The Perfect Cake

April 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Desserts, How To, Know Your Ingredients

The Perfect Cake
By Diane Watkins

The perfect cake is easily recognizable.  It’s shape is perfectly symmetrical with a  golden brown crust.  It has a  feathery velvet texture. It is moist and light.  The taste is pure heaven.  You can certainly recognize a perfect cake, but can you make one?

red velvet cake with whipped cream, blueberrie...

red velvet cake with whipped cream, blueberries and strawberries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When making a cake it is important to follow the recipe exactly.  If you try to skip a step you may have less than desirable results.  Skip the sifting step and your flour will be heavier than it should, creating a heavy, dry cake.  Over-mix and your cake will be tough and chewy, more like a good bread.

So, what are the steps in making a good cake?  Lets explore these separately.

The Right Ingredients
First, use the right ingredients and measure carefully.  If the recipe calls for cake flour, you will have best results with cake flour.  All-purpose flour can be substituted, but will not make as tender a cake.

Beat the liquid ingredients well before combining with the dry ingredients.  Once the dry ingredients are added, the cake should be stirred gently, unless the directions tell you otherwise.  If your cake is course and dry, or has tunnels, you have probably over-mixed.
All-purpose flour has a higher gluten content, and this will affect your results.  Also realize that all-purpose flour varies according to the region of the country it is produced.  Southern brands of flour are a softer gluten than those in the northern US.  If you must substitute all-purpose flour for cake flour, either use a southern product, or use 2 Tablespoons less per cup of flour suggested.

Leavening Agents
There are three different leavening agents used in cake making.  Baking powder, baking soda, and air.  Occasionally, you may see a recipe calling for yeast, but this is not the norm.  If the recipe does not call for either baking powder or baking soda, then your leavening agent is air and your beating step is very important.  Pound cakes, sponge cakes, and angel food cakes all use air as their leavening agent.  Many cakes use a combination of leavening agents, including air. Beating the cake at the suggested speed for the appropriate time listed will beat in the air and make your cake light.

Baking powder also comes in different varieties, including regular and double acting.  If your recipe specifies a variety, be sure to use the one called for.    Most recipes that call for baking soda require buttermilk, lemon juice, or vinegar.  Do not substitute regular milk for buttermilk without adding acid, as it is necessary to activate the baking soda and make the cake rise.

Shortening, Oil, and Butter
Again, using the correct shortening is important.  If substituting, be aware of the liquid content.  Everyone is aware of the need to decrease the liquid when using oil, but you may not know that butter contains more liquid than shortening, requiring an increase in volume and a decrease in the liquid added to the recipe.

Baking Pans
Choose the correct size and shape of baking pan.  The batter should almost fill the pan, without any spillage or bulging.  Baking times and temperature will be dependent on the pan size.  A thinner pan may need a higher temperature to bake the cake without drying it out.

Prepare the pan as directed.  Most recipes call for the pan to be greased and floured.  A piece of waxed paper or parchment paper cut to fit the bottom may be placed in the greased pan if desired.  This will aid removing the cake when done.  If using the paper, grease the bottom and sides, place the paper into the bottom and then flour the sides if directed.

Baking the Cake
Preheat the oven as directed.  Starting in a cold oven, or too hot an oven will affect the rising and browning of the cake.  A cake started in a cool oven will not allow the cake to rise sufficiently before the crust forms and the cake may fall.  Too hot an oven may cause a crack to develop, and the crust might harden and over brown.   The cake should be placed in the center of the oven for best heat distribution.  Be aware of your oven, if there are hot spots in your oven you may need to adjust.

The cake is done when it is lightly browned and it springs back when lightly pressed with the fingertip in the center or when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and dry.  The cake will have begun to shrink away from the sides of the pan.

Follow the recipe on removing the cake from the pan.  Some cakes can be removed immediately, some need a 5 minute rest, and others must be allowed to cool completely in the pan.  Proper attention to this detail will prevent repairs caused by the cake sticking to the pan and tearing.

Using the proper ingredients, mixing well at the proper time, and careful baking will produce a light tender cake that you will be proud to serve.  Follow the recipe, understand the reasons behind the directions, and you, too will have the “knack” for cakes.

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How to Cook Collard Greens

April 20, 2012 by  
Filed under How To, Vegetables

It seems the last holdouts in my winter garden are collard greens. Believe it or not, even with the weather we have had recently, I still have collards. Well, it is time to begin getting ready for the spring garden, so I am cooking the last of the collard greens.

Collard greens

Collard greens (Photo credit: beardenb)

How to Cook Collard Greens

  • 1 large or 2 small ham hocks
  • A mess of collards, as many as your pot will hold.
  • Water or stock
  • Salt, pepper, garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red pepper flakes, optional
  • Pepper vinegar-for serving, optional
  1. Put the ham hocks in a large pot and add water or stock to cover them. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for approximately 1 hour to extract the smoky goodness from the ham hocks.
  2. Meanwhile, trim the collards. Remove the center rib from each leaf and cut the collards into 1 to 2 -inch squares.
  3. Add the collards to the pot, along with the seasonings to your taste. (Except for pepper vinegar.)
  4. Simmer the collards, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes, until the collards are tender.
  5. Serve the collards sprinkled to taste with pepper vinegar.
  6. Don’t discard the “pot likker”, its considered the best part by some and it is definitely full of vitamins. Drink it or use it for soup, etc.
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Deviled Eggs

April 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Appetizers, Eggs

Deviled Eggs are making a comeback, and it’s about time!

Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs (Photo credit: TheCulinaryGeek)


Now that the nutritionists are allowing that perhaps eggs are a good food after all, we are seeing deviled eggs making a comeback.  This old time favorite southern treat is a perfect appetizer or side relish for your next party.  Each egg half is one to two bites of savory finger food that is universally well liked and easy to make.

Deviled eggs are an excellent way to use up the older eggs before they reach their expiration date.  A fresh egg will not peel well when boiled, but an older egg- one that has been in the refrigerator for a few days will peel perfectly under cold running water.

Cover the eggs with cold water and bring to a boil.  When the boiling point is reached, turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat and allow to cool.  You can hasten the cooling process by cracking the shells and running cold water over the eggs.  Remove the shells under cold running water, rinse off any bits of shell or membrane that may cling to the egg and place on a paper towel to dry.

Traditionally, deviled eggs have been cut lengthwise into two halves,  but consider cutting across the egg instead.  Trim a thin slice from the end as needed so that it will sit upright without slithering around the dish making a small cup to hold the salad mixture.


Remove the yolks, then mix with other savory ingredients and mayonnaise or butter to moisten, and put back into the egg shells.  It is convenient to mix all the ingredients in a plastic bag, then snip off the end of the bag and squirt the egg back into the shells.  You can use a pastry tip to achieve a fancy presentation.  Garnish with paprika, chopped parsley, or pimento cutouts.


In addition to the conventional egg and pickle mixture, consider stuffing your eggs  with chicken, tuna, shrimp, or lobster salad for a new taste sensation and presentation.   Here are a few recipes to get you started:


Traditional Southern Deviled Eggs


6 hard boiled eggs

1- 2 teaspoons mustard to taste

3 Tablespoons chopped dill or sweet pickle (I also like chopped olives)

1 teaspoon pickle juice

1/4 cup mayonnaise (or more if needed)

salt and pepper to taste

dash of paprika for garnish


Remove the yolks, mash, and mix with the other ingredients.  Use only as much mayonnaise to make a moist and creamy yolk mixture.  Stuff the yolk and garnish with a sprinkle of paprika.  Chill and serve cold.  The pickles can also be replaced with finely chopped green olives omitting the pickle juice.


Avocado Egg Salad

8 hard boiled eggs

1 small avocado

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon mustard (optional)

Hard boil the eggs. Halve eggs, remove and mash the yolk. Mash the avocado pulp through a sieve that has been rubbed with garlic. Mix lemon juice into the pulp to prevent browning and add to the egg yolks with the mustard if using.  Mix well and use a piping bag to stuff into egg shells.


Chicken Salad Stuffed Eggs

8 hard boiled eggs

1 cup cooked chicken, finely chopped

¼ cup finely chopped celery

Salt and pepper to taste

1/3 to ½ cup mayonnaise or miracle whip

pecan halves or slivered almonds for garnish

Remove the yolks from the egg cups and mash.  Add the chicken, celery, salt and pepper and just enough mayonnaise to moisten and bind.  Stuff into egg cups and garnish with a pecan half or slivered almonds.

Russian Eggs

6 hard boiled eggs

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2  teaspoon finely chopped tarragon leaves

1/2  teaspoon finely chopped capers

1 teaspoon anchovy paste

1 teaspoon French mustard

1 ounce butter, softened

1 ounce caviar


  1. Mix tarragon and capers with mayonnaise.  Set aside.
  2. Cut hardboiled eggs lengthwise and remove yolks.
  3. Press yolks through a sieve.  Add anchovy paste, mustard and softened butter.
  4. Fill egg whites with  mixture.  Top with a dollop of the mayonnaise, then sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of caviar on top.  Serve very cold.
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Sweet Potatoes Recipes

April 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Vegetables

Sweet potatoes...

Sweet potatoes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve collected all of my favorite sweet potato recipes together here for your enjoyment. I hope you will try these. Sweet potatoes are now classified as a “super food”, although the sugar that Southerners usually add might kick them off of the list.

For more information on sweet potatoes, check out Know Your Ingredients–Sweet Potatoes. If you are looking for a Fried Sweet Potatoes recipe, that recipe is on How to Make Crispy Sweet Potato Fries.

Microwaved Sweet Potatoes

My favorite way to enjoy sweet potatoes.

Prick sweet potatoes all over with a fork and place on a microwaveable plate or a paper towel. Microwave one or two potatoes at a time. Actual cooking time will depend on your microwave and the size of the potato, but I usually start with 5 to 8 minutes and then check for doneness. Sweet potatoes are done when they easily yield to slight pressure. Slit open and enjoy with butter or your favorite toppings. I usually skip the butter and top with some canned pineapple tidbits.


Candied Sweet Potatoes
6 medium sized sweet potatoes
¾ cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter

  1. Boil sweet potatoes whole.  Peel and slice.
  2. Arrange a layer of sweet potato slices of in a greased casserole. Sprinkle with salt, brown sugar and dot with butter.
  3. Repeat with additional layers of sweet potatoes, brown sugar and butter until all is used.
  4. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or cook in a heavy skillet on top of stove, basting frequently.

Serves 6

Hawaiian Sweet Potatoes
6 medium sized sweet potatoes
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 cup drained crushed pineapple
1/3 cup butter

  1. Boil sweet potatoes whole.  Peel and slice.
  2. Arrange a layer of sweet potato slices of in a greased casserole. Sprinkle with pineapple and brown sugar, dot with butter.
  3. Repeat with additional layers of sweet potatoes, pineapple, brown sugar and butter until all is used.
  4. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or cook in a heavy skillet on top of stove, basting frequently.

Serves 6

Honey Glazed Sweet Potatoes
6 medium sized sweet potatoes
½ cup honey
1/3 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted butter

  1. Boil sweet potatoes whole.  Peel and slice.
  2. Combine honey, orange juice, salt and melted butter
  3. Arrange a layer of sweet potato slices of in a greased casserole. Moisten with honey – orange juice mixture.  Repeat with additional layers of sweet potatoes and juice.
  4. Pour any remaining orange juice mixture over all.
  5. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  Serves 6

Vermont Candied Sweet Potatoes
6 medium sized sweet potatoes
¾ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter

  1. Boil sweet potatoes whole.  Peel and slice.
  2. Arrange a layer of sweet potato slices of in a greased casserole.  Drizzle with maple syrup and dot with butter.
  3. Repeat with additional layers of sweet potatoes, syrup and butter until all is used.
  4. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  Serves 6

Easy Glazed Sweet Potatoes
6 medium sized sweet potatoes
¾ cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter

  1. Boil sweet potatoes whole.  Peel and slice.
  2. Arrange sweet potato slices  in a single layer on a shallow baking pan
  3. Sprinkle with brown sugar and dot with butter.
  4. Bake in a 300 degree oven for about 40 minutes, or until potatoes are glazed.  Turn during baking.

Sweet Potato Croquettes, Sweet Potato Cakes or Sweet Potato Patties
3 cups of cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
¼ cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup crushed pineapple, drained
2 eggs, used separately
bread crumbs

  1. Combine sweet potatoes, butter, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, pineapple and 1 egg.
  2. Shape into 1 ½ inch balls.
  3. Roll balls into a beaten egg, then into bread crumbs.
  4. Fry in hot fat (375 degrees) until browned.  Drain on paper towels  and serve hot.

Grated Sweet Potato Pudding
4 cups grated sweet potatoes (raw)
1 cup cane syrup
½ cup sugar
1 cup milk
½ cup butter
3 eggs
½ cup chopped pecans
1 cup raisins
½ teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. In a heavy iron skillet, melt the butter.
  2. Mix all the ingredients except eggs and butter together.
  3. Beat eggs and add to remaining ingredients.
  4. Pour into pan of hot butter and stir until heated.
  5. Put skillet into a 375 degree oven to bake for 40 minutes, stirring half way through.
  6. Serve with sweetened cream if desired.

The iron skillet will make the pudding dark, which is desirable.  If baked in a different pan, pudding will be lighter.

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Easy Southern Grits

April 18, 2012 by  
Filed under How To

In the south, grits go with everything! All Southern cooks should know how to make grits, but unfortunately, this easily dish is being lost . Basic instructions for making all types of grits follow, including making stone ground grits and basic quick grits. A few of my favorite variations are also included. We are more often thinking of grits as a breakfast food, however my grandmother served grits at any time of day as a delicious side dish.


Grits. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Basic Quick Grits

1 cup quick cooking grits (not instant)
4 cups water
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter (optional)

Bring water and salt to a boil. Slowly, stirring constantly, add the grits. Grits will clump if added all at once. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook until grits are thick and creamy, approximately 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and stir in butter.

I omit the butter from the recipe, then serve the grits with a pat of butter melting on top.

If you have left-overs, see the next recipe.

Fried Grits

After cooking grits put them into a loaf pan and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. They will coagulate into a solid loaf. Next morning, or next meal, slice the loaf and fry in hot butter until both sides are a golden brown! You mix in flavors into the cheese before chilling into a loaf, traditional ones include cheese, fried onions,and bacon bits. Try whatever you have available.

Serve alone or topped with any (one) of the following:
Maple syrup
Homemade preserves
Brown sugar and cinnamon
Grated cheese
Fried onions
Bacon bits
Hot sauce

Stone-Ground Grits

Stone ground grits are cooked like quick grits except that they must be cleaned first and the cooking time is much longer.

1 cup stone-ground grits
4 cups water
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter (optional)

Clean grits by placing in a large bowl and covering amply with cold water. Pour off the water and any chaff that rises to the surface. Repeat, the process, stirring the grits and letting them settle before pouring off the chaff. Drain the grits.

Bring water and salt to a boil. Slowly, stirring constantly, add the grits. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook until grits are thick and creamy, approximately 40-45 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and stir in butter if desired.

Three Cheese Grits

3 cups chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 dash hot sauce
¾ cups quick cooking grits
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup shredded sharp American cheese
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, extra for garnishing top
2 large eggs

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine broth, onion, garlic and hot sauce in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil.

Slowly add grits, stirring constantly. Lower heat and simmer 5 to 7 minutes until grits are thick and smooth, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat, add cheeses. Stir until melted. Set aside to cool.

In a medium sized bowl, beat the eggs until light yellow and thick.

Add a large spoonful of grits to eggs to temper, then fold the eggs mixture into the grits.

Place the grits into a lightly greased casserole dish. Sprinkle with parmasan cheese.

Cover and bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees, uncovering after 20 minutes. When done the grits should be puffy and lightly browned.


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Making Strawberry Preserves

April 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Canning and Preserving

Strawberry jam on a plate.

Strawberry jam on a plate. Note the large chunks of strawberries. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you know the difference between preserves and jam?  The answer lies in the size of the fruit chunks.  Jam is made from crushed fruit pieces.  Preserves are made from whole fruit, or at least larger pieces.  Also, Preserves can have less sugar, although that depends on the recipe. [Read the rest of this entry…]

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Easy Ways to Cook Carrots

April 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Vegetables

Easy Ways to Cook Carrots

Orange Glazed Carrots – Kids love this!

Carrots Julienne.

Carrots Julienne. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1/4 cup butter or margarine
3 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons orange marmalade
6 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups cooked sliced carrots
1. Boil sliced carrots in lightly salted water until desired tenderness.

2. Cook margarine, orange juice, marmalade, cloves and salt until sugar is melted and mixture is well-blended, 3-5 minutes.

3. Drain carrot slices and pour glaze over them. Keep warm until serving time.

May be done a day ahead, refrigerated and warmed before serving. Serves 4. This is a pretty, colorful dish and is easy to double or triple for a larger group. The carrots can also be cooked in the orange mixture, but you must watch to be sure it doesn’t get too thick or burn, you may need to add extra OJ as needed.

Easy Marinated Carrots
1 pkg. carrots, cut into sticks
1/2 can tomato soup
1/2 c. sugar
2/3  c. vinegar
¼ C. oil
Salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
½  tsp. prepared mustard
1 onion, sliced in rings
Green pepper strips
Boil carrots in salted water until tender, not soft. Drain; cool. Combine next 7 ingredients. Pour marinade over carrots. Add onion and green peppers. Chill overnight.

Buttery Grated Carrots
2 lb. carrots, pared and grated
1 tbsp. oil
½  tsp. garlic salt
¼  tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
½  c. butter
Place carrots, oil, garlic salt, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons water in skillet; cover tightly. Cook, covered, over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat; add butter .. Toss gently until coated.

Carrots with Celery Seed Sauce
8 med. carrots, sliced
4 tbsp. butter or margarine
2 tsp. flour
1 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. salt
Cook carrots in Ih cup water in a tightly covered saucepan over medium heat for 12 to 15 minutes. Brown butter in a small frypan. Stir in flour, liquid from carrots, celery seed and salt. Cook over low heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Mix sauce with carrots. Serve hot. Carrots reheat without overcook­ing in a microwave oven.

Carrots a La Orange

1 lb small carrots
1 11·oz. can mandarin oranges
2 tbsp. butter
Scrape carrots; cut into 1/2·inch rings. Drain oranges; reserve juice. Cook carrots in reserved juice until tender; drain well. Add butter and oranges to carrots; heat thoroughly. Yield: 4-6 servings.

Candied Carrots
1 lb carrots
1 c. orange marmalade
1 tsp. cornstarch
Cut carrots crosswise into ¼ -inch thick pieces. Place in saucepan containing a small amount of boiling water. Boil for about 5 minutes. Add marmalade; cook until carrots are tender.  Remove carrots with a slotted spoon. Stir cornstarch into a small amount of liquid, then add to carrots ; cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Toss carrots wth marmalade sauce; serve immediately.

Pennies and Rings
2 lb. carrots, sliced l/2-inch thick
1 green pepper, cut into rings
1 onion, sliced thinly
3 stalks celery, diced
1 can tomato soup
l/2  c. sugar
1/4 c. salad oil
3/4 c. vinegar
1 tsp. mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Simmer carrots in salted water until just tender.  Drain and cool. Alternate layers of carrots, pepper rings, onion and celery in medium casserole. Combine remaining ingredients in blender. Whirl until thoroughly mixed. Pour over vegetables. Refrigerate overnight.

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How to Cook a Tender Juicy Steak

April 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Meats

How to Cook a Tender Juicy Steak

By Diane Watkins

You invest a lot of time and money into the steaks for a special occasion and when dinner time comes, they are tough. What happened? How can you cook steaks as tender as your favorite restaurant? [Read the rest of this entry…]

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9 Delicious and Easy Ways to Cook Okra

April 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured, Vegetables

9 Delicious and Easy Ways to Cook Okra

Okra gets a bad reputation as a slimy vegetable, yet it doesn’t have to be so. Properly cooked, okra will thicken the dish without being slimy.

Español: Frutos del gombo English: Bucket of r...

Okra pods (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fritter Fried Okra

Make sure your okra is thawed for this one. The fritter will not cook properly if the okra is frozen (Trust me, I tried.) This is a typical southern vegetable fritter and can be made with other vegetables as well.

1 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 eggs, well beaten
1/3 C. milk
5 c. thinly sliced okra (thawed if frozen)

Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Combine eggs and milk; stir into flour mixture until smooth. Add okra; mix gently. Drop by spoonfuls into deep hot fat; fry until golden brown. Drain on paper toweling; serve immediately. Yield. 6-8 servings.

Okra Creole

2 doz. young tender okra pods, fresh or frozen
1 small onion, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
l/2 sm. green pepper, minced
2 tbsp. butter or bacon drippings
2 fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
Cut ends from okra pods. Saute onion, garlic and green pepper in butter for about 6 minutes. Add tomatoes, okra and seasonings; simmer for 10 minutes or until okra is tender. Yield: 6 servings.

Okra-Onion Casserole

2 c. sliced okra
1 sm. onion, chopped
1 c. buttered bread crumbs
½ c. shredded Cheddar cheese
2 tbsp. melted butter or margarine
1 egg, beaten
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1/4 c. shredded, mozzarella cheese, (opt.)
Combine all ingredients except ¼ cup buttered bread crumbs and cheese. Spoon into lightly greased 11/2 -quart casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with reserved bread crumbs and cheese. Bake for 5 additional minutes. Serve hot. Yield: 4 servings.

French-Fried Okra

1 lb. fresh okra, cut into ½ ·in. pieces
½ C. flour or fine cornmeal
Seasoning to taste

Dredge okra with flour; fry in deep hot fat until lightly browned. Drain on paper toweling. Season as desired; serve immediately. Yield: 4-6 servings.

Old-Fashioned Southern Okra Gumbo

2 or 3 small slices salt pork (or substitute bacon)
1 c. corn
1 c. green limas
2 c. fresh and sliced okra
6 tomatoes, quartered
Sugar to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Fry salt pork in large skillet over medium heat until most of the oil disappears. Add corn, limas and 3/4 cup water. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add okra, tomatoes and seasonings. Reduce tem­perature to simmer; cover. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over rice or as a separate vegetable dish. Yield: 4 servings.

Okra Gumbo II

lb. okra, cut into 1/2 in. pieces
1 lg onion, chopped
1 can tomatoes or 4 fresh tomatoes, peeled
Salt and pepper to taste
Saute okra and onion; add tomatoes. Season to taste. Cook.covered over low heat for 25 minutes. Add water if necessary.

Okra Etouffee

3 c. sliced okra
¼ c. cooking oil
1 c. chopped canned tomatoes
1 med. onion, chopped
1 med. green pepper, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Red pepper to taste
¼ C. cracker crumbs or crushed potato chips
Spread okra in greased casserole; cover with oil, tomatoes, onion, green pepper and seasonings. Cover loosely with foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour or until tender, stirring occasionally. Uncover; top with crumbs. Bake until lightly browned. Yield: 3-4 servings.

Savory Okra and Tomatoes

3 C. ½ inch slices of okra
1 No. 2 can tomatoes
1 sm. can tomato paste
1 env. dry onion soup mix
3 tbsp. bacon drippings
2 tsp. sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in heavy saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cover; simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Yield: 8-10 servings.

Scalloped Okra and Corn

2 lb. fresh okra
4 tbsp. butter
1 can corn, drained
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp. flour
1 c. milk
1/4 lb. sharp cheese, grated
1 c. fine dry bread crumbs
Fry okra in 2 tablespoons butter for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Arrange okra and corn in layers in greased baking dish, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in saucepan; stir in flour to make a smooth paste. Add milk; cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Add cheese; stir until melted. Pour over corn; sprinkle with crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and browned. Yield: 4 servings.


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How to Cook Rutabagas

April 18, 2012 by  
Filed under How To, Vegetables

Useful Tips on How to Boil, Steam and Microwave Fresh Rutabagas

Steps in Boiling Rutabaga

Surprisingly, you will find that plain boiled rutabaga taste so delicious even though it was boiled with just a little butter and minced parsley. It tastes better than ever if you use small roots early in the fall when they are sweetest.

Two to three pounds of the smallest rutabagas are more than enough to serve six people. After peeling rutabagas, cut them into your preferable size or shape. Cubes or slices are recommended. Cover the rutabagas with cold water in a medium size saucepan. Add about ½ teaspoon salt. Start boiling and simmer over medium heat until very tender about 16 minutes. Drain them when pierced with a fork but not falling apart. It is done after you toss them with butter, salt, pepper, and a little minced fresh parsley. Serve very hot.


Rutabaga (Photo credit: Farmanac)

Steps in Steam Rutabaga

Prepare the rutabagas as for boiling. A steamer or a colander can be used to steam rutabagas. Starts steaming and make sure you cover them for 25 minutes over simmering water. Drain them and toss with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and minced garlic.

Steps in Microwave Rutabaga

Prepare 1 pound of small rutabagas as for both boiling and steaming. Place the rutabagas in a microwave dish by adding in 2 tablespoons of water. Cover it with microwave plastic wrap and vent. Set the temperature to high for 15 minutes, and make sure you check it from time to time so that the rutabagas do not overcook. Let it stand 2 minutes before uncovering.

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