Thursday, September 27, 2018


This is another refreshing version of a Cosmopolitan. The grapefruit juice makes it less sweet.

4 oz Pomegranate juice
4 oz red grapefruit juice
4 oz vodka
2 oz Contreau or Triple Sec
1 oz lime juice

Stir or shake with ice in a pitcher or cocktail shaker and pour into 4 martini glasses.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


This cornbread is so delicious with chili and is definitely a real Southern recipe.

cups stone ground yellow cornmeal (I use Palmetto Farms)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t sea salt
3 T granulated or brown sugar (optional)
3 large eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups buttermilk
½ t pumpkin pie spice (recipe below)
1 large orange skin sweet potato, cooked and mashed
7 T unsalted butter, melted
1 T bacon grease or unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, pumpkin pie spice, sweet potato, and melted butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to combine.

Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, carefully remove skillet from oven and add the tablespoon of bacon grease or butter.
Set aside to let melt.

Pour the batter into the seasoned skillet and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 T ground cinnamon
1 T ground ginger
½ t allspice
½ t grated nutmeg

Mix together and store in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Sunday, September 23, 2018


If you have green tomatoes still in your vegetable garden, here is a perfect way to serve them. My mother made these and she also fried ripe tomatoes for breakfast.

6 medium green tomatoes
1 t sea salt
4 slices of applewood smoked bacon, cut into small pieces
½ cup avocado oil
½ cup all-purpose flour
Sea salt & fine ground black pepper
1 ½ cups corn flour
½ cup panko bread crumbs
1 T garlic powder
1 t smoked paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pepper to taste

2 eggs                                     
½ cup buttermilk
2 T sugar
2 dashes Crystal or Louisiana hot sauce

Cut each tomato into even size ¼-inch slices, about 3 to 4 slices per tomato.
Lay the tomatoes on a wire rack with paper towels beneath
Sprinkle with sea salt and allow to sit for salt to pull water out of the tomatoes, approximately 30 minutes. 

Remove paper towels beneath rack and blot tomatoes dry.

In a large cast iron skillet, cook bacon until crisp. 
Remove with a slotted spoon onto a plate lined with paper towels. 
Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease.

In a shallow bowl, add the flour and season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a second shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, sugar, and hot sauce.
In a third shallow bowl, combine the corn flour, panko, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, and pepper. 
Dip the tomatoes in the flour mixture, then into the buttermilk mixture, and finally dredge them in the corn flour mixture, coating both sides well.

Heat the oil in the skillet over medium heat and fry the tomatoes in two batches until brown and crispy on both sides, about 4 minutes on each side. 
Keep warm in oven on a baking sheet lined with a rack while frying the second batch.
Sprinkle with bacon and serve plain or with the Remoulade Sauce on side, if desired

Remoulade Sauce
½ cup mayonnaise
1 t Creole mustard 
½ t prepared horseradish
½ t lemon juice
1 t Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes hot sauce

Mix together and refrigerate until ready to serve

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


This turkey cooked in 2 ½ hours on the grill and I added extra coals two times.  I served the turkey with mashed potatoes and Smoked Paprika Green Beans.

1 (8 to 9 lb) bone-in turkey breast
Applewood chunks, soaked in water for at least 4 hours
1 cup apple juice 
1 T avocado oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prepare about 30 coals on each side of the grill for indirect heat.

Place aluminum foil on the bottom of the grill and place a pan on top with the apple juice or water.
Clean the grill with a wire brush and rub the grill with a folded paper towel dampened with some avocado oil.

Remove any excess fat and skin that is hanging from the turkey.

Rub the oil all over the turkey's skin and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place turkey directly on the grill in the center, with the top of the breast up.

Cook with vents partially open and add any coals as needed.

Check every 30 minutes. 

After the first 30 minutes of cooking add the wood chunks to each side of the hot coals.

Turkey is done when the internal temperature of meat is 165 degrees F.


There are generally two types of barbecue in the state of North Carolina. The farther west you go, the sauce contains more ketchup. I prefer a 'middle of the state' sauce, which contain some ketchup. I also added a recipe for Eastern barbecue sauce, which has a vinegar base and no ketchup. Either way, there is nothing like a good North Carolina pulled pork BBQ sandwich. My recipe for Izetta's Southern Coleslaw is in the next post.

Lee's Kitchen Tips:

Here is the difference between a pork butt/Boston butt and a pork shoulder/pork picnic.
The pork butt and Boston butt are the same cut of meat from the top portion of the ‘whole shoulder’ of the hog. It is sold boneless or bone-in.
The pork shoulder and pork picnic are the same cut of meat from the lower portion of the shoulder below the joint and above the shank or leg. It is sold boneless or bone-in. A pork shoulder is perfect for pulled pork that is cooked long and slow and is less expensive than a Boston butt.
If using a gas grill, you can place soaked wood chips in a packet or two of aluminum foil and poke holes in the top.

1 (5 to 6 lb) bone-in pork shoulder or Boston butt
3 T pork barbecue rub (of your choice)

Rub pork with barbecue rub and let sit in the refrigerator, covered, 12 to 24 hours.

Place about 4 cups hickory wood chips in water and soak for 12 to 24 hours.

Mopping Sauce

2 T avocado oil
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 T dark brown sugar

Place ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for a couple of minutes and turn off.
When cool, pour into a squeeze bottle to drizzle over pork or just keep in the pan to spoon over pork.  
Place about 20 lit charcoals on each side of the bottom of the grill and place a disposable aluminum pan to spoon over pork.
Place a thermometer on the grill near the edge, if your grill doesn't have a built-in one.
Fold a paper towel into about a 3-inch square and dip into some vegetable oil.
With tongs, rub the oiled paper towel over the center of the grill where the pork will sit.

When the temperature reaches 300 degrees F, place pork in the center directly on the grill, fat side up.
Close grill and grill for 1 hour. Open the lid and check to see that the temperature stays between 275 to 300 degrees F. 
Add a few coals at a time to maintain this temperature and a few pieces of soaked hickory. Do this every hour.
When pork internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F, drizzle or spoon on Mopping Sauce every 30 minutes.

Total cooking time should be 6 to 7 hours and the outside of the pork should have a nice dark bark.
Pork is done when internal temperature registers 190 degrees F.
Remove to a cutting board and allow the meat to rest for 30 minutes. Pull off large chunks and shred with gloved hands or two forks. 
Transfer to a shallow baking pan. Drizzle with some of the BBQ sauce, cover with aluminum foil and place in a 300 degree F oven for 20 to 30 minutes.
Serve on buns with extra sauce, coleslaw, and hot sauce on the side.

Middle of the State BBQ Sauce
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T dry mustard
1 T hot sauce
½ t onion powder
¾ cup ketchup
¼ dark brown sugar
2 T unsalted butter
2 t red pepper flakes
½ t sea salt 
½ t fine ground black pepper

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes.

Eastern North Carolina Vinegar Sauce
1 cup apple cider vinegar
¼ dark brown sugar
2 t hot sauce
2 t red pepper flakes
½ t sea salt 
½ t fine ground black pepper

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer 3 minutes.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


For years, my husband loved Bean & Bacon Soup in a can. I played with this recipe a few times until I think it is even better than the canned soup. Not only is it better, but a lot healthier without artificial ingredients.

8 slices bacon, diced (preferably applewood smoked bacon)
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
3 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken stock or broth
3 cans (15 oz) Great Northern beans or navy beans, drained and rinsed
2 T tomato paste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon until crisp.
Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl and pour off and discard all but 1 tablespoon of the grease.
Add the onion, carrots, and celery and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
Pour in the chicken stock or broth, the drained beans, and tomato paste.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Stir to completely combine.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and partially cover with a lid.
Simmer for 30 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, blend the soup for just a couple of seconds to puree some of the beans.
Alternatively, you can carefully pour about 2 cups into a blender and puree, then pour back into the pot.

Add half of the bacon and simmer another 5 minutes.

Ladle into warm soup bowls and top with remaining bacon and serve.

Serves 4 to 6

Monday, September 17, 2018


We love shrimp so much that I have a ton of recipes with shrimp...from Italian, Southern, Indian, Japanese, and Thai. This mean is ready in under 30 minutes.

Teriyaki Sauce
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1-inch piece ginger, grated or minced
¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
¼ cup honey
½ t red pepper flakes
2 t cornstarch
1 cup water

Mix together the sauce ingredients in a glass measuring pitcher and set aside.

Stir Fry
1 T avocado or coconut oil
1 lb large shrimp, deveined and tails removed
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 bunches broccoli, cut into florets, stems discarded
1 large red bell pepper, chopped

Jasmine rice, cooked
White & black sesame seeds, for garnish
2 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish

Heat the oil in a wok or large cast iron skillet.
Add the shrimp and cook over high heat for 2 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook another minute. 
Add the broccoli and bell pepper and cook 3 more minutes.

Pour in the sauce and stir to combine, while simmering a minute or two.

Serve over Jasmine rice and garnish with sesame seeds and scallions.

Serves 2

Friday, September 14, 2018


Lemon pie is a staple of the South and often served at seafood restaurants in the Carolinas. You can make a meringue for the topping or whipped cream. I made it with whipped cream and butter crackers, for the crust instead of Saltines. Keebler has the 'Club Cracker', Pepperidge Farm has 'Golden Butter', 'Townhouse' is another brand and Trader Joe's has 'Social Snackers'. Add the whipped cream per serving.

Butter Cracker Crust
1½ cups butter crackers, 1 sleeve (you can use saltine crackers if preferred)
¼ cup granulated sugar
6 T unsalted butter, melted

Break up the crackers and place in a food processor.  
Add the sugar and melted butter and pulse until combined.
Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie pan. Dip your fingers in water and press along the bottom and sides of pan to form a border around the edge. Don't worry if it isn't perfect, you can tidy it up before it goes into the oven.
Place on a large plate and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place pie pan on a baking sheet or pizza pan to keep crumbs from falling on the oven floor.
Bake until lightly brown, about 15 minutes. 
Remove from oven and let cool while making the filling.

4 egg yolks
1 T grated lemon zest
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, beat the egg yolks and lemon zest at high speed until very fluffy, about 3 minutes. 
Gradually add the condensed milk and continue to beat until thick, about another 3 minutes.
Lower the speed and slowly add the lemon juice and mix a few more seconds.
Pour into the crust and bake the pie for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool completely then cover and refrigerate until completely cold.

Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 T granulated sugar
½ t pure lemon extract (if desired)

Whip until medium peaks are formed and spread on top of pie slices before serving.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018


Whenever I see pickling cucumbers in the grocery store, I buy them and make either Garlic-Dill Pickles or Bread & Butter Pickles. I actually like the Bread & Butter Pickles on a hamburger, hot dog, or smoked sausage rather than dill pickles. These are not overly sweet.

2 lbs pickling cucumbers, sliced ¼-inch thick
1 ½ T pickling salt
1 sweet onion, such as Vidalia, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 t multi-colored peppercorns
1 t mustard seeds
1 t minced dry onions
1 t minced dry garlic
1 t celery seeds
½ t ground ginger
½ t ground turmeric

Place sliced cucumbers in a large bowl and stir in salt.  Cover with and refrigerate 2 hours. Transfer cucumbers to a colander and rinse under cold water.
Rinse out the bowl.
Drain cucumber slices well and return to the bowl.
Add sliced onions and toss to combine.

In a medium saucepan, add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes until sugar is dissolved.

Let mixture cool for 30 minutes, then pour over cucumber mixture in the bowl and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Cover and refrigerate for 2 days, then ladle into clean canning jars and refrigerate for up to 3 months, if they last that long.