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Recipes and Stories

28 October 2014: Mastering the Art of French Onion Soup Gratinéed

Soupe à l’Oignon Gratinée (Classic French Onion Soup Gratinéed)

One of the most enduringly popular dishes of fall and winter’s table is Gratinéed French Onion Soup. It’s one dish that we call “French” that actually is; “soupe à l’oignon gratinée” is a standard found in bistros and home kitchens throughout France.

This time of year it begins to turn up on menus throughout our country, too, from New England to South Florida without regard to outside temperatures. Unfortunately, what comes to the table is more often than not as indifferent as it is popular. Read More 

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24 October 2014: Broiled Oysters on the Half Shell

Broiled Oysters Savannah

One of the best things about autumn on the Georgia and Carolina coast is that our briny-sweet oysters come into season. Though the old maxim about harvesting them only in months with an R is no longer really observed, savvy locals know that local oysters are at their best when the weather cools and they're past their summer spawning. Read More 

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23 October 2014: Boiled Peanuts

Perfectly boiled peanuts, photographed handsomely by John Carrington

Boiled peanuts: for most Southerners, those words conjure memories of running barefoot through freshly mown grass on a warm summer evening, or of cheering on the home team from rough, weather-worn bleachers. But for the uninitiated outside our region, who have never seen peanuts any way but toasted and served forth in a bowl on the top of a bar or ground and slathered between two slices of white bread, it probably sounds like a culinary train wreck. Read More 

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22 October 2014: Sweet Potato Salad

My sweet potato salad as made by friend Betsy Hollis for the recent Manna Club gathering where my cookbooks were honored and celebrated.

After I left architectural practice and was waiting for the publication of my first book, Classical Southern Cooking, in a moment of what can only called temporary insanity, I let a former cooking student sweet talk me into opening the kitchen of her new downtown café. Though I had long been writing about andteaching home cooking, I had absolutely no professional cooking experience. But she needed a cook and I needed work and, besides, wanted the experience.  Read More 

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21 October 2014 Rejuvenating Leftovers

Sauteed Mushrooms and Pork Tenderloin with Sage and Garlic

If you live alone or, as I do, have only two people in your household, you’ll inevitably be faced with the dilemma of how to keep leftovers fresh and interesting. Yes, we’re a spoiled, self-indulgent lot: there are starving children in the world who would be glad to have our leftovers and we ought to be grateful that we have so much. Read More 

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17 October 2014: Mushrooms with Sausage-Bourbon Filling

Small Brown (also called crimini, "baby bella" and golden Italian) mushrooms are ideal candidates for stuffing with savory fillings, so long as the cook doesn't get carried away with the idea of being "interesting" with the filling.

Stuffed mushrooms come and go in popularity, but never seem to go out of style in Savannah. Anytime they appear on the cocktail buffet table, they disappear quickly. They’re so popular, in fact that I’ve always wished I could be more enthusiastic about them, especially since mushrooms are one of my favorite things. But while stuffing mushrooms with savory fillings is a great idea for a finger-food spread, most of the time the execution is a disappointment. They’re either too bland to be interesting or too interesting to be good. Read More 

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15 October 2014: Cheese Straws and Leaves

Cheese Straws don't have to be extruded from a cookie press. Here they're cut with small seasonal cookie cutters into fall leaves.

Cheese straws and toasted pecans are to a Southern party what cards are to poker, a standard for any Southern hostess worth her iced tea. And yet, these crisp morsels often intimidate novices. They needn’t: once you grasp that they’re just a savory butter shortbread—one of the simplest of all cookies—they’re a snap to make. Read More 

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13 October 2014: American Chili, Southern Style

My Southern-style chili, gussied up just a little with sliced chilies, sour cream, and grated cheddar. Photography by the incomparable John Carrington

Last week Savannah had its first real taste of autumn weather with about three days of cool temperatures, low humidity, and clear skies. It was finally, magically, chili weather, an opportunity not to be missed: my first batch of the season was soon simmering away in my well-used Le Creuset enameled iron round oven. Read More 

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6 October 2014: Remembering Daisy Redman and Chicken Madeira

Daisy Redman's famous Chicken Madeira, photographed by John Carrington in the dining room of Savannah's historic Battersby-Hartridge House, where Mrs. Redman's cooking frequently graced the table.

At the end of the 1970s, DuBose Publishing Company of Atlanta released a slim little volume called Four Great Southern Cooks. Despite its unassuming appearance, this book was destined to become one of the great treasures of traditional Southern cooks and food historians. Tattered copies that survive are fiercely guarded as family heirlooms, especially here in Savannah. Read More 

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