Sunday, October 28, 2012

Red Dirt Feed

The past few weeks we've all been busy getting ready to host the third annual Oklahoma Red Dirt Red Angus Sale  gathering, sorting, tagging AND grilling and baking.  My brother and his wife prepared food for the "big feed" (over 200) at noon on sale day.  Their grilled sirloin roast, homemade cole slaw and potato salad, a large pot of Anasazi beans and fruit cobbler was all delicious.  I offered menial pre-sale food contributions at various times throughout the week, but nothing like the awesome banquet they turned out.

 Unlike most of the cooks around the ranch who follow recipes to a T, I rarely purchase specific items for specific recipes.
  But remember "My Kitchen Is An Ecosystem"  so...
One evening the menu included Chicken Fried Steak, a big pot of buttered rice and brown gravy, fried okra, baked sweet potatoes with coarse salt and freshly preserved Tangy Dilled Green Tomato Slices.  For dessert, an original Bread Pudding with Hot Buttered Brandied Orange Sauce and Dianna's Homemade Bread.  My menu WAS NOT carefully planned, in fact I offered to feed our crew supper (Okie for dinner) at noon.  Twenty some mouths to feed and I was out of white potatoes and didn't have a clue about dessert.  What did I have on hand?  50 pounds of sweet potatoes that I bought from a roadside peddler outside of Choctaw, Oklahoma, 25 pounds of rice from my "end of the world stash", green tomatoes-mine and the neighbors- covering my kitchen table, 1/2 box of glazed donuts leftover from the morning "ranch office council", and a freezer of BEEF.

 Chicken Fry was a no-brainer, I don't know a living soul who would turn one down.  But I wasn't so sure about the side dishes.  My "reduce, reuse, recycle, regenerate, refurbish, reinvent tendencies paid off. 
                                                                 Here are the results...

Bread Pudding in a Pinch
5 or 6 donuts
5 or 6 slices of hamburger or hot dog buns, rolls, or bread...whatever you have, torn into small pieces
5 eggs or 6 eggs
1 can evaporated milk (from my "end of the world stash"
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick butter
2 tsp real vanilla
Beat eggs, milk and sugar, salt and vanilla. Melt butter-cool.  Combine and pour over dry ingredients. Let stand and soak in well.  Turn into a greased 9x13 pan  and bake at 350 until golden about 25 minutes.  Serve with sauce below

Hot Buttered Brandied Orange Sauce
1/4 cup flour
1 stick butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup orange juice
Boil 2 minutes or so
Remove from heat
Add 1 Tbsp Brandy
1/2 cup milk or cream
Whip until smooth
Serve warm over Bread Pudding

Buttered Baked Sweet Potatoes with Coarse Ground Salt
Wash 20 potatoes in the dishwasher...yes...without suds, rinse cycle only.  Pat dry, rub with oil, sprinkle with kosher or ground salt.  Wrap in foil, bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until done. 

                      Tangy Dilled Green Tomato Slices
Slice, quarter or chunk tomatoes.  In a large pot  boil 2 parts vinegar to 1 part water.  Sugar,
 mustard seed, salt and dill weed to taste. Chill and serve.  

             Breakfast consisted of "Make Your Own Egg Burritos"
 Flour tortillas spread with a small amount of bacon drippings and returned to the oven in a heavy skillet to warm.  The guys then filled them with what I had to offer: chopped cook bacon, chopped purple onion, shredded cheese, scrambled eggs and chopped Black Forrest ham.  No Complaints :)
                                 Old Fashioned Waffles
Made on my $4.00 "retro" Williams- Sonoma $50 equivalent awesome estate find waffle iron.  Remember the ones with the little holes (not Belgium-type large) ?  If you're old enough you do.  I am and I love that I found one that works.
In this recipe you separate the eggs and whip the whites which are folded in at the last.  The guys didn't care that so much work was involved in making them.  But I did. And my dad did. Grandma Grace used to make this very recipe every morning  The sad thing, I could only watch, I'm laying off starches and sugars and just had to drool while they ate them with Kasse's homemade Sand Plum Jelly and maple syrup.  Anyway, here is that delicious recipe

                                           2 large eggs, separated
                                           1 1/2 c milk
                                           2 T sugar
                                           1 tsp salt
                                           2 c flour, sifted
                                           3 tsp baking powder
                                           4 T melted butter
Preheat the waffle iron.  In a medium-sized bowl beat the egg whites until stiff. In a large bowl, beat sugar, butter, salt and milk until smooth. Add yolks to the milk and beat until creamy. Mix in flour and baking powder (batter will be lumpy…don't overmix or the waffles will end up tough). Fold in the egg whites until combined.
Pour enough batter to cover the bottom, bake until brown or the waffle stops steaming.


A small bit of apprehension loomed after serving these "thrown together" meals to our hard working cowboys. But an exclamation from one of my biggest critics, a six year old grandson put me at ease, "you're the best cook in the ho wide world". 
          we had Rice Pudding with Walnuts and Raisins from you guessed it, the leftover rice from Friday's meal.

Nothing New Under the Sun Including Sustainable Development

  I wrote the piece below last summer after listening to KrisAnne Hall speak at the CICA Convention.  As the Global and U.S. Roundtable fo...