RSVP Montgomery

Table Talk: The Southern Bite

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2014

Stacey Little
As the holiday season inches closer, our social calendars become a bit more hectic. From company parties to gatherings with family and friends, the holidays are filled with places to be and people to see. And there is no doubt that these events, in typical Southern fashion, will center on food. But you don’t have to let that be yet another thing that adds stress to your already busy holiday to-do list. Cooking for your family and friends can be easy and delicious, if you have the right recipes. 

In my new cookbook, “The Southern Bite Cookbook: More than 150 Recipes for 4 Generations of My Family’s Kitchen,” I share tons of recipes just like that – made from ingredients you probably already have in the pantry. Here are three easy recipes from that cookbook that will help you impress your holiday guests without having to spend lots of time and effort putting them together. 


Pimento Cheese Crisps

Makes about 4 dozen
  
1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimentos
1 (8-ounce) block cheddar cheese
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (or more to taste)
2 cups all-purpose flour

Pour the pimentos into a fine-mesh strainer, rinse, and drain very well. Using a box grater, grate the cheddar cheese. In a large bowl combine the pimentos, cheese, butter, salt, garlic powder, red pepper and flour. Stir until the ingredients are combined, then work with your hands until a thick dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of wax paper and form into a log. Roll the dough up in the wax paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the chilled dough into 1/8-inch thick rounds. Place the rounds on the baking sheet, and bake them for 12 to 14 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown. Cool on a wire rack. Work in batches until all the dough has been cooked.

Fried Pickled Okra
Serves 4 to 6

Vegetable oil for frying
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons water
1 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (16-ounce) jar pickled okra, drained
Ranch dressing for dipping

Pour about 1 inch of oil into the bottom of a deep skillet or Dutch oven. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches about 350°. In a small bowl lightly beat the eggs with the water. In a medium bowl combine the cornmeal, flour, salt and pepper. Slice each okra pod in half lengthwise, dip it into the egg wash, and then coat it in the dry mixture. Fry the coated okra for 4 to 6 minutes or until it is golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve with ranch dressing as a dip.

Turnip Green Dip
Makes 6 cups

6 slices bacon
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
1 (16-ounce) package frozen chopped turnip greens, thawed and drained
1 (15-ounce) jar prepared Alfredo sauce
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, cubed 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese tortilla chips or fried pork skins for serving

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 2-quart baking dish. In a large skillet cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove the bacon, drain on paper towels, and crumble. Carefully pour away all but about 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease; return the pan to the heat, and add the onions. Cook about 3 minutes. Add the turnip greens and cook 8 to 10 minutes. Add the Alfredo sauce, cream cheese, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cook until the cream cheese has melted and the mixture is bubbly. Stir in the crumbled bacon. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish, and bake 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Turn on the oven’s broiler, and return the baking dish to the oven for 5 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips or fried pork skins.

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