October 2002 Breaded Veal Cutlets Old Fashioned Corn Cakes Pecan Pie Howdy, Howdy, Howdy! Here it is fall again. As I write October’s column it is the middle of September and the mountains haven’t put on their fall coat of scarlet and yellow colors yet. The first trees to turn brown and start losing their leaves are the Buckeyes. In another couple of weeks though some of the Oaks will start to turn their colors and the mountains around Bluegrass Acres will start to look like and old fashioned patchwork quilt! Ah yes, Indian summer, one of my favorite times of the year. Warm days and cool nights, that makes the wood smoke rise! My father used to tell me this bit of mountain logic. He said, "You can tell quite a bit about what’s going on at your neighbors by the smoke from the stovepipe." For instance on a cold, early morning just before dawn, if the smoke is coming out real slow and lazy, that means that the fire is still banked for the night and no one is up and around yet. If the smoke is sparse and its mostly heat waves going up briskly, then everyone’s up and they’re cooking breakfast and its OK to knock on the door, if you’re going over to visit early in the day. Same thing in the middle of the day when the wife is fixing the dinnertime meal. (Lunch here out West.) However, if there’s very little smoke or none at all, that means no one’s home. In the evening, if there’s lots of slow smoke coming out of the pipe, that means there’s probably a big roasting chicken in a big Cast Iron pot, surrounded with taters and carrots and spices cooking nice and slow. Then when you see a big puff of white smoke, followed by smoke that’s writer and brisker, that means they’ve pulled the pot of chicken and veggies out and they’ve slid a big pan of biscuits in the oven to brown quickly! (That’s the best time to knock on the door!) Later in the evening, when the smoke starts coming out real slow and lazy-like, that means the stove’s been stuffed with big chunks of Oak, the damper is turned down real low and everyone’s in bed for the night. There you have some old fashioned Ozark Mountain logic from my father, who learned it from his father about a hundred years ago. Observations of a way of life, gone from those mountains for many years now. As a child in Arkansas, I was at the very end of that age, but I can still remember the wood-fired cook stove my momma cooked on with the "hated" wood box next to it. (I had to carry the wood!) Like my ol’ pickin’ buddy Vern Williams says, "Ain’t nothing tastes better than a big skillet full of Cornbread cooked in a woodstove!" How right you are, Vern. Well folks, all that talking about old time cooking has throwed a "craving" on me for some good vittles, so pull up a chair here in my summer kitchen under the Oaks. I’ll pour you a cup of honest to goodness Cowboy Coffee and we’ll palaver a while! I recently visited one of my favorite places to eat here in the Gold Country, the Bellotti Hotel in Sutter Creek, California. Their restaurant serves some of the finest Breaded Veal Cutlets you’ll ever have. I’ve sung the praises of this find restaurant here in my column before. They’re right on Main Street in the heart of the town on Highway 49. Go eat there, you’ll love it! The next day I got to remembering how my momma used to fry up Veal Cutlets and serve them with some of the finest Cream Gravy and mashed potatoes that you’d ever wrap a lip around! When you "got on the outside" of a big bait of that, you didn’t have a care in the world! I went though my index of recipes featured here for the last going on 17 years, and realized I’d never featured my momma’s Veal Cutlet recipe, so here it is! Breaded Veal Cutlets 4-6 oz. Veal Cutlets Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste Flour (Mix together) 1 tsp whole Oregano 1 tbsp chopped Parsley 1-cup breadcrumbs (Beat together) 1 egg 1 tsp water 1/4 cup Butter or Olive oil Place cutlets between waxed paper. Use a rolling pin and pound very thin. Do each cutlet separately. Salt and pepper to taste. Dredge in the flour; drip in the egg mixture; then dredge in the crumb mixture. Place cutlets on a rack to dry slightly -- about 15 minutes. (They hold together nicely when dried like this.) Sauté in butter or oil until browned. Serve with Cream Gravy. Wow! The secret to turning out excellent Veal Cutlets is not to over cook them. When they turn a light, golden brown, turn them. You can’t ignore these and expect them to turn out good. You have to watch them like a hawk watches your chicken house! While searching through my recipes looking for this last one, I came across another of my mom’s "old-fashioned recipes" as she used to call them. During the fall and winter months Mom would usually cook these up to have for breakfast in place of the usual pancakes. But you can also cook up a mess of these to use as an accompaniment, like you would bread, for a big pot of homemade soup of stew. They’re absolutely heavenly, buttered, rolled up and used to mop up "the leavin’s", or to just plain "sop up" the stew or soup with! I get the slobbers just writing about them! Here’s how to make some old-fashioned Corn Cakes. Old Fashioned Corn Cakes 2 cups cornmeal 3 eggs 2 tsp. Baking powder 2 TBSP Flour 1 tsp. Salt 1 TBSP Melted Butter Milk Beat the eggs well (at least 1-2 minutes). Add the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder and butter. Add enough milk to make a thin batter. Let it set for 20-30 minutes. The batter will thicken, so add just enough milk to think like you want it. Cook on a medium-hot griddle that’s greased lightly. Brown nicely on each side. Serve with butter and syrup like hotcakes or use like bread. A real Ozark Mountain treat! These cakes go well with a big pot of Pinto Beans as well. For a light, quick brunch on a Sunday morning, top one of the cakes with a poached egg and slather it with Hollandaise Sauce. You’ll slap yer granny for one of these! One of my all-time favorite things to have for dessert (and I know all of you folks from the South will agree with me on this one) is a big slab of Pecan Pie, "about the size of an Elephant’s ear," as my daddy used to say. I copied this one from my mother’s recipe well over 40 years ago. This recipe is probably over a hundred years old because my mom got it from her mother. Pecan Pie 3 eggs, well beaten 1 tsp. Vanilla 1 cup, dark Corn syrup 1/8 tsp. Salt 1-cup sugar 2 TBSP melted butter 1 cup Pecans 9" unbaked pie crust Beat eggs well. Add everything else, with pecans last. Mix well before adding pecans. Pour into the crust. Bake at 400º for 15 minutes. Then reduce to 350º and bake for 30-35 minutes or until done in the center. A real old fashioned treat! Momma would always make about 6-8 of these pies at Thanksgiving and Christmas. We had a large extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins that were always at our house and one or two pies just wasn’t enough to feed that bunch. (My uncle Jack and I could eat at least two of them between us!) In the early 1960s my dad got mom an electric ice cream maker, so we would have homemade ice cream to go with this too! I sure didn’t miss turning the crank on our old mixer! (Sometimes being the oldest son doesn’t have any advantages!) Well folks, I hope you enjoy this collection of old fashioned recipes. I’ve been eating ‘em for almost 65 years now and I ain’t dead yet! I’m not as skinny as I used to be either, and I know that Les and Dot Leverett aren’t either. For you folks that aren’t acquainted with their name, Les was the official photographer for the Grand Ol Opry for 35 years. He and his lovely wife are dear friends that I met at IBMA about five years ago. He was also the author of the letter to the editor in September’s Bluegrass Breakdown threatening legal action due to his expanding waistline, and blaming it on my recipes. Les, would you settle for some new pants made out of<


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