Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Benne Wafers

Benne Wafers have been a Lowcountry favorite in the Charleston area for over a hundred years. These tiny cookies, or wafers, are each made by hand with the same care used in the plantation kitchens of the past. West African slaves introduced sesame seeds to America, and the Nigerian name for them, “benne,” stuck in the South Carolina Lowcountry. These wafers are made for classic Charleston recipes and can also be found in many candy shops and stands downtown in the Market.

  • ¾ cup butter
  • 1½ cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ cup sesame (benne) seeds, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder

Cream butter and sugar together and mix with other ingredients in the order given. 

Drop with a teaspoon about 1/2 a teaspoon onto a well-greased cookie pan, far enough apart to allow spreading while baking.

Bake in a 325°F oven for 7 – 10 minutes. 

These cookies will really spread out when baking so give them plenty of room. If they do happen to run together, use a small cookie cutter to cut out the cookie before it cools and hardens. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Southern New Year's Day Dinner

According to tradition, New Year's Day supper will bring you fortune in the year to come. Everyone will be eating some type of pork, collard green, black eyed peas or Hoppin' John, and cornbread. It's tradition, but how did it start? Well back in the days of that unfortunate war between the states, or civil war, Union troops swept through the south. The Union troops took livestock and crops to feed their troops. What the union troops left for southerners was peas and greens that they didn't consider good eats for people. Well they became staples to keep families from starving during those times. The New Year's tradition was born, a celebration dinner of those items that got folks through the difficult time. Forevermore to be regarded as a symbol of good luck.

The greens eaten represent wealth as they are flat and green like paper money. Typical greens served by southerners on New Years can be collard greens, cabbage, mustard greens, or turnip greens. Which ever you choose they are cooked slow and seasoned with ham hock.

Pork represents the hope of prosperity and bountiful harvest during the upcoming year. Typically a baked ham is served but some prefer pork chops, hog jowl, or pork roast.

Cornbread doesn't represent anything, it just goes well with this dinner. If you're not a cornbread fan, a batch of Southern Buttermilk Biscuits will do fine.

Of course we have to have some deviled eggs too! Those are served at every holiday meal!

“Southern food is all about the soul and history behind the food, which was developed quite simply, with what was readily available. Corn became grits and cornbread, greens grew plentifully such as cabbage and collards, and pigs were easy to raise and could be prepared a number of ways from pit roasted, to shredded, and even salted and smoked as hams (curing meat was a way to preserve it). Chickens were usually scratching in someone’s back yard and could easily be fried or stewed for chicken and dumplings. Southern food is comfort food, it wraps itself around you, and brings back memories of sitting on a front porch shelling peas with your grandmother, looking forward to whatever pot of goodness she was going to prepare.” ~ Mary Marshall

Read more here: http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/living/food-drink/article126154999.html#storylink=cpy

Southern Style Collard Greens

  • 1 large Ham Hock or Country Ham Cooking Pieces. You can also use a smoked turkey leg if you have one frozen from your Christmas dinner.
  • 1 large bunch of Collard Greens
  • 1 tbs Salt
  • 1 tsp cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Bacon Grease
  • 3 tbs Butter
  • 1 pinch of Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
  • 8 cups of chicken stock
  • 4 cups of water

Wash collards, remove leaves and chop. 

In a large pot heat the bacon grease and butter until melted.

Add the ham hock or seasoning meat of your choice.

Add  collards, chicken stock and water. Add the seasonings. Cook for 2 hours or until desired tenderness. 

See it at:
Weekend Potluck
Meal Plan Monday
Full Plate Thursday

Black Eyed Peas

Black Eyed Peas do not require soaking overnight like some dried beans. A southern favorite and you're sure to find these on the dinner table on New Year's Day! It's a southern tradition!

  • 1 lb Dried Black Eye Peas
  • 1 Ham Hock or Country Ham Cooking Pieces
  • 1 tsp Bacon Grease
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper (optional)
  • 1 small Onion , diced (optional)
  • Chicken Stock
In a large pot add the bacon grease and ham hock, warm over medium heat until the pork pieces begin to sizzle.

Add the peas and cover 1" above with chicken stock. You can also combine chicken stock and water to get the desired amount of liquid.

Add seasonings. Bring pot to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium low and cover to simmer until peas are tender - 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Don't cover completely to allow steam to escape.

See it at:
Weekend Potluck
Full Plate Thursday

Friday, December 26, 2014

Baking Tips

ALWAYS SIFT FLOUR ~If you don't have a sifter, you could even beat the flour with a fork or whisk.

WARM EGGS~Warmer eggs are easier to blend than colder ones, and this makes a difference when baking. Simply take out the eggs in advance to allow them to come to room temperature.

SOFTEN BUTTER ~Softened butter creams much more easily

RESIST THE URGE TO PEEK ~ When something is baking, just don't do it. Every time you open the oven, you let out some of the heat and reduce the temperature, which affects the baking and baking time.

FOLLOW THE MEASUREMENTS ~Baking is a science, so there isn't a lot of room for alterations without changing the final result. When following a recipe, it is best to follow it completely at least once before trying different variations.

SET A TIMER ~ This helps with resisting the urge to peek and keeps you from forgetting about the cake you just spent 30 minutes preparing. 

Find these tips and more at www.oola.com~cooking-tips

Southern Cornbread Dressing

Southern Cornbread Dressing is a comforting, classic dish for holidays or that special family dinner anytime of the year. This is the favorite dish for some of my family members during the holidays and a must have! 

I begin by preparing my cornbread the day before and storing until ready to use. 


I make up the dressing recipe the day before needed and store in the refrigerator. The day of I take it out give it a stir and pour into a baking dish to bake. It is a time saver. 

Let's make the dressing.

Start by cubing and toasting 8 slices of white bread. Add to a large mixing bowl and crumble in 1 sleeve of butter crackers (optional). 

Next cube up the cornbread you've made previously and add to the bowl. 

Dice celery and onion and add to a skillet with 1 stick of butter and cook until the vegetables are soft and translucent. 

Add the celery and onion and all that melted butter over the bread mixture in the bowl

Add half of the chicken stock and stir to combine. This will begin to break down the bread cubes. 

Add the cubed boiled eggs, and the beaten eggs. Stir to combine well adding the remaining chicken broth.

Add seasonings and continue to stir until everything is combined. 

This is what the batter will look like, very moist and it already smells so good. 

When ready to bake pour the batter into a baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and bake. This is how the dressing will look when it is done. 

  • 8 Slices White Bread - Cubed and Toasted lightly
  • 1 Sleeve Butter Crackers - crumbled (optional)
  • 1 Cake of Cornbread (recipe follows)
  • 2 Cups of Chopped Celery
  • 1 Large Onion - Chopped
  • 2 Boiled Eggs - Diced
  • 1 Stick of Butter
  • 7-8 Cups of Chicken Stock (NOT Broth)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Sage
  • 1 tbs poultry seasoning
  • 6 Eggs Beaten Lightly
Bake 350 degrees 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on desired firmness. Some people like a moist loose dressing and others prefer it baked a bit firmer.

Cornbread Recipe:
  • 2 Cups of Self-Rising Cornmeal (I prefer stone ground, white cornmeal)
  • 1 Cup of Plain Flour
  • 2 Eggs Beaten Lightly
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 Cup Buttermilk
Combine all ingredients well, pour batter into an oven heated cast iron skillet or baking pan and Bake cornbread at 400 degrees until browned ~ 20-25 minutes

Make ahead tips:
~ Make cornbread for your dressing the day before, wrap until ready to use
~ Make the dressing recipe the day before and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake

Gobble till you wobble Y'all! Happy Holidays!

Shortcut Version

1 Cake of Cornbread
1 pkg Savory Herb Stove Top Stuffing
2 Cups of Chopped Celery
1 Large Onion - Chopped
1 Stick of Butter
4 Cups of  Turkey or Chicken Stock (NOT Broth)
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Sage
1 tbs Poultry Seasoning
5 Eggs Beaten Lightly

Dice celery and onion and add to a skillet with 1 stick of butter and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are soft and translucent.
Add to a mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well to combine. Pour into a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour until desired firmness.

See it at:
Weekend Potluck
Meal Plan Monday
Full Plate Thursday

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Eggnog Recipe


3 Eggs
1/2 c Sugar
1/2 Pint Heavy Cream
1/2 Pint Milk (whole milk)
1/4 c Bourbon
1/4 tsp Vanilla
1 c Whipped Cream, plus more for topping
Nutmeg for Garnish

Whisk together eggs and sugar until foamy. Slowly stir in bourbon and vanilla. Add milk and heavy cream, fold in whipped cream. Makes 4 servings.

Not-Cho Grits Dip

Recipe Courtesy of House Autry Grits

Not-Cho Grits Dip


1 cup House-Autry Stone Ground Grits
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons dry taco seasoning mix
1 can refried beans (16 ounce)
1/2 cup bottled taco sauce
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 1/2 cups sour cream cheese
Tortilla chips 


Bring salted water to boil in medium saucepan. Slowly stir in grits.
Cover; reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally until liquid is absorbed according to grits
 package directions. Stir in butter and taco seasoning. In small bowl, combine refried beans
 and taco sauce. Layer in 2 quart casserole grits, bean mixture, cheese, and
bake 350°F for 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven and top with sour cream.
Serve with tortilla chips.

***Optional: Top with salsa, avocado, jalapenos, and/or fresh tomato.

Recipe submitted by Gayle Braley, Second Place Winner in House-Autry's
Kiss My Grits Recipe Contest.
- See more at: House Autry Recipes

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas Sandwich Cremes Recipe

Recipe Courtesy of Taste of Home

I made these for the first time last year. Everything they say about them is true ~ They melt in your mouth and are so good. They will make an impression on anyone who tries them. This is such a delicate dough to work with so roll our in small batches, keeping the rest of the dough chilled until ready to use. I hope you'll all give these a try. ~ Julia

The Recipe


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Food coloring
  • Directions

    • 1. In a small bowl, combine the butter, cream and flour. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours 
    • or until dough is easy to handle.
    • 2. Divide into thirds; let one portion stand at room temperature for 15 minutes
    •  (keep remaining dough refrigerated until ready to roll out). 
    • Preheat oven to 375°. On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-in. thickness. 
    • Cut with a 1-1/2-in. round cookie cutter. Place cutouts in a shallow dish filled with sugar;
    •  turn to coat. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Prick with a fork several times. 
    • Bake 7-9 minutes or until set. Cool on wire racks.
    • 3. For filling, in a small bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. 
    • Tint with food coloring. Spread about 1 teaspoon filling over half of the cookies; 
    • top with remaining cookies. Yield: 4 dozen.

    Read more: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/christmas-sandwich-cremes/print#ixzz3LPtd4ODJ

Raspberry Brie with Caramelized Pecans

Recipe Courtesy of Land O Lakes Butter

Sugary pecans top this sweet and savory warm brie. An easy and elegant recipe for holiday entertaining!
20 min.prep time 20 min.total time
6 servings

1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon sugar
1 (8-ounce) round brie*
1/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves
1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeño pepper
 Sliced French baguette or crackers
Melt butter in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Stir in pecans and sugar. Continue cooking, stirring often, until sugar is melted and nuts are caramelized. Immediately spread nuts onto aluminum foil. Cool 10 minutes.

Carefully slice top off brie with serrated knife. Discard top. Place brie onto serving plate. Microwave 30-45 seconds or until brie just starts to melt.

Combine preserves and jalapeño in bowl. Top warm brie with preserves mixture. Sprinkle with nuts. Serve immediately.

*Substitute 8 ounce wedge brie.

Calories: 220
Fat: 14g
Cholesterol: 40mg
Sodium: 240mg
Carbohydrates: 14g
Dietary Fiber: 0g
Protein: 8g

Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas Collard Dip

Christmas Collard Dip
South Carolina Department of Agriculture

1 lb. SC Grown chopped collards
1 pkg. Knorr Vegetable Soup
Dip & Recipe Mix
16 oz. sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
3 green onions
1 red pepper, diced
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

Finely chop collards and cook in a small amount
of water for 10 minutes. Strain and pat dry 2-3 cups
of the cooked collards. In a medium bowl,
combine the collards with the remaining
ingredients. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.
Serve with corn scoops or crackers.
Healthy Tip: Use remaining
collards and broth as an add-in for
soups, rice, quiche, meatloaf, etc.

Saluda County Peach Gazpacho

Saluda County Peach Gazpacho
by South Carolina Peach Council


2 cups Certified SC grown peaches (about 1.5 lbs) peeled and diced
1 large red tomato, diced
1 medium yellow tomato, diced
1 seedless cucumber, unpeeled, diced
½ cup green bell pepper, diced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced jalapeno
4 cups V-8 juice (32-ounces)
1 teaspoon toasted black and white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Place ingredients in order listed in large mixing bowl. Stir to blend
ingredients, cover and place refrigerator for at least one hour before
serving. Serve in chilled soup bowls.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate~
recipe courtesy of Southern Lady Magazine

  1. 6 cups whole milk
  2. 1 (11 .75-ounce) jar hot-fudge topping
  3. 1⁄ 2 cup sweetened ground chocolate*
  4. 1⁄ 2 cup creamy peanut butter
  5. 1⁄ 4 cup sugar
  6. Garnish: whipped cream, chopped chocolate-covered peanut butter cups, sweetened ground chocolate
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring milk to a simmer over medium heat; do not boil. Whisk in hot-fudge topping, ground chocolate, peanut butter, and sugar, whisking until smooth. Garnish with whipped cream, peanut butter cups, and sweetened ground chocolate, if desired.
  1. *For testing purposes, we used Ghirardelli sweetened ground chocolate.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Carolina Shrimp and Grits Cornbread

Every Southern kitchen needs a Cast Iron Skillet. Try this recipe for Shrimp & Grits Cornbread from Lodge Cast Iron

Carolina Shrimp and Grits Cornbread

Friday, November 14, 2014

Orange Rosemary Biscuits

Orange Rosemary Biscuits
Recipe Courtesy ~ Duke's Mayonnaise 

Orange and rosemary make an elegant holiday flavor combination. This recipe is as simple as classic dinner rolls, but way more interesting.


½ cup Duke's Mayonnaise
1 cup milk
Zest of 1 orange
2 Tbsp. orange juice
2 tsp. Sauer's Rosemary
2 cups self rising flour

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Combine the Duke's, milk, orange zest, orange juice, and rosemary. Add the flour and stir until combined. Divide the dough into 12 biscuits and place on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart or in a muffin tin. Bake 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.                   

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pan Fried Pork Chops

Pan Fried Pork Chops. In the summer months I do grill quite a bit more, so us southerners don't fry everything all of the time. Let's face it though - Fried Food is Southern and it is good. Fried Pork Chops are delicious. Let me tell y'all how I do it.

  • 4-6 Bone In or Boneless Pork Chops 
  • 2 c all purpose Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 c Buttermilk
  • 2 tsp Water
  • Vegetable Oil for frying

In one bowl combine flour, salt, pepper, paprika, and onion powder.

In another bowl beat the egg, water and buttermilk together. The water just helps ensure the wet mixture is not too thick.

In a skillet heat enough oil for frying over medium heat.

Take each pork chop and dredge in the flour mixture, then dip in the wet mixture, then back to the flour mixture. 

Add the pork chops to the heated oil and until golden brown on each side. Cooking time may vary according to the thickness of the pork chops.

Remove from oil and allow to drain on a paper towel covered plate to remove the excess oil. 

See it at Meal Plan Monday

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