Southern Alabama Specialties

Recipes and folklore from the Gulf Coast. Like this favorte recipe, Garlic Shrimp Linguine, gets a nod from Creole cookery and blends new and old world flavors in making one fine dinner.

Grilling Year-round on the Gulf Coast

Life is good on the Gulf Coast as you'll find folks grilling and barbecuing all types of fine foods. Burgers, dogs, steaks, wings, ribs, pork, chicken, beef, seafood, gator, heck ... if it lives around here, we eat it!

Cake Making in the South

A real classic ~ Lemon Pound Cake with Citrus Glaze.

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.

November 28, 2012

Sugar Cured Creole Ham Recipe

Sugar spiked, sugar glazed, sugar crusted ... this is one sweet ham.

Sweet as in 'gooda' (better than good) is the meaning here even though sugar is incorporated in three different stages of preparing this amazing ham. The ham is actually not really that sweet, but moist with a delectable, very southern and distinguish flavor.

This is one fine way to cook a ham and it is one suitable for many occasions, holidays and special meals. Heck, this is one to cook for no reason at all other than it's that good.  Enjoy!

Sugar Cured Creole Ham

my version of a honey baked ham but with southern flavors
serves 8-12

1 -6 to 8 pound spiral-cut ham
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 -12 oz ginger ale
1/2 cup Southern Comfort
-
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons Creole mustard, or a brown grain
3 tablespoons Alaga syrup, or cane syrup
-
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon pan drippings
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning, salt-free
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Place the ham in an extra-large zip-lock bag (or large container). Mix the next 3 ingredients together in a saucepan and heat until slightly warm. Pour marinade over the ham. Seal removing as much air as possible and allow to cool just a bit. Refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours. Rotate if possible, especially if using a container.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Remove ham from marinade and pat dry. Discard marinade. Place ham cut side down in a roaster on a large sheet of wide aluminum foil; enough to enclose the ham. Mix the next 3 ingredients together and rub over the ham. Seal foil and place in the oven.

Bake ham for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Test after an hour with a meat thermometer and continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F. Be sure not to place probe into a fatty area or next to the bone. During the last hour, baste with the pan drippings.

Right before removing ham from oven, place remaining ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil stirring constantly. The mixture should be thick. Pull away the foil and position ham on one of its long sides. Normally, the top has a thin layer of fat. Spoon glaze over the ham and turn oven to broil turning up the heat. Watch carefully. Allow glaze to crystallize. Remove to serving platter and serve warm.

Note: The ham I used was pre-sliced and pre-cooked, I believe the packaging said 'fully cooked'. Thanks to Lea Ann for bringing this to my attention.

November 24, 2012

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Southern Style

Around the south, as mentioned in an earlier recipe, rice grows nicely in many areas and is a very important crop for many states.  Even so, wild rice, the grayish-brown grain, the real deal, remains fairly expensive compared to the white rice varieties which many grow.  In the grocers of many, around these parts and I suspect nationwide as well, is a very affordable New Orleans style mixture of rice, Zatarain's Long Grain & Wild Mix, and it is already seasoned too.  It is a quick fix side-dish for many meals and a useful ingredient in recipes as the one I am featuring.

November 20, 2012

Bodacious Turkey Bone Soup

What to do with your leftover turkey?

Some folks make turkey hash with the slices of turkey, gravy and dressing (or stuffing), others might make a casserole using up leftover side-dishes and turkey meat or even a turkey pot pie. Or some might make something that is a favorite around these parts, Turkey Bone Gumbo. But I suspect many make soup wisely using the carcass and any leftover turkey meat.

Some folks being resourceful add several cups of leftover side-dish vegetables to their soup, even several spoonfuls of sweet potato casserole will give it an altered, slightly sweeten taste and also will help thicken. And if you are feeling really experimental, go ahead and make some dumplings from the leftover dressing to float on top of the soup at serving. I think that would be well received.

We always manage to eat up most of our sides, or save 'em for another round of helpings the next day. For some reason, left-over holiday side-dishes are not so bad the second time around. But for this soup, I like to use new ingredients after salvaging the board cuttings of the turkey, any remaining slices of meat and the carcass of course which is loaded with tiny goody bits of meat and flavors that are actually good for you too. Now, you can pretty much use whatever vegetables you have or ones you like. This is how I like to do it. I cook the potatoes in an early stage of simmering the soup as a thickening base and I add the vegetables later to simmer until just tender.

Enjoy!

Bodacious Turkey Bone Soup
a most flavorful after-holiday turkey and vegetable soup
makes about 5 quarts

1 leftover turkey carcass
1 quart chicken broth
3 quarts water
1 large onion, halved
1 carrot, halved
1 celery stalk, halved
2 bay leaves
-
2 garlic toes, minced
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
2 celery stalks, diced
1 large onion, chopped
3 medium white potatoes, diced
4 large carrots, diced or thinly sliced
1 small rutabaga, chopped in 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups greens (collards, spinach or cabbage)
1 -14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained (or 4 small fresh tomatoes, peeled)
1 -15.5 oz can navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed basil 
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 -7 oz box long grain and wild rice mix or 1 cup uncooked long grain rice
up to 3 cups leftover chopped turkey meat

In a large stockpot, add the turkey carcass (skin too), broth, water, the onion, carrot, celery halves and bay leaves. (I also added the outer leaves of the cabbage.)


Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer, cover and allow to slow simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

Strain broth through a fine mesh stainer or sieve (lined with a wet cheese cloth if you want a clearer broth) and discard the solids.

Wipe out the stockpot to remove scum. Heat butter over medium low heat and saute the garlic until aromatic. Toss in the celery and onion and allow to onions to wilt. Add the turkey stock, potatoes and increase heat. When at boil, decreased heat to medium low and simmer about 15 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except the rice and turkey meat, increasing heat if desired. Allow soup to come to a second boil and reduce heat to low, cover and cook about 30 minutes. Add rice stirring often to prevent rice from sticking to the bottom and cook another 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Stir in the turkey and allow soup to reheat. Ladle into bowl and serve with hot biscuits, toasted bread or cornbread.


Note: You can add leftover mashed potatoes to thicken even more if desired or thicken with a little cornstarch or arrowroot.

November 17, 2012

Sausage and Pecan Dressing Recipe

Stuffing or Dressing?

Yup, it's that time of year again, a time when many ponder what to call it or where the name comes from. Romans are credited with the first mentioning of stuffing foods, mainly meats with vegetables, herbs, nuts and a type of cereal known as spelt. The term dressing came about in Victorian England.

Now, in our family, this time of year we make dressing. It is a side dish. We do not stuff the bird. Period. If we do, maybe Cornish hens, then we call it stuffing, but never do we put out a casserole and call it stuffing. Why, it just ain't done. And to be honnest here, I suspect where you live or rather, where your mother was born, determines if you call it stuffing or dressing. You see, I think

November 14, 2012

Roasted Citrus Turkey Breast

Satsuma time on the Gulf Coast

The Gulf Coast, specifically the area encompassing Mobile's delta, is an ideal climate zone for growing many citrus fruits. We enjoy a wide range of tropical fruit as well; figs, pears, blueberries, plums, scuppernongs, bananas, jelly palm even the not-so-often mentioned pawpaw as well as the citrus tastes of grapefruit (many early, mid and late varieties), blood oranges, limes (Key and Persian) and hybrids too, Meyer lemons, Asian persimmons, ‘Ponkan’ mandarins, tangerine (Clementime, Darcy, Tangelos and a host of others), sweet orange, kumquat, Calamondins and our beloved satsuma. These are just a few of the 'fruits' of our backyard labor we coastal folks enjoy seasonally and to go out in the yard, pick a fresh satsuma or two and use it in a recipe is a rewarding treat, a feeling of pride that turns any ol' recipe into extraordinaire.

There are so many ways to cook turkey. Back in 2010 I smoked a turkey breast using a Satsuma Kumquat marinade that was out of sight and since then, I have used the same principle in creating many other recipes using roasters, pork ribs, crown roast and a pork loin. In fact, I used satsumas in several recipes in my new cookbook, Journal of Mobile's Southern Cookery (see sidebar) and tell of the importance the crop had at one time for our area. The recipe today brings about a slightly less savor of citrus than the marinating method but it still produces a very tasty, ever-so-moist bird using the seasoned satsuma butter rub.

Enjoy!

Roasted Citrus Turkey Breast
a moist and tender method with a slight fruit flavor
6 to 8 servings

1 - to 10 pound turkey breast, thawed
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 1/2 tablespoon salt-free Creole seasoning, divided
juice of 1 satsuma (or tangerine)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 satsuma (or tangerine) sectioned
1 apple, cut in eights
1 celery stalk, cut in thirds
1 cup chicken broth

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove giblet pack from cavity and rinse turkey under running water. Pat completely dry with paper towels. Sprinkle inside of cavity with 1/2-tablespoon creole seasoning.

Mix butter, 1-tablespoon creole seasoning, satsuma juice, salt, pepper together in a bowl and put aside.

Carefully separate skin from the meat on the top side of the breast. I use a stiff thin rubber spatula but fingers do just as well. Spoon about 1 1/2-tablespoons of butter mixture under skin on both sides of the breast. Massage skin to evenly distribute mixture. Rub remaining butter mixture over the top and sides of the breast. Place on a rack in a roaster and stuff the cavity with the satsuma, apple and celery. Position remaining fruit and celery under the sides.

Pour the broth in the bottom of the roaster and place pan in the center of oven. Turn oven temperature to 325 and roast for 30 minutes.

Baste with the pan drippings and every 15 minutes hereafter. Cover breast with foil to prevent over browning and to aid in moisture retention (yes, lift the foil to baste each time). Cook 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees on a meat thermometer. Be sure to place thermometer deep into the breast but away from bone.

Remove from oven and let rest before slicing.

Note: The drippings make a wonderful base for gravy.

November 3, 2012

Wragg Soup

The legend and making of Wragg Soup

From the swamp lands of old Mobile come many things and in today's time, the area once known as Wragg Swamp contains a couple of indoor malls, corridors of commercial buildings, parking lots and strip malls, the new Red Cross building and a softball complex scattered among many neighborhoods.   Being flat, the land once was a fertile place to grow vegetables and crops year round, long before 'civilization' arrived into the area. And before it was first plowed, before the swamp and bog-like area filled in with vegetation and soil, it was a haven for outlaws, bandits and misguided folks. The land dubbed it's name for George Wragg, a native of Manchester, England who established himself in Mobile by 1840. He built a series of water driven mills in the marshy lands west of Mobile, hence, Wragg Swamp. It is also recorded in the 1869 Mobile City Directory that he was in the wholesale grocery business at 61 N. Water Street.