Category Archives: Cuisine-Southern US

Game Day Food!

Are you getting prepped for the super bowl this weekend? We definitely are here. Full disclosure, I may not know much about the two teams duking it out, but any event centered around food and cooking, I can get into.

Need some ideas to take to a party or maybe you are hosting the event, just look below, I have some great food that I would categorize as appropriate game day food.

 

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Hoppin’ John

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With the New Year here, I am starting off the year with a traditional southern dish of Hoppin’ John. Hoppin’ John is basically peas and rice. As a child, my family always used rice from Arkansas farmers who were friends and would bring us huge sacks of rice when they visited.

The black eyed peas were always shelled and blanched in a small pouch in our freezer. Earlier in the year, a bushel would have been bought from the back of a pick up truck, a make-shift farmstand for a local farmer and for a couple of days, an old bed sheet would lay in the middle of my Grandma’s living room floor with a pile of peas pods on top. All the women in my family would pull up chairs campfire style around the mounded pile with stainless steel bowls in lap. Some of my most beautiful memories from childhood includes the cadence of ringed fingers rasping against the sides of the bowls mixed with the loud cackles of uproarious laughter at someone’s joke.

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New Year’s Day Soup

Well it’s been a while, there is no denying that. I could give a million and one excuses why I have let the blog sit since last Fall, new job, longer hours, new friendships, on top of…well life in general. The truth is, I just haven’t made the time.

Nothing against coming on here and typing away my thoughts and musings for the day. I love it, it is quite cathartic for me, but my focus last year was on finding happiness. And not just any sort of happiness, but trying to answer the “what are you going to do with the rest of your life” question. While trying to answer this question, I can’t help but look to the past.

One tradition that my family did have was eating black eyed peas, collard greens and pork on New Years. As I have always stated, we had good food and this tradition was supposed to bring good luck and lots of money. Who would want to break a tradition like that? This year, I continued the tradition, but I made it my own by making a delicious soup that would include everything in it.

If you need to break out the ordinary or a great way to use up left overs, this is it.

New Year’s Day Soup

New Year's Day Soup
New Year’s Day Soup

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Mushroom Rice

Well it is finally cooling down here. I am sure that I will probably be wishing for the warmer weather sooner than later, but for now I am glad I can get back in the kitchen without sweating up a storm.

The past few weeks, I have been relegated to granola bars, yogurt, fresh salads, delicious bites of cheese stolen in front of the cool glow of the open refrigerator door. All to keep my tiny apartment at a livable temperature. It hasn’t been a horrible existance by any means and my pants have thanked me by becoming looser and looser with a tad bit of weight loss, but let’s face it I love to cook, so I am happy to be able to get back in the kitchen.

Tonight, my husband manned the grill with some delicious chicken and I made a Mushroom Rice . This rice was a dish that showed up at quite a few family get togethers when I was coming up in the southern part of the United States. THe mushroom and soy sauce broth mix together a very beautiful nourishing umami flavor.  I have added some carrots and peas to bring in some more veggie deliciousness, but use whatever is in your kitchen. Anyway, enjoy everyone!

Mushroom Rice

Mushroom Rice
Mushroom Rice

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Kale and Chard Southern Style

Most people in life want to feel that they have a purpose. A reason to wake in the morning. For most of my life, I woke with a dutiful regard towards living. Meaning, I woke to do things that maybe I didn’t want to do, but felt obligated to do.

That’s life, sometimes. We all have to do things we don’t want to do. I used to think that what separated adults from the various stages of childhood would be the manner in which we handle such tasks. A baby just wouldn’t do what they didn’t want to do. A young child would pitch a fit and may or may not do said task. A teenager will sulk and possibly become argumentative. A young adult may try negotiation tactics or even avoidance to get out of dealing with things head on.

However, a few years ago, I reached true adulthood. The adulthood where you go to your soul sucking job everyday and you do the best you can do with it and you try not to complain and you wake up and repeat. There were no pats on the back, a truly thankless job, where some mornings I woke thinking that I possibly sold my soul during my sleep to have to live and breathe an existence of such misery. Every one else around me hated their jobs just as much and I couldn’t even bring myself to make close friends with them because the few times we did hang out outside of work, all anyone talked about was how much they hated their jobs and hence, we should have just been at work.

Not to make it seem like all of my past was terrible, there are parts of my past that were wonderful, especially the food parts. I take Kale and Chard from my CSA box and transform them into a southern delicacy. Perfect to eat alongside Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread. Enjoy and wish me luck on my next possible adult transition!

Kale and Chard Southern Style

Kale and Chard- Southern Style
Kale and Chard- Southern Style

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Cornbread Dressing

A two for one recipe today. I have been eating cornbread dressing since I could eat solid foods, mostly around the holidays. Definitely brings back memories of home and of my mother and grandmother slaving away in the kitchen making the whole place smell wonderful.

I like to make it more often around here, because it is one of my favorite dishes. There is just something so beautiful about the sweetness that corn brings to the table that regular bread stuffing just doesn’t quite capture.

The thing about cornbread dressing though, is that you have to make cornbread first. I have provided both recipes below. Mixed with a grilled pork chop, grilled zucchini and baked apple smash… mmmmm. Enjoy everyone!

Cornbread Dressing

Grilled Pork Chop with Cornbread Dressing, Baked Apple and Grilled Zucchini
Grilled Pork Chop with Cornbread Dressing, Baked Apple and Grilled Zucchini

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Banana Pudding Pie

I am telling you guys right now, this is one of my favorite recipes of all time. I’ve been making it for years as an adaptation for banana pudding.

First off, let me say that I love anything banana flavored and I even like the traditional banana pudding with the vanilla wafers and meringue top, but it was never my favorite. I had a textural problem with the Nilla wafers becoming soggy and honestly, I prefer whipped cream over meringue.

The following recipe uses Vanilla wafers, such as golden oreos or my favorite, Trader Joes Jo Jo’s, as a crust. These cookies hold up and stay crunchy under a layer of fresh bananas and homemade pudding. The pudding filling has such a unique flavor imparted by the sweetened condensed milk, mmmmm…. And then to top it all off, a trick borrowed from banana pudding’s delicious cousin, banana cream pie, a dollop of whipped cream. Hence, we have Banana Pudding Pie.

Try it! Believe me, it is sooooo good.

Banana Pudding Pie

Banana Pudding Pie
Banana Pudding Pie

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Classic Peach Pie

As you all know, I am a girl from the southern part of the United States, which makes peaches near and dear to my heart. Finally it is peach season where I live now and I was able to whip up a classic peach pie. Simple ingredients, simple process, terrific results, what could be better?

I leave you with another Mary Oliver poem:

The Summer Day

Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Classic Peach Pie

Classic Peach Pie
Classic Peach Pie

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Okra and Tomatoes

Okra is one of those veggies that I grew up eating quite a bit of. A traditional dish is tomatoes and okra stewed together and served over rice. Simplistic in it’s most basic form, but this recipe raises the okra and tomato up by accenting them with a highly seasoned stock. Comforting with the tomatoes and okra giving their own unique earthy flavors built upon sunshine and heat! Give it a try today!

Okra and Tomatoes

Okra and Tomatoes over Rice
Okra and Tomatoes over Rice

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BBQ Chicken

One of my favorite ways to eat chicken is a simple brined chicken, grilled and finished with a mopping of BBQ sauce at the end. So simple, yet so good. Many of you will break out your grills for the Fourth of July celebration. If you are still looking for a crowd pleaser recipe, this would be a winner.

BBQ Chicken

BBQ Chicken
BBQ Chicken

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