Let’s get down to some basic Southern cooking this week. This is intended for beginners, so those of you that already have developed your kitchen skills might not be as interested. Let’s get right to it!
Pour 1-quart heavy cream into a large jar, add a splash of butter milk, put the lid on and leave it on the counter top (NOT the refrigerator) overnight. Next morning put it in a blender or food processor and mix for 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of VERY cold water and mix for two minutes more. Now drain. What have you got? Homemade butter.
Combine one cup of canola oil, 1 whole (room temp) egg, a pinch of salt and 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Place in a cup just slightly larger than the head of your immersion circulator (you DO have an immersion circulator, right?) and pulse until it becomes thick, less than 1 minute. What do you have? Homemade mayo.
Combine large can whole tomatoes (Italian imported are best), 1 chopped onion, 6-8 whole cloves, 1 chopped and seeded jalapeno, 2/3 cup sugar, 2/3 cup rice vinegar (or your favorite kind) and simmer until thick. What have you got? Chow-chow (some call it tomato chutney).
Next stim a bunch of collard greens, and rinse. Chop 2 bone-in smoked cork chops, sauté in some of the butter you made, along with a pinch of red pepper flakes, until well browned, add 2-3 cups chicken stock and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the bones from the stock, add the collards a handful at a time and simmer until tender. Now you have delicious collard greens … but hold on.
Pre heat your oven to 450 f. Combine 3/4 cup freshly ground corn meal (Original Grit Girl is the best), 1/4 cup self-rising flour, 3 tablespoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 ½ cups butter milk, 1 whole egg, 1 chopped jalapeno, ½ cup whole corn that has been browned in butter. ½ cup good quality cheddar cheese. Sauté chopped bacon until crispy in a small cast iron skillet, remove the bacon and keep the drippings in the pan, and don’t you dare remove any of it. Make sure your batter is well mixed. Heat the bacon grease until it is smoking hot and then (VERY CAREFULLY) pour in the batter. It may flash! Remove the pan from the heat and put in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until it is well browned.
Pop the cornbread out of the skillet, slice a piece and open it up, load it with your home-made butter, top with greens and then chow-chow. This is a classic and delicious Southern meal.
But wait! What about the mayo? That was just for fun. Mix it with a little cream cheese, some of your homemade mayo, and grated cheese and you will have pimento and cheese, another Southern classic. One of the best sandwiches I know is to add pimento and cheese to a slice of bread, top which a whole canned chili (not chopped, the Winn Dixie in Ocean Springs carries them). Butter both sides of the sandwich and toast. If you have any of that amazing Vietnamese mix of daikon and carrot salad, add it for a delightful crunch. If you do not want to make your own pimento and cheese, check out the pimento and cheese biscuit the Green House on Porter serves.