Saturday, April 30, 2011

Featured on Southern Food Network

The GREAT folks at the Southern Food Network recently contacted me and asked if they could feature me on their website.  WOW, what an honor...I can't tell you how tickled I was when I received their email.  They picked out the recipe and posted it with some information on how all this got started.  Just click on the link below to see the article and let me know what you think.  Thanks again for all the support!  And a huge thanks to all the great people over at the Southern Food Network for their support.

Southern Food Network featured article

Big southern hugs,

Friday, April 22, 2011

Meet Martha Hall Foose

Yesterday afternoon, I had the amazing opportunity to meet Martha Hall Foose and cookbook author of A Southerly Course...she was here for a book signing but since I had to work she graciously agreed to meet me at a "top secret location" ~snickers~ beforehand so we got the chance to just sit down and chat. She offered up some great tips for cooking her Pimento Cheese Soup recipe, must use a good block of cheese and grate it yourself.  Unfortunately the store bought pre-shredded kind or even an off brand block of cheese will not work here.  So plan on skipping off to a local cheese counter or visiting your favorite farmers market to find the perfect cheese for this dish.

Sitting down to chat with her was like sitting down at a table surrounded by family and friends.  We talked about her little boy and how he loves to collect hotel keys from all the fun places they have been able to visit.  And how he got to be the Duck Master at the Peabody Memphis, a couple years back.  We laughed at how our mutual friend Christy Jordan from Southern Plate  taught her a little trick about cutting corn off the cob, which she mentions in the book.  Of course, we talked about our Supper Club family and how we have started featuring cookbook authors (Christy Jordan was our first) and I asked Martha if she would be so kind as to be our next featured author & she AGREED!!!  I asked her if she would help us pick out the menu and she pointed out some great recipes to entertain with, Floating Islands, Chicory Salad, Sugar Snap Peas with peaches...etc.  So, get ready Supper Club you are going to get to meet this lovely lady.  

I just want to say this, I really love where we are headed with Supper Club.  These opportunities to meet such amazing people that love food as much as the rest of us and share their stories with us is really something to hold onto.  And each experience is one that can never be taken away.  Some Supper Clubs are going out to eat and we think that's great but there's something about re-creating the love that they put into their delicious dishes in our own homes that just makes what we are doing so much more special and I hope that the fine folks at The Commercial Appeal will decide to share what we have created with everyone in the Memphis & surrounding community.  It's all about supporting each other.

Happy Easter, everyone!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pimento Mac and Cheese

My hubby loves to laugh at me for being an OCC (Obsessive Compulsive Cooker) this is because oftentimes I get on 1 ingredient and can't put it down and lately it's been Pimentos.  I had no idea if I could eat them since they are in the pepper family and my tummy has a hard time with things like that.  But I took a chance, tried them and my tummy said that it was happy with my decision so I have been cooking up a storm with them lately.  We all know how I feel about Mac & Cheese, it's the greatest comfort food in ALL the world and I am sure most of you feel the same way (if not, I am available to talk about that ~snickers~).  Well, I also love Pimento Cheese...another classic southern dish that is shared all across the south at picnics and potlucks alike.  So, it hit me why not combine the two and so this was born.  It's so creamy and you can see little chunks of Velveeta cheese that didn't completely's FANTASTIC!!  And the pimentos add just that bite that you need to bring it all together.  You have to make this for your family and if pimentos aren't for you that's ok you can omit's not personal & they will understand.  

12 oz penne noodles
8 oz Velveeta cheese, cubed
6 T unsalted butter
1 cup milk
1 T dijon mustard
2 T pimentos, diced
1/2 cup your favorite shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar)
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Season to taste with salt and pepper (didn't use any extra salt other than what was in the water and added 1/2 tsp white pepper)

Bring to a boil 2 1/2 quarts of water in a 5 quart dutch oven.  Add 3 tsp salt directly to the water, you shouldn't  need to add anymore once it's drained if you do it now.  Cook noodles according to packages directions, drain and set aside.  

Return pot to stove, over medium heat, melt butter, add Velveeta, mustard and milk.  Sauce will slowly come together, continue stirring frequently til fully incorporated.  Add pasta back to pot, turn heat to low and coat noodles in sauce.  Stir in pimentos, your shredded cheese, Worcestershire sauce and pepper.  Continue to stir til it comes together. Serve & ENJOY!!!!  

Makes 6 (2oz servings)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Supper Club - Brunch April 2011

Our April Supper Club was this past Saturday night and we decided to do a brunch theme, since Easter is just right around the corner.  We had this amazing French Toast, Fruit salad, Bacon Cheese and Chive muffins and   Sweet Potato Bacon and Sour Cream Frittata.  I will post the other 2 recipes for you soon (sorry I don't have them yet) but the French toast has a secret ingredient that really made it special.    

This event has become something really special that we do every month.  Friends all gathered around a table sharing in delicious food and amazing conversation..what could be better.  Some Supper Clubs frequent restaurants but we bounce from home to home and cook with fresh local (this will become an even bigger part now that the Farmers Markets are beginning to open) ingredients.  We started this in Sept 2010 and last month we had the honor of featuring Christy Jordan from Southern Plate and she joined us via Skype for more than 3 hrs as we showcased all her amazing food from her latest cookbook.  It was a night that none of us will ever forget.  In fact, we are looking into featuring another cookbook author and we are meeting to discuss those details so that I can bring more EXCITING NEWS very soon!!

If anyone in Memphis is interested in joining our Supper Club group you can contact me at 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cornbread Panzanella & Stone Ground Honey Mustard Dressing

Wanna know what to do with leftover Country Cornbread Casserole??  You make a Panzanella!!!!  Warm up your leftovers and then crumble them on top of your favorite greens, I went for Arugula here.  We had dinner on the table in about 5 mins.

Stone Ground Honey Mustard Dressing (adapted from Jennifer Chandler's Simple Salads)
6 T mayo
1 T stone ground mustard
2 T dijon
2 T yellow mustard
2 1/2 - 3T Wolf River Honey (depending on how sweet you like it)
2 T water (could add more depending on desired consistency)
Sprinkle in sweet paprika, garlic and onion powder
Season with salt & pepper to taste

Mix it all up in a bowl, everything but the water...then add the water til it reaches desired consistency.  Season with salt, pepper paprika, garlic and onion powder.

Makes approximately 3/4 cup

Monday, April 18, 2011

Country Cornbread Casserole

What better way to celebrate southern traditions than by taking this southern classic, cornbread, to the next level & creating a meal out of it.  My recipe was inspired by a very sweet lady in my bible study class, we clicked instantly thanks to our mutual love for food.  She is an amazing cook and always brings the best dishes to share.  It's packed full of fresh ham from a local farm, West Wind Farms (please check them out, they are fantastic folks and they will ship anywhere).  It's moist, holds together very nicely & you still get that greatly crumbly cornbread texture that us southerns just can't get enough of.  This dish truly has it all, easy to prepare, kid friendly (very versatile, can be easily adapted to your families tastes), quick to cook up & very inexpensive to make.  You really have to try it, we completely feel in love with this.  
Great for brunches too!!!   

4 eggs
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), melted
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste (suggestion 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper)
1 (8.5 oz) box corn muffin mix
1/2 medium onion, grated (approximately 1/4 cup)
2 cups cheese (divided: 1 1/2 cups inside and 1/2 cup on top)
8 oz cubed ham, chopped
5 oz fresh/frozen broccoli florets
Garnish with paprika

Preheat oven to 375F
If broccoli is fresh, place in skillet or dutch oven with 1 inch water and cook got 5-6 mins, remove, rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, butter, milk and salt & pepper. Stir in muffin mix, onion, 1 1/2 cups cheese, ham, broccoli.  Pour into a 10 in cast iron skillet and top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese, sprinkle with paprika.  Place in oven for 30 -35 mins or until knife comes out clean. Let rest for 5 mins, then cut into slices, serve & ENJOY!!

Makes 8 slices

Friday, April 15, 2011

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Here's a story I bet you never thought you would hear...the day I almost accidentally sued someone, anonymously.  Something only I would be able to accomplish ~snickers~.  So the story starts off with me contacting a particular government office inquiring in how to go about addressing an issue that came up at a business establishment.  But I got transfered all over the tri-state area until someone actually transfered me to a legal authority who in turn thought I had contacted him to file a law suit against this business.  It all unfolded when he started asking me my name and I advised him that I wanted this to remain anonymous, he told me that wasn't possible and when I asked why, he said that's because you can't sue someone anonymously!!!!  Can you imagine going into court with a mask on and them not knowing your identity?  JUDGE: "State your name for the record please" ME: "oh, I can't give you that" ~giggles under my mask~.  The things I get in to are definitely guided by a higher power (aka, God) and he has a great sense of humor!!  This has nothing to do with the cookies but I thought it was funny enough to share :)

4oz light brown sugar
8 oz unsalted butter (2 sticks)
12 oz all purpose flour
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup raisins (I used Golden)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1. Preheat over to 350F.

2. In a mixing bowl or stand mixer (don't try to do this by hand, it's too dense) combine sugar and butter until sugar is evenly distributed.  Add salt and extract.  Add 1 egg at a time combine between each addition.  Scrap down sides, if needed.

3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl (used a cereal bowl) combine flour and baking powder.  Fold this into sugar/butter mixture, add oats and raisins and continue to fold until dough forms.

4. With a 2 T scoop or similar portion out each cooking.  Press each down flat by hand.  Bake for 15 - 20 mins. then remove and let cool.

Makes about 3 doz (using a 2 T scoop)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Apple Cake with Caramel Glaze

The best part about this cake is the longer it sits the more moist it gets, most cakes dry out over time but not this one.  It continues to soak up moisture from the apples the longer it sits, so you can make this at least a day ahead of time and add the warm glaze right before serving.      
This is an old family recipe that my mom has been making for years.  I finally got my paws on the recipe not too long ago cause my hubby started asking me to make him an Apple Cake.  No matter what my hubby is craving my mom can always produce a recipe that is by far the best thing we have ever eaten and this one is no exception.  

1 1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or something similar)
1/4 tsp ground cardamon
1 cup chopped pecans (optional b/c hubby is allergic)
2 - 3 large apples (used 2)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Peel & chop apples then set aside.  In a large bowl add oil, sugar, eggs and extract.  Beat on low until creamy.  In a bowl sift flour, salt, baking soda and powder.  Add flour mixture slowly to the wet ingrediants, beat after each addition.  Fold in apples and pecans (if using).  Spray a 9x13 baking dish.  Place in oven and bake for 55 - 60 mins or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool then add your glaze.

Caramel Glaze
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
2 T evaporated milk (or regular milk works fine too, if that's what you have on hand)
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

In a saucepan over med heat, add all the above ingredients and bring to a boil for about 5-10 mins, turn it off and set aside to allow it to cool.  If you would prefer a thicker (more frosting like) consistency you can add confectioners sugar to it at this point but that's totally up to you.

Makes 10-12 servings

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bacon Cheese & Chive Breakfast Muffins

Greeting, ya'll!!!  Several family members on Angie's BIG Love of Food Facebook page have been asking me to create a breakfast muffin that was quick, easy and something to grab as ya walk out the door in the morning, well after some research and asking ya'll what your favorite combos are, this is what I came up with.  I hope it was worth the wait, we think it hubby took 1 bite, fell off the couch, got up and starting running around the condo proclaiming I was QUEEN of all things food related..ok that didn't really happen but a girl a can dream right? ~snickers~.  I secretly want him to make the biggest deal out of everything I serve him, there's nothing wrong with that right?!

I am providing you with these instructions by weight and volume.  Obviously, because we are baking we want to be as precise as possible and measuring by weight is the key to that but if you don't have a scale on hand that's ok just follow the ingredients in parenthesis and keep everything else the same.

8 oz AP flour (approx 1 cup)
8 oz milk (1 cup)
4 oz egg (2 large)
4 oz butter (1 stick) melted and cooled slightly
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp baking powder
4 slices bacon, cooked and finely chopped
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 T dried chives

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
3. Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl whisk in milk, eggs, butter, pepper (if using).  Then add the dry ingredients, slowly incorporating them.  Finally fold in bacon, cheese and chives. Yep, it's really that easy.
4. Fill a muffin pan with liners or use a nonstick cooking spray.  Fill each cup about 3/4th full, I used a small ice cream scoop to help me portion them just right.  Now, just place in oven and bake for approximately 30 mins or until tooth pick comes out clean & ENJOY!!!

Makes 10 muffins

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sandwiches & Wraps

I honor of Spring, picnics and living in the south here are some of our favorite quick and easy lunches that we enjoy all the time.  There's just something about being in the south and enjoying your yummy treats on your front porch or at a park, surrounded by family and friends that really makes for some of the best comfort food in all the world.  Of course you don't need to live in the south to enjoy these but it sure does help.  The first one is my Tuna Salad and I eat more of this than just about anything else.  I love hot tuna, melted cheese and avocado.  And I grew up watching my dad eat his own version just about everyday.  I am just carrying on the tradition.     

Tiny Tuna Toasts
1 (12 oz can) Solid White Tuna in water, drained
6 Tablespoons of Cream Cheese
2 T Diced Red Onion
1 Tablespoon dried chives
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp paprika
Salt & Pepper to taste
Mix together & serve hot or cold

Slice up whatever bread you have on hand (used French Bread) or could use Mini Bagels top with avocado slices and your favorite cheese then place under broiler til bubbly and ENJOY!!

Ham and Swiss Poppyseed Sandwiches
My Aunt Nancy gave me this recipe and it's one of the classics that dates back to the 1960's.  We love it!!  I often make up the entire batch & we eat on it all week long.  Best served along side your favorite jam.

1 pkg small 18 to 24 Parker House Rolls (Kroger Golden Dinner Rolls in fresh baked bread section)
6 T salted butter
1 tsp onion powder
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1/2 T poppy seeds
1 tsp dry ground mustard
3/4 lb ham (I used Boarshead Low sodium)
1/3 lb Baby Swiss (I used Private Selection)
1/3 Cup of your favorite jam
1 T hot water

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter in microwave safe dish & add Worcestershire sauce, onion powder & poppy seeds. Cut rolls in half & set aside. Pour half butter mixture in the bottom of a large pan. Place bottom layer of roll in pan. Layer with Ham, then the cheese & then add the tops & brush the tops with the remaining butter mixture. Bake for 20 mins. Mix your favorite jam with water to thin out. Serve & ENJOY!!!!

Roasted Pork Wrap
Here's what we do with left over pork loin
1 whole wheat tortilla
1/4 lb Roasted Pork, cubed
1 slices baby swiss
1 tablespoon red onions
2 Kalamata olives, sliced
Bunch Arugula
drizzle with Ranch dressing
Salt and Pepper to taste

Over med high heat, place tortilla in a skillet to warm.  Layer up in the center of the tortilla in order, pork, swiss, red onions, olives, Arugula. Continue heating for 3 to 5 mins or until cheese has melted & everything has had time to warm.  Remove from skillet & roll up from each side to meet in the middle. Bound the bottom with foil so nothing falls out & your are all set. ENJOY!!

Cuban Panini
2 Hoagie rolls 
2 slices of Roasted Pork
4 slices of ham (Boars Head Low sodium is our fav)
2 slices of baby swiss
2 slices of long sandwich dill pickles
2 tablespoons Dijon
Extra Virgin Olive oil

1.  Slice each Hoagie in half length wise and hull out each half (top & bottom) to make a cozy home for the ingredients. 

2.  Starting with bottom roll, layer up 1 slice of pork, 2 slices of ham,1 slice of dill pickle and 1 slice of swiss. 

3. Take the top piece and smear on 1 tablespoon (or more depending on your desire) Dijon. Introduce the top to the bottom and allow them to fall in love. Coat the outside of the top piece with olive oil to prepare it for the panini press.  Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the 2nd (and so on). 

4. On med-high, place the sandwiches on the panini press & cook for 3 to 5 mins, until crunchy on the outside & melt-y goodness is coming from the inside. Cut each on a diagonal & serve with Sweet Potato Fries..ENJOY!

NOTE: If you do not have a panini press you can use a cast iron skillet or any skillet & place something heavy on top to weight it down. Just be sure you press it, so it cooks up in the 3 to 5 mins.

Egg and Olive Salad
4 eggs
5 - 6 Kalamata Olives diced
2 tablespoons red onions
1/2 teaspoon dried Dill
1/4 Cup Greek yogurt (I add a little at a time til its the consistancy I prefer)
Onion powder to taste
Salt & pepper to taste

Put 4 eggs in pot with cold water & place on stove on high. Once it starts boiling turn it off & cover it. Set time for 15 mins & let it sit.  Drain & rinse eggs with cold water to stop the cooking. I even add ice cubes to the pot to cool them quicker.  Cut eggs with egg slicer & place in bowl. Add olives, red onions, onion powder, dill, yogurt and salt & pepper. Mix & refridgerate for at least an hour. Serve & enjoy!!!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mom's Birthday Dinner & BIG Surprise Dessert Revealed

We celebrated Mom's birthday last night and I wanted to share with ya'll all the yummy food that we had.  

Green Bean Casserole

Dad's Creamy Mashed Tators
Creamy Corn Casserole
Squash Casserole from Southern Plate
Country Fried Steak, on the pretty blue and white plates.
Do all parents collect these plates or is it just mine? ~snickers~ 

And finally for dessert, the labor of love which was this coffeecake, came out PERFECT!  This recipe came from American's Test Kitchen along with very specific criteria that we were hoping to achieve with this.  The instructions for this coffeecake were so detailed that it took almost an hour and a half just to get it ready to go in the oven but it was totally worth the effort and I will definitely make this again.  We added the Blueberries to this and altered the name to reflect that so if you go in search of this recipe on their website, it's called Cream Cheese Coffee Cake.  

Really been wanting to make something like this for a very long time but couldn't find the perfect recipe until now and getting to make this for my mother for her birthday made it worth all the searching.  That's why this was sooo important to not goof this up and why I reread the instructions about 1000 times.  All the while, sweet little Nutmeg was literally sitting between my feet and looking up at me like mommy are you finished yet, plus she was secretly hoping I would drop a blueberry or something ~giggles~.  So now comes the waiting...we made this on Monday at my sister's house, brought it home to our house and it had to sit in our kitchen for 24 hrs, staring at me and I couldn't cut into it to make sure that everything we did had in fact worked and it drove me nuts!!!  I know my mother loves me and no matter what I serve her she is going to rave about it, cause that's what mom's do (thank goodness) but I had visions of cutting into this and discovering in front of my entire family that something had not worked about it and I would end up serving them a crappy coffeecake...but that did not happen, it WORKED and we couldn't be happier!!!!  

Blueberry and Cream Cheese Coffeecake

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mom's Open-faced Pimento Cheese Sandwiches

Today is my Mom's Birthday!!!  So in honor or of special day, I am bring ya'll one of my favorites she made while growing up & a little story about the lengths we went to as kids to get our hands on these yummy little sandwiches.

Mom has a regular bridge club that gets together once a month, a bunch of her dear teacher friends and they still do this to this day.  They have probably been doing this for 20+ yrs now.  So, as kids Dad was put in charge of keeping me and lil sis upstairs so Mom could enjoy a night to herself (ok, Moms out there...anyone actually believe that that really happened ~snickers~).  During the day mom would let us help prep some of the food and this was always the one I enjoyed getting to make the most.  As you can tell by now, anything with cheese in it is my favorite dish.

As the party began we greatly anticipated everything that was downstairs waiting to be consumed. Lil sis and I were good at first, pretending the play along with the let's stay upstairs and play concept but the second our father got to watching a movie or in general just not paying attention to what we were into to, my sis would begin manning her post.  I was older so I took charge (that shouldn't come as a surprise ~snickers~), she would be on look out while I quickly ran downstairs and began grabbing handfuls of these little goodies to bring back upstairs to shovel in our faces.  Seemingly since Dad reaped the benefits of our little covert operation getting caught was never a big deal ~giggles & snorts~

Mom always heated these but you can eat it straight out of the fridge (like you see above) or you could even use this as a dip with some buttery crackers.  And it can keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge, not that it will EVER last that long.

1 C sharp cheddar, grated
1/2 C mayo
2 T butter (optional - only if heating)
2 T pimentos, diced
couple shakes Worcestershire sauce
3 - 5 shakes garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste (1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper)

Mix all together in a small bowl  and place in fridge to marinate together.  Spread cheese on your favorite rolls or flat bread and bake on 350F for 15-20 mins.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Salted Almond Shortbread Cookies

Just picked up a copy of Michael Ruhlman's Ratio and this was my first experiment.  So, I am REALLY excited about sharing this with you.  If you are not familiar with this book, it's about understanding the fundamentals of baking.  It allows you to create thousands of recipes just by knowing one very simple ratio.  It also teaches about the relationship that the ingredients have with one another.  This book sets us free from recipes and allows us to just create as much or as little as we want, in our home kitchens.  One very important element here is that the key ingredients are measured by weight not volume, so it's very important to have a scale on hand when baking, it's just more precise.  

Back to the recipe, since we are HUGE almond fans I decided to do these shortbread cookies with almond extract instead of vanilla but use what you love by all means.  I think the almond just enhances the buttery flavor of these little babies.  I have already had 1 for breakfast this morning and I have my eye on a 2nd one for lunch ~snickers~.

2 oz (light) brown sugar
4 oz unsalted butter (1 stick), softened

1/2 tsp almond extract 
pinch salt

6 oz all purpose flour
2 T water

Preheat oven to 350F.  In medium bowl, cream (mix) together sugar and butter.  Add your salt and extract.  Then, fold in flour gradually, until dough is formed.  If it's too dry (like mine was) add a little bit of water at a time until the dough comes together.  I used a 2 tablespoon scoop, placed eat ball on my round stone and then pressed them down.  They don't spread as they bake so you can place them fairly close together.  I was able to get all 12 on my round stone (baking sheet is fine too just be aware you may need to adjust cooking times).  Bake 15-20 mins.  Sprinkle with salt and ENJOY!!!

Makes 12 cookies (using a 2 T scoop)


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