Monday, January 31, 2011

Book Reflections: "Savannah Celebrations" by Martha Nesbit

The Cookbook

With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, I thought it was time to share with you that I have recently fallen in love...with a newly acquired cookbook, Savannah Celebrations by Martha Nesbit (Pelican Publishing). I was first introduced to the book in October when one of my supervisors brought her copy to the office. At the time, I saw several recipes that I liked and even made one for the blog - Chewy Chocolate Cookies. I quickly added the book to my Wish List on Amazon and finally purchased it this month. I'm so glad I did!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Loaded Deviled Eggs

The Super Bowl is next Sunday so I've been sorting through appetizer recipes and trying to develop a few of my own. Now, first and foremost, a dish for Super Bowl viewing must contain meat or so my husband thinks. So, I came up with this idea for Loaded Deviled Eggs featuring meat - as in chicken. It's actually a chicken salad stuffed into an egg which makes a perfect little finger food. One bite for most men. Now, this chicken filling will actually stuff three dozen egg halves (18 eggs) - if you don't want to boil that many eggs, just use the rest of the filling to make sandwiches. I only boiled six eggs this evening. After eating most of them, my husband wandered around lost in the kitchen, wishing he had more. I told him he could use the rest of the salad to make a sandwich but, somehow, it just wasn't the same...

Cinnamon Bread

Last weekend, I made Chocolate Swirled Banana Bread. It was excellent and I enjoyed a slice of it every morning for breakfast last week. I thought that was a habit that I wanted to continue this week so I needed to find another delicious quick bread recipe. I found this one in Gooseberry Patch's Sunday Dinner at Grandma's, copyright 2010. As far as I'm concerned, cinnamon was made for breakfast. I can't wait for morning!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Granny's Chocolate Cobbler

My parents' favorite dessert to enjoy on a Sunday afternoon is warm brownies served with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. It's only been recently that I've finally learned to enjoy the warm/cold combination. For a while, I've been thinking of making a brownie pie, but then I saw this recipe in Gooseberry Patch's Sunday Dinner at Grandma's, copyright 2010, and thought it would be perfect for a warm dessert on a cold winter night.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Maple Garlic-Glazed Green Beans

Can I admit something to you if you promise not to judge me? I've never actually cooked fresh green beans before. My face is now red and I cannot meet your gaze...I don't want to get defensive about it, but we are canned green bean lovers here at our house. But, in an attempt to make 2011 the Brave New Year, I decided to branch out and evolve. I thought a good place to start would be with this recipe from Johnnie Gabriel's Second Helpings. After all, with my old friend garlic as one of the main ingredients, I knew it would be good.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Favorite Roast

It's a cold Sunday morning - another night of below freezing temperatures here in Georgia. My kids run around the house asking for breakfast, but all I can think about is what we're having for dinner later that day. I've already planned it and crave it - my favorite roast. I have several different techniques for cooking roast, but this is my favorite. I don't ask for anyone's opinion on the subject. I prepare it, put it in the oven, and wait! Sure enough, as the flavors begin to meld together and a hearty scent wafts throughout the house, my men gather and sniff the air. My older son begins the primal chant, "I want beef! I want beef!" A dish of rich tender roast covered in a thick, savory gravy arrives at the table. It is beef and it is good!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lemon Bars

Apparently, January is lemon dessert month according to the internet. Everywhere I turn on the web, I see lemon bars and lemon sweet rolls as "dessert of the month". And, frankly, it's made me want something lemony, too. Maybe January is lemon month because we're all longing for spring weather, a break from a harsh winter we've had here in the south, and we think sunny yellow lemons is the way to achieve that in the kitchen. Southerners love their lemon meringue pies and lemon bars. I've got dozens of recipes for lemon bars, but I've chosen to use the one in Savannah Celebrations by Martha Nesbit.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Going Bananas

I've been on a banana kick lately. No, I'm not eating bananas as fruit - that would be way too healthy and doesn't fit into my lifestyle... When I say I'm on a banana kick, I mean a banana dessert kick.

It all started with this.

Little Debbie Banana Pudding Roll

Friday, January 21, 2011

Spicy Shrimp and Tomato Bake

The Problem:

Every Friday afternoon, I hit the grocery store and buy a cartload of groceries. I come home and stuff the food into my overflowing pantry and freezer. Most items are never seen again. By Saturday afternoon, I've come up with more cooking "ideas" and head back to the store. Well, I go to a different store because it may have different "stuff" that I need. More money spent. More food stockpiled. This madness must stop!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Day I Fried Chicken...

and nobody got hurt. I will confess that while I've fried my share of chicken fingers, boneless chicken breasts, and pork chops, I had never actually fried bone-in chicken. But, in my quest to improve myself as a cook, I felt the need to tackle it. So, I decided to start with my favorite piece of fried chicken: the drumstick. I bought a large package - 17 legs - and fried them all!! By the time I finished the first batch, the whole house smelled wonderful, like the days of my childhood when my Mama and Mema still fried their own chicken. After my success, my husband said that I'm no longer allowed to buy fried chicken from our local grocery store. Hmmm...what have I done?!?

Italian Bread Knots

Every year, I declare, "This is the year that I learn to make my own yeast bread!" You can probably tell by the recipe posted below that this has not happened yet this year. But, I did tie these breadsticks into knots all by myself. And, I slathered them with butter and seasonings with no help at all. One step closer to scratch... This recipe is from Southern Living's 1001 Ways to Cook Southern, copyright 2010.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Birthday Banana Pudding

Today is my father-in-law's 88th birthday. While my husband and his brother scurried around gathering ingredients for a Low Country Boil, I decided to make something that I knew their father would love - a big dish of banana pudding. And, boy, I was right!! He did enjoy the Low Country Boil, but he seemed particularly pleased by the banana pudding. He ate three servings there and, when I insisted he take the dish home, he said that was already the plan. I know that he's probably already tip-toeing around in the kitchen sneaking bites of his birthday pudding. If he's finished his nap...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Book Reflections: "Cooking in the South" by Johnnie Gabriel

Sometimes, I read books that elicit memories that take me back to certain points of my life and help me to identify with the writer. That was the case with Christy Jordan's Southern Plate. But when I read Johnnie Gabriel's Cooking in the South, I didn't think of the past. Instead, I'm excited for the future memories that I can create using these traditional, Southern recipes.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

We Have a Winner!!

The Winner is...

lesliecarol312 said...
I'm definitely interested in some Homestyle Cooking in a Hurry:) That's so awesome that you get to review their cookbooks!

Congratulations Leslie! Homestyle in a Hurry is heading your way. Thanks to everyone who entered. I will have another review and giveaway soon so keep checking back for details!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dessert

During a holiday luncheon at work, one of my co-workers brought in this dessert. I had never had it before but I fell in love with it. Then, I questioned her several times about the recipe until I felt certain that I could recreate it. Maybe somewhere along the line I should have asked her the name of it. I was going to make up a name and call it Milk and Cookies Dessert. Then, while reading through Gooseberry Patch's Church Suppers, copyright 2007, I found this recipe and saw that it already has a name and has apparently been around for a few years. I can't believe that I've overlooked it so many times. But, that's my favorite thing about reading cookbooks. No matter how many times I've read them, I always discover something new.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Herb-Roasted Baby Potatoes

Sometimes, I aimlessly roam the produce aisles trying to find inspiration, fully aware that whatever I buy may end up dying a slow death in the crisper drawer of my refrigerator. Potatoes are usually the safest buy for me. I wanted to buy some fresh rosemary but there was none available. Then, I remembered a bunch of fresh parsley in my refrigerator at home that was desperately screaming to be used. I formed a plan, found a bag of the cutest baby Yukon Golds, and created a hearty dish to go along side my Cherry Pork Loin.

Cherry Pork Loin

Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone. That's why I study cookbooks, why I read them over and over again. Each time I open a cookbook, I read it was a new set of eyes, looking not only at the recipes that I know I would love but also looking at recipes that seem totally different than anything that I would ever cook or eat. I can't count the number of times I've read Johnnie Gabriel's Cooking in the South, copyright 2008. Yes, I was drawn to the many traditional Southern classics included in the book, but this recipe beckoned me. And, still in inspired resolution mode, I followed.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Weekend Traditions: Savory Scrambled Eggs

Savory Scrambled Eggs

Every weekend, I cook the McCallie family breakfast: bacon, diced hash browns, pancakes, and scrambled eggs filled with ham and green onions. Although it would be easy for me to assume that everyone can scramble eggs, that may not be the case. I thought that I would start posting some techniques that I use to cook basic food. I'm hoping that as I continue to learn and grow as a cook that I might share some little tidbit that will make you say, "Hmmm...I never thought about that before." As a student of culinary lit, it's those "hmmm" moments that I live for.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ice-Cream Bread

When I first saw this recipe, I found it hard to believe that you could make bread from two ingredients. But, I decided to give it a try and, to my amazement, it worked! Now, keep in mind that this is bread, not cake. The flavors will be subtle and mildly sweet, perfect for a dollop of sweetened butter or your favorite preserves. This recipe is from Southern Living's 1001 Ways to Cook Southern, copyright 2010. According to the recipe's notes, any flavor can be used but low-fat ice cream had disappointing results. Doesn't it always??

Monday, January 3, 2011

Early Bird Giveaway: "Homestyle in a Hurry"


I am so fortunate to have been asked to review one of Gooseberry Patch's forthcoming cookbooks, Homestyle in a Hurry. This cookbook is filled with delicious and satisifying meals that can be prepared quickly and will have your family fed before they can even ask, "What's for dinner?".

The cookbook will be released in mid-January, but Gooseberry Patch has sent me an extra copy to share with you. If you would like to enter to win a free copy of the cookbook, you may enter by simply choosing to follow my blog through Google Friend Connect and by commenting on this post to let me know you're interested in the cookbook. I would love to know the title of your favorite Gooseberry Patch book. I will enter any new followers as of 1/3/11 into the contest. If you are already a follower, just leave a comment here letting me know you're interested in the contest.

Entry deadline: January 11, 2011!

Thanks and Good Luck!!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Simple & Satisfying: Sauteed Spinach

One of our favorite vegetables at our house is spinach. My older son loves it. He did need some clarification on the name when I told him I was cooking it. "Is that the stuff that Popeye eats? Then, yes, that will be my dinner." Now, for some crazy reason that I can't fathom, I only bought one bag of fresh baby spinach. We normally eat two bags at a time. One bag cooks down to about a cup of spinach. I won't make that mistake again. So, if you and your family like spinach, buy two bags. You'll love it!