As a new part time blogger and an amateur photographer, I’m very proud and excited to announce that Foodgawker has accepted one of my photo submissions! Foodgawker is the Granddaddy of food photo submission sites, with nearly 300,000 followers, and your photo has to be nearly perfect to be accepted. I have had several submissions rejected previously for reasons such as composition, lighting, overexposure, etc.

You can see the photo at and recipe for the salt block filet mignon at

or on my blog.

Himalayan Pink Salt Block Filet Mignon with Asparagus

I have had this salt block for quite a while, but I have never tried to use it on a glass electric stovetop before – until now! And it works great!! This is also #ketofriendly.

Unfortunately, we do not have a gas range because we do not have gas. I knew that you could use a salt block on a gas range burner or on a gas grill (we don’t have one of those, either) and I did not think a charcoal grill would work either, because it’s too hard to control the heat. I know that you have to heat the salt block up very slowly or it may crack, so in the past, I have mainly used the salt block to season and “dry cure” meat or to refrigerate the block and display cold foods on it.

During the cold winter months, I have mostly been making Souse Vide steaks and searing them in a cast iron skillet, but now I have another option that In will be using every now and then.

I knew that in order to use a salt block on an electric range cooktop, The salt block would need to be elevated an inch or two, so I looked for a wok ring but had no luck but I did find this thingamajig at Bed Bath & Beyond and I decided to give it a try. I think it was called a grilling pan? The handle is removable and invertible.

Grilling pan or “thingamajig

Now let’s get to the recipe!

Servings – 2

Prep Time – about 2 hours

Cook Time – about 20 minutes

  • Two 1″ thick Filet Mignon (beef tenderloin)
  • 1 lb. fresh asparagus spears
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • one lemon wedge
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • no salt should be needed

Trim any silver skin off of the filets and season them with a little black pepper, onion and garlic powder and set them on the cold or room temperature salt block for 15 minutes, then turn them and let them set another 15 minutes.

Remove the filets from the salt block. Rub about a half teaspoon of olive oil very lightly on the filets and set them aside.Wipe and dry the salt block with a paper towel. Turn the grilling pan (thingamajig) upside down and place it on a burner. Place the salt block on top of the thingamajig. Use a burner where the thingamajig will not be touching any of the area on the burner that will turn red. Turn the burner on low heat for 30 minutes After 30 minutes, turn the burner on medium for another 30 minutes. Do not attempt to start the salt block on high heat, as it may cause the block to crack!

While the salt block is still heating on medium heat, clean and trim the asparagus spears and blanch them in boiling water just until they turn color. rinse in cold water and drain and dry them with a paper towel. Season the asparagus with 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil, and juice from the lemon wedge. Set aside.

After heating the the salt block on medium heat for 15 minutes, turn the burner on high heat for another 15 minutes.

At this point, the salt block should be ready to go. Sprinkle a few drops of water and the salt block, or test a few asparagus spears first like I did. If the asparagus grills or the water sizzles, the block should be ready.

Set the asparagus around the edges of the salt block and place the filets on their sides for a few minutes to brown the sides then place them facedown in the middle of the block. Turn the asparagus frequently. For medium rare steaks, cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side or until 140 degrees with a meat thermometer. If for some reason you want them well done, cook them longer.

Remove to serving plates and serve immediately.


# Note: Asparagus may cause some people’s urine to have a strange odor. This is nothing to worry about. Some bodies convert asparagusic acid into sulfuric containing chemicals that can cause a pungent aroma. I call this phenomenon as asparapiss. It is only temporary.

“A few stems of Asparagus eaten, shall give our Urine a disagreeable Odour”

– Ben Franklin 1781

Suggested songs for your listening pleasure while preparing this dish….

“Its All Meat” By Eric Burdon & The Animals from their debut album “Winds of Change” released in October 1967. This album also features the great song “San Franciscan Nights” and a cover of the Rolling Stone’s “Paint it Black”

Chronicle, Vol.1″ a greatest hits album by the multitalented band Creedence Clearwater Revival released in January 1976. All the songs are great, but due to the current weather we have had here in Tennessee, I would suggest listening to at least “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” and “Who’ll Stop the Rain”

To purchase a salt block from Amazon, click on the image below.

To look at thingamajigs, click image below.

My Top 15 Non Essential Kitchen Gadgets that I could live without but wouldn’t want to…

Previously I posted my Top 12 Essential Kitchen Tools. These are my non essential “luxury” kitchen tools that I can’t live without….

Note – you can click on any of the pictures below to see these products from Amazon. Even if you do not buy the product you click on, I could make a little change to support this blog or some of my other vices if you buy these or ANYTHING on the Amazon site after you click on any of the pictures. Need to buy anything from Amazon? Just find the product you need after clicking one of my links. I appreciate your support!

#1 – A Keurig Coffee Maker

Because I gotta have coffee in the morning!

#2 – A Lodge Cast Iron Hibachi Grill

I don’t use it much in the winter, but during the other seasons, this is my GO TO for steaks, chops, chicken and seafood.

#3 – A Pink Himalayan Salt Block

It’s great to set a steak on for a few hours before cooking it because it dry cures the steak a little and adds a salt flavor. I will post a recipe later this week for salt block Filet Mignon and Asparagus on an electric stovetop.

#4 – A Showtime Rotisserie Oven

Ours is several years old. You can now get combination Air Fryers and Rotisseries together. No matter the brand or type, a rotisserie oven does a fantastic job with chickens, beef and pork roasts because the meat juices baste the meats while rotating.

#5- A Sous Vide Immersion Circulator

OMG – I love this thing! These have come way down in price the last couple of years. My brother, who is an Executive Chef at a Country Club has been using one for years. You can cook steaks to around 130 degrees for a couple of hours and cool them down and when a customer orders one, it can be seared quickly and be ready in a few minutes. Most grocery stores now sell premium quality steaks already vacuum packed that you can drop right into the water bath without having to bag. That is the way I usually cook steaks all winter when I can’t use my cast iron grill. It’s also great for veggies such as carrots, broccoli and asparagus because you are not boiling the nutrients out and the veggies retain their color and firmness. Just place in the bag, place in the water bath at about 176 degrees, cook for an hour or two, cool and reheat without any added water – just add seasonings and butter or olive oil if desired. I see where InstantPot has recently got in the game with a sous vide immersion circulator, too. I recently bought a reusable silicone cooking bag that works great.

#6 – BBQ Bags

These cooking bags are wonderful, but the only place I can find them is on Amazon. They are great for campfire type meals. Just put anything in the bag and cook the whole bag in the oven, dump the meal on a serving dish and throw the bag away. Ain’t nobody got to wash a bunch of dishes!

#7- An Air Fryer/Toaster Oven

Air Fryers, along with Insta-Pots have soared in popularity the last few years. The oven we have air fries, toast, bakes and broils. Since we have become empty nesters and there’s now just the two of us, we use one of the functions on this oven just about every night. I like fried foods but I rarely ever deep fried anything at home due to the mess, the grease and the calories. In fact, we’ve never even owned a deep fryer but now we can have fried foods without all the grease, mess and calories.

#8- An InstantPot

You talk about a trending item! I was browsing in Barnes & Noble a few weeks ago and I was amazed at the amount of InstantPot books they had available. When I was a kid, my parents had a pressure cooker and I knew that you could cook a roast or chicken in minutes with it, but the contraption always scared me with the steam blowing out of it. I was always afraid it was going to take off like a space ship. My worries were warranted, however because I believe these old contraptions kind of went away due to burns, accidents and injuries. Well, now InstantPot has brought them back and they have more safety functions on them. InstantPots have several functions including a slow cooker function. Technology sure has come a long way!

#9- An Immersion Blender

These are great for blending cream soups and bisques.

#10- A Small Food Chopper/Processor

We just don’t need one of those giant dinosaur type food processors – we don’t have the counter space. This little KitchenAid one does everything we need it to do, from chopping vegetables, making salad dressings, mayonnaise or pesto.

#11- A KitchenAid Meat Grinder Attachment

I love my KitchenAid Stand Mixer and that’s why I had it listed in my “Top 12 Essential Kitchen Tools” post earlier. One of the reasons I love it so much is because of all the attachments that you can use with it. I am not a paid spokesman for KitchenAid, but I probably should be! ( are you listening @kitchenaid ?) There’s nothing better than grinding your own fresh meat. My cut of choice to grind is chuck due to the good meat to fat ratio. Just cube or strip the meat and place it in the freezer for about 20 minutes before grinding because it will grind better with a firmer texture, If you attempt to grind warm meat, you will regret it.

#12- A KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment

Because we all scream for ice cream! This thing does the trick? Just be sure to place the bowl in the freezer overnight before using it.

#13- A Kitchen Aid Pasta Maker Attachment

Because if you haven’t tried fresh made pasta, you are missing out!

#14- A KitchenAid Juicer Attachment

Because who doesn’t like fresh squeezed juice?

# 15- A KitchenAid slicer/shredder attachment

This is great when you need large quantities of shredded vegetables or cheese.

What kitchen gadgets can you not live without?

Easy Smoked Sausage and Roasted Vegetable Sheet Pan Dinner

Did someone say Sausage Party? Let’s do this! This is a very easy rainy day meal to put together and is ready to eat in about an hour. Any precooked sausage will work. You could use Italian Sausage, Andouille, Kielbasa, Bratwurst or most any precooked sausage. I used a Vidalia onion and uncured bacon smoked sausage that I picked up at our local Kroger..
  • You could probably use raw sausage, but I would eliminate the olive oil and would turn more often while in the oven because of the fat being released from the raw sausage.

Servings – 3-4

Cook/Prep Time – about an hour


  • 3 precooked 5-6 ox sausage links
  • 8 small gold or red potatoes
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1 rib celery
  • 2 small sweet peppers
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 small fresh tomatoes
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 packet Good Seasons Italian dressing mix
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt should not be necessary

Preheat oven to 450. Peel the onions, carrots, shallot and garlic. Clean and wash all the vegetables. Cut the sausage diagonally. Halve the potatoes. Cut the other vegetables into about 1 1/2 inch chunks. Place in bowl. Add the Italian seasoning mix, pepper, paprika and olive oil and mix together.

Place in oven and cook 15 minutes. Turn the mixture with a spatula and cook another 10-15 minutes. Thats it!


Songs for your listening pleasure while preparing this dish….

“We Built This City (on sausage rolls)” by Ladbaby (single only) released in the fall of 2018. This is a reworked version of Starship’s “We built This City” Ladbaby’s single went to number one in the U.K. in December 2018, knocking Ariane Grande off the top spot.

“(Ain’t Nothin’ But a) House Party” From the album “Bloodshot” by the J. Geils Band released in April 1973 while I was a Senior in high school. I had the album and it was a really cool red vinyl. The other standout track on this album is “Give it to Me”

“Smokey Robinson 18 Greatest Hits” released in 1983 featuring “The Tracks of My Tears” , “I Second That Emotion” and “Cruisin’ “

“Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again” by The Fortunes from their album “Here Comes That Ring Day Feeling Again” released in May 1971

*UPDATE – I had to add my favorite Monkee’s song since Peter Tork passed today… “Daydream Believer” from their album “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” released in October 1967 when I was 12 years old. I remember watching their show every Monday evening preceding our Boy Scout meetings at our Scoutmaster’s house. R.I.P. Peter!

My Top 12 Essential Kitchen Tools

I am not going to include major appliances or basic items that most people that use their kitchens most likely already have such as measuring cups and spoons, vegetable peelers, meat forks, spatulas, etc. I also will not include a microwave or regular toaster because we do not have these items in our kitchen.
  • #1 – A good set of knives. We have several knives but I prefer Wusthof knives. My most used three knives are a Chef knife, a paring knife and a boning knife.
  • #2 – A good solid cutting board. We have several but I prefer the wooden or bamboo ones.
  • #3 – A Cast Iron skillet. We have a couple of different sizes but use mostly our 10″ one that is older than our children.
  • #4 – A good mixer such as a KitchenAid. This may not be a essential tool for everyone, but it is for me because I love to bake bread.
  • #5 – Copper skillets. Again, we have several different kinds, sizes and brands but really like the Copper Chef ones we purchased a few months ago.
  • #6 – A digital scale. Having one of these is essential for weighing ingredients accurately for cooking and baking. The spring loaded ones are not very accurate. Have you ever tried to weigh an ounce of spinach on one of those spring loaded scales? Not happening.
  • #7 – A Dutch Oven – We have 2 different sizes of these. They are ideal for braising meats, roast and stews. They make several different kinds, but I prefer the ceramic coated cast iron ones.
  • #8 – A good instant read thermometer. Essential for checking the temperatures of meats and other baked goods.
  • #9 – a mortar and pestle. Again, these are tools that are essential for me. These are probably not on many people’s lists, but I use these to blend spices and make pastes and rubs.
  • #10 – A rolling pin. Again, I like to bake and NEED to have one of these.
  • #11 – A good Steel. Because knives won’t sharpen themselves.
  • # 12 – A Microplane. Great for zesting fruits and fine grating garlic, cheese, etc.

These are MY essential tools. What are YOURS ? Is there anything that you would add or take off this list? I’d love to hear from you!

In a future post, I will list My Top Luxury Type Essential Tools.

The Batman and banana cutter photos courtesy of the World Wide Web…

Meatless Monday French Onion Soup

OK – even this old carnivore can use a break from meat once in a while! This is a low cost rich French Onion soup that would be a great dish for a #meatlessmonday. This could also be made in the morning or the day before and and put in a slow cooker on warm to have a ready to eat meal when you get home….

Servings – about five 12 ounce bowls

Cook/Prep time – about two hours

  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet vidalia onions
  • 1/2 pounds red onions
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 12 oz gruyere cheese (you may substitute Swiss or provolone)
  • 1/2 loaf French or Italian bread
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • salt to taste if needed
  • Note – for a richer version of this soup, you can substitute beef or chicken stock for the vegetable stock, but then technically the soup would not actually be meatless.

Peel the onions and slice them thin. I sliced some crosswise and some lengthwise. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven on medium low heat. Add sliced onions. Saute them, stirring frequently for 30 minutes.

Peel and chop the garlic and add to the onions. Turn the heat up to medium and add the sugar while stirring constantly. The sugar will help to caramelize the onions. Cook for about 30 more minutes until the onions are caramelized.

When the onions are browned well, add the wine and stir to deglaze the pan, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce , black pepper and bay leaves. Turn heat down to low and simmer another 30 minutes. Taste to see if you need to add any salt. I did not need to add any. The soy sauce adds a salty flavor and the cheese also has a salty taste. While the soup is simmering, slice the bread. Mix the olive oil, Italian seasoning and onion powder together and brush both sides of the bread slices. At this point, you can leave the bread in slices or cut into chunks as croutons. Set oven to 450 and toast the slices or croutons until browned well.

Slice or shred the Gruyere cheese. Dish the soup into oven proof soup crocks. Set the bread slices or croutons on top of the soup and add the desired amount of cheese on top of the bread. Set oven to broil and place the crocks in the oven until the cheese is melted and browned well. Carefully pull the crocks out of the oven and serve.

If you would like to make the bread I used in this recipe, see my Easy Crusty No Knead Italian Bread post from February 8th.


Suggested music for your listening pleasure to listen to while preparing this soup…..

“Green Onions” by Booker T & the M.G. ‘s from the album “Green Onions” released in September 1962.

“The Onion Song” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell from the album “Easy” released in October 1969.

“French Kissing” by Debbie Harry from the album “Rockford” released in November 1986.

“Vidalia” by Sammy Kershaw from his album “Politics, Religion and Her” released in July 1996.

Click the picture below to see soup crocks from Amazon.

Swedish Meatballs

For something a little different but delicious, try these Swedish Meatballs! I love these but I just don’t make them often enough. The fresh grated nutmeg really brings out the awesome flavor in these. It’s not too late to make these for Valentines Day…

4 servings

Prep/Cook time – 1 hour

Ingredients for the meatballs…
  • 1 pound 80/20 ground chuck
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
Ingredients for the gravy…
  • 1 – 14 oz can beef broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

For the meatballs, mix the panko and the heavy cream in a mixing bowl and allow to soak while you chop the onion, parsley and garlic. Add the onion, garlic, parsley, nutmeg, worchesterchire sauce, egg, mustard and salt and pepper to the panko mixture and blend well. Add the ground chuck and mix well.

Scoop the meatballs with a scoop. Roll them into balls and place on a tray. turn a large sauce pan on medium heat and melt the ghee. Place the meatballs carefully into the pan and brown them well, turning as needed. Turn oven on to bake at 300. degrees. when the meatballs are browned well, turn sauce pan on low heat remove the meatballs to a sheet pan on a sheet pan and place in the oven for 30 minutes to finish cooking.

Add the flour, nutmeg , Worcestershire sauce and mustard to the pan drippings and stir well to make a roux. Cook and stir until the roux is browned and bubbly. Add the beef broth and stir to blend. Add the heavy cream and stir until bubbly and thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. When the meatballs are done, add them to the gravy. Serve over egg noodles or mashed potatoes. Top with chopped parsley.

Suggested music for your listening pleasure while preparing these….

“Meatballs” by Rick Dees from the “Meatballs” movie soundtrack released in 1979.

“The Best of Abba” Released in November 1975.

I used a “Copper Chef ” sauce pan to cook these meatballs. To see the link to Amazon, click on the picture below…

Slow Cooker Red Wine Braised Pot Roast

There’s no better way to spend a rainy day than to fill your house with the wonderful aroma of a slow cooked Red Wine Braised Pot Roast! Let’s do this!

In fact, this pot roast is so good, you may find yourself rubbing it all over your chest…

“and he rubbed the pot roast all over his chest”

Warren Zevon from his song “Exciteable Boy”

Servings – 4

Cook/Prep Time – About 6 1/2 hours


  • 1 1/2 pounds Chuck Roast
  • 1 can beef broth (14 oz)
  • 1 cup Chianti (or your favorite red wine)
  • 1/2 – 14 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 8 small honey gold potatoes
  • onion powder
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch (optional)
  • salt
  • pepper

Season the chuck roast with salt, pepper and onion powder. Turn a cast iron skillet on medium heat. Add the olive oil to the skillet, let it heat up and brown the chuck roast on all sides until golden brown.

After the beef has browned, turn the slow cooker on high and add the beef, red wine, beef broth, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, garlic cloves, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves and soy sauce. Place lid on the slower cooker and cook for 3 1/2 hours.

While the pot roast is cooking , peel the onion and carrots and wash all of the vegetables. Halve the potatoes. Cut the onion celery and carrots into chunks. Place the veggie in a bowl and cover them with cold water.

After cooking on high for 3 1/2 hours, turn the slow cooker to low and add the veggies. Taste the rich broth and add more salt and pepper to taste if necessary. Let it simmer on low for another 2 1/2 hours.

At this point, the vegetables will be soft, and the beef will be fall apart tender and ready to eat. Now if you want to thicken the broth a little to add a little body, dissolve the cornstarch in 1/4 cup of water , remove the beef and stir the cornstarch mixture into the broth until thickened. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Time to eat!


Suggested for your listening pleasure while preparing this dish…

“Exciteable Boy” by the late Warren Zevon from his third album “Exciteable Boy” released in January 1978 which also features his massive hit “Wherewolves of London”

“Well, he went down to dinner in his Sunday best

Exciteable boy, they all said

And he rubbed the pot roast all over his chest

Exciteable boy, they all said

Well, he’s just an excitable boy

“Let it Rain” and “Bottle of Red Wine” by Eric Clapton from his 1970 debut studio album “Eric Clapton”

For recipes like this one calling for just a tablespoon of tomato paste, I like to use the squeeze tube instead of opening a 6 oz. can. You can get a tube from Amazon by clicking the picture below….