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 23, 2015

Dry Rub for Grilling Chicken Wings - Drumsticks, Halves or Quarters too

lightly coated wings
- One Perfect Wing Rub.

When grilling chicken halves, leg quarters and even big ol' breasts, I often start out with a good coating of a rub of some sort. A rub is a dry seasoning mixture made to adhere to the chicken during the initial stage of cooking. Many times I finish off with a sop to aid in keeping the meat tender and moist. That's the way I grill chicken.

And when grilling wings and drumsticks, I often use only a nice dusting of a flavorful rub, rarely a sop. I have many rubs in my arsenal but not one specially for wings. That was the purpose of this recipe. As it turns out, I tried it on more than just wings and I liked it's use on chicken quarters too.
This is a rub that seals in the juices and protects the meat while bringing a desirable and most satisfying enjoyment to the wing eating experience. In other words, it's really good.
This recipe was a trial and error of many attempts but the final outcome is one darn good rub. What may seem like a lot of ingredients is a blend that harmoniously dances on your palate. The taste is right on as in a desire to eat every last one of 'em and the purpose is on target too in creating a rub that is so good, you do not even want a dipping sauce. Well, not me anyway, but if you do, a good ol' Alabama White Sauce will do just fine.


Many Colors of the Dry Rub

Dry Rub for Chicken Wings

good coating for grilled chicken too!
enough for about 36 wings

1 tablespoon chipotle chile powder
1 tablespoon smoked (Spanish) paprika
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet (Hungarian) paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne (ground red pepper)
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground bay leaves (optional)
Pinch of ground cinnamon

Use a handheld fine-mesh strainer to filter the ingredients into a mixing bowl. This will prevent any small lumps. Mix completely with a whisk and store in a tightly sealed container until needed. A used spice shaker is nice.

To coat the wings:
After cleaning and removing tips if desired, wash chicken under running water. Drain and pat completely dry with paper towels. Place in a sealable bag and add enough rub to put a light dusting over the wings ( we like 'em coated fairly well). Or sprinkle each piece directly with the rub. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.

To cook:
Grill on low heat cooking until nice and brown on all sides. Move to cool area of grill if needed as the sugar will darken the coating.
If cooking indoors > Place the wings on a shallow metal roasting pan. Bake for 1 hour at 325 degrees F or until the wings are nice and brown. Flip about half way during baking.

June 22, 2015

Favorite Web Page / Blog in Mobile - I'm a Finalist

Thanks Mobile

for choosing
Drick's Rambling Cafe
as one of the top 6th favorite web pages / Blogs in the Mobile and Baldwin area.

Help make us number 1

Voting continues until noon July 13th. You can vote once every hour if you like (and that I would like) - all you have to do is sign in to Lagniappe, our weekly newspaper to register.

Go to the Official 2015 Nappie Award Finals Ballot, Media section, 2nd from bottom and cast your vote - for Drick's Rambling Cafe.

I would really appreciate your vote!

June 16, 2015

Grilled Marinated Roast Beef

Roast Beef with Grilled Steak Flavors.

Now this is a taste sensation that's waiting to explode with your first bite. It's one I came up with a few weeks ago, tinkered with it and came back to it this past weekend. This recipe goes back to old school marinating with the use of cupboard spices. It's the kind of recipe I grew up eating.

I've talked (in depth) about grilling roast before, back when I grilled a roast using a herb rub and recipe for whipped horseradish cream. Recipe link at the bottom.

Any type of cut of beef that good enough for grilling will do just fine using this type of marinade as will any good, 2 or 3 inch top sirloin steak.

Roast or steaks to consider: Shoulder Tender, Boneless Chuck, Chuck Eye, Boneless Shoulder, Shoulder Top Blade or Flat Iron, Shoulder Center, Rib Steak, Ribeye, T-bone, Top Lion, Tenderloin, Bottom Round, Eye Round, Skirt, Flank and even cut-up Kabobs. (Marinate kabobs for 1 to 2 hours.)

Marinated Roast for Grilling

recipe for a 2 to 4 pound roast

2 teaspoons dried minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons reduced sodium Worcestershire
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup light olive oil

Combine marinade ingredients together in the order given in a sealable bag and add roast. (It's best to lightly score the roast with several shallow slits on top and bottom to help marinade penetrate fibers.) Press out as much air as possible and seal. Refrigerate between 4 and 6 hours (depending on thickness). Remove and allow roast to rest at room temperature before hitting the grill.
NOTE: If not using reduced sodium items, increase salt just a tad.

To Grill:
I like to heat the grates on high heat and sear the roast for about 2 or 3 minutes on each side before placing roast on an indirect area of the grill (away from heat source). Use the marinade to baste with during the first turns.

Close lid and cook until internal temperature reaches about 135 degrees F. for medium rare or 145 for medium. Any more will end with tough roast beef. Douse with a few shakes of Balsamic vinegar if desired and wrap in foil. Let rest for about 10 minutes and then place in a warm (very low) oven until ready to serve. Do not allow internal temperature to rise any more than 150.

More recipes and techniques for grilling:

Grilled Roast Herb Beef with Whipped Horseradish Cream
Best Tasting, Fajita Beef Kabobs
Barbecue Pork Shoulder Roast
Grilled Pork Rib Roast
Buttermilk Brined Grilled Chicken
Drick's Mojo Chicken
All About Grilling Steaks
6 Fish Marinades
Grilled Grouper with Mango Salsa
Grilled Red Snapper
Shrimp KaBoom KaBobs
 Many more Outdoor Cooking Recipes here.

June 10, 2015

Chicken a la Creole Spaghetti

This is one fine chicken recipe - "I gawr-on-tee!"

Growing up, my family eagerly enjoyed watching the early cooking shows as many folks later did when the Food Network first cranked up and ran them as "originally aired". Back then in my youth, these shows aired on PBS stations and the focus was to make cooking enjoyable, showing a fun, sometimes humorous time spent in the kitchen all while making each show entertaining to watch, don't you see.

Locally here in Mobile, there was Connie Bea Hope and Estelle Payton on WKRG (CBS) Woman's World while over in Pensacola, Earl Peyroux had a show on the PBS station WSRE, and most popular was Justin Wilson on WYES in New Orleans. We enjoyed nationally syndicated shows as well with the likes of Julia Child, Graham Kerr and James Beard. A few of these cooking celebrities rarely cooked sober which made the shows even more entertaining. Wine flowed freely on the Galloping Gourmet and to paraphrase Justin "If you like cooking with wine, you ought to try adding it to the pot!" Today's shows are either so serious or way too silly.

The recipe today is adapted from Justin Wilson's TV cooking series Louisianna Cookin' and like most of his recipes, uses wine for depth as well as a neutralizer for the acidic tomatoes and tones down the bitterness some say onions and garlic leave on the palate. It also takes the place of sugar which we all know makes tomato based dishes milder, and better. Momma enjoyed cooking with wine, probably not as much as Justin or Graham, but she always kept several bottles handy in the kitchen and away from the liquor cabinet. In other words, she had hers to cook with and kept other bottles for serving with meals or for guests. Now Justin did not segregate wines. He would say, “People always wanna know, Joos-tain, w’at kinna wine go wit w’at? Well, Ah say, da kinna wine you like!”

Here is a clip of his Cajun humor, dubbed 'More Duck Hunting'.

And here is his recipe dabbled with a little influence from Momma's Chicken Spaghetti dish. Enjoy!

Chicken a la Creole Spaghetti

about 8 servings
1 whole cut-up chicken, or 4 bone-in breast
1 celery stalk, cut in half
1/2 bell pepper
1/2 onion
salt to taste
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, diced
2 large bell peppers, diced
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup diced green onion
1/2 teaspoon crushed basil
1/2 teaspoon crushed oregano
1 tablespoon finely mined garlic
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 pounds fresh tomatoes, chopped with juice (about 4 cups)
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire
Louisiana hot sauce to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream
cooked spaghetti

Cook the chicken by simmering it in salted water along with the first three vegetables and bay leaf.  When cooked, drain reserving 2 cups stock for later in recipe. Discard vegetables and bay leaf. Allow chicken to cool. Debone and tear or cut into bite size pieces.

In a large Dutch oven or deep skillet over moderate heat, add olive oil swirling to coat the bottom of pan. Add diced onions, bell pepper, celery and parsley and saute until onions are tender and clear. Stir in green onion, basil and oregano and saute for about 2 minutes. Add garlic and wine and cook for 2 minutes after simmer. Stir in the reserved 2 cups stock, tomatoes and juice, Worcestershire and enough hot sauce to make it piquant. Return to simmer.

Fold in heavy cream and chicken. Cover and allow mixture to return to simmer. Turn heat to low and remove lid.

 Cook at barely simmer (turn up heat if needed) for about 15 minutes to meld the flavors together and allow the chicken to tenderize in the flavorful sauce.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti al dente or "firm to the bite".  Serve Chicken a la Creole over the spaghetti and with toasted bread.

Notes: In this recipe, ingredients are grouped together and added in layers and each group's increment is allowed to come back to a simmer. This allows the flavors to combine together, or "marry" and deepens the overall taste making it all come together at the end, like one big happy family of flavor.

June 2, 2015

The latest recipe for Spinach Madeleine

Spinach Madeleine with Tomatoes

This is one classic spinach casserole.

There must have been 10 customers in the shop last week whom I asked of the last time they made Spinach Madeleine and all said pretty much the same. "Oh my Lord, I haven't made that in years, what's the matter with me!" and "The last time must have been decades ago, for Big Bull's Birthday Bash." or "I don't even know if I still have the recipe, you know, since mama died and all." Of course, those customers are weekly regulars and we're comfortable in discussing such delicate matters.

Stuck back in the archives of fine southern food lore is this wonderful diddy, more than a casserole as it has shown up center stage at cocktail parties (and funerals), held steadfast as a side riding next to a main course and is versatile enough to have become one of the south's best loved holiday foods. It was originally published by the Junior League of Baton Rouge in River Roads Recipes, Dec 1950. That's a testament to how good it is as, and in my opinion, it has withstood the test of time more than any other published recipe. It is also said, that the dish before being published, was first created by Madeleine Neville who owns the (now reportedly closed) Green Springs Inn B&B in St. Francisville LA. I dunno about that but I do know the same version as the original River Roads recipe also shows up in the cookbook Talk About Good printed by The Junior League of Lafayette but named Spinach Dorinne. Another testament of a fine, classic southern recipe, I mean when Madeleine and Dorinne are on the same page.

Unfortunately, the recipe has gone through some modifications from the original as Kraft Foods discontinued marketing it's super rich, spicy Jalapeno Cheese Roll back in the 1990's. Today, we use their Mexican Hot Velveeta or regular Velveeta mixed with diced fresh jalapenos. I understand the Green Springs version used a garlic cheese roll and that may explain why the River Roads recipe adds garlic salt. So many variations have appeared in print, it is hard to tell if the original did indeed have jalapenos. I suspect it was red pepper either in powder form (cayenne) or liquid (Tabasco). And for the food snobs out there, this recipe ain't the same if you don't use Velveeta. That's just how it was meant to be.

Here is my rendition of this spinach dish with of course, my personal spin. Enjoy!

super creamy, super rich flavor

Spinach Madeleine on Church Street

Many times I have served this stuffed in cherry tomatoes as appetizers, slathered on slices of small tomatoes as a side and even topped with a vidalia tomato salsa. To me, it's only natural to broil small ripe tomatoes on top for a delectable savor.

serves 5 or 6
2 -10 oz packages steam'ables cut-leaf spinach 
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons minced onions
1/2 cup reserved spinach liquor
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream, warmed
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce (I like the sweetness of Alaga brand)
salt to taste
8 oz Mexican style Velveeta, cubed
2 or 3 small ripe tomatoes, sliced (Campari are perfect)

Cook the spinach in microwave according to package directions. Place spinach, one bag at a time in a fine mesh sieve or strainer over a bowl and using the backside of a large spoon, press the water out of the leaves. Press all over the spinach until all the liquor has drained. Remove spinach to a bowl and do the other bag. Reserve the liquor (and spinach).

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and whisk in flour stirring until smooth and lump free. Stir in onions and cook until soft, but do not let brown. Slowly add both liquids stirring and cooking until sauce is thick and smooth. Stir in garlic, pepper, Worcestershire and pepper sauce. Add salt to taste. Stir in cheese until it blends and sauce is creamy. Fold in cooked spinach mixing in rather well.

From this point, you can serve as is but some folks like for it to rest in the refrigerator overnight for flavors to meld and deepen. I like to bake it a while, say 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees F until bubbly and then top with the slice tomatoes and run it under the broiler until the tomatoes "melt". Yummy.

Other suggested variations and uses for this recipe:

great on Steak Night
  • Brush the top with melted butter and top with a gratin of soft bread crumbs before broiling.
  • Use this recipe when making tomato pies, morning quiche and even when stuffing fish fillets (great for fish rolls)
  • Make a killer oyster appie by using Spinach Madeleine along with 1 tbsp of Herbsaint and 1/2 cup of Italian breadcrumbs when making Oyster Rockefeller 
  •  Stuff into hollowed tomatoes and bake with a bacon/cheese/cracker topping
  • Make Crawdad Dip by adding a pound of crawfish tails while adding cheese
  • Alternate layers of seasoned steamed sliced summer squash with Spinach Madeleine for a superb luncheon dish
Can you think of any more? Let me know by sending in your comments...