Friday, December 31, 2010

Smothered Pork Roast with Rice

Transform a pork shoulder into this simple but amazingly delicious dish with a quick sear, simple seasonings, lightly caramelized onions and a simple roux. Fantastic.

Smothered Pork Roast with Rice

This Smothered Pork Roast recipe is as simplistic as they come.  A seared pork roast, seasoned with salt and pepper, smothered in a gorgeous garlic, rosemary and thyme infused gravy, and braised in a covered Dutch oven, low and slow.  It is a heavenly way to utilize a cut of pork that is most often reserved for pulled pork sandwiches. The fragrance of it will surely bring you back to grandma's kitchen and the flavor is just simply pork perfection.

The original recipe calls for a boneless pork butt or shoulder, but I could only find a 7 pound bone-in pork shoulder, and even that just barely squeezed into my Dutch oven. The downside to using the bone-in roast is that there is less meat, but it was enough for the two of us.


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Real Cajun Cookbook Review

Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link's Louisiana
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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I asked Santa to bring me a copy of Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link's Louisiana, for Christmas this year, and what a beautiful, mouth-watering testament to The Deep South did it turn out to be. The first recipe I decided to try from it, was this simply delicious smothered pork roast, and let me tell you - if this roast doesn't drum up some memories of pork roast at grandma's house, I don't know what will.



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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Black-eyed Pea Jambalaya - Deep South Hoppin' John

Our Deep South version of the low country favorite, Hoppin' John, this Black-eyed Pea Jambalaya contains bacon, ham, spicy smoked sausage, black-eyed peas and rice.

Deep South Hoppin' John

Black-eyed Pea Jambalaya is just the way we down here in The Deep South look at what most other southerners call Hoppin' John, but let me tell you. I have seen lots of folks, from magazines to big bloggers, being scolded by Hoppin' John purists all around the internet here lately for incorrectly referring to a dish of black-eyed peas as Hoppin' John. Yes, and that includes not so big, little ole me for my reference to "Hoppin' John, Kinda," and those of the rest of you who also like eating black-eyed peas spooned over rice.

{Southern Hissy fit warning} People get all up in arms about impressing upon others what they think is or is not right or authentic when it comes to food. I have gotten more than one tongue lashing right here on my site from some anonymous persons who insisted on imposing their opinions about how I have made something "wrong" in their eyes.


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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Greens and Black Eyed Pea Soup

A great cold weather soup, this delicious beans and greens soup starts with a chicken base and includes both black-eyed peas and collard, mustard or turnip greens.

Greens and Black Eyed Pea Soup

This super quick and easy recipe for Greens and Black-eyed Pea Soup is a basic take on good ole beans and greens, but in a soup form. You can use either collard greens or turnip greens and it won't matter a bit.


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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Crawfish Rice Dressing

A mixture of long grain rice, Louisiana crawfish tails, cream soups, bell pepper and spicy seasonings brings this rice dressing to life.

Crawfish Rice Dressing

I recently had the chance to give Cajun Country Rice a try and they provided me with a Crawfish Rice Dressing recipe that sounded too good to pass up. A recipe that has been handed down from mother to daughter, it was absolutely delicious and would make a fantastic addition to any holiday, including your New Year's Eve party menu.


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Friday, December 24, 2010

Overnight Baked French Toast Casserole

A fantastic and tasty sweet breakfast casserole that you throw together the night before and then just slide into the oven in the morning.

Overnight Baked French Toast Casserole

Overnight French Toast Casserole is one way to get a delicious and well loved breakfast favorite prepared for a crowd and quickly on Christmas morning or New Year's Day. Those are two of the rare occasions where I can actually manage to remember to prep a breakfast casserole the night before.


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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cajun Potato Salad

Cajun Potato Salad made from potatoes boiled in crab boil, the fabulous Trinity trio of vegetables, a flaky Creole seasoning, spicy mustard, southern Chow Chow & what else but bacon!

Cajun Potato Salad

What is Cajun Potato Salad? There is no real definition for it that I can find, and in fact, most people just make a typical southern style potato salad, add a bit of spicy mustard and Cajun or Creole seasoning, and call that Cajun Potato Salad. Well, I decided I needed to remedy this!


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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Old Fashioned Custard Cream Sauce

A fantastic custard dessert sauce, perfect for a wide variety of cakes, assorted fruit, or as a dressing for fruit salad.

Old Fashioned Custard Cream Sauce

This old fashioned sauce is perfect for cakes and fruit. Just drizzle it on fresh fruit, cakes, or stir it into fruit salad. This is really just my Old Fashioned Drinking Custard recipe, with a few minor changes for thickening. Try it drizzled on pound cake.


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Grandma's Old Fashioned Boiled Custard Recipe and Eggnog Base

A heirloom recipe, Old Fashioned Boiled "Drinking" Custard, was once used regularly as a simple drink meant to sooth the sick. It's a rich and creamy beverage, just like Grandma used to make, delicious anytime and an excellent base for homemade eggnog.

Old Fashioned Drinking Custard

Looking for the best eggnog recipe? Well, look no further than old fashioned boiled custard, because that is the beginnings of a most excellent eggnog. I'm pretty sure that boiled custard, or "drinking" custard as it was once commonly referred to, is decidedly southern. Not only is it a traditional drink in The South for the holidays, but it was often used to comfort those in the sick bed. I do know one thing for sure, we southerners absolutely do love our custards, and we love them in many forms.

Homemade custard in banana pudding is simply to die for, but I love a good old fashioned custard pie or a simple baked custard myself. Boiled custard is an old timey recipe that you really don't hear much about anymore, but when Mike, one of our Facebook readers brought it up, I knew it was time it found a home here. Essentially, boiled custard is simply the base for eggnog, but minus the alcohol.

Calling it a "boiled" custard is really a misnomer though, since you don't ever want a custard to boil, but rather to cook slowly. It's a very basic cooked custard really, similar to homemade custard for banana pudding, only thinner, but using the same procedure with a double boiler, and frequent, near constant stirring. You'll know that the custard is ready when it coats the back of a spoon and you can drag your finger through the middle, leaving a path. Since it's a drinking custard we strain it for creamy perfection. I use cheesecloth over a kitchen sieve.


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Original Magic Bar Recipe - 7 Layer Bars with Variations

No matter how you layer them, these classic Magic Cookie Bars are addictive. Most often they are layered with a graham cracker crust, sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, and sometimes butterscotch, or even a combination of them, coconut and nuts.

Original Magic Bar

If you Google looking for 7 Layer Bar recipes, most of what you will find are bars listing these five basic layers - though many do also add another layer of butterscotch chips - yet they all seem to count the graham crackers and butter as individual layers.  Some recipes do melt the butter, and then simply pour the graham crackers on top, rather than mixing and pressing them in, so I guess that's one way to consider them separate layers. Others layer the bars differently, adding the coconut right on top of the graham crackers, some chips and then the coconut, and pouring the sweetened condensed cream on the very top. I really don't think that the order of the layers much matters to be honest.


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Old Timey Rum Balls or Bourbon Balls

Rum or bourbon balls made with crushed vanilla wafers, powdered sugar, cocoa, ground nuts and bourbon or rum. Balls may be rolled in a variety of coatings including powdered sugar, cocoa mixed with powdered sugar, ground nuts or crushed cookies.

Old Timey Rum Balls

Old timey bourbon or rum balls have been a holiday favorite here in The Deep South for as long as I can remember, and this is the basic recipe, with a few coatings and add-in variations. While I know that cake balls and cookie truffles are all the rage these days, to me these are the original title holder since the 1960s.


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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cajun Rice Dressing

Cajun rice dressing, or dirty rice, is a rice based mixture often served during the holidays. A roux is what sets the two apart in my recipe box. Read on to see how to make this a Cajun Farre dressing for sandwiches!

Cajun Rice Dressing

This Cajun Rice Dressing is essentially a dirty rice recipe, jazzed up a bit with a small roux for the holidays, where it often makes an appearance both stuffed into some kind of bird or beef, or just simply as a side dish. While I intended to make this dish for the blog anyway, instead of chopping the giblets or leaving them out altogether, I wondered if I finely minced them with the food processor instead, could I pull this off and get The Cajun to at least taste it.


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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Old Fashioned Baked Custard

Old fashioned baked custard made from eggs, whole milk, sugar, nutmeg and vanilla with a sprinkling of optional coconut.

Old Fashioned Baked Custard

I had a taste for some old fashioned baked custard the other day.  Whether it was the freezing weather prompting the simple warmth of the hot custard itself, or because I hadn't been eating enough eggs lately, the craving was very specific. I wanted this delicious, heart warming custard.


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Friday, December 17, 2010

Spiked and Spiced Hot Chocolate

A cup of hot chocolate, spiked with Kahlua if you like, and spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne.

Spiked and Spiced Hot Chocolate

This Spiked and Spiced Hot Chocolate came about thanks to the frigid cold weather that moved into most of the eastern part of this country last weekend, including the deepest of The Deep South, and my apparent need to warm up from the inside out. It was bone-chilling cold for this southern gal, and although I was wearing two pairs of sweats, two long sleeved shirts, socks and slippers, and had the central heat going, none of it seemed to help at all. It was definitely a hot chocolate kind of night, and we have another couple of those heading in tonight for the weekend. Just in time for that last minute Christmas shopping, brrrr!

I love hot chocolate and when I want it, I usually break out a saucepan and make the good ole familiar and well loved, old fashioned Hershey's cocoa recipe that many of us have been making all of our lives. This time, there on the counter sat these inviting packages of semi-sweet chocolate chips waiting for holiday treats, and just begging for a feature spot in a steaming cup of hot chocolate.

I also had those nice roasted McCormick spices in the cabinet from our BlogHer Food swag, so I thought why not spice things up a bit too? And of course, why not a little pinch of cayenne pepper to help boost up the good ole circulation while we are at it?  What resulted was a delicious blend of spicy flavor, all of which complimented the chocolaty goodness. I probably used somewhere in the middle of 1/8 and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne and it was a very nice, healthy lip tinglier.  Feeling adventurous? Go ahead and stir in a bit of Kahlua.  Give it a try!


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Cajun Chicken Maque Choux

Corn and tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, garlic and jalapenos, make a fabulous popular Deep South dish all on it's own, but add in a little chicken, serve over rice and you've got a great main dish stew.

Chicken Maque Choux

Maque Choux, a dish that is said to have been passed down to the Cajuns by Native Americans, is a traditional south Louisiana dish. Sort of a smothered corn and tomato stew, and sometimes, as in this case, made with chicken. Maque Choux is perfectly good all on its own of course, making a great side dish for anytime, but I also love adding in chicken - which usually comes from a chicken that I have poached or roasted and stripped and then used the stock. This is also another great dish to add to the list of what to do with a deli rotisserie chicken when you're in a time crunch.


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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nature's Bounty - Local Homemade Goodies Perfect for Gift Baskets


Update March 2012: I passed by here recently and sadly it appears Nature's Bounty has gone out of business. Darn.

For readers in the general vicinity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I want to introduce you to a little jewel of a place I ran across Tuesday evening.  It's a little store called "Nature's Bounty," located on Bienville Blvd. (Highway 90) in Ocean Springs MS, not far over the  Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge, in the same shopping plaza as Cheryl's Steakhouse.


What caught my eye, was the sign that said cracked pecans for $3.99 a pound, local raw honey, Whistle Stop products ... and all that gorgeous produce peeking out through the windows. What's inside though, is simply a treasure.


And, while there are some fantastic goodies in these walls, first things first. The produce. And, yes, oh boy did they have some beautiful produce. We don't have a lot of fresh markets going on Down South.  You catch the small Farmers Market once a week if you want to buy more locally, or you get your produce from either the superstores or supermarket, often from the other side of the country.  Everything at Nature's Bounty that can be had locally, is.

There was such a wide variety of just the most beautiful produce here. There were pineapples, several types of melons, all sorts of citrus products, including local grapefruit, Louisiana reds, satsumas, plus fresh cherries, and plums, Asian pears, Bosc pears, Red pears and Bartlett pears. I just had to grab a couple of those red pears to eat!


Lettuce, fresh peppers, yellow corn, sliced sweet potatoes, collards and cabbage and fresh poblano peppers. I don't know why I didn't grab some of that corn!


Here are the bags of cracked pecans - these are 5 pound bags, but they also had them in 1 pound bags, and also completely shelled.


They have some absolutely gorgeous apples.


And, all kinds of squash - spaghetti, butternut, acorn, kabocha - yucca, rutabaga, and turnips.


These tomatoes were so beautiful and fragrant I just had to have a couple. I miss my garden fresh tomatoes. And look. Yes! They have green tomatoes too!! And gorgeous plum tomatoes.


It is truly like having a little full time farmer's market, but opened daily so you don't have to get up at the crack of dawn!

Being a lover of fruit and vegetables, and especially locally grown and fresh produce like what Nature's Bounty has available, I was in heaven in here. But... my most favorite part and what had me so excited was to see the rest of the store.

Jars and jars and jars of locally made, handmade, homemade, goodies like these plum and peach preserves, peach and apple jelly, elderberry jelly, huckleberry jelly, and green and red hot pepper jelly.


Pickles, salsa and relishes! Pickled okra, green tomato relish and chow chow, sweet pepper relish, peach salsa, garden vegetable salsa, Cajun dill pickles, and pickled green beans.


Bulk walnuts and pie fillings! I bought one of the raspberry - I think there was lemon and a berry also.


Local honey, pure cane syrup, and flavored syrups - like peach and blueberry. I meant to get some of that honey.


We were on our way to The Cajun's birthday party so I was in a hurry, but here are some of the goodies I grabbed up quick like to carry home with me. Needless to say, I plan to go back in the next couple of days. These may make their way into a gift basket or three. Or not.

Watermelon Rind Dill Pickles




Local Pecans!

If you're in the area, stop by and check them out sometime. Wouldn't you just love a gift basket filled with some of this luscious fruit and these great homemade products?  It'd be a great gift that I think anybody would love.





Nature's Bounty
Right next to Cheryl's Steakhouse
1310 Bienville Blvd. (Highway 90)
Ocean Springs MS 39564

228-872-3440
228-324-2307



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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

10 Delicious Things to Do with a Rotisserie Chicken

A collection of chicken recipes from Deep South Dish, great for using one of those deli rotisserie chickens, or one that you've made yourself at home, like Mimi's Rotisserie Style Sticky Chicken, pictured above.

10 Delicious Things to Do with a Rotisserie Chicken

Since this time of year is a super busy one, I thought I'd bring you a roundup of some recipes that can easily start with a rotisserie chicken, whether it's one you've roasted yourself or one you picked up form the deli on the run home. Let's face it. There just isn't a lot of time or energy to spend putting together a good meal on weeknights for any of us, and certainly during the big holidays. At the same time though, when we are done with our errands and running, we really still want to relax with some good ole comfort food and not fast food.

Fortunately we can skip the drive through and, with a little help, still put together a quick meal that gets us in and out of the kitchen a little faster.  Whether it's your own homemade "rotisserie style" chicken recipe that you roasted in advance {such as Mimi's Sticky Chicken pictured above} or one grabbed with a quick run through the express lane by the market, a precooked chicken can speed meal time up significantly.


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Monday, December 13, 2010

Old Fashioned Ting-a-Lings, The Easiest Christmas Candy Ever!

Old Fashioned Ting-a-Lings, made with melted chocolate and cereal, are a fantastic addition to your holiday sweets tray, as stocking stuffers, and as party favors to hand out to those holiday guests.

Old Fashioned Ting-a-Lings

These little Ting-a-Ling candies have been around as long as I have and they have always been a holiday favorite - best yet. They truly have to be the easiest candy ever!

A lot of folks make these using chow mein noodles these days, but they originally started off back in the 1950s made with Wheaties cereal, and later, a wider variety of cereals. With the crunchy noodles, they are called Haystacks, and I've included that variety in the notes with the recipe.

It's a simple matter of melting some chocolate chips, or if you prefer, almond bark - either vanilla or chocolate - and then stirring in your favorite cereal and any add-ins you like. The Ting a Lings pictured above were made using things I happened to have on hand in my pantry and freezer - vanilla almond bark, plain corn flakes, dried cranberries, sliced almonds and the tail end of a bag of flaked coconut. Even The Cajun loved them, and you can imagine the variety you can come up with.


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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Steak and Gravy with Onion

Poor man's steak, made with bottom round steak and slow simmered in a cream soup mushroom gravy with caramelized onion.

Steak and Gravy with Onion

The first cookbook I ever received, was the 1973 red, ring-bound Betty Crocker's Cookbook, given to me by my mama. I still have it. Anybody else?


Round steak and gravy is one of the first dishes that I learned to cook from Betty Crocker as a young bride, what seems now 100 years ago, though the dish has gone through a bit of transition since back then. In fact, I'd say that the School of Betty Crocker was the beginning of my book learnin' culinary education!


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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gift Giving from Hickory Farms!


As a young gal, I worked several retail jobs in our local mall over the years, and one of the things that always signaled the approach of Christmas was to see the opening of the Hickory Farms store.  I would head in there and marvel at the assortment of goodies, and every year I made a purchase for my hard to shop for dad. And usually, a little something for myself too. Daddy's gone now, but I still like to treat myself to Hickory Farms.

Course, back in those days, they didn't put the Christmas decorations up before Halloween either, but that aside, Hickory Farms has been a holiday favorite for almost 60 years. Whether its a gift for that hard to buy for person, gift boxes for family or friends, for yourself, or for a party tray, Hickory Farms has been a holiday tradition in many households.


Hickory Farms has the usual and familiar assortment of summer sausages and the well loved smoked cheddar that seem a mainstay for the holidays. I was able to try one of the more traditional offerings, a Beef & Turkey Hearty Hickory Gift Box shown below, from the Hickory Farms Signature Offerings.


It contained full size portions of two of the most popular Summer Sausages - turkey and beef - together with the wonderfully familiar full size smoked cheddar. As soon as I cracked the wrapper on that, the smokey aroma just made me smile. Oh so good. This gift box also contained a full sized jalapeno cheddar blend, a cheese with a very nice kick and perfect for a party tray.


Two mustards came with it, the familiar sweet hot mustard, and a cranberry mustard that is just out of this world and that I fell in love with. I wish I had a quart of that stuff!


Yum, yum y'all!


But, Hickory Farms has much more than sausage and crackers.  I also love this Picnic Basket Gift Box above containing the Summer Sausage, cheeses, crackers and mustards, along with the Melt Away Mints and Famously Thin Peanut Brittle all in a keepsake Peterboro Basket®. What a great gift idea!


Or how about this Orchard's Bounty Gift Box with some of the best Crown Comice® Pears and big, bright Red Delicious Apples, along with Signature Beef Summer Sausage, Smoked Cheddar Cheese and Holiday Spiced Almonds.

These are only a few of the terrific gift boxes available - and there are many other baskets, serving board and traveler boxes, and much more that you can find at a Hickory Farms store (click here to find a location near you) and on their website. You can also purchase fruit towers, snack towers, tins of nuts, and fudge, and baklava. You can even grab a turkey or a spiral sliced ham there!

Or... how about some Ultimate Turtles & Truffles? O.M.G. my mouth is still salivating just from looking at the close up picture of them in the catalog!! Buttery caramel and crunchy nuts - all drenched in creamy chocolate, and they come in four decadent varieties - including one with cranberries!


If you've got a solider in your family or one you've taken under your wings who is deployed overseas, Hickory Farms has a wide selection of military gift packages, so that this Christmas season, you can show your appreciation with a taste of home from a Hickory Farms gift package.

What you may not know is that Hickory Farms is also doing their part to protect the environment by using eco-friendly, sustainable materials in their packaging and catalogs that are recyclable, and they are participating in No Kid Hungry program from Share Our Strength.

If you haven't thought of Hickory Farms in awhile they offer fantastic gifts that people love to receive. Look for a store to visit near you, or pop over to their website where you can shop by category, or by price, with many gift boxes offering free shipping and there's still time to order for Christmas.

Follow Hickory Farms on Twitter
Become a Fan of Hickory Farms on Facebook


I have the most beautiful neighbor across the street from me. She is facing difficult times and things have been a struggle for her for awhile, yet she is the first one to jump in and help when someone else is in need or to share her love and friendship to lift the spirit of others. I would love to nominate her as a recipient of one of Hickory Farms Signature Gift Boxes through the Foodbuzz program. I know in this time it would be a delight for her!

Disclosure: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program I received one of Hickory Farms signature boxes to enjoy.

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