Vodka Pie Crust

So, yeh, I came across this recipe, and I was intrigued.


In a pie crust?

Turns out, it works a treat! Tasty, and oh! so flaky! You are gonna want to make you this pie crust!

Note: this recipe makes enough dough for two open pies, or one covered pie.

•2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, chilled
•1/4 cup cold vodka
•1/4 cup ice water
•2-1/2 cups flour
•1 tsp salt
•1 tbsp sugar*

*Not making a dessert (sweet) pie? No worries! Skip the sugar and go forth with your quiche plans.

My sister keeps her vodka in the freezer, which worked out perfectly for making this dough, which requires ice cold water, vodka, and butter.

Cut your butter into small chunks and stash in the fridge until needed.

Add the flour, salt, and sugar to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse until nicely blended.

Add the cold butter cubes and pulse three or four times, until the butter is incorporated into the flour mixture.

Add two tablespoons of the vodka and one tablespoon of water to the flour and pulse a couple more times to blend in.

Pinch off a bit of the dough and give it a good squeeze. If it comes together, you’re good to go. If it’s still a bit crumbly, add an additional tablespoon of vodka or water (your choice) and pulse until it is worked in. Test the dough again.

Note: depending on the weather and other conditions in your kitchen the day you are making the dough, the amount of vodka and/or water needed for the dough to come together will vary.

Divide the dough in two, flatten into discs, wrap in plastic wrap, and stash in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Want to make the dough in advance? You can store the discs in the fridge for up to five days, or in the freezer for up to two months. Thaw completely before rolling out.

Keep the dough cold until you are ready to roll out.

Note: I find it easiest to roll out pie dough between two sheets of waxed paper. If you have another method that works for you, go forth and roll out your dough.

Roll the dough into a rough circle and transfer to a pie plate or (if you are making a galette) to a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Fill and bake as directed by your pie and/or galette instructions.

Since my sister and I were prepping for Thanksgiving, we made a pumpkin pie and an apple and cranberry galette.

Both were pretty terrific, but I should confess that we let the dough for the galette get a bit warm before filling and baking, and so it came out of the oven in a bit of a mess.

Still tasted pretty darned wonderful.

So, here you are; a pretty terrific take on pie dough that is tender, flaky, and perfect for baked treats sweet or savory! If making a quiche or two, skip the sugar and consider mebbe working a bit of crumbled port wine cheese into the mixture in the food processor. You’ll be rewarded with a lightly pink marbled dough that will have your friends and family wondering what, exactly (in a good way) you’ve been up to!

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Zippy Asparagus Pickles

I really wanted to make a batch of these nicely spiced pickles to bring to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving, but, asparagus was kinda pricey and the warehouse-sized mega market I happened to be shopping at was out of jalapeños!


How does this even happen? Still, I soldiered through, buying frozen asparagus spears and canned sliced jalapeños and you know what?

They still turned out just fine!

Zippy, with just a touch of heat and, as an added bonus, because I had to trim the spears a bit to fit in the pint jars I was using, it just so happens that those trimmed ends make for one fine jar o’ pickles, too!

So, two bags of frozen asparagus spears yielded me three pint jars of spears pickles and one pint jar of (just as tasty) end trimmings pickles.

•2 bags frozen asparagus spears, thawed
•1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, per jar
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper, per jar
•1/2 tsp mustard seeds, per jar
•1/2 tsp dill seed, per jar
•1 whole garlic clove, per jar
•2 slices fresh jalapeño, per jar
•5 cups white vinegar
•5 cups water
•1/2 cup pickling salt

Trim the spears to fit in pint canning jars, placing the spears in three and the ends in a fourth jar. Or, if you want to share the wealth, mix the trimmed ends in with the spears to make four combo jars.

Add the seasonings to each jar, then, in a pot over medium heat, bring the water, vinegar, and canning salt to a boil, stirring until the salt has dissolved.

Pour the vinegar mixture over the asparagus in the jars, cover, and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Nice pickles!



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Stuffing Balls With Gravy

Obviously, this is the time of year folks minds turn to turkey.

And stuffing, because, you kinda need both, to do it right.

But… what if you could have pretty darned terrific stuffing – with or without the big bird – and have it in easy single serve balls?

I am betting that you would be pretty darned interested. And, bonus! Because they are balls, every serving has a crispity outer edge and soft, center, to keep folk happy.

Note 1: these stuffing balls are made with chicken gravy and bacon jam. Feel free to substitute turkey gravy and your fave sausage.

Note 2: you will need to make your own biscuits, from your fave recipe or a mix. Biscuits from a can will not work.

Stuffing Balls:
•3 cups diced celery
•2 cups diced sweet onion
•1 cup (loosely packed) chopped fresh parsley
•10 tbsp butter
•5 cups chicken stock
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Peppers Sauce (or your fave hot sauce, to taste)
•1 tsp coarse sea salt
•1 tsp black pepper
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/2 tsp garlic powder
•2 bacon jam cubes – about 3 tbsp
(I freeze my jam in ice cube trays)
•4 cups home made biscuits
•14 oz sage & onion stuffing

Chicken Gravy:
•1/2 cup butter
•1/2 cup all-purpose flour
•1 quart cold chicken stock
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Peppers Sauce
•1/3 cup heavy cream
•1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
•1 tsp white pepper
•1 tsp dried parsley
•1/8 tsp Cayenne
•1/8 tsp garlic powder
•Black pepper

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Heat your oven to 200º and crumble the cooked biscuits into a large baking pan (your turkey roaster will work a treat here).

Pop the crumbled biscuits into the oven and cook for two to three hours, until the biscuits are very hard and crumbly.

While the biscuits are drying out, melt two tablespoons of the butter with the bacon jam in a large pot. Add the onion, celery, and parsley, and cook for about ten minutes, until the onion and celery are tender. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

In another pan, bring the chicken stock to a boil, then add the remaining 1/2 cup of butter, Sherry Peppers, hot sauce, salt, peppers, and garlic powder; stirring until the butter is melted and the stock mixture is heated through.

Once the biscuits are dried out and crumbled, add the bag of stuffing and the cooked veggies.

Pour the stock over the stuffing, biscuits and veggies, stir to combine, then set aside to soak up for ten or 15 minutes.

Heat your oven to 350º and line a baking pan with parchment paper.

Using a 1/2 cup scoop, measure out your stuffing mixture and shape into balls – I got 17 stuffing balls.

Arrange the balls on the parchment paper and bake for 30 minutes.

While the stuffing balls are baking, melt the butter over medium heat in a large pot. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture has turned golden brown and is nicely fragrant – about ten minutes.

Gradually whisk in cold stock, Sherry Peppers, and Garlic Pepper Sauce.

Reduce heat to low, bring the gravy to a simmer, and cook,stirring until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in heavy cream, and season with salt, white pepper, and Cayenne pepper.

Serve the gravy over the stuffing balls and top with additional freshly chopped parsley.


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Roasted Beet Salad With Candied Nuts

First; don’t judge the beets!

I am not, normally, a fan either, but roasting sliced beets brings out the sweetness; and draining and rinsing them well helps to get rid of some of that “dirt” taste.

Oh. Did I mention that this salad starts with canned, sliced beets?

Makes for a wicked simple to toss together, and deliciously different salad for any day, really, but how very nice on your holiday table? Especially with those spiced nuts…

•2 cans sliced beets
•Coarse sea salt
•Baby spinach
•Romaine lettuce
•Red onion, thinly sliced

Spiced Nuts:
•2 heaping cups walnuts
•1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
•1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1 tsp steak seasoning

Heat your oven to 350º.

Drain and rinse the sliced beets, then pat dry.

Arrange the beets in a single layer on a large roasting pan and sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake to 10 to 20 minutes, until the beets have turned a deep, dark red.

Remove from the oven and cool.

Keep the oven at 350º and line a baking pan with parchment paper.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, then add the walnuts and blanch for three minutes.

Note: if you’d prefer to use pecans, blanch for only 30 seconds.

Whisk the confectioners’ sugar together with the seasoned salt and steak seasoning in a small bowl.

Toss the boiled nuts in the sugar mixture until coated, then arrange in a single layer on the parchment lined baking pan.

Bake for ten to fifteen minutes, rotating the pan after five minutes or so.

Keep an eye on the nuts, as the sugar can burn quickly.

Set aside to cool and store in a tightly lidded container.

To make your salad, toss the baby spinach with chopped Romaine, then arrange on a platter. Top with the thinly sliced red onion, roasted beets, and candied nuts.

Serve with Sanford House Dressing.

Truly, a feast day worthy salad.


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Sanford House Salad Dressing

As we approach the Super Bowl of American Foods Day, I think it only right and proper to revisit some of my fave recipes for the big day.

Such as this very nice take on a traditional French salad dressing, kindly shared by the very nice folk at the Brown-Stetson-Sanford House in Georgia, where this dressing was offered to guests such as Flannery O’Connor. I think you will like it – and tomorrow’s roasted beet salad, which just so happens to go exceptionally well with this salad dressing.

•1/4 cup sugar
•1 tsp celery salt
•1 tsp dry mustard
•1 tsp paprika
•2 – 3 tbsp diced onion
•1/4 cup sherry vinegar (red wine vinegar works, too)
•1 cup canola oil

Note: if you feel as though you’de like a bit of a zippier salad dressing try adding 1/2 to one teaspoon of your fave hot sauce to the dressing before drizzling in the oil.

Place the sugar, celery salt, dry mustard, paprika, and diced onion in a blender jar.

Pour the sherry vinegar over and pulse to combine.

Scrape the sides of the jar down and, with the blender running, slowly stream the oil into the mixture through the hole in the top of the blender lid.

The dressing will absorb the oil, lighten in color, and thicken nicely.

You have now made Sanford House dressing.

Transfer to a jar, cover tightly, and stash in the fridge until needed.


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Cajun Fettuccine Alfredo

How fitting that on the last afternoon of our week in New Orleans, I have a bit of time to post about Cajun Fettuccine Alfredo; a casserole dish that I would proudly serve to company. As a bonus, they way I make it, you do it all in three easy bits and pieces, starting two days before you plan to serve, so, on the day of the ‘do, all you have to do is put together the salad, find a nice, crusty loaf of bread, and plan the wine and dessert.

The original recipe, from Taste of Home Magazine, called for “leftover chicken” and “1/2 cup of pasta sauce.”

Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t normally just have “1/2 cup of pasta sauce” hangin’ around waiting for me to deal with, so, I made Honey Garlic Chicken two days before I was planning on serving the fettuccine, then separated the cooked chicken from the sauce, then covered and stashed both in the fridge overnight.

When I was ready to wrangle the honey garlic sauce – to replace my “1/2 cup of pasta sauce” – I simply lifted the solidified fat off the top and chucked it; leaving me with a (mostly) fat-free – but wicked tasty- sauce.

•8 oz cooked fettuccine
•2 cups cooked chicken, chopped (I used the thighs from the Honey Garlic Chicken recipe)
•1 tbsp unsalted butter
•1 tbsp olive oil
•2 cups diced sweet onion
•2 cups chopped sweet peppers
•3 or 4 cloves minced garlic
•Shredded cheeses (Mozz, Italian Mix)
•1/2 cup grated Parmesan

•2 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1/2 cup Honey Garlic Chicken Sauce
•1 (15 oz) jar Alfredo sauce (Paul Newman’s worked a treat)

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Heat your oven to 375º.

Melt the butter with the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Add the onion, peppers, and garlic and cook for eight to ten minutes, until the veggies are tender.

Reduce the heat, then add the chopped chicken, Cajun Seasoning, Sherry Peppers, Cajun Power, and Honey Garlic Sauces, stirring until warmed through.

Note: you could, of course use any leftover chicken, and even that “1/2 cup of pasta sauce,” if you prefer.

Toss the chicken and onion mixture together with the cooked fettuccine in a large bowl – I used the pan I cooked the fettuccine in (after I drained it, of course); then add the Alfredo Sauce and toss to mix well.


Brush a bit of olive oil on the bottom and sides of a 2-1/2 quart baking dish, then add the fettuccine mixture, spreading it out evenly.

Top the casserole with about two cups of Mozzarella (I used a “6 Italian” shredded cheese blend), then top with the Parmesan.

Cover the casserole tightly with foil and bake for about 15 minutes.

Remove the foil and bake for ten to 15 minutes more, until the cheese is melted and golden brown and bubbly.

Now, you could, easily, serve this casserole now – well after letting it rest for ten minutes or so – but – we all know how most any dish likes this always tastes better the second day – so – why not plan that first serving on the second day?

Allow the cooked casserole to cool, then recover in foil and stash in the fridge overnight.

About an two hours before serving, remove the casserole from the fridge and bring to room temperature.

Heat your oven to 325º and bake, with the foil cover on, for 45 minutes.

Remove the cover and continue to bake until heated through and bubbly again.

That overnight rest will have allowed the pasta to absorb some of the excess liquid (and flavor!), and you will end up with a pretty spectacular pasta dish for friends and family.

Win, win, if you ask me.




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Honey Garlic Slow Cooker Chicken

It’s a birthday surprise!

We’re in NOLA to celebrate my day, and our (very nice) French Quarter hotel has just discovered that the city has turned our room’s water off for the day for… stuff.


Still and all, we now have another room to get cleaned up in before starting our day and, I think, having serious birthday drinks with brunch before our cemetery tour; I think that we will survive.

The bonus bit is, I now have time to get this fine recipe posted!

It is dead simple to toss together, and wicked tasty. The original recipe, from, called for boneless, skinless chicken thighs, but I used bone in, skin on, because I think they have better flavor.

You do what you like.

•4 or 5 bone in chicken thighs
•1/2 cup lower sodium Tamari*
•1/2 cup ketchup
•1/3 cup honey
•4 or 5 cloves garlic, minced
•1 tsp dried basil
•1 tsp dried parsley

*Tamari is a gluten-free version of soy sauce; feel free to use your fave soy sauce, if you prefer.

Whisk the sauce ingredients together in a bowl (I used a beaker and my immersion blender until you have this lovely, thick, reddish sauce.

Arrange the chicken thighs in the bottom of a large slow cooker and pour the sauce over.

Cover and cook on low for six hours.

Note: the slow cooker I was using this day cooks, well, kinda fast, so I did mine on high for two hours, then spooned the sauce over the chicken ad cooked it on low for two hours, until a sensor inserted in the meatiest part of the largest thigh read 165º.

Remove the chicken from the pot and transfer the sauce to a bowl to cool.

Now, you could just serve this as is, over rice or noodles, mebbe with chopped green onion tossed over the top; but I had plans, so, I wrapped the chicken and stashed them in the fridge, then covered the sauce and stashed that in the fridge to cool – and to make it simple to remove the fat.

Next day?

Why, Cajun Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo, of course!

Those details; soon!


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Beef & Pork Enchiladas

The original recipe for these tasty treats was “Weeknight Enchiladas” from the nice folk at Southern Living Magazine; but, of course, I had to make a few changes… like, using “meatloaf mix” (ground beef and pork) from the market in place of just ground beef, and substituting garlic for the onion called for, because, why not?

Oh, and making my own Enchilada Sauce instead of using a canned version – and – as a happy coincidence, one batch of home made sauce is exactly how much is needed for this recipe!

•1 tbsp cooking oil
•1 lb meatloaf mix
•3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced
•2 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 can tomato soup
•10-oz Enchilada Sauce
•sliced black olives
•8 tortillas
•2 cups shredded cheese

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, then add the meat and cook, breaking the meat up for five minutes or so.

Add the garlic and continue to cook, until the beef and pork are thoroughly cooked and mebbe just a touch on the crispity side.

Reduce the heat and stir in the olives, Sherry Peppers Sauce, tomato soup, and enchilada sauce.  Gently heat through.

Heat your oven to 350º.

Place a tortilla on a flat surface and add 1/4 cup of the filling off to one side.

Top with a couple of tablespoons of the cheese and roll into a tight tube, using you fingers to adjust and tighten the filling.

Arrange, seam side down, in a baking pan and repeat with the remaining tortillas, filling, and cheese.

Spread the remaining meat sauce over the top of the enchiladas, then cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the cover, sprinkle with additional shredded cheese, and return to the oven for another five or ten minutes, until the cheese is nicely melted.

Serve with sour cream, Cowboy Candy, lettuce, tomato and onion.


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Enchilada Sauce

I came across a new enchilada recipe that looked as thought it might be tasty, and I had all the ingredients at hand, except…

no enchilada sauce?

Well, thanks to da google, I found a nice looking recipe, that with just a few small changes, would work a treat, and went to gather my ingredients… no chili powder?!?


Fortunately, I had a recipe for chili powder and, it, too, is surprisingly flexible – good thing, too, since I was also out of ground cumin; which is not one of my faves, anyways.

Chili Powder:
•2 tsp paprika
•1 tsp Cayenne
•2 tsp oregano
•1 tsp parsley
•2 tbsp garlic powder
•1 tsp curry powder (or cumin)
•2 tsp Colman’s dry mustard

Enchilada Sauce:
•1/4 cup cooking oil
•2 tbsp flour
•1 tsp chili powder
•8 oz can tomato sauce
•1 cup chicken stock
•2 tsp Cajun seasoning
•1 tbsp minced garlic
•1/2 tsp onion powder
•1/4 tsp celery salt
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Stir the chili powder ingredients together until well blended, then stash in a closed jar until needed – like for the enchilada sauce.

To make the sauce, whisk the chili powder together with the salt until nicely blended.

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat, then add the chili powder and flour mixture and stir continuously for a couple of minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients and cook, whisking often, for about five more minutes, or until the sauce has thickened nicely.

Go ahead and taste it.

Nice enchilada sauce!

And, for tomorrow…

the enchiladas!




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Happy Camper Sauce

Who doesn’t love a juicy burger?

Our market’s butcher shop makes a pretty darned fine pepper edged pub burger with big chunks of Cheddar cheese mixed in; and we love ’em topped with Provolone, grilled onion and peppers, and…

condiments! Mustard, mayonnaise, or, in this case, my zippy honey mustard blend and my take on Red Robin’s Campfire Sauce; a smoky blend of mayonnaise and barbecue sauce that is just made for burgers.

Note: my Happy Camper sauce is made with a couple of BUZZYFOODS’ own goodies, Cowboy Candy (sugar pickled jalapeños) and Honey Bourbon Barbecue Sauce. Feel free to substitute your own fave hot sauce, to taste, and your preferred barbecue sauce.

•1/4 cup mayonnaise
•1/4 cup Honey Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
•1 tsp Cowboy Candy Juice
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper

Whisk the ingredients together in a bowl, then transfer to a lidded jar and stash in the fridge until needed. For best results, make the sauce a few hours – or, always more better – the night before you plan on using it to allow the flavors to blend.

This is, of course, wicked tasty on burgers, but go ahead and try it on other sammiches and wraps. I think you will be pleased.

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