St. Patrick’s Corned Beef Dinner

March 17, 2015 - Written by Buff

Corned Beef is one of my favorite meals and I get to cook it only once or twice a year – once on St. Patrick’s Day [March 17th for those not in the know] for dinner and again when either the mood strikes me or I have special guests. Well, the other day we had special guests in and not only did I make this special dinner, we actually sat at the Dining Room table!

Corned beef






Split Pea Soup With Ham

December 7, 2014 - Written by Buff

This is a reprint from our very first recipe posted in 2007 by Buff (aka Thomas Tilert).  All of the other contributers including Buff have moved on to other ventures but we still value their recipes. No photo with this, but split pea soup is one of my absolute favorites, and if my mom has ham bones, I stick it in a zippered bag and freeze it to take it home with me. An interesting note – when we were kids, my dad used to open cans of pea soup for us to have – before he started making his own. The only way he could get us to eat it was to add hotdogs to the split pea soup which was our own version of a Split Pea Soup With Ham. This is Buff’s recipe:



1. Put the oil, carrots, garlic, onions and celery in a large soup pot; cover and over medium heat, “sweat the onions” – about 5 minutes or so.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.

3. Reduce heat and simmer until pea soup is thick as fog.

Serve with hardy bread.

This recipe is easily halved, but I like to make a lot so that I can freeze or can the remainder so that I have it on hand.


What I am digging

August 17, 2008 - Written by Buff

I am not the Vinegar King, but I am friends with the Vinegar Queen.  I do love vinegar, though.  All kinds of different vinegars.  I used to be a straight white vinegar kind of guy, but then I got hooked on balsamic, red-wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar for changes of pace.

Lately, I’ve been on a rice wine vinegar kick – specifically Nakano Original Rice Wine Vinegar.  I love the sweet and sour taste of it on my salads and cucumbers.  It’s flavorful enough that you can just use it and olive oil with a dash of salt and pepper.

I have used it with Good Seasons Italian Dressing and it’s really tasty.  

Give it a try.  You’ll be glad you did.

Nice Hot Salsa and Queso

June 10, 2008 - Written by Buff

OK…I can’t believe I haven’t posted this one yet.  This is my favorite snack/appetizer.  It’s spicy, but good spicy.  Serve it up and watch it go.  The preparation time is a matter of minutes and it’s a whole lot better than any store bought version.   Last year, I showed my friend’s teenaged son how to make it and he makes it all the time.




  1. Mix everything together.
  2. Chill.
  3. Serve with tortilla chips




  1. In a microwavable dish, mix the salsa with the cheese.
  2. Microwave for 3-4 minutes and stir.
  3. Microwave for 3-4 more minutes and stir until smooth.
  4. Serve with tortilla chips

Basil Potatoes

June 9, 2008 - Written by Buff

skilletPotatoesMy friend, Eddie, asked me today, "What are these basil potatoes you speak of Obi-wan?"

Well, Eddie, it’s a very simple and very tasty dish.

Potatoes are very versatile – it’s no wonder they’re the staple starch in most of our diets.  Almost all spices can be used with them, because they pick up the flavor of the spice so easily.  I’ve done this little recipe with many different spices – to include basil and cilantro.   Here’s the one for basil…just replace the spice and you should be good to go.



  1. Put the pan on the stove and set to stun…um…I mean medium high heat. 
  2. Quarter and slice potatoes.   Keep the skin on. 
  3. Spr ay oil [I always use olive oil] in skillet – just a light coat.  Add potatoes and whatever seasoning you want.  Brown one side of the potatoes in skillet.
  4. Flip potatoes and add fresh basil.  Add a little bit of water and cover.
  5. Potatoes are done when they are soft through the middle – about 2-3 more minutes.


Rum and Watermelon Fruit Salad

May 26, 2008 - Written by Buff

Now that the summer is upon us and you can get nice fresh watermelon, here’s a simple salad that’s sure to be a hit with the adults at your memorial day party.  I served it a couple of nights ago at a dinner party and it sure was a big hit.  You know how you can tell something’s good?  No-one’s talking.



  1. Cut 1/3 of the watermelon off the top.
  2. Take out all of the watermelon using a spoon or a melon ball device if you like to create a watermelon bowl.  Put the fruit from the watermelon in a tupperware bowl.
  3. Slice up the bananas [make sure you peel them first]
  4. Cut the grapes into quarters.
  5. Mix about half of the watermelon with the grapes and the bananas
  6. Add the lime juice and mix well
  7. Add the rum and mix well.
  8. Put the mixture back in the watermelon bowl and put the watermelon top back on.
  9. Place it standing up in the refrigerator and chill for a few hours before serving.

Some hints:  It doesn’t matter what other fruits you use.  Go ahead and experiment.  If you’re going to a party with children in attendance, you may want to make two one N/A.  Make sure you mark the outside of the watermelon to be sure the kids don’t eat the good fruit.

Shrimp Bisque

April 26, 2008 - Written by Buff



  1. Combine the flour and oil in a large nonstick saucepan and whisk until smooth. Over medium heat, stir constantly until the mixture is the color of peanut butter, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the shrimp and cook for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the wine, water, potatoes, old bay, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are done.
  6. Turn off the heat and add the milk, mix it in well.
  7. Serve the bisque, garnished green onion tops.

What I’m Digging: Penzey’s Spices

April 21, 2008 - Written by Buff

Oh my goodness.!  My good friend, Kate, recommended Penzey’s to me a few years ago and I have sung their praises ever since. I’ve shopped on line with them for the longest time and recently I had the opportunity to visit one of their stores.  I was like a kid in a candy store.  I had to buy one of each.

My suggestion would be to buy a bottle of each spice, then when you need to refill, buy in a bag.  The bottles are really nice and sturdy.

My highest recommendations are for the following spices:

Special Blends:

Try these spices.  Trust me on this, you will not be disappointed.

No-Meat Chili

April 20, 2008 - Written by Buff

As you all know I am a true blue carnivore, but every once in while the mood strikes me to not eat meat at every single meal.  Like today.  Sure, I had some chorizo in the freezer that I could have used, but went for something decidedly different – vegetarian chili.  Now had I entered this recipe in a Texas chili cook-off I’d be disqualified for two reasons – no meat and it has beans.  I dedicate this meal to our fellow blogger Robin.



  1. Put the beans in a large pot and cover with water.  Over low heat, simmer beans for about an hour, make sure the pot is covered. 
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and 2 cans full of water
  3. Bring to a boil, stir occasionally.
  4. Lower heat to bring it to a simmer
  5. Cook until the broth is thick, stir often.

I like to serve this with a nice hearty bread and an ice cold beer or a glass of wine!  Taking some tips from the book, He Said Beer, She Said Wine, I would recommend a double IPA such as Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA and a South African Pinotage Rose.

Baked Potatoes

April 18, 2008 - Written by Buff

If you’re like me…[don’t you hate when commercials begin with "if you’re like me"?  NO.  I am not like you at all.  I am nothing like you.]  Anyway, I love a baked potato with a nice thick juicy steak.  And since we’re having the in-laws in for dinner tonight, we’re serving juicy porterhouses.  Here’s a tried and true recipe. 



  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Pierce potatoes with a fork on each side – about 8-10 for each side
  3. Lightly coat potatoes with oil
  4. Lightly salt potato
  5. Bake for one hour.  Skin should be crispy in and inside should be tender.

Serve with sour cream and chives or salt and pepper and butter or any other of your favorite backed potato topping.