Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sweet Tea

Sweet Tea

1 gallon serving

I have been making southern sweet tea all my life.   My mother, who is from Charleston, South Carolina taught me how to make this sweet, refreshing drink.   The following recipe is pretty much a copy of my mother's recipe, except for one ingredient. 

I was on and came across a recipe for sweet tea.  I checked it out, and to my surprise, it said that there was a secret ingredient in making perfect sweet tea.  Well, as I've explained, I've been making sweet tea all my life, so I was interested.   How could this secret ingredient make southern sweet tea better?   The Pinterest posting said that this ingredient would remove all bitterness and create a smooth, clear amazing tea.  

I made this perfect sweet tea recipe, as directed, and after the very first sip, . . . I tasted the difference.   If you can believe this, baking soda is the secret ingredient.  It really does make a better southern sweet tea.


5 - 8 family size tea bags, or 12 regular size tea bags
4 cups boiling water
12 cups cold water
1 1/2 - 2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda


Step 1

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil.  Turn off the heat and add tea bags.  STEEP FOR 15 MINUTES.

Step 2

Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon baking soda into a large (1 gallon) pitcher.

Remove the tea bags and pour steeped tea into the pitcher.  Add 1 1/2 - 2 cups sugar and stir until completely dissolved.  Pour in 12 cups of cold water, and stir some more.


Serve sweet tea over ice.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Simply Sensational Cinnamon Rolls

Simply Sensational Cinnamon Rolls
Original recipe by Cuisine At Home

Makes 12 servings


1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoon)

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup hot water

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 1/2 table salt

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (12 teaspoons)
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon table salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces powder sugar (2 cups)
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla bean paste
1/4 teaspoon table salt


For the dough, heat 1 1/4 cups milk, shortening, and 1/4 cup brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low until shortening is melted; transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer.  Let mixture cool to 100 - 110 degrees, then whisk in yeast and proof until foamy, about 5 minutes. 

Soak oats in hot water until all water is absorbed.

Add 2 cups flour and eggs to the yeast mixture and mix on low with the paddle attachment until combined.  Switch to the dough hook and add remaining 2 cups flour, oats, and 1 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Mix on low speed until incorporated, then increase speed to medium and mix until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 7 minutes.

Transfer dough to a bowl COATED WITH NONSTICK SPRAY, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until dough doubles in size, ABOUT 2 HOURS.  Lift edges of dough away from bowl and press air bubbles out with your hands.

For the filling, combine 1 1/2 sticks butter, 1 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon salt.

Coat a 9x13-inch baking pan with butter. 

Transfer dough to a floured surface and gently press to remove air bubbles.  DIVIDE DOUGH INTO TWO PIECES and roll one piece into a 10x16-inch rectangle.

SPREAD HALF THE FILLING over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. 

Starting at the short end, roll dough, jelly roll-style, into a log.  Repeat filling and rolling with second dough half. 

Freeze logs 10 minutes to firm.

Slice each log into six rolls and arrange in prepared pan, presentation side up.  CUT THE LOGS WITH DENTAL FLOSS.   Cover rolls with a towel and let rise until puffy, ABOUT 1 HOUR; remove towel.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Bake rolls until brown, 30 - 35 minutes.  Cool rolls in the pan for 10 minutes, then top with frosting.

While the rolls are cooling make the frosting.  Beat 4 tablespoons butter, powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons milk, vanilla or vanilla bean paste, and 1/4 salt with a mixer until combined.

Per serving: 548 calories

Friday, August 24, 2012

Marinated Cucumbers

Marinated Cucumbers


2 large cucumbers, peeled
2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup white vinegar
1/2 onion sliced


Peel and wash cucumbers.  Slice the cucumbers thinly and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine salt, water, sugar and vinegar.  Add the sliced cucumbers and sliced onions with mixture and combine. 

The cucumbers need to marinate, so refrigerate 3 to 4 hours before serving.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Ultimate Chocolate Brownie

The Ultimate Chocolate Brownie
Original recipe by Julia Child

Your chocolate cravings will be satisfied here!  Don't forget the French vanilla Ice cream!


1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Sift together the flour and salt, set aside.  

In a large glass bowl, melt the butter and all of the chocolate together in the microwave.  Remove the melted chocolate from the microwave and add 1 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla, stir for 30 seconds.

Using an electric mixer or KitchenAid mixer, combined the remaining 1 cup sugar and four eggs.

Slowly, pour HALF the sugar-egg mixture into the chocolate mixture.  Stir gently, but constantly with a rubber spatula.

Using the electric mixer or KitchenAid mixer once again, whip the remaining sugar and egg mixture until it has doubled in size, about three minutes.  Gently fold the whipped egg mixture into the chocolate mixture. 

Fold in the dry ingredients.

Pour the brownie mixture into an un-greased 9-inch square baking pan.  Bake the brownies for 35 minutes.  The brownies will be chewy.  If you like your brownies not as chewy, or moist, . . . I would keep them in the oven for a few minutes more.

Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan before cutting.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms

Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms 


1/2 cup flour
1    teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4    skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
5    tablespoons butter, divided
2    tablespoons olive oil
1    cup onions, chopped
3    garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup dry Marsala
1    cup chicken stock
      Salt and pepper to taste


Pound chicken breast halves to 1/2-inch thickness.

Mix flour and pepper in a swallow dish.  Dredge chicken in flour mixture to coat; shake off excess.

In a large frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in olive oil over medium heat.  Add chicken and cook until lightly brown, about 3 to 4 minutes a side. 

Remove and keep warm. 

Add onion and garlic and saute until onion is tender, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add mushrooms and cook until they are lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes.

Return the chicken pieces to pan, stir in Marsala and chicken stock.  Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer until liquid reduces by one-third.  Whisk in remaining butter.  Season with salt and additional pepper to taste. 

Serve chicken over buttered fettuccini pasta.

Serves 4

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Absolute Best Finger-Licking Southern Fried Chicken Ever!

The Absolute Best Finger-Licking
Southern Fried Chicken Ever!


One 3 1/2 pound chicken, cut into eights
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 cup vegetable oil


Step 1

Rinse the chicken and pat dry.  In a small bowl, combine the salt, 1 teaspoon of the black pepper, and the garlic powder. 

Sprinkle mixture over chicken.  Flip chicken pieces and sprinkle other side too.   Let stand at least 20 minutes, or better yet, overnight in the refrigerator.

Step 2

Place the flour, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and paprika into a plastic bag.  Add the seasoned chicken and shake until each piece is covered with the flour.

Step 3

In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat until it bubbles when a little flour is sprinkled in.  Add the chicken pieces and reduce the heat to medium.  Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the chicken is nicely browned on the bottom.  Turn the chicken pieces and cook on the other side for another 8 to 10 mintues. 

Remove from the skillet and drain on paper towels before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Good Old Fashioned Potato Salad

Good Old Fashioned Potato Salad


6  medium-sized potatoes
1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon regular prepared mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped


Boil the potatoes with skins on for 20 minutes. 

Remove the potatoes from the hot water and cool.  Once cooled, peel and cut into 1-2 inch chunks.

Stir the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper together. 

In a large bowl combine the potatoes, celery, onion and chopped eggs. 

Pour mayonnaise mixture over potato mixture and gently stir together until the potatoes are coated. 

Refrigerate before serving.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cherry-Bourbon Pie

Cherry-Bourbon Pie
Original recipe by Bon Appetit

Buy the 24.7 ounce "Dark Morello Cherries" from Trader Joe's.  If you do not have a Trader Joe's in your neighborhood, don't worry, . . . other brands will work too. 


1    pie crust, homemade or store-bought
3    24.7-ounce jars pitted sour cherries in syrup (about 6 cups)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup bourbon
3    tablespoons cornstarch
2    tablespoons fresh orange juice
1    tablespoon finely grated orange zest

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

The cherry pie will bubble over while baking, so place aluminum foil over a baking sheet and set aside


Combine cherries and the remaining 5 ingredients (pie ingredients) in a large bowl.  Using a rubber spatula, gently mix until cherries are coated and mixture is evenly distributed.

Pour the cherry mixture into the pie crust, and set aside.

Stir all ingredients (crumble ingredients), except butter with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl until no lumps of sugar remain.

Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes.  Rub the butter into the oat mixture with your fingertips until it's completely incorporated.  Top the cherry pie with the crumble.  HINT - AFTER INCORPORATING THE CRUMBLE MIXTURE, GRAB A SMALL HANDFUL OF CRUMBLE WITH YOUR HANDS AND RUB THE MIXTURE WITH YOUR FINGERTIPS ABOVE THE PIE, SPRINKLING THE CRUMBLE OVER THE PIE.

Bake the cherry pie for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until pie crust and center of crumble are a deep golden brown and the juices from the cherries has thickened and bubbling. 

Let pie cool for at least 2 hours at room temperature to allow the filling to set properly.  CUTTING THE PIE BEFORE IT'S SET WILL RESULT IN A RUNNY FILLING.  Cover and let stand up to 1 day at room temperature.

8 servings

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Blackened Cod Loin

Blacken Cod Loin
Original recipe by Harbor Seafood


4 ounce cod loin
1 ounce olive oil
1 ounce lime juice
1 teaspoon cilantro, freshly chopped

4 tablespoons cajun spice

6 ounce corn, frozen
1 red pepper, freshly diced
1 tablespoon canned jalapeno
1 ounce olive oil
1 ounce lime juice

3 ounce olive oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Dry thawed cod loin.  Mix oil, lime juice, and cilantro.  Marinate fish in mixture for 1 hour.

Remove loin from marinade and coat in cajun spice. 

In a separate bowl, mix corn, red pepper, jalapeno, olive oil, and lime juice and set aside.

Heat 3 ounces olive oil in a large saute pan.  Sear cod fillet on all sides, then place on a cookie sheet in oven and cook until fish is flaky, approximately 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, place corn mix on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.  When finished, place roasted corn on a plate with 4 ounce slice of cajun cod fillet on top. 

Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Serves 1

Monday, August 6, 2012

Italian Rum Cake

Italian Rum Cake

This is the easiest and best tasting rum cake ever! 


1     box of yellow cake mix
1     package of vanilla instant pudding (4 1/2 cup serving size)
4     eggs
1/2  oil
1/2  cup water
1/2  cup dark rum

1     cup crushed walnuts

Glaze Ingredients:

1    stick of butter
1    cup of sugar
3/4 cup of dark rum


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

Step 1:

Grease and lightly flour the bundt pan.  Pour the crushed walnuts over the bottom of the pan.

Step 2:

Mix all the cake ingredients together, and blend well.  Pour the batter over walnuts.

Step 3:

Bake cake for 1 hour.

While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze.

Step 4:

Glaze directions:

Melt the butter in a sauce pan and stir in the sugar and rum.  Boil the glaze mixture for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Step 5:

Putting it all together:

While in the bundt pan, prick the rum cake with a sharp utensil.  Drizzle 1/2 OF THE GLAZE MIXTURE evenly over the sides and top of cake.

Remove the rum cake carefully by inverting the bundt pan.  LOOSEN THE CAKE FIRST BY DROPPING THE PAN LIGHTLY ON A HARD SURFACE.

Once again, prick the cake (top) with a sharp utensil and slowly pour the rest of the glaze mixture over the cake.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chicken Florentine

Chicken Florentine

What does Florentine mean in cooking?

Although the term "Florentine" can be interpreted as the cooking style of Florence, Italy, in modern parlance it has come to mean cuisine that includes spinach as an ingredient. .


4 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
8 ounces fresh spinach
6 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
shredded mozzarella cheese

3 cups prepared "All Time Favorite Tomato Sauce"  (see recipe post)


Rinse the spinach in water and dry.

Coarsely chop the spinach, and place in a medium saucepan with 2 tablespoons of butter.  Cook the spinach until wilted.  Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.

Pound the chicken breasts until an even thickness of 3/4-inches.  Beat the 2 eggs and place in bowl.  Season the flour with salt and pepper and place in another bowl.  Dredge the chicken breasts in the egg mixture, and then dredge the chicken pieces in flour mixture until coated.

In a large frying pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and melt the remaining butter.  Cook the chicken breasts on medium-high heat until brown on each side, about 4 minutes per side.

Remove from heat and top each piece of chicken with the reserved spinach, dividing evenly.

Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese on each chicken breast. 

Carefully pour the prepared tomato sauce into the frying pan.  BE CAREFUL NOT TO COVER THE CHICKEN BREASTS.

Cook uncovered over medium heat until bubbling, and then reduce heat and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes.

Serves 4 - 6