Monthly Archives: July 2011

King of the Road

Fried Corn

It must be a southern man thing… riding around. My granddaddy loved cars, loved to drive and lived life flying by the seat of his pants. When my mom was growing up, it was no big thing to hop in the car for a Sunday drive and wind up in Panama City Beach.

My dad was also notorious for getting us in the car on a Saturday afternoon and riding all over Tennessee. As we got older, my sister and I would crack up, as my dad wove through the back roads of his childhood for hours showing us his elementary school, where he grew up and commenting on the miles and miles of corn growing…it’s a beautiful thing!


12-15 ears fresh, sweet corn

2 tbsp butter

1/2 cup milk

1 tbsp sugar

salt and pepper

The best way to enjoy corn in the summer is to head straight to a farmer’s market and buy it right off the back of a truck. This corn was picked a 6 am and I bought it at 9. You can’t get any more fresh than that!

To shuck the corn, hold corn at the bottom and peel the husk back from the top, tearing away at the bottom of the ear of corn. Peel off the silk and the rinse under running, cold water. Wipe dry with a paper towel to remove any remaining silk.

Using a sharp knife, cut a small piece off of the top of the ear of corn. Stand flat side down in a shallow dish and run a knife down the ear of corn to remove kernels, scraping as close to the cob as possible.

In a large, heavy skillet melt butter over medium-high heat. Add corn and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add milk, season corn with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, stir in sugar.


Picking good corn is easy. Choose husks that are bright green and free of any dark brown patches or bruises. If you peel back the husk, the corn should be bright and juicy with no dried areas of corn.

Alabama Beauties

Peach-Blueberry Bread Pudding

I’m not talking beauty queens y’all, these beauties are Chilton County peaches! One of my most treasured southern landmarks is just off 65 south right in the heart of Alabama. Clanton may be proud of their peach queens but the Peach Park is the real crown jewel!

Every year as we make our way to the white sands of the gulf coast, the stop at the Peach Park is almost more important than getting to the beach. You don’t eat breakfast, hop in the car, and make a beeline for exit 205, all the while planning what you’re gonna eat first and what you’ll take for later.


5 cups french bread, cubed into 1″ pieces

2 tbsp butter

3 cups low-fat buttermilk

2 eggs

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups fresh peaches, sliced

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

2 tbsp light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cube or tear French bread into 1″ pieces to make 5 cups and place in a large bowl. Pour buttermilk over cubed bread, gently toss to make sure buttermilk is evenly soaking into bread and let sit for about 2o minutes.

Slice about 3 large peaches, enough for 2 cups then add blueberries. Toss with brown sugar and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and vanilla and set aside. Then put 2 tbsp of butter into a 8×8 or 9×13 baking dish and place in the preheated oven. Once butter melts, remove dish from oven.

While the butter is melting, add egg mixture to buttermilk soaked bread and combine gently. Then fold in peaches and blueberries.

Pour mixture into baking dish with melted butter and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until center is set and the edges have pulled away from the baking dish.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.


I used an 8×8 baking dish because I like a thicker bread pudding, so it will require about an hour and a half of baking time.

You won’t need the entire loaf of French bread, just enough for 5 cups. Do what any good southern girl would and spread pimento cheese on the leftover bread!

Modern Woman

Fried Green Tomato Wedge Salad

My great-grandmother, Nanny, was a modern woman before her time and if she were alive today she would have still broken the mold when it comes to strong, southern women.

Growing up in Mississippi, she had her sights on going to college in Tennessee to become a teacher and star basketball player. So she set out to make her way by selling tomatoes on the side roads of the Delta to get where she intended to go and never looked back.

Nanny was so independent that she once drove herself to Nashville, checked in the hospital for surgery not even telling my great-grandfather, Frandaddy. Her reply was that he didn’t need to know!

Nanny never slowed down, some of my fondest memories are picking vegetables in her garden and watching her tend to her beloved tomato plants. It was nothing for her to go out in the morning, wring a chicken’s neck and the next thing you know it was fried chicken for breakfast.

In her seventies, she won the Van Buren county beauty pageant, walked 10 miles to raise money for cancer and got up every morning to work-out on her stationery bicycle.

So yes, I come from a long line of strong, southern women. I like to think I have Nanny’s steely will and her love of tomatoes.  Enjoy an updated classic wedge salad with a modern twist!

For the blue cheese dressing:

1 – 4.4 oz light Boursin Cheese

4 oz light blue cheese crumbles

1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

salt and pepper

In a blender, combine Boursin cheese and buttermilk until you reach a smooth consistency. Add fresh parley, blue cheese crumbles and salt and pepper. Pulse a few times, until the blue cheese is incorporated. If you like a thinner dressing just add a bit more buttermilk. Chill until ready to serve.

For the fried green tomatoes:

2 medium, firm green tomatoes

buttermilk for soaking

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 cup flour

1 tbsp Cajun seasoning

Canola Oil for cooking

Slice green tomatoes in 1/2″ thick slices and place in between paper towels to soak up excess moisture. Let sit for about 5 minutes.

Place tomatoes in a shallow dish and cover with buttermilk. While tomatoes are soaking, combine cornmeal and flour in another shallow dish. Season well with salt and pepper. I prefer my favorite Cajun seasoning instead of salt and pepper for the extra kick.

In a large skillet, heat about an inch of oil over medium-high heat. Take tomato slices, shaking off excess liquid and dredge in cornmeal mixture, place in hot oil and cook for 4-5 minutes per side. After cooking, place fried tomatoes on paper towels to drain off excess oil.

For the wedge salad:

1 head iceberg lettuce, chilled

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 red tomato, diced

hot jalapeno pepper jelly

blue cheese dressing

fried green tomatoes

Cut the iceberg lettuce into 6 - 8 wedges. Top each wedge with a spoonful of blue cheese dressing, diced tomatoes, crumbled bacon and fried green tomatoes. Drizzle a spoonful of hot jalapeno pepper jelly over the wedge salad before serving.


Need a fast hor d’oeuvre, pour the rest of the pepper jelly over a block of cream cheese and serve with Triscuits!


Potato Salad Two Ways

“In the South, perhaps more than any other region, we go back to our home…hoping it remains what it was on a lazy, still summer’s day…”

-Willie Morris

Everything that is summer in the south is at the root of who I am. No matter where I have lived or where I’ve been, my roots bring me back to the lake, celebrating a summer holiday with perfect potato salad.

My Nana was the queen of holiday meals and July 4th is still my favorite thanks to her. Aside from the grilled hamburgers, baked beans and deviled eggs, potato salad is one thing every good southern cook knows how to make by heart. It’s the cornerstone of any summer holiday meal in the south.

So here’s a lightened up version of Nana’s and twist from Lolleigh – potato salad two ways!


3 lbs red new potatoes, washed

1 hard-boiled egg

1/2 cup celery, diced

1/4 cup sweet pickle relish

4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 tbsp chives, chopped

2 tbsp sun dried tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup light blue cheese crumbles

1/2 cup Hellmann’s Mayo

1/2 cup light sour cream

1/4 cup 0% Fage greek yogurt

1 tsp white vinegar

salt and pepper

Place whole potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a rolling boil and let cook for about 45 minutes or until potatoes are just tender when pierced with a fork.

Pour off water and let cool. Cube potatoes and divide evenly into two bowls.

For the dressing:

Combine Hellmann’s, sour cream, greek yogurt and vinegar. Set aside.

Classic Potato Salad:

Into one bowl of diced potatoes add egg, celery, relish, salt and pepper. Toss with half of the dressing mixture and chill before serving.

Bacon and Blue Cheese Potato Salad:

In the remaining bowl of potatoes add bacon, chives, sun dried tomatoes, blue cheese crumbles, salt and pepper. Toss with the remaining half of the dressing mixture and chill before serving.


I never subsitute anything for Hellmann’s, not even the reduced fat version. The real deal is just better!

Happy 4th of July!