Author: lindacarmanblog

Memphis in May

Soon after the National Cornbread Cook-Off, another great Tennessee festival takes place at the opposite end of the state. Memphis in May will celebrate the unique culture of this grand old Mississippi River town. In addition, the festival pays tribute to another country. This year the festival will honor Colombia, showcasing the country’s food and culture. The month kicks-off with the Beale Street Music Festival which celebrates the music of African-American musicians who have been coming to Memphis’ Beale Street to perform since the1800’s. The festival features well-known artists performing with local musical acts. In late May, the festival will host The World Champion Barbecue Contest – the largest pork barbecue competition in the world. The cuts, rub, sauce, wood and preparation methods come together to produce amazing varieties, the merits of each hotly debated among aficionados.  And I must pay tribute to those small pit masters who patiently perfect their craft for local tastes and inspire our love for barbecue. Barbecue sides like slaw, beans, pickles, white bread, cornbread or hushpuppies are another matter …

Rotisserie Chicken Streamlines Spring Suppers

I’m sure many of you have discovered that rotisserie chicken is a great shortcut to many of our favorite dishes. From chicken salad to casseroles, it dramatically cuts preparation time. Of course, roasting or cooking chicken at home is the most economical option, but there are times when convenience is worth it. I like to debone the whole chicken and freeze the excess to use later. A chicken casserole is perfect for a spring supper when the evenings may still be cool. Easy Pickin’ Chicken Pie has been a Martha White® Kitchen favorite for years and one of my “go to” recipes. I have often combined the filling ingredients in a baking dish in the morning and stored in the refrigerator until dinnertime. Then all that’s left to do is mix self-rising flour, milk and melted butter. Pour over the top and bake according to recipe directions. To be so simple, it is amazingly comforting and delicious. We’ve talked about cornbread salad, the Southern version of the classic Italian bread salad, but I don’t think …

National Cornbread Festival Celebrates Cast Iron and Cornbread

It’s almost time for the 2017 National Cornbread Festival! The lovely little town of South Pittsburg, Tennessee has opened its heart and streets to thousands of visitors for 21 years. There are plenty of things to do: music, crafts, a carnival, tours, plenty of good cornbread and more.  One tour you will not want to miss is of the Lodge Manufacturing Company foundry where they’ve been making cast iron and cookware since 1896. This year’s festival runs April 29-30, 2017. Celebrating the perfect marriage of cornbread and cast iron, Saturday features a 4-H Cornbread Cook-Off in the morning and the National Championship Cornbread Cook-Off in the afternoon. Over the years, we have been amazed by the creative recipes entered in the contest, many of which have become a family favorite. After last year’s festival, I shared the winning recipe from the Former Judge’s cook-off. Bob’s Bama Hoecake Sliders are a tribute to some of our favorite Southern foods. Entered by Bob Carlton, a columnist for the Birmingham News, his sliders are a creative combination of …

Tacos or Pizza for Fun Family Supper

How about something fun for supper on Friday or Saturday night? Tacos? Pizza? Making a meal at home as a family can be fun for the kids and they love to help out in the kitchen.  It makes for great family time. If your bunch loves tacos, here is a fun recipe I’m sure they’ll enjoy. With only six main ingredients, you’ll have this Have-It-Your-Way Taco Pie in the oven in a flash. The easy taco filling is simply ground beef, salsa and chili powder. Let the kids stir up the cornbread crust made with a convenient cornbread mix, egg and milk. Pour in a hot skillet – you may need to help with this – top with the meat mixture and in the oven it goes. The batter rises around the edges and forms a delicious crust. The “have-it-your-way” part comes with a choice of a variety of toppings. The kids can pick and choose their favorites to top off their piece of the pie. If pizza is more your style, why not try …

Easy Coconut Cakes for Easter Dinner

Coconut Cakes have been a Southern holiday favorite for generations. These wonderfully delicious cakes were probably saved for the holidays because a cake made with fresh coconut is indeed a labor of love. Fresh coconut, drained of the water, cracked open, removed from the shell, peeled and hand-grated was no easy task. But that work did create one of the most beloved cakes. I am sure many of you continue to make these extraordinary cakes to the delight of your family, who heap praise on you for your creation – making it all worthwhile. If you have neither the skill nor time to bake the classic, thankfully there are other options. Supermarkets offer a variety of coconut options. In addition, coconut milk, coconut cream and cream of coconut are canned products often used in recipes. Just remember, they are not interchangeable so be sure you check the recipe for the exact product. Cream of Coconut Cake is delicious and easy to make. This recipe follows the tradition of classic coconut cakes, using only egg whites …

Muffin Mixes: Shortcut Fruit Breads

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a Martha White® Muffin Mix user who wanted to know if she could make banana bread with Martha White Banana Nut Flavored Muffin Mix. Well, the truth is that over the years, I have made several versions of fruit bread loaves with muffin mix, but I couldn’t remember if I had ever simply mixed up according to package directions and baked in a loaf pan. So I decided to try it. I sprayed an 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-1/2-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and mixed two pouches of Martha White Banana Nut Flavored Muffin Mixes with 1 cup milk. I baked it at 375°F for 35 minutes and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out. It was really good!  Moist and delicious with a typical nice crack in the top. Now I was on a roll, so I baked one of my favorite “dressed-up” muffin mix loaves – Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Snack Loaf. It is delicious, too! With the …

Common Baking Mistakes

If you’ve baked you’ve probably made mistakes – I certainly have. My mistakes are often the result of being in a hurry or getting distracted. I wish I could tell you I have the solution for lack of time, but I don’t. However, there is something that helps with distraction, if I just do it! Here are some common baking mistakes and tips to help avoid them. We don’t read the recipe before we start: Reading the recipe all the way through before starting reminds us to check to be sure we have all the ingredients, to preheat the oven and prep the pans. You may also discover cooling or chilling times you hadn’t counted on. We don’t prep all the ingredients: It is so tempting to start a recipe, measuring as we go, but prepping all the ingredients first eliminates a lot of mishaps. If you’re interrupted, it’s much easier to remember where you were. Measure ingredients correctly: Although you can wing a lot of cooking, baking is different – it’s as much a …