Hot Reuben Spread

I think I love every iteration of a reuben – well, it is fairly obvious from this site, yep. Reuben casserole, reuben sandwich, reuben soup, reuben dip (in several forms). Who really can resist corned beef and sauerkraut with Swiss and a messy sauce? Oh, and my favorite, seedless, marbled Rye – just love it so. And it is pretty too.

D&D_26441 cup corned beef, chopped
1 cup sauerkraut, drained very well
1 cup Swiss cheese, grated with extra for top
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 Tbs chili sauce
2 Tbs sweet relish

Combine all ingredients except extra Swiss for top and spread into a greased oven safe dish. Sprinkle extra cheese on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until mixture is hot and bubbly. Serve hot with toasted rye bread.

Mix together – 21 January 2018

Baked – 25 January 2018; toasted rye bread – can’t wait to try this. One word: Amazing.


Trial run for St. Patrick’s Day.

I was really trying to thing of some kind of fun thing for the Ides of March, but I guess the murder of Julius Caesar is not something people made food for at any time. Um. ever. It might be kind of cool if someone did  – something Roman, perhaps?? Maybe.

So we are just going to call this St. Patrick’s Day early prep for a good holiday that I love.

This was the first date for me and the MotH. Lots of Guinness. Yep. Exceptional.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Pi Day has begun … and this is like a Blondie in pie form.

D&D_26231 graham cracker crust
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla
8 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
Pinch of kosher salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix together eggs, sugar, flour, and vanilla until well combined. Stir in melted butter, chocolate chips, and pecans. Pour mixture into crust. Bake 35 – 40 minutes until pie has lightly browned and set in the center. Cool completely before serving.

I make my own graham cracker crust. It’s a little rustic, but it is tasty.

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs – I buy the box of crumbs, much easier the counting panels of graham crackers, etc. Honestly, no one ever seems to count them the same way.
1/4 cup sugar
6 Tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Mix together and press into 9 inch pie pan sprayed just slightly with baking spray. Bake in the 325 degree oven for about 8 minutes rotating half way through.

Source: Add a Pinch


D&D_26209 January 2018 – Start making pies early since you never know what will be happening in mid-March – I mean, Mardi Gras occasionally, St. Patrick’s Day for sure, or just crappy cold weather that is killing everything in the garden that you planted – with ever present optimism – only to be spoiled be that late chill. Sigh.

Very chocolate-chippy kind of pie. Crunchy on the top and gooey in the middle – in the best sense.

Big success as I passed around wedges to people to get opinions. Might be even more lovely with some whipped cream – but it should not be sweet – the pie is certainly sweet enough.

Creamed Beef on Toast

This is such a weird bit of food. My mom used to make this every so often for my dad. My sister and I were just along for the ride. I don’t think I’ve had it in 25 years or more, but it still brings to mind a great childhood food memory.

This is truly poor people food – you know stretch that beef as far as it can go. The story goes, in my family anyway, was that my dad got this to eat when he was in the Air Force. I wonder, but …. who is to say? Then I saw Trisha Yearwood make it – and it was her dad’s favorite too. Our food histories are really just too similar. Again, Southern, rural food. It’s always a good thing.


1 pound ground sirloin
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk, more as needed, but it wasn’t
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 /2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 white bread slices, toasted

Saute the beef in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking it up and cooking until it is no longer pink. You can drain off the excess fat, but I didn’t because the sirloin was lean enough. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and stir over medium heat until the flour has coated the beef and cooked slightly. Stir in the milk a little at a time – kind of like you do with a roux to make macaroni and cheese. and continue to cook until the mixture becomes smooth and thickens to what you would like. Add the salt and pepper. Serve over toast. Freshly ground black pepper really makes it.

Source: My mom’s non-recipe recipe with encouragement from Trisha Yearwood. Both my mom and Trisha make this exactly the same, with one exception. We never, um, ever, put butter on it. But then again, my mom used margarine – ick.

Maple-Glazed Rosemary Pecans

So I guess I’m not the only person who has no-recipe recipes. I was a little concerned with this, as it is a little vague, but it turned out quite smashing.

D&D_2677I love sugared nuts and fresh rosemary goes so very well with the slight sweetness of fresh, fat pecans – great pairing. Now you do have to spend the dead presidents on the maple syrup and I do that anyway, but this is an application where you want top quality everything. Don’t skimp. The pecans are locals – Renfroe – the best available around here and are always stored in the refrigerator. The Maldon is from SaltWorks – affordable, easy shipping costs, and lots of other salt options to try.  Rosemary has to be freshly cut from whatever little/big plant you have.

I start a rosemary every early spring in a pot and then move it to a strange little place in our yard. There is no watering going on there, it is bordered by our driveway and is backed by a brick way – oh, and it it west-facing. That is prime real estate for rosemary. Hot and dry makes excellent rosemary. The first one I planted there went from a 4 inch pot to a 4 foot wide plant. I miss that thing – garden remodel and stupid mistake. But I now have a new little plant in a pot to start again.

2 cups raw pecan halves
Maple syrup
Flakey salt – Maldon
Fresh rosemary leaves, minced
Zest of a lemon

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lay pecans on single layer on parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle a few rosemary leaves on top. Add lemon zest. Drizzle with maple syrup, enough to coat with more for pecans to sizzle in. Sprinkle with a few pinches of sea salt. Mix it all together with a spatula.

Bake 5 – 7 minutes, checking regularly. Remove when syrup is bubbling and the nuts are beginning to just brown. Let cool, turning to coat with any maple, rosemary, and salt. Check for salt and make sure it is where you like to balance the maple syrup and accent the rosemary.


Notes: Next time I make these I will add some heat, probably cayenne, but maybe a dash or two of hot sauce in the maple syrup would be good. Next time, and there will be a next time, I will squeeze the lemon juice over the hot pecans as they come out of the oven.

If a recipe calls for flakey salt, I always use Maldon. Worth every penny and every pinch.

Sour Cream Cornbread

This is my go-to recipe for cornbread. Again, another recipe from a friend that I have been making for years. It is so damn good I take leftover, if there are any, to work for breakfast – split it open, toast it in the toaster oven and cover it in Kerry Gold Irish butter.  One of the best breakfasts, um, ever. Sometimes I gild the lily and add some extra-sharp cheddar before the toasting.

D&D_2683Now I must make this for the upcoming week at work.

That said, this is what I make to go with chili. I want the cornbread in the bottom of the bowl and chili on top with some extra sharp cheddar, scallions or chives, and sour cream. Oh, and a squeeze of lime never hurt this party.

1 cup self-rising cornmeal (you can make this if you just have plain cornmeal)
2 large eggs
1 small can of cream corn – I use Publix brand, it is really good.
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9×9″ baking dish with cooking spray. Combine all ingredients, mixing well. Pour into pan and bake for 20 – 30 minutes. You will know it is finished when it starts to pull away from the side and the bottom is slightly brown (that is, if you are using a glass baking dish).

Source: Dawn Randle Jennings

Chocolate Guinness Cake – Nigella

I cannot help myself, but I really like Nigella. I know people get weird about the “domestic goddess” thing, but she has always seemed like my kind of cook – do not take it too seriously and have a good time, and that is what I really try to do.

I have her cookbooks “How to Eat,” and “How to be a domestic goddess.” Oh, and “Nigella Summer.” I would love to have such a cool name. When you have a name that many people have – my name, it is kind of annoying. Thankfully my mom was ahead of the curve. There were no other Jennifers in my classes, but lord help you if you were a few years younger than me, there were Jennifers aplenty. Sometimes it helps to be in the forefront of a popular name. And then it is still kind of a thing that I would like a unique name. I guess that is why Jj works for me.

D&D_1945I am always looking for the ultimate version of a Guinness cake, so let’s see how this one stacks up to the other I made last year. I know it is not strictly the Guinness time of year (March), but I don’t really care. It’s what I want to make so it is what shall be made.

Butter for pan
1 cup Guinness stout
10 Tbs unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups superfine sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 Tbs vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
8 ozs cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9″ springform pan and line with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter. Place over medium low heat until butter melts, then remove from heat. Add cocoa and superfine sugar, and whisk to blend.

In a small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs, and vanilla; mix well. Add to Guinness mixture. Add flour and baking soda, and whisk again until smooth. Pour into buttered pan, and bake until risen and firm, 45 minutes to one hour. Place on wire rack and cool completely in pan.

Break up any lumps in confectioners’ sugar – I sift. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Add heavy cream, and mix until smooth and spreadable.

Remove cake from pan and place on platter. Ice top of cake only to resemble a pint of Guinness. Because that is just really cool.

The Flu is terrible … full stop.

So over St. Patrick’s Day I had to go to Tallahassee for work meetings and by the the time I had been home a couple of days I thought I was about as miserable as a person could be. That said, other people from different parts of the state went to TLH and also got sick. Thanks for that.

So when you have the flu, in my one and only experience of it, you do not want to eat, you have a nasty fever and just want to lay in bed because you are beyond tired. I will say now, as a disclamier, I have never had a flu shot. This goes back to my serious allergy when I was a kid. Vaccines made in eggs were a no go for me. I did not have an MMR until I was 25 and it was required by FSU for admission. I had been fine at the junior college in Jacksonville and at the University of North Florida, also in Jacksonville, but FSU said I had to do it. It was a non issue by that point, but when you have an issue with vaccines produced in eggs it can be a bit strange.

So by the Friday after my trip to TLH I was just about as loopy as I could be. Fever was high, no food, but I was drinking plenty of water. That said, I was a big mess. I was so loopy that I couldn’t walk down the stairs so the MotH had to help me.

Also the flu means you are not in the least bit interested in food. Or cooking. Or baking. I know now that I feel better because I am thinking about food and that makes me happy. I will just be making up for lost time from St. Patrick’s Day on until Easter and then the Boy’s birthday (I am hoping for a request for Carrot Cake, but we shall see).

This does not mean I will get a flu shot in the future because several people I know had the shot and then got the flu. It is just such a guessing game. It is, in my opinion, not evidence-based medicine. My rib cage still hurts like hell. And we are almost three weeks in at this point. Allergies and asthma do not make this any better, but wow – really do not want this ever again.

That said, I am really looking forward to going to the grocery store this week. I seem to want some amazing polenta and butterscotch pudding in my future.

I’ve realized life is short and I have to push myself to start trying new things while I have the time to enjoy them – lord, that is just a bit morbid.

Well, if it pushes me, then that is good thing.