Fried Green Tomatoes are as deeply rooted in Southern culture as a field of kudzu. I have a confession. I am not a huge fan of Fried Green Tomatoes, the vegetable. (I love the movie!) Fried Green Tomatoes served piping hot and fresh out of the skillet can be pretty good. But, usually, sadly they always seem to be soggy, greasy, and dull, best suited as a delivery device for rémoulade (old school) or goat cheese (new school). Ha! Are you ready to take away my “Southerner” card? Well, read on…you won’t believe it. (more…)
Fresh tomatoes are only ever good in summer. There is nothing as wonderful as the full, rich, winey, flavor of a vine ripe tomato – as there is nothing as disappointing as the dull, insipid, lifeless flavor of a cold storage tomato shipped from halfway around the world. I don’t eat those and strongly suggest that you don’t either. So, when it’s tomato season, I heartily endorse eating those glorious ripe ones as often as possible. (more…)
Wait, what? I can hear folks now. Vegetarian BBQ? Has she lost her mind? Yes! Well, it’s not a pit-cooked pig, that’s for sure, but hear me out. Barbecue is a solemn and serious business. There is perhaps nothing in the realm of Southern food that stirs deeper emotions. It’s veritably a religion in the South — and so is Southern hospitality. At my table, everyone is welcome and we need to include vegans and vegetarians, too! (more…)
As a kid, my Southern summers were spent fishing at our family pond and swimming in the ocean, pool, or lake and catching fireflies with my sister after dark. And, more than anything, summer meant dining outside. On the weekends, a mixture of friends and family would get together with coolers and wooden picnic baskets, laden with food. This year picnics are certain to be different, so check out my tips on how to plan a safe and perfect outing. (more…)
Butternut Squash is one of my favorite winter vegetables. I treat them as a multi-purpose vegetable “roast.” It’s actually rare that I cook an entire one at once or halved. Instead, I separate the long thick end of the squash where it meets the spherical orb into two pieces. The longer neck is cooked for one meal or dish and the seed end is cooked for another.
Wintery mix and snowy weather call for comforting foods like this Winter Greens and Butternut Squash Gratin. This cozy casserole is great as a side dish or filling enough for a plant-based main course. Winter squash are earthy, creamy, and rich – the definition of a satisfying supper. Continue reading for information on how to tell the difference between the varieties — from pumpkin and butternut to acorn — how to clean, cut, and store, and a collection of great recipes. (more…)
Eating Hoppin’ John, a dish made of peas and rice, with greens and cornbread on New Year’s Day is a Southern tradition. Folklore says the combination of eating peas and greens will bring luck and money in the upcoming year. Typically, the dried peas are black-eyed peas and there is generally a hunk of meat bobbing in the pot. In my family, we traditionally don’t mix the peas and rice, but cook them separately. And, while my mother and grandmother typically cooked their peas and greens with meat, I often keep my New Year’s Day feast vegetarian! (more…)
Eggplant flourishes in the scorching heat of a Deep South summer. My grandparents grew row upon row of the stately bushes, heavily laden with the shiny black-purple orbs. The plants are absolutely majestic in the vegetable garden with their luscious, draped, fanlike leaves and vibrant colors. My grandmother seemed to only ever fry eggplant. She peeled, then dusted thick ivory eggplant steaks, peppered with an abundance of seeds in seasoned finely ground cornmeal. They were then pan-fried in a bath of sizzling hot oil in a cast iron skillet until golden brown and crisp. (more…)