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 30, 2012

Recipe for Canning Sweet Pickles

Bread and Butter 
for a reason

I come from a long line of canning fanatics and that is a good thing. As I spoke with my sister last week, she told of her summer days hovering over jars filled with all kind of garden produce that will be enjoyed throughout the year. Quarts and pints of every vegetable imaginable. And as I thought of her, it reminded me I had not posted this recipe for a most delightful sweet pickle which I put up almost a month ago.

The recipe is from our dear Aunt Tac, a distant cousin actually to my Grandmother Elsie Lee who both resided in Greenville AL. She called them Sweet Pickles but around our house we did and still do refer to 'em as Bread and Butter, cause that is what they taste like. To my knowledge, sweet pickles uses spices like cloves, cinnamon and allspice whereas bread n butter ones do not. Hers is a tried and true recipe that produces a sweet, crisp pickle with a twangy hint of spiced vinegar that makes this type of pickle so darn well liked by many. As the saying goes, 'you can't eat just one.'


Aunt Tac's Sweet Pickles
makes about 8 pints

  • 4 quarts or about 7 pounds pickling cucumbers
  • 2 large white onions
  • 1/3 cup pickling salt
  • 2 quarts crushed ice
  • 5 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large garlic cloves, halved
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons celery sead
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seed
  • 3 cups distilled vinegar (5% acid)
  • 1 cup cider vinegar

Wash and clean the cucumbers and cut into slightly larger than quarter-inch slices. Do not cut too thin as you want them to have a good, crisp bite after setting in the brine. Peel onions and slice vertical into half-inch sections. Place in a large bowl and toss with the salt. Top with the ice, cover with a kitchen towel and let set for 3 hours.

Meantime, begin heating water in your canner and sterilize jars, lids, etc. After the 3 hours, the ice should be melted. Toss the cukes and onions in the water to free up some of the salt and drain really well in a colander.

Combine sugar with remaining ingredients in a large kettle or pot and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the cucumber mixture to the pot and bring brine almost to a simmer. Do not let boil. Pack the hot jars with the cuke mixture and distribute the spices evenly. Make sure a piece of garlic is in each jar. Top with additional distilled vinegar if needed leaving quarter-inch head space. Be sure to wipe the top of the jar clean before placing on the lid. Process in water bath for 12 minutes.

Note: Aunt Ida made a Spiced Sweet Pickle similar to this recipe by adding 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves.

July 27, 2012

Yellow Squash and Zucchini Casserole

By gosh, this squash is kabosh

In other words, I think this casserole is it, the end of wanting to create a better squash dish.

Yes, my quest is over. This casserole has all the tastes I desire and the texture is perfect; the medley of summer yellow squash with zucchini melding into a cheese sauce is the best ever, with hints of celery, onion and garden herbs and topped with crunchy homey goodness, how could it not be?

I have made many squash casseroles, many vary similar to this one, but somehow, this combination of many recipes is truly fine, one I served recently where friends not only agreed how wonderful it really was but asked for the recipe. Now, I know you will love this casserole too with the gardens full of squash this time of year. I also know I cannot wait to make this in the fall and during the holidays. It is that good. Give it a try, if you like squash, you'll love it too. Enjoy!

Squash Medley Casserole
serves 8-10
3 pounds yellow summer squash, washed, ends removed and sliced
1 pound zucchini squash, washed, ends removed and sliced
1/4 cup butter
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 garlic toes, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
1 teaspoon minced fresh basil
salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup sour cream
1 -10.75 oz condensed cream of celery soup
2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
1 1/2 cups crushed butter crackers, divided (corn flakes or saltines are good too)
1 cup French fried onion rings
2 tablespoons melted butter
a couple twists black peppercorns

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray with cooking oil an 9x13 or 3-quart casserole.

Place squash in a small stockpot or large saucepan, cover with water and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Add lid and cook on medium low until squash is tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well in a colander. Mash slightly in the colander pressing to remove as much liquid as possible or spread on paper towels; set aside.

In the stockpot, melt butter over medium heat and add onion. Stir to coat in the butter and sauté until translucent. Add garlic stirring in until fragrant. Remove from heat and stir in the oregano and basil. Add the squash to the stockpot and season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl, mix the sour cream with the celery soup. Mix in 1 1/2 cups cheese along with 1/2 cup of crushed crackers. Fold this mixture into the squash.

Spoon squash mixture into the casserole and scrape pot with rubber spatula making sure to get all soup mixture. Spread out the top and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese on top of casserole.

Combine the remaining cup of crushed crackers with the onion rings and toss with the melted butter. Scatter this mix on top and give the topping a few twists from the pepper mill.

Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes until casserole is bubbly and topping is a nice golden brown. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Note: I often cover with foil the latter 20 minutes of cooking to prevent topping from over browning.

July 21, 2012

El Dorado Tostada Stacks

Ground beef tostada makeover

Before we left for the mountains, I whipped up a favorite weekly food theme in our house - Mexican. We enjoy flavors of Mexican or Texan food at least once a week with many times having it two or three. The hardest part of this recipe is browning the ground beef. The original recipe comes from my Mexican journal and makes a casserole aptly named El Dorado Casserole. I decided to use the same ingredients and make tostadas. Now, many times I will cut in a link or two of chorizo for added flavor but this was a hurried menu and unfortunately, the sausage was frozen. Besides, we had packing to do.

The familiar ingredients for a tostada is the fried corn tortilla, refried beans, meat mixture if desired followed with a topping of fresh lettuce, pico de gallo, avocado and a good dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream. Now, most folks I know can eat at least two, maybe three tostadas, so it only makes sense to stack 'em up, plus if you're really hungry, it looks kinda purty.


El Dorado Tostada Stacks
4 servings
  • 2 chorizo links, casing removed
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno minced, if desired
  • recipe for my Taco Seasoning Mix (or package)
  • 1 -8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 -2 ounce can ripe sliced olives, drained
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) refried beans
  • 4 ounces sour cream or crème fraiche
  • 4 ounces small curd cottage cheese or requesón
  • about 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • 4 ounces fresh pico de gallo (tomato, onion and jalapeno relish)
  • 12 corn Tostadas (precooked tortilla)
  • 4 ounces Monterey Jack Cheese or, Queso manchego shredded
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large skillet, cook the chorizo over medium high heat breaking it up with a spatula as it browns. Add the ground beef crumbling it too and cook until it is no longer pink. Allow to cook until moisture has evaporated and all is left is the little grease from the meats. Add the onion, jalapeno and cook stirring until onion turns translucent. Remove skillet from heat and place the meat mixture in a bowl with a slotted spatula draining away the grease. Wipe the pan with a paper towel.

Return the meat mixture to the skillet and place over medium low heat. Stir in the taco Seasoning, tomato sauce and olives. Cover and allow to come to a low simmer.

Meanwhile, randomly lay the tostadas on a large baking pan and place in the oven. It does not matter if one is on top of another. Allow to heat thoroughly, about 10 minutes while the meat mixture is simmering.

Also, place the refried beans in a bowl and warm in the microwave. Mix the sour creme with the cottage cheese and heat in microwave until it is just warm; put aside.

To assemble right before serving, spread about two teaspoons of the refried beans on each tostada followed with a good tablespoon of the sour creme mixture. Spoon about two tablespoons meat mixture on top and sprinkle each with the Jack cheese. Place a tostada of each of four plates, stack with remaining tostadas making a total stack of three. Sprinkle with lettuce, pico de gallo and a dollop of the sour creme mixture.

July 19, 2012

Country Corn Casserole

Summer corn is 
some kinda sweet eatin'

We look forward to summer. The sheer delight of biting into an ear of fresh picked sweet corn is nothing short of heaven. Fixin' a casserole of it's sweet kernels is something else too. I am revisiting this recipe as I remade it a few weeks ago and I had forgotten how good it is, and easy to make too.

Summertime in the south isn't exactly the best time to heat up the kitchen. I guess that's why at Grandmother's house, the cooking was done in the morning for serving at the noontime meal. We often dined on leftovers for supper. Like many of her recipes of reaching into the cupboard, this is a quick way to make a casserole and has an awesome sweet corn flavor with a nice blend of cheese.

Country Corn Casserole
6 to 8 servings

2 cups fresh corn kernels, 1/2 cup fresh broccoli florets & 1/4 cup red bell pepper julienne (or 1-16 ounce package frozen corn, broccoli and red pepper mix)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
1/4 cup milk
1 1/3 cups coarse crushed butter crackers or saltines

In a saucepan over medium heat, sauté the onion in butter until tender. Add the corn, broccoli and bell pepper. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook about 3 minutes to heat the corn and steam the broccoli.

Add the soup and milk to the saucepan; fold to combine. Add crackers and fold all together well. Spoon into a greased 8-inch baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with additional cheese and bake until top is golden brown.

Note: To make this dish using your own cheese sauce, blend 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour into the sautéed onions and cook for 1 minute. Increase milk to 1/3 cup and stir until thickened. Add in the vegetables cooking for the 3 minutes. Fold in along with 1 cup cheddar cheese.  Add crushed crackers and continue cooking as above.

July 16, 2012

Spanish Style Bean Recipe

Beans that made us go

Gosh darn it, here is another photo of a recipe I took while in progress and one without the final look to it. I couldn't help it, when the beans came out of the oven, we immediately went to town fixin' our plates. And I didn't think another thing about taking a picture. I hope you get the idea of how wonderful these turned out and I guess if you've seen one dish of baked beans ya probably seen a hundred.

Now as you read this, hopefully some time this week, we will be gallivanting around eastern Tennessee and into North Carolina and then to who knows where. With a short stop over in Chattanooga, we'll then head on to pick up the Blue Ridge. Our little Max decided he wanted to see how the Vanderbilt folks lived and tour the mountains. He even picked out what looks to be a very fun filled day-camp facility while we wander around inside the Biltmore. Isn't he the kindest? Oh, and he thinks he wants to go mining too! Whether we head to the coast or into Georgia, I guess only Max will know but hopefully we'll keep ya posted.

Wish everyone a great week and if you get a hankering for some mighty fine tasting, Latin flavored beans, give these a try. I think you'll like them as we certainly do. . . Enjoy!

Spanish Style Beans
about 6 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño, minced
2-3 minced garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 -16 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2  -16 oz cans Ranch Style beans (or seasoned Pintos in sauce), not drained
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
1/4 cup finely minced ham
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3-4 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or lemon juice

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large dutch oven or another type of heavy pot with a lid. When hot, saute onions, bell pepper and jalapeño until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes, Add the garlic, stir and cook until fragrant.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Add the bay leaves, oregano, liquid smoke, beans, paprika, beef bouillon and ham. Add salt and pepper to taste and slowly bring the mixture to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir to incorporate.

Place in the oven and cook for 45 minutes or until mixture is bubbly. Stir in the vinegar mixing all together and sprinkle with the parsley right before serving.

July 13, 2012

Twiced Baked, Double Stuffed Potatoes

from Drick's Rambling Cafe
Recipe for potato bliss

Here's a good ol' recipe for baked potatoes that comes from one similar to The Pillars restaurant formally in Mobile unfortunately now closed. Baked until the starches get just right and whipped with sour cream, cream, butter and all the other good things that make a stuffed potato "over-stuffed."

We love it as one of our sides occasionally on steak night but it is so darn good, I would serve this as a side with many entrées.  It really takes no time at all as if you've made twice baked potatoes then you know that's about as hard as this recipe gets. About the only thing needed is a good stiff whisk and a strong arm, or do like I do and get out the electric hand mixer. It will whip up those potatoes in no time flat...I have added a few of Filippo's original version in parenthesis. Enjoy!

Twice Baked, Whipped Potatoes
for 2 large stuffed potatoes or 4 side servings

3 large baking potatoes
1/2 cup sour cream (he used 1 1/4 cups)
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 strips cooked crisp bacon, crumbled (8 strips)
2 tablespoons finely diced chives or green onion tops (1/2 cup)
fresh minced parsley if desired
3 tablespoons butter,softened
1/4 cup grated mild cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter, melted
extra grated cheddar for topping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Be sure to scrub the potatoes well under running water and remove any blemishes. Take a sharp tip knife and pierce several times deep into the potatoes on all four sides. Place in a baking dish and microwave for 3 minutes on high. if using extra large potatoes, you may want to invert and microwave another 3 minutes as I did. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 1 hour or until soft.

Remove from the oven and immediately make a slice down the top center of each potato. Do not open, just make a cut into the potato. This creates a release of steam making the potato's starches to their thing. Let set about 10 minutes.

Lay a kitchen cloth or paper towel (several thicknesses) in your hand and place potato in your palm. This will alleviate burning your hands, trust me on this one. Either slice each potato in half using 4 halves of the largest for 4 servings or remove the top quarter of the two largest ones if stuffing for 2 hungry folks and cut the third in half. With a spoon, scoop out the flesh of the potato and place in a large bowl being careful not to tear the skin of the shells you will be filling; put good shells aside. Discard the remaining skins.

Beat the potatoes with the mixer until smooth. Add the sour cream and whipping cream. Beat until creamy. Stir in the crumbled bacon, the 3 tablespoons of butter, chives, parsley, cheeses, salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the mixture into the two largest shells (or the four) and place back onto the baking dish. Pile any remaining mixture high onto each potato. Drizzle or brush with the melted butter and sprinkle with additions cheddar cheese. Return to oven and bake for 15 minutes or until they are heated through and the cheese begins to slightly brown.

~Adapted from a recipe of chef Filippo Milone, The Pillars

July 10, 2012

My 7-Up Batter for Seafood & Vegetables

from Drick's Rambling Cafe
All fried but no place to go

Some days are not meant to happen. I mean, we plan for the best, go all out in preparation and can only hope everything ends well. I do hope everyone had a great fourth of July last week.

Our 4th holiday was pretty much all washed up, literally. It rained cats and dogs, a total gully washer. It was one of those downpours whereby I am surprised Dave, our neighbor didn't get the boat out and take a spin around the block. When I say it rained, I mean our entire yard was six inches under water. Now that is not just from the downpour, it's an accumulation of runoff from the many blocks that slowly downgrades to our lovely area of town, and with no help from our city's dilapidated drainage system either. The good thing is that the water does run off pretty fast. That is why all the houses in our garden district are up 3 or 4 foot on piers. You can see photos of our neighborhood and our beautiful park here, on my neighbor's site, From Rome to Home.

We made the best of it. One thing I was determined to do, and I did, was fry up some vegetables to go with our hamburgers. This batter is remarkable, a tempura like but with a ever so slight lemony taste that is so great with fish and shrimp, and amazing with squash, asparagus and eggplant. Yes, we fry just about everything around these parts. I like to do my frying outside on the gas burner. The kitchen is so much nicer without the added grease and house too without the fumes.

Now, in between thunderstorms, I did manage to get the veggies on, hurriedly I might add and the burgers too. I probably overcooked the veggies but the hamburgers were out of sight. Hope you try this batter the next time you feel like frying fish, shrimp, okra, pickles or whatever as it is really a good one. The sparkling effervescence and citrus is what makes this one of my favorites. Enjoy!

My 7-Up Batter for Seafood & Vegetables

1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon onion salt
Salt-free Creole or Cajun seasoning if desired
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons cooking oil
3/4 cup cold 7-Up
Frying oil

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, sugar, soda, baking powder with the salt. Stir in the egg, oil and 7-Up until just mixed. You do not want to over beat the batter. It should be of pancake consistency.

Dip foods in the batter and fry in small batches in hot oil (370 degrees F). Drain on paper towels. Keep fried foods warm in a heated oven by spreading on a baking sheet in a single layer.

Season to taste with salt, pepper or desired seasoning while still hot. Lemon or lime juice squeezed over seafood and vegetables right before servings makes a big difference in taste.

Vidalia onions from the market with Japanese Eggplant and Okra from our garden

July 6, 2012

fresh strawberries in vanilla custard ice cream

Ya can't beat homemade

This is an old, southern way of making ice cream and it is so darn scrumptious, we have to pace ourselves from eating it all up at one sitting. It really is that fine.

To me, there is nothing better than a custard base for ice cream, one that is heavy on egg yolks and heavy cream. One churned the old fashion way with chipped ice and rock salt in an old wooden barrel type ice cream maker. Of course, the model I use is equipped with an electric motor which saves my arm for better things like lifting the spoon to my mouth.

The only improvement I would suggest is using vanilla beans in this recipe; I just didn’t have any on hand so I’m giving you the recipe using extract. The vodka is an added addition as with it, the cream doesn't freeze rock hard.  Enjoy!

Strawberry Custard Ice Cream
about 8 servings

1 1/2 pounds fresh strawberries
1/3 cup plus 3/4 cup superfine sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
juice from 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon
2 large whole eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon strawberry vodka

In a medium bowl, combine the hulled strawberries with 1/3 cup of sugar, salt and the lemon juice. Stir to coat, cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with the 3/4 cup of sugar followed with mixing in the vanilla. Set aside.

Place the milk in the top of a double boiler and over barely simmering water or in a medium saucepan over low heat. I like to use a double boiler when making custards so I do not have to labor or be as attentive as with using a saucepan. Either way will work, just be sure to not let the milk come to a boil. Heat the milk to just under a simmer, bubbles will appear around the outer edges.

Carefully whisk about 1/4 cup of the hot milk into the the bowl of egg mixture whisking all while. Slowly stream the egg mixture into the double boiler (or saucepan) stirring constantly. Cook whisking the custard until the consistency is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Scrape the custard into a large mixing bowl and stir in the heavy cream. Allow to cool for a brief time and refrigerate covered for about 4 hours or until well chilled.

Place the custard into the ice cream canister and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. When the cream is about to set, which should be about the consistency of whipped cream, add the strawberry mixture along with the vodka. Continue until the ice cream is set.

Transfer the ice cream to a sealed container and place in the freezer for about 3 hours to harden.

July 3, 2012

Creamy Key Lime Pie with Berry Topping

Pie for the 4th

Folks, I meant to get this to you earlier to show you what my pie plans were for the Fouth of July, just in case you didn't have one or needed an extra one. I just love a good key lime pie. Nothing sez summertime to me better than a tart lime or lemon dessert, perfect for cookouts and BBQ foods and this pie is just the ticket.

Luscious tart lime flavoring with a frothy, whipped cream topping that is loaded with fresh summer berries, one that screams patriotism - perfect in fact for any national holiday.

Kinda got in the spirit with watching some of the Olympic trials going on and I am so looking forward to the Summer Olympics in London. Lets go USA -  Go Red, White & Blue and lets get to eating a piece or two of this fine spirited pie.


Summer Berry Key Lime Pie
8 servings

1 pre-cooked graham crust or make your own using -
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 tablespoons brown sugar
 1/3 cup granulated sugar

Key Lime Filling:
3/4 cup key lime juice
2 -14 oz cans condensed milk
2 large whole egg yolks

Whipped Topping:
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup sour cream
2 1/2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

Fruit Topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon arrowroot powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon light Karo syrup or honey
2 tablespoons Limoncello or Cointreau
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup sliced strawberries

Make the crust (or use a store-bought like I did for this run-through) by mixing graham crumbs, sugars and butter in a small bowl, hands work fine here. Press firmly into a 9-inch pie plate. Bake in a preheated oven 350 degree F. for about 20 minutes. Remove and allow to come to room temperature.

Lower the oven to 325 degrees F.

Using a mixer, combine the condensed milk, lime juice with the egg yolks until well blended. Pour into the cooled piecrust and bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until center is just about set. (It should still wiggle just a bit.) Remove from oven, let rest 30 minutes and refrigerate for 2 hours to cool down.

Make the whipped topping by beating the whipping cream with wire whisk until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and beat until hard peaks form. Fold in the sour cream. Spoon on top of the key lime pie filling.

For the fruit topping, whisk sugar, arrowroot, salt and water in a saucepan and cook over medium low heat stirring until thickened. Stir in the Liqueur until it thickens again. Let cool or place in a bowl of ice water and stir to hasten the cool down period. Add strawberries and arrange on top of the whipped topping draining the glaze as you go. Add the blueberries and spoon over the strawberries.

Note: Arrange in a flag design, star pattern ... what ever form you desire.

July 1, 2012

My Best Coleslaw Recipe


in a sweet and tart dressing way

I feel the need to apologize. Of all my recipes I have shared, this is one I have not. Shame on me for it is a darn good one, a favorite for cookouts, barbecue shindigs and fish fry suppers as well.

Like so many southern cold salads, with this one you form a base or dressing as we like to call it, by emulsifying oil into a creamy base and layering in flavors that give us that sweet, tart taste making this slaw very rewarding and satisfying.

My Coleslaw

10-12 servings

1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup salad oil
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon grated onion
1 carrot -grated
1 large green cabbage -finely cut

Whisk first four ingredients in a large bowl until sugar dissolves. Stir in the next seven until smooth and then fold in the cabbage and carrots thoroughly to coat with dressing.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.