Tag Archives: Southern Cooking and Cuisine

Learn How to Cook Southern at Astor Center Classes July 18

If you want to learn to make hush puppies and stewed okra, the Astor Center has three classes coming up beginning July 18 taught by southerner Emily Casey that will show you how to cook southern. Click here for details.

Can Yankees learn to cook southern? I have my doubts. You have to be born in the South. Your gene pool and the terroir are both critical.

For a dose of real Southern cooking, you have to travel, to, say, Mississippi where Arthur Davis cooks up a mean batch of crispy, succulent fried bird. We visited his Country Store in Lorman, MS last fall. Food is served typical buffet-style, with biscuits, greens and the like.

The only fried chicken maker that may beat out Arthur is Willie Mae’s in New Orleans. Tucking into that bird is nothing short of orgasmic.

Here’s my video of Mr. Davis singing about his mama and his fried chicken:

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Upper East Side: The Great Migration & Southern Cooking in New York City

Here’s an event for fried chicken fanatics. With all the buzz about this southern culinary classic, this event reviewing the impact of the southern Great Migration on New York cooking fits right in with the times. It’s co-sponsored sfa_banner_760by the Museum of the City of New York and the Southern Foodways Alliance. Here are the details:

On February 18, 2010, the Museum of the City of New York, in partnership with the Southern Foodways Alliance and Mississippi Development Authority/Division of Tourism, will host a discussion, focusing on how The Great Migration transformed the culinary culture of the North.

Leading the discussion are Jessica Harris, author of a forthcoming history of African-American foodways, and one of the 50 founders of the Southern Foodways Alliance. In 2007, she took leave from Queens College (where she is a full professor) to assume the Ray Charles Chair at Dillard University in New Orleans. And Ted Lee, one of the James Beard award-winning Charleston Lee brothers. Ted, along with his brother, Matt Lee, is at work on a book of essays about New York City food culture. The work will certainly examine the influence that South Carolina natives have had on New York, but at its core, the book will be a celebration of the multicultural delights of our nation’s culinary capitol. John T Edge will moderate the discussion.

Click here to learn more about the event and purchase a ticket.

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Halloween Recipe: A Rum and Pecan Spice Cake Adults Will Crave

Photo: By wayneandwax via flickr.

Photo: By wayneandwax via flickr.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in New Orleans at a food writers conference. We were treated to many incredible New Orleans food delights, but one of the most scrumptious was Louisiana Chef John Folse’s Rum and Pecan Spice Cake.

Trust me, there is nothing like this in New York, anywhere. Rich, moist, and impossibly buttery—and very southern—this cake won praise all around.

So for Halloween, forget the candy corn and Twizzlers. (Folse’s recipe would also make a great Thanksgiving dessert,) For the sweetest Halloween possible, dive into this luscious cake instead.

RUM AND PECAN SPICE CAKE
Recipe provided by chef John Folse of Chef John Folse & Company, Gonzales, LA.

Prep Time: 1½ Hours
Yields: 10–12 Servings

The old fashion spice cakes were often the base for wonderful tasting yet creative desserts in Creole Louisiana. Cakes were flavored with aromatic spices combined with brown sugar and chopped pecans then moistened with syrup made from brandies, ratafia or rum from Hatti. This is one version of that sweet Creole treat.

INGREDIENTS
2½ cups cake flour
1½ tsps baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
4 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
⅛ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp clove
1½ cups chopped pecans
¼ cup water
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup rum
roasted pecan halves (optional)

METHOD
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 (9-inch) cake pans with 2-inch lips. Line bottom of pans with buttered parchment paper or spray well with vegetable spray. In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar and 1 cup white sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until light yellow and ribbony. Continue until all eggs are added. Blend in vanilla. Slowly blend in all dry ingredients in three equal additions alternately with milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Blend in cinnamon, clove and chopped pecans. Divide batter equally between 2 pans. Place cakes in center of oven and bake 30–35 minutes or until tester inserted into center of cakes come out clean. Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack and peel off parchment paper. Cool completely. To make a rum syrup, combine remaining water, ¼ cup sugar and rum. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer and cook until sugar is dissolved completely and syrup coats the back of the spoon. Syrup should be reduced by 25%. Cool slightly. Using a toothpick or skewer, insert at 10–12 intervals around the cake and brush with syrup. The holes will allow the syrup to reach the center of the cake. To serve, you may wish to cut into serving pieces or using a 2-inch pastry cutter, cut into circles, or frost whole cakes with your favorite icing to create a layer cake. Top with roasted pecan halves (optional).

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Memorial Day Recipe: Coca-Cola Glazed Baby Back Ribs

Coke and Ribs. Photo Credit: Jeanine Dargis

Coke and Ribs. Photo Credit: Jeanine Dargis

 

 

On Memorial Day, you want to eat something that shouts, summer is here!

That means it’s time for southern cookbook author Virginia Willis‘ Coca-Cola ribs. I’m a sucker for all things southern. And as Willis points out, Coke was born and bred in the south—in Atlanta, that is.

Says this charming doyenne of southern cooking:

Coca-Cola is to Atlanta as Guinness is to Dublin. Pork has a natural affinity for sweet, rich caramel flavors. These “nouveau” Southern ribs are by no means traditional, but they are lip-smacking good. Scotch bonnet peppers are intensely hot, but their fire is tempered by the sweetness of the sugar and Coke. To tone down the heat, substitute jalapeños instead.

Here’s the Coke-soused ribs recipe from Willis, who adapted it  from her cookbook, Bon Appétit, Y’all: Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking by Virginia Willis, published by Ten Speed Press.

Coca-Cola Glazed Baby Back Ribs

1 cup Coca-Cola Classic (or regular Coke)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
11/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Scotch bonnet chiles, chopped
2 racks baby back ribs (3 pounds total)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the glaze, in a small saucepan, bring the Coca-Cola, vinegar, brown sugar, and chiles to a boil over high heat; reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until syrupy, about 10 minutes. Decrease the heat to low and keep the sauce warm while the ribs cook.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Liberally season both sides of the ribs with salt and pepper. Place the ribs on a broiler pan and bake for 30 minutes, glazing the ribs occasionally with the Coca-Cola mixture. Turn the ribs over and continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes, glazing occasionally, or until the ribs are tender and the meat is starting to pull away from the bone.

Or, if grilling, simply treat the oven as a grill. Cook the ribs at a moderate heat, 325°F and bake with the grill covered for 30 minutes, glazing the ribs occasionally with the Coca-Cola mixture. Turn the ribs over and continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes, glazing occasionally, or until the ribs are tender and the meat is starting to pull away from the bone.

When the ribs are cooked through, set the oven to broil or place on the hot side of the grill or increase a gas grill to high. Liberally spoon half of the remaining glaze over the ribs and broil until glazed a deep mahogany brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn over; repeat with the remaining glaze, an additional 5 to 7 minutes.

Serve immediately with lots of napkins.

 

 

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