Monday, August 25, 2008

Meatless Mondays

I thought that I would make Mondays a day that you can count on me to post a recipe without any meat in it. No my friends, don't think vegetarian. We are afterall a family of carnivores. Think great side dishes, desserts, breads, etc. Any recipe that is meatless.

The recipe that I am going to post today is for my Chipotle Corn Casserole. I made this a few years back to take to a neighborhood 4th of July party and man was it a hit. One man at the party let me know that he was going to have some for dessert too. You know, there are some flavors that I feel were just made for each other. Chipotle and Corn is high on that list. Other examples might be mushrooms and thyme, lamb and rosemary, peaches and almond, chocolate and coffee, peanuts and Coca-Cola (I am still a GA girl at heart). You kind of get the idea. Some flavors just set each other off beautifully. So here goes the recipe. If you like things with a little bit of spice, this is definitly a must try.

Chipotle Corn Casserole

2 large eggs
1 ½ c. sour cream
(2) 15.25 oz cans of corn, drained
12 oz. Monterrey Jack Cheese, shredded
12 oz. Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
½ c. bread crumbs (store bought)
4 oz. can chopped green chiles, drained
1 T. Chipotle Pepper powder
1 c. chopped sweet onion (Vidalia if possible)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13 glass or ceramic pan. Mix all of the above ingredients together, reserving ¾ of a cup of each cheese to sprinkle on top later. You may have to use your hands to get it all well mixed. Place mixture into buttered pan, and bake 30 – 40 minutes, or until set. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, and bake an additional 5 - 10 minutes, until cheese has melted. Makes 10+ servings.

Note: If using a deep casserole dish, bake at same temperature, for a longer time. (45 min. to an hour.)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Rainy days and Chicken and Dumplings

It is a gloomy rainy day here in the Low Country. They expect it to be this way for the rest of the weekend. I remember that when I was a child these were my favorite days to pull out a coloring book, and start my next masterpiece.

I guess things haven't changed a whole lot. The main difference now is that instead of a coloring book it is a cookbook, and rather than crayons and markers, it is measuring cups and spatulas. Rainy days now make me want to bake. Honestly, baking is not one of my strong points. It does not allow me the creative freedom that other sorts of recipes do. Precision is not one of my strong points. But still a batch of lunchroom rolls sure does sound good on a day like today.

Dinner tonight will be plain and simple. A big pot of chicken and dumplings. They warm your tummy and your soul in such an amazing way. For those of you who are newer friends, you may not know that I was raised by my Great Grandparents. Chicken and Dumplings always make me feel close to my Nanny again. She could stand over the stove and cook dumplings for the whole mess of us. One batch would finish, everyone would get a serving, and she would be back at the pot adding more dumplings. I know I have seen her make as many as 4 batches in the same pot. The chicken was just kind of an afterthought sitting on the side for you to pick at if you wanted to. Though I make my dumplings a little different than she did (I actually put the chicken into the stew), the love that goes into them is the same.

I think that the love we put into our food is truly what makes it exceptional. When I cook, I sincerely care about how that food is going to make the person eating it feel. You should know that if I cook for you, it is because I care about you. Sick friends get homemade chicken noodle soup, sad friends get chocolate cake. Really good friends get all kinds of recipes to test. That is just how I was raised.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Not keeping up with my recipes

This week has not been so good as far as pushing out the recipes goes. My goal of 5 a day has definitely not been achieved!!! So far this week we have made:

Hamburger Pie
Sauteed Mushrooms
Garlic Monkey Brains
Southern Sweet Tea (yes, there are plenty of people who don't have a clue how to make this)
Roasted Asparagus
Pound Cake
Chicken Salad

That only yields us about 2 recipes per day. So today, I am going to do a little bit of catch up. Here is what I will be making:

Fried Catfish
Asian Coleslaw
Collard Greens
Hush Puppies
Red Velvet Cake
Banana Pudding
Pickled Onions (which are actually quite tasty)

I think that I might start posting a recipe of the day (only on the days that I choose to blog of course), so here goes:

Hamburger Pie

1 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion diced
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste
2 premade pie shells

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brown ground beef and onions over medium heat. If beef has a lot of fat, drain it off. Stir in the soups and salt and pepper. Beat the egg and add to the mixture stirring quickly to incorporate. Put one of the pie shells in a pie plate, add the meat mixture and cover with other pie shell. Crimp edges and cut a few slits in the top of the crust. Bake for 35 - 45 minutes (until shell browns). Allow to cool 10 minutes before cutting or you will have a mess.

You can also add some mushrooms or green beans to the recipe to up the vegetables.

Hope you will give it a try, as it is actually quite good!

Monday, August 18, 2008

To Brand or not to Brand that is the Question..

So, as I am sure some of you can imagine since I got serious about this whole cookbook thing, groceries have gotten much more expensive around our house. This got me thinking about ways that we can save money on groceries. One great way is to buy the store brand. Well, in deciding to do that I realized that there are just some products where the store brand won't do.

So here is my list of products that have to be a particular brand, and what the brand is:

Mayonnaise must be Blue Plate
Sour Cream must be Daisy
Eggs must be Egglands Best (I can taste a huge difference)
Sugar has to be Dixie Crystals
Flour and Cornmeal must be White Lily
Tea has to be Luzianne here (But when we lived closed to Louisiana, we drank Community brand and it makes the best tea ever!!!)

I think pretty much everything else we can do store brand on. Although I do have a problem with ground beef sold in chubs. Those just scare me.

So, I want to hear what products you have to have a specific brand on, and why.

I would also like to hear if there is a food that you are particularly craving lately, especially if it is a weird food.

Til next time...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Autumn Leaves and Food running out of my ears!

This time of year always gets me looking forward to cool nights, Autumn leaves, and comfort food. I know what you are thinking, "Is she crazy these are the dog days of Summer?" In my head, the school bus running in front of my house signals that it is time to start thinking about soups, and homemade bread, and apple crisp. No, I don't relate everything to food, but I am writing a cookbook afterall.

Speaking of the cookbook, we have upped production on the recipes. See, back in July I went to my direct sales company's annual conference. There was a speaker there named Marcia Wieder. She is known as America's Dream Coach. Well, I thought she was totally amazing so of course I bought her book and CD set. Boy howdy, she knows how to make you look at your dreams and turn them into your reality. Anywho, after listening to her CDs, I have decided that a few recipes a week is not enough to get me towards my dream of getting this cookbook written and published. So, I have made the decision to shoot for 5 recipes each day. That is a lot of cooking and a lot of food to be eaten. Please, if you want to be a taste tester just let me know.

Yesterdays recipes were:

Pimento Cheese (I finally found people to taste test it)
Grillades - this is a creole dish of beef, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes simmered in a brown gravy like sauce
Creamy Grits - over which you serve grillades or shrimp
Dump Cake - this is the cherry pineapple version where you literally dump a cake mix on top of the fruit and then drown it in butter and bake it (no mixing required)

Today I am working on:

Red Beans and Rice (guess I am craving a trip to Louisiana)
Chicken Salad
Roasted Lemonade
Cream Cheese Pound Cake
My family's secret onion dip

Notice that most of this is hearty stick to your ribs kind of food. It goes back to that whole Autumn leaves frame of mind. I am longing for the kind of weather where you put on jeans and a sweater. Where I no longer care if my legs are shaved and my toenails are painted. Are you with me here?

You know what else I am looking forward to? A nice camping trip. There is nothing better than sitting around a campfire on a brisk Autumn evening, roasting hot dogs, sipping hot chocolate (with peppermint schnapps of course) and enjoying the clear view of the stars. Does anyone else out there like to camp? I would love to get a trip together for maybe late October.

Well, that is enough typing for today, afterall there are lemons to roast, a chicken to debone, and beans that are soaking in the sink.

Until next time, happy eating and dreaming!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Pimento Cheese and Cornbread without Cornmeal

So, I decided that so many of the women I know have a blog, that I would start one myself. The name refers to that fact that I am and always will be a Georgia peach, but I am now living in Charleston and enjoying the crabs of all types (among many other local seafood). Think crab cakes, crab salad, crab dip, crab kebob...sorry, slipped into Forrest Gump mode there for a second. It in no way implies that the people of Charleston are crabby. In fact, I find that I really love living here. We have lived a lot of different places, and Charleston wins hands down (including Georgia).

About me: I am writing a cookbook and have been working on it for over two years. Actually, I have only worked on it for a few months during those two years. The pregnancy and birth of a child are not very conducive to all things culinary. So, this week I perfected my shrimp etoufee recipe, my Georgia cornbread recipe (this is a desert that has not got cornmeal in it), and I am now nailing down my homemade pimento cheese recipe. Problem is, I can not find anyone to taste test the pimento cheese. Who knew so many people had such a great disdain for it!?! If you are local and you like homemade pimento cheese, which is so much difference from the processed stuff, please let me know. I need help here people!!!

So, look forward to me posting at least once a week about what is going on and what I am working on. Bon appetite!