Category Archives: Comfort food

Deviled Eggs — Green Tomato, Smoked Salmon, Bacon et. al.

These are topped with leftover pulled pork & pickled green tomatoes.

These are topped with leftover pulled pork & pickled green tomatoes.

As a Southern woman of a certain age, it’s assumed that you can do a few things well. You can write a proper thank you note. You can drink good bourbon straight. And you can make a solid deviled egg.

I recently found out that one of my most quintessentially Southern lady friends doesn’t know how to do #3, so we remedied that last night.

The great thing about deviled eggs is you can make any flavor as long as you have a tasty base to start with. Mayo helps with that, but mustard goes a long way, as does pickle juice, the secret to All Good Things. Also important: axe the sweet relish most people use. That tip isn’t grandma-sanctioned, but it will give you a better “blank” slate to start with.

18 organic eggs
3 tbsp Duke’s mayonnaise
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tbsp pickle juice
1 tsp black pepper
salt to taste
paprika or cayenne

  1. Boil, cool and peel your eggs. (If you haven’t tried the hot-start method, see below. They’ll peel much easier.)
  2. Slice them in half and put all the yolks in one bowl. (And you don’t have to slice them vertically; Husk does them horizontally, and they are the devil masters.)
  3. Mash the eggs with a fork and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well. Taste and season.
  4. Separate yolk mix into 4 bowls (see below).
  5. For each ingredient, dice a 1/2 cup of your topping of choice and stir it into one bowl.
  6. Fill a Ziploc bag with the mix and cut a corner off. Pipe some filling into each egg.
  7. Top each egg with a 1-inch piece of the ingredient used in the filling. Chill until face-stuffing time.
The smoked trout variety at Husk. Can I get a swoon from all my fellow fatgirls.

The smoked trout variety at Husk. Can I get a swoon from all my fellow fatgirls.

Toppings:

With 18 eggs, you can make a bunch of kinds, but 4 different toppings works well for 18 eggs. Choose from any of the below, or use whatever you’ve got in the fridge — as long as the ingredient isn’t too sweet, anything is good stuff in an egg.

Witness:

  • Smoked salmon or trout
  • Pickled anything – green tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, etc.
  • Bacon
  • Ham (country or regular, shaved)
  • Prosciutto
  • Pulled pork
  • Olives
  • Raw tuna (topped with a dollop of wasabi)
  • Pimento cheese (what up, Marge)
  • Truffle oil

Hot-start boiling:

The fresher the egg, the harder it will be to peel when hard-boiled. This method makes them easier to de-shell without totally destroying them.

  1. Lower your eggs straight from the fridge into already-boiling water.
  2. Lower the heat to the barest simmer.
  3. Cook the eggs for 11 minutes.
  4. Shock them in ice water and let them chill for 15 minutes.
  5. Peel under cool running water.

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Filed under Appetizers, Comfort food, Party food, Side dishes, Snacks, Southern food

Funeral Sandwiches ~ Ham & Cheese Sliders

ham and cheese sandwiches

Bib not included.

First things first: why are these called “funeral sandwiches?” In short, I don’t know, but I’d guess it’s because the only time you wouldn’t feel guilty about stuffing this many lip-smacking nitrates into your face would be after the death of a loved one. Luckily for you, I eat like I’m in mourning all the time, so let’s dig in.

These are somewhat similar to Ham Delights (though that link is not to the Dot-sanctioned recipe), but Morg voted that these are better, and I agree. The brown sugar and smoked salt really punch these up. Plus they’re just the right mix of sloppy and fancy, and that’s the way we do things here at Nummy.

1 pkg (12) Hawaiian buns
1 1/2 pkgs sliced ham
1 pkg sliced Swiss cheese
1 stick butter
3 tbsp Worcestershire
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp bourbon
1.5 tbsp minced onions
1 tsp smoked salt (you can use regular salt here if you need to)
white pepper

  1. Layer a few slices of ham and cheese on each bun and place them in a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
  2. Melt together the rest of the ingredients and ladle this mixture over the sandwiches.
  3. Put the sandwiches in the fridge for 24 hours.
  4. When you’re ready to serve, pull the sandwiches out and cut them in half diagonally with a pizza cutter.
  5. Bake uncovered at 350 for 20 minutes.

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Filed under Appetizers, Christmas, Comfort food, Party food

Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes

If the name of this side dish wasn’t enough to get your attention, the following were overheard at Akin Thanksgiving re: these potatoes:

“I want to stick my face in that.”

“I would like to be alone with the potatoes.”

“I can’t say what I want to do with these potatoes in front of my Mom.”

This recipe was originally a Michael Symon jam, but we’ve increased the ratio of butter to potato because Duh.

brown butter mashed potatoes

Rice that sh*t or The Chef will come after you.

9 large russet potatoes, peeled and chunked
1 1/4 sticks of butter
1 cup milk
1/4 cup crème fraîche

  1. Bring potatoes to a boil in salted water. Simmer for 25 minutes or until tender. Drain.
  2. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Whisk the butter over medium heat for about 5 minutes to turn it a golden brown, caramel color.
  3. Put the potatoes back in the pot and cook them on high for 1 minute. (This will help them suck up all the fatty goodness.)
  4. Mash your potatoes or pass them through a ricer.
    Note: A ricer, or food mill, is a schmancy chef thing that makes your potatoes smooth as silk. While that texture is nice, it’s by no means necessary. But do not say that to a Chef. You will get punched in the face.
  5. Add the milk and crème fraîche and stir well. Season with salt (it won’t need much) and white pepper.

You can make these a few days in advance because sheer amount of lard inside will keep them well preserved. See: Any fat Southern woman.

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Filed under Comfort food, Potatoes, Side dishes, Special Occasion, Thanksgiving

Antipasto Pasta Salad

foodnetworktv.com

As Morg and I chatted today about a blog she reads called Sarcastic Cooking (which is awesome despite the fact they clearly stole my name), I realized how much I’ve been denying this blog in the name of work. Let’s abruptly put a stop to that shall we?

I made this recipe a month or so ago to take to the lake, and as any meat-laced pasta salad is sure to be, it was a winner. This is a recipe from Giada de Laurentis, who, I’d like to reiterate, cannot possibly be eating the food she cooks on TV. She should look like Paula Deen with all the butter and sugar that goes into everything, yet she’s one bikini and dye-job away from being a Playmate. I do not buy it, Giada. Just know that.

Anyway, a pasta salad recipe that uses salami and olives is a slam dunk with me in any capacity; however I have modified this recipe slightly because our Italian sister went ape crazy with the oil. Seriously, I had to strain the pasta salad after I made it because it was swimming in extra virgin. But fear not – proportions have been corrected accordingly, so whip up with confidence.

Red Wine Vinaigrette:
1 bunch fresh basil, stemmed and leaves chopped (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (add more later if too dry)
1 lemon, juiced

Antipasto Salad:
1 pound fusilli pasta
1/2 cup hard salami, cut into strips (about 3 ounces)
1/2 cup smoked turkey, cut into strips (about 3 ounces)
1/4 cup provolone cheese, cut into strips
1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
2 tablespoons green olives, halved and pitted
2 tablespoons roasted red peppers, cut into strips
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.
  2. In a blender, add the basil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper. Blend until the herbs are finely chopped. With the machine running, drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing is smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together the cooked pasta with the remaining salad ingredients. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Add lemon juice to taste for acidity purposes. Serve.

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Filed under Comfort food, Italian food, Pasta, Side dishes

“Peg’s” Spinach & Ranch Dip

hiddenvalley.com

While I am sure I have had this dip many times in the past, our recent trip to Charleston reminded me how downright good it is. I though it so good, in fact, that I told Peg she just had to give me the recipe because I’m always looking for a good cold dip.

To which she replied, “Um sure, Ashley – it’s on the back of the packet.” And then she and the rest of the Davies pointed and laughed as they are wont to do. And that is why I love them.

My embarrassment aside, this dip is solid, and I actually prefer it with veggies for dippers than chips, which is miraculous on its own.Also, you can definitely use light sour cream in this without any adverse effect. I know. My inner fat girl cries out with shame at this suggestion.

And don’t skip the water chesnuts – they are what gives this stuff its cracktastic crunch.

10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
8 oz water chestnuts, rinsed, drained and chopped
16 oz sour cream (you can go light here)
1 packet Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dips Mix
salt, black pepper and hot sauce to taste
French bread, cut into pieces
fresh veggies

  1. Mix first four ingredients (and s&p and hot sauce) together and chill for at least 30 minutes (preferably overnight).
  2. Dip the other stuff in it. Pretty straightforward.

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Filed under Appetizers, Comfort food, Dips, Veggies

Akin Family Oyster Dressing ~ Groundhog’s Day 2K12

So despite my moral dilemma of yesterday, I’ve decided to go ahead and pull this one out of The Vault. (As it turns out, my threshold for withholding secret recipes is quite shallow, which is probably to be expected from a person who has a blog about recipes on the Interwebs.)

foodnetworkasia.com

Anyway, perhaps the groundhog will take a page from my book – you know, bringing things to light and such – and ignore his stupid shadow so we can get on with Real Spring instead of this faux Fall we’ve been having.

Annnnnd, rambling is now over. As I mentioned previously, this recipe has been a long time coming. My cousin Melissia had to watch my Aunt Sylvia make it three times to come up with the recipe because it had never even been written down. So it’s old school traditional is what I’m saying.

I’m also saying it is delectable, so even if you have to tinker with it a little bit to get it right, your efforts will be rewarded.

1 pan cornbread
4-6 biscuits
3-4 celery stalks, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2-3 raw eggs
2-3 boiled eggs, chopped
2 cans chicken broth
1 can oysters
1 tsp+ poultry seasoning
1 tsp+ sage
salt & pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cook celery and onion in broth until tender.
  3. Crumble breads and mix all ingredients together. Taste and season accordingly. (This is where the extra sage or poultry seasoning comes in.)
  4. Pour into 9×13 pan.
  5. Bake for at least 40 minutes (longer if all of the excess moisture hasn’t evaporated).

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Filed under Christmas, Comfort food, Seafood, Side dishes, Special Occasion, Thanksgiving

Honeycomb Breakfast Casserole

closetcooking.com (pic has asparagus, recipe doesn't)

While we are nothing if not traditional around the holidays, this was one of my favorite new recipes from Akin Holidays 2K11. It was, as per usual, from my favorite old cookbook, Heart & Soul.

While I generally jump at the chance to make a new variation of Dot’s Breakfast Casserole, I saw this and knew that this sausage/mushroom/HOLLANDAISE concoction was clearly meant for me. And as with our standby breakfast casserole, it is stupid easy to make and just plain satisfying.

The interesting thing here is that it’s mushrooms (instead of the usual bread) that provide much-needed texture to the eggy goodness here. Also, while this is pretty much the same recipe you’ll find in H&S, I have taken some liberties (because what’s not better with Worcestershire?) and shortcuts (because water baths are for babies, not food), so it won’t match up exactly if you get to fact-checking.

1 lb hot sausage
8 oz portabella mushrooms
8 oz button mushrooms
dash of Worcestershire sauce + Cavendar’s
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
8-10 eggs, beaten thoroughly

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Grease 9×13 in. baking dish and spread cheddar cheese on the bottom.
  3. Cook sausage, drain, and layer on top of cheese.
  4. In the drippings from the sausage, cook the mushrooms until just tender, adding Worcestershire and seasoning as needed.
  5. Add into dish on top of sausage and pour egg mixture over the top.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes or until the liquid (egg) in the middle of the casserole is firm.
  7. Serve and top individual portions with Hollandaise. Nom nom nom.

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Filed under Breakfast, Christmas, Comfort food, Pork