Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tic Tac Toe Toffee Cheesecake!

Auntie C has been telling me alot about this Magazine that I just HAVE to get called "Garden&Gun"  I was very sceptical about this...until she shared a link on my Face book wall.  Nashville's Toffee Emporium.  I have to admit that this was the most awe inspiring of any Cheese Cake that I have ever made.  I generally look for a recipe, take some things out, add some things, and call it my own.  I must admit that this is not a possibility with this one. 

This Cheese Cake was tough for me to make.  It seemed too simple.  There had to be a catch, well I found a catch.  The catch was that it was simple, I had to shift to a lower brain gear, and after that it was all good.  If you follow this recipe to the T, you will end up with something that will satisfy your most finicky eater, woe your most vicious critic....I mean this Cheese Cake could quite possibly bring around word peace!

Here is the recipe.  If you make this, and you like it, please comment on the web link  in the beginning of the post;


1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup melted butter


4 (8 oz.) packages soft cream cheese
1 cup sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs


Caramel sauce ( Mrs. JellyMan wouldn't let me make my own, so I settled for Smuckers Carmel Ice Cream STILL turned out awesome )
½ lb – 1 lb chopped Nashville Toffee Company almond toffee ( As I live far away form the south =(  I settled for Trader Joe's English Toffee )


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease 9 inch spring-form pan with baking spray. Combine crust ingredients and press into pan. Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar, then lemon juice, vanilla, and eggs. Pour filling into pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes and let cool. Top with caramel and gently press toffee into cake

This was VERY easy.  Since we were putting a topping on, I did not do the water bath. 

If you have time, check out Garden&Gun.  I get alot of my cooking inspiration from Southern Cooking.  What I truly love about Southern Cooking, is that there is so many recipes that seem to be passed down, and under NO circumstances are things changed.  They seem to be exactly how it always has been.  My two favorite foods are Buttermilk Biscuits, and Gravy.  My Step Mom tried to teach me how to make biscuits, and it was a hand full of this, a dollop of this, and add liquid until it looks like this.  I tried the modern way approach and asked her to measure as she went....and I got hand full of this, a dollop of this, and add liquid until it looks like this.  Cant say I didn't try!  As for Gravy....she showed me how to make gravy, then it was my turn to cook a couple of days later, and I stopped off at the store and picked up a couple of packages of instant Gravy...yeah...that didn't turn out well.  She tossed my instant gravy packages into the Cabinet and told me to make it from scratch.  I did it.....just took me a couple of ruined batches! 

Southern cooking really seems to be from the heart.  There is not a quick way, or many short cuts you can take.  You need to pay attention, do it the same way you do every time.  But I love arteries may not, but I do.  As we prepare for Fathers Day, why don't you give this cheesecake a try.  I promise you.  If you like Toffee, and Cheesecake, you will not be disappointed.  Later!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Give Them Sauce

Wow.  The strangest thing happened to me last night.  I had a dream, it was an awesome dream.  I think there were people in the park, and they were playing games in the dark.  Well actually....The house shook, and I heard a might clanking coming from outside.  At first I'm thinkin Zombie's.  Looked out the window....and there was a glow coming from my big chrome monster. 
That picture was actually taken at 4:00am today...that's how bright it was glowing.  I slowly walked over to see what was going on...and this loud booming voice said " Give them sauce, they will come " I was like whoa!  I'm out of here. 

So, I wake up this morning, and I'm feelin refreshed, a nice night of sleep, I'm heading out the door for another day at the office, Coffee in one hand, lunch bag and Kindle in the other...when I see these papers on my car...I had to take them inside to show wifey!

My day came crashing down around me like a ton of bricks.  The BBQ God's have spoken to me, and I will listen. 

Well I hope you like today's instalment of bad Sci-Fi writing.  There have been alot of people wanting this recipe, so I will oblige.  This is a very simple recipe, really nothing special, but its good.  It is a smooth, basic recipe that can probably be changed around.  I always wanted to change out the water for Jack Daniels, but the Jack kept getting poured over ice with a splash of coke and at that point there was no way to get it into the sauce, and you cant go around wasting Jack Daniels.  =)  I hope you can enjoy the below recipe as I and my family have for many years.  Remember...this and the Rib Rub from Grillin Freak ARE GREAT!!!!!

 *** The sauce also calls for 1/2 Cup of oil *** My Mom and Aunt if i remember right do not make it with the oil.  I make it both ways, without oil seems to stick better

*Note*  For my ribs in Grillin Freak I made a double batch of this with oil, then a single batch without, and combined the two.  I like a little bit of oil in my Marinades and with it and figure out what you like.  I hope you all like it!!  Later!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ogres have layers, like onions!!

Well, this week was a mix of being Ridonkulous,  and pretty much ended up as a cattrastophy!!  Sorry for the Shreck innuendo.....we've been sayin it all week!  Everyday before I went to bed I tried to think about what went right today....nada.  Each day of this made it just that much worse.   EVEN MY FOOD I COOKED was bad.  We had some cattrastophy cuisine all week!   Saturday rolls around and it was bad from the get go.  A couple of things happened that quickly turned it all around.  The first was my copy of " The Simplicity Primer ".  It was out of the package and I was immediately gone to the world.  The second was to take flowers to Grandma and Grandpa at the cemetery.  I have to go and do my shopping for the week, and I couldn't bring myself to pick out flowers when I had so much bad energy going through me.  I sat in my car at the store reading through The Simplicity Primer, and found out some stuff that actually worked.  Feeling better, I did my shopping, picked up my flowers, and went home to Mrs. JellyMan, and the napping Midget Pigmy's. 

I don't know about you, but when I read something that makes sense, and it is the same thing that I tell myself and people tell really pisses me of.  I feel we are struggling financially.  I feel at any time we will be washed out into the debt sea, and the guards from from the Debtor's Prison will come and fish us out of the water and slap us in irons.  The wifey says we are doing better than most people our age, everything is fine, we are fed, housed, and clothed....and our debt is minimal.  Nope...what does she know.  SO....As I am reading this book....things start to click.  We're not great, but we're good.  That kind of fixed what was going wrong this week!

So after All that, its time for cooking therapy!  I don't know of any food that is more therapeutic than spaghetti.  So I am cooking dinner, wifey has the boys out in the pool, and things are starting to come together. 

My world was whole once again.  After dinner...well it was time for some real cooking.  Oh yeah, you know where I am goin with this don't ya?  I'm goin straight to the grill!  Well, maybe not straight to the grill, more like a slow curvy trip through the food processor and an overnight stay in the ole fridge.  Its time, for Cilantro Chicken.


So this chicken recipe I have been told, is all that and a bag of chips.  All of my marinades generally start out this way.  You empty your spice cabinet into a bowl, then all of the condiments out of your refrigerator, add beer and soak overnight.  ( No really that's how this started out ).  I got all of my stuff out, and I had 50 ingredients on the counter.  ( Yes really, 50...FIFTY ).  Nope, there is no way I am going to measure all of this stuff to share with you.  So....whats that book I have been telling you...well if you cant remember the entire title...can you remember 1 word...oh yeah!  Simplicity.

My stepsister in law Gina has been on me for well over 2 years for this recipe....and now its to the point when I don't think that she thinks I am ever going to give it to her......Well its better late then never...right?

Okay, so back to the recipe.  I pulled out all of the ingredients that I normally use, and saw a lot of redundancy.  Too many flavors, to many flavors fighting over limited space.  I grouped them by their ingredients, and flavors, and ending up clearing the counter and starting from scratch, starting with the key ingredients. 

Yeah, that many

Cleavers come in handy....after separating them, lightly smash them with the cleaver

I trimmed all of the ends, and cut out any part that didn't look good.

 washed my Cilantro and Green Onions, added my fluids and WALLA!!!

I skipped a couple of steps didn't I?  You mean you really want the recipe?  Okay, I guess;

14 Cloves of Garlic  ( Fresh Cloves, not the pre crushed, or the pre peeled.  FRESH )
2 Bunches of Cilantro
2 Bunches Green Onions
1 1/2 cups Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 12oz Corona
** HA HA!  You have to read the rest of my blog for the part I forgot **

Prep Garlic, add to Food Processor/Blender
Wash and dry Cilantro and Green Onions
Take Cilantro and double them up and cut into thirds then add to Food Processor/Blender
Cut Green Onions into 1 Inch pieces then add to Food Processor/Blender
Pour Olive Oil into Food Processor/Blender
Pulse Blend
Add Lemon Juice, Vinegar, Pepper, and Corona
Blend till all mixed in
Marinate overnight
This makes enough for 8-9 full size chicken breasts

Its Sunday, what are we gonna do?  That's right, grill some meat!

Okay, so its grillin time, propane tank is full, and I am ready to burn!!

Trust me...looks yucky huh?  Its really not!

I cranked all the burners up to high, dropped the chicken on the grill, and closed the lid.  I cooked them on high for only a couple of minutes, then leaving it closed, I lowered the temp to low under the chicken, and left the others on high


I flipped the chicken onto the other side of the grill taking advantage of the.....Oh yeah....Red Hot Cast Iron Grates !  Lowered the temp on this side to low, cranked the other side to high.

Oh yeah, those bad boys are done!!  Now, who can eat chicken all by itself?  You need something else with it....right??  So, how about some Scalloped Potatoes!

Whenever I think of Scalloped Potatoes...I remember my Step Mom.  She suffered through so much of my horrible cooking when I started really cooking.  I made Scalloped Potatoes 4-5 times in a month and they were AWFUL!  I could NEVER get the potatoes right.  Always crunchy, or no flavor....i truly feel bad for the inhumane treatment that I subjected her to!  SO how do we want to start..Oh that's right...BACON!!

Oh this is awkward...I didn't take a picture of my bacon.  That is completely ( Sorry ) Ridonkulous! 

5 Pieces Apple wood smoked bacon
1 White Onion
1 Bunch Green Onions
1/2 Green Bell Pepper
2 Small Cans Diced Green Chile's
8 Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 Stick of Butter
2 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/2 Cup of Flour

Put on a big pot of water to boil

Slice all of the potatoes as thin as you can ( If you have a mandolin use that....and if you have a mandolin I envy you )

Once your potatoes are sliced, place in a bowl of cold water.  ( They wont get brown and icky )

Cut Bacon in half lengthwise, and then into small pieces, drop into Hot Skillet
While Bacon is cooking, Chop onions, Bell Pepper Shred Cheese

Hey There's the bacon

Cook Bacon until it starts to crisp then remove it to a bowl lined with a paper towel

reserve 1 Table Spoon of bacon drippings

Add Half of the cube of butter, when melted add Onions and Green Bell Pepper

Cook until white onions are translucent ( I have always wanted to use that word! )

Add Bacon back into the pan and cook for 2 minutes on low heat

Empty contents of pan into a bowl

Now, its time for our Roux.

Place remaining 1/2 stick of butter into the pan, heat on medium heat until it is all melted

Using a wire whisk, whisk in half of the flour until it starts to combine with the butter and becomes thick

Add enough milk while whisking to combine, alternate flour and milk until you have a thick gravy like substance

Add bowl of onion bacon goodness

Add 2 cans of Mild Chopped Green Chili's

Add Half of the shredded cheese, and whisk in until melted.  You should have a thick oey gooey pot of goodness.

Put this on low and let simmer.

Add Potatoes to hot water, cook until they are about half way done ( The center will still be white while the outer edges from the skin in will be translucent ( HA that word again )

Start a layer of the potatoes in a glass baking dish and when you have filled up the bottom start ladling sauce over the top

repeat the above step until you are either out of room, or run out.  Please do not make the mistake I made, and have made every time i have cooked this in the past.  Use a 7 x 11 baking dish, or you end up with the below 2 dishes

Cook 45-60 minutes at 350 degrees, until you have golden brown goodness

Almost done....what goes with chicken, and potatoes....bread.  This is a meal fit for not just any bread will do.  This calls for bread handed down from the sky.  Folks, its time for Grill Bread.

For years I thought bread was all the same.  French Bread, sliced down the middle, butter, garlic powder, onion powder 350 degrees for 15 minutes. 

This bread will make your enemy's your Friends, and make your Friends envious of your dinner table.  It is time for you all to meet Uncle Billie.  Uncle Billie pretty much erased all of what I thought I knew about a BBQ, and showed me the right way of doing things.

Take any your bread ( Loaf, Rolls, good dinner type bread ) and slice them in half and butter them up real nice

Sprinkle them with Garlic Powder or any other savory spice you want ( Choose something that goes with your dinner )

After you have cooked your main course on the grill, clean up your grill ( I have a spray bottle of watter and apple cider vinegar - it cuts some of the grease left on the grill from your meat you just cooked )

Over medium heat place the bread butter side up

cook for a couple of minutes then flip them

Cook for a couple of minutes and you have the picture of below.  Well not these exactly, because we just ate them and there is none left...but you can make your own if you want

So the chicken was missing something.  We could NOT figure it out...then Captain Obvious slapped us in the face.  Salt.  I normally add Lemon Pepper and Montreal Steak Seasonings.  So I just did some hand measuring into measuring spoons, and you will want to add 2 Table Spoons Lemon Pepper, and 1 Table Spoon Montreal Steak Seasoning.  See recipe below;

14 Cloves of Garlic  ( Fresh Cloves, not the pre crushed, or the pre peeled.  FRESH )
2 Bunches of Cilantro
2 Bunches Green Onions
1 1/2 cups Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 12oz Corona
1 Tablespoon Montreal Steak Seasoning
2 Tablespoons Lemon Pepper

So, bad week erased, good food eaten, good week going forward.  I have the Simplicity Primer to read, a couple of free Kindle Books to read.  Life is good. can go bad in an instant.  Like when your lovely wife tries to help you make plates for the Midget Pigmy's...and you yell at her.  She was trying to help, and you were worried about your stupid pictures for your blog.  Take a step back, breathe, count to 10.  Remember why you do what you do.  Am I really cooking just to put on this blog?  For a second tonight I was.  I forgot to keep it simple.  I cook the way I cook not only to feed my family, but to have us eat good food.  Not food that comes out of a box, not take out, but food from the heart.  If I didn't care, we would eat Top Ramen and hot dogs all the time because its easy, and the clean up is minimal.  I love what I do, I love what I make, and I only make it for my family because I love them.  Even the Midget Pigmy's. 

Did you get to the end of this?  If you did thank you for taking the time to read it.  I mean, I would still write this stuff even if you didn't read it, but it makes it that much better that you read it.  Later!