Julia's Simply Southern: February 2016 >

Monday, February 29, 2016

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Hamburger Steaks with Caramelized Onions

I think half of great food is the quality of ingredients and the other half the cooking. Hamburger steaks may seem rather simple. When you have farm fresh, grass fed beef, the flavor is incredible. I have been a big fan of grass fed beef for a long time.

1 lbs Ground Beef, I used farm fresh grass fed beef

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Skillet Squash with Onions

Yellow squash or summer squash as it is often called was the first vegetable I grew from seeds as a child. I was just thrilled to plant the seeds and watch the squash plant grow, finally giving us this delicious yellow vegetable. 

We do enjoy our yellow squash in the south a variety of ways. They can be sauteed as I've done in this recipe, fried, grilled, or made into a casserole.

A squash casserole is another memory I have from my childhood. I recall spending the night with one of my grandmothers and we created a simple squash casserole. If I remember correctly it has squash, onions, cracker crumbs, salt, pepper, egg, and some milk. Very basic but it was delicious and I remember being so happy to be able to help create it. The love for cooking came early for me. 

This sauteed squash and onions is a favorite. So easy to do. Delicious and healthy.

  • Yellow Squash, sliced and depending on how many you are serving - 1 large, or 3 - 4 small to medium
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Yellow or Vidalia Onion, sliced
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once the skillet is heated, drizzle in a little olive oil, about 2 tsp.

Add your sliced yellow squash and sliced onions to the skillet. Season with a couple of pinches of salt and a pinch of black pepper.

You can cover with a lid while cooking, stirring occasionally. Cook until the squash begins to become translucent, 15-20 minutes. Don't overcook or everything just becomes mushy. 

Serve hot. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Baked Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a mild flavor squash and when cooked the flesh resembles noodles. Spaghetti squash can be cooked many ways, I chose to bake it. It is so easy to bake.

I know you're wondering and no it doesn't taste like a spaghetti noodle. The texture is similar to a noodle, the squash flavor is very mild. I think you do need to season it as you prefer to add some flavor. Healthy and delicious. I can be served a variety of ways.

1 Spaghetti Squash
Olive Oil
1 tsp Parsley Flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cut the squash lengthwise in half. You'll need a good kitchen knife for this. The shell is a little tough. Scoop out the seeds leaving the flesh in the shell.

Drizzle the squash flesh with a little olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Place the squash halves flesh (open side) down on a baking sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven for one hour.

With the tines of a fork, scrape the flesh away from the shell. You'll notice it is very easy and how the squash ribbons into "noodles".

If you're serving the spaghetti squash on the plain side, drizzle with a little olive oil and salt and pepper and mix together. Add parsley flakes if you like.

I do serve this like I would spaghetti too with marinara sauce as pictured below too.

Try it with pesto or add some fresh grated cheese. It's a great vegetable side dish or can be the main course of a meal.

Brookland Plantation , South Carolina

Brookland Plantation is located on Edisto Island in South Carolina. The plantation is currently privately owned by Thomas Ravenel.

The plantation was founded in the late 18th century. It is believe the house was built in 1803. The core section of the house were built and the two wing sections added later. The house is of the Greek Revival style. 

During it's farming days, Brookland was an Indigo plantation. 

Today Brookland Plantation sits on 60 acres. The home served as a home for boys during the 1960's when the plantation was owned by a missionary couple. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Deviled Quail Egg Appetizers

Quail eggs are delicious and very nutritious. Although they are small in size, their nutritional value is three to four times that of chicken eggs.

Point is they are great! You can make quail egg appetizers easily and it doesn't take a lot of time. Plus they are just cute as can be.

12 Quail Eggs
3-4 tsp Mayonnaise
1/2 - 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
Dash of Salt
Dash of Black Pepper
Fresh Dill
Paprika for Garnish
Caviar (optional)

Fill a medium saucepan with enough water that will cover the eggs once you add them, about 2 cups. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat. When the water is boiling,  using a slotted spoon lower the quail eggs in. 

Set your timer, and boil for 4-5 minutes. That's it! They are itty bitty and it doesn't take long.

When the cooking time is up remove from heat and cool eggs down right away by adding cold water until the eggs are chilled.

To peel the eggs, on a cutting board, give the eggs a crack around like you would chicken eggs. Then place the egg under your palm and gently roll it back and forth. You will feel the shell breaking up. Peel the eggs. After you get it started the rest comes right off no problem at all. I sat a grape tomato beside one of the boiled quail eggs so you have an idea of size if you've never seen a quail egg. 

Cut eggs in half and remove the yolk. Add yolks to a small bowl and set aside whites for filling later.

To the yolks add the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper and mash together with the tines of a fork until everything is mixed well. You want a creamy consistency. 

Add the yolk mixture to a zip lock bag and snip off a small corner piece. This makes filling the eggs easier and the method I prefer to do it. If you're more comfortable using a table knife that's okay too. 

Garnish with paprika (add a small amount of paprika to your palm and use your fingers to add a pinch to each egg). Add a small sprig of fresh dill.

If you're using caviar on some or all of your deviled quail eggs, add caviar to a mesh strainer and give a rinse with cold water. using a small spoon add a little caviar to your deviled quail eggs. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Southern Fried Quail

Quail have been a popular game bird in the south for generations. Hunters would hunt the bird to help feed their families. While quail hunting is still a popular hunting sport, you can also buy farm raised quail.

I personally don't think quail has much of a game taste. I enjoy quail meat as well as quail eggs.

The quail you buy in the store will often come four to a package. The birds are cut so that each whole bird lay open. This makes it easier for grilling and cooking. You can order farm raised quail from local farmers or find it in the local farmer's markets.

To fry quail I like to cut the bird into four pieces. Let your quail fully defrost. Cut the two leg/thigh pieces off. Next cut on either side to remove the spine and your left with the two breast/wing pieces. Quail are small so you'll probably want to plan one bird per person.

4 Quail, defrosted and cut into four pieces (two leg/thigh and two breast/wing)
2 c Flour, all purpose
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Onion Powder
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper (optional)
1/2 c Buttermilk
1 Egg
2 tbs Water
Cooking oil for frying

In a medium bowl combine flour and seasonings together.

In a separate bowl beat one egg, mix together with buttermilk and water. The water just helps to lessen the thickness of the buttermilk and egg.

Dredge each quail piece in the flour mixture, then coat in buttermilk mixture , then dredge once more in the flour mixture. Set the dredged quail pieces aside and allow to come to room temperature, about 25 minutes.

In a medium skillet add vegetable oil for frying. I added about 1/2" of oil to my cast iron skillet. Heat the oil over medium heat until oil is hot for frying. You can test oil by adding a pinch of flour. If it sizzles the oil is ready.

Add quail pieces in batches, it took me two batches with four quail. Fry on each side about four minutes until golden brown.

Remove cooked pieces and set on a paper towel lined pan or plate to allow excess oil to drain.

Southern Boiled Peanuts

The Boiled Peanut , beloved snack food of the south. If you've never had boiled peanuts, and chances are if you live in other parts of the country you haven't, don't go turning your nose up at it until you've tried it.

I can tell you that I don't mind letting someone else do the work and picking up a hot batch of these at the farmer's market or on the way to the beach. It is easy enough to do it at home yourself though. It's just going to take a little time. Basically it's raw (or green) peanuts, salt and water. If you want it spiced up you can do the Cajun version. Both are winners in my book.

I wasn't kidding when I say we love boiled peanuts in the south. It doesn't matter what social circles you run in, everybody down south eats them. Some people will pop the entire thing in their mouth and chew on it, shell and all. I prefer to press it open and eat the soft, salty peanuts inside.

2 lbs Raw (or green) Peanuts
1 to 1 1/2 c Salt

OK, we have all our ingredients now what? First you need to give those raw peanuts a rinse until the water runs clear. They do come out of the ground after all so they might have a little dirt residue left.

Let them soak in water for 24 hours! In a large pot add your clean peanuts, cover with water. Make sure they are submerged. You can add a plate, or strainer and weigh it down with some beans in a zip lock back if it's not heavy enough to hold them down.

Time to cook the boiled peanuts. Discard the water the peanuts soaked in and add enough fresh water to cover the peanuts. Add salt to the water and give it a stir.

On high heat bring the peanuts to a boil. Once they reach the boiling point, turn the heat down to medium low and let them low boil for 4-5 hours. You can test the peanuts by pulling one out and opening it up and giving it a taste. It should be soft with a salty flavor.

If you want to do a spicier Cajun version, follow all steps above and add 1/2 c of Cajun Seasoning, 1 tbs Cayenne Pepper, and 3 tbs Liquid Crab Boil to the pot when boiling.

You can serve boiled peanuts warm or cold. Keep leftovers moist in a large Ziploc bag or lid covered bowl stored in the fridge up to two weeks. It's likely they will all be eaten within days.

Click Here to see it at the Weekend Potluck

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Apple Dumplings

I don't know why these are called apple dumplings. They should be called your very own little apple pie! I kept seeing versions of this online and thought to myself "I need these, I really do". So with a visual and the idea that it's a baked apple in a pastry, I decided to see what I could come up with. It had to be simple of course. After all, I'm trying to deliver simple and easy to follow recipes. I don't think you'll be disappointed with this one.

As far as I can tell apple dumplings originated in Pennsylvania. A typical breakfast food. Well if you dress it up a little and serve it with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream it's a dessert. A pretty dessert that I would gladly serve to guests in my home. If you really wanted to dress it up, you could even drizzle a little caramel sauce over it. Just saying.

Let me tell you how easy it is to make so you can have some right away.


  • 2 Apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly. Small to medium size work best. I used Honey Crisp apples
  • 1 package Refrigerated Pie Crust, contains two crusts. If you have more apples you want to use add another package of pie crust. One pie crust for each apple. 
  • 2 tbs Sugar
  • 2 tbs Cinnamon
  • Pinch Nutmeg
  • 1 tbs Butter, cut in half
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1 tbs Water
In a small bowl, add sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix together.

Peel, core, and thinly slice your apples. I used my spiralizer attachment with my Kitchen Aid mixer, so this step took 2 minutes. 

Coat apple pieces in cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg mixture.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Unroll 1 pie crust at a time. cut off round edges to make a square. Stack apple slices in center of pie shell. 

Add a half tablespoon of butter into the center of the apples and fold up your pie shell around the apple. Pinch together edges on top to secure. I added some decorative leaves to the top. They are very easy to do.

I used a leaf shape cookie cutter to cut the leaves out of the edge pieces of pie crust I cut away. With a knife score a line down the center and a few on each side, like a leaf. If you don't have leaf cookie cutters, you can cut them freehand with a knife.

Place apple dumplings into a small baking dish. 

In a small ramekin, beat one egg and add 1 tablespoon of water and mix together. With a pastry brush, brush all the surface areas of the apple dumplings.

Tip: If you're doing the decorative leaves, first brush crust with egg wash then add the decorative leaves and brush top of leaves too. 

Place in preheated 325 degree oven and bake for 1 hour.

Let rest 15 minutes before serving. It is so good with a scoop of ice cream. I'm speaking from personal experience of course. 

Featured at Full Plate Thursday

National Cabbage Day - February 17th

Happy National Cabbage Day! Celebrate the day with your favorite cabbage dish. 

Cabbage has been around for thousands of years. It's low calorie and fiber rich. 

What would a summer barbecue be like without cool, crispy coleslaw? I can't even fathom such a thought. So here's to you cabbage! #NationalCabbageDay

Cabbage Recipes:

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Potatoes Au Gratin with Buttery Crumb Topping

Cheesy baked potatoes, Potatoes Au Gratin. Rich, creamy goodness with a buttery crumb topping. It's easy to make too!

This recipe is for a small casserole size. I'm giving two variations to the recipe and both are equally good. One I consider simple, the other a tad bit more work but not too much.


  • 3-4 Russet Potatoes, medium, thinly sliced
  • 1 can Campbell's Cheddar Cheese Soup
  • 1 c Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 c Milk
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 small Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 c shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 sleeve Butter Crackers, such as Ritz
  • 1/4 c fresh grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 tbs Butter
In a sauce pan add cheddar cheese soup with heavy cream and milk. Over medium heat whisk together until smooth and creamy. It doesn't have to be completely heated through. It will get bubbly hot in the oven.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Toss potato slices with salt, onion powder, garlic powder and cracked black pepper.

Use one tablespoon of butter to grease a small casserole dish.

Layer ingredients in casserole - potatoes and onions, cheese cream sauce, shredded cheese until you reach the top of the dish. Leave a quarter inch of room to the top. Cheese will bubble up and this will help prevent a big mess in the oven. I still set the casserole on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet just to be safe.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

In a bowl, crush butter crackers and add Parmesan. Mix together and reserve for topping. You may not need to use all of the topping. 

Remove foil and you are going to bake an additional 40 minutes (that will be one hour total). The last 15 minutes of cooking add butter cracker / Parmesan topping.

Remove from oven and let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Alternative Basic Cheese Roux:
  • 3 tbs Butter
  • 3 tbs Flour, all purpose
  • 1 c Heavy Cream
  • 1 c Milk
  • 1 1/2 c shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

In a saucepan melt butter over medium heat.

Add flour, salt, and pepper.

Whisk together and cook two minutes.

Add milk and whisk, cooking until thickened.

Stir in cheese and whisk until melted and creamy.

Remove from heat.

Click Here to see it at the Weekend Potluck

Fine Dining Steak Dinner at Home

You can make a steak dinner at home that will rival any fine dining restaurant you've visited. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a nice dinner out too. This is just a great way to serve a delicious meal for family and friends. Budget friendly too. Make them your honored guests. They'll appreciate the gesture.

There is a wonderful butcher close to where I live and they have the most beautiful high quality meat products at the Peach Stand. The meats are superior and cut fresh daily. You are going to want a high quality steak for this dinner. If you don't have a fresh butcher go to a grocer with a high end meat selection.

The steak I chose was a 2" sirloin. The piece of meat costs around twenty dollars but it's too big for one person to eat. I cut it into portions and can feed three to four people. That averages to around five dollars a person. Not a bad deal at all when keeping in mind how much such a meal would cost in a fine restaurant.

It's so easy to make too!

1 large 2" Sirloin Steak, cut into portions
1 tbs Vegetable Oil
2 tbs Kosher Salt
2 tbs Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

First thing, and this is a good rule for cooking all meat, set the steak out and let it come to room temperature.

Add kosher salt to a small bowl or ramekin. Add fresh cracked black pepper to a small bowl or ramekin. I do this because you'll be handling meat and it makes the process easier.

Brush each side of your steak pieces with vegetable oil.

Season each piece on all sides with the kosher salt and pepper.

Prepare your grill and heat on high.

Place steaks on the grill. For a piece this thick cook 3-4 minutes. Turn and let cook 3-4 minutes on the other side. Turn again on an angle, to get those lovely grill marks, for 2-3 minutes. Again for the other side. This is for medium to medium well. Adjust cooking times if you enjoy your steak more rare, or well done. 

Remove steaks from grill. Add a slice of butter, REAL butter, to the top of each piece of steak. Cover the plate with foil and let meat rest for 5 minutes. 

Ready to serve. You will not be disappointed.

Serve with a Baked Potato and side of Grilled Asparagus . 

Grilled Asparagus

Grilled asparagus is a perfect vegetable side for dinner.
  • 1 Bunch of quality Asparagus
  • Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Cracked Black Pepper
  • Onion Powder
  • Dried Thyme

Cut the bottom stems off the asparagus. Coat in olive oil and season. Grill over medium heat on the grill (indirectly from flame) for 3-4 minutes per side. So easy, so delicious. 

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