Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Marinated Corn Salad with Tomatoes

Garden fresh corn, sweet bell peppers, tomatoes and some red onion, combine with a sweet and sour vinegar and oil dressing for a wonderful summer salad!

Marinated Corn Salad with Tomatoes

As far as fresh veggies go, I've sure been enjoying my garden tomatoes This is the first year that I've not had an abundance of fresh green beans and fresh peppers though.

The peppers are way behind thanks to those pesky aphids, and while a couple of them do have some blossoms, the heat is pretty rough on them here lately. Maybe now that July is here we'll start getting some more regular rain to help with that. I guess the trade off is that this year, unlike last year, I have had a lot of tomatoes and cucumbers, so I'm happy about that! Right now is the perfect time of the year to find some great super sweet corn at the farmer's market, or at the very least, in the grocery store, so by all means, although canned works great, use fresh if you've got it!


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Monday, June 29, 2009

Southern Skillet Cornbread

All controversy aside on preferred ingredients for cornbread, in my mind there really is only one thing that truly sets southern cornbread apart. It must be cooked in a screaming hot, cast iron skillet.

Southern Skillet Cornbread

Skillet cornbread is a southern staple. Baked in a preheated, sizzling hot oiled cast iron skillet, it produces a beautiful crunchy crust on the bottom, and that is what makes it so unique. But cornbread in The South can certainly be cause for debate, that's for sure.



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The Great Southern Cornbread Debate


A Southern Born and Bred Southerner's Take on the Cornbread Debate

The truth is ... in my little ole humble opinion, the two things that make cornbread Southern is 1) using a cast iron skillet to make it, and 2) pouring the batter into a very hot cast iron skillet that has been coated in some kind of fat. That's the secret that makes cornbread Southern - that yummy, crunchy bottom. Believe it or not, it's less about the recipe than the method itself. Gasp! Did she really just say that??

Why yes, I did.

And listen, don't you go lettin' people tell you that it's not Authentic Southern Cornbread if it's got sugar or flour in it. That's a myth and you know what I say about that?

Pooey!

If you like the texture flour adds, use it. If you like sugar, add it. If you don't, leave it out. If somebody tries to tell you that it's not "the real deal" with sugar, they are just being haughty, bless their hearts. Ignore them. It's just simply not true.

I can tell you that I know plenty of Southern cooks from waaaaaay back that like at least a little bit of sugar in their cornbread, even if they don't tell anybody about it - and Jiffy cornbread mix, one of the best selling mixes in The South, absolutely has sugar in it - so just don't listen to the naysayers and add some sugar if you like. Personally I think it's just a myth that has been perpetuated over the generations, while all the while Southern cooks were sneaking a bit of sugar in their cornbread when no other eyes were around.

Besides that, corn absolutely loves sugar, and cornmeal is no different. By the way, I'm not talking making cake here folks, so just a couple of teaspoons, maybe even a tablespoon, is plenty.

Likewise for those who say to be Authentic Southern Cornbread it must be made with white cornmeal, not yellow.

Pooey!

Most everybody - and possibly everybody I know - who has grown up, and lived their lives in the vicinity of The Deep South where I am - which quite frankly is just about almost as far south as you can get - uses yellow cornmeal. Walk in the grocery store and you will see hundreds of bags of yellow cornmeal and you'd be hard-pressed to find white, except in a cornbread "mix," so if we use white, it's usually because for some crazy reason, the store was out of yellow cornmeal and we had to resort to a mix.

Which means very simply one thing. How you make cornbread is, of course, completely regionally based. You probably make it the way your mama made it, or the way your neighbors, or your home ec teacher made it. If you're from the part of the Deep South where I am from, you likely use a little flour, a pinch of sugar, and only yellow cornmeal - not white. But then there's this.

When I discovered stone ground cornmeal and it's beautiful texture, I knew that was another element of what made up a real southern cornbread. It really doesn't need much of anything else except a little fat, buttermilk and leavening. No sugar, because the corn is sweet. No flour because the grind gives the cornbread body. It's a secret the mountain regions have known for years and it produces an incredible, delicious, tender, flavorful cornbread!

But... and it's a big but, you ain't finding no good stone ground cornmeal 'round these parts. Nope.

No mills here in South Mississippi, so you have to order stone ground cornmeal in, which isn't cheap. I tried a few different brands and I really love the Great Smoky Mountains Corn Meal. I buy two bags at a time and freeze one. The other must be stored in the fridge. I really like that purchases from their store help to support the park too.

Or... you're just more likely to use what you have available to you, which is the standard milled white or yellow, grocery store shelf cornmeal. Totally different, but not a thing wrong with that either, except that it needs some help with a little flour and yes, maybe even a small bit of sugar.

So in other words, if you are a Southerner, don't be trying to throw down a Southern Shame Card on me or any other Southerner about what you think is or is not right or wrong. I get some Southerners who have said to me that "a real Southerner would [or wouldn't]..." do something that I have done in my recipes, as if I am not a "real" Southerner! Sugah, please stop!! Frankly I think it's just silly to waste energy gettin' all up in arms over things like that anyway, but for some reason certain myths keeps getting perpetuated across the generations and people still feel a need to insist they are the only ones who do something "right." It's a silly fight, so let's just stop it, shall we? It's just food and cooking and your way is always the right way when it comes to your kitchen, but not anybody else's.

Frankly all that matters is finding the perfect for you cornbread, and the three biggest secrets to Southern cornbread is 1) find a good stone ground cornmeal, if you can, otherwise, 2) use a cast iron skillet and 2) pour the batter into hot fat, and, that, is what makes cornbread "Authentic, Real Southern Cornbread."

So now, I don't know about you but I am seriously craving some cornbread, so let's go make a skillet! Right here on my site you can find a more traditional, classic savory version made with bacon fat, a bit of flour and no sugar, or what I call a Southern light version that has just a bit more flour and a tad bit of sugar. I've also got some corn muffins, an amazing honey jalapeno cornbread, and a sour cream version that includes the fabulous Mexican cornbread version too. Why not just try them all?
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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Summer Squash Dressing

Summer squash is mixed with the Trinity of vegetables, cream soup, eggs and fresh bread, for a squash dressing.

Summer Squash Dressing

Here's another recipe you might want to consider for your squash bounty! It's really a basic run of the mill squash dressing that we all pretty much have, this one using toasted bread crumbs. I decided to add in a bit of Trinity and some Cajun seasoning, just to bump up the flavor a bit.


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Friday, June 26, 2009

Weekend Cocktails - Whiskey Sour



I've always loved a whiskey sour - the combination of the sweet simple syrup with the tartness of the lemon juice is just so darned tasty - and just one does me fine.

Now, seeing as I'm not much of a drinker, most of the liquor I have is well, pretty old. I have cathedral ceilings in my family room that extends into the kitchen, so way up on top of the kitchen cabinets in the top of the ceiling is where whatever liquor we have lives. Most of that stuff has been up there since the early 2000s; some even longer. But the whiskey I used in this is found whiskey, so yep ... there's a story here!

Now I don't mean I picked up some bottle off the side of the road somewhere ... but, I guess I need to first backtrack a bit.

Several years ago, my son came home from college with all his "stuff," as college kids do. Well, he's since left, married, had a child and has another on the way, but there were still some things in my spare bedroom that he had left behind. I long ago noticed a bag full of papers - nothing that appeared important, mostly junk mail really, but being one who does not toss any papers without shredding them first - especially pre-approved credit applications, which ironically much of this was - nothing I'd want to just toss either.

Well that bag kept getting pushed back into the corner until not long ago, I got tired of moving that big bag around and decided to just go ahead and get it out of the way. Well lo and behold as I began to work myself through the bag and shred, I noticed that some of the papers were slightly wet and digging further, discovered one slightly leaking, but near full bottle of Jim Beam whiskey.

And another one, never opened. Oh the days of college and frat houses.

So I sat them aside and figured I'd give the bottles to him next time I saw him, but then I thought... maybe I'll just keep 'em! And so, I stuck them up there with the other "aged" liquor.

You'll need some whiskey, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, a cocktail shaker or like me, a fancy shaker Mason jar, some ice for the shaker jar, and a cocktail glass with more ice. Oh, and some cherries are kinda nice, but totally optional.

Add the simple syrup, lemon juice and bourbon to the shaker jar.

Shake well and strain over a cocktail glass filled with fresh ice.

Top with a cherry. Enjoy! Don't drink and drive.



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Whiskey Sour
From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish

1 ounce of simple syrup
1 ounce of fresh lemon juice
2 ounces of bourbon whiskey
Handful of ice cubes, plus extra for the glass
Maraschino cherries, for garnish
Orange slices, for garnish

Place the ice in a shaker, or like me, one of those fancy Mason jars. Add the simple syrup, lemon juice and bourbon. Shake well and strain over a cocktail glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with an orange slice and cherry and enjoy!

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

More Weekend Cocktails

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How to Make Simple Syrup

Basic simple syrup mixture for beverages, cocktails and glazes.

How to Make Simple Syrup

This is for a medium thick simple syrup with a 2:1 ratio, which will cover most of your beverage needs - such as lemonade, iced tea, cocktails and coffee. You can also do a 1:1 ratio and a 3:1 ratio, depending on the thickness needed. A thicker ratio would be used in baking for glazes. A thinner ratio might be used for some cold drinks.


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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Meal-in-One Cajun Steak Casserole

Braised steak with vegetables - a meal in one casserole!

Meal-in-One Cajun Steak Casserole

I don't know about y'all, but The Cajun still expects MEALS around this house no matter whether it's hot as Hades or not. He is just not a cold salad, sandwich, wrap, fruit soup, cool food for supper kinda guy.

For this meal, I had removed some steaks from the freezer, but could not bring myself to stand outside in the heat and grill, and pan fried steaks are well, just okay, and then I remembered this steak casserole recipe from another time I made it, sans the veggies. It's from one of my many cookbooks called Cooking with Cajun Women, by Nicole Fontenot of Lake Charles, Louisiana.


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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hassleback Cheesy Garlic Bread

A decadent buttery garlic French bread stuffed with gooey cheese and sprinkled with garlic powder and parsley. An indulgence for sure.

Hassleback Cheesy Garlic Bread

Now, when I make this Cheesy Garlic Bread, I don't generally do the whole loaf, because, well... it's just me and The Cajun, and I would definitely eat the whole loaf! Besides being a book addict, I am also a lover of bread. All kinds. Especially freshly baked bread. And freshly baked French bread, most especially. And let me tell you. This bread is some kinda good. So if you're feedin' your family, or having a party, go right ahead and make the whole loaf. Since you have other folks to share it with and all.


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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Stuffed Crab

Stuffed crab, made with fresh lump crabmeat, onion, and bell pepper, seasoned with Old Bay and Cajun seasoning and bound with egg and toasted bread crumbs and baked.

Stuffed Crab

I so love stuffed crabs! My Mama almost always made these from freshly picked crabs and then stuffed the cleaned and sterilized crab shells as I have here, but most folks would just make these into patties, or put them in those aluminum crab shells, which is perfectly acceptable!



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Sunday, June 21, 2009

The First Tomato of the Season



While I confess, I have plucked a couple of the small Romas to toss in a salad here and there, and I did have a few Fried Green Tomatoes too, and I considered having a salad or sandwich with the first of the bigger tomatoes. But ... I could really think of no better way to honor the very first big tomato to ripen from my garden than to eat it, straight up, unadulterated, but for kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper and a dab of real mayo on the side.

Homegrown tomatoes simply put grocery store tomatoes to shame. The aroma and flavor is just amazing... so juicy, so tasty. There just ain't nothin' like it. Mm Mm Mmmmm. I sure hope y'all planted some this year!!


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Chocolate Gravy and Biscuits

A gravy made with flour, cocoa, sugar, butter, vanilla and milk, is best served right over some piping hot biscuits... yes, even if they are straight out of the can!

Chocolate Gravy and Biscuits

Okay. Chocolate and gravy. Two words that you don't likely associate together, so I know this is a totally weird concept. I do!!  But hey, don't knock it till ya try it cuz I tell you what, there are lots of google searches that land here looking for this stuff.  Give it a try and I'm guessing you'll be sold too.


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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Spicy Orange Garlic Shrimp

A nice spicy main dish shrimp dish, with a touch of citrus.

Spicy Orange Garlic Shrimp

A nice spicy main dish shrimp dish with a bit of citrus and made in the skillet. Quick, light and just delish!


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Friday, June 19, 2009

Great Father's Day Meal Ideas

Photo Credit: The Daily Green

Need some ideas to put together a great Father's Day meal? Be sure to check my newest, updated list of great Father's Day recipes by clicking right here!


How about a roast? Do a Chuck Pot Roast on the stovetop, an Oven Braised Beef Eye of Round Roast with Pan Gravy or an Oven Roasted Beef Rump Roast with Mushroom Gravy instead. Add some fantastic Mashed Potatoes, Southern Style Creamed Peas, Southern Style Green Beans, or why not try a refreshing summer salad like Fire 'n Ice Summer Salad? What man would not be thrilled with this special dinner?


Wanna keep it more casual? Take the grilling duties over and have a cook-out for dad with a Grilled Steak made with Cajun Steak Marinade and some Open Roasted Red Potatoes with Rosemary on the side. Or how about an Oven Braised Beef Brisket? Wanna just keep it simple? How about some delicious Crockpot Barbecue Beef, or Yummy Hamburger Sandwiches instead? Or grill up some Backyard BBQ Chicken, or an All American Burger, Country Bob's Cheese Stuffed Burger or Juicy Onion Burgers. Then add a Cold Baked Potato Salad, or a more traditional Southern Style Potato Salad, and maybe some Baked Beans on the side.


Does the dad in your life love veggies? Try his favorite vegetables on a Roasted Summer Veggie & Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing, or if you have a lot of squash coming in, do some Squash Fries or a delicious Summer Squash Casserole with crookneck squash. Still waiting on those tomatoes to ripen? How about some Fried Green Tomatoes?


Need some dessert ideas? There's a whole list of 'em right here, including Texas Sheet Cake, Homemade Southern Banana Pudding with Meringue Topping, Easy Homemade Southern Peach Ice Cream, Jimmy Carter Cake, the Best Brownies Everor maybe a Fresh Strawberry Pie to name a few!

Nothing appealing here? Just scan through my e-Cookbook or click on that "Past Post" archive in the upper right hand sidebar to browse the past recipe posts by date - you're bound to find something that strikes your fancy!

And later on in the evening, when things have settled down, why not give a Southern Iced Tea Cocktail, Mint Julep, Mojito, or one of my other adult beverages?

Hope you find something helpful and that you have a wonderful Dad's Day with the all of the fathers in your life!!

~
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Weekend Cocktails - Frozen Pina Colada


Whew! It's soooooo hot down here it's insane. The heat index temperature with humidity factored in was 105 degrees today!

It's been awhile since we've seen a good rain - about a month or near about. I know, I know, back then I was complaining about there being too much rain after days and days in a row of the stuff. Well, seems there is never a happy medium with Mother Nature around here - she either withholds completely or she smothers us. Hmmmm..... sounds like a few relationships I've had before hahaha!

I have literally been having to water my larger containers that are in full sun - like the one with the watermelon - every, single day, and sometimes twice a day! Went out one day this week at about 2 o'clock to find it all drooping all over on the ground! I almost cried because I thought I had killed it! I quickly doused it down with several gallons of water and it recovered thankfully, but I don't want to end up with weird misshapen watermelons, so I've been much more careful to make sure that does not happen again!

Well, I don't care who ya are ... a nice, tall, icy drink really helps to cool things down quick on hot, hot days like we've been havin', when not much else will work, not even cold iced tea! This icy drink really fills the bill and if ya close your eyes you might imagine that you're sittin' on the beach down in Key West. Now I have some mighty fine memories that fit that just fine!

Make it non-alcoholic, or make the adult version ... just watch out for those 'ice cream' headaches!

Frozen Pina Colada
From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish: http://deepsouthdish.com/
  • 1 can of pineapple chunks or slices, with juice
  • 1/2 cup of cream of coconut
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of rum
  • Ice cubes
  • Cherry and/or wedge of pineapple for garnish, optional
Put pineapple into blender and process until pureed. Add the remaining ingredients filling the pitcher with ice cubs. Blend and pulse until smooth. Serve immediately.

Substitute water for rum for a non-alcoholic version.
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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Country Bob's Pepper Jack Stuffed Burgers

Burgers stuffed with Pepper Jack cheese and flavored with an all purpose sauce like Country Bob's.

Pepper Jack Stuffed Burgers

I got this idea from my Mother-in-Law, when she made some stuffed burgers that she had seen in an issue of Woman's World magazine. They were delicious! I had won a couple bottles of Country Bob's sauce, which I had never tried before, and the wheels started turning. I thought, "hey, I'll bet I can make something like this using some of that Country Bob's sauce!" So I took the general idea of that recipe and came up with this one. They turned out excellent and got a big thumb's up from The Cajun.


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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Grilled or Roasted Vegetable Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

Seasonal vegetables, roasted or grilled, make a perfect spinach salad when served with a warm bacon dressing.

Roasted Vegetable Spinach Salad

This is the other salad I promised you the back when I posted those summer salads recently, and boy was it worth the wait. With the weather being so hot, I have been in the salad mode and was thinking that I had not posted a spinach salad. Then I thought... why not take some of the great summer vegetables that are beginning to come in right now - summer squash, corn, asparagus, peppers, green beans, and tomatoes, to name a few - and incorporate them into a classic-style spinach salad! And then, I thought... one of the best ways to bring out the flavors of vegetables is to roast them, and well, this salad was born. And, it did not disappoint.


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Warm Bacon Dressing

A basic warm bacon dressing, great for spinach salad, or just about any salad, anytime.

Warm Bacon Dressing

This is a great dressing for just about any salad, but perfect for my Roasted Summer Vegetable & Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing.

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!

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Recipe: Warm Bacon Dressing

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Cook time: 15 min | Yield: About 2 servings

Ingredients
  • 6 slices of bacon, reserving 2 slices
  • 1/3 cup of red wine vinegar
  • Juice of one orange
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 6 turns of the pepper grinder
Instructions

Cook the bacon until crisp but not hard, remove and set aside. You will be reserving 2 slices for garnish. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the hot bacon fat. Cook and stir over medium heat until it is heated through; hold on low, stirring occasionally.

Roughly chop 4 slices of the bacon and add it into the skillet with the vinegar mixture. Chop the remaining two slices and set aside to reserve for a garnish for your salad.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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©Deep South Dish
Poppy Seed Mustard Vinaigrette
Homemade Comeback Thousand Island Dressing
Fire 'n Ice Salad Dressing

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Posted by on June 17, 2009
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 Facebook pages, 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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How to Easily Strip Corn off the Cob

This is the easiest way to strip corn off the cob, whether it's raw or cooked. The cob you see in the picture was roasted whole for my Roasted Summer Vegetable & Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing so it was hot when I stripped it, but this works just fine for when you are stripping down raw cobs for a recipe. If you're making a dish that needs the thickening of the starches from the corn, be sure to scrape the cob and extract all of those lovely juices!

Take a small bowl and turn it upside down into a larger bowl. You can also use an angel food cake pan or a bundt pan to set the corn on. The center hole holds it perfectly!

Cut the end of the cob so that it will be flat and even. Position the cob in the center of the upside down bowl, and hold the cob in place, using tongs if it's hot!
Then just carefully run a sharp knife down the cob.

Until all of the kernels are extracted.

Everything is in the bowl - and not all over the counter or on the floor!


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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Meatball and Stuffing Bake

A casserole of meatballs, topped with green peas, a cream soup gravy and stuffing.

Meatball and Stuffing Bake

Well now, I'm here to tell you that there ain't a meat-lovin' man in this country that won't eat this up quicker than the blink of an eye. Well, at least that's the way it goes here at my house anyway.

It's a family pleasing meal and I promise that this dish will disappear so quick, you'll barely remember makin' it! It's a super delicious casserole dish and something different to do with those pre-cooked, frozen meatballs everybody loves having on hand. The Cajun absolutely loves this dish - meat and stuffing? What is not to love??


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Monday, June 15, 2009

Bacon Ranch Cold Baked Potato Salad

Small red potatoes are first baked, then chopped or sliced and tossed with bacon and onion in a mayonnaise, vinegar and ranch dressing seasoning.

Bacon Ranch Cold Baked Potato Salad

I've already shared my just-like-Mama's southern style no-frills simple potato salad but this one here is also a big favorite of mine. Initially, this was my attempt to duplicate a potato salad served at one of our local favorite barbecue hangouts, but since writing the recipe, they've changed their version which has no eggs, is much whiter in color and seems to be heavy in sour cream and mayonnaise.


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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fried Squash and Squash Fries

Summer squash, sliced or cut into sticks, are tossed in buttermilk, then dredged into a lightly seasoned flour mixture, and quickly fried to crunchy goodness.

Squash Fries

Okay, yeah, I know... squash fries ain't exactly the healthiest way to eat a crookneck squash, but I've been pretty lucky so far with my squash plants {crosses fingers} and so, I'm trying to get a few different recipes up for summer squash. Maybe you shouldn't eat these every day, but I have to say, they sure are good enough to want to!


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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Old-Fashioned Deli Style Chicken Salad

Cooked chicken, celery, mayonnaise and a little pickle relish, makes up a classic, old-fashioned, deli style chicken salad. It's a favorite!

Old-Fashioned Deli Style Chicken Salad

Rotisserie chicken purchased from your local grocery store deli is a great quick meal for those rushed weekday dinners. Buy the larger one and you'll have some leftover chicken, perfect for this chicken salad.

Otherwise, just prepare a whole chicken just like you do for soup or chicken and dumplings, or try my oven poached version, because this is one great sandwich!

There aren't too many versions of chicken salad I've run across that I don't love to be honest. Tarragon, even curry are a little unusual but tasty, though I lean more toward the dried cranberry and honey chicken salad, or my grown up tea room style with apple, grapes and pecans, and in my case, another little secret ingredient! The one that many of us love the most, is this very simple, old-fashioned, deli style. I often add chopped, boiled eggs to mine.


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Friday, June 12, 2009

Weekend Cocktails - Frozen Watermelon Margaritas

Frozen chunks of watermelon stand in for ice cubes for this delightful frozen watermelon margarita. For a strawberry margarita, swap out the watermelon for frozen strawberries.

Frozen Watermelon Margaritas

Ahhh....it's the weekend and 5 o'clock somewhere. Oh, wait. It's 5 o'clock here!!

Remember those watermelon rind pickles from the other day? Well, if you don't feel like foolin' around with the sticky mess from eating that watermelon, here's a very adult way to use up that pulp. Just lay chunks of watermelon on a baking sheet and freeze them for several hours until firm, or overnight.


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Old Fashioned Pot Roast

This basic and old fashioned pot roast has been my favorite way to cook a chuck roast since I first started cooking. Even though you can do it in an oven or crockpot, there is something about that roast slow simmering on the top of the stove that just makes me feel all cozy.

Old Fashioned Pot Roast

A good old fashioned pot roast calls for a chuck roast in my eyes. Chuck is an economical cut of beef that is pretty tough and fatty, but very flavorful, and requires a low and slow braise for several hours in just a bit of liquid, making it a great roast to plan for Saturday or Sunday dinner for most of us. While you certainly can cook it in a slow cooker, and I have, I love letting it simmer nice and slow on the stove or in the oven the most.


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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fire and Ice Summer Salad

One of my favorite southern salads for the summer, this spicy, sweet and sour Fire and Ice salad, gets it's name from the contrast between the red onion, green bell pepper, horseradish and jalapenos, and the cool crunchy cucumber and sweet tomatoes.

Fire and Ice Summer Salad

A great use for that summer harvest of garden fresh tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and jalapenos, this is another southern favorite and certainly a personal favorite of my own. I can make a meal out of this salad alone on a hot summer day.


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Spicy, Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad

A simple, but tasty southern favorite, this cucumber salad is made of very thinly sliced fresh cucumbers and is dressed with a boiled sweet and sour vinegar dressing.

Spicy, Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad

Just as the name says, this is a spicy cucumber salad with a boiled sweet and sour dressing made with vinegar and sugar. If you prefer not to have the heat, just eliminate the red pepper flakes, and, if you like things more on the sweet side, just use equal parts vinegar and sugar, or adjust the sugar up according to your taste.


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Simple Summer Cucumber, Onion and Tomato Salad

A favorite simple salad in the summer, featuring garden fresh cucumbers and tomatoes, red or sweet onion, and dressed in a simple homemade vinegar and olive oil Italian dressing.

Simple Italian Cucumber, Onion and Tomato Salad

There is seriously nothing to this salad really, but with fresh tomatoes and cukes startin' to come in, it is definitely worth a quick mention. In fact, with this heat here lately salads are perfect for lunch, or even a light dinner when it's just too hot to think about food, but I get bored with just plain old garden salads. So, I've posted some of my favorite salads that utilize some of those fresh tomatoes and cucumbers that you'll be harvesting soon.


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Summer Squash Casserole with Bacon

Classic squash casserole made with summer squash, seasoned with bacon and onion, and tossed with cheese, eggs, mayonnaise, sugar, a generously sprinkling of salt and pepper and baked with a cracker topping.

Summer Squash Casserole with Bacon

This Squash Casserole recipe is probably my hands-down favorite way of eating all that great summer squash that grows like a weed in the garden. Growing up, I remember my aunt always having a vegetable garden - a pretty good sized one at that - and plenty of squash! Most times when I have ever planted squash it has always seems to come under attack of squash bugs and borers and I end up with dead plants and no squash... grrrrrr. This year the squash has been producing! Ah, the joys of the veggie garden! Ya just never know what's gonna happen I guess.


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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Classic Southern Fried Green Tomatoes

Sliced green tomatoes, seasoned with salt, pepper, marinated in buttermilk, and dredged in a cornmeal and flour mixture tossed with Cajun seasoning, then fried - they are a true Southern Classic.

Southern Fried Green Tomatoes

Everybody likely remembers the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, based on the book by Fannie Flagg, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. It certainly popularized the common green tomato for sure and lots of restaurants jumped on that green tomato wagon shortly after the movie was released.

"There's not a tomato safe
south of the Mason-Dixon line." Fannie Flagg.


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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Watermelon Rind Pickles

Watermelon rind pickles are a multi-step process. First, the trimmed rind of a watermelon is cut into slices and soaked overnight in a salt water brine, then boiled to tenderize, and later boiled in a spiced, vinegar and sugar mixture and left to stand overnight, before preparing for water bath canning.

Watermelon Rind Pickles

I don't know what it is about the taste of sweet down south. Maybe sweet things just help to take our minds off of the heat, who knows. We sure like our desserts in The Deep South, no doubt about that. People will talk all day about not wanting to cook but then their eyes will light up at the mention of some baked goods! Some Southerners even like their mayonnaise sweet, sauces sweet, cornbread sweet, and we sure like our watermelon rind pickles sweet!

Many southerners have very fond memories of sittin' on the back porch, or more likely a picnic table in the middle of the yard - the better to hose us down - parked in front of big slices of sticky, sweet watermelon, holding a knife in one hand to cut the juicy pulp off the rind, and very often a salt shaker in the other, and havin' seed spittin' contests with or at our siblings. Yes we do that, and while I know that newly bred seedless watermelon is all the rage these days, I truly still like a good ole seeded watermelon. The only down side is their size and having the place to store it in the fridge, so the smaller seedless ones have become quite popular.


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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Giada's Pasta with Carrots and Peas

A simple pasta dish with carrots and peas and a light tomato sauce made with tomato paste.

Giada's Pasta with Carrots and Peas

This is a meatless dish that I watched Giada de Laurentiis make one day on the Food Network channel. She used linguine, but I didn't have any in the pantry, so I used a combination of Barilla Plus and regular spaghetti pasta.


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Monday, June 1, 2009

Apple and Cream Cheese Crescent Squares

Pie filling, in this case apple, is sandwiched between layers of crescent dough and a bottom layer of sweetened cream cheese, topped with cinnamon sugar. Just delicious and so easy.

Apple and Cream Cheese Crescent Squares

Okay. Ya gotta admit. Doesn't that just look dreamy?

I just happened to have a package of crescent rolls and cream cheese in the fridge when I ran across this recipe in the Best of the Best from Mississippi Cookbook and it sounded so good that it haunted me until I made it!


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