Cookbooks, a Cutting Board & Coffee Mug, Oh My!

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Inspiration from some of my very favorite cooks!

Before we get too far from Christmas, I wanted to share a few things with y’all that Santa Claus brought me to enjoy during this new year! My cookbook collection is growing – To add to my treasures, I received autographed copies of “The Pat Conroy Cookbook – Recipes of My Life” & “Paula Deen Cuts the Fat,” along with a little gift I picked up for myself at the Bass Pro Shop: “Back Home with The Neelys, Comfort Food from Our Southern Kitchen to Yours.” Each of these books hold great inspiration and I just love spending time flipping through their pages. I’ve already made Paula’s Pumpkin Scones for breakfast this week. With buttermilk and pecans, they were Some Kinda Good, too! A few years back, I checked out at the library “The Pat Conroy Cookbook.” As a result, The Best Crab Cakes in the World found their way to the blog. To this day, it was one of  the hardest books I’ve ever had to return! Thanks to my thoughtful and good lookin’ husband, Kurt, I now have a copy of my own.

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I’m a Georgia Peach through and through. No denying that!

I absolutely ADORE my Georgia-shaped cutting board. Georgia is always on my mind. No matter where life takes me, there’s no place like home. As the late, great Ray Charles sang about, “Georgia, Georgia, the whole day through. Just an old sweet song, keeps Georgia on my mind.”

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A stylish sentiment.

Finally, for those days when life gets me down, a simple reminder. The coffee mug reads, “Darling, you are fabulous.” It makes me smile every time I pick it up.

Under the tree or in your stocking, did you get any cooking or kitchen-related gifts?

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Pumpkin Spice Pie with Buttermilk Whipped Cream, anyone?

Pumpkin Spice Pie
Pumpkin Spice Pie

It doesn’t get more traditional than good ol’ pumpkin pie. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it! Inspired by Paula Deen’s Maple-Buttermilk Pumpkin Pie in the magazine “Paula Deen’s Fall Baking,” this recipe is a slight variation of the original, but doesn’t deviate too far off the course. Have you ever heard of Buttermilk Whipped Cream? That is a new one on me, and boy am I glad I discovered it. Thank you, Paula! Whatever you do, resist the urge to eat this pie with standard Cool Whip. Take the extra 5-minute step to make Buttermilk Whipped Cream. You won’t regret it! I took the liberty of using Pumpkin Spice Syrup instead of maple, and added just a touch more sugar. Sweet and creamy, it’s mouth-watering served warm or cold. Enjoy a slice with a cup of hot coffee and a good friend. Add this dessert to your Thanksgiving table or Autumn baking list and your entire home will beckon the changing leaves!

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Pumpkin Spice Pie
1 (15-Ounce) can pumpkin
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup of Pumpkin Spice Syrup
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon (or more to taste) pumpkin pie spice

One 9-inch store-bought frozen pie crust (I’m not above it!)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin and next 8 ingredients. Roll thawed pie crust over 9-inch pie plate, crimping edges with a fork. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Bake for 85 to 95 minutes or until center is set and a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool for 1 hour before serving.

Buttermilk Whipped Cream
(Makes about two cups)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon good pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, beat cream with a mixer at high-speed until soft peaks form. Add all remaining ingredients, and beat until stiff peaks form. Plop a big dollop on top of a slice of pie, then sprinkle with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. Then EAT!

 “What kind of Thanksgiving dinner is this? Where’s the turkey, Chuck? Don’t you know anything about Thanksgiving dinners? Where’s the mashed potatoes? Where’s the cranberry sauce? Where’s the pumpkin pie?” ~ Peppermint Patty

Some Kinda Good Teams Up with Paula Deen LIVE!

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EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it!

I couldn’t be more excited to announce that the Paula Deen team contacted little ol’ me this week with some GREAT news! I’ve been invited to attend Paula Deen Live! in Savannah as a special guest on Friday, August 8 where I’ll be LIVE tweeting and posting about the show on Facebook from the historic Lucas Theatre!

The surprise came earlier this week when I checked my food blog’s email account. The subject line read, “The Heart of Home Cookin’ Coming to Savannah, GA!” It was Paula’s social media coordinator requesting my presence in the Hostess City. Be still my heart. As a life long fan of Paula’s, you can imagine my excitement when I read these words:

To get right to the point, we came across your blog, Some Kinda Good – and we love it! Paula is so excited about her LIVE event, and she wanted to invite some of her biggest fans and supporters, specifically Southern bloggers and influencers.

Do y’all know how many Southern bloggers there are in the world?? I am beside myself and honored that they chose me. Mama and them already purchased their seats!

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Join the conversation using #PDLIVE!

If you’d like to join the fun, check out Paula’s website for all the details or, follow me on Twitter and LIKE Some Kinda Good on Facebook so you don’t miss a thing. Join the conversation on social media using #PDLIVE. During the event, word also has it that there’ll be a few small surprises in store for you! Paula’s come back tour kicks off on Friday, August 1 with stops all over the country. Be sure to check back after the event for a follow-up post, too. I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Here’s a sneak peek at the fun that awaits. Good times…See you soon PAULA!


Related Content:

My Inspiration
Not Your Average Hash Brown Casserole
Shrimp and Grits at Home
Paula Deen is Not a Racist Y’all

Paula Deen is Not a Racist Y’all

Me and Paula hanging out in her gift shop in historic Savannah, Georgia.
Me and Paula hanging out in her gift shop in historic Savannah, Georgia.

I’ve never met Paula Deen, but this I know: She is not a racist. I write this post on the heels of yesterday’s breaking news–that Food Network will not be renewing her contract.

Paula Deen’s Hashbrown Casserole

Like many of her fans, I too am from the South, her native state of Georgia. We share a love for Southern comfort food, seafood and the coast. For years, I’ve cooked from her cookbooks, eaten at Savannah’s The Lady and Sons, visited her gift shop and looked forward to Saturday mornings when I could sit down and learn from her as I watched Food Network. I’ve spent many an hour in the kitchen following her recipes and laughing with my Grandma over how long it took me to bake her lemon cake, and how easy they made it look on TV. I can’t count the number of times I’ve eaten a delicious cake or herb-roasted pork tenderloin with the family, and upon that first bite of pleasure uttered the words, “It’s a Paula Deen recipe,” as everyone tasted in agreement. I’ve read her book It Ain’t All About the Cooking and have found myself in her as I admired her rags-to-riches story. I’ve tasted some of the best food I’ve ever put in my mouth from Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible. Paula Deen is a nationwide household name. As fans, we feel a connection to her, relate to her and associate good memories with her food and her name.

Just this week before the news was revealed, I made known my ambitions to cook with Paula on her Best Dishes Food Network show. She has been a huge inspiration for me in the kitchen and without her, I wouldn’t be the cook I am today. Paula paved the way for many Southern TV food personalities that have come and are coming after her. For that, I’m thankful.

I believe Paula Deen is a kind-hearted, generous and caring woman. Her fans–black and white–are loyal. Those that know and love Paula admire her courage. I believe her apologies were sincere. When reading the fan’s reactions to the news on Food Network’s Facebook wall just yesterday, one comment said it all: “Leave my Paula alone. Yes, I am African-American.”

Paula, Michael, Jamie and Bobby…if any of you read this, know that this morning we sit around our breakfast tables saddened. We’re wondering how this will affect Jamie and Bobby’s Food Network shows, how we’ll ever be able to watch the network again without hearing Paula’s laugh and seeing her familiar, friendly face. No matter what lies ahead, we love you all and will always be fans. Know that our thoughts and prayers go out to your family.

Paula Deen is not a racist, and that’s just the truth y’all.

Farm to Table Fried Green Tomatoes

A visit to the lowcountry these days or any seafood restaurant worth its weight wouldn’t be complete without a taste of Fried Green Tomatoes. Once considered a poor man’s food, today the dish is served with fancy dipping sauces all over the South and prices range anywhere from $7 for an appetizer to $16 or more for an entrée. For me, the Fried Green Tomato symbolizes stories of days gone by and aside from their crunchy, salty exterior, it’s the farm to table concept and nostalgia factor that make them so appealing.

It’s been said that Fried Green Tomatoes came about because when there was little to nothing to eat, farmers would harvest the green tomatoes before they ripened and fry them up. I don’t have a farm, but thankfully, you can purchase green tomatoes at Farmers Markets and in most produce sections of the grocery store.

I prefer my Fried Green Tomatoes crunchy, so I like to slice them thin, but it’s personal preference. My mom prefers hers on the thicker side.

Once your tomatoes are sliced, you’ll want to lay them on a baking sheet and salt them well. I used kosher salt because the pebbles are bigger and it really brings out the flavor. The salt also will draw the moisture out of the tomatoes.

I took this tip from Paula Deen. Put your salted tomatoes in a colander in the sink and allow them to drain for about 30 minutes before cooking. There’s nothing worse than a soggy, fried…anything.

My Great Aunt had 1 brother and 2 sisters, and recently shared with me that my Great-Grandmother would fix fried green tomatoes in a cast iron skillet, using cornmeal ground from fresh corn on the family farm in the 1950s. These are the stories that make a recipe rich. I used equal parts cornmeal and self-rising flour, then seasoned the mixture with 2 tsp of Old Bay and a healthy dash of black pepper. I’ve seen many variations of the recipe, but no buttermilk is needed!

After the tomato is coated good on each side, shake off any excess before dropping it into the hot vegetable oil. Be sure to roll the sides of the tomato in the flour mixture too, for a nice, even coating.

Fry the tomatoes, flipping once during cooking, just until golden…

…then remove and drain on paper towels.

This was my first time making the lowcountry dish, and I gotta tell ya, it wasn’t hard at all. Look how pretty they turned out! Serve them hot.

My favorite way to eat a Fried Green Tomato is on a BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) sandwich. Now, there’s a way to elevate a classic to the next level.

What’s your take on the Fried Green Tomato? Love it? Hate it? Tell me how you like them! Is there a certain sauce you enjoy eating with them? I asked two of my favorite chefs to recommend a sauce, and one recommends a goat cheese basil sauce and the other, a zesty citrus remoulade.

I’m looking forward to experimenting.

Ingredients
3 Large Green Tomatoes
½ cup cornmeal
½ cup self-rising flour
2 Teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
Vegetable Oil for frying
Green Onion for garnish, optional

Directions:
Slice tomatoes about ¼ of an inch thick. Place them on a flat surface and season with salt. Transfer the tomatoes to a colander and allow them to drain in the sink for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a cast iron skillet or 10-inch frying pan with vegetable oil halfway full and set over medium heat. The oil will be ready for frying when sizzling occurs after gently sprinkled with water. In a small dish, use a fork to combine the cornmeal, flour, Old Bay, salt and pepper. Dredge the tomatoes in the flour mixture on each side. Roll the sides of the tomato in the flour mixture too, to ensure an even coating. Shake off any excess before dropping the tomato slices into the hot oil. Fry the tomato slices until golden brown, turning once during cooking.  Remove them from the oil and drain on paper towels. Garnish with green onion.  Serve warm with Ranch Dressing if desired.

Watch me cook this recipe of fried green tomatoes on an episode of Statesboro Cooks!

Pear Crisp Brings Memories of Grandma and Grandpa

Baking a pear crisp was a fantastic way to use up the Harry and David’s Royal Riviera Pears I received as a Christmas gift. Pears aren’t a fruit I work with or have on-hand often, but they are delicious and a nice change from the every day apple. Flavorful and comforting, this recipe for Pear Crisp was taken from Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible.

Check out the pictures below to see how I completed the recipe.

After the pears are peeled, cored and sliced, toss them with sugar and cinnamon.

Spread the filling in your casserole dish.

Combine your dry ingredients, then cut in cold butter. It’s important that your butter is cold so the mixture becomes nice and crumbly.

You can use a fork or a pastry cutter, but I find that using my hands works just as well. As Ina Garten says, clean hands are a cook’s best tools. Just work quickly, because you don’t want the heat from your hands to melt that butter.

Stir in your almonds, then crumble your topping over the filling.

The filling bubbles over and the topping gets crispy and golden brown. I like to serve it warm with vanilla ice cream, but it also tastes great at room temperature. Enjoy!


Blackberry Cobbler and No Vanilla Ice Cream? What a Tragedy!!

“Blackberries cook up to such a beautiful and dramatic deep black-purple, you could serve this at a fancy dinner party or enjoy it on a picnic blanket.” -Paula Deen, Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible

I hadn’t been in my new home 48-hours when I decided to break the kitchen in and cook up a blackberry cobbler from Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible, one of my favorite Christmas gifts. Though mixing bowls, pots and spoons were still boxed up, I knew a little digging would be worthwhile for this southern classic—and believe you me, it was.

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Start by bringing  a cup of sugar and four cups of blackberries to a boil. I used frozen blackberries because they’re cheaper and I had them on hand. I just love blackberries.

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Once the oven was pre-heated, I melted one stick of butter in my new casserole dish (thanks mama!).

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After combining the dry ingredients, whisk your milk in slowly to prevent clumping.

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Next, pour the mixture into the melted butter, but don’t stir.

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I love to see the sugar and blackberries come together. You could pour this combination right over the top of ice cream as is, or blend it up with some ice cream and milk and have you a blackberry shake.

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Then, spoon your blackberries into the dish evenly throughout. This part is fun.

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Don’t forget your sauce. Drizzle it down over the blackberries. Once it cooks up, you’ll see it swirled all through the cobbler.

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Beautiful! The cobbler is ready when it’s lightly browned and firm to the touch.

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Never have I wanted a scoop of cold, vanilla ice cream so badly…what a tragedy that there was none in the house.

Not Your Average Hash Brown Casserole

I love it when I come across an amazing recipe by accident. On the way to the grocery store last night I Googled “Hash Brown Casserole” and several results came up, but the one that caught my eye was Paula Deen’s recipe on foodnetwork.com. I immediately decided I would go home to create it and boy was it a good decision. This hash brown casserole is the best breakfast casserole I have ever put in my mouth. The picture doesn’t do it justice.

I made it with hot sausage, fresh italian bread and freshly grated parmesan and sharp cheddar cheeses. It’s not your average hash brown casserole…it’s more like french toast meets eggs and sausage and everything you need in one dish. It puffs up beautifully when it’s baking and the cheese turns to a perfect golden brown. It was so good, I’ve decided to make it again on Christmas morning. It’s one of those recipes you can assemble the night before and bake the next morning. Serve it with some fresh fruit and you’ve got a breakfast that won’t leave you hungry.