"Food is our common ground, a universal experience." - James Beard

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Well-cooked birds always make for great entrees in traditional holiday feasts.  We were recently invited to a dinner at a friend's house where grilled quail was served.  It was delicious!  He told us that he got the recipe from the Field and Stream website.  When Kent and I talked about it later, he remembered several other friends talking about a great quail recipe they had found on the Garden and Gun website.  I wanted to share both of these recipes with you before Christmas!  My Dad always sends us home with quail that he shoots when he goes hunting.  I can't wait to try one of these recipes in the next few weeks!

"The Perfect Grilled Quail" - from Field and Stream
(They got this recipe from Chris and Idie Hastings of Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham)
6 6-ounce semi-boneless whole quail*
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small garlic clove, smashed and peeled
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped
kosher salt
black pepper

Clip and discard the last two segments of both wing tips on the quail. Rinse the quail under cold running water and pat dry. Place the quail in a large glass bowl with the olive oil, garlic, thyme, sage, and parsley. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hour or up to overnight.

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (350-400 degrees) Remove quail from the refrigerator and marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Remove the quail from the marinade and season both sides with salt and pepper. Place quail on the grill and cook for 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cook through (like most small birds, you do NOT want to overcook). Remove the quail from the grill and set aside to keep warm until ready to serve.

* Field and Stream note:  We cooked our birds bone-in, which Hastings says makes the meat even more flavorful. Add a minute or two to cook time. As you may have surmised, the dinner was excellent. In fact, I’ll take quail over any game bird.

Braised Quail with Leeks, Dates, and Cider - from Garden and Gun

by Chef Hugh Acheson
4 quail, gutted and cleaned
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 squash-ball-size yellow onions, peeled and halved
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 medium leeks, whites and pale greens only, cleaned and diced to ½ inch (about 2 cups)
½ cup pitted and chopped Medjool dates (about 6 dates)
Bouquet garni of thyme, parsley, and bay leaf (4 sprigs each fresh thyme and flat-leaf parsley, and 1 fresh bay leaf, tied together with kitchen twine)
1 cup hard apple cider
1 cup chicken stock

Rinse quail under cool running water, dry on paper towels, and season liberally with salt and pepper. Stuff half an onion into the body cavity of each bird, and truss it by tying together the drumsticks with kitchen twine. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil to just below smoking. Gently add all the quail, and crisp on each breast side, about 2 minutes per side, and then brown the back as well. Remove the quail from the pot and set aside.

Using the same pot, lower heat to medium, add the leeks, and cook until the leeks begin to soften (stirring frequently), about 5 minutes. Add the chopped dates, the bouquet garni, and the cider. Cook the cider down for about 3 minutes, and add the chicken stock and the quail. Let the liquid come almost to a boil, cover, and turn the heat down so the cooking liquid is barely simmering, cooking until quail are done, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove quail and reduce cooking liquid until slightly thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Spoon liquid over the quail before serving.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Magic City Post

I was excited to find out yesterday that my blog was linked to on the Magic City Post in one of their articles about Christmas food blogs in the Birmingham area.  To see their post, click here.
Photo from UAB.edu

Friday, December 17, 2010

Big Soft Ginger Cookies - from Sally and Dory

Sally used to make these cookies in college, and my friend, Dory, in Birmingham makes some that are very similar.  Kent loves when I make these cookies because the whole house smells good!  Cooking these is definitely a good way to get your house smelling like Christmas!

Big Soft Ginger Cookies
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup margarine, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons white sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses.  Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture.  Shape dough into walnut-sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Place the cookies two inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Spicy Crackers - from Sarah L.

Sarah brought these crackers to a party recently, and they were so good!  They made the perfect appetizer.  They would be great for the holidays or any time of year - and they are super quick.  You probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already.  Some of the guys mentioned these would be great with raw or baked oysters, also.  These crackers looked great on the table.  We definitely devoured them!

Spicy Crackers
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1 ranch dressing seasoning packet
2 tbs garlic powder
1 tbs crushed red pepper seasoning
1 box saltines

Mix the first 4 ingredients.  Then pour the mixture over a whole box of saltine crackers in a big zip lock bag and mix it around to coat the crackers. They are better the next day.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Oreo Balls - from Julie B.

I saw this recipe on Julie's blog and had to share it!  Kent and I are definitely planning to try these soon.  Julie says, "Be warned you cannot eat just one!"

Picture from Julie's blog - don't these look AMAZING?!
 Oreo Balls
1 package of Oreos
1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese (softened)
1 package of white chocolate chips
1 small package of milk chocolate chips

Crush the Oreos until they are finely powdered. I put mine in the chopper or food processor.

Mix the cookie crumbs with the softened cream cheese. Form into the desired size balls. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to allow for hardening.

Melt the white chocolate in the microwave just until it gets melted.

Dip the Oreo balls into the white chocolate to cover. Place on a sheet of waxed paper on a cookie sheet.

Melt small amount of milk chocolate chips and drizzle on top. I use a ziploc bag and cut a tiny hole in the corner to drizzle.

Refrigerate. Once they harden you can package them into containers, but it is best to keep them refrigerated.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chocolate Bark Recipe - from Katie N's blog

Last year, I posted a peppermint bark recipe that I love - and it's SUPER easy!  My friend, Katie, posted a fun chocolate bark recipe on her blog this week with great step-by-step pictures and directions.  Check out her recipe at Katie Bird Calling.  It looks delicious and so professional!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Praline Pecans - from Dory

I have always LOVED praline pecans.  Dory gave us this recipe last year at Covenant's Christmas Countdown.  She says to use a candy thermometer to make sure the candy reaches the right temperature or it won't turn out right.

Praline Pecans
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon rum extract
3 cups pecan halves

In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugars, water, honey, and cinnamon.  Bring to a boil over medium heat; do not stir.  Cook over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 240 degrees (soft-ball stage).  Remove from heat; add extracts.  Cool to lukewarm without stirring.

Beat with a mixer for 2-3 minutes or until creamy.  Stir in pecans until coated.  Turn onto waxed paper (mixture will be sticky); separate large clumps.  Cool for several hours or until dry and sugary.  Store in an airtight container. 

Yield: 3 cups
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