Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Southern Dinner

I grew up in the south, Arkansas to be specific, and I have many fond memories of my grandmother's southern meals. Yesterday I had the hankering for a southern style dinner so I decided to make some of my favorite dishes from childhood. This was partly inspired by a trip to the market "Robert is Here" that me and my partner biked to this weekend, where I bought pole beans and summer squash. Pole beans are a particular variety of green bean, they are flatter and longer and they have a different flavor altogether than regular green beans - in short they are awesome. The squash was also amazing because it had actually been picked at the right size instead of being allowed to grow to mammoth-like proportions. The reason this is important is that smaller squash are more tender and have a sweeter flavor, also the seeds are smaller and softer. Anyway, since I had those two foods on hand I decided to make fried squash, pole beans with bacon, meatloaf, and drop biscuits.

The recipes are all below.

Cheddar Turkey Meatloaf (adapted from a Taste of Home recipe)
2 lb Ground Turkey
1 Onion chopped
1 cup Milk
1 1/4 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 Eggs
1 cup Raw Oats
1 teaspoons Salt
2/3 cup Ketchup
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Dry Mustard
Mix ground turkey, onion, cheddar cheese, oats, and salt together and then add in the eggs and salt until well mixed.
raw ingredients

Form into 8 little mounds on a large cookie sheet.

raw meat mounds - yum!

Mix ketchup, brown sugar, and dry mustard together and put a spoonful onto each meatloaf mound. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.

Pole Beans with Bacon
Rinse a off large mess of pole beans (a pound or more) and clip off ends. Snap in half and put into a medium saucepan. Fill partway with water (but don't cover the beans because they will cook down). Put about 1 teaspoon of salt and a half a piece of bacon in the pot. Boil on medium for about 15 minutes or until beans are soft.

Drop Biscuits (from Cooks Illustrated)
2 cups Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Sugar
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Cold Buttermilk
8 tablespoons Butter melted
In a measuring bowl combine dry ingredients and set aside. Melt butter in a pyrex measuring cup and set aside to cool briefly (about 5 minutes) then pour in the buttermilk and mix until the butter forms small clumps (the butter is hardening because it is getting cold again from the buttermilk). Pour buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a fork until well incorporated. Dough should be slightly sticky and pull away from the sides of the bowl. Drop batter by large spoonfuls onto a 15x10 cookie sheet and bake at 475 for about 10-12 minutes until just starting to brown on the top.

Fried Squash
4 or more Summer Squash sliced
1 cup Cornmeal
2 teaspoons Salt
Pepper to taste
Put cornmeal and salt into a quart sized ziplock bag and shake to mix then put in the sliced squash and shake again until the squash are coated in the cornmeal.

Squash in the bag with cornmeal

Heat a large skillet (preferably cast iron) to medium-high and put in a little oil. Put in slices of squash (only one layer thick) and fry the squash on both sides until browned (should take a couple of minutes on each side). Repeat with the rest of the squash. Serve.

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