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Thanksgiving Vegetables: Greens or Rutabaga

As I am planning our Thanksgiving meal, I have been contemplating what type of vegetables I will serve.  I think the vegetables on this special day are overshadowed with the Turkey, Dressing, Yams and of course, dessert.  I do want to keep with the Southern traditions this year and I have decided that I will prepare rutabaga and probably collard greens. When thinking of a great source for these vegetables prepared the Southern way, I immediately thought of the Favorite Recipes from Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House Cookbook from Savannah, Georgia. I love visiting her restaurant and the vegetables are superb.  They are prepared in the Southern style but they aren’t greasy or mushy.  They always have a wonderful flavor.

I will probably use Mrs. Wilkes rutabaga recipe and the most difficult part of preparing the vegetable is the difficulty in peeling and cutting them. Mrs. Wilkes includes a small amount of sugar in her recipe for cooked rutabaga and I always thought her version was so good and never bitter and that is probably the reason for that.

Mrs wilkes rutabaga

Until I read the above recipe in Mrs. Wilkes cookbook, I had never heard rutabaga referred to as Northern turnips.  I will tell you that I absolutely love the flavor and taste of turnips too.

Below is Mrs. Wilkes version of cooked greens. She refers to turnip greens in the recipe but has a note that you would prepare collard or mustard greens the same way.  She includes a piece of salt pork in her recipe and I remember my mother would fry the salt pork and use the drippings from it in her greens.  I will probably use frozen collard greens and the pict-sweet brand is my favorite.  I actually cook my greens and drain them and add a small amount of olive oil to my collards.  I don’t think my Southern ancestors would agree with that choice but we like them that way.

Mrs wilkes greens

 

I can imagine that many Southern tables will include Broccoli with cheese sauce or even asparagus as part of their meal.  Of course, to be perfectly honest, I hope you realize that in the South Macaroni and Cheese is considered a vegetable.

Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for stopping by.

A Southern Thanksgiving Includes Sweet Potatoes

In the South, sweet potatoes are a favorite but they are absolutely necessary for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.  I have two favorite Thanksgiving recipes that I love for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I absolutely love the candied yams from The Pirate House Restaurant in Savannah, Georgia.  I honestly can’t think of any other recipe for candied yams that I love anymore than those.  Today I am sharing that recipe with you below and it really is true that you can make the sauce and it will keep in the fridge indefinitely.  I have frozen it before and it freezes well. By the way, it is delicious on a hot biscuit.  YUM!

PH Sweet Potatoes

Below I am sharing my Mother’s recipe for sweet potato casserole.  It is very good and I love the topping that gives the casserole a good texture. This is a great recipe for Thanksgiving and I plan to make it this year for my family.  You can make it ahead of time so it is a good time saver.

Mother’s Sweet Potato Casserole

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir together the following:

3 cups of cooked mashed sweet potatoes

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1/3 cup milk

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Put in two quart ovenproof casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Topping:   Mix the following together with a spoon

1/3 cup of flour

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

1/3 stick margarine

½ teaspoon cinnamon   -

Sprinkle over potato mixture in the casserole dish.  Bake at 400 degrees for one hour.

These are two great options to make your Thanksgiving meal extra special and I can just imagine how many different ways sweet potatoes will be served all over the South.

Recently I was thumbing through one of my Ina Garten cookbooks and she was sharing a sweet potato recipe from Paris (that would be France) and said it was the best she had ever eaten.  I love you Ina but you need to go to Pirate House and have some of theirs and you would say they are the best.  Come on down, Ina and see for yourself.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Preparing for a Traditional Thanksgiving Holiday – Stuffing or Dressing

As I was preparing for my posts for Thanksgiving, I wondered how I would approach the holiday this year.  I have prepared many Thanksgiving meals and that can become very routine and monotonous. However, I truly had a light bulb moment realizing that the dishes I prepare for Thanksgiving are dishes my family looks forward to each year.  I have made them many times so I will truly enjoy making them again this year.

I have new neighbors that just moved to the area from Boston, MA and with that in mind, I am going to share recipes on my blog as if I was sharing them with my new neighbors so they would know about our southern traditional Thanksgiving meal.  Today, I am sharing dressing or stuffing recipes. Growing up I always knew it as dressing and as an adult I heard it referred to as stuffing.  In the South cornbread is usually a big part of the stuffing/dressing recipes.  However, if you live near the coastal areas of the South, oysters are included in stuffing/dressing recipes.

This recipe is Mr D’s favorite and the combination of the corn bread and the sausage makes the stuffing moist and flavorful.  He told me that I did not have to make it this year but I still plan to make it for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  It does freeze well so you could make it now for Thanksgiving ( I think you could easily double the recipe) and save a portion of it for your Christmas holiday meals.

Rudy’s Farm Sausage Stuffing

1 lb.  Rudy’s farm or Jimmy Dean sausage if available (mild or hot)

2 1/2 cups (8 oz bag) corn bread stuffing mix or crumbled corn bread

2 1/2 cups (8 oz bag) herb seasoned stuffing or4 bread crumbs

2 cans (14 1/2 oz) chicken broth or turkey broth

1 large onion chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 tbsp. poultry  seasoning

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper.

Brown sausage, drain.  Cook onion, celery in butter until tender.  Mix stuffing, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.  Stir in broth, celery, onion, butter and sausage.  Mix well.  Bake in 9 x 13 inch pan for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.   This recipe freezes well.

I don’t remember how my Mother made dressing but I don’t recall having cornbread in it.  The recipe below reminds me of her dressing and it was so good when it was served warm right out of the over.  My Mother’s kitchen was extremely small so she made lots of things ahead of time and I always knew when the dressing was freshly made or served cold.  Yes, I did say served cold.  In my Mother’s day the meal was prepared at midday and after eating, was covered on the table with a tablecloth and then served for supper that night.  They never reheated anything and and I really think they never gave it a second thought. That is just a glimpse of living on a farm in the 40′s and 50′s.

dressing

 

I haven’t decided which recipe I will use this year but I do know that I am going to look forward to every minute of my Thanksgiving meal preparation.  I hope you are looking forward to this very special American holiday and thanks for stopping by.

Muscadine or Scuppernong Grapes

I know Thanksgiving Day will soon be here.  It is my absolutely my favorite holiday and I am looking forward to it.  I think this year my meal will be very traditional with candied yams, cornbread dressing and cranberry relish.  I will talk more about that later.

Today, I want to share with you two carolina classic grapes, muscadine and scuppenong.  Growing up in North Carolina, I only remember picking these grapes in fields near a friend’s house or at a distant relative’s farm.  I don’t remember any one doing very much with them. As children we would pick them and learned not to eat the hull but only the inside of the grape.  If I remember correctly, the ripe ones were very soft on the outside and juicy and sweet.  I also remember the horrible bitter taste of one of the grapes when it was not completely ripe.  Yuck!!! That was a horrible taste.

The scuppenong grape was named for a river here in North Carolina and makes good wine.  According to a this quote in the October 2014 issue of Our State magazine, ” Muscadine grapes range in color from black to bronze.  Scuppernongs are a bronze variety of muscadine.  So although scuppernong has become a catchall term for the bronze grapes, not all muscadines are scuppernongs.”  I never really saw a difference in them either and the main thing I do remember is how much I enjoyed eating them.

I wanted to share a recipe using one or both of these varieties of grapes and thought it would be a snap to go to my collection of local cookbooks and whip out a couple of recipes to share.  It wasn’t that easy.  In fact, I did not see any recipes for the use of the grapes.  I was actually surprised at that but I do believe the grapes are more prevalent in the piedmont area of the state.

I was reading the October issue of The Local Palate magazine that is based out of Charleston SC and they also featured the muscadine grape. There are dozens of wineries in the Piedmont area of North Carolina that make muscadine wine.  The Yadkin Valley Wine Festival is held annually in Elkin NC.  Christian Froelich, a native North Carolinian, is the executive chef at Sanders Ridge Winery and Restaurant in Boonville, NC and a connoisseur of local Piedmont muscadines.  Here are his recipes for muscadine glazed chicken and white muscadine wine beurre blanc that he prefers over seared scallops.  This is a link to The Local Palate website and I really love the site and the magazine:   http://www.localpalatemag.com/

muscadines

 

Here is a link to the Sanders Ridge Winery and Restaurant website:   http://www.sandersridge.com/ I know this will be a road trip for Mr. D and I sometime in the future.

I could not complete a post about these luscious grapes without including Duplin Winery that is located on the coast of North Carolina.  They have been making muscadine and scuppernong wine for many years and I do enjoy the fruity taste of the wines, especially in the warmer months of the year. Here is a link to their website:  https://www.duplinwinery.com/visit-duplin-winery/tours-tastings/

Muscadines and Scuppernong are so tasty and a huge North Carolina fall tradition.  When I see them, I know that winter is approaching.   Thanks for stopping by.

 

Geri’s Czechoslovakian Cookies

This must be friendship week at our house.  I shared a recipe from a friend, Geri, on Monday and she gave me the recipe I am sharing with you today.  I am sharing her comments concerning the recipe and she said it is a Christmas favorite at her house.  As I was reading the recipe, I remembered eating these bar cookies when Geri shared them with our family.  I remember the consistency of the cookie portion to be the same as shortbread.  Geri’s cookies were light and the jam added just enough sweetness to make them extra tasty.

Geri's cookies 2

 

Geri shared with me that her Aunt Lora and her grandmother married brothers so they had the same maiden name and married name.

Geri is such a dedicated homemaker that does so much to enrich the lives of her family.  I know that she is older than me and probably in her 70′s but she is very active and contributes in so many different ways.  She takes care of her home, is involved in her church and is part of the local Quilter’s guild.

I do want to share a funny story she told me.  As we are in the same age group, we discussed how many people are on special diets right now.  She told me her son that is a nurse had a test done and he is allergic to yeast.  Then she said her husband, Harry, that is 81 decided to have a test done to see if there was anything that he might need to stay away from.  The test results showed he is allergic to eggs even though he has eaten them his whole life and does not have any type of digestive problem at all.  She said now when she cooks for her family including her son and husband she just puts the food on the table and says, “Here is what I fixed, just do the best you can.”  That made me laugh out loud and I think she just put the ball in their court so they could deal with their digestive problems.  Geri is a very concerned caring person but if you are in your 70′s and prepare a meal for your family, that is an accomplishment in itself and should be appreciated.  I know her family and I am sure she is loved and appreciated.

Yesterday, I had lunch with another friend and there we were sitting in Cracker Barrel just having the best time and laughing out loud at so many different things.  Friendship and laughter are two great combinations.  I hope you are able to spend time with a very special friend soon.  Thanks for stopping by.

Geri’s Black Bottom Cupcakes

Last week I had lunch with my friend Geri.  She is a friend from a previous neighborhood where we lived here in Conover.  Geri is from Georgia and I always loved to hear about her experiences growing up in the Atlanta area.  Both of us have a love for cooking and I always enjoyed recipes and food that she shared with our family.  When we decided to have lunch together, I told her I wanted some family recipes that I could share on my blog.

Geri gave me this recipe for cupcakes and the moment I read it, I knew I wanted to make these for my grandchildren for Thanksgiving.  They are a little different from the traditional cupcakes with rich gooey icing but I still think they will like them. Geri lived in several different states in the Southeastern US during her married life and she told me she got this recipe when she lived in Westminster, MD in the early 80′s.

Black Bottom Cupcakes

Topping:  

Mix together 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, 1 unbeaten egg, 1/3 cup of sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt and beat until smooth.  Add 6 ounces mini chocolate chips.

Sift together dry ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour

1/4 cup cocoa

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix together: 1 cup water, 1/3 cup canola oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1 teaspoon vanilla and add to dry ingredients

Mix well.

Fill muffin cups 1/3 full with above chocolate batter, Top with heaping teaspoon cream cheese topping mixture; sprinkle granulated sugar on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.  Makes 18 cupcakes.

I have always thought Geri is a true Southern Lady.  She has always been kind, considerate and most of all a true friend.  It was so good to see her again and even though we haven’t lived next door in over eight years, we could still finish each others sentences.

I have another recipe Geri shared with me that I will share with you soon.  Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Raleigh NC – One More Time

On Monday I wrote about our recent road trip to Raleigh, North Carolina.  Today, I am sharing some more pictures from our visit.  I need to share the first one and get it out of my system.  This was a snapshot of the NC State flag on Hillsborough Street and that is adjoining the NC State campus.  I am part of a UNC Tarheel and Duke Blue Devil family so for me, an extremely loyal State fan, it made me feel as if a little part of me had returned to my home.

NC State Flag On Hillsborough Street

NC State Flag On Hillsborough Street

The picture below has nothing to do with Raleigh but I was amazed when we were snapping pictures on Hillsborough Street and saw this sign.  Matthews Construction is located here in our small town of Conover and we attend the same church as the Matthews family.  Just a small world sign I wanted to share with you.

Local Construction Company Sign

Local Construction Company Sign

The picture below is of the Bell Tower on the NC State Campus and we snapped the picture as we were leaving Raleigh.  You can see from the picture that the weather was exceptionally beautiful on the day of our visit.

Bell Tower On NC State Campus

Bell Tower On NC State Campus

The picture below is of the campus at State.

Photo Of NC State Campus Grounds

Photo Of NC State Campus Grounds

As we were leaving downtown, we walked over to the Govenor’s Mansion.  It is a stately old building and has such beautiful grounds.

The Govenor's Mansion

The Govenor’s Mansion

 

This is the entrance to the NC Museum of History located in downtown Raleigh.  I loved the Museum and it had so many wonderful exhibits of North Carolina that I have visited and many places I still yearn to visit.  I was especially happy to see interactive exhibits that would definitely interest young children.  I think the highlight of my visit was the exhibit about manufacturing in the South and the “Mill Hill” community.  As I was a part of that, I was really surprised to see that it was considered an integral part of the history of North Carolina.  I can imagine the surprise of my parents if they new the weaving room and card room of a mill was in this museum.

NC Museum Of History

NC Museum Of History

Outside the Museum are Agricultural exhibits.  I snapped this picture of the Muscadines and Scuppernongs as they are considered to be very native grapes of North Carolina.  I wanted to write a blog about them and include recipes.  However, I haven’t been able to find many recipes to feature.  Does you have one that you would like to share?

Information Sign Outside NC Museum of History

Information Sign Outside NC Museum of History

Inside the Museum is a section that could be a museum in itself and features all the sports greats of North Carolina.  Below is the jersey worn by David Thompson at NC State and information about him.  No, I don’t have a picture of anything that featured UNC Tar Heel great Michael Jordan but I will tell you that Michael Jordan was influenced by the play of David Thompson when he was growing up. Enough said.

David Thompson's NC State Jersey

David Thompson’s NC State Jersey

IMG_3062

The picture below is of one of the sport coats worn by Norm Sloan when he was coach at NC State.  They won a national championship in 1974.  It really stirred some memories for me of how big basketball was and is for the state of NC.

Norm Sloan's Plaid Jacket

Norm Sloan’s Plaid Jacket

Jim Valvano’s suit is in the museum and it was such an exciting time when they won the National Championship in 1983.  There are also video clips that you can watch in the museum and you better believe I watched the ending of the NC State/Houston game for the Championship in 1983.  It still brings tears to my eyes after all these years.

Jimmy V's Workout Suit

n Jimmy V’s Workout Suit

So, I hope you enjoyed this tour of one of my favorite places in the world.  I was super excited to visit and Mr. D said he could see my excitement and was glad he suggested this as my birthday road trip.  As far as I am concerned there is only one state and that would be NORTH CAROLINA.  Thanks for stopping by.

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