Brad Smith (jesus_h_biscuit) wrote,
Brad Smith

Lowcountry Cookin' at it's Finest, Y'all!

I'm a country boy. I have red Georgia dirt in my blood. I love to fish and go mud riding. I think that the best scents in the world are summertime honeysuckle and night blooming jasmine, and while they grow wild everywhere they smell the best here. I love the heat and humidity of the South. I love the drive across the state with all of the peach and pecan orchards stretched out for miles, farmland filled with horses and cows, hay bales and old tractors, barns falling in against brand new ones, and grand old houses with toys and tire swings in the yards. I drink my bourbon unadulturated by the heresy of mint or sugary soda, and I love beer with my barbecue. Grits, country ham and biscuits, you bet your ass. My idea of a perfect summertime evening supper is a plate of collard or turnip greens, a big slab of cornbread, some blackeyed peas, and thick slices of a fresh garden tomato and a wedge of Vidalia onion. Sometimes we mix it up with squash or okra, butterbeans or fresh creamed sweet corn - it just depends on what I find at one of the farmer's markets that looks best, and we have three different local ones to choose from.

These recipes are very special to me, it's what we grew up eating and it reminds me of a better time uncomplicated by everything I know to be true today. The cube steak & gravy comes from Great-Grandmama Mary, who used to make it for the family when everyone was out camping or hunting, so it came to be known as "Camp Dish". It's amazing how good something so simple can be if you take your time with it! I've put my own stank on it and do it slightly different than she did, because I like big, bold flavors. Braising the meat is what makes it so tender. When I used to cook peas or greens, I would always try to get fresh ones as they're plentiful around these parts, but you can make a really good meal with frozen greens and canned beans or peas. I know, I know - fresh really is better, but it's time consuming and the truth is if you're a decent cook you can make anything taste good. What I've learned to do now is to take fewer ingredients and less time to make something just as good, and for those of you who don't live in an area where you can get things like smoked ham hocks you'll be able to replicate this stuff without them.

Great Grandmama Mary's Cube Steak & Gravy
  • 4 cube steaks
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 4-5 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 2 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
  1. Season both sides of the cube steaks with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder, then dredge in the flour
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat until almost smoking, then brown both sides of the cube steaks. Set the browned steaks aside in a covered dish.
  3. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery to the pan and saute until they are slightly browned and softened a bit, then slide them over to half of the pan.
  4. Place two of the cube steaks on the empty side of the pan, cover with the vegetables. Repeat with the other two steaks.
  5. Pour the tomatoes (with their juice) and the beef broth over the pan, sprinkle with the worcestershire sauce.
  6. Allow the liquid in the pan to come to a boil, then cover with a heavy lid and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for approximately an hour.
  7. Remove the lid and taste to see if you need to adjust the seasoning with salt and/or pepper. I like the gravy to be nice and thick, so I take the meat out and cover it again, raise the heat to high and reduce it all until it's the consistency I want.
  8. Serve over rice.
Blackeyed Peas
  • 2 cans blackeyed peas
  • 1 tbsp. ham soup base (Vigo is a good substitute for the Superior)
  • 1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 tsp. pepper sauce (I prefer Trappey's, which for you non-southerners is pronounced (Trap-pays", Crystal pepper sauce is a nice second choice. Frank's Red Hot is pretty good as well.)
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over high heat until boiling, cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Turnip or Collard Greens
  • 2 bags frozen, chopped greens
  • 1/2 lb. smoked ham, ham hocks, or neckbones (I use both hocks and neckbones at the same time)
  • 2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 tsp. pepper sauce or crushed red pepper flakes
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over high heat until boiling, cover and reduce heat to a simmer for an hour at least.
Tags: food, recipes

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