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Menu 2
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Beef Jerky
Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce - Bon Ton Cafe
Canadian-style Bacon
Carne Adovada
Charbroiled Oysters in the tradition of Drago's
Chilpotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
Cooking Brisket
Crabmeat and Brie Dip
Dr. Pepper Barbecue Sauce
Grilling Catfish
Grilled Leg of Lamb
Italian Sausage
Merliton Casserole
Oriental Marinade for Chicken Legs
Pasta Salad
Pinto Beans
Recipe for Salmon

C.J.V.'s Brinkman Modifications

C.J.V.'s Jokes

Beef Jerky

16 oz (1 pint) liquid (apple juice, water, etc.)
4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon Insta-cure
2 or more teaspoons brown sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 1/2 pounds lean beef
black pepper (cracked)

Trim meat of all visible fat. Cut into strips 1/4 inch thick and 1 to 1 1/2 inch wide. Mix first 5 ingredients and stir to dissolve. Place meat in a ziplock bag and pour in marinade. Squeeze to remove air and zip bag closed. Place bag in bowl in refrigerator. Every 2-3 hours squeeze and rotate bag to mix and allow to marinate in refrigerator overnight.

Drain meat and arrange on cookie sheet. Sprinkle course grind black pepper on meat and string onto skewers. Smoke over hickory or mesquite wood in a cold smoker for nine to six hours. Dry in a warm oven overnight and store in ziplock bag.

Now den, it warn't da original recipe as I warn't using da Insta-cure back den. Dat Insta-cure be a solution of salt and sodium nitrite dat is spray dried. It is used to cure meats like sausage before day is smoked. Since I doubt dat you gots it, I would jest replace it with another teaspoon of salt. If you gots some Morton's “Tender Quick” or maybe dare “Sugar Cure”, you kin use a teaspoon of dat instead of da Insta-cure. ;-)

Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce - Bon Ton Cafe

Yield: 8 servings

-----------------------BREAD PUDDING----------------------------
1 Loaf French bread
1 Quart milk
3 Eggs
2 c Sugar
2 tbsp Vanilla extract
2 tsp Ground cinnamon
1 c Raisins
3 tbsp Melted margarine

-----------------------WHISKEY SAUCE----------------------------
1 c Sugar
1 Stick butter - (or margarine)
1 Egg, beaten
2 oz Bourbon whiskey or Southern Comfort; - rum also works well.

This is the classic New Orleans bread pudding, as prepared at the Bon Ton Cafe on Magazine Street. I consider it a quintessential version, but there are many possible variations: you can enrich it by using half-and-half instead of milk, and an extra egg; you can add different fruits, nuts, etc.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Tear bread into chunks and soak in milk. Crush with hands to make sure milk has soaked through. Add eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, raisins and stir well. Pour melted margarine or butter in bottom of a heavy 9 x 14 baking pan. Add bread mixture (and I sprinkle more cinnamon and raisins on top) and bake until very firm, about 40 mins. Cool pudding, cube it and put it into individual dessert dishes. When ready to serve, add whiskey sauce and heat under broiler for a few minutes (last step optional).

Whiskey Sauce - A variation that I like is to use Southern Comfort for the sauce instead of whiskey. Cream sugar and butter and cook in a double-boiler until very hot and well-dissolved. Add well-beaten egg very slowly and whip very fast so egg doesn't curdle. Cool and add liquor.

For the traditional New Orleans style bread pudding.

Chef John Folse's variation on bread pudding is, Bread Pudding Soufflé
Prep Time: 2 hours
Yield: 14 Servings
Comment: This is, simply stated, the evolution of bread pudding. The dish was created for the opening of my restaurant in Hong Kong in the mid 1980's. It has been a winner ever since.

1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
4 (10-inch) loaves French bread
4 cups milk
8 eggs separated, reserve whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vanilla
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup sugar for meringue

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter and sugar six individual soufflé molds. Cut French bread into one half inch croutons and place in an 11 x 14" baking pan with one inch lip. In a large mixing bowl, whip milk, egg yolks and sugar. Continue to whip while adding vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. You may wish to correct the sweetness of the custard should you prefer a sweeter taste. Sprinkle raisins and pecans over the croutons and slowly pour the custard mixture into the baking pan. Firmly press the croutons with your fingers until the custard is well absorbed. Bake until mixture is golden brown, about fifteen minutes. While bread pudding is baking, whip egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks form. When bread is golden brown, remove from oven and using a metal cooking spoon, break croutons into the custard mixture which has formed in the bottom of the baking pan. Fold in egg whites and blend into the bread-custard mixture. Pile mixture generously into the six soufflé cups at least one inch above the rim. Return to hot oven and bake until golden brown, five to ten minutes. Serve with praline flavored sabayon.

Which is similar to, but not as rich as, the bread pudding soufflé served at the Commander's Palace Restaurant in New Orleans. If you want their recipe, I can dig it up for you. Enjoy. ;-)

C.J.V. - gots lots of bread pudding recipes, me

Canadian-Style Bacon

Here's a PDF File of this recipe. This brine will cure about 2.2 pounds of meat

U.S. Ingredient Metric
2.2 lb Pork loin 1000 grams
1 gal. Bottled water 3.8 liters
10 oz Salt 285 grams
1 lb Brown Sugar 454 grams
1 oz Juniper berries 28 grams
2 oz Black peppercorns 56 grams
3 oz Prague Powder #1 84 grams
2 oz Ground fenugreek 56 grams
1 tsp. Parsley 0.5 gram
1 tsp. Thyme 0.5 gram
1 tsp. Rosemary 0.4 gram
2 Bay leaves 0.3 gram

1. Bring the water, salt and sugar to a boil and stir to dissolve thoroughly. Remove from heat.
2. Place the parsley, thyme and rosemary (in) sachet bag.
3. Add everything else but the Prague powder. Cool.
4. Add Prague powder and stir to dissolve.
5. Add the pork loin, making sure that the meat is submerged in brine.

I don't pump the meat. I let the pork sit in the brine in a cool spot in the fridge for about 10 days. I then soak the meat in ice water for an hour, dry and smoke it for about 4 hours. The fenugreek gives the brine a faint maple bouquet. Some say it doesn't add to the taste, I think different.

Glenn Shapley,
October 2002

The first problem that I had was finding the Ground fenugreek at our local stores. A quick check in The Merck Index told me that the seeds are used in India for making curry. In Metairie (the other side of the lake) there is the "International Market, a store that has food and spices from India. There I found whole fenugreek seeds under the name "Methi Seeds. I bought the 7oz (200 G) bag. I smashed them up with a mortar & pestle. I had seeds all over the kitchen. ;-(

I knew from other recipes that 3 oz of Prague #1 powder is enough to cure 25 pounds of brisket if you pump the meat so I halved the recipe and added 1/4 teaspoon of potassium nitrate to the brine. I just added the herbs & spices to the brine instead of putting in a sachet bag. I cooled the brine to refrigerator temperature, put the pork and brine into a 1 gallon Ziplock bag, squeezed out the air and zipped the bag closed. The bag with meat & brine I put into a bowl and refrigerated it for 10 days. At the start of the cure, the beat would float in the brine but after a few days the meat sank as it took up the brine. After the 10 days, I removed the meat from the brine, rinsed off the meat with tap water and soaked the meat in ice water for an hour. After that, I dried it and smoked for 4 hours over a mixture of charcoal and hickory wood at between 250 and 225 degrees. After removing it from the smoker and cooling to room temperature, I sliced it up and packaged it in half pound portions before freezing it. I tasted a slice or two. It had a faint taste of maple and a definite smoky taste. I planned to use it in my fried rice but about a week later the hurricane hit us. ;-(

After our return from our exile in October, I decided to try it again. I made up a half gallon of the brine as before but this time I ground the fenugreek seeds in a coffee grinder. That resulted in 99.44% fewer seeds around the kitchen and a happier wife. This time the meat came out with a more pronounced maple taste. The cured meat has just a bit too much of a salty taste for my liking so the next time that pork loins were on sale I used the following;

Canadian Style Bacon Revised

2.2 lb Pork Loin
1/2 gal Water
3.5 oz salt
1/2 lb Brown Sugar
1/2 oz Juniper Berries
1 oz Black pepper
1/4 oz Prague Powder #1
1/4 teaspoon Saltpeter
1 oz Ground Fenugreek
1/2 teaspoon Parsley
1/2 teaspoon Thyme
1/2 teaspoon Rosemary
2 Bay Leaves

1. Bring the water, salt and sugar to a boil and stir to dissolve thoroughly. Remove from heat.
2. Add herbs and spices. Cover and cool.
3. Add Prague powder and saltpeter. Stir to dissolve.
4. Add pork loin, making sure the meat is submerged in brine.
5. Allow to cure, refrigerated, for ten days.
6. Remove from brine and soak in ice water for 1 hour.
7. Dry and smoke for 4 hours.

Except this time I didn't add the ground fenugreek. After step 5., I just removed the cured pork loins and froze them without soaking in ice water or smoking them. I still have about a pound of the smoked Canadian-style bacon left from the second batch so I'll mostly use it up and compare it with the revised stuff when I smoke it.

Other things that I may do in the future are to use apple cider instead of water and reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe. Maybe smoke it with apple wood, add red pepper, etc., etc.


Since most of you might not know what Prague Powder #1 is, from Rytek Kutas's "Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing", under PRAGUE POWDER NO.1 he say "... To be more specific, a pound of Prague Powder No. 1 contains 1 ounce of sodium nitrite to each pound of salt."

Axe-U-Lee, what day do is mix 1 ounce of sodium nitrite with a pound of sodium chloride, dissolve it in water and den spray dry it to give you 1/16 of an ounce of sodium nitrite in each pound of the powder.

The stuff is being sold by The Sausagemaker under the name "INSTA CURE #1" (Formerly Prague Powder #1). See

Day Also gots a "INSTA CURE #2" (Formerly Prague Powder #2), which bes 0.64 ounce of sodium nitrate and 1 ounce of sodium nitrite to each pound of salt. See

Carne Adovada

The original version of the recipe for carne adovado came from Jeff Smith’s “The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American” TV series and book.

Blended Red Chile Pods:
7 - 8 whole dried chile pods, seeded and deveined
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt

Chose the chili pods for your dish. They range in heat from mild to very hot.

Prepare the chilies by slitting or cracking them open and removing the seeds and veins . . .

Place the chile skins in a bowl and add enough hot tap water to cover. Allow them to sit for 1 hour and then drain, reserving the liquid. Place the pepper skins in a blender and add enough of the water to bring the total amount in your machine to 1 pint. Add the garlic, oregano, and salt. Blend until thick and smooth.

Note: I like to toast the chiles in a “low” oven for a few minutes before covering them with hot water. You may have to add more of the reserved water if its too thick for your blender to handle.

The Meat:
2 pounds boneless pork butt or shoulder, sliced thin

Place sliced pork in a stainless steel bowl and pour in chile sauce. Mix meat and marinade and cover. Refrigerate overnight. When ready to cook, heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place meat and marinade in a covered casserole and bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour. . .

The second version, which is better IMHO, comes from the book “The Feast of Santa Fe” by Huntley Dent.

Pork Cured in Red Chili
For 4 people;
12 thin-cut pork chops (about 3 pounds) trimmed of fat
2 onions, peeled
4 tablespoons powdered red chili, or flaked chile caribe, which is quite hot
1 teaspoon cayenne, if needed for extra hotness
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
2/3 cup water
Optional: ½ teaspoon ground cumin and ¼ teaspoon cloves

The modern cut of meat for carne adovada is usually thin-cut pork chops called for here, but it is worth noting that Hispanic cooks cut their meat strips with the grain, not against it-in this way, they claim, the meat acquires more flavor while it cures.

Have ready an oven dish or casserole dish that will hold the chops snugly in one overlapping layer.

Cut 1 onion into 8 slices, then cut 4 more slices from half of the second onion. Roughly chop the remaining half onion and combine it with all the remaining ingredients except the water in the jar of an electric blender or food processor. Blend to a puree, adding the water only after the process is well along - it works best to pour it in through the hole in the blender cap or the feed tube while the motor is still running. Taste the chile sauce for hotness; many Santa Fe cooks would make it too hot for a novice to tolerate, so be guided by your preference. In any case, the texture of the marinade should be thick, almost pasty.

Assemble the meat for curing by coating all the chops with the chili marinade, covering both sides, then making overlapping layers of chili-coated meat and onion in the baking pan. Scrape any remaining sauce over the whole assembly once it is laid out, cover with foil and refrigerate for 24 hours or longer.

Cooking the meat: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. (One is often told to pan-fry carne adovada in oil, but this has drawbacks if you are fastidious about spattering grease.) Arrange the meat in a single layer in a casserole, spoon the remaining marinating liquid over it and bake for 1 hour. After this time the liquid will have evaporated and the meat will have started to brown. Serve with or without the onion slices that cooked along with the meat. For a moister result, add ½ cup water to the casserole, cover with foil and bake for 1 ½ hours or until very tender.

Note: I sort of combine both recipes/methods. I’ll dip the pork slices in the chili sauce and layer them in a glass casserole dish. I’ll put slices of onion on the pork and then make more layers of pork & onion slices until the dish is full, adding any extra marinade/sauce over the top. I’ll let it “rest” overnight in the fridge and bake it, covered, the next day. ;-)


Charbroiled Oysters in the tradition of Drago's

Recipe is almost exactly the same as Drago's but varies slightly to include market vendor Papa Tom Bonnecaze's creole seasoning.

36 raw opened oysters on the half shell (large)
1 pound butter or margarine
2 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon Papa Tom's creole seasoning
1/2 teaspoon parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon romano cheese
1/2 teaspoon parsley

Mix butter or margarine with creole seasonings and garlic in pan. Put oysters on the BBQ grill. Spoon butter mixture over oysters, then put a pinch of the cheeses and parsley on each oyster. Let them cook until the oysters have puffed-up appearance.


Chilpotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce

Categories: Sauces Al's Favorites

You can also make your own if you smoke and dry your own chilpotle. I use da following recipe;

10 whole Dried Chilpotle Chilies
1/3 cup Onion sliced 1/2" thick
5 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic sliced
4 tablespoons ketchup
3 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a pan, cover, and cook over very low heat for 1 to 2 hours, until the chilies are very soft and the liquid has reduced down to about 1 cup. This recipe will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator in an airtight container. For Chilpotle puree, place cooked Chilpotles and sauce in a blender and puree.


• Chilpotles are smoked jalapeno peppers.
• Add 1 teaspoon to inside of an enchilada.
• Add to pork and beans.
• Enhances other sauces with a smoky, zesty flavor.

Not zactly da same taste as da canned ones but day bes fairly close. ;-)

C.J.V. - ain’t dried no jalapenos yet dis year, me

Smoking Jalapeno's: FWIW, I usually slice dem jalapenos in half, lengthwise, and cold smoke over mesquite wood before putting dem in da dehydrator, me. Dat way day pick up more of da smoke taste and dry faster. When day are almost dry in da dehydrator, I’ll finish dem by air drying dem. If I let dem become over dry in da dehydrator, day lose much of their smokey taste. ;-)

blford asked, "Where'd y'all git that one from? I wanna swipe it, but I wanna give proper credit too."

To which C.J.V. replied, "I found da original recipe online 6 or 5 years back, don’t member where, me. A new search turned up;, which bes close but not zactly da same. It might bes dis one; ;-)

C.J.V. - Anyting I post, you kin swipe, ßillƒ"

Cooking Brisket

What is the problem with da brisket? I usually jest rub it and leaf it covered obernight in da fridge. Da nex day, I'll smoke it 'tween 275 and 220 degrees fo bout 8 or 7 hours. At dat point I'll sauce it, wrap in aluminum foil and put it back in da cool (220-210 degree) smoker fur a udder hour or so before slicing it as thin as I kin acrost da grain. I like da heavy taste of mesquite wood for smoking brisket, me. ;-)


Crabmeat and Brie Dip

...a hot dip recipe from restaurant critic and cook book author Tom Fitzmorris’s “Menu Letter” from a few years (maybe 12 or 11) ago that I haven’t tried (I don’t like crab, me) but it could also work using lobster or cooked swimps too. Its called:

Crabmeat and Brie Dip

Remember the Maple Street restaurant called Nautical? This was their signature appetizer. They served it spread over slices of grilled French bread, but almost any way you serve it is good. (I prefer giving each person his own little ramekin of it with some French bread crescents or homemade Melba toast.) This is a great way to use up Brie or Camembert that's approaching the end of its life.

1 stick butter
1 lb. white crabmeat
1 small onion, chopped
1/3 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 rib celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
Dash Worcestershire sauce
1 pint heavy whipping cream
8 oz. Brie cheese
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper

1. Heat the butter over medium heat in a saucepan until it bubbles. Sauté onions, peppers, celery and garlic until all the vegetables are soft and just beginning to brown.

2. Add the wine and the Worcestershire, bring to a boil, and reduce the liquid by about half. Add the cream, bring to boil, then immediately lower to a simmer.

3. Add the cheese in small cubes, stirring until melted. Remove from the heat. If the mixture is very thick, thin it with a little water or (better) crab stock.

4. Add the crabmeat, stirring it in so gently that you don't break the lumps.

Serve warm with toasted bread.

It sounds like its hazardous to the waist. Enjoy. ;-)

C.J.V. - can’t afford no more new jeans and pants now, me

Dr. Pepper Barbecue Sauce

I made up a batch of Tom Fitzmorris' barbecue sauce with a few modifications. The Original recipe reads like;

Dr. Pepper Barbecue Sauce

I know I've given this recipe before, but I'm being barraged by requests for it after doing it on the radio last week. I re-worked my old recipe and came up with a significant improvement both in flavor and in ease of production. So throw the old recipe away, if you have it.

2 liters Dr Pepper
4 medium onions
1 medium head garlic
1 ginger root, about an inch long
3 28_ounce cans tomato puree
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. rubbed sage
3 Tbs. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 Tbs. Freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 Tbs. salt
1/2 cup yellow mustard
2 cups cider vinegar
1 16_oz. jar molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs. mild Tabasco Sauce (preferably the garlic or chipotle pepper versions)
2 cups commercial barbecue sauce (Cattleman's or KC Masterpiece)

1. In a saucepan over low heat, bring the Dr Pepper to a boil and reduce down to about a cup of liquid. This will take about an hour.

2. Meanwhile, put the onions, garlic, and ginger into a food processor with a little salt and reduce it to a rough puree. Sauté this in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring now and then, until it begins to brown a little. (An interaction between the ginger and the onions will turn it green first.)

3. While those two steps are going on, put the tomatoes, bay leaves, marjoram, thyme, and sage into a large pot over medium-low heat. Let it simmer, stirring often, for eight hours. When the onion mixture is ready, add it to the tomatoes.

4. When the tomatoes are cooked, remove from the heat. If there's plenty of room in the tomato pot, add all the other ingredients, plus the reduced Dr Pepper. Stir to blend well. (If there isn't room, do this in a large bowl.) Add a little water if necessary to thin the sauce to your taste.

Makes about a gallon of sauce. Pack what you will not use in the next few days into sterilized canning jars, while the sauce is still hot.

In step 2. I diced the onions, grated the ginger and ran the garlic through a garlic press. I sautéed them in a little oil and then added diced tomatoes (I couldn't find the tomato puree in 28-ounce cans). I didn't have the thyme so I substituted rosemary. Instead of using mild Tabasco Sauce I added a tablespoon of chipotle pepper at the start of the simmering. After 8 hours of simmering, I added the sugar, about 11 ounces of molasses (it war a 12 ounce jar with about a tablespoon or two taken out), the vinegar and strained out the larger chunks of onion and tomato skins. Instead of adding the two cups of commercial barbecue sauce, which is used to keep the sauce from separating, I used a teaspoon of Ole Doc's Thickener #1.

Last Wednesday was the monthly business meeting and covered dish supper of the First Baptist Church of Folsom. I decided to smoke up about 10 pounds of chicken over mesquite wood and douse it in Tom's barbecue sauce. I did and everyone raved about it. To my taste, it seemed to need something. I packed about 2 or 1 ¾ quarts of the excess sauce into the freezer and left about a quart in two bottles in the fridge. I want to see how the stuff ages. Bout da only problem dat I had was boiling down da Dr. Pepper. It made a mess on da stove and on da side of the pot dat I was using. ;-(


blford says and asks, "Thanks for posting this. I'll be interested in hearing what's missing when you figure it out. In the meantime, may I add this recipe to your BBQFools page?"

To which C.J.V. replies, "I think that it could use more red pepper and maybe some garlic added toward the end of the cooking time. You can add any recipes that I post to the BBQFools page. ;-)

C.J.V. - presently curing a kilo of lean pig for Canadian bacon"

Grilling Catfish

What I like to do with catfish filets is make up a oriental type marinade by grating some fresh ginger, adding some dry sherry and some Kikkoman soy sauce. To dat I'll add garlic, hot sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce and/or a little brown sugar, depending on my mood at da time. I'll marinate da fish in that for 2 or 1 ½ hours, turning every so often. I'll spray a grilling basket with some Pam or oil, drain the fish, rub it with some peanut oil and put it in da basket. I'll then grill it over a smoky charcoal fire for 5 or 3 minutes per side, depending on the thickness. ;-)

Grilled Leg of Lamb

I use a recipe that I stole from the cookbook “A Feast of Santa Fe” with some minor changes. I have posted it before but I'll post it again.

The original version of this recipe was Native American. If you use lemon instead of lime juice and a little rosemary in the marinade, it tastes Greek or middle eastern to me.

1 3-4 pound leg of goat or lamb, deboned with all fat and silverskin removed. Cut into chunks or slices 1 - 1 1/4 inch thick (New Zealand lamb works well for this).

Make up marinade consisting of;

2-3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 teaspoon salt
juice of 1 lime or lemon
6-5 oz E.V. olive oil
1 sprig rosemary (1 1/2 - 2 inches long)

Chop or press garlic, add oregano, pepper, salt, lime juice olive oil and rosemary (cut into 1/4 inch slices) into jar of blender (I use a 8 oz Mason jelly jar that fits the blade & bottom of Oster Blender). Cool in refrigerator about 1/2 hour and blend until smooth, 4-5 minutes.

About 5 - 12 hours prior to grilling, brush marinade on goat or lamb meat contained in glass baking dish. Turn and brush other side. Cover with plastic film and allow to stand refrigerated until about an hour prior to grilling. Remove from refrigerator and allow to warm to room temperature about an hour prior to cooking.

Start fire consisting of charcoal and (mesquite or hickory) wood in pit (I use a kettle type grill (Mr. Smoky)). When the coals are hot and the wood is putting out a fair amount of smoke, Put meat on grill. Grill 7 - 10 minutes each side (after about 4-5 minutes, I'll put the cover on the grill and allow the meat to "soak" in the smoke for a few minutes and cool the coals). When the meat is cooked to the "proper doneness" (I like it medium rare), slice and serve with warm flour tortillas (or pita), guacamole (or Greek style yogurt dressing) and salsa.


1. Line a strainer, colander, etc. with cheese cloth. Take 1 qt of plain (unflavored) yogurt and put in strainer. Allow excess water to drain from yogurt for 4-8 hours at room temperature.

2. Smash 1-3 cloves of garlic in garlic press & add to drained yogurt.

3. Peel, seed and grate a medium size cucumber. Squeeze out excess juice & add to yogurt mixture.

4. Chop and add 1-2 teaspoons of fresh dill or 1/2-1 teaspoon dry dill weed to yogurt mixture.

5. Beat in 1/2-2 oz olive oil (to taste), add salt, pepper, hot pepper, etc. to taste. Refrigerate and let tastes marry overnight. Adjust salt & pepper as needed.

6. Sometimes I'll add some finely minced onion and/oregano, etc.

Since a whole leg of lamb is too much for just the two of us, I'll usually grill up around a pound of the meat and freeze the rest in portions for later use.

C.J.V. - got 3 or 2 legs of lamb at $2.99/lb from South America in da freezer, me

Salsa - When we have “real” tomatoes and chilies in the garden I'll make salsa from scratch. At this time of the year I'll dice up some store-bought roma tomatoes, a small onion, bell pepper, garlic and cilantro. To that I'll add some Pace brand of salsa and a squeeze of lime juice. Not quite as good as from scratch but better than the bottled stuff alone. ;-)

Italian Sausage

Sorry about da delay but we jest got back from our trip through da artic tundra dis afternoon. Anyhoo, dis bes da recipe dat we uses to make dat fresh wop sausage. Enjoy. ;-)

Italian Sausage

2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black pepper (course grind)
4 tsp Fennel seeds (I crush about half in a mortar)
4 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Garlic powder
1 to 3 tsp cayenne pepper (I use 1 tsp cayenne and 3 or 2 tsp crushed red pepper, me)
8 lb Pork shoulder

Cut the pork into 1 1/2" cubes, removing fat, bone and gristle. Grind fat with the fine plate of your grinder and mix with the lean pork. Sprinkle combined seasoning on pork and toss to distribute. Grind using the coarsest plate of your grinder . Shape sausage into patties or stuff into casing. Refrigerate and cook within a day or two or freeze.


Merliton Casserole

CJ, how do you make a merliton casserole. I buy them but have never made a casserole with them.

Just like stuffed merliton but I bake it ina casserole dish instead of da merliton shells. Rouse’s Supermarket, dem folks from down da bayou in Thibodaux, had dem on sale before Thanksgiving fur tree fur a buck. I picked out two reel big ones, me. On Saturday I put dem in a fairly big pot of water, brought da water up to a boil ober medium-low heat, covered da pot and lowered da fire to a simmer. I simmered dem fur round half hour and den cut da heat off and let dat water cool to room temperature. Since we war still eatin leftovers Saturday I dried dem off and put dem in da fridge overnight.

Sunday, I sliced about 1/2 or 1/3 ounce of tasso reel thin and cut it into “matchsticks” I put da tasso into a frypan with a slug of olive oil and let it fry for a minute or maybe 45 seconds until it was jest putting off dat nice smoky smell. I had diced up a medium-large onion and added that to the pan. I cooked the onion till it was starten to get soft and added a few chopped mushrooms dat I needed to use up. I den cut dem merlitons in half long ways, scooped out da seed wid a spoon and cut off da skin. I lay dem on da cutting board and cut dem into thin slices longwise and crosswise. I den proceeded to chop dem up wid my chef knife. I added dem, chopped in batches, to da onions in da pan long wid some pressed garlic and maybe a teaspoon of dry oregano. I unfroze about a pound of shrimp tails, peeled and deveined dem. I cut dem into 1/2 or 1/3-inch chunks and added dem to the pan wid stirring. I let dat all heat up until most of da shwimps were going pink and den cut off da heat. I added some parsley and Creole seasoning to taste. I den take a glass casserole dish, add maybe a half teaspoon of EVOO to it and rub it round da bottom and sides reel good. I’ll pour some seasoned bread crumbs into da casserole dish and roll dem round to coat the dish wid da crumbs. I’ll den dump da extra seasoned breadcrumbs in wid da merliton mixture, mixing and adding more to da mix until it’s a thick paste. Dat gets spooned into da casserole dish and smoothed out. A little more crumbs are sprinkled on top and I spray dem wid EVOO. The dish is covered and goes into a 325 degree oven until its hot and bubbling. I’ll den uncover it to let da crumbs on top brown some and den serve it.

If you ain’t got tasso, you kin use some bacon or just olive earl. If you ain’t got shwimps you kin use diced ham, maybe I-talian sausage or even smoked sausage if you got a mind fur it. Whatever floats you boat darling. ;-)

C.J.V. - but I likes tasso & swimps in it, me

The Chayote (Sechium edule), also known as chocho, or christophine is an edible plant, which belongs to the gourd family Cucurbitaceae along with melons, cucumbers and squash.

Alternate names: Louisiana (Cajun, Creole, English): mirliton (sometimes spelled merliton) but pronounced in New Orleans and surrounding parishes as "mel-a-tawn"

Oriental Marinade for Chicken Legs

Grate a chunk of fresh ginger about the size of a walnut. Add that to some dry sherry, maybe 1 or 2/3 of a cup and an equal amount of soy sauce (axe-u-lee, soy sauce to taste). To that basic marinade you can add pressed garlic, hot sauce, hoisan sauce, brown sugar, MSG, 5-spice powder and/or any other herb and/or spice to your own taste. I would stay away from using the thick bottled bbq sauces as they contain lots of sugar, which tends to burn when you grill with it. ;-)

Pasta Salad

I usually start with elbow macaroni, finely diced onion, sliced green onion iffen I gots any, finely diced pepper (both green & red), diced mildly hot pickled peppers (like banana or cherry peppers) and/or diced dill pickles and sliced hard boiled eggs. I'll dress it with mayonnaise, salt & pepper or Creole seasoning to taste. I'll then add either a couple of cans of drained tuna or maybe bout a pound of sliced boiled shrimp. I'll cover it and refrigerate obernight. Da nex day, I'll stir it up one mo once and add more mayonnaise iffen it bes dry (dat pasta drinks up da mayonnaise). Put it in da serving bowl and arrange some sliced berled egg on top and dust it well wid some hot Hungarian paprika soes it looks all purdy like. ;-)

Fo some extra taste, add some of dat liquid crab boil to da water dat you berles da pasta in long wid da salt.

Pinto Beans

I'm not zactly Gary, Chez, and I don't live in Texas no more but I do make pinto beans fairly often. Back bout 15 or 12 years ago, DW was attending a conference in San Antonio and went out to eat & drink at a Mexican restaurant down by da market wid “da girls”. She came home raving bout dare beans. Said dat day used cilantro in dem. I figured dat day probably warn't too much different from my regular beans cept fo da spicing & herbs used init. Now den, I mostly cook low fat but you kin do jest as good or eben better using da pig fat and ham. Since dare bes usually only two of us eatin on dem, I'll only cook up 6 or 5 ounces of da dry pinto beans at a time.

I'll start wid 6 or 5 ounces of da dry beans and sort dem into a small bowl. Cover with tap water to about a depth of a inch and allow to stand obernight. Da nex day, I'll dice up some onion, maybe a half of a medium to large one, into a ¼ inch dice. I'll put some olive earl in da bottom of my bean pot (I gots a bunch of dem LeCreuset enamel on cast iron pots in sizes from bout ¾ quart up to bout 9 or 8 quart so depending on how much beans I'm cookin depends on da size of da pot I use – probably I'd use one of da small ones round 1 ¼ quart) and “sweat” dat onion til its most clear. Now den you kin use da pig fat stead of dat olive earl.

When da onion bes done and startin to brown, I'll go out to my tree and pick a big bay leaf and put dat on topa da onions and dice up some ham into ½ inch chunks and add dat. I'll trow in bout a ¼ to 3/8 teaspoon of whole yellow mustard seeds (cuz I like dem, dats why), some cracked black pepper, maybe a halb teaspoon, some epazote dat I got from Penzeys Spices (tried to grow it tree or two times but I didn't hab much luck), maybe about 3/8 of a teaspoon, on topa da onions. I'll usually chop up some green chili pepper and add dat. I'll take da stems from 12 or 10 sprigs of cilantro (I already used da leaves in my salsa) and cut dem up into ¼ or 3/8 inch chunks and add dat to da pot. I'll den drain dem pinto beans dat war soaked obernight into a strainer and give dem a quick rinse wid tap water before adding dem to da pot. I'll den cover da beans wid ham stock (What do you tink dat I did wid dat ham bone dat was leftober after Easter? I cooked it for lebentyseven hours for a stock dat I put in da freezer fo use in my beans, dats what.) to a depth of round ¼ inch. I'll bring it up to da berl, cover it and turn it down to a low simmer and let it cook fo tree or two and a halb hours. I'll usually check on it bout every half hour or so and add some of my beer to da pot if its starten to look dry. Dat gives me a excuse to come in from da pool, take a leak, get anudder beer and ”Stir da Beans”.

Da beans are usually soft after bout two or one and a halb hours. Bout da only problem dat I found is dat sometimes I get a old bag of beans from da store dat you can cook for tree or two days without dem getting soft nuff. Bout 15 or 10 minutes before I'm ready to serve dem, I'll chop up some more cilantro (use da leaves dis time) and add dat. You can also add some fresh jalapeno peppers or chipotle peppers to da beans but DW fusses at me if its too hot. ;-)

C.J.V. – planning on a brisket on da fort if da rain ever stops, me )-;

Salmon Recipe

I also have a Salmon recipe which isn't too far removed from Gary Eddie's mother's recipe (Native-Americans from Southeast Alaska), tastes something like “squaw candy” but not as dry. I start with skin-on filets. Make up a mixture of ¼ cup dark brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper (I use course ground or cracked). Put your filets (maybe 1 ½ or 1 ¼ pounds) skin side down in a non-reactive (I use glass) baking pan (dish?). Rub/pack the sugar-salt-pepper onto the flesh of the fish. Cover pan/dish with plastic (Cling) wrap and refrigerate for 6 or 5 hours. You'll notice that the salt in the rub pulled enough moisture out of the fish to make a sugar syrup. Spoon this over the flesh side of the fish and then turn it so that it is flesh side down. Recover with the plastic wrap and put back into the refrigerator until ready to grill (I usually let it “rest for another 18 to 12 hours).

I usually start a chimney full of charcoal (3 or 2 pounds) and dump it on a bunch of wood chunks (usually hickory but other smoking woods like alder, apple, pecan, etc. would work) on top of the charcoal grate of the grill. I'll let the filet drain and spray a grilling basket with a neutral tasting oil (I use peanut oil but Pam would also work). Put the filet in the basket and grill it, flesh side down, with the cover down for 5 or 4 minutes to get a “bronze color”. Turn the basket skin side down and grill it another 8 or 6 minutes (you'll get charred spots on the skin) with the cover down. Remove, slide the flesh off of the skin and serve with rice, etc. You want it just barely cooked through. The time depends upon the thickness with a good smoky taste. ;-)

C.J.V. - last salmon I caught was about 56 pounds, yum!!

C.J.V.'s Brinkman Modifications

I have been cooking with one of them Brinkman-type water smokers for 26 or 25 years now. Da first thing that you have to do is get yourself a dial-type candy thermometer that reads in degrees F. That built in thing that is in the lid of the smoker is about as useful as mammary glands on a boar! The ones that I use are made by Taylor and read from 100 degrees to 400 degrees and have a stem that's about 6 or 5 1/2 inches long. It has a stainless steel clip that allows one to clip it on to the rim of a pot. They cost $7 or $6.99 at da local hardware store. For smoke cooking you wants to be around 225 or 210 degrees so check the thermometer in boiling water to get an idea of xactly where it reads at around 212 degrees. You wants to drill a hole in the side of the smoker and mount the thermometer so dat you measure the temperature near (I got mine 2 or 1 1/2 inches below) the top cooking grate.

One of the problems with that type of a smoker is that during long smoking sessions is the ash from the charcoal briquettes builds up in the charcoal pan and has a tendency to smother the new charcoal that you put in the pan. The problem isn't quite as bad using lump charcoal, which burns to a fine white ash. I added a round grate to the charcoal pan that is about 3 or 2 inches above the bottom of the pan. This allows the ash to collect below the burning charcoal. A better solution can be found in Drilling a number of holes in the bottom of the charcoal pan and covering them with triangular shaped sections of sheet metal each pinned to the charcoal pan by a single corner so that they can be used as vents as well as drains for the ash may be a solution. You might want to remove that thermometer in the lid and cover that hole with a triangular section of metal to be used as your top vent.;-)

NoIDAtAll submitted a link to an ECB Modifications Instructions w/Pics. Thanks NoIDAtAll!!

C.J.V.'s Jokes

Fleeing Al Qaida Guerrilla

A fleeing Al Qaida guerrilla, desperate for water, was plodding through the Iraqi desert when he saw something far off in the distance.

Hoping to find water, he walked toward the object, only to find a little old Jewish man at a small stand selling neckties. The Arab asked, "Do you have water?"

The Jewish man replied, "I have no water. Would you like to buy a tie? They are only $5.00."

The Arab shouted, "Idiot Jew! Israel should not exist! I do not need an overpriced tie. I need water! I should kill you, but I must find water first."

"OK", said the old Jew, "it does not matter that you do not want to buy a tie and that you hate me. I will show you that I am bigger than that. If you continue over that hill to the east for about two miles, you will find a lovely restaurant. It has all the water you need. Shalom."

Muttering, the Arab staggered away over the hill. Several hours later he staggered back, near collapse.

"Your brother won't let me in without a tie." (-;


A very self-important college freshman at a recent football game, took it upon himself to explain to a senior citizen sitting next to him why it was impossible for the older generation to understand his own.

"You grew up in a different, actually almost primitive, world," the student said loud enough for the whole crowd to hear. "We young people today grew up with television, jet planes, space travel, man walking on the moon, our spaceships have visited Mars. We even have nuclear energy, electric and hydrogen cars, computers with light-speed processing ...and uh.."

Taking advantage of a pause for breath in the student's litany, the "wizened" one said, "You're right, Son. We didn't have those things when we were young, so we invented them you arrogant young pup!! Now what are you doing for the next generation?" ;-)

C.J.V. - still older than dirt, me

Pet Fish

A Cajun was stopped by a game warden in South Louisiana recently with two ice chests of fish, leaving a bayou well known for its fishing. The game warden asked the man, "Do you have a license to catch those fish?"

"Naw, ma fren, I ain't got none of dem, no. Dese here are my pet fish."

"Pet fish?"

"Ya. Avery night I take dese here fish down to de bayou and let dem swim 'round for a while. Den I whistle and dey jump rat back inta dis here ice chest and I take dem home."

"That's a bunch of hooey! Fish can't do that!"

The Cajun looked at the game warden for a moment and then said, "It's de truth ma' fren. I'll show you. It really works."

"Okay, I've GOT to see this!"

The Cajun poured the fish into the bayou and stood and waited. !

After several minutes, the game warden turned to him and said, "Well?"

"Well, what?" Said the Cajun.

"When are you going to call them back?"

"Call who back?"

"The FISH!"

"What fish?" ;-)


Christmas Tree Angel

A Christmas Story for people having a bad day.... When four of Santa's elves got sick, and the trainee elves did not produce the toys as fast as the regular ones, Santa was beginning to feel the pressure of being behind schedule.

Then Mrs. Claus told Santa that her Mom was coming to visit. This stressed Santa even more.

When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two had jumped the fence and were out, heaven knows where. More stress.

Then when he began to load the sleigh one of the boards cracked, and the toy bag fell to the ground and scattered the toys.

So, frustrated, Santa went into the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered that the elves had hidden the liquor, and there was nothing to drink. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider pot, and it broke into hundreds of little pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found that mice had eaten the straw end of the broom.

Just then the doorbell rang, and irritable Santa trudged to the door. He opened the door, and there was a little angel with a great big Christmas tree. The angel said, very cheerfully, "Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't it a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?"

And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.;-)


A few things to know about Louisiana ...

Possums-n-Armadillos sleep in the middle of the road with their feet in the air.

There are 5,000 types of snakes, and 4,998 live in Louisiana.

There are 10,000 types of spiders. All 10,000 live in Louisiana, plus a couple that nobody has seen before.

Squirrels will eat anything. And folks in Louisiana will eat squirrel.

Unknown critters love to dig holes under tomato plants.

Raccoons will test your crop of melons and let you know when they are ripe.

If it grows, it sticks; if it crawls, it bites.

A tractor is NOT an all-terrain vehicle. They do get stuck.

Onced and Twiced are words.

It is not a shopping cart, it is a buggy.

Fire ants consider your flesh as a picnic.

People actually grow and eat okra.

"Fixinto" is one word.

There ain't no such thing as "lunch." There's "dinner" and then there's "supper."!

Sweet tea is appropriate for all meals, and you start drinking it when you're two.

"Backards and forwards" means, "I know everything about you."

"Jeet?" is actually a phrase meaning "Did you eat?"

You don't have to wear a watch because it doesn't matter what time it is. You work until you're done or it's too dark to see.

You know you're from Louisiana if:

1. You measure distance in minutes.

2. You've ever had to switch from heat to air conditioning in the same day.

3. You see a car running in a store parking lot with no one in it no matter what time of the year.

4. You use "fix" as a verb. Example: I am fixing to go to the store.

5. All the festivals across the state are named after a fruit, vegetable, grain, insect or animal.

6. You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked.

7. You carry jumper cables in your car... for your OWN car.

8. You only own four spices: salt, pepper, Tabasco and ketchup.

9. The local papers cover national and international news on one page and six pages for local gossip and sports.

10. You think that the first day of deer season is a national holiday.

11. You find 100 degrees Fahrenheit "a little warm."

12. You know all four seasons: almost summer, summer, still summer, and Christmas.

13. Going to Wal-mart is a favorite past time known as "Goin' wal-martin" or "Off to 'Wally World'."

14. You describe the first cool snap (below 70 degrees) as good gumbo weather or in Washington Parish, good Fair weather....

15. A carbonated soft drink isn't a soda, cola, or's a Coke, regardless of brand or flavor. Example: "What kinna coke you want?"

16. Fried Catfish is the other white meat.

17. You understand these and forward them to your friends from Louisiana (and those who just wish they were).;-)


Yearly Physical Examination

Marie, the pretty young Cajun lady is at old Doc. Pritchard's office for her yearly physical examination. After da exam day bes talking together fur a few minutes and da Doc say to Marie “I hear dat you are going out wid dat young Thibodeaux fella. I had best give you a prescription fur birth control pills”. Marie blushes a pretty shade of red and tells da Doc “Me and Tjohn, we only engage in anal sex. He done tole me dat I can't get pregnant if we only practice dat anal sex”. At dat da old doctor takes off his glasses and fixes Marie a stare wid his watery blue eyes and spoke to her like dis, “Dat young Thibodeaux fella, he ain't as smart as he tink, no. Of course you kin get pregnant practicing dat anal sex. Where do you tink dat all dem lawyers come from, haay?” ;-)


MD Assembly Line

Those of us who have spent any time in a doctor's office should appreciate this!

Doesn't it seem that more and more that physicians are running their practices like an assembly line?

Here's what happened to Bubba: Bubba walked into a doctor's office and the receptionist asked him what he had. Bubba said, "Shingles." So she wrote down his name, address, medical insurance number and told him to have a seat.

Fifteen minutes later a nurse's aide came out and asked Bubba what he had. Bubba said, "Shingles." So she wrote down his height, weight, a complete medical history and told Bubba to wait in the examining room.

A half hour later a nurse came in and asked Bubba what he had. Bubba said, "Shingles." So the nurse gave Bubba a blood test, a blood pressure test, an electrocardiogram, and told Bubba to take off all his clothes and wait for the doctor.

An hour later the doctor came in and asked Bubba what he had. Bubba said, "Shingles." The doctor asked, "Where?" Bubba said, "Outside on the truck. Where do you want them??" ;-)


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