Growing up my Sisters would watch Steel Magnolias, over and over. So you can imagine that I’ve managed to see this, modern, Southern classic once or twice. About midway through the film, there is this great scene where the “mean old” Ouiser is serving the, Armadillo shaped, red velvet groom’s cake, and she chops the tail off and serves it to Tom Skerritt. Seeing this scene makes me laugh every time, which brings us to this month’s Yankee Challenge. This month you’ll be baking Southern Red Velvet Cake.
Tag Archives: Yankee Challenge
The weather is finally getting warm, the sun is out, and everything is starting to bloom just in time for the latest Yankee Challenge. Because of the warm, wet, Springs in the south we get some tasty vegetables early. It’s always exciting to see what fresh produce is available at the first farmer’s market. In honor of the spring market, this month’s challenge is to cook a classic southern “Vegetable Plate” with a side of cast iron corn bread.
I couldn’t tackle buttermilk biscuits without first consulting the Queen of Southern Breakfast: MawMaw
Of course she was tickled to hear from her favorite granddaughter-in-law and very excited that I was attempting to make a Southern breakfast of my own for her favorite grandson. After some catching up, she got down to business and told me that I couldn’t make biscuits without self-rising flour (and her blackberry jam, but we are all out). She said that one could do with regular flour, baking soda, and baking powder – but she never uses it, nor does she know how much of each to use. SO, just when I thought I was raring and ready to go, I had to rush to the grocery store to pick up some self-rising flour.
I couldn’t believe I almost messed up my challenge before I had even started!
The first Yankee Challenge is to season that brand new cast iron skillet, and cook us an old fashion Big Southern Breakfast. Breakfast must include: Thick Cut Bacon, Eggs (no omelets), Stone Ground Grits , Skillet Gravy and Butter Milk Biscuits . The rules are as follows: No olive oil allowed (butter or lard only); Everything, but the grits, has to be cooked in the cast iron skillet; and Everything must be made from scratch (no instant gravy mixes, quick biscuits, or instant grits). Make sure to season your cast iron skillet the day before, by rubbing a thin coat of lard or Crisco over every surface, and baking it alone in the oven at 250 degrees for 2 hours. Once your skillet is seasoned you won’t have to season it again, if used frequently. Some tips would be to cook the biscuits first, remove them from the skillet and then cook the bacon and eggs together. Try leaving a few table spoons of the bacon grease in the pan for the gravy, and keeping those tasty little bacon crisps with it. Stone grits will take 20 -30 minutes, maybe longer, so get them started while baking the biscuits. Don’t be afraid to season everything liberally with salt, pepper and/or whatever else peeks your interest (Tony Chachere’s is your friend). And don’t use soap and water on your cast iron skillet, just wipe it clean when your done. We will check in with Caitlin soon to see how she did.
Readers leave us a comment and offer your favorite biscuit recipes, ways to cook eggs, or gravy secrets. Don’t forget to try out the challenge for yourself and take pictures, we’d love to post everyone’s trials with the Big Southern Breakfast. Stop by and give Caitlin, “The Yankee”, a word of encouragement or recipe for the challenge. There will be a PRIZE, each month, for the reader with the best pictures and story about their Yankee Challenge experience, so get cooking y’all. Post your pictures to our Flickr group here or to our Facebook Fan Page here .