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…)
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…)
How to Make Homemade Vidalia Onion Dressing and other Great Sweet Onion Recipes
A few weeks ago I shot a video makingVidalia Onion Dressing for Facebook. Since then, I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit and while we liked it before, now we really love it! In this new version, I eliminated the apple cider vinegar and instead purée an entire onion for the dressing base. The result is mildly sweet and creamy with just enough heat from the mustard. This dressing is perfect for salads or as a dipping sauce for everything from crudité to chicken fingers. Homemade Vidalia Onion Dressing also makes a great spread for sandwiches and wraps–and it’s only four ingredients! (more…)
The Southern Sweet Tooth is a powerful force. Sugar is more than an ingredient in the South. It falls somewhere between a condiment and a food group. During the holiday season its status is even more prominent with tins of homemade mints, brittle, and fudge on every sideboard. It’s nearly obligatory serve a sweet treat to guests or to take as a gift for a party host. But, yikes! Time seems to accelerate this time of year and the to-do lists grow longer and longer. Who’s got time to make homemade candy? You do! My recipe for Quick and Easy Peppermint Fudge fits the bill. (more…)
Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Onions is an easy dish for a weeknight supper. First, you have to know what to buy. All four-legged animals have a muscle, called the loin, that runs along either side of the backbone. In a steer, this muscle represents itself as a rib-eye in the rib section and with a pig, it’s center-cut pork chop, around the waist of a pig — if a pig had a waist.
The legs get much more exercise, are less tender, and are best prepared with low and slow, longer cooking times. Think pot roast, stews, and pulled pork made from the shoulder. (There are several different types of ribs – for more information, check out my Five Great Recipes for BBQ ribs.) The loin muscle doesn’t get much exercise and therefore it is fairly tender and appropriate for shorter cooking times. Think steaks and chops. The tenderloin is below the loin and gets even less exercise. (more…)
Layer cakes are joyful, towering celebrations. Even in these super busy times, it’s nice to dust off the cake pans and bake a layer cake at Christmas. I like Red Velvet and Coconut Cake, but I have to say my favorite just might be Old-Fashioned Caramel Cake. It was my grandfather’s favorite holiday treat, too. The Southern sweet tooth reigns in supreme glory during the holidays. Divinity, fudge, mints, melt-aways, wedding cookies, and pies all had their place, but he loved Caramel Cake the most. (more…)
Memorial Day is the start of grilling season. I want to share with you an absolutely unbelievable recipe for ribs. The combination of sweet and heat is soooooooo positively off-the-charts good. Coca-Cola is to Atlanta as Guinness is to Dublin. Pork has a natural affinity for sweet, rich caramel flavors. These “nouveau” Southern ribs are by no means traditional, but they are lip-smacking good.