Monday, November 25, 2013

Cook up a Southern Style Holiday Feast

In the South, we've set a high bar for delicious recipes.  In America, the southern states were some of the first to embrace Christmas, which means that holiday recipes have had plenty of time to steep in the glow of southern tradition, being passed down and perfected throughout the generations.  So after speaking with several native southerners at Plantation Resort, we’ve compiled a must-have list of southern dishes to complete your holiday feast.

Fried Turkey: This dangerously delicious dish harks back to the 1930s and has become a must-have for many southern households around the Holidays.  Irresponsibly frying turkeys was the cause for burning down over 500 homes in 1998, but that has not put a damper on the enthusiasm for these deliciously encrusted birds.  With these statistics, we suggest leaving the turkey frying to the experts.  We recommend these grocery stores or restaurants do the work for you. If you simply must try out your new deep fryer, please check out this website for safety precautions.

Corn Pudding: This southern dish stretches back to colonial history.  With their knowledge of corn and other plants, Native Americans saved colonists from starvation.  Colonists brought with them a knowledge of the old British “custard pudding” and somewhere along the way, they combined their love of custard pudding and corn to make what is today known as corn pudding.

“Mom’s Corn Pudding”
1 can corn
¼ cup sugar
1 egg
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons flour
2-3 pats of butter on top
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the ingredients together and pour into oven-safe dish.  Cook about 20 minutes or until the mixture is brown and thick.

Collard Greens: Southerners like collard greens so much that in 2011, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill to make collard greens the state vegetable.  Many have said that slaves brought collard greens to America, but the Gullah O'oman museum in Pawleys Island asserts that greens were here before the slaves set foot on American soil.  They did, however, bring the recipes for greens that would be passed down the generations until we have the beloved dish that you'll find at your favorite southern holiday feast today.  At New Years, it’s traditionally good luck to eat collard greens with black-eyed peas and pork.  Southerners love their greens.  If you'd like to see why, try this delicious recipe.

“Dave's Delicious Collards”

8 oz bacon chopped
½ cup chicken broth
1 clove minced garlic
1 red bell pepper diced
1-2 bunches of collard greens, stems and veins removed, washed and chopped
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

Strip the greens from their stem, pulling at the leafy part between the veins in order to keep off as many veins as possible.  Cook the Bacon until grease is rendered and bacon is crispy. Set the bacon aside and add vinegar, chicken broth,  red bell pepper, onion and garlic to the grease.  Sauté and add greens.  Add salt and pepper.  This is also where you add the crushed red pepper flakes if you want a kick.  Cook until greens are tender but still bright green for about 4-5 minutes.  Toss with the set aside bacon and serve.

Pecan Pie: The true southern way to pronounce this delicious dish is "pee-can" pie.  The origins of pecan pie are rather murky, but the southern love for these pies is undeniable.  Some people trace the dessert back to the French settlers in Louisiana and others assert that the popularity of pecan pie coincided with the advent of the Karo company.  Certainly many (if not most) recipes call for Karo syrup but some people have strong opinions against using too much Karo in their pies.  With or without Karo if you’re eating Thanksgiving in the South you’ll likely see this pie on the dessert table.

“Michon’s Pecan Pie”

½ cup sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup
3 eggs
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
Cook syrup and sugar until mixture thickens. Beat eggs and slowly add hot syrup to eggs. Beat constantly. Add butter, vanilla and nuts. Pour into unbaked shell. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 and bake 35 minutes. May serve with or without a whipped topping.

Sweet Potato Pie: This delicious dessert is rooted in African American history.  Africans enjoyed “oyame” (or yams) as a staple of their diet.  When slaves in America were introduced to pumpkin pie by the British, it was a short step to creating a delectable pie made of sweet potatoes.  Today, the dessert has become an icon of southern holiday feasts.

“Traditional Sweet Potato Pie”1 ½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups canned or cooked sweet potatoes
1 cup cream (or sweet milk)
1 cup orange juice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
3 eggs
Mix all ingredients well.  Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake 10 minutes at 450 degrees.  Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for 50 minutes or until done.

Best Pie Crust1 cup flour
1 stick margarine
¼ cup water
Blend ingredients.  Roll very thin.  Makes three 1” shells.

Pound Cake: Originally, pound cake earned its name from the fact that, to make it, you needed a pound of each of the four ingredients—flour, sugar, eggs and butter.  Luckily for your waistline, the recipe has been altered over the years and is much lighter, but it still holds its own in the taste department.  It would have to taste good to be considered delicious enough for a southern dessert table.

“Melissa’s Pound Cake”½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3 cups of sugar
5 eggs
3 cups of cake flour
1 cup of milk
2 teaspoons of lemon extract
Special equipment:  a 10-inch bundt pan, greased and flouredIn a large bowl, using a mixer, combine the butter and sugar until creamy.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each egg addition.  Add the flour and milk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour.  Stir in the lemon extract.  Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.Place the pan in a cold oven and heat oven to 325 degrees F.  Bake cake for 1 hour.  Increase the temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 30 minutes more.

NOTE:  DO NOT open the oven door while baking.

Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool further.

We hope you enjoy these traditional southern dishes.  Let us know if any of them will make it onto your plate this holiday season.  Maybe they will even become a beloved holiday tradition for you and your family.  Wherever you're from or whatever you put on your plate, Plantation Resort wishes you very happy holidays.

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