Fireball. Now with slightly more class & less judgment.
Of all the adult beverages we have here at Nummy, this one is the simplest and most seasonal.
Even better – It’s the fastest way to get Fireball into your system since Matt Hinson moved back to Memphis.
1/2 gallon apple cider
4 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise (optional)
Fireball to taste
- Stud your orange with cloves (i.e. jam cloves into the outside of an orange).
- Simmer all ingredients except Fireball for 30 minutes. (Reminder: Star anise tastes like liquorice, so if you Hate Licorice like I do, skip it.)
- Strain and add desired amount of Fireball. Serving suggestions per mug are as follows:
- One splash for fuzzy memories
- One shot for slightly sloppy
- Two shots for telling your sister what you really think of her boyfriend
- Garnish each mug with a cinnamon stick and a slice of orange peel.
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.
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
- Bring potatoes to a boil in salted water. Simmer for 25 minutes or until tender. Drain.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan. Whisk the butter over medium heat for about 5 minutes to turn it a golden brown, caramel color.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
My favorite thing about talking to some of our less-cheffy friends is that they make you feel super impressive and creative, even when your ideas are pretty standard. For example, Liza was recently telling The Chef and me about how there’s only so much you can do with chicken and vegetables, and you just can’t make pork tenderloin for two.
To which I said, um, depends on how large and fattening your portion sizes are, but that’s really not the point. Tenderloin is surprisingly simple to make, and it’s just about the best snack ever.
So when The Chef told Liza about this sweet and tangy marinade and the ways you could re-purpose your leftovers – tenderloin tacos, quesadillas, on buns with horseradish or honey mustard – she acted like he had just discovered fire. It was hilarious.
So this one’s for you, young Liza. Treat yo’self!
1 1/2 cups of maple syrup
1 cup of creole mustard
3 garlic cloves minced
1/2 cup olive oil
2 rosemary sprigs, chopped
salt and pepper
- Whisk together all ingredients.
- Pour marinade over tenderloin and marinate for 4 hours – overnight, depending upon how intense you want the flavor to be.
- Grill (or bake) until a thermometer registers 150 degrees. (If you are a little braver and like the pink, you can stop at 140.)
- Let the tenderloin rest for 30 minutes before slicing. Or, if you’re making this ahead of time for a specific occasion, refrigerate and slice when ready to serve. Tenderloin is just as good room temp.
My brother Martin is finally getting hitched, so I figured we needed a stout yet sassy beverage for his engagement party. In the name of printing up (completely unnecessary but adorable) little St. Patrick’s Day menu cards, this cocktail was named “the Smartini” as a Martin/Sarah mashup.
As a general rule, I think most dudes will drink a fruity cocktail as long as it:
- isn’t bright pink
- uses some sort of unorthodox ingredient, and
- doesn’t come in a fancy cocktail glass that makes you inclined to raise a pinkie.
And this cocktail passes all of those tests. The Acai Berry liquor is a trendy new kind of booze we had in Charleston while dining at Cypress (the oysters, OH THE OYSTERS!), and The Chef and I are pretty much basil sluts on every level, so this was a no-brainer.
While I didn’t squeeze the 3 dozen lemons it would have required to make a pitcher of this stuff, if I were making smaller batches, I’d definitely use the fresh stuff. Also, this has agave nectar in it, which is just nature’s fancy-sounding answer to Splenda, so do not be afraid.
The bottom line: this was refreshing and delectable, so throw it in your spring rotation.
2 parts Acai berry liquor (Veev)
1 part fresh lemon juice
1 part agave nectar
2 parts club soda
1 package basil, roughly chopped
cucumbers and lemons, sliced for garnish
- Pour your Acai berry liquor in a pitcher or tupperware container. Add basil. Let steep for 1-4 days, depending on desired strength of basil flavor.
- Combine all ingredients and chill.
I made this in a much larger quantity – i.e. used two bottles of Veev and increased amounts of the other ingredients proportionally – and that worked very well. Put it in a pitcher and dress it up with the cucumbers and lemons, and you got one pretty and potent cocktail.
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.)
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
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
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Cook celery and onion in broth until tender.
- Crumble breads and mix all ingredients together. Taste and season accordingly. (This is where the extra sage or poultry seasoning comes in.)
- Pour into 9×13 pan.
- Bake for at least 40 minutes (longer if all of the excess moisture hasn’t evaporated).
Despite the long absence from you, Num, I have returned. And I have brought with me the spoils of my annual Ripley Christmas trip.
Namely, the somewhat hyped and super delicious cider recipe from Uncle Stewart’s tailgate… and Akin Oyster Dressing. (I’m still debating the morality of posting that second one since it took me several years to annoy my cousin Melissia and Aunt Sylvia into relinquishing it, so time will have to tell on that one.)
For the moment, this simple sipping cocktail will have to suffice. And I guarantee it will quench any thirst, a winter one especially.
Apple Cider or Juice
- Mix cider and spices as directed on package. (Incidentally, the spices come in an adorable milk carton package, so this drink is both cute and yummy.)
- Add Hot Damn to taste.
- Heat (do not boil) and imbibe.
This is another holiday dish that I will definitely be putting into the year-round rotation.
I first had this dip at a Christmas party 8 years ago, and I searched for the recipe for 5 years before someone pointed out to me that it had been right under my nose – namely in Heart & Soul – the whole time.
While this does take a little while to prep and cook, it is totally worth your time. And not just because it is delicious, but also because each step of the cooking process leaves the house smelling better than the last. Butter, creole seasoning, fresh herbs and seafood? I’m on board.
Two words of caution: Make sure to thaw and rinse your seafood well to get rid of any unnecessary fishiness, and make sure you use 2 teaspoons of creole seasoning and not 2 tablespoons at each of the saute steps. Not that anyone has ever ruined 2 pounds of perfectly good seafood by doing that, but I’d like to prevent it if at all possible…
1 lb crawfish tails
1 lb shrimp, raw and roughly chopped
1.5 sticks of butter (.75 cups)
6 tsp creole seasoning
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 tbsp fresh basil (3 dried)
3 tbsp fresh thyme (1.5 dried)
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup flour
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
- Melt half a stick of butter in a large skillet. Add 2 tsp creole seasoning. Add crawfish and saute for 5 minutes. Pour crawfish and butter into a bowl and set aside.
- Melt half a stick of butter in a the skillet, add 2 tsp creole seasoning, and saute shrimp in butter for 3 minutes. Add shrimp to bowl with crawfish.
- Melt the rest of the butter in the skillet with 2 tsp creole seasoning. Add onion, green and red peppers, celery, and garlic and saute for 5 minutes or until veggies are tender.
- Add fresh herbs, tomato paste and flour to veggie mixture in the skillet and stir constantly for 5 minutes.
- Process half of crawfish/shrimp mixture in blender (do not puree).
- Add crawfish/shrimp mixture (both processed and not-processed halves) to skillet and mix thoroughly.
- Stir in green onions and add hot sauce to taste.
- Serve with Thin Garlic Crostinis and get out of the way.
You might think I’m titling these cake balls “crazymaker” because you’ll be made “craaaaazy by how good they are!” or something equally infomercially. You would be wrong. I am titling them this because every time I’ve made them, they’ve made me a few shades more insane.
On the face of it, this recipe is simple. And in reality, I think it once was for me because I remember making literally 7 different varieties of these when I worked at the state capitol. For some reason, though, the last time I made these, my kitchen and Ripley were covered in batter and sadness by the time it was all said and done.
Nonetheless, you dessert folk get seriously neglected here at Nummy, so I’m trying to throw you a sugar bone. If you actually make the cake/icing mixture ahead of time and refrigerate it, the step where you dip the balls in melted chocolate might not make you postal.
1 box cake mix + ingredients to make it
1 container icing
1 bag of chocolate (white, dark, whatever)
- Make the cake according to package directions. Cool and crumble.
- Stir in icing until cake and icing mixture is smooth and creamy. CHILL.
- Melt chocolate in the dreaded double-boiler. (Or ANY OTHER WAY to melt chocolate if you know one.)
- Roll into balls and dip into chocolate. Place on parchment paper to dry and lightly dust with sprinkles.
You know, as I wrote this up, I remembered that it was actually enjoyable to see the finished product of these things, especially with fun flavor combinations like carrot cake and cream cheese frosting with orange sprinkles. Cute as sh*t, no?
When I told Dot that The Chef and I would be making Hollandaise for (the third) “Christmas morning” (in a row), she did not look convinced. And I’ll admit, I had some reservations.
Any time a cookbook directs me to a double-boiler, I have flashbacks of making those damn cake balls that everyone loves that are 100% NOT worth it. Trying to squish cake and icing into balls so you can dip them in rapidly hardening “melted” chocolate does not bring holiday joy; it brings profanity.
Anyway, The Chef directed me through the cheater technique for sauces (i.e. the blender), and I have no idea why anyone would go old school ever again. The consistency came out perfect, and the lemon juice provided just the right amount of acidity to cut through all the glorious buttah.
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
Add egg yolks to blender with salt and lemon juice. Blend.
- Blend on low, slowly adding melted butter. Sloooooowly. That’s the key.
- Serve immediately. Or if you have to wait a few minutes, keep in a warm – but not hot – spot in your kitchen until you’re ready.
I’d bet you can put this on top of anything from ham to cardboard, but we used it on the Honeycomb Breakfast Casserole, and I can verify that goodness first-hand.