Monday, May 23, 2011

On A Quest For the Best Chicken Salad

It has often been said...Any fool can mix a salad, but a wise chef knows it's not just the mixing that matters, it's the combination of ingredients that gives one's salad that magical tasty blend!

While thumbing through an old cookbook from The Vineyar(the restaurant of long ago which was located in the Arkansas Arts Center), I found this delicious chicken salad recipe. The combination of baked chicken, sour cream, and TARRAGON take this recipe over the top and makes this the best chicken salad I've ever had!!!

How to make Chicken Salad...Vineyard style:
4 boneless chicken breasts
Cavender's Greek Seasoning
1 pint sour cream
1 pint mayonnaise
3 ribs celery, chopped
4 scallions, sliced
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
Slivered almonds for garnish

1. Rinse and pat dry the chicken breasts. Sprinkle liberally with the Cavender's Seasoning and place on a baking sheet generously prepared with a non stick spray.
2. Bake in a 325 degree F oven for about 20-30 minutes or until done.
3. Allow to cool and then dice.
4. In a large bowl, mix chicken, sour cream, mayonnaise, celery, scallions, and tarragon.
5. Garnish with tarragon or slivered almonds. Refrigerate and serve cold with a gelatin salad, homemade cheese wafers, and a blueberry muffin...Vineyard style!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Brisket Roadies

Going on a short road trip and want to pack a delicious lunch? How about a baggie full of Brisket Roadies...easy to make, easy to tote, and way too easy to eat a bunch of them as you head toward that final destination

We are off to the Ranger's game...hope you have a safe and happy road trip wherever you are headed!

How to make Brisket Roadies:
Servings 16/Prep Time 10 minutes/Cook Time 4 hrs
1 large beef brisket
2 T each garlic powder, seasoned salt
1 T black pepper
2 packages onion soup mix
1 cup red wine
2 packages Hawaiian Bread Rolls
Tomato slices

1. Lay brisket on large pieces of folded together, heavy duty, aluminum foil (will later be completely sealed). Place in a 9x13 inch roasting pan.
2. Apply garlic powder, seasoned salt, and pepper to both sides (ending with the fat side up).
3. Sprinkle the onion soup mix on top.
4. Pour the red wine around the bottom of brisket.
5. Seal the foil completely and bake at 275 degrees F for about 3-4 hours.
6. Remove from oven and place meat on a cutting board to sit for about 10 minutes before slicing. Place meat, tomato slice, and mayo/mustard on the roll. Wrap individually in saran wrap and place the roadies in a large zip lock baggie. Keep in cooler along with bottled water, fruit, and cheese wedges! Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

On A Quest For the 2nd Annual Levy Rats Reunion Picnic

So you ask..."What ever is a Levy Rat?" Well, it is usually someone with a really strong affection to the wonderful little Levy community in the thriving city of North Little Rock...

And, a common characteristic of a Levy Rat seems to be genuine Southern hospitality. So hang with the old Levy Rats or become a new one! See you at the picnic on May 21st at Burn's Park John Irvin Pavilion #1 in North Little Rock from 10am till 3pm. Check Facebook for lots more details and do check out the Levy Rat Reunion 2010 slideshow below...

Find more photos like this on Arkansite

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

On A Quest For The Perfect Chili Relleno

Stuffed chilies or Chili Rellenos are on every menu of every Mexican restaurant I wander into, however something usually is just not right with their authentic version. I won't complain about their stuffings of cheeses and meats but have you noticed that most places make a relleno with a rubbery like coating of fluffy egg batter topped with a runny red or green enchilada entiendo!!!

My special version has a crispy exterior coating that explodes with a crunch in your mouth along with a savory, spicy, and thick Ranchero sauce on top! Can you spot the extra ingredient that makes my batter one of a kind? Easy and delicious...why not resort to making your own!

How to make a Perfect Chili Relleno:
Serves 4/ 10 Minute Prep Time/15 Minute Cook Time
4 Poblano peppers
4 ounces (cut into 1 oz sticks or chunks) Monterrey Jack cheese (have extra to shred for garnish)
1 cup flour
3/4 cup corn meal
1 ts baking powder
1/2 ts salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
Canola oil for frying
1 (12 oz) jar of your favorite chunky salsa
1/2 ts each of cumin, garlic powder, oregano

1. Lay peppers in a large skillet (preferably an iron skillet), turn stove top on medium high, and let peppers char on all sides until crusty, bubbly, and black. Remove from heat and cool.
2. After peppers are cool, carefully peel off charred skin. After peeling, carefully cut a 2-3 inch slit into the top of each pepper right below the stem. With your fingers, carefully remove the seeds.
3. Cut the Monterey Jack cheese into sticks or chunks and ease these pieces equally into peppers making sure you are able to close the pepper. Set aside. Prepare oil and batter.
4. Pour about 1 1/2 inches of oil into a skillet and heat to 350 degrees F.
5. Prepare the batter by combining the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. In another bowl, blend the milk and eggs. Then whisk into the dry mixture.
6 Carefully lay the cheese stuffed peppers into the batter and spoon mixture on all sides.
7. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Drain on paper towel. Prepare topping.
8. In a skillet heat the salsa along with the cumin, garlic powder, and oregano until hot and bubbly. Pour over the peppers and top with some shredded Monterey Jack cheese.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Living Legend No. 844 aka The Little Rock Express

Thanks to I now have a detailed account of the Whistle-Stops on Living Legend No. 844, the last steam locomotive built for Union Pacific Railroad which was delivered in 1944 and better known these days as the Little Rock Express.

Arkansans managed to beat out the Tuscola Turn folks by a close margin and win the "Great Excursion Adventure-You Route The Steam" contest. So, No. 844 started out in Cheyenne, WY on May 27th and will mosey on down the tracks toward cities such as Kansas City, St. Louis, Popular Bluff, Walnut Ridge, and Bald Knob before it stops to be on display June 9th behind Union Pacific at 1000 W. 4th Street, North Little Rock, AR from 10:00am to 6:00pm.

Hope my Daddy will be able to travel down to the Shops that he did every week day of his life for well over 40 years...working on those trains. One Living Legend checking out another...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

On A Quest For Helping Our Neighbors

The sun is shining over Arkansas for the first time in well over a week and my new BFFs, the local weather people, predict sunny and dry for at least the next couple of days. Quite a different forecast from what we have been tuning into lately.

Yea, our Southern communities have been right up there sandwiched in the news with the Royal Wedding and the killing of Bin Laden. In fact we have been ravaged to the hilt with deadly spring tornadoes in Vilonia to raging flash floods in numerous counties. However, at difficult times like these, it is comforting to know that we are not alone and major relief efforts have been organized with lots of food, money, and items being transported to those in need. Thanks neighbors!

Hard times like these are always gonna be with us...that's a gimme. Just keeping our cool and doing what we can to help is what it's all about...helping our neighbors in the Natural State... is your one stop myspace resource

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