Tuesday, November 30, 2010

BlogHer Food 2010 - Day 1: The Sessions

The InterContinental San Francisco

Finally, with all of the holiday posting over with - back to the conference! So let me tell you... despite only having the one small glass of wine {or was it two?}, did I sleep hard the night after the Deen Brothers event!  My flight the morning of my arrival day before had been at 6:00 a.m. which means I had to leave the house around 4ish for the airport, which means basically I tossed and turned all night and didn't sleep but maybe 2 hours max. Once I hit the bed at the hotel, I crashed.  By the way, I use one of those sleep machines at night and yes, it travels with me.  If you are bothered by extraneous noises from noisy hotel guests and slamming doors when you travel, you might want to check this baby out - I love it!

Registration started early Friday at 7:00 a.m. and breakfast was at 8:30 a.m.  I got up, showered and headed downstairs to register, received my lanyard, and a copy of the conference guide that included the agenda, session track details and a map. We also received a big, fat swag bag that was already packed full of goodies, but was intended to collect more products, promotional samples, and coupons from sponsors located in the ballroom foyer and side rooms. There were great sponsors - the likes of Kraft, Athenos, Philadephia Cream Cheese, Cas Cal, Pepperidge Farm, Scharffen Berger, Cuties, Nature's Path Organic, Nutella, Stacy's and Underwriters Laboratory.

Best I can remember, breakfast was a collection of typical continental type fare - croissants and bagels, yogurt, fruit, that sort of thing, and of course, coffee, which, in the absence of bacon and eggs, was really all my jet-lagged self was remotely interested in this first day! Note to the conference organizers - how about at least some scrambled eggs and bacon next year? Just sayin'...

By the way, if I were going to pinpoint a typical style of dress for the conference, I have to say fairly casual to business casual was the norm. I actually wore blue jeans one day and black jeans another with business casual blouses, and reserved the dressier slacks for the parties. A few people broke out the off-the-shoulder stuff and sparkly clothing for the parties, but most folks were dressed pretty casual and comfortable even for those.

This first day, following breakfast, there was a 30-minute welcome from the founders of BlogHer, three full sessions, each an hour and 15 minutes long, with break-outs in between for demonstrations and samplings by the sponsors, lunch and two keynotes, one during lunch and one after the last session and before the BlogHer/Food Fete Welcome Party finale in the evening.  It was definitely a full day.

I really liked the way that they designed the sessions along a group of tracks. There were no pre-session sign-ups, so you could follow one track completely through the entire conference, or you could mix and match tracks. In fact, the setting was pretty casual so that if you found yourself in a session you maybe didn't care for much, you could walk out of that one and right into another one at any point. There were four tracks - Values, Visuals, Vocation and Voice, each led by a moderator along with 3 to 4 experienced bloggers who were asked questions both by the moderator and the audience.
  • The Values track dealt with topics concerning food safety and health, blogging ethics, urban farming, and the old school arts of canning, preserving and foraging.
  • Visuals dealt with topics covering food styling, photography, and multimedia.
  • Vocation dealt with the business side of blogging - working with brands and media, search engine optimization, recipe and cookbook writing.
  • Voice dealt with topics representing writing tips, storytelling, social media, and the cultural and geographic elements of a a blog.
It was difficult to decide which tracks to pick - I wanted to attend at least 3 out of every 4 for every session! I won't get into the specifics here (maybe in another post), but I stuck to the straight Vocation track for day one. Session I covered the topic of "How to Stand Out in a Crowded Blogosphere," and was led by Nataya Anderson of Fête & Feast, Marla Meridith of Family Fresh Cooking - who you may also remember as my competitor in the recent POM challenge, Amanda Rettke of I Am Baker, and Carrie Vitt of Deliciously Organic

Session I was followed by the first break-out Demos and Samplings, sponsored by CasCal, makers of a hand crafted, all natural soda. Marketed as an alternative to wine, it is a fermented soda. I tried one and it was interesting - sort of reminded me of a fruity malt liquor in a way, but non-alcoholic. Basically you just wandered from table to table for tastings of product, to watch demonstrations, and take away samples to add to your swag bag if you wanted to.

Lunch was sponsored by Kraft, who fed us choices of pasta, grilled chicken and fish, along with a several varieties from their new line of Philadelphia Cooking Creme sauces - a new product to be released in February 2011. That's my plate and as you see, I had a little taste of all of them. Since I didn't eat breakfast, I was a little bit hungry!
I have read some criticisms about the food around the blogosphere, and heard that some foodies took off to the hills of San Francisco for lunches, skipping out on afternoon sessions to experience San Francisco cuisine and that's fine, but I was there to learn and experience so I wasn't going anywhere! Besides, I'm not much of a food snob and along with the pasta, chicken and fish, there was a very nice soup, a gorgeous salad, with tender baby greens, veggies, grapes and raspberries, an assortment of grilled vegetables and slices of prosciutto with melon, so essentially I was pretty okay with the food.  It was way better than any conference food I've ever had before, and I think I took about a bite of everything offered just about and it was all delicious. There were even separate buffets set up with gluten free selections, and plenty of vegetarian options as well, throughout the conference.

During lunch, there was what they call an Innovative Interview with Dominique Crenn - Chef at Luce Restaurant at the InterContinental, but if you are a fan of Iron Chef America on Food Network, you may recognize her as a challenger who beat Chef Michael Symon. Basically there was a moderator who conducted an interview with Chef Crenn basically about the progression of her career from her home in Vesailles to running the Luce restaurant.

After lunch it was time for Session II.  For me that was "How Bloggers Work with Brands and Media," with Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen, Georgia Pellegrini, Anupy Singla from Indian As Apple Pie, and David Leite of Leite's Culinaria.  This session led directly into Session III, which for me was "Beginner Level Search Engine Optimization," led by Stephanie Stiavetti of Wasabi Mon and Stephanie Manley of CopyKat Recipes. Both sessions, like the first, were informative and I enjoyed them.

Course there was great wine everywhere to be tasted - it is wine country after all - but one of the most popular cocktails at break out were the Clemen'thyme Sparkles. Made by Chef Kathy Casey they contained Cuties - California mandarin oranges - plus fresh lemon, vodka, a bit of fresh thyme, and a splash of champagne. They were mighty fine, I tell ya! Check out the recipe at the bottom of this post.

The final keynote of the day was another Innovator Interview, this time with Aida Mollencamp star of the Food Network Show Ask Aida (I watch her all the time). She seemed a bit uncomfortable and kinda nervous to me. Isn't it funny how you think somebody like that who is on television and doing all these public things to be a total natural in front of a crowd and turns out often they are as shy as the rest of us?  I guess being on a stage in front of a bunch of folks staring at you is a little unsettling for anybody. To be honest, I really didn't get a lot out of either one of the Innovator Interviews - I guess because I don't see becoming an Executive Chef or Multimedia Mogul Food Network Star anywhere in my future, and had I known that, I would've likely just skipped the keynotes altogether, though it was nice to have the break to settle down a bit from brain overload.

After the closing keynote for the day there was just enough time to run upstairs, freshen up and change clothes to head across the street to Élan for the BlogHer/Food Fête Welcome Party. Now this was really foodie fun. Three solid floors of tasting and samplings from all kinds of food vendors, we were instructed to start at the top and work our way downstairs. Silly me, I didn't bring my swag bag, so I basically walked out with just a few things in my hands - cookies mostly for midnight snacking later.

After the Welcome Party, I had to high-tail it back across the street to meet up with some other bloggers and a few folks from ZipList who were treating us to dinner.  ZipList is a free shopping list management tool that you can compile from your favorite recipes. To see it in action check out the recipes on Martha Stewart's website!

Instead of catching a cab we took a very brisk stroll across a couple of city blocks, which frankly I was not too crazy about. I may be a small town girl but I know that big city downtown transforms into something totally different when the sun goes down! But there's safety in numbers so I felt a little bit okay with it.  We finally arrived at Mint Plaza, a small area of restaurants and bars in downtown San Francisco

We ate at the French restaurant, Chez Papa.  I'll be honest with ya. It was a nice place, but far too packed, way too hot, dark and so noisy, that it was impossible to even have a decent conversation at this restaurant.  We sat in the very back where you see that big shell colored headboard looking backdrop on the wall.  I wish I could remember the exact description from the menu, but I had the fish, which on this night it was a sautéed Cod, on melted leeks, with an amazing butter sauce. It was delicious, though the fish was a little on the cool side and the leeks were stringy.  Ah well, not the best food experience for a visit to San Francisco, but the company was nice and the staff at the restaurant were very attentive.

Again, I didn't know any of the other bloggers who had been invited to the dinner previously, so it was nice meeting them - well briefly anyway given the darkness and the noise level of the restaurant. Invited were Tricia from Once a Month Mom, Kathy from Panini Happy, Maris of In Good Taste and Vanessa of ChefDruck Musings.  {I'm sure I've missed somebody.} After the meal, most everybody took off for some other commitment and the restaurant emptied a bit, so it got quiet enough that those couple of us left there were able to at least talk a few minutes before the trek back to the hotel. That was kinda interesting.

As we passed the Old Mint building on 5th Street, there were obvious homeless folks making their spots on the wide stairs for the night.  They shouted at everyone on the street, and some just to themselves it seemed, but I followed the lead of our fearless leaders, kept my eyes straight ahead and walked quickly by. It made me sad though. We have our own homeless in the south of course, but they are generally not so bold or vocal and pretty much keep to themselves hidden in the wooded areas rather than out in the public.

Got back to the hotel, got ready for bed, and hit the sack, exhausted again. What a full day!  Here's that cocktail I told you about.

By the way, I haven't tested all the links here yet, so let me know if any of them aren't working!

Clemen'thyme Sparkle
Courtesy Cuties

1 large sprig of fresh thyme
1-1/2 ounces of vodka
1-3/4 ounces of Cuties Citrus Mix (recipe below)
Splash of champagne or sparkling wine
Small sprigs of fresh thyme and wedges of Cuties, for garnish

Drop the thyme into a shaker; add the citrus mix and vodka and fill the shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into martini glass, topping with a splash of champagne. Garnish if desired.

Cuties Citrus Mix:

1/4 cup of hot water
1/4 cup of local honey
5 Cuties, juiced (about 6 tablespoons juice)
1/2 cup of lemon juice

In a pitcher, mix the honey with the hot water until dissolved. Add remaining ingredients and refrigerate for up to 5 days.  Makes enough mix for about 6 drinks.

Non-alcoholic:  Use the mix on the rocks with a splash of soda water.

For more recipes visit Cuties on the net
Follow Cuties on Facebook

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Homemade Comeback Thousand Island Dressing

Iceberg wedge salad with Homemade Comeback Thousand Island Dressing and garnished with thin slices of red onion, sliced grape tomatoes, chopped pimentos and crumbled bacon.
Iceberg wedge salad with Homemade Comeback Thousand Island Dressing and garnished with thin slices of red onion, sliced grape tomatoes, chopped pimentos and crumbled bacon.

Homemade Comeback Thousand Island Dressing

I'm guessing that just about every southerner has a recipe in their recipe box for Thousand Island Dressing - and every one of them just a little bit different.  It's a pretty simple dressing really - just a mix of mayonnaise, add in some ketchup or chili sauce, throw in some chopped sweet pickles or pickle relish and a bit of chopped egg and you'll have a perfectly fine Thousand Island dressing.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Turkey Bone Thanksgiving Gumbo - Turkey Carcass Gumbo

A delicious gumbo made from the carcass of the holiday turkey.

Turkey Bone Thanksgiving Gumbo

Turkey bone gumbo, Thanksgiving gumbo or Turkey Carcass Gumbo - no matter the name you use, it is a great way to transform at least one of your Thanksgiving leftovers into a whole 'nother meal, by extracting every ounce of flavor from that holiday bird. While everybody is busy traveling and gathering for the big feast on Thanksgiving, I wanted to remind you not to toss that turkey carcass after your Thanksgiving feast!

And by the way, once all the feasting is over, pop back by here and check out my list of Thanksgiving leftover recipes too. You're bound to find something to transform those leftovers into something else your family will be happy to gobble down.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bourbon Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Fresh sweet potatoes baked in a cane syrup and brown sugar, bourbon glaze.
Fresh sweet potatoes baked in a cane syrup and brown sugar, bourbon glaze.

Bourbon Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Here in The Deep South, we absolutely love our sweet potatoes. And we love our cane syrup. Oh yeah, and our bourbon. You'll find it expressed in an awful lot of recipes, especially around the holidays, so it's no surprise that we love our sweet potatoes glazed with a syrupy bourbon too. For us down along this way, that's most often made using Steen's pure cane syrup, a well loved and local favorite from Louisiana.

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Top 10 Turkey Tips - How to Open Roast a Turkey Perfectly

Top 10 Turkey Tips - How to Open Roast a Turkey Perfectly

Top 10 Turkey Tips - How to Open Roast a Turkey Perfectly

This time of year it's all about the turkey, or more importantly, not only how to roast a turkey, but how to roast a turkey perfectly so that it's at it's most juicy, tender perfection. Here are some of my favorite tips to help you achieve the perfect turkey.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

7 Top Tips to Perfect Your Holiday Dressing

My top tips to perfect your holiday dressing or stuffing.

How to Perfect Your Holiday Dressing

The perfect dressing, or stuffing... however you look at it, can be a bit elusive, and to be honest it just takes practice to get it to the consistency that you like. Some people like their dressing on the dry side, others like it almost soupy. Here are some of my favorite dressing tips that I've picked up along my way of practice.

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Stuffing Topped Cheesy Green Bean Casserole

Another great way to enjoy green beans in a casserole is to add a little onion, bacon and cheese and top it off with a stuffing mix!
Another great way to enjoy green beans in a casserole is to add a little onion, bacon and cheese and top it off with a stuffing mix!

Stuffing Topped Cheesy Green Bean Casserole

I remembered seeing this cheesy green bean and stuffing casserole in Kraft's Food & Family magazine a few years back (okay, so I'm slow) and really liked the idea of a stuffing topped green bean casserole. Or, I guess, technically this would be a dressing topped casserole since it's not stuffed into anything.  But, anyway... I thought it'd be a great side dish anytime really, but especially for the holidays, if you are stuffing your turkey and always have that little bit of leftover stuffing. If you have leftovers, it sure would make a fantastic holiday leftovers casserole too!

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Perfectly Cheesy Potatoes au Gratin

Perfect Potatoes au Gratin, made with thinly sliced potatoes in a cheesy dreamy cream sauce.
Perfect Potatoes au Gratin, made with thinly sliced potatoes in a cheesy dreamy cream sauce.

Cheesy Potatoes au Gratin

Hello Scalloped Potatoes, meet the best, perfectly cheesy, Potatoes au Gratin, evah. Ya know, seriously... I am of the opinion that it'd be kinda hard to mess up a dish of potatoes au gratin no matter what you do to them - I mean c'mon now. Potatoes. Cheese. Butter. Cream. Hello. If you're making this for the holidays, you'll want to double the ingredients and do extra layers.

Well, I personally love Julia's way with this classic potato dish, however I decided to play with it a bit. You know. For the holidays. Julia uses Swiss cheese to transform her scalloped potatoes to cheesy au gratin potatoes, but since cheddar is more mainstream in most households, I switched over to cheddar for this one.

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Baked Garlic Cheese Grits with Sausage

A souffle'd casserole of baked grits with cheese and sausage.

Baked Garlic Cheese Grits with Sausage

I love my stovetop version of garlic cheese grits. They are a creamy, cheesy, and perfect garlicky cradle for eggs in purgatory, shrimp and grits, or grillades and grits, or as a tasty side dish, great with scrambled or fried, dirty eggs.  Last week though, we were chatting over on the Facebook page about everybody's favorite way to make a baked, casserole-style cheese grits, like this one; souffle-like and fluffy.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Weekend Cocktails: Hot Buttered Rum

Hot Buttered Rum

Hot Buttered Rum

Hot buttered rum. A warm drink made from butter, brown sugar and a few typical spices - cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice - oh yeah. And rum.

It's a delicious, heartwarming winter drink that is just perfect for the adults over the holidays. Though it is traditionally made with plain water, I thought why not make it with apple cider?

Careful. These go down real smooth, especially on a cold night, but they are rich and with a punch. Enjoy, but drink responsibly!

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Old Fashioned 5 Cup Salad

Five cup salad, and all of its expanded cup versions, is another old fashioned fruit salad that is perfect for any holiday table. A very simple but delicious and well-loved dish.

Old Fashioned 5 Cup Salad

Five Cup Salad is another fruit salad that has been around forever - well, for as long as I can remember anyway - and, while it's good any time of the year, is a great addition to the holiday table too. Many of us will remember it from days gone by in our Mama's and Grandma's kitchens, but as always, there are some variations that have appeared in this fruit salad over the years. Some adding additional cups of various ingredients, some even changing up the fruit, but I think this version represents the old, basic 5 cup salad.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

A thick and creamy soup with all the goodness of a loaded baked potato - bacon, butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese and green onion.
A thick and creamy soup with all the goodness of a loaded baked potato - bacon, butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese and green onion.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

I blame the creation of this Loaded Baked Potato soup recipe on Facebook.  Yep. One day Randy, a reader over there, posted on the wall asking for potato soup recipes so, of course, I gave him links to my Creamy Potato Soup, and my Creamy Cheesy Potato Soup with Bacon. Then, I started thinking... one of those is a shortcut soup and is creamy; the other I used the immersion blender on, so it is also creamy. I really need a chunky potato soup up here on the site.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Homemade Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup Substitute

How to get through the holidays without a can of cream of mushroom soup using a homemade version. 
How to get through the holidays without a can of cream of mushroom soup using a homemade version.

Homemade Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup Substitute

Now if y'all have been reading this recipe site for long, you already know that I am fully endeared to my Campbell's condensed soups and most especially our beloved southern béchamel (that's Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup for those of y'all with a more sophisticated palate). I have several that are pantry staples around here.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Old Fashioned Cherry Coke Salad


This 2010 recipe is currently under revision for updating. While it tastes amazing, it's not setting up well, so I'm retesting it for needed revisions. My apologies for the inconvenience.

Here's the original version as it was posted in 2010 for those who have asked.

Old Fashioned Cherry Coca Cola Congealed Salad
From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish

1 (20 ounce) can of crushed pineapple, drained, but juices reserved
1 (14.5 ounce) can of sweet Bing cherries, drained, but syrup reserved*
About a cup of POM Wonderful Cranberry juice, divided, optional
1 large (8 serving size) cherry flavored Jello
1 (12 ounce) can of chilled Coca-Cola
1/2 cup of chopped pecan, optional
Topping (recipe below), cottage cheese, or sweet salad dressing mayonnaise (like Miracle Whip) for garnish, optional

Drain the cherry syrup and pineapple juices into a 2 cup or larger measuring cup. Set the fruit aside in the refrigerator to chill.

To the fruit juices, add enough POM juice to equal a total of 2 cups of juice. You can substitute Coke, other compatible juices, or even water to make up the full 2 cups. Transfer to a saucepan and bring up to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the Jello powder until fully dissolved. Set mixture aside to cool slightly. Once cooled, pour the chilled coke into the same 2-cup measure. This should be roughly 1-1/2 cups of liquid. Top off with additional POM juice to equal 2 cups. Stir into the Jello mixture and transfer to a bowl. Chill until mixture begins to thicken and jell, about 1-1/2 hours.

Once the gelatin has begun to set, stir in the pineapple, cherries and pecans and return to the refrigerator until fully set. Can also pour into small, prepared individual molds or a larger mold if desired. Allow to fully set for at least 3 to 4 hours - do not stir!

To serve turn out molds onto individual lettuce leaves, or spoon servings into short parfait glasses, or onto leaves of lettuce. Top with a small dollop of the cream cheese topping below, or sweet mayonnaise, such as Miracle Whip, if desired. Homemade mayonnaise is particularly endeared for congealed salads.

IMPORTANT: You must use the canned, sweet Bing cherries in syrup for this recipe. Do not be tempted to substitute the tart version of canned cherries. They are far too tart for this dish. In a pinch, a (10 ounce) jar of bottled maraschino cherries, well drained, can be substituted. Be sure to reserve and use the juice! Chill the fruit cans in advance if you have time - it will help the gelatin to set. Do not use fresh pineapple.

*Can substitute other juices you happen to have on hand in place of the POM juice, additional Coca Cola, or just plain water to equal a total of 4 cups. Some people like to substitute other cold drinks like Dr. Pepper, or Cherry Coke as well. What you want is an overall total of 4 cups of liquid in the end.

Variation: Add 3-ounces of cold cream cheese, cut into small cubes, the same time that you add in the pineapple, cherries and pecans.


1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
to room temperature
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
2 cups of thawed Cool Whip or whipped cream

Cream together the cream cheese and sugar; stir in the Cool Whip or whipped cream, until well combined. Use as a topping for salad.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Southern Chicken and Cornbread Dressing with Homemade Chicken Gravy

Chicken and cornbread dressing in a casserole form and served with homemade gravy is pure comfort food anytime of the year. It's a perfect dish to carry to a potluck or church social too!
Chicken and cornbread dressing in a casserole form and served with homemade gravy is pure comfort food anytime of the year. It's a perfect dish to carry to a potluck or church social too!

Southern Chicken and Cornbread Dressing

I have shared several dressing recipes along the way and I've even had my hissy fit rant about my feelings on the dressing vs. stuffing debate to which, I will reiterate, once again... whatever you grew up with, and what you do in your Southern kitchen, is right, bottom line. It's all good folks, so let's just eat, okay?

I know. I am such a rebel.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Butterball Indoor Electric Turkey Fryer Review

Fried turkey. Inside. In my own kitchen. If I had not done it with my own two hands, I would never have believed it.

Ever had a fried turkey? Well, let me tell you, y'all know how we are with our frying Down South, and believe me, we are fully endeared to our fried turkeys around the holidays. Once you try it, I think you'll be hooked. It gives you a nice, juicy and tender turkey in flat out no time hardly at all.

Frankly, you hear so many stories about turkey fryer disasters, that I was always scared to even try to fry a turkey at home. I settled for putting an order in with one of the many people in my area who fry up massive batches of turkeys to sell to other people over the holidays.

When I was contacted by the folks at Masterbuilt to test drive their Butterball indoor electric turkey fryer, I wondered if I'd heard right. Indoor?  Electric? Turkey fryer? You mean ... like my beloved deep fryer? Well, gotta say, I was intrigued.

So I set out, bought a turkey - it will fry one up to 14 pounds - some peanut oil, and waited for the delivery of the fryer. When the Fedex fella rang the bell, I was excited to see that not only was this a turkey fryer, but it could also act as a steamer and boiler. Woohoo!! We like our seafood boils down here too ya know!

Most conventional turkey fryers take a lot of oil - this Butterball turkey fryer from Masterbuilt actually uses 1/3 of the oil of those conventional fryers, only about 2 gallons. With a built-in drain valve and tap, it's super easy to drain and preserve your oil, and a snap to clean. For smaller jobs, you can also use the fryer with only one gallon of oil.

Now for the stats. The unit uses a porcelain coated inner pot, containing a cooking basket, complete with a handy drain clip, that makes it possible to fry up a variety of other favorite foods too - like doughnuts, French fries, onion rings, and more. The control panel is user-friendly and consists of a digital timer, a red "power" light, a green "ready" light, and a simple control knob for adjusting the thermostat up to 375 degrees F.  There's a fold-away lid with a viewing window, a removable filter, helping to reduce cooking odors, and a pop off storage door for cord and spigot storage.

Check it out yourself!

I decided to fry this first turkey "naked" so to speak, so that I could see exactly how it would turn out without any enhancements.  Well, it was delicious - moist, tender and juicy just like a turkey ought to be - but next turkey up, I am so going for the Cajun Injector to introduce some of that spicy goodness into the turkey.

Yes. I admit it. I was nervous. But this was so easy to use that was very short-lived.

The one important thing you need to do after you thaw the turkey, is to rinse it off with warm water to release any ice crystals. Then let the turkey drain well, and use paper towels to pat it very dry, both inside and out. Once the unit heated up - about 25 minutes or so - and I got that basket carefully eased down into the hot oil and the lid closed, any nervousness subsided. It really was a breeze.

But you really want to see the star don't you?

Can you believe that this 13+ pound turkey only took about 46 minutes to fry?

There is a lifting hook to use to very slowly lower and lift the basket from the oil, and the fryer basket has built-in drain clips allowing you to clip it onto the fryer unit to drain. Once it drained, I transfered the basket to a baking sheet, atop a cooling rack, and just let the turkey cool right in the basket. This turkey was pretty close to the max size for the fryer, so I had to work a butter knife around the edges to work it out, but as you see, it still came out looking pretty good!

I removed both of the breasts and sliced them thick. 

Just look how gorgeous and juicy this white meat is!

Then I deboned the thighs and put them with the turkey legs on a separate platter. Scrumptious!

So, there you are.

Whether gathering the family for a holiday dinner or making a variety of meals to freeze for later, this indoor electric turkey fryer delivers foolproof operation and delicious results - and it can be safely used indoors, right from the convenience of the kitchen counter.  You are just gonna love it.

GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED! Wish I had a couple hundred of these to give away but there is only one - Congratulations to ALICIA! Thanks to the sponsor for providing such a great giveaway and to each of you for such a great level of participation. I appreciate you all for being a part of Deep South Dish!! Keep reading for more fun giveaways.

ONE reader will get their very own Butterball Indoor Electric Turkey Fryer from Masterbuilt!

Plus this "DADGUM That's Good" cookbook, written specifically for the line of Masterbuilt products by John McLemore - that fella up in the video there and co-owner & CEO of the Masterbuilt family business.

The cookbook, intended for use with the Masterbuilt products, includes a foreword by none other than The Queen Paula Deen, who owns and uses several of the Masterbuilt products herself.  It includes recipes like Pork Dumplings, Shrimp Boil, Beignets, Twice Fried Fries, Deep Fried Oreos and Southern Fried Chicken, to name a few.

But... that's not all y'all!

You'll also receive a coupon good toward the purchase of a Butterball turkey!

A fryer, a cookbook and a turkey. Now ya can't beat that with a stick!

Just leave a comment here letting me know how having this turkey fryer will help you out this holiday season. That's it!

Anonymous comments are temporarily on, so while it's okay to comment anonymously to enter, be sure to at least leave me your first name in the comment, and some way to contact you should you be the lucky winner.


The Rules & Legal Stuff:

➮Giveaway closes on Monday, November 15, 2010 at 12:00 noon CST.
➮Open to residents of the United States only please. Must be 18 years of age or older.
➮You must leave an email address in your comment, be linked to a public profile containing your email address, or provide some way for me to contact you, in case you win.
➮You may send me an email if you don't want to post your email address publicly. Please put "Turkey Fryer Giveaway" in the Subject line.
➮The winner will be announced in this post and notified by email and will have 48 hours from the time of that email to reply and claim their win before an alternate winner will be selected. The sooner  you reply, the sooner this turkey fryer can be in your hands!

Good luck!!

Disclosure:  Prize packs and information were all provided to me from Masterbuilt.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chili Spaghetti - Homemade Stovetop Beef Chili with Beans

My homemade beef and bean stovetop chili, served "Cincinnati Style" on a bed of spaghetti noodles and topped with cheese. If you've turned your nose up at this and never tried it, you must try it at least once. I got hooked first bite.
My homemade beef and bean stovetop chili, served "Cincinnati Style" on a bed of spaghetti noodles and topped with cheese. If you've turned your nose up at this and never tried it, you must try it at least once. I got hooked first bite.

Chili Spaghetti

Oh Chili Spaghetti, Chili Spaghetti (or is it Spaghetti Chili?), where oh where have you been all of my life? ♥

I'm gonna tell y'all straight up front before y'all get all over me, that yes, this is a dish stolen straight away from above the Mason-Dixon line. Yep, sure is.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Broccoli and Rice Casserole with Cheese

A well loved casserole of broccoli, rice and cheese, uses canned cheddar cheese soup and cream of mushroom for the sauce and is topped with your favorite shredded cheese.
A well loved casserole of broccoli, rice and cheese, uses canned cheddar cheese soup and cream of mushroom for the sauce and is topped with your favorite shredded cheese.

Broccoli and Rice Casserole with Cheese

Broccoli casseroles, whether alone with cheese, with chicken, or like here with rice and cheese, have been a favorite casserole for potlucks, church suppers, family gatherings and especially holidays for as long as I can remember. Many people like to include Cheez Whiz in their broccoli and rice casserole and certainly you can use that, or even our southern favorite Velveeta as well, but I like to use the canned cheddar cheese soup from Campbell's. It's a pantry staple in my house and is an easy addition. Feel free to sub either of those ingredients if you prefer, or simply increase the amount of shredded cheddar to 2 cups, dividing it as noted in the recipe.

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Corn and Crab Chowder

A nicely seasoned chicken stock based chowder made with a small roux,     sauteed veggies, potatoes, corn, half and half and sweet blue crab.
A nicely seasoned chicken stock based chowder made with a small roux, auteed veggies, potatoes, corn, half and half and sweet blue crab.

Corn and Crab Chowder

We've had a quick shot of wintry weather in The Deep South, for at least a few days anyway, and a good chowder made with corn, crab and a little cream, really hits the spot when that cold weather blows in. It's been such a hot fall that as much as I love them this time of year, thinking about soups, stews and chowders has been hard to do frankly. Leave it to The South to go from beach weather to frost in about 8 hours! Apparently we decided to just pass by fall altogether - gotta love The South! Course, we'll be back to beach weather in no time, which explains why my garden looks like a laundry right now, with sheets and blankets strewn across many of my plants.

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pillsbury Grands Mini Biscuit Topped Mini Chicken Pot Pies

Thanks to MyBlogSpark, I recently had the opportunity to try Pillsbury® Grands!® Frozen Mini Biscuits, the new, tiny freezer-to-oven biscuits from your grocer's freezer case.  Now I love my own homemade biscuits, and I'll be honest. I had never tried these.  Lawdy mercy, they are good!  Fantastic piping hot and straight out of the oven, I loved these. I mean look y'all, seriously.

They are the cutest, tiny little biscuits, about a Southern Belle three-biter, and fluffy on the inside but with that loveable crunch on the outside that we southern cooks are already endeared to, only with a smaller surface area.  Translate:  ♫More crunch y'all!♫

A perfect size for kids, there are countless ways to introduce these to meal time, from miniature ham sandwiches for the kids come lunchtime, to delicious sliders for football or evening entertaining to mini desserts. There are so many ways to make these biscuits and your family will love trying each one, and... with a little built-in portion control (that is if you can manage to resist them!) they can satisfy that biscuit craving at only 70 calories a piece, to help keep you on track with your calorie count.

Soooo, piping hot biscuits aside, I wanted to try and incorporate these mini treasures into a recipe, and remember that chicken stew that I made recently? This my friends, was where that stew was intended to land - topped off with some of these little, mini biscuits for a super easy biscuit topped chicken pot pie!  I love getting multiple meals out of one meal anyway, so how about that - a 3 in 1 meal? Even better.

First, I started with my Garlic Roasted Chicken for meal one. Got a big family? Roast two chickens at one time and once it's cooled down enough, pull the meat off and place it into freezer bags. Love that!  You'll easily have leftovers to make super quick weekday meals like I did with my Easy Chicken Stew for meal two. And last, the leftovers from that stew were turned into a casserole with this Biscuit Topped Chicken Pot Pie for meal three. Love that too!

Now this chicken pie makes a great casserole in a 9 x 9 baking dish, but I thought for those of you out there with little sous chefs running around, the idea of using little mini ramekins to make individual pies might be an appealing treat.  Kids love having their own little individual dishes, and these little mini biscuits made a perfect topper for that!

Let's make some!  The stew is a super simple dump and heat dish and very tasty, so even if you have to make it just for this chicken pie, no problem.  Spoon the hot stew into a buttered baking dish or individual ramekins. Sprinkle some cooked, crumbled bacon on top of that.

I did let the biscuits thaw slightly so that I could cut them into pieces. Cut biscuits into halves or quarters, depending on the size of your ramekins. The ones pictured are the 7 ounce size, so I used two biscuits halved for each ramekin. For a larger 10 ounce ramekin, you'll probably need three biscuits.  Add the biscuit pieces to the top of the ramekins and brush with melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until stew is bubbly and biscuits are golden brown and cooked through. How easy is that?

Be sure to let the ramekins cool down before letting little munchkins handle them!

Or ... go this route instead and simply transfer the hot stew into a buttered 9 x 9 inch casserole baking dish, and top it with whole biscuits instead. Bake. Easy.

Giveaway is CLOSED!!

Congratulations to Mari - you're the winner of the Pillsbury Mini Biscuit giveaway!! I've sent you an email, but you must respond to it within 48 hours or an alternate winner will be selected.  Congratulations and thanks for participating and for reading Deep South Dish!!

How about a chance to try some of this little mini bites of fluff yourself?  For free?

Pillsbury and MyBlogSpark are offering one of my readers a VIP coupon for 1 free bag of Pillsbury® Grands!® Frozen Mini Biscuits, PLUS this Biscuit Basket, PLUS a Butter Spreader, PLUS an acrylic Butter Dish, FREE!

But wait! That's not ALL!!! {hehe, gotta love those late night infomercials, but seriously...}

They are also gonna throw in a $15 GIFT CARD to go towards your expenses to come up with a recipe creation using these mini biscuits!! Get out!

Simply leave a comment here and tell me how you will use that $15 to incorporate Pillsbury® Grands!® Frozen Mini Biscuits into your mealtime plan. What recipe might you make?

It's okay to enter anonymously, but please leave your first name and a way to contact you if you win! 

Earn one bonus entry by sharing this post!  Post about it to your Facebook page, Stumble it, blog about it, post on a cooking related bulletin board you frequent, or tweet about it from your Twitter account. You can post one bonus entry, one time each day - just be sure to come back here and leave a separate comment for each daily entry.


Here's a sample tweet to use:
Grands Mini Biscuit package giveaway from #myblogspark @DeepSouthDish & Pillsbury. Comment to enter! http://bit.ly/9TgaMF

Good Luck!!


The Rules & Legal Stuff:

Giveaway closes on November 11, 2010 at 12:00 noon CST.
➮Open to residents of the United States only please.
➮You must leave an email address in your comment, be linked to a public profile containing your email address, or provide some way for me to contact you, in case you win.
➮You may send me an email if you don't want to post your email address publicly. Please put "Pillsbury Biscuit Giveaway" in the Subject line.
➮The winner will be announced in this post and notified by email and will have 48 hours from the time of that email to reply and claim their win before an alternate winner will be selected.


Don't forget you can join Deep South Dish on Facebook to keep up with recipe posts and giveaways like this!

To keep up with Pillsbury product updates, recipes, contests, coupons and more, follow them on Facebook too!

Disclosure:  Prize packs and information were all given to me from Pillsbury through MyBlogSpark

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