How to make chocolate-dipped buttercrunch candy (recipe)

I don’t claim to be original, especially when it comes to candy. My grandmother, the willful and beautiful Rosalie Dial, made divinity and fudge, but that’s about it.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

Recently on NPR, I heard this recipe by Andrea Gunst and had to try it. Here’s the original recipe. I’ve added a little salt, which Andrea didn’t. I wrapped the candy in small plastic bags and put it in pretty holiday tins for gifts. Here are two NPR segments about the candy:

//embed.wbur.org/player/hereandnow/2014/12/10/buttercrunch-ham-recipes

//embed.wbur.org/player/hereandnow/2012/12/17/gunst-holiday-gifts

Advice from NPR: You can double the recipe, but if you want to make more you shouldn’t try to multiply the recipe by three or four — simply keep doubling the recipe. One cookie sheet makes one batch. Continue reading

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How to make yellow squash casserole (recipe)

I love squash and enjoyed growing it in my garden for years. For now, because I’m working away from my garden, I get mine at the local farmers’ market (locations in New Orleans).

This recipe is inspired by one of my and my son’s heroes, Sidna Brower Mitchell, who is well known as a great cook and food writer but perhaps even more importantly as the unjustly maligned student editor of The Daily Mississippian on the Ole Miss campus when it was forceably integrated in 1961.

My recipe is an adaptation of hers, with a few extra ingredients. It’s great in the summer when the produce is bountiful. It’s also an easy veggie side dish throughout the year.

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How to make giardiniera (pickled vegetables) – recipe

When I was a kid, our neighbor, Wilbur Pickett, made hot sauce on an open fire on the vacant elementary school-yard between our McComb, Miss., houses.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

I didn’t think too much about why until years later when I made my first batch of garlicky dill pickles from garden cucumbers – and stunk up my house without the possibility of parole.

Luckily, I’d acquired a small, bottle-gas burner for football tailgating. From then on, I cooked my pickling juice out on the porch to avoid the penetrating aroma. It’s mighty good in the jar, but it’s a bit something to take into your nose when it’s steaming hot. It also infuses itself into drywall (just my opinion – not a scientific fact).

Now I know why Wilbur’s wife, Gladys, sent him to the school yard for his vinegary concoction.

This recipe for giardiniera mimics those fancy, expensive pickled veggies in the grocery but is easy to make at home. It makes a pretty gift for friends, too. Try it.

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How to make West Indies crab meat salad (recipe)

My brother-in-law, Tommy Ratchford of Pensacola, isn’t much of a cook, but he knows a thing or two about seafood. Hearken to his “Southfacin’ Cook” recipe for perfect boiled shrimp.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

His “West Indies Salad” is a delicious, light, crisp, tart combo of vinegar-sweetened onions, brine and juicy lump crab meat. Can’t get much tastier than that!

It’s gorgeous on toasted French bread slices and even prettier in a stemmed cocktail glass as a true salad or a buffet specialty.

Easy, delicious. A great change of pace with summertime fare, too. Enjoy any time of the year, so long as the crab meat is fresh.

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How to make crawfish chowder (recipe)

Have leftover crawfish from a boil? Try this easy recipe for crawfish chowder. We Southerners smugly think “chowder” (or “chow-dah”) is something Yankees invented and shouldn’t be trotted out in kitchens south of the Mason-Dixon line. Fear not, intrepid cooks. Chowder is just a milky stew of goodness, no matter where it comes from.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

This recipe comes to me from a colleague when I worked at my alma mater, the University of Mississippi. I gotta tell you, it’s so good that you’d serve it to Prince Charles and Prince Harry, if they were lucky enough to be in your dining room.

Add a crusty loaf of French bread or steamy cornbread and butter for soaking up the juice, and you’ll be dancing! I can’t tell you how many compliments I’ve gotten from this recipe, which has become a favorite with my friends. Now, it’s yours!

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How to cook liver and onions

Liver smothered in onions? So, 99% of you just went, “She’s cooking what?”

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

I am among the 1% of people who love liver and onions atop rice. Likely, it was presented to me by my grandmother, the beautiful and willful Rosalie Dial, who wasn’t one to forgive a turned-up nose at dinnertime. Likely, I ate it, agreed it was good, and the rest is history.

It’s not something I think about often, but this weekend, it came to mind. I make a batch and freeze everything but the rice for another dinner.

It’s also an emotional meal for me because my dearly departed mother, Betty, made me weekly batches while I was pregnant with my two kids and needed boosts of iron to fortify my system (and theirs). When I eat liver and onions, I think of all three of them. Sappy, but true.

And so, for you folks whose grandmothers and moms made this and never showed you how, here it is. For you folks who’ve got the curiosity to try it, the recipe couldn’t be simpler. Go for it!

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How to make homemade chicken-vegetable soup like a real Southerner

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK 

Cold weather just sets my soup-cooking emotions to stirring.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

After a look into my post-Thanksgiving freezer, I realized I had a variety of frozen vegetables I’d like to do something with because I’m not going to make them individually just for myself.

That’s when “soup!” came into my mind. I’ll have some for myself and some to share with friends, which is why I make a big pot of it. It’s also great to freeze in quart-size Ziplock bags for a no-trouble supper or lunch. Just add a salad or a toasted roll and you’re in business.

My only word of advice is to refrain from adding the chicken until the soup’s almost done. Otherwise, it will cook out all its juices and taste dry, even in the midst of the broth.

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How to make sour cream pound cake like a New Orleans native

BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD – THE SOUTHFACIN’ COOK 

My father didn’t do much cooking. Chiefly, he’s remembered for accidentally setting fire to the kitchen while trying to cook bacon and watch the World Series simultaneously. We’ve never been much for multi-tasking.

Patsy R. Brumfield The Southfacin' Cook

Patsy R. Brumfield
The Southfacin’ Cook

But the man could make a really good pound cake – dense, crusty, delicious. Where he got his recipe is unknown to me, but lately I found one very much like it in my mother’s recipe box. It was an old, brown newspaper clipping taped to a file card.

It is beyond delicious! It’s tall and just the right density, and so buttery. You will love it, and your guests will think you are the greatest baker ever.

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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 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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