Okra & Tomatoes: A Taste of Home

Tender baby okra, ripe tomatoes, sweet onion and a simple spice blend; Okra & Tomatoes is a classic Southern recipe that has been cooked for several generations in my family.

Okra and tomatoes was something normal in my household. Frequently prepared on Saturdays or Sundays is was a simple and satisfying dish. It was also something that I heard about my grandmothers and great-grandmothers making and so when I make it in my kitchen, no matter how simple the recipe, it still feels so special.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_349c

Here’s the recipe:

Okra & Tomatoes

  • 1/2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped plum tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups fresh baby okra (or the smallest size that you can find)
  • spice blend: salt, black pepper, sweet paprika, red pepper flakes)*
  • 1/2 cup water

*Note: this was not an exact measurement but moreover to taste.

Preparation:

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3495

Wash the okra and cut off the tips and top “crown” of the okra (where the stem was).

Add the olive oil and chopped onion to a frying pan and sautee until the onions are tender.

Then add the spice blend and sautee just until the spices become fragrant.

Then add the tomatoes and okra and half of the water, stir and cover.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3496

Simmer the okra and tomatoes on medium low heat, checking occasionally to add more water. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the okra is tender. Screen Shot 2018-11-20 at 6.33.20 PM

Remove from heat and serve immediately.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_349c

©All Rights Reserved

How to Make Georgia Peach Cobbler

Tender fresh peaches, with just a hint of cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg covered with a flaky, buttery crust and baked to golden perfection! — That is a classic Georgia Peach Cobbler that will keep “Georgia on Your Mind.”

Growing up in the state of Georgia, also known as the “Peach State,” a summertime was never complete without buying some peaches. They were always so fresh, juicy and sweet and almost every year, my Mom would make peach cobbler.

She’d peel the peaches and I would stand beside her to eat the peels, lol! The most beautiful part of this dessert is that the fresh peach taste is not ruined or overwhelmed but simply accentuated with just enough cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar.

Truth be told, I cannot overemphasize the use of FRESH peaches to make this cobbler. There is such a distinct taste difference it’s like trying to make sushi with canned fish. Yeah, just think about that. It’s not good. So do yourself a favor and use fresh season or if you really cannot find fresh peaches then a bag or two of frozen peaches could work but definitely not canned. Okay, sorry for the fresh emphasis but I did grow up in a place called the “Peach State,” lol!

DSC09039

Here’s the recipe my friend:

Georgia Peach Cobbler

  • 5 large peaches (peeled and sliced – approx. 2.5 cups)
  • 3 TBSP to 1/4 c white sugar (this totally depends on the sweetness of your peaches)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pie crust (homemade or store bought)
  • 1/4 c butter (+2 TBSP for greasing the pan and topping the finished cobbler)
  • 1 TBSP corn starch (dissolved in 2-3 TBSP of cold water)

Preparation:

Pre-heat the oven for 375F/190C.

Peel and slice the peaches into equal sized slices and place them in a sauce pot.

Sprinkle over the sugar (start off with less and then taste as you go), cinnamon and nutmeg. Gently stir and place over medium heat, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes or until the peaches are soft but not mushy. NOTE: Taste it to make sure it is sweet enough for your preference.

DSC09048DSC09049

Pour in the cornstarch mixture and bring up to a boil, stirring constantly to ensure that the peaches don’t stick. Add a bit of water, if it becomes to thick to stir.

Then remove from the heat and set aside.

Grease a baking dish (I used an oval 10 inch 8 inch glass pan) with 1 TBSP of softened butter.

Then pour the peaches into the baking dish being sure to scrape out all of the delicious peach sauce! Yum! 🙂

Then gently place your pie crust on top of your pan, pressing down just until the dough covers the peaches in a nice layer.

Cut off the excess dough and then crimp the edges. Using a sharp knife, cut a cross in the middle of the dough or prick the dough briskly with a fork. NOTE: this ensures that the peaches can “breathe” while baking.

DSC09050DSC09051

Place the cobbler in the oven and make for about 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and cover with the remaining 1 TBSP of softened butter.

If at all possible, enjoy warm with a little fresh whipped cream or old fashioned vanilla bean ice cream!

Heavenly!

DSC09055.JPG

©All Rights Reserved

 

Buttermilk Biscuits: a Southern American Recipe

Light, flaky, tender biscuits topped with butter and marmalade!

Growing up, biscuits were a special Saturday morning breakfast. Made from scratch, they do require more work than just popping a slice of bread in the toaster. But with just one bite, you’ll find that it’s totally worth it!

The biscuits are savory and often eaten alongside breakfast items like grits, eggs, sausage or gravy. They are most commonly found in the southeast United States but they are slowly making their way to restaurants around the country. But, there really is nothing like a homemade biscuit.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_34c6

Buttermilk Biscuits

makes 6 bisuits

  • 1 1/4 c all purpose flour + more for dusting & kneading
  • 1/3 c butter (very cold & cut into cubes) + more for topping the biscuits (if desired)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4-1/3 c buttermilk (added gradually)
  • Optional: marmalade or your favorite spread for topping or serve with eggs, bacon & grits for a true southern style breakfast!

Preparation:

Pre-heat the oven to to 200C/392F.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, salt.

Then add the butter and using a fork, pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour until the texture resembles small peas.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_34c8

Then gradually add in the buttermilk, stirring constantly until the dough pulls off the side of the bowl and forms a ball.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead the dough for a minute or so until the dough is smooth. Note: don’t knead to harshly or too long in order to prevent the dough from becoming tough and also to ensure that the dough stays nice and cold.

Then dust a rolling pin with flour and roll out the dough until it it about 1 inch thick.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_34c9

Then dip the rim of a drinking glass in flour and “cut” the biscuits.

Place the biscuits onto a parchment lined baked sheet, greased with butter.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_34ca

Bake for 8-12 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_34deUNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_34cd

Serve & Enjoy warm (because they are absolutely delicious this way & who doesn’t love warm bread, fresh out of the oven?)

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_34f1UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_34f9

Stovetop Homemade Macaroni & Cheese

Creamy, comforting and delicious homemade macaroni and cheese! Comfort food at its finest and a throwback to childhood.

Macaroni and cheese in my household was an art. In fact, I never knew about the box version until I went to my best friend’s house at the age of 5. Her mom was making a the box version of Macaroni and Cheese and our conversation went a little something like this:

“What are you making?” I asked.

“Macaroni and cheese,” replied my friend’s mom.

“But you’re making it from a box and on the stove. That’s not how you make it,” I replied.

“It’s how you make it at our house,” replied my friend’s mom.

Kudos to my friend’s mom for giving a sassy answer to my sassy question, lol! But seriously, the way I learned to make macaroni and cheese always involved an oven. It was BAKED macaroni and cheese the Southern way (if ya’ll know what I mean).

Anyway, although there is NOTHING quite like my mom’s baked macaroni and cheese (passed down from Grandma’s recipe, hello!), my version of a stove top homemade mac and cheese is a close second for me. Plus… it’s really quick and simple to prepare so that’s a bonus. Especially since this recipe was curated from my old NYC apartment when I was super hungry and in need of some comfort food. Just a few basics and voila, deliciousness! (Is deliciousness a word? Hmmm, I don’t know but you know what I’m saying).

Here’s the recipe, it’s love at first bite (seriously, it’s legit!)

DSC00384

Stovetop Homemade Macaroni & Cheese

  • 1.5 c dry macaroni (pre-boiled)
  • Bechamel sauce (per my recipe–find it here)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1.5 c cheese (your favorite of course –cheddar, provolone, mozzarella or even all 3! Let’s get crazy, lol!)
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Follow the instructions for the Bechamel Sauce Recipe.

Bechamel STEP 7 Final Whisk

Then add 1 cup of milk to the bechamel sauce and bring back to a simmer.

Reduce the heat and stir in the cheese and keep stirring until it’s melted. Then add the cooked macaroni and stir thoroughly until it is well coated with the cheese sauce.

DSC00388

Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper (as needed).

Serve and Enjoy!

Mmmmmm….

DSC00395DSC00398DSC00399