May 2002 Barbecued Breast of Turkey I Love my Crock Pot Beef and Gravy Blue Ribbon Steak and Noodles Howdy, Howdy, Howdy! Here’s a little poem that my ol’ pickin’ buddy Vern Williams always lays on me every springtime. Usually on a warm, spring morning the phone will ring and the voice on the other end says: "Spring has sprung, the grass has riz, I wonder where the little birdies is?" (Followed by wild laughter). Vern has been doing this to me for over 30 years now, and somehow he always manages to catch me off guard every time when I least expect it. Springtime has a way of smoothing out our moods and giving us a sense of well being after the cold rigors of winter. It’s especially a time of joy for those of us who love Bluegrass Music. We’re getting ready for the campouts that the CBA puts on (3 of them this year) and all of the different festivals that are held here in the West. Of course next month we’ll all meet again at the Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, California to celebrate our 27th Father’s Day Weekend Festival! Wowsers! (Gee, I was only 38 years old back then!) Spring comes a little slower up here in the Sierras. My apple trees have just started blooming this week (the second week of April) and if we don’t get a hard rain or a late snowfall, maybe I’ll get more than the two or three dozen apples that my 40 trees have produced for the last three years. To make matters worse, the one apple tree that always had fruit on it died last winter from some disease that made the bark dry up and fall off. It was a big, old tree that produced the Yellow Delicious variety that made wonderful pies and Apple Butter. It stood right behind my house and losing it was like losing an old friend. However, apple wood is one of the finest woods to "scorch a steak" over, so there’s enough wood from the tree to cook up a lot of good recipes for the Bluegrass Kitchen! I know I’ll miss the fruit, and the cooling shade that "Big Yaller" provided on a hot summer day, but I’m sure gonna enjoy the fine barbecued meals its wood will cook up this summer and fall! Maybe this was the best thing after all because I planned on having to remove the tree in three or four years when I remodel and extend the house. Soooo, while on the subject of barbecue, lets start off with a good barbecue recipe that I got from a good friend who loves to hunt wild turkeys. This is probably the easiest and shortest recipe that you’ll ever see in the ol’ Bluegrass Kitchen, since it only has two ingredients. You talk about easy as falling off a peeled foot log over ol’ Piney Creek! Wild turkey is the best tasting game bird I’ve ever eaten, but this works just as well with domestic turkey. I just might fix this recipe for Thanksgiving this year. It’s fast and easy (as my mom always said, the key word in any recipe is easy.) Here’s how to whip up some lip smacking. . . Barbecued Breast of Turkey 1 Turkey breast, split in half 1 8-oz. Bottle of Honey Dijon salad dressing Marinate turkey breast in plastic bag with dressing over night. Turn occasionally. Remove turkey from bag and place on a pre-heated grill and cover. Push coals to one side and cook over indirect heat for 55-60 minutes, until a meat thermometer reads 170º (or until juices run clear). The more I think about it, I know this is how I’m cooking my Thanksgiving turkey this year. Very little if any leftovers. Maybe enough for a hot turkey sandwich or two (one of my favorites!) and no carcass to mess with and no pans to clean! My mother would’ve loved this recipe. These next two recipes are from right here on Bluegrass Acres. The first is one that I’ve used for a number of years and have never written down until now. This is one of those recipes that just sort of happened. You know the kind that you just throw a bunch of stuff in the pot --- use what you happen to have on hand, and wonder of wonders-it comes out pretty good! This dish is one that you can throw in the crock-pot early in the morning, forget about it, and when you come in at night, supper is almost ready. Or at least the hard part is. During the fall and winter months I might fix this dish once a week or more. All you need to go with it is some mashed potatoes, hot noodles or steamed rice. Add a salad, some French bread, a nice glass of red wine, some good Bluegrass music turned down low on the stereo in the background, and you are in Hog Heaven! I’ll guarantee that this will definitely remove the wrinkles from yer belly. I call it: I Love my Crock Pot Beef and Gravy 1 lb. Beef stew meat, cut into 1” chunks 1 10 3/4-oz. Can, condensed Cream of Mushroom soup (don’t add water to it) 1 pkg. Onion Soup Mix 1 Beef bullion cube 1 TBSP Rice flour 1/2-cup water Mix the rice flour and bullion cube with the water. Let stand for ten minutes and mix again to dissolve any lumps. Mix with the condensed soup and put into crock-pot. Mix in the onion soup mix; add meat and turn the crock-pot on low. Cover and cook for 6-8 hours. Serve over mashed potatoes, noodles or rice. This is also a great recipe to fix at Bluegrass festivals! Throw it together early in the morning and along about sundown, whip up some instant mashed potatoes out of a box, (they’re still ‘taters aren’t they?) and I know that hairy legged ol’ boy that’s been out pickin’ all day won’t know the difference or even care for that matter! (I know Grace wouldn’t have to force this down Ken Reynolds’ throat!) Besides, while you’re fixing those instant mashed potatoes, fix a little extra, mix in a couple of whipped eggs and some sweet diced chilies and chopped onions in them, and have fried potato cakes "a la Mexicana" for breakfast the next morning. (Makes you pick Bluegrass with a Mariachi’s flair to it!) This next recipe is a take off of the one I featured here last January. I called that one "Blue Ribbon Tri Tip." My good friends Les and Dot Leverett of Nashville, Tennessee just loved that one. Well Les, you and Dot get ready because here’s another one that I know you’ll like. Last night I got in the house later than usual and naturally I was hungry as a wolf. I had a nice New York steak all trimmed and ready to cook, but I had a lot of phone calls to make so I thought, what the heck, this ought to work! Work it did! This recipe is the result. Blue Ribbon Steak and Noodles 1 or 2 New York steaks, trimmed of all fat and gristle 2 TBSP Olive oil Salt and Pepper to taste 2 TBSP Rice flour 2 bottles Blue Ribbon Beer 2 or 3 big hands full of egg noodles 2 TBSP Italian seasoning Heat a Dutch oven on high heat on top of your stove. Add the olive oil. Salt and pepper steaks to you liking. Sauté meat in oil for two to three minutes per side. Mix the rice flour with some of the beer in a bowl. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat. Add all other ingredients to the steaks. Mix well, cover and place in a 375º oven for 45 minutes. Check every 15 minutes to make sure that the liquid doesn’t all evaporate. Add a little more beer if necessary. (Somehow I always have about 3/4 of a bottle left over, so I’m forced to drink it!) Yahoo! This dish came out absolutely wonderful and I slept like a big ground hog stretched out on a flat rock in the sun last night. I only wish I had more of it when I got done. This will make you hurt yourself! Well folks, that’s it for this month’s edition of the Bluegrass Kitchen. Today is the dreaded "D" day “deadline." So its out to the ol’ truck, fire it up and smoke over to the middle fork of the Mokelumne River to the base of Blue Mountain, where our editor Suzanne patiently waits for my "chicken scratch" writing. She can probably decipher ancient Sanskrit by now after doing 13 years of my columns! Suzanne, you’re the best Honey! Folks, lets all take time to include our wonderful service men and women in our prayers every day. Let us never lose sight of the fact that they are the ones who have kept t

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