Category Archives: Down Home Cookin’
Sweet potatoes or Yams…? You may think they are the same, but they are not. Sweet potatoes have a smooth skin, are sweeter and come in a variety of colors- yellow, orange- even purple! You can read about it here.
I personally never cared for sweet potatoes unless they came swimming in butter and brown sugar… until the first time I made a version of this dish… Wouldn’t touch that holiday tradition of SP’s and marshmallows, or SP pie…
But now- ….. Yum!! (*note*- these recipes are written for my sons who may or may not have basic knowledge or do-dads to work with and *notes are at the bottom)
While we call this dish Yam-it! it’s really glorified Paprika Roasted Veggies and Chicken.
What you will need:
2 large Chicken Breasts (or 6 thighs) cut in half. (not butterflied), some salt, +/- a pound of Brussel sprouts- trimmed and halved or quartered, 2 Sweet potatoes- peeled and cubed, half an large onion peeled and sliced (optional), some Olive oil, a smidge of lemon juice.
For the seasoning : 2 TBS Paprika- (that’s the red stuff sprinkled on deviled eggs), 1 tsp dried Cilantro, 1 tsp All-spice, and Garlic- to taste/minced..
Sprinkle chicken with salt and set aside. In a small bowl mix the seasonings together. In a large bowl toss the veggies with some olive oil (some is subjective to us Italians!) and sprinkle with 1 TBS of the spices mix. Pour into baking dish. (aka cake pan) To remaining spice mix add a 2-ish TBS of olive oil and 1 TBS lemon juice, mix to make a paste. Brush it on the chicken- both sides, and lay the pieces on top the veggies. pour a smidge of water into the pan, cover with foil. BAKE 425 for about 45 min +/-. You’ll know.. veggies will be soft.
Drizzle with melted butter before serving.
*Notes* *Chicken- You don’t need breasts. You can use thighs or pork chops or slabs of ham. *Veggies- if you want more, use more. It’s not an exact science. * Olive Oil.. If you don’t have it, don’t sweat.. Veggie oil will be fine. Just don’t use as much! * If you want more ‘zing’ add a shake or two of something like Lawry’s or garlic salt to the mix. * All the spices can be found at the dollar store if you can’t afford the grocery store *Lemon juice is not mandatory, but sure makes it taste better… You could sub for melted butter or OJ- It will change the taste a little, but still good. Little squeeze lemons are in the produce dept, bottled lemon juice is in the juice isle (usually top shelf) *Onions- again, not mandatory- you can skip them, or use shallots or something. *Covering with foil is a choice. We do it because it keeps it all moister.
**Every one of these ingredients can be found at moms- except brussels and SP’s unless the garden is in full swing**
For many years now (ok- more like decades) I have chosen Hwy 50 as my preferred route from Colorado to California. Mostly for the simple joy of the open road and partly because each time my fingers are crossed for some more wonderful Scipio sights.
The very first time I came around the curve from the west, right smack in the middle, crossing the road was an old buckboard wagon dressed up in patriotic finery. Bunting and bedecked horses, kids piled in the back also decked out. As it turns out I was just in time for 4th of July- country style.
Of course I stopped and stayed a bit! I even have the photos somewhere in my stash.. (that was back when everyone had a little 110 camera) And, OH! The welcome I received… Everyone was so nice and inviting.
That was the first time I seriously thought about just staying. Forever. There had been a
run down, closed up café for sale in the middle of town, and I just happened to have skill and youth at the time. Alas- life pulled me in another direction.
That first time sealed the deal for me… Hwy 50 it would be.
After dark on another trip, coming around the bend from the east, nearly every house was lit up in white lights. It was so beautiful! So quaint. So very Norman Rockwell-esque.
On other trips I have seen everything from herds of elk to a full cowboy roundup right outside of town… around the bend
In the ensuing years, Scipio has not grown much- in fact, back in it’s heyday Scipio was still a community under 600 ppl. But there is a ‘new’ gas station on the corner where it meets the interstate and the café has been dolled up and re-opened.
There has never been a time when I stopped, that people weren’t willing to chat. I love that. Just something about the feel of the town draws me in. I delight in the past mixed with the future, the old Vico Motor Oil sign faded on the sides of buildings, the majesty of the elk at watering time…..
I came through in early October with my mother-in-law. She has never traveled across
country on back roads and it was a joy to show her how Rural America looks .Of course we stopped in Scipio and took photos with what I am sure are the most photographed gas pumps in Utah! Our bad luck though, the café was closed. But there
is a older home with a couple acres right on the bend for sale…As always, I see the possibilities…
Sometimes I still think I should have…
Scipio never fails to delight- next time you’re headed that-a-way, make it a point to go through.
Scipio is also very easily a Kate’s 8 town.
*Katy is a motivational speaker and rural advocate at Tait and Kate helping small towns and businesses grow and thrive.
It’s no secret- we like bread. Any kind of breads- Sourdough, pumpernickel, garlic-y cheesy breads, bruschetta …. and that all around staple- biscuits.
They go so easily with every meal…
But alas- I live a fair distance to the market. So in this recipe you will learn how to make ‘fake’ or substitute buttermilk and a great cheaters trick so you don’t have to cut in the butter…
Super simple ingredients too!
2 1/2 C flour 2 T baking Powder 1 Tsp sugar 8 T butter (yes son, you can sub margerine) 1 C milk 1 T lemon juice (trust me) 1/2 tsp salt(optional)
mix the milk and lemon juice together and put in the freezer for about 7-10 min… while it’s chilling, melt the butter and let cool. In the meantime mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and make an indent (well) in the center.
Here comes some magic!– Add the butter to the chilled milk and watch it make little butter balls/slush. Pour into dry and stir until just mixed. Turn out and roll or pat –gently-(I prefer pat) to about 1 inch-ish. and fold and pat..repeat like 6 times.
Cut with a cutter or glass. *tip* Do NOT twist the cutter/cup it makes the edges ‘crimp’ and your biscuits won’t rise well.
Bake at 425 10 min -they’ll be golden on top- take out and brush with some melted butter.
Gobble up. Eat with jam, make biscuits and gravy, dunk in gravy, make sandwiches…..
*Tips for the boy-o-s
Need buttermilk in a jiff??? 1 Tablespoon ( a generous soup spoon will do) lemon juice per cup of milk. Let stand 5 min and use.
No rolling pin? No problem- beer/wine bottles, be creative, just keep an equal pressure when rolling.
Yes- you can sub Margarine in most of moms recipes, though it alters the taste and these biscuits won’t be quite as fluffy.
Once upon a time in a far off land…. Okay, not so far off, but it sure seemed like it!
Cope, Colorado is 130 East of Denver and 75 miles from ‘anywhere else’. We used to live there. Mind you, this is out there in the sandhills, with a population of a hundred. If you wanted an espresso, or French press or any other ‘fancy’ coffee~ you were pretty well out of luck.
One day a huge 1/2 page ad popped up in our bitty local paper…. advertising for the small town 45 miles North…
NEW COFFEE SHOP OPENING!!!! WE HAVE ESPRESSO!!!!
Holy smokes!! In the blink of an eye, I was the horn to my friend Shannon. We were both totally twitterpated! ESPRESSO… here we come. We made plans…
Shann lived 15 miles South of town and were 15 North of town. I bundled my two kiddos into the van (yes.. the “Down by the river” van) and headed off to pickup Shann and her three kids. and off we went, backtracking 65 miles up to Yuma only to find out that the “Espresso” they served was that push-button gas station variety.
Talk about heartbreak! We weighed the options, told the kids to settle in and we headed for
Sterling… another 50+ miles.. to a place we knew without a doubt had “the Real Deal” Did I mention ‘Da Van had no AIR and it was the middle of summer??
So… 200+ miles and an entire day later, we had our two dollar drinks and the kids had theirs. (back then they were ‘only’ 2.50!)
Lesson learned…. When you live ‘out there’ call and ask first!
What the heck is Lokshyna??
Lokshyna is a Ukrainian “tasteless” egg noodle casserole. And it’s easy to make! (And cheap.)
All you need is: 1 pkg egg noodles (cooked) 2 eggs -beaten
2 Tbs butter 1/2 C heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt (Or Sour cream or milk)
*and whatever you want that sounds tasty.
Traditional Lokshyna is just the base recipe with a little cloves and sometimes 1 C cottage cheese thrown in-
WE happen to LOVE it with some cooked diced bacon (and the fat.. or at least some) and sometimes Ham and onions. It is also good with 1/2 C cheese and some spinach.
~In large bowl -Combine the cooked noodles with melted butter. Add in the eggs, salt and sour cream. Mix well. Pour into a greased cake pan.
You can also make this in a bunt pan. Some of the old timers do this and fill the center with ‘stuff’. Usually something like Deviled Ham or some such craziness.
Also if you melt some butter and mix it with bread crumbs and sprinkle on top before baking, it gives the Lokshyna a crunchy top.
Bake 350 for 45 minutes. *doubles and triples easily*
(Happy Eating in Ukrainian)
~ Today on the radio I listened to an interview between well known Italian chef Gino D’Acampo and a British talk show host… and of course the moment I got in the house I HAD to Google the live event….
In a nut shell~ The host insults the poor man by saying “If you just add ham….” who quickly replies with
“if’a my Grand-a-mutha had wheels, she’d’a be a bike-a”
Can you Hear the cadence and inflection in your head?? I can.
I laughed and laughed.
Because I am half Italian. and I understand. COMPLETELY.
~When we were younger, my brother told my mother that her cooking was “ALMOST as good s Chef-Boy-R-Dee”
My mother went on strike with some gestures and muttering with what we loosely translated to mean “If we ever wanted another hot meal, we’d damn well better fix it ourselves because we sure the heck-0 weren’t getting it from her.” (ever)
I actually have some very funny stories about being Italian… But we’ll save those for a later date! WHY??? Because I will have to run fast when my Mother finds out I put her picture in here! ~
How did wanting 4 layers and 1 noisemaker (rooster) turn into 50 chicks and 10 ducks????
I was perfectly ok with buying a few grown layers from the neighbor. But alas, over coffee with the father-in-law…they morphed!
(but he did promise he would help at butchering time)
And Yes…. If I thought for a minute I could add food coloring to their water and make them change color ~ I WOULD~ 🙂
Our cows are mostly Catholic according to hubby… They are trained to line up and stick their tongues out on cue and ‘accept’ their treats. The one , I am sure is boarder line diabetic… she LOVES peppermint and brownies.
And the chicks always make me want to go to another Mike The Headless Chicken Festival! Mike is a true story about a chicken that didn’t die after they tried to butcher it!! No kidding!! he went on to perform at Coney Island, the Santa Monica Pier and more.. it’s really an interesting story. Click the link and read all about it.
The festival is great fun too. They have “Mike parade” where you and your pets have to dress up as “mike’, fried chicked and all manner of strange fun! The kids still regale their friends with tales about it.
Once upon a time in a far off land… Ok, more like a in a little town nobody has ever heard of..
We won the BEST BUSINESS award for Washington County. I almost wasn’t ALLOWED to accept it.
This little café was smack in the center of town. A tiny town. 96 people. A town where time stood still. Literally. The home of the ‘old boys club’. A staunch old school German community. 130 miles from Denver and another 60 or so to St. Francis, KS. ~If you wanted food, you were getting it here. ~
We worked our rumps off to make this place a success. We had regular customers that would drive 50 miles just for our fried chicken! We tons of truck traffic and catered far and wide. Tony had been a well known chef in Denver before we made the move. I worked extra hours so we’d have the money to employ the teenagers an moms that came looking for work. We had a wonderful friend, also an award-winning chef from California come join us, as well as the Mom-in-law.
In our neck of the woods, there were many organizations one could join. However… MEN were the end all-be all of the area. If a woman showed up for say, an economic development meeting, it was “Understood” that it was by Proxy as a stand in for her husband. And that everything would be rehashed with HIM the following morning over coffee.
We were awarded Best Business of the Year by Washington County. This was for our efforts to attract business and for being the main employer after the rural school. (The elevator had shut down)
So, we dress up. And we go. Dinner was good. The company was interesting. I think many of them were a little uncomfortable. It was mostly men, all patting themselves on the back.
They announce the award. I stand up. Shannon is clapping wildly. And…… SILENCE. Utter and complete silence. The very nice fellow looks around asks when is your Husband going to get here? I said that he was unable to attend. And he said that if They Had Known , they would have waited until another date.
I popped a cork. And let the Old Boys Club know in no uncertain terms what I thought about that.
I got the award.
Just goes to show… sometimes you have to blaze new trails!