Southern Basil Pesto

Submitted by Christi

Yesterday’s lagniappe was a recipe for basil pesto. Why? Because my basil is growing beautifully and I need to do something with it!



So, I’ll make some pesto with it. But then what do you do with the pesto? Today’s Lagniappe will feature 3 different recipes using basil pesto!

Here is the recipe for the pesto from yesterday:

Basil Pesto

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.

Do you make pesto? Is your recipe similar to the one above? What do you do with the pesto after you have made it?

Today’s Lagniappe: 3 Recipes with Basil Pesto

1. Melted Pesto Cheese Dip
3 ingredients and very easy!

  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 1/4 lb. mozzarella cheese, fresh if possible
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. If using packaged cheese, cut into 1/2″ cubes and place in oven safe serving dish. If using fresh cheese, slice it and place in oven safe serving dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 4-6 minutes or until cheese begins to melt. Remove from oven and drop pesto by teaspoonfuls over cheese. Top with Parmesan cheese and return to oven for 1 minute. Serve with crackers. Serves 6-8

2.  Pesto Brie Bruschetta
Tomatoes and basil – a classic combination.
  • 8 slices french bread
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 1 (8 ounce) wedge Brie cheese
  • 1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes

Spread each slice of bread with some pesto and top with cheese slices, cut to fit. Place in toaster oven and toast until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted and bubbly. Top each slice with some cherry tomatoes and serve.To grill, place bread on grill over medium coals. Grill for 2-3 minutes until toasted. Turn, remove from grill, and top with pesto and cheese. Return to the grill and cover. Grill 2-4 minutes until bottom of bread is toasted and cheese is melted and bubbly. Top with cherry tomatoes and serve.

3.  Pesto Pasta
Last but certainly not least!

  • 1 lb. uncooked linguine pasta
  • 12-oz. container refrigerated basil pesto
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta as directed on package; drain and return to pot. Stir in basil pesto, tossing gently over low heat until pasta is coated. Add grape tomatoes and toss for 1 minute. Sprinkle with cheese and serve. 4 servings


Balancing Beauty and Bedlam’s Tasty Tuesday

Blessed with Grace’s Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

The Gypsy’s Corner’s Three or More

Southern Pinks

Submitted by Christi

It is still really hot here, but I still try to brave the back porch whenever possible. Today, while I was out, a small rain shower moved in and cooled things just a tad. The sun was still out while the rain fell. Norvelle Turner, who helped raise my husband used to say, “the devil is beating his wife” when it rained while the sun was shining.

We may have to have our meals earlier in the morning or way later in the evening to enjoy them outside, but still, I love to be outside and watch the birds and the rabbits and see the wind blowing the trees. Here is my pink outside tablescape:

Pink Flowers

The inspiration

pink tablesetting

pink table setting with purple charger

Pink table with pink stem glasses

boy statue

girl statue

overhead shot of pink tablesetting

complete tablesetting

A pink table for:

Tablescape Thursday with Between Naps on the Porch

with Between Naps on the Porch

Some pink for:

Pink Saturday

Pink Saturday with Beverly at How Sweet the Sound

And today’s lagniappe is a summery recipe for:

Foodie Friday

With Designs by Gollum

Today’s Lagniappe:  Summer Squash and Cherry tomatoes in Basil Butter
From Dining by Fireflies: Unexpected Pleasures of the New South – The Junior League of Charlotte, North Carolina

1 lb yellow squash, thinly sliced
8 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
2/3 cups basil butter, divided

Saute squash and tomato in 2 tablespoons basil butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat 10 minutes or until squash is tender. Serve with remaining basil butter.

Basil Butter

3 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
3/4 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup butter, softened
freshly ground pepper to taste

Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth,  stopping once to scrape down sides. Cover and chill until ready to use.

Save any leftover basil butter to slather on hot corn on the cob.

The Last of the Southern Trout

Submitted by Christi

I hope everyone has enjoyed visiting the Messick’s river cabin this week. I know I did! Don’t forget to visit Ann Messick at Ozark Home Team if you want to find out more about the cabin on the White River.

So, let’s see, so far I have posted four trout recipes. So tonight, I’ll finish the week with one more!

What kind of trout can you catch from the White River?

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout

brown trout

Brown Trout

cut throat trout

Cut Throat Trout

I’m not really sure about that cut throat name. Sounds kind of creepy to me. They are all beautiful. I remember going out on the White River with a guide with my mother (my husband and her husband were in a separate boat). We caught 75 trout before noon.  I’ll have to say that is a great way to fish. The guide baited the hook, told us where to cast and then when to reel in. He then took the fish off the hook and also cleaned the fish for us to take home. That is my kind of fishing!

Okay, as I said, one last trout recipe:

Today’s Lagniappe:  Grilled Rainbow Trout
Who better to give us a recipe than the wonderful Emeril Lagasse?!

* Olive oil
* 1 head escarole, cleaned
* 2 pounds baby artichokes, cleaned and halved
* 5 plum tomatoes, halved
* 5 shallots, halved
* 4 (12 to 16-ounce) whole rainbow trout, cleaned, head removed, and butterflied
* 2 cups flour
* Essence
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
* 2 teaspoons very fine grated lemon zest
* 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley


Preheat a grill.

Lightly oil the escarole, artichokes, tomatoes, and shallots and place on the grill. Grill until tender, removing as they finish and placing on a large platter.

Press down on the trout to completely open and flatten. Season the flour with Essence, salt, and pepper and place in a shallow dish. Dredge the trout in the seasoned flour.  Add butter and oil to a hot saute pan. Pan-fry the trout until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.

Place the fish on top of the grilled vegetables and top with balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, and parsley.

Yield: 4 servings

See some wonderful recipes with the ever-wonderful Micheal at:

With Designs by Gollum

Southern Soup Craving

Submitted by Christi

I had some tomato soup for lunch today. As I was eating it, I was reminded of how much I loved the tomato basil soup at la Madeleine.  Oooh, it is so good. It is thick and creamy and so, so yummy. Just what is needed on a rainy fall day.

La Madeleine has 60 locations in Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Atlanta, Washington D.C. and surrounding areas.

Well, I don’t live near a la Madeline’s anymore, so I had to go looking for a copy cat recipe. Here is the recipe I found from several sites. They all refer to the same source, the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

La Madeleine Tomato Basil Soup


1 hour | 15 min prep


* 4 cups fresh tomatoes, cored, peeled, and chopped (8-10) or canned whole tomatoes, crushed
* 4 cups tomato juice (or part vegetable or part chicken stock)
* 12-14 basil leaves, washed fresh
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1/4 lb sweet unsalted butter
* salt
* 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
* lemon juice (optional)

1. Combine tomatoes, juice/and or stock in saucepan.
2. Simmer 30 minutes.
3. Puree, along with the basil leaves, in small batches, in blender, food processor. Return to saucepan and add cream and butter, while stirring, over low heat. Garnish with basil leaves and serve with your favorite bread.

Excerpted from an article by Beverly Bundy of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram around May 20. 1994.

She wrote, “Once a year, in January I run a column of our most requested recipes — This year, that column included the recipe for La Madeleine’s popular tomato basil soup. I continue to get at least 10 calls a week asking for the recipe. So here it is, once again — “.

Wish the basil in my garden was still growing. I may have to start a pot indoors.

Pair this with a grilled cheese sandwich and you have got yourself a winner!

Now, if I could just get Daddy Jack’s Clam Chowder recipe, I could be in soup heaven.

Check out all the great recipes at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday.

Foodie Friday Logo 2

Today’s Lagniappe:  la Madeleine’s Country Potato Soup
While I was looking for the tomato basil soup recipe, I found this recipe for another great la Madeleine soup.

1/8 cup unsalted butter
2 leeks, thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, sliced
1 1/2 qt. chicken stock
4 large peeled potatoes, sliced evenly in 1/4 inch slides
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup bacon cooked and diced
salt to taste

In a large saucepan, add butter, leeks and onions, and cook.
(Do not brown vegetables.) Add chicken stock, potatoes, salt and fresh thyme.
Cook for 40 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid scorching.
Add cream, bring to a boil and serve hot.
Garnish with Cheddar cheese and diced bacon.

Southern Basil

Submitted by Christi

I worked in my herb garden yesterday. I love working in the herb garden. It is like aromatherapy. The smells of the thyme and rosemary and basil are heavenly. I am always happy to run across recipes that use these herbs in simple ways. One of my new favorites is those lemon and thyme cookies that I posted a couple of weeks ago.



Here is recipe using basil that I really like from Giada De Laurentiis. A crispy parmesan wafer with lemon and basil.

  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons shredded basil leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Transfer a heaping tablespoon of Parmesan mixture onto a silicone or parchment-lined baking sheet and lightly pat down. A silicone baking sheet is highly recommended for this recipe. Repeat with the remaining cheese mixture, spacing the spoonfuls about 1/2-inch apart. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden and crisp. Cool and use a flat spatula to transfer from lined baking sheet.

The name basil means “be fragrant” and it certainly lives up to its name. In herbal medicine it is used to colds, indigestion, depression and exhaustion.

What a lovely thing to grow in the garden!

Join Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday with lots of great recipes from lots of great people.


Today’s Lagniappe:  Tomato and Basil Dip
Another way to use this fragrant and lovely herb

4 beefsteak tomatoes
1 small onion
6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
freshly ground black pepper

Slice the top of each tomato, and scoop out the flesh and seeds. Reserve the flesh and discard the seeds. Place the tomatoes upside down on a plate to drain.

Finely chop the tomato flesh and place in a non-metallic sieve. Press out any excess juice with a wooden spoon. Discard the juice. Place half of the chopped tomato and all of the chopped onion in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.

Stir in the remaining chopped tomato and chopped basil, and season well. Divide the dip mixture evenly among the four hollowed-out tomatoes. Cover and grill.

Garnish with basil leaves and serve with breadsticks and strips of cucumber and celery.

Southern Repeat

Submitted by Christi

I ran this recipe for Lemon Thyme cookies last Friday. I was a little late about getting it up so I am posting it again. I made these lovely little cookies with thyme from my garden and I absolutely loved them. I think they may be one of the best cookie recipes I have tried. This is my 2nd time around entry because I wanted to give these cookies a 2nd chance.


Lemon Thyme Cookies
I didn’t have any cardamom so I just left it out and they were delicious.

* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 1/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1 tablespoon snipped fresh thyme
* 2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
* 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* Coarse sugar or granulated sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Beat the butter in a medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar until combined. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in thyme, lemon peel, lemon juice, and cardamom. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour with a wooden spoon. Knead until smooth; form mixture into a ball.

2. Divide dough into three equal portions. Roll each portion into a 6×4 1/2-inch rectangle (about 1/4 inch thick) on a lightly floured surface. Cut dough into 1 1/2-inch squares with a scalloped-edge pastry wheel. Sprinkle cutouts with coarse sugar. Place cutouts on ungreased cookie sheets.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are just lightly brown. Transfer to wire racks and let cool. Makes 36 cookies.

4. To store: Place cookies in layers separated by pieces of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw cookies, if frozen, before serving.

Hope you enjoy these. We had them over the Memorial Day weekend. We had a wonderful time. My mother and her husband were here and we had a great visit. Hope all of you had a great weekend and that you week will be just wonderful.

Today’s Lagniappe: Margarita Cheesecake
This is great on a warm evening. I decorate with lime slices and a gummy worm.

For the crust:
4 ounces salted pretzels
1/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for baking pan

For the filling:
3 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
1 tablespoon tequila
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
4 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 375° with rack in center. Make the crust: Butter a 9 1/2 inch springform pan; set aside. In a food processor, pulse pretzels to fine crumbs. Add sugar and butter; process until combined.
2. Press evenly into bottom and slightly up sides (about 1 inch) of the springform pan. Place on a baking sheet. Bake until light golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3. Reduce oven to 325°. Prepare filling: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl to eliminate any lumps, about 1 minute. Add sour cream, sugar, Grand Marnier, tequila, and lime zest; beat until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to combine after each addition.
4. Pour into cooled crust (filling will come up higher than crust.) Line outside of pan with aluminum foil (to prevent water from seeping in). Place in a roasting pan. Pour hot water to come halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake until set and slightly firm to the touch, about 1 hour. Remove from water bath, and let cool on a wire rack; refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours. Run a hot knife around edge of pan to release.

Southern Gracious Plenty

Submitted by Christi
Metamorphosis Monday

Metamorphosis Monday hosted by Between Naps on the Porch

Southern Cornbread Before

Southern Cornbread Before

After - Golden and yummy!

After - Golden and yummy!

Southern Food and Southern Cornbread – More than just something to eat! (The first in a series on Southern Food)

One of the things that really defines the South is the food. It is one thing that has always brought us together. Whenever a family suffers a tragedy, the Southern community goes into action to bring food and share in the tragedy. One of the best places to find and learn about Southern food is the community cookbooks. The church cookbooks, the Junior League Cookbooks, the garden club cookbook. All of them are compiled recipes from the homes of those mysterious Southern cooks that have the old family recipes that they are happy to share and pass along.

The first community cookbooks were compiled during the War Between the States (known to some as the Civil War)  to raise funds to treat wounded soldiers, to support family members who had lost fathers and sons and also those who had lost farms to the ravages of the war. After the war, many other charitable organizations continued compiling the community cookbooks and it still continues today.

I love to collect cookbooks but some of my favorites are these community compiled cookbooks. They may never win culinary acclaim, for the recipes contained within are simple recipes from real people using simple ingredients. So many of the recipes have a story to tell, a history of generations past.

In my own history, Southern food was defined by more than what was on the table. It was about my family sitting around the supper table sharing a meal and getting to know each other. It was about sharing our table with the company of friends and family, where everyone was always welcomed. It was also about being in the kitchen with my mother learning how to create a wonderful meal and serving it with warm hospitality.

Southern food – it has a mysterious connotation that surrounds the culture of the South. I hope you enjoy this series of posts about Southern food and some of the stories surrounding the culture.

I have been including a lagniappe with every post for some time. That is part of my attempt at Southern hospitality. Lagniappe simply means “something extra that is added.” The word is used in Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico, Louisiana, Eastern Oklahoma, Southern Arkansas, Charleston in South Carolina, southern and western Mississippi, the gulf coast of Alabama, and parts of eastern Texas. Mark Twain writes about the word in a chapter on New Orleans in Life on the Mississippi (1883). He called it “a word worth travelling to New Orleans to get.” It is something thrown in, gratis, for good measure. The lagniappes that I will include with this series will all be about Southern food.

Today’s Lagniappe: *Southern Cornbread
At one time, corn was “virtually the sole grain of the South and cornbread the true staff of Southern life,” according to A Gracious Plenty, Recipes and Recollections from the American South by John T. Edge for the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi.

My grandmother used to make cornbread and crumble it in a bowl with buttermilk. Personally, I prefer it hot and slathered with butter.

2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup white cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour
1/3 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon bacon drippings (or oil)

Preheat oven to 425. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Add the buttermilk, then the cornmeal, and mix. Add the salt, flour, baking soda, and baking powder. mix thoroughly. Place the drippings or oil into a 9 inch iron skillet. Heat the skillet in the oven.

Pour the batter into the hot skillet. Put it in the oven and bake the cornbread for 10 to 15 minutes. Place it under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the top slightly. Turn the cornbread out upside down on a plate. Cut it like a pie and serve immediately.

Concerts from the Kitchen
Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Society Guild
Little Rock, Arkansas
* -The story is that this recipe is from Georgetown, Arkansas, a community of about 75 people located on the White River. This recipe is said to have originated with a cook employed on a nearby plantation.

Photo by fritish via flickr

Mama’s Southern Guest Post

Submitted by Christi

A couple of days ago I posted a recipe that my mother gave me for poppy seed rolls. Mama called and was telling me about how she got the recipe and that she should leave that as a comment. I thought a better idea was for her to write a guest post. So . . . here it is – enjoy:

<i>My Mother, Carrol Ward</i>

My Mother, Carrol Ward

The bread recipe on Christi’s blog (3/11/09) has an interesting beginning for us:
My husband, Chester and I were in Monticello, Utah last September doing a revival for a church there.  The Pastor’s wife invited us for dinner one night before church. The meal was delicious but when she set the bread on the table, I thought it looked soooo good, I was sure it was desert.  Well, of course, it wasn’t but it looked so pretty and tasted so good it could have been. She also served some  of her home canned apricot jam with it.  Well, I could have skipped church that night because I thought I had died and gone to heaven already.

I have since shared the recipe with several people.  I fixed it one night, along with a roast dinner for my next door neighbors.  The wife has MS and so her husband does most of the cooking, which he is learning to do, so they really did appreciate the meal.  He especially liked it and asked for the recipe.  He has sent it to several family members and friend all across the country.

The trip to Utah was also memorable for another incident which happened to us:
One afternoon The Pastor and his wife took us to the top of Abajo Peak which is 11,000 ft, located in the Blue Mountains.  It was a beautiful site and you could see forever.  They have two ATV’s and often ride on the mountains around Monticello. They suggested that my husband use them one day and even had one of the members of the church go along as a guide (thank goodness, we would probably still be there without him).

It had been at least 30 years since I had ridden an ATV and my husband had never ridden one.  So, we purchased some sweat suits at Alco, layered our clothes, starting with our pajamas, and put on the warmest clothes we could put together and met our guide at 7:30 one morning.  After a brief overview of how to operate the machines we took off.  Everything went great until our guide took off on what he called a trail, with lots of deep ruts, sheer drop-offs, low hanging tree branches and I don’t know what all. But, we kept up with him and it was fun.  We had reached about 10,000 ft.when the trail (if you can call it that) became more of challenge.  I was riding behind the guide and in front of Chester when I came to some ruts. The left wheels of the ATV kinda slipped into the ruts and began to “fall” over and . . . I began to pray! ” Lord don’t let this thing fall on me!”  I was yelling “Help!” but no one could hear me for the noise the ATV’s make. Chester could see something was happening to me and the guide stopped and looked back and later said that I just didn’t look right. Well of course I didn’t look right, I was slipping off the ATV!
When I got off the ATV to the ground, unhurt, the machine righted itself. After we decided that I was alright we remounted the things and took off again.

We were riding along enjoying the scenery which was beautiful and I began to thank God for letting me see all this and taking care of a 70 year old woman who didn’t have sense enough to take care of herself.  But I believe life  is to be enjoyed and shared. Good recipes should be shared as well.

Today’s Lagniappe: Also from Mama – Pear Relish
This recipe for Pear Relish is one of Christi’s favorites)

Pear Relish
16 -19  pears (fairly firm, not soft) cored and ground.
6 medium onions, ground
8 green peppers, ground
4 sweet red peppers, ground
6 cups vinegar (5% acidity)
6 cups sugar
3 Tbs. mustard seeds
2 Tbs. pickling salt
1 Tbs. ground tumeric
1 Tsp. ground allspice
1 Tsp cinnamon
1 Tsp. ginger

Let pears, onions and peppers stand in separate containers for 1 hour.  Pour boiling water  over each; drain very well.  Combine pears, onions, peppers, vinegar, sugar, and seasonings in a large kettle.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered, 30 minutes.
Pour hot mixture into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 in headspace.  Remove air bubbles; wipe jar rims.  Cover at once with metal lids and screw on bands.  Process in boiling-water bath 20 minutes.  Remove jars from hot water carefully and place on cloth to cool.  When the jars are cool enough to handle move to a cool place and let set for 1 month before opening.  Yield about 10 pints.

This is especially good with chicken and dumplings or pinto beans and corn bread.

Christi’s note: I think I have mentioned this before – my father died in 1992 of cancer. My mother has since remarried a wonderful man, Chester Ward. Chester is a minister who serves as Director of Missions for Kay Baptist Association in Oklahoma.

Southern Cooking Legend

Submitted by Christi


8 days til Spring!

Yesterday, I was in my home office looking for one of my gardening books when I came across Mme. Begue’s Recipes of Old New Orleans Creole Cookery. I had forgotten having this little gem. It is copyrighted @1937. The price on the inside cover was .60 but it was marked out in pencil and .75 was written in. Along with the recipes is an interesting story.

Shortly before the end of the War between the States, in 1863, a two-story brick building at the downtown corner of Madison and Decatur Streets, became a distinctive dining place . . .It was then, as was the custom, a “Coffee House”, and the proprietor was a Creole named Louis Dutrey. He attended bar, saw to the proper mixing of the beverages, and to meeting all guests. The presiding genius of the kitchen, where was prepared the delectabel dishes that lured the husky butchers of the French Market to Louis Dutrey’s Coffee House for their “second breakfast,” was the proprietor’s wife, she who had been Elizabeth Kettenring when she landed in New Orleans in 1853, a strapping German girl, born in 1831 in Bavaria.

Apparently, after Mr. Dutrey died, Elizabeth went on to marry Hypolite Begue who had worked for her, tending bar and was 8 years her junior (tre risque!).  In 1880 the coffee house name was changed to Begue’s and then later Madame Begeue’s


Many of the recipes call for frying in hot lard as does this recipe for Lost Bread or Pain Perdu:

Take six slices of stale bread and soak in sugared milk, to which has been added a large spoonful of brandy. Drain and when ready to use turn each slice in beaten eggs. Fry in hto lard, brown well on both sides, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve hot.

I enjoyed looking through this little book and reading about Elizabeth’s life and recipes. In 1900 Elizabeth wrote down her recipes. “In spite of her German birth she spoke French fluently, but she never became proficient in the English tongue, so when she set down in words the secrets of her cookery they were written in the language of France.” Madame Elizabeth Begue died October 19, 1906.

Today’s Lagniappe: Pain Perdue
or as we call it – French Toast

* 4 (1/2 inch) slices egg bread
* 1 egg
* 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 3 tablespoons white sugar
* 1 pinch salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 pinch ground nutmeg
* 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup milk
* 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Cut the bread and place on a wire rack to dry out a little as you prepare the batter.
2. Whisk the egg to blend. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan or on the stovetop and allow to cool slightly. Whisk the sugar, salt and spices into the egg. When the butter has cooled slightly, slowly drizzle it in to the egg, whisking all the time. A little at a time, add the flour to the egg mixture to make a smooth thick paste. After it is all added, slowly blend in the milk and finally the vanilla. Whisk until just smooth and set aside.
3. Heat the remaining butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Dip a slice of the bread in the batter and allow to soak for 30 seconds, no more. Remove from the batter and allow the excess to drip off, back into the bowl. Place the battered slice in the skillet. Repeat with the remaining slices. Cook until golden on one side and then flip to brown the other. Serve immediately–a fresh squeeze of lemon juice and a good dusting of powdered sugar is traditional.

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

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 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!

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!