No Fail Recipes

Month: November 2015

Foods of the Deep South

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Butter. Boom. Now you understand a little something about the Deep South. Deep-fried butter. Bo- um no. That is just a little too far.

The point is, when a chef from the deep south decides to cook, she means it. There’s no dilly-dallying with fat and sugar reduction and certainly no one is going to start reducing the salt and flavor. Cuisine from the Deep South reflects that time when food was about family, comfort and slow-cooked loving.

Before delving into the delights of cuisine from the deep south let’s break down what exactly the Deep South is. The Deep South refers to the south and eastern portion of the United States. Although there is some debate about which states actually compose the actual Deep South, the area definitely encompasses Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana.

Deep South cuisine is heavily influenced by cuisines from around the world including a heavy dose of Acadian which itself is a mix of French, Native American, African., etc.. In addition to influences from around the world is the influence of what exactly is available locally.

Foodstuffs like corn and squash play heavily in meals as they are available in abundance locally.

Local dishes include:

Chicken Fried Steak

This particular concoction represents a whole lot of Deep South decadence. So you feel like eating chicken and you feel like eating steak, so what do you do? If you’re in the south you do up your steak like you do up your chicken to get the best of both worlds. That means you breed your steak and then deep-fry it as you would chicken Typically the cuts used for chicken fried steak are round or chuck steak. The steak is served with a creamy gravy on top.


This flavorful stew has characteristics of similar dishes coming from Spain as well as France. Jambalaya is a delicious combination of meat, rice, stock and seafood. The Creole version of the dish includes tomatoes while the Cajun version doesn’t. The combination of ingredients in a jambalaya can differ from cook to cook which makes it one great way to utilize all sorts of ingredients you have in your refrigerator. Jambalaya is viewed as a hearty dish to enjoy in large gatherings. Its delicious flavors are a result of a slow cooking process and a little Southern cooking finesse.

Collard Greens

This super green dish is quite popular thanks to it being locally grown and fairly easy to cook (you can make it hard if you want to). Collard greens are often combined with other greens like turnip greens or spinach as well as some sort of animal protein like ham. They are cooked up stovetop and served often with other delicious dishes like the aforementioned chicken fried steak. By the way, collard greens are a great source of Vitamin K and C aas well as a good source of fiber so that’ll help you balance that chicken steak out.


This delicious speciality is about as Southern as you can get. Okra is not native to the US. The vegetable was likely brought to the United states some time in the 19th century. The veggie grows amply in Asia and in the Middle East and also made its way to Africa several hundred years ago. The popularity of okra today is linked to the south’s strong African roots. One of the most popular ways to eat this viscose veggie is by rolling is by dipping it in batter and frying it up – almost like an okra fry. In fact deep-fried okra can be found at many restaurants in the South. Another popular way to eat the dish is in the French-African dish gumbo which is a stew that often features okra.

Chicken and Dumplings

A mainstay on Southern menus, both at home and when dining out, chicken and dumplings is a simple but hearty dish.

Chicken is boiled in spiced water, once cooked the chicken is removed and and strips of dough made from flour, shortening and water (or milk)are dropped into the same water. These two hearty items are plated together for the chicken and dumplings traditional dish.

It is believed the dish has French roots. Today the chicken is often boiled with onions and celery while traditional versions would’ve had no veggies at all.

Fried Green Tomatoes

These guys are exactly what they sound like, fried green tomatoes are unripe tomatoes coated and fried. The Southern Fried Green Tomato is often coated in cornmeal although flour will do when necessary. Thanks to this particular dish, lovely tomatoes that didn’t get a chance to ripen due to chilly weather have been given a home on dining plates. However, due to the popularity of this dish, the green tomatoes that are served up today are often purposefully picked ahead of schedule. A green tomato is sturdier than its red counterpart which means it is far easier to coat and fry. Plus the tartness of a green tomato goes particularly well with a crunchy, fried exterior (some would say).


If you don’t a slice of delicious cornbread accompanying your southern-style meal, you’re being cheated. Cornbread is as southern a staple as you can get. Cornbread, as the name suggests, is bread made from cornmeal. Corn is plentifully grown in the region with Native Americans incorporating corn meal into their cuisines prior to European settlers arriving. It is believe it was the local Native American tribes that first introduced cornmeal to the settlers. The settlers then used the cornmeal in dishes that would have traditionally used flour – and there we have the beginnings of cornbread. Cornbread can be made in a variety of ways including the traditional baking method as well as steaming or the particularly popular skillet version.

Southern Food clearly sautees to its own tune. The flavors found in Southern dishes don’t shy away from bold nor do dishes shy away from fat and creaminess. If you’re looking with food with comfort that you can serve family style than southern cooking is where it’s at. The simplicity of cooking methods as well as simplicity in techniques by no means equals simplicity in flavor. You’ll have to go South to find out – and if you can get a seat at a Mama’s table – you’ll be hooked.

History of Chile

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Some anonymous Mexican poet said, “There is only one thing as sizzling, red and hot as my beloved maiden’s lips and that is Mexican chili.” Well, there is no denying that chilies can be placed in the category of hot and sexy, perhaps like that lovely maiden’s lips but the Mexican connection is questionable.

While you may have some friends from Mexico who like to share the story about how Mexico brought chilli to America, next time you hear it, you should interject. As far as chili is concerned, Mexico can certainly not take the credit.

Well, then who takes the credit? From where this sizzling spice that we use every now and then, was first used? How it became a part of the diverse cuisines from the south to the north of Americas? How it was welcomed in different areas and what is the chili’s unique relationship with that specific part? I promise that if you keep reading, by the end of this article you will get answers to all such questions. So take a chili pill and see where it takes you.

What is Chili’s homeland?

While chili lovers were always available in the world, even before the time when historians cared to write about this spice, each and every one of them would love to declare his homeland as the birthplace of Miss. Chili. You think that the Mexicans are so proud in this respect? Ask some Indian man and he would say that Chili and India are almost inseparable. He would explain how chili is in his blood, in the wind that blows there, in the waters that flow and in their folklore. Yes, this reminds of The Mistress of Spices, but Indians are not alone to claim the guardianship of chili. Ask some Chinese and he would tell you how Chili and Sichuan are two parts of a one entity.

However, as simple as this question might appear, its answer is not simple at all. One of the main reasons why it is very difficult to answer this question is the thousands of years old existence of Chili. Chili actually took birth before the history and history can hardly tell us that this amazing spice which is the “most wanted” spice of the world is almost 6000 to 7000 years old. The traces of chili are found in the South America. While Mexico can only be a wild guess, but there are some other very important places like Ecuador, Peru or Bolivia. Chili simply does not leave any reliable traces in Mexico, although historians believe that it is actually in Mexico that Chili took birth.

While some researches prove that the first use of Chili was made in Mexico and it was awkwardly used not as a spice in some ancient Mexican cuisine, but it was used to make a beverage. Hmm! Chili beer! Care to take a sip? However, there are some other researchers who insist that Mexico is not the home of Miss. Chili, but actually took birth in the mountains of Bolivia and Brazil. Such chili historians are unable to prove whether after the birth Miss. Chili decided to take Brazilian nationality or the Bolivian. Judging from Luciana Zogbi’s looks, I bet that Chili was one of her ancestors. However, sooner and not later, through birds and humans, chili spread throughout the South America.

How chili became part of American food?

As it has been mentioned earlier, in some parts of Mexico chili was used to make spicy beverages. However, because the human beings were evolving they decide to make chili a thing for dinner. Perhaps the mustard or spicy sauce that you like today with your beef burger, is the granddaughter of chili. Chili was actually used as a part of some ancient Mexican sauce. Considering her usefulness, since the very beginning of her culinary career Miss. Chili was not only used as a food ingredient, but it was also used for pharmaceutical and even ritual purposes.

Now, next time when your Indian friend tries to brag about how ‘holy’ chili is to them, tell him that had Christopher Columbus not have taken birth, they would have never tasted the silly chili. Yes, it is true. Indians should know that to them Columbus was not only the discoverer of America, but of chili too. He met chili on his way and declared that it was also a pepper: how genius, I would have declared it sugar. So, how chili reached India? It is interesting. It went from Spanish merchants to Portuguese merchants to the Indian ports. Vasco de Gama takes the credit!

Coming back to how chili gradually became part of the American cuisine, we have to go back to Mexico. Although we refuse to accept the Mexican claim that chili is their national, we only accept their claim just as much as that of almost all South America. However, one dish that is particularly mentioned when it comes to the origin and use of chili, is the Chili Corn Carne. This is a Mexican dish and it mainly relies on meat and chili.

Talking of Chili Corn Carne, I cannot help but mention its US variation, and that is Vegetarian chili. As the name suggests, it is a vegetarian food. Then there is Chili Verde, which is a New Mexican delicacy, and it takes too much pork as well as too much chili. Chili is actually very famous in Southern states of the USA; it is the official dish of Texas too.

Coming back to Mexico, we should not forget an old chili delicacy and that is Tex-Mex cuisine. Tex-Mex is simply native-foreign food and it is made of chili. While it was made in Native American lands, the idea was foreign and this gave it its unique name. If I am to mention some relatively new chili delicacies, I will obviously recommend the Cincinnati chili, which is just a variation of the Texas chili. However, it is cooked a bit differently and it is topped with chopped onion and red kidney beans. Amazing! Huh! If you love some more, try Original San Antonio Chili or Joe Cooper’s Chili.

While there are many chili delicacies that we are sure about, something that we cannot be sure about is the true homeland of Miss. Chili. So, if you ask again where is she from, it would be such a chili question.

The Best Salmon Ever

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Best Salmon EverEven for the most die-hard of meat-eaters the salmon packs a fatty, flavorful punch that makes it a truly viable choice for a bite with boom. Popular salmon species include Chinook salmon, Sockeye Salmon and Atlantic salmon.

Salmon is one of the more succulent fishes you can enjoy; it even has various cuts like steak. In fact, you can actually purchase salmon steak. Additionally filets of salmon and whole salmon are also popular for cooking and consumption. Especially salmon caught during a recreational fishing expedition can be a satisfying meal in more ways than one.

Besides the fulfillment of having sourced the food yourself, there is a whole different level of enjoyment having cooked the fish over a makeshift grill using a portable propane tank for fuel and sharing it with your co-adventurers! Just be sure to have your fishing gear and bait ready as well as the cookware and fuel (you can even save on propane delivery this way) stocked beforehand.

Mega my Omega

Yep, if you want an omega you got all kinds of omega in salmon. The fish is an Omega-3 powerhouse, one of the best food sources available to us. Omega-3 fats are the good kind of fat that we need but don`t actually produce in the body. Studies have indicated that Omega-3 is particularly beneficial for mental health by way of encouraging the production of dopamine and serotonin. You could read more about the benefits of Omega-3 on sites like Clean Wellness.

In fact, the human brain and eyes are composed of a large amount of Omega-3.

The Best Grilled Salmon Ever

So what`s the best way to get the best grilled salmon ever. Well we’re going to share that with you right now. First we’ll start off with grilling a cut of salmon and then we’ll move on to cooking the whole darn caboodle.

Step 1

For the good of the environment and to show kindness to your body, make sure you purchase wild salmon. Farming salmon is an unsustainable practice and pools of farmed salmon can lead to disease in the fish population which of course is not something you want to partake in consuming.

Step 2

When buying salmon cuts, it is best to stick to salmon with the skin on. Leaving the skin on the salmon helps in preventing it from sticking to your grill and can also ensure that the whole thing doesn`t fall apart.

Step 3

Your optimum heat level for your grill is medium-high, this keeps it high enough to prevent sticking but also ensures you get a slower heat so you can a nice, evenly grilled fish. For a piece of salmon that is 1″ thick you’ll need approximately 10 mins. of cooking time with a flip halfway through.

Step 4

The salmon is a smart piece of fish and that`s why you don`t need to pick and prod at it as it is cooking. Just let it cook and after 5 mins. you can gently give it a little push to see if it comes off the grill on its own. A fish that is ready to be turned over will easily slide off the grill.

The Whole Fish

Step 1

Select your salmon and have your butcher gut and clean it for you (or you can do it yourself, but it will get messy if you’re a newbie).

Step 2

Lightly oil your grill grates and preheat your grill at medium high.

Step 3

Prepare your fish by stuffing it with herbs and butter or lemon and then rub the whole fish with good quality oil like coconut or extra virgin olive oil.

Step 4

Make three or four diagonal cuts into the skin of your fish so that it has some give as it cooks.

Step 5

Place your whole fish on the grill and cook until 10 mins. are up, then nudge the fish slightly to see if it comes up off the grill on its own. If it comes off the grill easily then flip it over and cook for another 10 mins. You can gently touch the fish with your finger to see if it is firm, if it is all firm this means it is cooked, but if it’s slightly jiggly then it needs more cooking.


There are numerous reasons to add fish into your diet or make it a more prominent part of your weekly dinner action. Salmon is a particularly great fish thanks to all those omegas as well as the sensory satisfaction it can provide to the meatiest of meat eaters.

Wine Pairing Basics

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Oh to have such troubles as choosing the right libation with the right vittles, this surely is a trifle of the modern world.

That’s enough of waxing poetic, the truth of the matter is that wine is great and food is great, but the manner in which you’re supposed to put the two together can be a downright mysterious. If you continue reading, you can learn to understand some of the basic pairings, if some of these pairings you’ve never tried before, perhaps take a look at something like this GraysOnline wine delivery or alternative wine delivery services and look to purchase some wines you so you’re able to test some untried wine and food pairings.

Well, you’re in luck, because we’re going to unravel that mystery and by the end of the article you will wax poetic about the harmony of the perfect grape accent on a cheese vestibule (or something close to that).

Meat Eaters

When you’re eating meat you need something hefty and powerful to balance out the flavors. A Beaujolais is one of those few wines that will fit the bill across a variety of meat dishes.

Going into particulars you’re going to want wines that are low in tannins like Beaujolais or Dolcetto.

On the flip side if you’re eating steak you can take in some tannin and enjoy the boldness. You’re going to find that boldness in a beautiful Bordeaux or Barolo, which after a sip and then a bite will get you humming M’ama Mia.


A simple chicken dish deserves a simple wine that together provides harmony and a settled in feeling. A feathery Chardonnay will give you an almost perfect pairing with chicken every time. The only times you may want to stray is when you get into heavier chicken dishes with creams and fats, in this case you can go with a Merlot or Beaujolais.


Delicate things like other delicate things in life and on the palate. So if you’re enjoying light dishes like a seafood dish you want to pair that with a light wine like a Chablis or an effervescent Pinot Grigio.

Sour Foods

If you’re noshing on something that makes your toes curl in sour ecstasy then take a sip of Sauvignon Blanc to further the good-oh-so-good.

Spicy Foods

If you’re whipping up some spicy Indian or Thai then you’re going to want to balance out all of those sharp (but delicious) flavors with something sweet. A great choice is a Riesling, which has a kiss of sweet with a whole lot of body.

Good ‘ol BBQ

Mesquite, sweet or honey garlic good, whatever you’ve got on the BBQ a Shiraz can handle for sure. Wines that have that special kickback spice note like Shiraz and Malbec are big and bold enough to handle the strong flavors a sweet smoky BBQ can bring. In fact the added spice those wines bring to the table can take your BBQ from ordinary to extraordinary.

Getting Cheesy

We all know about the love affair between wine and cheese, and we also know that some of the couplings are better than others. However, if you choose yourself a dry rose wine – you can’t go wrong. A dry fruit rose wine has just the right dimensions to have flings with all sorts of cheese types and keep them all happy all of the time.

Salty Foods

Bubbles and bubbles can make champagne fun enough to drink on its own, but when you pair this sweet treat with something salty … well Hello!

Sparkling wines always have sweet undertones which is why pairing them with a cut of cheese is just about the best way to accent their flavor and enjoy the bounty on your tongue.

Sweet Foods

And to end off your meal you are going to want a sweet celebration of all that was had and all that is going to ensue. Desserts are paired best with complex wines that provide just the right balance of sweet to accent your post meal dish.

Muscats are particularly lovely with dessert as are Madeiras and this may be a surprise but a Riesling doesn’t fare too badly either.

Food and Wine Basics

Although you may not be registering in a Sommelier school near you anytime soon, the information you’re now armed with will give you a head up on anyone else anywhere you go.

Although there are numerous other wines to explore, these basics we’ve provided in this introduction to wine basics will give you a perfect foothold in this little world of the perfect sip’n bite.

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