Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cajun Dirty Rice

Authentic dirty rice usually contains gizzards & livers, or some other form of giblets, but don't fret if you don't like them. You can simply increase the beef or pork and still have a wonderful meal. Take it easy on the Cajun seasoning though - add a little, taste and adjust!

Cajun Dirty Rice

There are as many dirty rice recipes as there are southern cooks, but authentic dirty rice recipes always include chicken giblets of some kind - the kidney, heart, gizzard and liver. This is just one of those Cajun dishes that was born out of the tradition of using every part of the animal in meals. Also, when we cook rice in the south, which we do regularly, we tend to cook a bunch so that there's just about always some rice hanging around in the fridge. This dish is a great way to use some of that leftover rice, which I feel surely must've had something to do with its creation in the first place.

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The Holy Trinity of Cooking

The Holy Trinity of Deep South Cooking - onion, sweet bell pepper, celery and sometimes wit da Pope (garlic) - is the building block of many Deep South recipes.

How to Make The Trinity of Cooking

One thing you will see repeated over and over in Deep South cooking is the use of the The Trinity - onion, celery and bell pepper - generally used in equal amounts, but not always. My Trinity is very often 1 cup (sometimes more) of chopped onion, 1/2 cup of chopped sweet green bell pepper or sometimes red or a combination of the two and 1/4 cup of chopped celery, because that's the ratio I tend to like the most. When garlic is included, it is referred to as the Pope, or in New Orleans vernacular, wit da Pope.

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A Few Christmas Cookies & More Coming Soon!

I apologize for the quality of this picture, but this was taken when I had baked cookies and put together mugs of packaged candies for some of hub's friends back in 2006, so it was before I had my Canon Rebel XTi which I love, love, love. So the pics on the links are also pretty awful, but at least they will give you an idea of what these cookies look like anyway.

I'm going to start posting some picture-less Christmas cookie and candy recipes in the coming days, but I wanted to repost those cookies up there too since I promised a friend I would. These are for your Diana and are three of my favorite Christmas cookies.

this Christmas I am on a quest to do some hand decorated cut out cookies (wish me luck!) so whether I actually get to making any other kind and getting pictures up or not is yet to be seen, but since I want to join all of my recipes here with all of my go-to recipes, I'm gonna post them without pictures just so they will be in one place and handy. Course if those cut-outs are a disaster, this here is the last word you'll ever hear about them!

Pecan Crescents were my attempt to duplicate my mother's Finger Cookies, though they do sound better as crescents. I did shape these into crescents. I think they must've picked up the finger cookie name when folks stop bothering to curve the cookie into a crescent shape and I guess somebody said "hey... those look like fingers!" I have since found my mother's recipe handwritten in the back of one of her old cookbooks, but it is a big batch, so I may stick with these because they were very good. I've seen this pecan cookie recipe used at Halloween with food dye and made to resemble witches fingers.

I love coconut so these
Jam Thumbprint cookies are one of my favorites and often show up on the Christmas goodies table. They are simply delicious!

And last of this repost round are the
Chocolate Snowcaps. I love how the powdered sugar pulls away as the cookie bakes and creates a cracked pattern on the surface. They are also delicious.

As I mentioned, I will be posting some other recipes without pictures and of course I'll update them with pictures if I get around to making them, so be on the lookout. In the meantime I hope you give these a try - and please, come back if you would and let me know if you liked them. Enjoy!

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Double Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry muffins made with both mashed and whole blueberries and topped with cinnamon sugar.

Double Blueberry Muffins

This recipe for Double Blueberry Muffins was one of the first recipes I put up on my then general interest blog that spawned off this food blog. At the time I was blogging just about stuff in general, and wasn't really documenting foods that I cooked. Once I did start doing that, the recipes began to take over and I knew they would need a home of their own, dedicated solely to Southern recipes, and Deep South Dish was born.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Extra Large White Loaf Bread

An extra large white bread, made in a 10 by 5 inch loaf pan.

Extra Large White Loaf Bread

When I made this bread, I wanted a large loaf that rose well above the depth of the loaf pan so I used a larger 10 by 5 inch loaf pan. I think I managed it don't you? This really is an excellent white bread and it is easy to make with a stand mixer, though you can certainly do the kneading by hand too.

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Dough Tip - Clean Up

When it's time to shape or roll out dough, best way to manage this is to shape the dough right on the same piece of parchment that you're gonna bake on, but sometimes I turn it right out onto the counter top and the clean-up used to be a mess. Then I figured out that I could drag my kitchen wastebasket right to the edge of the counter and use my bench scraper to scrape the loose flour and sticky pieces of leftover dough straight into the trash can. Depending on your counter top surface you may need to be a bit more gentle so not to scratch it, or maybe find some other softer straight-edge surface. Mine is cheap-o laminate and this works great on getting all that flour and dough up, and no more goopy sponges or scrubbing required either! Less work? I'm all for that!
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Bread Tips - Rising

I buy yeast by the jar and store it in the freezer. When I'm ready to make rolls or bread, I remove whatever amount of yeast that I need and let it come to room temperature. Success with any kind of bread or yeast rolls is dependent on the yeast and the freezer keeps it fresh for a long time. Hasn't failed me yet! The jar I use is labeled bread machine rapid rise.

Use the appropriate sized loaf pan. Many times recipes do not specify a size though, so if it doesn't, assume a smaller loaf pan size.

Always proof the yeast by adding some of the warm (110 degree F) liquid to the yeast with at least a pinch of sugar. Let it rest for 5 minutes. If it doesn't puff up and double, the yeast is dead and you must discard it and start over with fresh yeast.

If your kitchen tends to be a bit drafty like mine, use your oven as a warm, draft free place to rise your bread. While you are preparing your dough for the first rise, turn your oven on the lowest warm setting there is, and turn on the oven light.

You don't want a hot oven - that will damage your yeast at this stage - you only want to create a warm environment for rising. Prepare your bowl of dough for the first rise, spray the top of the dough with non-stick spray, cover it with some plastic wrap, then a clean kitchen towel, turn off the oven, and place the bread bowl into the oven. Check at the minimum rise time.

For the second rise, I return the bread to the oven until it's time to preheat the oven for baking. When I remove the dough from the oven to preheat it, I place the loaf pans in the center of my stovetop. I place two tall pots on each side of the bread and tent it with a clean, large bath towel. The bread is covered to prevent any drafts from affecting it, and the towel is high enough that it doesn't touch the bread. The residual warmth from the oven heating and the closed environment under the towel, gives the dough that beautiful top out of the pan we all want.

Check out my Bread Recipes!

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Southern Christmas Dinner Menu and Recipe Ideas

A Southern Christmas menu and collection of Christmas recipes, all from
In my extended Southern family, Christmas dinner is always a near duplicate of our Thanksgiving dinner with the addition of seafood dishes, but even in the South, recipes for a Christmas menu can range from the familiar turkey and dressing, to large cuts of prime beef and crown roasts, leg of lamb, dishes centered around at least seven fish recipes and even meals centered around BBQ fare or Sunday gravy and lasagna.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Carcass Soup

A leftover turkey carcass and some leftover turkey can make a delicious turkey noodle soup!

Turkey Carcass Soup

Don't throw away that leftover turkey carcass. Turn it into a warm and comforting turkey soup.

Here's how to make it.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Oven Roasted Beef Rump Roast with Mushroom Gravy

A delicious oven roasted rump roast that marinades overnight with a Greek seasoning, salt, pepper and lemon marinade, then coated with cream soup, topped with mushrooms and bacon, and it makes it's own mushroom gravy.

Oven Roasted Beef Rump Roast with Mushroom Gravy

This delicious beef roast is from a lady I love, known in Louisiana Cajun country as Miss Lucy. She has written several cookbooks and her shows can sometimes be found on local public broadcast television or rural tv stations. Her recipes are what she calls "classic Cajun," and generally very basic. Besides the typical Trinity, her primary seasonings are salt, pepper and hot sauce. Of course, on occasion she also uses another couple of things, but you can rely on her cooking to be basic and simple Cajun country cooking, with rare exceptions like her more involved Crawfish Bisque. This particular oven roast beef she calls "The 'B' Roast," which she named so after the friend who gave the recipe to her.

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Open Roasted Red Potatoes with Rosemary

Roasted Red Potatoes with Rosemary

Open Roasted Red Potatoes with Rosemary

This is one of my most favorite ways to eat potatoes - simple, with just a sprinkle of kosher salt, a few turns of the pepper grinder, a bit of rosemary, and drizzled with pure extra virgin olive oil and roasted in the oven. When you're grilling, try these on a skewer with wedges of Vidalia onion. Classic and comforting.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sausage with Rigatoni in Tomato Cream Sauce

Lightly caramelized onions are sauteed with Italian sausage, a little chicken broth, tomatoes, cream and seasonings and tossed with rigatoni pasta for a quick skillet meal.

Sausage with Rigatoni in Tomato Cream Sauce

This is another one of those quick pantry meals because it uses ingredients I almost always just have on hand. The sauce is a great accent to the Italian sausage and truly nothing could be easier. I used rigatoni, which works perfect with the sausage and cream sauce, but the recipe works well with many other pasta shapes as well. Try it with bow ties or rotini!

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Ozark Pudding - Huguenot Torte

Ozark Pudding, in this baked version, creates a sugar cookie type of topping as the flour rises to the top. Underneath is a gooey, super sweet filling, very reminiscent of pecan pie, so that the dessert becomes somewhat of a cross between that and apple pie.

Ozark Pudding

I was flipping through an old holiday cookbook last night - I don't even know the name of the cookbook or when it was published because the cover and the first 12 pages have been long missing to the point of where I had to fashion a cover out of card stock just to preserve what was left of it. I know that based on the typeset it is pretty old, and it is some kind of holiday cookbook because it has specific sections for holidays and occasions.

This cookbook was in my mom's stuff when The Cajun and I cleaned out her house after finally selling it after she passed away, though it does have my kid sister's name in the front of it. Since neither she nor my brother were there to pack and lay claim to anything left there, I guess I own it now by default and simple possession.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Shrimp Casserole

A scrumptious and super easy casserole of shrimp, rice, cream soups and The Trinity.

Shrimp Casserole

I absolutely, positively, without a doubt LOVE this casserole. So yummy - if you love shrimp, you will not be disappointed.

It's a very simple casserole using a little Trinity (onion, bell pepper and celery), some good andouille or smoked sausage, a couple of cream soups to make things easy, cooked rice and of course, shrimp. By using a package of frozen, already peeled and deveined shrimp, this comes together unbelievably quick. It is really a wonderful casserole that I hope you'll enjoy as much as we do.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Jimmy Carter Cake - Chocolate and Peanut Butter Layered Dessert

A layered pudding dessert with a shortbread type crust, topped with a peanut butter cream cheese layer, then pudding and topped with whipped topping.

Jimmy Carter Cake

If you're not a fan of the namesake, don't let that discourage you from trying this dessert, because frankly it is awesome! I'm pretty sure the dessert was born out of the 70s, and like all the other layered desserts, it has the press in crust, the layers of cream cheese and pudding and topped with whipped cream. The one difference is that this one has peanuts and peanut butter and if you love peanut butter, you will adore this. Perfect for big events, parties, potlucks and the like, if you dislike Mr. Carter, just name it something else! For those searching out this dessert on the internet, that is the name that they are looking for so I have to keep the name.

I don’t know why this is called a cake because there isn't anything cakey about it. This dessert is sort of a take on the popular chocolate pudding or fruit filled, cream cheese and  whipped topping desserts out there that go by a variety of names, some more racy than others, except that this one includes peanuts and peanut butter, and it is named after that Georgia peanut farmer (who also just happened to be our 39th president) Jimmy Carter, instead of that other very popular and lovely 3-letter word that it claims to be "better than!"

This dessert isn’t so much complicated as it is involved because of all the individual layers. Several dishes are going to be sacrificed to the dishwasher in the making of it. All I can say is clean as you go. Well you almost have to unless you have several mixer bowls for your KitchenAid, which I don't. But anyway, I'm here to tell ya – it really is so worth it. This is simply delicious!

So let's get started shall we? Here's how to make it.

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Perfect Boiled Rice

No more goopy, gooey rice. Follow this method exactly and get fluffy, beautiful and perfect rice!

How to Make Perfect Boiled Rice

I have been making rice this way as long as I have been cooking. These days I use an electronic rice cooker, and I even steam hard cook eggs in the thing sometimes! But... if you haven't gotten one of those yet, first, put one on your Christmas list, but then, in the meantime, try this method exactly as it is written and you will have beautiful and fluffy, perfect rice. Here's how to do it.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Homemade cranberry sauce, from fresh, whole cranberries.

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Homemade cranberry sauce is really easy to do and such a special touch at the holidays and you can put whatever you like in it - pecans, walnuts, raisins, currants, mandarin orange wedges, and spices such as nutmeg, cardamon, allspice, cinnamon, or whatever you like. You don't have to eat that canned glob of jelly goo - not that there's anything wrong with it - heck, I grew up with it! Make your own instead and turn some heads!

Check out my spicy homemade cranberry sauce with pomegranate juice too! Cranberries and pomegranate are so good together, I know you'll love that one too.

If you think this sounds yummy, I'd sure it if you'd click to pin it, tweet it, stumble it, or share it on Facebook to help spread the word - thanks!


Recipe: Fresh Cranberry Sauce

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 30 min | Yield: About 2-1/2 cups

  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • About 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 (12 ounce) package of fresh cranberries
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • Any desired add-ins

Whisk juice and sugar together in a large saucepan over medium high heat; add cranberries, lemon juice and zest. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until all the berries have popped. Take a spoon of the sauce out, cool it off and taste to adjust sugar. Reduce heat to a low simmer and continue cooking for an additional 15 minutes.

Stir in any add-ins desired. Strain if a smooth sauce is desired or leave as is and allow to cool. Refrigerate; sauce will thicken in the fridge.

Cook's Notes: Serve cranberry sauce with your holiday turkey, or use just as you would any jam over toast, biscuits, in thumbprint cookies, on pancakes, in cereal, oatmeal, over vanilla ice cream or whatever!

Add-ins: Pecans, walnuts, raisins, currants, mandarin orange wedges, and spices such as nutmeg, cardamon, allspice, cinnamon. Add a couple tablespoons of hot pepper jelly or minced jalapeno to spice it up.


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©Deep South Dish
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Check These Recipes Out Too!

Spicy Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce
Crockpot Cranberry Chicken
Cranberry and Pom Winter Sangria

Posted by on November 21, 2008

Images and Full Post Content including Recipe ©Deep South Dish. Pinning and sharing links is welcomed and encouraged, but please do not repost or republish elsewhere such as other blogs, websites, or forums without explicit prior permission. All rights reserved.

Material Disclosure: Unless otherwise noted, you should assume that post links to the providers of goods and services mentioned, establish an affiliate relationship and/or other material connection and that I may be compensated when you purchase from a provider. You are never under any obligation to purchase anything when using my recipes and you should always perform due diligence before buying goods or services from anyone via the Internet or offline.

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Pan Roasted Rosemary Parmesan Potatoes

These pan roasted potatoes are a delicious change from the everyday. Simply slice, sprinkle with salt and pepper and your favorite herb, top with Parmesan cheese, cover & bake!

Pan Roasted Rosemary Parmesan Potatoes

A simple but delicious potato side dish that is another one of my favorite ways to serve potatoes. Salt and pepper are a good start, but after that feel free to get adventurous with your favorite herbs and seasonings. Easy to throw together and bakes quickly since they are sliced thin. Great as a side with many dishes!

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Praline Pumpkin Pie with Maple Rum Sauce

A classic pumpkin pie from Libby's, made here with a praline topping and served with a maple rum sauce.

Praline Pumpkin Pie with Maple Rum Sauce

I use Libby's Perfect Pumpkin Pie recipe as the basis of my pumpkin pie and I have for years. After all, if it's good enough for Martha Stewart, it's good enough for me too. It's true! That's the pumpkin pie recipe Martha recommends.

Really though, I know myself well enough to know that I am not about to roast a pumpkin and go through all that mess to make a pumpkin pie, and frankly Libby's pumpkin product and Perfect Pumpkin Pie recipe have always provided a consistently great pumpkin pie, so why try any other? So don't go messing with it, you hear?! It's absolutely perfect as it is, I promise!

Carry your own unique signature in the way that you top it, and in the sauces you can make, like this maple rum sauce ... this is where you can make your own signature pumpkin pie! I happen to like pumpkin pie with a praline topping, but you can omit that altogether if you like and serve it unaltered but for a dollop of whipped cream.

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Maple Rum Sauce

Maple Rum Sauce

1/4 cup of pure butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons light rum
1/2 teaspoon maple extract

Melt together the butter, brown sugar and whipping cream until mixture comes to a boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in the rum and maple extract.

Drizzle over pie or use as a dessert sauce for cakes.
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Homemade Pie Crust

When you have a food processor, making a homemade pie crust is so easy it's sinful. You can still make it without one of course - it just takes a bit of extra work.

Homemade Pie Crust

I know some of you love the pat in the pan pie crust because it's so easy. You just stir the ingredients right into the pie plate and then press it in. It forms a crumbly crust and probably works best for cream pies, which help it hold together, but frankly, I've tried them and have to say that I am not a fan. Maybe I'm just a pastry snob, but when I go to the trouble of making a scratch pie, I want a pie crust that is tender, crisp and flaky and the press in the pan versions of pie crust just don't give that result.

Sometimes referred to as Pâté Brisée, though that actually requires using butter, I prefer using pure lard or a good vegetable shortening instead. Butter is so tender and melts so easily with the heat of your hand and that heat will totally destroy the flakiness. I just find that lard or vegetable shortening hold up so much better.

The #1 secret I can pass on for a perfect flaky pie crust, like a great biscuit, is to use COLD COLD COLD ingredients! Plan ahead and put the flour, along with the shortening or lard, in a bowl in your freezer for several hours. Add ice cubes to the water so that it is very cold, and then chill the dough at least an hour before rolling it out. The cold will help to keep the fats intact, resulting in a nice flake. Don't overwork it either - you don't want the heat from your hand to break down the fats either.

This recipe is written for using a food processor because I own one and let me tell you, this is one of the primary uses for that machine. It just makes it such an easy process. If you don't own one though, of course you can still make a homemade pie crust, you'll just need a little extra elbow grease. Basic guidelines are included in the recipe.

If you think this sounds yummy, I'd sure it if you'd click to pin it, tweet it, stumble it, or share it on Facebook to help spread the word - thanks!


Recipe: Homemade Pie Crust

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Inactive time: 1 hour | Yield: 1 or 2 crusts


Single Pie Crust
  • 1-1/2 cups of all purpose flour, chilled
  • 1/2 cup of lard or vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 4 to 8 tablespoons of iced water
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons of white or cider vinegar, optional
Double Pie Crust
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour, chilled
  • 2/3 cups of lard or vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 to 10 tablespoons of iced water
  • 1 tablespoon of white or cider vinegar, optional

Using the regular steel blade, place the flour, shortening and salt in food processor and pulse 5 or 6 times until it looks mealy. With machine running slowly, add the vinegar first, if using, then begin to add the water in a steady stream through the tube, just until dough begins to gather around the blade, about 10 seconds, but never more than 30 seconds – you don’t want to overprocess. You may not need all of the water – you don’t want your dough to be wet or sticky to the touch. The dough should hold together when squeezed. If your dough is crumbly, it needs more water; add in a tablespoon at a time.

Remove dough from the machine, make a ball and then press into a thick disc – like a giant burger- two discs if you made the double recipe. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for about 1 hour before rolling out. Can also be made several days in advance and stored in the fridge till needed, or frozen. Allow 2 to 3 hours for thawing before rolling out.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured piece of waxed paper, and sprinkle a tiny bit of flour on top of the dough disk. Use a light forward motion only when rolling (don’t rock the rolling pin back and forth - roll only in one direction) but periodically lift and turn the dough to prevent sticking and to keep it circular in shape. Add a bit more flour to the surface only if necessary. Roll out to about 2 inches larger than the pie plate, about 1/8 of an inch thick.

Gently roll the dough up around the rolling pin, or simply fold it over to make it easier to transport to the pie plate. Position and unroll or unfold, carefully molding from the inside of the pie plate to the edges. Trim excess dough with kitchen shears and either flute the edges by using the forefinger of one hand and pinching the dough next to it between your forefinger and thumb of the other hand and continuing around the crust, or simply take the rolling pin and roll firmly across the top to trim. Finish as directed in your recipe, as to pre-bake or not.

Cook's Notes: I use White Lily all purpose flour.

To Make by Hand: To make a pie pastry by hand, first use a large glass or metal bowl and chill it in and any kitchen utensils you'll be using (pastry cutter, fork, etc.) in your freezer before starting. A larger bowl will minimize the splash out of flour. Using a pastry cutter, or two butter knives, cut the fat into the flour. It'll take you about 5 minutes. Once it gets mealy, or like small peas, then add in the salt. Use the pastry blender or a fork to start mixing in the vinegar if using, and the iced water. Continue adding water and using the pastry blender to work it in until dough is shaggy. Gather the dough together - if it's still too crumbly, add a bit more water. Gently shape the dough into a disk, taking care not to handle it too much, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Blind Baking: If your pie requires a pre-baked crust, dock the crust before baking using the tines of a fork to poke holes all around the bottom of the crust. This will prevent the crust from bubbling. You can also line the crust with parchment paper or aluminum foil and fill the foil with pie weights. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes, remove paper or foil and cook another 5 minutes, or until crust is dry, but not browned. Allow crust to cool before filling and proceed with recipe.

To Freeze: Prepare crust all the way to forming into a disk. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and freeze in disk form inside freezer bags. Allow 2 to 3 hours for thawing before rolling out dough. For best quality, use within two months.

Why Vinegar? Add in an acid, like white or cider vinegar, or lemon juice with your pie crust. The acid, in combination with the fat, creates a reaction to help shorten the gluten strands that are formed when combining water and flour. Scientific facts aside, it will simply result in a more tender, flaky crust. For the one crust use 1-1/2 teaspoons; for the two crust, use a tablespoon.


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©Deep South Dish
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Check out some of my pie recipes!
Posted by on November 20, 2008

Images and Full Post Content including Recipe ©Deep South Dish. Pinning and sharing links is welcomed and encouraged, but please do not repost or republish elsewhere such as other blogs, websites, or forums without explicit prior permission. All rights reserved.

Material Disclosure: Unless otherwise noted, you should assume that post links to the providers of goods and services mentioned, establish an affiliate relationship and/or other material connection and that I may be compensated when you purchase from a provider. You are never under any obligation to purchase anything when using my recipes and you should always perform due diligence before buying goods or services from anyone via the Internet or offline.

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Did you know that these simple fried balls of cornmeal and flour were actually born out of leftover fish fry coating? We tend to do them a little more on purpose these days and there are many add-ins to make them a stand-out.


Have I mentioned I love using a deep fryer? No, of course I don't use one every day, or even every week for that matter - nobody should. By the way, there is some preconceived notion across this fine country of ours, that we Southerners deep fry or smother everything in heavy layers of cheese. We don't. Okay, there are some who do, but they are not the majority. However, when frying some foods, deep frying is the more perfect solution and heads above better than pan frying. Food is quickly cooked in a deep fryer with much less absorption of oil than pan frying.

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Classic Old Fashioned Lemon Squares

Sweet and tart, these old fashioned lemon squares are a classic.

Lemon Squares

I'm not a huge sweets eater, although I do have a few recipes here for some of my favorites. I don't tend to crave after a sweet as much as something savory and salty, unless it's those basic things - like homemade brownies, chocolate cake, pig pickin' cake, or these lemon bars.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Favorite Hamburger Soup

A cafeteria lunchroom favorite, this soup from days long gone by and my all time favorite, made with a tomato and beef broth base, ground beef, a mixture of veggies and seasonings, and flavor boosters - all pantry staples. Make a double batch because this freezes nicely.

My Favorite Hamburger Soup

I love all kinds of soups, but this soup, made with ground beef, has been in my recipe box for years and is hands down my most favorite soup. If you are anywhere near my age, you probably remember something similar to this from school days of years past, when meals were homemade from scratch and we kids actually looked forward to what was for lunch that day, from the first aroma of it wafting through the school hallways.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Big Martha's Mashed Potatoes with Cream Cheese

Cream cheese mashed potatoes, with butter and cream of course, are all the rage these days. This version is from Martha Stewart's mom, Big Martha so I'm guessing its been around awhile.

Mashed Potatoes with Cream Cheese

These are the perfect holiday mashed potatoes. Period. Potatoes. Butter. Heavy cream. Whole milk. Cream cheese. And more butter. You really do not need another one. I was watching The Martha Stewart Show and she was making her mom (Big Martha's) mashed potato recipe with Snoop Dogg. (yeah, you heard that right ... Snoop Dogg on Martha Stewart and Martha asking "What's Crack-a-lack-in'?" go watch the video, it is a hoot!) Now this recipe isn't an everyday recipe like Martha said, but more like a special occasion recipe - such as, well, hey... Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner for instance.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Homemade Tortilla Chips

All images in this tutorial,
including any not yet watermarked,
are copyright of My New 30 blog.
I love my deep fryer. I really do! And tomorrow ... fried shrimp is on the plan! But one of my favorite snacks when I have a desire for some crunch are homemade deep fried tortilla chips. With just a little salt right out of the fryer and I don't even need any salsa. Okay, well, sometimes I don't even need the salsa. If you have a good deep fryer, give 'em a try sometimes. They really are delicious!

Preheat the fryer to 350 degrees.  Take a stack of 4 or 5 plain old yellow or white corn tortillas - or a combo of both if ya want.

Cut them in half and in half again and again ...

... until you have some triangles like this. You can also cut them into strips if you want to use them as a garnish.

Lower the basket on your fryer and carefully drop in about half of them. They will bubble up a lot at first. Stir them up carefully with a slotted metal spoon to keep them from sticking. It only takes a minute or so, but you'll know when they are ready when they begin to bubble less and you can now hear them "click" as you stir them.

Shake 'em in the basket over the fryer a bit, dump 'em out on some paper towels, salt immediately as they come out, and transfer to a plate while you cook up the other half.

Break larger chips up, or use the strips to garnish chili or soup. 

Serve with some salsa and eat 'em up. They go fast and don't be surprised if you don't decide ya gotta have some more! Luckily that fryer is probably pretty hot still and will heat right back up in no time.

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Southern Vegetable Beef Soup

Good old fashioned vegetable beef soup made with beef bones and a beef and tomato base, with onion, celery, carrots, potatoes, corn and whatever leftover veggies you have on hand.

Southern Vegetable Beef Soup

Noticing that I had some sirloin tip steak in the freezer and deciding on making up a batch of vegetable beef soup today, sure reminded me of my Grandma.

She passed on a couple years back at the ripe age of 97 and boy she sure was a great cook. When I think of vegetable beef soup I think of her and how every time she'd cook up a batch she'd always say "you just can't find a good soup bone anymore." I remembered as a young gal not at all interested in cooking at the time, I thought, "you can buy bones at the grocery??" but I always just smiled.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Thanksgiving Blessing Snack Mix

A cute favor to give your guests to serve as a reminder of exactly what the Thanksgiving holidays are all about.

Thanksgiving Blessing Snack Mix

I have been a great fan of Organized Christmas for years and ran across this recipe for a great - and meaningful - holiday snack mix that I had saved on my computer back in '02. Why don't you mix some up as favors for each of your Thanksgiving guests and be sure to pop by and visit this site for some other great holiday ideas, printables, recipes, tips and much more! They even have several printable tags already made for ya! How great is that?

Here's the mix.
Bugles: Shaped like a cornucopia, it's a symbol of our nation's abundance.

Pretzels: Arms folded in prayer, a freedom sought by those who founded our country.

Candy corn: Sacrifices of the Pilgrims' first winter. Food was so scarce that settlers survived on just a few kernels of corn a day.

Nuts or seeds: Promise of a a future harvest, one we will reap only if seeds are planted and tended with diligence.

Dried fruits: Harvest gifts of our bountiful land.

M&Ms: Memories of those who came before us to guide us to a blessed future.

Hershey's Kiss: The love of family and friends that sweetens our lives.

Add some of your own conversation starters to the treat bag to get the dinner conversation going!

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How to Make Perfect Southern Sweet Iced Tea

Sweet Iced Tea - The Elixir of The South. I'm pretty sure if everybody drank sweet iced tea on a regular basis, we'd have world peace.

How to Make Perfect Southern Sweet Iced Tea

I enjoy a nice cup of hot tea pretty regularly, but iced tea is pretty much a year-round staple here in the south - probably mostly because it's so darned hot down here most all of the year. Besides, tea - unlike soft drinks - is loaded with benefits.

Tea contains high levels of antioxidants - polyphenols, flavonoids, and catechins - that help to boost the body’s defenses against diseases. Some studies have shown that tea may also lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and protect against heart disease and may help to protect against cancer.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ambrosia Fruit Salad

Ambrosia has moved on to more of a fruit salad these days, here made with apples, bananas, mandarin oranges, mini marshmallows, pecans, coconut and maraschino cherries, but it started out very simply once containing oranges and coconut.

Ambrosia Fruit Salad

Ah, ambrosia... a southern favorite for sure. Classic, old fashioned ambrosia had only two ingredients though - oranges and coconut - served most often with a dressing of simply orange juice and sugar. It's fallen out of style these days though, because most folks aren't interested in something so plain, but that, my dear, is a true southern ambrosia.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mary's Gooey Brownies with Peanut Butter Icing

This is my good ole standby brownie recipe that I thought one day, why not add that old fashioned peanut butter icing I love so much as an icing. The results were delicious. I loved it and I think you will too.

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Internal Cooking Temperature Chart

I am always lookin' for this so I'm puttin' it right here! Please note though, the temps listed appear to be minimum safe temperatures, except where I have adapted the charts to expand the definitions. So, if you prefer your beef roast to be more of a medium to well done, take that roast up to between 155 °F to 165 °F. It seems these temperatures here may be averages for safe internal temps.

For steaks, see also this excellent demonstration of the touch test - the way that restaurants and most chefs test for doneness. This is how I do it these days for the most part, but I still use the thermometer sometimes just to double check.


"Is it done yet?" You can't tell by looking. Use a food thermometer to be sure.

USDA Recommended Safe
Minimum Internal Temperatures

Steaks & Roasts - 145 °F
✧ Rare - 140 °F
✧ Medium - 160 °F
✧ Well Done - 170 °F
Fish - 145 °F
Pork - 145° minimum and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes / Well done 170
Ground Beef - 160 °F
Egg Dishes - 160 °F
Chicken Breasts - 165 °F

Chicken Thighs - 175 °F
Whole Poultry - 165 °F
Veal (Well Done) - 180 °F

Safe Cooking of Chicken

FSIS recommends cooking whole chicken to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured using a food thermometer - I prefer to take it to somewhere between 175 to 180 degrees F. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook poultry to higher temperatures.

For approximate cooking times to use in meal planning, see the following chart compiled from various resources. Table is based on open-pan roasting at 350 degrees F, or covered roasting at 325 degrees F.

Chicken Cooking Times
Type of Chicken Weight Roasting

350 °F
Simmering Grilling
Whole broiler fryer+ 3 to 4 lbs. 1-1/4 - 1 1/2 hrs. 60 to 75 min. 60 to 75 min*
Whole roasting hen+ 5 to 7 lbs. 2 to 2 1/4 hrs. 1 3/4 to 2 hrs. 18-25 min/lb*
Whole capon+ 4 to 8 lbs. 2 to 3 hrs Not suitable 15-20 min/lb*
Whole Cornish hens+ 18-24 oz. 50 to 60 min. 35 to 40 min. 45 to 55 min*
Breast halves, bone-in 6 to 8 oz. 30 to 40 min. 35 to 45 min. 10 - 15 min/side
Breast half, boneless 4 ounces 20 to 30 min. 25 to 30 min. 6 to 8 min/side
Legs or thighs 8 or 4 oz. 40 to 50 min. 40 to 50 min. 10 - 15 min/side
Drumsticks 4 ounces 35 to 45 min. 40 to 50 min. 8 to 12 min/side
Wings or wingettes 2 to 3 oz. 30 to 40 min. 35 to 45 min. 8 to 12 min/side

+ Unstuffed. If stuffed, add 15 to 30 minutes additional time.

* Indirect method using drip pan.

Seeing Isn't Believing.

Many people assume that if a hamburger is brown in the middle, it is done. However, looking at the color and texture of food is not enough—you have to use a food thermometer to be sure! According to USDA research, 1 out of every 4 hamburgers turns brown before it reaches a safe internal temperature. The only safe way to know if meat, poultry, and egg dishes are "done" is to use a food thermometer. When a hamburger is cooked to 160 °F, it is both safe and delicious!

Be Food Safe! Prepare With Care.

Know how to prepare, handle, and store food safely to keep you and your family safe. Bacteria can grow on meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy products, as well as cut-up or cooked vegetables and fruits.

CLEAN: Wash hands and surfaces often.

Wash your hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling food. Wash your cutting boards, dishes, etc., with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item. Wash fruits and vegetables with cold water before using. There is no need to wash or rinse meat or poultry.

SEPARATE: Don't cross-contaminate.

Separate raw, cooked, and ready-to-eat foods while shopping, preparing, or storing. Never place cooked food on a plate which previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood.

COOK: Cook food to proper temperatures.

Use a food thermometer to be sure!

CHILL: Refrigerate Promptly.

Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared foods, and leftovers within 2 hours or sooner.

Thanks to USDA Food Safety Education Is it Done Yet? who I adapted this from.


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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies

A tender, soft and chewy basic, old fashioned sugar cookie recipe.

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies

This has been my favorite recipe for old fashioned sugar cookies for years. It's perfect for when you want just a plain and comforting sugar cookie, and the blend of lemon and vanilla is perfect. This cookie is tender, soft and chewy for eating out of hand, although if you prefer it more crisp, let it cook just a bit longer.

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Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit

I studied business in college with an emphasis on marketing, so I know how the mind of the advertiser works. You would think that I would be resistant to that kind of mind bend wouldn't you? Well, I'm no different than any other consumer apparently, because ever since I saw a fast food commercial on tv showing somebody about to stuff a big old bacon, egg and cheese biscuit in their mouth, I knew I had to have one. Course I wasn't gonna run out to the golden arches or go seek to have it my way at that other place, but instead I was gonna make it at home. One of the luxuries of being a homemaker now. And homemade is much cheaper and I know what is in it.

Now, I certainly woulda much preferred to have had some good old pig bacon (is there anything better than bacon??) but the only things I had in the house were turkey bacon and Canadian bacon, so I settled on the Canadian bacon. Get my Perfect Buttermilk Biscuit recipe and secrets to a fluffy and light biscuit here.
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Monday, November 10, 2008

Deep South Pinto Beans and Rice

Pinto beans, slow cooked with ham, onion, celery and jalapenos, served over rice with a side of collard greens and hoecakes. Now that is some good eatin'!

Deep South Pintos and Rice

Though pinto beans may not really be a classic Southern recipe for this part of The Deep South, that doesn't make them any less popular as a southern dish. Yes, we are all about the red beans and rice down this way for sure, and instead of the classic pintos often made in other areas of the South, I made this version of pintos much like my own homemade red beans and rice, but with the addition of jalapenos in place of the usual sweet green bell pepper and a few other flavor boosters.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Shrimp Peeler - Five Stars

Unpaid product review/endorsement

I am a very lucky woman. My father in law, who is a consultant for his day job, also owns a shrimp boat, not for commercial purposes, but purely for leisure (though there isn't much leisure involved with shrimping) and for the ability to get out on the Gulf, amidst the seagulls and the fish, and catch shrimp. In fact, that shrimp boat was the only thing and I mean the ONLY thing belonging to my in-laws that survived Hurricane Katrina. They lived right on a bay that comes off the Gulf and when Katrina came through, they lost everything. I mean literally every single thing they owned. Except for a couple of steps to nowhere, there wasn't a trace of their house or of any of their possessions to be found. Not a single stick of furniture or anything ... but up the road a couple blocks and stuck between a stop sign and some trees, there sat dad's shrimp boat with only minor damage.

Anyway, at the start of every shrimp season in the Gulf of Mexico, dad, my brother in law, and my hubby go out on the boat in hopes of bringing home a nice catch. In exchange for my husband's strong back, we get fresh Gulf shrimp. This year dad was overseas but hubs and his brother got permission to take the boat out and I was the recipient of not one, but two large coolers filled to the brim with shrimp. I did give a good bit away, to my son, friends of my hubby's, neighbors, heck, even the ex-husband - though I did let my son take credit for giving them to him. Anyway, it's wonderful to have fresh Gulf shrimp put up in the freezer for sure... well, unless a hurricane rolls around and you end up losing a freezer full of food, including all those shrimp you put away. That is sad.

While I'm on the subject ... for those of you in the U.S. of A., if it is at ALL possible for you to choose
Wild American Shrimp, or Fresh Gulf Shrimp over those imported from China or Thailand or some other country, PLEASE consider buying American and help our country's fishermen. They are struggling because of these imports. Not only are the Wild American and Gulf Fresh shrimp much better quality, they taste better and you are supporting fishermen and women in this great country and not some foreign country where heaven knows what their standards are anyway. The American ones will be labeled - just look for it.

Thank you for your support. Pardon the endorsement ... now back to the regular programming.

One of my most favorite gadgets has become a
shrimp peeler. It sure does come in handy for when you are cooking with fresh shrimp and although I was a skeptic at first, it really does speed up the job and make it much easier. Look how nicely it peels away the shell, while removing the vein at the same time.

Now this one down there in the picture, I think either my hubby picked it up on one of his shopping jaunts, or else I acquired it following the separation of "that other relationship" - I truly do not know. All I know for sure is that I did not buy it, and frankly I owned it FOREVER before I actually used it.

I was used to simply hand peeling and then carefully using a paring knife to cut along the back of the shrimp to devein it. Then one day I decided to give this odd thing that had been hanging out in my drawer a try. I never knew! If you can't find one anywhere near you, Amazon has a
shrimp peelerthat is pretty darned close. (I am an Amazon junkie in case you didn't notice) Unlike many things that clutter up our kitchen space, this is one of those gadgets you'll find yourself reaching for time and time again if you're accustomed to cooking with fresh shrimp. Grab one for your kitchen too!

One unsuspecting beheaded shrimp and the tool of brilliance.

Insert the pointy part of the tool into the back of the shrimp at the head and gently slide it close along the shell toward the back of the tail, pulling in an upward motion as you go.

As you see, the shell separates while at the same time pulling along the vein. Pinch away the tail and the vein generally comes along for the ride. Discard.

And behold the masterpiece!

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