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Six Keepers

Contributed by: Cajun Clark

CONFESSION: Yep, da ol' mon is guilty of trying to use frozen onions for a cookin' purpose they're not intended. On several occasions Caj has taken a couple of packages out of the freezer, put 'em in the frying pan, turned on the burner, and said, Let there be sautéed onions.

Only problem was that frozen onions contain much more liquid than fresh! Which means that if you try to cook the liquid off, like da ol' mon did, you wind up with mushy onions. True, they still taste good, but there's little if any body to 'em.

However, as you knew there would be, there are a couple of ways to solve the problem. One, be satisfied with mushy onions. Two, don't try to cook the liquid off and call 'em done when they're the consistency you desire. Three, use only fresh onions when you want 'em sautéed. The choice is yours.

Enough with the onions, Caj is onioned out. Oops, nearly forgot. Friend Jim, Lake LBJ, Texas, gave da ol' mon a recipe that's a keeper. Peel enough onions to tightly pack a casserole dish. Slit an "X" in the top, salt and pepper to taste, add a pat of butter, cook 'til done. M'm, M'm good. Or as friend Roz would say, Lip smackin' oinkin' good.

TRANSITION: Caj never knows where the next creative idea will come from, where he will be when it arrives, or what time of day the light will start to glow. This time it was when da ol' mon picked up the grocery circular from the post office box and his eye caught the front corner where the ad featured: Short Ribs, 99¢ per pound.

For those of you not knowing Caj's convoluted thinking, all of a sudden he was thinking about a recipe from Uncle Tom. Yep, a sauce for short ribs; something that came about because of the poundage of those suckers ya get when ya butcher a steer on the ranch. But to really appreciate this recipe you need--maybe not need, but will be entertained--to know a little something about this third child of five, born in Oklahoma about 82 years ago, now living in Rio Vista, California (at least he says he does).

Here's the quick recap: US Navy pilot in WW II; ferried and sold planes to Siam before it became Thailand; bar and restaurant owner on the private plane side at the Oakland, California airport; wallboard contractor; heating and air conditioning contractor; and recently, like a few weeks ago, watchman for a major construction company. If the truth be known, his Air Stream trailer, the one he uses on construction sites and plain ol' traveling, has more amenities than da ol' mon's house.

There are many anecdotes that could be told, but that could result in... So here's the first recipe:

Uncle Tom's Short Rib Sauce

  • 1 cup catsup
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • *Liquid smoke
  • *Garlic
  • *Worcestershire
  • *Salt
  • *Pepper
  • *All to taste.

Works great to cook short ribs in a crock pot or slow cooker. However, a cast iron Dutch oven in the oven at slow heat--like 250((F) works quite well. Even on top of the stove at a low heat is very doable. Yep, once again it's your decision.

Uncle Tom's Marinade

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Dash red pepper sauce
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire
  • 3 teaspoons catsup
  • 1/2 cup salad oil
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup wine vinegar

Believe it or not, ol' mon Caj has a few more recipes for this Fortnight. Here's the next one that's over 30 years old and from an Armenian friend in Fresno, California. For some reason, he would not cook or eat lamb unless it was marinated; this is his recipe:

Ron's Lamb Marinade

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1-1 1/2 cup sherry wine (beef use burgundy)

To taste:

  • Allspice
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Seasoned salt
  • Garlic Salt
  • 1 red onion quartered

Marinate 24 hours, turn; cook using method you desire when you're ready.

This next recipe is a keeper, especially if you have adolescents / teenagers. If you want to keep them busy, the next time you go to Wally World aka Wal-Mart take a look in the bakery for round flat bread. So far da ol' mon has sampled Sun dried Tomato with Basil and Zesty Garlic. Both are great. Now here's what you do:

Caj's Individual Pizzas

1 round flat bread

Spread some pizza sauce, pasta sauce on it.

Cover with cheese and whatever else you want.

Put in oven at 450((F) until cheese melts and has the "golden" color you desire. Under the broiler works quite nicely, but you'd better watch it like a hawk.

Let rest on top of stove for a couple of minutes to cool.

Cut and DEVOUR!

This little goodie will keep the kids occupied, they'll have fun, and learn a little about cookin' too.

Finally, here's a recipe that Caj can't wait to make; just needs time to go to the general store. Lynne from Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada has been gracious enough to share it with da ol' mon. Yep, he's gonna share it with you.

Lynne's Polish or Ukrainian Salad

'This one is kind of touchy-feely. I make it for our family every year. Make beets a day or so ahead so the flavours mingle. Put in fridge. Wear a dark apron. You won't see the stains so easily. Here goes:

'Cook some beets or buy canned. The quantity should suit how much you will eat and how many one has to feed. I use a pressure cooker to cook mine -- faster than boiling.

'Slip off skins while warm (I use rubber gloves) and coarsely grate into a bowl (don't have to be cold).

'Squeeze out juice to dry them out a bit. Save juice and extra beets for soup.

'Add a bunch of vinegar to make them reasonably moist, and to taste.

'Add prepared horse radish a spoonful at a time. Mix and taste as you go.

'I don't add salt, but use it if you don't like the taste without it.

'This should be a relish, or side dish, but we eat it like a whole salad. Mounds, lots on the plate.

'Put mixed beets (she means seasoned to taste, ready to eat) into a bowl for serving. Leftovers can be refrigerated almost indefinitely. It is very forgiving. I eat this as a lunch for days and days, so I make lots of beets, and cook extra for borscht.

'M'm, M'm...good any time of year. Best if using home grown beets!'

Well, there you have it folks. Hope you enjoy reading this Fortnight and the recipes, as much as da ol' mon enjoyed putting it together for you. Hate to admit it but the scale seems to weigh a little heavier for some reason. <grin>

Cajun Clark's Selected Freebies
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Cajun Clark's monster 659-page eCookbook is no longer available. His second cookbook in the series, with nearly 500 recipes is Sweet & Sassy! http://www.cajunclarkssweetandsassy.com You can grab a copy of Cajun Clark's Selected Freebies at http://www.1001Recipes2Send.com/Free/
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