Welcome to my Food Journey

Curious Southern Cook on a journey to learn...and to create exceptional dining experiences. I love entertaining and preparing food for loved ones & friends and sharing those experiences with others. My wish is that you will be fed too. Bon Appetite!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Savory Short Ribs with Barley (For the Slow Cooker)

Serves 4 generously


4 pounds short ribs



1/4 c vegetable oil

6 carrots, roughly chopped

3 medium red onions, roughly chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

8 sprigs fresh thyme, plus additional for garnish

5 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 12-ounce bottles dark beer

1 14.5 ounce can beef broth

3/4 cup barley


Season the short ribs generously with salt and pepper.  Heat skillet with oil over high heat, add the short ribs and brown on all sides.  Remove and set aside. 

Add onions and sauté until caramelized.  Place in the slow cooker.  Sauté carrots until caramelized.  Place short ribs on the onions and carrots on short ribs.  Add garlic, thyme and rosemary.  Pour 1 beer and can of beef broth over all and slow cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. 

About an hour out from serving time skim any fat off from the top of the short ribs.  With a ladle, remove 4 cups of jus (liquid) from the slow cooker and place in a pot and move to the stove top.  Add the remaining beer into the slow cooker, re-cover and continue cooking for an hour.   Heat the pot with jus on the stove top until boiling and add the barley.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer 45 to 50 minutes or until tender.  Let stand 5 minutes.

Plate barley, short ribs and carrots…drizzle with jus, garnish with thyme and enjoy!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Margarita Mixer Base

Necessity IS the "Mother of Invention".  I needed not to have bought so many limes for what was required in a recipe... but they were only available in none or beaucoup, so what to do? 

Also, it's getting to be the time of year when we yearn to be outside grilling, gardening or having sand between our toes.  Nothing goes better with the latter, during the first and after the middle than... a Margarita.  You can make the base mixer and keep it in the refrigerator until time to celebrate.  I recommend using it within a week, so invite a few friends over and Enjoy!

Make sure to wash the limes before squeezing.

Each lime should yield about 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice.

Margarita Mixer Base
Yield: Makes 5 cups

2 cups water
1 cup sugar*
Dash of salt
2 cups fresh lime juice (about 8 limes)
Zest from 1 lime

To make the simple syrup - combine water, sugar and salt in a large saucepan.  Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.  Bring to a boil.  Cool syrup.
Mix simple syrup, lime juice and zest.  Store in refrigerator covered, chill until cold. 
*May substitute Splenda…if making this substitution, no boiling required.

For 1 drink mix 3 shots margarita mix, 1 1/2 shots tequila, 1/2 shot orange liqueur.  Serve over crushed ice, with or without a salted rim and garnish with a lime wedge.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Irish Cream

Who knew you could make Irish Cream?  It's a cream liqueur that we all have added to our coffee or sipped in front of a crackling fire.  I have forever been a fan and when I started running across recipes that seemed relatively simple...
it was on. 
I found several interesting ones and after getting home this evening began searching out the ingredients.  Not in one recipe...did I have every item.  You have done this and I have many times before: substituted this and that, so if you are shy of something... get creative and the result will be delicious!
Irish Cream
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 c strong coffee (We used Camellia Coffee
3/4 c high proof whiskey (I used 128.5 proof, the guide recipes called for 2 cups Irish Whiskey)
1 c half and half (I used fat free)
1 c heavy cream
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract
Pour all ingredients into a bowl and mix with a hand mixer until fully combined.  Chill.  Serve and enjoy.  Keep in an enclosed container in the refrigerator.
Here I sit sipping the richest most elegant of concoctions.
Happy St. Patricks Day

Southern Colcannon

Colcannon is a tradition Irish dish made from mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage, cream, salt, pepper, butter and often ham or bacon.  In a mood to repurpose leftover "Greens", I thought I would make Colcannon and "Dixie it up a bit".  I had previously cooked a pot of combined turnip and collard greens...spiked with smoked ham.  If you do not have access to fresh greens, I would recommmend a canned option such as any made by "Glory Foods".  

This week everyone that isn't Irish is for one day and everyone that is... celebrates even harder.  My heritage inspired me to reinterpret this Irish classic and in using greens... brings it home even more. 
Oh, my Gleason (Gleeson) roots lead me back to Tipperary, in "Southern" Ireland. 
Happy Lá Fhéile Pádraig!

Southern Colcannon
(4 Main Servings or 6 to 8 Side Servings)

2 pounds washed, cubed potatoes (I used Yukon Gold, unpeeled)
1/4 c salted butter
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 cups drained cooked greens with ham or (1) 27 oz. can drained, *finely chopped
1 1/2 t Kosher salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/2 c fat free half and half
More butter

Place cubed potatoes in a microwave safe dish with a splash of water and cook covered on high for 10 minutes.

In the meanwhile, place 1/4 c of butter in a pan, heat until melted.

Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes, until soft.

Add greens, salt and pepper, continue to saute stirring until fully heated through.

Add cooked potatoes plus half and half.  With heat on low use a hand held mixer or stick blender to combine all and until potatoes are smooth.  Serve with additional butter.

*Tip - I use a pizza cutter to finely cut the greens and ham



Saturday, February 22, 2014

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies

On a lazy Saturday afternoon, still recovering from a recent surgery and unable to leave the house, what does one do... why make cookies of course.  This recipe makes about 60 cookies so we will be sharing some plus a homemade chicken pot pie with dear friends that are also home-bound due to a recent illness.  I modified a recipe from Ina Garten...love her!


Loaded Oatmeal Cookies
Inspired by Ina Garten’s
Raisin Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

Total Time: 49 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 39 min

Yield: 56 to 60 cookies


2 cups pecans
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the pecans on a sheet pan and bake for 5 minutes. Set aside and when cool coarsely chop.

In a bowl beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed with an electric mixer until combined. With the mixer on low, add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a medium bowl. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Add the oats, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and pecans and mix just until combined.

Using a small cookie scoop, drop dough onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper or a
silicone baking mat (12 per half sheet pan). Flatten slightly with a damp hand. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer the cookies to a baking rack and cool completely.