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Topics - Ragun Gardener

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Recipes / What's up Doc?
« on: August 06, 2018, 09:16:16 AM »
I had some farm raised rabbits in the freezer and it was time to cook them, defrosted and chopped them up'

I forgot to get a pic of the price, that's crazy for rabbit.

After that butcher work I soaked them in a salty brine for 15 minutes then rinsed and seasoned to marinate over night.

I pan fried the meat to a good color with EVOO to build a fond in the pan.

I added the onions, bell peppers and celery to deglaze the pan

Then added 1/2 tsp of each for flavor and to darken the gravy a little

Chicken back in with parsley and added enough water to almost cover the meat

I cooked it 12 minutes under pressure which was too long, the meat is falling off the bones

While that was cooking I made cornbread in a black iron skillet warmed in the oven before coating it with bacon fat, it makes a perfect crust and has great flavor

I warmed a can of creamy Great Northern beans and the meat is done

Served with a splash of Sriracha.

Recipes / "Shrimp, sausage & chicken Creole"
« on: July 25, 2018, 12:17:22 PM »
"Shrimp, sausage & chicken Creole"

1/2 lb chicken diced
1 lb deveined shrimps
2 links good smoked sausage, I used my homemade sausage that's more like andouille
1 chopped onion
1/2 cup each of celery and bell pepper
2 cloves garlic minced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 stick of butter

1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp Cavenders seasoning=it's Greek seasoning, Italian seasoning blend will work
1 tsp of your favorite Cajun seasoning
1 tbs dried parsley

Melt butter on medium heat then saute the onions, bells and celery for 5 minutes till soft, add the garlic and cook an additional 5 minutes, stir so nothing burns
Turn up heat to medium high add the diced tomatoes and juice, cook for 5 minutes. I add 1 tsp of suger and a 1/4 tsp of baking soda to reduce the acid in the tomatoes=your choice.
Add all the seasonings and cook for 5 minutes stirring to blend all those flavors, the house should smell awesome at this time
Add the tomato sauce, sausage, chicken and let cook for 15 minutes.
Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning to what you like.
Add shrimp and simmer for 5-8 minutes

Serve over rice and enjoy!

Recipes / Cajun Alfredo with fresh pasta and rolls
« on: July 06, 2018, 09:38:40 AM »
Excuse me while Paw Paw brags a little.

My granddaughter is spending a few weeks here and we made fresh pasta, homemade rolls and a Cajun shrimp Alfredo. She wanted to help so I set her loose with a few instructions. I think she's hooked on all the kitchen gadgets and is already asking what are we cooking tomorrow.

From dough to the plate, we had fun and it's good to see her have interest in cooking.
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Here's all the recipes!

Dinner Rolls
• 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
• 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
• 2 tablespoons white sugar
• 2 tablespoons melted butter
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 4 cups bread flour
1. In a large bowl, stir together warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand about 10 minutes till yeast blooms..
2. To the yeast mixture, add the butter, salt, and 2 cups flour. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and about 8 minutes. You might not need all of the flour, knead till it no longer sticks to your hands. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
3. Deflate the dough, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces, and form into round balls. Place on lightly greased baking sheets at least 1 inch apart. Cover the rolls with a damp cloth, and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
4. Lightly brush the tops with melted butter and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

1.5 cups 00 flour
1/2 cup of semolina flour
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1. Pour flour on counter top and make a well to add the other ingredients.
2. Mix with a fork till most of the flour is mixed then knead with your hands till all the flour is mixed and the dough no longer sticks to your hands. About 7 minutes.
3. Wrap in plastic and let rest for 30 minutes.
4. Cut dough in 4 pieces, work all 4 pieces into a flat pancake shape to fit in the pasta machine.
5. Roll the dough to the desired thickness. I have a Marcato Atlas 150 and roll the dough down to the #2 setting.
6. Use the pasta cutter attachment and cut the noodles. Spread them on a tray and lightly flour them to prevent sticking them spread them out to dry a few minutes.
*** If you don't have a pasta machine you can roll the dough with a rolling pin. It should be thin enough that if you lay the rolled pasta at the edge of a counter top and blow under it, the dough should ruffle a little.
*** To cut the pasta, lightly flour it and fold it till it's about 2" wide and use a sharp knife to slice noodles to your desired width.
*******************Cooking the noodles******************
Bring water to a boil
add noodles and cook 3-5 minutes
Drain and serve.
==These noodles cook faster than dried noodles, start tasting noodles for doneness after 3 minutes.

Alfredo Sauce
• ½ stick of unsalted butter
• 2 TBS olive oil
• 2garlic cloves minced
• 1 onion diced
• ½ bell pepper diced
• 1/8th cup of chopped parsley
• ½ cup of diced smoked sausage
• 3 TBS of flour
• 1 cup of shrimp stock(you can use vegetable or chicken stock, water as a last resort)
• 1 pint of heavy whipping cream
• ½ cup of grated parmesan cheese
• 1/2 TSP of Old Bay’s seafood seasoning(this is crab boil without the salt)
• 1/2 TSP of Tony’s
1. Add oil and butter to a pan and sweat the sausage, onions, bell peppers and garlic. Cook on medium heat just enough to sweat the vegetables without burning.
2. Sprinkle the flour and turn the heat up to medium high, stir the flour till all the vegetables absorb it and cook for 2 minutes to make a blonde roux. You won’t see much of the flour or roux but it’s there and you shouldn’t have any oil/butter left in the pan left.
3. Add the stock and stir to mix the roux, this will make a thick sauce.
4. Add seasonings and stir.
5. Add the cream and parsley, cook on medium heat while stirring to reduce the sauce, about 5 minutes ***This is where you can decide how thick you want the sauce. If you want a thinner sauce you can add the cheese before reducing the sauce or continue to reduce the sauce and add the cheese later. Remember to stir so the sauce doesn't stick and burn.
6. Add the cooked noodles and stir. If the sauce is too thin you can add more cheese but remember sauce will thicken when it cools down.
7. Serve topped with chopped parsley, more grated cheese and a dinner roll.

General Discussion / Free tomatoes!!!
« on: July 01, 2018, 12:59:45 PM »
Does anyone want to help me do a Fall grow out of a cross I made last winter? Even if it's only a few plants, that will help. All I ask is to send me seeds of the best tasting round and heart shaped fruit. I only need about 30 seeds from each shape and the rest is yours. You can continue growing these, make your own tomato variety and name it yourself.

Growing out a cross isn't hard, just grow it like you normally do and select the best tasting plants to keep seeds from. The more plants you grow, the more variation you'll get.

I crossed a Campari with a Brad's Black Heart and grew the F-1 seeds this spring. The flavor is great, old time tomato flavor with a high acid taste. I used the Campari because they're a great tomato and very productive, the BHH tomato is a big plant that makes big hearts with good flavor.

These F-2 seeds should produce red, black and yellow fruit with all sizes and shapes from round, plum and heart. Some plants will grow like a cherry plant, some like a normal indeterminate and others should be a huge plant like Brad's BH.

The F-1 plants also grew like a cherry tomato with clusters of 4-8 tomatoes. Some tomatoes were round while others are closer to a plum shape. I don't know if that will make a difference in the next plant but I did keep seeds separate to check. These plants are still making tomatoes even in the heat so I know they'll grow good for a fall crop. They also handled the cold last year in the green house so maybe they will last longer in fall if we don't get a killing frost.

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General Discussion / Is anybody tired of summer yet?
« on: June 27, 2018, 05:01:40 PM »

General Discussion / Louisiana Oblong Green Eggplant
« on: June 19, 2018, 08:46:01 AM »
I tried to find seeds last year and couldn't, I looked all over the web and nothing then I found one hardware store in Baton Rouge that sells a few plants each year and was ready to take a trip to get plants.  My Aunt was here when they called me back saying that they would have some in a few weeks so she asked what I was looking for. A few hours later she comes back with a pill bottle of seeds and the original plant tag from years ago. She couldn't remember how old the seeds are and if they'll even grow. I planted and had almost 100% germination and gave plants away to spread the seeds.

They're growing and looking good so if anyone wants seeds for next year let me know and I'll send seeds to keep this variety going.

If anybody has any other information about this variety let me know.

Happy Hour / RIP Anthony Bordain & Cajun Mardi Gras tonight
« on: June 17, 2018, 10:25:40 AM »
Anthony Bourdain's visit to Cajun Mardi Gras debuts tonight along with a "Remembering Bordain" show. Starts at 7c.

This is one of the only times I ever watch CNN.

General Discussion / To Live and Die in Avoyelles Parish
« on: May 18, 2018, 02:24:24 PM »
A celebration of the Louisiana cochin de lait tradition

Donald, do you know these people?

General Discussion / DFW Area - New US Foods "Chefs Store"
« on: May 09, 2018, 08:56:42 AM »
Just a heads up to the North Texas people, US Foods has recently opened a new "Chef's Store" at 4240 Alpha Road in Farmer's Branch near the intersection of I-635 and the North Dallas Tollway. I'm sure they are trying to capture some of the "cash & carry" business that Restaurant Depot enjoys. US Foods brings in all of these products for their Dallas Broadline distribution, so why not open a store to the public?

It's very similar to Restaurant Depot in layout with fresh, frozen, and dry areas, but somewhat smaller in square footage, at least compared to the Dallas Restaurant Depot. One major difference is the "Chefs Store" does not require a business license or membership to shop, and they are open to the public. It is also much cleaner than Restaurant Depot with friendly, helpful employee's.

Their meat selection is very nice, and they actually carry Prime Brisket which was $3.50 per pound on my last visit. Spare Ribs are nicely trimmed without shiners and packed two per bag in cryovac. They were about $2.00 per pound. Loin Backs are on sale right now for $2.34 per pound. They were also marking down meat close to expiration dates with bright stickers. Ribs nearing the sell by date were marked down to $.99 cents per pound.

Recipes / Cochinita Pipil on the Ugly Drum Smoker
« on: May 06, 2018, 06:26:08 PM »
With Cinco de Mayo giving me a reason to try a new dish and fire up the drum I researched and made Cochinita Pipil. I tried to keep it authentic as possible but I didn't use banana leaves or a hole in the ground but the drum worked perfect.

I made a marinate with fresh ground black pepper, cloves and corriander, garlic, onion and Achiota powder(crushed annatto seed), salt, lime juice and orange juice.

I cut large pieces of pork butt and marinaded it over night. I also kept a piece of butt to smoke like normal.

I put the pan on the drum and used Hickory for smoke. I smoked it open for 2 hours to get that smoke flavor and make a few pieces of bark.

After I wrapped the meat I started making Mexican style pickled red onions, here's the recipe. I also added some thin sliced habanero pepper on the side for a little kick.

I also made a chipolte sour cream sauce from Malcom Reed.

I pulled about 2 hours later when it was fall apart tender, I shredded the meat and added that gravy to keep it moist.

I lightly toasted the corn tortillas on the gas stove and served these with Pico and homemade salsa.

General Discussion / Giving new life to an offset smoker
« on: April 10, 2018, 12:16:32 PM »
I picked up a New Braunsfels offset on CL for $50, it's in good shape and was only used 3 times for steaks. Here's the beaut as I got it.

I took it home did a little cleaning and tested it for leaks using charcoal and chips, I found it has a few door leaks and it cooks hot especially next to the firebox. After researching mods I noticed the FB(fire box) was mounted higher than it need to be and the FB opening was too big. I decided to try to make it more like the Old Country brand offsets.
Here's a screenshot from Tom's Test Kitchen reviewing his Old Country Pit, you can see the size opening compared to this COS(cheap offset smoker).

First was to lower the FB and decrease the size of the FB exhaust into the CC(cooking chamber). I used plate steel and bolted it together in case this didn't work. I took it apart and started marking for the new FB outlet and pre drilled all the mounting bolts. I don't have anymore leaks between the FB and CC.

I got it mounted back up and you can see how much I closed off.

Next I cut a heat deflector and made baffle/tuning plates

I didn't like the FB door, it had leaks all around because they didn't install plate on the inside to get a good seal.

I used the top of an old barrel and closed off most of the door, the vent still works fine.

I ordered a new 4" stack to move it to the side at grate level but wanted to test it before doing that mod.

I cleaned it up, sprayed it down with canola oil, set a water pan on the tuning plate filled with bacon chunks and water, cooked some pork fatty pieces and added a Sprite can to lower the stack to grill level. Let the seasoning/testing begin.

I let it go for about 6 hours and checked it every once in a while to add another log and check the temps. Here's some temps when the fire dropped, I'm impressed it's holding a steady temp across all the grates.
Left side near the FB

Right side near the stack

Factory gauge on the door

The seasoning worked great, it looks like it's ready to cook now.

The next day I fired it back up to smoke some stuffed turkey wings, it held temp perfect(about 250) using very little wood for this 5 hour cook.

A few hours later

It's blurry but it sitting at 250

I cooked 2 hours then wrapped in foil with apple juice for another 2 hours, sticky juicy snacks.

The real test will come his weekend when I do a butt or brisket. I'll make a decision then about adding the 4" stack but I think I'll add it just to get that space on the grate and it should pull harder for better heat.

Any thoughts/ideas on the 4" stack? I did use a few pit building calculators and the FB exhaust opening and stack size is what I came up with.

General Discussion / Superhot Pepper ID Chart
« on: March 27, 2018, 04:36:56 PM »
This doesn't have every single new pepper but it has more than you want to eat in a week. :) ;D

You can download it to save just to be sure it doesn't disappear.

Look at all the pretty peppers!!!!!!

General Discussion / A few pics of what's growing
« on: March 07, 2018, 12:05:40 PM »

These are a mix of tomatoes I'm trialing this year, it's a long list but I'll just grow 1 or 2 of each for taste test and save seeds if they produce. Not all of the plants are pictured. Here's the list is anyone is interested
Aunt Ginny's purple
Brandywine OTV
Cherokee Purple Heart
Elgin Pink
Hundreds & Thousands
Limbaugh's Legacy
Lithium Sunset
Mayo's Delight
Porters Pride
Red Barn
Zluta Kytice
LSU Creole
Big Red
Hippie Zebra
Orange slic3 F-2
Orange slic3 F-3
WoodChips Yellow Cross from 2015, I think it's a cross, help me out WC!!
Cherokee Carbon F-2
Coeur De Surpriz
Porter's Pride
Cherokee Tiger

Better Boy

The two pans in the front is Louisiana Green Oblong Eggplant, the others are different peppers to make chow chow

7 Pot Primo

Big Mustard Momma super hot peppers

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers

More BMM

Fatalii peppers

7 Pot Primo's in hydro, starting to flower

A few tomatoes on these old plants

Dasher 2 Cukes

Grapefruit from seeds

Lemon and Mandarin oranges from seeds

Over wintered Ghost peppers

Jalapeno's getting some sunshine

Blackberries from Bobcat

31 tomato plants

Goliath Giant Early Bush Hybrid


Early Girl

Big Beef

Squash and Zuchinni


The fig tree is leafing out and full of small figs

Recipes / Beef Back Ribs
« on: March 01, 2018, 08:49:20 PM »
As much as I cook, traveled and try new things there's always something to learn.

I found these at a store I usually shop at and it's the first time I saw them there, for the price I bought some thinking I would try to cook them like real meaty ribs and if that didn't work I would use it for broth. These didn't look like there was much meat on them but wait, it's deceiving.
Can you believe this price?

After some Youtube research I feel like I stole them. This is the ribs they cut off the ribeye roast to make ribeye steaks and I know I love those bones when I cook a rib roast so the cook began. I seasoned them with S&P & Cavenders salt free seasoning after coating them in EVOO. Put on the pit set up to smoke using Hichory chips.

2 hours later I wrapped them in foil and back on the pit, it was hard not to cut off a bone and taste it. It smelled like prime rib cooking.

I unwrapped and set them back on the pit for 15 minutes to dry the crust a little and get a little more color.

After a 20 minute rest I sliced them up and had to taste one, pure beef goodness. Tender and juicy and I think it's better than brisket with 1/2 the cooking time.

I didn't really plan sides because this was more of an experiment but I cooked some boxed fettuccine and a salad with tomatoes from the greenhouse.

General Discussion / Who's putting in tomato plants?
« on: February 19, 2018, 04:30:38 PM »
I played with the tiller and made a row for some to go in tomorrow. The longterm forecast says no cold weather and the soil is at 60°.

That means I gotta do it and if it freezes then I'll have the row ready to refill it. The soil looks good with all those shredded leaves I added.

General Discussion / SeedsNow has free shipping
« on: February 08, 2018, 06:17:31 AM »
For the next 4 days.

General Discussion / High production Potato Harvesting
« on: February 06, 2018, 09:53:27 AM »
This system is just amazing to watch.

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