Holiday Cooking: Papa’s Deadly Pecan Pie

pecan pie - public domain image

My Papa was an incredible cook.  At church suppers, the folks most often asked, “What did Miss Josie (my grandma Ninny) or Robert make?  Often, they could just give a scan of the food table and know: fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, fried okra, corn pudding, peach cobbler, crab cakes, coconut cake, and…pecan pie.

Unlike most of the recipes, Papa cooked his corn syrups and sugar together before stirring in the eggs. It made for a richer flavor and texture. He also used pecans from our own trees and lots of vanilla extract. He made his own flaky crust but you can use a pre-made one in your own fancy pie plate – deep dish.  Try to use the freshest pecans you can find and a good vanilla extract.  Put lots of love and quality in your cooking and you will never go wrong.

This is one of the dishes that always show up at one of my holiday meals. I hope it will become part of your holiday traditions. With love, from me to you.

Ho! Ho! Ho! どうぞめしあがれ Douzo meshiagare, y’all!

Papa’s Deadly Pecan Pie

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
4 eggs
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely broken
1 unbaked deep dish pie shell

In saucepan boil sugar and corn syrup together for 2 to 3 minutes; set aside to cool slightly. In large bowl beat eggs lightly and very slowly pour the syrup mixture into the eggs, stirring constantly.  At this point Papa would strain the mixture to make sure it’s smooth and lump free.   Stir in butter, vanilla, and pecans and pour into crust. Bake in a 350°F oven for about 45 to 60 minutes or until set.  Let cool before slicing.  I will place the pie on a cookie sheet in case of boiling over.

Holiday Cooking: Yorkshire Pudding

Since I have managed to toss off my holiday blues (thank you for all your kind words, prayers, hugs. and positive vibes!) I am beginning to plan our Christmas dinner. I’ve not decided on turkey or a lovely beef roast. But I have already decided on the side dishes and as usual, this includes Yorkshire or, Batter Pudding.

When visiting England several times and years ago, I fell in love with this deceptively simple dish. Made with beef drippings and served hot alongside the meat with gravy ladled on, it is a savory dish that makes the meal, just in its humble simplicity. I’m happy just with the pudding and the gravy! If I serve with poultry or pork, I add a nice pinch of either rosemary, thyme, or sage. Not a lot, just a tad to enhance the compatibility to the meat. I rarely eat meat but will do a few times of year. This is a good dish with roasted vegetables as well as meat/poultry/pork.

Leftover puddings with melted butter and a tart orange marmalade is an excellent breakfast or, a smear of butter for a good out of hand gaming snack. This is not a snobbish dish. It is friendly and a combination of “hey y’all, Ay up, and hello love”. If you haven’t tried Yorkshire pudding, do give it a go. You may find it as easy and useful as a potato dish and may even end up using it as often.

Yorkshire Pudding

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup pan drippings from roast prime rib of beef (or duck fat, vegetable shortening, vegetable oil)

NOTE: If I get a roast from the butcher that has a lot of external fat, I trim that off, render and clarify and use with this recipe. If I don’t have quite enough, I add some melted vegetable shortening. This can cook while your meat is resting. I let my batter rest about 15 minutes, but you really don’t have to.  DO NOT USE a glass baking dish – the batter going into smoking hot grease can cause the baking dish to explode.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Sift together the flour and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, beat together the eggs and milk until light and foamy. Stir in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Pour the drippings into a 9-inch pie pan, cast iron skillet, or square baking dish or into muffin tin holes. Put the pan in oven and get the drippings smoking hot. Carefully take the pan out of the oven and pour in the batter. Put the pan back in oven and cook until puffed and dry, 15 to 20 minutes. Serves 6 (or more puddings if you use a muffin tin)

from Nigella's How to Eat

from Nigella’s How to Eat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Contrast this pudding with those cooked in bak...

Contrast this pudding with those cooked in bakeware of tin and glass. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Holiday Blues…Clowie…Christmas Cookies

It is just a drizzly grey day – not even 50 shades of gray – just uniform blah gunship grey and drizzly. Did I mention drizzly?? And grey????

I have a case of the Christmas/Holiday blues big time. My mom is in Florida and I will miss her. A couple of my friends have died this year and I miss them. Boohoo….waaaaaaaaaa

But then I talked a little bit to Clowie – she always makes me happy. Here is the website: .  She’s been nominated for a bunch of well deserved awards and that makes me happy. Go and visit her. A definite smile maker.

She nominated me for the Inner Peace Award. That made me sniff a bit.  I didn’t feel peaceful, I just felt blah. But she said when she visited my blog, she felt peaceful.  I am very grateful for the nomination and the pat on the shoulder.

So like I said, after talking with Clowie abit, I feel better.  In fact, I feel like making some Christmas cookies.

Almond Shortbread Cookies
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 drops almond extract
1 1/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour, plus extra to dust
3/4 cup ground almonds
Zest of 1 lemon
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the beaten egg and extract. Add the flour, ground almonds and lemon zest and mix until the dough comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead into a ball. Divide the dough in half and then roll each half into a log, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour (the dough can be frozen at this point for a later use).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove the dough from the plastic wrap and slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Place the cookies onto the prepared baking sheets and bake until golden brown at the edges, about 15 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for 3 or 4 minutes before transferring to wire cooling racks to cool completely, or just eat warm from the oven. FOR FUN: Drizzle with blue icing, sprinkles, sugar, or roll edges of cookies in sugar or sprinkles before baking

Have a blue blue Christmas!!!!


Confession of a Secret Guilty Pleasure

Do I have your attention???? Yeppers, I thought so. We all have secrets tucked down in our souls – Things we blush for anyone else to know. Well… of my most secret pleasures is…….Rice Krispie Treats. Oh yeah – sticky, sweet, crispy Rice Krispie Treats. Among the guides in the past for this is:  Best if consumed within two days. Don’t keep longer than two days in an airtight container.

Really????? They actually last for two days?!?!? Wow. Two hours is a record. And this time of year, I am reminded of them when I see boxes of red, green, and regular mixed colored cereal. Ho, Ho, Ho….Merry Rice Krispie Treats to you and yours. If you don’t have colored cereal in your area, please please please use sprinkles or something to give them that Holiday Season joie de vivre.

Below is the recipe. Cut into squares, star or tree shapes, pour a big glass of cold milk and enjoy a guilty pleasure.

And…..please tell me, what is your guilty pleasure?

Rice Krispie Treats

3 tbs. butter or margarine (not diet or light spread)
1 10 oz. pkg., about 40, regular marshmallows or…
4 c. miniature marshmallmows
6 c. Rice Krispies cereal

In large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add dry cereal. Stir until well coated. Using buttered spatula or waxed paper, evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into squares. Best if served the same day. (!!!)



Simply Southern – Grits (and shrimp)

You can’t eat just one….well, you can, but it is really hard. What is a grit?  Grits are ground corn – sometimes white, sometimes yellow. Think of grits as super coarse corn meal. Shrimp and grits is an old Southern Low Country dish that has become chic. Grits are great with just butter, cheese added, eaten with milk and sugar, allowed to get cold and then sliced and fried (think of northern corn meal mush), baked in a casserole, an interesting side instead of rice or mashed taters, served for breakfast with a good drizzle of Red Eye gravy….  Shrimp and Grits are an excellent brunch, lunch or elegant dinner dish.

Grits. I love them. A bowl of hot grits with plenty of butter makes me happy. It is what I call a “non-confrontational” food. Warm, comforting, filling; feeling peckish, tired, lazy….Grits.

I like to buy stone ground grits (not the non-quick cooking or instant ones) that have plenty of the corn bran in them. They take more time to cook – like Irish Oats – but the texture and taste is rewarding. Add whatever you think you want to them – they’re grits – they’re gritty – they can take it. I have included the recipe for Shrimp and Grits and also, a scene from one of my favorite movies: My Cousin Vinny. I think you know the scene before you even see it.

どうぞめしあがれ douzo meshiagare, y’all!!

Shrimp and Grits (or, Breakfast Shrimp)
•1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled, halved lengthwise, and deveined
•Juice of 1 lemon
•Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce (I use Frank’s or Crystal)
•1 1/2 teaspoons salt or more to taste
•1 1/2 cups stone-ground grits, not instant or quick-cooking
•6 thick slices bacon, chopped
•1 small onion, finely chopped
•1 garlic clove, minced
•1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
•2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
•1 cup chicken stock
•1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
•1 cup (about 1/4 pound) grated medium to sharp Cheddar cheese
•Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce

Combine the shrimp with the lemon juice and a couple of generous splashes of hot pepper sauce. Let sit while you begin the grits and gravy.
Make the grits in a large heavy saucepan, first bringing 6 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of the salt to a boil. Whisk in the grits a few handfuls at a time. When you have added all the grits, reduce the heat to a very low simmer and cook over low heat for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally at first and more frequently toward the end. Be sure to check frequently as they can stick. Like risotto, stirring makes them more creamy.

While the grits simmer, get the gravy under way. Fry the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until brown but still limp. Stir in the onion and garlic and continue cooking until the onion and pepper are limp, about 5 minutes. Add the scallions, sprinkle the flour over the mixture, and continue cooking for 5 minutes longer. Stir in the stock and remaining salt and cook for 5 minutes longer. Remove from the heat while you finish the grits.

When the grits are thick and creamy, stir in as much of the butter as you wish, followed by the cheese. Add a splash of hot pepper sauce and additional salt if you like. Cover the grits while you finish the gravy.

Return the gravy to medium heat and stir in the shrimp. Cook until the shrimp are opaque throughout, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately, mounding the grits in large shallow bowls or on plates and covering them with shrimp and gravy. A sprinkle of thinly sliced green onion is a good garnish.



Except for the classic Hershey Brownie recipe, I am not fond of brownies.  I know there may be a collective gasp, but chocolate is not one of my favorite things.  When given the choice between a bittersweet chocolate truffle or a strawberry, I’ll choose the strawberry. Chocolate cake vs. apple pie?  The pie will win every time.

But Blondies?  Oh my.  Brown sugar, butter….sinful and sweet:  just like a Southern Belle.  This recipe is easy and doesn’t make a huge amount.  Fix it up quickly and give to your dinner guests, warm from the oven, for dessert.  Midnight munchies?  Gamer food chow down?  This recipe is for you. Top with ice cream if you dare.


1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup of tightly packed dark brown sugar
1 egg lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup of butterscotch chips and or chopped walnuts and/or chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter and flour an 8×8 pan.  Whisk together melted butter and sugar in a bowl.   Add the egg and vanilla extract and whisk.  Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, mix it all together. Add the butterscotch chips or other mix-ins. Pour into the pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool. Cut into squares and serve.



Easy Apple Cake

So, the boys are at another house for their football worship.  Yay!!!!  But my husband begged me to pleasepleaseplease fix something he could take because the lady of that house is not known for her hospitality.  Big screen TV and lots of places to sit and be comfy, but that’s it.

I fixed the sausage balls I have earlier posted under football food and this apple cake.  Again, it is Saturday.  It is Keep it simple and easy day.  It uses a boxed mix and canned pie filling – the only time I use those items are for this cake.  The recipe was given to my grandma Ninny and it has been eaten many times, through the years.  Moist, spicy, easy, good snack cake, excellent gamer food or to take to munch on when you go Autumn Leaf Watching…a keeper.

どうぞめしあがれ  douzo meshiagare y’all!

Easy Apple Cake
1 box spice cake mix
1 21 oz. can apple pie filling
2 eggs or, equivalent in egg substitute
3 tbs. sugar
1 tbs. cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl, beat eggs well. Add apple pie mix and stir. Add spice cake mix and nuts and gently stir until well mixed. In 9×13 greased baking dish, spoon in half of mixture. Top with half of sugar/cinnamon mixture. Spoon rest of cake mixture over and then top with rest of sugar/cinnamon. Bake for 32 – 40 minutes, until done – a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cook and cut into squares. if you like, you can mix up a bit of frosting made with confectioner’s sugar, butter, and cinnamon and drizzle on top. Good, but not needed.


Simple Saturday – Sunomono and Miso Baked Chicken


I buy white miso paste in a tube so I can always have it on hand and keep in the fridge after opening.  This is a yummy dish and tasty any time of year.  In the summer, to avoid oven heat, I will prepare in a well seasoned, oiled cast iron skillet.  I start on medium heat and after about 3 minutes, turn heat to low.  Because of the mirin and sugar content, be aware of food burning easily.  You know your stove so cook accordingly and keep an eye out.  This is also good room temperature.  I slice the chicken and add over mixed greens, julienned carrots and celery, green onion,with a zipper ginger vinaigrette.  This Japanese home cooking at its best.  Something you may not find in a restaurant, but certainly in someone’s home.  You can grill of course, but again, beware of the burn factor.

Sunomono is kept in my fridge all summer for a cool snack or quick cool addition to a meal of anything!  The little Persian cukes, Japanese cukes, or the English cukes work well. If not available, use regular pickling cukes or use standard ones, as thin as possible, with the seeds taken out.  You can also use celery, snow peas, edamame, spinach, or mix a couple of veggies together.  I like with cucumbers best!  Photo courtesy of Wiki Images.

douzo meshiagare, y’all

Sunomono – Cucumber Salad
4 Japanese cucumbers or 1 English cucumber
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4  – 1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame seeds
small sprinkle of chopped cilantro and green onion

Slice cucumbers as thin as you can or use a mandolin or similar slicer. Put in large non-reactive bowl and sprinkle with salt, mixing with your hands. Let sit for about 5 minutes then, using your hands again, squeeze water out of cucumbers (I use my handy dandy Japanese pickle maker for this – you can also view my post on Quickles). Rinse well and squeeze out water.  Discard water. To the rice vinegar,  add soy sauce and  sugar, mixing well. Pour over cucumbers and mix. Let sit in fridge to blend flavors about 30 minutes. Add sesame seeds, cilantro, and green onion. Great small side dish any time of the year.

Miso Baked Chicken/Fish

1/4 cup white Miso paste
3 Tbsp Mirin
2 Tbsp Sake
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
4 chicken thighs (or nice chunk of salmon or other firm fish)

Mix Miso, Mirin, Sake, and sugar (almost kind of sounds like a recipe rap, hey?) in a non-reactive bowl. Marinade chicken thighs (or fish) in marinade for 30 minutes to one hour. You can put the marinade and meat in a plastic bag to marinate as well.
Preheat oven to 425F. take chicken/fish from bag and place on a plate and use a paper towel to wipe excess marinade liquid well from chicken/fish. Place chicken/fish on oiled aluminum foil spread over a sheet pan. Bake for 15 (8 minutes or so for fish). Turn chicken over and bake 10-15 minutes until cooked through.  I like to use chicken wings or chicken breast fillet and garnish with sliced scallion and sesame seeds.  Serve with steamed sticky rice and sunomono.

Tonkatsu (豚カツ : A Fried Food Romance

The story in six words post yesterday, brought to mind a dish my dear samurai made on a regular basis.  It seems in spite of our disparate cultures, he the cultured Japanese scholar and me, the eccentric Tarheel belle, had something in common – a love of fried foods.  One of the first things I fixed for him was southern fried chicken.  He returned the favor by fixing for me, Tonkatsu – a crispy fried pork cutlet. Thus began several happy years of back and forth fried foods – a loving duel of food, hot oil, breadings, and seasonings.

Tonkatsu is a “ubiquitous cafeteria” food in Japan.  There are restaurants in Japan that specialize in Tonkatsu and quality can vary.  It can go from the simple to the sublime and sometimes,  sublimely simple. To be sublime and simple, it is important that the best quality ingredients be used. Tonkatsu can be served in different ways, usually with a sweet brown sauce.  One of my favorites is a sandwich made from the leftovers – a cutlet on a good bun with sliced tomato and lightly seasoned, finely shredded crisp cabbage.  My Samurai would add his inevitable Kewpie.

The name Tonkatsu clues us to its ancestry. Ton, means pork in Japanese, and katsu is an abbreviation of the English word “cutlet” (pronounced ka-tsu-reh-toh in Japanese).  Around the 18th century, the Portuguese introduced to Japan a food that is now known as “tempura”.  We can also look to the 19th century influence for the “cutlet” part.  Anyway, the recipe is below.  Enjoy! Fried Food Foodies – rejoice!  Gamers – get your chow on.

Tonkatsu Recipe

4 center cut pork chops, boneless. 1 inch thick, room temperature
All-purpose flour for dredging
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg beaten
1 C. panko crumbs
oil for frying

Prepare the pork by removing any extra fat or tough silverskin from the sides of the cutlet. Using a chef’s knife (I use my 8 inch) to tenderize the cutlets in a crosshatch pattern by using a drumming motion across the surface, then turning the meat 90 degrees and repeating. Do this to both sides of each cutlet until they are 3/4″ thick. Salt and pepper both sides of each cutlet, then dredge them in flour, making sure to get an even coat on the sides. Beat the egg in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, add the panko. Add 3/4″ of oil into a heavy bottomed pot and heat over medium heat. Coat a cutlet in egg then transfer to the bowl with the panko. Shake the bowl to evenly coat the cutlet, then press on the cutlet to get a nice thick coating of panko. Flip and press on the other side then repeat with the rest of the cutlets. Once the oil is at 340 degrees F, use tongs or chopsticks to gently lower the tonkatsu into the oil. Be careful not to scrape off too much panko. When golden brown on one side, carefully flip them over and brown the other side. Continue cooking until the pork reaches 137 degrees F at its thickest part. Transfer to a paper towel lined wire rack and let it rest  about 5 minutes. Letting the meat rest allows the internal temperature to continue to rise to around 145 F while allowing the proteins to relax, reabsorbing some of the juices so they don’t run all over your plate.

You can serve the cutlets whole or slice. You can also use chicken cutlets for this recipe. Bottled tonkatsu sauce is available at Asian food stores and some grocery stores in the Asian food section. Homemade Sauce: I make my samurai’s sauce with Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, some A1, reduced sodium soy sauce, bit of freshly grated ginger and garlic.  NOTE:  leftover cutlets are a great gaming munch!

Tonkatsu 2            20120919-223139-tonkatsu-sauce-step-1[1]

Simple Sunday Supper: Mini Meatloaves with Sauce



Today after church, I asked my husband what he would like for supper. He hung his head and began a plaintive mooing. “What?” I asked. He said, “I am a ruminant, moooooooo.” This was his guy way of saying he was tired of salady stuff and felt like he had been grazing all week. I rolled my eyes, gestured to the temperature gauge in my car registering 99 outside degrees. Again with the plaintive mooing.

My go to meal for quick, easy, minimal oven heating is what I call Mini Meatloaves with Sauce. Some folks would call them Salisbury Steaks. My husband calls them yummy. You can serve these with rice, mashed potatoes, biscuits, rolls, veggies on the side….whatever. Tonight we are having steamed yellow squash with Vidalia onions, little buttered new potatoes, sliced tomatoes, and for dessert, some of the chess pie I bought Friday.

Here is the recipe. It is quick and easy and makes six smaller or four larger “loaves”. I use ground round. A market nearby frequently puts it on sale and I prefer it to lean hamburger or ground chuck – less fat and more flavor.

1 +/- pound ground round (ground beef or ground chuck)
1/4 cup finely chopped Vidalia onion
1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper
1 egg white
A couple of squirts of ketchup
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
2 TBS. dry Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 can Campbell’s golden mushroom soup or jar of brown gravy

Mix together ingredients. Form into loaves. Place into skillet on medium heat. After about three minutes, turn over and brown other side. Reduce heat to low and cover with pan lid. After about 15 minutes, add soup diluted with 1/2 can water and stir around in pan. Add skillet top and simmer 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley. if you have to, add more liquid if necessary. Serve.

Simple Sunday Dinner – Carnal Pudding and Fried Chicken

I’ve been feeling poorly the past few weeks (whine).  What was terrible to me was having no sense of smell or taste.  The few times I was able to cook, I felt like I was having “safe cooking”, if you know what I mean.  FINALLY yesterday, I realized I could smell and taste again. 

When my father-in-law offered to bring over some freshly pulled corn and tomatoes and cucumbers from his garden, I gave him an enthusiastic yes!  Within a few minutes, I was the lucky possessor of said items.  Now, some folks say only white corn is sweet and others go for bi-color.  He raises a yellow variety called Super Fantastic and it is an understatement.  Whether the kernels are small and like tiny pearls or larger, they are always tender, full of milk and oftentimes so sweet, when I make my Carnal Pudd’n, I only need to add a minimal amount of sugar.  

Sunday dinners (lunch for folks who aren’t Southern) were always special at our house, but especially in summer.  We’d go out the back door to pull corn, green beans, squash, tomatoes, okra….whatever, from our garden.  It was truly garden to table – the best way to enjoy summer produce.  Our soil was acidic so I grew up eating tomatoes with so much zing to them, they’d jump up from the serving dish and slap you before you had a chance to spear a thick slice and put in the middle of the puddle of creamed corn on your plate. 

I celebrated feeling better by fixing fried chicken (in this case, the little drumettes from the chicken wing) and creamed corn with slices of homegrown tomato.  I did, for a change, take a picture of the double cut corn, the hot and buttery creamed corn, and the chicken frying (middle and end stages).  I will make my Carnal Pudding next week when more corn is available and I can make a triple batch.  

Ya’ll enjoy and just eat (as my great-grandaddy Luther used to say) ’til your little bellies become big bellies!

Creamed corn, simple recipe:4 servings

2 cups fresh double cut corn kernels

3 TBS unsalted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Some milk or water 

Melt butter in skillet.  Add corn and lightly toss on medium heat for about three minutes.  Add salt and pepper.  Add milk or water and bring to boiling.  Cut off heat and let stand about five minutes.  Dependent upon how “soupy” you want this will determine how much liquid you add.   The picture shows where I made a little pond of butter in the corn just before a final stir and serving.

  double cut corn     creamed corn

Carnal (Corn) Pudding  4 servings

2 cups fresh corn kernels, coarsely chopped (4 to 5 ears)

6 TBS. unsalted butter

½ c. granulated sugar

½ c. heavy cream, half and half, or milk

1 tsp. good vanilla extract

¼ c. flour

1 tsp salt

5 large eggs 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the butter in a baking dish (an 8-by-8-inch glass baking dish or iron skillet works well) and slide into the oven so the butter melts while the oven is preheating.   Combine the corn kernels, sugar, cream or milk, flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Lightly beat the five eggs and add to the mixture.  When the oven has preheated and the butter in the baking dish has melted, carefully tilt the melted butter from the baking dish into the corn mixture and combine with a few swift strokes. Then tilt the buttered corn mixture back into the baking dish.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until a golden crust has formed and the interior has set.  For a savory version, omit the sugar, add a nice grind or two of pepper, and a dash or Tabasco. 

NOTE:  I use my Wusthof filet knife rather than the smaller paring knife or chef’s knife.  I find the filet knife works perfectly.  It is flexible and does not bruise the kernels as does the chef’s knife nor tear the kernels as does the paring knife.  Double cut the kernels and then use the back of the blade to scrape down the cob releasing the remaining milk in the kernels.) 

fried chicken      fried chicken 2

Fried Chicken Some people marinate their chicken in buttermilk.  Others make a liquid batter and dip the chicken into.  My Papa and my Grandma Ninny always held that simplest was the best.  I agree.  I like a nice coating on my chicken but not so much batter or breading that it soaks up a lot of grease and all you taste is coating.  I make my own dredging mix from flour, a bit of double sifted white corn meal, salt, pepper and secret stuff.  Since I am not telling you the secret stuff, you can purchase two products that come close:  House-Autry Chicken Breader or Moss’ Chicken Breader.  I use my breader to dredge my chicken, okra, squash, eggplant in to fry. 

Rinse off your chicken and leave damp. Dredge your chicken to coat well.  Into a deep skillet with enough oil to reach halfway up a piece of chicken, carefully lay your pieces of chicken.  Make sure the oil is hot enough.  If not, your food will soak up too much oil.  You want the breader to quickly crisp and seal out the oil and seal in the moisture. When the oil looks like it is “crawling” on the bottom of the pan or, the handle of dry wooden spoon stuck in the oil sizzles, the oil is hot enough. I do not cover my chicken while it is cooking.  After it goes into the pan, I keep on medium high to keep the heat up and seal the breading.  Then I reduce the heat.  I’ve been doing this long enough I can tell by the smell when to turn the chicken.  I only turn it once.  Papa and Ninny said too much turning didn’t make for good chicken,  I agree with that too.  Use tongs to turn so you don’t pierce the meat and cause spatters than can burn you.  Good common sense is the key to cooking anything.. 

Remove chicken from pan and drain on absorbent paper bag or paper towel. 

PS Note to Gamers:  cold or room temp chicken is most excellent to eat while gaming!

Real Southern Cooking – Some Recipes


Down South, we have a tremendous love for congealed salads.   Now for one thing, y’all need to know that in most cases, salad and dessert can be one and the same.  If you go to a typical southern church dinner or family potluck, you will find a great variety of congealed salads.  Some will be set in the salad area and some will be set in the dessert area – and usually you’ll have two or three of the same thing – one in the salad area, one in the dessert area.

In the 1960’s, congealed salads were wildly popular.  Actually, farther back than that.  I have a recipe from N’awlins, circa 1835 for beouf en gelee.  Also for jellied duck – Charleston, 1875.  We southerners apparently have always had a love for these things.  They run the gamut from Cherry Coke Congealed Salad to Congealed Coleslaw to Lemon/Strawberry/Lime Fluff to Golden Glow to Perfection.  Actually, Perfection Salad is a yankee invention but we ignore that.  We put our fingers in our ears and lalalalala when someone suggests such a thing.

My grandmother Ninny – a true soft voiced southern lady with a spine of pure titanium – made several congealed salads a week, especially in the summer when it was so hot and humid, it was like walking outside into a bowl of oatmeal.  Congealed salad was cool, comforting, and easy to take.  My cousin Billy from New Jersey was visiting one summer and he asks Ninny, “Aunt Josie Lee, how come you don’t just call them Jello salads?”  Ninny replied, “Because William, they are congealed salads.”  End of story. In other words, as we say, “Who’s fryin’ this chicken, you or me?”

Perfection Salad was invented in 1904 by Mrs. John Cook of Newcastle, Pennsylvania (lalalalala) who entered a Knox gelatin recipe contest.  She won third prize – $100 and a sewing machine.  Mrs. Cook said she sliced this salad (sliced salad????) and passed it with a dish of mayonnaise for folks to dab on it.  She liked to serve it with fried oysters.  Perfection Salad is perfect with any kind of seafood, roast meat, fried or barbecued chicken, or fried chicken.  It will liven a dull meal.  Lime Fluff Salad is like Christmas in July – the green and red thing going on with it.  Buttermilk Salad is just good to eat out of the bowl – especially if you can’t sleep and are watching some late night movie from the 30’s or 40’s.  My movie of choice for this one is Bringing Up Baby with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, but y’all make your own choice.  A good friend of mine likes his while watching Seven Samurai.

So I hope y’all enjoy these.  Bless your hearts, eat and be blessed.


Buttermilk Salad

1 can crushed pineapple (20 ounces)

2 Cups buttermilk  (regular or fat free)

8 ounces whipped topping, thawed

2 small boxes gelatin (your flavor choice, can also use sugar free)

I am using strawberry jello for this.  Orange is also very good.  Heat pineapple in juice, bring to a boil. Add jello and mix well. Remove from heat and add buttermilk, stir. Allow to cool for twenty to thirty minutes. Stir in whipped topping. Refrigerate until set.

Lime Fluff  Salad

2 (3 oz.) boxes Lime Jello

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese

1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple, undrained

1/2 Cup pecan pieces (more is wonderful)

1 ½ c. cold water

¼ – ½ c. sliced maraschino cherries

Dissolve Jello in 1 Cup hot water. Break up the cream cheese in hot Jello and blend using blender (or hand mixer) until smooth. (I usually cube it first!) Add and blend until smooth, then add the undrained pineapple, the pecan pieces and the cherries. Pour into an 8″ X 8″ dish. Chill and serve!

 Perfection Salad

2 envelopes (2 tbs.) unflavored gelatin.

½ c. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 ½ c. boiling water

1 ½ c. cold water

½ c. vinegar (cider or white)

2 tbs. lemon juice

2 c. finely shredded cabbage (shreds better when refrigerator cold)

1 c. chopped celery

¼ c. chopped red/green bell pepper

¼ c. diced pimiento (small jar, drained)

1/3 c. stuffed green olive slices

Thoroughly mix gelatin, sugar, salt. Add 1 1/2 cups boiling water and stir to dissolve gelatin. Then add 1 1/2 cups cold water, vinegar, and lemon juice. Chill till partially set (like egg white consistency).

Now cabbage, chopped celery, green pepper, pimiento, and green-olive slices.

Pour into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan (spray with cooking spray. May also use any comparable sized mold). Chill the salad mold until firm. Just before mealtime, unmold and garnish your salad. Cut salad in 8 to 10 slices.

“You think I don’t have culture just because I’m from down South. Believe me, we’ve got culture there. We’ve always had sushi. We just called it bait.”  Ben “Cooter” Jones

Perfection Salad

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