Sugar Crusted Ham

We always get rave reviews when serving this Southern Classic - steeped in sugarcane goodness, this Creole recipe uses brown sugar to create a moist, delectable taste sensation and provide a dense outer crust.

Grilling Year-round on the Gulf Coast

Life is good on the Gulf Coast even in the winter months as you'll find folks grilling and barbecuing all types of fine foods. Many Holiday meals feature roasted meats like this Grilled Herb Roast. Get this recipe along with a fine Horseradish sauce.

Cake Making in the South

Similar to Ann Pillsbury's 'Brown Sugar Chocolate Cake', this Chocolate Cake is a bit more southern with the use of buttermilk and lots more brown sugar. And to make it holiday decadent, it's topped in a rich, pecan ladden fudge icing.

Sunday Dinners are Sacred in the South

An establishment in these parts, sitting down at the dinner table for a family meal is a way of life for many of us. It is quality time well spent sharing our blessings. Enjoy our recipes.

Gulf Coast Seafood Recipes

Platters like this are often on tables around Mobile Bay especially when there is a Jubilee. A Jubilee only occurs in Mobile Bay - find mouth-watering recipes under the Fish and Seafood categories.

December 31, 2015

Savory Southern Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Author

roasted chicken breast stuffed with southern dressing

Recipe Reminiscent of Grandma's Cooking!

My Grandmother never stuffed a chicken, or at least, one that I can recall. She did a lot of things with the old bird but stuffing it or even the breast was not one of them. This recipe is more a take on the taste of foods when sitting around her grand dining room table, be it on a Sunday or maybe for a special occasion.

Now my Grandmother made the best cornbread dressing that I have ever tasted. I bet many of you say the same about your Grand, maybe of your Mom. And when her dressing plated with perfectly roasted chicken, now that was a fine, meaningful meal. A mouthful of savory taste. That is what this recipe is all about – a homecoming of flavor. Enjoy!

Southern Stuffed Chicken Breast

4 Servings
1/2 cup finely chopped smoked link sausage
2 tablespoons butter or butter combined with bacon fat
1/3 cup finely diced bell pepper medley
1/3 cup finely diced sweet onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 cup finely crumbled plain cornbread
Chicken seasoning and black pepper to taste
4 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
Badia Poultry Seasoning
4 ounces cream cheese, divided
2 tablespoons chicken stock
2 tablespoons white port

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add sausage and butter/bacon fat mixture. Cook stirring until sausage is brown. Add the bell pepper, onion, garlic and sauté until vegetables are soft. Stir in the 1 1/2 cups chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Gently stir in cornbread and turn off heat and let set. Do not mush the cornbread.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Coat the bottom of a roasting pan with olive oil or melted butter. Put aside.

Rinse each chicken breast under running water and pat completely dry. Split each breast horizontally in half cutting almost to the outer edge toward the larger side. Lay the opened breasts in a flat pan cut side down (I use a cookie sheet), and lightly salt and pepper the outside. Season with the chicken seasoning. Turn each over and spoon 1/4th of the cornbread stuffing onto the center of each breast. Add 1 oz of cream cheese into the each of the stuffing. Fold over the top of each breast and place in the prepared roasting pan.

 
Place in oven for 20 minutes.

Combine the 2 tablespoons of chicken stock with the wine and spoon over the breasts.
 

Continue baking until chicken is done (meat should register 165 degrees F on meat thermometer) basting with the pan drippings every so often. Strain the drippings and serve with chicken if desired.


December 23, 2015

Green Bean Bundles, Southern Style

Author

Savory, Not Sweet Green Bean Bundles

When holidays come around, we all tend to take the little extra step, the extra effort in preparing foods for our loved ones. Taking ordinary ingredients, like green beans, and making it into a dish that is little special, a bit more fancied up.

I've had my share of green bean bundles and it seems the favorite to many is a taste of the brown sugar addition. Now don't get me wrong, I love our sugar cane derived brown sugar. But not with green beans and bacon, or at least, not this time. This recipe is one I tinkered with to bring out the southern flavors of the bacon along with our love of the bay leaf. It's a bit more savory than the brown sugar version, has more taste to it, marries well on the palate, or at least I think. Enjoy!

Southern Green Bean Bundles

Makes 8 bundles

1 pound fresh, whole green beans
salt
8 slices smoked bacon
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp garlic and parsley blend
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp ground bay leaf or thyme
freshly cracked peppercorns

Wash and remove ends of green beans. Blanch in salted boiling water until crisp tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

Partially precook bacon on a small baking pan in preheated 350 degree F oven. Place slices of bacon on paper towel, reserve bacon grease in the pan. Dust the top with a mixture of the flour, garlic and onion powders and the ground bay leaf, using about half of the mixture. Give a good coating of pepper.

Increase oven to 400 degrees F.

Place green beans onto the baking pan and roll around to coat with the grease. Lightly sprinkle with the remaining flour mixture. Divide green beans into 8 bundles. Wrap bacon around each bundle with the seasoned side of the bacon on the outside.

Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until bacon is crispy. Remove and serve warm.





December 16, 2015

Marinated Chuck Roast Recipe

Author

A Very Flavorful Sunday Dinner Roast.

I remember to this day, my dear Aunt Ida smiling ever so effortless to the butcher behind the meat counter. He had just told her the price of her soon-to-be Sunday chuck roast. Little did she know that I recognized a flutter of her eyelids at the mention of thirty-nine cents per pound. As she smiled and graciously recognized the rise of groceries, she also verbalized that it was two cents lower across town at Piggy Wiggly. But then, as she later told me, this was our butcher, our friend who ran a small, independent grocer. We have to do what we can to support our local merchants, the small businesses, the real livelihood of our township she said.

That was back in 1965, and as I shop today looking at the price of beef, I too would love to go back to thirty-nine cents per pound - do away with the additional four dollars added to it . . . and that is today's sale price. A chuck roast has always been a more economical cut of beef and yet it is a favorite to serve for Sunday Dinners. With proper preparation and cooking technique, this and other less expensive cuts like blade and rump can result in the same tenderness as the higher priced sirloin tip and rib. The secret is to cook less expensive roasts in liquid as the simmering produces a very tender and flavorful roast.

Enjoy!

Marinated Chuck Roast

4 to 6 servings
1 -3 to 4 pound beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried garlic-parsley blend
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil or mixed with rendered bacon grease
2 cups cut-up carrots, bite size
1/2 rib celery, diced
1/4 chopped bell pepper
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 -10.5 oz condensed beef broth (red can)
10 or 12 small fingerlings, new reds or yellow gold potatoes, cut in half

Rub the salt all over the roast and place in a zip-lock bag or resealable marinade container. Do not over salt. Mix the brown sugar, pepper, garlic blend, onion powder, Worcestershire, vinegar and bourbon together and pour over the roast. Refrigerate for 12 hours or at least 4 rotating often.


Heat oven to 325 degrees F.

Remove and drain roast from marinade. Place marinade aside. In a large deep skillet with lid, heat over medium high heat and add oil. Sear roast on all sides to brown the outer surface.


Remove roast to a platter. Add the carrots, celery, bell pepper and onion to skillet. Reduce heat to medium and saute to get a golden brown caramel edge on the onions.


Toss after about 5 minutes and cook another 2 or 3 minutes. Remove vegetables to a bowl lined with paper towels and cover. Wipe away any remaining oil from the pan.

Mix the reserved marinade and the beef broth in the skillet and slide the roast into the liquid. Cook covered in the oven with a tight fitting lid for about 2 hours. Carefully add the potatoes to the liquid around the roast and place the cooked vegetables on top and around the roast. 


Continue cooking covered another 1/2 hour or until vegetable are tender. Remove roast and vegetables to a platter for serving if desired and use the liquid in the skillet for a mouth-watering sauce, either au jus style or with a thickener for gravy.

Note: Dried Garlic-Parsley Blend is a ready made blend of dehydrated bits of garlic mixed with parsley from Badia. I use it frequently but if you cannot find it, substitute 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and a good pinch of dried parsley flakes.

December 10, 2015

Christmas Sweets for Everyone

Author

Make it. Bake it. They will come!

It's that time of year again. Spoonful drops of fruity or chocolaty dough dangling over pans ready for a hot oven, bowls of sugar cookie dough patiently waiting in turn for a roll and jars of jams, bowls of candied cherries, bags of brickle, caramel and chocolate drops eagerly needing a resting place. It's that time for baking treasured treats, newly discovered cookie recipes, heirloom cakes and Grandma's favorite fruit cake.

Here's a sampling of goodies we like:

Cookies and Bars

Ambrosia Cookies

A Southern Tradition

Almond Roca Cookie Squares

A Hometown Favorite

Cinnamon Orange Cookies

Full of Tropical Flavors

Molasses Stage Planks

Southern Heritage Sugar Cane Cookie


Washboard Cookies

Old Fashion Coconut Cookie with Orange Glaze

Cinnamon Chocolate Brownies

with Cinnamon Frosting too

Katharine Hepburn’s Brownie

Cakes

Brown Sugar Chocolate Cake

with "foolish" cherries on top!

Christmas Lane Cake

An Alabama Original

Chocolate Tube Cake

With a Pecan Fudge Topping

Southern Comfort Pound Cake

Cream Cheese Batter with Bourbon

Very Special Red Velvet Cake

for Special Occasions

Sticky Pecan Apple Cake

for the Warm and Fuzzy time of year


Treats and Snacks

Church Street Scrabble

our family snack mix

Smokin' Nut Mix

Roasted with a Smoky flavor

Sugarplums

Old Fashion Treats

November 23, 2015

Southern Roast Turkey

Author

There is none finer to grace the table than Turkey Hen, or Dinde as the Creoles say.

There are so many variations of turkey preparation, from the Creole Daube method, to having it stuffed with breading or with other foul as in turdunken, opting to cook it spathcocked, stewed, braised, grilled, smoked, deep-fried, in a brown paper bag, even the extra efforts of scalding, brining, injecting it with marinade . . . we could be here all day!

 Nothing beats a perfectly roasted turkey.


The Bird
I was taught it is best to purchase a fresh hen when possible, the younger the better as the meat will be tender and delicate. Choose one between 12 and 18 pounds. If you’re serving a lot of folks, buy two hens instead of one big 24-28 pounder as the cooking time will be less for the two as oppose to the larger one and as said, the meat more tender. If choosing a live one from farmer Brown, choose the fattest one and be sure to ask the age, between 16 to 20 weeks I am told. Tom turkeys, or gobblers, are best for stewing as the meat is tough and the fiber of the meat too strong for roasting (unless a young Tom, 12-16 pounds). When choosing the hen, look at the breast. It should be broad, as wide as the width of the bird itself, really flat and meaty. Notice the smoothness and color of the overall skin. It should be sufficiently elastic in feel and white in color, not leathery or yellow.

The Prep
To achieve a most perfect, moist and tender roast turkey, it is essential a few rules of cookery are followed. While many believe coating the bird with salt is vital for the meat fibers to retain the natural juices, there are just as many who believe salt and acid together are needed. A slow roast cooking technique must be followed properly in order for the outside surface area to brown without burning while the inside meat temperature rise during same timing without overcooking. Big brand turkey processors will tell you to cook in a constant 325 F degree oven. I tend to like the Joy of Cooking method of starting in a hot oven, then slow roasting in at cooler temperature. I also use the cheesecloth application over the breast meat to avoid burning. Many years ago, southern cooks roasted using this same method placing a piece of tightly woven linen, normally from a flour sack, over foul and in some regions, folks chose a loose muslin cloth to do the same thing. It is important that when using any type of woven material, the cloth must be constantly moisten. This keeps the white meat of the breast moist and prevents it from over browning while the succulent dark meat has time to cook to proper temperature. And, this basting every 30 minutes or so is what makes this method of roast achieve such a delectable, flavorful and moist turkey.

The Recipe

Southern Roast Turkey

1 -14 to 18 pound turkey hen, fresh or frozen

Stuffing
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 garlic toes, chopped
1 tart, sweet apple like Stayman Winesap or Ginger Gold, chopped
1 sectioned satsuma or tangerine, seeds removed
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary


Herb Butter Rub
2 sticks butter
1/4 cup orange or lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
2 teaspoons ground thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried margoram
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt


Kosher salt and black pepper
Layer of cheese cloth to cover top of breast area
Olive oil to moisten cheesecloth

If you’ve bought a frozen bird, allow about 6 hours per pound in the refrigerator to thaw before beginning.

Adjust the racks in oven to accommodate your roasting pan which should position on lowest tier. Heat oven to 425 degrees F.

Rinse the turkey inside and out and pat dry, inside and out. Place turkey in a large baking pan breast side up. Carefully loosen skin from the breast, thigh and drumstick areas with your fingers. Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of rub under each breast area and about 1 teaspoon in each thigh and drumstick area. Massage skin to evenly distribute the rub around the meat. Brush about 2 tablespoons of rub around the cavity area. Lightly sprinkle kosher salt and black pepper inside cavity. Fill the cavity with the vegetable and fruit stuffing. Truss the legs together sealing the cavity and use toothpicks or lacers to seal the excess skin over the neck area. Tuck the wings under the back. Place on a wire V-rack and into a large roaster. Rub or brush remaining butter rub all over the turkey. Lightly sprinkle kosher salt and pepper over turkey. Add about 2 cups of chicken stock or water to completely cover bottom of pan.


Place roasting pan in oven on in middle of oven or on lowest rack and immediately reduce heat to 350 degrees F. Cook for 1 hour basting after 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover the breast with the oil moisten cheesecloth. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh area, away from bone.


Use a baster and moisten the cloth with pan drippings. Return to oven and continue to cook basting every 30 minutes until the internal temperature of thigh meat reaches 175 degrees F. You can quick test the breast, it should register around 160 degrees F.

Add more liquid to the pan if needed. Do not allow the drippings to evaporate as this is not only your birds moistening solution, it should be used to make one heck of pan gravy.

Timing
For birds up to 6 pounds cook 20 minutes per pound. Over 6 pounds, cook 15 minutes per pound. I normally add another 5 minutes if not using a meat thermometer.

When done, remove cheesecloth and let rest slightly tented with foil for about 30 minutes while you continue preparing the giblet gravy.