Friday, December 29, 2017

Lucky New Year's Meal

I'm not terribly superstitious but, as Michael Scott from The Office says, "I am a little stitious." If you're super or a little stitious and would like to prepare a traditional "lucky" New Year's Day meal, Southern Living has you covered.

In addition to providing the recipes, Southern Living gives you the symbolism behind some of the traditional foods. For example, cornbread is said to represent gold.


Wishing you all the best in 2018.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Festive #Vegetarian Casserole, Could Be #Vegan

So I went to a party at which we were to each bring a present that cost $10 or less, and played one of those swap-around games, and this is what I ended up with -- the very one I wanted!
Naturally, I wasted no time in making something from it. I tweaked it, though, to make it vegetarian, and I tweaked it more to make it vegan for Christmas.

Here's the recipe:


  • Two 15-ounce (417-g) cans Mexican corn with red and green peppers
  • One 15-ounce (417-g) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • One cup (225 g) chunky-style salsa

Put the Mexican corn, black beans, and salsa in the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours.

ADD IT IN: Sprinkle 1 cup (115 g) shredded Mexican-blend cheese over the mixture 15 minutes before it's done and continue cooking until the cheese has melted.

--I also mixed up a pot of vegan taco "meat" and stirred it in after the veg had cooked. I did that again for Christmas, plus substituted vegan "cheese" and held the sour cream I topped ours with.

Yes, it's served over lettuce. We love food served over lettuce, especially spicy food. Mmmm.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Margaret's Southern Chocolate Pie

Take a piece of this scrumptious pie when you’re grabbing your main course because it will be the first dessert to disappear. This is chocolate heaven!

Margaret's Southern Chocolate Pie from AllRecipes


1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 egg yolks
1 1/3 cups white sugar
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
3  tablespoons butter
1 (9 inch) pie shell, baked
3 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons white sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Sift together the cocoa powder and the flour and pour them into a saucepan. Whisk the egg yolks and 1 1/3 cups sugar. Gradually add the evaporated milk, whisking constantly; slowly pour the milk mixture into the saucepan, whisking until combined.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a flat-bottomed wooden spoon or spatula, until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, about 15 minutes. Remove the custard from the heat and stir in the butter until melted. Pour the filling into the baked pie crust.
To make the meringue topping: Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean glass or metal bowl; beat with an electric mixer until foamy. Gradually add sugar, a tablespoon at a time, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form. Lift your beater or whisk straight up: the egg whites will form sharp peaks. Spread the meringue over the chocolate filling.
Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until the tips of the meringue peaks are golden brown.

Printed From 8/17/2017

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

This Cabbage Thang

Charlie is all about the cabbage. Now, I don't have a thing in the world against cabbage. If I had cabbage in my will, I wouldn't ever call a lawyer and disown it. But I can generally take it or leave it. So, Charlie loving it the way he does and me being indifferent to it, I like to cook it different ways.

This was a pretty good way, we both agreed.
I cut it into pieces and braised it, covered, in butter and water, with salt and dill weed. Then I drained it well and topped it with crumbled Feta cheese.

The leftovers went into a mushroom. See my blog on 12/20/17.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, December 15, 2017

German Chocolate Cake

This remains a highly requested holiday and birthday favorite. German chocolate is a lighter flavored chocolate. A German Chocolate Cake is traditionally spread with a coconut pecan frosting.

Tori Avey's German Chocolate Cake

The recipe is below, but you absolutely must visit the link to get a full appreciation for this cake.

Chocolate Ingredients

4 ounces sweet (German) chocolate, coarsely chopped (115 grams)
1/2 cup boiling water or brewed coffee (4.15 ounces/120 grams)
2 tsp vanilla extract

Batter Ingredients

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour or 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted (9 ounces/250 grams)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter or vegetable shortening, softened (65 to 67°F) (2 sticks/8 ounces/225 grams)
2 cups granulated sugar, or 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup packed light brown sugar (14 ounces/400 grams)
4 large egg yolks (¼ cup + 2 teaspoons/2.5 ounces/75 grams)
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk (1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice plus milk to equal 1 cup) (8.25 ounces/240 grams)
4 large egg whites (½ cup/4.25 ounces/120 grams)

Coconut-Pecan Frosting Ingredients

1 cup evaporated milk or heavy cream (8.5 ounces/245 grams)
1 cup granulated sugar (7 ounces/200 grams)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick/4 ounces/115 grams)
3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten (3½ tablespoons/2 ounces/60 grams)
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups grated coconut (3.5 ounces/100 grams)
1 cup pecans, lightly toasted and finely chopped (4 ounces/115 grams)

You will also need
Non-stick cooking spray, three 9- by 1½-inch round cake pans, two 8-inch by 2-inch square pans, or one 13- by 9-inch pan, parchment or wax paper, sifter, mixing bowls, hand mixer, medium saucepan

See the full post: for step-by-step instructions.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Charlie's Secret Ingredient #soup #vegetarian

Charlie made this soup while I was out. When I came back and he served it up, he said, "I can't taste the potatoes, I can't taste the carrots, I can't taste the celery, I can't taste the cabbage, but I can taste the special ingredient I put in. See if you can identify it."

He was right, that all the ingredients had blended into one heavenly flavor, but he was also right that there was a little extra something.

"Salsa?" -- He often puts salsa in the soup.

"I did put salsa in it, but that's not it."

I gave up. He pointed to a bit of something.

It was a slice of olive!

He said, "I cut up four olives into the soup. And you can taste it!"

I could. It was subtle, but it was a definite addition.

So, cubed potatoes, sliced carrots, chopped celery leaves, diced cabbage, onion powder, water, Not Chick'n bouillon, egg noodles, salsa -- and sliced olives.

The result was those three little words that mean so much: Keep the recipe!

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, December 8, 2017

Scalloped Potato Casserole

Layer upon layer of thinly sliced potatoes and onions smothered in a buttery sauce will emerge from the oven a creamy and delicious delight.

Scalloped Potato Casserole from Deep South Dish

Please visit the above link for mouth-watering photographs and step-by-step instructions.


6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 pounds potatoes, about 6 medium potatoes for 6 cups sliced
1 medium clove garlic, smashed
2-1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk) (NOT sweetened condensed milk)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon white or black pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning, or to taste, divided, optional


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly smash and peel the garlic; rub all over a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Butter the dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter and set aside. Peel the potatoes and slice thin, about 1/4 inch. A mandolin works fantastic for this. Hold the potatoes in a bowl of cool water to which 1/2 teaspoon of salt has been added; set aside. When ready to bake the casserole, drain potatoes, transfer to a clean dish towel and pat to dry. Heat the remaining butter with the milk until the butter is melted and the milk hot.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion until cooked, but not browned. Layer 1/2 of the onion in the bottom of the baking dish. Add 1/2 of the potatoes on top of the onion. Split the remaining onion in half and set aside. Combine salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning and season potatoes with half; top with half of the remaining onion, then the remaining potatoes, seasonings and onions.

Pour the hot milk and butter combination evenly over the top of the casserole, cover tightly and bake in the upper third of the oven, at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes, uncover, and return to oven for an additional 15 minutes, or until until milk has been absorbed and potatoes are soft. May pass under the broiler to brown top further. Serves about 4 - make two pans for a larger serving.

Read more:
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives
Follow us: @DeepSouthDish on Twitter | SouthernRecipes on Facebook

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Fruit Salad With Bear-Whippin' Sauce

When #4 Daughter, the amazing Sara Marian, was wee, I made fruit salad and dressed it with a sauce that I found somewhere that was supposed to be for dipping fresh strawberries into. So I said, "I think this fruit salad would be good if I mixed in some berry-dipping sauce. And wee Sara said, "What did you say? Bear-whippin' sauce?!?!!"

So that's what it is.

Bear-Whippin' Sauce

Mix equal amounts of mayonnaise and brown sugar. The end.

This salad is apples, celery, pecans, and dates.
Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, December 1, 2017

Hush Puppies

Crunchy and flavor-packed Hush Puppies are a wonderful side dish to accompany a variety of Southern foods. Try them with catfish or a green bean casserole.

Buttermilk Hush Puppies from AllRecipes

Please click here for the video!

1 quart vegetable oil for frying, or as needed
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
 1/4 cup white sugar (optional)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup minced onion
4 green onions, minced

Heat 1 quart vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C).
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C).
Whisk buttermilk, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, and eggs in a bowl.
Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Fold buttermilk mixture, onion, and green onions into cornmeal mixture until just mixed.
Drop 6 to 8 tablespoon-sized balls of batter into the hot oil; fry until each hush puppy is golden brown, turning the hush puppies to cook evenly, 6 to 10 minutes. Remove hush puppies with a slotted spoon and place on brown paper bags to drain. Repeat with any remaining batter.
Transfer hush puppies to a baking sheet and keep warm in the preheated oven until ready to serve.

Printed From 8/17/2017

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Huckleberry Finning My Breakfast

So Charlie made milk gravy and put it over toast, with sides of hashbrown patties and eggs. And I did this with mine:
Charlie said, "You're just like Huckleberry Finn, eh?" I knew exactly what he meant. Huck says, "In a barrel of odds and ends it is different; things get mixed up, and the juice kind of swaps around, and the things go better."

Ah, the marriage of two lit jocks is a beautiful thing.

Last week, I said I would tell you about The Soup That Wouldn't Die, but I find I didn't take a picture. What it was, was that I made a soup out of leftover black beans and hominy, with tomato sauce, water, and vegetable bouillon. We didn't finish it. Then I had some leftover quinoa, and I put that in. And we didn't finish it. I just kept adding leftovers until FINALLY our appetites and the amount of soup matched up, and we finished it!

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, November 24, 2017

Collard Greens

You can cook Collard Greens with ham hocks or a piece of smoked turkey to add to the flavor. Any way it’s prepared, it makes a wonderful side dish you’ll want to have on a regular basis.

Spicy Collard Greens from Spicy Southern Kitchen

Please visit the link above for commentary, photographs, and further instructions.

2 pounds collard greens, rinsed
5 slices thick bacon, diced
1 large onion, diced
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce or other hot sauce
salt and pepper

Use a knife to cut on either side of the large rib running up each collard green leaf. Remove it and discard it. You don't need to go all the way up the leaf, just remove the thickest part. For smaller leaves, just remove the stem. Stack about 4 to 5 leaves, roll them up, and cut into 1/2-inch strips. Repeat with remaining leaves.
Cook bacon in a large pot over medium heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.
Add onion to bacon fat and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened.
Add broth, vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, and Tabasco sauce to pot. Stir to combine.
Add collard greens and use tongs to turn and mix them until they reduce in size some. Cover, turn heat to low and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Before serving, sprinkle bacon on top and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Suddenly Supper #Vegetarian

Charlie said, "I've got some buttermilk; how about cornbread with supper?" I'm like, "You're welcome to the buttermilk, but I'm up for the cornbread."

Then we disputed over how to make the cornbread, and I said, "Fine, then. You make it." So he did.

It was great!

He used 2/3 cup of cornmeal (yellow -- meal, not cornbread mix), a little melted vegan margarine, an egg, 2 tsp of baking powder, and buttermilk until the batter was thin. Then he fried the batter like pancakes in butter. Just like his mother used to make! Mmmmmm.....

Meanwhile, I opened a can of black beans and a can of hominy. I'm a regular Martha Stewart, me. I heated 'em up in the microwave. I spiced up the beans by adding chili powder, cumin, and onion powder.

When it was all done, we had this.
second helping


Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, November 17, 2017

Hummingbird Cake

The taste of bananas, carrots and a slight hint of pineapple could make the Hummingbird Cake a new family classic.

Please visit the site for mouth-watering recipes, commentary, and further instructions.

3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cups very ripe banana, mashed
2 cups toasted chopped pecans, divided
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup butter, softened
6 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, cut into 1-ounce pieces and chilled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 9-inch cake pans.
In a large bowl, combine flour, 2 cups sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and allspice.
Add vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and eggs and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Stir in banana, 1 cup pecans, and pineapple just until evenly mixed.
Divide batter evenly between the 3 cake pans. Place in oven and bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes and then remove to wire racks to cool completely.
To make frosting, use and electric mixer to beat together butter and powdered sugar, adding powdered sugar gradually. Add vanilla extract and salt and mix until smooth.
With mixer on medium, add 1 piece of cream cheese at a time. Turn mixer off once all cream cheese has been incorporated.
Spread frosting between layers of cake and cover top and sides. Sprinkle remaining chopped pecans on top.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Russian Green Beans?

So I was talking online to a friend from Russia -- Yes, I have FRIENDS FROM RUSSIA -- and she said that Russians love spices and herbs. She said the iconic Russian flavorings are dill and sour cream.

So I made these.

This was a couple of weeks ago, when I had some fresh beans from the farmers market.

Russian? Green Beans

  • fresh whole green beans
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • butter or margarine
  • salt
  • pepper to taste
  • dill weed
  • sour cream

Parboil the beans until bright and crisp-tender. Cook the mushrooms in a dry skillet until they finish giving off liquid. Add butter or margarine and the green beans. Add the dill weed, salt and pepper. Cook until the beans are glossy and slightly toasty in places. Top with sour cream and more dill.

This would be better with fresh dill, but my garden dill finally died out! Whoever heard of such a thing?

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, November 10, 2017

Pulled Pork

Consider making Pulled-Pork for your next party. The tender, juicy meat will cause your friends to beg you for the recipe.

The recipe for the dry rub and brine solution from Kevin and Amanda is below. Please visit the link in order to get step-by-step photos and instructions.

Dry Rub

1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp ground pepper
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 cup brown sugar

Brine Solution

1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 qts cold water
3 tbsp dry rub mix
2 bay leaves

Add salt to cold water and stir very well until all the salt is completely dissolved. Then add the brown sugar and dry rub and stir well to combine.

Rinse the pork shoulder in cold water and place in a 2 gallon Ziploc bag (or a container big enough so the shoulder is completely covered in brine solution).

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Mmmm, Cabbage!

Cabbage gets a bad rap. A lot of people think it's yucky, or only good in slaw. We love cabbage here at our house.

Charlie likes his boiled, but I like it fried. So we compromised.
 I put some oil and water in a pan with chopped cabbage, caraway seeds, salt, and onion powder (because Charlie can't do onions). Covered and cooked on low until the cabbage began to be tender. Took off the lid and turned up the heat a bit and cooked the water out.

It was tender, but the thick cuts were still crisp, juicy, and flavorful. Definitely a keeper.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Southern-Style Coleslaw

Our tangy Southern-Style Coleslaw is one of the greatest recipes you’ll find. Use it as a side dish or as a relish on top of a pulled-pork sandwich.

Click this link to watch the dish being prepared at Barefeet in the Kitchen!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Quesadilla Waffles? #Vegetarian

From the department of use whatcha got.

We had soup (from a can -- not bad), and wanted more, so I made this.

Yes, of course I put another tortilla on top, you silly person!

We don't have a quesadilla maker, assuming there is such a thing, so I use the waffle maker. That's cheddar cheese and shredded Italian 3-cheese blend (Romano, mozzarella, and Asiago), and some chopped parsley from the garden.

Very good, and just right with the soup.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, October 27, 2017

Fried Green Tomatoes

Eat these as a snack or in a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. However you eat them, Fried Green Tomatoes is a quick and easy dish to make.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Three-Bean and Kale Soup Just Happens To Be #Vegan

Our very-nearly-vegan daughter came to help Charlie repair the roof, and I made soup. She says she gets teased at work by all the omnivores, who say things like, "Had your grass today?" and "So what CAN you eat? Lettuce?"

Silly people! For lunch, I fixed us this soup. I hadn't know what time she would arrive, so I threw this together in a flash (ha-ha, they were fixing the flashing around the chimney, and I put this together in a flash, I crack myself up, which is good because nobody else is laughing).
I used a can of Simple Truth Organic Tri-Bean Blend (kidney, pinto, black) and half a can of diced tomatoes. Four cups of water, two big cubes of vegetarian bouillon, onion powder (because Charlie doesn't tolerate onions very well), and a teaspoon or so of olive oil for richness. I went out back and picked some parsley, basil, sage, and kale. Minced the herbs and added them, chopped the kale and added that. Brought it to a boil to dissolve the bouillon, turned the heat down to simmer, and let the flavors swap around for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, I made Buckskin Bread. Buckskin Bread is probably my favorite recipe to share: Two parts self-rising flour and one part water. That's it. Mix it, put it in a pie pan or spread it out free-form. Bake it at 400F for 20 minutes. Great with soup and/or butter.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, October 20, 2017

Homestyle Biscuits and Gravy

If you want a hearty meal to satisfy your family in the morning, you need biscuits and gravy. This recipe comes from Mama's Southern Cooking

I'll paste the biscuit recipe below, but you really need to visit Mama's Southern Cooking to get the photographs and the step-by-step instructions for the sausage gravy.

Biscuit Recipe
2 cups self-rising flour
1/4 cup All-Vegetable Shortening, butter or lard
1 cup buttermilk or you can use whole milk

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, cut the shortening into the Self-Rising Flour with a pastry blender or fork or your fingertips until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Blend in buttermilk with fork just until the dough comes together. The dough will be sticky.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently by folding the dough 8 to 10 times.

Press into a circle that's 1 inch thick.

Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Do not twist the cutter until the dough has been cut all the way through (twisting the cutter will cause the biscuits not to rise straight up.

Place the biscuits on baking sheet so that they barely touch. Gather up the scrap dough, press it into a circle, working it as little as possible and continue cutting until all dough has been used.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

This Pasta Thing #Vegetarian

Okay, on the box, it said to use sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese, but I didn't have any sun-dried tomatoes. Or goat cheese. So we had this:
It's that pasta made from veg, with tomato sauce on, and feta cheese and those toasty onion crispy things you put on green bean casserole.

Pretty darn good, akshully. In the background are pieces of toast that I rubbed with fresh garlic, buttered, and broiled.

Sometimes we play it fast and loose with our makin's.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, October 13, 2017

Quick Country-Fried Steak

This quick and easy country-fried steak is a perfect main dish for any weeknight. Even with a busy schedule, your family dinner can be balanced and healthy.

Quick Country-Fried Steak

(Please click the link above for more information, tips, and photos.)

What You'll Need:

4 beef cubed steaks (1 to 1-1/4 pounds total) pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup vegetable shortening or oil
1 1/2 cups milk

What To Do:

Season the steaks with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside.

Place buttermilk in a shallow dish. Place 3/4 cup flour in another shallow dish. Dip steaks in buttermilk then in flour, coating completely.

In a large deep skillet, heat shortening over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add steaks and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until cooked through and coating is golden. Drain on a paper towel-lined platter and cover to keep warm.

Add remaining 3 tablespoons flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to skillet. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until flour is browned, stirring constantly. Add milk and stir until gravy thickens. Serve steaks topped with gravy.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Blazon Your Fruits

No, this isn't Talk Like A Pirate Day, I've been looking in my heraldry book again.

Edible vegetation was often used in heraldry as a pun on the family name: Apples for Appleton, peas for Pease or pears for Perry, but also sometimes stood for places, pride in productivity, or history.

Apples and pears were nearly always presented hanging, as if still on the tree. Bunches of grapes were usually also shown hanging, but were sometimes inverted.

Sometimes edibles are shown in collections, even in baskets, or in combination with other items. The arms for the Worshipful Company of Brewers features sheaves of barley and also barrels... of what, I wonder...?

Fruits, nuts, sheaves or heads of grain and even root vegetables were all "reasonable and dignified" figures on coats of arms.

"Pineapple", in heraldry, means pine-cone. If you want a *pineapple* pineapple on your shield, you have to ask for an "ananas". Heaven only knows what you have to ask for if you want a banana.

Apparently, "Don't play with your food" is a modern concept.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, October 6, 2017

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie will make a nice change to your autumn and winter dessert table. Not too sweet yet it’s full of yummy flavor that will keep your friends and family asking for more.

Recipe By: Kimberly Woods
"The Sweet Potato Pie is a southern tradition that is a thick, creamy and not-too-sweet dessert. The recipe is very simple and quick to make. You can add various spices like cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg to sugar mixture to add a little spicy flavor."

1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Mix together mashed sweet potatoes, butter or margarine, and eggs. In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, flour, and salt. Mix in spices if desired. Add to sweet potato mixture and stir well.

Mix together buttermilk and baking soda. Add to sweet potato mixture and stir well. Mix in vanilla extract. Pour filling into pastry shell.

Bake in preheated oven for 70 minutes, until set in center.

Printed From 8/16/2017

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Purple Peas

So we bought some of these at a farmers market. I think she said they were purple pod peas. I mean, they obviously are purple pod peas, but I think that's what she actually called them. You don't eat the pods.
Shelled out, they look like black-eyed peas, don't they? That's how she said to cook 'em, so we did. We boiled them with a little oil and onion, salted the water when they were tender, and ate 'em with cornbread.

They were good -- very like black-eyed peas, as promised.

With one difference.

First syllable is what you have when the air goes out of a tire.

Second syllable is the opposite of "me."

Third syllable is what knights on horseback jousted with.

Not for me, but for my husband. It might have something to do with his colitis, but we won't be having these again, no matter how pretty the pods are.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, September 29, 2017

Easy Chicken Gumbo

An easy way to make Chicken Gumbo? That’s right. This southern food is a specialty your family can enjoy on any night of the week.

(Please click the link for more information, tips, and photos.)


2 (3-pound) broiler-fryers, cut up
1 quart water
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained
1 (10-ounce) package frozen cut okra
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup finely shredded cabbage

How to Make It

Step 1

Combine chicken, water, chopped celery stalk, salt, and pepper in a large Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; cover and simmer 1 hour or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken from broth; cool. Bone chicken, and cut into 1-inch cubes. Strain broth, and return broth to Dutch oven. Discard celery.
Step 2

Add next 4 ingredients to broth; cook over low heat 15 minutes. Add cabbage; cook an additional 5 minutes. Stir in chicken, and bring mixture to a boil. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Late, Local, #Vegetarian

The farmers market is winding down, but we got some good stuff, anyway.

 Local corn. Local summer squash. Local sausage. Store-bought feta cheese.

The squash was one of those with the tough, bumpy skin, so I peeled it, cut it up, and cooked it in the same pan with the sausage. This local sausage is very lean; I may have had to add a little vegan margarine, in fact.

For my friends who keep kosher: Would it be permitted to use, say, pastrami or corned beef (a spicy meat, in other words) AND top it with feta cheese? Can you mix meat and dairy AFTER it's cooked?

Anyway, for those of us who don't have restrictions against it, this was delicious!

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, September 22, 2017

Southern Green Beans with Bacon

Here is a terrific recipe from I Wash You Dry. It's a green bean casserole with a difference. Bacon and almonds toasted in browned butter are added to the beans. This could become a family favorite.

Southern Green Beans with Bacon

(Please click link for photos and additional information.)


4 strips, thick cut bacon
2 lbs. fresh green beans, trimmed
3 cups water
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 tbsp Challenge Butter, unsalted
1/3 cup sliced almonds


Cook the bacon in a large dutch oven or pot until crisp then drain on a paper towel lined plate. Cut into pieces.

Reserve the grease and add the beans, water, broth, garlic powder, seasoning salt and pepper to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until the beans are tender. 

Drain the beans into a strainer and return the pot to the stove top.
Add the butter and almonds to the pot and cook over medium heat, swirling the pot, until the butter becomes golden brown and gives off a nutty aroma.
Stir the beans and bacon into the butter and heat through, making sure to coat everything with the butter. Serve warm. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Yes, I'm using Allenspeak again. "Panchookies" is what we used to call pancakes. ~whispering~ I still do. ~/whispering~

We don't have them often. Charlie doesn't much care for them, but I get a real craving for them sometimes. I like 'em best with fresh blueberries, but I also like these, which our niece Anna Ruth put us onto.
That's pancakes, any recipe you like, made with vanilla almond milk and with pecans and chocolate chips in. Topped with powdered sugar instead of syrup and a dollop of vegan margarine -- MMMMM.

Yes, I used a real egg, not egg substitute, from the chickens up the road, but egg substitute would be okay, I guess, if you don't have neighborhood chickens. I realize not everybody lives in Mayberry. Or wants to.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, September 15, 2017

Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie

A creamy filling of chicken and vegetables and a flaky crust makes for comfort food at its absolute finest.

(Please click the link for photographs and additional tips from My


1/2 cup butter 
2 medium leeks, sliced 
1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
1 (14.5-oz.) can chicken broth 
3 cups chopped cooked chicken 
1 1/2 cups frozen cubed hash browns with onions and peppers 
1 cup matchstick carrots 
1/3 cup chopped fresh at-leaf parsley 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 
1 (17.3-oz.) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed 
1 large egg 


Preheat oven to 375°. 

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add leeks, and sauté 3 minutes. Sprinkle with our; cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Whisk in chicken broth; bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat; stir in chicken and next 5 ingredients. 

Roll each pastry sheet into a 12- x 10-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Fit 1 sheet into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate; spoon chicken mixture into pastry. Place remaining pastry sheet over filling in opposite direction of bottom sheet; fold edges under, and press with tines of a fork, sealing to bottom crust. Whisk together egg and 1 Tbsp. water, and brush over top of pie. 

Bake at 375° on lower oven rack 55 to 60 minutes or until browned. Let stand 15 minutes

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Charlie's Tofu

So I got some Extra-Firm tofu, which I like. I sliced it thick and pressed out some of the liquid. There wasn't much, because it was extra-firm. I sprinkled it with soy sauce, Jane's Crazy Mixed-up Salt, and a little flour. I fried it in a non-stick pan with a thin coating of sesame seed oil.

And Charlie? He did this with it.
Sez he: Not bad, with ketchup.

Sez I: Whatevs.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Sour Cream Pound Cake

This is a dessert that appears at many family dinners in the South. Holidays wouldn’t be the same without a pound cake.

Check out this video from Southern Living.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A Man-Cooked Meal

I've been busier than a bird-dog lately, and Charlie has been stepping up to the plate in the kitchen (see what I did there?) and cooking.

He makes great soup, and he makes great over-easy eggs. But this is one of his favorite summertime suppertime dishes.

Blue Lake green beans from the farmers market and potatoes (also from the market, if possible). He just boils them in salted water, both together, until the potatoes are soft (about 20 minutes), drains them, and butters them.

Pretty plain fare, but freshness is great seasoning.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Caramel Cake

A moist and sweet tradition, Carmel Cake is a southern staple. This is one of the recipes you will want to keep handy for future family gatherings.

Caramel Cake
From My


1 (8-oz.) container sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Caramel Frosting

How to Make It
Step 1
Preheat oven to 350°. Combine sour cream and milk.
Step 2

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.

Step 3

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at medium-low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Pour batter into 2 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.
Step 4

Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks, and let cool 1 hour or until completely cool.
Step 5

Spread Caramel Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Simple Salad

I may have posted this before, but good stuff bears repeating.

We get our cucumbers from the farmers market, but these tomatoes came from our own vines, which makes 'em extra-special, right?

Blue cheese dressing on top. Mmmmm!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Southern Fried Catfish

While there are many different ways to prepare this, here’s a quick and easy recipe for frying catfish. It’s great served with coleslaw and hush puppies. For additional information, tips, and photos, please see the original recipe here.

Southern Fried Catfish


  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound catfish fillets, cut in strips

  • 1 1/2 cups fine cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay(TM)
  • 1 quart vegetable oil for deep frying


  1. In a small bowl, mix buttermilk, water, salt, and pepper. Pour mixture into a flat pan large enough to hold the fillets. Spread fish in one layer over bottom of pan, turning to coat each side, and set aside to marinate.
  2. In a 2 gallon resealable plastic bag, combine the cornmeal, flour, and seafood seasoning. Add fish to mixture, a few fillets at a time, and tumble gently to coat evenly.
  3. Heat oil in deep fryer to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C).
  4. Deep fry fillets until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Avoid overcrowding so fillets have room to brown properly. Fish should be slightly crisp outside, and moist and flaky inside. Drain on paper towels.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Eclipse Eggs

Yeah, so I totally did this, even though we weren't in the path of totality.
That's a fried egg, over easy, with a sausage patty eclipsing it. A round cut-out of toast would have done just as well.

Don't nobody try to tell me us hicks don't know how to have fun.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, August 18, 2017

Cabbage Jambalaya

Jambalaya is unmistakably Southern food at its finest. The fusion of meats and vegetables in one pot creates a scrumptious dish to cook when you’re planning for a few extra friends around the table.

For an easy take on jambalaya, check out this Cabbage Jambalaya recipe from All

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Charlie's Sausage and Butterbean Soup

Charlie has taken over a lot of the cooking and all of the washing up since I’ve been so busy TCB (taking care of business) and TCM (taking care of Mom). Bless his li’l pea-pickin’ heart! Imma give him a great big squishy hug, right here on the interwebs! {{{{Charlie}}}}

ANYWAY, one day he made this soup. The marvelous Roy Ackerman won’t like it for obviously porkly reasons, but we found it belicious.

That’s butterbeans, onions, carrots, and locally sourced sausage. My, MY, it was tasty!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Charlie's Mess

Charlie has taken over a lot of the cooking and housework since I've been so busy writing and stuff, which I highly appreciate. He was always a good plain cook, and I enjoy what he fixes.

The other day, he cooked up some fresh green beans and pertaters from the farmers market. Then, he said, he decided to throw in the last of the black beans I'd cooked with onions, cumin, and chili powder. We each had a cup, topped with a bit of vegan margarine.

Looks kinda like a mess, but it was GOOD.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

"I'll Make Lunch," He Said

When he said, "Okay, it's ready," this is what I came in to find.
So simple, and so good.

Toasted French bread, an egg from our daughter's chickens, over easy (just the way I like it), and cherry tomatoes from our garden fried along with the egg until they were warm and soft.

Yes, that's a Christmas plate. I use them all year, because I like them. They're cheery.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

My New Favorite Restaurant, Alas!

It's "alas" because I don't have anybody to eat there with anymore.

I'll 'splain.

My church (yes, I go to church. no, the roof doesn't fall in when I enter) has a group called Food For The Soul, where anybody who wants to can meet once a month for lunch and fellowship. We usually stick to our town, but sometimes we go out of town (a bit) to a place one or more of the members recommend(s).

This month, we went to a hole-in-the-wall place we would never have found, if JD hadn't given us clear directions. The restaurant was behind another building; the sign for it on the road was a piece of cardboard with the name in four-inch letters. The parking lot was rough gravel.

Inside, the decor was plain, but everything was spotless, if a little time-worn.

The food? REAL. By that, I mean it was food I grew up with. Comfort food, every bit of it. Yeah, there was pizza. Yeah, there were hamburgers. But here's what I got.
That's country-fried steak, mashed potatoes with white gravy, and fried green tomatoes. Yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about!

In case you don't know, country-fried steak (or chicken-fried steak) is steak that has been tenderized by pounding (or, sometimes, ground beef), breaded and fried and served with white gravy. It should be meltingly tender, and this was.

Time was, Mom and I would have haunted that place like Banquo's ghost. But Mom is on a feeding tube, and will never eat real food again. Alas.

Maybe I can talk Charlie into trying it. Probably not. ~sigh~ Alas.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Our Secret Blueberries

Lookkee what we got.
We thought we weren't going to have any, because the raccoons and birds and turtles and such like marauders were ... well ... marauding, chomping up all the blueberries we planted RIGHT NEXT TO THE PORCH to discourage such ... maraudishment.

They missed these, though, Charlie having cunningly hidden them in the garden. So there is much joy in the Allen house, and many blueberries.

There will be pancakes.

Blueberry Pecan Pancakes

Mix pancake batter
Add blueberries
Also: pecans

Cook. Eat. Repeat.

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, July 14, 2017

Grilled Tuna with Charred Corn and Watermelon Salsa

This Grilled Tuna with Charred Corn and Watermelon Salsa recipe is from Fine Cooking, and it looks delicious! Don't take my word for it--click on the link for a photo and for additional information.


2 medium ears corn, husked
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. minced jalapeño
1 small clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt
1 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup small-diced seedless watermelon
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 Tbs. thinly sliced scallions
2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
4 tuna steaks (about 5 oz. each)


Prepare a medium-high (400°F to 475°F) gas or charcoal grill fire. Grill the corn, turning occasionally, until the kernels are charred in places and crisp-tender, about 8 minutes. Cut the kernels from the cob.

In a medium bowl, combine the lime juice, jalapeño, garlic, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Whisk in 2 tsp. of the oil, and season generously with black pepper. Stir in the corn, watermelon, onion, scallions, and basil; set aside.

Brush the tuna with the remaining 1 Tbs. oil, and season generously with salt. Grill until done to your liking, 2 to 3 minutes per side for rare to medium rare. Serve with the salsa.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Nutty Buddies

I have a page on my Marian Allen, Author Lady blog called Recipals, which is a dozen recipes I got from friends. This was the December, 2008 entry. Jessica is the now the mother of our only great-grandchild. 
This treat is probably something Mrs. Brandt would have made for the kids at the Home where Mitch, the main character in my paranormal suspense novel, A DEAD GUY AT THE SUMMERHOUSE, grew up.
My terrific granddaughter, Jessica, brought this recipe over and we made it together. Fun AND yum.

Muddy Buddies
  • 9 cups Chex cereal (any variety)
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup margarine or butter (do not use soft spreads)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Measure cereal into a very large bowl (or use your largest pot). Heat chocolate chips, peanut butter and margarine in 1 quart saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently until melted. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal in bowl. Stir until evenly coated. Pour into a large plastic food-storage bag; add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, July 7, 2017

Semifreddo with Honeyed Peaches

This Semifreddo with Honeyed Peaches recipe comes from Woman's Day. Find nutritional information and more by clicking the link.


8 oz. (about 1 c.) very cold crème fraîche or sour cream
1/4 c. confectioners' sugar
8 oz. very cold heavy cream
1/4 c. shelled unsalted pistachios, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tbsp. honey
4 ripe peaches, thinly sliced
1/4 c. small fresh mint leaves


Line an 8 1⁄2"-x-4 1⁄2" loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving an overhang on all four sides.

Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the crème fraîche until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar, whisking to combine.

With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in cream. Increase speed and beat until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes.

Fold in pistachios, then transfer to the prepared pan. Freeze until set, at least 4 hours.

Ten minutes before serving, make the peach topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together lime juice and honey. Add peaches and toss to coat. Let sit, tossing occasionally, until peaches begin to release their liquid, at least 5 minutes.

Invert the semifreddo onto a serving platter and remove the plastic. Fold the mint into the peaches, then spoon the mixture and any juices over the semifreddo.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


There are only two of us at home, and sometimes I bake potatoes in the toaster oven (you have to wrap them in foil and turn them every so often), but sometimes I heat up the Real Oven and bake a butt-load of spuds at once.

Then we use the leftovers here and there, but my favorite thing is twice-baked.

Here is the prep.
Cut a potato in half (two, here, 'cause I done TOLE you there's two of us). Scoop its guts out with a spoon and mash it with butter (or vegan margarine) and cheese, salt and (unless you're a pepper-hater like Charlie) pepper. And, yes, you caught me, there is cooked bacon in there BUT YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO THAT, RIGHT?

Put the mashed yumminess back into the potato skins. Then you can heat it like that in the oven or toaster oven, you can microwave it, or you can (as I did) squoosh the halves together, rub the skin with butter (margarine), wrap it in foil, and bake it again. TWICE-BAKED, yeah?

VERY yummy.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Friday, June 30, 2017

Tomato and Goat-Cheese Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

This Tomato and Goat-Cheese Salad with Basil Vinaigrette recipe is from Martha Stewart, so it has to be a good thing...right? Click on the link for more information.


1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 ounces fresh goat cheese
3 medium tomatoes, cored and sliced crosswise 1 inch thick


In a blender, combine basil, oil, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon water. Blend until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.

With dental floss or a warm knife (wiped clean after each slice), thinly slice cheese. Arrange tomatoes and goat cheese on a serving plate; drizzle with dressing to taste. Serve garnished with basil leaves.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

What the Heck is This?

My friend Jane and I were talking about saucers and cup plates, as the barista slopped the coffee out of Jane's cup into her saucer. Jane remarked that people used to "saucer their tea" or coffee, pouring from the cup into the saucer so the liquid would cool faster. We each remembered relatives who did that, and we each knew it was an old custom, reaching back at least as far as the Regency Romances we used to (and sometimes still) read.

Then Jane, as she so often does, added another trivia bullet to my Jeopardy arsenal: She said that place settings also had a cup plate, so you could put your cup down without leaving a mess while you drank from the saucer.

Then I thought: Is that what this little dish is?
I picked up about four of these little things when Mom's church cleaned out their kitchen cabinets. I use them for tiny salads, to hold small quantities of prepped ingredients, for hard-boiled eggs, for fruit -- small bits of lots of things. They are, as my grandpa used to say and we all say in his honor, handy little gadgets.

After talking to Jane, I thought they might be cup plates, but my research on cup plates shows them to be made of glass, so I think they're something else. Butter dishes?

Any guesses or, preferably, positive identification?

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes