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  • Grilled Orange Old Fashioned

    It’s been a good run, pumpkin spice latte, but it might just be time to hang up your hat. According to CountryLiving.com, a Grilled Orange Old Fashioned - a sweet, smoky bourbon cocktail - is the real drink of the Thanksgiving season. Since Prohibition ended in Mississippi in 1966, the road was cleared for manufacturing spirits manufacturing. Now, Kiln’s Crittenden Distillery and Jackson’s Cathead Distillery craft local bourbon and gin options for holiday cocktails. Makes 4 servings. Ingredients: 1 navel orange, sliced 4 dashes Angostura bitters 4 maraschino cherries 8 oz. good bourbon or rye ¼ cup simple syrup 4 large marshmallows Method: Heat a grill to medium-high. Grill sliced navel orange, turning occasionally, just until charred, 2 to 4 minutes. Muddle oranges, Angostura bitters, and maraschino cherries in a pitcher until fruit is slightly mashed. Stir in bourbon or rye and simple syrup. Thread marshmallows on skewers and grill, turning, until charred, about 1 minute. Divide into four glasses half filled with ice and garnish each with a roasted marshmallow.

  • Spooktacular Foodie Finds for Halloween

    by Evangeline Davis Halloween is primarily known for its child-oriented food items, but these Foodie Finds are for grown-up kids of all ages! DASH Mini Pumpkin Waffle Maker, $24.99 With over 200,000 reviews on Amazon, this 4” mini waffle maker is a must-have kitchen tool. The adorable single-serve waffle maker in festive, bright orange makes mini pumpkin-shaped waffless perfect for Halloween breakfast with… what else? Pumpkin butter! (Available in multi packs to make more than one waffle at a time.) Get one on Amazon. Williams Sonoma Skull Ice Mold Set, $19.95 A hosting gift for whisky aficionados and Halloween fans alike, this set of two novelty ice molds serves up skull-shaped whisky stones will make any cocktail feel a bit more bone-chilling. Large skull cubes melt slowly, keeping the drink cold longer. For added spookiness, check out the companion glasses etched with skull and crossbones. Find it at Williams Sonoma. Halloween Bamboo Serving Utensils, $16.01 Why stir chicken soup when you can brew up a potent potion? Anytime you cook, it’ll feel like conjuring a spell with this set of bamboo Halloween spoons. Lightweight, eco-friendly bamboo won’t scratch your hands or pans, and the six-piece set comes with a bonus storage canister. Grab on at Walmart.com. Teaspressa Dark and Bold Minute Cocktail Sugar Cube Trio, $30 Sugary candy? Save that for the little ones. Drop one of these wondrous cubes into a shot of booze, wait a minute, stir, and drink up! Hand-infused with concentrated cocktail ingredients like spiced cherry and Angostura bitters, vermouth extract, and spearmint leaves, these miraculous little sugar cubes make instant, delicious Manhattans, Old-Fashioneds, and Mojitos. Find them at UncommonGoods.com.

  • Recipes from the Grave

    A book review of “Recipes from the Grave, Wonderful Dishes for the Here and After” by P. Arden Corbin By Kathy A. Megyeri Two years ago during the pandemic, TikTok user Rosie Grant discovered how many people left recipes on their tombstones – a way for some to share their love through food even after they pass away. After spotting “Kay’s Fudge” followed by the words, “Wherever she goes, there’s laughter,” Grant started photographing the recipes and learning about the authors. Most were dessert recipes on women’s tombstones. Grant considers herself a “culinary archeologist” as she recreates the treats in her own kitchen. So far, she’s collected 22 recipes and finds it comforting that someone’s legacy might be their carrot cake recipe, so Grant started making and bringing snickerdoodles and guava cobbler to the graveyards to share with visitors and honor the cooks’ memories. Grant’s passion for the project is obvious; one of her cemetery videos garnered over 7 million views. She now travels to cemeteries collecting recipes from gravestones. She never cooked before but now says, “I’m literally learning how to cook through the dead,” and wants her own tombstone to share a clam linguine or mac ‘n cheese recipe. “The two things we inevitably do in life are eat food and die someday,” Grant says, “so it’s a shared experience and to many, it brings back memories of their grandparents.” Her 195,000+ TikTok followers are begging her to compile a cookbook. Writer P. Arden “Doc” Corbin has done just that in “Recipes from the Grave, Wonderful Dishes for the Here and After,” collecting over 100 recipes and including brief biographies about the contributor, cooking suggestions, measurement substitutions and tips for baking bread, pies and cakes. He includes Ann Landers’ meatloaf recipe, and a recipe by Ruth Corbin Graves called “How to Preserve a Husband.” “For a finished product, husband should be wrapped in a mantle of kindness, kept warm with the fire of devotion, and served with peaches and cream. Husbands prepared this way will keep for years.” Corbin admits that most of these family recipes are probably 100 years old and were baked on stoves fueled by wood or coal or cow chips but “all are well crafted,” he says, “and all harken back to a time in America when the supper table was a place for the family to recharge, unwind, and enjoy each other’s company.” Grant and Corbin remind us of the importance of food in our lives, as food for the body, food for the soul, and as memories that bind us across generations.

  • Foodie Finds for Oktoberfest

    by Evangeline Davis With the beautiful beer drinking festival Oktoberfest happening across our great nation, you may want to get into the mood with some beer-themed accessories. Any of these fun foodie items is sure to please your beer-loving friends! Personalized Beer Chiller Sticks by Oakdene Designs for Etsy, $33.89 Unless you’re a full-blooded German, it doesn’t get much worse than drinking warm beer, and these beer chiller sticks ensure that it won’t ever happen again. Place these personalized stainless-steel sticks in your freezer for at least 45 minutes, and then pop them directly into any bottle of room-temperature beer to chill your beverage within mere seconds. Ah, the beauty of science! Find them at Etsy.com. Beeropoly Board Game, $35 This hopped-up game of Beeropoly is a great way to get all beer lovers involved. This game invites players to indulge in their favorite brews while completing a series of beer challenges such as busting out your best dance moves or playing a classic round of Never Have I Ever. Roll the dice and complete the challenge or risk elimination. Of course, the playing tokens are beer caps! Get the game on Etsy. Skyline Workshop Beer Cap State Map, $39.99 Ideal for the beer buff who loves to travel and explore, this state-based Beer Cap Map includes 70 empty slots to fill with the bottle caps of your most beloved brews. Smooth, sturdy, and made of polished maple, it makes a great gift for collectors. Choose the Mississippi state option and crack open a cold one! Available on Amazon or Skyline Workshop.com. Beer-Infused Hot Sauce (3 Pack Variety), $26.99 A great option for the foodie and beer geek in your life! Made with real beer, this hot sauce pack comes with three different flavors: Asian Sriracha, Garlic Serrano, and Roasted Chiptole. They all have a different level of spice, so your beer-loving friends can add a little oomph to their favorite foods. Try these delicious sauces on barbecue, meats of all kinds, and even veggies. Available on Amazon.

  • What's Happening Fall 2023

    by Evangeline Davis Here's a roundup of what's happening - new and notable - in the food scene in Mississippi this fall! Join Pelican Pound, explore Ocean Springs, and make a positive impact on the community while enjoying your shopping experience! The $5 wooden “coin” boosts the Ocean Springs economy by encouraging people to shop and eat local. Available at the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce, pick up free Pelican Pounds and use at participating shops and restaurants until September 29 during regular business hours. Simply present the Pelican Pound at the time of purchase to redeem its full value (one per person per transaction). The initiative is a project of the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce-Main Street and funded in part by the 2% Food and Beverage Tax. Another addition to Front Street Eats, Bourbon on Front offers steaks, seafood, cocktails, and of course, bourbon to the downtown mix. (The restaurant joins the likes of Hattiesburg’s Blu Jazz Cafe, Hattiesburgers and Blues, Southbound Bagel & Coffee and Nellie’s Chicken and Daiquiris.) At Bourbon on Front you're treated to one of the best views on Front Street from the rooftop patio, and sample top notch bourbons from the well-stocked bar including Yellowstone Limited Edition, Blood Oath, Kentucky Owl and Elijah Craig, just to name a few. Open Tuesday - Saturday 3-10 p.m. Reservations recommended. www.bourbon-on-front.com V chef Guy Fieri is bringing Flavortown to the Mid-South with Guy Fieri’s Tunica Kitchen + Bar to debut at Horseshoe Tunica this summer. The menu will feature his American-style cuisine including sandwiches, burgers, desserts and the famous trash can nachos. “We’re thrilled to add Guy Fieri’s Tunica Kitchen + Bar to our culinary lineup on property,” said Derrick Madison, SVP & General Manager of Horseshoe Tunica. “We’re confident that our guests will love what Guy has to offer and we can’t wait to bring the flavor to Mississippi.” The restaurant will be located on the main casino floor across from the World Series of Poker room. The Tiger Den in Saltillo, open since late February, offers breakfast, a salad bar and cafeteria-style hot options for a quick lunch, and a tasty, scratch-made dinner menu. The well-stocked salad bar has a cornucopia of topping choices, and daily lunch options include American favorites like meatloaf, pork chops, chicken strips, green beans, mashed potatoes & gravy, fried squash, and cornbread or rolls. Dinner menu items include crab claws, chargrilled oysters, shrimp several ways, steak and catfish. Grab a Blue Bell ice cream sundae to finish your meal. Closed Mondays. Get a full menu and more info on Facebook.

  • Taste of Magnolia: Dutch Baby Pancake

    Story and images by Divian Conner If I told you I never fell down a YouTube rabbit hole, that wouldn’t be accurate. Truth is, I get sucked down the vortex of video after video all of the time and most often than not, it leads to many a note being jotted down as I find inspiration in abundance. I watch documentaries, funny compilations, blast music videos at sonic levels and dance around the living room to the point that my children either shake their heads or join in. Recently I found myself immersed in the YouTube world of glamping. “Glamping” is camping on an entirely different (glamorous) level. It combines a luxury experience amidst outdoor settings under the stars. Attention to detail is a must and the aesthetics range from old western, boho chic to ultra-modern. Watching, I found myself making a seemingly endless list of ideas to create my own glamping experience. This fall will be the first time that I tackle and experience true glamping, and I've decided to try making Dutch Baby Pancakes. My online shopping cart runneth over. It is filled with string lights, floor pillows, mini side tables and comforters. Just thinking about all the amazing campgrounds Mississippi has to offer, I am excited about the possibilities. I am a huge fan of camping, usually going the backcountry bare bones route. I am quick to pack up a tent and head off to the middle of the woods and do primitive camping. This year, I seek a different experience. I want to decorate that tent like it is a Hollywood mansion being featured in a top interior design magazine, lay back on a comfy cushioned mattress complete with a down cover and look up at the stars. Glamping not only involves decorating your tent and surroundings beautifully like a tiny home, but food also plays an important role. It is about the ambiance and the experience, and the cooking is more like a fine dining with nothing off limits. Oh, the breakfasts and dinners I have seen prepared on a camping stove in the middle of nowhere would leave even five-star restaurants in awe. There is just something about connecting with people over food and adding an outdoor element that is always a win. To treat my family to a camping experience that is hyper-personalized and showing much effort and thought makes my heart swell. Not only am I getting enjoyment in planning the décor for my glamping adventure in the Mississippi wilderness, but I am also finding myself even more excited about coming up with an outdoor cooking menu that will leave me satisfied and my family amazed. This will be something that they remember for many years to come. Campfire Dutch Baby Pancake Ingredients for 2 pancakes: 3 large eggs (room temperature) ½ cup all-purpose flour ½ cup whole milk (room temperature) 1 Tablespoon sugar 4 Tablespoons salted butter Topping Options: Powdered Sugar Fresh fruit of choice Honey or Nutella Whipped Cream Mix milk and eggs completely and then add the other ingredients except for the butter. Mix well and let sit for at least ten minutes for the batter to rest. You can prepare ahead of time and keep cooled until ready to make the pancakes. Campfire instructions: Place a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven over the fire coals. Add in butter and allow to melt before adding the batter. Cover with lid, placing hot coals from the fire on top of the lid and allow to cook for about ten minutes until it puffs and is golden brown. It should be puffy, similar to a popover. If additional time cooking is needed, place lid back on top for a few minutes. Oven instructions: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place butter in cast iron skillet in the oven and allow to melt. Once butter is melted pour in batter and cook for 15-20 minutes until pancake is puffy and golden brown in spots. Serve immediately topped with melted butter, powdered sugar and fruit of your choice. Makes two pancakes.

  • Raise Your Glass: The Classic Shandy Is Perfect for Football & Fall

    Allrecipes.com says a shandy is a beer cocktail made of equal parts beer and citrusy lemon-lime soda. A popular British pub drink, a shandy can be easily customized with the beer and soda of your choice, but if you want a traditional British shandy, stick to the 50/50 beer and soda mix. Germany’s version is called a Radler, meaning “cyclist.” Its origin story involves a hot day, a pack of thirsty Bavarian cyclists, and the owner of a beer garden who didn’t have enough to go around so he got inventive with beer and lemon soda. Here’s the classic recipe and four variations - a refreshing way to cool down in the hot weather we love in August and September, but the perfect accompaniment for football and tailgating. The Classic Shandy Ingredients: 1 part beer 1 part lemon-lime soda Lemon or lime slice (optional, for garnish) Ice (optional) Method: Add ¾ cup of cold beer to a glass, and top with ¾ cup lemon-lime soda such as 7-Up or Sprite Now Mix It Up Based on your ability to get great local or regional craft beer, here are some other delectable suggestions. Although 50/50 is the traditional ratio, play around with the proportions, add ice (or not) and find what works for you! It’s Peary Good A nutty/malty/smooth brown ale (such as Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan) + sparkling pear juice + a lemon twist + a pear slice Cherry Radler A botanical porter (such as Abita Vanilla Bean Porter) + black cherry soda or cherry juice + a lime wedge Spanish Main A Belgian tripel (such as 1817 Brewery Belgian Tripel) + pomegranate juice + a lime wedge All Hallow’s Eve Shandy A pumpkin ale or stout (such as Fertile Ground Brewery Pumpkin Stout) + ginger beer + a squeeze of orange juice + an orange slice

  • Artfully Crafted Fare at Fan and Johnny’s Feeds Body and Soul

    Story and Images by Michele D. Baker Chef Taylor Bowen-Ricketts is easy to be around – she exudes artistic energy, but in an unruffled, everything-will-get-done manner. In the brief pause between the lunch crowd and the dinner rush, she relaxes in a vinyl and chrome kitchen chair at a yellow Formica table. The dining cubicle is tucked into the middle of her latest culinary adventure: Fan and Johnny’s. The downtown Greenwood restaurant, located just half a block from the picturesque Yazoo River, has been serving delicious food since 2016. The architecture and furnishings are industrial chic, with 15-foot exposed brick walls, skylights, poured and stained concrete floors, and artwork by both Bowen-Ricketts and her chef/artist husband, Darby Ricketts, adorning the walls. Like colors on an artist’s palette, no two tables are alike – the yellow and gray Formica table perches near a formal wooden dining table and six shield back chairs. Further along, a standard restaurant booth with double benches squats beneath a mounted quilt-turned-artwork. Hanging lamps made from jelly jars and milk bottles illuminate each carefully considered space, almost as if each table is the focus of its own personal dining room. A wooden hutch with a marble top and leaded stained-glass inserts holds menus, mints and a stack of local magazines. Bowen-Ricketts was clearly born an artist, and now uses both pigments and foodstuffs with equal flair to express her values and ideas. At Ole Miss, she studied art, created beautiful art, curated art shows and sold her artwork. “After graduation, I needed something to do every day, so I started working in a restaurant. Everyone worked together as a team and they showed art on the walls – it was a family,” she remembers. “I’ve always loved food, hospitality and entertaining. I worked in several fun restaurants – very well run – that served real food prepared with proper techniques. It was another medium for creativity.” As proof, a cozy round booth in the back houses just one of Bowen-Ricketts’ awards, a ceramic plate bearing the proud moniker: “James Beard Award Nominee 2016.” Several large canvases lush with bold strokes, vivid colors and remembered stories, hang next to her accolades. Related: Just What Are the James Beard Awards? Fan and Johnny’s, her seventh restaurant in a nearly 30-year career, is named for her maternal grandparents, a natural continuation of her artistic and culinary career. Her Cajun grandparents’ kitchen, always full of locally sourced, seasonally available “real food,” was an early inspiration for the chef, and one of the culinary themes that has followed Bowen-Ricketts from the Yocona River Inn early in her career, to The Hoka (a whole food restaurant), through her time working at Viking and Delta Fresh Market, to the present restaurant. Open for lunch and dinner, starters here include a thick Caribbean black bean soup with cornbread croutons, oranges and onions; black-eyed pea cakes with baby greens and remoulade; and lemon pepper fried shrimp. Po-Boys are served on Gambino rolls, including The Hoka BBQ Shrimp Po-Boy with mayo, tomato and spring mix; Nashville Hot Chicken tossed in hot sauce butter with homemade pickles and ranch dressing; fried catfish with bacon tartar, cabbage and crispy onions; and a ginger pecan chicken salad with oranges and lettuce. Decadent desserts are also available to put the finishing touches on any meal: bread pudding, hot fudge pie and blueberry crisp, all homemade and served with local gelato, are sure to please. She credits her long success with the people, opportunities and experiences – both good and bad – working in high profile positions at Viking. “My friend Martha [Foose] had moved to Greenwood,” she explains. “She thought I might do well at Viking, and I had many opportunities through that connection. I attended the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa, took weeklong continuing education classes to learn more about cooking techniques, and cooked for executives and visitors from around the world. I had access to the Food Network, and one of my colleagues there nominated me for the James Beard [Award].” Fully immersed in the Delta now through her children, her restaurant and her art, Bowen-Ricketts is a staple ingredient in this community. “People followed me from Delta Fresh Market and The Hoka, asking me, ‘When are you going to open another restaurant?’ Well, I finally did, and I can do what I want now. I’m only open about 15 hours a week, so I can do other things, too.” Pointing to the cabbages and herbs in a large container garden in the cobbled alleyway beside Fan and Johnny’s, she explains further: “This is where we set up the long tables for about a hundred people,” says Bowen-Ricketts. “We do a fundraiser for ArtPlace Mississippi, a nonprofit dedicated to creating access to the arts for everyone in Leflore County. And I finally have time to tell my girls to slow down, because it all goes so very fast.” https://www.facebook.com/fanandjohnnys/

  • Till We Eat Again: Smoke... It's What's for Dinner

    By Jay Reed My wife found a deal on baby-back ribs: buy one rack, get one free. I decided it was time to dust the spring pollen off my Big Green Egg (it was beginning to look like a John Deere) and try my luck. If I messed them up, at least I was messing them up for half price. Naturally, the first step is to light the charcoal; I have an electric magic wand for this. Once the charcoal is glowing, it’s time to add the wood chips. They produce the smoke that will soon permeate the ribs. Because I didn’t have the smoker pushed far enough out, the smoke lingered under the porch roof, ultimately permeating my own personal ribs, or at least the t-shirt covering them. When I came back in the house, my wife said, “Wow, those smell good already.” What she meant to say was, “Wow, you smell good already.” The point is: grill smoke smells good. Furthermore, smoke-bathed foods taste good. But what is it? And why do we like it so much? Related: How to Smoke Meat Like a Pro There is a lot of science behind smoking meat. What we see rising from the flames is a collection of tiny particles the heat releases from the wood. Logically, different kinds of wood release different kinds of particles resulting in different flavor profiles. Fruit woods are good for some meats, nut woods for others, and mesquite for Texans. The smoke adds flavor, but whether or not the meat gets safely cooked depends on the temperature. And let’s not forget the flip side of smoking science: it’s also an art. Any pit-master worth his rub will testify to that. As we move into the fall, smoke rises more often than in other seasons. Football players erupt through clouds of smoke as fighter jets leave smoky trails overhead. Granted, this is not food-flavoring smoke (nobody wants jet fuel-infused brisket), but there are other offerings at these Friday and Saturday worship meetings. At our hometown high school stadium a grill is nestled behind the concession stand. As soon as I walk through the gate, I know they’re getting my smoke-kissed jumbo hot dog ready. At college games, my go-to is barbecue nachos, and if I happen to be watching from home, it’s also… barbecue nachos. As I pondered the presence of smoke in my life, it didn’t take long to come up with a variety of ways the scent has penetrated my memories. We generally think of smoking the main dish, the meat: pork shoulder, brisket, chicken, etc. But those sides, though. A few years ago I asked my son what he’d like to eat on his birthday. His choices included smoked mac-and-cheese. I took the challenge. A good bit of the prep took place indoors, but it was finished in a Dutch oven inside the smoky environs of a Big Green Egg, and it was worth the effort. And for those without a smoker? There are plenty of smoked cheeses around that could get you to a similar flavor destination. Smoked salts are tasty, too. As the saying (kind of) goes, there’s more than one way to smoke a cat. My son was a Boy Scout, and in his journey to Eagle, one of the merit badges involved cooking over coals. We aren’t really a camping family unless it involves an RV with AC and a WC, so we adapted. But rather than bake biscuits in cast iron, we went off the grid with a personal-sized cake baked inside a hollowed-out orange, nestled in the coals. Yes, desserts can also be smoked. And if desserts can be smoked, why not the cocktail before dinner? Smoking your Old Fashioned table-side is all the rage right now. Purist alert: I am an advocate of liquid smoke in limited situations. I did my research and discovered that some brands are just what they say they are: legit liquified smoke. I use it to elevate store-bought salsa. My wife has long preferred a very basic name brand salsa, and I like her to be happy even if my homemade salsa with smoked tomatoes is better. I add a dash of liquid smoke to a portion of her big-box favorite and voila: smoky goodness. But beware: a little liquid carries a lot of smoke. By the way, liquid smoke was invented by a pharmacist (like me) back in 1895. Respect. Looking to add flavor to your meal this fall? Add smoke. It’s what’s for dinner.

  • 7 Fabulous Foodie Finds for Fall

    by Evangeline Davis Fabulous foodie finds are available for the cooler weather! You'll love these seven must-see gems including a mini fire pit, mesh food covers perfect for tailgating and picnics, a cheese (or chocolate) curler, retro hot dog and bun toaster, 1960s lunchbox, pasta rack and gorgeous etched whiskey decanter! Mesa Tabletop Fire Pit, $79.99 and up This amazing little outdoor tabletop fire pit is sized perfectly for outdoor dining tables to stylish end tables. Great for ambience, warming hands on a cool autumn evening, or toasting marshmallows. Includes heatproof stand. Can be adapted to use wood pellets. Two sizes available at SoloStoves.com Simply Genius Large and Tall Pop-Up Mesh Food Covers, $14.35 and up These lovely lace-edged food covers are generously sized and can handle serving dishes up to 16” in diameter and 10” high. The set of 6 collapsible mesh food covers allows heat to escape and keeps food visible. Easy to open, collapses like an umbrella and stores slender. Available in large (17” x 17”) or jumbo (47” x 26”). Find them at Amazon. Boska Cheese Curler, $44.99 Boska represents beautiful, smart products for cheese. With the Boska cheese curler, you can turn home cooking into a fine culinary experience. The cheese curler slices off a very thin slice allowing the delicate flavor of cheese to develop, as curls release the best of its authentic taste. For a sweet dessert, use to slice off sensational chocolate curls! Available at Amazon. Nostalgia Two Slot Hot Dog and Bun Toaster, $27.99 There’s not much pretro oint in having just one... That’s why this toaster is designed to fit two buns and two dogs at the same time! It delivers juicy, ready-to-eat hot dogs in no time at all. Showing off classic vintage style, it’s a fun and quirky attention-grabber that features a convenient timer and a portable, counter-friendly size. This fun retro item is available on Amazon. 1960s Green & Orange Retro Floral Metal Lunch Box, $26 Adorable and durable, our metal lunch box is perfect for those in love with the classics! Enjoy the 1960s inspired pattern, or customize the front and back with images, text and designs for a fabulously fun lunch time for your kids (or yourself)! Measures 6.75” L x 8.625” W x 3.75” H. Made of durable and food safe tin plate with a food contact safe interior material. Grab one at Zazzle.com. Marcato Atlas Pasta Drying Rack, $64.99 Love homemade pasta? Then this rack is for you! The Atlas offers ample space for drying up to 4.4 lbs. of all types of homemade noodles and pastas. Made in Italy, the aluminum rack is sturdy and durable with 16 rods (8” each) that fan out for quick access and fold in for compact storage. The multipurpose wand picks up freshly cut pasta and transports it to the drying rack or cooking pot. Easily dry all long noodles like spaghetti, Angel hair, fettuccini, fusilli, and even lasagna! Available on Amazon. Godinger Whiskey Decanter Globe with 2 Etched Whiskey Glasses, $59.95 This handblown whiskey decanter (850 ml) features an etched globe design and antique ship in the bottle to enhance your drinking experience while making a bold impression; the gold stopper adds a touch of class while keeping your spirits sealed. The hand-stained dark wood tray is polished to a high gloss; color of each unique tray will vary from dark brown to black. Each 300 ml glass is also etched with a globe design. Available at Amazon.

  • Grandma’s Cookbook: Vintage Picnic or Tailgating Appetizers

    By Michele D. Baker Following along with the football and tailgating theme, we offer three perfect-for-a-church-picnic appetizer recipes from the 1960s and 70s. Each has been tried, enjoyed and has appeared in a small town church’s fundraising cookbook. As with all our vintage recipes, we encourage you to use these recipes as starting points! Feel free to switch out fruits or vegetables for your own favorites and to adjust seasonings. Grandma Evelyn’s Fruit "Pizza" Ingredients: 1/2 cup cold butter (1 stick) 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar 1 cup flour 8 oz. cream cheese (1 brick) 1 cup sugar, divided 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Banana, cut into 1/2” circles Strawberries, cleaned and sliced Kiwis, peeled and diced Peach, peeled and sliced Blueberries Maraschino cherries, halved 2 Tablespoons cornstarch 1 cup pineapple juice 1 Tablespoon lemon juice Method: Using a blender or two forks, mix the cold butter with the powdered sugar and flour until crumbly. Pat into pizza pan or 9” x 9” pan, going up the sides. Bake 10 minutes at 350 and allow to cool. Beat the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of sugar and vanilla together until creamy. Spread over cooled crust. Arrange cut fruit in a pretty pattern. (Note: Grandma’s recipe says you can also use well-drained canned fruit.) In a small saucepan, combine the cornstarch, pineapple juice, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of sugar. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Cool, then pour over the “pizza” to seal the fruit. Aunt Lois’s Vegetable Pizza Ingredients: 2 packages crescent rolls (she recommends Pillsbury in the handwritten recipe) 1/3 cup mayonnaise 1 teaspoon onion salt 16 oz. cream cheese (2 bricks) 1-2 teaspoons dill 1 teaspoon minced garlic Tomato, cucumber, celery, carrots, black and green olives, mushrooms, cauliflower florets, green and red pepper, cleaned and diced/chopped/sliced Method: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease the paper. Spread the crescent roll dough onto the pan, pressing lightly to seal the seams. Bake according to package directions. Combine cream cheese, mayo, and spices. Spread over cooled crust. Arrange vegetables over the top. Cut into squares and serve. Sausage & Cheese Balls Makes 7 dozen appetizers Ingredients: 3 cups baking mix (such as Bisquick or Pioneer) 1 lb. pork sausage (uncooked) 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1/2 cup milk 1 teaspoon rosemary 1 teaspoon parsley 1/4 teaspoon sage 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon onion powder Barbecue sauce or sweet and sour sauce (optional) Method: Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil. Using clean hands, mix together all ingredients in a large bowl. Shape into 1-inch balls. (At this point, balls may be frozen; thaw before baking.) Bake 20-25 minutes or until brown. Remove immediately from the pan and serve warm with dipping sauce (such as barbecue or horseradish mayo) if desired.

  • From the Editor: Feeling Grateful for Fall and Food

    By Michele D. Baker The beginning of fall is such a wonderful time – it’s still hot, but the days are a bit shorter, and there is a promise in the air that soon it will be cooler. There’s much to be grateful for: enough daylight for long picnics, abundant fruits and vegetables bursting from backyard gardens and farmers’ markets, and the many culinary giants who call Mississippi home. August also brings with it my birthday, and as I look forward to turning 53, I reflect on the journey that brought me here and now, as editor of a food magazine. My whole life has revolved around food. From the time I was in elementary school with my friends from Turkey, India, Spain, and Iceland – and eating the lunches their moms packed – I have loved food. While I was in high school, my family belonged to the local food co-op and so I had the good fortune to have fresh vegetables and organic flour and coffee delivered straight to our door step. When I went away to college, my father and stepmom moved to Massachusetts and had a huge backyard garden. Periodically, I’d get packages at my college post office box filled with preserves, homemade soap and other goodies. Around this time, I also began collecting cookbooks from across the globe. I also had the good fortune to live in Germany for two years, and to enjoy the incredible traditional foods prepared there, everything from Wiener schnitzel to sauerkraut to brez’n (pretzels). Of course, Oktoberfest was also a treat – I’m sure that’s the origin of my deep love for beer. I began writing for Jackson Free Press and doing freelance restaurant reviews. I also wrote for the (now sadly defunct) DeSoto Magazine for the amazing Mary Ann DeSantis and Chere Coen, whom I credit with teaching me how to craft stories in an interesting way, and who recommended me to eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI. When our editor left for a new position, she recommended me as her replacement. That was nearly one year ago, and I haven’t stopped thanking the heavens yet. So to you, loyal readers, I say this: THANK YOU for allowing me to think, write, and dream about food every day. You’ve made my passion a reality, and I am grateful for it. I now have an entire shelf dedicated to cookbooks which I browse like novels for inspiration, so bon appétit!

  • Tailgate Touchdown: Ole Miss vs. MSU

    By Kathy K. Martin Tailgating is a Southern art form that blends family traditions with favorite recipes and plenty of fun memories – even if your team doesn’t win every game. Whether you’re hosting your first tailgate or you’re a tailgating veteran, these tips and tricks from some of the best in Oxford and Starkville help you kick off football season with style and ease. According to Heidi Miller of TheFrugalGirls.com, an ideal tailgating experience begins with the right location, excellent food, fun entertainment, sturdy tables, and comfortable seating. Some of her must-have items include hand sanitizer, wipes, trash bags, paper towels, and of course plenty of paper napkins and disposable cups, plates, and utensils. When it comes to food and drink, she recommends loading up coolers with many interesting drinks and filling thermoses to keep sweet tea cold and coffee, apple cider, hot cocoa, (or even soup) warm. Finger foods score the most points, so she prefers Buffalo chicken or meatball sliders and football-shaped brownies. For ease of set up, she suggests using a rolling table with a built-in chair rack and handles on the side. She also recommends many more recipes and easy decorations and games on her web site. Angie Sicurezza, owner of GRIT restaurant and A&N Catering with her chef/husband, Nick Reppond in Taylor, knows plenty about catering tailgating events at Ole Miss. After working for many years with the City Grocery Restaurant Group, the couple now caters mostly large-scale events from their restaurant and the wedding reception space, The Mill at Plein Air, where they are the exclusive caterer. Every year they provide catering for a law firm’s tailgating event for 350 people and do everything from fried chicken, chicken and sausage gumbo, and creole-roasted shrimp with remoulade. “This tailgate is like one of our weddings, but even bigger than most,” she says. For a typical, smaller-scale tailgate with just a few friends and family, Sicurezza suggests mixing homemade dishes with purchased food to make it easier. She adds a few upscale elements to tailgate favorites such as the popular sliders by adding brisket or smoked beef tenderloin with chimichurri sauce between the small buns. She serves them alongside a smoked sweet potato salad and elote corn dip. “You need to be mindful of foods that need to stay cold like deviled eggs or chicken salad as you plan your menu and set up,” says says. “It’s also smart to consider the time of year and the opponent.” Cured or smoked meats stay fresh and keep well outside. In cooler months she recommends gumbo or red beans and rice, which works well when playing LSU. She also recommends the fan-favorite of serving miniature corn dogs too, which is another one of those football fan stories that has gone on so long that no one really knows the origins. She also often focuses on a fall theme with miniature pumpkin cheesecakes, apple tartlets or fried apple hand pies. Ty Thames, chef of three Starkville restaurants (Restaurant Tyler, BIN 612 and The Guest Room), describes football season as magical with its combination of fall colors, smells in the air, and the energy of Starkville. “It really takes on a life of its own with football fans buzzing around town,” he explains. Thames suggests several choices for tailgate food such as unique dips and fried chicken and pimento cheese pinwheels. Spread pimento cheese evenly along a tortilla and place a piece of fried chicken on top like a pizza topping. Roll up and place toothpicks every inch and a half or so and cut into bite-size pieces. Smoked catfish dip with Mississippi red pepper jelly is another tailgate favorite of his (recipes below). He places his dip on a cheese board and tops with the pepper jelly, while surrounding the dish with chips or his favorite, miniature Wheat Thins crackers. Thames’ usual game day includes stopping by BIN 612 for a drink and food while watching fans on University Drive make their way to campus. He then also walks to campus and visits a few friends’ tailgates on the way to the stadium. Chef Thames’ pro tailgating suggestions are: Do the food and supply prep work a day or two ahead of time. Game day is not the time to be running out to get something you’ve forgotten. Have everyone who is tailgating do a small part to help. Many hands make light work. Get on site as early as possible. Campus traffic will be hectic, so the sooner you are settled, the better off you will be. Bess Fisher, an attorney with Mitchell, McNutt & Sams in Oxford, is also a food blogger (Bessie Crocker) and host of a tailgate tent at every home Ole Miss football game. She begins planning in late summer by making a list of home games and their opponents, and then builds a theme around that. “Two years ago, for the Arkansas game I did a “BBQ the Hogs” theme with pulled pork nachos, queso, and accompaniments,” she said. “It was a hit with everyone!” Fisher doesn’t over plan because weather usually impacts how many people attend the tailgate. She often opts for some kind of protein, one to two dips with chips, and a dessert. Everyone who attends contributes to the menu for a potluck-style affair. “It takes a village,” she says. “I try not to stress about whether there will be enough food because there always is.” She also packs extra dishes and trays in case an impromptu visitor brings something to share too. In addition to the barbecue theme, Fisher also hosts a birthday party theme in November to celebrate the birthdays of her husband, William, and her father-in-law, Bobby. A friend of hers, Mary Rosenzweig with Thanks For Everything, designed a sticker that said, “William and Bobby love the Rebs” to add another touch of fun. She relies on tailgate favorites such as French onion dip or Captain Rodney’s dip with potato chips and chicken nuggets served with a variety of sauces. In a pinch she serves Costco frozen nuggets prepared in her air fryer that are a Chick-fil-A replica to stay true to her mantra of working smarter, not harder. As for beverages, she often provides a signature cocktail to compliment her theme. Her bourbon slushes with bourbon-soaked cherries are popular with guests. Tailgating in the Grove at Ole Miss is a place for friendship and fellowship, says Fisher, and can be accomplished with just a few snacks and drinks. “Many opponents have beaten Ole Miss in football, but very few tailgates beat a Saturday in the Grove,” she says. “Hotty Toddy to that!” Everything Fisher has learned about tailgating is a combination of party hosting tips from her mom and Grove tips she inherited from her mother-in-law, Catherine Fisher, the original host of the tent: Don’t overcomplicate it. Be a relaxed host by arriving early, setting out the spread, and popping open a drink to be ready to greet guests. Always bring one more pack each of beer and bottled water than you think you will need. Use recipes like make-ahead dips to stay true to tip number one. Pack tailgating essentials in large plastic storage containers and just restock the plates, plastic utensils, napkins, and other items from game to game. Include many plastic grocery bags to place all dishes into after the tailgate to make clean up easier later. Whether big or small, homemade or catered, tailgating in Mississippi is always a win – regardless of the outcome of the game. Enjoy this selection of tried-and-true large batch tailgating recipes! MS Red Hot Pepper Jelly Yield: 5 pints Ingredients: 2 bottles (24oz) Mississippi Red Pepper Sauce 4 cups water, divided 2 cups white vinegar 7 cups granulated sugar 5 individual powdered gelatin packets Method: Combine all ingredients except for the gelatin and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring occasionally to make sure sugar doesn’t stick to the bottom. Thoroughly mix the gelatin in the cup of room temperature water. Once the mixture is boiling steadily, add the gelatin mixture. Stir for one minute, then remove from heat. Transfer hot liquid into sterilized pint jars and put in the refrigerator overnight. Party Size Pimiento Cheese Yield: 2 quarts Ingredients: 8 oz. garlic, roasted 1 cup capers 3 oz. jalapeno peppers 24 oz. cream cheese (4 bricks) 2 cups mayonnaise 1 Tablespoon garlic powder 1 Tablespoon onion powder 1 Tablespoon celery seed 24 oz. Edam cheese (shredded) 24 oz. cheddar cheese (shredded) 2 cans (28 oz. each) pimientos (drained very well) Method: Combine the 8 sauce ingredients (everything except pimientos and shredded cheese) in a food processor and blend until smooth. Tip the cheeses and pimientos into a mixing bowl; add the sauce and mix well. If the mixture is too wet, add more shredded cheese until it reaches desired consistency. Mississippi Smoked Catfish Dip Yield: 1 Quart Ingredients: 1 lb. smoked Mississippi catfish, skinned and boned 16 oz. cream cheese (2 bricks) 2/3 c sour cream 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise Half a red onion 2 oz. roasted garlic 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1 Tablespoon Mississippi Red Pepper Sauce 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon red pepper ½ teaspoon dried thyme ½ teaspoon celery seed 1 teaspoon onion powder 1 teaspoon bay seasoning Juice and zest of 1 large lemon Method: Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend, serve immediately, or refrigerate overnight. Spicy Red Cabbage Slaw Yield: 25 servings Ingredients: 2½ cups apple cider vinegar 2 cups creole mustard ¾ cup brown sugar, firmly packed 1 teaspoon salt 2 Tablespoons freshly ground black pepper 1 teaspoon cayenne 1 Tablespoon Creole seasoning 2 Tablespoon Tabasco sauce 1 head of finely shredded red cabbage 1 head of finely shredded green cabbage 4 peeled and shredded carrots 2 minced yellow onions 2 diced red bell peppers 2 diced green bell peppers Method: Combine vinegar, mustard, salt & pepper, cayenne, and Creole seasoning; mix well. Add cabbage, carrots, onions, and bell peppers; mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and store in fridge. Sweet Potato Salad Yield: 20 servings Ingredients: 5 (3-4 lbs.) peeled sweet potatoes, cut into ½ inch cubes 6 large whole eggs ¼ cup whole grain mustard ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper 2 Tablespoons minced yellow onion 3 large minced green onions (white and green parts) ~5 tablespoons ½ cup chopped red and green bell pepper 1 cup mayo 1-2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 1 ½ teaspoon Creole seasoning 1 teaspoon finely ground white or black pepper 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 1 teaspoon paprika Method: Place potatoes in large pot; add cold water to cover. Boil potatoes until tender (not mushy), about 15 minutes. In a large saucepan, combine whole eggs and enough cool water to cover the eggs by 1 inch. Bring the eggs to a boil over high heat. The moment the water reaches a boil, reduce heat to medium-high heat and simmer for another 10 minutes. Pour off the hot water and fill the pot with cool water to stop the eggs from cooking. Set aside at room temperature to cool, then refrigerate. Drain the potatoes in a colander; ensure all of the excess water has been drained (about 5 minutes). Transfer potatoes into large mixing bowl. Add the mustard and cayenne pepper and mix with a large fork, carefully avoiding mashing the potatoes. Remove the shells from the boiled eggs, and place into the bowl with potatoes. Refrigerate potatoes and eggs until thoroughly chilled (about 30 minutes). In another bowl combine the yellow onion, 2 Tablespoons of the green onion, the bell peppers, 2/3 cups of the mayo, and half of the Worcestershire. Remove eggs and potatoes from fridge. Remove 5 of the eggs and set aside. Cut eggs in small cubes, return to bowl, and gradually stir in the mayonnaise mixture until blended. Add the Creole seasoning, pepper and chopped eggs; stir gently. Fold in the remaining 1/3 cup mayo, remaining green onion, and Worcestershire sauce. Smooth the top of the salad with spatula and slice remaining egg for garnish on top, along with parsley and paprika. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

  • Going Overboard for Okra

    Story and images by Lisa L. Bynum Okra is a very under-rated fruit. Yes, it’s a fruit! Not only is it easy to grow in a backyard garden, but it’s loaded with vitamins and nutrients, low in calories and carbohydrates, and high in protein. However, beyond tossing cut pods in a pot of gumbo or rolling it in cornmeal to be fried, most people don’t know what else to do with okra. (Turns out okra is very versatile if you know how to prepare it!) Oven Roasted Okra Serves 4 Cutting the okra in half before roasting prevents the okra from being slimy. Ingredients: 1 lb. fresh okra 1 1/2 Tablespoons paprika 1 Tablespoon onion powder 1 Tablespoon garlic powder 1 Tablespoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1 teaspoon dried basil 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil Method: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut off the stems and cut the okra in half lengthwise. In a small bowl, combine all the seasonings. Place the okra in a medium mixing bowl or gallon-size plastic freezer bag. Drizzle the olive oil over the top of the okra, followed by the seasoning mixture. Stir until the okra is evenly coated. Spread the okra in an even layer on a foil-lined, greased baking sheet. Roast for 10-15 minutes until the okra is tender and starting to brown in some places. Okra Cornmeal Cakes Serves 4 Ingredients: 1 cup self-rising white cornmeal 1 cup all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 1/2 cups buttermilk 2 eggs, slightly beaten 1 cup fresh or frozen okra, stems trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick Vegetable oil for frying Method: In a medium mixing bowl, combine self-rising white cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder and cayenne. Add the buttermilk and eggs and stir to combine. Gently fold in the okra until it is dispersed through the batter evenly. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Scoop 1/4 cup of the batter into the hot oil. Cook the cornmeal hoe cakes for about 2 to 3 minutes until the bottoms are brown and bubbles form on the tops and edges. Turn and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes until the other side is golden brown. Remove the cakes to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain the grease. Repeat with the remaining batter. Spicy Pickled Okra Makes between 2-4 pints, depending on number and size of okra Ingredients: 2 teaspoons dill seed 2 teaspoons minced garlic 1 teaspoon dill weed or 1 large dill head per jar 1 teaspoon mustard seed ¼ cup dried onion 1-3 whole jalapeños or other hot peppers, seeded and chopped 2 ¼ cups water 1 ¼ cups apple cider vinegar 2 Tablespoons kosher or pickling salt 2-4 clean pint jars Fresh whole okra, rinsed Method: Combine the dill seed, minced garlic, dill weed, mustard seed, onion, jalapeños, water, vinegar and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring the brine to a simmer. Heat until the salt is dissolved. Pack the okra into clean pint jars. Pour the brine over the okra, leaving ¼-inch of headspace between the contents of the jar and the rim. Top the jar with a lid. Place the okra in the refrigerator or process for 15 minutes using the water bath canning method. Okra is ready to eat after three weeks.

  • Pots and Pans as Memory Keepers: A Tale of Two Skillets

    By Michele D. Baker “What keeps me motivated is not the food itself but all the bonds and memories the food represents.” Michael Chiarello My grandmother Margaret was a force to be reckoned with. She was the youngest girl of 15 children – all single births – and by the time she came along, several of her older sisters were already married and had children, so she grew up with nieces and nephews who were older than she was. Very early, she discovered a couple things: she didn’t like to sit still, she loved children, and she was a good cook. When her little brother came along, she helped take care of him, working in the garden, weeding the flower beds, and making dinner. In those days, most of the cookware was made of durable cast iron, suitable for cooking evenly on a wood-fired farmhouse cookstove. Because of the large family, she used an oversized cast iron skillet for many meals – it was large enough to hold a five-pound pot roast with potatoes, carrots and onions. This particular skillet has cradled cornbread, hosted a mountain of mashed turnips, and even broiled to perfection a whole Thanksgiving turkey with stuffing around the edges. Later, when my grandmother married and had five children of her own, she used this skillet for the Easter roast lamb, Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas goose. My father would bring us grandkids over to his parents’ house for holidays, and that skillet would be on the stovetop, the meat resting before my grandfather carved it with the electric knife that was all the rage in the early 70s. When my grandmother died, I was the lucky recipient of this skillet, and I began to understand its true value. The inside has been seasoned to perfection with the juices and fats of hundreds of meats and sauces over nearly a century. It can hold ten pounds of potatoes and ten decades’ worth of memories. It can withstand the heat of the oven, can sit atop campfire coals, and has withstood the proverbial heat of the kitchen. It has held meals and memories of weddings, graduations, church picnics, christenings, and funerals. I’m not sure how my family acquired this behemoth 14” Griswold skillet that weighs nearly seven pounds when empty. When it was new in the 1930s, this skillet was the most expensive one made and cost about $2 (domed lid not included), a huge sum for the farm workers and laborers of that era. My great grandfather was a blacksmith with a thriving business in a tiny village between Chicago and Des Moines, but even so, it’s unlikely anybody would have had that much available cash to spend on a skillet. The romantic side of me likes to daydream that perhaps a tinker stopped by to get his horse shod, and they “horse traded” the skillet in payment. It’s a minor mystery that, unfortunately, will remain unsolved. The huge frying pan is too big and too heavy for the rack with the other pans, so in my kitchen it lives with the cookie sheets in the drawer underneath the oven. Despite its size, it’s one of my favorite pieces of cookware. Every time I roast or bake something, I pull out that pan, and to this day, it still cooks the annual turkey, although now I use a cooking bag to make it simpler to get out all the wonderful turkey drippings. It is a heavy pan, even more so when full of meat and memories, so I always use two hands – and two of grandma’s crocheted potholders – when taking it out of the oven. My latest culinary prize is also a skillet. This one I purchased as an “it’s a Thursday” gift, which is what I say to myself when I really want something but don’t want to wait until my birthday or Christmas. It’s a tiny 6” Staub cast iron skillet with turmeric-colored enamel on the handle and base. Although I value well-made items and am willing to pay for solid wood antique furniture, silk or linen clothing and hardback first editions, I’m a bit embarrassed at how much I paid for this tiny skillet, suitable only for cooking a single egg. But it was love at first sight, I’m afraid. A foodie friend had the sky-blue version and claimed it was his favorite. (Of course, then I needed one, too.) This French-made skillet browns without sticking, sautés like a champ, and even pops right in the oven for the perfect broil. I feel so chic when using it, as if my French ancestors were standing next to me. It is the perfect pan for any recipe from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child. The surface of the skillet is nonstick without the nonstick coating, and although it could go in the dishwasher, I usually lovingly bathe it in hot, soapy water before allowing it to dry in a wooden rack. Every time I cook my single serving in it, I smile. Then I think about my friends, my family, and my grandmother, realize how lucky I am, and understand that I am making memories with this skillet, too. As chef and author Jeff Smith says in “The Frugal Gourmet Keeps the Feast” (1995), “Feasting is… closely related to memory. We eat certain things in a particular way to remember who we are.” I’m sure that is true, and now I have two skillets to hold the memories.

  • 4 Back to School Suppers in 30 Minutes or Less

    Words & images by Lisa L. Bynum Ushering in a new school year can also usher in a lot of stress. Thankfully, getting dinner on the table does not have to be a part it. Any of these four flavorful back to school supper recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less. Smothered Hamburger Steaks in the Oven Serves 4-6 Ingredients: 6 hamburger patties (about ½ lb. each) Salt Ground black pepper Onion powder Garlic powder 8 oz. sliced white mushrooms 1 cup thinly sliced white onion 2 Tablespoons bacon grease or oil 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 cup beef broth Additional salt and pepper to taste Method: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan with foil. Place a baking rack over the foil and spray with cooking spray. Season the outside of each of the hamburger steaks with the salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder to your preference. Place the hamburger patties on top of the baking rack. Bake for 15-25 minutes until juices from the patties are clear. In the meantime, melt the bacon grease or oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushroom and onions. Sauté until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the flour and stir until the flour is incorporated and there are no lumps. Add the beef broth. Continue to simmer for 3-5 minutes until the broth begins to thicken into a gravy. Season the gravy with additional salt and pepper if needed. To serve, spoon the gravy over the tops of the hamburger steaks. Sloppy Joes from Scratch Serves 4-6 This freezes well. Double or triple the recipe and save for a later date. Ingredients: 1-1/2 lb. ground beef ½ cup onions, diced ¼ cup celery, diced 1 small green bell pepper, diced 1 cup ketchup 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1 teaspoon yellow mustard Salt and pepper to taste Hamburger buns Method: In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef until no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the ground beef to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Set aside. Reserve at least two Tablespoons of the grease in the skillet. Add the onions, celery and bell peppers to the skillet. Sauté the vegetables for an additional 8-10 minutes until they are tender. Return the ground beef to the skillet. Add ketchup, Worcestershire and mustard. Stir until combined and heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Serve on hamburger buns. Cheesy Crescent Roll Chicken Serves 4-6 Ingredients: 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 cup heavy cream 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning (such as Tony Chachere’s) 4 oz. cream cheese, softened 1 cup diced cooked chicken breast 1 Tablespoon minced onion 2 Tablespoons chopped pimentos 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided 2 cans of refrigerated crescent rolls Salt and pepper to taste Method: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt three Tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for two minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low. Slowly stir in the heavy cream. Bring the cream to a simmer and continue to cook until the cream begins to thicken. Remove the sauce from the heat and season with the Creole seasoning. Melt the remaining butter. Whip the butter and the cream cheese together. Add the diced chicken breast, onion, pimentos and one cup of the shredded cheddar. Stir together until the mixture is evenly combined. Unroll the crescent roll dough and separate the triangles along the perforations. Place about one Tablespoon of the chicken filling along the wide edge of each triangle. Carefully roll the crescent rolls up around the filling. Spread the sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 x 2-inch casserole dish. Arrange the stuffed crescent rolls over the sauce. Bake for 15 minutes. Top the crescent rolls with the remainder of the cheese. Bake for an additional 10 minutes until the crescent rolls are brown and the cheese is melted. Shrimp Creole Serves 4-6 Ingredients: 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter 3/4 cup chopped onion 1 small green bell pepper, diced 1/4 cup diced celery 1 clove garlic, minced 1/2 cup chicken or shrimp stock 2 Tablespoons tomato paste 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes 3/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley Salt and pepper to taste Hot cooked white rice 2 green onions, optional Method: Melt butter in a large sauté pan or pot over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery. Sauté the vegetables until tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds. Add the chicken or shrimp stock, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, Cajun seasoning, Italian seasoning, and parsley. Stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the shrimp. Continue to simmer until the shrimp are pink and opaque, about five minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve Shrimp Creole over cooked rice. Garnish with green onions, if desired.

  • From the Bookshelf: The Herbalist's Bible

    From the Bookshelf: The Herbalist’s Bible: John Parkinson’s Lost Classic – 82 Herbs and Their Medicinal Uses, by Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal (2014) By Michele D. Baker Always interested in the idea of “food as medicine,” I picked up “The Herbalist’s Bible” while browsing in a local bookseller, only to discover what a magnificent book it truly is. Authors Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal’s connection with John Parkinson began in 2005 with a peek at Parkinson’s “Theatrum Botanicum” (1640) in a rare books collection in Norwich, England. The huge folio contained 1,788 pages of illustrated text in a leather cover and was in mediocre condition – it had formerly been available in the lending library and was marked with rain spatters from a careless patron. Sensing the importance of this weighty collection of botanical lore, the Seals created a book dedicated to the spirit – if not the entirety – of the book; the result is “The Herbalist’s Bible.” It begins with a history lesson on John Parkinson, the historical context of the mid 1600s, and his career path from apprentice botanist to experienced apothecary. Parkinson was also an accomplished gardener, and even did woodcuts of flowers and plants. His life’s work was the production of the “Theatrum Botanicum,” which he dedicated to “the Kings Most Excellent Maiestie” Charles I, calling it a “Manlike Worke of Herbes and Plants.” Like the Theatrum Botanicum before it, the 256-page Herbalist’s Bible is laid out in the same fashion, with the Latin name of the plant, an image, and a list of “vertues” (uses) such as staunching wounds, treating high blood pressure, or for stomach complaints. The most interesting feature of the book is that the multipage article on each plant shows first the original “Theatrum Botanicum” page, then translates that information into modern English, including updated uses, with color photos. For example, Parkinson’s page for elder (Sambucus) begins with this introduction paragraph: “Both Dioscorides and Galen doe attribute to the Wallworte, as well as to the common Elder, (for they account their properties both one) an heating and drying quality, purging watery humors aboundantly, but not without trouble to the stomack. The first shootes of the common Elder boyled like unto Asparagux, and the young leaves and stalkes boyled in fat broth, draweth forth mightily choler and tough flegme; the tender leaves also eaten with oyle and salt doe the same.” The fascinating book continues, mirroring and updating many of Parkinson’s entries page for page, and adding commentary where needed for modern readers. The book translates and comments on 82 plants still in common use today, in both culinary and in medicinal use, and organized alphabetically by the common English name, such as: betony, burdock, chicory, daisies, elder, goldenrod, honeysuckle, hyssop, jasmine, liquorice, mint, onion/leek/garlic, rosemary, sage, seaweed, St. John’s wort, watercress and yarrow. In the “note to the reader,” the Seals also invite us to browse the book, to dive in and discover – along with Parkinson – the joys and uses of plants and seeds sent to Parkinson by friends overseas in North and South America, China, the East and West Indes, India and the Middle East. Share in Parkinson’s excitement as he experiments with exotic and unheard-of plants such as chili peppers (cayenne), coca, corn, love apples (tomatoes), sassafras and tobacco. Readers will also want to take advantage of the extensive end notes, appendices, glossary, index, and the brief biographies of well-known botanists, apothecaries, healers, scholars, and surgeons throughout history, all of which make this book both interesting and highly informative. Happy reading!

  • Father's Day Feast

    Words and Photos by Lisa L. Bynum If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, dear old dad will definitely feel loved with this feast fit for a … father! Don’t own a smoker? No problem. This oven baked brisket served with a savory gravy can be prepared right in the oven. Pair it with cheesy twice baked potatoes and a refreshing bourbon slush to wash everything down. Don’t forget dessert... Warm and juicy blackberry cobbler with a golden flaky crust is best enjoyed with a giant creamy scoop of vanilla ice cream right on top. Coca-Cola Oven Baked Brisket 5 pounds fresh beef brisket For the Coca-Cola marinade: 32 oz. (4 cups) regular Coca-Cola 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil For the gravy: 2 cups reserved Coca-Cola marinade 1 envelope dry onion soup mix 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce 1/2 cup tomato ketchup 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced into rings 2 bay leaves Method: Make the marinade. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the marinade ingredients. Place the brisket in a large non-reactive bowl or baking dish. Pour the marinade over the top. Cover completely and marinate the brisket in the fridge for at least 14 hours, maximum 24. Halfway through marinating, flip the brisket so both sides can absorb the marinade. After 14-24 hours, remove the brisket from the marinade and place in a large roaster. Reserve two cups of the marinade. Combine with the onion soup mix, tomato sauce, and ketchup to make the gravy. Slowly pour the gravy over the brisket. Top with the sliced onions and bay leaves. Cover the roaster with aluminum foil. Roast at 325 degrees for 4 hours (low and slow). Halfway through, remove from the oven and use the gravy to baste the brisket. Continue cooking. Allow the brisket to rest for 30 minutes before slicing. Slice the brisket against the grain. Serve with any accumulated gravy from the pan. Twice Baked Potatoes These delicious and easy potatoes pair perfectly with brisket. Ingredients: 4 medium Russet potatoes 2 Tablespoons olive oil 1 Tablespoon salt 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon onion powder ½ teaspoon ground black pepper ½ cup whole milk or heavy cream ¼ cup sour cream 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided ¼ cup bacon bits or chopped cooked bacon ¼ cup sliced green onions Salt and pepper to taste Method: Preheat the oven to 450° F. Using a knife, poke several holes into the surface of the potatoes and brush the outside of the potatoes with the olive oil. Combine the salt, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper. Season the outside of the potatoes with the seasoning mixture. Place the potatoes on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 35 minutes until the potatoes are tender, but not quite cooked all the way through. Remove the potatoes from the oven and allow them to cool until they are comfortable to handle. Cut each potato in half lengthwise, so you have two "boats." Using a large spoon, gently scoop out the inside of the potatoes, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Mash the scooped-out centers. Add the milk, sour cream and butter. Stir to combine. Add the cheese, bacon and green onions. Stir until everything is evenly mixed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon equal amounts of the potato filling back into the hollowed-out skins. Top with the remaining cheddar cheese. Return the potatoes back to the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes until the potatoes are heated through and the cheese is melted. Bourbon Slush Ingredients: 2 cups sweet tea, homemade or store bought 1 cup lemonade 2 ½ cups orange juice 2 cups pineapple juice 2 cups bourbon Method: In a large mixing bowl, combine the tea, lemonade, orange juice, pineapple juice and bourbon and pour the mixture into a 9” x 13” x 2” casserole dish. Place the container in the freezer for eight hours until firm. Fifteen minutes before serving, remove the dish from the freezer. Scrape the frozen liquid with a fork, then scoop individual servings into glasses. Southern Blackberry Cobbler Made with locally, fresh-picked blackberries, this cobbler is the perfect dessert after a meat-and-potatoes Father’s Day feast! Ingredients: 1/2 cup unsalted butter 4 cups fresh or frozen blackberries 2 cups sugar, divided 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 3/4 cup milk 1/8 teaspoon of salt Whipped cream or ice cream optional Method: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the butter into an 8” x 8” baking dish in the oven and allow the butter to melt, about 5-7 minutes. In the meantime, gently combine the blackberries with one cup of the sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl, blend the remaining sugar, flour, baking powder, milk, and salt. Pour the mixture over the melted butter, but do not stir. Pour the sugared blackberries over the flour. Do not stir. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until the crust has risen to the top and is golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

  • What's Happening - July 2023

    Empanola Biloxi Opens on Popps Ferry Road A sister location to the NOLA restaurant in Louisiana, these are Mexican empanadas with a New Orleans influence. Choose from vegetarian, plant-based meat, traditional meat based, and even breakfast empanadas. The staff is helpful, knowledgeable, and friendly. Wash your fresh pastry down with one of the many New Orleans coffee-based drinks. When you leave, take home a batch of empanadas to cook later! (The takeaway empanadas are pre-cooked to set the dough; you finish cooking at home with clear heating instructions for ovens or air fryers.) Although they don't have gluten-free empanadas yet, they are in the works. https://empanolabiloxi.com/ Georgia Blue Coming Soon to Silo Square Georgia Blue, a laid-back southern restaurant, will soon add its fifth location at Silo Square’s May Blvd. entrance along Getwell Road. Georgia Blue is currently located in Madison, Flowood, Starkville, and Brookhaven. From po-boys and shrimp & grits to bayou catfish or blue plate specials, Georgia Blue has something for everyone. Georgia Blue proudly distills and serves its own Georgia Blue bourbon, vodka, and tequila—just one more thing that makes us unique. Georgia Blue will feature an upstairs, outdoor dining area and often host live music for guest to enjoy. GeorgiaBlue.net Eggs Up Grill Headed to Meridian in Summer 2023 Eggs Up Grill, a rapidly growing breakfast, brunch and lunch concept, is coming soon. The menu offers seasonal items for dine-in, online and delivery. Menu categories include omelets and benedicts prepared with fresh, hand-cracked eggs, pancakes, waffles and breakfast sandwiches and a selection of mimosas. Lunch choices include juicy burgers, tasty sandwiches, melts, salads and bowls. The menu also offers gluten-friendly options and a kids’ menu. The full menu is available open to close. All locations are individually owned and operated by a local member of the community. To learn more, visit https://eggsupgrill.com/. Little Tokyo Moving into Old Barrelhouse Space on State Street in Jackson With the closure of Barrelhouse in January – owners said the constant water issues on top of the pandemic forced the closure – the prime Fondren location is available for rent. Steven Huang, the owner of Little Tokyo, said right now, the plan is to open this summer. There’s a Little Tokyo location on County Line Road, and this one will be the second in the metro. “They don’t have a sushi restaurant in this area, any Asian restaurants, so it’s a pretty good opportunity for me to open an Asian restaurant in Fondren,” Huang said. “It’s a perfect location because they’ve got a lot of history.” https://www.littletokyofondren.com/

  • Till We Eat Again: Wedding Tales

    by Jay Reed They say God has a sense of humor. He definitely thought it was funny when He was planning the weddings of my children. This scenario isn’t always the case, I realize, but generally speaking, when you have both a boy and a girl of marrying age, there are less expenses on the groom’s side than the bride’s. (Generally.) Unless you have a worldwide pandemic that happens to find its way to Mississippi. Then it’s complicated. Son got engaged in February 2020, just before the Corona hit the fan. They got the planning done from mostly 6 feet apart, as far as you know. The wedding was in November, when things weren’t quite so panicky, but restrictions were still abundant. The ceremony was in our church chapel instead of the main sanctuary, which limited them to about 75 guests and meant the rehearsal dinner guest list was nearly identical to the reception list. But despite all the crazy the pandemic thrust upon this party, we still ate well. Their reception definitely took the cake. Well, somebody took it - the wedding cake was in fact a stack of glazed and blueberry cake donuts, carefully staged on wooden tiers designed and built by the bride herself. The groom, a Tolkien fan, requested a red velvet cake in the shape of The Hobbit (the book, not the creature), which the baker placed on a tree stump (more cake!) with the couple’s initials carved into it. And for the main meal: breakfast for dinner. The best kind of dinner. Another unique tweak to their reception was the coffee. Son and Daughter-in-Law collected coffee cup sleeves to commemorate dates. Son was nerding out on coffee gadgets. So it was perfectly natural for them to include the magic elixir in their wedding. Southbound Coffee in Columbus (the site of a coffee class date) came and did a coffee bar, and as favors, everybody went home with a pack of custom-labeled 2020 blend. A little under two years later, it was Daughter’s turn. Masks were still floating around, but most of the other restrictions – especially when it came to catering – had disappeared. They could invite as many people as they wanted: this ceremony was in the big sanctuary. The rehearsal was a barbecue feast from Moe’s. Son-in-Law scored big points with his father-in-Law-to-be with that choice. I even got to attend a couple of tastings in the decision process. At the reception the caterer definitely … catered … to her. Daughter is traditionally a picky eater. Chicken nuggets and Easy Mac were staples of her childhood. Suffice it to say that her reception reflected that childhood. She also loves big soft pretzels, and asked if she could have a pretzel wall, much like the trendy donut walls. Lo and behold, Zachary’s designed a pretzel distribution device – I can’t call it a wall, because it wasn’t that simple – rather, it was a rolling rack of black pipes, with hooks where the big soft pretzels hung. It was impressive. Related: Till We Eat Again: Cruising and Camels: A (Day After) Valentine' Day Anniversary Story On the sweet side, the bride had a multi-layer cake, with multiple flavors. The groom, however, wasn’t sure he wanted a cake. Instead, he got chocolate covered strawberries decorated to look like footballs (thanks, Aunt Marti!) Not to be outdone by brother’s coffee, all the guests got personalized tea bags and honey straws, because the Bride digs tea. And now a word from the sponsor of these weddings, about his own. A Mississippi boy met a Florida girl in North Carolina, and the result was a marriage. I was determined to have barbecue and catfish at the rehearsal dinner. The Wife, with roots in upstate New York, thought I was crazy. I was not. We threw the catfish back but went whole hog on the barbecue. We took our idea to the caterer, and she thought it was fabulous. (“Told you so,” may have escaped my lips at that point.) My folks transported Little Dooey pulled pork on dry ice all the way to Asheville. There, the caterer fancified the trimmings: tri-color slaw, roasted potatoes, etc., and our party loved it. We ran out of barbecue, which is traditionally a terrible thing at a rehearsal dinner, but at least we know they liked it. The reception was largely vegetarian. The Wife was a vegetarian herself at the time, so we had lots of veggies. And cheese. And hummus. (Just an average menu in Asheville.) All in all, we had a coffee wedding and a tea wedding. A donut stack and a pretzel structure. Breakfast and barbecue. Carnivores and vegans. Isn’t it great how weddings bring people together in all kinds of ways? Follow Jay on Facebook.

  • Restaurant Spotlight: The Tomato Place: Perfect Tomatoes and A Whole Lot More

    By Michele D. Baker Photos courtesy of Dan Johnson and Glenn Koury “It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.” Lewis Grizzard, Southern writer and humorist Nothing says summer more absolutely (and deliciously) than a vine-ripe tomato. In 2001, what started off as a few side-of-the-road fruit stands grew into The Tomato Place café off Highway 61 South in Vicksburg. In the last two decades, the popular eatery has acquired a “Mid South grandma’s back porch” atmosphere. From its humble beginnings selling farm-to-table vegetables and fruits, The Tomato Place has grown into a newsworthy pit stop and attraction for locals, tourists, and even foreign guests who learned about it from travel guidebooks and TV shows. Hardworking owner Luke Hughes is passionate about produce. Except for Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s, The Tomato Place is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. for breakfast, lunch and dinner. “I’ve been working roadside stands my whole life,” says Hughes. “I used to grow all kinds of tomatoes myself, and I was eating a lot of tomato sandwiches. I sold my lunch one day, and it just grew from there.” Hughes now supports local farmers and backyard growers who bring in small baskets of whatever they picked that morning. “Sometimes I even trade vegetables for some of my famous fruit smoothies,” he laughs. The appeal of the place begins at curbside, with blue and red umbrella-shaded tables right out front. A delectable aroma of frying fish whets your appetite for the meal to come, and there’s plenty to explore while you wait. Potted pansies hang cheek by jowl with lush ferns, begonias and geraniums. Inside the small store are fruits and veggies for sale, freshly baked bread, locally packed tea, Tomato Place hats and shirts, the café counter and a large cold case filled with smoothies in every imaginable flavor including peach, blackberry and strawberry banana. Colorfully painted signs, bottle trees, and eclectic decorations adorn the walls and surfaces. An old corrugated-metal watering trough has been repurposed as a decorative koi pond, water spouting through a sun-bleached cow skull. Every nook and cranny is filled with flowers, knick knacks and genuine Americana. This place is homey, cozy and absolutely authentic; you can relax here. “This is a slow food, smell the roses, hear the music, feel the atmosphere kind of place,” explains Hughes. “We believe in real interactions between people and time to enjoy your made-from-scratch meal.” Related: Use Mississippi Medallion Tomatoes in Your Home Garden And delicious food it is. Hughes uses some of his mother’s and grandmother’s recipes shaped by flavors picked up on his many travels. “I wouldn’t say my food’s gourmet, but it’s fresh, hot and tasty,” he jokes. “I never attended cooking school; I’m entirely self-taught. I just try to be original in my recipes, using flavors I enjoy.” The lunch/dinner menu is a scrumptious panoply of Po’boys, salads, melts and clubs; and burgers and hotdogs; but there’s also breakfast (eggs, grits, bacon and sausage, omelets, fruit, bagels), homemade bread pudding and ready-made foods in the cooler just waiting to be taken home and heated up. Of special note are the fried catfish plate, the Jamaican burger with jerk seasoning and fried yams (inspired by a trip to the Caribbean), the twice-cooked “Boo Fries” and the fried green tomato BLT with avocado slices. (View a complete menu here.) Also available in the store and online – some in recycled wine and Corona beer bottles – are homemade sauces, jellies, syrups, chow chow, pecans, cookbooks and coffee. Be sure to pick up a bottle of “Mississippi Fever,” an original sweet and slightly spicy tomato and onion sauce – created by Hughes especially for his sister – that perfectly complements almost any item on the menu. Although the roadside stand attracts its fair share of drive-by business from locals, before coronavirus, Hughes believes about half his customers were from other countries. “A couple from Holland biking through Mississippi found us in a Dutch travel guide,” he says, shaking his head in wonder. A South African gentleman comes every year while in the States on business. “Lots of Europeans come to Vicksburg for the Civil War history, the antebellum mansions and to experience southern hospitality,” he says. “Then they stop by for the kind of meal they can never get at home.” “We’re all one big family here, including customers,” finishes Hughes. “Some of my former employees come back to visit and bring their children and grandchildren. It’s become intergenerational. The food is good, but The Tomato Place is really all about the people.” To learn more, visit www.TheTomatoPlace.com Recipe: Vicksburg Tomato Sandwich Using a 4 or 5” round cutter, cut out two circles of white bread. Top one circle with a thick, peeled slice of juicy, ripe beefsteak tomato. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, a squeeze of Vidalia onion juice, and a generous dollop of homemade mayonnaise. Top with the other bread round. Serves 1.

  • Perfect Char Siu Pork

    by Dennis Seid, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal Pork is an essential meat in Chinese cooking, and one of the most popular and recognized pork dishes is Chinese barbecued pork, commonly called char siu (in Cantonese, pronounced “CHA soo”). Literally char siu means “fork roasted” and could apply to any meat, but it’s the pork dish that most people are most familiar with – slices of sweet and savory red-roasted pork. Char siu is served hot or cold as an appetizer and can be used in a variety of dishes from fried rice to noodles to vegetables. You’ll want to use pork with a good fat content such as Boston butt or pork shoulder. If you can get it boneless, that’s great because you’ll want to slice the meat in 1” thick hunks before marinating. (Get the butcher to slice it at the store if you don’t want to slice it yourself.) You can buy char siu sauce at an Asian grocery store to marinate the meat; two jars for a 2-3 lb. Boston Butt works out well. Or you can make your own marinade (see below). This recipe is based on one by YouTube’s Made With Lau, a Cantonese chef who cooked for many years in a restaurant. I’ve tweaked it a bit to my taste. His recipe calls for baking the meat in the oven, which is most convenient and is the cooking method included here. However, when possible, I cook the meat on a grill over charcoal for the added flavor. Ingredients with an (*) indicate they are available at any Asian grocery store, or possibly at Kroger or Walmart. Ingredients: 2-3 lb. Boston butt/pork shoulder 1 Tablespoon of garlic salt 4 Tablespoons of brown sugar 2 Tablespoons of oyster sauce 2 Tablespoons of light soy sauce* 1 Tablespoon of hoisin sauce* 1 Tablespoon of Shaoxing wine* 1 cube of red fermented bean curd (optional)* 1 teaspoon of five-spice powder 3 Tablespoons of honey 3 teaspoons of water Method: Make the marinade: in a bowl, add the brown sugar, garlic salt, oyster sauce, light soy sauce, hoisin sauce, Shaoxing, five-spice powder and the red fermented bean curd. (Note that the bean curd is quite a powerful punch and isn’t for everybody but adds that much talked about umami flavor.) In another small bowl, mix honey and water together. Marinate meat for at least 8 hours (I prefer overnight). I put the strips in gallon-sized Ziploc bags and cover with the marinade, pressing the marinade firmly into the meat and pressing all air out of the bags. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Place the pork on a baking rack on a large baking tray lined with foil to catch the juices. (There’s quite a bit of dripping from the meat.) Add 2 Tablespoons of water to the bottom of the pan to help keep the pork moist while you’re cooking, and to help prevent the drippings from burning. Add small amounts of water as needed. Cook for 15 minutes and baste both sides with leftover pork marinade. Flip the meat and repeat, cooking for another 15 minutes. Generously spread both sides with the honey water and cook for 10 minutes. Turn up heat to 425° F, baste with remaining honey, and bake another 10 minutes. (Total cooking time is about 50 minutes in the oven.) Remove from oven and allow to stand for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with steamed white rice or use in other Chinese dishes as suggested.

  • Restaurant Spotlight: Jutamas Thai: “If they don’t serve this soup in Heaven, I’m not going”

    Story and images by Michele D. Baker Jutamas Thai is the kind of place that when you find it, another piece of the puzzle drops into place and the Universe turns a little more smoothly on its axis. I first discovered Jutamas on my birthday about 15 years ago. After a celebratory lunch at the original Timothy Lane location in Hattiesburg (rated #1 on Trip Advisor!), I knew I had stumbled onto something special... the kind of restaurant where everything is just how you hoped and the food tastes just like you want it to. My favorite dish on the menu isn’t even an entrée. The Tom Kha soup, that traditional coconut milk, ginger and lemon grass concoction that lights up the palate with its delicate yet intense flavor; well, the first time I had this soup at Jutamas, I was hooked. This is a serious love, folks. I’ve traveled the world and eaten Thai food on several continents, but this particular soup is something special. In all the time I’ve ever eaten it, it has always tasted exactly the same, and it is always served piping hot in a blue china bowl with a matching lid. This soup is perfect because owner Bordean “Dean” Pienpermpat and his wife Pai have arranged it that way. After driving from Jackson to Hattiesburg just for the soup, Dean came over to ask how I’d enjoyed my meal and was delighted to hear I’d come all that way. He explained that if they lack even a single ingredient, they do not offer the Tom Kha that day, because their customers have come to expect that it will taste the same every time. (It does.) Besides consistent flavor, other touches add to the experience, as well. A chef/artist must work in the kitchen because every plate comes to the table artfully arranged: tomato peel roses, carved carrot crowns, and a perfect line of Sriracha sauce adorning one edge. Vegetables are cut into exact cubes, green onions are sliced into uniform circles, and sauce is artfully drizzled atop sizzling meats. Besides the soup, there are other delicious things on the menu, too, of course: the Larb is excellent, as are the spring rolls and the Toong Tong, those little crispy pastries stuffed with pork, shrimp and crab meat. Among my favorite dinners are Honey Pork, Volcano Shrimp, Drunken Noodles, and of course, the Pad Thai. I am also deeply in love with their Mussaman Curry (with extra peanuts), and the Pumpkin Red Curry is a revelation over rice. Traditional desserts include mango with sticky rice, fried ice cream, fried banana with ice cream (great for birthdays) and the Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake. The Thai Iced Tea is also superb, if slightly sweet for my taste buds as I grow older. As the Jutamas empire expands, there are now three locations: two in Hattiesburg (910 Timothy Lane and 6156 Hwy. 98) and a new location in Ridgeland (500 Hwy. 51 North). I have found that the original Timothy Lane location is only equaled by its newer Ridgeland sister restaurant, a beautiful place to have soup and spring rolls for lunch on a sunny weekday. I’m so in love with Dean’s Tom Kha soup, I’ll finish with a bold assertion: if they don’t serve this soup in Heaven, I’m not going. Find out more at JutamasThaiMS.com.

  • Grandma's Cookbook - Cabbage and Cucumber Recipes

    These recipes all came from church cookbooks from the 1960s and 1970s. They are definitely “old fashioned” in that some use canned ingredients, which were all the rage back then. You’ll find they’re still delicious, though, and use ingredients widely available in the summer. Great-Grandma Ann’s Cabbage Casserole Union Church Cookbook 12 servings Ingredients: 1 medium cabbage shredded (or 1-1/2 bags of shredded cole slaw cabbage) 2 - 10.25 oz. cans of cream of chicken soup 1 medium onion, diced 1 - 10 oz. can Ro-Tel tomatoes, drained (mild or spicy, your choice) 2 sticks of butter or margarine, melted (divided) 3/4 cup mayonnaise 1-1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese 1 sleeve buttery crackers, crushed (such as Ritz or club crackers) Method: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a 9" x 13" glass dish, layer uncooked cabbage and onions. Drizzle 1 stick of melted butter over the cabbage and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, cream of chicken soup and Ro-Tel and spoon the mixture over the cabbage. Sprinkle over the shredded cheese. Sprinkle over the crushed crackers and drizzle with the remaining stick of melted butter. Bake for 45 minutes or until the cabbage is tender and the cracker crust is golden and crispy. Since summer is cucumber season and there are usually bushels and bushels full available – especially if you have a garden! – I’m including two ways to make these delicious vegetables. Marg’s Refrigerated Raw Cucumbers Lindenwood Church Cookbook Ingredients: 12 cucumbers, peeled and sliced 4 Tablespoons salt 1 red bell pepper, cleaned & diced 1 green bell pepper, cleaned & diced 1 small onion, diced 2 cups sugar 2 cups white vinegar Method: Sprinkle the salt on the sliced cucumbers and allow to sit for 2 hours. Drain off the juices. Mix in the chopped vegetables. Make a brine using the sugar and vinegar. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the vegetables to the brine and store in the refrigerator in a glass jar(s). Marg’s notes say these can be held in the refrigerator for up to 4 months. Aunt Ruth’s Cucumber Salad Lindenwood Church Cookbook Ingredients: 5-6 fresh cucumbers, washed 2 small onions, finely chopped 1/4 cup half and half or heavy cream 1 Tablespoon vinegar 1-2 Tablespoons sugar (to taste) Method: Using a box grater, mandolin, or food processor fitted with a grater blade, grate the cucumbers into a bowl. Add the finely chopped onions. Make a dressing from the half and half, vinegar and sugar and mix well until the sugar melts. Pour the dressing over the cucumbers and marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Serve cold.

  • Delicious Two Ingredient Pizza Crust and Homemade Pizza Six Ways

    This delicious pizza dough recipe is inspired and adapted from one by Jessica Moore on ImpatientFoodie.com. Yes, two-ingredient pizza really does exist! And because it doesn’t require any kneading, yeast, or time to rise, homemade pizza just got easier! The result is an averagely thick pizza crust. Not too crispy and thin and not too doughy or thick, either – the perfect middle ground. Ingredients for the pizza crust dough: 1 part Greek yogurt 1 part self-rising flour* (see Tips & Tricks below) Method: For this recipe, you’ll need equal measurements of both these ingredients, plus extra flour for rolling and kneading. For an 8 slice pizza, use 1-1/4 cups of each. If you don’t have any scales, simply use equal amounts of both. Put the ingredients into a bowl and mix them together to form a dough. Turn the mixture onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 5 minutes to achieve a smooth dough. (While this step isn’t entirely necessary, it helps to combine the ingredients.) If the pizza dough is too sticky, add flour 1 Tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistency. (This can happen from time to time and depends on how wet the yogurt is.) Pat the dough with your fingers into the desired pizza shape. Now comes the fun part: loading up the pizza crust with all of your favorite toppings! We find that the best ones will never be repeated, as they were all the leftover tidbits from the few days before. Here are a few tried-and-tested options. Classic Pizza Margherita 1 batch of two-ingredient pizza dough Ingredients for sauce: Pomi strained tomatoes 2 Tablespoon olive oil, divided 1 Tablespoon garlic, minced Mozzarella, sliced or shredded Fresh basil, chopped (for garnish, optional) Make the tomato sauce: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. In a sauté pan over medium heat, cook the garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil until it becomes fragrant and slightly brown. Add strained tomatoes (depending on how big your pizza is). Reduce the heat and simmer, allowing the sauce to thicken for around 10-15 minutes. Pat the dough into a pizza pan, pizza stone, or baking sheet (use a dusting of cornmeal to keep the dough from sticking). Use the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to brush the dough. Spoon on the sauce, leaving a ½ inch border. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil. Cut into wedges and serve. Brussels Sprout-Lemon Pizza Ingredients: 1 batch two-ingredient pizza dough Mozzarella, sliced or shredded 2 Tablespoons olive oil Salt and black pepper Brussels sprouts Parmesan, grated 1 lemon, washed and sliced as thin as possible Method: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Pat the dough into a pan lightly dusted with cornmeal. Brush the dough with olive oil. Cover the dough with plenty of mozzarella, leaving a ½ inch border. Cut the Brussels sprouts into quarters and toss with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle on top of the mozzarella. Add a few lemon slices. Top with parmesan. Bake until the crust is golden and the lemons have charred, about 10-15 minutes. All-the-Veggies Vegetarian Pizza You’ll need: 1 batch of two-ingredient pizza dough 1 batch of tomato sauce (see the Classic Margherita Pizza recipe) Mozzarella cheese An assortment of chopped and sliced veggies (your favorites), such as olives, mushrooms, spinach, peppers, and onions Method: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Pat the dough into a pizza pan or baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. Spoon over the tomato sauce, leaving a ½” border around the edges. Top with mozzarella cheese. Add toppings (not too much – the sauce and cheese need room to breathe). Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and crispy. Hawaiian Pizza For this delicious version of pizza, you’ll need: 1 batch of two-ingredient pizza dough 1 batch of tomato sauce (see the Classic Margherita Pizza recipe) Mozzarella cheese Chopped ham (or use deli ham cut into strips) Sliced jalapeno peppers Pineapple tidbits Method: Bake as directed for Vegetarian pizza. Mexican Feast Pizza You’ll need: 1 batch of two-ingredient pizza dough 1 batch of tomato sauce (see the Classic Margherita Pizza recipe) Mozzarella cheese Cooked, crumbled ground beef (add taco seasoning if you like) Sliced jalapeno peppers Sliced onions Chopped cilantro (also called coriander) for garnish Method: Bake as directed for Vegetarian pizza. Meat Lovers Pizza For meat lovers, try this version: 1 batch of two-ingredient pizza dough 1 batch of tomato sauce (see the Classic Margherita Pizza recipe) Mozzarella cheese Chopped ham (or use deli ham cut into strips) Sausage crumbles Chopped, cooked chicken Bacon bits Cooked mini meatballs Pepperoni slices Any other meats you like Method: Bake as directed for Vegetarian pizza. Tips & Tricks for Pizza Dough Don’t have any self-rising flour? For every 1 cup of all-purpose flour, add 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon fine salt. Store extra flour in a tightly sealed container. Greek yogurt will hold the dough together without being too sticky, which allows the dough to keep its shape in the oven. (Regular yogurt is too wet, and you’ll have to add lots of extra flour to compensate – best to use the Greek.) You can substitute coconut yogurt for vegan and dairy-free dough. Mix first using a rubber spatula, then use your hands to ensure the two ingredients are thoroughly combined. For added zing, add spices to your dough, such as oregano, garlic powder, or basil. To flatten the dough, pat using your fingertips. (Avoid using a rolling pin since this tends to break the dough.) Remember to dust the baking tray with flour or cornmeal to easily remove the cooked pizza. Bake the pizza with the toppings at the same time (don’t pre-bake the crust) on high heat (hot and fast, like a pizza oven).

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