Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Annual favorite in our house: Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Cranberry-Orange Sauce: try this for a sure hit on Thanksgiving

In the mid-90's, my friend, Gail Carr, prepared Cranberry-Orange Sauce at an outdoor Thanksgiving dinner at the Carr farm in Micanopy. Frankly, it stopped me in my tracks and I have prepared it for every Thanksgiving since then to consistent applause. If you do not try this dish, you will "need to have your head examined." This recipe is abundantly easy.



1 large orange or 2 tangerines
1 bag of cranberries, 12 oz.
1 package of frozen raspberries in syrup [NOTE: I have been having trouble getting the raspberries in syrup. They were once common, but in Gainesville, now impossible to locate. I suggest you consider using 1 cup of sugar rather than the 1/2 cup below.]
1/2 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons, fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons, orange flavored liquer such as Triple Sec

1. From the citrus fruit, zest 1 teaspoon of peel and squeeze 1/2 cup of juice

2. In saucepan, heat all ingredients (except the liqueur) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered until most of the cranberries pop and the mixture thickens slightly. Stir as needed.

3. Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the liqueur.

4. Stir into serving bowl and refrigerate for three hours before serving.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

I'm Back In the Saddle Again

I'm Back In the Saddle Again

Hey ya'll.

I have been somewhat inactive in writing my blog but my excuse is good. I have been deeply engrossed in the Presidential race and other local political races in North Florida. I co-chaired a team on the Obama campaign that covered a large chunk of Gainesville and we were very successful in getting out the vote in our "turf." As in '08 campaign, I learned a lot more about computers, campaigning, databases, and political organizing that I hope to put to good use in my next endeavors. I am exhausted but pleased with the result and all that I learned from the process. We are blessed with a great country and I consider it a privilege to work towards reaching "a more perfect union."

As I move forward, I plan to continue this blog about North Florida food as well as increasing my role in environmental advocacy efforts in the region. My time as a project manager at Lake Apopka was an experience of a life time and I have missed working in that field.

I am presently enrolled in the Florida Master Naturalist program and am attending the wetlands module being held here in Gainesville. Later, I will be attending two other modules on uplands and coastal systems that will be held in St. Johns County and central Florida, respectively. Also, I am now serving on the board of the Friends of Paynes Prairie and look forward to working hard at that. If you believe in the concept of "calling," I feel called to work on supporting the mission of the Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park.

My interest in Southern foodways and how to prepare those food from local sources continues to be a priority for me. North Florida is abundant in options from bountiful local farms, to bison, to seafood...the list goes on. I look forward to learning more and writing more about it.

So look for more from me on culinary and environmental affairs in North Florida.

For now, I am out into the yard to plant some onions, cabbage, and pac choy. The sky is blue, the weather mild, and life is good.


Friday, September 14, 2012


OK, folks. Have been out of state for awhile and posting only to the Facebook version of this page. I apologize and promise to be posting more info on Cross Florida food.

Graham Farms in Brooker is a farm that I patronize at the Alachua County Farmers Market and at the Union St. Farmers Market. They just sent me a list of plant seedlings they will have available tomorrow at the Alachua County Farmers Market by the Highway Patrol station:

OK, for tomorrow we should have  (in 6 packs)

Brussel sprouts

Romaine Lettuce
Swiss Chard
Romanesco (lime green cauliflower)
Collard Greens
Spinach (Tatsoi)

in a few weeks the next group should be rooted and we'll have more lettuces and broccoli, cabbage....just been sooooo hot for these fall babies..:)

see ya tomorrow!

Friday, June 01, 2012

Found a great Carrot Dog recipe

A buddy of mine, a vegetarian, mentioned to me decades ago (IV) that he had tried a carrot dog. It stuck in my brain and I finally prepared a recipe I found on the internet. This a great way to have a dog that is good for you and tastes GREAT. Try it out.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Jones Knocked It Out of the Park Once Again


How do they do it? Last night's meal at The Jones was  perfection. From my notes:

"The Jones was its always glorious dining experience. I always order the sea food specials and my mind was blown once again. The Mahi Mahi with green tomato relish, collards, and polenta cakes was awesome. The Salad with Tahini-Ginger Dressing over beautifully chopped ingredients was celestial."

Meals like that are why God invented the bounties of North Florida. Fresh, local ingredients given the space, place, love, preparation to shine. All at our table were impressed and pleased. I wanted to bow towards the chef and food servers on the way out. It was that good. 

Thanks to all at the The Jones!

New Product I Like: handmade Rosemary, Pistachio, Savory Biscuits by My Foodie Food

My friend, Wendi Wilkie, is a foodie of the highest order, savoring and exploring the culinary universe by both instinct and design. Lately, she has been developing food products such as a variety of flat breads and, more recently, produced a product that I find to be extremely promising: Rosemary, Pistachio, Savory Biscuits.

Wendi left us a sample and we both gave it high marks. She says that these biscuits are excellent with honey and/or brie. I tried them without any accompaniment and found the flavors to be multi-tiered. Kind of like a CT scan in food form. No flavor was obscured, yet all worked together to please.

She labels the four biscuits as "handmade in small batches, with love." It shows. I think she has nailed this one. If I were to make any suggestion, I would add a fine zest of tangerine for color and another "zing" experience.

Presently, her product is available in the Sarasota area at selected stores. Contact Wendi at 239-634-1049 to find out where she has placed her products. I understand she has several in this sort of line and I look to trying more. Also, Gainesville stores may be in her line of sight.

Lots of good food being produced by local entrepreneurs. Patronize them and report what you find.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Ruby's Restaurant Menu: fine food from one of my favorite restaurants


My old friend, John Dawson, had the initials JED. Last night, waiting for the advance of tropical storm Beryl,  I was in the mood to have this comfort dish. I recalled it was one of first dishes I learned how to prepare in the 70's. I remember John dictating the recipe to me while we were crossing Paynes Prairie on the commute back to Gainesville from Ocala where both of us worked as paralegals. 

The version I cooked last night is both named for John (JED) and a song by Happy and Artie Traum, "My Uncle Jed" that was popular around our college campus dorm.

Thanks John for providing me with the beginnings of this. Back then, to have something palatable for the table was an act of survival. Last night, it was comfort food par excellence. We remembered and toasted my old friend!



Whole wheat flat noodles, 12 ounce bag
Cream of shrimp/seafood can of soup
Cream of mushroom can of soup, low sodium/fat if possible
Rotel Original, drained
Artichoke hearts, drained
Large olives, one can drained. Slice or chop.
Season with black pepper and a pinch of Cajun Seasoning
Olive oil
Sharp cheddar cheese

Prepare pasta according to package directions in robustly salted water.
Mix remaining five ingredients in large bowl. Add pasta and combine.
Place in large casserole dish sprayed with Pam.
Drizzle with olive oil. Cover with grated cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees until brown.  Remove and let it rest for 2-4 minutes. Serve.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I was long concerned that I had lost this recipe. Fortunately, it rose to the top when clearing out a box of papers.



2 - 8 oz containers of yogurt (whatever flavor you like)

1 9- oz container of Cool Whip

Mix. Pour into a pie shell. I use a graham cracker crust pie shell. Freeze for four hours. Thaw for 30 minutes and serve.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012



Take a large bag of pork rinds and empty contents into a food processor. Grind them
up until the rinds turn into crumbs, shy of powdery crumbs.

Add 3/4 - 1 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Add about a
tablespoon of no-salt Cajun seasoning (I mix my own), healthy dose of pepper. Do not add
salt. The rinds and cheese have plenty.

You might want to try a tablespoon of garlic power, but I doubt it is needed.

Dip the chicken in some sort of liquid that will serve as a binder. My
recipe calls for melted butter but there are alternatives. I use Smart
Balance instead and it comes out great. You can also use egg
substitute or egg white substitute as well. You might also marinade
the chicken in buttermilk awhile too. Regardless, pull chicken pieces
from the liquid letting excess drip back into the pan.

Put the dry ingredients into a container and place a piece of two of
the chicken in. Turn to coat, press the dry stuff into the
skin. Shake gently.

Place on a shallow cooking sheet  sprayed with Pam or oil.

Bake at 325 degrees until internal temperature is at least 170.

Remove from oven and allow to rest for five minutes or so before eating.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Tried "Relish", the burger joint near campus. Yikes!

Our students must be rolling in money.

I visited Relish yesterday to try one of their burgers. They are located across from The Swamp near campus and below The Copper Monkey. Yikes,  $8.25 for a cheeseburger, fries, and a regular diet soda!.

Yes, it tasted good but everything else was marginal or worse. The service was flaky and I spent considerable time just getting a cup for my drink. Their pump ketchup was bone dry and I had to rely on a paltry handout of tiny plastic envelopes of ketchup to douse my fries.The fries looked like they were good at one point...maybe twenty minutes before. What I was served had been sitting for awhile under a "heat lamp" and showed no signs of needed warmth.

The cashier was flaky and all the staff seemed more enamored with her low cut top than serving food to paying customers. The manager appeared briefly and seemed more concerned with the machinations of recording sales and less about ensuring a quality dining experience. No one attempted to greet any customers, explain the menu, ask how the food was, etc.

Back to our students here in Gainesville. Take this tip from a resident. Go to Mac's Drive-Thru if you want the best burger in America that is served hot and fresh. Plus, you will spend less and it will taste infinitely better.

Oh, and don't go to Five Guys either. If I bought the same meal there it would have been $8.75 and neither place holds a candle to Mac's... particularly if you are not rolling in money.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Baked Pork Chops with Onions, Apples, Rum, and Archibald's Sauce

I put this together last night and it came out nearly perfectly. I buy Archibald's sauce at Archibald's Barbecue in Northport, Alabama across the Black Warrior River from Tuscaloosa. They do not market their sauce except over the counter. I have a copy cat recipe that I am not ready to divulge so I recommend a vinegar/tomato sauce of your choosing. Let me know how it turns out.

Baked Pork Chops with Onions, Apples, Rum, and Archibald's Barbecue Sauce


2 small onions, peeled and sliced
2 apples, sliced
4 loin chops, bone-in
3 T., dice fresh rosemary
3 T., oil
1-2 shots of dark rum
1 1/2 cups of Archibald's barbecue sauce

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Rub oil on each chop and liberally salt and pepper each one on both sides. You may add Cajun seasoning depending upon your tastes.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium to medium high flame for 4-5 minutes. Add oil and swirl skillet to distribute the oil. Add the chops. If you do not hear a sizzle each time you add a chop, raise the temperature for the burner. You may have to do more than one batch depending on the size of the skillet.

After several minutes, lift the edge of one chop. If a nice golden brown crust has formed, you are ready to turn the chops over and go for the same crust.

When a golden crust has been obtained on both sides, place aside on a plate.

Add your sliced onions to the skillet being sure to scrape up the brown bits left over in the pan to blend with the onions. Cook until they just begin to soften. Add apples and diced rosemary and toss with onions, again scraping as you go. Cook for a few minutes until all is well cooked and fragrant. Remove from heat and add a jigger or two of dark rum and a pad of butter. Stir. Add about 1 ½ cups of Archibald's barbecue sauce or a tomato-y/mustard/vinegar sauce to substitute. Avoid sauce that is sticky, gooey and too sweet. Stir once

Spray a shallow rectangular casserole dish with cooking spray. Place chops in the casserole and cover with items from skillet. Place in oven and bake about 20-30 minutes until it is bubbly, fragrant and ready. Remove.

Note: You may just want to spoon the apples and onions over the chops and then place the skillet, covered, in the oven. Works just as well and less to wash later. 

Serve immediately with just about anything. I like rice or grits.

Friday, January 06, 2012

MY TOP 11 IN 2011

Cafe C
The Jones
East End Eatery
Mi Apa
La Tienda
Mac's Drive Thru
La Fortuna
Pearl's Country Store

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