Wednesday, November 30, 2016


A flat iron steak is an inexpensive and flavorful cut of beef. In the U.K. it is known as a butler's steak. I paid a little over $14.00 (USD) for a 1.75 lb steak. The honey and Kentucky bourbon marinade is so delicious! This is my southern version of this steak.

1½ to 2 lb flat iron steak
3 T Kentucky bourbon
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T extra-light olive oil
1 T honey
2 t Worcestershire sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix marinade ingredients together in a small bowl.
Place steak in baking dish. Pour marinade ingredients over steak, cover and let marinade in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Turn the steak over after 30 minutes. You can also do this in a zippered plastic bag.

While steak is marinating, prepare the sauce.

Red Wine, Shallot, & Mushroom Sauce
8 oz button or white mushrooms, wiped clean, trimmed, and thinly sliced
1 T extra-light olive oil or grape seed oil
1 large shallot, finely diced
½ t red pepper flakes (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T Dijon mustard
½ cup beef broth
1 T unsalted butter
1 T minced fresh rosemary
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a skillet, cook the mushrooms in the oil until lightly golden.
Add the shallot and sauté another 5 minutes.
Add the red pepper flakes and garlic, and sauté another minute.
Stir in the mustard, beef broth, butter, and rosemary, and heat through.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Keep warm while grilling the steak.

Remove steak from refrigerator and let come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

If using a charcoal grill, prepare a pile of coals on one side of the grill.

Sear the steak over the hot coals for 2 minutes on each side.
Move to the cooler side of the grill, pour the marinade over, and continue to cook for another 7 to 8 minutes.
Do not flip over again.

When done, place on a cutting board with a tent of aluminum foil for about 5 minutes.
Using a very sharp knife, cut steak diagonally into thin slices.

Serves 4

Monday, November 28, 2016


Any homemade treat makes a perfect hostess/host gift or stocking stuffer. These nuts are so easy to make and are a fraction of the cost of store bought candied nuts. You can make them weeks before Christmas. Keep them stored in an airtight container in a cool pantry or cabinet.

1 large egg white
1 T cold water
2 t Bourbon vanilla extract or 1 t vanilla extract and 1 t Bourbon
4 cups shelled whole almonds
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ t sea salt
½ t ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Spray a large baking sheet with cooking oil or line it with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg white with water until frothy.
Add the Bourbon vanilla extract (or vanilla extract and Bourbon) and almonds and stir until well coated.
Add the sugar, salt, and cinnamon, and stir again until completely coated.
Spread onto the baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and separate with a fork. 
Separate again with a fork after a couple more minutes.
Let cool then store in an airtight container.

Makes 4 cups

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Pecan pie is a southern tradition at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I named this Tennessee Pecan Pie in honor of my mother who was born in Tennessee and because I added a little bit of Jack Daniel's whiskey. You can leave it out and it's still as delicious as any recipe you can find. You can save time if you buy packaged pie doughs in the super market but I posted my pie dough recipe at the bottom. 

1 9-inch unbaked pie shell
2 ¼ cups pecan halves
3 large or 4 medium eggs 
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 cup golden corn syrup
¼ t sea salt
4 T unsalted butter, melted and set aside to cool to room temperature
1 t pure vanilla extract
2 T Jack Daniel’s whiskey (optional)

Place the pie dough into the pie shell, crimp edges and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs lightly with the brown sugar.
Beat in the corn syrup, salt, melted butter, vanilla, and Jack Daniels, if using.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Coarsely chop half of the pecans and place in the unbaked pie shell.
Pour the egg mixture over the pecans.
Arrange the remaining pecan halves in circles on top.
Place pie in middle of oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes.
Let cool before serving.

One Single 9-inch Pie Crust
1¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 t granulated sugar
¼ t sea salt
8 T unsalted butter, cut up
½ t white vinegar or lemon juice
5 to 6 T ice water

Pulse flour, sugar, and salt together in a food processor fitted with a steel blade until combined.
Add butter and pulse until butter pieces are the size of peas.
Through shoot, slowly add vinegar or lemon juice, and water and process briefly until mixture comes together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  
Wrap dough in plastic wrap, trying not to touch dough by gathering up in plastic.  

Press into a flat disc and refrigerate 30 minutes before rolling out.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Here is a foolproof way to have the perfect and most delicious turkey gravy for Thanksgiving or Christmas. I have been doing this for several years and my gravy is always a hit. Make this a couple of days or a week before Thanksgiving or Christmas. You will freeze it and bring it out to thaw when the turkey goes into the oven.

3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
5 fresh bay leaves
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 sprigs of fresh thyme 
3 star anise

4 strips hickory or maple wood smoked bacon, diced
12 chicken wings, separated at the joint
Extra-light olive oil or grape seed oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 T all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth or stock
2 cups boiling water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a heavy roasting pan, add the first set of ingredients. 
Sprinkle on the diced bacon and add the chicken wings
Drizzle with oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place in oven a roast for 1 hour.

Remove from oven and place on top of stove over medium-low heat and using a potato masher, mash the vegetables and chicken wings, to release their juices.
Scrape up the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.

Gradually mix in the flour and cook a couple of minutes.
Pour in the chicken broth and boiling water.
Turn up the heat to boil for 5 minutes until thickened. 
Then turn down heat and simmer for 15 minutes. 
Remove chicken wings and let cool slightly. 
Strain the gravy through a sieve into a large heatproof measuring pitcher.
Gently mash the vegetables in the sieve to release the flavor. 
Discard the vegetables, (I take the meat off of the bones and put it in my dogs food).
Once it has cooled to room temperature, put into a container and freeze or if making a couple of days before Thanksgiving, you can store it in refrigerator. 

Take out of freezer to defrost when turkey goes into oven.

Gravy Finish
When turkey comes out of the oven, use a carving fork to tilt the turkey over the pan to let the juices run out.
Place turkey on a carving board and cover with a tent of aluminum foil.

Pour pan juices into a gravy separator and pour dark part back into the pan and scrape up the flavorful bits up from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. 

Add ½ t poultry seasoning  
½ t celery salt  
2 T flour and stir.
Add the pre-made Gravy Starter and 1 cup of turkey stock that you made with the neck, and giblets. You can also just add a little more chicken stock.
Bring to a boil over medium heat, while stirring. 

Strain again through a sieve into a saucepan and keep hot until ready to serve.