I just had Smelt for the first time the other day. They where quite good. I had seen them befor but had no idea what to do with them. They where not some thing that i had growing up. So when Miguel and I where walking through the store looking for ideas of what to make for dinner we stopped at the seafood counter. I was thinking of making fish and chips, but my plans where soon changed. A big pan of smelt set right in the middle of the ice. Seeing this, Miguel started telling me how much he liked them and that his mom used to always make them. He then suggested that we have them for dinner. While curious about them I had no idea of what to do with them. So Miguel, without missing a beat called his mom and set up a smelt cooking lesson. We where set for a treat.
Roberta’s Fried Cornmeal Crusted Smelt
First she took the smelt and cleaned them. She removed the head, the fins and cut it open and removed the guts. She ran the blade of a knife down each side of the fish to remove scales. Many of the fish contained eggs which she saved to ad the pan. The smelt where then rinsed under running water and dipped into coarse ground corn meal.
A cast iron skillet was heated over medium heat and a knob of butter was added. The smelt where then fried till golden brown and crispy on both sides. Salt and pepper was added for seasoning. The roe was also cooked right in the skillet with the fish til it was set and browned on the outside. The little fish where delicious. They where eaten bones and all.
This cake brings back memories of my childhood. Often on the weekends we would travel from the farm up to Louisville to visit my grandparents. Grandma was a very good baker. We knew that a trip to grandma’s meant that there would be a nice pie or cake waiting for us. Grandma was known for here apple pie and apple dumplings. Both made from the Apples of the tree in here back yard. She was also quite fond of making this very simple yet delicious cake. There where many times that we would show up at her house to the smell of this beautiful, tall, golden, crusty, cake covered with nothing more then a ample dusting of powdered sugar. p.s. This cake is wicked good with fresh sweetened strawberries and a scoop of ice cream on top.
Six Egg Cake
2 c. White sugar
1 c. Shortening
1 tsp. Vanilla
- Cream together well.
6 ea. Eggs
- Beat eggs into creamed mixture thoroughly, one at a time til all are added.
2 c. Sifted, Flour
1/4 tsp. salt
- Combine and beat into creamed mixture.
- Pour into a tube pan or a bunt pan. Run a knife around the center of the batter to get out excess air bubbles.
- Bake at 350 for about 50 to 60 min. Til golden and crusty.
Many years back when I still lived in Kentucky. I use to make these herb biscuits on a regular basis. They where a favorite of family and friends. They where especially favored buy my boss and his wife. They ran a small mom and pop style family bakery. They would turn out some of the best southern style deserts on earth. They would always ask me to bring more of those “Herb Biscuits” into work. Always saying, that I should go in to business selling them. The irony in this was that I was a baker working in there bakery. Well it has been a long time since I worked there but i often remember them as part of my family. Because that is how they treated me and everyone else that worked there. So Mike and Gina, AKA( mama number two)… this recipe is for you.
My “Kinda Famous” Herb Biscuits
2 c. self-rise flour (my favorite is White Lilly if you can get it)
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary, ground fine
3 ea. green onions, chopped fine.
small bunch of fresh parsley,chopped fine
- Combine above ingredients well.
1/4 c. shortening (lard is the best but vegi shortening works well)
- Cut shortening in to dry ingredients.
about 2/3 -3/4 c. butter milk
tt. Tabasco sauce (I used just enough to add flavor and jest a hint of spice)
- Add the Tabasco sauce to the buttermilk and combine with the flour mixture til it jest barely holds together in a moist shabby dough ball. Remove from bowl, place on a floured counter top and slightly work dough til it holds together.
- Press or role out to about a 1/2 in. thick and cut out into 1 1/2 in. rounds.
- Place in baking pan with edges almost touching and brush the tops with milk or melted butter.
- Bake at 500 degrees for about 8 to 10 min.
I love food…..I love to cook it. I love to eat it. I love to talk about it. What more can i say? Well read on and find out.
Food has often been the center of many a family gathering and celebration in my family. As well as in everyday life. Cooking was an important part of our every day life. Of coarse I was often right in the middle of all the action as well. I would be happy no where else.
As a child Growing up in Rural Kentucky, I was always reading my moms and grandmothers cookbooks and recipes. I had a thirst for all that was food. Always wondering how to make this or why this was made like that. Cook books became my comic books. They where a way to travel the world without leaving the farm. Through my reading and experiences I became more interested in the relationship between food and culture. I hungered to learn more and often would spend hours at a time at the library. To this day the food ways of my home in the south are some of my favorite subjects to discuss. The memory of those foods are still strong. A tangy Pimento cheese sandwich on a hot summers day working in the tobacco field is still a vivid memory. The wonderful pies and homemade breads that my grandmother used to bake. My moms fried chicken and Rosemary cream gravy and my dads experiments in the kitchen. (But that would be another blog all together….lol)
These days I am a Chef living in Portland, Oregon. My culinary roots are in the fine foods of the south but my tastes very as wide as Savory Chinese and Thai foods to properly made biscuits, corn bread and Barbecue. From crusty rustic breads and artisan pizzas that I now enjoy out here. To that special recipe for spaghetti and meatballs that I learned to make from my grandma as a child.
I hope that through this blog I will be able to further explore and share my passion for the many foods and foodways that this world has to offer. I hope that others will find what I put here of some interest and of use. I welcome your comments on what I put here. This blog will change with time as this is my first attempt at blogging and it is a work in progress. Welcome to my kitchen adventure.