There is something about Summer that always makes me yearn for those sticky humid summer days I spent in Georgia. With sweat dripping from my brow, there was nothing so delightful as a cool mint julep or homemade lemonade.
Summer was my favorite time to take little road trips across the borders into Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Alabama, and, on a few occasions, Louisiana. I remember joking with my Mississippi born best friend that Southern accents were created because of the extreme heat and humidity during the Summer months... everyone just needed..to .... talk .... real slow... like. During these road trips, adventuring off the beaten path would lead us into mom & pop BBQ territory, drive thru Daq Shaq's, and diners serving up the best Fried Green Tomatoes, Gumbo, Jambalaya, and fried okra you've ever experienced!
I was feeling nostalgic this week, and thought I'd like to recreate some of the deliciousness that one can really only find when living in the South.
Here is a Southern Menu fit for died in the wool Southerners (*I've tested all the recipes!) and for those just wanting to experience something new!
1. Mint Juleps
This mint julep recipe is just as classic and true to the original as can be! I use Sugar in the Raw when making mint juleps, but the level of sweetness, and the kind of sweetner one uses, is really a matter of personal taste.
For a non alcoholic alternative, Lemonade is my favorite during the hot summer months. But why go classic with this one?! Martha Stewart has 21 lemonade recipes on her site! I've tried the hibscus lemonade and the lavendar infused (simply crazy for this one!). Fresh lemonade is so much better than store bought as most store bought lemonade is either loaded with sugar (mostly high fructose corn syrup!), and the ones that don't taste rather bitter.
2. Fried Green Tomatoes
You know, I was thinking of writing an entire post centered around Tomatoes (which, now that I think about it, stay tuned... for next week's EAT.Drink post) as we are currently smack dab in Tomato season throughout most of the United States; but, I could not wait to sing the praises of the fried green tomato. A true Southern bunch of yumminess, fried green tomatoes are fantastic alone, on a BLT, or served with any grilled fish or bbq dish you can think of. Perhaps one of the biggest aspects I miss about not living in Georgia anymore, is the absence of fried green tomatoes.
I still remember ordering fried green tomatoes and fried pickles at Po' Folks restaurants whenever my parents would take us out to eat. Well, they're not technically Po Folks anymore. It's just "Folks" restaraunt. Why? In their words : "We ain't po' no mo'!"
*Side Note: As a variation, we could make this a lot easier on ourselves, if you have a slow cooker. Carmelize one sliced yellow sweet onion. Set aside. Slice your pork shoulder on the diagonal. Place inside slow cooker. Add a 1/4 cup of Liquid Smoke, 4 cups water, and a whole lot of barbecue sauce. Set on Low for 8 hours. Go about your day. Add water as neccessary. Fork pull your pork shoulder once done. Add more barbecue sauce to taste. Add carmelized onions when serving. YUM! (*Stubs makes the best store bought bbq sauce in my opinion, by the way!) Vegetarians can enjoy bbq too, simply use a meat substitute or grille some veggies (Japanese eggplant, Portobella Mushrooms, & Sweet Onions work well with bbq sauce), and serve atop a grilled french roll.
4. Bourbon Poached Peaches & Ice Cream
This recipe is so good, you will absolutely want to can some for yourself to enjoy after the Summer growing season for Peaches has passed. This would also make a lovely gift around the holidays. Trust me on this one!
Hope this has inspired your weekly menu somewhat! Let me know if you try any of the recipes!