Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Southern Duties, Love, Pride, and Magic Bags of Tricks
First, one must understand that as a Southern woman, I do dearly love to cook. Most of us ladies here do. We pride ourselves on our "specialties".. and take great delight in being "famous" for our particular dish. (mine is baked beans... also known as the "Kumbaya Beans". LOL) I can't tell you how I make em. My own secret recipe. But I am quite proud of my title as the reigning "Bean Queen". Oh, yes I am! LOL
Anyhoodles,.. here in the South, food = love. So as much as I dearly love my family and friends, I am constantly cooking. Full bellies = happy folks! This thinking is in our blood.. in our very DNA.
Lately, however, I have taken the "slacker" way out. Sandwiches. Leftovers. One pot "throw together meals". Picking up a box of fried chicken from the Publix Deli, (which when sliced makes delicious fried chicken sandwiches). I have been lazy as sin in the kitchen.
Last night, hubby was whinin' and complaining. "There's no cookies! No cake! No goodies!" He said it in that wounded husband voice that reads in my mind as "If my dear wife LOVED me, I'd have baked goodies to eat." (followed by a wounded hubby face... adding to my guilt.
So this morning I started out by frying chicken... followed by corn pones, (served piping hot and with real butter).... then some yellow rice to eat with the chicken... fresh green beans from my Momma and Daddy's garden cooked with bacon (of course), fresh sliced garden tomatoes, a loaf of zucchini bread, (zucchini is also from the garden), and over 3 dozen cookies, (I used peanut butter and some cranberry granola). Also (of course) fresh brewed sweet iced tea, (also known as 'the House Wine' here at our house).
Two downfalls to this tale. Mr. Picky NOW reminds me that he doesn't 'like' zucchini bread. Grrrr. Fine. More for me and the kids to enjoy. Also.. got it hot in here with that oven going. I usually hate turning my oven on with summer heat... but sometimes, 'you just gotta'. :) A toaster over just does not do the same job.
My kids love home cooked food. They are forever asking me, "Mom! Where'd you get THIS from?" (always some ingredient I found in the back of the pantry or hiding in the freezer and just decided to do something with, or add it to something we usually eat, thus adding some interest. They are always, without fail, completely impressed. (which makes me amused and happy too, I admit!) And I always reply the same answer. "Oh, just something I had in my magic bag of tricks." I think Robyn is convinced that such a bag actually exists, and she'd LOVE a peek inside! LOL!!
Back to business. ;) The recipe to the corn pones is ridiculously simple.
Self-rising cornmeal, Boiling water, Oil or lard for frying. That's it.
Nothing in this recipe is measured. Depending on the amount of cornbread you want to make, pour cornmeal in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over cornmeal and stir quickly. Batter should be very thick. Drop by rounded spoonfuls into hot cooking grease. Fry until golden brown. Turn em' and fry the other side. Drain on paper towels (I use leftover brown paper bags from the grocery store) and serve hot. Similar to Hush Puppies, only better. Good with butter or without... trust me we will eat them happily either way.
The Zucchini Bread is 2 cups self rising flour, 1 cup sugar, a good shake of cinnamon, 2 eggs, 3/4 cup shredded unpeeled zucchini, 3 tbsp. vegetable oil (or melted butter), a half cup (or so) of pecans, and a little milk. You want cake batter consistency. I add the pecans last, and you don't 'have' to have them. Its just how we like ours. Pour it out into a greased bread pan and bake at 325F for 60 - 70 minutes til it's nice and golden. Let it cool a bit before you attempt to turn it out onto your cooling rack. Then just let it finish cooling there. Yummy eaten like cake or you can put cream cheese on it if you want to. Quite good with tea or coffee. ;)
I am almost embarrassed to explain the cookie recipe. I started with 2 cups self rising flour, a cup of brown sugar, a good shake of cinnamon, and a big scoop of peanut butter... probably about 3/4 cup worth but to be fair I did not measure it. I worked the peanut butter in.. and found that I had no eggs. Terrific. I remembered that mayonaise is nothing but eggs and oil, so I added some til it got to the right "cookie dough" consistency, (stop making faces these turned out pretty darn good), and then lastly I dumped in about 2 cups of cranberry granola. Mixed it all up good and rolled it into balls and put on UNGREASED cookie sheets and baked at 350F til golden. Don't ask me how long.. LOL I have no idea. Ten minutes maybe? I don't know I just baked til they were done. :) Robyn was a little grossed out that I used mayo in the cookies but she sure does like them. She said, "You can't even tell there's mayonnaise in these, Mom!" :) See? Old Mom always knows a trick or two. ;)