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.

July 29, 2010

Cajun Pastalaya

folks, dis here is some kind of good

“Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and filet gumbo,
'Cause tonight I'm gonna see ma chère ami-o”

– opening chorus to the Hank Williams song who, by the way, was born just a few miles as the crow flies from my hometown, Greenville AL.

Jambalaya is a regional favorite in the south and the flavorful dish has aggressively caught on around the world as well. The reason is simple just as it is to make - it has a remarkable taste. There are countless variations of this classic and the first mention in English print comes from Mobile AL, where I reside. In 1878, the Ladies of the St. Francis Street Methodist Episcopal Church in Mobile published ‘The Gulf City Cook Book’, which features a recipe titled ‘Jam Bolaya’. It consists of oysters, chicken, tomatoes and the familiar rice.

Like all recipes, as time progresses, so do ingredients according to regional taste. Take the recipe I am preparing for you, Pastalaya. This recipe contains many of the same ingredients as the traditional ‘red jambalaya’ famous from Creole cooks in New Orleans and melds beautifully with its low-country Cajun cousins. Influenced from the French and Spanish with a little Italian thrown in for good company is how I would describe this amazing recipe that tastes so darn good. Enjoy!

Cajun Pastalaya
Makes about 8 servings

1/4 cup salt plus 3/4 teaspoon, divided
1 -16 oz penne pasta
3 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Creole Seasoning, divided
3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
3/4 pound Andouille or Spicy Conecuh sausage, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 -14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Add water to a large stockpot 3/4 full and bring to a boil over high heat. Add 1/4 cup of the salt as it begins to boil. Place the pasta in the water and return to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook the pasta until nearly al dente, 8 to 12 minutes. Drain and set aside. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water to use later.
Season the shrimp with 2 teaspoons of the Creole Seasoning and 1/8 teaspoon salt, set aside. Do the same with the chicken using 2 teaspoons of the Creole Seasoning and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt, set aside.

In a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and coat the bottom, heat to medium heat. Place the shrimp in the pan and sear for 1 minute per side. Remove the shrimp and set aside. Add another tablespoon olive oil to the pan and sear the chicken for 3 minutes, turning to ensure even browning. Remove the chicken and set aside with the shrimp.

Place the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the pan and add the sausage, onions and bell peppers. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is lightly brown and the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock and scrape with a spoon to remove any browned bits that have formed, cook about 30 seconds. Add the diced tomatoes, fresh thyme, the remaining tablespoon of Creole Seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 2 minutes. Add the heavy cream and cook an additional 2 minutes.

Return the shrimp and chicken to the pan, as well as the pasta and the reserved 1-cup of pasta cooking water. Continue to cook the sauce and pasta, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp and chicken cooks through and until most of the pasta cooking water has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the basil and Parmesan. Toss to combine and serve hot with warm French bread.

Note: Made near my hometown, Conecuh brand sausage is a southern favorite.

orginally posted july 6 2009

July 27, 2010

Homemade Chicken Mushroom Rice Casserole

Chicken Licken

Funny from how and where inspirations come. From comments provided by readers, passing strange vegetables in the grocers, finding odd, long lost boxes of grains in the cabinets and last pickings from the garden or maybe a knock on the noggin; all ideas seem to transpire and come together somewhat miraculous into hopefully a delicious meal fit for friends, family, you my readers and me.

The idea for this recipe reminds of the fable Henny Penny, of the many times when I go into the kitchen unprepared and without a clue. Yes, it happens to me too. Reaching into the cupboard some days I need a little more help, be it from the crisper drawer, from the farmers market, local grocer and sometimes it calls for a good shout to the Lord. Show me a sign, please. Drop an acorn on my head or something. Give me a little guidance; show a little mercy, I need a little direction quick before I start running off crazy to the store… Speaking of the guy, unlike Chicken Licken, aka Chicken Little or Hen Len, Henny Penny is the only character of the fable whose last name does not begin in the letter L. The fox, drake, cock, duck, turkey, and goose … all last names start with a L ... how many of these last names can you name?

Back to the casserole. You can always count on God and good friends to give you the nudge just when you need it. Take this recipe for example. Carol Egbert, whose beautiful art, reads, and recipes I just love, transcended such a push with a comment on my Calico Pickled Salad saying it is ‘fun to have a recipe that says use what you have’. The comment came just as I starting thinking about a chicken rice casserole with nothing much on hand. Folks it don’t get better than that.

The casserole needs chicken, that’s a given if it’s going be a chicken casserole. Using rice or another grain, whatever vegetables you have on hand like asparagus, leeks, broccoli florets, corn, (I had an onion, button mushrooms and a red bell pepper) seasonings and a little cupboard magic is all that’s needed. I chose not to go for the condensed soup using yogurt and buttermilk instead. You can say I had a homey calling. You can use sour cream and milk if you like. I used long grain white rice but brown rice would be nice too, maybe add more stock. Seasonings and herbs depend on your taste too. Chicken thighs would be tastier.

And I bet you thought Chicken Licken was a meager attempt to describe the taste of the casserole - well, that too. Enjoy!

Homemade Chicken Mushroom Rice Casserole

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast cut horizontally in half
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed
8 ounces sliced button mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 cup white wine
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1 cup raw long grain white rice
1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1/3 cup toasted plain bread crumbs
    In a large skillet, cover the bottom with olive oil. Heat to medium high heat. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken on both sides and sauté in the hot oil until lightly seared. Drain and set aside. The chicken should still be a little under cooked.

    Lower the heat to medium low. Add the garlic to the oil and swirl around until fragrant. Remove garlic and add the mushrooms increasing the heat to medium high and sauté until light brown. Add the onions and cook until they are translucent. Place the mushroom onion mixture in a bowl and set aside.

    To the pan, deglaze by adding the wine scrapping off any brown bits on the bottom until reduced to about a couple of tablespoons. Add the chicken stock and stir until heated and bubbly. Remove from heat.

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
    Add salt and pepper to taste to the sauce in the skillet. Slowly stir in the buttermilk, the yogurt, and Parmesan then stir in the seasonings. Stir in the rice, sweet pepper and fold in the onion mushroom mixture. Place in a greased 13x 9 inch casserole dish.

    Cut or shred the chicken into bite size pieces. Scatter chicken on top of the rice mixture patting down a bit, cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove foil, check moisture to see if more stock is needed or if longer baking time is needed to cook out liquid. Let the top brown a little before sprinkling on the breadcrumbs.

    July 25, 2010

    Southern Succotash

    “Sufferin' Succotash” 

    That’s just one of the many catch phrases uttered from Sylvester the cat and Daffy Duck, but folks, I’m here to tell ya, once you get the skillet going and start stirring – the only suffering is having to wait.

    Popular here in the states during the Great Depression because of the relatively inexpensive garden fresh list of ingredients, succotash is often cooked in casserole form and with a piecrust on top. Not down here in the south. Nope. No sir-ree. No will do.

    Early in the 1800’s up in New England, baby lima’s and freshly scraped corn were creamed together with butter making for their version of succotash. Every region has a story on how to make the real version. Some folks say their's is the purist form, the real deal. But let’s get real. And let’s think about the name for a moment. Succotash. Does that sound like a name invented by European settlers? The Native Americans introduce succotash to the pilgrims, the Narragansett Indians from Rhode Island to be precise. The word "msickquatash" loosely translates into broken boiled bits of corn. They taught the settlers to add pieces of meat for flavoring. And the part I like best is that butter beans are not native to North American soils whatsoever. They are native to South America and brought here by the Europeans.

    Like I said, every region has it’s own thing going on when making succotash and I can’t help but show favoritism on the south’s version with the added okra and tomatoes. The one thing that most recipes, with the combination of corn and beans, have in common is the make up of proteins which collectively, makes a compete protein. The two go together so well you’ll often even see them planted together as corn takes nitrogen out of the soil and beans replenishes it.

    Enough rambling, succotash has suffered enough already ... Folks, this is nothing but summertime in a skillet. Enjoy!

    Southern Succotash

    1 medium onion, chopped
    4 celery ribs, chopped
    1 small green bell pepper, chopped
    1 stick of butter, margarine or bacon renderings
    4 fresh, ripe tomatoes, chopped
    2 tablespoons sugar
    Salt and pepper to taste
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire
    2 pounds fresh butter beans, blanched
    2 pounds fresh okra, sliced
    5 large ears of corn, cut and scraped from cob
      Sauté the onion, celery, bell pepper in butter or bacon renderings until tender in a large skillet or stockpot. Add the tomatoes, sugar, salt, pepper to taste and Worcestershire. Simmer on medium low for 30 minutes.

      Add the butter beans and okra and cook until the butter beans are almost tender.

      Stir in the corn. I sometimes like to cut the kernels twice from the cobs as in making creamed corn. Cutting in half, then again almost to the cob and scraping into a bowl to collect the milk from the cobs. Collecting the juice from the cobs will help thicken the succotash.

      Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened. If it remains too juicy, mix a little cornstarch with water and stir into the skillet until desired consistency. Add more salt and pepper if needed.

      Note: Add cooked crumbled bacon or ham bits to the skillet when adding the corn if desired.

      July 23, 2010

      Calico Pickled Salad

      Summer in a jar

      Not to be confused with the Italian American relish Giardiniera which is similar, this salad in a jar is something we grew up eating. Pickled vegetables in a mildly seasoned vinegar base makes for a nice condiment, relish or side to many foodstuff. Depending on the types of vegetables used this salad like giardiniera is eaten as an antipasto before a meal, as a side with a meal, a topping for sandwiches or hoagies or as we often did, right out of the jar.

      Now I have a confession, I have not made this in a long time. This recipe is from my family, a combination of sorts, and the basis is from one with the same name in my cookbook. I have added a few other ingredients from other family members which I think makes for a better mix, for family sake, of course. Enjoy!

      Calico Pickled Salad
      4 to 6 cups cauliflower florets
      1 to 2 cups sliced green beans, yellow wax beans, sliced zucchini or sliced radishes
      1 cup pickling onions, 1/2-inch -peeled
      2 cups green or red peppers -chopped
      2 cups carrots -sliced
      1/4 cup pickling salt
      1 quart vinegar
      1/2 cup sugar
      3 garlic pods, chopped
      1 tablespoon fennel seed
      2 teaspoons mustard seed
      2 teaspoons celery seed
      2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
        Combine vegetables in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle with salt and toss. Cover with ice, let stand for 3 hours, then rinse under cold water washing thoroughly. Drain well. Combine remaining ingredients in stockpot. Bring to boil, add vegetables and simmer 5 to 7 minutes. Distribute into hot jars leaving quarter-inch headspace. Fill with additional vinegar if needed. Be sure to remove air bubbles. Process jars in a water bath for 10 minutes to seal properly.

        July 20, 2010

        Fresh Baby Butter Beans in Cream

        Creamy, buttery and smooth.

        Lima beans or butter beans as they are known here in the South are often cooked with smoked meats as in this recipe, many times simply simmered slowly and frequently cooked in delightful casseroles. However, in this one, the beans are cooked in a seasoned ham stock and then served in a creamy style sauce.

        I like this recipe a whole lot. It takes a little of the old country feel from my hometown and mixes in a little of city fixin’s that’s good enough for church socials, fancy dinner parties and just good 'ol everyday eating.

        This time of year there is nothing better than fresh baby lima beans but come winter, frozen ones are just fine too. Enjoy!

        Fresh Baby Butter Beans in Cream

        4 tablespoons softened butter, divided
        1 onion, chopped
        1 celery rib, chopped
        1 red bell pepper, chopped
        1 garlic pod
        1/2 cup cooked diced smoked ham
        2 cups chicken stock
        1 small bay leaf
        Pinch of brown sugar
        Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
        1 pound fresh baby Lima beans
        1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
        1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

        2 teaspoons fresh chopped chives
          Sort through the fresh beans removing any that are hard or discolored. Rinse well. Even fresh beans will cook faster if they are soaked in cold water overnight in the refrigerator. Just rinse again under running water when ready to cook.

          In a 3 quart saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter or use olive oil if desired over medium high heat. Add the onions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are wilted. Add the chicken stock, bay leaf, brown sugar, salt, pepper and ham. Bring to a rapid boil, reduce to medium high simmer and cook for 30 minutes stirring occasionally adding water as needed. This is where you want the vegetables to really render out.

          Strain the liquid into a bowl discarding the vegetables and ham. Return stock to the pan, add the butter beans and add enough water to cover beans by 2 inches. Bring beans to a boil, reduce to low and simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Check seasonings; add salt and pepper if needed and continue cooking for 15 to 20 minutes or until beans are tender, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching on the bottom.
          Drain beans well.

          Return beans to the saucepan. Mix flour with remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and stir into the beans. Heat thoroughly and stir to thicken creating a creamy sauce. Stir in the chives and if desired, a tablespoon or two of minced ham. Serve hot.

          July 18, 2010

          Summer Okra: Buttermilk Fried and Sauterne Boiled

          Okra been good to me

          One vegetable that has not melted in our summer’s sultry heat is okra. It thrives, or seems to like the horrid heat of late July down here in the south.

          Okra stalks seem to stand proud with the tender pods boldly pointing upwards. The younger ones, about one to two inches in length, are just fine for slicing thin and eating in fresh salads or sautéing fast and adding to fresh green beans, even adding to vegetable tacos. Most pods are best when harvested immaturely, about 3 to 4 inches in length.

          Okra has roots in southern cookery since the early 18th century when the slave trade introduce it to this soil and it has held strong in making for better conversation ‘round many tables. Just think of how many pots of gumbo that’s been made with it and how many smacking lips have enjoyed crispy fried okra.

          The latter recipe is a little different, a Creole way and speaking of which, concerning okra there's an old Creole saying ‘never cook okra in a black pot (cast iron) lessens you want black okra”. Many older cookbooks tell you to use porcelain or agateware, the old blue and white pots when boiling, simmering or stewing, but today we have enameled ware or stainless steel.

          Another belief and one I go by is leaving a small portion of the stem on (mainly the cap) especially when stewing or boiling okra. This lessens the pods from becoming slimy. Of course, cooking for a long time, as in gumbo, the sliminess is desired as a thickening and the breakdown of the pod is preferred. The best way to avoid sliminess is to cook okra fast or with something acidic like tomatoes, vinegar or with a little citrus juice.

          Now here are today’s two recipes. Enjoy!

          Buttermilk Fried Okra

          1 pound fresh okra, cut into 1/2 inch slices
          1 1/2 cups self-rising white cornmeal mix
          1 teaspoon sugar
          Salt and pepper
          1/4 teaspoon cayenne
          Vegetable oil
            In a bowl, cover the okra with buttermilk and soak for 30 minutes. Drain in a colander.
            Stir together cornmeal mix and next 3 listings in a separate large bowl.
            Pour oil to depth of 1 inch into a large, deep heavy skillet or Dutch oven; heat to 375 degrees F.
            Dredge okra in cornmeal mixture in batches, and place in a wire-mesh strainer. Shake off excess. Fry okra, in batches, 4 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels.
            Note: Cornmeal mix is a ready mix consisting of cornmeal, flour and leavening. Look for it in your bakery goods area.

            Sauterne Boiled Okra

            2 pounds fresh young okra
            Butter or olive oil
            1 cup water
            2 teaspoon Tabasco or red pepper hot sauce
            2 cups Sauterne wine
            2 teaspoons salt
              Wash the okra well. Toss the okra with melted butter or use olive oil if you prefer in a large pot coating well. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook slowly until okra is tender.


              July 16, 2010

              Cucumber, Corn and Tomato Salad

              Recipes Momma may have forgotten to mentioned

              As the garden winds down, at least down here in our humid south, many of our crops like fresh sweet corn are ending and I thought is would be a good time to feature recipes that used up the last of vegetables. That is, when we find only a few left on the stalks or vines. These this week are also ones that I find interesting and like this one, treasured…

              This is a cool rewarding salad, as it uses pretty much whatever you can pick from the garden to add with what ever you have in your crisper drawer. I've used canned corn before although the crispness is not as great.  White corn is the best but around here, that is long gone, even the yellow corn is setting to what is known as field corn.

              Whatever you combine together, keep the first two main ingredients featured. Something about corn and cucumbers intermingling around in vinaigrette that is just summery. Enjoy!

              Cucumber, Corn and Tomato Salad

              2 ears of fresh corn
              2 fresh cucumbers
              1 rib of celery
              1/2 small red or green bell pepper
              1/4 red onion
              Fresh thyme, parsley, mint
              2 or 3 teaspoons sugar
              Salt and pepper to taste
              3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
              A good drizzle of olive oil if desired
              Red ripe tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
                I like to wrap the ears of corn individually in plastic wrap and microwave each for 2 minutes, no more, to partially cook. Let cool, remove wrap and cut kernels from cob into a bowl.

                Chop cucumbers into bite size and dice the celery, peppers and onions and whatever else you are adding. Chop the herbs, again whatever you like, and mix with the vegetables.

                Add salt and pepper to taste.

                Whisk in a small bowl the sugar, vinegar and oil if using it, I many times do not. Toss with the vegetables and let marinate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Add the tomatoes about an hour before serving.

                Drain before plating or serve in a bowl with a slotted spoon.

                July 14, 2010

                Squash & Tomato Wonder

                Recipes Momma may have forgotten to mentioned

                As the garden winds down, at least down here in our humid south, many of our crops like tomatoes are ending and I thought is would be a good time to feature recipes that used up the last of vegetables. That is, when we find only a few left on the stalks or vines. These this week are also ones that I find interesting and perhaps lost in time…

                Two of summer’s favorite vegetables both in color and in flavor come together in this simple one-pan dish. Plus, the best part is the wonder of it all – the magic occurs in the oven as these vegetables meld together in an unforgettable taste. I say layer it and they will come ... together. Enjoy!

                Layered Squash & Tomatoes
                8 servings 

                4 cups (3 or 4) young zucchini or yellow crookneck squash, sliced
                1/2 cup 2% milk reduced fat cheddar cheese
                2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
                1 medium sweet onion, sliced
                1/2 teaspoon salt
                1/4 teaspoon black pepper
                1/2 tablespoon light olive oil (margarine or butte)
                5 ounces plain croutons
                  Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray.

                  Place the squash in the bottom of the dish, sprinkle with a little salt, pepper, followed with a light scatter of cheese, a layer of tomatoes, salt, pepper and the onions.

                  If using larger amounts of vegetables, repeat layers. Add remaining cheese to the top layer of onions.

                  Sauté the croutons in olive oil and place on top of the onions.

                  Cover with aluminum foil. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 1 hour. Remove foil to brown croutons, but not too much like that above ... ;-(

                  Find Nutritional Facts here

                  July 12, 2010

                  Tomato Bread Pudding

                  Recipes Momma may have forgotten to mentioned

                  As the garden winds down, at least down here in our humid south, many of our crops are ending and I thought is would be a good time to feature recipes that used up the last of vegetables. That is, when we find only a few left on the stalks or vines. These this week are also ones that I find interesting and perhaps lost in time…

                  Take this one, similar to one Mamie Eisenhower made many times. I like it because it is simple, uses just a few ingredients and is just as good today as it was back then. There are many other versions like the Italian one using sliced Roma tomatoes with basil baked over seasoned bread or the French one with a creamy tomato sauce baked in a loaf of bread. This one has more appeal to me and as I said, it is simple. Enjoy!

                  Tomato Bread Pudding

                  3 cups white bread cubes (1/2 inch), toasted
                  1/2 cup melted butter
                  2 or 3 large tomatoes, peeled & thinly sliced
                  1 teaspoon salt or to taste
                  1/2 to 1 cup brown sugar (depends how sweet you like it)
                  1 -10.5 oz can tomato puree
                  Fresh basil or thyme leaves if desired
                    Toss bread cubes with the butter. Place a layer in a medium size casserole dish, a layer of tomatoes and repeat ending with tomatoes on top.

                    In a bowl, mix salt, sugar, basil if desired and tomato puree together. Spread over the top. Use a fork to poke mixture around the tomatoes and bread cubes.

                    Bake for about 50 minutes in a 375-degree F. oven.

                    Note: If using the basil, cut the sugar to about 1/4 cup and adjust the salt. You can also add garlic, thyme or other herbs and pepper if desired but then, you’re getting away from the recipe…

                    July 11, 2010

                    San Fermin in Neuva Orleans

                    Sunday Funnies

                    Half way around the world from Pamlpona Spain where the 'running of the bulls' occur each year, so does this tongue-in-cheek, so to speak, event happening in New Orleans.  There are no 1300 pounds angry bulls, instead, only bad 'a' roller girls chasing down the men through the streets hoping to 'gore' the men by spanking them on the buttocks with their plastic bats.

                    The run started outside the Three Legged Dog Saloon and proceeded across Canal Street, down Tchoupitoulas Street and into the heart of the Central Business District.

                    Here is a video from a previous year and yeah, you can always count on a legion of Elvises to appear on any given occassion. Enjoy!

                    July 9, 2010

                    Watermelon Strawberry Sorbet

                    For cool & refreshing summer desserts, make sorbets right in your freezer

                    Watermelon Strawberry Sorbet

                    6 servings
                    1 cup water
                    1/2 cup sugar
                    2 cups cubed seedless watermelon
                    2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
                    1 tablespoon minced fresh mint

                    In a small heavy saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil. Cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat; let completely cool.

                    Place the watermelon and strawberries in a blender; add sugar syrup. Cover and process for 2-3 minutes or until smooth. Strain and discard seeds and pulp. Transfer puree to a 13-in. x 9-in. dish. Freeze for 1 hour or until edges begin to firm.

                    Stir in mint. Freeze 2 hours longer or until firm. Just before serving, transfer to a blender; cover and process for 2-3 minutes or until smooth.

                    July 8, 2010

                    Mandarin Orange Ice Cream Cake

                     The king of cold desserts

           cream has been around from the early 1700's and has been a treat ever since.

                    The Quakers are believed to have first served it in America and we just can't get enough, especially when our temperatures are hovering upwards of 100 degrees in many parts of the US.

                    This recipe is not that complicated but the taste is something that's fit for a king (or queen). Enjoy.

                    Mandarin Orange Ice Cream Cake
                    makes 9 servings

                    1/3 cup butter, melted
                    1 1/2 cups crushed purchased spiced biscotti (about 6 oz.)
                    1 pint vanilla ice cream
                    1 -8 ounce carton mascarpone cheese
                    1 pint orange sorbet, softened
                    1/2 cup orange marmalade
                    1 -11 ounce can mandarin orange sections, drained
                      Line a 2-quart square baking dish with foil, extending foil over edges of dish.
                      In a medium bowl stir together the butter and biscotti crumbs. Spread evenly in the prepared baking dish. Press firmly to form an even crust. Place in the freezer.
                      In a chilled bowl stir vanilla ice cream to soften.
                      In another bowl stir mascarpone cheese to soften. Slowly add the softened vanilla ice cream to the mascarpone, stirring well after each addition (mixture may look slightly lumpy). Spoon into crust-lined dish and spread evenly with the back of a large spoon. Freeze about 1 hour or until firm.
                      Spoon sorbet on top of the vanilla ice cream and spread evenly with the back of a large spoon. Cover and freeze 4 hours or until firm.
                      Let frozen mixture stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Lift from pan using foil.
                      In a small saucepan cook and stir marmalade just until heated through. Stir in citrus sections.
                      To serve, cut ice cream mixture into 9 squares. Top each square with some of the citrus mixture.

                      July 6, 2010

                      Pineapple Grape Ice

                      This is another great cool summer treat. It is one my grandmother made many times and it is good for kids and adults alike.

                      I remember sitting on the floor as a young pup, on weekday mornings watching the CBS lineup of comedies. Remember that? Beverly Hillbilles, That Girl, The Lucy Show, Mayberry R.F.D., the Mary Tyler Moore Show....

                      Pineapple Grape Ice

                      1 cup sugar
                      2 cups water
                      2 cups Welch's 100% grape juice
                      1 tablespoon lemon juice
                      1 -15.25 oz can crushed pineapple with juice
                        Stir sugar and water together over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Let cool and then mix with the remaining ingredients.
                        Pour into an aluminum pan or freezer pan. Distribute the pineapple evenly. Cover and freeze overnight.
                        Scrape shavings into bowls and enjoy a treat from my younger days.

                        Note: Grandmother used regular grape juice but she would frown when it stained my clothes (and the rug). She later started using white grape juice instead.

                        Find over 1200 recipes like this one in my cookbook, Grits to Guacamole, available for sale now. Click here for details.

                        July 5, 2010

                        Peach Melba Ice Cream Pie

                        To end a wonderful meal...make this wonderful dessert.  It is loaded with goodness.

                        Peach Melba Ice Cream Pie
                        6-8 servings

                        1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
                        1/3 cup chopped pecans
                        3 tablespoons butter, melted
                        1 quart frozen peach yogurt, softened
                        1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
                        1 tablespoon cornstarch
                        1 tablespoon sugar
                        1 package (10 ounces) frozen raspberries in syrup, thawed
                        1 cup sliced fresh or frozen peaches, thawed

                        Combine the coconut, pecans and butter; press onto the bottom and up the sides of an un-greased 9-in. pie plate. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until crust begins to brown around edges. Cool completely.
                        Spoon frozen yogurt into crust; smooth the top. Spread ice cream over yogurt. Cover and freeze for 2 hours or until firm.
                        In a small saucepan, combine cornstarch and sugar; drain raspberry juice into pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; add raspberries. Cover and chill.
                        Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving. Arrange peaches on top of pie; drizzle with a little of the sauce. Pass the remaining sauce.

                        July 4, 2010

                        Lemon Curd Pie for the Fourth

                        Fourth of July Recipes

                        When I think about desserts for this holiday,  I think about this refreshing, patriotic decorated strawberry pie with a delicious lemon curd. It's perfect, it's cool and it's great with grilled foods. Enjoy!

                        Lemon Curd Pie for the Fourth

                        1-9 inch prepared pie crust, baked
                        3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
                        3/4 cup prepared or bought Lemon Curd
                        3/4 cup confectioners’ or superfine sugar
                        1 cup whipping cream, whipped to stiff peaks
                        1-pound fresh small or medium strawberries, stems removed
                        Fresh sliced strawberries and whole blueberries for garnishment
                        1/4 cup currant jelly
                        1 Tbsp Grand Marnier
                          Make sure the baked pie crust has cooled completely.
                          In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle (or in a bowl using a hand mixer) add cream cheese and mix until fluffy. Add lemon curd, and sugar. Mix until uniform. Gently fold in the whipped cream.
                          Place whole strawberries in the bottom of the cooled pie crust. Spread the lemon cream over the whole strawberries.
                          Decorate the top of the pie with sliced strawberries and blueberries. In a small saucepan heat the currant jelly, add the Grand Marnier.
                          Cool glaze and brush over the berries.
                          Chill the pie in the refrigerator several hours before serving.

                          Red, White and Blue Dessert

                          "But Mom, it's so, well, a little hokey."

                          This is not one in my collection but when I saw it last year, I thought - sounds fresh, rich and tasty and perfect for the fourth with the, well, flag inspired design. Perfect for us Americans....
                          From Taste of Home Magazine

                          Red, White and Blue Dessert
                          Yield: 18 servings

                          2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
                          1/2 cup sugar
                          1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
                          1/2 teaspoon almond extract
                          2 cups heavy cream, whipped
                          2 quarts strawberries, halved, divided
                          2 quarts blueberries, divided
                            In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and extracts until fluffy.
                            Fold in whipped cream.
                            Place a third of the mixture in a 4-qt. bowl.
                            Reserve 20 strawberry halves and 1/2 cup blueberries for garnish.
                            Layer half of the remaining strawberries and blueberries over cream mixture.
                            Top with another third of the cream mixture and the remaining berries. Spread the remaining cream mixture on top.
                            Use the reserved strawberries and blueberries to make a "flag" on top.

                            July 1, 2010

                            My 5 Best BBQ Rib Recipes

                            Looking for BBQ Rib Recipes for the 4th?

                            Try my favorite, the one on the
                             cover of my cookbook
                             using my

                            or any of these...

                            Sticky Sweet Glazed Rib Backs

                            Beer Brine Ribs with Honey Sauce

                            Sassy Baby Backs

                            Honey Ginger Baby Backs

                            Check out my Recipe Index for my lasted BBQ and Grilling recipes.