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Two Cookbook Discoveries for the Southern Chef or Home Cook

12 Feb

The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook

“A Treasury of Timeless, Delicious American Dishes”

“Cast iron cookery IS American cuisine, and Lodge IS cast iron. Therefore, Lodge IS American cuisine.”  These are the wise words indeed from Food Network’s culinary brainiac, Alton Brown. Esquire magazine listed Lodge Cast Iron Cookware in their 2009 list of “Things a Man Should Own.” And, honestly, who are we to argue with that kind of sage advice? I would like to add that if Lodge knows how to create world-class cookware, then surely they must know a great deal about cooking in the dark, heavy vessels they have created for many, many decades. Right??? Of course!

Some of the recipes unveiled here are contributed by the likes of Southern writer and humorist Julia Reed and noted Oxford, MS chef John Currence, but most come from home cooks and Lodge family members/employees. All in all, you will find over 200 recipes in this must-have volume. Joseph Lodge, who founded the company in South Pittsburg, TN way back in 1896, would truly be proud.

I especially appreciated the Cast Iron 101 chapter — this addresses the intimidation factor for newcomers to this style of rustic cooking. There’s also a chapter devoted just to cornbread (South Pittsburg hosts a Cornbread Fest each year) and another focusing entirely on outdoor cooking. Notable recipes included here are Hannah’s Apple Pancake, Southern Greens Soup, McNew’s Okra Stew, Brunswick Stew, and Savannah Red Rice. Lands outside of Dixie are also represented with Lyonnaise Potatoes, Shepherd’s Pie, Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa, and many more.

My favorite recipe name in the book?

That’s easy.

It is the “This Ain’t No Yankee Cornbread.”  

***Inside the book you will find***

  • Over 200 delicious, classic recipes all made in cast-iron
  • Over 200 big, beautiful four-color photos
  • Cast Iron Memories—historical and allegorical sidebars highlighting cast-iron recipe memories from cooks around the country
  • Crazy for Cast Iron—covers all things cast-iron from the history of Lodge Manufacturing to types of pots and pans, care of cast-iron, basics of outdoor cookery, what NOT to cook in cast-iron, and how to renew neglected hand-me-down pan
  • Stand-alone sidebars such as How to Make a Roux and Basics of Campfire Cooking

GLASS ONION CLASSICS – “RECIPES FROM A SOUTHERN RESTAURANT”

The Glass Onion is a popular eatery in Charleston, SC. Their simple, yet delicious Lowcountry cuisine has generated a good deal of buzz and a faithful following in that amazing part of the world. The restaurant opened in 2008, but it took them until 2011 to publish a compilation of some of their most popular recipes. The theme here is “delicious Southern food inspired by local, all-natural ingredients.” A great concept, for certain. Yet it is a concept that is rarely executed with the consistency or the care delivered by the hard-working staff of the Glass Onion.

The Beatles’ song “Glass Onion” was said to be about the handle on a coffin. And you’ll be dying to dine at the Glass Onion after getting a load of these tasty, yet simple to prepare recipes. Jennie Ruth’s Deviled Eggs, Papa’s Oyster Stew, Anne’s Grillades and Grits, Sea Island Red Peas, Sarah’s Red Velvet Pound Cake. It all sounds terrific — and terrifically Southern. But just when you think you can pidgeonhole these guys, they toss a recipe like Chuck’s Italian Sausage Ragout at ya. Most of the recipes have only a handful of fresh, easily sourced ingredients. That simply means that you will not pull your hair out while shopping for or executing these winning, cook friendly recipes.

This cookbook is a self-published effort and it has a nice, church cookbook kind of DIY charm to it. We also enjoyed the short vignettes about the Glass Onion’s vendors including old compadres like Anson Mills’ grains and Benton’s Country Hams & Bacon. So when in Charleston, join them for a memorable meal. Until then, enjoy this thoughtful cookbook.

Lodge Manufacturing Co. – South Pittsburg, TN;  www.lodgemfg.com

Glass Onion – 1219 Savannah Hwy., Charleston, SC; www.ilovetheglassonion.com

Jammin’ with Sallie’s Greatest Hits

3 Dec

Sallie’s Greatest Jams are really good — and really unique. I mean, how often have you tried flavor combinations such as Peach Mint, Blueberry Lime, Peach Pepper Ginger, Blueberry Lavender, and Strawberry Basil? Here’s the back story on founder Sallie Dent Porth (“Canner in Chief”) and her fabulous small batch creations …

After more than twenty years of living the corporate life on planes, trains and automobiles, including an escape from NYC on 9/11/01, I couldn’t be more thrilled to be back home living the good life in Calhoun County in rural South Carolina. In 2004, I returned to my roots and found myself living in the middle of a huge field with a garden-loving husband in my hometown of Cameron, SC, where farming is a mainstay. One perk of my time in corporate America was an expense account which afforded me the opportunity to experience fine dining across the country, cultivating my knowledge of unique food and flavor combinations. This interest in flavor pairings combined with my creative nature and life in the field led to the creation of Sallie’s Greatest.

Thanks to my partnership with local farmer Monty Rast of Longview Acres, my specialty line of herbal fruit jams is made with the freshest produce possible – straight from the field to the jar! In addition to our line of jarred projects, we’re also developing a cookbook, Party in a Jar, giving cooks on all levels the tools needed to turn an everyday meal into an extraordinary dining experience with the simple twist of a lid. For years, my friends and family have raved over my creations. I feel that it’s just plain selfish to keep this secret in my inner circle…and being selfish isn’t being Southern!

“Love Thy Farmer”

Order yours today at www.salliesgreatest.com or call (803) 823 – 9075

Email Sallie at salliesgreatest@gmail.com — tell her Dixie Dining sent ya!

Southern Gal Marshall Chapman Still Rockin’

21 Aug

MARSHALL CHAPMAN’S NEW ALBUM, BIG LONESOME, DUE OUT OCTOBER 26

Release is dedicated to the late Tim Krekel. Co-produced with Michael Utley, accompanists include Will Kimbrough, Casey Wood, and Jim Mayer.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Marshall Chapman’s life, as author/friend William Gay puts it, “is like five or six lives shoehorned into one. It’s like a movie or a good book.” Speaking of books, the multifaceted singer-songwriter has written two, and the newest (They Came to Nashville) is being released the same day as Big Lonesome, her sixth release on Tallgirl Records and twelfth overall.

“I wasn’t going to make another album, at least not alone,” says Chapman. She and close friend Tim Krekel were planning to record a duet album when Krekel was diagnosed with cancer. “Three months later he was gone,” Chapman continues. “Dreams were dashed, gigs got cancelled, and life went on. As trite as it may sound, the only thing that comforted me during this period was picking up my guitar. Then new songs started writing themselves. They were coming from an uncharted place so deep and true, I knew what I had to do.”

Chapman contacted Michael Utley (producer for Jimmy Buffett and Roy Orbison, and player on albums by Aretha Franklin, Kris Kristofferson, and the Neville Brothers), who brought in Will Kimbrough, “Uncle” Jim Mayer, and Casey Wood. Utley himself plays Hammond B3 organ.

“I’d never recorded or worked with any of these guys,” Chapman says. “Sometimes it’s good to get out of your comfort zone.”

Once in the studio, things started happening. “Whatever it was, it was bigger than all of us,” Chapman says. Gay, known for his novel Provinces of Night among others, offers this assessment: “Big Lonesome feels organic, like something that just grew naturally on its own. It sounds like the result of one of those rare and happy occasions when everything fell together in the recording studio, when everyone is on the same page, when the musicians are locked in almost reading each other’s minds like The Band in its early days.”

Chapman has perhaps her strongest slate of songs here, most of which she wrote or co-wrote. Some were inspired by the loss of Krekel (whose vocals and guitar appear on this album), and his memory seems to be an invisible presence that has been absorbed into the music. The songs have a stoic strength. Remember concept albums, when songs used to form a cohesive and interlocking whole? Big Lonesome has that feel. It also doesn’t hurt that Marshall is in great voice, or that she surrounded herself with great musicians.

Gay continues: “I first heard of Marshall Chapman through the pages of a now-defunct magazine. It was in the late ’70s and Jaded Virgin, her second album for Epic, had just been released. The article summed up Marshall’s background: a refugee debutante from South Carolina wealth and privilege who laid it all aside to follow music, heading out with only her guitar and the songs already forming in her head, mesmerized by the sight of Elvis from the balcony of a Spartanburg theater where she bonded irrevocably with music. A rebel who didn’t even know she was rebelling, she sounded like a combination of Elvis, James Dean, and Lauren Bacall, taking Nashville by storm, kicking down country’s sexist doors with ballroom slippers. She also sounded like someone I’d like to know.”

Chapman has written and performed with the likes of Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, and John Hiatt; written plays with Lee Smith, Jill McCorkle, and Matraca Berg; had her songs covered by everyone from Wynonna to Joe Cocker; acted in a movie (she plays Gwyneth Paltrow’s character’s road manager in the soon-to-be-released Country Strong); and received advice from Jerry Lee Lewis: “Don’t you burn out, hon,” Lewis told her after she and her band opened for him one New Year’s Eve in Atlanta. Marshall has, like Icarus, flown too close to the sun a time or two, had her wings scorched by burning candles, but Big Lonesome is proof she never came close to burning out.

“Nobody goes through life without learning things,” concludes Gay. “But not everybody can take life’s joys and hard lessons and by some curious alchemy transmute them into art. Marshall Chapman can. ‘I wouldn’t have it any other way,’ Chapman sings on ‘Falling Through the Trees.’ And that’s good news for the rest of us.”

Longtime friend Kristofferson said of Marshall’s new album: “In this soulful, sincere tribute to her ‘best friend in music, Tim Krekel,’ Marshall reminds me how she reminds me of Hank Williams. The songs are heart-breaking and beautiful and exhilarating and absolutely honest. And Mike Utley’s co-production and keyboard and Casey Woods’ mixing and percussion are perfect. There’s not a false note on the album. I believe Marshall truly does ‘love everybody’ and it shines through every song.” Matraca Berg added, “I just love this record. It’s . . . like . . . Marianne Faithful and Willie Nelson had a baby!” And Todd Snider has this to say: “This record kicks ass. Beautifully written and recorded, it’s sad, but not hopeless . . . like Blood on the Tracks.”

For Chapman news and musings, as well as announcements about her CD, book, and live appearances, visit her website: http://www.tallgirl.com. The album will be available from the site on October 26.

# # #

New Lee Bros. Cookbook a Hit

17 Nov

Product Description
From two South Carolina-bred brothers comes the ground-breaking cookbook for new Southern cooking: The Lee Bros. Simple, Fresh, Southern. Matt and Ted Lee were raised on long-simmered greens, slow-smoked meats, and deep-fried everything. But after years of traveling as journalists and with farm fresh foods more available than ever, Matt and Ted have combined the old with the new, infusing family recipes with bright flavors. Using crisp produce, lighter cooking methods, and surprising combinations, these are recipes to make any night of the week.

From The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern: Ginger Lemonade

If we were musicians, we’d write a torch song about ginger and lemon, a match made in heaven. And though we’ve been drinking fresh lemonade as long as we can remember (Coca-Cola was taboo at 83 East Bay Street), we never thought to make a cold fresh-ginger lemonade until recently. Now we’re making up for lost time. This drink is easy to make, super-refreshing, and happens to be a kick-ass mixer with bourbon and tequila, so those of you who are of age should mix up the Lemon Gingerita variation that follows.Matt Lee and Ted Lee

  • 2 ounces fresh ginger, peeled, cut into thin disks (1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 cup honey, or more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 4 large lemons)

Serves 8

Directions

1. Put the ginger in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring 2 cups cold water to a boil, then pour it into the bowl and stir to agitate the ginger. Slowly pour in the honey, stirring until it’s dissolved in the concentrate. Add the salt, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes.

2. Strain the concentrate into a large pitcher (it will keep for 5 days, covered, in the refrigerator), reserving the ginger slices. Add 3 cups cold water and the lemon juice to the pitcher, and sweeten to taste with honey. Set the pitcher in the refrigerator to cool further; store the ginger slices in the refrigerator as well. (The lemonade and ginger slices will keep in the refrigerator for 5 days.)

3. Fill each highball or pint glass two-thirds of the way to the rim with ice, and pour the ginger lemonade over it. Garnish with a slice of the steeped ginger.

Time: 10 minutes steeping, 5 minutes preparation

Here’s a shot of the Lee Bros. with me and son Travis

 

The Lees speak at the Fly Creek Cafe in Fairhope

For more, visit their web site at www.boiledpeanuts.com

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