The people's voice of reason

Southern Cuisine - December

Guests and Food

We are at the time of year I call, Guests and Food. You have guests and family in and out of the house for a little over two months and both months are food months. A large meal on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas parties at home or work means busy times in the kitchen. Now is a good time to look in your refrigerator, pantry, and your freezer for leftovers and extra items you didn't use for the Thanksgiving feast. Most of the leftovers can be re-heated and served again. Remember food safety rules. I only re-heat the food up to two times and use it up within four days. The rules have changed to be more lenient but I would rather be safe than sorry.

Instead of serving the same food the same way, re-design the food. I had a recipe turning leftover dressing into a waffle. You can make dinner Fried Chicken and Savory Waffles with Cane Syrup and wow the guests...

...Last month I had a recipe for dressing that was made with frozen leftover breads saved over the year. This year we had to bake fresh biscuits, because they were so good the first time, we did not have any leftovers. This year, I am sure that you were thinking ahead and have plenty of leftover biscuits. If not, recall the recipe I had for Lily White Flour biscuits and bake a batch. It will be worth your while. And since you made so much of my simple yet crowd pleasing cranberry sauce from last month, you are a step ahead to making a dessert from re-purposed leftovers. The cranberries from the sauce are easily spread over the bread pudding made from fresh fluffy biscuits.


Yield: about 8 servings, Prep: 15 min., cook time: 50 min.


No-Stick Cooking Spray

White Lily® Light And Fluffy Biscuits. (8 or 9)

Left over cranberry dressing that still has mostly whole

cranberries (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 (12 oz.) package white baking chips

1 cup milk

1 cup heavy cream

3 eggs

2 egg yolks

1/4 cup sugar


1. Preheat oven to 325°F.

2. Coat 9 1/2- inch deep dish pie plate with no-stick cooking spray.

3. Slice biscuits in half horizontally. Arrange, split side up, in a circular pattern in prepared pie plate. Arrange cranberries randomly over


4. Microwave baking chips in uncovered microwave-safe bowl on MEDIUM HIGH for 1 minute and 15 seconds. Stir. If necessary,

microwave at 15 second intervals, stirring just until melted.

5. Combine milk and cream in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

6. Whisk eggs, egg yolks and sugar in large bowl. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture and melted baking chips until blended.

7. Ladle egg mixture gently over biscuits until almost full, pressing down slightly to submerge. Let stand 20 minutes. Add remaining egg mixture as biscuits absorb liquid.

8. Bake uncovered 45 to 50 minutes or until firm and knife inserted 2 inches from edge comes out clean. Add extra cranberries when serving.

Recipe adapted from a White Lily Flour recipe. sauce is to add some dried cranberries that have been soaked in apple juice.

I have been researching in some of my old cookbooks that have been able to collect from the late 1700's to the mid and late 1800's. Some of the oldest are The WILLIAMSBURG ART of COOKERY, Accomplished Gentlewoman's COMPANION: Being a collection of upwards of Five Hundred of the most Ancient & Approved Recipes in Virginia Cookery. They did not believe in short book titles back then. By the 1900's titles became shorter and two of my favorites are the WHITEHOUSE COOKBOOK, first published in 1887. I have the 1919 edition, and ALL ABOUT BAKING published in 1933, I have the 1935 edition. I noticed how few ingredients and simple instructions are in many of the recipes. And the use of ingredients that are not very common in recipes today. My favorite instructions include measuring butter as a “piece of butter as large as an egg.” I have not seen baking instructions for bread to include “The first thing required for making bread is the utmost cleanliness; the next is the soundness and sweetness of all ingredients used for it; and, in addition to these, there must be attention and care through the whole process.” This can be said about all cooking.

Menus for some meals have changed greatly with Christmas Dinner being a good example. The menu is, Oysters on the half-shell, Game Soup, Boiled White fish with Maitre d'Hotel sauce, Roast Goose with Apple sauce, Boiled potatoes, Mashed Turnips, Creamed Parsnips, Stewed Onions, Boiled Rice, Lobster Salad, Canvass Back Duck, Christmas Plum Pudding with Sauce, Vanilla Ice-cream, Mince Pie, Orange Jelly Delicate Cake, Salted Almonds Fruits and Coffee. Where ever that meal is served, I will be there.

What has also gotten my attention are ingredients that were in past recipes but are disappearing from today's recipes. We are using stuff like high fructose corn syrup when we should be using cane syrup. It is not just about health issues or highly processed foods. It is about losing touch of where your food comes from. There is push back concerning how many of the items we use and sometimes depend on and made overseas. I'm not advocating to stop eating foreign food but see if there is local alternative for a food that is like the old commercials on TV for Pace Picante Sauce said “Made in New York City”?

There is a campaign going on highlighting locally sourced foods, SWEET GROWN ALABAMA. And to do my part, I am going to highlight at least one item in my recipes that are made or grown in ALABAMA. If not possible, I will find a product from the South.

This next recipe uses one such item. TODD Farms Old Farm Syrup comes from Headland, Alabama, where



1 ¾ cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ cup butter

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg

¼ cup Todd Farms Old Farm cane syrup

¾ cup milk

powdered sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cover a 9x9x2 inch with shortening and flour.

3. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and baking soda.

4. In a large mixing bowl, using a hand electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the sugar and continue to beat until fluffy. Continue beating while adding the egg and cane syrup.

5. Alternate adding dry ingredients and milk to beaten mixture, When just combined pour mixture in the prepared pan. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a test toothpick inserted in the cake comes out dry.

6. Cool in pan on wire rack. Dust cake with powdered sugar before


If you noticed, there is not a lot of sugar or syrup in this cake. This cake is perfect for the foundation for a dessert that has more sweetness. Use your favorite flavoring in the icing or glaze for the topping or use this cake recipe for your favorite poke cake.

Although it is cold and the first day of winter is December 21st, there are plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables available. I was thinking of a list of foods you should be eating this winter. The first ones that come to my mind are root vegetables, such as carrots, beets, turnips and parsnips. . Very versatile, very healthy and easily found. Next, should be the first green leaf vegetable that comes to mind to anyone living in the South, collard greens. Collards are grown year round but they are tastier and more nutritious in the cold months. Then there is Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery and broccoli that can be found year round but tastes best when harvested during the winter, their natural growing season. Both fruits and vegetables are grown in many parts of the world year round, and like some vegetables; clementines, grapefruit, kiwi, Mandarin oranges,and papayas are best during the colder months. When you mix up the winter fruits in your menus, you and your guests will enjoy the fruits of your labor. LOL


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