Sunday, December 31, 2017

Traditional American Southern New Years Dinner

On the Menu

Hoppin John - New Age Style

8 - 10 Servings

1 pound sorted dried black eye peas

6 cups water

3 bay leaves

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

1 tablespoon  granulated onion
1 1/2 teaspoon salt - Divided

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 medium red bell pepper, diced

1 large jalapeno pepper, diced

4 large cloves garlic chopped

2 teaspoons Sazon - Recipe to follow

3 large Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro or parsley


Place waters and beans in a large pot and place on medium low heat uncovered. Add the bay leaves, granulated garlic and onion and 1 teaspoon salt.
Cook uncovered 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil and add the onions, peppers, garlic, sazon and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Saute 3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and saute until liquid is absorbed.
Transfer the mixture to the bean pot and cook another 30 minutes or until beans are done and sauce is smooth and creamy.
Keep beans covered with at least 1 inch of  liquid at all times. If needed, add additional water, 1/2 cup at a time.
Once beans are done, mix in chopped cilantro or parsley and serve over brown rice.

 Sazon Seasoning - Salt Free

½ cup

If you like that commercial brand then you're gonna love this 100% pure Sazon Seasoning!

2 teaspoons cumin, ground

1 teaspoon coriander, ground

1 teaspoon annatto

2 tablespoons granulated garlic

2 teaspoons turmeric

1 tablespoon paprika


Place all ingredients in a glass container with lid and shake until all spices are thoroughly combined.  If you use an airtight container, product can be kept for 6 month 
 Southern Collard Greens
8 Servings
This recipe was inspired by:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 large onion, sliced, thin
3 large garlic cloves, sliced, thin
1 large chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
2 large bunches of collard greens, cleaned rinsed and chopped
2 oranges juiced
½ teaspoon of Cajun seasoning 
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 each red, yellow, green bell pepper - Optional

Heat the oil in a large saute pan or wok, add the crushed red pepper flakes and saute until peppers are slightly browned, do not let them burn. 
Add the onions, garlic and chipotle pepper in adobe sauce; saute until onions are translucent.
Add the collards and all remaining ingredients, carefully mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.
Cover, bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat to low and cook 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
Taste, season with additional salt and pepper as needed; sprinkle with dried pepper flakes, if desired.

 Brown Sugar Bourbon Ham

8 – 10 Servings
1 (6 – 8 lb.) ham, fully cooked
48 cloves
1 (16 oz.) package brown sugar
1 cup spicy mustard
1 cup orange juice
1 cup bourbon

Preheat oven to 350°. Remove skin from ham, and trim fat. Make shallow cuts in ham ¾ inch apart in a diamond pattern. Insert cloves in centers of diamonds. Place ham in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch pan.
Stir together the brown sugar, mustard, orange juice and bourbon then spoon it over the ham.
Bake in a 350° oven uncovered for 2 ½ hours. Every 30 remove pan from over, close the oven door and baste ham with the juice in the pan then return to the oven. Once the cooking time has ended, remove ham from oven, and let it rest 20 minutes before slicing. 

 Brown Basmati Rice
8 Servings
3 1/2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons granulated onion
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili peppers
2 cups brown basmati rice

In a 3 quart saucepan bring water and seasonings to a boil.  Add the rice, bring pot back up to a boil, stir, cover and reduce heat to the lowest setting.
Let rice cook undisturbed 45 minutes.  After cooking period is completed, do not open pot, just remove it from the heat and let it sit 20 minutes undisturbed.
Remove top and fluff before serving.

Pot Likker Soup
 6  Servings
Pot likker, the juice left in a pot after collards cook, is traditionally valued as a delicacy and aphrodisiac. Be sure to sop up the vitamin-rich pot likker with your cornbread or make it into this warm and comforting soup.
3 pounds mixed greens, chard, mustard, kale, collards, etc.
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 large red bell pepper, sliced
4 large garlic cloves, sliced
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce or any hot sauce

Wash the greens thoroughly.  Cut off any stems that extends beyond the leaves and set them aside. 
Then cut the greens and stems that are still affixed to the leaves into bite size pieces and set them aside.
In a large stock pot, add the water, the  stems you sat aside and bay leaves.  Bring pot to a boil, cover and reduce heat to medium and let stems simmer for 15 minutes {this is your pot likker}.
Remove the stems and bay leaves from the pot and add the chopped greens, salt, Cajun seasoning, granulated garlic & onion and the liquid smoke.  Mix thoroughly; then bring the pot back up to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium low and cook covered for 15 minutes.
Heat the oil in a medium saute pan and add the onions, bell pepper and garlic saute until onions are translucent.
Add sautéed vegetables to the pot of greens along with the vinegar and Tabasco sauce and mix thoroughly. 
Continue to let greens simmer uncovered another 5 – 6 minutes. 
Taste for seasoning, adjust if needed, cover pot and remove from heat.

Note the reason you're cooking the greens uncovered, is to allow the liquid to reduce and produce a more concentrated flavor.

 Skillet Cornbread

8 Servings
1/4 cup shortening
1-1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 - 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
2 cups of buttermilk, more or less
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Add the shortening to a well seasoned 10-inch cast iron skillet and place the skillet into the oven to melt the shortening and heat the skillet. In a bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Using mitts, carefully remove the skillet from the oven and swirl the hot fat around to coat the entire skillet. Pour the fat from the skillet into the cornmeal mixture; stir. Stir in half of the buttermilk and add the egg; add more buttermilk as needed to make a thick but pourable batter. Depending on the grind of your cornmeal and the type of buttermilk you use, you may not need it all. Fold ingredients and don't beat the batter. Pour the cornmeal mixture into the hot skillet. Carefully place directly into the oven and bake at 450 degrees F for about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven, let rest for 5 minutes, then very carefully turn the cornbread out onto a plate or platter to preserve that nice crispy crust!


Sunday, December 24, 2017

Traditional Christmas dinner

Traditional Christmas dinners consists of turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and vegetables such as carrots, turnip, parsnips, etc. Other types of poultry, roast beef, or ham is also used. For dessert, pumpkin or apple pie, Christmas pudding, or fruitcake are the staple.

On the Menu


Brown Bag Turkey
12 Servings


1 – 12 lb turkey

1+ tablespoon coarse sea salt 1 tablespoon black pepper

1+ tablespoon garlic powder

1+ tablespoon onion powder

1 cup peanut oil (use peanut oil only.  Other oils will set the bag on fire)

2+ teaspoons poultry seasoning (recipe to follow)

1 tablespoon paprika

1 large brown paper bag

Note:  Turkey should be seasoned 1 day prior to cooking.  If turkey is frozen allow 3 day for it to thaw in the refrigerator.


Remove giblet bag from turkey clean it inside and outside thoroughly.  Pat it dry with paper towels then generously sprinkle the inside and outside with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and poultry seasoning.  (It is best to purchase new poultry seasoning or make it fresh.)  Wrap the bird in foil and let it sit over night.

  Poultry Seasoning
2 tablespoon sage, rubbed
1 tablespoon thyme, dried
1 tablespoon rosemary, dried
1 tablespoon marjoram, dried
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients.
Try and purchase all ingredients from a specialty store that sells herbs and spices in bulk.  This way you can purchase only the amount that is needed.  

24 Hours Later

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a small bowl, mix together the peanut oil with 1 tablespoon each of the following:  garlic powder, onion powder and paprika and 1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning.

Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and unwrap.  Drain turkey of any excess liquid that may have accumulated then rest it on the foil.  Massage the oil mixture over the turkey making sure you coat it inside and out thoroughly.

Coat the paper bag thoroughly with the remaining oil mixture. Add more peanut oil if needed to coat the bag. To ensure that the bag does not catch fire, you must use peanut oil.

Place the paper bag in a roasting pan, insert a roasting rack (if you have) in the bag and place the turkey on the rack then staple the bag shut.

Put pan in the oven and bake undisturbed 10 minutes per pound (a 12 pound turkey will cook in 2 hours).

After the cooking time has elapsed, remove turkey from oven and let it sit  in  the unopened bag 1 hour before serving.

Note: Even after the turkey is removed from the oven it will continue to cook.  Just know, that if you followed the instructions your turkey will be done, juicy and golden brown.

Do not over crowd your oven.  The more food you have in it, the longer it will take your food to cook.

 Honey Glazed Christmas Ham
Serves 10 – 12

5-6 lb. fully cooked ham
¼ cup whole cloves
¼ cup pure maple syrup
⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
1 ½ cups honey
1 tablespoon butter
 ¼ cup brown sugar
 ¼ cup orange juice
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Place ham cut side down in a foil-lined roasting pan.
Using a sharp knife, score the surface of the ham in a diamond pattern
lace the whole cloves in the scored intersections.
Combine  syrup, allspice, honey, butter, brown sugar, orange juice, and pepper in the top half of a double boiler, and heat until the butter melts and mixture is smooth, stirring occasionally.
Keep this glaze in the top of a double boiler, over hot water, while baking ham.
Brush glaze over ham, then cover with foil.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 325 degrees, basting ham every 10 to 15 minutes with the warm honey glaze.
During the last 5 minutes of baking time, remove the foil and turn on broiler to caramelize the glaze.
Watch the ham carefully during the broiling time! Remove the ham from oven, cover with foil, and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. 

 Cranberry Sauce

8 – 10 Servings
12 ounce bag of cranberries 
1½ cups sugar
1 cup water
1 whole orange, peeled, seeds removed and chopped 
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup of crushed pineapples, juice included
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Note:  Fresh cranberries can be found in the produce section

Sort through cranberries and remove stems or bad berries rinse, then set aside.
Mix sugar and water together and bring to a boil.  Add cranberries, oranges, allspice and cinnamon.  Cook over a medium flame, uncovered until berries pop open stirring frequently.  Add pineapples, reduce heat to a simmer and cook 45 minutes - 1 hour or until desired thickness is reached stirring occasionally.
Sauce can be served hot or cold.

Joyce's Vegetarian Dressing
16 - 20 Servings

¼ cup grape seed oil
1 jumbo onion, diced
2 large bell pepper, diced
3 celery stalks, sliced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 can water chestnuts, drained, diced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon poultry season
1 – 2 teaspoons sage
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 ounce package black walnuts, finely chopped
1 – 14 ounce bag Pepperidge Farm Cornbread Stuffing
1 – 14 ounce bag Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan or wok over medium heat.  Add the vegetables and seasonings and sauté until onions wilt.
Add the walnuts, stuffing mixes and vegetable broth, mix thoroughly. If dressing is too dry, add more liquid, ½ cup at a time, then taste for flavor.  You may have to add more poultry seasoning and sage.  Transfer dressing to a baking dish, cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven 30 minutes.
Dressing can be made a day ahead then baked the following day.

 Orange Honey Glazed Carrots
10 - 12 Servings
3 bunches carrots, peeled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cut the carrots diagonally in 1-inch-thick slices.  Place 1/2 cup water, the butter, honey, 2 teaspoon of salt, and the ginger in a large saute pan and bring to a boil. Add the carrots, cover the pan, and simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook for about 20 minutes, or until all the water has evaporated. You may want to raise the heat for the last 5 minutes.

Add the orange zest and orange juice to the pan, tossing with the carrots. Simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes, until the carrots are al dente (tender but still resistant when you bite) and the sauce glazes the carrots. Add the pepper a salt, to taste.

  Green Beans with Sauteed Garlic
8 Servings

2 pounds green beans, trimmed, halved
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons olive oil
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon crushed red peppers
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add beans; cook 5 minutes. Plunge beans into ice water; drain and discard bay leaf.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil, garlic and chili peppers and sauté 30 seconds.
Add beans; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes, tossing frequently.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
4 - 6 Servings
2 pounds organic red skin potatoes Water to cover
1 bay leaf  
3 large garlic cloves
¼ teaspoon mustard powder
½ teaspoon sea salt  
½ cup vegan mayonnaise  
¼ cup of the liquid potatoes were cooked in.

Wash/scrub potatoes and cut them into equal size.
Cover with cold water then add bay leaf and garlic cloves, bring to a boil.
Cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
Drain potatoes and reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
Remove and discard the bay leaf.
Place the potatoes, mustard powder, sea salt, vegan mayonnaise in a mixing bowl with a paddle. Mix just long enough for potatoes to reach a creamy consistency. Add cooking liquid ¼ cup at a time if needed.   If you process too long potatoes will become sticky and gooey rather than light and fluffy. You can also use a potato masher to cream the potatoes. Just be careful not to over mix the potatoes, you want them to be light and fluffy.

  Spinach Salad
4 – 6 Servings
4 cups fresh spinach, washed and dried
2 cups strawberries, sliced (or any fruit desired for color)
½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
For the Dressing
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon crushed red chili peppers
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

In a salad bowl, toss the spinach, strawberries, onions and mushrooms.
In a blender, combine the dressing ingredients; cover and process until blended.
Serve with salad. Refrigerate any leftover dressing.

 Black Bean Soup with Roasted Vegetables

8 Servings

6 tomatoes cut in half
1 large onion, cut into quarters, with core in tact
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bell pepper, seeded, halved
1 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
½  teaspoon granulated garlic

chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

4 cups black beans

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon oregano
¼ cup cilantro, coarsely chopped 
1 avocado for garnish
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the tomatoes, onion and garlic into a large bowl. Toss with the olive oil and season with salt, pepper and granulated garlic to taste.
Transfer vegetables to a 2 sheet pans then roast for 30 minutes, or until vegetables turn slightly brown.
Transfer the roasted vegetables to a large saucepan over medium heat; add the black beans, vegetable broth, chipotle pepper with 1 teaspoon adobo sauce, beans, chili powder, cumin and oregano.
Simmer  on low for about 30 minutes.
Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor along with the fresh cilantro and puree. 
Garnish with slices of avocado.

Pumpkin Pie
16 Servings
1 ½  - 2 pounds sugar pumpkin
2 - 3 teaspoons pumpkin spice mix - divided
1 cup evaporated milk
2 large eggs
2 cup dark brown sugar, tightly packed
 ½ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
1 teaspoon nutmeg freshly grated
½ teaspoon ginger, ground
2 commercial pie crust
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Wash pumpkin, remove stem then carefully cut the pumpkin in half. Scoop out the seeds with  a spoon then using a melon baller, scrape out the strings. 
Sprinkle 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice mix on top of each half.
Bake in oven 45 minutes or until pumpkin is done
Let pumpkin cool down just enough to peel.
Pour off any excess liquid.
Place the peeled pumpkin in the bowl of your electric mixer affixed with the paddle add the remaining spice mix and all other ingredients except the crust and mix on medium low until you have a puree.
Prepare crust according to the instructions on the package.
Pour filling into the partially baked pie shell, make sure your oven is still on 350 degrees and bake 60 minutes or until pie is set in the middle.

 Pumpkin Spice Mix
1/3 cup cinnamon, ground
1 tablespoon ginger, ground
1 tablespoon nutmeg, ground
1 ½ teaspoons cloves,ground
1 ½ teaspoons allspice, ground
Combine all ingredients in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Store up to 6 months.
Use on baked sweet potatoes and butternut squash or any roasted root vegetable as well as pumpkins.  Also great in butternut squash and pumpkin soups.

 Tropical Fruit Cake
10 - 12 Slices
Note: Do not purchase the fruit mixes typically associated with fruit cakes, buy the individual dried fruit packages that are normally found in supermarkets. 

For the Kids version, use apple cider or apple juice instead of liquor
2 cups chopped dried tropical fruit mix
1 cup raisins
½ cup dried cherries
½ cup dried cranberries
2 cups brandy or rum
1 teaspoon dried lemon peel
1 teaspoon dried orange peel
1 stick butter
1 cup unfiltered apple juice
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
½ cup walnut pieces

Heat oven 325 degrees F
grease and flour loaf pan
Combine dried fruit, brandy, lemon peel and orange peel in a saucepan, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer 5 minutes stirring occasionally. 
Add the butter mixing until melted; add apple juice, sugar, cloves, allspice, ginger and cinnamon.  Mix thoroughly and let simmer 10 minutes stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and transfer to a mixing bowl. Let sit until mixture is completely cooled.
Place flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a fine wire mesh colander and sift ingredients into the cooled fruit mixture. The object is not to over work the batter, fold in the ingredients just enough to combine then quickly fold in the eggs one at a time. Fold in the nuts and transfer batter to floured loaf pans.
Cook 1 hour, remove from oven, baste top with brandy or rum and let cake cool in the pan on a rack.
Store cake in an air tight container, if storing for any length of time, once a week spritz the cake with brandy or rum to keep it moist.

Hot Spiced Cranberry Cider
25 Servings
2 quarts apple cider
6 cups cranberry juice
¼ cup packed brown sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
½ teaspoon whole cloves
1 lemon, juiced

In a large pot, combine apple cider, cranberry juice, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves and lemon juice.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, remove cinnamon and cloves.
Serve hot.