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 31, 2013

Pork Kabobs with Garden Vegetables

Grilled Pork Kabobs
Another skewer recipe for grilling.

Many of you already know that we do love our barbecue and grilled foods and we especially love the simplicity and ease of kabob cookouts. The pork and vegetable skewers today along with a yellow rice medley and steamed fresh broccoli made for one fine dinner this week.

Now, I have many recipes, as I am sure many of you do too, for kabobs but this one folks, is one that I will be bragging about for a while and one I will make again many times. It really is that good.

The marinade aids in not only tenderizing the pork cubes but also lays down a first layer of wonderful flavors. And, the thing I love about the marinade is there is a harmonious unifying of flavors, not one overpowering the other. The finishing glaze is another layer of flavor that mingles together a taste of distinction that I am proud of and again, not one flavor is more pronounced than the other. The overall taste is really not sweet at all but brings about the gratifying spirit of what a grilled kabob should be. Enjoy!

Pork Kabobs Glazed with Sweet BBQ Finishing Sauce
and served with Grilled Garden Fresh Vegetable Skewers

for the Marinade:
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried crushed oregano

Combine all in a sealable bag and let rest for about 20 minutes.
Add 1 tablespoon light olive oil and jumble around before adding the pork cubes.

for the Pork Kabobs:
2 pounds thick cut pork loin chops (or four 1-inch cuts of a loin roast)
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper
1/4 sweet onion, wide cuts

Trim any fat from the pork and cut into equal cubes. Place in the bag and refrigerate for about an hour or so, no more than 3 hours.
Skewer the pork cubes alternating with the vegetables. Refrigerate until about 20 minutes prior to grilling. Save the marinade for a baste.

for the Glaze:
I stirred together 1/2 cup apricot preserves along with 1 tablespoon cider vinegar over low heat until dissolved, after which I added 2 teaspoons of a Memphis BBQ sauce for good measure. Delish!

for the Vegetable Kabobs:
2 garden onions, sliced
red and green bell peppers squares
2 yellow squash, sliced
16 cherry tomatoes
mushrooms, optional
other seasonal vegetables as desired

Cut vegetables uniformly as possible to aid in cooking.

To Grill:
Prepare grill to 400 degrees F. Place pork kabobs over direct heat and baste 1 time with any remaining marinade. Discard remaining marinate. Cover grill and cook about 6 minutes. Turn kabobs over and cook 4 to 6 minutes or until pork test done. Give the kabobs a glaze of the finishing sauce the last few minutes of cook time.

Meanwhile, cook vegetable kabobs on indirect heat turning once. I basted these with a balsamic dressing.

July 27, 2013

Key West Style Mojito, a Classic Cocktail

Recipe for a new favorite cocktail.

I am in love, again. For a really long time, something like thirty-plus years, I have been faithful to just one but on vacation, I strayed and found myself immersed in a totally new relationship. As many of you may know, I am a bourbon man and even in the hottest months of summer have I not ever been tempted to sway or even be teased with a lust of another, booze that is. But I could not help myself. I got all caught up in the moment; hot and tired from a long day of doing absolutely nothing, I found myself saying the words, "I'll have a mojito, the original version please."

As for a perfect rum to use in this recipe, I think the best match for this Cuban drink would be a Cuban rum like Havana Club, but it's not available in the US. My picks off the shelf are Myers Platinum, Flor de Cana, 10 Cane and Cruzan Light; all are about the most decent for mojitos. As told, always use a light rum, never dark. Now, the recipe is based on the way I observed the bartender making it and I asked of the simple syrup he used to sweeten and offset the acidic bitterness of the limes which makes a mojito such a classic. He explained the syrup was an infused sugar water using the mint leaves. The infused water along with the bruised leaves makes what I think is the best mojito out there. And this is coming from the locale where mojito is the king of cocktails - in Hemmingway's back yard of Key West. Enjoy!

My Mojito Recipe, Key West Style

for each cocktail

2 ounces light rum
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 1/2 ounces mint infused sugar water
Top with a splash, really just a splash, of club soda and a lime twist

Use a highball glass. Add 3 or 4 mint leaves, a good pinch of sugar (this helps to brighten the mint flavor and release the mint oil as you muddle) and muddle with a, well, muddler. If you don't have one, use the dowel end of your largest diameter wooden spoon or even a teaspoon will do, but you will have to work a little harder. The idea is to bruise the leaves not macerate them into tiny pieces that will later get caught in your or guests teeth.

Add cubes of ice, never crushed, half way up the glass along with the rum, lime juice and the infused sugar water. Now, gently stir your mojito a little and enjoy a most perfect, classic cocktail.

Notes: The key to a great infused water is to allow the liquid to cool down naturally, that is, to room temperature before removing leaves and refrigerating. Always use fresh limes, preferably the smaller Floridian Key or Mexican limes; use Persian as the last resort but never use bottled lime juice. On average, each cocktail will use about 1 1/2 lime including the twist.

Mint Infused Sugar Water

makes 1 cup ~ I like to double it

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
16 mint leaves, washed

Heat water in a small saucepan over medium high heat to a boil. Add sugar and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and add mint leaves. Allow to steep until water comes to room temperature. Remove leaves, refrigerate to cool or until needed.

July 24, 2013

Speckle Butter Beans, Country Style Recipe

Summer's Enjoyment

Nothing says summer like fresh butter beans and around these parts, the speckled variety does rather well in our hot, humid climate. Now I know these are not available in all areas as I have for years had many of you write me asking where on earth could you find these wonderful gems. My answer many times depending on your locale, is either the farmer's market when in season or in your grocers freezer. Yup, I have enjoyed many winter meals doing just that. There are many companies that package and distribute speckle butter beans so if your grocer does not carry it, tell them to get off their behiney and get to ordering. Once word gets out you better be the first in line, 'cause these will sell out faster than greased lighting.


Country Style Speckle Butter Beans
about 6 servings

1 pound fresh, shelled speckled butter beans (use frozen during the winter)
1 piece smoked turkey or pork meat
1 small white onion, chopped
1/4 green bell pepper, chopped
1 garlic toe, minced
1 bay leaf or 1/4 teaspoon bay leaf powder
1 spring of fresh thyme or about 1/2 teaspoon
2 cups chicken stock
2 small vine-ripe tomatoes, chopped
4 green onions, sliced

In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, add the chicken stock along with 2 cups water. Add the smoked meat, chopped onion and bell pepper, garlic, bay leaf and thyme. Add desired salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a rolling boil and simmer on medium heat with lid partially covered for about 20 minutes. Make sure liquid does not evaporate adding more if needed.

Add the butter beans and add water or stock to cover well, at least by 1/2-inch. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for about an hour or until the bean is creamy on the inside but still intact; do not overcook to mush. As stated in another recipe, I like to turn off the heat and allow beans to set in the pot-licker while finishing other parts of the meal.

Right before serving, pour off most of the liquid and stir in the tomatoes and green onions. Serve using a slotted spoon along side fresh, hot cornbread or muffins.

Note: Like many fresh beans, speckled butter beans enjoy cooking in a good amount of liquid.

July 13, 2013

Baked Catfish Fillets with Mushroom Sauce

left-over serving with sauce
~  Gone Fishing ~

Folks, excuse my absence. I have not given up cooking nor have I given up sharing our love of southern foods. Like so many things in life, when we change our ways we are forced to change our habits, all for the good of course. Unfortunately, some things get left out like my love of spending time with you. These past months have been probably the busiest in many years, at work and at home, and I do so miss the times shared with so many of you. Hope to get back in the groove soon. But for now, I'm taking a much needed break and heading down to south Florida for relaxation.

In the mean time, here is a nice little ditty of a recipe for preparing fish filets without an overwhelming amount of calories added. It's easy and the bonus is that it is very flavorful and delicious. Enjoy!

Catfish Fillets with Mushroom Sauce
recipe halved for photos

6 servings

4 tablespoons margarine, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon butter
6 -6 oz catfish fillets (or another mild white fish)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon salt-free Creole seasoning
16 oz fresh sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine (vermouth)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried seasoning medley of choice (thyme, parsley, marjoram)
1/4 cup green onions, white part only
1/4 cup sliced green onion tops

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large 3 or 4 quart baker, add 2 tablespoons margarine, 2 tablespoons olive oil, butter and the lemon juice. Heat in oven until butter melts; stir to mix. Dip each fillet into the mixture coating well and arrange in the pan. Sprinkle the fillets with the Creole seasoning.

Bake for 25 minutes or until flakes easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, prepare the mushroom sauce: In a large skillet, melt remaining margarine and olive oil over medium high heat. Add the mushroom and stir rapidly to coat. Cook about 5 minutes and or until mushrooms begin to brown. Add the chicken stock, wine and flavor with the salt, pepper and seasonings. Allow liquid to reduce in half. Add the white part of onions and reduce down until liquid barely covers mushrooms. Reduce heat to low and wait for fish to finish cooking. Top with green onions just prior to serving.

To plate, add a fillet to fish platter and top with mushroom sauce. Be sure to distribute liquid sauce among the platters; it is so good to sop with French bread.