Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Traditional Southern New Year's Day Recipes

Ever wonder why Southerners eat certain foods to ring in the new year? Or, what are the traditional foods that make up a Southern New Year's menu and how they came to be? Read on to find out!





I don't know about 'round the rest of the country, but most Southerner's wouldn't dare allow the New Year to pass without eatin' some kind of pork, a big ole mess o' black-eyed peas (or some other form of southern cowpeas) and greens of some kind, often either collard greens, turnip greens, or good ole, basic southern fried cabbage.



It's a tradition, steeped in both superstition and hope for better days ahead that we participate in the first of every year, and important enough that even people who don't particularly care for greens or black-eyed peas - such as The Cajun himself - make sure that they at least have a bite of both of 'em - though to be honest, tradition says it is best to ensure that you get at least 365 peas in your body on New Year's Day just to account for the whole year. Might as well just eat a "mess of 'em" I reckon, just to be on the safe side!


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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Grandma’s Elixirs - Hot Toddy Cold Remedy

Grandma's Hot Toddy Cold Remedy - Hot tea, lemon, honey, ginger & cloves with a splash of good ole whiskey.

Hot Toddy Cold Remedy

Looking for a recipe on how to make a great hot toddy cold remedy? You've come to the right place, because it's nearly 2:00 a.m. and I have been up and down - meaning from the bed - on and off since earlier this evening. I have a horrible, horrible cold - the worse I've had in awhile. The Cajun is coming down with something too, and I called my son earlier and he left work early sick to go to the doctor and said my daughter in law isn't feeling well either. The worse part is that my brother is in town, and only for a few days! So we all have to get better quick!

There were several occasions that my Mama made a hot toddy for me growing up when I was feeling under the weather. It was, and remains, an old home remedy for colds and flu. I always thought it was interesting that parents were more than willing to pass on a bit of booze to their underage kids, but honestly we never looked at it as being cool, since we felt so bad. It was simply medicinal. I'm sure Mama only put the tiniest splash of whiskey in it anyway.

Traditionally a hot toddy uses Scotch Whisky, hot water, sugar and lemon, but my Mama always made her hot toddy with tea. This recipe is similar to her recipe, but I played around and added a few additional healing elements. I think it turned out great and I'm working on my second cup tonight before I crawl back into the bed.

Feel free to vary the tea too. If you're off to bed, a bag of Zen green tea and Calm are nice too. It really does seem to help make me feel better, and since I'm up, I figured I might as well pass it on. Hopefully you won't need it, but just in case, hope you'll remember seeing it here! But, if this is timely for you then while you're at it, check out my post over at My New 30 Blog for some natural cold & flu treatments geared toward sinus congestion.


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Monday, December 28, 2009

Custardy French Toast

Thick slices of leftover bread, soaked in an egg, milk, sugar, salt and vanilla mixture and dusted with cinnamon sugar, pan fried for a crispy outer coating.

Custardy French Toast

Pain Perdu (or Lost Bread) is a classic French dish that is intended to use up leftover, stale loaves of bread so that it is not "lost." Pain Perdu is usually served with a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar.


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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Breakfast Po'Boy (Denver)


What Exactly IS a Po'Boy Anyway?

Ever heard of a Western Omelet Po'boy? Well, read on!

I grew up in Biloxi, Mississippi, and back before the casinos became central to tourism here it was a beach and resort party town, and back in the day the primary focus of weekends was centered around all night dancing and cocktails with friends at the clubs. It was pretty standard that we'd all end up in the wee hours of the morning at either the Waffle House or Mary Mahoney's Le Cafe (now gone thanks to Katrina) for coffee and a bite to eat before heading to the house.


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Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Merry Cajun Christmas Eve!



Merry Christmas Y'all and Good Eatin' 
from our home to yours!

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Spicy Cheese Bites

Bite sized cheese cookies, made with shredded cheese, flour, Cajun seasoning and Rice Krispies cereal.

Spicy Cheese Bites

Some folks call these, cheese cookies, but whatever you call them, they are a great make-ahead appetizer munchie for game day or any party or gathering.  This recipe makes a large batch but can easily be halved. Sort of like the flavor of a cheese straw, another very popular Christmas appetizer, but with an unexpected crunch from Rice Krispies cereal that'll have folks wondering what it is. You can also use well crushed regular corn flakes too if that's what you happen to have in the house.

Without the cayenne these have a sort of delayed, but fairly mild kick. If you want spicy hot, definitely add the cayenne or Cajun seasoning and adjust that to taste, because that really bumps up the heat. For a party though, you might want to lean on the milder side.


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Rolo Pretzel Turtles - Super Easy Turtle Candy

Super easy turtle candies, made from pretzels, rolo or caramel kisses, and then topped with pecan. Delicious, easy and a great holiday candy to get the children involved to help make.

Rolo Pretzel Turtles

These little Rolo Pretzel Turtles are about the easiest and most clever candy recipe anybody could have thought up. Made from mini pretzels, rolo candies or caramel kisses, and a pecan half, they are a super easy treat to do with your kids.

I always do a cookie and candy tray every year, but didn't get around to doing as much homemade as I usually do, so I let the grocery store give me a hand this year with some of it. I even grabbed some of my favorite New Orleans creamy pralines, Aunt Sally's Sugar & Spice Pralines (with hot sauce, oh yeah!) that thankfully we can get right here at our local Rouses Grocery, and added those to the tray. I also picked up a strawberry filled Christmas King Cake.


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Monday, December 21, 2009

Creole Daube and Spaghetti

Spaghetti Daube is a well loved Deep South dish and not surprising because it is such a budget stretcher. A slow braised beef, it is cooked in, then shredded & returned to a lovely Creole sauce. Serve over spaghetti noodles.

Creole Daube and Spaghetti

Daube, pronounced dohb, in its French origins, is simply put, a stew of braised beef. In years past, it was a popular dish amongst the population along the Point Cadet area of Biloxi where my family is from, but I'm afraid that it has gone the wayside with the younger generations, and even those of us in the not-so-young-generation. Too bad, because it is both delicious and definitely not difficult at all to do. While it does take a long, slow cooking period of several hours, you don't really have to tend to it much at all during that time. This meal is also a great budget stretcher as it goes a long way and can feed a nice big family. I can just imagine my MoMo (my mother's mother) serving up a big ole pot of this spaghetti to my Poppy and all those kids of theirs!


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Friday, December 18, 2009

Classic Old Fashioned Southern Pecan Pie

Follow this recipe and these tips and you'll have yourself a perfect Southern Pecan Pie

Perfect Southern Pecan Pie

Ah, southern pecan pie - a classic no doubt. It is no secret that we love our pecans down south. We use them on top of pies, in the crusts of pies and of course, in pies.  We use them as a topping, in cookies, and even in cookies you might not expect them in. We make glazes with them, put them in cranberries, and even add them to pasta! Heck, we even put 'em on bacon. I could go on. All I can say is thank goodness they are plentiful down here!


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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Spicy Cajun Sausage and Corn Soup

A flavorful tomato-based soup with corn and spicy andouille smoked sausage. Use garden fresh veggies or pantry items - either way it's a delicious soup.

Spicy Cajun Sausage and Corn Soup

Corn and tomatoes naturally pair together so well, and thanks to frozen and canned veggies, we have access to them to make a mighty fine soup in the colder weather months. The combination of corn and sausage with tomatoes is a very common soup in the Deep South, as always with the spin of the cook. I have a feeling it was probably made with the end of the summer crops, or birthed out of the need to use up other leftovers.


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Monday, December 14, 2009

Homemade Southern Beef Stew

A savory southern beef stew, made from chunks of seasoned chuck roast, a mixture of beef stock and water, loads of herbs, potatoes, celery and carrots, rich and loaded with flavor.

Homemade Southern Beef Stew

Like creamy butter beans, Homemade Southern Beef Stew is another one of those belly warmin', budget stretchin' meals that's pretty popular this time of year. The weather this weekend was absolutely perfect for it too.

This is an old standby beef stew recipe that I've used since the late 70s and have made very few changes to the basic recipe since then. It's a wonderfully savory stew, with loads of herbs (use fresh if you have them), rich and just full of flavor.


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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rocky Road Candy Squares

Rocky Road Candy Squares, made from chocolate chips, condensed milk, chopped peanuts and marshmallows.

Rocky Road Candy Squares


I settled on this recipe while doing a review of the cookbook Da Cajn Critter, and while there were loads of great Cajun recipes I could have chosen, since we were rolling on closer to the holidays and I need some more candy recipes, I thought these candy squares would be a great addition to the Christmas sweets tray.

The version below is a slightly adapted version of Janet's Rocky Road Squares found in the cookbook, substituting butter for margarine and also changing the pan technique a bit. This results in a delicious rocky road candy of chocolate, marshmallows and crunchy peanuts that would be a fine addition to your holiday sweets table. I hope that you enjoy it!


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Friday, December 11, 2009

Butterscotch Pecan Cookie Mix in a Jar

Cookie Mix in a Jar is a great holiday gift and this recipe for Butterscotch Pecan Cookies is a delicious choice.

Butterscotch Pecan Cookie Mix in a Jar

Butterscotch. Pecan. Cookies. Seriously. Now y'all know reading the title of this recipe that this was right up my little ole southern ally didn't ya? 


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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Southern Creamy Butter Beans (Large Lima Beans)

Large lima beans, or butter beans as we refer to them in my part of the Deep South, have a lovely creamy texture, and with this mix of seasonings, are just pure comfort food.

Creamy Butter Beans

Good old-fashioned, creamy butter beans, are a southern favorite for sure! Not to be too confusing, Southerners refer to both large and small lima beans as butterbeans, although there is also butter peas to consider, a smaller pea-shaped cousin, and a pea that is actually a bean and not a pea, akin to other Southern peas, such as lady cream and zipper, and that some Southerners also call butter beans ... but not to be confused with buttered peas which is a whole 'nother thing - just to confuse the rest of the world, as we Southerners love to do.

Whew! You just gotta love The South.


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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sweet Dreams Chocolate Fudge {Classic Fantasy Fudge}

Sweet Dreams Chocolate Fudge - Classic Fantasy Fudge becomes a magical story that you can share with your children or grandchildren as you make this old fashioned favorite together!

Sweet Dreams Chocolate Fudge

I've said many times that I'm not much of a candy maker, and while I have tried multiple times over my long life span on this earth, I still have not conquered the perfect old fashioned fudge that I love. You know the one. The ones that they use to sell upstairs at Gayfers. The kind you pick up at those candy stores when you are on vacation. The kind that doesn't have a drop of marshmallow creme in it! Well, despite my attempts I haven't made it there yet. Maybe one day.


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Monday, December 7, 2009

Eggplant Josephine

Eggplant Josephine, a popular dish at the now closed White Pillars restaurant, made from slices of eggplant, dredged in flour and fried, topped with crabmeat, marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese, then baked.

Eggplant Josephine

Eggplant Josephine, sort of a Deep South coastal seafood take on Eggplant Parmesan, was a pretty famous dish when I was growing up. It was a signature dish at the White Pillars, a very popular local restaurant owned by the Mladinich family of Biloxi. Housed in an old 1919 white mansion located at the foot of Rodenburg Avenue right on the beach at Highway 90, owned originally by Dr. and Mrs. H. M. Folkes, and then called Gunston Hall, the restaurant was a beautiful and elegant structure.

Photo Credit


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Blender Hollandaise Sauce

Blender Hollandaise Sauce
From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish

3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons of boiling water
1/2 pound of butter, melted
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt, to taste

Melt the butter. Have the lemon juice, cayenne and salt at the ready.

Separate the eggs, saving the whites for an omelet. Drop the yolks into a blender and turn on low. Drizzle in very slowly the boiling water and then the butter, adding in a slow stream. Add in the lemon juice, cayenne and salt; taste and correct the seasonings as needed. Serve immediately.
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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Leek and Cabbage Soup with Andouille Sausage

A chicken stock based soup made with a mirepoix of carrot, onion and celery, and cooked with sliced leeks, cabbage, potatoes, seasonings and spicy andouille sausage.

Leek and Cabbage Soup with Andouille Sausage

Who knew that the combination of cabbage with leeks made such a great soup?! Throw in some andouille sausage and the flavor just really pops.

I had a head of cabbage in the fridge and was in the grocery store the other day when I decided to grab a bunch of leeks, knowing they would make their way into some kind of soup with the cabbage. Once I got started with a basic mirepoix of carrot, onion, celery - and of course the leeks - I thought smoked sausage would make a nice compliment to it. Despite the simplicity of this soup, this was a highly flavorful and just simply delicious soup.


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How to Clean Leeks



With leeks it's very important to get them cleaned well, since there are so many nooks and crannies for grit and dirt to hide in. We're using mostly only the white part of the leek and just about two inches of the green part just above there.


Split the leek down the entire length ...


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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Crabmeat Quiche

Crabmeat Quiche

Crabmeat Quiche

I was in the mood for a quiche today and just so happened to have pouches of crab in the freezer. Nothing better than fresh lump crab for sure, and that's what I use the most, but I like cooking on the fly sometimes straight out of the pantry, so I always try to keep a couple of these pouches around. They freeze well, are perfect for this very reason and they work much better than canned crab in many recipes, including this quiche, although if you can't find containers of crab in the fresh or frozen seafood section of your store, shelf stable canned is fine to use too - just drain it well.


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Monday, November 30, 2009

Pantry Meals: Super Easy Beef, Andouille and Mushroom Lasagna

Beef, Andouille and Mushroom Lasagna

Beef, Andouille and Mushroom Lasagna

Lasagna can be a bit daunting to prepare, so I have to give a shout-out to Campbell's for this amazingly easy and super delicious lasagna recipe, made with ground beef, andouille sausage and mushrooms.


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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Crockpot Pomegranate Cranberry Chicken


I thought I would experiment with the old standby cranberry chicken dish, and use a bit of Cajun seasoning to spice it up a tad like I do with the other recipe, but this time, I decided to add in some pomegranate juice. What a delightful addition it was! The pomegranate just gave this an extra tangy punch above the cranberry and produced a nice sauce, even better than the usual.  The best part? It's a slow cooker dump and forget about it dish! Who doesn't love those?

You may have noticed that I've been adding POM Wonderful to quite a few recipes here lately - there was the Pomegranate Cosmos, the Spicy Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce, the Cranberry Pomegranate Holiday Sangria, and now this Cranberry Pomegranate Chicken dish. I love this stuff!!


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Made from Scratch Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes

My personal recipe for more than 30 years, these make simply perfect homemade buttermilk pancakes that I know you'll love.

Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes

Besides tweaking the baking powder and baking soda, I've been making my homemade pancakes this way for more than 30 years, and I think they've stood the test of time. Don't get me wrong - I do realize that just adding water to a pre-packaged mix sure makes things a bit easier in this hurry-up world we live in, but honestly it doesn't take any time to mix up a fresh batch of pancake batter and no worries over weird ingredients or preservatives lurking in there either because you know what went in it. So, on your day off, why not make them homemade!


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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Southern Ham and Egg Salad

Chopped cooked ham, typically leftover from a holiday ham, and boiled eggs, come together with celery, green onion, mayo, mustard and a little Cajun seasoning, for a southern favorite - Ham and Egg Salad. Easy and delicious!

Southern Ham and Egg Salad

Here's another one of my favorite egg salad recipes, made with ham and a perfect sandwich filling to utilize leftover holiday ham. If you don't have leftover ham or ham that you've previously frozen, just pick up a ham steak from the meat department, or ask the deli to slice you a 1/4 to 1/2 inch slice of ham. That's what I do!


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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Recipes for Holiday Leftovers


Recipes for Holiday Leftovers

To me, there is nothing better than plain ole turkey sandwiches on white bread with mayo after the holidays, and I can eat them for days. But if you have hosted a big family gathering at your house, and didn't send everybody home with plates of leftovers, it's likely that you will end up with a whole lot of leftovers in your fridge. Here are a few ideas I've thrown together to give you some inspiration.

Cranberry Sauce - Besides spreading it on a turkey sandwich, use this as a condiment on waffles, pancakes, french toast, oatmeal or as a spread for rolls, croissants and biscuits. Spread cream cheese on a bagel and top it with cranberry sauce. Spoon it into yogurt and over frozen yogurt and ice cream or to top a piece of cheesecake. Swirl it into a cake mix, or make it into a glaze. Mix with a bit of apple cider or juice and make it into a sauce for pork chops or chicken. Mix it up with your usual olive oil vinaigrette recipe. Mix it with pepper jelly and pour over a block of cream cheese as a dip for crackers.


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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Weekend Cocktails - Cranberry Pomegranate Winter Sangria

This winter sangria combines the best of what is available during the season - cranberry, pomegranate, orange, apple, and of course a good red or white wine - and is perfect as a Thanksgiving and Christmas sangria. Plan to double it though!

Cranberry Pomegranate Winter Sangria

I adore a good sangria, especially over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and let me tell you. They go fast so you might even want to double this, depending on how many folks you have around. We'll add this to our Weekend Cocktail Series, a little bit early so that you can enjoy it with your holiday meal - and I am here to tell you that this is goooooood!


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Bacon Wrapped Roasted Stuffed Boneless Turkey Breast

Turkey Roulade, a whole turkey breast, butterflied and deboned, pounded thin, stuffed, rolled and roasted.

Bacon Wrapped Roasted Stuffed Boneless Turkey Breast

A turkey roulade recipe is a fantastic way to go, if it's just you and your significant other for the holidays, or you just don't want to deal with roasting an entire turkey. A turkey roulade is simply a boneless turkey breast that has been butterflied, pounded flat, and then stuffed, rolled and roasted in the oven. It is an excellent way to get a taste of your traditional turkey and dressing, without having a boatload of leftovers.


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Monday, November 23, 2009

Fast and Easy Brining Solution

By brining, you are providing a moisture cushion for the meat - all provided by the process of osmosis.

Fast and Easy Brining Solution

Brine. Your. Turkey. (or your chicken, or your pork...) Period. Just trust me on this one.

What is brining? And why bother?


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Classic Green Bean Casserole

A traditional classic side dish for the holidays, it wouldn't be the same around our house if green bean casserole didn't show up.

Classic Green Bean Casserole

I don't know what it is about Green Bean Casserole, but I am the first one to say I love it, and I expect it at holiday meals. Gooey, creamy southern béchamel (that's Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup for those of y'all with a more sophisticated palate) mixed in with one of our favorite southern veggies - green beans - and accented by crunchy French fried onions. Oh yeah. Comfort food for sure and likely to invoke all kinds of memories of Thanksgiving and Christmas past. Maybe that's why we love our Green Bean Casserole so much in The South.


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How to Make Homemade Giblet and Egg Gravy in the Roasting Pan

A homemade gravy made from the roasting pan drippings, turkey giblets and egg.

How to Make Homemade Giblet and Egg Gravy

My Mama always made turkey giblet gravy on the holidays. It was just a given that you'd find gravy on the table with those little bits of giblets floating in it. I under-appreciated it back then, but now I know the added punch of flavor that infusing the gravy with giblets gives us. Some southern cooks add chopped, hard boiled egg to their gravy. Mama never did and neither do I, but feel free to throw some in if you like. You'll want 1 hard boiled egg, diced and stir it in just before serving.


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Creamy Oyster Stew

A roux based stew of oysters in a cream sauce, is finished with a drizzle of hot sauce and garnished with broken saltine crackers and green onion.

Creamy Oyster Stew

It used to be said - and lots of folks still live true to it today - that you should only eat oysters in months that contain the letter "R" in them, that being early spring, but mostly in fall and winter.

It's really an old fallback to the days when refrigeration and spoilage were an issue, but there is a bit of truth there in that those "R" months just happen to be when Gulf oysters are at their peak flavor. These days oysters are also farmed, so you can pretty much get good oysters year-round all over the country. Well old folks tale or not, lucky us that we are in an "R" month because down here in the Deep Coastal South, we love our fresh Gulf oysters and they show themselves in many of our holiday dishes, one of them being oyster stew.


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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Perfect and Easy Old Fashioned Cloverleaf and Crescent Yeast Rolls

Mama's favorite cloverleaf and crescent holiday yeast roll remains my favorite recipe too, even after all of these years. These are truly the original old fashioned yeast roll - tender, light and perfect.

Old Fashioned Yeast Rolls

This is my go to holiday dinner roll recipe, an absolutely perfect dinner roll for any holiday dinner, and, of course, any other day really. I wrote it for my stand mixer but if you don't own one, don't fret! You can still make these rolls with a little bit of extra elbow grease, so I've also included basic instructions for hand kneading in the recipe.

Airy, soft and tender on the inside and nicely browned with the tiniest bit of crunch on the outside, they truly are the perfect holiday roll. It's really a shame that we don't make homemade yeast rolls more often, but mostly they only make an appearance at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner because of the time needed for the two risings. Those 30 minute quick rolls are nice as a fill in, but they are really more like a biscuit than a roll to me because you really do need that extra long rise for the yeast to develop. They are so worth the extra time though, and especially for these two special meals, and aside from the rising time, so easy to make.



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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Southern Sweet Potato Pie

A classic southern pie made with spiced fresh sweet potatoes, topped with toasted pecans and drizzled with syrup.

Southern Sweet Potato Pie

Southern Sweet Potato Pie was one of three pies that nearly always graced our holiday tables growing up - along with pecan, and pumpkin - though I seem to recall that me and Mama were the only two who truly indulged in the sweet potato pie. Somewhat likened to pumpkin pie, and certainly seasoned similarly, they really are different from one another, and if you put the two side by side, I'd be able to identify which is which, as easy as I can tell if it's homemade or made from a canned sweet potato pie filling. Not that there's a thing wrong with whipping up a pie using canned pie filling, but like homemade pimento cheese versus a commercial pimento cheese product, you can usually spot homemade.


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Friday, November 20, 2009

Fresh Citrus Not Better Than Sex Cake

What do you get what you marry the concepts of Paula Deen's Is it Really Better Than Sex Cake and a Mandarin Orange cake?

Fresh Citrus Not Better Than Sex Cake

These are the two cakes that stuck out in my mind when I had several pounds of tangerines left that I needed to use and I knew I wanted to use them to make some sort of a cake. So I took the two concepts and created this Fresh Citrus Not Better Than Sex Cake But Pretty Darned Good. Hey, don't look at me ... I didn't name it that originally.

Now first remember, I used the tangerines because I had them and needed to use them, but absolutely substitute a large can of mandarin oranges! Keep it easy y'all.

Now, I do have to put in a disclaimer here for my local readers, since I can hear y'all saying "that is not a Better Than Sex Cake Mary." Yes, I do realize that Paula Deen's "Is it Really Better Than Sex Cake" is nothing like the "Better Than Sex Cake" we know and love down here in this part of the south. Our "Better Than Sex Cake" always involves chocolate and nuts and cream cheese and Cool Whip and a few other ingredients, none of which are actual "cake."  You can find that delicious layered concoction right here and man oh man is it good.


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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo

A delicious and easy gumbo made with a roux, the Trinity of vegetables and using a whole chicken and andouille sausage.

Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo

I've talked before about being a big fan of Miss Lucy H. Zaunbrecher's show, Classic Cajun Culture & Cooking and her Louisiana recipes. It comes on PBS stations generally, but I've caught her on the RFD-TV station too. I just let the DVR catch her show whenever she is on.

Her recipe is a little different method from how I usually do a classic roux gumbo (roux, veggies, liquid), but I tried to stay pretty true to it, substituting thighs in place of the whole chicken, just because that is what I happened to have in my freezer. I cooked my roux to a medium dark - like the color of a dark copper penny - but you could also take this one darker. My dark oven roux would work well here too.


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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chocolate Toffee Bark - Saltine Cracker Candy

Saltine crackers, spread with a boiled brown sugar and butter sauce, then topped with chocolate, sometimes called Christmas Crack or Crack because they are downright addictive. Scatter some finely chopped nuts on top if you like!

Saltine Cracker Candy

Chocolate Toffee Bark or Saltine Cracker Candy as it's known, is truly one of my most favorite chocolate treats. Trisha Yearwood's family calls it crack and some people have taken to calling it Christmas Crack around the holidays - but geez, associating those two words together well, that just seems so wrong on so many levels.


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Crispy Oven Fries

Potatoes dredged in a seasoned buttermilk, rolled in cornflake or panko crumbs, and baked.

Crispy Oven Fries

Generic corn flakes are a great way to get a nice crunch when you want to oven fry, but that doesn't have to be limited to chicken. Give it a swing sometime with potatoes and add a whole other layer of texture. Try it with panko bread crumbs, or check out the variation at the bottom, using a mayonnaise coating and cornbread dressing mix. Here's how to make them.


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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oven Baked Cajun Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

A roasted meat Cajun jambalaya with chicken and smoked sausage.

Oven Baked Cajun Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

I love this recipe for Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya - the kind that builds flavor, layer upon layer, with herbs, seasonings, and seared or roasted meats. The primary success tool for making a proper jambalaya to me though, is that it should be cooked in a cast iron dutch oven. All of this takes just a bit more time to pull off but it produces a nice, fluffy jambalaya, without worrying over a pot on the top of the stove.


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Monday, November 16, 2009

Deep Fried Bread 'n Butter Pickles with Comeback Sauce

Bread & Butter Pickles coated in cornmeal & flour & deep fried.

Bread 'n Butter Fried Pickles

Who knows where it started, but I'm fairly certain that it's pretty much a southern thang to deep fry pickles. I'd venture to guess that somebody was frying up something and had some pickles nearby and a lightbulb went off with them wondering "hmmmm..... wonder what a fried pickle might taste like?" as they plopped a couple in the frying pan.

Now mostly you hear about dill pickles being fried, but me, I like the sweeter ones better (imagine that) and to me the bread and butter pickles are just perfect. It's not that I don't enjoy the dill version, I do, but they are pretty tart and I have to have a balance with my tart! Wickles Pickles are exceptional because of their spicy sweetness. Of course dill pickles are good if that's your preference (I like the thinly sliced ones) and some folks enjoy the whole pickles spears. All I know is that fried pickles are good!


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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Roasted Pears with Brown Sugar Butter Sauce and White Chocolate Drizzle


I had some Bosc pears on hand and couldn't figure out what exactly I wanted to do with them, though I had considered roasting them after seeing someone do that on a segment on Food Network.  Then I ran across an ad insert in Bon Appetit magazine, and the photo of these roasted pears was so enticing that I knew I had to try this one.

The recipe is custom created for McCormick Gourmet Spice Collection by Cat Cora, a fellow Mississippi gal, and a favorite chef for me, who also happens to be Executive Chef for Bon Appetit.  This is a slightly adapted version from the one in the ad insert, and I'm thinking that this dish would make an amazing addition to any holiday table.


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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Crispy Panko Coated Ranch Chicken

The good ole, standby, oven baked Ranch Chicken that everybody loves, updated with the use of mayo, panko and crushed saltines.

Crispy Panko Coated Ranch Chicken

I am so glad that panko bread crumbs have become more commonplace and readily available over the past couple of years, because they add a special crispness to foods. Panko bread crumbs are jagged edged and flaky, so that they remain crisp whether they are used in frying or baking, plus they make a great topping too.



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Friday, November 13, 2009

Southern Cornbread and Oyster Dressing (Stuffing)

While oyster dressing may not be a traditional holiday dressing across the south, here along the Deep South of the Gulf Coast, where the oysters are salty-sweet, it absolutely is a star.

Southern Cornbread and Oyster Dressing (Stuffing)

I realize that oyster dressing is not something that is common at the holidays all over the country, and not even in The South really, but it certainly is down here in The Deep South, especially along the coastal waters. For Thanksgiving and Christmas, my Mama almost always made two dressings - well, essentially three, really, since she also stuffed the turkey with her herb stuffing.


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