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.

December 31, 2013

Breakfast Egg Bake with Tomato, Spinach and Cheese

Great way to start a day.

There is something about breakfast that we just love and many times it is eating it at night for supper (that's informal dinner down in the south for my non-USA friends).

This is a really simple way in preparing eggs and I know all you have made it similar many times but I just wanted to share with you our love for eating and mixing fresh vegetables in with so many things, even omelets and in this case, a simple egg bake. You can use whatever you have on hand and whatever you like. We like the taste of fresh spinach and vine-ripe tomatoes (in the summer) with ours. In this case, being winter, I used the little Campari tomatoes which are juicy, sweet and almost summer tasting.

There is no real recipe to this, but I know 'anony' will write asking for it so it goes like this....

Enjoy!

Quick and Easy Egg Bake
for 2

4 whole large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon half-and-half
salt and black pepper to your taste
1 tablespoon extra light olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped small sweet onion / shallot / or white part of leek
1 tablespoon finely chopped green bell pepper / serrano / jalapeno
1 cup baby spinach leaves (not packed) rinsed and dried
1/3 cup cheddar cheese / Queso or Asadero / Monterrey Jack
3 small ripe Creole / garden / Campari tomatoes
3 or 4 strips crisply cooked smoked bacon, crumbled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a large ramekin or small casserole with cooking spray.

Heat a small saucepan over medium high heat adding the olive oil. When at shimmer, add onion, bell pepper and saute until onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Add to the casserole.

In a bowl, whisk eggs along with half-and-half, salt and pepper until well combined. Tear spinach in half or thirds and add to bowl. Fold in cheese. Pour egg mixture into casserole. Add tomato and push tomato to mix in with the eggs.



Bake for 20 minutes or until eggs are set. The center should not jiggle. Mine set in the oven too long :-(

Remove, slice and serve with the bacon on top along with a side of cheese grits and as shown, biscuits covered with sausage gravy.


December 24, 2013

Prime Rib for the Holidays

A Prime Entrée for Southerly Celebrations.

If at all possible, purchase a first-cut beef rib roast (from the smaller end), 3 to 5 ribs (about 7 to 12 pounds) and allow it to render a crust from the savory spice rub overnight. Then be sure to allow it to reach room temperature (2-3 hours) before slow roasting. Tie it tight on the rack of its bones before roasting. The bones not only add to the flavor but also become the stationary cooking plate.

This method of cooking the rib-eye roast slowly is the reason why it is called Prime Rib, not because of the cut of beef which, by the way, is somewhat a misnomer. However, I do recommend buying prime beef grade over choice for this type of cookery. The taste on the tongue of a prime grade rib roast is like no other, and if cooked properly, prime beef will actually ‘melt-in-your-mouth’.

I think this recipe would work well on the grill too, in fact, the Beef Rub should enhance brilliantly with the flavors of the grill.

To make Prime Rib, you will need:
a beef rib roast with at least 3 ribs
Southern Prime Beef Rub
Horseradish Cream

For My Southern Prime Beef Rub:
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed thyme
2 teaspoons crushed oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon dried minced garlic

Your butcher should cut the meat away from the rack of ribs but if that didn’t happen, use a sharp knife and cut the bones away from the rib roast starting with the rib ends and cut to within a half-inch to the opposite side leaving the ribs hinged to the roast as shown.



Season the meat area with some of the Beef Rub.



Position the roast back onto the rib bones aligning them perfectly. Use butcher’s twine to secure the roast back onto the rack of ribs tying between the ribs tightly. Cover roast all over with the remaining rub mixture.



Refrigerate overnight or at least 12 hours.

Remove from refrigerator and allow to rest at room temperature for 2 hrs (3 hrs for 9+ lbs).

Adjust oven rack to low position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Place roast bone side down on a roasting rack and into a rimmed pan or a roaster. When oven is ready, center roast on lower rack and cook until meat registers 130 degrees (for medium-rare), about 4 hours (may take 5 for larger cuts).

When ready, remove roast to a cutting board and tent with foil. Allow to rest 20-30 minutes. Remove and discard the twine. Slice the roast in nice, 1/2and serve inch slices and immediately serve with the horseradish cream.



For the Horseradish Cream:
1 cup chilled heavy cream
2/3 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
1 1/4 cups prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fresh herbs like chives and/or parsley -minced

Pour cream into a medium bowl and using a whisk or a hand-held mixer, whisk to just under soft peaks (a line should form on the surface but peaks will fall). Fold in remaining ingredients.

Note: In some grocers, the meat department may call this cut of beef a standing rib roast but I doubt it will be of the prime grade, however, choice ain’t too bad when that’s all ya got. Just be sure to ask if it is from the first cut of the rib section. The size of the bones and the roast itself will probably tell if it is from the smaller end which is the most desirable and is the most tender.

December 15, 2013

Smokin' Nut Mix


Smokin' Good Christmas Gift


Folks, I know I have been quiet as a mouse lately but that doesn't mean I haven't been watching, and listening....

For all the good and naughty out there, here is a recipe I came up with to share with our neighbors this year, and with you too. It is sooooo very good and sooooooo addictive. For cocktail parties, go ahead and add the rounded levels but watch out and drink up my friend 'cause these will have a little extra kick to 'em.

Enjoy!

Roasted Smoky Nut Mix
Perfect for holiday giving or cocktail parties
makes about 4 1/2 cups

1 large egg white at room temp
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste (a rounded 1/4 teaspoon for us)
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper (again, rounded high)
1 tablespoon Chipotle Pepper Tabasco Sauce (plus several good shakes for us)
2 cups salted deluxe mixed nuts
1/2 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup whole cashews
1/2 cup whole almonds
1/2 cup pepitas or pistachio nuts
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 225°.

Whisk egg white to a froth. Whisk in sugar, salt, cinnamon and cayenne. Beat in the Chipotle Tabasco.

Stir in all the nuts and toss to coat well. Add the seeds to pecan mixture; mix well. Place parchment paper on a large jelly-roll pan and lightly coat with cooking spray. Rub with paper towel to even oil out. (Or use the nonstick aluminum foil.) Spread mixture in a single layer on the paper.


Bake for 1 hour or until almost dry stirring every 15 minutes to redistribute coating.
Remove from oven; cool completely. Break apart and stir in the cranberries.


Store in a wax paper lined sealed container or in sealable bags for gift-giving.

Notes: If you cannot find this wonderful how-can-you-live-without-it Tabasco, then use about 1/2 teaspoon regular Tabasco and more chipotle chile pepper.
If nuts are still sticky after baking, allow to set in warm oven a couple of hours to toast.

Last year's gift: Cajun Christmas Chips (pickles)

December 1, 2013

Green Bean Casserole for a Healthier Diet

A Change in Tradition

Yeah, I know. You’ve seen this before. A new-fanged green bean recipe that tastes as good as the original and is better for you. When in fact, most of the time, many of these new recipes fall short of fulfilling the essential lure of what we enjoy about the casserole in the first place: A creamy thick saucy mushroom goodness enveloped around bites of green beans, and really folks, the kicker for most of us is the crunchy fried onion topping. So why, on say a special holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas, would anyone ever want to change it? For the better.

Now, that brings me to my second question: What would happen if every dish you placed on the table became a little healthier? Believe me, of all people, I think it is sacrilege to mess with family recipes and change the teachings and ways in our southern cookery. Even though the addition of bacon was in our family’s way of preparing many dishes, I confess, coming up with a better one from time-to-time is a good thing. To take a recipe, one cherished by all in a family, and change it up a bit especially to make it better for us, can’t be all that bad, can it? I think not. That is why many times when cooking family favorites I choose to use one strip of bacon instead of four, or was that six?

This one, this rendition of America’s favorite side dish came out pretty darn good. The only thing I would change the next time is to make sure my fresh green beans were young and tender enough as the texture of the bean was a bit tough. This recipe makes a saucy base so if you like yours thicker, add a little more flour to the roux base. I actually liked the looseness of the sauce. Enjoy!



Good and Healthy Green Bean Casserole
8 to 10 side servings

for the topping:
1 large Spanish onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
Pinch of salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped fried onion rings if desired
for the casserole:
2 1/2 pounds cut fresh green beans, blanched (or frozen, defrosted)
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 ounces mushrooms, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup julienne red bell pepper
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese (low-fat if possible)

Times: Prep- 40 mins / Cook- 25 mins

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pan. Add onions and a pinch of salt and stir. Cover and cook until caramelized, stirring occasionally (about 20 minutes). Meanwhile, combine Panko with thyme, oregano, salt and pepper and set aside. Once onions are caramelized, remove from pan and set aside.


In the same pan, add olive oil and mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Add garlic, half of the cooked onions, and flour, stirring to combine. Pour in stock, sherry and half and half and stir constantly until mixture begins to bubble. Cook for 2-3 minutes until mixture thickens slightly, then add bell pepper, soy sauce, salt and pepper.


Stir in green beans, cheese and transfer to a casserole dish.
Combine remaining onions with Panko mixture and top casserole. (You can add the fried onions now but be sure to cover.)


Bake for 25 minutes or until edges are bubbly and topping is golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes: Cook time is for oven time only.
Add the green onion toward the end of baking for a fresher texture or as written for the toasted version.
If adding the fried onion rings, do so the last 5 minutes or cover with foil for the first 20 minutes.