I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Vidalia Onion and Goat Cheese Soufflé

Vidalia Onion and Goat Cheese Souffle

I’m a little obsessed with Vidalia onions.  I love the sweetness with the onion edge.  I buy them in bulk when they are in season, and I tie them up in pantyhose to hang in my pantry for winter storage.  Really.  Vidalias are sweet and smooth without any of the burn of other onions, so it is easy to make them the star of a dish.  The flavor is mellow and rich, creating a unique soft onion flavor. 

The slow, gently cooking of the onions brings out their sweetness, but leaves the characteristic onion taste in tact.  Patience is a must here, just cook them to a soft, glossy tangle; you don’t want deep sticky caramelized onions for this. Marjoram is a wonderful complement to sweet onions with its mildly woodsy taste.  If you can’t find marjoram, use thyme or oregano (though slightly less of either). Find a good, soft, salty goat cheese with lots of flavor (I use a locally made chevre). This soufflé makes a wonderful side dish to a roast, but is also an elegant vegetarian centerpiece.  This doesn’t rise up and puff the way a traditional French soufflé does, but is light and creamy and packed with flavor.

Vidalia Onion and Goat Cheese Soufflé
Serves 4
  1. ¼ cup (½ stick) butter, divided
  2. 3 medium Vidalia onions, finely sliced
  3. 6 sprigs fresh marjoram
  4. 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  5. 1 cup milk
  6. 4 ounces soft goat cheese
  7. kosher salt to taste
  8. 5 egg whites
  9. ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  1. Melt 2 Tablespoons of the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat and add the sliced onions. Stir to coat in the onions in the butter and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are very soft and translucent, about 20 minutes. Partially cover the pot for the first 5 - 10 minutes of cooking just to wilt the onions, but stir frequently. A little browning is okay, but you don’t want to caramelize the onions, just make them really soft. If they start to brown, turn down the heat and watch carefully. Sprinkle the leaves of about three marjoram sprigs over the onions, then leave the onions to cool to room temperature.
  2. Scrape the cooled onions into a blender or food processor and process until you have a rough puree, sort of like loose mashed potatoes. You should have roughly 2 cups of puree.
  3. Melt the remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir until you have a smooth, thick paste that is pale in color, about 5 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking away any lumps, until thick and smooth. Reduce the heat to low and cook the base for 10 minutes. Add the onions puree, stir well to combine and cook a further 10 minutes. Whisk in the crumbled cheese a handful at a time, making sure each addition is melted before adding the next. Finely chop the remaining marjoram leaves and stir in with a big pinch of salt. Leave the mixture to cool.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 2-quart soufflé dish with cooking spray or butter.
  5. Beat the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer until almost stiff. Sprinkle over the cream of tartar and beat until the whites hold very stiff peaks. Stir a big spoonful of the whites into the onion base to loosen things up, then gradually fold in the remaining whites a big spoonful at a time, doing your best not to deflate the whites. Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish, lightly smoothing the top.
  6. Bake the soufflé for 30 – 35 minutes until the top is light golden and puffed. Serve immediately.
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Buttermilk Bacon Cheddar Macaroni Salad

Buttermilk Bacon Cheddar Macaroni Salad

Macaroni salad is a great summer picnic dish. And it is a classic of the Southern table, from church suppers to days outdoors. I have been served a lot of macaroni salad and read a lot of traditional recipes in Southern community cookbooks that include, like many a southern dish, pickle relish. I am not a fan of pickle relish so I haven’t always been a fan of macaroni salad. So I set out to create a tasty macaroni salad that met my particular tastes, but would appeal to the family and friends I was sure to serve it to.  I want tangy and creamy with interesting flavor contrasts and textures, but nothing too out there.

Adding vinegar to the cooking water and tossing it with the cooked pasta helps to season the salad without adding buckets of salt. A touch of bacon grease keeps the pasta from sticking together. I like to keep this pretty simple, with the herby ranch style dressing creamy with buttermilk, tossed with sharp cheese and crispy bacon. This salad will appeal to all ages and leave no picky eaters passing it by because they are concerned about all the bits and pieces in the dish. If you’d like, you can add to it. A little finely chopped celery or bell pepper or onion could add texture and flavor.

Buttermilk Bacon Cheddar Macaroni Salad
Serves 6
  1. 6 strips of bacon
  2. 2 cups elbow macaroni
  3. 3 Tablespoons cider vinegar, divided
  4. 4 green onions, white and light green parts only
  5. 3 Tablespoons chopped chives
  6. 3 Tablespoons chopped parsley
  7. 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  8. 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  9. ¾ cup buttermilk
  10. ¾ cup sour cream
  11. 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  1. Cut the bacon into small pieces and cook over medium-high heat until very crispy. Remove to paper towels to drain and reserve 1 Tablespoon of the bacon grease.
  2. Cook the macaroni in a large pot of water with 1 Tablespoon vinegar according to the package instructions until cooked through. Drain the pasta and rinse with cool water and drain well again. Return the pasta to the pot and add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of cider vinegar and the tablespoon of bacon grease. Stir to coat the pasta well and leave to sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Place 3 of the green onions, the herbs, salt, pepper, buttermilk and sour cream in a food processor or blender (I like the mini-food processor for this) and blend until smooth and combined. Pour the dressing over the macaroni and stir gently to coat. Add the grated cheese and bacon and stir to distribute. Finely chop the remaining green onion and add to the salad, stirring to combine. The dressing will absorb and thicken as it chills, so don’t worry if it looks a little loose. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Cover the salad and refrigerate until chilled. The salad will keep for 3 days covered and refrigerated. You can stir in a little more buttermilk to loosen the salad up before serving.
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Fresh Herb Field Peas

Fresh Herb Field Peas

I buy field peas in bulk in the summer.  Ladys, creamers, zippers, whippoorwill, crowders, purple hulls, you name it.  Farmers market Saturdays for me are about canning and putting up, followed by a Southern supper of field peas, corn and tomatoes.  So I am always looking for creative ways to prepare them.  This is my new favorite.  It’s clean and summery with a good dose of the best of the seasons herbs. 

 It can be a little hard sometimes when writing recipes to quantify herbs. Particularly for a recipe like this.  So I just say handfuls.  You want the potlikker the peas cook in  well flavored, and the finishing butter to be chockfull, so the peas are well coated with fresh green herbs.  Choose whatever herbs you have to hand.  I love a good blend of leafy basil and parsley with a little hint of mint, combined with onion-y chives and woodsy oregano.  I love the flavor pork adds to field peas, but you can leave it out to make a vegetarian version of this dish.

Fresh Herb Field Peas
Serves 4
  1. 1 pound purple hull or other field peas
  2. 6 cloves garlic
  3. 2 generous handfuls of fresh herb leaves – basil, mint, oregano, chives, parsley and thyme
  4. 3 strips bacon
  5. ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  6. salt and pepper
  1. Place the peas in a bowl and cover with cold water. Leave to settle for 30 minutes, then scoop off any floaters. Pick out any bruised peas, then lift the peas out of the water into a saucepan using your hands. Don’t pour through a strainer, the dirt only gets on the peas again.
  2. Pick out a good handful of herbs and tie them together in a piece of cheesecloth. Nestle the herb bundle, the bacon and 4 cloves of garlic in the peas and add fresh water to just barely cover. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam or scum that rises. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer the peas, uncovered, for about 1 hour until soft and tender but still holding their shape.
  3. While the peas are cooking, finely chop another handful of herbs and place in a bowl with the softened butter. Put the remaining two cloves of garlic through a press or very finely chop them and add to the butter. Use a fork to mash the herbs, garlic and butter together. Add salt and pepper to taste and combine thoroughly.
  4. When the peas are cooked, strain through a strainer and discard the bacon, garlic cloves and herb bundle. Scrape the herb butter into the saucepan over low heat until it begins to melt. Return the peas to the saucepan and gently stir through the butter until the peas are coated. Taste and adjust seasoning and serve.
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Peach Bourbon Cake with Sweet Tea Peaches

Peach Bourbon Cake with Sweet Tea Peaches

Here I go again.  Peaches and bourbon.  They just go so well together, and when I am standing in the kitchen with some marvelous summer peaches, I just want to add a little splash.  The peaches have been so amazing this year – I’ve jammed, spiced, ketchuped and canned a huge amount.  But I went a little overboard on the buying.  I created this recipe for a family dinner when I found myself with an overabundance of peaches, and added a touch of bourbon at the end.  But I still had more peaches, so I upped the Southern factor by making a sweet tea infused compote, which adds another layer of flavor.  You could add a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream, but it is rich enough as is.  The cake would also be delicious with Peach Butterbourbon Sauce and the compote would be delicious on its own or stirred into some yogurt for breakfast.

Peach Bourbon Cake with Sweet Tea Peaches
Serves 8
  1. Peach Bourbon Cake
  2. 4 medium sized peaches
  3. 3 cups flour, divided
  4. 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  5. 1 cup granulated sugar
  6. 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  7. 4 eggs
  8. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  9. ½ teaspoon salt
  10. ½ cup buttermilk
  11. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  12. 2 Tablespoons bourbon
  13. Sweet Tea Peaches
  14. 1 cup water
  15. 1 cup granulated sugar
  16. 2 black tea bag
  17. 8 medium peaches
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan thoroughly.
  2. Peel and pit the peaches and cut into small chunks. Toss with ¼ cup of the flour and set aside.
  3. Beat the butter and sugars together in the bowl of a stand mixer for 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl several times, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl. Add the remaining 2 ¾ cups flour, baking powder and salt alternately with the buttermilk, scraping down the bowl, until completely mixed. Beat in the vanilla and bourbon.
  4. Gently fold the floured peaches through the batter distributing the chunks evenly. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 – 50 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Peaches
  1. Stir the water and sugar together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is syrup. Remove from the heat and add the tea bag. Leave to steep for about 5 minutes.
  2. Peel and pit the peaches and cut into small chunks. Remove the tea bag from the syrup and add the peaches. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the liquid is reduced and the peaches are coated in a light syrup, about 15 minutes.
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Tomatoes Stuffed with Summer Squash

Tomatoes Stuffed with Summer Squash

So it’s the middle of summer. You’ve been to the farmers market and loaded up your bag with beautiful vegetables. That whole box of yellow squash and lots and lots of tomatoes. Now what? I always get questions from friends about how to use squash (other than squash casserole) and for interesting ways to use tomatoes. And I am just as guilty. I buy and buy, wanting to soak up every last bit of summer bounty.

I love this vividly summer dish as a twist to traditional stuffed tomatoes and a unique way to highlight Southern summer favorites. Sure, there is a little work involved, but it pays off in spades. Look for medium sized, firm tomatoes that just fit in the palm of you hand. Grating the squash takes a few minutes, but do use the small side on the grater to give you a fine, almost mousse-like filling. These beauties can be the centerpiece of a stunning vegetable plate with field peas, greens and fresh corn or a side dish for a meatier meal.

Tomatoes Stuffed with Summer Squash
Serves 6
  1. 6 medium tomatoes
  2. 2 yellow squash
  3. ½ small yellow onion
  4. 2 Tablespoons butter
  5. 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  6. 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  7. 1 cup heavy cream
  8. ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  9. salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cut a small slice off of the top of each tomato and use small spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp, leaving a nice little hollow cup. Sprinkle the insides lightly with salt, then turn them upside down on several layers of paper towels to drain for 30 minutes.
  2. Grate the squash on the fine holes of a box grater and place in a colander. Leave to drain for 30 minutes. Transfer the squash to a clean tea towel and twist and squeeze to remove as much moisture as possible. Grate the onion on the same small holes and add to the squash.
  3. Melt the butter with the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, then add the squash and onions. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until the squash is soft, stirring frequently to avoid browning. Stir in the chopped oregano. Pour in the heavy cream and cook, stirring frequently, until the squash has absorbed all the cream and is thick and there is no cream left in the pan. Stir in the Parmesan cheese until melted, then remove the skillet from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
  4. Place the tomatoes in a lightly oiled baking dish in which they fit snuggly – basically holding each other upright. Spoon the squash into the tomatoes, filling the hollows and pressing down, but be gentle so you don’t break the tomatoes. Fill the tomatoes, but don’t leave mounded squash overflowing. You may have some filling leftover – chef’s treat!
  5. You can cool and refrigerate the tomatoes for a few hours at this point.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°. Bake the tomatoes for about 20 minute, until heated through but the tomatoes are still holding their shape. Serve immediately.
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Farmers Market Vegetable Tart

Farmers Market Vegetable Tart

I think this tart is the very picture of summer farmers market bounty. It uses all the best local summer produce with fresh herbs and salty cheese. I even use locally produced goat feta. You can buy the vegetables for specifically for this magnificent tart or make it with the remnants of a big shopping haul.  It looks like a work of art, simply because of the bounty of nature. I like to vary the vegetables to get the beautiful colors – green zucchini, yellow squash, red tomatoes and peppers, purple eggplant and onions. Vary it up according to your tastes and what is growing. Thyme is a wonderful complement to hot weather vegetables, but oregano or marjoram work as well, or you could add some basil or parsley to the cooked vegetables.

And it is perfect summer cooking. You can make it in easy stages and have the final product ready hours before popping it in the oven. It is good fresh and hot, but still delicious as it cools to room temperature. It makes a great meal on its own, or can be a side to grilled meats.

Farmers Market Vegetable Tart
Serves 6
  1. 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  2. ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  3. 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
  4. ½ teaspoon salt
  5. ¾ cups (1 ½ sticks) cold butter, cut into cubes
  6. ½ cup water
  7. 1 zucchini
  8. 1 yellow squash
  9. 1 small eggplant
  10. 1 yellow bell pepper
  11. 1 red bell pepper
  12. 1 small red onion
  13. 2 plum tomatoes
  14. 3 cloves garlic
  15. 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  16. 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  17. 1 egg
  1. Pulse the flour, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, salt and 1 teaspoon thyme leaves together in the bowl of a food processor until combined. Add the cubed butter and pulse until the texture of fine meal. If you pinch a little between your fingers, it should stick together. Add ¼ cup of water and pulse until the dough starts to come together, then slowly drizzle in the remaining water just until the dough comes together in a ball. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and press it out into a flat disc. Wrap it tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°. Cut all the vegetables into bite size chunks and place on a baking sheet. Cut the onion into small wedges and add to the pan, then cut the tomatoes into chunks and add. Peel the garlic cloves and add to the pan. Drizzle over the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and about ½ teaspoon of thyme leaves. Toss everything together with your hands until the vegetables are lightly coated with oil. Don’t be tempted to add lots of oil – the vegetables will not be lovely and roasted, but soggy. Roast for 30 - 45 minutes until the vegetables are soft and slightly browned. Leave the vegetables to cool, then toss with the crumbled feta.
  3. Take the pastry out of the fridge and let rest for about 10 minutes. Trace a circle about 14-inches round onto a piece of parchment paper (I frequently trace an outline of the platter I am going to serve on). Lightly flour the parchment paper and transfer the chilled dough disk to the paper. Lightly sprinkle the top with flour and roll the dough into a circle the size you’ve traced on the paper. Pile the vegetables into the center of the dough, leaving about a 2-inch border. Carefully fold the dough up around the vegetables. Use your fingers to press together any creases or breaks of in the dough. Carefully transfer the tart on the parchment paper to a baking sheet. Sprinkle about 1 Tablespoon parmesan over the top and some thyme leaves. Beat the egg with a splash of water and brush a thin layer over the crust. The tart can rest in the fridge for a few hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°. Bake the tart until the pastry is cooked through and golden, about 30 minutes. Let the tart rest for a few minutes before slicing, though it is also delicious at room temperature.
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Slow Cooker Creamy Corn with Bacon, Green Onions and Bourbon

Southern Slow Cooker Creamy Corn with Bacon, Green Onions and Bourbon

My family has a farm in Arkansas, rice and soybeans mostly, but a few other crops. One year, when I was maybe ten or twelve, my dad and a fellow farmer decided to experiment with corn. So on a little corner of the farm, they planted a couple of varieties. When it came in, he brought home paper grocery sacks of corn all summer. My mother spent that summer shucking corn and using it in every kind of recipe she could think of. We ate corn every single day. The problem was, it was never very good. Little kernels, pale and tough. But my mama sure did keep trying and we did our best to support her. One day, Daddy was out at the farm, picking some corn and putting it in his paper grocery sack and his fellow farmer asked what in the world he’s doing. Well, turns out my dad, bless his heart, had been picking corn from the end of the field that was grown as feed corn – not the good eating corn from the other end. Of course, by the time he figured it out, the season was pretty much over. We don’t grow corn anymore.

Fresh corn is one of my very favorite things about summer. I wait for the season all year and really make the most of it when it arrives. I buy freshly picked cobs by the armful at the farmers market. I blanch and strip those kernels and freeze them in little bags to enjoy all winter. I can fresh corn relish. I use it in cool summer salads. And of course I eat it straight off the cob, boiled or grilled and smothered with butter.

Sometimes I do go over board. I buy so much corn, I just can’t get it dealt with quickly, so there are some cobs in the fridge for a few days. They are still good, but not as fresh and tender and sweet as those right out of the field. So they sometimes need a little help. I found myself in this predicament one day and remembered a recipe for crockpot corn scribbled on a scrap of paper. I dug it out of the files, but decided I could do better. Take that basic creamy corn recipe and really give it some style. Green onions, bourbon and hot sauce zazz it up, but is deliciously creamy and tender.

You can cut the corn from the cobs right into the slow cooker and avoid the mess of flying kernels (just be careful if the cooker is hot). And of course, you can use frozen corn when the fresh is not in season. But whatever you do, make sure the corn was intended for good eating and not for the pigs.

Slow Cooker Creamy Corn with Bacon, Green Onions and Bourbon
Serves 6
  1. 5 strips bacon, cooked until crisp
  2. 3 Tablespoons bacon grease
  3. 2 Tablespoons butter
  4. 7 – 8 green onions, white and light green parts, finely chopped
  5. 1 clove garlic, minced
  6. 6 – 8 ears of corn (about 5 cups kernels, or 1 ½ pounds)
  7. ½ cup milk
  8. 8 ounces cream cheese
  9. 2 Tablespoons bourbon
  10. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  11. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  12. 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  1. Place the bacon grease and butter on the bottom of a 5 – 7 quart slow cooker, turn it on high, cover and leave for about 5 minutes until the butter melts. Add the chopped green onions and minced garlic, cover, and leave for about 10 minutes until the onions are soft. Reduce the heat to low.
  2. Add the corn, cream cheese cut into cubes, milk, bourbon, salt, pepper and hot sauce and give it a good stir. Cover the crockpot and cook for 3 ½ hours.
  3. Chop the bacon strips into small pieces and stir through the corn. Cover and continue cooking for 30 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately
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Blackberry Cobbler with Bourbon Sauce

Blackberry Cobbler with Bourbon Sauce

I call this dish a cobbler, but I know that description can be controversial. I served this dish to my family, and as the spoons scraped the plates, a discussion came up about what is a cobbler exactly. We each described different types of dishes, and went through all the other names for similar dishes – grunt, buckle, crumble, slump, betty…When the plates were clean and the remnants of sauce being eaten by the spoonful, I asked if they thought I should give the dish a different name. The general consensus was, when it’s as good as this, who cares what it’s called.

This sauce is rich and delicious, but you could add a scope of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.


Blackberry Cobbler with Bourbon Sauce
Serves 6
  1. Blackberry Cobbler
  2. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  3. 1 cup granulated sugar
  4. 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  5. ¼ teaspoon salt
  6. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  7. ½ cup butter (1 stick), melted and cooled
  8. ¾ cups whole milk
  9. 2 cups blackberries
  10. Bourbon Sauce
  11. ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  12. 1 cup light brown sugar
  13. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  14. 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
  15. ¼ cup bourbon
For the Cobbler
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 2-quart baking dish.
  2. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl with a fork. Add the melted butter, vanilla extract and milk and stir until the batter is smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the blackberries over the surface.
  3. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes until puffed and golden around the edges and a tester inserted in the center of the batter comes out clean.
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature.
For the Sauce
  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then whisk in the sugar and vanilla. Bring to a low boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is cohesive. Pull the pan off the heat and and cool slightly. Slowly whisk the egg yolks into the mixture and whisk until the sauce is combined and slightly thickened. Whisk in the bourbon and return to the heat, whisking constantly until the sauce thickens slightly. The sauce should be the consistency of thick syrup.
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Seriously Fresh Blueberry Pie

Seriously Fresh Blueberry PieWhen the summer blueberries are so abundant, I love to feature them in a way that doesn’t mask their sweet-tart and tender beauty.  And this pie is chockfull of blueberries.  A pile of fresh berries is bound together with sweetened berries and just a hint of cornstarch to thicken things up.  I prefer this to the sometimes gelatinous pie fillings you often find.  And it is so easy to make, its perfect for lazy summer weekends. Because I am not going to fault you for using a pre-made rolled pie crust. 

Nutmeg is a wonderful complement to blueberries. The first time I served this pie, I go that wonderful response “what is that flavor – it is so good”.  Nutmeg is mysterious and elusive, but adds such a unique twist to a blueberry dessert.  You can absolutely serve this pie with lightly sweetened whipped cream (try tangy buttermilk whipped cream) or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Seriously Fresh Blueberry Pie
Serves 6
  1. Pastry for a 9-inch pie, fully baked and cooled
  2. 4 cups blueberries
  3. ¾ cup granulated sugar
  4. zest and juice of one lemon
  5. ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  6. 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  7. 1 Tablespoon butter
  1. Place 1 cup blueberries and the sugar in a medium saucepan. Zest the lemon into the blueberries and squeeze the juice into a measuring cup. Add water to make ½ cup liquid and add to the blueberries. Stir in the nutmeg and cook over medium-high heat until the berries begin to burst. With an immersion blender, or very carefully in a blender, puree the blueberries until smooth. Mix the cornstarch with just enough water to make a smooth paste, then stir it into the blueberry mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir in the butter until melted. Leave to cool.
  2. When the mixture is cool, stir in the remaining 3 cups of blueberries and stir to coat. Spread the mixture in the prepared pie crust and chill for several hours.
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Bourbon Grilled Flat-Iron Steak with Southern Bacon Bourbon Butter

Bourbon Grilled Flat-Iron Steak with Southern Bacon Bourbon Butter

When I was a teenager, I loved to entertain (I still do).  I thought I was a real gourmet, because I knew how to cook – no help from my mom.  We used to have other families for dinner, and sometimes I’d have dinner parties for friends.  My favorite meal was flank steak in teriyaki marinade.  I probably served it 100 times, never thinking that the guests might get tired of it.  The recipe came from a cookbook called A Man’s Taste published by the Junior League of Memphis.  My dad and a friend of his spearheaded this project in an effort to show those Junior League ladies that men could cook too.  And the book was a success.  The recipe below is a version of that original, with the grown-up addition of bourbon.  I think flat-iron is a lovely cut to grill, but you could use flank steak if you prefer.

I never bothered with any embellishments to my teenage steak dinners – I thought an actual recipe from an actual cookbook could not be fiddled with or changed, silly me.  Now, however, I love to add a slice or two of compound butter to any grilled steak. It takes a pretty simple preparation and makes it elegant and full of flavor.  And I have to say, this Southern Bacon Bourbon Butter may be my best version yet.  Sweet and tangy with smoke from the bacon and the grill, it melts lusciously over the meat, leaving just a hint of crispy bacon and green onion behind.

Bourbon Grilled Flat-Iron Steak with Southern Bacon Bourbon Butter
Serves 4
  1. Southern Bacon Bourbon Butter
  2. 1 slice of bacon, cooked until crisp
  3. ½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  4. 1 Tablespoon bourbon
  5. 1 Tablespoon sorghum
  6. 1 green onion, white part only, finely chopped
  7. generous grinds of black pepper
  8. pinch of salt
  9. Bourbon Steak
  10. ¼ cup soy sauce
  11. ¼ cup cider vinegar
  12. ¼ cup bourbon
  13. 3 Tablespoons honey
  14. 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  15. 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
  16. 2 minced garlic cloves
  17. 2 finely chopped green onions
  18. 1 pound flat iron steak
For the Butter
  1. Finely chop the cooked bacon, and place it in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Use a fork to thoroughly mash and whip the butter until well combined. Scoop the butter onto the short end of a piece of waved paper and use the paper to roll the butter into a tight log, twisting the ends like a candy. Refrigerate for several hours until firm. The butter will keep for a week in the fridge or can be frozen for a few months.
For the Steak
  1. Combine the soy sauce, bourbon, vinegar, honey and oil together in a bowl and whisk to combine. Whisk in the ginger, garlic and green onions. Place the steak in a large ziptop bag and pour over the marinade. Seal the bag and squish it around to cover the steak. Place the bag on a plate and put it in the refrigerator. Marinate for several hours, turning the bag over occasionally.
  2. Remove the steak from the refrigerator 30 minutes before you plan to grill it. Preheat a grill to medium-high. Remove the steak from the marinade and wipe any excess off with a paper towel. Place the steak on the grill and cook for 5 minutes, flip and cook until medium rare, about 150°, 5 minutes more. Remove from the grill, cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Slice in thin strips across the grain of the meat. Serve with thin slices of the Southern Bourbon Bacon Butter melting over the top.
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