31 July 2010

Leftover Potlikker Solutions

At Cookbook Of The Day, I posted about seeing Matt and Ted Lee at the Smithsonian in April. They talked a bit about collards. In my family the only person to fix collards was my Great-aunt Mamie. She would wash them in salt water to clean them and kill any lingering bugs. Then she carefully cut away the large stems. Then the collards, back bacon, salt and a bit of water went into a large pan that cooked for at least 3 hours. When the collards were done, she pulled them out and chopped them before serving. At each place setting there was a china cup on a saucer filled with warm potlikker.

The Lee Bros. remembered a wedding where one of the Yankee guest helped clean up and in doing so, threw out the potlikker. One favorite use for leftover potlikker is to poach eggs in the liquid the morning after. Alas, no potlikker poached eggs on that day.

Now I am going to share with you two of my favorite uses for potlikker. I am, however, not going to tell you how to cook collards. But be advised, the flavor and strength of the potlikker is directly proportional to the person that made it. Mama's might vary from Grandma's and vice-versa. You want a potlikker that has a nice green color to it and is a bit on the salty side. Great potlikker takes time.

I told the Lee Bros. my favorite use for potlikker was a Potlikkertini. Frankly, there is nothing that can't be improved with a nice shot of vodka. I like to serve them in old-fashioned champagne coupes. They are served warm with a nice tuile of bacon.


A touch of vermouth
3 ounces warm potlikker
1 1/2 ounces Pepper Vodka (it's easy to infuse your own, but Absolut Peppar is fine)

Rinse your glass with vermouth. Mix the vodka and potlikker. Add a bacon garnish.

Now for something more complex.

After the event with the Lee Bros. I was telling Anne that I liked to make a variation on oeufs en gelée with potlikker. Anne said she had some molds she would never use again so, she gave them to me.

It was a lovely night, The Lee Bros., a new cookbook, and new tins!

My reservation about oeufs en gelée is the runny poached egg. The runny cold poached egg that dribbles out on the dish. Here is a very Southern way around that -- Deviled Oeufs en Potlikker Gelée. Yes, take your favorite deviled egg and drop in in aspic.

Deviled Oeufs en Potlikker Gelée

4 small boiled eggs
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon mustard
1/4 teaspoon chopped dill pickles.
2 cups potlikker
1 1/2 teaspoon gelatin

I know it is hard in America to find anything that is small. We love to jumbo-up everything, but try to find the smallest eggs you can. The tins I received from Anne were vintage. If I had used extra-large eggs, there would have been no room for the gelée. In fact, an extra-large egg would have filled the tin and then some. You can use small tins, ramekins, or any mold. Test the size of your tin or mold by placing an egg in its shell into the container. The egg should fit into the tin with about a 1/4 inch around to spare.

Hard boil the eggs. (I always cook and extra egg or two in case one tears.) With deviled eggs, it doesn't matter if you separate them, but with these eggs, it is important to keep the egg halves together as you are going to put the halves back together and a tight fit is best.

Cut the eggs in half, keeping the halves together. Remove the cooked yolk and mash with a fork or, for a finer yolk, run it through a strainer. Add the mayonnaise and mustard and mix into a paste. Add the dill pickles and mix. (This is the way I make deviled eggs, but fell free to make them however your Mama taught you.)

Carefully fill the cavity of each hale of the boiled egg flush with edge. Then put the two halves back together. You do not want any filling squeezing out. I keep a damp towel close by to remove any excess filling .

Place the deviled eggs in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Strain the potlikker several times to remove the fat used to cook the collard and any stray bits of collards or seasonings that may be left behind in the potlikker. A coffee filter over a glass works fine.

When the potlikker is strained, heat 1 1/2 cups in a sauce pan.

In a measuring cup with a spout or a small bowl, add 1/2 cup of the potlikker and sprinkle with the gelatin, stirring to mix.

Add the 1 1/2 cups of hot potlikker to the gelatin mixture and stir. Pour a small amount of the warm potlikker and gelatin into the bottom of each mold, about 1/4 inch. Place the molds and the remaining gelatin in the refrigerator and let the gelatin in the bottom of the mold set, about 10 minutes.

When the gelatin in the molds has set, take the molds, the remaining gelatin and the deviled eggs out to assemble. To each mold, add one deviled egg, keeping the seams on the sides. When the eggs are in place, take the remaining gelatin and give it a quick stir, then carefully pour over the egg, filling the mold.

Return to the refrigerator and allow to set for at least one hour.

Many times, the gelée is decorated in the initial pouring, by adding cut peppers or edible flowers, but the darkness of the potlikker makes that a bit harder.

When you cut in, no runny yolk.

You can see from these pictures that my eggs were a little big for the tins and were not fully covered. It is not really a problem.

So now, you have some ideas of what to do with that leftover potlikker.

30 July 2010

Famous Food Friday -- Dolly Parton

“I cook like an old mountain woman.”

Today’s joint venture with Cookbook Of The Day is none other than Dolly Parton. I bet you didn’t even know she could cook. Sing yes. Act and write and run a theme park, yes. But cook? Well, she watched her Mama feed 12 kids in a tiny cabin, so some of that cooking had to rub off.

Dolly gathered up a whole bunch of recipes and wrote a cookbook, Dolly’s Dixie Fixin’s. The cookbook is filled with her Mama’s recipes as well as recipes from family and friends. There is a section on Christmas and other celebrations. Sections on barbeque, breads and sweets. Also, there a section called Road Kill that feature… not road kill, but recipes from some of Parton’s favorite roadside eateries like the Loveless Café and Mama Dips.

“…the two things I require in all my homes are a great kitchen and a chapel.”

Dolly’s Dixie Fixin’s follows the time-honored tradition in the South of gathering together collections of recipes to raise money for a church or a junior league. Parton’s cookbook raises money for a project close to her heart, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. In 1996, Parton began giving away books to children to spark their love of reading. She had a simple idea, give children, regardless of their family income, a book of their own every month. Parton personally sent a book every month to every child in Sevier County, Tennessee. The books begin with The Little Engine That Could and end, the month the child goes to kindergarten with, Look Out Kindergarten Here I Come. Needless to say, the idea caught on and before long there were Imagination Libraries popping up everywhere.

Like Dolly, food and reading are two of my favorite things.

Here is an appropriately titled recipe from Dolly. According to Parton:

“…when I stopped hoeing corn and working in the fields and moved to Nashville, I grew quite a bit larger. I was so fat, when I hauled ass I had to make two trips.”

These bars couldn’t be any sweeter. Just reading the recipe will make your teeth hurt.

Hello Dolly Bars

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Pour the butter into an 8 by 8-inch baking pan. Spread the graham cracker crumbs in the bottom of the pan. Arrange the chocolate chips over the crumbs, followed by the coconut and pecans. Pour the condensed milk over the pecans. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. The bars will not look like they’re cooked; they need to cool on a rack to firm up. Cut into bars once they are cooked.

I’m sure if you eat a big ol’ plate of these, you, too, will have to make a couple of trips to haul ass. And, if your community is looking for a fine project for children, look into the Imagination Library.

28 July 2010

Etiquette Wednesday -- Elizabeth Craig

Elizabeth Craig wrote cookery books for almost sixty years. Interspersed into her vast collection on cooking, she also wrote several books on homekeeping and one or two on gardening.

Cookery and Household Management was published as a two volume set consisting of volume of recipes and a second volume with more recipes and a few household tips that every gracious homemaker should know.

Here is Craig’s take on setting a table.

“No table can look attractive unless it looks symmetrical. To achieve a symmetrical effect, arrange china, glass, and silver in a geometrical fashion. Allow, if possible, twenty-four inches to each cover, though sixteen to twenty inches can be allowed when setting for a larger number than usual if your table will not extend.”

And here is advice on heating your dining room. As you will see, it was more of problem in the 1930’s than it is today.

“Besides taking care to see that the table is perfectly laid, every parlourmaid or home-parlormaid should pay attention to the warmth of the dining-room. The temperature of the room can make or mar the finest meal. The temperature of the dinning-room is also very important, especially at dinner-time, and in homes where people still dress for dinner. If electrically heated tell her to switch on 1/2 hour before dinner time in cold weather. If gas heated, allow 1/2 hour to heat. If the dining-room is heated with a fire, she must set a match to it, at least 1/2 hour before announcing dinner, and be sure the fire is glowing a welcome by the time dinner is served.”

I am always amazed that households who had little money for food and even less for adequate heating would still have a parlormaid. This winter I tried valiantly to keep the thermostat set at a balmy 54. Clearly, I didn’t have a lot of dining room company! Still, I am sure I could have pulled off a grand dinner or two if I only had a parlormaid.

I must admit, I desperately want a parlormaid. Perhaps I should advertise on Craig's List?

For a lovely luncheon recipe from Elizabeth Craig, check out today’s Cookbook Of The Day.

26 July 2010

Charlotte Perriand

Perriand in the Alps, 1935

The Museum of Design – Zurich opened an exhibition on 16 July that focuses on the life and work of Charlotte Perriand. Perriand is a 20th century design icon and one of the most influential designers of the past century.

Bar sous le toit

In 1927, after an unsuccessful attempt to get Le Corbusier to hire her as a designer, she showed her own work at the Salon d'Automne. Perriand presented "Bar sous le toit", a steel and aluminum "bar under the roof" and Le Corbusier knew he had made a mistake turning her away, a mistake he quickly rectified.

With Le Corbusier, 1928

At 24, she became a part of Le Corbusier's design. Over the years she worked closely with Pierre Jeanneret, Jean Prouvé, and Fernand Léger producing objects from furniture in steel to photo collages. In the 1940's, she became enamored of Japan and Japanese style. It is impossible to flip through a shelter magazine or an Ikea catalog today and not see Perriand's delicate fingerprints on many everyday items.

Standardized Storage Element 1953-1955

Standardized Storage Element 1953-1955, Larger example.

At my house, I closed in a window in the kitchen leaving a slightly uneven and nondescript wall. As a remedy, I turned it into a blackboard wall, the dark paint covered any imperfections and the wall provided a place for shopping lists, recipes and notes from people who stop in. The wall grew out of an image in Perriand's memoir. In the last few years, hardly a month goes by that a blackboard wall doesn't show up in some design magazine.

A Young Man’s House, Brussels International Exhibition, 1935

If you happen to be in Zurich before 24 October, stop in and see the exhibit. If you can't make and need a good summer read, check out Perriand's memoir, A Life of Creation.

22 July 2010

Cocktails at the Burn Pit -- Wow, I Coulda Had a Veggie Beer

V-8 the tomato/vegetable juice had a longtime slogan, "Wow, I coulda had a V-8." This slogan was meant to remind you that when you were looking for a late afternoon snack, you could have a V-8. I was never thrilled with this advertising ploy as I could never envision an occasion when I would think, after munching on say a Snickers or a cupcake or some Cheetos, "Wow, I coulda had a V-8."

Recently, V-8 changed course to capitalize on our need to ingest 5 fruits and vegetable a day. Their new pitch is simple: 1 V-8 = 3 serving of vegetables. I was skeptical as it smacks a bit of the time our government suggested that serving kids ketchup was a legitimate vegetable choice. Still, two V-8 and you are covered for the day. (I am in no way a trained nutritionist, but I can safely say, don't try this at home.)

I must admit, I bought into the campaign. On a trip to a big box store, I got lost and ventured down the "drinks" isle, (an isle I never visit). I came upon a case of V-8 and wrestled it into my cart. When I got it into the house I thought, "Wow, I coulda bought a case of Tab." So my 72 serving of vegetables sat around for a while.

One particularly sweltering day, after hours in the garden, I headed off to the burn pit. But what to drink? Then it hit me, "Wow, I could have a V-8." If I mixed that V-8 with beer, I would have beer AND 3 servings of vegetables. Throw in some Sriracha and chopped basil and "Wow, I had a Veggie Beer."

Veggie Beer

1 12 ounce ice cold beer
1 12 ounce ice cold can V-8
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1 teaspoon chopped basil + a sprig for garnish
Sea salt
Ground pepper

Pour V-8 into a small pitcher. Stir the Sriracha and chopped basil into the V-8. Slowly pour in the beer, stirring slightly to incorporate the ingredients. Pour into a tall glass, sprinkle with sea salt and ground pepper. Accent with a bit of basil.

Now you are ready to head off to the burn pit, but remember, you must drink 2 Veggie Beers to insure your 3 vegetable servings.

21 July 2010

Nina Hagen Finds Jesus...

... and I didn't even know he was lost. Seriously, I know, it sounds like the beginning of a joke, but the Mother of Punk, Nina Hagen, had a religious conversion. She told an interviewer:
"Both of my parents were atheists, and I found the way to God all alone on my own. You have to invite him, so that he shows up."
I do not want anyone out there proselytising, but I have no doubt Nina is serious. In fact, I know she is serious. Since Hagen is a singer, what better way to share her conversion than by releasing a gospel album. No, really. In August, Nina Hagen will release Personal Jesus, her first gospel album.

I got an advanced copy of Personal Jesus, and I was trepidatious about listening. I grew up in the South where gospel permeates the air we breath. Catholic, Protestant, Jew or atheist, if you grew up in Alabama, chances are you know the words to a dozen hymns whether you know it or not. I must confess, Personal Jesus is currently my favorite CD of year. It has officially moved my favorite purveyors of hick-hop, Gangstagrass, to Number 2. Hagen's voice sounds like a modern Mahalia Jackson. The CD is a mix of soulful blues and rocking pop, with a touch of folk. There are traditional hymns like Just a Little Talk With Jesus and I'll Live Again. Her cover of Woody Guthrie's' All You Fascists is great and her cover of Depeche Mode's Personal Jesus is second only to Johnny Cash. Even if you don't know a single hymn and you are a big old atheist, this CD is well worth a listen.

I don't give much thought to those people who invest a lot of time in predicting the end of the world. Since the beginning of time, some old crackpot has announced its end. The current eschatological darling is December 21, 2012. On this date the world will end -- because the Mayans said so. and, also, black holes will align or perhaps the Planet X will crash into earth. WE ARE DOOMED! But just to hedge their bets, some of these 2012 end-timers offer the hypothesis that if the world doesn't end in a gigantic cataclysm, there will be a consciousness shift. Given the choice of doomsday or a harmonic convergence, I'll choose the later.


In the last year Bob Dylan released a Christmas CD and Nina Hagen released a Gospel CD. Draw your own conclusions.

20 July 2010

Onion Harvest

Last week we gathered the onions and set them out to cure.

19 July 2010


Big one. Right in front of my nose!

All summer I have been trying to teach Kitty Carlisle and Teddy to pull weeds. Alas, they haven't caught on yet. However, they have become quite adept at spotting the weeds and pointing them out to me!

Look! right here. You got the one BESIDE the pepper.
This one is IN with the pepper.

I know there is nothing planted here, but c'mon.
Don't give me that "tiller broke" story.

This row of weeds is straighter than the row of peppers!
Pull! Pull! Pull! Pull! Pull! Pull!

18 July 2010

Spectacular Speculoos

My friend Anne always has cool food items for me. My last visit to D.C. I found a jar of Speculoos sitting in my in box in my bedroom. Anne had it delivered from Paris and told me she found out about it from David Lebovitz. Anne is all iPhone wired and has David's app at the ready to receive any new musings from his kitchen in Paris. Without much effort, she pulled up his blog right there on that little phone and I read his posting on my new treat.

I had been harboring it, trying valiantly not to waste it by simply eating it out of the jar. If you haven't experienced them, Speculoos are little Belgian cookies, all crunchy and gingery. The spread has all the flavor of the cookies in a silky paste the consistency of peanut butter. Think about taking your favorite cookie, grinding it up, binding it with silky butter and spooning it on... well a spoon!

As often happens with a new and cool ingredient, I spent way too much time thinking of things to do with it, rather than actually producing anything. (But really, thinking about making dishes with it is part of the fun and a lot less work, but I digress...)

Wednesday, the New York Times featured a blurb about Speculoos, so I figured it was time to get out there an make something with it. The natural idea for me was to use it like Nutella. For several years, a self-frosting Nutella recipe made the rounds on the Internet. We made Halloween cupcakes using a similar recipe. I dredged it up and tweaked it a bit to make these Speculoos cakes. Give them a try.

Chocolate Speculoos Cupcakes

3 sticks of butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
5 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
3/4 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 jar of Speculoos

Preheat the oven to 325F.

Line 24 standard muffin tins with cupcake papers

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, 2-3 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating fully

Add vanilla

Add the salt and baking powder to the flour and whisk together to incorporate, then add flour mixture to batter.

Using a small ice cream scoop, add a scoop of batter to each of the lined tins, filling about 3/4 of the way

Add a teaspoon of Speculoos to the batter and swirl with a toothpick

Bake for 20 minutes

Cool on a wire rack

They are best served warm from the oven.

If you know Anne, tell her to bring you a jar from Paris. If you don't, you are on your own. Check out the blurb in the Times for shopping options.

17 July 2010


Food is major part of a child’s life. We are all victims of the food we ate as children and those flavors and traditions are inculcated into our very DNA.

There is a “famous” story about the Southern wife fussing over Easter dinner:

Every Easter, she buys a large, whole ham to cook. Every year she spends hours in her $100,000 stainless steel, professional kitchen cutting one end off her ham. Her husband asks her,

“Why do you cut the end off?”
She thinks for a minute and replies,
“Momma always cuts the end off.”

When the family begins to arrive for Easter dinner, the husband confronts her mother and asks her,

“Why do you cut the end off?”
She thinks for a minute and replies,
“Momma always cuts the end off.”

When his wife’s grandmother, finally arrives the husband says,

MaMa, why do you cut the end off the ham?”
She thinks for a minute and replies,
“I never owned a pan big enough to cook it in.”

And still, we saw the end off the ham, cause it’s not Momma’s if the end is on it.

Recently, I had a big discussion about strawberry shortcake. Most of my friends had shortcake made from Bisquick, those hard, crusty drop biscuits, split open and drenched with strawberries and syrup.

As a child, I always wanted to have strawberry shortcake that included those garish yellow cakes from the grocery, baked with the shallow indentation to hold the strawberries. Of course, now, I would be appalled to eat those cakes. But, every once in a while, my Mother would buy those shortcake cakes and I was thrilled.

When I though of strawberry shortcakes, however, I remembered that we had a large raspberry patch behind our house, so most of the time we had raspberry shortcake. My great-aunt Ruth always made lighter than air, angle angel food cake for our shortcake base, and while my Mother never mastered angle angel food cake, there was a bakery in town that made angle angel food loafs. My mother would cut the loaf into sections and carve out a little box. She would fill it with raspberries and serve it with a sweetened, lightly beaten crème. I hadn’t though of those little raspberry boxes in years, but recently I was in Harris Teeter’s and in their bakery I found those same angle angel food loaves my Mother used for shortcake.

Clearly, raspberry shortcake was in my DNA. It is also very yummy!


Clearly SPELLING is not in my DNA. Anne, who kindly sends me an e-mails rather than commenting on the post reminds me it is ANGEL FOOD not ANGLE food. No matter what I do, I can't seem to differentiate those two words. In my brain they are identical. So if you go to Harris Teeter and ask them where the the ANGLE FOOD CAKE is they will just laugh at you.

16 July 2010

Famous Food Friday – Singers & Swingers

Today’s Famous Food moment is a blast from the past -- the groovy, swinging sixties! In 1967, this slim volume gathered together a group of famous and not “scene-makers”.

It features, according to the cover, “dozens of nutty, turned-on, easy-to-prepare recipes from the grooviest gourmets happening.” On the back cover: “Dig the sounds… in the kitchen. They’re hip, mod, delicious recipes from today’s top scene-makers…”

Who are these “scene-makers”? Well, some you know – the Rolling Stones – and some – The Cyrkle – are clearly no longer making the “scene.” There is Omar Sharif sharing his Southern Fried Chicken recipe. No offence but I’m not sure I want Omar Sharif making fried chicken! There are the Buckingham’s long before Lindsay ever saw Stevie Nicks. There is Don Adams and an entry by Sybil Burton Christopher, who was Richard Burton’s wife before Elizabeth Taylor. After she was dumped by Burton she moved to Manhattan, opened a boutique and, if this little cookbook is any indication, made the “scene.” (She is also the mother of Kate Burton who played Ellis Grey, who was the mother of Meredith Grey, played by Ellen Pompeo in Grey’s Anatomy. So, in some way, that makes Sybil the de facto “grandmother” of Meredith Grey, or maybe not… I digress.)

As you can see from these page, no expense was spared in the production of this book!

Here are just a few of the groovy dishes one might find oneself eating while making the scene.

Hot Dogs On the Rocks
(serves 5 Stones)

10 frankfurters
5 potatoes, or enough instant mashed potatoes to serve five
1 large can baked beans

Prepare the instant mashed potatoes, or boil and mash the potatoes. (Use milk and butter, making regular, every-day mashed potatoes.) Cook the frankfurters according to the package directions and heat the baked beans.

On each plate, serve a mound of creamy mashed potatoes ringed by heated canned baked beans. Over the top of all this, slice up the frankfurters in good-sized chunks.

Mick supposedly “invented” this dish with Charlie Watts adding in the canned beans.

When I think of the iconic, swinging sixties scene, one name always comes to mind – Leonard Nimoy. This is a fab first course invented by Nimoy, himself.

Cold Soup Nimoy

2 cans cream of celery soup
2 cans cold water
1/4 pint sour cream
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cucumber, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
Seasoned salt (or salt) and pepper

Mix he soup, water, sour cream, lemon juice and seasoning, and beat with an egg beater. Stir in chopped vegetables. Chill and serve in cold soup bowls. (It is especially nice if you can let it chill overnight.)

How fab is that. Canned soup chilled! Overnight.

Finally, for all my blog readers, a third recipe from a triple threat – one Barbra Streisand. In 1967 she was an actress, a singing star, and now a mother. According to Singer & Swingers, Streisand took up cooking when she went into retirement. (The first of many retirements in Bab’s history.) This recipe is for her invention she calls instant ice cream.

Barbra’s Instant Coffee Ice Cream

24 marshmallows
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1 cup heavy cream

Turn your refrigerator to the coldest point. Pour milk into a saucepan, heat, and gradually add the marshmallows. Mix until the mixture is smooth; add the instant coffee. Let it cool a bit. Whip the cream until stiff; mix cream and marshmallow mix together and pour into and empty ice cube tray. Freeze.

Barbra likes it with pretzels. Believe it or not.

Seriously, with this cookbook I’ll believe anything.

Might I suggest that you gather your friends to make the scene? You can be the swinger who whips up dinner. Start with Cold Soup Nimoy (Don’t forget to chill it overnight.) For the main course Hot Dogs on the Rocks finished up with Barbra’s Instant Coffee Ice Cream with a side of pretzels, just like Barbra!

No doubt you will be the most fab foodie on the block!

15 July 2010

Andrée Putman

Andrée Putman Gap ad

There are designers that one feels comfortable imitating or even hiring for a job. Then there are designers that one might never, ever hire for a project and yet, their work is so inspirational, so breathtaking that simply standing in a room and drinking it in is a must. My designer for that feeling is Andrée Putman.

I will never need a staircase like a necklace, but the mere fact that Putman designed and executed such a staircase is enough for me.

Gildo Pastor Center, Monaco, 1996

Putman built a house for her family at Grimaud. It was built entirely of recycled materials. The kitchen, while retaining Putman’s sleek style, is warm and comforting. I’m not sure I would pick it out of a lineup as being Putman’s work, but then she built it for family, her family.

Putman writes:
“To not dare is to have already lost. We should seek out ambitious, even unrealistic projects…because things only happen when we dream.”

Here's to dreaming....

14 July 2010

OMG -- The Satellite CRASHED

We didn't quite blogging...the hardware just stopped us from uploading. It stopped us from downloading.
Frankly we were just stopped. And it was devastating.

Tomorrow we will begin loading all the stuff we couldn't.

And getting back to reading everyone else -- We MISSED you!!!
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