Monthly Archives: April 2017

Southern Style Green Beans

May 14th is Mother’s Day here in the USA.  For all the mothers out there,  Happy Mother’s Day.  Hopefully, good food will be part of your day.

Mother’s Day is celebrated all around the world in different ways and different times.  Here in the USA, we celebrate the day by giving mothers gifts and flowers and a day off from cooking and other household chores.  My favorite way to spend Mother’s Day is with a family dinner of grilled burgers.

This recipe for green beans is in honor of my own mom.  It is not her recipe because she did not like to cook. Early on in my childhood she became the designated sweet tea maker while my dad did all the cooking.

She may not have cared for cooking, but she was one heck of a gardener. She grew the best green beans as well as many other vegetables. She also had a beautiful flower garden. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of any of her flowers or vegetables.  I wish I did.  I remember that she always grew Kentucky Wonder green beans.  Here is a picture of some Kentucky Wonder green beans courtesy of edenbrothers.com.

I am sure that my love of gardening came from my mom.  I don’t have room to grow vegetables but I do have a lot of summer flowers that I grow and enjoy.  I believe she would love all of them.  Here are a couple of pictures from last summer.

I love green beans cooked any way but I especially love them cooked the Southern way, which essentially means cooked to death.  These green beans will not have the bright green color that you get when cooking until just crisp-tender, but the flavor will make up for it.  This is a very easy recipe to make but it does take some time for the cooking process.  The aroma of these green beans while cooking takes me back to my Southern upbringing.

Southern Style Green Beans

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 pound of fresh green beans or 16 ounce size frozen green beans
1 1/2 slices of bacon, finely diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1-2 cups water
salt and pepper, to taste

If using fresh green beans, wash the beans and snap the ends off.  Leave whole.

In a medium Dutch oven or large saucepan, fry the bacon until most of the fat has been rendered.  Add the onion and sauté about two minutes or until onion is translucent.  Add the green beans, stirring until all ingredients are mixed thoroughly.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add one cup of water.  Cover the pan and simmer on low heat until the green beans are very tender, approximately one hour.   Check the green beans on occasion, and add more water as needed.  Before serving, drain if desired.  

Notes:
1.  When simmering the green beans, you will want a very low simmer and not a rolling boil.
2.  I like to snap the ends off the fresh green beans and cook them whole.  If using frozen, I buy the whole green beans.

 

Marbled Cupcakes

Soon we will be celebrating Easter which is a very important religious holiday on the Christian calendar and is celebrated worldwide.  Some of the folklore associated with Easter includes colored eggs and the easter bunny.  This may not be the Easter bunny, but here is a picture of a cute bunny rabbit that was recently in my yard.

Here in the US we have an Easter candy called Peeps.  It is a marshmallow type of candy and has been around for more than 60 years. Before automation, it took 27 hours to produce one marshmallow chick by hand with a pastry tube.  Now it takes only six minutes to create one Peep.  Whether you love or hate the Peeps, they do seem to symbolize the arrival of Spring to many people.  See just born.com for more fun facts about this colorful candy.  I always buy a few of the Peeps each Easter.

A lot of us will celebrate Easter with family gatherings and good food.  We nearly always have a ham dinner with a lot of side dishes and desserts.  This year I’m making colorful marbled cupcakes for one of our desserts.  Marbled cupcakes are typically ones that blend chocolate and white cake batters, but these cupcakes get a marbled effect from layering different colors of batter.

There are several recipes out there for this kind of cupcake.  I was inspired by the one made by two sisters crafting.  They used four different colors for their cupcakes.  I found that it was easier to only use three different colors of batter.  Check out their beautiful cupcakes and other recipes here.

I love the different colors in the cupcakes and the bright pink and blue frosting.  They are a perfect dessert for Easter or any family celebration.  I’m not good at cake decorating but I think the beauty of these cupcakes is in the colorful batter and frosting.

Marbled Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12-14
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Marbled Cupcakes:

1 box white cake mix (15.25 ounce )
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup  milk
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon lemon extract

Buttercream Frosting:

3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
1 teaspoon lemon extract

Preheat the  oven to 350°F.  Place a paper baking cup in each of 12 regular-size muffin cups and set aside.

For the Cake:

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and blend on low speed of mixer for one minute.  Scrape down sides of the bowl with a spatula.  Increase mixer speed to medium and beat an additional two minutes.

Divide the batter in 3 equal portions in separate bowls,  and tint as desired.  I used Wilton Color Rite Food Coloring and colored each bowl of batter as follows:  pink, yellow, and blue.

Use a small spoon to alternate small drops of colored cake batter into the individual cupcake liner.  Repeat until all cupcake liners are filled, filling each 2/3 to 3/4 full.  

Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool completely before frosting.

For the Frosting:

In a large bowl, with electric mixer at low speed, combine sugar, butter, cream and lemon. Beat at medium speed 1 to 2 minutes, until creamy. Add more milk until frosting is of a spreading or piping consistency.  Tint as desired.  I used pink and blue colors. Use a Wilton 2D frosting tip to frost the cupcakes or apply frosting with a knife.

Notes:  Here are a few photos from the baking process: