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Scroungelady at chili cook off

Scroungelady at chili cook off 2012

This message brought to you by PBR, the “official” sponsor of Southernfoodscrounge.

In Defense of PBR and Poor Man’s Pretzels

Beer and pretzels – a good companion to your favorite brew.  Recently disparaging comments were made to one of our faves – PBR, or Pabst Blue Ribbon.   The “God-awful” had me thinking back to my young’un days first tasting beer.  I felt the same way, and avoided PBR for some years.  As my exposure to various beers grew, I did some rethinking on what made a beer “good”.  Now I grew up around a lot of beer drinkin’ folks.  My father used to have a Sunday morning Rolling Rock with his brother.  Joey would come up the stairs with an open Rock in his hand and reach into his pants pocket to pull out one for my dad.  My father’s judgement ran to the location of the brewery – he wouldn’t drink anything from Newark because that meant the beer had “river water” in it.  Otherwise, it was OK.

In another life I helped make homebrew including growing hops in the backyard.  But the most fun has been trying beers we can’t buy at home while traveling on our motorcycles.  Back to PBR – Mr. Mike re-introduced me to it.  I liked its’ smoothness that held up whether ice cold or close to room temp.  The King of Beers needs to be drunk ice cold or the hoppy fizz is hard to swallow.  I have drunk it room temp but that’s another story.  And yeah, PBR is cheap.  If it’s cheap it’s no good, right?  Sounds like a lot of other stuff that passes for good these days but is really you-know-what.  Truth is, many good beers exist, both cheap and expensive.  PBR is cheap, which is excellent for those of us lacking gainfulness, and is good company with pretzels.  Give me a pool table with intact felt, straight sticks, a PBR and SEC football on the TV.  Don’t need much else.

The Poor Mans Pretzel recipe is based on a common bread to the South, but more on that in another post.  Mr. Mike and I spent last weekend with his relations cleaning up an ancestral gravesite way back in the piney woods near the state line.  Two of his direct descendants were Scots-Irish born in the late 1700s.  They were buried in the 1820s.  Like the other Scots-Irish in the southern part of the state they lived off the land out of necessity.  Bread was not made with yeast because it wouldn’t survive in the hot, humid climate.  So they ate biscuits and cornbread leavened with baking powder and soda.  I like to think about them drinking a libation and eating something like this, baked in a cast iron skillet.

Poor Mans Pretzels

1 cup flour

2 Tablespoons shortening or lard (don’t recommend butter because it is not completely fat)

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup buttermilk

2 Tablespoons egg white or egg substitute

Flake salt of your choice

Heat the oven to 400⁰F.  Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Cut the shortening into the flour mixture until it looks like coarse meal.  Add the buttermilk and mix well (high tech fork works).

Cut the fat into the dry ingredients

Cut the fat into the dry ingredients

A soft dough should form; if necessary add more milk (a tablespoon at a time).  The dough should feel slightly sticky but not “cling” to your hand.

Soft and slightly sticky

Turn the dough on to a floured surface and knead lightly about 5 times.  Pat into a circle.  Roll the dough to about a 9-10” circle.

Cut into strips with a knife (don’t use your good paring knife, a butter type knife is fine).  Brush the dough with egg (or use a spoon like I did) and sprinkle with flake salt.

Place on a baking sheet a couple of inches apart and bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes.

If you have leftovers, refresh them in a 300⁰F oven for about 5 minutes.

There will be a test

There will be a test

Pop the top on a PBR and kick back.

Ancestors would drink PBR

Ancestors would drink PBR

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Under construction

Under construction

Ride On – Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes No Paula Deen Here

Roasted sweet potatoes have their flavor enhanced with the addition of cinnamon, sugar, and red pepper.  Sweets are plentiful in the South now – pickup trucks along the highway sell them, even Walmart carries locally grown sweet potatoes.  Paula Deen should try them without a stick of butter; there’s no need for more than a teaspoon/serving.  SPs have a low glycemic index which is helpful to diabetics.   And leave the marshmallows to hot chocolate.  Let the sweets stand on their own.  This recipe is a variation of a Woman’s Day recipe (see photo).  The recipe choice is yours. My version doesn’t look as shiny as the magazine’s.  I think some food styling was going on with the mag – spraying the SPs with oil.  Hey next week- the annual Chili Cook-off by Christian Motorcyclists in Paul B J park nearby – photos and recipes!!

Scroungelady at chili cookoff Jan 09

Scroungelady at chili cookoff Jan 09 w Bonneville


Sweet and Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes  (Serves 4)

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

1 Tablespoon olive oil

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch cayenne (chipotle is recommended

Kosher salt

½ teaspoon black pepper (coarse grind recommended)

¼ cup grated parmesan (optional)

2 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾ inch wedges

Heat oven to 375⁰F.  In a large bowl (straight sided works well), combine the sugar, oil, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper.

Add the sweet potatoes to the spice mixture, toss to coat.  If desired, add parmesan cheese and mix well.  Spread potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet sprayed with food release.  Bake until golden brown and tender, stirring once.  Baking time is 50-60 minutes.

From Woman’s Day November 2011

Yeah, a langiappe for ya – carrot recipe.

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Waiting for dinner

Waiting for dinner

No Computer Kitty Menopause & Chocolate Chip Cookies

Apologies for skimpy posts après holiday.  My computer wasn’t up to the task of Office 2010, Playon, and Windows 7 on a single processor.   The computer guy was amazed I got the computer to work at all.  Windows 7 requires significantly more processor capacity than Windows XP.  Yeah, I got tired of watching hourglasses and spinning arrow circles.  It cut seriously into scrounging.  Scrounge cat three has pee problems thanks to kitty menopause.  It takes two of us to shoot a pill down her throat and just one PO’d cat to spit them up around the house.  Just found one under my desk.  Well, the answer to most computer problems is “spend money”.  Using that answer got me one that should last for at least five years, or until the next technology surge catches up with the Deep South pine belt. What to do inbetween hand writing articles and chasing the scrounge cat around the house with a pill syringe?  What you should do whenever the blue mood strikes – have a cookie.  What follows is a recipe I’ve had since my young’un days of the 1970s.  The recipe fits scrounging because it doesn’t require special ingredients.  I’ve even cut up chocolate bars when no chocolate chips were in the pantry.  (Note: I have no idea what recipes mean by “rounded teaspoonfuls”.  Have you ever been able to stop at a “teaspoon”? Thought so.)  Take a break with your favorite beverage and a cookie or two.  Things are only as frustrating as we perceive them to be.

Chocolate Chip Cookies (about 5 dozen)

2/3 cup shortening

2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar (packed)

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

3 ½ cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

½ salt

½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375°.  Mix shortening, butter, and sugars thoroughly.  This is important for the cookie’s texture.  Add eggs, vanilla and mix well.  Add remaining ingredients; mixture will be stiff but all flour will be absorbed.  Drop by “rounded teaspoonfuls” (tablespoonfuls) about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Cookies will spread during baking. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until light brown (try 8 minutes first because they will burn on bottom before top is “brown” I opt for a pale brown).  Cool slightly before removing from baking sheet.

Buried – Two Cabbage Braised Pork Chops & Happy New Ride Year

Cabbage and pork chops – two of the “good fortune” foods to eat on New Years Day.  We did have our blackeye peas w/bacon, cornbread, ham and other fixins.  Now lookin at a ham is boring so I’m sharing what I scrounged together earlier in the week but it still fits the holiday theme. The gentleman selling veggies on the former Beverly theater lot had lush heads of cabbage – perfect because they keep well in the refrigerator; just hack off a wedge when the scrounge mood strikes.  I have various cuts of salvage grocery pork in the freezer so it has become the meat of choice lately.  Did you know why people in the deep south ate more chicken and pork than beef?  Before refrigeration was available, it was best to eat what you killed very soon.  Small critters like chickens and hogs could be eaten in a day or two, before they could spoil.

Two Cabbage Braised Pork Chops  (serves 2)

Seasoned pork chops

Seasoned pork chops

Sprinkle two pork chops (boneless loin here, but other types are OK) with black pepper and “pork chop seasoning” (I use Penzeys).  You can create your own with salt, garlic powder, white pepper, onion powder, and ground ginger.  Yes, I know “seasoning” in culinaryspeak is salt and pepper but lets go with the common usage for sake of brevity.  Heat a skillet to medium; spray with food release.

Brown the chops for 2-3 minutes per side.

Pork chops browning

Cabbage mixture over pork

Cabbage mixture over pork

Plated pork chop with cabbage

Slice green cabbage into 1/2 inch ribbons and break up slightly.  If you’re in a hurry, precook the cabbage in the microwave for 3 minutes before adding to the pan.  Put the cabbage and 1/2 cup drained red cabbage (the sweet/sour kind) over the pork chops, mix together gently with a fork.  Be sure to bury the chops!  Turn the heat to low/simmer.

Now take a cheap bottle of sherry and mix 1/2 cup with 1/2 tsp Kitchen Bouquet (my Mama’s anti-white cabbage trick).  Pour it over the cabbage mixture.  If you don’t have a cooking wine or don’t want it, substitute with chicken stock, water, or cider. Cover the pan and cook until the cabbage it tender, about 20 minutes. Serve with a green veggie for plate appeal.  French bread or cornbread, pour some wine and you be done!  My cornbread recipe will be in a future post.  Toast the New Year!


Hey Mr. Mike

Hey Mr. Mike

Actually two Mr. Mikes taking a ride on my rig.  First ride of the New Year!

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