Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Recipes in this PostBiscuits and Sausage Gravy

When I was in college, one of my friends introduced me to another girl, Biba Hughes, who would become my best friend. I dated her brother, I got the father/daughter talk from her father because my father had died, and I was privileged to be in the kitchen with her mother, who made the absolutely best food. One of our favorites was Biscuits and Sausage Gravy. Her mother made the best, and still does. Mine is good, but Jeanne Hughes has some mother thing going that just makes hers the best.

With that in mind, and a package of raw bulk sausage in hand, I decided to make sausage gravy for dinner. I will happily admit that I am biscuit challenged, so I just got a package of refrigerated biscuits. No recipe for those here, yet.

Jeanne Hughes usually uses Italian sausage, but I had regular bulk sausage. I still wanted to make my gravy like hers, so I added the missing ingredients, garlic and fennel seed. She also has a secret ingredient that I am about to share with you…

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Carrot Ginger Sesame Drop Cookies and Lemon Glazed Carrot Ginger Cookies

Recipes in this PostCarrot Ginger Sesame Drop Cookies and Lemon Glazed Carrot Ginger Cookies

I have been on an Asian kick lately, so when I made fried rice last night, I had extra ginger. I also bought carrots yesterday, hey, they’re good for your eyes, right? I also have a jar almost full of sesame seeds. Sounds like Carrot Ginger Sesame Drop Cookies, yes?

Today, Spane and I are going to Mass on the Grass at our local Catholic church, Holy Family in Glendale, California. Everyone has been asked to bring a dish, whether it be a side, or dessert. Even though it is still hot, I could not resist turning on my oven for cookies.

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Stove Top Cooked French Sweet Tart Dough

Recipes in this PostFig Tart made with Stove Top Cooked French Sweet Tart Dough

This has got to be the easiest way to make sweet tart dough. It makes a dough that is almost like a good cookie, just delicious! My food processor is in very poor health, like not working, might be able to be fixed. So, I needed to find a way to make tart dough without using the food processor. I found a recipe at David Lebovitz that looked promising – it required melting butter in the stove. Hey, it’s summer time in Glendale, California, and I didn’t want to make my house any hotter if I could help it.

I figured that I could melt the butter on the stove top, and use the Kitchen Aid mixer to actually make the dough. I was right, it worked out perfectly. This will be my go to recipe for sweet tart dough from now on. Because of the caramelization of the butter and sugar, the crust had a slight caramel flavor and color that was perfect for my Blue Cheese Stuffed Fig Tart with Balsamic Honey Glaze.

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Pork Chops Paprikash

Recipes in this PostPork Chops Paprikash

When I was a little girl, my mother had the entire collection of The Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cooking, and there was a recipe in for Hungarian Porkchops, which I have been making for many years. Today, I decided to change the recipe a bit, and came up with Pork Chops Paprikash.

In Glendale, California, which has a large Armenian population, we have Red Pepper Sauce. It’s basically paprika peppers, and I use it quite often, in sauces, eggs, and other dishes. There are many brands and you can probably find it in ethnic European stores. I highly recommend it.

Paprikash dishes call for sour cream. I have probably talked about this before, and I will say it again. When you buy sour cream, please only get the kind that has cultured cream. The other stuff has gelatin and other ingredients as fillers, and they just are not real sour cream. The Alta Dena brand has a wonderful saying on the top of the tub, “Those cravings you feel are totally natural”. I love that because it’s true – there is nothing in that sour cream except cultured cream, the way sour cream should be.

Mis En Place

Mis en Place – Sour Cream, Red Pepper Sauce and Beef Base

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Apple Pancake

Recipes in this PostGiant Apple Pancake

So, this morning, Spane was hungry, and breakfast food was in short supply. Usually, I have everything I need to make pancakes, but this time, I had left over apples from making Apple Stuffed Wontons, and I knew they would be really good in pancakes. The problem was they were a little large, and Spane didn’t want to wait. So I made two giant pancakes, one for him, and one for me. They were delicious!

I have always been crêpe challenged. Flipping a giant pancake just seemed impossible to me, so I have stuck with the dollar size variety. But, armed with the right kind of pan, a forgiving batter, and the willingness to try, I was actually able to make a pretty good-looking, although thick, crêpe.

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Ham Steaks with Russian Red Eye Gravy and Cranberry Almond Pilaf

Recipes in this PostHam Steak with Russian Red Eye Gravy and Cranberry Almond Rice Pilaf

Sometimes, you need a little Christmas, right this very minute. That’s why we love ham steaks, because you satisfy your craving for a good piece of ham, without having to cook a whole ham. If you’re lucky, you even get to have the bone with the luscious marrow.

When I make a whole ham, I usually make a glaze of Russian mustard and Sour Cherry preserves. It’s sweet and a little hot, and definitely wakes up the ham. One of the traditional gravies for ham steak is Red Eye gravy, which has, you guessed it, coffee in it. I wanted to incorporate both.

Since The Good Plate is all about deconstructing packaged foods, and one everyone likes a lot is Rice-a-Roni. Rice-a-Roni is rice pilaf, but with way too much salt and other preservatives. There’s no need to use the box, just get the ingredients together and make it from scratch – you know what’s going in it, and you can add whatever you want.

Over the weekend, I made a salad with a new dressing. It was fresh dill and lime, and Amber absolutely loved it. She asked for it again tonight, so I’m including the recipe for it here.

Remember, if you’re having a ham steak, and you don’t want your bone, just give it to me!

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