Tasty Tuesday–Beast Craft BBQ: Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Beast Craft BBQ currently has a delicious winter special on the menu…buttermilk fried chicken!

This item is a staple on the menu at Beast Southern Kitchen & BBQ, and I’m happy that they’ve temporarily brought it over to the original Belleville location. It’s not your basic fried chicken, because it’s dusted with creole spices, which give it a delicious kick. The breading was perfectly crunchy…it didn’t get soggy on its journey from the restaurant to our house. And I love that they put a piece of white bread under the chicken to catch the spices and the drippings. The plate comes with four pieces of chicken, plus two sides, and of course if you’re smart one of those should be Beast’s amazing sprouts with pork belly, but there are plenty of other options, too (we especially love the bacon mac). I love seeing the new ideas the Beast family comes up with at all of their locations (check out their sandwich pop-up in the Grove, a perfect example of how they’re rolling with the punches and thinking creatively to make the best of a rough time for restaurants!), and I can’t wait to see what hits the menu next!

Tasty Tuesday–Cooking Through a Pandemic, the Eleventh Month

This is the penultimate month of a year of pandemic cooking. I certainly didn’t intend to do this for an entire year, but I also had no idea what a pandemic would look like or how long it would last when I began.

I guess after the last wrap-up, which was full of holiday meals, this one is pretty tame. We did celebrate a birthday and Burns Night in the last month-plus, and had a few family favorite dinners along the way, too.

Of course there wasn’t as much baking as last time, but we still made quite a few treats, including our traditional Epiphany baklava, a birthday truffle tower, and an amazing white chocolate lemon cheesecake:

Next month, I’ll finish up this year of pandemic cooking…I’ll probably cheat a bit, and wait until closer to the end of month to wrap things up, to make sure both of our family’s March birthdays get included in the summary!

Tasty Tuesday–Burns Night Supper

Yesterday was one of my favorite lesser-known holidays…Burns Night! While we don’t celebrate the famed Scottish poet every year, it is always a day we look forward to it when we do celebrate it. Since you can’t really get haggis in America (and I’m not sure I could get everyone here to try it even if you could!), our Burns Night Supper is always cock-a-leekie pie according to the recipe used by The Scottish Arms restaurant in St. Louis, as it appeared in Sauce magazine. I was feeling a little extra fancy this year, so I used cookie cutters to give the puff pastry a wintry twist:

Our traditional Burns Night dessert is always sticky toffee pudding, made according to the Schlafly recipe…with apologizes to Robert Burns, I think this is the “Great Chieftain o’ the Puddin’-race!” The cake is so popular, I’ve also made it for birthdays in the past!

What fun and unusual holidays do you like to celebrate?

Tasty Tuesday–Eggnog

I know…Christmas is over. And I know…eggnog can be kind of controversial. It seems you either love it or you hate it. But here, we love it. I’ve made it several times since Christmas because we enjoy it so much. Over the past few years, I’ve tried to perfect my recipe, and I think I’ve finally got it just the way I want it.

  • 4 cups milk
  • 10 whole cloves (more if you like the taste of cloves as much as I do!)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 12 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups cream
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg

Combine milk, cloves, 1 tsp. vanilla, and cinnamon in a saucepan, and heat over lowest setting for 5 minutes. Raise heat and slowly bring milk mixture to a boil.

In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk until fluffy. Slowly whisk hot milk mixture into the eggs. Pour back into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, or until thick. Do not allow to boil. Strain to remove cloves, and let cool for about 1 hour.

Stir in cream, 2 tsp. vanilla, and nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight.

Tasty Tuesday–A Look Back at Festive Feasts and Holiday Baking

I often take a look back at the holiday baking I did from Thanksgiving through Epiphany; this year, I thought it would be fun to look back at all of the holiday meals and treats we’ve enjoyed, starting with Thanksgiving dinner:

We had our pick out dinner on Christmas Day this time:

And our fancy Christmas dinner on the Sunday after Christmas:

Of course we had our traditional New Year’s Eve hot chocolate bar:

And a special New Year’s Day dinner to start the new year right:

And finally, our Ryan’s Birthday/Epiphany feast:

On to the baking. There were pies for Thanksgiving:

And several cakes throughout the season, for St. Nicholas Day, Santa Lucia Day, Jesus’ Birthday, the fancy Christmas dinner, and New Year’s Day:

We baked so many Christmas cookies!

And an obligatory “other” section, for things like lussekattes, coffee cake, and even some special holiday beverages:

I put in a little extra effort this year, to make up for the fact that we couldn’t go anywhere or do most of our normal Christmas activities. In the end, I think we’ll have a lot of delicious memories from this holiday season!

Tasty Tuesday–Cooking Through a Pandemic, the Tenth Month

This has been a good month for cooking! We’ve had some favorite meals and some special meals, and we even had two different dinners from Portillo’s, because this time when I ordered our Italian beef and sausage combo I added in an order of tamales (totally delicious, and we have enough left in the freezer for another meal!). I’ll admit I was a little worried about being able to find everything I needed for all of our culinary traditions, but while I did have to enter a few more stores than I would have preferred, in the end I found everything that was necessary.

We also baked all of the things. I’m shocked there are any baking supplies left in our town. The kitchen still smells vaguely like a bakery!

And a few special beverages for the holidays…hot chocolate from our New Year’s Eve hot chocolate bar, wassail (which I’ve made a few times in the last two months), and homemade eggnog, which is a real treat!

You’d think that would be the end of fancy meals for a while, but Ryan’s birthday is tomorrow, so we’ll have at least one more special dinner in the next month!

Tasty Tuesday–Cooking Through a Pandemic, the Ninth Month

Well, the holiday season is upon us, so not only is this a look back at the food I’ve been cooking over the last month or so, but also our first meals of the 2020 holiday season…Thanksgiving and its leftovers! We also got to try out the newest concept from Beast Craft BBQ, Beast Southern Kitchen and BBQ, which was a nice treat, and a nice break for me!

Of course a main feature of the holidays is baking. We’ve not only made our weekly cookies, but also a fleet of pies for Thanksgiving! Oh, and a pumpkin roll for Saint Nicholas Day:

The best holiday meals are yet to come, and all of our Christmas baking!

Tasty Tuesday…on a Sunday–Beast Southern Kitchen & BBQ

I wouldn’t normally post a “Tasty Tuesday” on a Sunday, but today is a very special Sunday, because the newest concept from Beast Craft BBQ, Beast Southern Kitchen and BBQ, is opening in Columbia, IL today! We were fortunate enough to carry out a meal on Friday night, and their new selection of items is quite impressive.

I had the pickle-brined fried chicken sandwich and fries. They use thigh meat for their chicken sandwich, which I thought was a genius twist on the normal fried breast meat. Beast’s signature, amazing house pickles were served on the sandwich, along with a dill aioli and butter lettuce. We all know how delicious pickle-brined chicken is right? But the batter on the chicken was also excellent, and it was an outstanding sandwich!

We also tried the pimento cheese dip, which is served with fresh biscuits. The biscuits were amazing, and the dip was beyond delicious…the addition of blistered tomatoes to a familiar, comforting dish really elevated it to a whole new level!

As long as I was already splurging, I also had a piece of their bourbon pecan pie for dessert. It includes…are you ready for this?…candied bacon! It was the best piece of pecan pie I’ve ever had. I even liked the crust, and I’m notorious for hating pie crust!

Here’s a look at some of the other entrees our family tried…the cornbreaded catfish, the crispy pork belly and grits, the pimento cheeseburger, and the chicken po’ boy. (Not pictured are a couple of the extra sides we ordered, including collard greens and mashed potatoes and gravy.) I sampled a lot (but not all) of the meals, and everything was in keeping with Beast’s high standards. Everyone loved the items they picked (with five children, there’s no guarantee that all the dishes will be a home run, but they were!), and we were definitely all full by the end of dinner!

I can’t wait until the day we can actually dine in at the restaurant for the full experience!

Tasty Tuesday–Spiced Buttermilk Waffles

We have made A LOT of waffles this year. Right now, one of our favorite kinds is a spiced waffle of my invention (more or less). It’s the perfect warm treat for a cool fall day!

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. hawaij (if you can’t find this spice blend, you can mix and measure from 1 Tbsp. ground ginger, 1 Tbsp. ground cardamom, 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. ground cloves and 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon…this blend is also great in coffee!)
  • 2 c. buttermilk
  • 1/3 c. melted butter
  • 2 lightly beaten eggs
  • 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla

Whisk dry ingredients in large bowl. Mix wet ingredients, and then slowly incorporate into dry ingredients until just blended. Cook according to waffle iron instructions.

Tasty Tuesday–Basic Fried Rice

I’m no expert on Chinese food, but I do know what kind of fried rice I like, and I’ve been trying to replicate my favorite fried rice for almost two decades now. I’m not claiming it’s authentic, but it is tasty, and it reminds me of the restaurant I used to like to eat at before it closed!

  • 3-4 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 5 green onions, chopped, white and green parts separated
  • 1/2 cup julienne carrots
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups cold cooked long-grain rice
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce (or to taste)

Heat a large heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over high heat. When hot add 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Add the diced onion to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until onion is fragrant Add the garlic, ginger, white part of green onions, and carrots and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl.

Return the pan to the heat and add 1 Tbsp. of oil. Add the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Scramble eggs until almost set, then add to vegetables in bowl. Break the eggs up with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Return the pan to the heat and add 1 Tbsp. oil. Add the rice to the pan and use a spoon to break up any clumps. Season with salt and pepper and stir-fry the rice to coat evenly with oil, adding an additional Tbsp. of oil if necessary. Stop stirring, and then let the rice cook undisturbed until its gets slightly crispy, about 2 minutes. Stir the rice again, breaking up any new clumps. Add the remaining green onions, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Transfer to the bowl. Stir all the ingredients together with the rice, taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve.