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Archive for the ‘Side Dishes’ Category

cheesymac_final
Isn’t macaroni and cheese just one of the all-time ultimate comfort foods? I know it is for me. All that cheesy, creamy goodness wrapped around soft pasta. What more could you want? Of course, there are a multitude of recipes for mac and cheese. Everything from the ordinary to the sublime. But this is one for days when you’re in a hurry to get dinner on the table. It’s really quick. It can be ready in little more than the time it takes to boil the macaroni and it’s very satisfying.

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Potato Salad

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I wonder how many recipes there are for potato salad. Hundreds? Maybe thousands? At least. It seems that every culture, every country, every cuisine has some sort of salad, hot or cold, based on potatoes. And, of course, every cook puts his or her special touch on the recipe.

That’s what I’ve done with this recipe. I’ve tweaked it and tweaked it until it perfectly suits our tastes. Try it and maybe it’ll suit yours as well.

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Okra! It’s one of those vegetables where you find very little middle ground. It seems that people either love it or they hate it. I, of course, fall into the “love it” category. I like it every single way I’ve ever had it. Fried, boiled, in gumbo, in soup, and of course the classic dish of okra and tomatoes.

BeeBop on the other hand, falls into the “hate it” category. Just not his thing. That’s okay. We don’t judge. I try to tell him what he’s missing, but that just falls on deaf ears.

Okra and tomatoes is a quick side dish that goes with so many entrees.  And the frozen okra is always just as good as fresh. Cooking okra with something slightly acidic like tomatoes, cuts out nearly all of the slime factor, too.

So, next time you’re at the grocery store, grab a bag of frozen okra and give this a try.

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Fresh, green butter beans. What a southern summer time delight! Served alongside fried chicken with cornbread and sliced tomatoes on the side, butter beans are a perennial favorite at many a southern table.

Now, I’ve read lots of opinions about whether butter beans and lima beans are the same thing. And I still don’t know for sure. They certainly don’t taste anything alike to me. Lima beans, in my opinion, have a horrible mealy quality that I dislike. Butter beans, on the other hand, have a luscious creamy texture. Limas are pale grey to white when cooked and butter beans keep their pretty green color.

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“Summer time and the living is easy.” Really? Easy, maybe; HOT, yes! Today was the tenth day in a row with high temperatures above 90 degrees and humidity to match. But that’s really just typical for the deep south at this time of year. Hot and humid. So humid that there’s a hazy look in the air. It’s like living in a sauna, but hey, it’s wonderful for your complexion!

Because of the heat I was looking for something fabulous for dinner that wouldn’t heat up the kitchen and I found it in this delicious grilled recipe from Real Simple (www.realsimple.com). This chicken is marinated in a wonderful citrus and rosemary mixture, grilled and then served with a salad of romaine, orange sections and grilled onions.

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There are probably as many recipes for cornbread as there are southern cooks. Although it’s not strictly a “southern thing,” cornbread is very widely served throughout the south. It’s so very good with a plate of southern-style vegetables like peas, fried okra, and greens.

And, there are many different kinds of cornbread. There is the old fashioned type like I’m going to show you here. Then there is corn pone which is basically just cornmeal, water and salt formed into “pones” like thick little pancakes and cooked in the oven. There are corn sticks and corn muffins as well. And don’t forget about hush puppies! They are essentially cornbread, too. Actually, my favorite is what we call “lacy cornbread.” Lacy cornbread is cooked in a skillet on the stovetop. It’s a very thin, light batter that is poured into hot oil and fried quickly to a golden brown. It takes skill and practice to make lacy cornbread.

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pimientocheesesandwichPimiento cheese. Everybody knows pimiento cheese. Right?

Wrong.  Not long after BeeBop and I got married and were immediately exiled to the cold, cold Northeastern United States by the U. S. Navy, I was shocked, shocked I tell you, to find out that there were actually people in the world who had never even heard of pimiento cheese.  I found this unbelievable, being as it was that pimiento cheese was a staple in every southern household that I knew anything about. Pimiento cheese sandwiches were as common to our childhood as peanut butter is to most. It was something that our moms could make up quickly, spread between two pieces of soft white bread, feed us lunch and be back to the hundreds of tasks they still had to complete that day. It also made appearances as hors d’oeuvres when stuffed in a stalk of celery or spread on a cracker.

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