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Frank Stitt’s Southern Table: Southern Traditions

JoanN Feb 1, 2008 05:10 AM

February 2008 Cookbook of the Month, Frank Stitt’s Southern Table.

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  1. Candy Feb 1, 2008 08:26 AM

    From Low country Traditions, I have made:

    Lowcountry Red Rice, it is delicious and a good stand-by for a] party dish as well as a family supper.

    Spoonbread. I do not use the Parmesan, my family never did but it is a great recipe

    Highlands Baked Grits. It is a great appetizer and also a perfect Sunday supper. It can convert grits haters into grits lovers.

    Cornbread. He uses some flour in his which I do not. It does produce a more tender cornbread and it is good.

    Misss Verba's Pimento Cheese. Excellent! I had never used roaste and peeled bell red bell peppers before, it is awesome. I leave out the cream cheese. It does not need it in MHO.

    14 Replies
    1. re: Candy
      MMRuth Feb 1, 2008 11:14 AM

      I made the cornbread last weekend after getting the book. I'm actually not a big fan of cornbread, but wanted to make it so that I could make the corn bread crostini for the warm cabbage salad. I thought it was quite good, but needed more salt. I used a mix of bacon fat and melted butter. It was also quite tasty toasted, with a thin slice of ham and a poached egg on top, for breakfast the next day.

      Can't wait to try the pimento cheese.

      1. re: Candy
        MMRuth Feb 1, 2008 11:44 AM

        Quick question for you - Pimento Cheese - thinking of making for tonight, but not sure I'll have time to roast the peppers and cool them - do you think it would be the same if I buy roasted peppers at the market (not canned jars one, but from the deli counter)?

        And what do you like to serve it on - crackers/bread? (No raw vegetables for my husband!)

        1. re: MMRuth
          Candy Feb 1, 2008 11:58 AM

          Crackers are fine and the roasted peppers from the deli should be just fine. I either rub the bowl with a cut clove of garlic or add about 1 tsp. minced onion or a bit of chopped green onion for color. The onion or garlic should be subtle. PC, the pate of the south makes a great sandwich too. I also will spread it on toast at breakfast.

        2. re: Candy
          FoodFuser Feb 2, 2008 12:10 PM

          Gosh yes on the roasted peeled peppers, and on nix-ing the cream cheese.

          Previously discussed variants here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/337125

          1. re: FoodFuser
            MMRuth Feb 2, 2008 12:24 PM

            Oops - I missed Candy's comments about nixing the cream cheese - delicious all the same, but I can see how it wouldn't need it. My MIL in the DR told my husband that there they use butter in addition to the mayonnaise.

            Edit - FoodFuser - just read through that thread - loved your post, as well as others' thoughts on this tasty treat - I've never eaten it before!!!

          2. re: Candy
            mirage Feb 11, 2008 11:58 AM

            I made the Spoonbread last night - I did include the Parmesan cheese, but used very little Tabasco. I really liked this a lot and will certainly be making it again- but adding more hot sauce next time. It also made a nice breakfast this morning!

            1. re: mirage
              MMRuth Feb 12, 2008 05:14 AM

              Yay - someone else is cooking along! What is the texture of the spoonbread? I've never had it. Did make the pecans again on Sunday to nibbble on during the week.

              1. re: MMRuth
                beetlebug Feb 12, 2008 06:43 AM

                The spoonbread was really tasty but I think I would have liked it more as a breakfast food. The texture is similar to polenta. I think the spoonbread would be delicious with scrambled eggs with cheese and avocado.

                I wasn't thrilled with the pecans (no offense mirage). I thought they lacked sweet and savory flavor. I know mirage followed the recipe, but I think upping the spices and/or adding additional spices would give them more oomph.

                I plan on cooking along too but am a little behind. But, I've tasted a couple of recipes.

                1. re: beetlebug
                  mirage Feb 12, 2008 06:54 AM

                  Ooh - with eggs and avocado - yup, that sounds good!
                  I quite agree with you about the pecans. I have other spiced pecan recipes I like a lot more. I'll have to look them up and compare.

                  1. re: mirage
                    beetlebug Feb 12, 2008 06:55 AM

                    Yes. I do lead an eating life of decadence. I often make myself the eggs/cheese/avocado with polenta for breakfast.

                  2. re: beetlebug
                    MMRuth Feb 12, 2008 07:04 AM

                    Thanks - I have "texture" issues - so anything like polenta is a no go, though I am trying some new things with this book - like the cornbread! I can see the pecans having more oomph with more spices etc., but I kind of liked the gentle flavors and being able to really taste the pecans.

                    1. re: MMRuth
                      Candy Feb 12, 2008 07:20 AM

                      Spoonbread is more like a cornbread combo souffle and custard. We usually have it with roasts.

                      This weekend I am making the pork on pork with bourbon sauce and creamy grits and the roasted vegetables

                      1. re: Candy
                        MMRuth Feb 12, 2008 07:22 AM

                        Hmm - that description makes me think that I *might* try it! Thanks.

              2. re: Candy
                JoanN Jul 31, 2008 08:31 AM

                How very foolish of me to have made the Pimiento Cheese as written before coming back to read this thread and the links. My British and Aussie guests were clearly underwhelmed, as was I. As others have said, not being our tradition may have been part of it. But after reading everyone's tweaks and adaptations, it seems this just isn't a good example of what Pimiento Cheese can, and should, be. And it sure does make a helluva lot. I, too, ended up throwing out probably half of it after we got tired of nibbling on it for what seemed like days on end.

              3. Tom P Feb 1, 2008 06:47 PM

                HIGHLANDS BAKED GRITS p.20

                I made these for the first time three years ago as an appetizer to a huge Christmas dinner. It was such a hit (they are divine) I have made them numerous times ever since.

                In a pinch, I kind of combine everything and just make a big pot of grits into which I mix the seasonings and sauces. But it is worth the effort to do the recipe exactly as written. Even then, these are not particularly difficult and the finished dish will impress and delight anyone, even if someone thinks they do not like grits.

                I highly recommend you try these!

                3 Replies
                1. re: Tom P
                  Candy Feb 2, 2008 08:24 AM

                  Tom, I have made the baked grits portion of the recipe a day in advance and gently reheated with no problems

                  1. re: Candy
                    Tom P Feb 2, 2008 04:41 PM

                    Candy, that is great to know! It will make it easier on those big food days. Did you do the full recipe, sauce and all?

                    1. re: Tom P
                      Candy Feb 3, 2008 11:45 AM

                      I have just baked the grits ahead and prepped the sauce. I think the sauce needs to be made as close to serving time as possible but I have it all ready to go. It is basically a beurre blanc and I'd hate to chance it breaking.

                2. MMRuth Feb 4, 2008 05:09 AM

                  Miss Verba's Pimiento Cheese, p. 32

                  This is the first time I've made Pimiento Cheese, and based on other posters' old recommendations, I'd probably omit the cream cheese next time. Cheese - calls for sharp yellow cheddar - I saw bright orange cheddars, and sharp white ones at the market, and went with an 18 month aged Australian cheddar that looked more yellow than the white ones. He says to grate the cheese either using the small holes of a grater, or the grating disc in a food processor. I did the latter, but had much larger pieces of cheese than I would have using the small holes. My cream cheese was not softened, so I decided to throw some of the mixture, w/ all the cream cheese into the FP and whiz it around a bit, then decided to add the rest of it so that the cheddar would have a finer consistency. It was still had texture though. I think I added a little too much cayenne, as the flavor got more pronounced after I chilled it. As Candy suggested, I also added some very finely chopped scallions, and liked that addition. Also, since I was doing this at the last minute, I bought roasted red peppers at the deli counter, rather than roasting my own.

                  We had it as nibblie before dinner on Friday, then on sandwiches for lunch on Saturday, and again for dinner on Sunday, though that time my husband asked me to trim of the crusts. Apparently this was a staple at birthday parties when he was a child in the Dominican Republic! I put mache on the sandwiches, btw. Next time I'll make half a batch for us, as I see another sandwich for lunch today.

                   
                   
                   
                  4 Replies
                  1. re: MMRuth
                    Rubee Mar 2, 2008 12:14 PM

                    I made it this weekend too. I followed the recipe, making the home-made mayo, roasting the peppers, and using cream cheese, but added a bit of minced onion as Candy suggests, and using Tapatio for the hot sauce as that's all I had. I think it's definitely a regional favorite as E who grew up with it (but only in jars) liked it the best.

                    Like Carblover (link below), I also served it to some other guests as an appetizer last night but no one really had more than a couple of crackers. Even the kids ended up eating the Ritz crackers plain instead.

                    Carblover's report - My first try of Pimiento Cheese...
                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/285256

                    I thought it was good but not growing up with this Southern tradition, E will be the one to finish this batch. I'm looking forward to trying it in a sandwich though.

                     
                    1. re: Rubee
                      jdm Mar 2, 2008 12:30 PM

                      Pimiento Cheese makes a killer cheeseburger.

                      1. re: jdm
                        Candy Mar 2, 2008 04:15 PM

                        Oh yeah!

                        1. re: jdm
                          Rubee Mar 2, 2008 07:57 PM

                          Great idea, thanks!

                    2. MMRuth Feb 4, 2008 05:14 AM

                      Lowcountry Red Rice, p. 10

                      This was for our dinner on Friday - excellent - wonderful flavors. I brought the serving bowl to the table and my husband asked, tentatively, is this the dish that was supposed to have the bacon in it? I'd forgotten to add the bacon, scallions, cilantro, and lemon juice, so the photo in the bowl is pre-addition! He does love his bacon. It was easy and quick to make, and the only question about the instructions that I had was whether to add the poblano with the "bell pepper" at the beginning, or with the "chile peppers" later - I opted for the former. I used canned tomatoes, and chicken broth. The colors aren't as vibrant as in the photo - but it certainly tasted good and I have leftovers in the freezer now. I sauteed a pound of jumbo shrimp in olive oil - cut some in half and tossed with the rice, then put some on top. This is another dish that I'd cut in half next time I make it for the two of us.

                       
                       
                       
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