What a blessing to have been raised in Memphis by a country cook who knew what she was doing. Good cooking was just a way of life in our household and among our extended family. My mother prepared the best fried chicken in Tipton County (We grew up in Memphis, but our reunions were in Tipton County.) according to my aunts, uncles, cousins, and great aunts & uncles; I have no reason to doubt their words of praise. I saw at every family reunion whose chicken was the first to go.

And my mother wasn’t the only good cook in our house. My daddy was a master at the grill and could throw together a variety of tasty snacks inside as well. He specialized in oyster chowder & Bleu Cheese Dressing; and sitting down with Daddy as we built snacks of smoked oysters, cheeses, crackers, olives, and anything else he could scrape together was a banquet in itself.

There’s more than just cooking going on here. The Stories dropdown in the header above leads to personal stories about things like baseball games, county dress codes, a bit of history and geography and more.

The blog entries below come from recipes we enjoy around our household; from recipes I’ve yet to try; from recipes given me by friends and family, and things I’ve read about on line or in real print. Yes, I do still subscribe to magazines that come in the mail. Also there are posts about cooking equipment, techniques, sources for more information, etc. I hope you find something of interest. By all means, feel free to write (rbyrd@rbyrd.net).

Collard Greens with Rutabaga

I went to the Foodarama today with the  thought of cooking up some chicken-vegetable soup for Sherry's lunches next week. I love to browse around the market; see what looks good; mull over my choices; then change my mind three or four times. So I started out thinking...

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Easter Dinner!

Sam had to work so we didn't make big plans for dinner; but then he called and said he'd "like to drop by for a while," and of course he suggested dinner would be nice. Fortunately the stores were still open (Foodarama had announced they would close at 6pm.) So I...

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Seared Ahi Tuna

Our neighbor, Chef Joel St. John, treats us now and then to his wonderful cooking. Almost as good, is he sometimes treats us to some of his ingredients and lets us do the cooking. (Not that he didn't volunteer to cook for us; he did.) This time, it was some beautiful...

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Shrimp Po Boy

There are a million recipes for po-boys out there. I borrowed heavily from Emiril for this one.  Don't be afraid to try different recipes and modify to suit your tastes.   Ingredients 1 lb. fresh shrimp; peeled and deveined 1 tsp. cayenne 1/2 tsp. salt 1 tsp. black...

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Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Mushrooms

I make up stuffed mushrooms from time to time and really don't have a set recipe for them. But usually it is something like this. This time, I did these in the Nuwave Oven. No, I'm not selling Nuwave Ovens, but I do find mine to be useful. After 10 minutes in the...

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Sausage Meat Balls

I made some Italian sausage meat balls the other day and I felt like I needed to add a binder. I had no bread crumbs on hand, but I did have some oat meal. To my surprise a few raisins had somehow gotten into the box of oatmeal and then found their way into the balls...

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Stewed Onions, with Kale and Turnips

I threw this one together in a 12" skillet that has a nice tight fitting lid. It's a joy cooking with that skillet. And it's a joy cooking fresh veggies for Sherry. She loves me to do this. Ingredients 5-6 small onions; peeled and cut in half (quartered if desired;...

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Wailted Kale and Spinach with Ham

It's so much fun cooking for Sherry; and it's easy too. She loves fresh vegetables - especially fresh leafy greens. This is a winner, and the whole thing takes only a few minutes once the greens are cleaned. Ingredients 1 bunch fresh spinach; stems removed; rinsed...

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Wilted Spinach with Broccoli and Asparagus

The neat thing about this meal is I cooked it with three different appliances; and if you REALLY want to jazz things up, fire up the broiler and toast some ham and cheese on French bread to make it four. If you don't have a Nuwave, just experiment with what you do...

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Chinese "Stir Fry" Casserole

I started out with a casserole in mind; but I didn't want to put in any sort of starch binder like rice or pasta. But I DID want some cheese. And PLENTY of mushrooms. What resulted turned out tasting like a Chinese stir-fry with cheese. It was delicious. And it was...

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Fish with Clam and Mushroom Sauce

I picked up a nice Red Snapper filet today and figured I'd make some sort of sauce to smother it in. I tried this, and the sauce was as good or better than the snapper. Ingredients 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced 4 cloves of garlic, minced 2 shallots, chopped 1...

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Green Pea Soup

Sherry loves green pea soup; and it's easy to make. Try it; you'll like it!  This is GOOD stuff! Ingredients   1 pound dried split peas 1-2 pounds smoked pork neck bones 3 T butter 1 onion, chopped 2 sticks celery, chopped 2 carrots, chopped 5 cloves garlic, minced 1...

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Cajun Seasoning

I don't know where I got this recipe; it might have been from a chef friend back in Memphis, Buddy Bland. But I just don't remember.         Ingredients 3 tsp salt6 tsp Paprika4 T onion powder3 tsp garlic powder3 tsp filé powder3 tsp thyme1.5 tsp...

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Rachel’s French Dressing

We have this recipe hand written by Rachel taped to the inside of one of our cabinet doors. I don't  know when Rachel wrote this. Ingredients   1 cup salad oil 3/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup white vinegar 1/3 cup ketchup 1 clove of garlic, minced 1 T Worchestshire 1/2 onion,...

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Smothered Cornish Hens

Smothered Cornish Hens

Ingredients 10 cloves garlic, finely minced 2 Cornish hens olive oil salt and pepper Directions Stuff garlic under skins of hens. Truss the hens and place in baking pan breast side up. Pre-heat oven to 375. Allow hens to come to room temperature. bell pepper, chopped...

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Mushroom and Shallot Bake

I threw this together because I had mushrooms; I had shallots; and I was hungry. Ingredients   1/2 pound white mushrooms (or your favorite) sliced 2-3-4 Shallots, chopped 1 or 2 T raspberry or other jam or preserves 1 T hot sauce salt pepper butter for the pan...

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Fried Green Tomatoes

Our grocery had green tomatoes on special, so I picked up a few. I always loved fried green tomatoes when I was growing up; but until now I've not had any luck getting them right. I think the secret is slicing them very thin. Ingredients 2 green tomatoes; sliced 1/8"...

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Chorizo, Green Chile, and Mushrooms – On a Shingle

When I was growing up my Aunt Marie introduced me to something she loving called "SOS." I think it was an old Navy acronymn for something served on a "shingle." Tonight, I had a couple of heals left over from a loaf of wheat bread, so I decided, "Why not?" Of course,...

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Smoked Sausage and Green Chile Frittata

Sherry wanted a quick snack. This wasn't so quick, but it was worth the time it took to put it together. Ingredients 6-8 eggs (I used 8 since they were on the small side.) 2 shallots, minced 1/2 pound smoked sausage, finely chopped (I used Holmes Smoked Garlic.) 2...

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Shrimp and Guacamole Panini

I've been having fun with this Nuwave Oven we recently put in to service. I've found it's quick and easy to cook up some shrimp for a snack or sandwich.Ingredients8 small to medium shrimp; peeled and deveined1 small to medium avocado1/2 Roma tomato (or a small part of...

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Rosemary’s Smoked Cheese Pizza

Rosemary’s Smoked Cheese Pizza

Ingredients 1 pound mushrooms; cleaned and sliced 1 teaspoon dried dill weed 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 cup grated smoked cheese 1 cup grated mild cheese (Mozzarella, etc.) 1/2 cup scallions, chopped. oil for the cooking pan salt and pepper Pizza Dough  ...

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Pan Seared Steak

We used to grill steaks just about every Friday back when we lived around the corner from Southern Meat Market in Memphis. They'd cut us rib-eyes to order, and we'd grill them on a hibachi out on our front porch. Ahhhh....those were fun times. I got this recipe from...

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Ensenada Slaw with Fish Tacos

I heard this story on NPR today, and thought it was worth saving the recipe. Use any flaky white fish. The rub is inspired by a recipe that appeared in Gourmet Magazine from June 2007. Slaw 1/2 head cabbage, cored and shredded (about 4-6 cups) 2 cups peeled and...

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Smoky Black Bean and Neck Bone Soup

This one turned out very nicely; but then it took me two days to do it. You can do it in one day if you like. The reason it took me two days is I smoked the onions and peppers (rather than grilling over direct heat). I just got a call from Chef St. John reporting that...

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Shrimp Smokenator

I tried something I've never tried before. I put some medium to large shrimp on the grill with the Smokenator fired up. It was running about 200-225, and I cooked them 10 minutes on the side farthest from the Smokenator. I didn't marinate them or put oil or any...

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Microwaved Potato Skins

I got this recipe off a bag of small potatoes (Mountain King Petites). Ingredients 8 petite potatoes, unpeeled 1/2 cup sour cream 1/4 cup picante sauce 3 Tsp bacon bits 6 chopped green onions 1/4 cup shredded cheese Directions Wash potatoes and prick with fork. ...

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Peppers, Pasta, Onion and Clam

Sherry asked me to get in the kitchen and whip up something, so I came up with this. I wish I could think of names for these dishes. Ingredients 1 red bell pepper 1 yellow bell pepper 1 poblano chile 1 Texas Sweet or Vidalia onion (Red or regular yellow will do.) 1...

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Shrimp Fajitas – Stovetop

Sometimes I just don't feel like firing up the grill. This is a fair approximation of a grilled fajitas dinner. Sherry gave it a thumbs up. Ingredients 1/2 - 3/4 pounds medium shrimp; peeled and deveined. 1 red bell pepper; whole 1 green bell pepper; whole 1 large...

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Cucumber Salsa

Thanks to Sherry for sending this along. I have no idea where she found it. Ingredients 2 cups finely chopped seeded peeled cucumber 1/2 cup finely chopped seeded tomato 1/4 cup chopped red onion 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley 1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and chopped 4-1/2...

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Instructed Eucharist

Instructed Eucharist

Instructed Eucharist - By The Reverend Sam Todd   Several years ago, The Rev. Sam Todd conducted an "instructed Eucharist" at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston. Fr. Sam graciously shared his notes with me and granted me permission to use them in...

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Shrimp with Mushrooms and Collard Greens

I love throwing together a quick meal for Sherry on demand. That is she says, "I'm hungry," and I say, let me see what I can fix." I had these collard greens already prepared and in the fridge, and I had these fresh shrimp and some mushrooms. It seemed like a natural....

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Tommy Moore Sightings

Tommy Moore Sightings

Thanks to my brother, Dwayne, for tipping me off to these two sightings of the Tommy Moore picture. One on the local Fox News affiliate in Memphis, and the other on CNN. The Fox News segment apparently lifts verbiage straight from this blog post. For over forty years...

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Our Honey Bees

Our Honey Bees

 These are the bees nests in our tree in Houston; in our next door neighbor's tree; and in our across the street neighbor's tree. Below is the nest in our next-door neighbor's tree. It's nearly as large as a football, and hangs only 6 or 7 feet above the ground...

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Shrimp BBQ’d in Skillet

First you get some shrmps. Then you heat up some butter nearly to the burning point.     Then you throw in the shrimps. Then you add the good stuff. And I added a bit of Kraft BBQ Sauce too.   Then, you cook until done. And put out the dog, because he's...

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Kale and Asparugus with Shrimp

Yes, we are on a kale kick around here. It's inexpensive; it's healthy; it's easy to prepare; and it's delicious! It's hard to go wrong with this stuff. For this meal, I happened to have on hand some fresh Gulf shrimp. Ingredients 1.5 pounds smoked pork neck bones (Or...

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Kale with Chaurice and Pasta

We have this most delicious Chaurice sausage by a company called "Frenchy's" here in Houston. I happened to have a bunch of Kale on hand, and decided to look around for possibilities. Thanks to the people at Epicurious.com. I'm sure their recipe is a good one too....

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Souvlakia #2

I did a version of Souvlakia  today, and we were quite pleased. Ingredients 2 pounds pork country ribs; cut into 1" dice 1/4 cup olive oil 1/4 cup Soy sauce 1/4 vinegar black pepper salt onion powder garlic powder thyme basil oregano 1 yellow bell pepper; cleaned and...

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Quesadillas with Chicken and Kale

Yes, I know it sounds strange, but trust me on this.  One of the fun things we do around here is play "stump the cook." Sherry will say, "I'm getting a bit hungry; can you fix me up a little something?" Magic words I LOVE to hear.  *S*  Nothing is more fun for me than...

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REVEALING HEAVEN

Our good friend, the Rev. John W. Price, has written about his conversations with over 200 people who've had a "near death experience." His book, REVEALING HEAVEN - The Christian Case for Near Death Experiences, is available online and in bookstores now....

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More about Dumplings

Growing up in the south in the home of one of the finest country cooks in west Tennessee, I acquired an early appreciation for a good dumpling. An old Kraft Foods rep I used to do business with years ago gave me a simple dumpling recipe that works well. I think,...

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Cornmeal Dumplings with Greens

Our neighbor made these for us, and we thought they were fabulous. I finally got around to trying it myself. Easy to do, and very tasty. Ingredients   1 lb. smoked turkey necks or wings 1 bunch collard greens 2 or 3 turnips, peeled and cut into a large dice 1 onion,...

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Slow Cooker Candied Carrots

While watching the Hungry Girl show on the Cooking Channel. I started to type out the instructions when she posted her web address. Duh! Ingredients 1/4 cup apricot preserves (low sugar) 2 T brown sugar 1 1/2 T butter (lite spread) 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon...

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Pork, Cabbage and Hominy Stew

This was going to be a version of green chile and cabbage dish Sherry loves so much. But I didn't bother to look up the recipe, and just winged it. This is what happened. I don't have a slow cooker big enough to hold it all, but I bet it would be a natural for those...

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Wilted Kale

Sherry picked up a bunch of Kale, and I had no idea what to do with it. Let's just say it wasn't something we saw much of in the Byrd household when I was a child. Turnip greens, mustard greens, collards? You bet. But Kale? I don't know. Sounds so "arugula" to me. *S*...

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Shrimp with Sweet Potatoes

Sherry said she wanted a snack, so I threw this together in a hurry. I already had the creamed sweet potatoes in the fridge. So I just quickly pan fried some shrimp in butter; warmed the sweet potatoes in the microwave; then topped the potatoes with the shrimp, a few...

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Carnitas

Found this interesting approach to Carnitas. Tried it on Jan. 24th with country style ribs rather than a roast.  I put most in a 2 liter corningware, and the rest in a small cast iron skillet. I covered both with foil. After 3 hours in a 250 F oven, the ribs in the...

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Pollock and Shrimp Pan Fry

We had some pollock fillets down from the freezer that had thawed a couple of days ago. Along with other good stuff we had on hand, this turned out to be a pretty darned good breakfast. Not traditional by any stretch of the imagination, but the sort of thing I love...

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Seafood Combo

Ingredients 1 lb. frozen Seafood Combo 1 lb good smoked sausage or Andouille cut into bite sized pieces 4 yellow onions (peeled) 15 ounce can of tomatoes in their juice 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 green pepper, cleaned and chopped 1 can chopped clams with juice 3 cups...

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Christmas Dinner

When we first planned for Christmas Dinner, it was going to be Sherry, Sam, me, and possibly Sam's housemate Jeff. I had pretty big plans for a variety of non-traditional menu items. The question of whether to expect Jeff wasn't really an issue; we had plenty either...

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Crock Pot "BBQ"

A work mate of Sherry's gave her this recipe, and I thought it looked promising. Haven't tried this yet, and  I probably will not put beef in mine. Thanks to Hanh Nguyen for this.      Ingredients   1 1/2 lbs beef cubed stew meat (beef roast) 1 1/2 lbs lean cubed pork...

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A Walk in the Park

We are lucky to have a city park and a public elementary school right down the street from our end of the culdesac. The dog loves to take a walk around the park and school grounds, and today, for the first time we toured the on-campus Urban Harvest Garden.   The...

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Southern Style Biscuits

My grandmother used to make about 2 dozen of these every morning. She made enough so there would be leftovers for the dogs. I'd stand on the back porch and throw biscuits to Toby and Bullet; they'd catch them in midair and practically swallow them whole. Ingredients  ...

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Links

These are links to sites having to do with food and cooking. I've set up another page for links to things having nothing to do with cooking.     aluminum foil faq Thanks to Reynolds amazing ribs asparagus recipes - California Asparagus Commission beer can...

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Girls at Work

These are some of our students at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church. They are SO much fun. Note the mural in the background. We have some fabulous artists at Palmer. Here are links to two of them who did the mural. Jackie Campbell and Katee Esser.  (Kelley Bourgeois is...

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Seafood and Guacamole Enchiladas

I make up a seafood salad from mock crab meat. It's great for sandwiches or in a tortilla wrap. I served Sherry a wrap, and she suggested I heat it up next time. So I decided to try this combination. Ingredients 2 cups seafood salad 2 cups guacamole colby-jack cheese,...

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“Among the acts of love we as humans do, feeding one another is one of the most intimate.”  – – R. Byrd