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Showing posts with label southern american. Show all posts
Showing posts with label southern american. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Fish Tacos with Sun and Soul

My Southern Style Fish Tacos w/ Hawaiian Slaw as featured on the Cook's Cook.
 Well Folks, the weather seems to have 'broken' and the time is nigh to begin to enjoy the warmer weather, the fabulous summer grilling and chilling and maybe a fish fry or 20.  With the Covid 19 cases on the steady decline, for the first time in a year for Virginia, vaccinations are enabling us to finally gather again.  Normalcy is just around the bend.  I finished up my rounds of the Moderna vaccination last week and I  breathed a sigh of relief, I feel empowered again.  I hadn't expected to feel such a weight lifted from my shoulders and a renewal of zest and zeal, because  I thought I was doing okay, as far as keeping my eyes forward and not losing sight of a 'regular' day some time in the future, not plagued with new cases and our countrymen dying at every turn.  I continued to rally my troops to keep Hope alive and trust in the process of this terrible time running its course.  I had no idea that I was as oppressed, suppressed and depressed as ever, putting on an inwardly apprehensive face with a plastic smile, as not to worry my children.  Very much like the commercial with the people holding up those smiley faced fronts, hiding in plain sight, an internal mess.

I was unaware  I would feel this good again, mentally, A mentally more serene (in some aspects), happier place.  I implore you to seek that same relief, cerebral restitution if you will, of which we all are entitled to, quoting Niccolo Machiavelli "the end, justifies the means..." Humans are  social creatures of habit, gathering and congregating is inherent.   Studies even support the power of being social and the benefits bestowed upon us as a result.  We need each other, in one way or many.  What is the fun in a great recipe, if there's no one around with whom to share it?

Cooking and entertaining with friends and family is something that has always brought my family joy.  This featured recipe was created during the darker days of this Pandemic, and highlighted by one of my online cooking families, The Cook's Cook.   Now is  a great time to click on the following link and have the taste of summer right at your fingertips! southern-style-fish-tacos-w-hawaiian-slaw/ .   Exhale and take a delicious bite out of the wondrous times ahead, with this Pandemic in our rear view mirrors and a magnificent dish in hand, that you can take to the next cookout! The only Zoom will be the sound the car makes, on its way to fellowship with the world once again.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

White Sweet Potato Pie Supreme


 Sweet potatoes pack a mean punch of good for you vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  They are one of the most nutrient dense vegetables in the supermarket! The vibrant orange color of a sweet potato comes from its concentration of beta carotene, but it may come in other mediums like red, white and purple! The red and purple ones have higher concentrations of anthocyanins and polyphenols, which are types of antioxidants.  I have prepared all these versions for my Mom and the classic orange is still her favorite.  Apparently, the tastes of those multicolored sweet potatoes are also different, though slight, to a discerning and most admiring critic.  I did find that the purple ones were a bit dry, soft, almost doughy also, or maybe that was my fault.  I think the purple would be suited nicely as a substitute for yams in making Foo-Foo, an African dish composed of pounded yams, kneaded into a sticky ball of sorts, torn off in bits and used as a vessel for dipping and scooping up such delights as Stew Chicken, Peanut or Okra Soup and Egusi, all African cuisine and quite amazing, according to my readings.  I do however draw the line at okra.  I have a disdain for its texture and mouthfeel.
Many consumers think that sweet potatoes and yams are one in the same, which could not be further from the truth. 
 Yams, which have native origins in Africa and Asia, are a tuber yes, but are also toxic if not cooked before consumption.  They are from the Yam Family, boasting over 600+ varieties and related to grasses, while sweet potatoes are from the Morning Glory or Lily Family. Yams are also Dicots, or have two embryonic seed leaves, while sweet potatoes are Monocots, having only one.  Yams have more starch and are drier as compared to sweet potatoes and their sizes can vary exponentially greater than that of its Doppelganger. 

 Sweet Potatoes however, are classified as firm or soft, with the softer variety being cultivated second.  The African Slaves found familiarity in the softer version, because it was closer to what they consumed in their homelands, so they began referring to the softer sweet potato as a Yam.   
This recipe features the white sweet potatoes and white baking chips.  It was received very well by the kiddoes and we felt it was outstanding served warm.

Recipe:
16 oz. cooked and mashed white sweet potato
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk 
1/2 c. salted butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs
2/3 c. light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/3 c. pure cane sugar
4 oz. white baking chips
2 tsp. Chinese Five Spice
1 tsp. Vietnamese Cinnamon
1 tsp. freshly ground Green Cardamom
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt 
Zest of one lemon
Prep the sweet potato by peeling and cutting into equal sized chunks and boiling until tender. Drain and remove from water and mash.  Cool slightly before using.  May be done up to 2 days ahead.

Preheat oven to 400*F. 
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and blend  until smooth. 
Divide the baking chips between the pie shells, spreading evenly across bottom.
Pour blended mixture between the pie shells.
Bake at 400*F for 15 minutes, then reduce to 350*F and bake until toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 1 hour. 
Remove from oven and allow to cool for one hour and can be served warm for a decadent and wonderful dessert with coffee, just add friends and family.
Each pie makes 8 servings, give one to someone you love and adore.




Tuesday, October 27, 2020

'Ten'doori Style Chicken, Soulful Mixed Greens and Southern Style Corn Pudding w/ an Island Twist



 Multiple cuisines inspire this dish for wonderful results.  I recently finished up a most exciting recipe contest sponsored by Chef's Roll, Spiceology and the National Kidney Foundation.  The goal of the contest involved select chefs,  were chosen to develop recipes using a collection of 13 Salt Free Spice Blends, put out by an absolutely amazing spice company called Spiceology.  You can read more about the aforementioned on my post before this one!  
The following recipe is one that I developed using no added salts and limited  fats for submission, but eventually ended up replacing it with a couple other recipes.  I  planned to come back and make this a part of the #lifeordeathrecipe challenge, but failed to meet the deadline.  I was able to submit 4 other recipes that I feel good about though!  

The chicken for this recipe is inspired by the Spiceology Salt Free Blend, Tandoori Glory, a  bright and vibrant dance of warm spices, including paprika,cinnamon, cumin and others.  In fact, I created a Tandoori Chicken marinade, with the name, a play on my own, Tendoori, because I decided to use sour cream instead of yogurt, and a few other depth building ingredients, call that 'Southern Swang'.  I marinated the chicken in the spice forward sour cream and Tandoori Glory combination, for several hours, imparting a delicious and vibrantly colored protein, that I served with Southern American side dishes, loved and respected in our home.  

The greens were hand picked for me, by one of my dear friends, Vee, who always brings by seasonal goodies, grown with love! I  prepared the greens in a traditional Southern American Soul Food fashion, with smoked ham hock or smoked turkey necks, low sodium chicken stock, onion, garlic and a healthy pinch of Spiceology Guac and RolI (Gr)!  The beauty of Spiceology Salt Free Spice Blends is that you can take them in any direction.  For this instance, it is used as a flavor enhancer to a dish, that contains ingredients with potentially too much salt and balances it out with lots of herb and spice flavor boost! At the same time, going less salt and salt free is right at your fingertips for the next recipe, accommodating regular and restricted diets respectively.  Anytime is a good time to seek out a comfort zone when cooking and consciously limiting sodium intake.  It's a practice that is beneficial to us all, each and every one.  

I hadn't made a corn pudding in ages it seemed and it turned out to be a perfect accompaniment to the dish as a whole.  The corn pudding recipe is inspired by the Islands and Tropical places.  I used coconut milk instead of regular 2% milk and evaporated milk, which I use in my traditional Southern American version.  I also used a healthy teaspoon of Spiceology's Salt Free Mango Tango (Mt) to impart delicious mango and chamoy notes.  I use pure cane sugar on the regular for sweet or sweetened dishes, as well as everyday purposes, which is Island inspired by nature.  For an interesting edge, I also added Spiceology's Salt Free Chile Margarita (Ch) spice blend to counter yet compliment and balance the sweetness of the corn pudding.  My mom said that dinner was "Excellent" and that felt like 1000! She is my most discerning critic, one I adore and accept her objective opinions respectfully and with a keen ear.  

The natural bitterness of the mustard, kale and turnip greens blend, contributes to the overall Umami of the combination of spices, ingredients and cultures that are represented on this plate.  

Today, I'll be publishing the recipes for the Tendoori Chicken and the Island Inspired Corn Pudding.  

Tendoori Chicken:

4 to 6 chicken leg quarters, about 8 oz. each, with or without skin, bone-in or boneless, your choice

8 oz. regular or reduced fat sour cream 

1 tbsp. Spiceology Tandoori Glory (T) Salt Free Blend

1 tbsp. smoked paprika

2 to 3 drops, red gel food coloring, optional

2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced

2 tbsp. grated onion with juice

1 tbsp. Sriracha or to taste

1 tbsp. Buckwheat honey or to taste

1 tbsp. liquid aminos or to taste

Wash, trim and pat dry leg quarters, removing any slimy or fatty portions, before bending at the joints and making diagonal cuts across the top sides.   

Combine all the listed ingredients to create marinade.

Slather each leg quarter front and back with marinade, making sure it gets down in the slices  and refrigerate for 3 to 6 hours.

When ready, roast off in a 400*F oven, air fryer or grill, until juices run clear, internal temperature is 165*F and  the protein is golden and shows signs of caramelization, about 35 minutes.

Remove from oven and let stand for several minutes to redistribute juices and handle.

Serves 4 to 6. 

Tropic Southern Style Corn Pudding:

2 cans, whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed or 1 1/2 lbs. fresh frozen, thawed

1 can cream style corn

2 large eggs

1 can coconut milk, regular or lite

1/2 c. packed brown sugar

4 tbsp. melted unsalted butter

2 tbsp. organic Coconut flour mixed with 2 tbsp. AP flour

2 tbsp. pure cane sugar

1 tsp. Spiceology Salt Free Mango Tango (Ma) Blend

1/2 tsp. Spiceology Salt Free Chile Margarita (Ch) blend

1 tsp. Vietnamese Cinnamon

1/4  tsp. Five Spice

1 tsp. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla extract

Zest of one lemon, and the juice of half the lemon 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375*F.

Blend the liquid ingredients, then stir in spices.

Add corn and stir.

Pour into a butter greased or non stick sprayed baking vessel, about 11x9 or a large cast iron skillet.

Cover with foil and bake for first 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove foil and cook until pudding is slightly reduced and set, with no giggle in the center, about 45 minutes total, depending on oven.  

Let stand for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Serves plenty, with extras. 





Thursday, July 16, 2020

Buttery Bourbon Peach Cobbler




Peaches are in full swing here in Virginia and man are they delicious!  The plump, brightly hued orbs of sweet and juicy 'fruitmeat' is the perfect accompaniment to both shellfish, fish and pork, even poultry.  A nice, chunk filled cobbler is easy to assemble and can be ready for your next dessert slot in no time. I was in the local supermarket looking for peaches and Elba Butcher Shoppe had just what I needed.  They have peaches by the peck, the bushel or pair, right now and I wanted to have enough for more than just one recipe.  I saw this wonderful recipe for a brown sugar cake with a Peach Bourbon Frosting and it peaked my interest.  I must create something inspired by that article, but first, I needed to complete the request of my oldest daughter, Genesis. Besides, any time is a good time to pull out my vintage Emile Henry pie dish, the beautiful ruffled retired one, "Paprika" edition. I just love it. It was a gift, a most wonderful one I might add. It is a humongous dish, made in the 90's, a full 11 inches across!  That's a mighty dish for pies and cobblers, even meat pies and quiches.

  Genesis has some firm likes and dislikes, but I know for sure she enjoys a fresh peach or two, with pleasure and gratification.  I like to grab enough for the girls to snack and go, mom included.  There's a certain nostalgia involved in eating fruit within its season, during it perfectly, wonderfully ripe time, it's a much different experience for the palate. Just Bliss.  This recipe is simple and full of flavor.  The Bourbon may be added or taken away, I wanted to add some depth of flavor, with some oaky undertones and elevation, Maker's Mark does just that and there's plenty left to either serve alongside,  save for another day or to make a boozy shake to go along with it!  

Recipe:
 5 lbs. or 16 c. fresh peach slices, 1/4 to 1/2 inch cut (this dish is huge, 11 inches across, 2 inches deep, you can use 2 regular deep pie dishes, but you will also need two more crusts)
1 stick of butter, unsalted
Juice of one medium lemon
2- 9 inch pie crusts, either store bought or homemade
1  c. pure cane sugar or brown sugar or to taste
1 tbs. Pumpkin Pie Spice
Pinch Pink Himalayan Salt
3 tbs. cornstarch
2 tbs. Maker's Mark or good quality Bourbon
SPST, (I used some freshly cracked black pepper grinds to compliment the Bourbon and sweetness of the peaches.)
 Preheat oven to 350*F. 
In a small bowl, combine sugar, salt, cornstarch and spices. Stir with fork to mix well. 
In a large bowl, add peaches, lemon juice and Bourbon.  Toss to coat.
Sprinkle evenly with sugar mixture and combine in a folding fashion until evenly coated. 
Lightly grease pie dish with a small piece of the butter and press one of the crusts into the bottom and up the sides.
Place small pats of butter across the first crust.
Add contents of bowl and spread evenly.
Add remaining pats of butter and cover with second crust.
Make slits to vent.
Bake until golden and bubbly, about 50 minutes.
Let stand before serving.
Makes Smiles and is perfect with some Vanilla Bean Ice cream or Butter Pecan! 









Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Ziti w/Brats, Kraut and Burst Grape Tomatoes

A quick and delicious spin on your Ziti is using Bratwurst and Sauerkraut.  The mellow brats and tangy kraut blend well and add a surprisingly wonderful fusion of Italian and German cuisine.  The grape tomatoes implement more flavor and freshness, plus lycopene and B vitamins.  Serve with a green salad and fruit for a deliciously satisfying and complete meal in no time!

Recipe:
1 lb. ziti
1/2 lb. brats, sliced thinly
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 c. sauerkraut, drained and squeezed of excess liquid
1 jar or 15 oz. favorite tomato sauce
1 pint of grape tomatoes
Herbs de Provence
SPST
Olive Oil for drizzling
Fresh Parsley for garnish

In a large pot, cook ziti in salted water, according to instructions to al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1 c. pasta water.
In the same pot over medium high heat, drizzle with two turns of olive oil and add onion.
Cook , stirring often, until fragrant and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add brats and sauerkraut and SPST.
Cook until brats show signs of caramelization, about 3 minutes.
Add sauce and pasta water as needed. Fold in ziti and Herbs de Provence as desired, about 1 tsp.
Check Seasonings.
Simmer for about 4 minutes for flavors to marry and add tomatoes.
Cover and let simmer another few minutes and remove from heat.
Serves 6 to 8.




Wednesday, November 20, 2019

That's Just 'Souper', Creamy Roasted Pumpkin Sage Soup for the Soul

It's Fall and the weather is finally starting to realize it.  This summer past has been a scorcher, the hottest on record as a matter of fact.  The leaves have long reflected change, partly because of the drought, their colors mottled with striations of yellows, limes and browns.  They present crunchy underfoot, falling in the day's cool sunlight, their last hoorah!  Fall, sweet Fall, welcome. You bring my birthday, and the things I love most about the seasons; chilly crisp air, sweet, warming baking smells and spices...my favorite time of year.  Better late than never, am I right? 

A friend inquired about what I could do with a pumpkin, dropped during decorating, but viable. She utilized the seeds inside by roasting and seasoning.  The following recipe is what I did with the pumpkin meat, after roasting it off for approximately 40 minutes, drizzled with olive oil and lightly sprinkled with kosher salt. My friend was pleased with results and so was my family of tasters.  I served this with everything bagels, toasted and smeared with some Plant Butter, Coconut, it's delicious. I've also tried the Almond Plant Butter and it's Ahhhmazing too! Bettertarian by design.
.
The following recipe will help kick Autumn into full swing. Unlike some of the traditional Pumpkin soups, this one isn't the type to stick to your spoon like ice cream, it is a thinner, broth based soup with a small amount of milk.  Of course you can adjust as desired, by adding less broth or milk, but I find this way most pleasing.  The thicker ones are to me like baby food from the jar, delicious I'm sure, but just not my favorite. Alas, you can decide for yourself and enjoy the delicious results.


Recipe:
4 cups Roasted Pumpkin*
5 cups chicken or veggie stock
3 tbsp. yellow onion, diced
2 tbs. Vermont cultured butter or other butter, plant or animal based
2/3 c. milk, I used 2%
1 1/2 to 2 tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 Sage leaves
SPST (Salt and Pepper to Suit Taste)
Immersion Blender, optional but Optimal

In a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, heat to medium high and drizzle with olive oil.
Add butter, then onions and cook until translucent and fragrant, stirring often, about 3 minutes.
Add stock and pumpkin and use immersion blender to combine and smooth.
If you don't have one, you can press the pumpkin through a sieve before adding to pot and that will aid in creating a creamy, but not thick texture.
Check Seasonings and SPST.
Reduce heat to medium and simmer for several minutes.
Stir in chiffonade of Sage.
Remove from heat and stir in milk.
Place back on burner and simmer for several more minutes, taking care not to let boil.
Serve with toast, crackers or everything bagels.  Great as is.
Serves 6 to 8.

*Note:  I used the regular carving type pumpkin for this recipe, the sugar pumpkin or 'pie pumpkin' featured above is for decoration and other uses, including but not limited to pies, baking vessels, serving bowls, etc...




Thursday, June 27, 2019

Oxtail Imposter: My New Favorite Oxtail Stand In




I was at the grocer in Lynchburg, which is about 40 minutes from where I live and ran across these gems and I was most pleased with the results.  I was browsing about in the meats section, when I thought about some oxtails.  They can run rather expensive and I was hoping to catch them on sale.  I actually don't think I've ever seen them on sale, reduced yes, on sale, nope...Anywho, since I get them for special comfort meals, a couple times a year, usually in the cooler months, I decided to pass, for another time when they were more in my head than on my mind.
I noticed the cow neck bones nearby and became intrigued.  I couldn't recall a time that I'd seen them for sale, pork, yes, but not beef.  I figured they would be full of flavor because of the lean to bone ratio and would render a lot of collagen goodness when cooked down to the jus.  Best of all, it was only a fraction of the cost of the oxtail. I said to self, 'What the Hell,  let's give it a go'.
I washed the cow necks in cold water and placed them in my Ninja Foodi on pressure cook mode. I made sure I threw in major aromatics like whole garlic cloves, celery and onion . I also added about 1 cup, mini sweet peppers; red, orange and yellow.   I added a bay leaf as well and some bouillon with water, enough to cover.
I pressure cooked the beefy bones for 1 1/2 hours.  After that, I placed them on sear/saute to render the juices down to a sultry broth, composed mostly of  the broken down veggies.
Once reduced, I was left with an amazingly tender and most delicious oxtail contender. There was an unctuous broth filled with beefy flavor and delight.  This is a dish you can cool and refrigerate, then remove the excess fat that has solidified.  Then you will be left with a hearty dish to consume with nice crusty bread or potatoes if you wish.  I used sandwich bread to envelope the goodness, it was most satisfying. The lush chunks of meat slide easily off the bones, bathed in it's own succulent gravy.
My sisters Bonnie, Hollie and Gayle loved it too!  We now have another comfort food dish for our culinary repertoires.
Cow Neck Bones can really stand in for an amazing and rustic meal, full of flavor and high on delivery.  I guess it's just the Country in me, but I think it's most definitely here to stay in my comfort food rolodex.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Southern Style Braised Cabbage w/ Country Ham, 'Soul Food' Sides for Thanksgiving

This is a Southern American dish inspired by my mom's love of cabbage.  Next to sweet potatoes and Creamy Potato Soup, this is a favorite.  Pork does not have to be used in this recipe. It does however, have roots in the original preparation of fried and braised cabbages, either from Old World Ireland or dishes in the  Americas.
 I am a fan of using other smoked goodies like turkey necks, legs and wings.
After the cooking process, the skin may be removed and the meat shredded and tossed with finished product for a one bowl/dish meal, hearty and full of history, delicious to the body and soothing for the soul.
Cabbage was recorded in literary memoirs as early as the late 1400's, but shows roots in or around 1150 in Germany.  During earlier centuries, cabbage was referred to as "Coleworts"  It came in with the settlers to Jamestown and has been a considerable part of sustenance from day one. The cultivating properties and abundance served as food for humans as well as animals.
Recipe:
1 head of cabbage, rough chopped into chunks, large outer leaves removed, about 3lbs.
2 medium onions, quartered
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 portion country ham, about 2oz. cooked
ham bone, optional
chicken/veggie stock or water
Olive oil
SPST (Salt and Pepper to Suit Taste)
Over medium high heat in a large heavy bottomed vessel, drizzle in some olive oil and add onions and country ham portion and bone.
Cook until fragrant and caramelization is evident, about 4 minutes and add cabbage.
SPST.
Saute for several minutes, then add chicken/veggie stock or water until cabbage is covered, add garlic here, then cover with lid.
Bring up to a boil, then reduce to medium heat.
Cook until cabbage is tender and liquid is reduced by more than half, about 45 minutes.
Check seasoning as it cooks and adjust accordingly.
Remove ham portion, shred, then re-add to cabbage.
Remove ham portion completely if desired.
Serves many.



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