I’ve conditioned myself to believe that almonds are a completely delicious snack, and that they don’t taste like paper or get stuck in the back of my mouth.
Stop gnawing on almonds and get out the butter! And shrimp, tenderloin, bacon, and pecans.
Whether you’re serving Thanksgiving starters, front porch snacks, or holiday cocktails, these are recipes sure to tempt.
Everyone should have a reliable cheese straw recipe in their back pocket. With a ready-to-cut roll of Cheese Crispies (secret ingredient–Rice Krispies) in the freezer, you can have cocktails underway in twenty minutes. Or make the elegant and irresistible Traditional Cheese Straws, piped from your cookie press. Or make them extra Southern with the additional of chopped pecans. The recipes are similar, just varying in their amounts of butter and flour, and simple.
The recipes go on from there, shifting in complexity of flavors and elegance in choices like Crab Cakes with Artichoke Tartar Sauce and Venison Bruschetta with Cumberland Gap Sauce, an inspired riff on British Cumberland Sauce, made southern with Bourbon and blackberry preserves.
The flavors are Southern-inspired. Sweet Tea shows up in toasted pecans and brined pork. Buttermilk adds some tang to dips and sauces. There’s country ham, visalia onions, pickapeppa sauce, and collards. You can opt for the classics, beyond cheese straws– Benedictine dip, Kentucky Hot Brown Bites, and Cajun Popcorn–or for new combinations like Corn Fritters with Spicy Honey, Muffuletta Salsa, or Barbecue Rilettes.
And because food tastes better in context, Magness offers sidebars on Southern staples. He speculates that Ro-tel canned tomatoes and green chiles stirred into melted into Velveeta are served more often, in more places than we care to admit. And everyone loves it. He describes ham dust, directs you in making a stovetop smoker, and offers various ways to serve barbecue–nachos, sliders and pizza. But most importantly, he links the foods to the rituals. Sometimes it’s as formal as Derby Day dishes including Benedictine and Kentucky Beer Cheese, and other times it’s as simple as his Uncle Bill’s shelled peanuts roasted in butter and salt.
Richness and ritual, both make these recipes savory and generous.