Tag Archives: green beans

Selma’s Texas Barbecue


My mother was looking for a drive and some dinner on Sunday night, and I knew, I just knew that barbecue was what she was looking for. So I tooled around on Urbanspoon, sampling the random wonders of their slot machine, trying to find something that would give her a worthwhile cause for mileage. It turns out this city is certainly not lacking in quality barbecue.

I settled on Selma’s Texas Barbecue for many reasons, but mostly because it looked charmingly small-scale and had a cheerful, friendly website that even touts a back story for the restaurant. As anyone who has read my Waffle House article will know, I’m a bit of sucker for tiny little cheap food joints with storied histories as well as tasty food.

Selma’s history is focused on Selma herself, a native of Texas and Arkansas for whom the restaurant models its wholesomely unhealthy Southern cuisine. The food is inexpensive but prepared to very particular specifications. The catfish is farm-raised, the meat slow cooked all day, the sauces mixed in-house. Even the baked goods are homemade, ensuring that patrons can get a fix of Coca-Cola cake and banana pudding alongside their ribs and cornbread.

Western Pennsylvania may not have the barbecue pedigree of the South, but it’s got a hankering for the cuisine all the same. Our neighbors in West Virginia know what they’re doing around a grill pit, and many of them have been kind of enough to spread the wealth into this region. Besides, the slow cooking ways of the Pennsylvania Dutch are not unlike the slow cooking ways of the Deep South. We share an affinity for pork and starches and meals that stretch from late afternoons to nightfall. What we share, like many food cultures, is a desire to sit around all night and converse over full plates of delicious home cooked foods.

Selma’s is very, very low key. You walk in, order your food, grab your cup and fill it up yourself, and take a seat. Someone will eventually bring your food, but while you’re waiting, feel free to educate yourself on the fine sauces offered on every tabletop in the small restaurant.

Selma’s even gives you a handy guide to the sauces, including a basic description of flavor and recommendations on what to use each sauce on. Kind of them, certainly, but I had no intention of only trying certain sauces on certain things. If there wasn’t a palate of sauces left on my plate at meal’s end, I had failed some kind of test.

Selma's Texas Barbecue on Urbanspoon

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Good Morning, Casserole!

Formerly sneered at as the mediocre output of 50’s housewives, casseroles have come back in style. Any devoted potlucker will tell you that casseroles work great for group dinners, as they are portable, sizable, and play well with other foods.

And yummy, did I mention yummy? For a little taste of the retro and a big taste of delicious, check out these five casserole recipes picked fresh from blogging kitchens. (Where’s my floral apron…)

– A little on the stew side, a little on the casserole side, Rachael over at Cupcakes and Carrot Sticks shares with us a Hungarian Casserole perfect for those of us suffering through freeze and snow. This veggie casserole seems to be made up of things that most people have on hand in their stocked fridge and kitchen cupboards, but in case you don’t have caraway seeds, definitely get some before making the recipe. Their presence is missed when they’re left out.

– Okay, I used to be a green bean hater when I was a kid, but don’t tell Cuisine by Eileen, cause I think she might bury me up to the neck in green beans. I’ve reformed, Eileen! And I would have even earlier if I had been privy to all the delicious green bean recipes that you have in your cooking arsenal, especially the grilled eggplant and green bean salad and the barbecue green beans.

– Is there any casserole more retro seeming than a Tuna Veggie Casserole? I didn’t think so. Tammy @ Palm Trees and Manatees offers up a good version. A little canned and frozen food heavy, but I don’t think she’ll mind if you guys substitute the fresh stuff.

– Still one of my recent favorite casseroles to come by, Midnight Maniac Rebecca shakes up the ol’ chicken casserole with her “Chicken” Lattice Casserole. It’s every bit as old timey and adorable as Rebecca is, and the photographs alone are worth checking out.

– Holy Christmas, Hungry Face! That is one stellar looking Breakfast Casserole. But cutting down the brown sugar by half? I don’t know if I can abide by that, even if it would help me get rid of my big fat dupa.

Stew! Stew! Stew!

Harvest Pumpkin Stew from VeganJoy

Oh boy oh boy! Do you feel that chill in the air? That bite in the wind? We’re in serious November weather territory now. It may get up to the fifties today and tomorrow, but it’s a steady decline into 40, even 30-degree temperatures. Soon that gray rain will be white snow. Makes me want to do a little dance of joy! And eat some stew!

I’ve had disagreements in the past on what distinguishes a stew from a soup. I tend to go with the Supreme Court-esque opinion, “I know it when I see it.” Or, rather, I know it when I taste it, cause looks can be deceiving. If pressed, I’d say that a stew should have about fifty percent less liquid than soup. Usually, you want a viscosity that is far thicker than your average soup broth, but not all stews are made the same. One man’s stew may be another man’s soup, but it’s not for us to judge. It’s (hopefully) for us to eat!

Enjoy your November rain a little more by trying out a few exceptional stew recipes:

Nicole over at Cooking with Nicole tries out an Eggplant Stew from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian. It actually reminds me a lot of the gypsy stew I make, but with eggplant and mushrooms and made much, much quicker. Love the shot of her veggies simmering. Makes me want curry and eggplant right. now.

Seitan is my Motor offers a decent way to use a slowly aging head of cabbage by making a flavorful, almost-goulash Cabbage Stew. Looks amazing, and as served over rice, is guaranteed to be belly filling. Time I went out and got some cabbage.

– VeganJoy has given me an excellent idea for what to prepare for the upcoming Friendsgiving with this delicious and adorable looking Harvest Pumpkin Stew. A little involved, yes, but looks like it’s worth the time investment in sight and taste.

Chickpea and Green Bean Stew from Vegan Awakening

Vegan Awakening serves up a perfect pantry-cleaning Chickpea and Green Bean Stew. I almost always have a can or two of chickpeas in the cupboard, as well as a bag of frozen green beans. This looks like a fantastic stew to whip on days too cold or rainy to leave the house for supplies.

– Finally, yes, a meaty stew. Mike teaches us how to make the Korean stew, Doenjang jjigae.  Yes, it also has tofu and veggies, but there’s more than enough beef in there to satisfy you meat-lovers. Plus, Mike recommends adding fish and poultry, so if you so desire, this can be a meat free for all.

Stew! Stew! Stew!

Oh, and yes, for musical entertainment and because it’s about as long as it takes to make a stew: