SLOW COOKER: Ham and Beans

Have ham in the freezer from the holidays? Grab it and go! Thaw overnight in the fridge and pat dry before chopping and using in the slow cooker.

All About Super Bowl LVll

Last year, I made a ham for Super Bowl Sunday and was never happier than I was with that choice for a big game day spread. Rolls and biscuits, butter (think a sorta-kinda American jambon-buerre, though ham and biscuits -with butter- is a world unto itself in the American south), spicy mustard, all the cheese you’d need, and tons of pickles. A few basic sides…oh, wings, of course… and we were good to go. But the best part may have been what came a couple of days after the baked ham, which was a big pot of ham and beans with a fresh pan of hot cornbread.

While I’m not a football fan, I’m happy to provide the halftime food, reading the Sunday New York Times for the rest of the afternoon while everyone else yells at the tv. And if you’re skipping game day all together, as some do, you can still make my ham and beans because they’re good just about any time and not much is simpler to cook or clean up as it’s a one-pot meal.

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Salsa-Black Bean Dip

…for garlic lovers only

I’m not a football fan. At this point in my life, I don’t think it’s going to change. I’m occasionally somewhat nasty or worse about it, but skip that here because in the U.S., if there’s a get together on any Sunday afternoon in January or early February, it’s likely to involve football. Hmm. The Super Bowl (February 13, 2022–6:30 pm ET) is coming like a freight train barreling down the track to your family room as well as to your kitchen and mine. So just to get my two cents in, I usually make a concerted effort to at least add something tasty and even healthy to the game day food lineup. This year, it’s an addictive, pantry-centric southwestern black bean dip that’s perfect with a cold beer at kickoff or even for dinner some other time. (Why can’t we have dip for dinner? I think we can. I’ll write you a note.)

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BBQ Pork Sloppy Joe Sliders with Cilantro Coleslaw and Crispy Onions–Fast Super Bowl Food


Next Thursday, 2/5- 5-7pm Make an Easy French Dinner at Home Class at Shouse.  Still have a few openings.  Message me or leave a comment.  Home class on 2/14, 10-12, is full, but I’m taking names for a wait list.  Now for the sliders….

I’ll just be waiting for the puppy commercials; you know me. I might look at the score a time or two…


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Slow Oven BBQ Ribs with Spicy Broccoli-Potato Salad

Barbeque ribs made in my kitchen oven on a cold, cold day made it seem like…well, somewhat nearer to summer, let’s say!

 In the middle of of the winter, I become entranced with the idea of summer food.  I crave hamburgers on the grill eaten outside at the picnic table.  I adore the idea of Sangria and a big crab salad.  (I have the opposite reaction when in mid-July I crave beef stew. Every year.)

Maybe it’s just vacation that draws me.

But I really think it’s the food.

So I make a summer meal the best way I can.  I throw a checked tablecloth on the dining room table, put the beer mugs in the freezer, and make something we typically only eat in the summertime.  Like ribs.  Just in time for Super Bowl or any other cold February day.  Brrr.

 Here’s how… in (mostly) chronological order with photos:

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               Cook’s note:  These ribs cook for three hours. You’ll make the broccoli-potato salad during the last forty minutes (or earlier, if you’d like).

slow oven barbeque ribs and spicy broccoli-potato salad
makes 1 rack of ribs and plenty of potato salad for 4-6

Disclaimer!  These “recipe” ingredients (with the exception of the bbq sauce and the mustard vinaigrette) and the methods are pretty loose;  I did not document my process as I often do.  Use your best cooking sense and make this meal your own.  For instance, I do not measure rub ingredients; I mix a rub and smell it to see if it’s about how I’d like it.  (Click on “favorite rub” to find a rub you’d enjoy.)  And I don’t put brown sugar in my rubs, which most people do.  My brown sugar is in my sauce.  Do make  your own barbeque sauce…link provided below.   Or take a basic recipe from somewhere and make it your own.  Don’t buy sauce; it’s a ripoff.  You’ll love having it in the refrigerator for burgers or chicken.  Have fun!

 Preheat oven to 300 degrees    Dry ribs with a paper towel and rub both sides well with your favorite rub.

  • I like approximately 2 teaspoons each kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, rosemary, and dehydrated onion and garlic.  I then add 1/4 teaspoon each ground cayenne and cinnamon.  Mix this all together in a small bowl before rubbing on ribs.  (Enough for one rack of ribs–or make more to your taste.)  Some cooks apply this rub the night before, storing rubbed ribs in the refrigerator.  I do it right before I cook them.

Place rubbed ribs on a foil-lined sheet pan and let roast 2 1/2 hours, turning over once midway through cooking time.  In the meantime, make your own barbeque sauce.  (Scroll down for my “recipe.”)

About 40 minutes (or more),  before the ribs are done, start the potato salad:  Place 10-12 red potatoes in a heavy Dutch Oven with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt along with 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.   Heat pan over medium-high flame and cover tightly. Reduce heat to medium low.  Let cook twenty minutes or so, turning down heat if potatoes are browning too quickly or turning up if they’re not cooking.   (If you’d like a boiled egg in your potato salad, now’s the time to make one. Without the egg, the broccoli-potato salad is a hearty vegan dish.)

 Cut two larges heads of broccoli into florets and chop 2 tablespoons red onion (finely)  and 1/4 cup each  fresh parsley, red or yellow bell peppers, carrots, and celery.  Set aside all the vegetables except broccoli.

 Add broccoli to pot and cover for another ten minutes or so or until both potatoes and broccoli are tender.  They may get crispy or browned–no matter.

In the meantime, check the oven:
After about 2 1/2 hours:  Remove ribs from oven and brush thickly with barbeque sauce. Return to oven.  Repeat every ten minutes 2-3 x until ribs are tender and browned (or until they’re cooked to your liking.) 

Back to the potatoes and broccoli:

 When broccoli and potatoes are tender, remove from pot, chop into 1-2-inches pieces and place potatoes in a large bowl.  Season lightly with salt and pepper, a pinch of crushed red pepper,  and drizzle well with Mustard-Tarragon Dressing while hot (see below for dressing recipe.) Stir well.  Add the broccoli along with reserved chopped fresh vegetables and a chopped boiled egg, if using.  (Skip egg for a vegan version.) Stir well, taste and adjust seasonings, adding more dressing as needed.  Serve warm or at room temperature with extra dressing at table.  (You can choose to add the broccoli along with the potatoes if you like; it’s simpler.  I like the vinaigrette to hit the hot potatoes.)

When both potato salad and ribs are done, cut ribs into two-rib portions and serve with warm or room-temperature broccoli-potato salad.  Enjoy!

Wine, if you’re not drinking beer for the game:  Any California zinfandel.


 Barbeque Sauce

2 cups each ketchup and chili sauce
1/4 cup each lemon juice and red wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons each yellow mustard, Worcestershire, A-1 Sauce
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
4-5 Big swigs of Tabasco or other hot sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons celery seed

 Whisk together in a medium pot and bring to a boil over medium flame. Taste and adjust seasonings.  Lower heat to simmer and let cook 30 minutes.  Store leftovers in a tightly sealed jar for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Mustard-Tarragon Dressing

1 clove of garlic, crushed and minced or grated

1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard

3T white wine vinegar (I like Chardonnay, but any will do.)

9T extra-virgin olive oil (the best you have for this salad)

1/2 t kosher salt and 1/4 t fresh ground pepper

2 drops hot sauce, such as Tabasco or more to taste

1T chopped fresh tarragon  or 1 t dried

In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, mustard and vinegar. Slowly add olive oil, whisking all the time or after every addition. Season with salt, pepper, hot sauce and tarragon. Whisk until well-emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.   Store leftovers in a covered jar so you can shake the dressing right before each use.
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Sing a new song,

Meatball Subs


My very last post was the story of two great ladies of food, Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton, of Canal House fame.  While I often blog original recipes, it’s been fun so far being part of the food blogger group that’s cooking a 50 Women Game-Changers recipe each week.  So I kind of hate to throw in something pedestrian like a meat ball sub.  Except for one thing:  these are great meatball subs.

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Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cream Cheese-Coconut Frosting or Riding on the City of New Orleans

DSC00695 2
“Yes, by Saint Anne; and ginger shall be hot i’ the mouth, too.”
Shakespeare, TWELFTH-NIGHT,  Act II, Scene 3

It was a great day for city of New Orleans and a better day for the Saints.  As a good chunk of my family lives in that area (my dad was born nearby), I have some pretty good smiles myself this morning thinking of how he’d feel if he could hear yesterday’s Super Bowl score.  Naturally, while the game was definitely great,  the food was, to me, a little more important (ha) than the game…  Well, it’s true.


Mike (next-door–great big tv) said he’d do some pulled pork (Remember all of those Yahoo! trending searches where “pork recipes” was near the top?–Mike was there.) and so I said I’d do a great dip with veggies and something for dessert.  Yes, and then when I got home from church, I had to do something about all of that.  Super Bowl.  Cold, icy, snowing up here on the mesa in the Springs.  Visibility low.  Pretty gray.  Good game coming..  (Don’t ask me, really, I  usually read the NYT and eat.)

I knew we needed to be ready early because we were walking (carefully, carefully) down to June and John’s for a pre-game  glass of wine first.  Oh, famous last words, I had plenty of time.  Why is it then that, as if often the case,  I barely have time to brush my teeth before we either leave or friends arrive?  When I had “plenty of time.”

The dip was no problem; I had been drooling over Melissa Clark’s Greek Goddess dip from the Wednesday NYT food section.  She notes “serve immediately,” so I left off making that as it was full of fresh herbs and appeared to come together in the food process fairly quickly. (It did.)  There wasn’t anyone who didn’t eat and eat that dip. (I did add a tish salt, a few drops of Tabasco and skipped the mayonnaise..this for future cooks.)   I also made my own pita strips,  not chips, by slicing up whole wheat  pita bread, spraying them with Pam and then sprinkling on either black pepper and sesame seeds or black pepper and paprika. (Bake 350 F, about 12 minutes, turning strips over once, half-way through baking.)  Both were yummy.   That wouldn’t take long, would it?  Still, chopping up the veg for a big tray WOULD be time-consuming; I left Dave to it.  He even got down a great big platter and washed it.  I married the right guy. You knew that.


But, the dessert.  What was I to make?  I flipped through my own mind’s recipe file and came up with homey trays of cookies or brownies (Super Bowl fare ain’t creme brulee.) or big, house-sniffing pies.  I fanned through the indexes of Ina Garten’s books for fun and wondered about ice cream, as I had heavy cream.  Chocolate and espresso was sounding good.  But I had made gingerbread with a little whipped cream for Friday night’s dessert (and part of Saturday morning’s breakfast)  after making
Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya from the lovely blog  That gingerbread kept calling me back.  I  wanted it again, but I wanted it differently.  Weird, I have a sweet tooth typically only tuned to the chocolate station.  What was this about?  Oh…it was cupcakes calling.

What about cupcakes?  What about cream cheese frosting, as in carrot cake?  And what about some coconut?  Coconut cupcakes call people.  They just do.  If they like coconut, that is.  So I’d make some with and some without. (No problem after all; everyone liked coconut.) Make ’em, bake ’em and take ’em today. *  You’ll have a rock band playing in your mouth after you eat these.    Here’s how I did it:

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Coconut Frosting
   makes 20 cupcakes

1 3/4 c boiling water
1/3 c brown sugar
1 3/4 c molasses
2 eggs, well beaten
12 T unsalted butter, melted (1 1/2 sticks)

3 3/4 c all-purpose, unbleached flour
2T ground ginger
2 t cinnamon (I like Vietnamese)
3/4 t ground cloves
1 t finely fresh ground black pepper
2 t baking powder
1 t salt

Cream Cheese Frosting (see below)

2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut



Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Grease and flour muffin pans (makes about 20).  If you want to line the cups with paper wrappers, you can.  I think they take the moisture out of the cupcake or muffin and make the cake steam in a way I don’t like.  I like the hot metal on the batter for a firm, crispy crust.  Try it once.

Beat well together the liquid ingredients in a medium bowl or 8 cup measuring cup.  In large mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.  Add liquids and stir until barely combined.  Using a large pammed ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into the prepared pans, filling each cup no more than 3/4 full.  Bake about 15 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let set a few minutes before turning out onto cooling racks.  Cool completely before icing.  After icing, dip tops, using a rolling motion,  into a shallow bowl filled with the  coconut.   Store in tupperware or on a tray carefully covered with foil (stick toothpicks in a few cupcakes to keep foil from sticking.)  Serve immediately or refrigerate.

*This recipe developed from reading two recipes and  creating the cupcake recipe with my own additions/changes.  1.THE FANNY FARMER BAKING BOOK  Marion Cunningham, p 325, “Soft Gingerbread” and  2.THE SPLENDID TABLE’S HOW TO EAT SUPPER by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift, p 310 “Dark and Moist Gingerbread.”

Cream Cheese Frosting
   from Grace Herson, chef extraordinaire, Woodlawn Plantation, Mt. Vernon, Virginia–Grace gave me this recipe in 1985 in a cookbook she and others wrote for me..

4T unsalted butter, softened
8 oz package cream cheese (low-fat), softened
3-4 c powdered sugar (start with 3 c)
2t vanilla

Place butter and creamed cheese in mixing bowl, and using electric mixer, beat together for 2 minutes.  Stop mixer, add 3 cups powdered sugar, starting the beater slowly, combine and then  and beat well.  Add vanilla and beat again 2 minutes.  Add more powdered sugar to desired thickness.  Use frosting immediately and refrigerate leftovers.

{printable recipe}


wake up and play with me
Sing a new song; eat a new cupcake,

Sooper Bowl Chili-Chop and Stir-Into the Crockpot for Half-time

I don’t know where the idea of chili for Super Bowl came from, but it’s a hit most places if you’re not having pizza.  If you’re not having pulled pork.  (I noticed that top Yahoo! searches were including “pork recipes” this last week.)  So maybe pulled pork, but maybe ribs.  The pork case at the market looked like July 3, it had so many racks of ribs in it.  Prices weren’t bad either.  Still, I was on the path to chili…could I be led away?

I was drawn to a recipe in the NYT (Mark Bittman)  for Chicken Sausage Jambalaya.  Actually, I think it first came from a site called; it’s in the left side bar under blogs I follow.  Chicken, sausage:  it all sounded so good.  Rice.  Hmm.  But, chili beckoned.  I haven’t made chili since Halloween and I usually make it pretty often.  Somethings just yelled.

At the store…

Italian sausage (Sara’s-made right up near Palmer Lake) hit the cart.
VEEEEry lean beef fell in on top of it.  I know; it should have been turkey.  But, hey, it’s the Super Bowl.

Did I have enough canned tomatoes?  Italian ones?  Beans?  Unsalted, organic?  I knew I had dried beans, but had a thought about a Super quick chili using canned beans.  Up the canned aisle; it’s not my favorite place. (Produce is my favorite.)  No big cans, so I grabbed 2 pinto and 1 black.  I can never bear to make chili with only one sort of bean.  What else?  Nothing.  OH, I had to have (and this is critical)


Fritos are good, too, especially with cheddar cheese on chili.  But tortilla chips… hmm.  Just right. I actually like to eat this chili with tortilla chips, not a spoon.  I rarely eat chips of any kind, still… Oh well.

Grab some Dos Equis or make a pitcher of margaritas?  I might be the only one who likes zinfandel with chili and I thought I had a sweet bottle of Seghesio. Still, the better half probably needed his Dos Equis; the winter ales in the garage frig were going to pale compared to a Mexican brew. (not bad, eh?)  Note to self:  hit the liquor place next door before going home. Oh, and go back through produce (yeah) and get limes.

By then, the cart was a dead giveaway; anyone going by (and aren’t there a lot of cartsnoopers?) knew I was making chili.  Like, regular old Irish kinda chili.  Not fine Texas fare with big hunks of beef slowly simmered in a thick, spicy sauce; not NM green, mild, hot or in between.  Just the kind of big pot my learned-to-cook-during-the-depression mom made, using her own home-canned tomatoes, some jars of which were  full of other small goodies like celery, green pepper, etc.  We had a ferocious garden out back.  Summers were literally  full of “what a row to hoe.”  Of course, over the years, the recipe morphed.  (There never was a written recipe, just we kids’ memory for the pot, the shelves full of quart jars-“Run bring me a jar of tomatoes.”- and its smells.) Nowadays, I like lots of different vegetables. I like different kinds of meat. I like wine in it.  Lemon.  Dijon mustard. Cinnamon, just a tish.  Yeah, it’s a bit different than mom’s.  It smells as good.  Even the milk man smelled it outside.

“Smells so good in there.”   “I’m going to your blog tomorrow for that recipe.” (ok!)

Ah, yep.  I’m cookin’ chili. Get outta the way, dogs.  Makes me incredibly happy for some reason.  Makes me feel rich to have a great big pot of the stuff cooking away.  Odd what makes us feel rich.  You?

This particular pot of chili can be pulled together in 20-25 min and then thrown in the crockpot, well, not literally.  I do pour it pretty quickly into the crockpot insert in the sink!  Or, make it the day before.  Whichever way, it’s an easy meal.  Buy or make some corn bread.  Get some tortilla chips and salsa.  Of course, the Dos Equis.  A pan of your favorite brownies?   A veggie tray and you’re on your way.  Why be troubled?

We like Manchego with chili.

Can you smell it?

Sooper Bowl Chili
serves 8-10;makes a little more than 6 quarts

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon each: cinnamon, dried red pepper flakes, cumin, black pepper, chili powder
2 onions, chopped (food processor if you have one)

4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 large celery stalks, chopped
1/2 each red and yellow peppers, ditto
2-3 small zucchini or yellow squash, ditto
1 pound each: bulk sweet Italian sausage and lean ground beef
3  15-oz cans no salt, organic beans (pinto, kidney or black)
6 Tablespoons chili powder (or to taste)
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons kosher salt (+/- to taste)
2 Tablespoons each, dried oregano and basil
2 32-ounce cans Italian tomatoes
2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
1/4 cup lemon juice

2 cups ea: red wine and water

Optional garnishes: grated Manchego (or cheddar), chopped onions, tortilla chips, hot sauce

Saute  first five (1/4 t each) spices in the 2 Tablespoonsolive oil over quite low heat very briefly in a 10 or 12 qt. stockpot while you begin to chop the vegetables (2-3 batches) in the food processor (or by hand.)  Spoon vegetables into pot and cover, turning heat up to medium-high.  Meanwhile, brown both meats in another skillet over medium-high heat.  Stir both pot and skillet frequently.  When vegetables are tender, add rest of ingredients to pot. Drain meat well; add to the tomato mixture.  Stir well and taste; season as needed. 

Bring to a boil and turn off the burner. *Place crockpot stoneware insert  in sink and pour chili into it.  Replace insert into crockpot.  Set heat to low and let cook 4-6 hours.  If too thin, take lid off and let cook 15-20 minutes on high to thicken.

Serve garnished with tortilla chips and chopped onions and cheese if you like.
Pass a bottle of your favorite hot sauce for those who want to burn their taste buds.

*Option:  Cook on stove.   Lower heat to medium low and simmer at least an hour.  More, if you’d like.  Some people like to wait and add the beans during the last 15 minutes.


Enjoy the day.  Have a little more if you like.  There’s plenty.  You’re rich.
no spoon needed

If you still don’t know anything about football (I don’t want to know; it’s a good time to read the NY Times), you can click below and get a very quick lesson on how the game is played….

Sing a new song  (Go Colts?  Go Saints?), as I pray for two dear friends, s and c and for Emi, taking the Biblical Content Exam today at Princeton………..

Here’s the newest from the Two-Dog Kitchen–

Gab’s all Tuckered out!

Note to readers:  If you’d like to keep up with my local articles (on a national site),  they’re listed in my twitter feed  on the left sidebar at the top of the blog.   You don’t have to make a separate trip to Article titles say things  like “Super Bowl Pizza…” and you just click on the link that begins with tinyurl…  Thanks!!!!  Also, check out my favorite blogs, links to which are right below the Twitter stuff.