Hey ya’ll! I’m so sorry I haven’t posted this week! I’ve been struck down by the dreaded summer crud! Plus, my sweet puppy Bella got fixed and has been down for the count the past few days! She’s feeling better now though, as am I, and it’s time for some good ole county cookin’! Me and mama went to the Farmer’s Market today and loaded up on some fresh veggies!
Please excuse the messy backseat… as real estate agents, my mom and I tend to live and work out of our cars!Tonight’s post is all about Mamaw, Papaw, and mommy recipes!! These are the few recipes I actually go by and don’t tinker around with, except the squash casserole, that’s all me! My mamaw perfected the fried minute/round steak, and my papaw was the KING of peas and cornbread. After Mamaw passed away, Papaw didn’t know how to cook much of anything. His diet consisted of peas, cornbread, steak, chili, and boiled peanuts. Until he came to live with us of course and I cooked for him every night. He taught me the importance of a good, seasoned cast iron skillet and a good bushel of peas. He didn’t like frozen peas you get from the grocery store, he wanted to go pick ’em himself and when he got to where he couldn’t do that, he would go to the local famer’s market and pick them out. Mamaw was a little different. She liked it fresh but she would get frozen if she had to. Now, that’s not to say we wouldn’t freeze them and put them up for the winter! These are the recipes of my childhood… when you ask any one of my siblings what they want for supper the obvious answer is almost always: “Fried minute steaks or Fried Pork Chops, peas, cornbread, and squash.”
I grew up in the small town of Union, Mississipp; my daddy was the local preacher and every Sunday mama made a HUGE home cooked, farm fresh meal. She even used eggs we got from a friends chicken coop! I don’t remember many Sunday dinners where it was just our family… most of the time there was someone else there; another preacher, a member of the congregation, a friend, or all of the above! Ask any one of them what their favorite meal is and this is probably going to be the unanimous answer! I know many of my readers are thinking that this is going to be a really complicated or hard meal to cook but it’s really not! It’s amazingly easy and all of the meals use a lot of the same ingredients. Just read it and see if you can do it and if you can’t, find someone that’s more experienced to help you out! Just because vegetables are fresh, doesn’t mean that they’ve got to be hard or time consuming to cook. Promise 🙂
So, some of you may be asking what a minute steak is… it’s basically a cube steak. It’s a piece of meat, either a top round or top sirloin that’s been tenderized by the butcher. They’re super cheap and super easy to cook. They only take a couple minutes to fry… fried is my favorite way to make them. You can do much more with them, you can make them with gravy and onions, sort of like a Salisbury steak. But they seem to be more tender and flavorful fried. This is what you’ll need:
Fried Minute Steaks:
1 small package minute steaks,
2 cups self rising flour,
1 tbsp. Garlic Salt,
1 tbsp. Black Pepper,
1 cup (more or less depending on size of skillet) canola or vegetable oil.
Pour the oil into the skillet and turn to medium to high heat. Allow the oil to get hot before frying. Cut the minute steaks in half. Put the two cups of flour in a long, shallow bowl; stir in a garlic salt and black pepper. Put one steak into the flour at a time and cover with flour. Make sure each side is completely covered. Pick up and place to the side while you coat the rest of the steaks. Place the steaks in the hot oil and allow it to cook for about two minutes on each side. The blood will rise to the top of the steak on the first side, when a lot of blood is on the surface, you’ll need to flip it. Take them out of the grease and let drain on a paper towel. Don’t flip them too often, I usually only flip them once or twice. And don’t allow them to sit in the grease before it’s hot. If you put them in the grease before it’s hot, two things will happen. First, they’ll be greasy and mushy. Second, most of the flour will come off.
Gravy is a staple in Southern cooking! You gotta have some gravy to go along with and fried food. It’s just the way it’s done! It’s also super easy and fabulous!
Since you just fried up all that minute steak, you’re gonna start with the grease from that, take about half of that grease away…. enough so that the bottom of the skillet is covered. Turn the heat down low.
Sprinkle in about half a cup of flour and stir until brown. Now slowly, add a large, 20 oz. glass of hot water. Stirring it constantly. Add a little black pepper and salt and VOILA, you’ve got some gravy, sugar!
So, you’re probably asking how you’re supposed to pick the peas. Easy! Ask the folks at your local farmer’s market and they’ll be all too glad to help you. You can also use frozen. These are so simple you’ll make them with everything!
Pink Eye Purple Hull Peas:
2 cups of Pink Eye Purple Hull Peas,
3 strips of bacon,
enough water to cover the peas,
1 tbsp. salt.
Pour the peas in a boiler that has a top, place the bacon in with the peas, and cover them with water. Add salt and put them on low to medium heat. You want them to come to a slow boil. If they boil too hard, they’ll fall to pieces so you want it to cook low and slow. You may have to add a little water, don’t let the water level get too low or they’ll burn or be dry. Make sure they always have enough water to cover them or almost cover them. Cook them for about 35 minutes or until they’re soft. Dish yourself up a big ole bowl and top them with a dollop of mayonnaise. Don’t say “ewwww” believe me it’s DELICIOUS!!! There is almost no other way to eat peas… unless you crumble up some cornbread with it. 🙂
Squash Casserole is something that I never thought I would like; but, over the past few years I’ve learned to appreciate all things squash! I’m big on texture and squash doesn’t have the best texture. I’ll be the first to admit that! But, I can handle it when I’m in the mood for it or in small doses. I love fried squash, which is something my mom does, more so than me. I, honestly, don’t like to fry stuff. You see, I’m a clumsy fool! It doesn’t matter what I’m eating or cooking, there’s a 99.99995% chance that when I get done, I will have it on my shirt or my pants or something! Maybe I should design and sell some aprons for all of ya’ll who love reading about my recipes so much 😉 Anyways, so no matter what, I’m going to have stuff on me and it’s best if it’s not greasy! I can’t tell ya’ll how many articles of clothing I’ve replaced because of grease stains. Hence, my aversion to frying bacon, pork chops, minute steaks, chicken, and much much more; however, I still do it because everyone loves it so much. But that’s off topic. This squash casserole is the first one I ever tasted and the only one I’ve ever liked. That being said, it’s a combination of two recipes. This is what you’ll need:
3 cups or 10 medium sized squash, washed and sliced,
1 small Vidalia onion,
1 1/2 cup roasted garlic bread crumbs,
1 sleeve Ritz crackers,
1/2 stick butter,
1 can Cream of Mushroom or Cream of Chicken soup,
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese,
1 tsp. garlic salt,
1 tsp. Black pepper.
Cut the onion and squash up into a boiler and put about 2 cups of water into the boiler with it; enough water to cover half the squash. Sprinkle in a little salt and let it boil down until completely soft.
Crush up the crackers and add half of them to the squash mixture, along with half the bread crumbs. Stir it all up and set it aside. Take the half stick of butter, put it in a baking dish, and put it in the oven on 350 degrees until it melts. Once it’s melted, pour in the mixture, top with the rest of the crackers and bread crumbs, and put it in the hot oven for about 30 minutes. Once you take it out, you’ll know this isn’t your every day squash casserole! This is the casserole you’ll be bringing to every potluck and become a staple at every holiday feast!
Now for the cornbread! My favorite part! This is so easy and so many people are so intimidated by it! I know that not everyone has grown up with it like me, but I promise! It is just as easy as buying the mix and about 100 times better! But, you HAVE to have a cast iron skillet! You can buy them pre-seasoned from Log Cabin or from Cracker Barrel. I guess you can use a cake pan, but nothing will give you the crunch and taste of a cast iron skillet. So, go, buy, NOW! 🙂
All you need is cornmeal, buttermilk, 1 egg, and a little oil.
1 1/2 c. white cornmeal,
+/- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk,
+/- 1/2 cup oil.
I know, I know, you’re thinking, “this chick is telling me how easy it is and she doesn’t even know the recipe!” This is the type of recipe you eye ball and it depends heavily on the size of the skillet that you have. The end all and be all is this… You want to have a batter that is the consistency of pancake batter. First, you put the cornmeal in a bowl and start adding the buttermilk until you can stir it easily, but not too soupy. Then add the egg and stir it until the egg is fully incoprorated. Put your cast iron skillet on the stove top, pour in about a quarter of an inch of oil. Let that oil get really hot… piping hot 🙂 Once it’s hot, pour in the batter and put it into a hot 450 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown! Here’s the tricky part, once the pan is out of the oven, take a plate, put it upside down on the top of the pan, put one hand on the plate, and one hand on the skillet handle, and flip the skillet over. Now that the cornbread is on the plate, cut it up and put a little pat of butter on each piece. YUMMY!! I like to do Mexican cornbread too, which I’ll be writing the recipe for this winter but basically, I add onions, corn, cheese, and peppers in it. But, this is the best! This, is comfort! THIS, is home! And it’s sooooooo easy!!
Last but certainly not least, we’ve got dessert. Nothing’s better in the summer than fresh, homemade, from scratch, peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream. Peaches are finicky though and you’ll have to pick the right ones. You need peaches that are ripe and soft, almost too ripe. You want them to be mushy and juicy… like this:
Notice the dark pinky color on the right and the light pink on the left. The darker the peach, the more ripe it is. By the way, the darker and riper the peach, the easier it is to peel; and, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to peel an un-ripe peach, but it’s rough! I only used 4 peaches for this and it was plenty! But you can add more if you want! Using 4 gives you a good ratio of batter to peach though!
1 1/2 cup sugar,
1 cup milk,
1 cup self rising flour,
1/2 stick butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla,
and a dash of cinnamon.
In a separate bowl, add flour, milk, egg, one cup sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon; mix it vigorously until all the lumps are out… Most people don’t use vanilla, egg, or cinnamon in their peach cobbler. But I’m a different soldier, marching to my own drum 🙂 Plus, who doesn’t add vanilla, cinnamon, and eggs when an opportunity presents itself?!? Put the 1/2 stick butter in the bottom of a baking dish and place it into a 350 degree oven until it melts. Once it’s melted, tilt the edges of the pan until the butter coats every inch. Pour the batter in on top of the butter, place the peaches along the batter and bake for 20 minutes or until gold and bubbly.
That’s it for today ya’ll! I think I made up for taking so long to blog again! Ya’ll have an arsenal of Southern recipes to try out now! But seriously, these recipes are so close to my heart. I’m glad that I can share them with ya’ll! Writing them down is something that I’ve always meant to do and just never took the time! That’s right! Most of these recipes are all just floating around in my head. Sometimes I forget measurements and have to guess because I just eye ball everything. It’s easy to just say, “Oh, that looks like enough” or “Oh, it needs a little more of this.” It’s just what I’ve always done… So, bear with me! I’m trying to remember measurements for everything! Doesn’t this look like a spread straight from the Beverly Hillbillies or Petticoat Junction?!?
Hope ya’ll enjoy!! Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear?!?