The Opinionated Foodie: The Love (or Not) of Food and Everything That Goes with It

Cooked to Death Green Beans

Snappy vegetables are not common around here.

Honestly, I didn’t even know that green beans were slightly crunchy when they are fresh until I accidentally undercooked some fresh ones early in our marriage.  I took a bite and thought, “What in the world? Crunch?”  Then, as restaurants started freshening up their menus, I noticed the same snappy texture in their vegetables.  Not to sound ignorant, but it was something I hadn’t realized was possible.  Vegetables other than French fries could be crunchy?  After years and years of eating good Southern cooking by good Southern women, I didn’t know any better.

Around here, meaning within five hundred miles of where I sit right now, most people cook their vegetables to the point of no mercy including my beloved momma and grandmomma.

Am I complaining? Are you kidding?

Crunchy vegetables are great and good for you too.  Some vegetables, however, should be smothered in goodness and cooked to the point of having no nutritional value whatsoever.  Take for example, the green bean:

Cooked to Death Green Beans

One can of good quality green beans, rinsed.  Add more cans as necessary to fit the size of your crowd

One ham end.  You get these in the meat department when the hams are out around the holidays.  A ham end is what is left as the butcher is slicing the ham and it gets too small to slice anymore.  You can also use a piece of bony ham or any other piece that is not really worthy of eating.

One onion, chopped.

In a large pot over medium heat, brown your ham and your onion until they get nice and hot.  When brown marks start to appear on the ham and the onion starts to sweat, add only the juice from the green beans.  Allow this to heat to boiling then add all the green beans.  Stir and cover.  Drop the temperature to low and allow to simmer. Stir occasionally and cook for at least an hour.

When the rest of the meal is almost ready, turn the heat off and let it set.

Serve with dressing or cornbread.

Your green beans will be mushy and delicious and not good for you at all.  The ham will fall apart, and the onion will be caramelized and have the most amazing flavor.   A few small new potatoes and maybe a little garlic added with the green beans would make this a meal.  It is truly a delicious, full of flavor dish that would make any Southern momma proud.


I Am Thankful For…

The dressing before the oven-an onion, two stalks of celery, salt, pepper, a pan of biscuits, and a can of chicken broth. Still striving for dressing that is crunchy and flavorful like my grandmother’s. Maybe someday I’ll get there.

Last year, I made my first Thanksgiving meal for our little family.  Just the four of us did it again this year.  We sat around our table and ate and ate.  It was a good meal with a lot of improvement to go.  I made a ham for the first time, and I made mediocre dressing for the second or third time.  I tried to make a good Thanksgiving, and no one complained even though they probably could have.

Still, we had food, and a table, and all of us were back again to eat our second Thanksgiving meal in our home.  Thursday we will eat again with our extended family, but that meal won’t come close to this one under our own roof with just us.

Luckily, it is not always about the food, but instead it is about the people who sit in front of it.  For that, I am thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving to Foodies everywhere…

Trisha Yearwood-esque ham glaze. I glazed a five-pound ham with one cup of packed brown sugar with around 1/4 cup of honey. I heated it until it was
runny and poured it over the ham with half the time left to bake.
Sweet potatoes that had been boiled for twenty minutes and set out to cool.
The skins fell right off. Then, they were whipped with three tablespoons of butter, a dash of cinnamon, and 1/4 a cup of sugar.
Pumpkin pie-made with the recipe on the pumpkin can
minus most of the spices and baked at 350 for 1 hour 15 minutes. Simple, simple, simple.

The pecan pie from our library’s bake sale.
Smart to have it right before Thanksgiving. I don’t know who made it, but it was divine.

My plate without the roll.

I Can’t Believe This Actually Worked: Pumpkin Pie
November 5, 2012, 12:18 am
Filed under: Food I Make | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Yay! It is pumpkin pie season again! My husband is a big pumpkin pie fan as I have mentioned here before.  The way to his heart is through his stomach, and so pumpkin pie he shall have.   I like it too.  I usually like to keep my pumpkin pie simple.

Yesterday, though, I had no choice put to keep my pie simple.  I decided to make a pumpkin pie since I made a chicken pot pie and had an extra crust.  In a large bowl, I poured a can of pumpkin.  Then, I started looking for the other usual ingredients like evaporated milk and eggs.

I found none.

I love it when I do this to myself, and I do it often.  I will think I have everything I need, and then when I look for my ingredients, I have half of what my recipe calls for.  It is just sooo much fun to sabotage myself by not preparing ahead of time.

I’m kidding, of course.

There was no going back yesterday; the pumpkin was in the bowl, so to speak.  To it, I added one can of sweetened condensed milk, half a cup of sugar, a smidge of cinnamon, and a smidge of salt.  I had no eggs, milk, or cream to add, so it was anyone’s guess as to how this was going to turn out.

I baked it at 350 for one hour.

Believe it or not, the pie was actually very good.  The pie looked fine even though it was a little sticky since it was full of sugar.  It had a nice thick consistency, a pretty shiny color, and it baked through nicely.  I sliced a piece and topped it with some whipped cream.   When we tasted it, it was very, very sweet, but it was a caramelly type of sweet not a sugary type of sweet.  I believe with a nice caramel decoration on top, this could pass as a caramel pumpkin pie and be believable as a recipe done on purpose.

I can not believe this actually worked.  Of course, next time I try to make it, I won’t have all the ingredients.  Sigh….

The Big Foodie Day

So, friends, what did you eat on this most important food day?

I had turkey, a smoked ham, dressing that was actually done this time, cranberry salad, and a slice of some weird custardy white pie that made no sense.

It was actually a good year.

That was lunch. We just ate it again for supper. It may reappear for supper tomorrow, but we won’t be here.  We’ll be out.

Now that meal will definitely be good.

Happy Thanksgiving!

A First: Our Little Family’s Thanksgiving





I am thankful for so much this Thanksgiving. Family. Friends. Our jobs. Our home. My foodie friends who check out my blog and make me feel loved.

And the fact that the people who live with me let me try weird foods on them all the time. 

Today, it was my first attempt to make a Thanksgiving dinner for four people that had to be totally different from what we’ll be having on Thursday.

It was actually very fun for me.

I started by brining a three -pound turkey breast for an hour in salt, water, and sugar. When it was done, I dried off the turkey, salt and peppered it, and wrapped in prosciutto.  I roasted it for an hour and a half.

My first turkey was tender and so juicy. The prosciutto was salty enough to add a great flavor.

I also made a sweet potato casserole with marshmallows and caramelized pecans. We had oyster dressing (which was really Stove Top) with a red wine turkey gravy.

Dessert was a pumpkin pie.

I didn’t have any cranberries or anything green, but it was still a delicious feast beyond anything we normally eat on Tuesdays. It was also very different from what we’ll eat for the actual Turkey Day.

I am thankful for that.

Happy Thanksgiving, Foodies!

Punkin Rolls

Easy and cute and delish all in the shape of a pumpkin. What more do you need?

Thaw one pan of Parker House rolls and set out a box of cream cheese to soften. Remove the rolls whole from the pan-do not separate them into individual rolls. On a cutting board, cut the rolls in half horizontally around the rolls just like you would when you split a cake. Set the top aside.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350.  While the oven is warming, melt two tablespoons of butter in a small oven-proof pan in the preheating oven.  Place the pan of butter in the oven for a few minutes to melt the butter.  When the butter is melted, add a bag of walnuts to the pan along with two tablespoons of sugar and one tablespoon of cinnamon.  Nutmeg might also be nice.  Place the walnut mixture in the oven for five minutes or so.

Replace the bottom layer of rolls in the original roll pan and cover them with the 8 oz. box of softened cream cheese. Liberally cover the cream cheese with store-bought or homemade pumpkin butter. I used half a small jar.  Layer on top of that the warm and sugary walnuts. Replace the top rolls so that the tops match the bottoms.

Bake at 350 for fifteen minutes. Remove from the oven, butter the tops if your like, and place a sprig or two of celery leaves along with a small, clean stick for a pumpkin stem and leaves.
Serve warm and gooey and cute all over.

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