Southern Prohibition

Submitted by Christi



men with still

Today marks the anniversary of Prohibition in United States. Prohibition was the period in United States history in which the manufacture, sale, and transportation of intoxicating liquors was outlawed. It was a time characterized by speakeasies, glamour, and gangsters and a period of time in which even the average citizen broke the law.

Starting in the late 1870’s the prohibition or temperance movements began to slowly seep into the South, town by town or county by county. By the 1890’s the movement was gaining strength nationally, a fact that aided moonshiners tremendously. If a town outlawed the legal sale of liquor, the demand for moonshiners and their product became even greater. Prohibition reached much of the South on a state-wide level in the early twentieth century.

Prohibition also helped lower the standards of many moonshiners, the emphasis became quantity of liquor that could be produced with the quality taking a backseat.

Now you know. See, reading this blog is very educational!

Ecclesiastes 8:15 – Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.

pousse-cafe-glassToday’s Lagniappe: Southern Belle Cocktail

1/2 oz. brandy
1/2 oz. white cream de cacao
1/2 oz. benedictine herbal liqueur

Pour the brandy into a pousse cafe glass. Tilt the glass to a 45-degree angle and slowly pour the creme de cacao down the side of the glass so that it floats on the brandy. Repeat this precedure with the Benedictine.

Southern Kudzu

Submitted by Christi



flowering kudzuI recently read the book Revenge of the Kudzu Debutantes by Cathy Holton. It is a pretty funny read, especially when it gets to the part about the Kudzu Ball. Back in the day, when I was involved in politics, a woman called me in a panic about kudzu. “It’s taking over everything!” The poem Kudzu by James Dickey says:

In Georgia the legend says,
That you must close your windows
At night to keep it out of the house
The glass is tinged with green, even so . . .

The kudzu vine grows as much as a foot a day in Summer months, covering everything in its path. Well, in the South, we are nothing if not resourceful. We have found many uses for kudzu. Here are just a few:

Basket makers have found that the rubber-like vines are excellent for decorative and functional creations. Ruth Duncan of Greenville, Alabama makes over 200 kudzu baskets each year and says she doesn’t mind that people call her the “Queen of Kudzu.”

Regina Hines of Ball Ground, Georgia, has developed unique basket styles which incorporate curled kudzu vines. She weaves with other vines as well, but says that kudzu is the most versatile.

Nancy Basket of Walhalla, South Carolina, makes paper from kudzu which she uses in colorful collages. Her designs vary from geometric shapes to images of rural life and Native American themes.

Diane Hoots of Dahlonega, Georgia has developed a company to market her kudzu products which include kudzu blossom jelly and syrup, kudzu baskets, and books. Her book, Kudzu: The Vine to Love or Hate, co-written with Juanita Baldwin, is an in-depth study of the South’s love/hate relationship with the vine. The book includes recipes and basket making instructions.

Henry and Edith Edwards of Rutherfordton, North Carolina have found many uses for kudzu over the past 30 years. Henry produces over 1,000 bales of kudzu hay each year on his Kudzu Cow Farm. The hay is high in nutritive value, but many people have found kudzu difficult to cut and bale. Henry says the secret is to “cut it low and bale it high.”

Edith Edwards makes deep-fried kudzu leaves, kudzu quiche, and many other kudzu dishes. She found recipes in The Book of Kudzu: A Culinary and Healing Guide by William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi, and thought this was a good use for a plentiful resource. She has demonstrated kudzu cooking for clubs, schools, and visitors to the Knoxville World’s Fair.

Kudzu blooms the end of July through September. It has attractive bunches of elongated, delicate purple flowers with a fragrance reminiscent of grapes. Use the blossoms to make jelly.

To cook with kudzu, Choose only the smallest, most tender leaves. Large leaves are too tough. Even the small leaves have plenty of body. Fresh and tender, the leaves have a flavor similar to that of a green bean. That’s because kudzu is a member of the legume family.

Wilma Clutter says: “Kudzu quiche and deep-fried kudzu leaves are wonderful. I’ve also eaten small kudzu leaves marinated in Italian dressing served on tofu sandwiches.”

Lagniappe: A recipe for Kudzu Rice Quiche
(from http://www.geocities.com/kudzufest/kudzurecipes.html)

6 servings

4 eggs
2 cups cooked rice
½ cup finely grated Swiss cheese
½ pound fresh, young kudzu leaves
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup cottage cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan
6 tablespoons heavy cream or evaporated milk
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
6 drops hot sauce

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pie pan or use an 8- or 9-inch square cake pan. In a medium bowl, beat 1 egg. Add rice and Swiss cheese. Stir well. Spread mixture evenly in prepared pan, making a crust. Refrigerate until ready to fill and bake.
• Cook kudzu leaves in a small amount of water, press to remove moisture and chop fine. Add butter and set aside.
• In a medium bowl, beat remaining 3 eggs. Stir in salt, cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, heavy cream, hot sauce and nutmeg. When it’s blended, stir in Kudzu. Pour into prepared rice crust. Bake 30-35 minutes or until firm.

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!

More Southern Manners and Jail House Chili

Submitted by Christi



Did you know that being nice is good for you? Your niceness inspires others to be nice which benefits all of us! Here is an idea from Bottom Line:

Put 10 pennies in your left pocket. During the day, stop by, phone or e-mail people just to tell them how much you appreciate them or that you were thinking of them. Move one of the pennies from your left pocket to the right each time you do, and do not stop until your left pocket is empty.

I like that idea. I would allow pennies to be moved for opening a door for someone or for performing any small act of kindness. This would be nice for everyone no matter where you live or where you are from.

One of the kindest people I have ever known was Norvelle Turner. She helped raise my husband. She was his mother’s housekeeper and lived with her for 50 years before she died. She was famous for baking cakes for people she appreciated and dropping them by for no reason. She was always thinking of ways to make others happy. What a wonderful Southern lady she was. I’ll never forget her teaching me to make “Jail House Chili”. I think I’ll make it tonight in her honor. Thanks Norvelle.

Jail House Chili

This recipe is from A Cooks Tour of Shreveport from the Junior League of Shreveport, Louisiana, 1964. Norvelle’s version is quite a bit spicier than the original. The recipe here has the measurements that she used. She made her changes in pencil in the cookbook. She made this often and it is great for a cold winter’s day.

3 lb. diced lean beef or hamburger
1/4 cup liquid shortening (I use a couple of tablespoons – Christi)
1 quart water
8 tablespoons chili powder
5 teaspoons salt
8 cloves finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons marjoram
1 teaspoon red pepper (can use 1/2)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons paprika

To thicken:
3 tablespoons flour
6 tablespoons corn meal
1 cup water

Heat oil in a large pot, add meat and sear over high heat, stir constantly until meat is gray but not brown. Add water and cover, cooking over low fire for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Add remaining ingredients, except thinckening, and cook at a bubbling simmer for 30 minutes. Mix together thickening ingredients and add to chili. Cook about 5 more minutes and stir to prevent sticking. More water may be added for desired consistency. If meat is very fat, skim off fat before adding thickening. This is rather hot chili. For milder flavor, cut the chili powder and red pepper in half but add more paprika for color.

A Southern Confession

Submitted by Christi



Recently, I read the book SWAG (Southern Women Aging Gracefully). I read this knowing that at some point I am going to have to accept that I am actually aging. I’m not real happy about that. One of the ways to know if you are a SWAG is that you have stolen magnolia leaves or you know someone who has. I really, really, really hate to admit it, but this year I actually did this. It is kind of funny because I know the people wouldn’t have minded me cutting a couple of branches. You can’t even tell that they are gone. I’ll probably end up telling them that I cut some eventually. It is just in my nature. Maybe, I’ll invite them over for a drink and cheese and olive roulades (recipe follows) and let it slip. Anyway, the leaves made a lovely candle ring for my coffee table.

Ten Ways to Know if You Are a SWAG

1. You feel the urge to bake a pound cake after reading the obituaries.
2. You have had professional photographs made of your children barefoot and dressed in their Sunday clothes.
3. You believe that cocktail dresses do not double as church clothes.
4. You’d rather have a fight with your husband than with your best friend.
5. You have stolen magnolia leaves, or you know someone who has.
6. You have monogrammed the middle of your shower curtain.
7. You could live without Yankees who equate your accent with a low IQ.
8. You know better than to eat the potato salad at a family reunion.
9. You are socially conditioned to believe that tanned fat looks better than white fat.
10. Your children hide their Easter baskets and Valentine’s Day candy from you just in case you have a dieting lapse.

Cheese and Olive Roulades

1 lb of grated sharp cheddar cheese, softened
1 (10 oz.) jar of small stuffed olives
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Creole seasoning to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, cayenne, garlic and Creole seasoning. Blend well then add cheese, melted butter and Worcestershire sauce. Stir ingredients until a dough consistency is created. Pinch off enough of the dough to flatten into a 2 inch round patty in the palm of your hand. Place 1 olive in the center of the dough and wrap around the olive. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for approximately 10 minutes.

These will also freeze well. Either thaw and bake 10 minutes or bake frozen for around 20 minutes.

Southern New Year’s Traditions

Submitted by Christi


Black -eyed peas for luck and greens for prosperity. When I was a kid I didn’t like black-eyed peas but my parents made sure that I ate at least one on New Year’s Day for luck in the new year. They weren’t superstitious but it was a tradition that they had always followed and so I would too. I still do. I also have the greens for prosperity. To tell the truth, I haven’t ever become a millionaire with this method but I’m afraid of what would happen if I didn’t have the black-eyed peas and greens. It’s too scary to contemplate so I just don’t tempt fate.

Actually, I like black-eyed peas now. I rarely make them anymore but I never miss making them for New Year’s Day.

Southern Black-Eyed Peas

I have left-over ham to use in this recipe. A ham bone or ham hock could be used as well.

1 lb. dried black-eyed peas, rinsed, sorted and soaked overnight in water
1 tablespoon, bacon grease, ham drippings or vegetable oil
1 cup chopped ham
1 cup chopped yellow onion
5 cloves minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves

Brown the ham in the bacon grease, drippings or oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic, cayenne, salt and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the black-eyed peas are tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

Serve with greens and cornbread.

Southern Reflections

Submitted by Christi


This is a week of reflections. Looking back at the past year before plowing into the new one. What went well this past year and what didn’t? As I grow older, I realize more and more that experiences, good and bad, are learning opportunities. The good experiences we should tuck away for good memories and the bad, we should learn the lesson and let it go.

There are so many things in life that you cannot control and I’ve learned not to fight life. Enjoy and be grateful for the good times. Enjoy the people you love and don’t waste precious life fretting over toxic people and toxic situations. Change the bad when you can and deal with them as graciously as possible when you can’t.

Okay, enough of the advice (although it is good advice). I had a late Christmas dinner with my family last night. We had baked ham, baked potatoes, roasted carrots, carmamelized andouille spoon bread and pecan pie. A little traditional and a little non-traditional. A good time was had by all. Today, I get to do a little shopping with my Mother. Life is good!

A Southern Table

Submitted by Christi


My family is coming for Christmas this weekend. Because they weren’t here for Christmas Day, I served kind of a non-traditional Christmas Day meal. We’ll have more traditional stuff this weekend. For Christmas Day we had herb roasted pork tenderloin, roasted new potatoes, roasted asparagus and hot rolls. This was an easy dinner to fix because it was all done in the oven without messing up a lot of pots and pans.

Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin
Preheat oven to 425 degrees farenheit

1 4-5 lb. pork tenderloin
5 tablespoons olive oil
fresh thyme, chopped fine
fresh rosemary, chopped fine
fresh parsley, chopped fine
fresh basil, chopped fine
Use 2-3 teaspoons of each herb. I grow my own herbs (the basil is inside now) so they are readily available. You can substitute dried herbs, just use 1 teaspoon of each.
zest from 1 lemon
4 or 5 garlic cloves, minced

Mix herbs, lemon zest and garlic with olive oil. Place pork tenderloin on a roasting rack. Rub herb mixture all over pork. Place pork in preheated oven. Roast for 30 minutes. Turn temperature down to 400 degrees and roast for 55 minutes more. Remove pork tenderloin from oven and let rest for 20-30 minutes.

I’ve got the table set for the weekend. Here it is:

The Southern Christmas Table

The Southern Christmas Table

A Southern Christmas Place Setting

A Southern Christmas Place Setting

Southern Christmas Pecans

Submitted by Christi



I’m watching the squirrels raid my pecan tree, carrying their treasures away to both eat and hide. I hope they leave me some. I remember picking up pecans with my mother. We would take them to a place in town that would crack them for you. All you had to do then is pick out the meat. We would have pounds and pounds of pecans. Like most Southerners, I love pecans. We use them to bread fish and meat, in our wonderful pecan pies, in congealed salads. At this time of year I find that I cannot have too many pecans. It seems like every other holiday recipe I want to make calls for pecans. Here is one of my favorites for the holidays:

Garlic & Pecan Cheese Log

One of my favorite childhood Christmas memories was my parents, annual Christmas caroling party. We would all get together and caravan to homes of selected people and sing Christmas carols. After caroling, we would all gather at our home and have the after-caroling party. These garlic pecan cheese logs are one of the things that were always served with Ritz crackers at the after caroling parties.

2 3 oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened
2 lb. grated cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 – 2 cloves garlic, grated or crushed
¼ teaspoon Tabasco
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chopped pecans
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder

Mix cheeses, mayonnaise, garlic, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce together.
Fold in pecans.
Mix paprika and chili powder together in a separate bowl
Shape the cheese mixture into 2 logs and then roll in the paprika/chili mix.

Refrigerate. Serve on crackers.

Southern Catfish and Remoulade

Submitted by Christi


I was recently reading Julia Reed’s “House on First Street” which tells about her New Orleans experience pre and post Katrina. It is a good read and I definitely recommend it. You will get hungry reading it. At one point she talks about eating catfish with remoulade. I thought “yum!” I make a pretty mean remoulade. This is my version of catfish with remoulade.

Remoulade:

Use in amounts that suit your tastes

  • Zatarains creole mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Red chili sauce (not much)
  • Horseradish
  • Worchestershire sauce (a dash)
  • Garlic

Mix together. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Catfish:

  • Cut catfish into strips
  • Season catfish with Cajun seasoning (Zaterains, Tony Chachere’s, Emeril’s Essence, whatever you like)
  • Place a couple of cups of flour in a pie plate and add some Cajun seasoning.
  • Break an egg into another pie plate and add some milk
  • Dredge fish in flour then egg mixture and then flour again
  • Fry fish in hot oil until done.

Serve with remoulade sauce.