Merry Christmas from Tennessee!
Here’s a little South for your mouth! And some love from my kitchen to yours!
These are some recipes I have previously posted but one’s that seem highly appropriate for the holiday season. The 1st one is for Sweet potato biscuits, which are VERY good with county ham and hot pepper jelly.
Biscuit making is one of those things that can be difficult for the poor folks who have never had the experience of growing up watching my Granny make them every day of the world. She could have make biscuits with her eyes closed, just by the way the dough felt. I loved to watch her tanned, farm-rough hands patting and rolling the white soft dough. She used a pet milk can that had the banding at the end cut off even, so it was sharp and cut the biscuits cleanly. It is the one thing I wish I still had of hers, she touched it everyday and I think my biscuits would be better if I could use it. The most important thing to remember is not to handle the dough too much. This recipe for Sweet Potato Biscuits is fairly simple if you remember that. One of the first times I made these was for Ashley’s last Writers Meeting before she took off to L.A. California to seek her new life! I made them small more bite sized, Charlotte was here staying with me from Portland and Melinda had gotten here early for the party, as I am pulling out the pans of SP biscuits and setting them on the table Charlotte and Melinda are grabbing handfuls of them and slapping butter on them, I thought to help me out, BUT NO…. they are stuffing their greedy little mouths with them, what clued me in was the obvious and loud MOANING noises coming from their direction. They were eating 2 for every 3 they buttered. Such great little helpers! Since I made a double batch of dough it was no problem, and we had plenty, so here’s the recipe, I would double it if I were you, unless there’s only 1 of you. As long as you put any leftovers in a sealed container and refrigerate them they do warm over quiet nicely, but you can’t keep the dough so cook them all! I have made these in a 1 1/2″ and a 3″ size and they are great both ways, the small ones cook really quickly. The only thing difficult about this is you have to bake off the sweet potatoes ahead of time, bake about 3 to 4 of them at 350 for about an hour or until them are mushy and running their brown sweetness out the cracks in the skin.
Preheat a 425 degree oven and put your rack in the center of the oven.
We are going to mix all the wet ingredients in one bowl and all the dry in another
1 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 cups of mashed sweet potato
3 tablespoons of half and half, maybe 4
1/2 stick of salted butter softened
Put the wet into the dry, gently mix the dry and wet together, if its too dry add the extra tablespoon of half and half, put it out on a floured surface, sprinkle top with more flour, kneed it 3 times ONLY, this is a very wet and tender dough, it needs to be, barely roll it out to about an inch thick and cut your biscuits. Place them about 2 inches apart on baking sheet and bake them off until the are lightly brown. Eat them up with butter, and country ham and pepper jelly. Below is where I buy my shaved country ham they have the best country ham ANYWHERE, and they can ship it to you. My son’s best friend Adam was teaching children how to speak English in OMAN for a few years and I got some of this county ham for him when he was home one time for a visit, which he SMUGGLED into that country in his suitcase. He didn’t get caught and said it was so worth it! I can’t imagine living anywhere ham is not readily available. If you are ever in Murfreesboro, Tn. go by and see this cute little store or go see their website, http://www.thehamery.com, As for the pepper jelly, a lady makes it locally here and also sells it from her website, http://www.marcyjams.com, the Firecracker Pepper is my favorite, but if you love a lotta heat, go for the Strawberry Habanero, it’ll set you afire. You gotta love a woman who is spreading southern goodness throughout the world.
The next recipe is near and dear to my heart, it is my Minner’ Cheese that can cure what ails you. If you have a cold it will clear out everything in a stuffy head, and cure a cough. I have made one modification which I will call a stroke of genius if I do say so myself.
Candies Minner cheese, and it goes like this,
1 8oz block of extra sharp white cheddar cheese, I like Cabot (don’t even think about the shredded kind it don’t bond together right) and then shred it.
1 7oz jar of diced pimientos (I like the Lindsay brand) drain them well!! like while you are shredding all that cheese.
2 tablespoons grated onions(use a small grater for this)
1 teaspoon grated fresh jalapeno (leave the seeds in it and grate away if you like it hot) but believe me when I tell you, it gets hotter the next day,
and then add 1 tablespoon of grated fresh red chili pepper (this is the modification) a dash of ground red pepper and a dash of crushed red pepper (yes I know it sounds like the same thing but hits your tongue at different places)
Mix all that up real good
Then all you do is add about 2 tablespoons of DUKES REAL MAYONAISE
and mix all that in, you don’t want it too runny, it’ll slide off your sandwich, so go easy at first with the Mayo but if it seemed a little dry just add about 1/2 teaspoon of DUKES at a time until its right. It really doesn’t take very much mayo which is why you do that last, the grated onion is juicy and the pimentos are too.
AND YES use DUKES, its the best mayo ever, just take my word for it.
Now the important part
Get 2 big ole slices of white bread,
I like Merita (NO, whole wheat does not taste right) the bread needs to be innocuous the plainer the better.
Slather some minner’ cheese on it , make yourself a cup of hot tea or iced tea if its summer and ENJOY!!!
And lastly my favorite recipe for cornbread. For an event in my furniture business, Thelma and Nate, I put the cornmeal batter in mini muffin cups and served that with a wad of Minner’ Cheese on top. GREAT southern appetizer! Or with a big old pot of turnip greens and a pot of black eyed peas. I might need to make some now!
I am going to give you the recipe, it is good with soup, with black eyed peas, with any meal or by itself at 3:00 a.m. when you need a little something to tide you over until breakfast. YOU MUST DO IT EXACTLY AS I HAVE WRITTEN AND YOU WILL BE WILD OVER THIS CORNBREAD! I am going to even give you the brands I use because that’s important as well. If you don’t have access to these then please use the best quality you can find it only has 4 ingredients so it matters. Or come on down to the south and I’ll fix you some and send you home with some supplies.
Preheat Oven to 420 degrees (I know it sound’s hot, but this is a quick bread, they need hot and you want a crispy crust)
put 1 stick of salted butter(use real butter) in a 9″square or round pan, like a good heavy cake pan, if you have a 9″cast iron skillet you are gonna have an extra degree of wonderful, put it in that warming up oven to melt the butter. But keep an eye on it.
crack 2 large eggs (need I say fresh) in a med size ceremic bowl, I use Egglands Best eggs because they are the freshest I can find, as I no longer have a coop of my own, beat them up slightly with a fork.
Keep you eyes on the melting butter, you want it to brown slightly and sizzle but not burn!
Add 1 2/3 cups of fresh WHOLE buttermilk to the bowl (Purity Milk in the yellow carton is what I use) don’t use the 2% buttermilk its not as good. Beat that in good, I use a long tine fork.
Add 1 3/4 cup of White Lily Self Rising Buttermilk Cornbread Mix (flour is included in the mix so its lighter) it has GREEN writing on the front (they sell White Lily everywhere now so you should be able to find it, go ahead and get the 5 lb bag you’re gonna want to do this again) Mix that well until its smooth and thick about like pancake batter, if its too thick add more buttermilk. If it’s too thin add more cornmeal.
Check the butter, it should be browning and sizzling, if it burns throw it out and clean the pan and start again, burnt is gonna ruin the whole pan of cornbread. (yes I have burned the butter!) Once it has melted and browned carefully take it out of the oven, swirl it around the pan to coat the sides good and pour in into the bowl of batter, this is why you use a ceramic bowl, and it WILL sizzle when it hits, stir the butter into the batter good and pour the whole thing back in your pan.
Stick it back in that hot oven and it will rise and turn golden brown on top. As for how long you cook it, well… until it’s done. Generally about 15 to 20 minutes, but stoves vary so keep an eye out. Some folks (Nick) likes to turn his out onto a plate so the crust stays crisp, but let it cool a few minutes before you do that, this is really moist cornbread and you don’t want it to fall apart on you
Cut you a big old hunk, slap some butter on it, get a tall glass of cold sweet milk and sit by the window and watch the birds eat and play while your black eyed peas are cooking!
That is a good Saturday!
Merry Christmas Y’all!