30 November, 2008

*Buttermilk Skies*



I have not been at peace with the postings of The Monkeybutt Chronicles here.
Therefore, as of today, I moved all of the previous posts over to:


For those of you who have read and commented, or have simply read and moved on, thanks for visiting!

I hope you will visit the new site and comment if you feel so compelled. Whether you are pissed with what I say, or agree with me, please respond. All I ask is that you DO NOT remain anonymous. Your comment will be removed.


Forward, into the Fog

The whole idea behind Elegant Dust was to create a quiet haven from the incessant, tumultuous and frantic noise and growing barbarism of the post-modern world. With that in mind, I want to make this post a return to the folksy, comfortable tenor of earlier writes.

Yesterday, we awoke to the first protracted snow storm of the season. It remained cold and steel grey all day, with snow flurries off and on. We were gifted with the remnants of a spiral sliced ham last week...the leftovers from the little feast held after the ceremony honoring my late half-sister Carrie Lundquist and the spreading of her ashes.

That ham shank and hock were begging to be cooked up with a traditional Southern set of recipes.

~ Butterbean Soup
~ Buttermilk Cornbread
~ The "final" Salad
- 1 pound of large, dried Lima beans
- 1 full ham shank and hock ( the honey cured and spiral sliced kind, if possible)
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cups of chicken stock
- 2 medium, dried sweet Anaheim (Hatch, NM) Chiles. (I use them fresh off the ristras.)
- Kosher salt, coarse ground black pepper....and a dash of Mexican Oregano.

Sort, wash and soak the beans in cold water overnight, at least 8 hours. Place in a large dutch oven.

Trim the meat from the shank and split the hock at the knuckle, remove tendons and connective tissue, add to the beans. Add the the chicken stock and enough water to cover well. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and heavy simmer for 45 minutes.

Place the chiles in a shallow bowl, cover with boiling water and let sit for 20 minutes.

Coarse chop the onion and celery. Split the chiles, remove the ribs and seed, chop fine.

Remove the shank and hock from the beans. Set aside and let cool. Add the veges, oregano and chile. Stir and add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove meat pockets from the shank, chop coarse, and add to the soup. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a high simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
Cover and place on low simmer till ready to serve.

- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cup of yellow cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (adjusted for high altitude)
- 1 cup of fresh buttermilk
- 1 large (or 2 medium) eggs....the fresher, the better!
- 1 half stick of unsalted buddah
- 1/8 to 1/4 cup of sugar....(I like less)
- Salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Melt the buddah in a high sided 12 inch cast iron skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. When the butter begins to brown, Whisk the egg(s), the buttermilk and most of the buddah into the dry ingredients. Return the cast iron to the stove top. Pour the batter into the smoking cast iron and let it sizzle for a second or two and then put it into the oven for 25 to 35 minutes....Check for top browning at 20 minutes. Remove when the top begins to brown. Run a knife around the perimeter and turn onto a plate or platter. You will be rewarded with a toasted, crunchy crust... a sweet and light bread with a little "bite" from the buttermilk... YUMMMM!

The salad is the last of the tomatoes and cukes from the garden, along with fresh greens from the last of the local harvests sold at the Farmer's markets. From now until late March....the 'maters and lettuce will taste more like cardboard than fresh veges.
All of these recipes come down from Dad Anthony, my step-dad in name only. He raised me as though I were his own child, and taught me the ways of a Southern Conservative. I sure do miss that ol' gentleman.
He loved Buttermilk and spent a few seasons trying out different recipes for cornbread that would match the buttermilk cornbread he had as a child. Once he found the recipe above....he used to make it at least once a month until the strokes whittled away at his ability to cook, or do much of anything.


  1. Sounds absolutely yummy!
    I'm going to try it next weekend. It is finally cool enough in Texas to make soups!

  2. MiTX,
    Really?!?! It cools off in Texas?
    (just kiddin)

    If you can get a Honey Glazed, spiral sliced shank and hock...They add so much flavor!

  3. Yannow....the buttermilk corn bread is a wonderful thing, I do it the same way when I'm waxing nostalgic...onliest difference is I cheat there toward the end....

    Ad a little can of drained sweet corn to the batter....srsly.

  4. Wollf,

    When doing other than "Dad Anthony" cornbread, I will add whole corn, or chiles. I like to use driedblue corn and dried, red chiles, both of them soaked in boiling water till soft

    Makes for a colorful New Mexico kinda presentation.

    Have you ever tried using cremed corn? Adds sweetness

  5. Day-um - this blog is making me hungry