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No Bull Intended!

ben wheeler

By Gini Raineycookbook_junkie[1]

Well, Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there.  This is your day!  If you haven’t told your children today that you love them, now’s your chance, and to all of you kiddos out there, if you haven’t told your dad yet that you love them, now’s YOUR chance.  Hop to it!  You never know when you won’t have that opportunity snatched away from you.

Speaking of dads, I think I had one of the most interesting dads around.  To the best of my recollection (he died when I was eleven) it seemed like he had one or more crazy ideas working all the time.  Like the time he and his friends went ‘frogging’ and brought back more frogs than they could fry and eat in one sitting.  Well, apparently these frogs were such fine specimen that they didn’t want to turn them loose, so dad, who owned a tavern with a basement complete with a sump pump, kept them until the next frog feast.  You couldn’t go in the basement without the frogs jumping all over you.  I still don’t like frogs!

Or, the time he bought a box of three-foot long spaghetti.   I think the box was four inches square – let me tell you, that is a lot of spaghetti!  Then there was the time when I was about six that dad was supposed to be trimming my bangs.  Well, mom had a group of friends over to play cards and dad glued the hair trimmings to my chest and sent me down stairs to say “hi!”  to the ladies.  I would imagine they couldn’t decide who was more strange – the little girl with the hairy chest or the dad who set it up!

One summer, while my friends and I were making dandelion chains, dad decided that it bullwould be a great idea to make good use of our flower-picking abilities and put us to work gathering up the heads of dandelions so he could make some dandelion wine.  The recipe that I’m looking at requires 4 gallons of dandelion heads.  Now, I’m pretty sure that Dad didn’t use this book “Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices,” written by George Leonard Herter and Berthe E. Herter, because it was published in 1960 and that was the year dad died.

However, be that as it may, I do remember that it took forever to gather up enough heads to make him happy and he did make the wine.  I do remember the bottles lined up in the fruit cellar, but I don’t recall anyone ever drinking it.  I have a hard time thinking it would be any good, but then again, you never know!  I would suggest making some, but when was the last time you saw a field filled with dandelions?  Have they gone the way of so many other wild flower/weeds, victims of pre-emergent fertilizer/weed killers?  What a shame.

Back to the book!  This is such an interesting read, that if you can find a copy of it, it is definitely worth the investment.  Filled with lots of vintage black and white photos, it’s also filled with bits of folk lore, historical references, recipes and techniques to make a wealth of good food, wild game and fish, wines and liquors, beers and ales, and so much more.

If you’re looking for a recipe for the day, I’m afraid I’m going to disappoint you today, but let me leave you with this one thought, ageless but true, anyone can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad.  Have a great day, dads!

stanleys bbq tyler tx eguide magazine


A Good Pounding!

By Gini Rainey

Good grief, that’s exactly what I deserve.  I have been so over-whelmed with life in the past few months – okay, this year – that I have neglected to do what I love doing – writing!  So, apparently it took an email to our editor/publisher to get me off high center.  She forwarded this email to me on June 24th and it comes from an editor named Jess Miller who just happens to be associated with  Jen Reviews is the authority on everything food, fitness and home and has been featured in some mind-blowing (my mind, anyway!) publications such as Forbes, Fast Company, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Greatist, Reader’s Digest, MindBodyGreen, Livestrong, Bustle, Lifehacker, Wikihow, and oh my goodness, many many more. 

Jess email says “I was doing research on pound cake recipes and just finished reading your wonderful blog post: In that article, I noticed that you cited a solid post that I’ve read in the past:  We just published a delicious cranberry pound cake with orange glaze recipe complete with step-by-step pictures and detailed instructions. It is completely free and you can find it here:  If you like the recipe we’d be humbled if you cited us in your article.” 

The gauntlet was thrown and I tried it.  I baked it last night and it is yummy.  Of course, knowing me, you know I have to pull in a cookbook of some sort, and for those of you out there who don’t know where the name “Pound Cake” comes from, I pulled out my earliest reference that I have, which is a replica of “American Cookery” written by Amelia Simmons in 1796. It’s really interesting to leaf through this book and try to read some of the recipes.  It is actually a photocopy of the original and along with various spots and stains, the letter “f” is used in place of the letter “s.”  Originally, a pound cake called for one pound of sugar, one pound of butter, one pound of flour, one pound or ten eggs, one gill of rose water and spices to your taste. (Hence pound cake!) We are told to watch it well (remember – wood burning stoves/ovens back then) It will bake in a slow oven in 15 minutes. 

The recipe referred to by Jess is a bit different and perhaps produces a much lighter version than the 1796 version.  What you will need to do to make Jess’s recipe is to begin with a 350° pre-heated oven and a lightly greased and floured 12×4 inch loaf pan.  Then in a bowl, whisk together 1 ¾ cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt.  In another bowl, cream 9 ounces of softened butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon orange zest until light and fluffy.  Then slowly add in 4 eggs plus 2 yolks (at room temp), followed by 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar. Then alternating between the flour mixture and ¼ cup room temp milk, gradually add to the sugar/egg mixture.  Lightly dredge in flour 1 ¼ cups of washed and dried fresh cranberries (because fresh cranberries aren’t on the market at this time, I substituted rehydrated dried cranberries and I think they did well) and gently fold into the mixture.  Pour into the pan and bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  For the glaze, combine 2 cups of powdered sugar with 2 ½ tablespoons of fresh orange juice, and using a small spoon, drizzle over the completely cooled cake. 

This is one yummy cake – the unexpected tartness is a wonderful compliment to the buttery richness of the cake and would serve you well at a winter holiday meal – or even right now in the middle of the hot Texas summer along with a bowl of home-made ice cream! 

ben wheeler
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Smith’s Bar-B-Que Opens in Jacksonville


Smith’s Bar-B-Que had a great Ribbon Cutting on Friday, April 5. Smith’s Bar-B-Que is owned and operated by Gary Smith and has been in business for 11 years. They started in the Exxon parking lot but has now found a home at the Travis Towers parking lot at 558 S. Ragsdale. They serve ribs, brisket, sausage, pulled pork and their famous stuffed baked potato. You can also add beans, potato salad and peach cobbler. They also offer catering with no event being too big or too small. Gary Smith is a culinary school graduate, food service manager and the 1st to obtain his vendors permit from the City of Jacksonville. Hours are Friday and Saturday 11 am until…..

They are at 558 S. Ragsdale in Jacksonville, Texas and can be reached at 903.944.0036.

ben wheeler

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Artists in the Kitchen


By Gini Rainey

I have many passions in my life, mostly leaning toward my right brain, but after working for over 25 years as a business manager/owner, my left brain seems to have shoved a lot of those passions to the side, but trust me – they’re still there!  So, when I come across a cookbook that has wonderful recipes that are paired up with amazing works of art from the National Gallery of Art, you can be sure this is one book I had to have. 

With notable chefs such as Julia Child, Jeremiah Tower and Alice Waters creating dishes and menus to compliment the art of Matisse, Pissaro, and Gauguin, to name a few, you can only imagine what a lovely and creative book this must be. 

While using paintings of the obvious subjects, such as Vollon’s Mound of Butter and Jean Simeon Chardin’s Still Life with Game for inspiration, I think the recipes that truly intrigue me are from the chefs who viewed such paintings as Raoul Dufy’s The Basket and Mary Cassatt’s Afternoon Tea Party, let their imaginations run wild and came up with what might have been in the basket or what Cassatt might served at her Tea Party. 

Pablo Picasso’s Le Gourmet was the inspiration for Nancy Silverton’s Butterscotch Sauce that would make a delicious topping for a bread pudding or a dish of Blue Bell’s Homemade Vanilla ice cream. To make the sauce, combine 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 ½ tablespoons light corn syrup, and 2 ½ tablespoons Scotch whisky in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, swirling the pan occasionally until the mixture just begins to smoke and turns an amber color.  Meanwhile, place 1 ¼ cup heavy (whipping) cream in another large saucepan, split a vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scrape its seeds into the and then add the pod.  Add 1 cup of butter and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and set aside until needed.

When the sugar mixture reaches the proper color, immediately stop its cooking by whisking in the cream mixture in small amounts, waiting a few seconds between additions to prevent it from boiling over.  Once all the cream mixture is incorporated, simmer the sauce for 5 minutes.  Whisk in ½ cup of butter until combined.  The sauce will keep for several weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  To reheat, place the sauce in a bowl over simmering water.  If desired, add some toasted pecans or add a dash of sea salt to taste, and wow, you have got something really yummy going on there. 




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