Thursday, November 17, 2005

Cranberry Relish

Image hosted by Photobucket.comWith Thanksgiving coming around the corner, I always reach back into my childhood memories and pull out a couple of my favorite recipes to prepare for the holidays. Comfort food if you will. One such recipe is cranberry relish that my grandmother made every year. I can only guess how old this recipe is, 75 years old or better, and unfortunately I have no idea where she acquired it. This cranberry relish will wake your taste buds up between bites of turkey, dressing and sweet potatoe casserole - it cleanses the palette which enhances the flavors of all the other offerings presented on your holiday table in a very delicious way. Besides boosting the flavors of your food, it really is a very pretty condiment to adorn your table and gives your guests an alternative to plain old cranberry sauce. I hope you try this very old recipe. It has always been a family favorite at our table. Enjoy!

Cranberry Relish

  • 1 pound fresh cranberries (1pkg) frozen
  • 1 small can crushed pineapple - drained
  • 3 oranges - preferably seedless - quartered
  • 3 cups sugar
In a blender, grind cranberries and oranges (peel and all) together until coarsely chopped. Next, add the pineapple and sugar and blend until mixture is incorporated. Let the relish stand refridgerated overnight or for at least 12 hours before serving.

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A Pretty Picture Of Frosty Cranberries

  1. The orange rinds help to make this relish tart while the sugar and pineapple adds the sweetness.
  2. Make sure you freeze your cranberries first - they chop up much easier.
  3. My grandmother would always eat a slice of sharp cheddar cheese along with her apple pie to cleanse her palette between bites. If you've never tried it, maybe you should because it really works!
  4. The cranberry relish makes a perfect gift. Present in a small pretty glass container (with a tightly placed lid) adorned with a ribbon. Picture perfect.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

White Beans and Pork Chops Like You've Never Had Them

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe following recipe is an Emeril Lagasse production. I know he isn't a true Southerner but this particular recipe it a true Southern keeper in my book. My husband prepared this dish for me for Mothers Day and has since cooked it on another occasion when we entertained dinner guests (in which they asked for the recipe). Lord knows it was good! Being the true Southerner as I am, I passed the recipe along to my father who prepared it for his girlfriend Mary and needless to say they absolutely loved it and continued to pass the recipe along! Not only is it a scrumptious dinner but it is a beautiful dish that you can practically eat with your eyes - can you imagine that - plain old white beans and boring pork chops. So here I pass it along to you.

As a warning, the recipe is rather time consuming. However, if you have the time, I urge you to jump in with both feet and whip up this absolutely mouth watering meal that won't be soon forgotten in your household - I promise! P.S. This is a stick to your ribs dinner.

Slow-Cooked White Beans with Pan-Fried Pork Chops and Caramelized Onions

  • 6 (8-ounce) center-cut pork chops
  • 2 tablespoons Essence, plus 1 tablespoon, recipe follows
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Slow-Cooked White Beans, recipe follows
  • Caramelized Onions, recipe follows
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, garnish

Season the chops on both sides with 2 tablespoons of the Essence.

Combine the flour, cornstarch and remaining tablespoon of Essence in a shallow bowl. Dredge the pork chops in the flour mixture.

In a large cast-iron skillet or saute pan, heat the oil over high heat. Add the pork chops in batches and cook until golden brown and medium, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Remove and drain on paper towels. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
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To serve, spoon the beans into the center of 6 large plates. Top with the pork chops and spoon the onions over the chops. Garnish each plate with thyme and serve immediately.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

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Yield: about 2/3 cup

Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.

Slow-Cooked White Beans:
  • 3/4 pound dried Great Northern beans, picked over to remove any broken beans and stones
  • 1/2 pound bacon, diced
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Essence
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, with their juices
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle lager or ale - we used beer
  • 1/2 cup cane syrup or molasses
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup Canadian whiskey - we used Jack Daniels whiskey
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves

In a large pot, place the beans and cover with water by 3 inches. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the beans are just tender, about 1 hour and 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside. In a large pot, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until brown and the fat is rendered, about 6 minutes. Add the onions, cayenne, Essence, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the onion is soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and their juices, and cook for 2 minutes.
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Add the beer, syrup, sugar, stock, whiskey, mustard, Worcestershire and bay leaves. Stir well and cook for 1 minute. Add the beans and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer covered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and continue to simmer until tender, about 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally and adding more water as needed to cover the beans.

Remove from the heat and adjust seasoning, to taste. Serve with the Pan-Fried Pork Chops.

Yield: 6 servings

Caramelized Onions:
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds yellow onions, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • Salt

In a large skillet or saute pan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the onions and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add the thyme and salt to taste, and stir. Remove from the heat and keep warm until ready to serve.
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Yield: 2 cups

  1. To present this dish - put beans in the middle of the plate - place pork chop on top of the beans - heap a large amount of carmarelized onions on top of the pork chop - finish off by sprinkling parsley over the entire dish. It looks absolutely beautiful!
  2. Give yourself enough time to cook the onions. They need to be a golden brown which makes them very sweet. You might consider doubling the recipe for the carmarelized onions because they really make the dish.
  3. This recipe does great when served the next day for leftovers.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Pepper Sauce

Pepper sauce is something I have mistakenly assumed that everybody in the United States knows about since it is quite literally a staple in all Southern kitchens. Whether you buy it at the store or make it homemade, pepper sauce is to turnip greens like ketchup is to french fries; they simply go hand in hand down in the South. The origins of this condiment is still a mystery to me even though its been gracing Southern tables for generations. If you have never tried pepper sauce, I encourage you to whip up a batch if for no other reason because it looks so pretty sitting on the table.


  • Small chili peppers in assorted colors, washed and dried
  • White vinegar
  • Stainless steel saucepan
  • Funnel
  • 1 wooden skewer or chop stick
  • Clean glass bottle with a cap or cork
  • 1 straight pin or safety pin
(This recipe has no exact measurements. As my friend use to say, you will have to eyeball everything.) Depending on the size of bottle you are using, pour desired amount of vinegar into a stainless steel pan and bring to a boil then turn down heat to a simmer. Meanwhile, estimate how many peppers will fit into your bottle and poke each pepper 4 or 5 times with a pin. Using a wooden skewer or chop stick, stuff the peppers into the bottle making sure not to pack the bottle too tight with the peppers. Next, using a funnel, pour the hot vinegar into the bottle slowly filling it until the bottle is full. Cap the bottle and set aside for a week or two before using.

  1. Pepper sauce can be poured over any type of greens or peas. The flavored vinegar will cut the bitterness of the greens and add flavor to the peas.
  2. The bottle should be clear glass so the beauty of the peppers clearly show. Also, the bottle should be made so the vinegar can be easily poured out of the bottle onto your food.
  3. Since there is such a high acid content to pepper sauce, it does not need to be refrigerated.
  4. When the vinegar starts to run low in the bottle, simply fill the bottle up again with additional vinegar. The peppers may lose their color but the vinegar will still be flavorful.
  5. If you like peppers, feel free to fetch them out of the bottle to eat with your meal - that's how the old timers would do it.
  6. Lastly, pepper sauce makes a great gift because it's so pretty and so delicious.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Pam's Hushpuppies

Image hosted by Photobucket.comIf someone hears the words "Fish Fry" down South, immediately pictures of friends, family and a good time flash before their eyes. The more people the better, children and all. Fried fish, hushpuppies, French fries, coleslaw, white beans, and sliced onion crowded on a table is a feast no Southerner would ever turn down. Although some buy their catfish at the grocery, most people have a freezer full of fish or know someone with a freezer full of brim, bass, catfish or crappy waiting to be cooked. (A favorite Southern past time has always been fishing.) After fish, the most important dish would have to be hushpuppies at gatherings like this. Although everyone seems to have a special recipe, hushpuppies should always be crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and as light as air. Here's my recipe for the best hushpuppies you'll ever eat!


  • 1/2 cup self rising corn meal
  • 1/2 cup self rising flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup white milk
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeno (optional)
  • Deep fat fryer with at least 3 inches of oil in it
Combine all of the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the onion and jalapeno and toss well. Next, add the egg and milk and stir until well blended. In a deep fat fryer, heat the oil to 350 degrees. With a kitchen teaspoon, drop the batter into the oil using your finger to push the batter off of the spoon. Be careful not to burn yourself. As soon as the batter drops to the bottom of the pot, it should immediately pop back up to the surface in a somewhat rounded shape. Continue dropping the hushpuppies into the oil stopping when the oil surface if full of hushpuppies making sure that they are not too crowded. When they are a golden brown on one side flip them over to finish cooking. Drain on paper towels. Repeat the process until all of the batter is gone.

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Try outdoor fish fryers to cook your hushpuppies

  1. If you do not like onions or jalapenos, feel free to omit them from the recipe.
  2. Try to use Southern cornmeal. If it is unavailable in your area, you can order it off the internet.
  3. Some Southerners use beer in the hushpuppy batter, everyone has their own special way to make these little gems.
  4. The name hushpuppies go way back when people would toss this little nugget of bread to their barking dogs and say "hush puppy". A note about cornbread and dogs. My great-grandmother would always feed her dogs pans of cornbread years ago before dog food was such a big commodity in the grocery stores. For some reason, dogs love cornbread; they go nuts over it!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Mamie Eisenhower's Green Rice

Image hosted by Photobucket.comMamie Eisenhower has always been known as a charming and gracious hostess, renowned for her striking china-blue eyes and creamy complexion. In fact, during her husbands Army years, the Eisenhowers earned a reputation for fine hospitality, and their military quarters, known as "Club Eisenhower," was a popular destination. When her husband, Dwight Eisenhower, became president, the Eisenhowers entertained an unprecedented number of heads of state and leaders of foreign governments, in which Mamie's evident enjoyment of her role endeared her to her guests as well as the nation. History has been kind to the memory of Mamie Eisenhower by way of her endearing and tasty recipes. The following recipe for Green Rice is attributed to Mamie herself.


  • 1 cup raw rice, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach, cooked and drained
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt
  • pepper
Saute onions in butter until soft. Layer in a oven proof casserole: rice, spinach, onions, cheese and liberal amounts of salt and pepper. Repeat layers about three times or until all is used. Sprinkle the top of casserole with 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese then bake 20 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

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  1. This is a great accompaniment for baked fish.
  2. The Green Rice really looks pretty when served.
  3. I like to garnish this dish with chopped sun dried tomatoes.
  4. Feel free to add extra cheese, spinach or onion to this recipe. I even like to add sauted mushrooms to the recipe occasionally. Let your taste buds guide you.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Recipe Blogs Mentions Southern Kitchen

Recipe Blogs

Image hosted by Photobucket.comRecipe Blogs has mentioned Southern Kitchen on their site! They feature recipes that they have hand picked throughout the blog-o-sphere saying:

"Once upon a time, the only way to find recipes on the web was by going to recipe websites and directories. They were nice but pretty impersonal. Now there are lots of recipe blogs. Recipe blogs are wonderful because you get to know the people who tried or invented the recipes. You gain a little more insight into the life, personality, and culture of the person who cooked whatever dish you are reading about. You feel more connected to the recipe than you would have felt if you had found it on a random, nameless Internet recipe directory."

If you have time, why not give these folks a visit. Click on the link above to find out what Recipe Blogs is all about.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Mabel Powell's Salmon Salad

Image hosted by Photobucket.comAlthough she past away only a few short years ago, Hickory Valley Tennessee was the home to Mabel Powell. She was known as a very good cook and everyone always looked forward to her dishes at socials and potluck get togethers. I was fortunate enough to receive a collection of her favorite recipes the Christmas before she past away in which Salmon Salad held a special place in Miss Mabel's heart. She wrote, "Years ago my mother, Mrs. Hattie Vincent, had a real good friend, Mrs. Dora Mai Wilkinson. When we were small and would go on a picnic, Mrs. Wilkinson would take little small green sweet peppers stuffed with this Salmon Salad. Oh so good! I very often fix the salad and we just eat it with crackers. It is a very old recipe."


  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 2 Tbsp sweet milk
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar
  • 1 can of salmon, drained
Mix all ingredients together except the salmon. Cook in a double boiler until the mixture is thick and smooth. In a bowl, empty the can of drained salmon and flake with a fork then pour the mixture over the top. Mix well. Serve on home-made bread, with crackers or stuff in small green peppers.

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National Field Dog Trials

  1. I'm not sure "how old" this recipe is but Miss Mabel was in her 80's when she past away.
  2. Every year in Hickory Valley Tennessee, people from all around the country come to Yankee Stadium to enjoy a week long celebration of Southern food while attending and participating in the National Field Dog Trials (established in 1899) held at the nearby Ames Plantation.
  3. Yankee Stadium is named in honor of all the Yankees that come down every year to enjoy all of the fine Southern cooking provided by several renowned cooking ethusiasts, one such cook was Mabel Powell.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Creamed Spinach

Image hosted by Photobucket.comNashville is famous for its gracious recipes and imaginative eating. The ladies are known for the flair with which they serve food which is known as the Nashville touch and it's no wonder why. While the Nashville ladies were sipping tea at the Traveler's Rest and the Hermitage, other ladies of Tennessee were still building log cabins and fighting Indians. Here is just one example of the delicious dishes found in Nashville Tennessee.

  • Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a saucepan and add 2 boxes frozen ship's and about 1-1/2 tsp salt. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes. The spinach should then be drained, chilled, and chopped very fine, as fine as it is possible to get it.
  • make a cream sauce of 2-1/2 Tbsp butter, 2-1/2 Tbsp flour, 2-1/2 Tbsp chopped onion, and 1 cup cream. Cook the onion in the butter for a few minutes, then blend in the flour. Let this cook over hot water in a double boiler for 10 minutes, and add 1 cup of cream. Season to tasate with nutmeg, chopped parsley, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, lemon juice and sherry, paprika, thyme. Now mix the spinach and cream sauce thoroughly. Be sure and taste to see that the seasoning is right. Put in a casserole dish and sprinkle the top with cracker crumbs. Heat in a hot (400 degree) oven for 20 minutes.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Polly's Chocolate Fudge Pie

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThis recipe comes from a sweet Southern lady by the name of Miss Polly from Toone Tennessee (West Tennessee). She gave me this recipe 26 years ago and at that time she had been serving it to her family for many years. If you are a chocolate lover this pie certainly is for you. The smell of it cooking in the oven will make your toes curl and your mouth water.


  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-6 ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 unbaked pie shell
Mix all ingredients together until smooth and well blended. Pour into an unbaked pie shell and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 35 to 45 minutes or until set. Cool before serving.

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The road to Toone - Hwy 100.

  1. I prefer the pie slices warmed in the microwave before serving.
  2. Add a scoop of vanilla ice-cream on the side if you are feeling really sinful.
  3. Miss Polly would make this pie at least once a week for her family. If she didn't, she would see at least 2 or 3 pouty faces around the house for days or so she said.
  4. I will have to say that this is one of my favorite pies.
  5. This recipe is found in my cookbook "Blankenship Family Cookbook". Read more about my cookbook in the right margin of the blog.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Baked Apricots

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Sewanee is a unique place on the Cumberland plateau about half way between Nashville and Chattanooga. This is the home of the University of the South which is patterned academically after Oxford University in England. Besides academics, the University of the South is known for its social pace from hiking, exploring caves, dances to never ending dinner parties. At these social parties, baked apricots have been a favorite for years. The recipe was first introduced to the Sewanee area by the late Mrs. Guerry whose husband once presided over the University of the South many years ago.

Baked Apricots

Butter the bottom of a baking dish. You will need two large cans of apricot halves. Drain the fruit, reserving the liquid for later if necessary. Place the apricot halves in a baking dish pit side up and dot each half with butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar and a little cinnamon. Top this with a layer of crumbled Ritz crackers. Repeat this whole process again so that you have two layers of apricots. Top the whole casserole with plenty of Ritz crumbs and butter. You probably won't need to add any juice, but add a small amount if you need to. The casserole should be moist and delicious but not runny. Bake for half hour or 45 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

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  1. The University of the South actually formed at a meeting of the Southern Bishops of the Episcopal Church on Lookout Mountain in 1857, it was founded to train the youth of the South.
  2. They say once you get the love of Sewanee in your bones, it never leaves you.
  3. When the University first opened, the only way students were able to get to it was by train. You see Sewanee sits on the very, very top of a very large mountain. The views are spectacular.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Ham In Coca-Cola

Image hosted by Photobucket.comIn 1899, two young Chattanooga lawyers made a most fortunate investment. They signed a contract with Asa Candleer of Atlanta granting them the exclusive right to bottle a new soft drink, Coca-cola, in almost the entire continental United States. With a $5,000.00 investment, the lawyers supplied syrup to bottling plants around the country and helped promote sales of the new soft drink. Today, the success of their venture is world history. The following recipe from Chattanooga (in which I'm not sure how old this recipe is) is a tribute to the two young lawyers from Tennessee - Ben F. Thomas and J. B. Whiteside.

Ham In Coca-Cola

Put a medium-sized cured ham into a deep vessel and pour in enough Coca-Cola to half cover the ham. Set on a low flame, cover and boil until the ham is tender. (It can be baked in the oven, basted with Coca-Cola.) Test by sticking the long tines of a fork into the meat, or watch until the bone at the shank end is loose. As the liquid boils out, add more Coca-Cola. When tender, take out and skin. Slice either hot or cold.

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1. Ham boiled in Coca-Cola has a distinctive sweet taste and may be served with no additional seasoning.
2. It has often been said that the national drink of the South, at least in Chattanooga and Atlanta, is not water or even wine . . . it is Coca-Cola.
3. The descendants of the two young lawyers are many of Chattanooga's leading citizens today.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Elvis Presley's Homemade Vegetable Soup

Image hosted by Photobucket.comMy aunt went to High School with Elvis Presley. She always tells the story about how Elvis would sit under a tree at school playing his guitar and asking others for lunch money. After he became famous and moved into Graceland, girls would sit outside the estates gate hoping to catch a glimpse of him. What nobody knew at the time was that Elvis had cameras around the front gate just to watch all of his fans coming to see him. When a pretty girl caught his eye, they would get a personal invitation from Elvis Presley himself to tour the grounds of Graceland. I suppose that's why you would always see girls sitting on the grass outside of the famous guitar gates.


  • 1 large can whole tomatoes
  • 2 pounds fresh stew meat
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 5 pieces of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 boxes frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 cups diced white potatoes
  • 1 can cream style corn
  • 1/2 cup okra
  • 1/2 cup catsup
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp black pepper
Cook together meat, onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, and tomatoes in a large stock pot over medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mixed vegetables and cook for another 1/2 hour. Then mix in corn, potatoes, okra, catsup, salt, and pepper. Cook for 30 minutes longer or until the potatoes are tender. Serve.

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  1. This recipe was prepared for Elvis by Mary Jenkins, one of his favorite cooks!
  2. Elvis would usually eat dinner at 9 or 10 p.m.
  3. There are so many stories about Elvis around the Memphis area. In all of the stories I've ever heard growing up, I've never heard a negative one. Everyone loved Elvis Presley.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Milky way Farm House Dressing

Image hosted by Photobucket.comIn Pulaski, Tennessee, there is a historic mansion with 21 bedrooms and 12 baths situated among the largest privately owned stand of magnolias in the nation! The beautiful Milky Way Farm mansion was built in 1932 by Frank C. Mars, the founder of Mars Candy company. This Tudor mansion is now open to the public for tours and delicious luncheons.


  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup catsup
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and blend well with a whisk.

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  1. Luncheons are served on a 28 foot long by 12 foot wide dining table. This table is the largest privately owned dining table in Tennessee and perhaps the nation.
  2. The Milky Way Farm once consisted of 2,700 acres with 38 barns.
  3. On the Farm they raised prize winning cattle and horses of the highest quality - even a Kentucky Derby winner.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Miss Mary Bobo's Tipsy Sweet Potatoes

Image hosted by Photobucket.comJack and Mary Bobo in 1914 opened "The Bobo Hotel" in Lynchburg Tennessee near the Jack Daniels distillery. As the reputation of Miss Mary Bobo's cooking grew over the years the Hotel ultimately morphed into a famous restaurant called Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House that is legendary to this day. Although Miss Mary died in 1983 at the age of 101, she left her legacy through the many wonderful recipes she had developed over the years; one of which was Tipsy Sweet Potatoes.


  • 2-1/2 cups cooked, mashed, sweet potatoes
  • 4 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup Jack Daniels Whiskey
  • Pecan halves for topping
Combine all ingredients except the pecans. Spoon mixture into a greased 1-quart casserole dish. Top with pecans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes in a preheated 325 degree oven.

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  • Caution: Everyone will want seconds!
  • Above is a picture of Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House.
  • A lot of Miss Mary's recipes contained Jack Daniels Whiskey maybe that was why it was and is such a popular place.
  • My grandfather loved Jack Daniels so much that he was buried on a hillside over looking the distillery!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Raisin Pie

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThis is a very old recipe. Raisin Pie, known also as "Funeral Pie" because how quick and easy it is to prepare with ingredients you always have on hand. When you hear of someone passing away in the South, one of the first things you do is cook. Yep, the family of the deceased receives all kinds of prepared dishes(sometimes it can be more than 100!) from family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, churches, friends of friends...All in hopes that the home cooked foods will somehow bring comfort to the family in their time of loss. A cherished Southern tradition.


  • 1 cup raisins, dark
  • 2 cups water
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 2 - 8" pie shells
Wash raisins and soak in cold water for three hours. Drain. Combine raisins, water, sugar, flour, salt, lemon juice, rind and egg. In a saucepan cook ingredients for 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cool. Pour into pie shell. Cover with remaining pie shell and pinch around the ends to seal the pie. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake for an additional 30 minutes.

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  1. In the South, when there is a funeral procession you are expected to pull off the road until the procession has ended. It is considered very bad manners to keep driving your car along while the funeral procession is still in session. Southern Mommy, on her blog Southern Porch comments about how non-Southerns are unaware of this tradition.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Hot Cakes (Pancakes)

Image hosted by Photobucket.comDown South every year the schools put on a fund raiser. Hot Cake day. All the little children would go around town and sell tickets good for one Hot Cake breakfast at their local school. Everybody in town would show up if not to help the school raise money just for the best tasting Hot Cakes you ever tasted. Here is my recipe for the best Hot Cakes I've ever tasted.

  • 1-1/4 cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sweet milk
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • Butter
  • Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Heat a skillet on medium to medium high. Place a pat of butter in the skillet and when it starts to sizzle butter the skillet lightly. Immediately pour batter into skillet making the hot cakes the size of softballs. When the hot cakes start to bubble, flip them over. When the other side is a light brown, remove the hot cakes from the skillet. Repeat. Serve with butter and syrup.

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    1. This batter stores very well in the fridge.
    2. Keep the hot cakes in a warm oven covered while you finish cooking the remaining hot cakes.
    3. If need be, heat up two skillets at one time to cook your hot cakes.

    Monday, March 14, 2005

    Vanilla Wafer Stack Cake

    Image hosted by Photobucket.comThis recipe comes from Mrs. Tennessee (1968), Mrs. E. T. Shearer II. She prepared this recipe in Minneapolis for one of the competing categories in Mrs. America. While she did not win the title of Mrs. America, she had one winner of a recipe called Vanilla Wafer Stack Cake.

    • 1 large box vanilla wafers
    • 2 cups whipping cream
    • 4 Tbsp liquid chocolate (chocolate syrup)
    • 2 Tbsp sugar
    Whip the cream until light and fluffy. Add sugar and chocolate (set aside 1/3 of whipping cream to use as frosting) and dip vanilla wafers, one by one, into the cream and begin stacking. Make a round, square or oval cake. Let stand overnight in the refrigerator, or make early in the morning for a dinner party that evening. Frost cake with reserved whipping cream. When sliced, it looks like many tiny layers of cake. The wafers soften to make a very interesting cake. This can be served with a scoop of chocolate ice cream.

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    1. As an option, you can pat coconut on the sides and top of the cake or use prepared frosting to frost the cake.
    2. You can use a glass bowl and use it as a mold for the cake. Just lightly oil the inside of the bowl before you start layering your cake on the inside.
    3. Little children love to make this cake.
    4. You can use Cool Whip instead of liquid whipping cream.

    Saturday, March 12, 2005

    Memphis Style BBQ Sauce

    Image hosted by Photobucket.comEach region of the South has a particular style of BBQ sauce. The Carolina's specialize in a mustard sauce, Alabama likes vinegar based sauces while Tennessee, especially Memphis, favors a sweet, thick and slightly hot sauce. This Memphis Style BBQ sauce recipe happens to be my favorite; I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

    • 2 cups Cattlemens BBQ sauce
    • 2 Tbsp prepared mustard
    • 2/3 cup sorghum molasses
    • 1 Tbsp crushed red pepper
    • 1/2 Tbsp allspice
    • 2/3 Tbsp brown sugar
    Mix all ingredients together in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir frequently so the sauce won't stick to the bottom of the pan. Immediately turn the heat down and gently simmer the sauce for 1 hour. Store in the fridge.

    1. This recipe comes from a famous BBQ restaurant in Memphis TN. Don't ask my lips are sealed.
    2. My dad found this recipe in an old filing cabinet that he purchased at an auction years ago. The previous owners obviously forgot their secret recipe was hibernating in the bottom drawer. Too bad for them but good for us!

    Friday, March 11, 2005

    Cornbread Dressing

    Image hosted by Photobucket.comThere has been a few things that I always seemed to have a hard time making, for some reason or another. One of those things has been Cornbread Dressing. Sometimes it would come out to dry other times too spicy and still others times the dressing would come out of the oven soupy. Not too long ago, Paula Dean on Food TV aired a recipe on Cornbread Dressing that is, in my opinion, the perfect, fool proof Cornbread Dressing recipe. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have.


    • 1 pan cornbread, crumbled
    • 7 slices oven-dried white bread, crumbled
    • 1 sleeve saltine crackers, crushed
    • 2 cups celery, chopped
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 8 Tbsp butter, melted
    • 7 cups chicken stock, warmed
    • 1 tsp salt
    • freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 tsp sage
    • 1 Tbsp poultry seasoning
    • 5 eggs beaten
    Combine cornbread, white bread and crackers in large bowl and set aside. Saute celery and onions in butter until soft. Combine vegetables with the bread and add the stock. Combine then add all seasonings, taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed. Finally mix in the eggs. Cook in a large greased pan (uncovered) in a preheated 350 degree for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

    1. You can add cooked shredded chicken to the dressing before you cook it or just layer the chicken on top of the dressing before cooking.
    2. The recipe turns out perfect every time if you just follow the easy directions.

    Thursday, March 10, 2005

    Baked Country Ham

    Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe following recipe comes from the Dickson Cookbook published in 1947. Inside the front cover reads "This cookbook is simply a collection of tried and treasured recipes prepared by a number of ladies of Dickson, Tennessee. For best results....Use level measurements throughout, Mix thoroughly with good will, Serve generous portions, Put what is left over in easy reach of the children."


    Wash country ham then trim it well and allow to set in water overnight. In the morning, rinse the country ham off and place in large roaster, skin side up. Cover the country ham well with heavy brown paper. (grocery brown bags)
    Bake 25 minutes for each pound of country ham at 325 degrees. Remove the country ham from oven and remove paper and remove the skin from the country ham. Score ham in a checkered pattern and place a clove in each square. Put back into the oven and bake until a rich brown. Baste the country ham with the following mixture several times during the last baking.

    Baste: One small can crushed pineapple, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 Tbsp flour, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 tsp black pepper. Mix all ingredients together then baste ham several times while its cooking.

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    1. Do not skip the step of soaking the ham. Country ham is very salty and this step helps to remove much of the salt from the ham.
    2. Country hams originate from the curing process Southerns used to preserve their meat.

    Wednesday, March 09, 2005

    BBQ Salad

    Image hosted by Photobucket.comRecently, I've been posting traditional recipes but today I would like to share a new invention, if you will, from the South - BBQ salad. Before you turn your nose up at the sound of this, I can assure you it is very delicious and extremely easy to prepare. I won't be going into the process of making BBQ today however you'll probably be able to purchase pre cooked BBQ at your local grocery store. If not, you can order some from - the best BBQ around as far as I'm concerned.

    • Iceberg lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
    • Purple onion, sliced into rings
    • Tomatoes, chopped into chunks
    • BBQ sauce, your choice
    • Pork BBQ, pulled and if you just have to, you can chop it.
    Warm the BBQ in the oven on low heat until ready to use in the salad. Assemble the salad(s) in individual salad bowls. First add lettuce to the bowl, top with onion slices and chunks of tomatoes. Continue by topping the salad with warm BBQ (don't be stingy) then finish off with BBQ sauce. (Use the BBQ sauce just like you would use salad dressing.) Serve

    1. When you warm up your BBQ, make sure it is tightly wrapped with aluminum foil so it won't dry out.
    2. The BBQ sauce can be room temperature or cold. A hot BBQ sauce could wilt the lettuce.
    3. You can serve the salad with crackers and iced tea. The salad makes a beautiful presentation at luncheons.

    Monday, March 07, 2005

    Chess Pie

    Image hosted by Photobucket.comCharlotte was a young country girl that was taught how to cook by her grandmother and how she could cook. The only bad thing (for me any how) was that she tended to guard her recipes like a hen would guard her chicks. After years of trying, the only recipe I was ever able "to get out of her" was her recipe for Chess Pie. I remember she would sprinkle chocolate chips over the pie before she baked it which really put that extra special touch on an already delicious pie.

    • 3/4 cup brown sugar
    • 3/4 cup white sugar
    • 1 stick butter, melted
    • 1 Tbsp vanilla
    • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1 Tbsp vinegar
    • 1 unbaked pie shell
    Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients together and pour into an unbaked pie shell. (You can sprinkle chocolate chips over the pie at this time if you would like.) Place pie in oven and cook for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue to cook until the pie is thick and golden brown. Cool before serving.

    1. Here again is an example of fluctuating heat during the cooking process that so many Southern cooks seem to do.
    2. This recipe can be found in my cookbook - Blankenship Family Cookbook - which you can see on the right hand side of the blog.
    3. You didn't read the recipe wrong; it does call for vinegar.

    Sunday, March 06, 2005

    Black Eyed Peas

    Image hosted by Photobucket.comBlack eyed peas and cornbread with a slice of onion on the side is simply a piece of heaven for the taste buds. Fresh peas are always the best but dried black eyed peas are just as good. The secret to a great pot of peas is the seasoning of the water. Some cooks use ham hocks, some neck bones, some fat back while others use just plain flavorful bacon. In this recipe I'll use ham hocks.


    • 1 small bag dried black eyed peas
    • large pot of water
    • 1 ham hock
    • salt and pepper to taste
    In a large pot of water (filled at least 1/2 way up) add 1 ham hock and bring to a boil. Then turn down to a simmer. Salt and pepper the water and let simmer for 1 hour. Rinse peas under cold water to clean them then add the peas to the pot with the ham hock. Cover with a lid and simmer for several hours until the peas become tender. Serve with a slice of onion and cornbread.

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    1. Check your water occasionally to make sure the peas are always covered.
    2. You can stir the peas every now and then but do it gently so the peas won't break apart.
    3. Also, to prevent the peas from breaking apart, never boil the water.
    4. The water will eventually turn a muddy color that has the most amazing taste. (Another example of pot liquor.)
    5. Lastly, black eyed peas and turnip greens are always eaten on new years day for good luck.

    Saturday, March 05, 2005

    Mamies Southern Fried Chicken

    Image hosted by Photobucket.comSouthern fried chicken is probably one of the most famous dishes to come out of the South. Some have made millions on their secret fried chicken recipe (Kentucky Fried Chicken) while others still struggle to produce the perfect fried chicken. Crisp on the outside but light, juicy and tender on the inside. I felt it appropriate for this post to dig out an old recipe from a Southern family cook. Although there is no exact measurements, this recipe is as authentic as they come.


    In a bowl, put 1 cup of milk. Wash chicken good by putting in the sink in salted water. Dry off. Dip in milk and then in flour mixed with salt and pepper. Heat an iron skillet or electric skillet very hot and melt shortening in it...Enough to make about 1 inch deep. When the shortening is hot, but not smoking, put in the chicken. Don't crowd it, about 4 or 5 pieces at a time. When it begins to get brown, turn down to about medium heat. Cover and let cook slow and gently. Turn every once and a while. At last take off cover and turn heat up so that it will be crisp. It will take 20 to 30 minutes.

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    1. You can see there are not any elaborate seasonings in this recipe; it's the cooking technique that matters the most.
    2. Some people use eggs mixed in with the milk but Mamie used only milk. Both are good.
    3. The art of changing temperatures when you fry takes a little practice but makes all the difference when it comes to Southern cooking.

    Friday, March 04, 2005

    Tennessee Iced Tea

    Images hosted by Photobucket.comI suppose iced tea has been drunk in the South for ever, probably because it is such a cheap beverage that really tastes good. The tea down South seems to be a little stronger and sweeter than what you normally find in other parts of America. Tea is drunk all day long especially on hot summer days. You'll always find iced tea in the middle of a bunch of ladies visiting and catching up on all the local gossip. In the small towns in the South everybody knows what everybody is doing; you can go to the bank on that one.

    • 3 family sized tea bags, (I use Louisiana brand)
    • 1 cup sugar
    In a small saucepan, filled 3/4 full of water, add the 3 tea bags with the paper tags torn off. Put over medium heat and bring to a boil then turn heat down to a simmer for 20 minutes. In a gallon pitcher, add the sugar then pour the tea over the top. Stir until the sugar dissolves. With the tea bags still in the saucepan, fill the saucepan again with water. With the back of a tablespoon, push down on the teabags as you pour the liquid into the pitcher. Repeat until the pitcher is half full. Now taste the tea. If it is still to strong for your liking, add more water with the tea bags still in the saucepan. Store the tea in the refrigerator.

    1. Everytime I visit my in-laws, they always have a pitcher of iced tea waiting for me.
    2. Traditional Southerns never drink their tea hot.
    3. You can add a lemon wedge for flavor or even an orange slice which is really good.