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Best of Back Porch Table

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Pot roast

This comforting pot roast is perfect to plan for a fall Sunday (or anytime). 

For a little over a year, we’ve been talking recipes and family stories in “Back Porch Table,” the online extension of “Back Porch.”

Unlike “Back Porch,” which runs every month in the printed Buzz magazines, “Back Porch Table” appears on The Buzz website every Friday morning. It’s a fun column based on two of my favorite things – cooking and telling stories – that lived in my head for years until The Buzz brought it to life.

And what a life it’s taken on: A whole bunch of new and old friends are cooking together, sharing successes and fails and new ideas, both through the column and on Instagram (search for #backporchtable).

We thought it would be fun to share a “Best Of.” These are the recipes readers loved most. We hope you’ll enjoy them, and hope you’ll visit us at at Back Porch Table. See you there!

A Gorgeous-Smelling Pot Roast for Sunday or Any Day


One 3- to 5-pound chuck roast
Six cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
Salt and pepper
Garlic powder
Olive oil

Recipe directions: 

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Rinse the roast under cool water, then pat it completely dry with paper towels. With a small, sharp knife, cut 12 1-inch wide, 1-inch deep slits around all sides of the roast. Rub the roast all over with the cut sides of the garlic cloves. Once a clove seems rubbed-out (meaning it starts to fall apart a little bit), insert it into one of the slits, and start with another clove, until all the cloves are tucked inside the roast. Generously sprinkle all sides of the roast with salt, pepper and garlic powder, rubbing the seasonings into the meat.

Slick the bottom of a large Dutch oven or roasting pan with olive oil – a couple of tablespoonsful. Heat the Dutch oven or roasting pan on the stove over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the roast. Sear it on all sides for about 3-4 minutes per side. Depending on how big your roast is, you might want to use two sets of tongs for the flipping.

When the roast is browned and a little crusty on all sides, pour enough water into the pan to come half-way up the sides of the roast. Cover the pan tightly with a lid or aluminum foil. Place the covered pan in the oven and roast for 4 hours, a little less or a little more, depending on the size of your roast. You’ll know the roast is done when it falls apart when you poke it with a fork. And when your house smells like home.

Pimento cheese

Pimento cheese served with crackers or veggies is a great addition to tailgating or any get-together.

Winning Pimento Cheese


1 cup Duke’s mayonnaise
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
½ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 4-ounce jar pimentos, drained well and diced
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
2 cups shredded smoked gouda cheese

Recipe directions: 

Mix mayonnaise and cream cheese until smooth, then add spices, jalapeño and pimentos. Fold the mixture into the cheeses. Refrigerate for an hour or so, and serve with pita chips, crackers and celery and carrot sticks.

Truffle Parmesan Popcorn

Andria Frankfort creates this Oscar-worthy Truffle Parmesan Popcorn, based on Laurence Bragg's method of popping popcorn. Laurence suggests popping kernels in coconut oil on the stovetop. This flavorful snack is a winner. 

Oscar-worthy Truffle Parmesan Popcorn

2 tablespoons coconut oil
½ cup popcorn kernels
½ tablespoon truffle salt (or to taste)
1 tablespoon grated parmesan (or to taste)

Recipe directions: 
Melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat in a 7- to 9-quart stockpot with a lid. When the oil has melted, drop in three popcorn kernels. Cover the pot with the lid. When those test kernels pop, add the remaining popcorn kernels, and swirl them around to coat them with the coconut oil.

Cover the pot, and wait until you hear popping. When you do, reduce the heat a little bit and begin shaking the pot, with the lid slightly ajar (letting out a little steam makes crispier popcorn), until the popping just about stops. Remove from the heat immediately.

Pour the popcorn into a large bowl and, while it is warm, sprinkle the truffle salt over. Stir to coat the kernels, then add the grated parmesan.

Ziploc baggies work great for smuggling this yumminess into the movies!

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

For a birthday, Father's Day, or any day you want to make a little sweeter, make a yellow cake with chocolate frosting!

Yellow Cake


3 cups sifted cake flour (sift before measuring)
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 ¼ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups well-stirred plain, whole-milk yogurt (not Greek), room temperature
Chocolate Frosting (recipe below)

Recipe directions:

Butter the bottom and sides of 3 8- or 9-inch cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment (trace the pans on the paper, then cut the paper to fit the bottoms of the pans), then butter the parchment. Dust the pans with a little flour, and knock them against the side of the sink to remove the excess. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with racks in the upper and lower third.

Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until it is pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla, and beat another 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and alternate adding the flour mixture with adding the yogurt in 3 batches, beginning and ending with flour. Mix just until smooth. Divide the batter among the 3 pans and spread it evenly across the tops. Knock the pans on the counter top a couple of times to release any air bubbles.

Bake the cakes, rotating the pans in the oven halfway through, until the cakes begin to pull away from the sides of the pans and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, around 25 to 35 minutes (I know that’s a wide range – just keep checking every 5 minutes or so after the initial 25). Cool the cakes in the pans for 20 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and turn the cakes out onto racks to cool. (Or, if you want to frost them the next day, you can let the cakes cool completely in the pans, then cover the pans with foil.)

Once they are completely cooled, put one cake layer on a cake plate. Frost the top with the chocolate frosting. Carefully stack the second cake layer on top of the first, then frost the top. Stack the third layer on top of that and frost the top and sides. I like to coat the top and sides with a thin layer of frosting, then put the whole thing in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so, then frost again over that. It keeps the cake crumbs from getting mixed up in the frosting and makes it look clean and pretty!

Chocolate Frosting


1 pound powdered sugar, sifted
4 tablespoons butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Scharffen Berger)
10 – 12 tablespoons heavy cream (about ¾ cup)

Recipe directions:

On low speed with a hand-held or stand mixer, mix the sugar, butter, vanilla, cocoa powder and 7 tablespoons heavy cream until blended. Add more cream while beating, one tablespoon at a time, until the frosting loosens up and when you scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula, the consistency is spreadable. I use about 12 tablespoons cream total. Mix the frosting on high for a couple of minutes until it is fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple of times. 

Feta Dip

Andria Frankfort says if you don't make any other Back Porch Table recipe, make this one from the best Greek food cook she's ever known.

Mrs. Vogelpohl’s Feta Dip


2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 pound feta cheese 
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
Juice of 2 lemons
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano 

Recipe directions:

Mix everything together with a fork. Serve with crackers (expert tip: this dip is delicious with Triscuits). 

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