Sweet potatoes

How to make ‘Sweet Potato Queen’ casserole like a true Southerner

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK 

Some years ago, Mississippi’s Jill Conner Browne wrote a series of hilarious books based on her “Sweet Potato Queen” stories and philosophies of Southern culture. Fortunately, she also offered a recipe for said-named casserole, which I’ve expropriated and adapted through the years because my daughter likes it so much.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

It’s now a staple of our Thanksgiving feast and equally delicious leftovers. That’s why I usually make two casseroles – one for the midday meal and another for later.

You will love it, and it couldn’t be much easier. It’s a nice, fluffy, modern “company” side dish that I think is far superior to grandma’s marshmallow-topped version. You will appreciate it even more, if you read Jill’s books.

Header image via louisianasweetpotatoes.wordpress.com and used in accordance with the Creative Commons user agreement.

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We’re planning our Thanksgiving menu. Are you?

Holiday alert! The Southfacin’ Cook will begin soon with some fabulous ideas and tips for your holiday table. This week, please go out and buy your sweet potatoes in anticipation of my “Sweet Potato Queens Casserole” recipe.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

Sweet potatoes need to chill in the refrigerator a couple of weeks before you cook them so they increase in sugar content. I’ve already got mine there.

As for how many to buy, figure one large tater for every two servings. I mean “large,” too. I look for potatoes about the same size so that they will bake across the same time. Baking is the best way to go because it also maximizes the sugar content.

Watch for my cooking lesson and recipe in a couple of weeks. We’ll cover the sweet potato casserole, the turkey, gravy, cornbread dressing and more.

Header image via flickr user Nick Bastian.

Free dinner party Nov. 2 in New Orleans

The fabulous folks at Chaos Cooking are back in New Orleans and are hosting another dinner party. We’re excited. Chaos Cooking had a New Orleans event earlier this year (pix) and we met all sorts of new people and ate so much good food.

Joe and Margaret started Chaos Cooking in Brooklyn. They made Vietnamese shrimp rolls at the #NOLAmash event in March. (photo via @NewinNOLA on Instagram)

Joe and Margaret started Chaos Cooking in Brooklyn. They made Vietnamese shrimp rolls at the #NOLAmash event in March. (photo via @NewinNOLA on Instagram)

The concept:

Our staple event is where everyone brings the ingredients for one dish and then cooks together in one space. All recipes must be finished and space returned to original condition by the end of the event, while everyone is socializing, enjoying drinks and eating tasty dishes.

The New Orleans event is Saturday (Nov. 2) from 6 to 10 p.m. More info:

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How to make Mexican rice

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK 

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

Not long ago, I was watching that cute Mexican chef, Marcela Valladolid, on the Food Network. She made what she called Red Mexican Rice, “Arroz Rojo.”

I’ve always liked the rice at restaurants and so I figured I’d try it to make at home. This recipe is really easy and a great side dish to add to your repertoire. Thanks, Marcela.

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How to make garlic cheese grits like a New Orleans native

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK 

My mother, Betty, wasn’t the world’s greatest cook but she did a few things very well. One was garlic-cheese grits, which is a great side substitute for potatoes or rice or all by itself.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

My daughter, Margaret, once had the flu more than 10 hours away from home and only had the strength to make one thing to sustain her. You got it – these garlic-cheese grits. She forever sings their praises and asked me to make them for this blog.

Garlic-cheese grits is perfect for a couple of folks or for a buffet brunch/dinner for company. You also can make the dish ahead of time, then pop it into the oven for baking later.

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How to make crawfish pie (via NOLA.com)

The crawfish pie recipe from the Southfacin’ Cook is one of the most popular posts on NewinNOLA.com. Patsy showed us one way to make crawfish pie, but like many dishes, there are variations.

Judy Walker, the food editor on NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, offers her version. Check out the recipe here.

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How to make a muffuletta like a New Orleans native

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK 

So, you’re saying, if I’m in New Orleans, what’s the point of making myself a muffuletta when I can just go down to Central Grocery in the Quarter and get the best?

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

True, but some of us don’t have that luxury. Kind of like when somebody asked the other day why I used “foreign” raised crawfish in crawfish pie. (Because I’m in extreme north Mississippi.)

The muffuletta came to New Orleans from Sicilian immigrant Salvatore Lupo, who reportedly watched lunchtime juggling of Sicilian immigrant farmers trying to eat bread, salami, cheeses and olive salad at mid-day. Soon after, he was offering the sandwich at Central Market.

This recipe is another from “Louisiana Kitchen & Culture” magazine and comes from Nor-Joe’s in Metairie. Now, I can make it myself.

So can you. Enjoy.

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How to make vegetarian lasagna like a New Orleans native

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK   

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

Once I found out you didn’t have to cook the noodles ahead of time, I became a big fan of homemade lasagna.

It’s true, if you have a juicy enough sauce, the noodles cook along with the rest of the casserole. What a liberating moment.

Usually, I make the “red” lasagna with lots of mushrooms and turkey instead of beef. (I’ll pass that along soon.) But today’s recipe comes from an event for which I needed to make a vegetarian version. I doubled the recipe to make two large aluminum-pan entrees, but the recipe below serves 6. This version is an adaptation from Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa).

I love making lasagna for a a pre-Thanksgiving meal as my family arrives for the holiday. Spinach/mushroom or red-sauce/turkey, it’s a great go-to with a green salad and French bread. It’s also great because you can make it ahead of time, even freeze it. Just take it out with enough time for it to “warm up” to nearly room temperature or you’ll be baking much longer than you’d like.

Enjoy!

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How to cook shrimp and grits like a New Orleans native

Shrimp & grits is a dish that’s gone from the mundane to haute cuisine in just a decade or so. My rendition is a bow to the famed version at City Grocery on Mr. Faulkner’s fabled Square in Oxford, Miss., although I’ve always thought City Grocery’s was too pepper-hot. I’ve adjusted this one accordingly.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

The recipe is a perfect entree for 4, plus french bread and a tasty salad.

Header image is shrimp and grits from Wishbone in Chicago. Image via flickr user Discopalace.

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How to make pot roast like a New Orleans native

Pot roast is equal to mac & cheese when it comes to comfort food. Summer or winter, a succulent hunk of beef with carrots, onions and potatoes is just a gift from the food gods.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

Not only is it great for company, it’s a perfect weekend dish, which I prefer to braise in the oven over a couple of hours (which is why I make it on the weekends). Then, the leftovers are to-die-for, either reheated as the main dish or on an open-face sandwich with the gravy over the top.

Anyway you slice it, pot roast is delicious and hearty.

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