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.

June 24, 2012

Grilled Summer Pork Ribs

Full of summertime BBQ flavors

If you follow me often or know of my outdoor cooking ways then you know I most often use a rub on just about every piece of meat that hits the grate. Well folks, today it's all about the mop or sop as some like to call it.

I have many times preached the need and benefits of what I consider the three essentials in good BBQ or grilled foods. That is marinade, rub and mop. Some instances the need for a fourth, the glaze will appear in a recipe but most of my cooking ideas tend to be flavorful enough that I rarely use a BBQ sauce or glaze. Of course, it just depends on the meat and the recipe. I mean, you can't have sticky sweet ribs without a dripping sauce, right?

The recipe today is a little sweet but it does not come off the grill with a dripping sauce. And it consists of using only one of the four elements but in two ways. The marinade tenderizes the meat, soaks in flavor while resting in the refrigerator and then with a little additions (and recooking to rid bacteria) it is used as the mop to keep the ribs moist, succulent and doing what a mop does -mop on more flavor. Enjoy!

Ever Lovin' Summer Ribs
4 to 6 servings

2 slabs of pork ribs, I like St. Louis style
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed oregano
2 bay leaves, broken
1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
1 cup cold grapefruit juice
1/2 cup cold orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
additional citrus juices and vinegar
honey and marmalade of choice

In a small saucepan, heat vinegar, sugar, red pepper, cumin, garlic and onion powders, black pepper, oregano, bay leaves and ginger over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture is simmering. Remove from heat and allow marinade to cool about 5 minutes.

Remove the silver skin from the underneath side of the ribs pulling it away from the rib area. Wash the ribs and pat completely dry with paper towels. Place ribs in a large pan or dish to marinade. I like to cut the each slap in half to ease in grilling, but that's just a personal thing.

Add the cold grapefruit and orange juice to the marinade along with the lemon juice. Stir and pour over the ribs.

Allow to marinate refrigerated at least 4 hours or overnight if desired turning a few times.

Grill over low coals or flame until end bones protrude past the meat and a nice, grilled crust forms on the ribs. You may have to move ribs from time to time to a cooler side of the grill if ribs are noticeably burning, especially if your mop is high on sweeteners and this one is today.

Use a similar marinade or the same one as I did today in keeping the ribs moist and flavorsome. If using the same marinade, allow mixture to come to a rolling boil and boil for 5 minutes adding more juices and vinegar to end up with about 2 cups for a mopping solution. I also add a bit of honey and a good spoonful of pineapple or orange marmalade for a really exciting summery mouthful.

For those of you unfamiliar, this is a mop solution and mop, respectively. 

June 19, 2012

Grilled Boston Butt Roast

Slice it, Shred it, Pull it - it's all Good Pork

It is so great to have friends. Folks that I have never met in person but hopefully will someday. Fine people I know simply from sharing recipes on this site. Larry is one of many standout folks who many of you know over on his blog Big Dude's Eclectic Ramblings.

I received recently a whopping jar filled to the brim with a most beautiful rub from his kitchen, a prize just for visiting his blog. Now the first thing I did after opening the box was to unscrew the lid and stick my finger right in. Yup, I just couldn't help it, I had to taste Larry's creation. Right away, I knew he was on to something great. Now I seem to make a rub for just about every occasion or mood, every type of meat or cuisine, and in reality, all of my rubs are versatile in use. I mean, my list includes Ancho Chili, Bay Seasoning, BBQ Pork Rub, one for Texan Brisket, a Chili Rub for steaks, then there's Delta Dust, Butcher's Rub, Fish Rub, Herbs de Provence, Kabob Seasoning, Manale Spice for shrimp and seafood, and don't forget there's one for Mexican, Poultry, Ribs, several different ones for steaks and a few more for pork too. Yup, I tend to like making rubs.

Now I think Larry is on to something. You see, the jar he sent me contained what he simply called 'Chili Powder.' He also included a list of the ingredients in his recipe but more importantly, he listed the things not in the recipe, things that I could adjust to suit my cooking choice of foods. Now I think that is brilliant. Create a good base and add additional spices to suit the meal. Not in his blend is salt, black pepper or cayenne. Very interesting Larry and as you say 'it just makes sense.'

I happened to have a shoulder roast fresh from market and I knew that a good pork roast would be just the right choice to try out his Chili Powder. (Yeah, not exactly chili, but it's hot as all dickens down here. A bowl of chili will have to wait.) I added only two ingredients to his blend as it contained everything else I would want in my recipe, even more that would only improve the taste of the pork together with a BBQ mopping sauce. Now don't feel bad if you do not have a jar of Larry's secret Chili Powder. Use your own or use one of my many pork rubs. This is what I did. Enoy!

Big Dude's Chili Rubbed Boston Butt
Larry's spice mix and comments are at the end of this recipe

1 -9 to 10 pound Boston Butt Pork Roast
1/3 cup Larry's Chili Powder or rub of choice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

Basic Mop
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup apple cider juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry yellow mustard

Rinse the roast under running water and drain. Pat completely dry with paper towels and place on a tray or pan. Mix the rub (in my case, the chili powder, brown sugar and black pepper) together really well. On the sides of the roast, cut slits into the meat with a small knife and sprinkle heavily with rub mixture forcing some into the slits. Do not puncture the top or bottom.

Coat the entire roast with the rub reserving any left-over mixture to use toward the end of cooking. Allow roast to come to room temperature before cooking.

In a saucepan over medium heat, add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover and simmer on low for 5 minutes. This is your mopping solution for the pork roast.

Now, you can cook your roast however you like - on the cool side of a grill or in a smoker. Be sure to use a pan or box of wood chips for a really fine outdoor taste. Keep the lid closed the first hour and as much as possible thereafter. Baste with the mopping solution after the first hour and until internal temperature reads 175 degrees F. Sprinkle roast with the remaining rub mixture (about 1 good tablespoon) and wrap roast in several layers of heavy foil. Continue cooking until the temperature reaches 193 if you want pulled pork. Pull, shred, or slice and serve 'as is' or with a favorite BBQ sauce.

For cooking directions, you can find how I did another roast here and also find one of my pork rubs.

Here's what Larry said of his recipe in an earlier post:
"It contains the following dried ingredients: chipotle chile powder, ancho chile powder (home grown if I have it), garlic powder, cumin, Mexican oregano, paprika, onion powder, cilantro, and thyme.  It contains no salt, pepper, or cayenne as I like to add them to the chili to taste.  I also see it as a base to build from by adding more of some of the ingredients, or other ingredients, to suit your taste."

June 15, 2012

Grilled Snapper with Lemon Shrimp and heirloom Tomato Salad

A big O
... as in  
Oh yes.

There is nothing finer than sweet local shrimp fresh from the waters of Mobile Bay, mild, delicate fillets of deep water red snapper from the Gulf of Mexico and succulent garden fresh tomatoes right from home gardens. And all of this happens right now along the coast of Alabama and in homes like ours during the first weeks of June. Another marvelous taste experience happening in our house as well as around the country is the enjoyment of fine goods from the folks at O Olive Oil of California.

The O Performance on the Grill
All O Olive Oils are harmoniously crushed with varying citrus unlike infused oils which until now, is all I knew anything about citrus oils. Their method of pressing the two together creates a natural sugar content and because of this, the oils have a much lower burn temperature. Most folks use these fine oils as a finishing oil meaning it is normally used 'as is' drizzled on foods or incorporated into a vinaigrette and served accompanying a paired vinegar, which is what I did in the tomato salad. But I wanted to push the oil further and use it in grilling recipes and in order to do so, I knew I had to shield it from burning and protect it from loosing its delicate flavor. The shrimp did exceptionally well using the oil as a marinade and by cooking on medium heat with

June 11, 2012

Boneless Chicken Thighs a la Drick

The secret is the mushroom caper sauce mingling with the spices.

Y'all know what I do, I mean here, on this site. Many of the recipes I like to share with you are steeped in traditional cookery centering on our locale, it's history and lore. The ones from my kitchen, ones that are mine, well, sometimes I get a little inventive but that is what I do. I am a recipe writer. Now, most of the time coming up with a post title is the easiest part of it. The one today I suppose reflects a bit of me; southern fried with a refined Creole flair. Actually the recipe is more like 'lightly sautéed, French Basque'. But the south is full of a little bit of everything, a melding pot of all who entered into Mobile Bay by first Prince Madoc ab Owain Gwynedda (Madoc) from Wales back in the early 1170’s and later Desoto of Spain who battled the Mobilla (Mobile) Indians. Oh yeah, the French later arrived and made somewhat peace with the locals.

June 8, 2012

O Olive Oil and O Vinegar Review

O is for 'Oh my goodness, it doesn't get any better than this.'

O Meyer Lemon Olive Oil came to me as a godsend - really folks, at a time when my garden started overproducing heirloom tomatoes. Accompanying the sweet aromatic citrus oil was a wonderful bottle of O Pinot Noir Vinegar and I knew the two together would create a harmonious pairing of delightful flavors complementing the sweet and tartness of the varying tomatoes. The taste was incredible and actually it is the beautiful paring of the O oil and vinegar that set off the tomatoes.

This time of year along the Gulf Coast is also a time that we enjoy the opening season of two my favorite seafood: Deep gulf water red snapper and our local brown shrimp. Now when you combine all of these fine foods together, you got yourself one fine mess of a meal. And for you folks who don't know the lingo that means good as in, it don't get any better. More of this to come in a future post but first, a little bit more about the exciting flavor of O Olive Oils and Vinegars.

What appeals to me about the O brand is comparable to The Olive Oil Source opinion, the fact that the oils are not flavored nor infused after the fact like most olive oils and no extracts or artificial flavors are added. O was the first in the US to crush organic citrus with olives to produce its signature line of oils which starting in 1995. Using only organic citrus, olives are cold-pressed together in producing the finest quality in extra virgin oils. O Olive Oil products have won 13 NASFT (National Association of Specialty Food Trades) Sofi Awards including Best Product and Best Design. O Olive Oil is one of the few remaining vinegar makers in this country using the old world Orleans method of natural aging in wood barrels. The vinegars and oils are in the kitchens of Jacques Pepin, Charlie Trotter, Michael Mina, Wolfgang Puck, Charlie Palmer, Cat Cora, Tom Colicchio and now in my kitchen as well as many other households.

I learned a lot of facts just visiting the O Facebook page and because I 'liked' them, I can now keep up with their interesting and informative cooking ideas. Also, from time to time, I will see notices of offers and special sales from fine folks like Whole Foods who are now promoting O during the month of June. On the Facebook page, I learned the Meyer Lemon Olive Oil I received came from an orchard that is 100% solar- powered and that is where I learned the 100% organic lemons are crushed with Mission olives which to me gives it such a brilliant intensity of flavor and the delicate yet very aromatic bouquet.

What I liked about the O oil and vinegar is how well it emulsifies together unlike any olive oil and vinegar I have ever used. That is because by pressing the citrus with the olives, natural sugars bond together creating ability for the oil to infuse with the vinegar. And in turn, the pressed method creates a taste that is much deeper in flavor than the simple infused oils lining the grocer's shelves. You really can taste the difference. The taste of the vinegar comes from the Napa Valley Pinot Noir that is aged to perfection in white oak barrels. The flavor is refined and complex with a hint of California black cherries, rose petals and cinnamon. Both oil and vinegar are of excellent quality.

The Heirloom Tomato Salad at right is featured in an upcoming recipe and will be paired with Grilled Shrimp and Red Snapper. All three recipes are heighten by the marvelous O oil and vinegar. I cannot wait for you to experience this with me. The flavor of the O Olive Oil with the mingling taste of lemon is a mellow contrast to the flavorsome, aged O Pinot Noir wine vinegar. Together, it is a pairing perfect for tossing with so many food items and particularly rides well with the fresh taste of these garden tomatoes and herbs.

Now, lastly I want to share one more fabulous find some of you may not know about, It is such a great site to find recipes and if you are a recipe writer/blogger like me, you will appreciate the ease of its use. is all about food -  from ideas others are making, collecting recipes and to posting your own in sharing with others. It is such a great way to find fine cooking folks who have a passion for food and a great way for them to follow your endeavors.

Thanks to O Olive Oil and for allowing me to sample and experience this fine product in order to compete in a contest and for a chance to win a prize (see details and contestants). I was not compensated other than the oil and vinegar. All opinions are all me.

June 3, 2012

Deep Dish Breakfast Pie

Southern Style Egg Bake

Rarely do I have, er, take time to experiment with a breakfast meal, take photos and remember to write down the recipe. This weekend I did just that in remaking a classic casserole I have made numerous times before, but this time in a deep round casserole rather than a shallower, oblong one. It was fun to see the results.

The photos show how it came out of the oven however, the recipe reflects what I will do next time I make it deep-dish, and there will be a next time. How did I change it from my original notes? I cut back on the cream as the egg mixture was too liquid and took too long to set. And, I reduced the oven temperature during cooking as from experience, I know a deep-dish quiche takes longer time to cook than my normal egg casserole. I also added a bit of cornstarch to the cream which in the past helped firm up a custard without created a tough, sagging egg filling.  Enjoy!

Southern Deep Dish Breakfast Pie
4 servings

1 -8 oz can Crescent rolls
1 -6 inch length smoked sausage
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup half-and-half
1  teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of cayenne
2 scallions, diced
1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
5 eggs
1 cup shredded cheese (I used mild Cheddar and Fontina)
minced cooked bacon, if desired
1 small ripe tomato, sliced into 4 cross-sections

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Dice the sausage into quarter-inch cubes. Heat a small saute pan over medium heat and add the sausage. When sizzling, add the bell pepper cooking until sausage browns and peppers are wilted. Remove and set aside.

Very lightly spray a 2-quart casserole with cooking spray, bottom and sides. Place half of the crescent dough (4 triangles making 1 square) into the bottom and pinch seams to close any openings. Separate the remaining 4 triangles and press along the sides of the casserole making sure each edge meets with the square in the bottom of the casserole. Pinch seams to close. Stretch if needed the dough up the sides. Allow the four ends to hang over the edge.

In a bowl, whisk the cornstarch with about 3 tablespoons of the the half-and-half until blended, then whisk in the remaining half-and-half. Whisk in the salt, pepper, cayenne, scallions and oregano followed with the eggs until smooth.

Place the sausage mixture into the casserole followed with the cheese and bacon if desired. Pour the egg mixture on top. Place the four slices of tomatoes, preferably in between the overhanging ends of dough. Pull the ends of the dough to the middle of the pie.

Place a piece of foil loosely over the top and place casserole in the center of the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook 10 minutes. Remove foil and cook 5 to 10 minutes until center is set and crust is brown.