My kids have had great friends over the years but there are a few that have been more like my own than just my child’s friend. Savannah’s friend, Kristan, has been one of those special friends. She has been at my house so much that I miss seeing her when she hasn’t been around for a while. She’s such a special person with a big heart and I love her to the moon! She’s celebrating a birthday today so I’m sending out wonderful wishes her way and celebrating by using a gift she gave me in the picture above. She made this sweet little server for me and I love it. Happy Birthday Kristan! Hope you have a great day and great year!
I have a passion for cookbooks. Even if I’ve had one forever, I enjoy looking through them finding new treasures that I may have missed before. Recently, while looking through cookbooks at a local thrift store I found what has proved to be a wonderful treasure…and I got it for $1.00!!! The name of the cookbook is A Love Affair With Southern Cooking by Jean Anderson and it is full of recipes that I want to try.
In her introduction she mentions this Brown Sugar pie that she ate for the first time in 1st grade at her elementary school in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her description of this mouth-watering pie had me craving it before I had even looked at the recipe. I’ve never been a fan of custard type pies but this one was calling me.
It was so easy to prepare and it absolutely delicious. It’s pretty sweet so you will not need a large piece of this pie to be satisfied. I stored this pie in the refrigerator and served with whipped cream.
Brown Sugar Pie
- 1 lb. light brown sugar
- 4 lg. eggs
- ¼ c. milk
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ c. butter, melted
- one 9-inch unbaked pie shell
- Preheat the oven to 325°.
- Blend the brown sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla, and salt until smooth, then add the butter in a slow stream, beating all the while.
- Pour the filling into the pie shell, slice the pie onto a baking sheet, and bake on the middle oven rack for 50 to 60 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.
- Transfer the pie to a wire rack and cool to room temperature before cutting. The filling will fall slightly.
- Serve as is or top with whipped cream.
Before moving to Pensacola, I had never lived in an area that truly celebrated Mardi Gras. Living there I was able to get a small taste of the celebration. Mardi Gras is to be enjoyed by the entire family. Our kids loved going to the Mardi Gras parades in Pensacola. They would come home with moon pies and hundreds of beads, then sit in the living room floor counting to see who caught the most.
If you are like me and will not be in the Big Easy, or anywhere else that celebrates Mardi Gras, it doesn’t mean you can’t bring the flavors of the celebration to your kitchen. I love good food everywhere but Cajun and Creole food could possibly be my all time favorite cuisines. There has to be a few Acadian ancestors in my family tree! There is nothing better than a big bowl of gumbo, étouffée or red beans and rice.
Here’s an easy and delicious recipe for your celebration at home. A good po’ boy starts with good bread…it is a must! I’m including recipes for tartar sauce (my favorite) and remoulade sauce. I prefer lettuce and tomato on my po’ boys but slaw is also an option.
Oyster Po' Boys
- Wet soak:
- 1 c. buttermilk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 to 2 tsp. hot sauce
- 1 tsp. granulated garlic
- Fresh oysters, drained
- 1¼ c. self-rising cornmeal
- 1 tsp. to 1 tbsp. Creole seasoning (to taste)
- Peanut oil or vegetable oil
- 4 to 6 French bread rolls, split
- sliced tomatoes
- shredded romaine lettuce
- Remoulade (recipe below)
- Tartar Sauce (recipe below)
- For the wet soak, combine the buttermilk, egg, hot sauce, and garlic. Add oysters, cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
- For the breading, combine the cornmeal and creole seasoning. Drain the oysters and dredge in the cornmeal mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Fry oysters in batches, 3 to 4 minutes or until golden. Drain oysters on paper towels.
- For the sandwiches, spread the bottom cut sides of French bread with your choice or remoulade, tartar, or mayonnaise. Layer with oysters, lettuce, and tomatoes. Top with the other half of bread and serve immediately.
- 1 c. mayonnaise
- 3 tbsp. finely chopped onion
- 2 tbsp. sweet pickle relish
- 1 tbsp. shredded and chopped carrot (chop to the size of rice)
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and chill.
Best made a few hours ahead.
- 1¼ c. mayonnaise
- ¼ c. mustard (Creole mustard if possible)
- 1 tbsp. sweet paprika
- 1 to 2 tsp. Cajun or Creole seasoning
- 2 tsp. prepared horseradish
- 1 tsp. pickle juice (dill or sweet, your preference)
- 1 tsp. hot sauce
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Mix all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Keep refrigerated.
- Makes about 1½ cups.
Best made a few hours ahead.
I hope you aren’t expecting a Valentine’s Day themed recipe! I have worked on several recipes but they just weren’t recipes that I wanted to post so this year I will not be posting a Valentine’s Day recipe. If you are looking for a Valentine’s Day treat check out this post from February 2014.
Greg and I have spent many Valentine’s Days together. Things have certainly changed during the past 27 years. I can remember the first Valentine’s meal that I cooked for Greg. We were dating and I was living in an apartment with no kitchen table. I took a large cardboard box from the office, threw a tablecloth over it, and we sat on the floor. As newlyweds we didn’t have the money to go out. We were saving for a house and rather than going out we sat in front of the television sharing Mrs. Paul’s clam strips, (as we did many nights). Some years later, when the kids were small, we had moved away from family and were living in Evans, Georgia. We didn’t have grandparents near for free babysitting and we couldn’t afford a babysitter. Celebrating Valentine’s Day back in those days usually meant pizza and bowling. In other words, anything kid friendly.
Each phase of our life together brings back great memories. Greg and I are starting a new phase in our lives now. The kids are approaching adulthood, you might even say they are adults. I, as their mother, will say”approaching”. For the first time in our lives we go to the movies instead of waiting for them to come out on DVD. We enjoy finding new restaurants together. We have even been to several concerts over the past few years. You might say it’s like dating again, except we actually have a table now!
This Valentine’s Day I plan to prepare a special meal at the house. So far, beef tenderloin and creamed spinach are on the menu, along with this easy and delicious artisan bread. Beverly, a friend from my home town, posts fabulous looking pictures of mouth-watering dishes on Facebook. Honestly, she needs her own blog! Lucky for me…and you…she was nice enough to share this recipe with me. It is surprisingly easy and makes a delicious appetizer when served with the Herbed Oil Dip!
- 3 c. lukewarm water (100°F)
- 1½ T. granulated fast acting yeast (2 packets)
- 1½ T. kosher salt
- 6½ c. unsifted, unbleached all-purpose white flour
- In a 5-quart plastic bowl/container with lid, add yeast and salt to water. Stir to dissolve. Mix in flour using a wooden spoon. Do not knead. (I ended up mixing with wet hands) Mix just until everything is moist. The dough should be wet and loose. Allow to rise in lidded bowl/container, not airtight. Beverly noted that she punched a small hole in her lid with an ice pick. This allows the gases to escape a little. Allow to rise at room temperature about 2 hours. (I had to leave the house, I allowed my dough to rise about 3 or 4 hours.)
- Place a piece of parchment paper on an unrimmed baking sheet (if you use a rimmed baking sheet, flip it over and use the bottom of the pan). Sprinkle the surface of dough in the container with flour. Pull up and cut off ¼ of the dough using a serrated knife. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball as you go. Dust your hands with flour, if needed, to prevent sticking. The top of the dough should be smooth. It doesn't matter how the bottom looks. Place the dough on the parchment paper. Let the loaf rise 30 to 40 minutes, no need to cover.
- Preheat a baking stone on middle rack in the oven for at least 20 minutes at 450°F. Place an empty baking pan on the rack below the stone. (If you don't have a stone you can still bake; the bottom just will not be as crisp.)
- Dust the loaf with flour and slash the top with a knife using a tic tac pattern, cross or slashes. Slash just before baking.
- Have a cup of water near the oven. When the oven and stone are preheated and the loaf is ready to bake slide the bread and parchment paper onto the baking stone. Quickly pour the water into the pan under the stone. Bake at 450°F for about 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Cool. (Allow to completely cool for best texture.)
- Store the remaining dough in the lidded (not airtight) container for up to 14 days. Cut off ¼ and cook as you like.
Herbed Oil Dip
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tsp. granulated garlic
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. dried rosemary
- 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
- 1 tsp. dried minced garlic
- ¼ to ½ c. extra virgin olive oil
- Combine all ingredients except oil.
- To serve, pour olive oil on a plate and top with herbs.
- Store unused herbs in an airtight container. Use as needed.
You know how I love soups, stew, and chowders! When the weather is cold I just love to sit down to a bowl of yumminess! This rich and creamy clam chowder is a hearty, stick to your ribs meal that can be made rather quickly. We usually make a meal of this chowder served with saltine crackers. This recipe makes 2 quarts.
New England Clam Chowder
- 4 (6.5-oz.) cans minced clams, juices reserved
- 2 to 3 cups bottled clam juice
- 2 bacon slices, minced
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 1 lb. potatoes, peeled and diced
- 3 c. half and half
- 6 tbsp. dry sherry
- salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- hot sauce, optional, to taste
- ¼ to ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- Saltine crackers
- Drain the clam juice from the minced clams and combine with enough bottled juice to equal 3 cups of liquid.
- Cook the bacon slowly in a Dutch oven, over medium heat until lightly crisp.
- Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Whisk in the clam juice, bring to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The liquid should be the consistency of heavy cream. If it is too thick, add more clam juice to adjust the consistency. Add the bay leaf and fresh thyme.
- Add the potatoes and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the clams and half and half in a saucepan and simmer together for about 8 minutes.
- When the potatoes are tender, add the clams and half and half. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Stir in the sherry. Season to taste with salt, pepper, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.
- Serve with crackers.