Hot Water Cornbread

Hot Water Cornbread

This is another favorite from my childhood.  It’s a Southern classic.  My Dad used to add in shredded sharp cheddar cheese, minced onion, and minced jalapenos to his hot water cornbread mixture before frying.  Experiment with the add-ins, the possibilities are endless.  I like my hot water cornbread plain (no add-ins).  I’ve been known to dip mine in ketchup.  They go great with a nice pot of pinto beans.

Hot Water Cornbread

2 cups cornmeal
1 tsp. salt
2 cups boiling water
hot oil for frying

Combine cornmeal and salt.  Add the boiling water and mix until combined.  When dough is cool enough to handle, take a small amounts and pat into a rounded patties.  Place patties in the hot oil and fry on both sides until golden and crispy.  Drain on paper towels.


Fried Okra and Potatoes

Fried Okra and Potatoes

fried okra and potatoes

Growing up in Texas, we always had okra growing in the garden.  It seemed like we ate okra everyday in the summertime.  While living in Virginia, fresh okra wasn’t as available, even in the summer months.  Now that I am living in South Carolina, I am happy to have year-round access to fresh okra.  Now I can make this dish more often.  It has been a favorite of mine for most of my life.  It’s the ultimate in Southern comfort food.

Fried okra and potatoes goes great with black-eyed peas and cornbread or with fried fish.  I like it with ketchup.

Fried Okra and Potatoes

1 pound fresh okra
2 large potatoes (baking type — not new potatoes)
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Wash okra and cut off stem ends. Cut in 1/2-inch pieces. Peel potatoes and chop into 1/2-inch dice. Put okra and potatoes in large bowl. Add chopped onion to mixture. Sprinkle cornmeal, salt and pepper over mixture. Stir until cornmeal is evenly distributed throughout mixture.

Heat cooking oil in large skillet over medium heat (oil should be hot, but not smoking hot). Carefully spoon okra/potato mixture into hot oil. Fry, turning mixture occasionally, until potatoes are done and mixture is nicely browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Thai Shrimp and Spinach Curry

Thai Shrimp and Spinach Curry

food pics 113

I got this recipe from my mom a few years ago and never got around to making it until this week.  I wish I hadn’t waited so long to try it….this dish is delicious!  It is also very easy to make and quite quick to prepare.  The end product not only tastes wonderful, it is also pleasing to look at with all the vibrant colors.   This recipe will no doubt be one I will make again and again.

Thai Shrimp and Spinach Curry

14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk, chilled
11/2 to 2 teaspoons Thai green or red curry paste
1 pound medium shrimp (about 24), shelled and deveined
2 tablespoons naam pla (Thai fish sauce)
2 carrots, sliced thin crosswise
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
3/4 pound spinach (about 1 bunch), coarse stems discarded and the leaves washed well and spun dry
3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
Cooked rice or rice noodles as an accompaniment

Spoon about 1/3 cup of the thick coconut cream from the top of the coconut milk and in a large heavy skillet cook the cream over moderate heat, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it is thickened slightly.   Add the curry paste and cook the mixture, whisking, for 1 minute.  Add the shrimp and sauté the mixture over moderately high heat, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the shrimp turn pink.  Add the coconut milk and the naam pla and simmer the mixture, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute, or until the shrimp are just cooked through.  Transfer the shrimp with a slotted spoon to a bowl, to the skillet add the carrots and the bell pepper, and simmer the mixture for 5 minutes.  Add the spinach in batches, stirring until each batch is wilted, return the shrimp to the skillet, and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute.  Sprinkle the dish with the coriander and serve it with the rice or rice noodles.



My dad concocted tor-pea-does many years ago.  Hot black-eyed peas topped with shredded cheese and salsa, wrapped up in warm corn tortillas.  In addition to the cheese and salsa, I like to add pickled jalapenos and sour cream to mine.  Tor-pea-does are such a comforting dish.  Simple, quick, inexpensive, and a delightful mesh of flavors.

Tor-pea-does bring back good memories from my childhood….my family sitting around the table playfully boasting about how many tor-pea-does we could eat.  I can eat 4!  Well, I can eat 5!  Oh yeah, I can eat 6!  Fun times.  Tor-pea-does are an all-time favorite and a dish that I hold dear.

I make sure to keep a few cans of black eyed peas and fresh corn tortillas in the pantry for this quick meal.

You don’t really need a recipe for tor-pea-does…just heat up some black eyed peas, throw them in a warmed corn tortilla (you can zap it in the microwave for 15 seconds or toast in a hot pan), and then top with cheese and salsa (add sour cream, cilantro, jalapenos, or anything else you would like).  Don’t overfill or the whole thing will fall apart (if that happens, just bust out the fork).

Steak & Stout Stew/Pie

Steak & Stout Stew/Pie

steak and stout

This is a comforting and hearty recipe from Scotland (although I didn’t eat anything this yummy when I was in Scotland). It’s too good.

I’m not sure why, but I don’t usually do the puff pastry squares to go along with this stew (although they are most excellent and really add to the dish).  Instead, I usually make a batch of mashed potatoes (with lots of butter) and serve the steak and stout stew over those.

Steak & Stout Stew/Pie

3 pounds stew beef (in bite-size chunks)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 cup good beef broth
1 cup stout beer (such as Guinness)
4 tablespoons cornstarch
Salt and pepper to taste
Puff pastry squares (measuring about 4 inches by 4 inches), baked according to package directions.

Put the beef, onion, mushrooms, garlic and broth in a stew pot.  Dissolve the cornstarch in the stout, and add to the stew pot. Cook slowly over low heat for at least 2 hours or until beef is very tender. Salt and pepper to taste. To serve, spoon the stew onto the plate, and top with a pastry square. Serves 8.

Cranberry Praline Bread

cranberry praline bread

This bread is so good.  I baked a batch of the festive mini loaves to give as gifts.  The sweet praline glaze really adds to this quick bread.

Cranberry Praline Bread

Bread Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Glaze Ingredients:
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine 2 tablespoons flour and cranberries in small bowl; toss to coat. Set aside.

Combine sugar, sour cream, butter, eggs and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat just until moistened. Stir in cranberry mixture and 1/2 cup pecans by hand.

Spoon batter evenly into 4 greased and floured mini (5 1/2×3-inch) loaf pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans.

Meanwhile, combine brown sugar and 1/3 cup butter in 1-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil (3 to 4 minutes). Spoon glaze mixture over warm loaves. Immediately sprinkle with 1/4 cup pecans.

TIP: One greased (9×5-inch) loaf pan can be used instead of the 4 mini loaf pans. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes.

Yield: 32 servings (4 mini loaves)

Recipe source:

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

lemon-poppy-seed-bread-smThis is a nice quick bread.  It’s not too sweet and not too lemony.  It freezes well too.  The lemon syrup makes the bread moist.  I baked the bread in 3 mini loaf pans instead of a standard size loaf pan.  Makes great gifts.

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 large egg
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 1/4 cup cold water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
zest from one lemon

For the syrup:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg with a fork. Stir in the cooking oil, water, and lemon juice.

Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture. With a spatula, mix the two together until moistened. Do not over mix—over mixing will develop the gluten in the flour and make for a tougher bread.

Scrape the batter into a well-greased 8-inch by 4-inch loaf pan. Spread the batter evenly in the pan.

Bake for 55 minutes or until done. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into a crack in the center of the loaf. The toothpick will come out clean when done.

While the bread is baking, mix the granulated sugar and the three tablespoons of lemon juice in a cup. Heat the syrup in the microwave until warm. Stir the syrup until the sugar is dissolved.

Use a skewer to poke holes in the top of the loaf to the bottom of the loaf. Place the holes about one inch apart. Pour the syrup over the top of the loaf while it is still hot and in the pan. Let the loaf rest for 20 minutes and then remove it from the pan to cool on a wire rack.