It Takes a Chicken

I had the most fun with my last blog! Thank you, for emailing, calling and stopping me in the grocery store to reminisce about fatback, streak o'lean and souse meat. More often than not, in these Eastern North Carolina foodie conversations, the one thing I heard over and over again was, “You know what I really miss? Chicken and Dumplings. I never learned how to make them like my grandmother used to.” Well, it started me thinking. When I was growing up, Mama used to make homemade pastry for her chicken and dumplings. She rolled out the dough and cut it into long wide ...

Celebrating Southern Drawls, Southern Food and Southern Susan

When I remember Susan Shaffer, her very southern accent is the first thing that comes to mind. It always makes me smile. Twangy drawls were one of the things that Susan and I had in common. After twenty-five years of living in the Lowcountry, I've been able to tone my eastern North Carolina articulation down a good bit. Susan's cadence was a constant. Her words were always spoken slowly, softly and honestly. I miss my friend. With Susan on my mind, I'd like to share a few very southern recipes. This week's offerings are from a food photo shoot taken at my home a couple of ...

Happy Endings

What a fun time of year to be in the kitchen! I love preparing all of the savory goodies and sweet treats that I grew up with at Christmastime. This is the time of year for sausage balls, cheese straws, baby fruitcakes and yule logs. I've been feeling inspired to try some new sweets recipes. With a holiday party at our house on Saturday night, this week was the perfect time to experiment. All of the goodies in this issue are yummy and very easy to whip up. They'd be fun and simple to make with children who like to play in the kitchen. While I'll be serving them as cocktail ...

Summertime Fare

Today is Thursday and my column was due on Tuesday. With all of the Water Festival revelry this week, I'm having a tough time actually getting anything accomplished. Still, we do have to eat, don't we? The big question at our house lately is, “what do you want for supper?” I could eat pizza or tacos almost every night. But, out of devout love for my husband, I've been trying to feed us a semi-healthy meal, at least once a day. The temperature is crazy-Lowcountry-hot these days, but the grill is still my favorite summer kitchen. It must be in my genes. My brother, Ray ...

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

Who doesn't love a green bean casserole made with canned cream of mushroom soup and canned fried onion rings? We all grew up with some version of cream-drowned green beans at Thanksgiving. We love the old recipes because they remind us of family, happy times and traditions. Growing up, our family had a large Thanksgiving Day meal. Mama cooked for days, we scarfed it all up in less than twenty minutes, and then Mama washed dishes for days. She was a kitchen saint. These days, Vince and I celebrate Thanksgiving with some of our dearest friends. The hosts prepare the turkeys ...

Roasted Veggies

As another wonderful summer comes to an end, I have found myself with an excess of some of our favorite vegetables. Unlike my grandmothers, my mother and my aunts, I never got the knack for canning vegetables. I think after eating jar after jar of gray-colored green beans during my childhood, the idea of “putting up” vegetables just wasn't appealing. So, it looks like we're going to be eating a lot of grilled and roasted veggies over the next couple of weeks. I love just about anything and everything cooked on the grill. Drizzle some vegetables with a bit of olive oil ...

Erin Go Braugh!

“May the leprechauns be near you, to spread luck along your way. And, may all the Irish angels smile upon you St. Patrick's Day.”Corned beef is a long-standing American St. Patrick’s Day tradition. In Ireland, the St. Patrick’s Day meal would most likely be ham and cabbage. Corned beef is a beef brisket or round roast cured in brine which leaves the beef bright red and flavorful. The meat remains pink when cooked, and because the beef is a tough cut of meat, requires longer cooking to render it tender. “Corned” refers to the salt grains used many years ago to ...

On the Menu This Week

I wish I had a really good tale to share in this issue, but I don't. A combination of busyness and laziness has kept me at home for most of the week. I have, however, been trying some new recipes that I thought Vince and I would enjoy. So, they're my column for this week. Lucky for all of us, the recipes are easy and delicious. Each one boasts a brightness of fresh citrus. Great for dinner on hot nights, the Vietnamese Pork Salad and Beef Satay Noodles only need a chilled glass of wine to make a complete meal. Trust me, you'll love the icing on the cake. Excellent summer ...

I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues

When I was growing up, my mother's go-to salad was a wedge of iceberg lettuce topped with a blob of chunky blue cheese dressing. She and Daddy scarfed it up like it was candy. I turned my nose up. What was the appeal of this stinky, gooey cheese stuff? Of course, I swore that I would never eat blue cheese. And, once again I'm eating my words. I love blue cheese! I love blue cheese with so many things – on steaks, on salads, stuffed in mushrooms, melted over grilled vegetables, the options are endless. This week's recipes all feature blue cheese. You can choose your ...

Bursting with Blueberries

It's that time of year again – Blueberry Season! South Carolina summers bring ripe blueberries to roadside stands, farmers’ markets and local grocery stores. Round and smooth-skinned blueberries are juicy and sweet. Cultivated blueberries comprise the majority of those that reach the market and the season can span from May through October. Choose blueberries that are firm, uniform in size and indigo blue with a silvery frost. Discard shriveled or molded berries. Don’t wash the berries until you’re ready to use them. They can be stored in a single layer in a ...