Recipes & Such….

Here are a few Recipes & Such that I offer up to any and all that might find them of interest. I’ve divided them up by Season in which I grew/prepared them.

What interests me is the Farm to Fork aspect of gardening which can be year-round. Whether you are picking Fresh Peas and Green Onion in the Spring, Green Beans, Yellow Squash or Tomatoes in the Summertime, or Beets and Lettuce in the Fall, or Kale and Turnips in Winter, the garden is always working for you depending upon what you’ve chosen to plant.

Food is Seasonal, and the best-tasting food is what’s freshest and in-season.

This is as good a place as any to reference the influence Kentuckian Barbara Kingsolver’s book, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” had on me.

To paraphrase BK, a tomato eaten in the Wintertime is covered in fuel oil based on how far it was trucked in to your local supermarket. It won’t taste as good in the Winter as it does fresh from your garden in the Summer. And besides, there’s are many other foods to enjoy seasonally.

Eat seasonally and Eat locally. Just a thought!

A Personal Favorite of Mine.

A Personal Favorite of Mine.


Heirloom Tomato Tarte Tatin

Heirloom Tomato Tarte Tatin

Heirloom Tomato Tarte Tatin

Tomatoes step in for Apples in the a new spin on the classic French Tarte Tatin. Best of all, ya make it in a cast-iron skillet!

6 large heirloom tomatoes
4T unsalted butter
1/2c sugar
1/2t vanilla extract
1/2t kosher salt
1 pie crust (homemade, of course! c’mon, you can do it!)

Preheat oven to 425F.

Skin the tomatoes in boiling water then shock in ice water. Peel, remove the cores, halve lengthwise, and remove the seeds.

Melt butter in cast-iron skillet, then toss in the sugar. This step is EXACTLY like prepping a Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

Add tomatoes, cut side down, filling the skillet but not overlapping.

Cook on medium heat until sugar and butter are reduced to thick and bubbly, about 25 minutes (took about 50 minutes, actually!). Remove from heat. Add vanilla and sprinkle with salt.

Gently place pie crust on top of the tomato mixture. Tuck edges of crust into the lip of the skillet so the crust reaches the bottom. Cut a few slits in the dough to allow air to escape.

Bake until crust is a deep, golden-brown, about 24 minutes.

Cool tart in the skillet. (Pretty great still warm, tho!)

You’re ready to flip it over on a plate, just like a PUD Cake!


Skillet Squash with Bacon & Sour Cream

Skillet Squash with Bacon & Sour Cream

Perfect for an easy Summer Supper, Skillet Squash with Bacon & Sour Cream is delicious a great way to get rid of some of that bushel of Yellow Crookneck Squash you just picked from your garden.

Topped with some fresh herbs like Parsley or Basil, this side dish is the star of the meal and goes with every entrée, from Fried Chicken to Meat Loaf or Flank Steak.

*Yellow Squash
*Chopped Onion
*Fried Bacon
*Sour Cream
*Chopped Herbs

Saute the squash and onion (and the bacon if you wish) in a skillet with either some Olive Oil or Bacon Fat until tender. Add a cup of Sour Cream near the end and stir to combine. Top with fried bacon crumbles and some chopped herbs. S&P to taste.


Freshly picked and broken Snap Peas.

Freshly picked and broken Snap Peas.

Alright, here’s an Oldie but a Goodie just like my Dad.

There is great debate right now about how long one should cook Fresh Peas in the La Rue Family with two sadly misinformed siblings versus Yours Truly, and since they don’t have a Blog, I naturally win.

Toss Fresh Peas in rapidly boiling, salted water for TWO MINUTES, then drain and shock them immediately in cold ice water to preserve the bright green color. That’s it!

For this dish, I just boil the potatoes first (depending on the size, maybe 5 or 10 minutes) and then toss in the peas for the last two minutes of cooking. Drain all, shock, etc. Then add to a cream sauce (melted butter, flour, milk). Let warm through. Top with some fresh Parsley, maybe add a little Paprika. There ya go.

All the Oldies will love this Goodie.

Spinach & Kale Smoothie

Spinach & Kale Smoothie

This smoothie is fantastic and a great way to get your daily dose of green veggies. Also, it’s a great way to use up all that Spinach & Kale I planted!

In a blender, puree freshly picked (and washed) Spinach and Kale with either some Orange Juice or LimeAde. Add a ripe banana (or some ripe cantelope), some freshly picked (and washed) Mint, some freshly grated Ginger, and puree with some crushed ice.

Serve over ice in a Mason Jar (pickle-size) and just sip on it for a while. Very filling and surprisingly tasty!

Homegrown Spinach on May 10th

Homegrown Spinach on May 10th

Spring Spinach is plentiful right now as of May 10th. I love to make and to eat a Classic Spinach Salad. Here are the ingredients:

*Spinach (freshly picked from the garden using scissors to cut the stems; wash in cold water to remove any dirt or bugs; I usually pick 6-8 leaves per person for a generous plate of salad)

*Sliced Button Mushrooms (wipe any dirt off mushrooms with a wet paper towel; don’t run under water)

*Freshly fried/baked bacon slices (make sure the bacon is crispy; you don’t need a lot as you are going to crumble some on each salad if you plate them individually)

*Hard-boiled Egg (eggs boiled in water for 5″; then cool in pan for another 10-15″)

*Red Onion (sliced and chilled in ice water to remove any hotness and to crisp them up)

*Cornbread Croutons (great way to use up leftover Cornbread! Just cube, place on baking sheet and toss in EVOO, S&P, and bake at 300 degrees until crispy but not burned; cool before serving).

*Warm Bacon Dressing
I love this salad dressing for Spinach. To me, Warm Bacon Dressing is very Southern and is a great way to use reserved Bacon Drippings (which I keep in the fridge in a plastic container).

In a small sauce pan, melt some reserved Bacon Drippings (several Tablespoons), add Red Wine Vinegar (about half the amount of your bacon fat), Salt & Pepper, and several Tablespoons of Dijon Mustard (to taste really). Finally, a pinch of Sugar. Whisk together and heat on low to warm the dressing. Taste for seasoning and adjust. The vinegar should give it a little sharpness which I like.

Good Tip for Serving: Chill your salad plates before serving…cool plates topped with room-temp spinach then topped with warm dressing makes for a great salad. Also, in my experience, salad always tastes better when it’s made by someone else!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Rosemary Potatoes.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Rosemary Potatoes.


My favorite way to eat Brussel Sprouts is to throw a bunch of ’em in a cast-iron skillet (after paring the bottom parts and washing and draining, natch!), add some washed and dried New Potatoes (the small ones, or Fingerling), then toss with EVOO, S&P, and some fresh minced Rosemary.

Now, roast in the oven for 20 minutes at 450F…until nicely brown and a bit crispy….Here, you toss ’em in a Lemon Vinaigrette (EVOO, Lemon Juice, pressed Garlic, S&P) and serve As Is or atop a Salad of Red Leaf Lettuce (with some sliced Green Apple, maybe some Roasted Beets, Goat Cheese, Walnuts)….Tasty!

Perfect for Passover/Holy Week.



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*Leafy Greens, freshly cut from the garden
*2T Bacon Fat
*1 small Yellow Onion, diced
*1t Red Pepper Flake (to taste)
*S&P (to taste)
*2T Sugar
*1c Chicken Broth (you might need more)
*Country Ham (one strip, diced)
*Zest of one Lemon
*Red Wine Vinegar

I usually just grab the biggest bowl I can find along with the scissors and head to the garden to snip the tops of the Kale and the Turnips until the bowl is overflowing with leafy greens.

An Important Step:
This step is very important to clean your greens: Fill up your kitchen sink (as opposed to the bathtub!) with cold water and immerse the greens. Add a helping of Kosher Salt and let the greens just soak for a few minutes. The salt water will leech some bitterness from the greens as well as get rid of any unwanted bugs or dirt. Drain and strain to get remove as much water as possible. Discard any unappetizing-looking leaves or stems and toss in your handy compost bin. We re-use empty Folgers Coffee containers for this very purpose!

In a skillet, add some Bacon Fat (or Olive Oil or Butter, whichever you prefer) along with one diced Yellow Onion. Sprinkle in some Red Pepper Flake (as little or as much as you like). Add S&P to taste and let onion sautée over medium low heat until tender. Add Greens, tearing into strips and removing any stems that look problematic (i.e., they’d be tough to eat).

Add 1-2T sugar and 1c Chicken Stock and cover so that Greens steam and reduce. If you have more Greens to add, just add them once there’s room in the covered skillet to do so.

Keep an eye on the amount of liquid in the skillet so that the greens don’t burn. Just add more broth if it’s drying out too quickly and reduce the heat as you want to simmer the greens for a good while (30-45 mins., at least). The longer they simmer, the better they will taste. Cook low and slow for maximum flavor.

If you have some Country Ham lying around, dice up a strip or two and add at the end of the cooking process. Also, zest a Lemon and add the zest to the greens right before you serve them as this will brighten up the dish considerably. I usually have some Red Wine Vinegar handy as the greens need a sprinkle for extra flavor.

Enjoy and let me know what you think.

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This is a great Winter alternative to Mashed Potatoes (and a lot more heart-healthy!)….

*Turnips (one extra-large or two medium-size), peeled and cubed (save peelings for your compost!)
*2c whole milk
*Fresh Thyme (several sprigs)
*2 cloves smashed garlic
*Butter, half-sticked, diced

Cook turnips in milk with garlic and thyme on medium heat for 20-30 minutes until tender. Puree turnips in food processor (but remove the garlic and thyme stems but adding any leaves and discard into compost) with half-cup of the milk liquid. Add butter and S&P to taste and puree until silky smooth. Here, you can either serve as is or place puree into a buttered dish and bake at 350F for 30 minutes with a little more butter on top for browning.

Great to place sautéed Greens (Spinach, Kale, Turnip) atop the puree as you plate them along with something like Roasted Pork Loin or Chicken Breast. Cornbread rounds out the meal!

Give Turnips a try as you will like them! Amazing to see the garden still yielding in December & January.

Let me know how you like it!


The first green beans are picked (and the picker's feet get muddied)...

The first green beans are picked (and the picker’s feet get muddied)…

How To Cook Fresh Green Beans To Death…the Southern Way!
1. Pick Beans
2. Ice Lower Back
3. Break Beans
4. Wash Beans in sink filled with cold water. Wash Beans three times.
5. Do Not Skip any of Step 4.
6. Place cleaned beans in pot, then fill with water up to, but not covering top-most beans.
7. Add kosher salt.
7a. Add a coupla tablespoons of bacon fat (aka, “seasonin'”)
8. Cube jowl bacon, and add to beans, salt, and water.
9. Cover and cook on medium heat for 2 hours.
10. Do not stir.

Questions? Call Paula at 270.385.2237!

Beans are also great cooked with freshly dug (and then cleaned) red new potatoes (the small ones).

*Spring Peas & New Potatoes with Parsley
*Corn Puddin’
*Roasted Beets & Carrots with Garlic & Rosemary
*Wilted Bibb Lettuce
*Steve’s Strawberry Jam

Homemade Strawberry Jam in May/June

Homemade Strawberry Jam in May/June

2 Responses to Recipes & Such….

  1. Dodie says:

    Love the thought of each of these recipes, Steve! Reminds me of your wonderful wedding gift to me years ago: the LaRue County cookbook with your editorial notes added so I could find the best cooks and those whose recipes were best avoided!

    • Thanks for checking them out, Dodie! Glad you still have your La Rue County Kitchens cookbook. I really enjoy Farm To Table/Fork cooking/eating. Look forward to cooking together someday soon. — S.

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