Recipes and Stories

29 July 2014: Really Fresh Okra and Tomatoes—Okra and Tomato Salad

July 29, 2014

Tags: Okra, Raw Okra, Tomatoes, Tomatoes and Okra, Classic Southern Cooking

Fresh Okra and Tomato Salad
One of my favorite summer snacks is a handful of small, raw okra pods — eaten as is, without so much as a speck of salt or pepper. When very young, small, and tender, okra has a delicate flavor that knows no equal. And contrary to what you might expect if you’ve ever chopped or sliced it for a gumbo, or tried to eat it when it was overcooked, the raw pods are not in the least gooey or sticky, but are as crisp and refreshing as a chilled cucumber. (more…)

16 July 2014: Triple Comfort

July 16, 2014

Tags: Comfort Food, Vintage Tableware, Mama's China, Marcella Hazan, Ilda, Classic Italian Cooking, Spaghetti, Spaghetti alla Carbonara, Pasta

Triple comfort: my mother's china pattern, Ilda's pasta, and Marcella's voice in the background
My mother’s wedding china still stands as it did in my youth, in neat stacks in her dining room hutch. Rimmed in gold and sporting a pair of pink-tinged gardenia blossoms at its center, it was old-fashioned, feminine, and just plain “girly.” Yet it was the very essence of elegance and sophistication to my child’s mind. (more…)

14 July 2014: Watermelon Salad

July 14, 2014

Tags: Watermelon, Watermelon Salad, Greek Cooking, Greek-American Cooking, Southern Cooking, Beans Greens & Sweet Georgia Peaches

Watermelon Salad, a simple triad of melon, onion, and feta. Photograph by John Carrington Photography
One of the loveliest and most refreshing salads to be found on summer’s table is this simple triad of watermelon, sweet onions, and the bright, salty counterpoint of feta cheese. It should be no surprise, then, that over the last couple of decades, melon salads have become a trendy thing. However, back in the mid-nineties when I first developed this version for my second book, they were almost unheard of in the South, and weren’t much more familiar to the rest of our country. (more…)

8 July 2014: Sautéed Summer Squash with Onions

July 8, 2014

Tags: Yellow Crookneck Squash, Summer Squash, Classic Southern Cooking, Beans Greens & Sweet Georgia Peaches

Sauteed yellow crookneck squash is the very essence of a Southern summer
When we were home a couple of weeks ago, the summer squash vines in my mother’s garden were bright with yellow blossoms and the most precocious vine was sporting a single fat, sun-yellow crookneck. By the time we got back to Savannah, a bumper crop of yellow crooknecks was already coming in from local farmers. The sunny color and graceful swan necks of this vegetable are, for me, the very essence of summer. (more…)

5 July 2014: Pan Broiled Hamburgers

July 5, 2014

Tags: American Cooking, Pan-Broiling, Pan-Broiled Burgers, Oven-Roasted Sweet Corn

Independence Day Supper without a grill: pan-brioled hamburgers, oven-roasted sweet corn, sugar-snap peas, and French potato salad
Because we don’t have a grill and a huge pecan tree shades our back yard, making it an ideal nursery for mosquitoes, I don’t cook outdoors at home. So, grilled burgers and corn on the cob, the traditional offering for Independence Day, have to be cooked indoors. I pan-broil burgers and steaks, and it’s actually a lovely way to cook them. (more…)