Hot Thoughts Yield Hot Pork and Mustard Greens Soup

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It’s officially Fall, the air is sharp, and my small garden of Winter squash, peas, cauliflower, and mustard greens is vibrant green. It’s time to harvest the greens that are pretty, billowy, wide leaves that rise from the ground like a green, auburn fountain. But what to make first? Perhaps greens with ham hocks, a crunchy salad, or fragrant soup? The chill in the air nudges me toward a rich, pungent Asian soup with spicy pork, ginger, soy, and garlic - perhaps wide rice noodles to add a bit of dark, earthy texture and flavor - mmmm, yes,

I pick my greens carefully, tasting the sturdy leaves for ripeness, then trimming close to the ground - hearty, with a whisper of spiciness that gives my palate and tummy a giggly flip flop. I hope you enjoy the recipe - a perfect way to cuddle up tonight to watch the election results in your town, city - #voteblue

Hot Thoughts Hot Pork and Mustard Greens Soup

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  • 1 pound ground pork

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons ginger, grated

  • 1 tablespoon sambal

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

  • 2 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 7 cups chicken stock

  • 2 bunches mustard greens, torn - 6 cups

  • 8 oz. can bamboo shoots, chopped

  • 8 green onions, chopped

  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, 1/2 chopped, 1/2 whole leaf

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 12 oz. Forbidden rice noodles - wide variety


  1. Combine pork, garlic, ginger, sambal, red pepper flakes, and garam masala - Heat oil in soup pot over medium heat. Add pork mixture; season accordingly with salt, pepper - cook until browned, fragrant.

  2. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil; reduce, simmer until fragrant. Add mustard greens, green onions, chopped cilantro, bamboo shoots, soy sauce, and fish sauce, stirring occasionally over simmer, until greens are tender.

  3. While soup simmers, cook Forbidden Rice noodles in salted water until al dente.

  4. Add noodles to the finished soup - serve garnished with cilantro and green onions..

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Wonder Woman of the High South - Chef Maudie Schmitt

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Who:  Maudie Schmitt

Where:  Café Rue Orleans

What:  Crab and Shrimp Mirliton Stuffing

Insights from the Metro-billy:  Chef Maudie Schmitt is the godmother of authentic, comfort food in Northwest Arkansas as owner, chef of Café Rue Orleans, one of the most successful, longest running restaurants around.  She graced the pages of Citiscapes nearly 15 years ago with her famed Deep Fried Turkey technique, and hasn’t missed a beat with this classic Louisiana Chayote stuffing recipe that is certain to become a favorite for your family, friends this Holiday season. 

Crab and Shrimp Mirliton Stuffing

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6 Mirlitons, chopped

1 pound Jumbo Lump Crabmeat

1 pound (70–90 count) Shrimp, peeled and deveined

¼ pound Butter

1 cup yellow Onion, diced

1 cup Celery, diced

½ cup Red Bell Peppers, diced

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¼ cup Garlic, minced

Salt and Black Pepper, to taste

Louisiana Hot Sauce, to taste

¼ cup chopped Parsley

2 cups Italian Bread Crumbs

1/2 pound Butter


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Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Boil mirlitons in lightly-salted water 30–40 minutes or until tender. Remove from water and cool. In 12-inch cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Sauté mirliton, onions, celery, bell peppers, garlic in butter for three to five minutes, or until vegetables are wilted.

Add shrimp and cook two to three minutes or until pink and curled. Cook additional fifteen to twenty minutes, stirring until flavors develop. After most of liquid has evaporated, remove from heat, then season with salt, pepper, hot sauce and parsley. Fold in crabmeat, being careful not to break lumps.

Sprinkle in approximately 1½ cups of bread crumbs to absorb excess liquid and to hold stuffing. Place mixture in baking pan and sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown.


Homemade FIRE Crackers

My friends can’t keep their hands off of my Fire Cracker - a delicious spicy, crispy cracker bread reminiscent of Armenian Lahvosh, wonderful base for just about any dip, spread, or pate in your repertoire. I’ve know several superstar chefs through the years that have made delicious lahvosh, including Elaine Robinette in the late nineties at Ozark Baking and Catering, and even more recently, chef Sarah Chase formerly of Crystal Bridges, but currently working, thriving in Tulsa. Like most chefs, cooks, and gourmets, I’ve stolen bits and pieces from a number of different sources devise a stylized cracker that I can claim as my own, indeed the name references an abundance of crushed red pepper that give the end product a POP, along with the Snap and Crackle - at it’s core, the dough is actually my Homemade Baguette recipe, baked in my home kitchen at least every other week - simple, delicious, impressive - I’m all about quick, easy and immediate gratification, and if you echo that desire in your cooking (and perhaps even in life), this is the recipe for you.

I hope you like it - it’s great with the Pimento Cheese Recipe from yesterday - but also delicious as an accompaniment to saucy curries, one pot dishes, soups, and stew - and I love it just as a snack that stays on a small uncovered tray in my kitchen - I’ve never known it to get stale, even after a few days…partly because it’s hearty, but also because it’s consumed within a day or so. It’s impressive to present on a table as well - either broken into small, fragmented pieces, or in large, round sheets; and so delicious with cold beer and white wine Even the dog loves it….

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Homemade Fire Crackers

2 1/2 cups bread flour

3/4 cup warm water

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp honey

2 tsp yeast

1 tsp minced garlic


1 whole egg, beaten

3 tbsp crushed red pepper

3 tbsp eden shake blend

3 tbsp fresh garlic, minced

3 tbsp black sesame seeds

3 tbsp white sesame seeds

3 tbsp coarse salt

3 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced

Technique -

Combine first six ingredients in food processor or kitchen aide with paddle attachment - mix, combine until pliable dough forms - use additional flour or water of necessary. Knead for two minutes - place in greased mixing bowl, allow to rest and rise for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 360 degrees.

Divide dough into three balls - one at a time, roll each ball onto floured surface into very thin, under 1/4” thick circles - place on greased pizza pan or sheet pan - brush egg wash, then distribute 1/3 of each of the topping ingredients evenly across the surface of the dough. Bake until golden brown -approximately 15 minutes.

"Picked-On" Peppered Cheese

I hated pimento cheese when I was a kid - it seemed wet, soggy, slightly sweet and overtly rich. A horrible sandwich option found in gas stations, supermarkets, and vending machines, to be avoided at all costs - my God, I thought, who the fuck wants to eat a sandwich with a filling that is softer than the bread? And the kids in school that packed pimento cheese sandwiches for lunch weren’t to be trusted.- not at all different from the “dirty kids” down the street that mother instructed, ordered me to stay away from. A kid that eats pimento cheese, after all, probably had bad hygiene and orange teeth - gross.

Outside of sack lunches at school, the only other time I was forced to deal with pimento cheese was during the holidays when it was smeared inside the green valley of fresh celery and carefully nestled on a glass tray, between canned black olives (that were wonderful when eaten from finger tips), sweet baby pickles, and more celery stuffed with creamy peanut butter. Nobody but my grandfather ate the pimento cheese - and let’s face it, he liked scotch and whiskey….two things equally as off putting as slimy orange cheese spread.

As I got older, I mysteriously developed a deep affinity for scotch, whiskey…and yes, even pimento cheese. It’s become quite expected in the south for chefs, restaurants to serve this simple cheese spread that is delicious on white bread alone, as accouterments to burgers and sandwiches, and even as a means for simple snacking, entertaining. Please enjoy my recipe here - I like it with baked lahvosh (recipe to come soon) and pickled cucumbers and red onions (also to come soon) - I hope you enjoy it. Oh, and to all the pimento eating, dirty kids I shunned or shamed in elementary school - I humbly ask for your forgiveness - I was wrong….

Pick a Pepper Cheese

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  • 1 lb. of sharp cheddar

  • Splash of Pickapeppa brown hot sauce

  • Splash of cider vinegar

  • 1 cup grilled sweet peppers, rough chopped 

  • 2 Tsp. onion powder

  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder

  • 1 Tbsp. samball hot sauce

    21 Tsp. Dijon mustard

  • 1 Cup mayonnaise (Start with ½ cup and add as needed)

  • Pinch of smoked paprika

    Technique -

    Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Allow to rest in fridge for an hour or so.Serve with home made lahvosh and pickled cucumbers and red onions.