J. Keck

Interview about The Big House on BlogTalkRadio

On March 12, 2015 I was privileged to be interviewed about The Big House, by radio host Garrett Miller on Rated G Radio. Take a listen and leave your thoughts in the comments below.
-J. Keck

Check Out Writing Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Rated G Radio on BlogTalkRadio

Baked Stuffed Onion Recipe

It’s starting to look like I’m writing only about food on my blogs, but that’ll change. However, today is not the day. I’m remembering something my grandmother made, which does relate to my novel i.e. the sequel, “The Big House: Story of a Southern Family’s Journey.” There is a passage in one of the chapters when Nora prepares stuffed onions. I’m sure there are people who have eaten them; I just haven’t met any of you yet. For anyone wanting to taste this treat, the recipe is as follows:

Baked Stuffed Onion

6 onions, medium size Bermuda, white onions
1 cup of bread crumbs
1 cup of minced ham
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste
chicken stock (about two cups)
cube of butter

1. Slice off the root of the onion (approx. 1/8th”}
2. Slice off 1/2″ of the top of the onion
3. With a melon baller, scrape out core of the onion, leaving 1/4″ inch of the bottom and sides. Remove the outer layer’s of the onion that
is tough.
4. Chop of the inside of the onion. Sautee the chopped onion until dark brown and caramelized.
5. Put the cored onions in simmering water until they are soft – approx. 20 minutes. Cool the onions.
Cooling Onions
6. Put the sautéed onions in a bowl to cool. After they are cool, add breadcrumbs , minced ham, and one egg. Combine all ingredients.
Stuff the mixture into ‘cool’ onion shells.
Cooling Onions & Starting to Stuff with Ingredients
Stuffing the Onion
7. Place stuffed onions into a baking dish. Pour chicken stock into the dish – approx. halfway the side of the shells of the onions.
Chicken Stock in Dish with Stuffed Onions
8. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake them at 375 degrees for 45 minutes until tops are brown and crispy.
9. Remove foil and bake approx. 15 minutes until the tops of the onions are brown and crispy.

* If medium sized onions are used, shane the time accordingly.
Stuffed Onions Brown and Crispy

Catfish, Hush Puppies, & Yuzu

Catfish & Hush Puppies

Catfish & Hush Puppies [Credit: Joy C. ]

One night when I was a teenager, visiting extended family in the Arkansas delta, I was told to prepare myself for “some mighty good eatin’.” I supposed that we were going to someone’s home or a restaurant. Instead, on this moonless night, the car crossed over a bridge above the St. Francis River, the outlines of a few houseboats tied up barely discernible, and continued on its way. Down the lightless, empty road we drove, not much being said until the car slowed and pulled in front of a small diner. The surprise? Catfish and hush puppies. They were right: it was the best catfish and hush puppies I’d ever eaten, and remains so after all these years.

Japanese-French style catfish from Restaurant Shiro

Japanese-French style catfish from Restaurant Shiro [Credit: Carrie C.]

On a visit this past year to Pasadena, California a new adventure: a different take on catfish. Delicious, whole, deep-fried catfish with its crispy skin and a ponzu sauce at Restaurant Shiro in South Pasadena. Japanese-French cuisine. The ponzu sauce has a citrus soy flavor and is made with soy sauce and yuzu (a Japanese citrus that has a flavor somewhat between a lemon and an orange). Moist, succulent morsels of flaky meat. Yum.