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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Greek Chicken and Potatoes

This recipe is so delicious! The lemon and spices and herbs make my house smell so good! This is so simple, but it can make you look like a master chef in the kitchen. The key is to use the Cavender's Greek Seasoning and a whole chicken cut into pieces with the skin ON! Please don't use skinless or it will dry out. If your diet dictates that you can not have the skin, you probably should not be eating a dish that calls for half a cup of oil. OR! Maybe you can forego the diet for one meal! It is so worth the guilt.

Greek Chicken and Potatoes

• 1/2 cup oil
• 3 cloves garlic, chopped
• Cavender's Greek Seasoning
• 2 lemons, juiced or 1/4 cup juice
• 1 (4 pound) chicken, cut into pieces

• 4 or 5 baking potatoes, cubed
• 1 large onion, cut into thick slices

In a plastic bowl, with a tight fitting lid, mix the olive oil, garlic, 1 tsp Cavender's and lemon juice. Shake to emulsify. Dust chicken with Cavender's Greek Seasoning. Place the chicken pieces in a glass dish. Pour mixture over chicken, cover, and marinate in the refrigerator 2-4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove chicken from dish and add potatoes and onion. Toss to coat with marinade. Place chicken on top of potatoes and onion. Bake uncovered for 45 min to an hour or until chicken is golden brown and potatoes are tender.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Greek Specialty... Moussaka smells incredible as it cooks, and tastes even better! It's worth the work!!!

2 large Eggplant, peeled and sliced**
¼ cup cooking oil
2 pounds ground Lamb or Beef
1 cup onion, chopped
1 clove Garlic, minced
8 oz Tomato Sauce
¾ cup Dry Red Wine
2 T Parsley, chopped
¼ t Oregano
¼ t ground Cinnamon
1 Egg, beaten
¼ cup Butter or Margarine
¼ cup All-Purpose Flour
2 cups Milk
2 cups Mozzarella Cheese
½ cup Parmesan Cheese
Salt & Pepper

Slice eggplant into 1/2" slices. Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt. Brown in large skillet. Drain and set aside. In same pan, cook meat, onion and garlic until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain. Stir
in tomato sauce, wine, parsley, oregano, cinnamon and 1 t salt. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Gradually stir mixture into the 1 beaten egg.

Meanwhile, in a sauce pan, melt butter. Stir in flour and salt & pepper to taste. Add milk; cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Slowly stir into 3 beaten eggs.

In 13x9x2 baking dish, layer half the eggplant. Pour meat mixture over; top with remaining eggplant. Pour milk mixture over eggplant. Top with Mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and dust with cinnamon. Bake at 325 for 40 to 45 minutes.

**Substitution: If you don’t want to try the eggplant or they are out of season, you can substitute peeled and sliced potatoes.

Monday, July 26, 2010


After I posted the strawberry recipes, I was asked for some blueberry recipes. Sometimes you can substitute one fruit for the other. Here are a couple of blueberry recipes. Enjoy!

Blueberry Congealed Salad

2 packages Blackberry or Blueberry Jell-O
1 ½ cups boiling Water
1 large can Crushed Pineapple
1 pkg blueberries
8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup Sour Cream
½ cup Nuts (optional)
¼ cup Sugar

Stir jell-o in hot water until dissolved. Add blueberries, pineapple and
nuts. Mix together. Pour into flat pan or dish. Chill until firm. Mix
together softened cream cheese, sour cream and sugar until smooth.
Spread over chilled jell-o salad. Chill, cut and serve.

Blueberry-Cheese Dessert Pie

½ cup Sugar
8 oz Cream Cheese
2 Eggs
1/3 cup Nuts
1 t Vanilla
2 cans Blueberry Pie Filling ***
Pie Crust

Bake pie crust. Blend cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs and beat. Add nuts and vanilla. Pour in crust. Return to oven 10 minutes at 350. Spread pie filling (or fresh blueberry mixture) over cheese layer. Chill. Decorate top with drops of Cool Whip.
***substitute 2 pkgs Fresh Blueberries mixed with 1/4 cup sugar or for a super
thick pie... use both!

Sunday, July 25, 2010


At this time of the year, I'm looking for things to do with fresh fruit and produce. Hopefully with no cooking or heat involved. Here are a few recipes from my Mama using strawberries... her favorite!

Strawberry Butter

2 sticks Butter, softened
1 cup 10X Sugar
16 oz fresh Strawberries*

Blend in a blender or processor until very smooth. Store in refrigerator.
*Remember to always taste your berries for sweetness. Some may need more sugar than others.

Fresh Strawberry Dressing

¾ cup sliced ripe Strawberries
2 T light corn syrup
½ cup Sour Cream

Add ingredients to small blender. Mix til smooth. Chill about 1 hour.
Serve over fruit salad. Make about 1 ¼ cups.

French Strawberry Pie

1 quart Strawberries, cleaned & stemmed
6 oz Cream Cheese
1 ¼ cups Sugar
3 T Cornstarch
1 T Lemon Juice
1 Pie Crust (9 inch) baked and cooled

Spread cream cheese over the bottom of the pie crust. Select half of the best strawberries and press firmly into the cheese with tips up. Mash remaining berries and strain. Add enough water to make 1 1/2 cups liquid. Mix sugar and cornstarch in saucepan. Gradually stir in berries and juice. Cook over low heat until thick and clear (5 to 6 minutes). Add a little red food coloring. Cool and pour over berries. Chill about 3 hours. Serve with whipped cream.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Too Much Chocolate Cake

I made this cake for my church's Mother/Daughter Banquet. When asked what it was called, I always got the same responce, "Girl! There's no such thing as too much chocolate!" Here's the recipe. It's my kind of baking... simple, easy, very little measuring and just plain good!

Too Much Chocolate Cake

1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups mini semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mix, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into a well greased 12 cup bundt pan. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly in pan at least an hour and a half before inverting onto a plate If desired, dust the cake with powdered sugar.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


With the temperatures constantly rising, the kitchen tends to be the hottest room in the house. To cut down on the heat in the kitchen, you can grill the entire meal outside! Here are a few recipes for the grill, including a snack.
Spicy Roasted Nuts

4 cups Mixed Salted Nuts
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp dried Oregano
1/2 tsp dry Mustard
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/4 tsp Black Pepper

Toss together in a disposable foil pan. Grill over indirect heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until toasted. Stir occasionally.

Grilled Carrots

8 Carrots
3 tbsp Butter, melted
1/2 tsp coarse Salt
1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/4 tsp Pepper

Boil carrots for 4-5 minutes, until tender-crisp. Drain. Toss with butter and seasonings. Grill over medium heat 4-5 minutes.

Lemon and Dill Grilled Salmon
4 Salmon Fillets, skin on
Salt & Pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh Dill
2 tbsp minced Parsley
1 tbsp Lemon Zest
2 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp minced Garlic

Salt and pepper fillets. Combine the remaining ingredients and spread over salmon. Grill skin side down over medium heat for 8-10 minutes until salmon begins to flake.

Toasted Flatbreads

6 flour Tortillas
2 tbsp softened Butter
2 tsp Cavender's Greek Seasoning

Spread both sides of tortillas with butter. Sprinkle with seasoning. Grill over medium heat 2-4 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cut into wedges and serve.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Focaccia Sandwiches

Since it is so hot outside and so hot in my kitchen, I've been looking for some good no-cook recipes. I've used the crock pot more in the last month than all year. I boiled peanuts, cooked roasts, cooked pork chops, etc... all in the crock pot. It puts off much less heat than cranking the oven to 350 degrees for 2 or 3 hours to cook a roast, or boiling peanuts on the stove for 6 hours. Boy Oh Boy! My kitchen was 90 degrees the other day!  So, I came up with this sandwich.

1 Loaf Focaccia, halved horizontally
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup Kalamata Olives, chopped
1/8 tsp pepper
2 large tomatoes sliced
1/4 tsp sea salt
red onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup baby spinach
1/2 cup arugula
8 oz Deli Roast Beef

Mix mayo, basil, olives and pepper in a small bowl. Spread on both halves of bread. Arrange tomatoes on bread and sprinkle with salt. Top with onion slices, spinach and arugula and Roast Beef. Cap with remaining slice of bread. Cut the sandwich into wedges to serve. You could also wrap the sandwich whole and take it on a picnic, boat trip or even the beach and cut it when you reach your destination. (Just remember there is mayo on it and pack it in a cooler.)

You can make up your own sandwich... Ranch Dressing and Chicken, Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Lettuce and Tomato would be an awesome choice too! The combinations are endless!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Orange Pineapple Ice Cream

Grandmama and Granddaddy Bradham

I can remember, when I was little, being at Grandmama and Granddaddy Bradham's in the summertime. Granddaddy was on the back porch churning ice cream. At that time, he had a hand crank churn. He'd sit on that porch and churn that ice cream. It was so good. Then of course, came electric churns. I think Mama had four... maybe more. We had a lot of ice cream socials! This was her basic ice cream recipe.

Ice Cream

6 Eggs
2 cups Sugar
2 quarts Milk
Bring to boil, cool and put in churn.
Note: “For added flavor, add any fruit you like”

Orange Pineapple Ice Cream was Mama's favorite....
To the basic recipe add: 1 bottle of Orange Crush and 1 can of crushed Pineapple.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Twisting Things Up!

This month I've been talking a lot about traditional Southern foods and cooking. Today, I'm changing things up a bit. Summer is here and with the sunshine comes picnic season. "Dinner on the Ground"

Here's a simple sandwich idea featuring a twist on the original Reuben Sandwich.

Twisted Reuben

1/2 cup Coleslaw blend
1 Tbsp. Kraft Horseradish Dijon Flavored Mayonnaise
2 slices Rye bread
6 slices Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh Shaved Cracked Black Pepper Turkey Breast
1 KRAFT Deli Fresh Swiss Cheese Slice

Combine coleslaw blend and mayonnaise. Fill bread slices with turkey, cheese and coleslaw.

Take Along In A Picnic:
Prepare as directed, but do not add coleslaw to sandwich. Wrap sandwich; place coleslaw in small covered container. Refrigerate both until ready to pack in insulated lunch bag. Add coleslaw to sandwich just before serving.

That being said... There is still nothing better than the original Reuben, a hot sandwich of layered corned beef, Bavarian Sauerkraut, Swiss Cheese, Spicy German Mustard and Thousand Island dressing, grilled between two slices of rye bread!!! YUM!!!
See! I couldn't help but go back to the traditional way!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Real Southern Cooking

Saturday, I watched a TV program called “Take on the South” on SCETV. It is hosted by Dr. Walter Edgar, a professor at the University of South Carolina. In this episode John T. Edge, Author and Director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, University of Mississippi, and Matt and Ted Lee, award winning cookbook authors debated "What is Real Southern Cooking?"

What do you think is real southern cooking? Many things come to mind... BBQ, grits, collard greens, corn bread and Ice Tea... but what about the actual methods of cooking? Just by simple inventions, (the refrigerator, freezer, ovens and microwaves) the way we cook southern foods has changed.

Before the revolution in cooking technology that occurred in the latter years of the nineteenth century, the Southern kitchen wasn’t a particularly pleasant place to be. From the founding of Jamestown until the middle of the nineteenth centuries, cooking for plantations and backcountry cabins was done on the open hearth. Site-made brick was the material of choice for fireplaces, hearths and chimneys, but it was extremely labor intensive to make and expensive, so its use was mostly restricted to the wealthy. In most Southern homes of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, fireplaces and chimneys were fashioned from locally procured stone. If stone was scarce, the chimney above the roof line of the cabin was often made of wattle and daub, which was essentially sticks held together with clay. While the stone hearths could withstand the high cooking temperatures, a layer of thick plaster usually protected the brick hearths.

The goal of all homeowners was to have the kitchen separate from the main house to cut down on noise, odors, smoke and the ever-present danger of the main house burning down if a kitchen fire got out of hand.The hearths in these cookhouses were huge, sometimes ten feet wide and four feet deep. Andirons set six feet apart held the large supply of oak and hickory logs needed to stoke the fire. The fires were kept going all day and the coals were banked at night to make starting the next day’s fire easier. The heat from these fireplaces was horrendous, especially in the stifling summers of the Carolinas and Georgia. An oven for baking was usually built into the side of the fireplace on larger farms and plantations, while in the backcountry, ashcakes and hoecakes were baked in the coals.

These brick ovens were the height of luxury for those on the receiving end of the goodies they produced, but made the cook’s life even more difficult. Patricia Brady Schmit, in her introduction to Nelly Custis Lewis’s Housekeeping Book (1982) wrote: “The oven involved a great deal of labor to use and generated terrific heat in the kitchen, even beyond that of the usual roasting fire in the hearth. Therefore the oven was heated only once a week, and all major baking was done at that time. A strong fire was built on the floor of the oven very early in the morning and stoked so that it burned fiercely: the oven door was left ajar to provide oxygen for the fire.”

After the fire had burned down to coals, they were raked out and discarded; the oven, having retained the heat from the roaring fire, was now ready to use. Pans of bread dough, cakes, cookies and other items to be baked were placed in the oven in descending order by the amount of time they needed to bake; items that needed a short amount of time at high heat went in first. As the oven gradually lost its heat, items such as cakes that required longer baking times at lower temperatures took their place in the oven until all the baking for the week was done.

The fireplaces of plantations were often state of the art, as Joe Gray Taylor pointed out in Eating, Drinking and Visiting in the South (1982): “On a built-in ledge lay the back bar, sometimes as much as six feet from the fireplace floor. Hooks of various lengths hung from the back bar, designed so that pots and kettles could hang at various distances from the fire. Trivets of various heights sat on the floor so that food could be placed at exactly the desired distance from the coals.”

Plantation kitchens often boasted several sizes of iron or brass pots, iron spits turned by wall mounted clockwork mechanisms for roasting meats, and long handled skillets (called spiders) equipped with legs and lids for placing coals under and over them.

Now, the methods we use to cook our southern food differ greatly. Southern Cooking has changed, but we remember where it came from and try to hold dear those recipes that call for that now "evil" ingredient lard! I still love to watch my Daddy grill a whole pig. I love remembering the men of the family gathering to cook the pig for the 4th of July picnic. The big barrel with wood burning in it. They had angle iron running through it about a foot from the bottom to create a grate for the coals to fall through. They shoveled up these coals and sprinkled them carefully underneath the pig that lay on the pit.  My best memory of those nights and early morning gatherings was the inevitable stories. These men took turns telling stories, sharing boyhood memories. They told stories of growing up and antics they pulled off and some times didn't. I remember being shuffled off to bed as the evening grew long, and waking up the next morning trotting off to the kitchen to help Mama with the rest of the feast!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Soft Shell Crabs from Mitchum Creek

I always loved going to Uncle Perry's in the summertime. He lived in Topping, Virginia on Mitchum Creek. We would get up early in the morning, pack a lunch, and go fishing. I loved fishing with Uncle Perry. (Helping gather bait... watching the crabs in the bucket blowing bubbles... watching Daddy on the front of the boat trying to scoop up the peelers on top of the water with the dip net... watching Uncle Perry cut up bait... Mama getting so tired from catching fish, but she wouldn’t quit. She’d just hook them then call Daddy to reel them in...) When we got in we would clean the fish and then get cleaned up ourselves. Usually, we kids could get in a good scavenger hunt before supper. Going through the crab boxes... pulling Periwinkles off the weeds by the water... playing on Uncle Perry’s boat... watching the hummingbirds from the porch... Grandmama having to walk so slow with the feeder because the hummingbirds would come to feed as soon as she opened the front door... Later that night we all came out on the porch to eat supper. In the usual family tradition, there was always mounds of food. Grandmama’s fried oyster fritters, fresh fried fish, fried chicken, Aunt Vashti’s pan fried squash, plates of tomatoes and cucumbers, biscuits and much, much more. And, of course, if Daddy had gotten a couple of peelers, we had soft shell crabs too! Uncle Perry was sitting at the head of the table, to my left. As usual we all over-ate. We sat for a rather long time talking about the day and the ones that got away. I noticed Uncle Perry push back his chair to stand. He leaned forward several times pushing his hands against the seat of the chair. But, he did not stand. After a moment, he smiled and looked over at me. He leaned over to me and said, “It’s awfully embarrassing after eating that much, trying and trying to get up, and you can't. And then you find out that your thumb’s in your hip pocket!”

Soft Shell Crabs

4 soft-shell crabs
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups oil for frying, or as needed


If you buy the crabs frozen or pre-packaged, they will be cleaned. But if you get them fresh you may have to clean them.
To clean each crab: Lift one pointed side of top shell and remove the gills by pulling them out. Put top shell back down and repeat on other side. On the bottom side remove tail flap by twisting and pulling off. Using a pair of scissors, remove the face by cutting behind the eyes. Rinse the crabs thoroughly with cold water. Dry on paper towels.

Heat oil in a deep fryer to 365 degrees. In a shallow dish, whisk together the egg and milk using a fork. In a separate bowl, stir salt and pepper into the flour. Lightly salt the crab, then dip in the flour, dip in the egg, then in the flour again. Carefully place crabs into the deep-fryer. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown on one side. Carefully turn over, and cook until golden on the other side. Drain on paper towels. Serve as soon as they are cool enough to eat. You can eat the whole crab.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Recipes from the Women who taught me about Food, Family and Love

OK, this is as close as I can get to a recipe for Mama’s Slaw. I started watching Mama make this slaw when I was little and graduated to helping. She never measured. It was always a splash of this or a sprinkle of that. So, I hope this describes enough for you to follow. It just takes practice to get the taste right…

Mama's Slaw

1 Head Cabbage, grated
2 Carrots, grated
Salt & Pepper to taste

Grate the cabbage, then grate the carrots. I usually look at the color to know how many carrots to use. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. (Probably about a teaspoon or so) Sprinkle with lemon juice. I usually put two fingers over the mouth of the bottle and sprinkle about three or four shakes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add enough mayo to bind it together. It will get soupier as it sits. Taste and adjust your seasonings.

Corn Pudding
At birthday parties, it seems that Grandparents are concerned that the smaller kids will feel left out when the birthday person opens their presents. This was always the case with Grandmama Elliott. She used to buy the miniature ‘Reece Cups’ in the box to wrap and give as a gift to the others. Those Reece Cups became known as ‘Birthday Chocolates.’ Grandmama seemed to always keep some on hand. I always loved going up the ‘path’ to visit Grandmama for our 30 minutes in the afternoon. We would sit out on the porch swing and eat ‘birthday chocolates’ and talk about school or whatever was going on that day.

 Grandmama Elliott's favorite was an easy Corn Pudding...

2 cups Corn
2 t Sugar
1 ½ t Salt
1/8 t Pepper
3 Eggs, beaten
2 T Melted Butter
2 cups Milk

Combine corn, sugar, salt and pepper. Add eggs, butter and milk. Mix well. Pour into baking dish. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

Date & Nut Bread

When we used to go to Grandmama and Granddaddy Bradham’s for the day, I remember certain things I used to do with each one of them. We had our ‘together times.’ The house was on the Boulevard Road. Granddaddy was famous for having a green thumb. He had a beautiful flower garden, but the thing I remember most was the strawberry patch. On the side of the house was about a six by six recessed section of the house. This made a neat little area for the strawberries. Granddaddy and I would go to the patch and pick the strawberries. We would bring them in and wash them. Then we would put them in a bowl sprinkled with sugar to save until they were sweet and juicy.

Grandmama always had a great big jar of baby dill pickles in the refrigerator. We would sit in front of the TV with pickles wrapped in a paper towel. It seems like every time we sat in front of that TV, ‘Hee Haw’ was on... “I’m a pickin’ and I’m a grinin’!” She loved that show. I do, however, remember Granddaddy sitting in that recliner watching wrestling on tv. He would grip the arms of his chair until his knuckles turned blue.

One afternoon I was going to get the strawberries, Grandmama came in and said, “Oh, I know what you want! I’ll get ‘em.” She came in with a paper towel full of pickles. I thanked her. When she left the room, I went and got the strawberries out of the refrigerator. Granddaddy came in a little later to find me sitting in the living room with a pickle in one hand and a strawberry in the other. I remember he closed his eyes and shook, then he said, “Now that’s love!”

Grandmama Bradham's Date & Nut Bread
I'm eating a pickle and
Grandmama is holding another one!

1 ½ cups boiling Water
½ pound Dates, pitted and cut
3 T Butter
1 cup Sugar
½ cup Dark Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 T Vanilla
3 cups Flour
2 t Baking Soda
¼ t Salt
1 cup Pecans, chopped

Combine boiling water, dates and butter. Cool. In another bowl, mix flour, soda and salt… then and sugar, vanilla and eggs. Mix well. Add date mixture and stir in nuts. Bake in 2 greased 9x5 loaf pans for 1 hour at 350. This is delicious sliced and spread with cream cheese while it's still warm.
Pineapple & cream cheese too!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Culinary History for the 4th

4th of July at the Cabin

The Elliott family always has a big BBQ for the family reunion on the 4th of July. Years back it was held at "The Cabin", way back in the swamp behind my parent's and Grandparent's homes. Oh, the memories that it all brings back. The men would get together early in the morning and BBQ a whole hog over live coals. The women would bring the side dishes. I remember Mama and I rolling lemons and making the fresh lemonade. 

At the end of the meal, you could hear Cousin Mac yelling "Ice Cream! Come get your ice cream!"  Some of this was before my time or I just missed out on the fun. My cousins, Kathy, Deepy and David remember most of this. I do remember the cabin and the hill going down to it. The hill was so steep that you couldn't see down it until you had crested the top. That hill could be fun, especially if it rained. More than once after a good rain storm, a car would come sliding sideways down it. One year, the kids were sliding down the hill. It was Deepy’s turn to slide. He started down the hill and Kathy noticed a car coming and hollered at Deepy to lay down. He did and the car ran over Deepy.

One year, Cousin Kenneth was driving Uncle’s El Camino. He had Tommy, Deepy and David on the tailgate, when he hit a mud hole and threw them out the back.

There was Uncle Louie, who fell out the boat. He had to be towed back to the bank because he was too big for them to pull back into the boat.

There was Cousin Ann trying to teach Kathy how to smoke...

After Daddy put in the pool at the house, we made it a tradition to go back to the house after the reunion and go swimming. Mama used to make a big plastic gallon pitcher full of her poolside lemonade in the summertime. She would put it in the freezer and it would turn to slush. It was like a lemon-lime daiquiri, but slushy not icy. She’d get her raft and a big glass of ‘Lemonade’ and float for hours.

One hot summer afternoon, Deepy and Charlie were swimming. Mama was floating on her raft soaking up the sun. Her lemonade was over by the side of the pool. Everybody was enjoying the water and the lemonade. About that time Charlie said, “Hey, Uncle!” Mama looked up and Uncle was walking over to her glass. She paddled as hard as she could but he already took a gulp. He set it down and said, “Now, that’s the best lemonade I’ve ever tasted! Got any more?” Mama said, “Well, thank you! But Sorry! That was the last glass!”

This is her recipe:

Judy’s Poolside Lemonade

1 12oz can frozen Lemonade Concentrate
1 6oz can frozen Limeade Concentrate
36 oz 7-Up
1 fifth Bacardi Rum

Mix ingredients in gallon pitcher. Freeze until slushy (at least 24 hours).
To serve: Stir with large metal spoon (mixture will freeze on top, but the center will be soft). Spoon into plastic glass.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Going Back To Your Culinary Roots

"No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice
and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers." ~ Laurie Colwin
If I had a dime for every time someone said, “I use the same recipe Judy did and it never comes out the same”...  I watched Mama make biscuits a hundred times and I would ask her to just write it down. She used to ask me how was she supposed to write down something she “just did”? “Just Watch," she would say. I watched as she added flour to Grandmama Bradham’s “biscuit bowl”(an old aluminum bowl that looked like Charlie got after it with a hammer). She made a “well” in the center of the flour, poured in some milk and then added a generous hand-full of shortening. She said that it was the hand-mixing that made them taste so good. But somehow that pile of goo turned into some of the most wonderful tastes, smells, and memories that I could ever have imagined. I remember opening the oven and seeing these golden brown, flat, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth biscuits that smelled so good that you could hear the drool sizzle as it hit the oven door! We had to flip the biscuit over and spread jelly on the bottom because you could not cut the biscuit without it crumbling to pieces. Daddy used to joke and say they were “crummy.” I can still see him sitting there after supper with the handle of his spoon making a “well” in a biscuit and pouring syrup inside until it ran over spilling on the plate. (That is, if we were out of Aunt Dot’s Fig Preserves.)

I remember growing up “in the kitchen.” When someone was down, you cook. When someone was celebrating, you cook. When someone had a death in the family, you cook. It wasn’t so much the food that Mama cooked that made it taste so good...(and here’s the secret) it was the love Mama added that made it all so special. I never realized just how much Mama did for so many people until she was gone and the stories started coming to me from everyone she touched in her life. I have boxes of cards, cut-outs from magazines, and hand-written copies of dozens and dozens of recipes Mama collected over the years. She wrote notes on them. She wrote notes in cookbooks she gave to me. She also kept cards as reminders of what people liked so she could make special things for them again when they were down, or “up.” She kept 3X5 cards recording special dinners.

For example:

Gary & Kathy Taylor - Mr & Mrs Thames June 1970
Turkey & Gravy
Rice (cream and sugar for Gary’s rice)
Sweet Potato Imperial
Corn Pie
Emerald Salad (Gary’s favorite)
Red Velvet Cake

If someone asked Mama to make “that chicken” she made last time, she could look it up.... She also wrote notes like: (.... doesn’t like...) and (.....s are ....’s favorite) or (...... is allergic to .....)

All these things made you feel like you were the center of every meal
and the meal was always unforgettable.

It was a time... "sometime before flirting became extinct, when letter writing was an art, stationary was engraved, and dinner was an event." Dash Goff, the writer to Julia Sugarbaker on Designing Women

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Broccoli Salad

This salad is a big hit at church on Wednesday Night Suppers. I always have someone willing to take home any left overs!

2 Broccoli Crowns, cut into bit size pieces
1 pkg Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 pkg Real Bacon Bits (not imitation)
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Ranch Dressing*

Combine broccoli, tomatoes, bacon and cheese. Toss with ranch dressing until well coated.
*It takes a good bit of dressing to coat the broccoli completely.