Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Southern Cuisine for June

 


As I sit in what my wife and I call the Parlor, I am eating my favorite breakfast. Leftovers from the icebox. Here is a word that has lost its meaning over the years. No longer does a person deliver ice to your house to put in your icebox to keep your food cold. I am not old enough to live when we had ice delivered, but my parents were and they called a refrigerator an icebox. But as usual, I digress. The leftovers today were from a dinner we had last night with two other couples. It was an impromptu decision to have dinner and we did not want it to be semi-formal sit down and eat and chat affair. We wanted to be comfortable, casual and fun. Make your own nachos and margaritas! And no my leftover breakfast did not consist of nachos and margaritas. It was scrambled eggs mixed with black beans, taco meat, some leftover chorizo from last week, salsa and fresh cilantro and rolled in a tortilla spread with chili con queso. Heated in a microwave and then topped with leftover guacamole. I always make too much of whatever the mix is and save it to make breakfast tacos to snack on or for lunch at work. Dinner was a buffet of taco meat, grated cheese, salsa, cilantro, black beans, chili con queso, guacamole, sour cream, and tortilla chips. Everyone made their own plate of nachos and melted everything in the microwave. Dessert was leftover Key Lime Squares and Amaretto Brownies that my wife, Anne, made for a baby shower. What you have in your icebox can make for an enjoyable evening and an easy breakfast. The month of May was dance recital time again. And like a good grandfather, I was at my youngest granddaughter's recital.

This year only the oldest girls participated which made it shorter and much more bearable. These girls can actually dance. It was a time for her to shine and show how much she likes to dance.

A side note to the recital was a lady at a table selling a book. It was Martie Duncan and her book, Alabama Cravings. To quote from the inside cover, “She represented Alabama and home cooks everywhere on Season 8 of the popular Food Network competition cooking series Food Network Star, where she was runner-up.” Her book is a must, filled with quotes from some of Alabama's

famous folks that have not gotten all of the notoriety they deserve. And Alabama restaurant recipes that are Southern favorites. As the back cover says, this book “is the ultimate Alabama dining guide.” We talked about her travel around the state and the people she met, and she has a playlist of her favorite songs with Alabama roots in her book. It was a pleasure to chat with her about each of our experiences with the Food Network. And she signed my book!

A big change around my house is I now have my own bee suit and equipment to start taking care of my own bees and two hives. It is official, because I have the health department certificates from California and Georgia saying that my bees are healthy and free from Africanization. My barn is temporarily storing brooders, supers, and frames waiting for each new hive to become established before I start another. Each box depending on the size can contain 30 and up to 80 pounds of honey. I will keep you posted on the busy bees.

I like finding lists on the internet. Lists for anything, best places to live, best places to raise a family, best places to eat. The last list is my favorite. Yelp.com lists submitted by readers can be a guide to seek out new places that you may not have heard about. I found a list of the best places to eat in each Alabama county and in the large cities. In addition, did you know that there is a TACO TRAIL and a DOUGHNUT TRAIL in Alabama. Where else to start the Taco Trail than at La Coronilla in Montgomery. The reviews say it is deceiving from the outside but it is what's inside that counts. After your taco, for a sweet, head to Donuts D-Lite in Millbrook or Wetumpka to start your DOUGHNUT Trail. Try the cake donuts! It is on the trail and not too far away and sells a different doughnut. D-SQUARE DONUTS in Auburn. With a square doughnut you get four more bites. Make sure you get the orange and blue sprinkles!

Another list that I would like to share is a list of AL.COM list of the best restaurant in each county according to Yelp.com. I am not going to mention all of them but I will highlight one or two every month because we need to support these establishments and our neighbors. First , Autauga county: Uncle Mick's Cajun Cuisine, in Prattville. And Elmore county: Our Place Cafe, in Wetumpka. Go out to eat this week and support these people. I am going to throw in one more that I don't eat at enough but I like it and that's Montgomery county: Central, in Montgomery.

All this writing about food is making me hungry. So to use up more of my leftovers from Nacho night, I found some recipes that would also use up some other things in the icebox.

SWEET POTATO FRITTERS with GUACAMOLE and FRIED EGG

INGREDIENTS

1 medium size sweet potato peeled and grated

3 eggs

1 Tablespoons chives chopped

sea salt freshly ground pepper

2 Tablespoons olive oil

a few cherry tomatoes if desired

Leftover guacamole

Sour cream as needed

Fresh cilantro as needed

Salsa of your choice if desired

Instead of making my own guacamole I am using up the store bought that I had. Guacamole does not have a long shelf life. And I am using fresh cilantro so changing the flavor somewhat. And using my sour cream as a topping for the fritter. One of the couples from Sunday night brought me a dozen eggs from their chickens. I have some sweet potatoes waiting for me to have a bake sweet potato bar for another quick get together.

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Place a paper towel in a colander and set aside

2. Peel and grate potato using a food processor or box grater, sprinkle

potatoes with sea salt, toss and place in paper towel lined colander

3. Whisk 1 egg, pinch of sea salt, a few turns of freshly ground pepper and chopped chives

4. Slice tomatoes if using

5. Use paper towel to squeeze out any extra moisture from potatoes

6. Place in a bowl and stir in egg mixture

7. Heat a medium sized pan on med/high heat for two minutes, add olive oil, covering entire bottom of pan

8. Drop potatoes by 2 large spoonfuls into pan, using the back of the spoon to spread fritters into a 4-5" circles (will make two fritters)

9. Turn down heat if needed and cook first side for 2-3 minutes or until golden and crispy, carefully flip and cook second side. When second side is done, place fritters on plates

10. Add more oil to pan if needed and carefully crack two eggs into pan

11. While eggs cook, spread guacamole onto fritters, leaving edges exposed or wait until eggs are done then top fritter with egg then the guacamole.

12. When eggs are cooked to your liking remove with spatula and place on fritters

13. Season with more salt and pepper and if desired, garnish with salsa, sour cream, cilantro, and tomatoes

Serves 2

I went to a business/training meeting last month for my work. I like going to these, especially if they are in another large city or on the coast. The last

one was in another city that I have not visited before, Tuscaloosa. My only

experience with the home of University of Alabama was a drive through it on I.H. 20 from Birmingham to Dallas. So the first thing I look for are restaurants and menus. I want to be prepared. There are some highly rated restaurants in Tuscaloosa but unfortunately I was not able to go out because that evening was the time that a large storm was planning to go through there. So I ate in the hotel but it wasn't a waste because I ate at the bar in the Hotel Capstone. There was an item on the menu that I thought I would try. An Apple Pizza sounded good. No greasy pepperoni, tasteless cheese, under spiced red sauce. No recipe but this can not be too hard to make just from the description.

Also I did not think of taking the picture until I ate almost half of the pizza.

APPLE PIZZA

INGREDIENTS

Served me but I think it is meant for two.

10 inch Nan (or any soft

flatbread you like)

Granny Smith apples cored

and thinly sliced

Blue cheese crumbles

Roasted spiced pecans

Spring mix with chard

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Cover most of the flatbread with the apple slices

2. Sprinkled blue cheese over apple

3. Spread pecans across blue cheese

4. Quickly heat in a hot oven just to partially melt the cheese and warm the flatbread.

5. Remove to serving plate and loosely cover with spring mix

Serve while warm.

 

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