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.

September 28, 2010

My Original Green Bean Casserole (Revisited)

Which original?

Now I know everyone has a favorite green bean casserole. I have several, none are which are the same as the one from the cans of fried onion rings, condensed soups or vegetable packaging. I happen to like the one from French's however, you know the one on their onion ring can but I tweaked it many years ago to include more flavor and lose that 'canned' taste. I still use condensed mushroom soup in that one (My Green Bean Recipe, pg 111 in G to G) but that's not what today's recipe is about.

Many folks call the fore mentioned label version as the original. Now, who's gonna say. I mean think about it, someone, probably a busy mommy in the 50's came up with it, that would be my guess (didn't research that one). Doubt a test kitchen made it up, so it had to come from somebody. So, who's version is the original? Well, back when I did think about it, back when I was compiling my family cookbook, I came up with the recipe below as 'the original green bean casserole' with a tag byline saying "now's whose gonna say it ain't".  But since then, (you know me) I have changed it some more, more to my liking, at present time. More creaminess and I added the mushrooms which was not in the original at all.

For those of you who have the cookbook, and I know many of you who do, page 112 is where you will find it. Go ahead and add the changes as a variation if you like, you won't hurt my feelings one bit. It still has that nice lemony flavor, now a bit creamier. Enjoy!

My Original Green Bean Casserole (Revisited)
changes and additions in italics
1 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour (add another tablespoon)
2 tablespoons water (omit)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt (omit)
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cans green beans, drained (I use 4 cups frozen)
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced or 11 oz jar, washed well
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup dry plain breadcrumbs (optional)
    Sauté the onion in the butter until clear and gradually stir in the flour then the water, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the stock and cream, stir until thickened. Add the beans, mushrooms and sour cream. Place in a buttered 2-quart casserole and sprinkle with the cheese and breadcrumbs and dot with more butter if desired. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until just bubbly. Broil if needed for a toasty topping.
    Note: I also add chopped cooked bacon at times.

    September 25, 2010

    Pot Roast like no other

    Slow and easy...

    Here is another one of my 'throw-it-all-in-a-pot' and leave it alone recipes, these are the ones I find myself cooking on busy days. This roast recipe is similar to a pot roast we did back home only I'm using spicy V-8 juice to tingle my taste buds and make a saucy gravy. Momma used tomato juice and a little other seasonings but with the V-8, I cut back on a few spices.

    Now I normally brown my roast to sear in the flavors, that's how I was taught but I know a lot of folks do not, especially if cooking long and slow. Maybe the flavor has a better chance of seeping into the meat without the sear and the long cooking time, think braising, will give us tender, juicy slices of meat or in this case, fall-apart pieces.

    I'm using a chuck roast but any chuck of beef will do. A trick I learned back home on our cattle farm is that when cooking a tougher part of beef, say rump roast or any thing from the hind-end or underside for that matter, it's a good idea to naturally tenderized it the night before with just a little lemon juice. Won't affect the flavor; wrap it up and let it set overnight in the refrigerator.  And by cooking tougher pieces of meat on low heat for a long time, this method will certainly make a difference.

    Enjoy this one we call:

    ready for slow cooking
    Pot Roast Like No Other

    3 to 4 pound beef roast
    Salt, pepper and garlic powder
    1 large onion, sliced
    3 large carrots, sliced
    8 oz fresh sliced mushroom or 10 oz jar, optional
    1 teaspoon ground dry mustard
    2 - 5.5 oz cans Spicy V-8 Juice, regular V-8 or tomato juice (about 1 1/3 cup)
    Butter or olive oil
    1 to 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish (not creamy)
      Season the roast all over with salt, black pepper and garlic powder. I went pretty good on the garlic and pepper. Place roast in a wide skillet of dutch oven. Lay onion slices on top of roast and add carrots and mushrooms if desired along the sides and a few on top. If using bottled mushrooms, be sure to rinse well under hot running water. Sprinkle the top with the dry mustard. Cover with the V-8 juice.
      Heat skillet to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cover and walk away, for about 3 hours at least. 
      Remove about a cup of the drippings, this should leave another cup or so in the skillet. If more, you can remove the roast keeping it warm while reducing down the liquid. In a small bowl, add a heaping tablespoon of flour to about a tablespoon of melted butter or oil. Add the horseradish to the butter and stir this into the drippings and return to the skillet stirring to make an unbelievable tasting gravy. Use more flour and butter if you have a lot of liquid from your roast and want more gravy.

      Note: The heat of the horseradish will mostly cook out; adding this is especially good if using tomato juice. If you like your sauce saucy as we do, you will love it with the spicy V-8. After melding with the other juices, it really isn't all that spicy.

      September 22, 2010

      Speckled Butter Beans

      Butter beans with color...

      ... that's the way I define speckled butter beans, I mean, with a color other than green. Now the taste is a lot different than the green variety, or at least I think so. The mottled brown legumes are a bit more earthy yet still brings about a creamy texture if cooked right.

      We like these pole lima beans not only 'cause there darn right good, but they do well in our hot, humid southern climate.  Long vines stretching upwards on strings or stick poles, these bean plants produce hardy, large pods filled with a flavor not found in many parts of the states. Now if you ever see frozen speckled butter beans, by all means buy a bag and get to cooking. That is something I do during the winter months. Like many beans, these do well by cooking long and slow on the stove-top adding water as it cooks down.  The best thing about cooking these types of foods is the 'pot-likker' that you get and if cooked right, will be a seasoned, saucy almost gravy for cornbread mopping. Enjoy!

      Speckled Butter Beans

      1 pound shelled fresh speckled butter beans (about 3 cups), or butter beans, butter peas or limas (frozen will do too)
      2 cups of chicken stock
      1 ham hock, or 2 pieces of salt pork or bacon cooked
      1 medium onion, chopped
      1 small bay leaf
      1 garlic pod
      Salt and pepper to taste
      couple pats of butter

      Place the ham hock or other smoked meat into a medium saucepan along with the chicken stock, onion, bay leaf and garlic pod. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium low. Simmer for about 10 minutes and add the beans. Make sure the beans are covered with about an inch of liquid, if not, add more stock or water. Add salt and pepper to taste. Return to a boil and reduce heat to low. Allow to cook slowly until the bean is creamy on the inside but not falling apart, about an hour or so.  I like to turn off the heat and let the beans rest in the hot liquid for a while as I go about finishing up other supper dishes. Add butter, stir and reheat the beans prior to serving.

      SEE ALSO: cooking southern varieties of field peas, creamy, sweet and buttery Lady Peas, and another favorite, black-eyed peas or Hoppin' John.

      September 21, 2010

      Country Creamed Corn

      Ain't nothing better 
      if you ask me...

      There is nothing finer than fresh corn picked from the fields and on your table in the same day. But as the growing seasons change, what is the chance of that happening?

      Lucky for many of us, fresh corn is available many times during the year. Yeah, I know, it's not the same as farm fresh but in a pinch or when you're craving the taste of fresh corn, it will do just fine. Grown in many parts of the world, fresh corn is harvested, shipped and in the grocers within days. Now, the time of transit and the longer it sits on that cooler shelf, the older it gets and the older it gets, the starchier it becomes. That's not a bad thing when you're frying corn. The starch is needed as a thickener, otherwise as in some just-picked recipes, you might have to add flour or, well, corn starch. Just be sure the cobs are still in the husks and there is no sign of dryness. Look for a nice, green wrapper - that's about as fresh as you will get during the winter.

      This recipe is one we spooned on our plates many times during summer and winter, when ever we could get our hands on corn still on the cob. Enjoy!

      Country Creamed Corn

      2 strips smoked bacon, chopped
      1 small onion, chopped
      4 to 6 ears white sweet corn, or another sweet variety
      1/4 cup heavy cream
      1/4 cup sweet milk
      1/2 teaspoon salt
      1/2 teaspoon black pepper
       tad of sugar if needed
        In a bowl, slice corn halfway through the kernel down the length of the cob. Using the back of the knife, scrape the cobs removing the rest of the corn and its milk. Set aside.
        Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the bacon and cook until brown. Add the onions and cook until soft.
        Add the corn in with the bacon and renderings, salt and pepper too. Bring to a simmer and slowly add the cream and milk bringing back to a boil. Taste and add sugar if desired.
        Reduce heat to low, stir to prevent sticking and cook until corn is tender adding more milk if needed. Add butter if desired instead of the bacon grease but whatever you do, add the bacon.

        TIP: As mentioned in my Grandmother's Fried Corn recipe, buy corn as fresh as possible preferably the day of picking. The longer it hangs around, the starchier it will get. That is why older corn is good to use in dishes like fried corn but you won’t get as much natural milk from the ears of older corn and why the cream addition is needed.

        September 19, 2010

        Fire & Ice Tomatoes

        Now here's a taste I grew up enjoying.

        Bobby tells me the farmer's market will soon have the last round of ripe tomatoes before the fall crop ends. I can't wait, it has been a while due to the heat and humidity here that we have enjoyed fresh, homegrown tomatoes. Maybe I'll get some green ones in the mean time and fix up a batch of My Green Fried Tomatoes.
        Until the ripe ones come back around, I'm starting to crave this recipe from my hometown.

        Fire & Ice Tomatoes
        Greenville version

        3/4 cup vinegar
        1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seed
        1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
        1/2 teaspoon red pepper
        1/2 teaspoon salt
        1/3 teaspoon black pepper
        4 1/2 teaspoons sugar
        1/4 cup water
          Heat above ingredients over medium heat for a couple of minutes. In a large bowl layer the following:
          6 fresh tomatoes peeled & quartered or sliced
          1 bell pepper cut into bite size pieces
          1 large onion sliced in rings
          1 cucumber thinly sliced -optional
            Pour the hot marinade over the vegetables, let cool and refrigerate for several hours. Drain vegetables from the liquid before serving.

            Many folks add cucumbers and that's okay. We normally do not.

            From my cookbook Grits to Guacamole

            September 17, 2010

            Chicken with Celery & Mushroom Gravy

            Country cooking with a little help from a Greek...

            No time to go to the store today...  Sometimes you gotta cook what you have on hand especially when your day around the house is already full of tasks. After a quick take of the crisper drawer the other day, I found some celery and mushrooms that needed using and a package of boneless chicken breast in the freezer. Looks like supper is gonna be creative.

            Later that nite...
            Folks, sometimes I amaze myself as this was one delicious chicken dish and the gravy was exceptional. The Greek seasoning was just perfect with the celery gravy as it had all the flavorings I looked for, and that's a good thing 'cause it went well with my country cooking. I served the chicken over rice along side helpings of collard greens, speckled butter beans, fried corn and of course, cornbread. Change out the seasoning if you desire but I'm keeping it in for the next time I make this. And I will make it again... Enjoy!

            Brown the cutlets in oil &
            simmer in gravy for over an hour

            Chicken with Celery & Mushroom Gravy

            3 large boneless chicken breast
            Homemade Greek seasoning or Cavender's
            3 tablespoons olive oil
            3 celery stalks, sliced
            1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
            1/2 cup white wine
            1/2 cup finely diced mushrooms
            2 tablespoons flour
            2 cups chicken stock
              Rinse the chicken and slice horizontally in half. Pat each piece with paper towels to dry. Sprinkle liberally with Greek seasoning.
              Heat the oil in a wide skillet over medium high heat and brown chicken on both sides. I did this in two batches. Remove chicken and all but 2 tablespoons of oil. Add celery and bell pepper. Sauté until tender and deglaze pan with the wine cooking most of it away. Add the mushrooms and flour stirring to cook mushrooms for about a minute. Add the chicken stock and stir until sauce thickens. Add the chicken back into the pan and spoon sauce over to cover. Simmer on low heat uncovered for over an hour or until tender. I left it on for well over an hour and half to let the celery almost melt away.
              Serve over rice, couscous or coarse ground grits.

              September 15, 2010

              5 Cheese Chicken Broccoli Casserole

              For Cheese Lovers Only

              Sometimes a good recipe is just fine. Sometimes a recipe needs a little help, that is, when you need to make it specifically to your liking. And sometimes when you take a good recipe, make the adjustments to suit you, you might as well go for the kill as in gilding the lily so to speak. That is just what I did with this recipe that was perfectly good before I made it better, for me.

              It started out just fine, but I doubled the sauce to make it creamier.  In the original recipe, Parmesan and mozzarella makes up the sauce and more is added to the topping. That's fine, except not cheesy enough for me as it did not not have that big of a burst of cheese flavor I desired.  To add to the sauce, I used provolone to give an added depth of Italian flavor. An American muenster would go in a different direction and I think would be especially flavorful as would any semi-soft cheese with melting qualities. Now to add the gild, I added another two types of cheese after assembly of the casserole: Taleggio and a mild blue cheese, Saga Blue. Taleggio cheese is a creamy Italian cheese that many folks add to a cheese tray at parties as it pairs well with fruit and crackers alike. But it is also very flavorful in casseroles. Italian Gorgonzola dolce cheese I find to be milder than many others and creamier too than say blue cheese or a Roquefort. I think I would like to try the milder one next time around as the Saga blue overpowered, but I also used 2 ounces. If you really love the taste of blue, leave it alone. The two additions were cut into small pieces and randomly place on top of the casserole. I later decided to nestle these deep into the saucy chicken and broccoli laced pasta thus hidden away. What I like about this method is that in varying bites, I experienced various cheese flavors. Bet you could come up with your own favorite cheese medley.

              Here's the results of my madness. Enjoy!

              5 Cheese Chicken Broccoli Pasta
              serves 4
              3 tablespoons butter
              1 garlic clove, minced
              3 tablespoons flour
              1 cup milk
              1 cup cream
              2 cups homemade chicken broth (or canned low-sodium)
              2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese, divided
              1 cup grated Provolone cheese, divided
              1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
              Salt and fresh ground black peppercorns to taste
              8 oz penne rigate (I prefer the mini penne, Piccolini)
              2 cups fresh broccoli florets, slightly steamed (or frozen, slightly cooked)
              2 cups roasted chicken, skinned & boned, torn into large bite size pieces
              1/2 cup Taleggio cheese' cut into chards (Fontina, Gouda or a good white cheddar)
              1 to 2 oz Saga blue cheese, crumbled (a young Gorgonzola or a Brie would be great too)
                In a medium saucepan, melt butter and add garlic sautéing for a minute, stir in flour blending well. Slowly stir in the milk, cream and broth. Stir constantly over medium low heat until mixture thickens and is creamy. As it begins to bubble, remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 cups Mozzarella, 1/2 cup Provolone and the Parmesan cheese until smooth.
                Cook the pasta just under al dente, drain thoroughly and pour into a greased 3-quart casserole dish.
                Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
                Add the broccoli, chicken and cheese sauce to the pasta. Mix well and spread evenly. Randomly place the other two cheese, Taleggio and Blue if using, on top and press these into the pasta mixture. Top the casserole with the remaining Mozzarella and Provolone evenly.
                Bake for about 25 minutes or until sauce begins to bubble and topping is nice and brown. Run under a boiler if needed.

                September 12, 2010

                Grandmother's Peach Cobbler

                Ahhhh.........fresh peaches for late summer loving

                The summer crop of freestone peaches from upstate Chilton County are gone, at least I can't find any but there are still other peaches around. I think I need to catch up with a nice basket of juicy peaches like those grown in upper Alabama.

                This is my Grandmother's recipe, one that everyone has in a collection box but every time I make it, it brings back memories and aromas of her kitchen. 

                Peach Cobbler

                Grandma's summer dessert with sweetie crust

                4 cups fresh peaches (5 to 6 medium) -peeled and sliced
                1 stick butter
                1 1/2 cups sugar -divided
                1 cup all-purpose flour
                1 tablespoon baking powder
                1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
                1 cup milk
                1 tablespoon vanilla

                Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

                In a shallow, rectangular 3 quart dish place butter and melt in oven. Mix peaches in 1/2 cup sugar, let stand.

                Combine in a bowl the remaining sugar, flour, baking powder and cinnamon and then add the milk and vanilla. Pour in baking dish over melted butter - do not stir. Spoon peaches on top of batter - do not stir.

                Bake in oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until center has set and top is golden brown.

                Spoon cobbler into bowls and top with homemade vanilla ice cream.

                Note: Any fruit in season will be just as enjoyable. Use canned fruit in the wintertime, just drain the fruit and adjust the sugar to about a cup.

                Get this recipe and many more in my Grits to Guacamole cookbook, click here.

                September 10, 2010

                'Hot Tamale' Enchilada Casserole

                When you want it a little spicy...

                Folks, this is gonna be a short one ... no rambling today. Been crazy down here and busier than I care to elaborate.

                What's that you say? - oh, you're welcome.

                I love spicy tamales and I love saucy enchiladas. This is my version of a twisted mix-up casserole featuring the flavors of both. Now if you don't care for the extra heat, leave out the black pepper until after simmering the meat sauce together, then add to your liking. Enjoy!

                'Hot Tamale' Enchilada Casserole
                serves 6 to 8 folks

                1 1/2 to 2 pounds lean ground beef
                1 large onion, chopped
                1 cup water
                3 heaping tablespoons chili powder
                1 teaspoon salt
                1 teaspoon minced chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce or chipotle chile powder
                1/2 teaspoon black pepper
                1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
                1/2 cup sour cream
                2 cups Enchilada Sauce, see my Western Sauce recipe or use store bought if you just have to
                10 -8 inch flour tortillas cut into 3/4-inch strips
                1 -15.25 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
                1 -15 oz can black beans, rinsed & drained
                3 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese
                  In a large skillet or wide saucepan over medium heat, sauté beef until no longer pink, drain away any grease and add onions. Cook and sweat the onions for a few minutes and stir in the water, chili powder, salt, chipotle, black pepper and garlic powder. Bring to a boil and simmer on medium heat uncovered for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream.

                  Cover the bottom of a large oblong casserole dish (or two 8-inch dishes if you want to serve half as much at first) lightly with a thin coating of enchilada sauce. Place a layer using a forth of the tortilla strips in the bottom. Sprinkle a third of the meat mixture on top followed with a third of the corn and black beans. Spread evenly and sprinkle 1-cup of cheese on top of this. Pour 1/2 cup enchilada sauce over the cheese. Repeat the layers two more times ending with a layer of tortilla strips. Add remaining cheese and enchilada sauce to cover the top of the casserole.

                  Bake in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until cheese in melted and casserole is bubbly.

                  Serve with sour cream, additional cheese, and jalapeño slices if desired.

                  Note: If making two casseroles, you can cover in foil and freeze for a month. When ready to cook, thaw in the refrigerator for a day and let set out about 30 minutes before placing in an oven. Bake as above.

                  September 8, 2010

                  Pork Medallions with Pluots

                  Just call me
                  Bubba High-Brow

                  This post goes out to two friends living up in Ohio and to their readers on Cocina Savant where you will always find fabulous food, innovated cookery and outstanding reads of their life journey.

                  Now folks, by now you know I’m a southern boy, with decent aptitude when I put my mind to it. Still I am far from an intellect of worldly knowledge in prose, of possessing poetic skills as in writing for the high-brow and certainly not clever enough to ever try and pull off anything other than who or what I am. Philosophical pundit I am not. Some of you also know I write pretty much the same as I talk, which is, bastardizing the English language grammatically as best I can all with a drawn-out, dripping southern drawl often with an added remark that probably has no rats-ass bearing.  There was a time I knew better, but with age comes a slipping sloppiness in grammar and, well, there’s no turning back now. And I hope most of you are able to follow what I am saying even though many times what I do convey isn’t always what I mean. I mean, I know what I’m talking about, sometimes it just doesn’t come out so.

                  So when I do run across someone with great writing style, someone who has the ability to put words in a rhythmical order that plays out like a lyrical sonata, I am in awe and read word for word mesmerized as though I am on Prozac, or a darn tootin’ good horse tranquilizer. The marriage of two great minds is the works of Cocina Savant. Daniel and Dawn are not only eloquent writers but visionaries in creating food fare beyond anything my meager mind could imagine. Separately, each concocts recipes and dishes in such a revelation that I am always shocked with their vision. Together, this couple infuses words and ingredients that is mind boggling.

                  I know of no other way in describing these two than in their own words.

                  Daniel on his madden method of cooking:
                  “You know that my cooking if far from straight-lined with a veering toward outlandish fusion and rarely sticking to the flavor profiles and ingredients of a central area. It is the child in a candy shop affect, what can I say. My mind starts running wild through ingredients that would tasty heavenly in a dish and then the Aristotelian logic side says that ingredient has nothing to do with said dish. Back and forth they go sometimes like bad step children until one- usually the tougher more agile creative side says why not use shiitake mushrooms in a summer dish of sauteed rapini and orechiette and while you are at it place some fried zucchini strings on top for the added crunch.”

                  Dawn on meat in the southern diet:
                  “Meat in the South is something like what Marx was seeing when he noticed workers consuming their work with reckless abandon. But, where Marx went wrong, Southern food does it right by showing that when one is caught up in a whirlwind of tradition or work, enjoyment is often the crux of that tradition. You could say the two correlate in the fact that Southern food has been so greatly influenced by African, Cajun, Creole, Cuban, and Irish customs as well as by necessity that necessity itself is often attributed to the most similar cultural influence that can be found just as day to day work is oftentimes descended from an enjoyment in one's occupation. The notion of meat not being the center of every meal, in my book, is quite a healthy and conscious decision these days and one not too decentralized from the dishes I hold so dear like cornbread utilizing a light coating of vegetable oil for lubrication, creamy cheese grits, and even the glories of buttermilk biscuits.”

                  So here is a recipe I concocted, as intellectual as I get folks with just enough southern flavor for Dawn and one I made especially for my two friends. Enjoy!

                  Noisettes de Porc aux Pluots
                  -Pork Médaillons with Pluots
                  Serves 4 to 6

                  2 pounds pluots or plums
                  1 cup white wine, like a White Zinfandel or White Merlot
                  1.5 to 2 pound pork loin center-cut filet, cut into 6 buttons
                  Salt and freshly ground peppercorns
                  3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
                  1/2 cup chicken broth
                  1/2 cup whipping cream
                  2 teaspoons red currant jelly
                    Wash each pluot, cut in half and remove seed. Slice each half into thirds. Place in a saucepan and add wine. Bring to a low simmer; turn off heat and let set for 2 to 4 hours. Drain fruit reserving the liquid.

                    Sprinkle pork buttons with salt, pepper and flour. Sauté pork in the butter until brown on both sides and remove to a plate. Remove most of the fat from the pan and add the pluot flavored wine. Bring to a brisk boil and cook until almost all is cooked away. Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil and then add the pork buttons. Cover and reduce heat, gently simmering for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender.

                    Remove the buttons to a plate, add the cream and bring to a boil scraping up any brown bits. Cook stirring often until slightly thickened. Stir in the jelly until dissolved, add the pluots and bring back to a simmer. Taste for seasoning and cook 5 minutes. Arrange buttons on serving dish with the pluots and spoon the sauce over the top.

                    September 5, 2010

                    Roasted Corn, Jicama & Mango Salad

                    Salad Time is a Good Time

                    This recipe is one I am including in a Mexican cookbook, another work in progress tentatively called My Mexican Cookery, and probably publishes after I finish the Bayou-Creole one that I can never get back to working on... The recipe is a redo of one I found on the internet and has a delightful tropical taste reminiscent of summer days sunning, eating and drinking on Mexican beaches.
                    Roasted Corn, Jicama and Mango Salad
                    Serves 8 to 10

                    4 ears fresh corn -not shucked
                    1 medium avocado, diced
                    1 large jicama -peeled & thinly julienned
                    1 ripe mango -peeled & chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
                    1/2 red onion -thinly sliced
                    12 to 14 cherry tomatoes
                    2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
                    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
                    2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
                    1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
                    2 teaspoons sugar
                    Dash hot sauce
                    1/2 cup olive oil
                    Salt pepper

                      Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

                      Place the ears of corn on a baking sheet and put into the oven for 45 minutes.

                      Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette by combining the lime juice, orange juice, orange zest, sugar and hot sauce. Whisk while slowly adding the olive oil. Add cilantro, salt and pepper to taste and whisk until combined.

                      Remove corn and let cool. When the corn has cooled, remove hush and silks and stand it on its end. Using a sharp knife, run the blade down the cob to cut the kernels off.

                      Toss the jicama, mango, red onion, tomatoes and cilantro in a large mixing bowl. Add the cooled corn and toss with the vinaigrette. Fold in the avocado. Chill until ready to serve.

                      September 2, 2010

                      BBQ Rib & Pork Rub, Bourbon Mopping Sauce and Bourbon BBQ Sauce

                      meaty country style ribs

                      A holiday weekend perfecct for a cookout hoorah

                      Let’s make the most of it.
                      Happy Labor Day weekend to all . . .

                      I thought it would be a great time to share the recipes that I have tweaked and worked on some this past summer. It is another trio in outdoor cooking with pork – the 3 steps to insure mouth-watering ribs, shoulder roasts and even chops. I am a believer in using a rub and mopping sauce. As for the BBQ sauce, most of the time I like my ribs dry, that is, without any sauce. I think if the rub and mopping solution are working together in producing tasty and moist ribs, that’s all I need. But a lot of folks like a sauce so this is one that accompaniments pork rather well. Actually, I do sometimes like to just glaze ribs with just enough sauce to make them happy and to tell them I was thinking of it. These are different from a post that has been popular this summer for many of you, BBQ Rib Rub & Mopping Sauce. This is different in a whole ‘nother taste, not as sweet but with a savory blend that goes well  with my favorite ingredient, bourbon. Maybe this post will make a few of you happy too.

                      Now the rub is great for all pork. It makes a fine seasoning addition to roasts when cooking pulled pork or meats for slicing and I like it on pork steaks and, like the photo today, country style ribs too. A rub has a lot to carry, I mean, it has to provide flavor to the meat and in most BBQ circles, the rub is the most important aspect of the seasonings. I like this one ‘cause it is savory with just enough spices to round out a terrific flavor for gilled and smoked meats.

                      As for the mopping solution, this again is an important part in cooking pork on a grill or smoker. The mopping sauce helps keep the meat moist and adds a thin layer of savory flavor while preventing dryness. This sauce has a lot going, but here again, all is necessary especially for folks like me. This is why for some of us ribs will not need a sauce; this is like a finishing baste in its own right. The acidity of the vinegar is important in helping the other ingredients and flavorings to absorb deeply into the meat. Plus, I like the somewhat tartness with the bourbon and the sweet taste of the southern barbequed flavor it gives to pork.

                      Like I said, the Bourbon BBQ Sauce is one to have in passing around for folks who like ribs wet, slathered in a pleasing sauce that will complement the layered flavors of the rub and mopping solution. It is a great sauce for all pork, makes a fine sauce for pulled or chopped pork and like many sauces, it is good with chicken too. Together, this is a prized trio that I am quite happy with, if I may say so myself. Enjoy!

                      BBQ Rib & Pork Rub

                      1/2 cup paprika
                      1/4 cup garlic powder
                      1/4 cup brown sugar
                      3 tablespoons black pepper
                      2 tablespoons mild chili powder (or hot if you want more heat)
                      2 tablespoon smoked chili powder  

                      2 tablespoons onion powder
                      2 tablespoons salt
                      1 tablespoon celery salt
                      1 tablespoon dried oregano
                      1 tablespoon cumin
                      2 teaspoons dried thyme
                      2 teaspoons dry mustard

                      2 teaspoons ground coriander
                      1 teaspoon ground allspice
                      1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

                      Mix ingredients in a small blender or whisk well until well combined. Store up to 6 months in an airtight container.
                      Sprinkle on pork with a light to moderate coating, generously for the larger cuts of meat and for well seasoned flavor. Let set for an hour before grilling. I like to place the meat on direct heat for just a short time to set up the rub and then move to indirect heat for the remaining cooking time. You do not want to burn the rub.

                      Bourbon Mopping Sauce for Pork

                      3/4 cup Southern Bourbon or Whiskey
                      3/4 cup apple juice
                      1/2 cup ketchup
                      1/2 cup cider vinegar
                      1/2 cup dark brown sugar
                      1 tablespoon lemon juice
                      2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 1 teaspoon garlic powder
                      2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
                      1/2 teaspoon salt
                      1/2 teaspoon pepper

                      Stir the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for about 20 minutes. Allow to meld for another 20 minutes.
                      Use on pork after about half way in cooking time. Use a mop; do not brush on, as you do not want to remove the rub. If you do not have a mop – make one with an old cloth tied to a dowel. Mop with the sauce often as the meat appears to dry out. When meat is done, wrap in heavy foil and steam on indirect heat for another 15 to 30 minutes depending on type of meat.
                      Note: Make this a few days in advance so the flavors will come together. Store in the refrigerator.

                      Bourbon BBQ Sauce for Ribs & Pork

                      1/2 onion, chopped
                      4 cloves garlic, chopped
                      1 teaspoon minced Serrano or jalapeño, if desired
                      3/4 cup bourbon or whiskey
                      2 cups ketchup
                      1/4 cup dark cane syrup
                      1/4 cup tomato paste
                      1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
                      1/3 cup cider vinegar
                      2 tablespoons liquid smoke flavoring
                      1 teaspoon lemon juice
                      1/4 cup packed brown sugar
                      1/2 tablespoon salt
                      1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
                      1/3 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
                      Place the onion, garlic, Serrano if using and bourbon in a blender. Pulse to liquefy. Pour mixture into a large saucepan; bring mixture to a boil and simmer over medium-low heat uncovered for 10 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring back to a boil. Stir and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes.
                      Note: Store in the refrigerator any that is left over.