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Sept 2009 COTM: SOUTHERN Vegetables and Beans

September 2009 Cookbooks of the Month:

SCREEN DOORS AND SWEET TEA: Recipes and Tales from a Southern Cook, by Martha Hall Foose (SDST)
BON APPETIT Y'ALL: Recipes and Tales from Three Generations of Southern Cooking, by Virginia Willis (BAYA)

Please post your full-length reviews of recipes for vegetables, beans, etc here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the book or author and page number, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe. This thread includes:

Chapter 8: Vegetables

Chapter 5: Field peas, Greens, Sides and the Like

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Happy Cooking!

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  1. Creamed Corn, BAYA p.176

    Had some extra bacon fat and fresh corn, so I figured I'd try this one. Basically you heat 1 tbsp of bacon fat and then add in the cut kernels of 6 cobs, and finish it off with 1/2 stick of butter. I tasted it after the bacon fat, salt and pepper had been added and the corn was plenty rich, so I held off on the extra butter. This pretty much tasted like you think it would, whats not to love about corn and bacon, but there wasn't anything creamy about mine, and it didn't look like the picture, not sure why.

    3 Replies
    1. re: yamalam

      Sounds as if you didn't "cream" the corn... Next time Cut just the very tip end off the kernel ... then with the back of your knife scrape/cream the corn into your dish...


      1. re: Uncle Bob

        scraping the corn cob and adding real butter would have made it creamy.

        1. re: Uncle Bob

          Aha! I'm pretty sure the directions weren't that clear about that fact, probably because everyone but me knows how to cream corn, but now I do too, thanks Uncle Bob!

      2. Crumb Cauliflower: Screen Doors and Sweet Tea, Pg. 142

        This was a very simple recipe which produced a satisfying and tasty side dish. I had a beautiful white cauliflower with very tight florets and the quick cooking time was perfect for it. Less than 15 minutes in total.

        After trimming and separating the florets they are cooked for 2 minutes in EVOO, the pan is covered and the cauliflower is cooked for 5 more minutes. Minced garlic and bread crumbs are then strewn over the veggie, annd it is cooked, uncovered for 5 minutes longer or till the cauliflower is tender and the crumbs are brown. Chopped parsley is sprinkled over, the cauliflower is turned out onto a platter, and after an extra drizzle of EVOO grated parmigiano is sprinkled on top. Season with S & P and serve. Very nice......

        I served this as a side with baked Hake using a Diane Kochilas recipe and steamed asparagus.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Gio

          Oh that sounds terrific! I'm always looking for things to do with cauliflower once it starts appearing my my CSA box.


          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            TDQ, heat the oil in a dutch oven, throw the cauliflower in, cook for 2 minutes, then stir the cauliflower to coat with the oil, cover and cook for 5 min.....then proceed with the garlic & crumbs etc.

            1. re: Gio

              Hey, just tried this tonight. I think we overloaded the pan a little (she says to use a small cauliflower and ours was, well, huge), but we still loved it. Will definitely do again!


              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                Oh good.... glad you liked it. I have a cauliflower languishing in the fridge, and if I don't find something in the Indian Cooking book I'll probably make it using this recipe again tomorrow night....it's so easy.

        2. Help!! Has anybody made Sara's Squash Casserole form BAYA? (pg 192)

          I want to make this tonight but I think there might be a typo/error in the directions....it calls for 4 tablespoons butter to be added to the squash, along with eggs, cream and other stuff. BUT I'm sure one doesn't just add the half stick. I'm thinking one ought to cut the butter into small pieces, like "dotting" something with butter. Any thoughts anyone?

          5 Replies
          1. re: clamscasino

            I made it several months ago. I cut the butter up, so it would melt quickly.
            I liked this recipe, but it was a little too sweet for my taste. I had really fresh, young squash and the first Vidalia's of the season, which are sweet on their own.

            1. re: onrushpam

              Thanks onrushpam! I will cut it up into small pieces. Glad to know you found it too sweet. I don't like that either. Perhaps I'll just skip the sugar.

              1. re: clamscasino

                Here's my report from 7/11/09 when I made the casserole. I don't think it was too sweet...and I don't really have a "sweet tooth". I used light brown sugar. I cut up the butter too.

                Sara's Squash Casserole, Pg. 192

                Loved this! I've been waiting to make this since I got the book. And it was worth the wait to get some nice summer squash and zucchini.

                A Videlia onion is chopped, 3 yellow squash and 3 zucchini are thinly sliced in rounds. The onion and yellow squash are steamed over boiling salted water till "just tender" then placed in a large bowl. The zucchini is steamed over the same water. Brown sugar, 2 slightly beaten eggs, butter, 1/2 & 1/2, 4 slices of whole wheat bread ( torn into pieces) a cup of grated cheddar cheese are added to the vegetables. Season with S & P and stir well to combine. This is poured into a buttered casserole and baked in a 350F oven for about 45 minutes till "firm and brown on top." I find that these squashes must be seasoned "aggressively," as Mario says, to bring out their full flavor. This dish was a delight and a really nice way to use the bounty that summer squashes usually provide us. It was a good side for Ms Willis's Chicken Paillard with Sautéed Mushrooms.


                1. re: clamscasino

                  I liked the flavor of the brown sugar, so wouldn't skip it entirely. I'd probably just use a couple of teaspoons.

                  1. re: onrushpam

                    Thanks Gio and onrushpam! I won't skip the sugar entirely. As for "the bounty that summer squashes usually provides us," well I got that! And sweet onions too....

            2. Here's my report...

              Sara's Squash Casserole BAYA pg. 192

              Well Gio has already summarized the recipe quite well, so I will make this short. I used a heaping teaspoon of dark brown sugar instead of the 3-4 tablespoons called for. I didn't notice any overt "sweetness" with that reduced quantity. Also, I had two larger-than-supermarket sized yellow squashes that needed using up so I used those and skipped the zucchini. As advised I cut up the butter into about 1/4 inch cubes. Just before the casserole went into the oven I noticed I had forgotten to add the bread.....So I quickly tore that up and mixed it in. I think I should have torn it up into smaller pieces though.

              This dish was very good. The chowpup was picking at the cheesy bits of bread as soon as it got out of the oven. She had two large servings which was amazing since yellow squash is something she usually tries to ignore on her plate....I really liked the nutty flavor the whole wheat bread added. Next time i would add a bit more cheese. I love cheese.

              Here's my picture. The casserole is sitting next to the Southern fried chicken we had as the main event. (And no, I didn't burn that chicken, but I sure made a mess.)

              2 Replies
              1. re: clamscasino

                That's looks scrumptious, CC. Glad you and the Chowpup liked it. We sure did.

                1. re: clamscasino

                  I really think my issues with the sweetness were because I was using little, bitty (like 4 inches long) yellow squash and a spring Vidalia onion. So, both were sweet before I started. I got another bag of itsy-bitsy ones at the farmers market Saturday and will probably give this another go today or tomorrow.

                2. Monday Red Beans and Rice: Screen Doors and Sweet Tea, Pg. 86

                  This is the third southern dish I experienced for the first time this year, the others being collard greens and dirty rice which I made from Bon Appetit Y'All. I liked it. Certainly is filling, isn't it? I think I won't be hungry till next week.. and I thought I had a reasonable single portion. A little rice, the beans, a few sausage rounds and some meat sliced from the ham hocks spooned over. And those ham hocks. The recipe calls for 2 but the ones DH brought home from a charcuterie specialty shop near us were enormous. One weighed almost 2 lbs., the other over 2 lbs. so I used only one and froze the other. The smoked sausage links were nice and spicy and added to the overall flavor of the dish.

                  So.... as an alternative to using dry red kidney beans I used 2 cans which is allowed. The other substitute I had to make was a large poblano (mild) for a green bell pepper. The sausages are cut in rounds then cooked for 5-ish minutes, and then set aside till needed later. A bay leaf, chopped onion, pepper, celery are added to the pot and cooked for 5 minutes then minced garlic is added and cooked for an additional minute. The ham hock and drained beans are added along with water to cover. This is brought to boil then reduced to a simmer till beans are tender. At that point you can mash some of the beans to create a creamy texture, but I forgot. Don't think it mattered too much but then I had nothing to compare it to. The sausages are added and simmered for 10 more minutes. Salt & pepper, remove bay leaf, serve over cooked rice, garnish with chopped parsley.

                  DH thought it was terrific, I'm still waddling around. LOL I'll probably make it again, but not anytime soon....

                  1. Squash and Turkey Sausage Gratin: Bon Appetit Y'all, Pg. 199

                    Lots of ingredients, a couple of preliminary steps, a cheese sauce, and a Very Nice Finished dish. I made 1/2 the recipe and still there's enough left over for a good lunch. Although the recipe calls for turkey sausage, I used spicy (jalapeño) chicken sausage from TJ's.

                    To start, warm milk is infused with parsley, thyme, and black peppercorns then set aside. The sausage skin is removed then the meat is cooked through. A combination of yellow squash and zucchini, chopped scallion, S & P is added to the skillet and cooked for about 8 minutes. Chopped garlic and thyme are added, everything is left to cook for 30 minutes, then transfered to a colander to drain. Meanwhile a cheese sauce is made with sharp cheddar and eggs and the strained infused milk... in the same skillet. Instead of "a pinch of cayenne" DH, who made the sauce, added a 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. The drained sausage mixture is poured into into the sauce then everything is placed into a buttered baking dish, topped with a combination of grated parmagiano and bread crumbs. Bake in a 350F oven till browned on top and bubbly.

                    It may seem like a complicated procedure, but it's really not and everything goes along quickly. I thought it was brilliant to use infused milk for the sauce. Really nice punch of flavor. My intention to make the mayo biscuits was thwarted when DH brought home delicious sweet corn from our local farm and that was a nice accompaniment.

                    1. Summer Succotash BAYA (not sure of pg #)

                      We are on vacation in Seattle and today while browsing Pike Place Market I remembered this recipe and my sightseeing turned into a delicious dinner! Chop onions, red bell pepper, garlic and saute, then add corn, zucchini, yellow squash, edamame, salt and pepper, saute more until veg is cooked, then add torn basil and parsley. The best of what summer produce has to offer!

                      I left out the edamame and served this with some ridiculously good and cheap salmon fillets, simply grilled, plus some sliced tomatoes and a couple Deschutes IPAs, life is good!

                      1. Smoky Collard Greens, BAYA p. 197

                        Flavoring greens with smoked salt is a great idea. I used chard (leaves and ribs) instead of collards because that's what I have in the garden and a red onion instead of the Vidalia. I only used 2 cups of water because 4 cups just seemed like too much! Very tasty, though I still had too much water at end. Accompanied Oven-Fried Chicken Breasts with Pecan Crust and Corn Spoon Bread.

                        1. BAYA pg 179 Meme's Old-Fashioned Butterbeans

                          I've always loved butterbeans! DH thought he hated them, but eventually came around. Still, always gussied them up a bit for him... saute some onion and garlic, use some chicken stock, and throw in some tomaotes.

                          Ms. Willis takes a very purist approach and tonight I did it her way, with a freezer bag of the ones I put up a couple of weeks ago. (I put up 2 bushels of them and may do another batch before they disappear!)

                          I didn't have any bacon or fatback, so I used a few little pieces of ham I had stashed in the freezer. I dumped in a cup or so of left-over unsalted chicken stock from the fridge, then the rest water. A little salt and pepper. That was it. No butter, no other seasoning.

                          DH loved them! YAY!!! He's learned to appreciate butterbeans on their own.

                          I tried to do the BAYA cornbread recipe, but just couldn't bring myself to do it...I'll post about that on the bread thread.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: onrushpam

                            i agree...this was fantastic but I did use fatback!

                          2. Fresh Summer Succotash with Basil: Bon Appetit Y'All, Pg. 188

                            This is a very tasty way to enjoy fresh vegetables from farm or garden and was perfect for our vegetarian Friday dinner. A melange of butter beans, Yukon Gold potatoes, Vidalia onion, corn kernels, yellow squash, zucchini, grape tomatoes, and fresh basil. My modification was: frozen Lima beans, no potatoes, no yellow squash, but 2 zucchini. I omitted the potatoes because I made a Pizzaiola with onions, potatoes and tomatoes for the second dish. The beans and potatoes are cooked separately, seasoned with S & P and set aside. The chopped onion, corn and squashes are cooked in a skillet with butter and canola oil. The butter beans are added, then the potatoes along with the tomatoes (I halved them) and the fresh basil. Season to taste.... and enjoy!

                            The pizzaiola recipe came from "Sicilian Home Cooking" by Wanda and Giovanna Tornabene. Delicioso!! I have the book and love it but here's a link to the on-line recipe:

                            1. Delta Beans and Rice: Screen Doors and Sweet Tea, Pg. 139

                              Yum. This was the first time I had black-eyed peas but it won't be the last. I liked the soft subtle flavor and when combined with diced onions, garlic, diced tomatoes, thyme, apple cider vinegar, a bit of sugar and red pepper flakes, then rice..... well now, they were fabulous. I had to use frozen black-eyed peas which is allowed. For the RPF I used 4 small dried red chilies minced; chopped parsley is sprinkled over top when served. The beans and rice was a side dish for grilled pork chops and a salad for which I made the Come Back Sauce as a dressing. Frankly, I ate the beans and rice and left 3/4 of the chop. Can't wait to have some leftovers for lunch. Only the Delta Beans and Rice, tho.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Gio

                                Just a little addendum to the Delta beans and rice report. For lunch on Friday I heated the leftover B&R with chicken broth and had a soothing, spicy, delicious soup. Very nice....

                                1. re: Gio

                                  I made the beans and rice last night and liked the dish a lot.

                                  A nice flavorful variation on traditional hoppin' john, especially when you have lots of fresh tomatoes (as I do!)

                                  I made short grain brown rice 'cause that's what I like, and added some chicken stock to the bean mixture to moisten it up a bit. And since I cooked bacon for broccoli salad, threw in some bacon fat as I was sauteeing onion. I don't know why the recipe calls for soybean oil; I used olive oil (and bacon fat!)
                                  Had to use Goya canned beans 'cause I couldn't find frozen, and didn't plan in advance to soak dried beans. I'm happy to have leftover in the refrigerator, and think I'll freeze some. I like Gio's idea too of stretching it into soup.

                                  1. re: NYchowcook

                                    Hi NYC.... I didn't use soybean oil either.... EVOO instead. This and BAY'A's recipes for beans and rice and dirty rice are now in my regular rotation. They're actually a meal in themselves, include a little salad and Bob's your uncle.....

                                2. Molasses Baked Beans: Screen Doors and Sweet Tea, Pg. 143

                                  Very nice Saturday night dinner component for a cool Autumn evening. I usually make baked beans in my really old bean pot but this time, bowing to (ahem) current technology, I used not the oven proof skillet Ms. Fosse recommends, but The Slow Cooker.

                                  Here's what I did:
                                  Rinsed 1 lb of Great Northern beans and soaked them over night in the ceramic insert of my slow cooker.
                                  In the morning the beans were drained, put back into the cooker, and all the ingredients were added to the pot... 4 strips thick cut bacon, 1 large chopped yellow onion, 1 cup beer (Harpoon IPA), 1/2 c dark molasses, 2 T light brown sugar, 1 T dry mustard, 1 t sweet paprika, 2 T sweet pickle relish. Salt was added later. The cooker was set to low and the beans cooked for 9 hours, stirring once in a while. When finished the beans tasted every bit as if they were cooked in the bean pot. Absolutely delicious!
                                  This is now my favorite way to cook beans. In the pantry there are packages of dry pinto and kidney beans just ready for the next Saturdays meals.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: Gio

                                    In several discussions on beans (Cook's Illustrated, Harold McGee), they say that adding acidic ingredients, which includes molasses, at the beginning of cooking can toughen the bean coats. Did you notice anything like that? OTOH, my grandpa's baked beans were always tough, but my aunts & uncles loved it, probably because that's what they were used to.

                                    I wonder if I could sub something for the sweet pickle relish, because that's not a condiment I keep around. Ideas? How much of a difference do you think it made? (I know, I could buy a jar and it would last forever. Probably I should just do it.)

                                    1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                      Hi Karen... the finished beans were very tender and soft. When I used to make beans in the bean pot, the molasses went in at the beginning, just like last night, and I never had a problem with tough beans.....LOL in the pot that is. As for the relish, this was the first time I've had a jar in the house. Never use the stuff. To tell the truth, I didn't notice the flavor in the finished dish, but don't forget, slow cooking blends everything together, so the flavor may have just been incorporated very well. I can't remember if I used any sweetener other than molasses in the past but I may have added brown sugar as well.

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        New England [aka Boston] baked beans need just a tad of maple syrup added in the final hour of cooking [according to my family.] My ancestors did, however, have maple trees that they sugared, so maple syrup was always on the pantry cupboards. I think the maple syrup is in place of the brown sugar, but not the molasses, which as you say go in early.

                                        1. re: smtucker

                                          Right... I totally forgot about the maple syrup... my favorite sweetener, BTW. Grade B. That would be a wonderful susbstitute for the relish.

                                          1. re: Gio

                                            I usually make beans using the no-soak method of cooking them in the oven. (Bring to a boil on the stove, then transfer to a low oven for 2 hours.) I wonder if that would work for this recipe?

                                            1. re: onrushpam

                                              I don't see why not.... I have boiled beans for 2 minutes on the stove top, let them sit, covered, off heat for 1 hour in the water then proceed with the recipe with equally favorable results.

                                  2. Tangle of Winter Greens, Pg. ?

                                    The book isn't with me but there is the on-line recipe just under the title. G cooked this and instead of making the garlic paste he simply sliced the 3 garlic cloves thinly and incorporated them as in the recipe. Fortunately we had a bunch of tender collard greens from the farm, although any sturdy dark leafy winter greens such as kale, collards, turnip greens, or mustard greens can be used. This is a wonderful recipe in that it's an easy prep and quite a speedy cooking time = 3 to 4 minutes!

                                    So, the thing is you wash then chiffonade the leaves, heat oil in a skillet, toss in the garlic, greens, and some S & P, kinda stir-fry till greens have wilted and Boom. Done. Brightly flavored fresh greens absolutely delicious. Served with a mixed sausage and potato dish from Essential Pepin (page 369). Nice meal for a cool late Summer evening.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Gio

                                      This sounds delicious and a snap to make. Perfect for after dinner. Thanks for bringing this recipe to light.

                                      As a side note, I am in awe of how many different recipes/cookbooks you and G cook from. Recently, I've seen Pepin, Grace Young, Fuchsia Dunlop, Edward Lee and now Virginia Willis. I aspire to do this, but my execution has been lacking.

                                      1. re: BigSal

                                        Thank you Sally! For years and years I cooked a limited rotation of recipes I either learned from my mother or from the few cookbooks I had on hand. When I joined the COTM group I began to expand my cookbook collection thereby opening up a vast array of different cuisines. I feel it would be wasteful not to discover and utilize the treasures lying within those books. It's been a fun ride so far.

                                      2. re: Gio

                                        Tangle of Winter Greens, Pg. 198

                                        Popping back here to tell y'all TJ's sells a pound package of literally a tangle of bitter greens: "Southern Greens Blend". It includes mustard greens, turnip greens, collards, and spinach. They're "cut, cleaned, and ready to cook." I've learned from experience to rinse them well before cooking though. The only thing I would advise is to cook them slightly longer than the recipe calls for and be careful not to over salt.

                                        They were perfect accompaniment to a delicious roast pork loin with grappa, and apples from "1,000 Italian Recipes" by Michele Scicolone.