While celebrating Memorial Day most folks choose to honor our Service Men and Women, by gathering together and sharing a meal. The farmer’s markets are full of every sort of green thing imaginable, begging to be grilled in the great outdoors. For our Memorial Day celebration The Hungry Southerner team, grilled fresh leeks, torpedo onions, green beans,corn, bourbon brown sugar marinated pork tenderloin and served all that with a fresh salad of ripe red tomatoes, goat cheese and basil. We let the ingredients speak for themselves, only adding olive oil and salt to the vegetables before putting them on the grill. The meal was fresh and delicious (grown by Southern Farmers), but the best part of the evening was each other’s company and the conversation that always drifted back to food.
Monthly Archives: May 2010
After my first Yankee Challenge, Big Southern Breakfast, I picked up a few Southern cookbooks at the library, so I could read up on popular Southern dishes and how to make them. I felt very prepared when I was assigned my second Yankee Challenge: a Southern Vegetable Plate. There would be five vegetables: fried okra, collard greens, fried green tomatoes, black eyed peas, and macaroni and cheese (yes this is a veggie), plus a side of cornbread. There were some rules like the last challenge, that involved making the cornbread and mac-n-cheese from scratch, frying everything in the cast iron skillet, using dried black eyed peas, and the collard greens needed to be cooked with a ham hock or salt pork. Um, what the heck is a ham hock?!
I have a confession, pie and tart crusts are my nemesis. I’ve been caught red handed, on multiple occasions, seeking the freezer section for my secret pie recipe. I’ve decided to conquer said problem, and sort out the “secret to southern tarts“. As important as the crust is, in a tomato tart, the type of tomato selected is even more important. It’s the very unique creole tomato, that will always provide a signature warm southern flavor. These tomatoes were bred to survive the high heat, humidity and strong south Louisiana sun, bringing an intense tomato flavor. So was my tart a success, failure, or ugly first attempt?
Soufflés are one of those culinary challenges that many cooks shy away from. Accounts of this impressive, but very delicate dish deflating as soon as it’s out of the oven have made it seem to be more trouble than it’s worth to prepare. Although definitely a little trickier than a southern classic like fried chicken, I found that with some patience and attention to detail, this French classic is very “do-able” and a great way to turn a regular dinner into something special. Not to mention that soufflés can be prepared as either a savory entrée or a sweet dessert.
Pimento cheese is the southern snack. As best as I can tell from my limited research, it does not exist above the Mason-Dixon, except in the homes of southern expatriates. To those of us who were raised on it from an early age, it evokes thoughts of home, family, and everything that is right about being from the South. To those who were deprived of this treat in their childhood, it’s just weird. In other words, it’s an acquired taste.
There are certain images that recall an era of deep southern tradition. Things that look like they belong to Southern Culture out of shear necessity. Seersucker is an iconic fashion statement, born and bred for the heat and humidity of the South. A statement is made every time you wear this unmistakable fabric; a reflection of the laid back spirit of the South. Seersucker is a classic.
I’m a cinnamon roll addict. My addiction started while I was a graduate student, living in Oxford,MS. Every Saturday morning, for 2 years, I would drag myself out of bed, before 8:00 am, to be the first to eat Bottle Tree Bakery’s fresh cinnamon rolls. Bottle Tree’s rolls were anything but average, with their monster size, tender gooey middle and sweet warm frosting. The flavor is burned into my taste buds and no matter where I’ve eaten since, other cinnamon rolls haven’t lived up to Bottle Tree’s excellence. Which brings us to the first official Southern Kitchen.