I leave my fish on the grill? A good rule of thumb is about 10 minutes for every inch of thickness. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but your recipe should note this if that is the case. Fish is done when its color turns opaque and just begins to flake with a fork. A little underdone is better than overdone as your fish will continue to cook after taken off the grill.

7. Marinades are great to add additional flavor to fish. Marinade your fish for only 30-60 minutes before grilling. Because of their lack of connective tissue, fish absorbs marinades easily. Do not over marinade or the flavors may overpower the flavor of your fish.

8. Do I need to baste my fish? When grilling, baste lean fish periodically with your favorite basting liquid or olive oil. This will help keep the fish from drying out. Basting is not really necessary with fattier fish but you may wish to do so for more flavor.

9. I love to grill with skewers. Lightly marinated shrimp are great! Use fairly large shrimp for this. Chunks of fish also work well as long as they are firm fleshed. Alternate with chunks of your favorite vegetables for great kebobs. If using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes. This will keep them from burning up on your grill.

10. One last tip. Tired of your hands smelling like a tacklebox long after you’ve washed your hands? Try rubbing some lemon juice on your hands. Then wash with soap and water. This will also help get rid of onion or garlic odors.

Grilling seafood isn’t really very hard if you follow these tips. With a little practice you will be grilling perfect seafood in no time. Your stomach will thank you for it, as well as all your friends and family. So slap a nice fillet of salmon on the grill today.

Resource Box:
This article was written by Shane Bryan, aka Chef Shane. Chef Shane has his own cooking site at Visit today for great recipes, cooking articles, food trivia, and much more. If it has anything to do with food you may find it here.

Recipe: Willie Crawford’s Deviled Eggs

Don’t you love deviled eggs? Don’t you love soul food? The following recipe is from Soul Food Recipes Learned on a North Carolina Tobacco Farm by the famous cookbook author and marketer, Willie Crawford. It has over 250 country favorites.

I really like this cookbook, and I have used it as a gift item. I think you would enjoy doing that too. You could give it to your mother for Mother’s Day. You'll want to keep it and read it though. Therefore, you will need at least two copies.

Click here to get yours.

Here's a recipe from the book. You won't believe what else Willie has in the book!

Willie Crawford's Deviled Eggs


8 hard boiled eggs
1 cup mayonnaise (I use Hellmann’s)
1 tablespoon sweet relish
1 teaspoon salt
12 teaspoon black pepper
1 scallion (very finely chopped)
1 tablespoon paprika


Mix the mayo, relish, mustard, salt, pepper, and scallion in a mixing bowl.
Shell and cut eggs in half.
Spoon out the cooked yolk and add to mixture in bowl
Mix everything thoroughly. It should be the consistency of a paste.
Put some of the mixture in each egg half.
Sprinkle paprika across the top as a garnish and chill until firm.

These are great for tasking to office parties, picnics, etc.

Willie Crawford is a great inspiration to me. This man has written a fine cookbook, which is a collector’s item. There are recipes in it like you will find nowhere else.

He grew up dirt poor in North Carolina the way I grew up dirt poor in Mississippi. I doubt that Willie realized he was poor during his youth because he had the richness of wonderful family members around him and there was always plenty of good food prepared well. In that way, my life parallels his—being reared by and with some of the best folks in the world who ate some of the best food ever cooked.

Not only has Willie brightened the world with his cookbook writing; he has also taught many people about the methods he has learned in the field of marketing. He is a true example of someone who has gone from rags to riches.

Most important to me is the friendship that he and his lovely wife Nancy have extended. I am deeply honored by the lovely review that he has written of my cookbook.

Willie Crawford’s Soul Food Recipes Learned on a North Carolina Tobacco Farm is a cookbook you need. It has been a huge commercial success. When you receive your copy, you will understand why I recommend it so highly and why it is such a good seller.

Down Home Soul Food Cooking Blog

Down Home Soul Food Cooking Blog: "Flavored With Love Cookbook - For the best food you'll ever put in your mouth...
Cookbook Review...
'For the best food you'll ever put in your mouth
written, compiled and boiled down by Jane Riley.
One of the things that makes reading a cookbook FUN is
when the author has little stories scatted in with the
recipes. That's a big part of what makes this book such
a delight to curl up with on the bed.
This cookbook is a collection of recipes contributed
by family and friends of the author as well as some
of the authors own.
EVERY recipe that I've tried from this cookbook turned
out flawless and so good that I've probably gained 10
pounds since I got the cookbook.
Here's just a sampling of the recipes in the cookbook...
- Fried Bream (opens with 'First, it is necessary to catch a good mess of fish.')
- Pa's Pork Sausage
- Myrtle's Deviled Eggs
- Tomato Gravy
- Pecan Pie
- Peanut Brittle
- Molasses Tea Cakes
- Fig Ice Cream
- Cracklin Bread
- Mississippi Gumbo
- Cornbread Salad
- Creole Jambalaya
- Rice Rushing
- Fried Rabbit
- Lemon Icebox Pie
- Watermelon Pie
- Potato Bread
- Shrimp Curry
- Swampy Land Seasoning
- Mary Lou's Squash Dressing
- chocolate Surprise Cake
- Nana's Asparagus Casserole
- Minnmie Herring's Pickles
- Refrigerator Rolls
- Mike's Game Day Brisket
- Mike's Thai Chili
- Mike's Ma's Lasagna
- Mirliton Casserole
- Fresh Corn Seafood Chowder
- Deb's Marinated Shrimp
- Carrot Cake
- Canecutter (Rabbit) Spaghetti
- Butterfinger Pie
- Louisiana Bread Pudding
- Turtle Soup
- Larry's Hush Puppies
- Cajun Bread
You get the idea. This books is full of You get the idea. This books is full of tons of favorite family recipes.
I'm talking gooooooooood food :-)

This is one of the favorite books in our home.

Go check it out now at

Posted by Willie Crawford at 02:24 AM

Cedar-Pergola-Swing for your climbing rose bushes

I know I ran into this earlier, but I just realized how well your climbing Zephirine Drouhin Rose would work with this beautiful swing in your yard close to your collard patch.

A Cedar-Pergola-Swing is just what you need for your roses! Don't wait! Get yours now so you can enjoy swinging in that beautiful fragrance next spring!

Cedar-Pergola-Swing from Apple-Creek

The Ultimate in Outdoor Living, Apple-Creek's Cedar Pergola Swing is designed for the outdoor elite.
This beautiful Clear Western Red Cedar Pergola is designed to provide great comfort and shade. The Cedar Pergola Swing is fully assembled and comes complete with a 74 inch tall Pergola and matching Cedar swing with 20 inch playground chain.

Colors Available:
Clear Western Red Cedar 45U

Zephirine Drouhin Rose

Whether you like roses or not, you'll love this rose!

Just imagine fragrant pink beauty on a trellis close to your collard patch. Notice that the new growth foliage has that "coppery-purple" color.

Zephirine Drouhin Rose: "Zephirine Drouhin Rose

The Zephirine Drouhin rose has a fragrance which fills the air with each large bloom. It prospers in alkaline soil, pollution, and shade. It's also a beautiful rose, opening large, sweetly fragrant, deep rose flowers (on nearly thornless stems) throughout the season.Zephirine Drouhin roses are perfect for covering a wall or climbing over an arch. The coppery-purple new growth is a vivid contrast."

April Fool!!

Here is an interesting and hilarious history of April Fool's Day!

DON'T believe any of it!

April Fool!

Recipe: Medieval Stuffed Eggs.

What a fascinating recipe! At the site there is a modernized English version of it and also an ancient Dutch version.

A medieval recipe for stuffed eggs.: "Split nuns' (Stuffed eggs)
Have eggs and boil them very hard. Then take of the shell and peel them and cut them in half lengthwise. Then take the yolks of these eggs and grind them in a mortar. But first you add some saffron, cinnamon and ginger, sage, parsley. And if so desired, one may add pepper and apples. Then grind all the aforementioned well together and stuff the whites of the eggs from wich you took the yolks with it. Then fry the eggs in turnipfat or butter. And when [the eggs are] fried, sprinkle ground cinnamon and loafsugar mixed together on the stuffing. And when you serve these eggs, put them on the serving-dish with the open side up, that is with the stuffing up."

Recipe: Deviled Eggs Puebla

Deviled Eggs Puebla: "Deviled Eggs Puebla - Puebla
makes 24 halves

12 hard-boiled, cooled and peeled eggs

2 to 3 cloves of garlic, very finely minced
about half a small yellow onion, very finely minced
1 green onion, finely minced including the green part
1/4 cup very finely minced fresh red pepper
about 1/2 teaspoon very finely minced hot chili (or to taste)
about 2 tablespoons very finely minced cilantro
1 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
juice and zest of one lemon
2/3 cup of mayonnaise (or enough to moistened all properly)

salt and fresh coarse ground black pepper to taste

Slice the eggs in half and remove the yolks to a bowl. Set the whites aside. Mash the yolks with a fork. Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Adjust seasonings. Stuff the whites with this savory mixture. For special occasions you may top each egg with a slice of olive, a baby shrimp, a slice of pickled pepper, a clove of roasted garlic, a sliver of anchovy or sardine or a few capers. Garnish the plate with sprigs of fresh cilantro. These are a favorite party munchy.

From Geraldine Duncann,
Your Guide to Mexican Cuisine.

Cobblestone Mold

Hey, here is a quick and easy way to create an all-weather walkway down to your collard patch. No more slipping and sliding on that muddy pig trail!

Go here to see how to do it!

Cobblestone Mold: "Create your own stone walkway or lay your own patio in just an afternoon. In three simple steps you can create a cobblestone.Pour quick-set concrete into the mold on a relatively flat surface. Smooth with a trowel. Wait one minute, lift the mold and move on to the next one.This tough mold is made with recycled plastics and can be used over and over"