Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A New Year's Day--Delayed

We arrived home from Riverside yesterday afternoon. It was a fast drive, until we hit the mountains of Tennessee. Then it started snowing, and the wind picked up. I was driving the last leg and let me tell you, the hub's Honda Element (the Road Trip Warrior) was getting pushed around like a feather in the wind. It scared me to death! And then, as if that weren't bad enough, it started snowing! Although it was a lovely sight, it did scare me driving in it through the zigs and the zags, the ups and the downs and all the time the wind pushing the "box" around the roads! I was glad it was just a short burst of a snow storm! Phew. I tell you, a hot flash hit me like a ball of fire after we came through it! lol. Of course, there was hardly any when we arrived home. Just the dusting on the front porch which I immediately took advantage of with a quick photo! (Pitiful, I know.) Burr. It sure did get cold from our days at Riverside. (But, a little birdy told me that it's in the 20s (f) now.

Today, after visiting my good blogging buddy Tammy and seeing her Southern spread for New Year's, it put me right in the mood to get my New Year's dinner going. And that was just what I did.
I made my black eye-peas (Hoppin' John) from the recipe in my America's Test Kitchen cookbook. It was a good one. I think the key was the four strips of bacon and some ham. Very, very tasty, indeed.

I bought a Honey Baked ham, which we haven't had in years. And then, I tried my hand at cornbread. Now, my mom used to always make cornbread at Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. I never cared for it much. I think my Northerner comes out when it comes to cornbread. I like mine on the sweeter side with corn in it. Oh well. To each their own. Anyhoo, I had to try the recipe in the ATK book. My momma would be proud.

Of course, I used one of her ancient iron skillets that is perfectly seasoned, which is so important. I think the key was, get this, bacon grease. It called for four tablespoons of bacon grease, which you pour into the skillet. Put the skillet in an oven and set it at 450 (yep, that hot) and let it heat with the oven. When the oven is hot, you bring the pan out, pour the grease into the cornbread batter, mix it up and then pour it back into the skillet and cook it for about 2o minutes. You can see above the edges instantly beginning to cook which makes the crust so crunchy and delish. I guess because I made it, I liked it. ha. It tasted very similar to my mom's family recipe, but it wasn't as dry. It came out a little thin; and I don't know if I used too large of a skillet or what. Hmmm. You know me and baking! (You're gonna hear a lot of "my baking" this year, as this is the year I am going to sharpen my skills in that department. That is my New Year's resolution, and I'm sticking to it!) So far, so good!

While shopping at our farmer's market in Fairhope, we found Satsuma oranges. (They are related to the Mandarin orange.) I had never heard of them until my friend Linda, who spent time in Japan, told me what they were while visiting Riverside this summer. I didn't even know they grew in Alabama until I found them there this weekend. (There's even a town named for them, Satsuma, AL!) I bought a big ol' bag and brought them back home with us, along with some fresh pecans from this season. They are so tender and small. I didn't know what to expect. YUM. They are not too sweet and not too bitter. They are just the perfect little oranges. Oh, and the best part is that they're seedless. You can just pop one right in the mouth! Perfect for after what we just ate! Too cute!

Well folks, another New Year's Day comes and goes. I wish you all the happiest and healthiest of days ahead in this new year of 2008!


Vallen said...

Bacon, butter and mayonnaise - what makes cookin' good!!! Happy New Year love.

Linda said...

I love corn bread. I haven't made any in years, plus I don't have one of those neat skillets.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What a wonderful meal! I'd love to bake me Cornbread in such a skillet...



PG said...

LOL, there I was thinking how very Southern and exotic your cornbread sounded, and then I read about your new Satsuma exerience - Over here it would not be Christmas without a bowl of them. Most people have them; they are a must-have, and are eaten throughout winter - the smell of clementines and satsumas is the most Christmassy smell I know! :)

Jeanie said...

I want to come to dinner at your house! Looks delicious and fabulous. You remind me I need to check out my America's Test Kitchen cookbooks for more recipes. Every time I've tried something from there, I have not been disappointed!

Glad you made it back safely... snow on the highway freaks me out -- and we get a lot of it!

Mrs. Staggs said...

I love those skates! They have a very cool funky and vintage look to them.
All the ladies in my family were big cornbread makers, and used ancient cast iron skillets for making it too.
Satsumas have been a tradition at Christmas in our house, ever since I married Mr. Staggs. His family introduced them to me, and the ones from Japan are usually the best I think. They used to come wrapped individually in a pretty red paper. I miss those. Usually the ones we get in our supermarket are grown in California now.
Happiest of New Years wishes to you Rosa!

Tammy said...

Your pea's look yummy..even though I am burnt out on them!

I make my cornbread from a box of mix I found at Walmart it is called Miracle Maze cornbread. I like it thick and cake like and then sometimes I like it thin and crunchy. My old recipe does call for the bacon grease just as you said. I've made it that way many times. Hubby likes the sweet but if he wants it sweet he'll have to make!

Those oranges look and sound delish!

Have a great day!

paris parfait said...

That cornbread looks delicious! Haven't had any in years. I haven't seen any heavy iron skillets in France, to try to make some of my own. Can you imagine me bringing one of those skillets in luggage back from the US? They'll probably consider it a lethal weapon! :) xo



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