Monthly Archives: April 2010

Ginger Ice Cream

Last night, in addition to the Southern-style Peas ‘n’ Cheese, we had home made ice cream. Absolutely delicious.

I decided to be bold and add some powdered ginger to the ice cream.

Apparently, a large amount must be added in order to produce a ginger flavor in the ice cream, but it was well worth it- I’ve never had better ice cream in the whole of my life!

Not much has to be done to produce ginger ice cream other than simply adding ginger powder to (preferably home-made) ice cream.

Historically, ginger has been used to help stomach ailments; I think we’ve mentioned this before. Ginger ice cream is definitely a treat, even if I had to use a lot of the powder.

Try it- innovation comes through certain risks.


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Posted by on April 28, 2010 in food


Matar Paneer: Southern Style Peas ‘n’ Cheese.

When I became a vegetarian, several things happened all at once. First, I had to seriously re-think my diet. Second, I had to tell everyone that I wasn’t eating meat any more. Third, I had to seek out new recipes.

And somehow, that led me to Indian cuisine.

Indian cuisine introduced me to something wonderful: matar paneer.

Roughly translated, matar paneer means "peas and cheese." The dish is essentially extremely spicy tomato gravy with peas in it.

Obviously, living in Alabama, I have difficulty obtaining all the necessary traditional Indian ingredients. Thus, I must make the matar paneer in the best way I know how.

Thus dubbed: Southern Style Peas ‘n’ Cheese.

At my friend Chad’s house, I made matar paneer, and then tonight, with my cousin, Susanne, I also made matar paneer. There was little variation in the recipes.

Basically, I used rotel tomatoes, minced garlic, curry powder, cumin, tomato sauce, two cans of early peas/English peas, and a pack of cheese. The result was the incredibly delicious matar paneer!

The recipe can vary according to the available ingredients. Tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, or both can be used. Onions may also be used.

Susanne suggested we use Pepper Jack cheese; I’ve used Hoop cheese, various kinds of cheddar cheese, and now Pepper Jack, which was an excellent suggestion. She also suggested the use of yellow rice as a side dish, and I must say that it complemented the meal perfectly.


The Southern variation is definitely as good as the "real deal," in a way. I had the matar paneer of a frozen brand of organic food called Amy’s once, and it made no comparison to my home-made variety.

I’ll put up an actual recipe at some point in time.

Also, as always, forgive the poor photo quality.

Happy eating, and if you want, talk to me about recipes you’ve altered to fit local tastes or your dietary restrictions, if you’d like!


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Posted by on April 27, 2010 in food


I GOT MORE CORN NUGGETS!!! And Typical Southern Lunches

So, in a sweet turn of fate suddenly smiling upon me, for lunch today, I had more corn nuggets!

In addition to the corn nuggets, I had mozzarella sticks. Mozzarella sticks are almost always a disappointment, including the ones today, but that’s a burden I can bear. It’s difficult to get good mozzarella sticks one way or another.

Last week, in the previous blog about corn nuggets, I didn’t show the "typical Southern lunch" that included the corn nuggets in it. They were actually part of the plate that my father was eating.

As we see here, in the upper left-hand corner, we have macaroni and cheese. In Great Britain, macaroni and cheese is shortened to "macaroni cheese." This style is extremely creamy and has a rich, tangy taste to it.

To the right, we have the heavenly corn-nuggets. So…good…

Below it, there’s a fried pork-chop, and next to it is a hush-puppy. For those of you who aren’t aware of hush puppies, they’re a kind of small, fried corn bread with a slightly sweet taste. Often they’re served with fried catfish; I’ll discuss both in a future blog.

At this point, I know you might be wondering if there’s anything that Southerners don’t fry. It’s true- we do fry a huge chunk of our food. If someone actually knows how to fry and fry well, it’s delicious. But if it food isn’t fried well, then it’s absolutely terrible.

Also, advice for those who aren’t accustomed to dealing with fried food- you can’t really store it properly. Many people do, in fact, refrigerate fried leftovers, but they’re almost never good.

My personal serving of macaroni and cheese ended up having salt and pepper sprinkled on it. For some reason, salt and pepper alone really enhance the flavor. I wish my macaroni and cheese turned out this delicious.

Macaroni and cheese, too, will appear in a future blog, as it’s one of my favorite foods.

Here are the corn nuggets:

The inside:

Until then, happy eating, and even though constantly eating fried food isn’t good for you, occasionally, it boosts your mood!


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Posted by on April 26, 2010 in food


Sunday Lunch: A Southern Tradition

In the South, Sunday Lunch is especially emphasized, largely because people would meet after church and eat together. Inviting the pastor to one’s home to have lunch is specifically a tradition that, to my knowledge, has lost some potency.

As a child, we attended Sunday Lunch at my grandfather’s house almost religiously. Without fail, on Sunday morning, we would get dressed and go to Poppy’s to have lunch. When I was especially young, we went to church, too, but that somehow tapered off as I grew older.

This blog is, however, not about going to Poppy’s- instead, it is about today’s Sunday Lunch.

To this day, something more Southern and essentially different is cooked every Sunday. The kind of food mentioned here also has a more "soul food" flavor to it.

Today’s lunch consisted of white rice, boiled, with butter and salt added…

…along with baked corn bread. I know, the corn bread is in a skillet, but it’s baked in the skillet, in the oven.

The Great Cornbread Debate will be tackled in another post later on. I’m not necessarily adverse to baked cornbread, but I definitely prefer it fried.

Next, we have an interesting food called "speckled butter beans."

I think we often use the wrong terms for food in the South, so I’ve grown up calling lima beans "butter beans." The taste of speckled butter beans is essentially identical to lima beans, though butter beans are larger. Lima beans may have more flavor to them than butter beans. Either way, they’re tasty and loaded with protein.

The meat of the day was baked pork chops, which I didn’t photograph. Not being too terribly pretty and my not eating meat both contributed to my not photographing them- but it does complete the menu in a way.

In addition, we had sweet pepper relish as a garnish. I mixed it into my beans and rice, which made a heavenly combo.

Southern cuisine is far more extensive than shown here, and though this food may appear bland, it has a distinctive taste not found often outside the South.

Now go and have some butter beans!


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Posted by on April 25, 2010 in food


Strange Days: The Peanut Butter and Pickle Sandwich

In high school, one of my teachers once told us about how she grew up eating peanut butter and pickle sandwiches. I don’t know how the conversation began; I think it may have been in reference to the fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches that Elvis Presley used to eat.

So, being the adventurous foodie that I was and am, I went home and made a peanut butter and pickle sandwich. To my shock and delight, it was actually good- quite to the contrary of what one might imagine.

Peanut butter and pickle sandwiches have an amazing versatility because of the huge selection of pickles and peanut butter one can choose. Different combinations create different effects on the tongue, but no matter what, peanut butter and pickle sandwiches taste incredibly delicious and are a nice alternative to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches aren’t terrible, in my opinion, but as a child, I never completely grasped what the obsession with them was. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are almost so sweet that they could serve as a dessert and not as an actual meal. Then again, I imagine they lend themselves to an excellent variety, especially with the high availability of different kinds of jelly in this day and age.

So remember to be adventurous, and make yourself a PB & P sandwich sometime soon.


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Posted by on April 24, 2010 in food


Tomato Gravy

Unfortunately, I have no pictures to offer you in this entry; forgive me. The main reason I have no pictures of my mother’s tomato gravy is that I ate all the leftovers tonight!

A blog about gravy prior to tomato gravy may actually make more sense.

I’m not sure how often gravy is eaten in the rest of the country or what kinds of gravy are eaten. In the South, I’ve had two or three different kinds of gravy, all of which I enjoy, and oh, did I mention we eat gravy frequently? Again, the diet here is not geared towards one’s health, so Southern cuisine is best consumed in small dosages.

In the past, of course, high fat and high calorie food supplied the energy necessary to work hard on the farms. Now, no one works nearly so hard, but we largely eat the same diet! No wonder we have high rates of heart disease in the South.

Either way, tomato gravy is an amazing food, best eaten with freshly made biscuits. Tomato gravy requires regular gravy of whatever variety, and during the cooking process, tomatoes are added, after being freshly diced. Tomatoes change the flavor of gravy considerably and offer a fresh spin on a traditional Southern favorite.

Biscuits and gravy are also another blog in the making. Gravy goes well with other foods as well.

If and when I come across tomato gravy again, I’ll snap a photo and do another blog on it.

On a scale of one to ten, tomato gravy ranks a good 9 on the "you should try it!" scale.

So go ahead and dig in, Y’ALL.


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Posted by on April 23, 2010 in food


Mississippi Meal Time!

I mentioned formerly that I was gone to Mississippi on vacation for a week or so, and during that week I didn’t have quite the same opportunity to cook as I normally do. None the less, there was one night when Vincent and I made a collective effort to prepare dinner, and what a dinner it was!

A baked asparagus recipe I had seen on The View included asparagus in soy sauce and brown sugar, which was absolutely amazing and tender when finished.

I sauteed potatoes and added some spices to them, along with making caramelized onions, while Vincent made a tuna casserole. First he cooked the tuna and boiled noodles, then he caused some kind of alchemical process to transform it into a great pasta dish!

The caramelized onions, as per the course, took half an hour or so to prepare.

We had rolls left over from a former meal, and I learned a trick on how to refresh hardened bread- placing a paper towel around the bread and heating it in the microwave for half a minute or so can soften it greatly!

The finished product:

The dinner was a huge success, even though I didn’t prepare nearly enough potatoes but made far too many caramelized onions. The tuna casserole turned out the best, with the potatoes in a close second.

All-in-all, everything made for an excellent meal. Cooking for other people to enjoy the food is perhaps THE most gratifying experience I can imagine!

I think the meal would have been complete if we had also added freshly sliced tomatoes. Hindsight is, unfortunately, 20/20, yes?

Happy eating, and make sure to sautee those potatoes!


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Posted by on April 23, 2010 in food

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