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“Christmas” Cookies? We Don’t Need No Stinking Christmas Cookies!

Chocolate Chip Cookies – makes 3 dozen

1/3 cup margarine or butter

1/3 cup shortening

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp Vanilla (OK if you add 1 teaspoon more)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

6 oz (1 cup) chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional), such as pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 F

1. Cream the sugars with the shortening and margarine

2. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix well

3. Add the flour, salt, and soda. Mix until combined. The dough will be stiff.

4. Mix in the chocolate chips and nuts.

5. Drop rounded tablespoon of dough on ungreased cookie sheet.

6. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Tops should be slightly brown.  Overdone cookies are sneaky – the tops will look OK but the bottoms will be black. If that happens, just scrape the burnt stuff off with a butter knife. It’s happened to me many times (hey, I was busy watching the game on TV and/or drinking beer).

7. Cool on racks, then store in airtight container or plastic bag (what I usually do).

If you want that festive seasonal look, substitute 1 cup colored M & Ms for the chocolate chips. They make M & Ms for almost all holidays so you’re covered.

Thanks for the kind words for my healing. This is what I traded the Frankenstein fixator for:

My new boot

My new boot

Below is something to dance to while cookie baking. It is from Elvis’ 1957 Christmas album. It is in MP3 format.

04 Santa Claus Is Back in Town

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Interrupt this Paula Deen PBR moment with a message from Dr. Joe – People are Stupid

Folks, the votes are in.  PBR is now the official beer of the Southernfoodscrounge site.  Not that I don’t think other beers are good, or that I’m receiving daily deliveries of PBR in a Gran Torino, but….we have to stop a minute for this public service message from Dr. Joe, one of my favorite community columnists.  It’s a classic.

People are inherently stupid

People are inherently stupid

 

His job is tough, unfortunately due to people refusing to take responsibility for their actions.  I speak from experience.

Left knee frontal

 

October 2009 I was struck by an intoxicated driver while riding my Buell Lightning.  Above are just a few of the injuries resulting from the accident.  And yes, the metal you see still remains.  So please, if you choose to imbibe, stay off the road.  Mr. Mike and I enjoy various libations but don’t put other people at risk when we do.

Thanks for the message, Dr. Joe.  And now back to Miss Paula and PBR.  You can easily cut the fat in her recipes by 30% and not affect the flavor or outcome.  Not sure how to do? I’ll explain in a future post, but now it is time to go to PT.  Love ya Miss Paula but stick to changing your diet and not hawking drugs as a solution to diabetes.

I think I see the Torino’s headlights coming down the drive….

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

Back from the bar Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili

Black bean and sweet potato chili – I made this after we returned home from the new country bar just up the road. Not as in country music, but out in the country.  We live about 9 miles from the closest town, so my scrounging is honed to a fine point.  It’s a nice backroad ride to town, but still one must plan ahead cuz nothing is open 24/7 in these parts.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

1 15 oz can  of refried black beans

1 sweet potato (6-8 oz)

1/2 cup chopped onion

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ancho chili powder

1/2 tsp chili powder (your choice of heat level)

1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder (or cayenne)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 Tbsp (scant) olive oil

Water, stock, beer or combination

In a 2 qt saucepan saute the onions in olive oil until they soften and begin to color.  Add the garlic and continue cooking over medium heat until the garlic softens.  Garlic burns easily; stir frequently and adjust heat as necessary.  While the onion cooks, pierce the sweet potato skin on all sides.  Microwave on high for 2 minutes, turn the potato over and microwave on high another 2 minutes.  All microwaves cook differently; just cook until it feels soft, but not mushy when touched.  Let the potato cool while the onion/garlic mixture gets nice and soft and golden.

Add the beans to the onion/garlic mixture.  Add one cup of your liquid of choice and stir the mess well.  Add all spices and seasonings, stir to combine while adjusting the heat to medium.  Peel the skin from the sweet potato.  Your hands work fine for this task.  Then dice the potato (or your preferred size) and add to the chili.  Add liquid to your desired consistency; most likely another cup will be needed if not more.  Let the mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve with your choice of topppings.  Suggest using sour cream, shredded cheddar, cilantro, and LOUISIANA HOT SAUCE!

Tossed salad and BEER and you’re good to go.

We like our food on the spicy side; you may adjust spices to your taste; measuring with your fingers is OK.

It's a long ride to town

It's a long ride to town

Tay-cos and rice? Taco Rice?

Taco rice

Taco rice with lots of toppings

Taco rice – it does sound like some freeze dried product but it actually comes from Okinawa.  Call it creeping American imperialism or stroke of brillance, but it is popular in that part of the world, with or without a taco truck.  This recipe comes from the Penzeys catalog.

Taco Rice (serves 4)

1 cup uncooked rice (see note)

1 lb lean ground beef or turkey

1/4 cup taco seasoning (I use Penzeys mix but the taco mix packets like Old El Paso would do OK)

3/4 cup water

1 cup salsa

Shredded lettuce

Shredded cheddar cheese

Sliced Black olives

Diced avocado

Sour cream

Add meat to a spray released skillet over medium high heat.  Cook, stirring to break up the meat, until it is well browned.  Drain fat if necessary.  Add the taco seasoning and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the water, stir to combine.  Reduce heat to low and simmer about 8-10 minutes.  Most of the water should have evaporated but the meat will be well coated with the sauce.

Divide the rice inot four wide bowls.  Top the rice with the meat mixture, then add 1/4 cup salsa to the meat.  Top with the lettuce and cheese; serve the other toppings on the side.

I like this recipe because you can add leftover bits or leave out some items such as salsa if you’re out and it still tastes good.  Last week I added about half a cup of leftover black beans/sweet potato chili to the meat mixture.

Serve with tortilla chips and BEER.

Note:  People complain about cooking rice.  It’s not hard to cook the real stuff.  Save your dignity and don’t use instant or the parboiled variety.  Do this: For each serving use 1/4 cup raw rice and 1/2 cup water.  For the recipe above you’d need 1 cup raw rice and 2 cups water (yields 3 cups cooked).  Heat water in a covered casserole in the microwave until it is just below boiling, about 3 3/4 minutes in my microwave.  Add the rice and heat on full power for 45 seconds.  Then reduce heat to 30% and cook for another 12-13 minutes.  Let it set for about 5 minutes, covered, before serving.  If using brown rice, increase cooking time to about 17 minutes.  Experiment a bit with times and power levels, your microwave may be different.  See? Cheap, good rice.

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