Vernon WadeThere are lots of cooks out there who actually know what they are doing. I pretty much taught myself to cook, out of necessity. I haven’t a clue most of the time, but I do love to eat. 

I have made everything posted here. If I can do it, you certainly can. Someday, if there is enough interest, I will gather all these recipes into a cookbook. In the meantime, in the spirit of dashes, dollops and three-fingered pinches, I present them here for you to try. Let me know what you think.

Chili and Corn-sticks

I had Friday off. I intended to make dinner, but that required an amount of preparation I didn’t manage to get around to. I spent the day changing the tire on the Triumph, staring off into space and generally procrastinating. Go figure.

Amy got home from work and asked what we were going to eat. I flipped through the channels with the remote. She mentioned that she had cooked dinner every night last week. I pointed out I wasn’t home for dinner Wednesday and she brought home a pizza Thursday. She asked when the last time was I had cooked dinner. I didn’t have an answer, but I also didn’t have any ideas that didn’t involve going to the store. She harrumphed and roasted some cauliflower and broccoli.

It was abundantly clear I needed to get something together for the next night, so I started some beans soaking. Saturday night we had chili and corn-sticks. Tonight we will have left-overs.



Chili Fixings
  • 1-pound ground beef
  • 1 diced red onion
  • 2 or 3 sticks of celery, diced
  • diced bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomato (or a half dozen fresh tomatoes, chopped)
  • 2 double handfuls of dried beans (if you are pressed for time, substitute canned beans, avoiding the pre-soak and reducing the cooking time)
  • chili powder to taste –I used about 4 three-fingered pinches
  • 1/2 handful of minced parsley
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 1 pinch of basil
  • 1 pinch of oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 or 5 dashes of hot pepper sauce
  • unfiltered apple cider to adjust liquid level – I used about a cup

Soak beans overnight, drain, rinse and drain again.

Place the beef in a skillet over medium heat and cook until evenly brown. Drain grease (or not).

Place the beef in a slow cooker and stir in all the other ingredients. Add enough cider to ensure the beans will cook. You can adjust liquid with more cider as you cook.

Cover, and cook 5 hours on high.

You can double the cooking time on low, probably some where in between that if you use a Dutch oven and coals. Cooking time is approximate, check the beans for tenderness and the overall consistency, hoping to achieve a thick slurry of meat, beans and vegetables. Add cider if it gets too thick before the beans are done.



corn-stick ingredients
  • a double handful coarsely ground cornmeal
  • slightly less all-purpose flour
  • about half that much sugar (more or less depending on your prejudices)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 pinches baking powder
  • 1 pinch baking soda
  • about a cup and a half of buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 ¼ sticks unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and place cast iron corn-stick pans inside to heat while you make the batter.

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients. Whisk in the milk, buttermilk, and eggs. Whisk in most of the melted butter, reserving about ¼ stick to grease the pans later on.

batter, melted butter, and hot corn-stick pans

Carefully remove the hot corn-stick pans from the oven. Brush the corn-stick pans with melted butter, thoroughly coating the insides and the top edges. spoon the batter into the molds, filling about half full and replace in the oven.

Bake until golden, probably 10-15 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is. Pop cooked corn-sticks out of the molds with a fork, paint the pans with butter and repeat until all the batter is used up.

golden-brown corn-sticks, hot from the oven
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