Category Archives: Foodie

Southern Fried Pork Chops with Creamy Gravy

Well bust my buggy whip and pass the shine!

This is one of my favorite recipes that I have developed from growing up in the kitchens of Douglas Nursing Home and with my grandmother, Mimi.

I grew up in the South on the Mighty Mississippi River and this was a staple not only for pork chops but for chicken also.  The seasonings provide the taste but the buttermilk marinade gives it a moist, chewy finished chop that tops the moon on flavor.

Continue reading Southern Fried Pork Chops with Creamy Gravy

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The Man In The Penguin Suit

An Excerpt from my forthcoming autobiography, “The Man in the Penguin Suit”, about my time as a US Marine stationed in Japan during the seventies.

Act 1, Scene 4

I graduated from the Naval School of Music and went to my first duty station in Iwakuni, Japan. After sleeping for a day due to the jet lag and crossing the International Date Line for the first time, I was met by a friend from the School of Music who came to the receiving barracks and said, “Douglas, get up, time to show you Iwakuni and get you settled in the Barracks!” LOL. I think I lost a couple of days there with the Moose River Hummers, the Bar Hostess’s, checking into base and playing a Christmas Concert that to this day I do not have any recollections of doing, but I did it well, obviously.
Life in Japan was wonderful and what a great adventure! Outside the front gate was Four Corner and Three Corner and that was my first area to become aquainted with. There was Wimpys for late night burgers and such with a Japanese twist, the New Manhattan Bar which is where the First Marine Aircraft Wing Band hung out, Jimmy Son, Mike Son, Michi Cho, Tomi Cho and Sachici Cho. Hiroshima was not that far away and Tokyo on the Bullet train was only a couple of fun hours away.
I could talk about the people we performed for both in the band and otherwise, but I prefer to talk about us, the ones in the Uniform or as the title of this book says, the Man In The Penguin Suit.
Being a part of a wonderful unit is always fantastic and when the finished product comes together in a performance it is very fulfilling! However, in my journeys around the globe there is one thing that stands out to me. People may know the organization and the sound of the individual people, but does the audience actually know the people in the orchestra, band or group? It’s interesting as listening to people talk, they can wax poetic over the last performance of Cher but do not really know the back up people, the stage hands, the light techs or the ones that make everything come together for that one stellar moment in time, the performance.
I guess I was lucky at times as I did a lot of solo work in Japan and the Far
east along with Australia during this time frame and thought I was making a name for myself. What I learned was that as a Marine, I was representing not only the Marine Corps but also the United States as pwhat we did in the world of Public Relations was what a lot of people saw as a product of the United States. Being in the Marines also was not limited to combat situations as we were also involved in Special Olympics around the world, working with orphanages, some of us volunteering our time to help build schools, homes, teaching, sharing with others in the civilian world. But the thing that stood out was being a United State Marine and in the Full Dress blues, that appeared to be all that was needed as part of the unit. By the way, just to clarify, I am very proud and honored to have earned the title of United States Marine, but what do I do after my time in the Corps?
While I was in Japan, I took the time when we had liberty, to travel to the home of the Suzuki Institute as the Suzuki method was new and it was unique to me! I met the creator of the method and had some wonderful enlightening conversations over tea and sushi with him about adaptability and other things, including working on my Japanese. I also traveled a lot to Tokyo on the Bullet Train and hung out in the Yamaha store trying out the horns and just having a grand old time when I met some of the designers and instrument repair people there. It was quite interesting as a Buffet man, that they actually wanted my input on a new line of clarinets they were developing and the new line of saxophones. Imagine that, a young Marine possibly affecting the next generation of musicians. I felt a bit overwhelmed later at the Clarinet Convention where I tried out those lines of instruments. Humm, maybe I’m more respected than I thought. Oh well, moving right along.

(Stay Tuned!  It gets better!)

Nippon Japanese Restaurant

This past weekend (December 12th, 2015), we had company from out of town, David Richardson from Austin, and he wanted to treat us to an evening out with Japanese food.  I have been a patron (Jere Douglas) of Nippon for over a decade and fell in love with this quaint homey Japanese restaurant during my soirees in the Montrose.

Nippon reminds me of my time living and working in Japan in the seventies as a musician and it is really a Gem in the Montrose.

Nippon Menu

Continue reading Nippon Japanese Restaurant

Ox Tails and Collared Greens

You don’t get much more into the soul food tradition than this! The oxtails used to be a throw away part of the animal but now are coming into prominence in good Southern Cuisine. I use fresh as possible and like sourcing from farm to table as I prefer to know where the foods I use come from.
5 pounds oxtails
10 pounds collard greens
10 pounds mustard greens
Salt
Pepper
Three hot red peppers
5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
1 gallon of water to begin with

Wash the greens well in salt water. It usually takes two to three washings to get the grit off. Trim the leaves from the stems by pulling them off. I keep the stems for other uses.
Put the water on to boil with the oxtails in the pot. Add bacon or country ham to taste. When boiling, add the rest of the ingredients and reduce to a simmer for about two hours. Be sure and check the pot to add more water when needed. I sometimes use homemade chicken or beef broth to add more flavor to the dish.
When done, put the greens and oxtails in a big serving bowl and I serve the pot liquor on the side. The pot liquor is full of the necessary stuff for my joint lubrication and to cut down on that old arthritis pain. Adding fresh turmeric to the cooking pot also increases the medicinal quality of this great dish! I recommend it highly.

The Pipeline

The Pipeline in Memphis was a leather bar that came on the scene in the eighties. Owned by Dennis and Stan, they pushed me to develop recipes using all natural ingredients for the infamous Sunday afternoon buffet and beer bust. There were also special events such as the pool tournaments where they demanded excellent foods sourced from local super markets and wholesale venues.
There was always an event planned at the Pipeline and that involved the kitchen. Mr. Leather Tennessee brought in people from around the world to our little place and we went to great lengths to prepare! There were also seasonal events including Mardi Gras, Cookouts, the Pipette Fourth of July benefit and other big feeds. We also coordinated with Memphis In May with a month of selections from the cuisine of the recognized nation that year. That was a challenge for me and yet I expanded my horizons as more was asked.
The challenge for me was to being excellent cuisine on a small budget. I accomplished that by taking standard fare and expanding with noodles into casseroles and such. The big events called for me personally developing as a chef and putting out a varied international cuisine. The Pipeline kitchen was a pass through from the office to the back bar and it amazed me how we could turn out some fabulous meals in short order. I learned a lot there and am grateful for the Widow McCain, the Manager, Jeff Hardy and for the wonderful people of Memphis!

Friday, beginning of a regular weekend or is it?

For all those 8 to 5 folks, this is the usual. However, in the arts and service industries, our week is just beginning. This weekend in Houston is a large event going on in the Montrose known as LUEY or “Let Us Entertain You” weekend where the leather folk from Houston extend the red carpet to the folks from New Orleans that put out, err, put on Mardi Gras every year. It’s a fun event and takes place in the bars and denzions of the Greater Houston Midtown Area.

Continue reading Friday, beginning of a regular weekend or is it?

Global Seafoods North America

This is one of the places I shop!  Global Seafoods North America has a great selection of seafoods and condiments to go along with them!   It’s important to source ingredients at a cost effective and with a high quality.

The Wild Alaskan Smoked Salmon is fantastic, especially on a Sunday morning with a good bagel and eggs.  My coffee comes from New Orleans.

And then there is Caviar for the discriminate tastes!  Here, we have an excellent Caviar!  Try it, you will like it!

Amish Cinnamon Bread

No kneading, you just mix it up and bake it
Batter:
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk or 2 cups milk plus 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
Cinnamon/sugar mixture:
2/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Directions
Cream together butter, 2 cups of sugar, and eggs. Add milk, flour, and baking soda. Put 1/2 of batter (or a little less) into greased loaf pans (1/4 in each pan). Mix in separate bowl the 2/3 c sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle 3/4 of cinnamon mixture on top of the 1/2 batter in each pan. Add remaining batter to pans; sprinkle with last of cinnamon topping. Swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 min. or until toothpick tester come clean.
Cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing from pan.