Easy Southern Cooking


  July 26, 2006 / Issue # 2

In this issue:

•Cooling Summer Drinks
•How to Make Incredible Pan Sauces
•Cookie Baking Tips
•Making Good Cornbread

•Featured Cookbook
•New At Easy Southern Cooking

Cool Summer Drinks

By Diane Watkins

Almost Margaritas

1 6 oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 6 oz. can frozen limeade concentrate
Lime juice
Coarse salt

  1. Combine lemonade and limeade concentrate in blender container.  Fill container with ice and add just enough gingerale to process.  Blend until smooth. 
  2. Dip margarita glass rims in lime juice then in coarse salt.  Fill glass 2/3 full with lemon-lime slush and add more gingerale to fill.
Pineapple Mint Julep

For each serving:
Fresh sprigs of mint
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup pineapple juice
½ cup ginger ale

  1. Wash the mint leaves and place in a glass.  Crush mint with a spoon.  Add sugar and lemon juice.  Let stand for a few minutes. 
  2. Add pineapple juice, pour over ice in a tall glass.  Add ginger ale.
  3. Garnish with a sprig of mint if desired.  Enjoy!
Fruit Milk Shakes

In a blender container, combine 2 cups of cold milk and ½ cup of frozen fruit.  Blend until smooth.  Try any frozen fruit: strawberries, peaches...  A little sugar or honey can be added, depending on your taste and the sweetness of the fruit.  Garnish with whipped cream if desired.

Making Good Cornbread

By: Diane Watkins

Cornbread and corn sticks are traditional in the south.  They are easy and quick to make, providing you know a few secrets.  Since they are made with a chemical levening agent such as baking soda or baking powder no lengthy risings are needed - thus the name  "quick bread".

When making quick breads like cornbread it is important not to overwork the dough.  Combine the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients separately.  Once the two are combined, be gentle.  Over beating will develop the gluten in the dough and make the bread tough. 

Southern Style Cornbread

Dry ingredients:
1 cup finely ground cornmeal
1 cup plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup whole milk
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra to grease pan


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9 inch square baking pan with melted butter.  Place in the oven to heat.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, mix well.  Combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk well.
  4. Make a well (hole) in the middle of the dry ingredients. 
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the well and gently fold the dry ingredients in from the side.  Do not overmix.
  6. Spoon the batter into the hot pan.  Bake in pre-heated oven (425)  for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and done.
  7. Turn onto a wire rack to cool slightly.  Serve warm.
Corn Sticks

Use a cast iron corn stick mold to make corn sticks using the recipe above.  Grease the mold and place in oven to heat.  Make the corn bread batter as above, then regrease the mold and spoon the batter carefully into the hot molds.  Bake for 15-20 minutes. 

Tex-Mex Corn Bread

Add 4 cup cheddar cheese and 2 chopped and seeded jalapeno peppers to the batter for a delicious Tex-Mex version of this tasty cornbread.


Cooking is at once child's play and adult joy. And, cooking done with care is an act of love - Craig Clairborne


Never eat more than you can lift. - Miss Piggy

How to Make Incredible Pan Sauces

By: The Reluctant Gourmet

If you want to elevate your cooking skills to a new level and add a whole lot more to your gastronomy repertoire, learn how to make a simple pan sauce. With this technique in your cooking bag of tricks, you can turn a simple pan-fried steak into a mouth-watering meal, a plain boneless chicken breast into a delicious feast, or a modest pork chop into a scrumptious banquet. Ok, maybe I'm stretching a bit but check this out.

Restaurants chefs use this technique all the time. Basically, they cook something in a sauté pan over pretty high heat until it's done and leaves a bunch of brown caramelize bits of "stuff"in the pan. You look at this "stuff" in the pan and say to yourself, "Now how am I going to clean this 'stuff' off the pan? What a mess! I wish I had used a non stick pan."

The "stuff" has a name, it's called "fond" and you want that "fond" stuck to your pan because it is packed with incredible flavors. It's also easy to remove by adding a little liquid to the pan and using a wooden spoon to dissolve it. This is called deglazing and can be done with wine, brandy, fortified wines, stock, cider, fruit juices or most typically a combination of two. Just be careful if you use wine to remove the pan from the heat so the alcohol doesn't ignite and blow up in your face. I've spoken with chefs who have seen this happen.

The next steps are to continue to cook the liquid in the pan until it is reduced by half and finish by adding several pats of butter to thicken and enhance the flavor of the sauce. If you ever knew how much butter professional chefs use in restaurants to "enhance" flavor, you would be amazed. I sometimes think they make their dishes too rich because I get that uncomfortable "too full" feeling later on, but then again, it's so good while you're dining. Now those are just the basics.

To create more complexity to the sauce you'll want to add some aromatics like garlic or shallots for a subtle but additional layer of flavor. Then you might want to add some additional ingredients such as mushrooms, mustards, chutneys, herbs and/or spices to give even more complexity and flavor.

For more information on making classic and quick pan sauces at home including what kind of pan to use, how much deglazingliquid to use and two example recipes for the same sauce, one classic and the other quick, go to http://www.reluctantgourmet.com/pan_sauces.htm

About the author: G. Stephen Jones, The Reluctant Gourmet, created a web site back in 1997 as a hobby to assist other novice cooks who may find the art of cooking a little daunting. As an ex-Wall Street broker and Stay-at-Home Dad, I try to explore cooking from a different perspective. Visit http://www.reluctantgourmet.com/ for more tips, techniques and recipes.

Cookie Baking Tips

By: Michael Paetzold

Making better cookies is a lot easier if you understand the difference between the average commercial bakery and the home kitchen. These tips will allow you to make better cookies at home whether it be for a special party or your annual Christmas cookie baking session.

There are 4 major things that are done commercially that are overlooked by the average home baker.

Number 1 is that the average home baker does not have a stone oven. Most commercial bakeries have stone shelves and that disperses the heat to the pan in a much more even manner. Obviously, buying a commercial oven for this alone is not feasible for most of us. (I have considered putting a commercial pizza oven in my laundry room but my better half vetoed that idea :-( . Thus I settled for going out and buying an oven stone for our regular electric oven. This serves the same purpose with no loss of space in our laundry room and at a huge savings versus the price of a commercial pizza oven (even the used one I wanted).

The second thing is the thickness and quality of the cookie sheet. The average commercial facility uses a sheet pan or half sheet pan which is probably 2 to 3 times as heavy as the ones used by the average home baker. This like the oven stone disperses the heat much better and makes it much easier for the cookies to bake evenly. I definitely recommend checking out your local restaurant supply house to get some half sheet pans which will definitely be better than the cookie sheet available at your local supermarket or Walmart.

The third item I use when baking cookies is parchment paper. It is much easier to remove the cookies from the paper, your tray doesn't get all cruddy and need to be cleaned between batches and you will have much less burning on the edges.

The fourth thing the average home baker misses is portion control. I have a variety of ice cream type scoops that I use for portion control. This allows each cookie to be the same size and allows them to all bake consistently. When I used a spoon, I always ended up with a variety of sizes and the cooking was never quite even.

Hope these tips allow you to make better cookies in your house. I know using these tips has improved mine.

About The Author
Michael Paetzold is the owner of I Love Desserts (http://i-love-desserts.com) your source for all things about desserts.

Featured Cookbook

Willie Crawford's Soul Food Cookbook

"Discover the Amazing, Mouth-Watering, Old-Fashioned Soul Food and Southern Recipes Learned While Growing Up on My 96 Year Old Grandmother's North Carolina Tobacco Farm"

NEW AT EasySouthernCooking.com

Pork Loin with Cherry Sauce
Vinegar Pie
Bess' Virginia Spoon Bread
Apricot Raspberry Jam
Blackberry Jam
Broiled Tomatoes
Candied Sweet Potatoes (several variations)
Glazed Sweet Potatoes
Peach Jam
Pear Conserve
Pear Relish
Pineapple Marmalade
Strawberry Preserves
Summer Squash Pudding
Summer Squash with Sour Cream

We are working hard to add new recipes daily!

Copyright 2006 © Easy Southern Cooking

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