Welcome to Simple Fare, Fairly Simple. This is a place for me to post recipes of all kinds...along with other miscellaneous fodder from my so-called life here in the south. Who knows what you will find here. Could be anything from my husband...known as IT Guy...to my kids and beautiful grandbabies that are growing up way too fast right before my eyes. But...mostly this will be a place for food. I hope you'll see something you like and if you decide to try something from the list...leave me a comment and let me know!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Awesome Sesame Chicken

I love Chinese food. When we lived in California, there was one restaurant near our house that had THE best sesame chicken. I ordered it every time I went there. When we moved to SC, I found the Chinese food to be somewhat lacking. Similar to the Mexican food here. Good? Not so much. But no more!! I found this recipe and it's ALMOST as good as what I had in CA. Yum! I think the only thing that would make it better would be some crab meat wontons to go with it. Hmm...I need to find a recipe for THOSE! But until then....enjoy the sesame chicken.

Awesome Sesame Chicken


8 chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
2 cups self rising flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk

Pour enough oil in a fry pan to come half way up the sides. Let oil heat on medium heat.

Place chicken chunks in a large bowl. Beat eggs and buttermilk together and pour over chicken. Let set for 30 minutes or so. Place flour and salt in a large zip top bag. Put 10 – 12 chicken chunks at a time in flour mixture, shake well, then place in oil. Fry chicken chunks for 7 – 8 minutes until crispy. Drain on paper towels.

Sesame Glaze:

1 14-ounce can chicken broth
1 cup sugar - or more if you prefer a sweeter sauce
4 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
4 tablespoon soy sauce
4 tablespoons sesame oil
2 heaping teaspoons chili paste
1 large clove garlic
½ cup cornstarch
1 cup water

3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

In a medium saucepan, combine first 7 ingredients. Bring to a boil over high heat. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and stir into boiling sauce. Turn heat to low and simmer until the sauce thickens and turns clear, about 2 minutes. Keep warm.

Plate chicken over cooked white rice and spoon sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Let's get our sesame chicken on!! 
Let's get our sesame chicken on!!

Mix up the egg mixture then the flour mixture. Dunk the chicken in the egg then coat in flour. 
Mix up the egg mixture then the 
flour mixture. Dunk the chicken 
in the egg then coat in flour.

Fry it up! Then mix up the stuff for the sauce....fix your rice and ta-da! 
Fry it up! Then mix up the stuff for 
the sauce....fix your rice and ta-da!

You've got yourself some finger lickin' chicken....Asian style! 
You've got yourself some finger 
lickin' chicken....Asian style!

Bo's Caramel Corn

"Candy-coated popcorn, peanuts, and a prize...
That's what you get in Cracker Jack!

Okay...so you don't get any peanuts. Or a prize. It doesn't come in a box with a little sailor on the front. But it IS lip-smackin'. And paddy-whackin'. My mom gave me this recipe about 30 years ago. It's one of those kinds of foods that you can't stop eating once you try it. It's THAT good. Try it. Now.

Bo's Caramel Corn

2 (3.3 ounce) packages microwavable popcorn
1 stick butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 250 degrees

Pop popcorn and place in a large mixing bowl.

In a medium saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. 

Boil 4 – 5 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and add baking soda and vanilla. 

Stir until combined then pour over popped popcorn. 

Stir until all popcorn is coated then transfer onto a large GREASED rimmed cookie sheet. 

Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool. 

Break into pieces.

See all of this stuff. Just wait until you see what it can do.
After you pop the popcorn...make sure you pick out all the old maids!
Combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. After boiling for 5 minutes....add the vanilla and baking soda....
...which will make it foam up like this. Very normal. Don't panic.
Then CAREFULLY pour the caramel over the popcorn. 
And mix it up!
Spread the coated popcorn in a 
GREASED or LINED cookie sheet.
After it's baked..let it cool and break it into pieces. 
Then share. Or not.

Red Velvet Cheesecake

Who doesn't love the old Southern favorite...Red Velvet Cake? Who doesn't love cheesecake? Who doesn't love Red Velvet Cheesecake?? I found this recipe years ago and it just makes my toes curl every time I make it. I wonder why I don't make it more often? Oh wait....the bathroom scale reminds me why. So the next best thing to making it once a month is telling YOU about this dreamy dessert. Warning: SFFS takes no responsibility for your weight gain.

Red Velvet Cheesecake

1 ½ cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
3 8-ounce pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sour cream
½ cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
2 1-ounce bottles red food coloring
1 3-ounce pkg cream cheese
¼ cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

STIR together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and 1 tablespoon sugar. Press mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 9-inch springform pan. You can also place a round of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan.

BEAT 3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese and 1 ½ cups of sugar together at medium-low speed with an electric mixer for 1 minute. Add eggs, one at a time. Add next 6 ingredients, mixing on low speed just until fully combined. Pour batter into prepared crust.

BAKE at 325 degrees for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until center is firm. Run knife along out edge of cheesecake. Turn oven off. Let cheesecake stand in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven and cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Cover and chill for 8 hours.

BEAT 1 3-ounce package cream cheese and ¼ cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beating until smooth. Spread evenly over top of chilled cheesecake. Remove sides of springform pan. Slice into 12 – 16 slices.

Aaaaand......we're off!!
Press the crust down with a measuring cup to get along the sides.
Pour in the creamy dreamy velvet-y filling.
Nothing to see here, folks....just a regular cream cheese frosting. Move along.
Can't stand it, can ya? Have fun in the kitchen!

Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken BBQ

For those warm summer evenings when it's too hot to turn on the oven and you think you'll croak if you have to, try this! Start the crock pot in the cool of the morning and by the time dinnertime rolls around, you'll be set! Bake the potatoes in the microwave, and it's a meal, Neal!

Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken BBQ

6 – 8 frozen chicken breasts
½ cup Italian salad dressing
1 16-ounce bottle bbq sauce
2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
½ cup brown sugar

5 – 6 baked potatoes
Shredded cheddar cheese

Place frozen chicken breasts in slow cooker/crock pot. Combine the rest of the ingredients and pour over chicken. Cook on low 6 – 8 hours or until chicken is fork tender. Shred chicken and stir with bbq mixture to combine. Ladle over baked potatoes. Sprinkle with cheese. Yum!

I used chicken thighs instead of breasts because that's what I had....
And because I was a cooking loser that day and started late, I grilled the chicken first...
....and let it cook for about 4 hours in the crock pot
Turned out great!!

Carolina Marmalade

Not yo’ mama’s mamalade. Peach me, I must be dreaming. Old schoolmarm-alade.
Sorry. I got carried away with the bad puns.

Did you know that South Carolina produces more peaches than any other state in the U.S.? Yes...even more than Georgia, aka, The Peach State. Well, we are in high peach season here in the upstate and I had a “hankerin” for some homemade peach jam. So, I sent Jon down to the local fruit stand to get me some fresh peaches. He scored! The guy that ran the place gave him thirteen peaches for $1.00!! Yes, $1.00. One. One dollar. Yay! So yesterday was the day to jam. Jammin’. We be jammin’. Again, sorry. Anyway. Here’s the deal-io on the recipe. It’s SO good. It doesn’t just have peaches and sugar. Oh no. All kinds of textures and flavors are going on in there. Coconut, cherries, orange juice and almonds. Yep, you heard me. Almonds. This is more than jam….its an indescribable, palate pleasing cacophony of tongue pleasing sensations. (Wow…that’s a lot of big words for me.) You have GOT to try this. Trust me. Your tongue and the tongues of your family members will thank me.

Carolina Marmalade

5 cups peeled and mashed ripe peaches (about 9 - 10)
1 1/8 cups orange juice concentrate – thawed
7 ½ cups sugar
3 6-ounce packages of Certo
1 ½ cups flaked coconut
¾ cup slivered almonds
20 maraschino cherries – cut in 1/4 ths
1 teaspoon butter

Combine mashed peaches and orange juice concentrate in a very large pan. Stir in sugar and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in Certo, coconut, almonds and cherries. Return to heat. Skim off foam with a metal spoon. Keep skimming and stirring for seven minutes. Add butter during 7 minutes. Ladle into clean jars and seal. Place marmalade in refrigerator.

NOTE: I do not seal these in the typical "canning way". I ladle the jam into CLEAN, STERILIZED jars up to an inch below the top of the jars. Place the lids and rings on then turn the jar over and let it set until cool. When you flip it over you should be able to see the lid is sealed down nice and tight. Then place the jars in the fridge. They keep this way for a long time.

Our cast of characters
As it boils, it will start to foam...like this
You'll need to skim the foam off with a spoon
All done boiling with the other ingredients added.....
Aww...look! Look at the yumminess!!

Panko-Parm Crusted Fried Green Tomatoes

These aren't your regular fried green tomatoes. These are better!! The panko crumbs give them an extra crunch and the parm adds a twist!

Panko-Parm Crusted Fried Green Tomatoes

2 whole green tomatoes
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
5 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Slice tomatoes in 1/2 inch slices. Place in a bowl and cover with buttermilk. Let stand at room temp while preparing other ingredients.

Place flour in a shallow dish and season to taste with salt & pepper. Combine Panko, Italian breadcrumbs and grated parm in a shallow dish. Stir well and add salt & pepper to taste.

Bring about 1 inch of oil in a large skillet to a med-high heat. Dredge buttermilk soaked tomatoes in dry mix then place in heated oil. Fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Eat up!

Yum!! Try these. Now.

Gramma Tacos

By her own admission, my mother-in-law does not profess to be the world’s greatest cook. Raised in a home where her mother and grandmother did all the cooking, she didn’t really have to learn to cook until she married my father-in-law. My MIL was a city girl all the way and when she married my FIL, he took her to live in an old farmhouse that was ten miles from the nearest grocery store. She had to learn to cook for a farmer. They lived in a small, south-eastern Arizona town (where they still live today...except they live in town now) where there were lots of Hispanics. One kind Hispanic woman that lived near-by took my non-cooking mother-in-law under her wing and taught her how to cook tacos, among other things. And in turn, my sweet MIL showed me how to make tacos. It’s one of the things I look forward to when we go visit my husband’s parents. (Okay...I admit, one of the things that make them taste so good is the fact that I don’t have to make them.) And the reason we call them “Gramma Tacos” is because I cook tacos a few different ways and when my kids were little, this was the way I let them know what kind of tacos we were having for dinner…the kind Gramma made! Regardless of what they’re called, they ARE good. And here they are for you! Tasty little pockets of savory goodness. Enjoy.

Gramma Tacos

1 lb lean ground beef
12- 15 corn tortillas
garlic salt

Grated cheddar cheese

Pour about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet and heat on medium-high. (That's about a "6" on my stove.) Spread one half of a corn tortilla with about 3 tablespoons of ground beef. Sprinkle with garlic salt. You want the meat thin-ish so it will cook through and the tortilla won't burn. Place tortilla with meat into hot oil and let fry until tortilla is golden brown....about 2 minutes or so. Flip tortilla over to cook the other side and let cook another 2 minutes or so. Drain on paper towels. Open up one side of the taco and sprinkle with grated cheese. Let set in warm oven until all tacos are cooked. Serve with El Pato (found in the mexican food aisle of the grocery store). We don't put anything on our tacos except cheese and El Pato, but you can dress yours up with lettuce, tomatoes or guacamole.

Just these three ingredients...that's all you need
A little beef on a corn tortilla
Remember to put the meat side on top to hold down the tortilla
Look at all the little guys....
Almost done
Puttin' in the cheese
A drizzle of El Pato and you're golden!

Easy Oven Tri-tip

My family LOVES tri-tip. No I mean...we looooooove it. So tonight I cooked one of the last two I have in my freezer!! (Time for a trip to Costco!!) Here's my method for cooking a juicy, delicious tri-tip roast that will have your family begging for mercy!

Easy Oven Tri-Tip

1 ½ - 2 pound tri-tip roast
Lawry’s Seasoning Salt

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Sprinkle tri-tip with Lawry’s salt on both sides. Wrap in heavy duty aluminum foil. Place foil wrapped meat onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake about 3 hours. After meat is done, let it sit for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

For BBQ sandwiches, slice meat thinly and place on buns then pour warmed bbq sauce over the whole thing. Add grilled onions and cheese if desired.

Would ya look at that??
Sprinkle the love!!
Let's wrap him up!!
The big reveal!
Served with panko-parm fried green tomaotes....