Pour Southern Momma Test Kitchen
WHY I LOVE TO COOK
The kitchen is my favorite room in any house I live in. Almost every evening you can find me blaring my favorite music, stirring something on the stove with a cold cocktail in hand. This is my happy place and is the way I show love to those special people in my life. Food, and the act of cooking with someone in mind, is like a love note: Every ounce of every dish was personal and intentional. It’s a beautiful thing to see someone enjoy the meal you made for them.
For a southern woman, it’s also a fine art and tradition. In fact, I took a very literal page out of my own southern momma’s book, her cookbook that is... Mom’s cookbook is lined with notes and recipe additions as well as the endearing smattered bits of food to denote every attempt at making our family’s favorite dishes. It’s one of the things I wanted most when she passed in 2010, because it allows me to keep cooking recipes she spent her whole life perfecting. Even now, every recipe I try, I print and pencil in additions and notes because every recipe should be made to fit.
Here, I hope to share some of our family’s favorite dishes and the evolution of each recipe. At this moment, as we are in a season of adventure and travel overseas, these meals remind us of home. Making them makes us treasure those times spent around the kitchen table with family and friends.
Serve hot, and with lots of love…
MONA'S BANANA PUDDING
This was my mother's go-to recipe when she had to bring a dessert to a party. It is so simple, but so delicious. I use Nilla wafers when making, but Mom swore this was best with Jack's Vanilla Wafers. In fact, she liked them so much she bought two bags: one to use, one to eat while making this dish. This dessert looks great in a trifle dish or like mine, my mothers favorite French White Corningware.
B'S BUTTER STEAKS
One day, I will make a steak so perfectly, that Zac will hand over his wallet and tell me to buy diamond earrings. I am almost sure of it.
Until then, here is my attempt at the most savory, juicy steak a la français. (Meaning the french method: on the stove, in a hot skillet, slathered in butter) Don't let anyone tell you that a steak is best cooked on a grill. Try this recipe and you'll see, this is so good you'll want to drink the juices.
BAILEIGH'S 2ND BEST LASAGNA
Wondering why I am admitting my lasagna is "2nd Best"? Well, when I got married, every time we visited home my mother-in-law Sandy, makes a huge batch of lasagna. She also makes it with my kids when we stay for a while. I tried to follow her recipe, but it just feels like hers, and I kind of love that. So, over the years I came up with my own. Here it is. I will say for "2nd Best," I get a lot of requests for this recipe. Enjoy!
This recipe came from one of my oldest and dearest friends, Racheé. She shared this with me, and it is my go-to for an easy and delicious meal. It made me famous when we lived at Camp Lejeune as I brought it to the duty on holidays. Jambalaya is good for the soul. You'll find it is also great for doubling, freezing or using for a meal train meal. They will think you are a Cajun! AAAAAiiieeeeeeee
After years of making this, I finally have written down my recipe. When we were stationed at Parris Island, I used to make big batches of gumbo for my husband and his drill instructors at the start of every cycle. A few have even written me over the years to ask for the recipe. Here it is! I serve it over rice with homemade potato salad, a big scoop, right in the middle of the gumbo. Pairs well with a beer and garlic bread. Bon Appétit!
You always get a cake on you birthday right? My sisters and I love chocolate but my mother somehow would often pick a carrot cake. (Thats HER favorite). When you are a kid, its not really cool to share a carrot cake with your friends, so this became one of our favorite running jokes. Now on January 2nd, my mother's birthday, we make a celebratory cake to honor the woman that was unashamed to use her kids as an excuse to have her favorite dessert.
Put on your leopard best, a dash of lipstick and a touch of red...
(her other favorites)
Happy Birthday Mona.