HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.
Showing posts with label Southern Cooking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Southern Cooking. Show all posts

Monday, February 11, 2013

Cajun Spiced Shrimp over Cheese Grits and Bacon


  
         Grits are about as southern as my Aunt Charlotte. She hailed from Huntsville, Alabama and yet never lost a syllable of her Southern accent despite living in Canada for decades.  But for all her southernism, Aunt Charlotte never introduced us to grits. That happy event took place in the Hamptons and only quite recently. I am tempted to say grits were the glue of a New Year’s Day Brunch our friend David gives every year.  But using glue and grits in the same sentence just reinforces an old stereotype: that grits are more akin to wallpaper paste than to anything good to eat.  That is simply not true.  Good grits are smooth and creamy.  Grits are high in iron, extremely low in fat and have no cholesterol at all.  That can’t be said of what grits are flavored with.  Everything from butter to cheese, from bacon to gravy and country ham have found their way into warm bowls of grits.   They not only raise the fat count, these additions do terrific things for the flavor.  Unfortunately, I found this out the hard way:  My first bowl of grits was about as tasty as, well, wallpaper paste.  They were nothing like David’s.  So I set out to see if I could break the taste barrier with my next foray into grits.  And I am pleased to say, today’s recipe broke the bank. Creamy, cheddar-y grits, flecked with bits of crisp bacon were topped with Cajun-spiced Shrimp, shallots and parsley.  As my friend Judith would say they’re like ‘wrapping your mouth around a bite of the south.’

Monday, October 29, 2012

The surprising story of Fried Green Tomatoes and Martha Stewart's recipe for Not Fried Green Tomatoes



            I love a little side of history when I am serving up a dish with roots as deep as Fried Green Tomatoes.  With the exception of grits and hominy, what's more southern than this all-over crunchy firm tomato that’s been battered into a deep-fried delicacy?  Even though deep-frying makes almost everything taste better, this dish stands out.  The tartness of the tomato and the sweet cornmeal of the crust are a perfect combination--especially for tomato lovers like me. 
         Of course, they’re southern to the core, aren't they?  There was that whole movie “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop CafĂ©”.  Set in Alabama, this feel good film from 1991 was among the first ‘chick flicks’ and a huge hit.  I wanted to read up on the origin of the dish itself.   There on the website of the Smithsonian Institution, of all places, a woman named Lisa Bramen described her first encounters with Fried Green Tomatoes.  She too remembered the movie. In the late 1990s, she tasted her first Fried Green Tomato in New Orleans. So impressed was she that, on a southern road trip, she asked for them everywhere she went. Strangely, only once, in Memphis TN, did she encounter a pale imitation of what she had tasted in New Orleans.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Smothered Pork Chops inspired by Gene Hovis



         My dear friend Yvonne introduced me to Gene Hovis.  Not that I ever met him in person.  Yvonne, who knows everyone, and I do mean everyone, introduced me to Gene via his wonderful Cookbook cum memoir, ‘Uptown Down Home’ which was published in 1987.  Gene was an extraordinary fellow.  As a young boy growing up in Salisbury NC, he was sent each summer to visit an aunt in New York City.  According to his friend David Columbia, one of Gene’s earliest recollections was asking his mother what the difference was between the public drinking fountains that were “For Whites Only” and those that he had to use.  When his mother told him that there was no difference but that those were the rules, Gene announced he wanted to live in New York when he grew up because everybody drank from the same fountain.  And that’s exactly what he did.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Country Captain Chicken



        It’s not often that I share with you a recipe with such an interesting background as Country Captain, a dish steeped in the lore of the Low Country of South Carolina and Georgia.   It’s found in every Southeastern Junior League cookbook but its origins go back considerably further than the League.  Its earliest known version is found in a cookbook published in Philadelphia in 1857.  But it owes a sizeable debt to two American cooking pioneers and an American Southern Cooking legend herself, Edna Lewis.