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.

May 28, 2013

Barbecued Chicken Halves - Brine Recipe

A memorial way to enjoy grilled chicken.

Our family’s favorite way to grill chicken is by using whole chickens cut in half sections rather than quarter sections or cut pieces.  Many times it is hard to find chicken halves in the grocers meat counter.  You can always have your butcher cut them in half for you (which means running through a saw) or you can buy whole chickens and do it yourself.  I use a large meat cleaver to whack down each side of the neck bone all the way down removing the tail as well.  This allows me to flatten the chicken a bit so I can make a good cut through the breastplate and thus cutting the bird in half.  Be sure to remove most fat pockets, unless you like a lot of flare-ups during grilling, and excess skin as well.  From here, its up to you rather to apply a brine or a rub, or maybe both as I many times do.

See How to Barbecue Chicken and Poultry

Today, I am using a good seasoned brine (marinade) and will reduce it down for a sop (mop) as well.  It is one I made up as I went along and if you do so too, be sure to get a good acid/salt to water ratio that will pump in the moisture and flavors. After you let it set in the refrigerator a spell, cook it on the grill as you normally do when grilling chicken.  Or you can see my many recipes and techniques I do if you desire.  Enjoy!

Brine for Barbecue Chicken
for 2 chicken halves

 First make a slurry to heat which will intensify the flavors.  Add to a large bowl:
5 garlic toes, sliced
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Spanish or Hungarian paprika
2 teaspoons Sazon Completa (which contains the salt)
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1/4 teaspoon ground bay leaves
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

Heat in the microwave for 2 minutes. Stir to mix and add:

2 cups ice water
2 chicken halves placing meat side down.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Remove chicken to a pan meat side up and sprinkle with a light dusting of Sazon Completa. Let chicken set out for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the brine to a large saucepan and heat to a boil.  Reduce to low and simmer until liquid reduces to about 2 cups.

Stir in 1/3 cup ketchup (and 1 teaspoon liquid smoke if desired). Allow to simmer for a few minutes and remove from heat.

Use this sop to mop on the chicken as it cooks. Use all of the sop and place the garlic on top the last 10 minutes of cooking if desired.

May 21, 2013

Roasted Green Beans and Vidalias with Apple Reduction

Perfect Side Dish for Entertaining.

There are so many good side dishes we are enjoying this time of year thanks to just harvested, fresh vegetables. So many of which go well with our favorite pastime; that is time spent on the patio while grilling or barbecuing. This dish along with a good cold, creamy pasta or potato salad, and maybe roasted corn, is about all we need to serve while enjoying our love for outdoor entertaining,

I have made a similar reduction before or a recipe using similar ingredients in a gravy for fried pork chops. This time, I chose to make it (less calorie redux) for a flavorful addition using two of my favorites this time of year: Fresh green beans and Vidalia onions. Enjoy!

Roasted Green Beans with Sweet Vidalia Onions
and served with a wonderful Southern Apple Reduction
4 servings

1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1/2 Vidalia or sweet onion, sliced into vertical strips
2 garlic toes, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 sweet cooking apple, such as Gala, peeled and 1/4-inch diced
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
pinch of sugar or Splenda
1 tablespoon margarine
1 tablespoon real bacon bits, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Wash the green beans, pat dry and for ease, cut with kitchen shears into 1 1/2-inch lengths. Place into a bowl along with the onions and garlic. Toss with the olive oil and add a little salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes or until beans wilt and begin to roast. Do not let the garlic burn. Remove to a serving dish and keep warm.

Meanwhile, place apple, chicken stock, vinegar, thyme, paprika and Splenda in a small saucepan and heat over medium high. Reduce down to about 1/4-cup; remove from heat and strain sauce into a small bowl mashing the solids with the backside of a spoon to render as much sauce as possible. Discard the solids. Add sauce back to saucepan and reduce to about 2 tablespoons. Add margarine and when heated, remove from heat.

Before serving, drizzle sauce over green beans and sprinkle with bacon bits if desired. Serve immediately.

recipe by +drick perry

May 15, 2013

Spinach Stuffed Catfish or Tilapia Roll

Uptown Catfish.

Much earlier in time, way back in my youth, as oppose to now-a-days living here in the 'big' city, I grew up in a small town atmosphere where life was ever so simple, or so it seemed as a child. I remember, even though we used the term 'city' to describe the town, it was not; think along the lines of a metropolis Mayberry. The town's main commerce pretty much consisted of the central street running from the train depot and underpass to the courthouse up on the hill. Now, down the hill near the depot were many stores including my uncle's hardware store and across the street was one of our favorite eateries that served many of the townsfolk. I remember several birthday parties there as well as many lunches with Uncle 'Punch' and my Grand-daddy 'Cotton'. This area of course was known as downtown. And, up on the hill, near the courthouse and county's governing seat was another uncle's storefront and across from that, a corner eatery where I too enjoyed many lunchtime meals. This of course was called uptown and there were storefronts lining the street there too, but also many lawyers and 'uptown' folks. And right dab in the center, conveniently located for everyone was the local bank. Now I must mention that to get from downtown to uptown took all of five minutes; walking that is. It was much faster in a car, including being held up at the stop-lights.

I also remember pretty much everyone in the city eating fish on Friday's. I am not for sure why, it wasn't because of religion, not that we were not a religious town, just not Catholic. Grandmother normally served bream like bluegill or shellcracker, or what-ever had been caught and stored in the freezer. Momma liked the newfangled fish-sticks. At the restaurants we enjoyed catfish and most always it was prepared fried. I suspect if we ever saw anyone serving poached or broiled fish, why, we would probably think they done gone 'uptown'.

This recipe is actually a really healthy option and you can prepare it any day of the week, not just on Fridays. Each serving contains only about 9 carbs and if you use tilapia, you can cut it down to about 4 carbs per serving. Enjoy!

Catfish and Spinach Roll
4 servings (or halve the recipe as I did for 2)

4 catfish fillets (about 4 oz ea)
1 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 garlic toes, minced
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
11 oz package fresh baby spinach
1 teaspoon wine vinegar (I used O Pinot Noir)
Salt-free seasoning (like Mrs. Dash) or seasoning to taste (I also like whole-grain mustard here too)
fresh black pepper to taste
4 oz low-fat feta cheese, cut into 4 pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a dish for baking by oiling with extra light olive oil.

Soak the fish fillets in the milk for at least an hour in the refrigerator, not more that three.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and saute the garlic until fragrant. Add the bell pepper and cook to soften. Add the spinach and cook stirring occasionally until spinach is just wilted. Remove from heat and sprinkle with the wine vinegar and salt-free seasoning. Toss to mix flavors.

Drain milk from fillets and pat dry with paper towels. Place one fillet in baking dish and lightly sprinkle with pepper. Add a slice of cheese in the center and add one-fourth of the spinach mixture on top of the cheese. Roll up the fillet and secure with a toothpick. Place seam side down in dish and repeat until finished rolling all fillets.

Bake in the oven about 20 minutes or until flesh is tested done with a fork. The fish should be firm all the way through and flakes easily with the fork. Remove and garnish with lemon. I like to plate and add a squeeze of lemon over the fish.

Afterthought: Why soak in milk? It's like saying "yes ma'am" to the ladies, I mean, it's just the way I was taught. I was told it made catfish 'sweeter' and truth-be-known, buttermilk is the norm.

May 6, 2013

Sautéed Spinach

Stewed, Sautéed or Wilted, it all taste good.

This is a very easy recipe that I like to make, not only because is it low in fat and calories, but also 'cause it is so darn tasty. Yes, as you read it, it does have a smidgen of butter, but ya gotta use it if you want the spinach to absorb and pick up the essence of this recipe, and that is the wonderful simple, yet fantastic flavors.

Now you can trim the ends of spinach if you like; I know, it makes for one fine, silky tasting experience, but I do not at times, it does not bother me one bit. And for the best ever taste, cook this right before serving, dishing it right out of the skillet while steaming hot and not covering it with a lid as doing so causes it to wilt even more, at it did for me last night as I finished another dish. However, wilting it down so didn't change the taste one bit. Enjoy! 

Sautéed Spinach
about 4 servings

1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 onion, chopped
2 or 3 sweet red mini peppers, sliced or 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic toes, smashed and diced
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 pound baby spinach, washed and patted dry
seasoning blend to taste (I use Badia complete)

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and saute the onion until crisp tender, about 2 minutes. Add the mini sweet peppers and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Stir in the vinegar and mustard.

Increase heat to medium high. Add the spinach and saute until it wilts down just a bit, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and season to taste. Stir to fully incorporate. Serve immediately or cover and keep warm but doing so will result in something like stewed spinach.

May 3, 2013

Southern Stir-Fry Vegetables

Complete all-in-one meal that satisfies.

Good any time of the year and especially when vegetables are young and tender, garden fresh, this recipe is so easy, so good and affordable too. Most items are in the 'fridge and pantry anyway so there should not be too much to add to your shopping list. Chocked full of flavor and vitamins, this recipe is not to bad in carbs if you use turkey sausage and margarine, that is, compared to my original way.

This meal comes together really fast once you get to cooking so it is important to have vegetables and sausage sliced and ready before starting to cook. It is also important to have vegetables cut in uniform size so each cooks just right.


Southern Stir-Fry Vegetables
A very satisfying plate of fresh vegetables with good ol' Southern flavor.
2 large meal servings or 4 sides

1/2 pound smoked Conecuh (mild or spicy) sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices - or use turkey sausage to reduce fat
1 to 2 tablespoons extra light olive oil
1 cup trimmed green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large carrot, sliced thin
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/3 cup sliced onion
1/3 cup sliced bell pepper
1/4 cup sliced mini sweet peppers
2 medium yellow squash, sliced
salt, pepper, garlic seasoning blend
2 cups chopped fresh green collards, turnips or cabbage
1 cup broccoli florets
2 tablespoons low-sodium chicken stock
2 tablespoons dry white wine or flavored vinegar
2 tablespoons margarine or butter, optional

Heat wok or large skillet over medium high heat (or 375-degree F. if using electric) and cook the sausage stirring all while until brown on both sides. Remove to drain on a paper lined plate and wipe wok with a paper towel.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and when hot, add the green beans and carrot. Toss and cook 1 minute. Stir in the celery, onion, peppers, squash and seasoning mixture. Toss and cook about 2 minutes. Add the cabbage and additional oil if needed; cook stirring for another minute. Add the broccoli and cook tossing for another minute.

Add the chicken stock, wine and butter. Toss and continue to stir lifting from bottom cooking another 2 minutes or until vegetable are crisp tender.

Serve immediately.