Southern St. Patrick’s

Submitted by Christi
Photo: Courtesy of the Savannah St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee

Photo: Courtesy of the Savannah St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee


Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Hope you are wearing your green so you won’t get pinched. I remember as a kid people who didn’t wear green would say they were wearing green underwear so you wouldn’t pinch them. Didn’t you hate that?

One of the biggest celebrations in the U. S. of St. Patrick’s Day is held in the beautiful Southern city of Savannah, Georgia, which has been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day since 1813. According to the Chicago Tribune’s March 14th edition,

Savannah, Ga., is well known for its haunted mansions and Southern charm, but every March, the cobblestone streets along the Savannah River become the focal point of the second-largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the nation. That’s right—it’s larger than Chicago’s and Boston’s, taking a back seat only to New York City.

Around here at our home, we have are having a quiet celebration. We will wear green and NOT pinch people who are not wearing green (although, we should). We will wish people Happy St. Patrick’s Day and maybe have something Irish (potatoes?) with supper.

I want to link to another blog article from our friend, Rhoda at the Southern Hospitality Blog. She is a stay at home wife who has a small decorating business that she runs from her home. Recently, she posted some great decorating tips that I am happy to link to and pass on to you. Go visit her and read this great article and tell her Christi sent you.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Y’all!

Today’s Lagniappe: Potato/Corn Chowder
A little something for St. Patrick’s Day. You could add green food coloring but I wouldn’t 🙂

  • 2-3 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 med. onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c. diced celery
  • 2 c. diced raw potatoes
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 1 1/2 c. milk, warmed
  • 1 (16 oz.) can whole kernel corn
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • Pepper

In a large heavy saucepan fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towel. Pour off fat except for 1 tablespoon. Add onions to saucepan and saute until transparent, not brown. Add potatoes, celery and water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat. Cover pan and simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add remaining ingredients and heat just to boiling.

For a richer chowder replace 1/2 cup regular milk with evaporated milk or light cream. Chowder has more flavor if it is made ahead and allowed to sit for several hours. Reheat before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Southern Sunshine and Mobile, Alabama

Submitted by Christi

sun


Hooray! Daylight Saving Time starts this weekend. I don’t mind the dark mornings for a few weeks. Of course, I love it in June when you start hearing the birds singing around 5 a.m. and the days are looong.

I love sitting on my porch long into the evening. In the Summer, I even brave the mosquitoes to sit out and watch the lightning bugs. I love how the world (or at least my world) wakes up in the spring and the flowers start blooming and the air smells so fresh. I think I’m sounding a little crazy, must be that Spring Fever again.

By the way, thank you to the readers from Wisconsin who came to visit. Welcome! And, of course, thank you to the people from Alabama. You are great to come and visit. For the life of this blog, which isn’t actually that long, you have been great about visiting from the start.

I have to tell you how crazy I was when visiting Mobile, Alabama one time. I was staying at the Ramada Inn downtown and doing work at Christ Church, an old Episcopal church downtown. First, about the church. It is a beautiful church that was established in 1823. It has a great history and features stained glass windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Anyway, I left my hotel room in search of Mobile Bay. I love to watch the water. I drove and drove and ended up on some remote road. After driving several miles, I finally turned around and returned to my hotel, disappointed. I asked the desk clerk how to get to the Bay. She told me, “It’s right there,” pointing in the opposite direction from where I had come. I could actually see the ships masts from my hotel window! I had been driving away from the Bay all that time!

Okay, I think I’ve told on myself enough today.

Today’s Lagniappe: Gooey Butter Cake

* 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
* 1/2 cup butter, melted
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 4 cups confectioners’ sugar

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Mix cake mix, melted butter or margarine, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 2 eggs with a spoon.
  2. Pat into a 9 X 13 inch pan.
  3. Mix cream cheese, 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla with an electric mixer. Slowly beat in confectioner’s sugar. Pour over cake layer.
  4. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool.

Are You Southern?

Submitted by Christi


Just checked out Southern Living online. They asked the question, “What makes a person Southern?” Then they assembled a list of 40 things that every Southerner ought to do. I’ve decided to assemble my own list of things that I’ve done that I think every Southerner should do.  Some are from their list, but most are my own. What would you add?

  • Have beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans and blow powdered sugar on your friends.
  • Cross over the Chattahoochee River on my way to Phoenix City Alabama from Columbus, Georgia while Alan Jackson is singing “Way Down Yonder on the Chattahoochee” on the radio and sing along.
  • Have a slaw burger and  a cheerwine in North Carolina.
  • Drive on Daytona Beach, Florida.
  • Scoot a boot at Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth.
  • Attend a party at South Fork in Dallas, Texas.
  • Take a sunrise hot air balloon ride over Charlottesville, Virginia from the Boar’s Head Inn ending with a champagne celebration.
  • Attend the crawfish festival and pinch the tails and suck the heads in Beaux Bridge, Louisianna.
  • Listen to blues on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee after having just eaten great barbeque.
  • Grow mint to make mint juleps for Kentucky Derby day (or any other day for that matter).  Haven’t ever made it to the actual Derby but I enjoy joining in the fun at home.
  • Cheer till your throat is soar at any SEC football game. (I cheer for Arkansas – wooo pig!).
  • Grow tomatoes and okra.
  • Grow roses and win a blue ribbon with one at the county fair.
  • Set a beautiful table.
  • Drive from Columbus, Georgia to Warner Robbins on a warm summer day (I did this for a work trip and enjoyed the scenery).
  • Collect Southern cookbooks.
  • Have breakfast at Brennan’s in New Orleans.
  • Attend Jazz Fest in New Orleans.
  • And of course (from the SL list) . . .
  • Mind your manners.
  • Talk Southern y’all.

I’m sure given the time I will think of many more. What about you? Feel free to comment!

Todays Lagniappe: Mama’s Beef Stroganoff

1-1/2 lb. sirloin steak cut into pencil thin strips
1 cup flour (for dredging)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 small onions, chopped fine (I usually use one medium)
1/2 lb mushrooms (can use canned if you prefer)
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 – 6 tablespoons butter (Mama says it always takes more)

Sauce:
2 tablespoons flour
1 (10-1/2 oz.) can beef consumme
1 pint sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
paprika
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Season flour with salt and pepper. Dredge strips of meat in flour. Melt butter in large skillet. When butter is foaming, add the meat. Brown the meat a little and then add the onions, mushrooms and garlic. Cook until onions are transparent.

Remove meat mixture from the pan and keep warm. Reserve 2 tablespoons of butter in the pan (this is where you probably have to add more). Sprinkle flour in the hot butter and stir until smooth. Add beef consumme and cook for a couple of more minutes. Lower the heat and add the sour cream (do not let the sour cream curdle). Add the salt, pepper and stir in the Worcestershire.

Return the meat mixture to the pan with the sauce and stir to get the meat covered with the sauce. Serve warm over egg noodles.

A Southern Accent

Submitted by Christi



I am currently living farther North than I have ever lived in my life. It is still considered the “South” but it is different. I got to thinking about it. The South is a pretty vast region that is bound together with a common history but with still a lot of differences. We all say y’all but there are definitely different flavors of Southern accents. There are the Carolina’s with their flavor which is decidedly different than that of Georgia and Alabama. There is Mississippi and Arkansas which are different from the Georgia. There is Louisiana with its Cajun flavor and the strange almost New Jersey sounding accent of some from New Orleans. I think this is part of what I love about the South. It is a region rich with diversity but bound together with a heritage that is as thick as molasses.

I have traveled quite a bit, thanks to my former job, training all over the United States. (See my “places I’ve been” on my facebook page) Nothing makes you feel more Southern to be in Chicago and have them whisper behind your back, “Did you hear her say y’all?” Or the time I was asked if we wear shoes all of the time. I’m not really sure what that was about. It seems when you are a novelty it just brings out the real Southerner in you. My Southern drawl would tend to get a little drawlier (if that is a word) and I enjoyed their smiles when I would say I was “fixin” to do something. Being a novelty is fun for a while, bless their hearts. It is always nice, though, to get back to the people who talk like you do (even if it is in another flavor) and share with you the common bond of being “Southern.”

Todays Lagniappe: Recipe for Cheese Straws

10 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
1-1/3 sticks butter
1-3/4 cups flour (not sifted)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon Tabasco

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix cheese and sofented butter. Add all other ingredients and work into stiff douh. Put though cookie press with star design in long rows on a cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Cut in 3-4″ strips.

Southern Catfish

Submitted by Christi



My husband has been wanting catfish all week long. I’m going to make it for him tonight. Like many in the South, we love catfish. We live near one of the best places on the face of the earth to get fried catfish, Fred’s Fish House in Mountain Home near Lake Norfork in Arkansas. We love the fried catfish that comes with coleslaw, tomato relish, pickles, onion, baked potatoes or fries and delicious hushpuppies – YUM! If you are ever in the area, make sure to visit Fred’s.

Looking for great catfish recipes? Try looking at The Catfish Institute website. The Catfish Institute, located in Jackson, Mississippi was founded in 1986 by catfish feed mills and their producer members with the goal of raising consumer awareness about the benefits of U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish. Today TCI, which represents catfish feed mills in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Louisiana, conducts promotional programs throughout the United States and Canada.

We are having a wonderful version of catfish tonight. We are having Catfish Pecan Meuniere. The recipe is from Louisiana Real & Rustic by Emeril Lagasse. It is sooo good. My husband says you could put the pecan sauce on the bumper of a car and it would taste good. My husband is also a french fry connessouir. He makes the best french fries and has a special technique. I’ll see if he’ll share it with you sometime. In the meantime, here is the catfish recipe:

Catfish Pecan Meuniere

1 cup flour
4 teaspoons creole seasoning
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
4 catfish filets
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 stick butter
1 cup pecan pieces
4 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup heavy cream 1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1.  Combine the flour with 2 teaspoons of the creole seasoning in a shallow bowl. In another shollow bowl, blend the eggs and milk together. Season the fish with the remaining 2 teaspoons of creole seasoning.

2.  Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge the fillets in the flour, coating evenly. Dip the fillets in the egg mixture. Dredge again in the flour. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, lay the fillets in the skillet. Panfry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until golden. Transfer to a warm platter.

3. Discard any oil remaining in the skillet and wipe clean with paper towels. Return the skillet to the stove. Over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. When the butter foams, add the pecans and stir constantly for about 1- 1/2 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Add the parsley, garlic, lemon juice, Worcestershire, and cream. Stir with a whisk for about 15 seconds and remove from heat. Add the salt, cayenne, and remaining 6 tablespoons butter, broken into small chips, and stir until the butter melts completely.

4.  Spoon the sauce over the fillets to serve.

Christi’s note: I usually cook the fish in one pan while I am making the sauce in another pan. This does mess up two pans and takes a little bit more effort with the timing but it cuts the preparation time down.

A Southern Elvis

Submitted by Christi


elvis
Happy Birthday, Elvis! Can you believe it? Elvis Presley would be 74 today. Of course, Elvis was a Southern boy having been born in Tupelo, Mississippi. Tupelo is a lovely Southern town with an interesting history. If you ever get to Tupelo, there are lots of things to see in addition to Elvis Presley’s birthplace. Visit http://tupelo.net/ to see more about this Southern treasure. I understand that Elvis’ favorite food was a grilled banana and peanut butter sandwich. Sounds pretty good. To celebrate his birthday have one of these gooey, delicious sandwiches and sing Blue Suede Shoes! Thank you . . . thank you very much.

Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

For 1 sandwich:

Mix together a little bit of honey with some peanut butter (This is optional). Spread one side of one of the bread slices with peanut butter. Top with banana slices. Place the other slice of bread on top of the bread with the peanut butter. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a small frying pan. When the butter is melted and bubbling, place the sandwich in the pan. Brown the sandwich on one side and then turn it over and brown on the other side. Add more butter if necessary. YUM!

Clowns in Columbus

Submitted by Christi



The South is famous for its hospitality. I think in all my travels, my experience in Columbus, Mississippi was a great example. I arrived in Columbus in the evening before I was to begin working with a local client the next morning.

I was in my hotel room when my phone rang. It was the front desk telling me that I had visitors and asking if she could send them to my room. She assured me that she believed it would be safe for me to accept these visitors. Safety, of course, was a consideration for a woman traveling alone. I agreed to see them out of curiosity, if nothing else. When they knocked, I opened my door and was greeted by two clowns. Yes, clowns! They came in my room and did a little skit welcoming me to Columbus and then left. I stood there thinking, “What was that?”

The next morning, I arrived to work with the client (a local Baptist church) and discovered that one of the ladies that I was to train that week was a clown in her free time and it was her and her friend who had visited me the night before. They laughed and laughed the night before wondering what I thought of their performance. What a welcome!

One of the other ladies at the church offered to take me to see the Waverly Plantation and then have dinner with her. The plantation was incredible. We were given a tour by the lady of the house. She was fixing supper when we got there. She put it on the back of the stove and proceeded to give us a great tour. The dear lady who took me to the plantation asked the hostess about the ghost in the plantation. She had grown up in the area and knew about how the plantation had stood vacant for 50 years before it was restored. She said when she was a teenager that the teens would go to the plantation but they never did any damage because they were scared off by the ghost. Our hostess said that, in fact, there was a ghost of a little girl and that she was a friendly ghost but that she was protective of the home. What a fascinating place.

What a wonderful group of people the people of Columbus are. If you get a chance, definitely visit Columbus, you’ll be glad you did.