Dot Glover of Adams Run recommended a co-worker's husband, Joel Minor, as a home cook we should profile here. Dot has worked for years as a librarian in the South Carolina Room of the Charleston County Public Library.
Dot wrote, "Not only does Joel cook excellent foods with subtle blends of flavors, but he loves to cook and experiment with various ingredients and try new recipes. Because of that, he cooks large batches that his wife shares with several of us single women at work. WE benefit from his hobby!"
Name: Joel Minor
Residence: Mount Pleasant
Occupation: Rural carrier, U.S. Postal Service, Johns Island
Family: Wife, Molly
Q. How/why did you become interested in cooking?
A. I like the idea of creating something that others can enjoy. When I find a recipe that I think will be good, I try it. If I like the results, I keep the recipe. I have collected quite a few recipes this way.
Q. What was the first dish or thing that you made that you thought, wow, I can do this and it's fun.
A. I would have to say pork ribs. My initial attempts were average. With a little patience, and encouragement from Molly, they became flavorful and tender.
Q. You like to cook in big batches. Why, and what are a couple of your most successful creations?
A. I think I cook in big batches because I come from a big family. I have three sisters and two brothers. My mother was a master at taking a few ingredients and stretching them in order to feed a large family. I guess I am following in her footsteps. My chili recipe has simple ingredients, makes a lot, and everyone seems to enjoy it. For my favorite pork barbecue recipe, I melded two recipes together. It makes great sandwiches.
Q. You said you have an expansive cookbook collection. Among them, what is your go-to favorite? What is the most unusual of the bunch?
A. My go-to favorite is Sheila Ferguson's "Soul Food: Classic Cuisine From The Old South."
The most unusual is, you will probably laugh, is a series of cookbooks written for children with titles such as "Cooking the Thai Way" and "Cooking the Vietnamese Way." These contain easy and tasty recipes. Go figure! Ha!
Q. We're told that you like to experiment and learn. Please share three of the most valuable cooking rules/insights you've acquired over the years.
A. Patience. Do not try to rush what you are cooking. It always pays off in the finished product.
B. If it tastes good, be careful about trying to make it better, usually it does not improve the recipe.
C. Meat becomes spectacular with the right spices, marinades and injections. Experiment until you get the taste you desire.
Q. Food sometimes seems to be taking over television. Is there any one chef that you particularly admire (and might like to have a private cooking lesson with)?
A. I guess if I have to pick one, it is Sandra Lee. Her recipes are relatively easy to make, have simple ingredients, and taste great. Her recipe for Smothered Meat Loaf is amazing!
Q. What things make you want to try a recipe?
A. When I find a recipe that has relatively simple ingredients and packs a lot of flavor, I get excited about trying it.
A few of Joel's favoritesJoel's Chili Recipe
2 poblano peppers, roasted, seeded and chopped
2 pounds ground chuck
1 sweet onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Pinch of ground cumin
2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes (zesty chili style)
2 (16-ounce) cans Bush's Chili Beans
2 (about 1.25-ounce) packets chili seasoning
1 small (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 (12-ounce) bottle dark beer
Broil the poblano peppers until skin comes off easily. Remove seeds and chop.
Brown ground chuck with onions and garlic. Sprinkle with ground cumin.
Add chopped poblano peppers and remaining ingredients. Mix well and simmer for about an hour, being careful not to overcook.
Serve with your favorite toppings (corn chips, sour cream, shredded cheese, etc.).
This next recipe is my variation on coleslaw. It is great on pulled-pork sandwiches, hot dogs and brats. Ingredients such as baby bok choy and coconut vinegar are easily found at the H&L Asian Market on Rivers Avenue.
Bok Choy Slaw
Makes 2 to 3 servings
2 cups baby bok choy, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup slivered carrots
1/4 cup slivered radishes
1 heaping teaspoon white sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar (Cook's note: I use Suka Pinakurat Coconut Vinegar)
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
Combine ingredients and adjust for taste. Refrigerate.
Note: Drain some of the liquid that settles at the bottom during refrigeration to maintain creaminess.