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Joined: 24 Nov 2010
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re: Recipes from the South-farthing:

Suncho Pickletun, Yeoman, likes to farm and cook. So do I, and I keep a gardening and cooking blog. I'm going to reproduce some of the recipes here below.

So far we have:

Shire Mushroom Casserole
Chicken Divan
Baked macaroni & Cheese
Cheddar jalapeno blueberry corn muffins
Southern Biscuits
Carnitas Durango

Last edited by Suncho on 2013/06/23 2:33 pm; edited 3 times in total

Joined: 24 Nov 2010
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re: Shire Mushroom Casserole

1 lb large white mushrooms
2 lbs (uncooked) thinly sliced center cut bacon
1 lb cheddar cheese, preferably aged at least 3 years, shredded
15 oz ricotta cheese
4 oz shredded romano cheese
Parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, fresh oregano, butter

Cap the white mushrooms.
Chop the stems up in a bowl, add breadcrumbs, garlic, salt, pepper, chopped fresh oregano and parsley, and melted butter. Stir it all up. Stuff the mushroom caps.

Cook the bacon just short of crispy.

Beat 3 egg yolks into the ricotta cheese, then whip the egg whites separately until stiff then blend into the ricotta until well mixed.

In a deep casserole dish (deeper is better than wider), put in a layer of stuffed mushrooms.
Layer cheddar cheese, bacon, ricotta cheese mixture.

Make another layer of mushrooms and repeat until you fill the dish or run out of stuff.

Sprinkle the romano cheese and more breadcrumbs on the top.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Serve.

Joined: 24 Nov 2010
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re: Chicken Divan

Chicken Divan a la Gus and Julia:

If you look at a google list of chicken divan recipes on the internet, you get some sad and silly results. Some of the top recipes posted by “famous” chefs use canned soups and other processed ingredients. When it is so easy to make from scratch, why would TV chefs use such things in a “recipe”. Campbells posted their recipe before them and it is gonna be just as good, so why bother?

On the other hand, if you want a good from scratch chicken divan recipe made in consultation with a) one of my favorite southern cooks (my aunt), and b) Julia Child, you’ve come to the right place.


2 whole chicken breasts
2 heads of broccoli
12-16 oz spaghetti
8 oz gruyere cheese
8 oz medium cheddar (or mild hoop cheese)
1 stick unsalted butter
4 cups whole milk
Salt, Pepper, Cayenne pepper
Breadcrumbs or crumbled corn flakes
Pimento strips

Chicken. Cut 2 whole chicken breasts into long narrow strips and brown in the pan with 1 tbls butter. Remove from heat.

Broccoli. Blanch 1-2 heads of broccoli for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and rinse in cold water.

Spaghetti. Boil 12 oz of spaghetti. Remove from heat, rinse in cold water and drain.

The Sauce:
4 tbs butter, 6 tbs flour.
Grate the cheese and set to one side.
Heat 4 cups of whole milk and 1/2 tsp salt to a boil (you can microwave this).
In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Blend in the flour and cook slowly, stirring, until the butter and flour froth for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the hot milk all at once. Beat hard with a whisk and blend until fine.
Set over medium high heat and stir until it comes back to a boil, boil for 1 minute.
Beat in ¼ to ½ cup of cheese: half medium cheddar and half gruyere, grated. Beat until melted and blended.
Remove from heat, add 1 tbls pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp cayenne. Taste and adjust.

Casserole. In a casserole dish, spread the broccoli spears, spaghetti, and chicken in layers (in that order). Cover with remaining cheese. Pour the cheese sauce. Top with a thin layer of the breadcrumbs and the pimento strips. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and melted (everything is already cooked).

Joined: 13 May 2012
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re: Recipes from the South-farthing:

Ooh I like the sound of this, must try it out sometime :)

Joined: 24 Nov 2010
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re: Yet another casserole dish

Aunt Anna's Baked Macaroni & Cheese

I had a great-aunt who made amazing macaroni and cheese. Well, honestly, everything she made was amazing. This recipe is based on a discussion I had with her when I was about 12 years old, and I’ve included aspects of that discussion every time I’ve made macaroni and cheese since.

24-32 oz elbow macaroni
16 tbls butter (2 sticks)
16 tbls flour, all purpose
6 cups hot milk
6 tablespoons sweet paprika (not hot, not smoked)
6 tablespoons Black pepper,
salt to taste
4 tablespoons dry mustard
8 ounces sharp aged cheddar
8 ounces gruyere cheese
4 ounces shredded romano cheese
2 15 ounce containers of ricotta cheese
2 eggs


Cook macaroni in salted boiling water for 8 minutes, or until al dente. You want it slightly undercooked. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, and whisk in the flour to make a roué. Heat the milk in the microwave. Stir in the hot milk and whisk constantly until thick, seasoning with pepper and salt.

Grate the cheese and add 3/4s of the cheddar and romano to the sauce, stirring slowly over low heat until absorbed by the sauce. Remove from heat.

Combine the ricotta, the eggs, the dry mustard, and the paprika.

Add the macaroni to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the cheese sauce. Add the ricotta mixture and combine thoroughly. Spoon all this into a large casserole dish; cover with breadcrumbs; and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

This recipe filled 2 9’x13’ casserole dishes.

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re: Recipes from the South-farthing:

Two 9x13 casseroles! That's a lot of macaroni. It sounds delicious though!

Apis, Hobbit Guardian (Landroval)  

A bevy of other characters, as listed at my lotro-wiki page

Joined: 24 Nov 2010
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re: And now for something completely different:

Cheddar-Jalapeno Blueberry Corn Muffins

2.5 cups fine white cornmeal
½ cup soft low-gluten all purpose flour
1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
1.5 tablespoons of baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons cold butter, chopped fine
2.5 cups whole milk
2 eggs
1 cup blueberries
2 large jalapenos
6 ounces of aged cheddar (I used an 11 year old Wisconsin cheddar this time)

Combine the dry ingredients and mix, then work the butter into the dry ingredients until the texture is mealy.

Beat the eggs into the milk, and pour slowly into the dry ingredients while mixing until the batter is smooth. It should have a consistency like thick pancake batter – pourable but not soupy.

Grate the cheddar cheese.

Put the jalapenos in the microwave for 45 seconds. I will note in passing that a fresh jalapeno is a pressurized vessel, and that it may pop. Split them in half and get most of the seeds out, but don’t worry about getting all of them and try to leave some membrane.

Add the grated cheddar cheese, the chopped jalapenos, and the blueberries to the batter and stir until blended in well.

Ladle into greased muffin tins and pop into a pre-heated 425 degree oven. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until golden-brown. They should look brownish and crusty on the outside, and will probably be somewhat violet on the inside.

Split in half and serve with room temperature butter or cream cheese.

Lots of folks make cheddar-jalapeno corn muffins, and blueberry muffins are one of the basic particles in the big bang. Some folks even make blueberry corn muffins, but I’ve never seen anyone else make cheddar-jalapeno blueberry corn muffins, which is odd to me because it has always seemed like a natural combination. It came to me one day while I was thinking about muffins (“Oh do you know the muffin man….”), and I loved them. Sometimes I wonder how many people sit around and think about muffins. I hope you love them as well. The habanero version of this is even better, but too hot for most folks. The only single food item I probably think about more is biscuits.

If you really can’t tolerate the mild heat of a jalapeno, make Pimento Cheese Blueberry Corn Muffins instead, by substituting a jar of red pimentos, drained and dried on a paper towel. They’ll be colorful and tasty, but really this is a horse of a different color (“…that certain air of savoir faire, in the merry old land of Oz…”).

By the way, use only shiny metal pans for your muffins if you want them to get a nice golden edging/crust; they look nicer, and they taste better too.

Joined: 24 Nov 2010
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re: Southern Biscuits

Traditional Southern Biscuits

In order to talk about biscuits, I have to talk about lard, and butter, and shortening. I have to talk about buttermilk, and whole milk, and cream. I have to talk about soft winter wheat, and “regular” wheat, and how the flour is different. I have to talk about baking powder and how aluminum in your baking powder will ruin things like biscuits. I have to talk about salt, and how you want to use non-iodized salt in your biscuits. I have to talk about hand-mixing your biscuits, or not. I have to talk about theory vs. experience.

I have to talk about the grand southern tradition of biscuit-making, using only flour, lard, and water. I have to talk about the spreadsheet I keep that has nearly every great biscuit recipe I could find over the years broken down to show exact proportions and averages and ranges and all kinds of statistics. I have to talk about listening to Bill Neal ask my father about how to make biscuits while on a picnic in Duke Gardens many years ago, when I was a child.

I have to talk about biscuits cooked in an iron skillet over open coals, and yankee “biscuits”, and how too many people make their biscuits too large and too thick and how this affects their texture and consistency. I have to talk about small flat biscuits served at southern picnics and church suppers that have one razor-shaved slice of country ham in between the carefully split discs. I have to about biscuit-cutters, and ideal diameter (tuna can diameter) and how a dull biscuit cutter crimps the edges of the biscuit (which is bad), and...

Or maybe I don’t. Maybe I can just post the recipe here, and let you figure it out for yourself.


1 cup soft (low-gluten) winter wheat flour
1 cup regular unbleached all-purpose flour
Additional flour for rolling or if the humidity requires it.

½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon cream of tartar

¾ cup buttermilk (half&half or heavy cream gives you completely different biscuits, depending – good ones, but very different)

5-8 tablespoons lard
1 teaspoon sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk, beaten
1 egg white, beaten and used to wash the tops of the biscuits

Combine dry ingredients. Add lard to the dry ingredients. I keep my lard frozen and dice it into bits, and combine in the stand mixer until the flour becomes “mealy”. Combine the buttermilk with the egg + yolk and beat, then add to dry ingredients. Mix until the liquid is thoroughly incorporated and begins to smooth out. You want the dough tacky, but not sticky.

Remove from mixer, press or roll out to about ½ inch thickness. Cut with biscuit cutter (3” to 3.25” is a good width for ½ inch thickness), but do not twist the cutter, just cut straight down and pull up.

Place biscuits on a thick bright metal cookie sheet or on an iron skillet. Brush each biscuit with the egg white. Place in a 425 degree pre-heated oven for 12-14 minutes in a top rack.

These are “company” biscuits. Biscuits can be as simple as cream + flour, or lard + flour + water. In fact, mix any low gluten flour with fat and enough liquid to make dough and you have biscuits.

There are many things you can do, if you insist on “fancying up” your biscuits. Add a small jar of drained pimientos, black pepper, and a dash of cayenne. Add dill. Add 10-year old aged cheddar that crumbles more than it cuts.

Me, I like a plain hot biscuit with a slice of a real tomato, too much butter, and some salt and pepper. Country sausage or country ham make a great biscuit as well.


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re: Carnitas Durango

Carnitas Durango

Crock Pot Carnitas:

Prep time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 6-9 hours (inc. crockpot)

This is not the simplest recipe for doing carnitas, but it definitely has a high “oh god oh god” factor. And you can set it in the crockpot early, then have an easier time setting up for dinner, say if you have company.

I’ve cooked carnitas a variety of ways over the years. I realize that a lot of traditional carnitas use larger hunks, and then shred it, but I like the coverage of the spices and the crunchiness of the exterior you get from having more surface area, so I cube the pork. The first way I learned to do carnitas was to slice a whole shoulder into 1 inch slabs, and braise into oblivion in a big pot in a fire pit. This recipe is easier and indoors.

The ingredients are based on 1 lb of meat, so that it is easy to scale up. To me, carnitas are pork, and best from the shoulder. So either boston butt or a picnic roast are probably best.

In all my recipes that require chilies, variety is king. You can certainly just use “chili powder” that you purchase. However, you get a lot of depth and complexity of flavor by using different ones, hence the variety of peppers you see referenced below. Use what you have, but dried peppers keep pretty much indefinitely. At the moment a casual inventory tells me we have dried Jalapeno, Cayenne, El Chaco, Pasilla, Gaujillo, Thai hot, Chiles de Arbol peppers — and we have ground cayenne, some kind of ground hot Indian long pepper, ground pasilla powder, ground gaujillo power, and a mix of ground dark chili pepper. We have pepper sauces in bottles as well, like chipotle, Tabasco, habanero, pickapeppa, etc., so you can see my fondness for keeping peppers around. Yes, I only de-stem peppers, I typically do not remove either the seeds or the membranes.

Lard (the kind without preservatives) is not optional. This simply won’t work properly with another kind of fat. It is possible to make these by adding some fresh pork fat and rendering the meat and fat down together, but that is a completely different process for making these. One of the objectives of making carnitas is cooking down the fat in the pork until it is all tender, but still arranging things so you have a nice bit of crispy to the outside of a given bite of food. Lard helps this process in all ways.


Part 1:

1 lb Boston butt, cubed.
1 tsp onion powder (not onion salt), or ½ finely chopped onion
1 tsp powdered garlic (not garlic salt) or 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled
2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
2 tsp sweet paprika (not smoked)
1 tsp pasilla chili powder
1 tsp gaujillo chili powder
1 tsp cayenne
1 tbl ground black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp oregano (dried or several fresh leaves)
2 large dried chili peppers – chile de arbol, pasilla, gaujillo, etc.
1 fresh large jalapeno
Lard (the kind with no preservatives)
Dark Beer or Ale

Part 2:

½ lb of sweet onion
2 fresh large jalapenos
2 fresh large anchos or poblanos or anaheims
½ cup butter
¼ cup ketchup (or 1 tsp tomato paste + 1 tsp sugar + ¼ cup water)
¼ cup whole milk


Part 1:

Remove the stems from the dried peppers. Toast the cumin seeds and the dried peppers in a pan. Flip the peppers and shake the seeds when they start to smoke. I do both in the same pan. Place the peppers in a bowl of water, and microwave the water until near boiling. Let sit while you do other stuff. Set the seeds aside for now.

Cube the pork into ½ inch cubes. If you are defrosting a frozen roast, this is a tad easier if it isn’t *quite* totally defrosted yet.

Remove the peppers from the water after at least 10 minutes, and chop them up. Keep the pepper water. Chop up the fresh jalapeno.

Combine the onion and garlic powders, toasted cumin seeds, paprika, chili powders, reconstituted dried chilies, salt, black pepper, oregano, and the one fresh jalapeno. Grind this in a spice grinder until fine.

Rub, toss, and stir the spice paste all over the pork cubes in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Melt some lard in a large skillet. Iron is good, but I also love my giant 16” electric skillet (without which I feel naked). You want enough lard to cover the bottom of the pan when melted, at least 1/16th inch deep. We use local lard which does not have preservatives and must be kept frozen, which is just as well since you want cold lard for things like biscuits anyway. Pour in about ¼ cup of the pepper water (remember saving the pepper water?).

When this heats up, add the pork. Sear lightly for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally. You want parts of the pork to still not be brown when you’re done.

Pour all this into your crock pot, add 1/4 cup of dark beer, cover, and turn on to low heat. Come back in 6-8 hours. Drink the rest of the Ale.

Part 2:

Chop the onion and the fresh peppers, and sweat them in your skillet with the butter for 12-15 minutes at low heat. Add the ketchup halfway through, salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon and put in a serving bowl, but don’t wipe out the pan.

I use this condiment for a lot of things...

Turn the heat in the skillet up to high, add the pork from the crock pot (and any juices, etc. as well), and pour in the milk. As soon as it all starts bubbling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook off the liquid, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and scrape pan clean of pork and fond, putting in a serving dish.


Serve with tortillas and sides of fresh chopped cilantro, the onion/pepper condiment, black beans, sour cream, and salsa.

Bon Appetit.

Joined: 24 Nov 2010
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re: Braised quail with figs

Last night we cooked 4 more quail my father had given us. In addition to the quail, he handed me a recipe from Hugh Acheson, and mentioned a few alterations he had made to the recipe. Being the inveterate fiddler that I am, I took his suggestions and added a few more of my own.

I was fully prepared to have some of my alterations backfire on me, and if they did, I was going to have to mention that any problems were due to me, and that nothing should be taken away from the quality of the original recipe. However, dinner turned out to be one of those “WOW” experiences, and we both agree that you could be served this meal in any fine restaurant and be extraordinarily pleased. Kudos to Chef Acheson for the combination of ingredients and techniques!

Changes I made:

I substituted dried mission figs for dates, something recommended to me by my father. This substitution was amazing. I picked out 8 figs, 2 for each quail, and cut them in half. Then I put them in a mug, covered them with water, and microwaved that for 40 seconds. Then I let them sit while I worked on the rest of the recipe, and eventually added them to the mix in the pan.

I didn’t see leeks this week when we picked up produce, so I got 6 small green onions, using the whites and pale green. I also used a white granex onion we got at the Farmer’s Market this week.

I threw in a slivered clove of garlic when I was heating the oil. I let the oil heat up, and when the garlic was caramel brown, I seared the quail, more on the back than the breasts, then set them aside.

And lastly, I took 2 fresh local small pattycake yellow squash, cut them into wedges and threw them in with the rest of the stuff.

I used dried thyme, parsley, and 1 bay leaf from the jar, and just added them to the pan. I fished the bay leaf out before serving.

I used peanut oil instead of olive oil. I would think that olive oil would work just fine, but I like the smoke point on my peanut oil. Walnut oil or any of several other oils might work just as fine and bring a different highlight to the dish. I also used a ¼ cup instead of just 2 tablespoons.

I did the whole dish in a heavy straight-sided pan with a lid, and cooked it on top of the stove. I added the onions and figs to the garlic and oil (after I browned and removed the quail), tossed in the herbs, poured in the cider and cooked it for 3 minutes, then added the chicken stock and the quail back, and then I cooked it for 22 minutes.

At this point, the quail were done perfectly. I pulled them out with tongs, then scooped out all the veggies with a large slotted spoon. I combined 1 tablespoon arrowroot, 2 tablespoons of flour, and a good half cup of chicken broth and stirred them into a liquid slurry. When they were combined well, I poured this into the pan with all the liquid there, and turned the heat up for about a minute, stirring constantly. This resulted in a fine brown quail gravy with lovely flavors from the figs, onions, garlic, and herbs.

Quail with lima beans and mashed potatoes

Lastly, I placed the quail on a plate, ladled veggies over them, and paired them with mashed potatoes and baby lima beans. The meal was fabulous, and we served the other open hard cider (I used Scrumpy’s) with the dinner.

The original recipe, unaltered by me:

Braised Quail with Leeks, Dates, and Cider
by Chef Hugh Acheson


4 quail, gutted and cleaned
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 squash-ball-size yellow onions, peeled and halved
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 medium leeks, whites and pale greens only, cleaned and diced to ½ inch (about 2 cups)
½ cup pitted and chopped Medjool dates (about 6 dates)
Bouquet garni of thyme, parsley, and bay leaf (4 sprigs each fresh thyme and flat-leaf parsley, and 1 fresh bay leaf, tied together with kitchen twine)
1 cup hard apple cider
1 cup chicken stock

Rinse quail under cool running water, dry on paper towels, and season liberally with salt and pepper. Stuff half an onion into the body cavity of each bird, and truss it by tying together the drumsticks with kitchen twine. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil to just below smoking. Gently add all the quail, and crisp on each breast side, about 2 minutes per side, and then brown the back as well. Remove the quail from the pot and set aside.

Using the same pot, lower heat to medium, add the leeks, and cook until the leeks begin to soften (stirring frequently), about 5 minutes. Add the chopped dates, the bouquet garni, and the cider. Cook the cider down for about 3 minutes, and add the chicken stock and the quail. Let the liquid come almost to a boil, cover, and turn the heat down so the cooking liquid is barely simmering, cooking until quail are done, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove quail and reduce cooking liquid until slightly thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Spoon liquid over the quail before serving.

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re: Baked Buttermilk Cornflake Chicken

Buttermilk Cornflake Chicken:

2 whole chicken breasts
2 cups buttermilk
Salt, Pepper
1 cup Corn flake crumbs
¼ cup Soft flour
¼ cup white cornmeal (or ½ cup soft flour total, no cornmeal)
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
Canola (rapeseed) Oil or Peanut Oil
Split 2 whole chicken breasts. Don’t skin them, don’t debone them.

Combine warm water with salt. I use about ½ cup salt per quart of water. Brine for 1 hour and then rinse them. Use enough water to submerge the breasts.

Soak the 4 split breasts in 2 cups of buttermilk for another hour in the refrigerator.

Dry Mix

Mix 1/2 cup soft (low-gluten) flour with ½ cup white cornmeal and 1 cup of ground corn flake cereal (N.B.: You can buy pre-ground cornflake crumbs in the baking section of your supermarket). I use 3 tablespoons of ground black pepper in this. Adding a dash of cayenne or sweet paprika are pleasant options as well. Personally I use more than a dash.

Dip each buttermilk covered piece into the dry mix, coat, and place in a clear casserole dish. Add enough vegetable oil of your choice (I prefer canola or peanut oil) to come up the side of the pan 1/4 inch. Pour the rest of the dry mix over the chicken and the oil. A few tablespoons of unrefined peanut oil is optional but desirable.

Cook at 375 degrees in a pre-heated oven for an hour, until done and slightly more than golden brown. Check the chicken at 30 minutes, you may need to baste them a bit. Remove chicken pieces from pan and drain on a rack or a paper towel. Serve. We like to use a slotted spoon to scrape up all the loose mix, we call them the “yummy bits”.

Mashed potatoes. 2 lbs of potatoes peeled and cut into evenly sized pieces. Boil until cooked. Add 6 tablespoons butter and 1 cup of whole milk or half&half. Add salt and pepper to taste (we like a lot). Mash/whip with a potato masher, adding more liquid if necessary for a lighter texture. Cover in a bowl with aluminum foil and it will hold for several hours if necessary before dinner.

Steamed sugar snaps. Sugar snaps from our garden! Steam them & serve. Some of the best things are the simple ones.
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