Thursday, December 8, 2022


My mom used to make a fruit cake at Christmas that was spiked with bourbon. I called it 'Tipsy Fruit Cake' and she never drank . . . not even a glass of wine!  Fruit cake is not on my list of favorite Christmas confections but these Kentucky Bourbon Balls are. They are a southern tradition and I make them with a Kentucky bourbon. Let them "cure" for a week in an air-tight container to develop the complete flavor.

3 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup confectioners' sugar 
¼ cup Kentucky bourbon
2 T golden or light corn syrup
2 cups vanilla wafers, about 40
1 cup finely chopped pecans

½ cup confectioners'
2 T unsweetened cocoa power

Sift the cocoa and confectioners' sugar into a large mixing bowl.
Combine the bourbon and corn syrup and add to the bowl with the cocoa and confectioners' sugar

In the bowl of a food processor, add the pecans and process until finely chopped.
Pour the pecans into the mixing bowl with rest of the ingredients 
Add the vanilla wafers to the processor and process until they are finely ground and add to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. 
Mix until completely combined. 

Working with 1 tablespoon of the dough at a time, roll the cookies into a 1-inch ball.
Refrigerate for 1 hour until well chilled.

In a shallow bowl or pie pan, add the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder and mix thoroughly.  
Roll the balls in the mixture until well coated.

Store in a container with a tight fitting lid for 7 days.

Makes 50 small balls


Wednesday, November 16, 2022


Cornbread in the South is normally made without sugar. I added a small amount of sugar, but you can leave it out if you wish. The jalapeño pepper is also optional.

½ cups yellow cornmeal (I use Palmetto Farms)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t sea salt
4 to 5 T granulated sugar (optional)
3 large eggs, beaten
2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
8 T unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
Stir in the beaten eggs, buttermilk, and jalapeño peppers. 

Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, carefully remove skillet from oven and add the stick of butter.
Set aside to let melt.
When melted pour butter into the batter and mix well to combine.

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

To Make Cornbread Muffins:
Pour batter into a buttered muffin pan and bake 20 minutes.

Sunday, October 23, 2022


To make a Creole or Cajun gumbo, you first have to make a roux. I like to use my well seasoned cast-iron stew pot to make gumbo. I also like to use a little less oil to flour ratio than most gumbos call for. Let your roux come to the color of an old penny before adding the "trinity".

I also added my recipe for Cajun Seasoning. Cajun seasoning does not contain dried oregano and basil. Traditionally Cajun food does not contain tomatoes. This recipe is for the more city-style version.

1 lb medium shrimp, shelled, deveined, and set aside
4 T peanut oil or avocado oil, divided
13.5 oz smoked andouille sausage, cut in half lengthwise, and thinly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup all-purpose flour
4 (8-oz) bottles clam broth
2 T Creole Seasoning (recipe follows)
1 t smoked paprika
½ t cayenne pepper (optional)
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 (14.5-oz) can fire roasted tomatoes or whole peeled tomatoes
1 bottle Abita beer or other amber beer
2 bay leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped okra, fresh or frozen
1 T filé powder (dried and ground leaves of the North American sassafras tree)

1 bunch chopped scallions, for garnish 
Louisiana or Crystal hot sauce, for the table

Place shrimp in a bowl and refrigerate.

In a large cast-iron pot or Dutch oven, fitted with a lid, add 1 tablespoon of the oil and cook the sausage until light brown, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside.

Stir in the “holy trinity” of onion, bell pepper, and celery.
Cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Spoon into the bowl with the sausage.

To make the roux, add the other 3 tablespoons of oil and whisk the flour into the oil in the pot.
Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. 
Let the roux cook until it’s the color of peanut butter.
Lower heat to medium-low and let roux cook until it’s the color of an old copper penny, about 5 to 6 minutes more.

Add the clam broth, Creole Seasoning, paprika, cayenne, Worcestershire, tomatoes, beer, bay leaves, browned sausage, and "holy trinity".
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Partially cover with a lid and simmer 10 minutes.
Add okra and simmer another 5 minutes.
Add shrimp and simmer for 2 more minutes.
Turn off heat and stir in the filé powder, cover with a lid, and let sit for 5 minutes.

Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with scallions and serve with cooked white rice and French bread.

Serves 4

Creole Seasoning
3 T paprika
2 T sea salt
2 T ground black pepper
2 T garlic powder
2 T cayenne pepper
2 T onion powder
2 T dried thyme
1 T dried oregano
1 T dried basil

Pour above ingredients in a jar fitted with a lid. Shake well and store in a cool dark place for up to one year.

Thursday, October 6, 2022


My husband always likes fried chicken breasts. I like boneless and skinless fried chicken breasts. Now, this is his favorite. 

Chicken Marinade
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups buttermilk
1 t sea salt
½ t finely ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed 
2 t hot sauce

Cut each breast in half, lengthwise.  Lightly pound them to about ½-inch thickness.
Cut each breast in half, crosswise. You will now have 4 pieces per breast, total 12 pieces.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, salt, pepper, garlic, and hot sauce.
Add chicken to marinade, cover and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.

3 cups all-purpose flour
4 t baking powder
1 T cornstarch
2 T smoked paprika
1 t sea salt
1 t finely ground black pepper
1 t garlic powder
1 t celery salt
½ t cayenne pepper

64 ounces peanut oil or canola oil for frying.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cornstarch, paprika salt, pepper, garlic powder, celery salt, and cayenne.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Place a sheet pan with a baking rack in the oven.
Have another sheet pan or large platter next to the dredging and marinate bowls.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture.
Dip it back into the marinade and then dredge again in the flour mixture.
Place chicken on a baking sheet or large platter while oil is heating.

In a deep cast-iron fryer, or Dutch oven, heat about 4 inches of oil to 350 degrees F.
If you don’t have a thermometer, put the end of a wooden spoon in the oil and if it bubbles briskly around the spoon, your oil is hot enough.

Fry 3 pieces of chicken until golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes on each side.
Remove to a baking sheet lined with a rack and keep warm in the oven while frying the rest of the chicken.


Sunday, September 25, 2022


This recipe will ensure your clams will not feel like little erasers in your mouth.  Adding canned chopped and whole baby clams makes this recipe easy and less expensive.  My husband said it reminds him of the clam chowder at the Brotherhood in Nantucket.

You can leave out the bacon and use just a teaspoon of oil to cook the onion.

3 slices bacon, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 medium size russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
2 (6.5-oz) cans chopped clams
2 t sea salt
2 t finely ground black pepper
2 (10-oz) cans whole baby clams
2 cups half-&-half or whole milk
3 T unsalted butter
3 T instant mashed potato flakes
Paprika, for garnish

In a 2 qt saucepan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy.
Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in a small bowl; discard most of the grease.
In the same pot, slowly cook the chopped onion over low heat for about 5 to 6 minutes, stirring up the brown particles from the bottom of the pot.  
Transfer onions to a large bowl, with a cover and set aside.
In the same pot add the potatoes and cover with cold water to about 1-inch.
Slowly simmer for about 5 minutes.
Drain potatoes in a colander and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Add the cooled potatoes to the bowl with the onions.
Add the 2 cans of chopped clams, to the bowl, along with the clam broth, salt, and pepper.
Cover and refrigerate, to infuse the flavors, for 1 to 3 hours.
You can do this in the afternoon and finish it in the evening.

Pour the clam mixture back into the same pot along with the juice of the whole baby clams.  Reserving the whole clams.
Slowly simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.
Add the whole clams and half-&-half or milk.
Slowly simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Stir in the butter and instant mashed potato flakes.
Cover and let sit a couple of minutes.
Ladle into soup bowls or large mugs, add a few bacon bits, and serve with oyster crackers.

Serves 4 as a main course or 6 as a first course.

Sunday, July 31, 2022


My husband says these enchiladas are as good as the ones we had at our favorite Tex-Mex restaurant.
If your flour tortillas are too big to fit perfectly in your baking dish, fold them in half and cut them, in a circular pattern, to fit.

1 T avocado or your favorite oil
1 to 1½ lb top round steak
1 T Southwest or Mexican seasoning
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
1 cup beef broth or stock
1(10 oz) can red enchilada sauce
1 package of 8 flour tortillas

1½ cups sharp shredded cheese
1½ cups Mexican-style shredded cheese
2 scallions, finely sliced, for garnish
Cilantro, finely chopped, for garnish
Sour cream, for serving

Serve with:
Lime wedges, if desired
Black beans with a topping of pumpkin seeds, if desired

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Add oil to a large cast iron skillet.
Brown meat over medium heat on both sides.
Sprinkle with SW or Mex seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder.
Flip meat over and pour in the beef broth and can of enchilada sauce.

Cover with a lid and place in center of oven and bake for 3 hours.

Remove from oven and with tongs or a large spatula, transfer meat to a large plate.
When cool enough to handle, shred meat, discarding fat.

While meat is cooling, bring sauce in skillet to a simmer.  Let simmer for 10 minutes.

Pour shredded cheeses into a large bowl and mix to combine.

Raise oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

Add a couple of ladles of sauce to a baking dish.  
Add some of the shredded beef to the tortilla and top with some of the cheese.  
Roll up tightly and place in the baking dish, seem side down.
Continue to all have been place in baking dish.
Add a few ladles of the enchilada sauce from the skillet and top with the rest of the cheese.

Loosely cover with aluminum foil that has been sprayed with cooking oil.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove foil and bake another 15 to 20 minutes, until cheese is blubbling and slightly golden brown.
Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
Sprinkle with chopped scallions, cilantro and a dollop of sour cream.

Makes 6 to 8

Saturday, June 11, 2022


Country rolls or slider rolls with ham and cheese are a traditional brunch entree in the South. They are heated in the oven in a baking pan or dish covered with aluminum foil. Set up your sideboard with good silver, china, crystal, and flowers. Add some scrambled eggs, a fruit salad, Mimosas or Bloody Marys. This is southern hospitality at its best.

24 slider buns
Thinly sliced milder Country Virginia ham or honey ham
12 slices Swiss cheese, thinly sliced

Poppy Seed Sauce
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 T honey
2 T Dijon or spicy brown mustard
2 T finely minced onion
2 t Worcestershire sauce
2 t garlic powder
¼ cup poppy seeds 

In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, honey, mustard, onion, Worcestershire, garlic powder, and poppy seeds.
Set aside.

Open up the slider buns and spread tops and bottoms with some of the Poppy Seed Sauce.

Place the bottom halves in a large baking dish or casserole dish.

Divide the ham evenly between the bottoms.
Tear the Swiss cheese into a couple of pieces to fit onto each bottom.

Add the tops of the buns.
Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 20 minutes.
Serve hot or at room temperature.