Hey hey foodies! I know that it has been awhile again, but you should know the deal by now if you are just coming in: I have health issues and such, sometimes I’ll be gone for months. I have some exciting news in any case in that my husband just went through the gastric sleeve surgery, and I am making efforts to stick to healthier grub for the most part. As you know, my blog is not about dieting, although I will put a special diet recipe up every now and then so as not to leave people out. I will still post, but only when the mood strikes me.
Today I have for you some Scotch eggs, super easy meal to make and so very yummy. I am doing the baked version, the traditional is deep fried.
So what are Scotch eggs?
They are boiled eggs wrapped in sausage and dredged in breadcrumbs, then deep fried (or in this case, baked). They were made somewhere in England, not Scotland, around the mid 19th century and was an easy way to carry your lunch around when working. They are now a widely popular street food and pub grub in Great Britain, and in pubs about the world.
My first encounter with these puppies was when one of my best friends showed me how her dad makes his, and it is a delicious end result you get because of the ketchup and the saltine crackers he uses in the meat. I have since learned the more traditional route of making them and I shift between two different recipes.
They are actually easier than they look and have only a few ingredients. I am going to give you my version of them in a baked state. These are hardly considered diet food but if you can get away without deep frying them, I think it'll be just fine.
That flour doesn't act as a glue, and there may or may not be cracks in the exterior when one is done baking their delicious Scotch Eggs, but that flour turns the juices into a little bit of a gravy instead, which adds to the creaminess of the egg yolk. I am just going to assume that the yolk turns out a bit runnier in the deep fried version, but I never tried making that. I absolutely recommend that you give this dish a dry, even someone else's recipe, because you are missing out if you don't!
What is really cool about just one egg is that you get meal of convenience and it's also pretty dang filling.
A little bit about Shawna
Shawna and I go way back. We met in high school and chummed it ever since. We were such good friends that we drew pictures together, we drank lots of coffee at the awesome Fourth Coast Cafe, and we love each other as sisters. She and I have been through thick and thin, along with our other friends, Lacey, Inga, Kittie, Dawn, and a few other people.
She is our resident Snow White... You know, opens the shutters and sings to the birds and into wells?
Anyways, I guess I owe Miss Pegasus for some of the recipes I have learned over the years, including the eggs. I hope my rendition brings you as much joy as hers did.
Every time I mention the name "Slumgulean," people give me that puzzled look wondering what in the world I am talking about, and there is a story behind it and how it has been a part of my family for a long time. The answer to the question is that Slumgulean is a struggle meal; a poor man's breakfast/dinner that my grandma used to throw together in order to feed four boys and use up some ingredients that she had readily available.
Back in the day, my grandfather worked for Ekrich, delivering their product as a truck driver, and my grandparents would end up with a butt ton of sausage and balogna to eat throughout those years. One of the ways my grandma would fix smoked sausage would be to throw it into her Slumgulean and it would be stretched out with other ingredients that were inexpensive but nice and filling.
She would slice the sausage up and fry it along with the taters, add some other ingredients and round it off with some eggs, and boom! My father always spoke fondly of it and how he could never quite get it to taste just like hers... Hell, I can't ever get anything to taste just like my mom's, but that is because it differs from individual to individual, even if you think you added the exact measurement of each ingredient within the recipe.
I have had so many variations of this dish and have two or three favorite combinations of what is essentially a "garbage hash." It is not as unique as some might think, really, but it is special enough to me that I decided to write this blog post to honor my dad's original post on the old site, and to honor my grandma because she cooked with love. In fact, my dad had written his blog post right before the final crash of Foodie-zoo, and it would not sit well with me if I didn't say something about it.
It is true that my dad had a limited bank of recipes that he cooked and tasted awesome... He made the BEST home made bread, his biscuits were like fluffy little clouds, his beef stew and his chili were to die for, and his breakfasts were awesome. It was one way that him and I bonded, as I had bonded with mom over the stove too. When it came to the hash, he always brought grandma up and how hers was the best.
I don't remember the first time that he made it for me... I had always assumed he put his nasty, canned corned beef hash into it... You know, the stuff that looks like canned dog food and smells like it too? Yeah, so you can probably imagine that I wasn't even interested in trying it for the longest time. In fact, I refused to even look at it when I was a kid because of how my mind associated it with the stuff in the can.
I believe I was a teenager when I actually began to pay attention to some of the things that he cooked. The first things were his breakfasts, of course, and how he taught me that you do not need milk to make the perfect, soft scrambled egg that was still fluffy and tasty. I watched him throw various things into a pan, and I actually gave myself a chance to smell it and enjoy the aroma. When I tried it, I was in for a pleasant surprise... It was good... I mean, REALLY good.
Him and I would talk from over the counter since the kitchen at my mom's house is not that big, and he would tell me stories about grandma or grandpa, adventures in truck driving and such. There was a hilarious story about how grandpa would truck drive and smoke in his sleep, shifting gears with one hand and puffing on an invisible cigarette with the other. My dad would take a clothes pin and stick it between the forefinger and middle finger, and sure enough, Grandpa would "puff" on the clothes pin... We're talking about the round ones, not the ones with springs. I am sure if dad had done that one, there would have been hell to pay.
As it was, my grandpa would wake up with the clothes pin between his fingers and he would get mad and cuss.
My dad also told stories about my grandma and how she would knock people upside the head with a fireplace poker for cussing in her house. I guess that she was a spitfire while she was alive and she had all the respect in the world for it and for the fact that she was also the sweetest person alive when she wasn't provoked into being irate. I don't remember anything about her, I don't remember ever seeing her or cuddling her, but my dad explained to me that she loved my older sister and me to the moon and back, we were the apples of her eye because she had wanted granddaughters so badly after raising four boys. I wish I had gotten to be around her longer than three years because she had a wealth of things I could have learned from her, like quilting and knitting. I am happy to say that I at least have the legacy of her hash browns, even as insignificant as it may seem to others. It means the world to me to be able to connect with my grandma.
So if you are up in heaven listening to my thoughts as I type this blog post out, grandma, know that I am so glad to have a recipe to share with the world because you made one up.
Ingredients per two people:
2 TBSP Canola or Vegetable oil
1 TBSP Butter
6 oz of whatever meat you want (optional, I usually choose bacon if I have it, or breakfast sausage. I have seen dad use ham and smoked sausage before.)
1 potato of any size, shredded, sliced, or diced
1/8 cup of sliced or diced onion
1/8 cup bell pepper (Optional)
1 slice of whole wheat or white bread, torn into small pieces
Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic, rosemary, and paprika all to taste
1 egg. beaten
1 handful (About 1/2 cup) of cheese of choice (Optional)
I hope that this recipe makes you as happy as it has for three generations of my family. Maybe you will find yourself telling stories while cooking it in the future. It is a small bit of comfort in these days where we are uncertain as to whether we can safely feed our families and be able to put some nutrition in, even if it isn't what a fitness guru would call "healthy eats." The point is to line your belly when you are hungry, and this stuff is super filling and very delicious.
Have a good day, my friends and...
This post has a very special place in my heart. When I was a little girl, our family situation wasn’t the best; food was always provided even if it wasn’t ideal, and my dad wasn’t an easy man to live with. The good thing about memories is that, though there are plenty of bad ones to be had, there are always good ones… special ones.
It’s been established that dad didn’t do very well with some of his cooking, and I say that in the most endearing sense. Not all of his food was bad. He was really great at making an American breakfast (Pancakes, bacon and/or sausage, and eggs), he could also make a mean campfire chili or beef stew, and he made what our family calls Slumgolean Hash (which I can do a recipe for at another time.) But this blog post is not about any of those things.
This is about a beautiful memory that takes me back to one of the happier times we shared with dad. He made monkey bread from scratch and put a lot of love into it. It was like eating a cloud that was laced with just the right amount of sugar and cinnamon, the right amount of sticky glaze that was too yummy to use a napkin on. My dad made the best monkey bread I have ever had the pleasure of tasting.
I remember how proud he was of the bread and how he laughed with his joy at how his children were delighted in this pastry. It was something we gathered around just one time that I can remember, but it did define part of my childhood with a good and beautiful memory.
I have had other monkey bread throughout the years; GOOD monkey bread, at that, but nothing that has ever taken me back to that memory. It took hearing the sound of my niece, Al’s daughter, to call out, “Monkey bread” to spark that memory full on, though Al is the one who made it.
As soon as the idea popped into my head, I opened up my cook books and began to look for the perfect base recipe to work off of. I needed an idea on what ingredients were involved and how much to put in. It happened to be in my Better Homes and Gardens cook book (if you do not have that one, you should get one as it is a legacy). It wasn’t even a monkey bread recipe, but rather, a cinnamon roll recipe.
My brain went into excitement mode for the things I could take out and replace, or add to it to make it better. I want to be taken back to that first bite, to hearing my father laugh the way he used to, because it was to him who I owe my cooking passion.
Fair warning, this is a time consuming recipe but totally worth the effort. This is also not diet food, though you can use sweeteners to lower the amount of sugar you use. Just follow the conversions as needed, usually the sweetener bags will have them. They are also widely available on the web.
Variation #1 with an adult twist
Variation #2, Blood Orange Cranberry
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon or so Blood Orange zest
1 teaspoon fresh (grated with micro plane) or ground ginger
¼ cup softened, unsalted butter
½ cup blood orange juice soaked dried cranberries
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
A dash of ground ginger
1-2 Tablespoons Blood Orange Juice
(You can use any orange if you are not fond of blood oranges)
Serving this bread warm is the best way to eat it, and you don’t need a knife and fork to do so. You can pick at the nuggets like a monkey would pick.
I chose to make the adultified version, and just so you know? The rum icing is A-Okay! I don’t think I added enough salt to the dough itself, but that is my error, not the recipe. It was still fluffy but dense like raisin bread, as opposed to your traditional cinnamon bun.
I adore monkey bread and the memories it brings. Share this bread with your children (or at least the rumless variety) and watch their faces light up with joy. Maybe you could even have your little ones help you out with making the bread so you can create memories of your own. If you don’t have kids, you can still make it and have fun in the process. The point is, you should do it because you want to and to experience the joy that it can bring.
For me, I will forever cherish the stolen moments that are branded into my memory that can come flying back into my head at the sound of its name, or the flavor of the dish. I hope that I do justice to one of my dad’s very favorite things to make! And with that I say...
Sometimes the joy of food blogging is more than just about getting to try new things... It is also about getting to interact with my readers, offering to take requests for recipes because sometimes it's good to learn about foods you didn't necessarily know about before. For instance, I had no idea that I would get to make this kind of thing and never even heard about Frittelle before this experience. My friend didn't directly request this particular recipe, but a recipe from Italy, or more specifically, from Venice, as she is big into Venetian and Italian culture. I went looking for the perfect recipe that I could hopefully afford, and I saw Frittelle.
This was a new experience for me in general... Not just the fact that I get to make Italian donuts, but the fact that I had never fried a donut in my life. I worked in a department store bakery where the donuts were frozen and had to go into the ovens at night to get packaged for mornings so people could grab their breakfast and go... Furthermore, rum soaked raisins? I had never gotten to make those before either and I will tell you how to do that too. My grandmother actually gave me an entire, unopened fifth of rum to play with, but otherwise, the booze is the only expensive part and it's optional to put the raisins in anyways. I suggest you do it just for the experience, however, as the flavors somehow work.
I had so much fun playing when it came to this food. The rum soaked raisins are so easy that there is no need for a recipe... You just take a container (I used a plastic jar), put as many raisins as you are going to use and pour in enough rum to cover the top of them. That's it. Once you are done with the raisins, don't get rid of that rum -- You can put more raisins in or use it in another recipe (like rum balls). Let the raisins soak for at least 24 hours, though the longer you let them pickle, the better they will be.
The making of the donut pastry itself was easy peasy and didn't take much ingredients at all. The best thing about it was the smell of the lemon zest, which definitely added a certain amount of freshness to the experience. I initially thought that the rum raisins would be weird in there after tasting one, but it actually worked really well with that citrus. All in all, I was glad to have been able to have this experience and I think I will definitely be making these again!
This tastes so fresh and has a light crisp as opposed to that heavy feel you might get with some donuts. I suggest a light dusting with the powdered sugar as opposed to completely coating it so that you can show off the pastry (that and it doesn't really need a heavy hand with the sugar). As I said, I had SO much fun with these and I showed restraint by only making three at a time (and I gave some of the dough away). They were so yummy that it was hard not to want to eat a bunch!
If you have a request recipe, please do let me know! I had a blast! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
Happy Eating, foodie friends!
Back when I was a little snot, my mom used to make cheesy potatoes, which, of course, was a hit. That is... unless she called them "au gratin," which would cause my sisters and I to recoil with horror and yell out, "ALL ROTTEN POTATOES! EEEEEWWW!!" Seriously, we thought our mom was talking about rotten potatoes, so she started calling them Cheesy Potatoes, which other people call them too. Later in life, she told me the story of how we used to react and I still find it amusing to this day. In fact, yesterday when I took my taters to potluck, I had to laugh because my brother in law teased me and called them "Potato's All Rotten," and I explained that was what I used to call them. Apparently, it has been a nickname through many generations where kids would call them "All Rotten" and such, at least in our family!
Now, I don't make these very often because peeling almost a whole, 3 lb bag of potatoes for this can be tedious... Add to that, there is a lot of love you need to put in the dish. The dish is totally worth all the work, so every now and then I will get a bug up my butt to do it. This time, it just happened to be that I had an invitation to a potluck, pretty much last minute due to certain circumstances, and I didn't have money or time to plan something out. I had planned to make these potatoes for my birthday because I have been craving them, but I can do something else to go with that particular dinner.
We've all been there, last minute invitations or unexpected company coming over and you need to whip up something awesome but don't have cash or time to think. Potatoes are a pantry staple, and cheese... Well, I always have cheese, but I don't know about the rest of you. I told my husband that whatever cheese we had left (block and shredded) would be for this, and then the potluck came up.
I spent an hour on prepping and another hour at home just to bake, a half hour to set, lastly, another bit of time to heat back up (although, they would have tasted okay cold, just sayin'.) So I spent 3 hours making them, and they were nearly gone in fifteen minutes. I guess when taters are good, they are good!
Before I get to the recipe, let me warn you that although my recipe is reduced fat, it is still not diet food and you should proceed with full disclosure. Normally, they are made with heavy cream and butter, and my recipe does not use either, yet they are still pretty fantastic and rich enough without them that I am sure you wouldn't miss those things.
It's such a comfort food to eat, and it is one of those things that you know everyone will eat unless they can't do dairy. This dish is great to serve with pretty much any protein, and could even become a main dish when you add a protein. I would suggest bacon or ham, though roast beef would work lovely as would roast chicken. Broccoli would be awesome as a veggie to go in there (or cauliflower)... I am sure that peas would be pretty good too. It is up to you, really! With the richness of the cheese, you definitely won't miss the heavy cream and the butter if you are looking to cut at least a little bit of fat out. The great thing about potatoes is that they are better for diabetics to eat than bread and rice, though you still want to eat in moderation because of all that cheese.
I had a lot of fun serving this to my family last night and was delighted at how quickly it was eaten. I hope you enjoy this recipe too!
Happy Eating, my Foodies,
I had a really wonderful friend in a woman I met through one of my ex-boyfriends... She was a kindred spirit to me and even when him and I were moving away from each other in our relationship, she continued to stick by me as a supportive friend. I grew to love her like she was my big sister, and she did so much to enrich my life. Sara not only gave me comfort during hard times, but she did it while suffering through her own demons.
Sara took her own life in November... It's now August in the next year, and I am just now able to type a post like this, and even now, I feel my eyes fill with tears in remembrance of my dear friend. I want to honor her with this blog post because she always encouraged me to play with food. It was one of the things we connected over, cooking and working with recipes.
She absolutely loved medieval things. She was a member of SCA and attended an annual event called Pennsic, which is a giant, Ren Faire, in essence. She wanted me to help her with food for a party she was throwing for her SCA friends, which included my boyfriend(at the time), and a handful of people I hadn't met yet. She wanted help with stew and asked me to come up with a medieval food to make that people could nibble upon... I chose Scottish Oat Cakes, and she was right there with me as I embarked on making this cool, historical food I had never tried before.
I made a sweet version that resembled drop biscuits, so I am not sure whether they were accurate or not, but they did turn out delicious and seemed to go over okay (as far as I remember). I decided that I would try this again, only I would try to be closer to the traditional recipe.
It is said that Scottish Oat cakes have been around since at least 43 AD, and they are a flatbread made with oat, oat flour, fat, water, salt, and leavener. They are like dense crackers or biscuits and are quite filling and can be served sweet or savory. ( Click Here for Oat Cake Wiki ) ( New York Times Article: FARE OF THE COUNTRY ) For more information on the history of the oat cake, I suggest the NYT article, but the Wiki is the closest I could find to an encyclopedia entry *cringe* and I do not claim any accuracy to said Wiki.
I ended up having to adapt my recipe from two other recipes, I will do my best to give you original ingredients along with my substitutions.
If you are going to bake them....
Preheat your oven to 375F/190C...
In your large mixing bowl...
Add all of your dry ingredients and mix them.
Drizzle in your rendered fat (I used butter, but the best substitute is bacon grease)...
Mix well until it forms a thick paste...
Add a little bit of water at a time until mixture becomes a ball...
Turn out onto your work surface and toss dry oats onto board and onto dough...
Knead dough, adding oats as needed until your dough is no longer sticky.
Split dough in half, roll each half (at a time) to about 1/4 inch thick.
Cut into rounds (or you can cut into squares if you like)...
Bake for 45 minutes or until brown, or pan fry in a small amount of fat for 3 minutes each side on medium to medium high heat.
One of my favorite pictures of Sara... This was from before I met her, and I borrowed it from her timeline. I do not claim credit.
I made these today instead of waiting around to do it because I found myself thinking of Briney (Sara) and the time I spent in her company. They tasted pretty close to what I had made, but without sugar, and it kind of brought me back to the day we bonded over oatcakes and venison stew. I miss her so very much and I hope that she is at peace now... I know that she didn't have it easy in life, but she was and will always be in my heart as an inspiration.
Thank you for being my friend, Sara.
Warning: This recipe is buttery! This is not diet food. Proceed with full disclosure!
I promised you biscuits to go with your gravy, right? Keep in mind that sausage gravy 'n' biscuits isn't exactly for those who are watching their waistlines... But you are missing out when you ignore a fluffy biscuit, and the gravy that goes with it. This recipe is something I use for dumplings as well. I like my dumplings to be fluffy, like a cloud.
There is an art to making both cut biscuits and drop biscuits... The butter (or shortening if you must use that), the amount of flour you use, the seasoning, and the amount of time you work your dough/batter. But the great thing about the drop biscuits is that you will know just by looking at it if it is too wet or too dry, if you did just the right amount of mixing, etc. It's more of a "fritter" style, though not fried, than the flaky style.
I don't have this awesome, nostalgic story to tell you about what made me like drop biscuits... I just like them. I like how soft and fluffy they are, and how they are the perfect vessel to hold sauces and gravies as there are so much more nooks and crannies to speak of. That is not to say that I dislike the flaky style biscuit, those have advantages too! But I am saving that recipe for another time.
This one will have a few alternatives to flour, milk, and butter, for those of you on gluten free, dairy free, or vegan diets!
First, the recipe.
Preheat your oven to...
350 F or 175 C
In your mixing bowl...
You can sift your dry ingredients in if you desire, but you can just put them in.
Add the melted butter...
Cut it in with a fork or pastry cutter. It should look like wet sand when you are through with that.
Add half of your milk all at once...
Mix and keep adding until you have a thick batter that hold's it's shape when you have it on a fork or spoon. Do not worry about lumps, lumps are good. You do not want to over-mix or your biscuits will be chewy!
Spoon into 1/4 cup- 1/2 cup lumps onto your sheet pan (Greased if needed)...
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until you see nice brown bits on the tops!
Substitutes and Add ons!
The reason I don't have a set amount of milk or flour is that sometimes it varies on how much of each you need. This recipe is super forgiving unless you overmix the dough! Just be careful not to mix too much if you have to add flour or milk.
This recipe is super easy and versatile, which is what I absolutely love about it. They taste really awesome in a stew, as a dessert, or used for sausage gravy. I hope you enjoy as I do. Let me know what you think! Hit that "Like" button, share it, love it, eat it. Thank you, foodie friends!
P.S. See that "Yum" button? If you have a Yummly account, please do tap that button!
Gravy... My old foe.
I hated gravy when I was a kid... It didn't matter that it was sausage gravy, or brown gravy; it didn't matter if the gravy was in a stew or on a piece of bread... I found gravy to be the most foul of all beasts. I remember my dad's face at what happened when he made me eat some on my mashed potatoes one time. My mom did warn him not to force feed me anything. Let's just say that I was quite picky when I was a kid, and I had several nono foods that nobody should have made me eat.... In the order of least to most loathed: Gravy, Beans (Baked Beans most of all), Bologna, Hot Dogs, and Offal. These are things that I refused to eat as a kid, and the top three are still on my no-no list to this day.
I learned how to make gravy properly in school... You know, with roux and milk or stock? The minute I tried it, I found out just how much I was missing out on. Gravy wasn't this gross, lumpy stuff, and it wasn't a glue like substance that I loathed... It was a nice, shiny sauce with tons of flavor that had a nice mouth feel.
I used to think I would never be able to master the art of the sausage gravy, but I was also trying to fru fru it up like one of those french cuisines, when really, it didn't need to be so complicated. My husband even convinced me one time to eat the gravy that you make from a pouch, and I was not amused. It was the pouched version that got me to understand why I despised gravy as a kid... Let's just say that it was slimy and off tasting, and had way too much sodium.
Gravy making, specifically sausage gravy, is easy... You don't need all those frills to make it delicious and you don't need to make it from a pouch. KISS. Keep it simple, silly.
Lastly, this is not diet food. Proceed with full disclosure.
Over medium high heat....
Brown your sausage
If you don't have enough drippings (you need at least 2 TBSP)....
Add the appropriate amount of butter... Yes... Butter. Told ya this wasn't diet food!
Add the 2 TBSP of flour...
And cook out the raw flavor....
Pour in the milk...
Bring that to a boil and then let simmer until thickened to desired thickness.
Don't forget the pepper!! Seriously, pepper that beast!
Serve over your choice of starch! I prefer biscuits, especially fresh drop biscuits. And yes, those are easy too! I will add the recipe for that in a separate post.
Tip: If your gravy gets too thick, add a little bit of water to thin it out or more milk. If you add milk, add it right before you serve.
I hope you enjoy how quick and easy it is to make sausage gravy. Please let me know how it turns out! Enjoy, my foodie friends.
The Eccentric Foodie
Cooking bacon in the oven is the easiest way.
These are various recipes that either I created, or I found and adjusted to what I thought would be awesome or even healthier.