It you ever want an authentic taste of traditional southern cooking at it’s best; stop at a restaurant in the tiny town of McComb, Mississippi, on your travels along Interstate 55 which goes between Chicago and New Orleans. This is where I first tasted eggplant — their version is breaded and fried — and fell in love with this vegetable — it is a flavorful “melt in your mouth” eggplant dish. Don’t travel this way often? Too bad, you are missing much of the rural South and alot of good cooking.
A hot dog is the most All-American sandwich that I can think of. So it is fitting to serve this sandwich on the Fourth of July. Hot dogs can be simple sandwiches or quite creative and elaborate ones. My daughter’s favorite restaurant in Rochester, New York, where she was attending college, was “DogTown.” We had to go there every time we took a trip to visit her and I have to say, I enjoyed the restaurant as much as my daughter did. Her favorite menu choice was the “Junk Yard Dog” plate. Really “a meal-in-one” or a couple of meals.
Summer is a great time of the year to load up meals with fresh, seasonal vegetables such as zucchini and yellow squash. The quality of fresh picked vegetables is excellent and the price is usually inexpensive. But what if you don’t like summer squash? In searching for ideas to use a huge zucchini growing in my garden, I found a recipe which is absolutely delicious. Zucchini is a mild flavored squash and this recipe tones the flavor down even further by stuffing the zucchini with a meat mixture and topping it with pasta sauce. It is a good way to learn to like a new food and is the best recipe I’ve found in a long time.
“Quick Breakfast Casserole” is my suggestion for a lazy Father’s Day breakfast. It can be partially made ahead of time and then baked that morning. The one-dish meal is a filling breakfast which lasts into the rest of the day. Marie brought the casserole to our “ladies weekend getaway” in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, last month and I loved it. With sausage, eggs, cheese, Bisquick and seasonings, the casserole is a simple one-dish meal good for any gathering of family or friends. Continue reading
Do cucumbers grow in a Louisiana garden? The answer is emphatically, “yes.” It is the one vegetable which is sure to flourish. This year I planted cucumbers seedlings about 6 weeks behind schedule, then went out of town when they were ripening. The plants produced enough cucumbers for us to enjoy a nice batch with several over-sized cucumbers to pick. My favorite way to serve cucumbers is marinated in vinegar and oil; this time I added an oriental twist. Continue reading
Here’s a different sort of soup recipe; it is very tasty — “Italian Wedding Soup.” I was excited to find a recipe which includes fresh dill — now have a good use for the herb which grows in my garden. Although the soup is often served at weddings (and June is a popular wedding month) the title actually refers to the “marriage” of the flavors in the soup — not the actual wedding. But please serve this soup any time of the year — the hearty soup is also very healthy and satisfying. . Continue reading
Beef Shish Kabobs is a great recipe for the Memorial Day Weekend. My family made these kabobs on camping trips years ago. The first time we made this recipe, we couldn’t believe how tender and flavorful was the meat. The perfect supper cooked over an open fire under the mountain skies of the Blue Ridge Parkway or at home grilled on a charcoal pit. This simple recipe is one that I’ve stored away all these years. When a friend recently served kabobs at his daughter’s graduation party, I remembered our family recipe.
Here’s a traditional Louisiana-style recipe for “White Beans and Smoked Ham.” Although the recipe, “Red Beans & Rice,” is commonly associated with Louisiana cuisine, white beans are served in the South, too. This dish is often found as part of “plate dinners” or on cafeteria lines. White beans are mild flavored — and combined with some seasonings the beans are quite tasty. Dried beans have many health benefits — they are high in fiber (the kind that lowers cholesterol and controls blood sugar) and protein — so I’m trying to eat them more frequently. And a pound of beans makes a large batch — enough for several meals. Continue reading
It is Mother’s Day today. Here’s an easy and elegant cake for the occasion. The first batch of blueberries on the bushes in my backyard are ready for picking and I decided to bake an blueberry pound cake. This recipe is a simple dessert to make. Last summer my teenage grandson came for to visit; we had a baking session and baked this cake. Continue reading
A salad dressing which is becoming increasingly popular on Louisiana restaurant menus is “Jalapeno Pepper Salad Dressing.” Some variations use red pepper jelly and others Tabasco pepper jelly. I made homemade jalapeno pepper jelly last summer and figured that this would be a good use for own jars of jelly. This salad dressing is a vinaigrette-style of dressing with a sweetness. It complements tart salad green blends nicely.