Although the biggest Mardi Gras celebration happens on Fat Tuesday, I recommend you have your own party, complete with beads and masks, this Saturday night. Serve a delectable spread of Southern finger foods, including some classic New Orleans dishes. I've scoured our recipes to come up with an amazing menu, so check it out now!
When thinking of Southern cocktails, the mint julep immediately comes to mind. However, for a Thanksgiving celebration, consider serving something a little more seasonally festive. This drink combines bourbon, the South's favorite spirit, with mint, brandied cherries, cherry liqueur, and black tea. Although the ingredient list is somewhat long, the resulting beverage, with its cranberry color and balanced complexity, is definitely worthy of a special occasion. Get the recipe here.
For a Southern-inspired Thanksgiving, don't just serve ordinary pumpkin pie for dessert, instead offer pumpkin chess pie. Although it has no relation to the game of chess, this luscious custard pie has origins in England and roots in the South. It normally consists of eggs, butter, and sugar, but this recipe stirs in pumpkin puree. The thing that makes a chess pie different from other custard pies is the addition of cornmeal to the batter. Classic chess pie can be somewhat sweet, so pair it with coffee or a crisp sparkling Moscato. Get the recipe when you read more.
The first time I went to an Alton Brown demo, I was a little disappointed the scientific chef focused on cooking for kids. Luckily, at this year's Food Network New York City Wine and Food Festival, Brown was more rated R than PG. Although it was 11 a.m., he got things started by teaching the crowd how to make mint juleps.
The theme of his demo was quintessential Southern cuisine with the defining flavor of the South being bourbon. While cooking bacon bourbon ice cream and bananas foster, he joked about the differences between Yankees and Southerners in the kitchen and had some pretty hysterical and memorable quotes. To see what he had to say about everything from parenting to Martha Stewart, read on.
- Learn how Jelly Belly invents flavors.
- Learn how Jelly Belly invents flavors. — The Atlantic
- A week in the life of Aida Mollenkamp. — Grub Street SF
- Five Southern dishes that deserve a comeback. — Eatocracy
- With Aarti Sequeira winning The Next Food Network Star, Indian food is ready for its moment in the spotlight. — Huffington Post Food
- How to turn a wok into a smoker. — Chow
- Meet Parsley Plus, the new kitchen cleaner one writer can't get enough of. — The Epi-Log
- Chatting with Susan Spungen, the food stylist for the movie Eat Pray Love. — Eater
- When you've got only 36 hours in New Orleans, here is where you should eat. — Serious Eats
When planning a meal for a particular person — say, your mom for Mother's Day — be sure to make food that she loves. My mom spent some time living in New Orleans, and over a recent brunch, she devoured a plate of melt-in-your-mouth beignets. Thus this weekend, for the dessert to a special brunch in her honor, I'm going to whip up some buttermilk beignets. The dough can be made up to eight hours before frying. This is a classic recipe that's finished with a generous coat of confectioners' sugar. To check it out, read more
The Kentucky Derby, the most talked about horse race of the year, is this Saturday. I like to use it as an excuse to gather friends for a little party. The race starts at 6 p.m. on the East coast and 3 p.m. on the West coast. The ideal time to throw a party is before the race; have guests come at 4 p.m. (East coast) or 1 p.m. (West coast) and serve a spread of upscale Southern-inspired appetizers. Blackened shrimp with roasted garlic aioli will have your guests licking their fingers and hungry for more. Deviled eggs go glam with the addition of tangy goat cheese and chunky chutney.
Crunchy fried green tomatoes add an element of necessary fried goodness to the menu. Mini grilled cheese and ham sandwiches are a crowd-pleasing classic. If you're hosting a Kentucky Derby shindig, I highly recommend you check out these recipes after the break.
I've never been lucky enough to make it to the Kentucky Derby, but this year I am attending a Derby party! I offered to take care of the drinks for my friends, knowing exactly what I'd be serving: mint juleps, of course.
It's unclear how this beverage became the official refreshment of the Kentucky Derby, but it's served with great ceremony at the event, and has been since as far back as 1938.
Since I'm pouring the cocktail for a crowd and I don't have the right number of julep cups, I'm preparing most of the drink ahead. Then, I'll set up a self-serve bar with mason jars for a different kind of Southern charm. Get a laid-back take on the Derby classic when you read on.
I've always cooked with canned beans over higher-maintenance dried beans, but after seeing PartySugar make a beef chili that required no preliminary bean soaking, I decided it was high time I followed in her footsteps.
The perfect place to start? A simple, yet flavorful Cajun stew of andouille sausage, veggies, and Great Northern beans that requires no soaking whatsoever.
Just pop it into the slow cooker, wait four and a half hours, and serve! I'll enjoy it with some dirty rice and sautéed greens. Interested? Then keep reading.