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Archive for May, 2009

Lemon Meringue Pie

LemonMeringuePie_final

Lemon Meringue Pie brings all kinds of wonderful memories to mind. Especially memories of my Daddy. It was one of his most favorite things in the world. Actually, he liked pretty much anything lemon.  I think it was probably his favorite flavor. Lemon pie, hard lemon candy. If it was lemon, he liked it. I never, ever take a bite of lemon meringue pie without thinking of him and how much I miss him.

I’m so lucky that I currently have five generations of living family members. My Mama, her mother, my daughter and her two children. That’s really something. Daddy lived to see that, too. He knew my oldest grandchild for a few months before he passed away. Almost every time I go back home, Mama and I go to the city cemetery for a visit. I think he knows we check on him.

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friedchicken_final

Since I’m in the frame of mind to get back to my culinary roots, what could be more representative of southern farmhouse cooking than fried chicken? It’s a standard. It’s a staple. It’s just classic. And, most of all it’s quick and easy. That’s right, I said “quick and easy.” Making simple fried chicken is not a production. It does not require overnight marinades or special equipment or any kind of fancy preparation whatsoever. If it did, do you think millions of southern women would have cooked it for lunch every day for years and years? I can tell you without hesitation that they would not have. For our southern grandmothers, it was something they could whip up in a few minutes.

I’ve seen the recipes and the demonstrations where chefs put the chicken in milk or buttermilk or yogurt and let it stand overnight in the refrigerator. Then they coat it in all kinds of seasonings and shake it all up together in a paper bag. Well, that’s fine if you really want to do that, but what you get from that is a big mass of fried flour with a little bit of chicken in the middle of it.  Keep reading…

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banpud_finalI was perusing food blogs today, as usual, and I came across one where someone who grew up in the Midwest was extolling the virtues of southern cuisine. Pimento cheese specifically. This blogger talked about how he grew up on a diet of pretty bland fare and only discovered the wonders and variety of southern cuisine after he had reached adulthood. This got me thinking. I really need to get back to what I know and do best. What I call Southern Farmhouse cooking. There are, of course, all kinds of different southern cuisines…creole, cajun, tex-mex, then there’s the whole coastal thing from the Carolinas right on around through Key West and New Orleans and more. Southern cuisine is so varied and complex, it’s even thought of by Southerners in regions of its own. Keep reading…

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sesamebeef_finalHere’s a recipe that’s quick and easy. This is a good one for busy week nights. You can have it on the table in under 30 minutes. And some days that’s a very good thing.  Most of the time I don’t even bother with the cashews. Not that I don’t like them. They’re good when I add them. I just usually forget to buy them.

So, when you need to get something hot and delicious on the table in a hurry, try this nice, quick stir-fry. Here’s what you need:

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crmuffins_finalAt our house, we call these muffins, THE carrot-raisin muffins. That’s how much we enjoy them. Years and years ago, before there was Google, before there was Twitter, before there were blogs, there was Prodigy. You have to be pretty up there in years and have been a very early user of the internet to remember Prodigy. It was back in the day with CompuServe. Before AOL even. See, I’ve always been a tech geek. I started playing around on the internet before there were browsers, when it was not much more than a few universities swapping text files and home enthusiasts with their BB’s (bulletin boards). You used your 1200 baud modem and dialed up the phone number for the BB you wanted to connect to. We were so cool.

 
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pizza_final

I know there are as many recipes for pizza and pizza crust as there are cooks. And I am in no way saying that I am anything like an authentic Italian cook. I just know what I like and what my family likes and we happen to really like this pizza. You may be thinking, “why would I want to go to all the trouble to make a pizza crust from scratch when I can just pick up the phone and order.” Well, for me, it’s just one of those I-want-to-know-I-can-do-it things. 

Also, I love working with yeast doughs. Years ago I used to make all our bread from scratch. There’s something just so satisfying about working that dough until it becomes a smooth, beautiful ball under your hands. Then the whole rising process, and the absolutely wonderful yeasty smell while it’s cooking. There’s not much better in the world than a slice of still warm bread with butter.  Keep reading…

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 ravioli_final1

Buitoni pasta has this new line of filled pastas that you can find in your local grocery store’s refrigerated section. There are four of them: Chicken and Four Cheese, Quattro Formaggi, Spicy Beef and Sausage, and Wild Mushroom. I chose to try the Quattro Formaggi first. I have to tell you that it was excellent. The quality of a good Italian restaurant. Really. You could use any of your favorite Italian style sauces on this ravioli with very good results. I made up a chunky tomato and veggie sauce for mine.  We added a tossed salad and garlic bread to complete the meal. Very good. Not too heavy but very satisfying. 

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