Reimagined neck bones and rice never tasted so good

Pork neck bones seasoned just like mom used to do.

My ancestors were culinary innovators.

With the scraps from their owners, they reimagined  the use of pig intestines and chitterlings. And similarly they turned oxtails, pig feet and neck bones into hearty, rib sticking entrees that remain the breadcrumbs to my past and the soul of my legacy.

Back in the day,  my siblings and I. Left to right: Me, my brother Montie and sister Roxanne. I love this picture!

My story

My parents migrated from the great state of Alabama. Southern food was squarely in my mom’s wheelhouse. Black-eye peas, cornbread and collard greens were often on mom’s stove. These Southern favorites were interspersed with dishes like spaghetti and chili which Mom learned to cook as a Southern California transplant.   

My brother Montie and I are the foodies in my family. We often talk about food and reminisce about some of our favorite dishes my mom prepared when we were children.  Pork neck bones and rice is one of those dishes. Mom would cook them in a big pot on our stove top.  The aroma was unmistakable rich and robust. As the meat cooked down, the bone marrow and connective tissue would dissolve and create the most amazingly luscious and flavorful broth.  When the neck bones were completely fall off the bone tender, mom added rice and seasoned the pot with salt and lots of pepper.

That was good eating! Well at least we felt that way. And even today, the thought of eating Mom’s neck bones and rice makes me darn near euphoric.

Flour coated neck bones browning in a skillet.

A recipe reimagined

Recently I had a hankering for neck bones and rice. With all the events happening today, I needed to recreate a little culinary nostalgia to shift my mood. Neck bones and rice was the perfect remedy.

I picked up three pounds of pork neck bones from Buddha Market in South Los Angeles. The butcher cut them in the most perfect serving sizes.    

When I got home, I rummaged through my less than organized kitchen cookware cabinet and found my pressure cooker buried in the back left corner. After closely examining it, it was in pretty good shape – so  it was on and cooking.

I generously seasoned the neck bones with salt, pepper, garlic powder and chipotle chili pepper for a little smokiness. After dredging the seasoned neck bones in flour, I browned them in a skillet, then added them to the pressure cooker. I made a roux with the pan drippings which I poured over the neck bones.

Top left: simple pantry ingredients seasoned these neck bones; top right: roux mixture poured over neck bones; bottom: roux mixture poured over browned neck bones placed in pressure cooker.

After 35 minutes under pressure, they were done to perfection. I served them over brown jasmine rice cooked in chicken stock with a little turmeric. This reimagined version had all the delicious and satisfying flavor of mom’s version. The slight adjustments I made to the recipe elevated the dish a bit. I bet you never imagined that!

Reimagined Neck Bones and Rice ready to serve.

An unexpected result

I called my mom and told her about the dish. I was so anxious for her to try it. However she was not. In fact she confessed she didn’t like pork neck bones at all and was not interested in trying them. She also said the only reason she made them when we were growing up is because they were inexpensive and for a little of nothing she could feed her family something filling when money was tight.

I was stunned! I had no idea that she felt that way. I always thought neck bones and rice was something special. Mom’s revelation just underscores the power of food memories and feelings they stir up.

It was a very awkward moment between us. Sensing that, she agreed to try a small sample which I packed up and sent with my brother to give to her.

Ahh . . . plated Reimagined Neck Bones and Rice never looked and tasted so good!

It’s all good

About an hour later, mom called me and said, “Girl, I don’t know what you did to those neck bones, but they were delicious! You can make them for me anytime.

And I have – several times since then – with a giant smile on my face.

If you would like to take a culinary trip and try my reimagined version of a time honored entrée that has fed generations, the recipe is below. Here’s to good eating!

Reimagined Neck Bones and Rice

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Difficulty: You can do it!
  • Print

This reimagined version is sheer comfort food.


For neck bones

3 pounds pork neck bones, cut in serving sized pieces

¼ cup unbleached flour for roux

½ cup unbleached flour for drudging coating neck bones

4 tablespoons oil (grapeseed used but can use canola, corn, vegetable)

1   32-ounce carton of chicken broth (Simple Truth Organic Free Range Chicken Broth used in this recipe)

Sea salt


Garlic powder

Chipotle chili pepper

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped (for roux)

For rice

2 cups rice (brown Jasmine rice used in this recipe)

1   32-ounce carton of chicken broth (Simple Truth Organic Free Range Chicken Broth used in this recipe)

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon turmeric

2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped


Preparing neck bones

Rinse neck bones and pat dry.

  1. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to large skillet set on medium heat.
  2. Wash and pat dry neck bones. Place on a cutting board lined with waxed paper.
  3. Generously season all sides of neck bones with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Season all sides lightly with chipotle chili pepper.
  4. Add ½ cup of flour to a paper bag or large zipper bag. Add ½ of the neck bones to bag, shake to coat will with flour.
  5. Shake off  the excess flour and add to heated skillet.
  6. Cook about 2 minutes on at least two sides until golden brown. Remove and add to pressure cooker.*
  7. Coat the remaining neck bones in flour (add more flour if needed) and place in skillet. Add more oil if needed.
  8. Cook about 2 minutes on at least two sides until golden brown. Remove and add to pressure cooker. 

Making roux

  1. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to same skillet used to brown neck bones. Set skillet on medium heat.
  2. Whisk in ¼ cup of flour and mix well.
  3. Continue to whisk until roux is medium brown, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add 2 cups of chicken broth and chopped garlic.  Reduce heat to low; simmer gently until thicken.
  5. Remove from heat and pour roux over neck bones in pressure cooker.
  6. Pour remainder of the chicken broth over the neck bones.  

Cooking the neck bones

  1. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker. Bring the pressure cooker up to full pressure. Reduce heat to medium high heat, maintaining full pressure, and cook for 35 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat after 35 minutes. Let stand about 30 minutes to let pressure naturally release.

*Cooks Note:  While I used a traditional pressure cooker for this recipe, my brother followed the directions and made the recipe in an Instant Pot and achieved the same results. 

Making rice

  1. While neck bones are cooking, add 2 cups of rice to a sauce pan. Wash and rinse rice. If using white rice, wash and rinse at least twice to help remove the starch.
  2. Pour a 32- ounce carton of chicken stock over the rice. Add ¼ teaspoon of turmeric and 1 teaspoon of salt.
  3. Bring rice to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and cook according to directions.
  4. When rice is done, let stand uncovered until cool.

Putting it all together

  1. Transfer rice to a large serving bowl or large casserole dish.
  2. Place all the neck bones on top of the rice. Pour some of gravy left in the bottom of the pressure cooker over the rice. Reserve any unused gravy for those who want a saucier serving.
  3. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and grilled chopped red bell pepper if desired.

Instagram Faves – Meet Delphine Kirkland

I am “all in” when it comes to Instagram.

If you don’t follow me on Instagram at @collardgreenscaviar  well, you are missing some really tasty posts my foodie friends.

Instagram is all about photo sharing. And when the site was launched back in 2010, food pictures were among the first pictures posted within that first 24 hours of the site’s birth.

It’s no surprise that food photos remain a seminal part of Instagram.

There are a lot of food photos in the Instagramverse (this is completely a made up term). In the posts over the next few weeks, I will highlight a few of my favorite food Instragramers whose passion for food is evident in their posts and their personalities. These are the few who have captured my attention, interest and my heart. I will share excerpts from their interview in their voice, along with one of their recipes, so you can see why they are my “Instagram faves.” And if you are not following my “faves” after learning about them, I certainly hope you will.

Delphine Kirkland, baker, cookbook author, social media influencer, prayer warrior

Instragmer:  Delphine Kirkland

Focus:              Specialty Baking

City:                  Sweet Water, Alabama

Business:        The Cookie Crumbles –  launched over a year ago, specializes in cupcakes, cookies, cakes and specialty baked goods. Shipping of some products is available.  Website is currently under development.

Instagram:      @cookiecrumblescupcakes was created to increase the visibility of her baking business,  inspire people through baking, and touch the lives of people spiritually.

Other social:   Instagram account @crumbsfromthemasterstable features words of inspiration and encouragement.

Book:                  Crumbs From the Masters Table available at A collection of Delphine’s treasured dessert recipes along with uplifting inspirations for the soul. The “pray and bake warrior” provides all the essential ingredients to excite the palate and ignite the soul with words of wisdom, inspiration and encouragement.

Recipe:           Mahogany Rose Cupcakes – featured below.

Delphine Kirkland’s latest book: Crumbs From the Master’s Table

Secret sauce:  Delphine is a warrior baker and prayer warrior. Her creations are sheer #foodporm and I mean that in the highest Instagram sense. One of my favorite references to her by one of her followers is “pastry baking preacher friend.” Her baking is more like a ministry of what can be created from ingredients like hope, faith, encouragement and love.

What sets her apart is her heart of service, her devotion to God, and her “pray and bake” inspirational tagline. “God feeds me with ideas and special ingredients to help others,” said Delphine during our interview. “Because of what God has given to me, I can give to others,” she said adding that her @cookiescrumblescakes account has grown in ways she never imagined.

Her voice, her story

I am the daughter of Anderson and Daphne Paige. I have two older brothers, Andrew and Anderson Paige, Jr.  I lost my sister Delores from a sickness at an early age. I am the baby of the family. I was raised with strong religious beliefs. I had a praying mother, father, and grandmother and they instilled the word of God in me constantly. I have a talented family, my mother, brothers and I sing. I’ve been singing since the age of 3. I sing gospel music. While attending college, I majored in opera, but a sickness prevented me from pursuing it farther. Once I was healed, I had lost interest and no longer wanted to pursue singing.

My family has always loved the warmth and traditions of the holidays.   That’s when the baking bug bit me. My mother’s aunts and cousins were excellent bakers. During the holidays, my brothers and I  would  go to her aunts and cousins homes to pick up the cakes for the holidays. My mother would make pound cakes and cream pies, but the six layers caramel, chocolate, and coconut cakes would come from relatives and neighbors. That’s when I began trying out my baking skills.

Left: Delphine and her mother Daphne Paige; Right top: Delphine and her husband Ben at a Rolling Twenties Gala Charity event in Phoenix, AZ; Right bottom: Delphine and husband  Ben at a Gone with the Wind theme party.

I am happily married to my husband Ben, for soon to be 17 years in June. We are pastors and co-pastors at the Tabernacle of God Holiness Church in Uniontown, Alabama. We are a branch church from our original church in Sweet Water, Alabama. I have a women’s ministry, and I am in the process of launching one in another city.

Culinary Background

I am a self-taught culinary artist. In 2004, I read a newspaper article that announced that  Michaels Specialty and Craft store was offering a cake decorating class. I remember talking my husband into taking it with me. We completed cake decorating levels I and II. My only regret is that I didn’t take it seriously after taking the class.  I would bake a little but I wasn’t consistent. And besides, going into business and selling cakes was the furthest thing from my mind.  I started watching a few baking videos in 2010 on YouTube, and was inspired to make cupcakes after watching an episode on Food Network, Cupcake Wars. Suddenly my interest in baking and the possibility of starting a business was rekindled.

A few of Delphine’s creations. Left top: Devil’s Food Cupcake. Right top: White Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Crackers. Bottom: Toffee Pecan Cookies.


I am a florist. I like making floral arrangements from time to time and will probably do some arrangements to add to my Instagram photos in the near future.

Cookbook she cannot live without

I’m a southerner so the Southern Living Cookbook is the one I cannot live without.

Where her recipes have been published

Amazon, CreateSpace, and Instagram.

The focus of her Instagram posts 

I want to build and brand my business, and  spread the word of Christ. Not everyone goes to church and we all need to be motivated and inspired at some point. I chose Instagram to be that tool.

Her most popular post

Smoky Maple Bacon Cupcake

My Smoky Maple Bacon cupcake had the most hits for me on Instagram than any of my cupcake posts. Locally selling, it is the most popular. I have never seen men devour cupcakes like they did this one. I call it a “man’s cupcake.” They especially love the bacon on the cupcake with it’s spicy flavor, that’s the secret. After this post, my culinary inspirations quickly became popular.

The best thing that has happened because of Instagram

Because of the inspirations that I’ve included on my account, Instagram has given me an audience that has come to rely on my inspirations. I frequently  get direct messages all  times during the day and night from many of my followers who ask for prayer requests, or they just need someone to talk to.  I hear from followers with terminal diseases, those fighting cancer, depression and dealing with relationships problems who ask me to pray for them. To know that through the guidance of God I can be a blessing to someone – whether they are near or far – gives me an awesome feeling.  To have followers from across the waters asking for permission to teach their bible study group the inspirations that I have posted is priceless.  I know they are bringing the word of God to places I cannot go. All of this  has been such a blessing and so gratifying to me.

What’s new, what’s next

From the Instagram account @crumbsfromthemasterstable

With her Instagram followers clamoring for more inspiration and words of spiritual encouragement,  Delphine launched a second Instagram account @crumbsfromthemasterstable,  taken from the name of her first book, dedicated to words of  inspiration and encouragement.

While her first book Crumbs From The Master’s Table fulfilled a dream to author a book, she knows this is just the beginning. Delphine has aspirations to write a book of her most treasured inspirational sentiments and also a children’s cook book.

Mahogany Rose Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print

The Story Behind the Rose

When I first started my cupcake business, I was not well known like the other home based baking business in my little rural city. I wasn’t getting many orders.  So in the meantime, I would look at YouTube videos and learn how to pipe large roses on a cupcake.

I received a phone call for the biggest order I had ever gotten. The order  was for 3 dozens cupcakes and one of the dozen had to be chocolate cupcakes with a big rose covering the entire cupcake.

I was nervous and I wanted to leave a lasting impression. I began praying and baking and sweating.  I watched Rose Cake Diva videos on YouTube so many times that I lost count.

I didn’t like how they turned out, but every time I tried to improve them, they kept coming out the same. The next day I delivered them and when my customer beheld them, she had the biggest smile on her face. I was relieved and grateful. Turns out, God allowed me to pipe them the way she had envisioned.

These cupcakes have a special meaning to me. They are moist, delicious and the Chocolate Ganache frosting makes them decadent. I hope you enjoy this recipe.


¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon Folgers French Vanilla coffee
¼ cup boiling water
½ stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup Crème fraiche (I prefer homemade)
Chocolate Ganache Frosting
10 oz. semi chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream


1.  Preheat oven a 350 degree and line 12 liners in a standard cupcake pan. Prepare one day before baking these cupcakes.

2.  Mix together cocoa powder, coffee, and boiling water until the cocoa and coffee grains dissolves.  Let it cool completely.  In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

3.  Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy and smooth. Add egg and beat well. Combine the vanilla and cooled cocoa mixture.  Add flour gradually with the crème fraiche on a low speed but be careful not to over mix. The batter should be fluffy.

4.  Spoon batter into cupcake cups about two-thirds full. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool to room temperature. Frost cupcakes with chocolate ganache frosting.

5.  Prepare chocolate ganache frosting. Place chocolate chips in a medium size bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and pour the hot mixture over the chocolate chips, making sure the chips are covered completely. Allow to chill at room temperature for 3 hours. You can place in the fridge for 30-45 to speed up the process if you like, but I prefer room temperature. Use a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisks the frosting until fluffy. Fill pastry bag using a 2D close star piping tip and frost your rose cupcakes.

How to makeCrème Fraiche

In a medium bowl combine 1 cup heavy cream and 2 tablespoon buttermilk or sour cream. Mix heavy cream with buttermilk or sour cream. Pour mixture in the jar and cover with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours or until thick. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use. Crème fraiche may be kept refrigerated for up to two weeks.

Tis the season to eat burgers

WimpyBurger season has officially begun.

It’s not that we stop eating burgers at any particular time of the year because burgers are part of the American epicurean experience. But the gastronomy of the burger with its infinite iterations and mash ups heightens as the summer draws near and the outdoor grills are dusted off.

That’s one theory. Continue reading

The heart and soul of my solstice chili

My inspiration started and continues here

My little inspiration pumpkin keeps on inspiring me.

Long after the Halloween festivities, it still sits on my kitchen table emanating a holiday-like aura, showing no signs of atrophy or deterioration. It’s so stalwart and not to mention cute.

It’s often the way things work for me – something simple, something innocuous, something as ordinary as a Jack Be Little Pumpkin ignites a spark of creativity, and off I go. This spontaneity has served me well as a journalist and it has been a great asset as a food blogger. Continue reading