Friday, November 16, 2018

Southern Cornbread Dressing

Thanksgiving in the South, at least in my family, always includes cornbread dressing to go with the turkey. Traditionally, Southerners don't stuff the bird but cook a cornbread-based mixture in a pan. When I was growing up, my mother told me this was because cooking stuffing inside the turkey was dangerous -- it could lead to ptomaine poisoning.

This isn't just an old wives' tale. It's true that the stuffing can get soaked with turkey juices but not cook to a high enough temperature to be safe as it's buried deep inside the bird. Besides, there would never be enough stuffing to go around to give everyone an ample portion (not to mention seconds and leftovers).

My family frequently duplicated the basics of Thanksgiving dinner for Christmas dinner as well, and I always welcomed the opportunity to have turkey and dressing in December, too. We've gotten away from that habit, but really you can have turkey and dressing -- or chicken and dressing -- any time of year.

My mother did not have a written recipe for her dressing. She worked with some basic ratios but this was mostly a recipe that she made by look and feel. I've continued in this vein, but given that I only make this once per year at best, I decided to document what I did last year. So, with a few tweaks, this is essentially my mother's dressing. We frequently prepare a double recipe so that we can enjoy leftovers the next day, and have enough for guests to take some home if they like.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sweet Relief 3.0 Bake Sale Wrap Up

Yesterday was the Nashville Food Blogger bake sale Sweet Relief 3.0 to benefit the Houston Food Bank in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Tailgate Brewery generously provided the space, and the turnout was great. We raised just over $1200 for the food bank!

If you were able to make it out, I hope you enjoyed the treats that we were able to provide. Three of the items I donated have been posted on the blog previously; one is new. Follow the links below to get recipes and information about each.

Ginger Molasses Cookies

These Ginger Molasses Cookies have been in my repertoire for a long time, but it had been a while since I'd made them. I usually baked them to include in treat boxes that I used to make up for Christmas gifts. When I was considering what to make for the Nashville Food Blogger bake sale for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, they seemed a perfect option. The warm spices and dark sweetness of the molasses are appropriate for the approach of autumn. Better yet, they are easy to make and package, both important considerations when baking for a sale.

Whenever I make these, I wonder why I don't make them more often, because they are more delicious than the recipe would make you think. The original recipe (I didn't make note of the source and have forgotten what it was) called them a Ginger Snap, but they do not snap. While they are a firm cookie with a slightly crisp edge, there's still a bit of softness that makes them a satisfying bite with a bit of chew.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Sweet Relief 3.0 - Nashville Food Bloggers Bake Sale to Benefit Houston Food Bank

Just a brief note to say that I am participating in the Nashville Food Bloggers bake sale to benefit the Houston Food Bank in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. My list of contributions is not yet finalized, but I'll be contributing several different types of treats.

You can read all about it on the NFB web site:

Hope to see you there!

Sweet Relief Nashville Food Blogger Bake Sale for Houston Food Bank

Monday, August 21, 2017

Barbara's Sour Cream Pound Cake

This recipe is titled "Sour Cream Pound Cake," but the truth is that it may not match up what you think of as a pound cake. The ingredient ratios are different than a standard pound cake, or the iconic 1234 Cake (the most popular recipe on this blog). The texture of the finished cake is lighter, as well. Like a classic pound cake, though, it's good the first day it's baked, and is good the next day, too. It is a nice bite on its own, with the slight tang of sour cream, but is also a great base for your favorite fruit, fruit compote, or ice cream. Or, smear a slice with soft butter and run it under the broiler to toast, to eat plain or with a topping -- no complaints either way.

It's called "Barbara's Sour Cream Pound Cake" because it was my mother's recipe. I don't know the origin -- whether she got it out of a magazine or newspaper or product package or from a friend. I just know that at some point in my early childhood it showed up, and became a staple.

Monday, March 13, 2017

No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake

This is one of those convenience-food recipes that I found on some package 100 years ago, probably on the cream cheese box. I don't remember the published name, but remember that I didn't like think it was descriptive, so at some point I renamed it.

Make no mistake, it's not like a cooked cheesecake, but has a sturdier texture than your typical pie.

No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake

16 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
1/3 cup sugar
8 oz. Cool Whip
1 chocolate crumb pie crust

With an electric mixer, blend together softened cream cheese, chocolate, and sugar.  Gently stir in Cool Whip.  Spoon into crust.  Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.  Serve with additional Cool Whip if desired.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Nevertheless, She Persisted

If you've kept up with the whirlwind of news lately, you may have heard the phrase "Nevertheless, she persisted." If not, a quick visit with Mr. Google will catch you up. The situation has resonated with so many people, and the phrase, meant as a rebuke, is a gift to those of us who are fighting to stay in the game rather than giving up. Aimed at a woman, the scolding resonates especially with women who have been told time and again to be quiet when speaking our truth.

I was inspired to pair this phrase with an enduring symbol of American liberty, who just happens to be female. The result is a few pieces in a Zazzle store, offered to those who want to display it with pride as a sign of solidarity and resistance.

I plan on adding to the store, depending on demand. Feel free to post requests -- different styles, colors, non-clothing items, etc. -- in the Comments. I hope to use my creativity beyond this one concept, though, so stay tuned for more!