Recipes and Stories

20 June 2016: Fresh Blueberry Compote for the First Day of Summer

June 20, 2016

Tags: Classic Southern Cooking, Blueberries, Bourbon, Blueberry Compote

Fresh Blueberry Compote with Bourbon and Cinnamon
Today’s the summer solstice, the longest day in the year (or rather, the longest stretch of daylight), marking the official beginning of summer. Our ancestors made a bigger thing of the solstice than we do nowadays, but its a good excuse to turn a regular back-to-the-grind Monday into something a little more special.

It needn’t be any more involved than taking a little more care with tonight’s supper, say, finishing it off with one of the quintessential fruits of early summer’s table: fresh blueberries. (more…)

27 May 2016: Mama's Breakfast Shrimp

May 27, 2016

Tags: Shrimp, Classical Southern Cooking, Classic Southern Cooking, Lowcountry Cooking, Mama's Breakfast Shrimp

Mama's Breakfast Shrimp, the near perfect union of fresh-caught shrimp and butter.
When shrimp season rolls around each May, it always takes me back to some of the best days of my childhood. That may seem odd, since I didn’t grow up on the coast where the opening of shrimp season marks the real beginning of summer. But a small part of most of my childhood summers was actually spent on the Isle of Palms, a barrier island just north of Charleston.

While we were in shrimp territory, we ate as many of them as we could manage. Most of the shrimp we ate were bought from the many local fishermen who sold them roadside from the tailgates of their battered pickups, (more…)

3 May 2016: Shrimp and Ham Jambalaya

May 3, 2016

Tags: Classic Southern Cooking, Creole Cooking, Lowcountry Cooking, Jambalaya, Lowcountry Pilau, Shrimp, Ham

Shrimp and Ham Jambalaya
3 May 2016: Shrimp and Ham Jambalaya

Whether you call it pilau, pilaf, perlow, paella, or jambalaya, in the end, it all amounts to the same thing.

The techniques used vary slightly from dish to dish and the type of rice may differ—a paella, for example, is made with a short-grained rice whereas a pilau is made with long-grain rice. (more…)

19 April 2016: Spring Simplicity and Salmon

April 19, 2016

Tags: Spring Cooking, Spring Salmon, Salmon, MaMa

Sautéed Salmon with Capers
Some of the most welcome sprouts of spring in my backyard are not the wild violets or bulb flowers, but a pair of wild poke sallet plants that have taken over two big terracotta pots by the back door stoop. Even if I didn’t love these greens, I’d still fertilize and nurture them: their bright new leaves bring a smile to my heart every day by reminding me of my grandmother. (more…)

29 March 2016: Macaroni and Ham Pie or Casserole

March 29, 2016

Tags: Classic Southern Cooking, Macaroni Pie, Ham, Ham and Macaroni Casserole

Ham and Macaroni Casserole, or, as it's often known in the South, "Macaroni Pie with Ham" is classic Southern Comfort food and a perfect way to refresh the leftover Easter ham.
One of the all-time great Southern comfort foods is a simple, homey casserole of elbow macaroni laced with grated sharp cheddar cheese and set in egg custard. Known both as “macaroni and cheese” and “macaroni pie,” they’re found all over the South, in some places topped with cracker or breadcrumbs, and in others simply with a sprinkling of grated cheese or a dusting of black pepper.

Sometimes, particularly after a holiday when the cook has a surplus of leftover ham, macaroni pie is studded with a cup or so of diced cooked ham. (more…)

26 March 2016: Mastering the Make-Ahead Easter V—Asparagus alla Parmigiana

March 26, 2016

Tags: Make-Ahead Easter, Asparagus, Asparagus alla Parmigiana, Classic Italian Cooking

Blanched Asparagus, ready to be served with vinaigrette or made up in a classic gratin, asparagus alla parmigiana
You might think that fresh asparagus can’t be made ahead, but it can actually be prepped and blanched up to 3 days ahead and then all you have to do is serve it up cold with vinaigrette or make up in this lovely Parmigiani classic. (more…)

26 March 2016: Mastering the Make-Ahead Easter Dinner IV—Butterflied Leg of Lamb

March 26, 2016

Tags: Words or phrases to categorize this post for the tags section

Roast Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Herbs, Garlic, and White Wine
If you’re doing a ham for Easter, you’re pretty much home free from here, but if you like to have lamb for the feast, as I do, you can’t cook it ahead unless you just want to have it cold on purpose.

Fortunately, a boned and butterflied leg cooks quickly with a minimum of last minute fuss. (more…)

26 March 2016: Mastering the Make-Ahead Easter III—Classic Potato Gratin

March 26, 2016

Tags: Make-Ahead Easter, Classic Potato Gratin, Easter Dinner, Classic French Cooking

Classic French Potato Gratin with caramelized onions, cream, and Gruyere cheese
The classic French potato gratin with sliced potatoes, cream, and good cheese has been my Easter potato dish for years. The ingredients are simple, its preparation requires almost no skill on the part of the cook, and yet nothing is more elegant or satisfying to eat.

Best of all, it can be made today, and reheats beautifully. (more…)

26 March 2016: Mastering the Make-Ahead Easter Dinner II

March 26, 2016

Tags: Make-Ahead Easter, Chocolate Pots De Crème, Dean Owens, Easter Dinner

Dean's Chocolate Pots de Creme, rich, luscious, and so easy it's almost embarrassing. Almost.
26 March 2016: Mastering the Make-Ahead Easter Dinner II

Once I have the first course and dessert ready for a dinner or a cooking class, I feel as if I’m home free, so I always opt for a sweet that can be made well ahead. At Easter, that sweet has for the last twenty years has been these chocolate pots de crème, a specialty of my late friend Dean Owens, one of Savannah’s great wits and hosts.

Not only are they luscious, they can be made several days ahead, and are easy and quick: (more…)

25 March 2016: Make-Ahead Easter I, Carrot Puree

March 25, 2016

Tags: Easter, Easter Dinner, Carrot Puree, Make-Ahead, Classic French Cooking

Carrot Puree, a simple yet luscious beginning for Easter Dinner that can be made well ahead of time
My favorite beginning for Easter dinner, or, for that matter, any other spring celebration meal, is with a simple puree of fresh, spring carrots.

It’s so easy to make: though they were originally pureed by rubbing them through a wire mesh sieve, a process that took no particular skill but a fair amount of elbow-grease, if your kitchen is equipped with a blender, food processor, or that favorite modern chef’s tool, the hand blender, there’s nothing to it.

Best of all for the busy host, it can not only be made ahead, but is actually improved by it, (more…)