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Down Home Cooking

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Maryland. My home state. Not really north or south. Depending on where you live, we can be dismissed as being the opposite.

New Englanders call us Southern, for being south of the Mason Dixon Line. Those from the deep south call us Yankees.

For me, I think it means we can embrace the best of the cuisines from both sides of that imaginary line.

My family is German. We can do the whole scrapple, sauerbraten, head cheese, wurst thing, no problem. Still, we also love distinctly Southern tastes. Smithfield ham. Hominy (not far from grits). Biscuits. Fried chicken. Oysters. Shrimp. Blue crab.

Finding a cookbook that celebrates the South. In a good way. No, beyond that. In a celebratory way. That would be a great thing to add to my capabilities. I am truly enjoying cooking from Deep Run Roots. My kind of Southern cooking and more. Not drowning in butter, but using those fresh ingredients that grow so well in the temperate climate.

I am also discovering just how much my Amish (Pennsylvania Dutch) CSA has embraced and delivered the better heirlooms from the Southern food world. Things like collards, sweet potatoes, grits, cornmeal, okra, turnips.

I have made some interesting meals from this book. Mostly using what I get from my CSA. North meeting South.

Garlic confit to use in many meals. Sweet potato yogurt (OK, this stuff is awesome, I could put it on cardboard and eat it). Squash and onions that ended up as a hummus substitute.

I have also learned how to perfect my grits. Using a double boiler method.

A few other things, too. More on those in the future. If you want to try something new with your spring CSA, you might want to download Deep Run Roots. I can highly recommend it. And nobody is paying me to say that.

If you want to make something awesome, try the sweet potato yogurt.

Roast a few sweet potatoes. Scrape them out of their skins. Equal part of a Greek style yogurt. Honey, lemon juice and salt, to taste. Whirl it all together. Slather it on anything. Sprinkle a little cayenne on it to spice it up. Vivian’s recipe puts it under Collard Green dolmades, made with homemade sausage. I will probably make the dolmades some day, using Boarman’s sausage, but that picture above, with the Merguez sausage from Evermore Farm, that shows you how this base of taste can tame the spice and bring intense flavor to your dinner.

About AnnieRie

Retired, I am following my dream of living in quiet west Howard County, a rural oasis, not far from the urban chaos, but just far enough. I love to cook, bake, garden, and travel. I volunteer at Howard County Conservancy. I lead nature hikes, manage programs and show children all the wonders of nature, and the agricultural connection to their food.

4 responses »

  1. I was raised by parents both north and south of the Mason-Dixon line – they migrated to Colorado and embraced Southwestern & ranch cookin’ – I have a combnined Heritage of “Mutt” – (I can plot most of Europe and some of Eurasia, the North/South Americas in my family tree) – In the end – for me, it’s comes down to, “can I get locally? Or do I have to ship in? Does what I consume like growing where I do? Or not? etc., etc. Suffice to say, I use more butter/bacon grease for cooking from well managed local farm sources, than I do olive oil/coconut oil – BUT – just discovered Camelina oll for cooking, self-care products – Nice blend of omega 9,6,3 AND drought hardy, AND short Season, AND easy to expel oil from seeds – needless to say, plot in this 1st year of ‘annual’ focus, rather than perennial focus, is slated for camelina – – LOL

    • I am a born and raised city girl who absolutely loves the country. My mother thinks I am nuts to live out here in the “wilderness”.

      Our biggest influence growing up, was the proximity to the Bay, with all the crabs, oysters, rockfish on our table.

      I had some German dishes. Some southern dishes. Relatives who lived in the small towns were more likely to make southern dishes.

      It’s weird. Not really North or South here.

      I do try to rely on what is made closest to me, or what is brought in by small farmers, or small mom and pop businesses. Most of my olive oil is from California, because a local business sells the best flavored oils and specialty oils I have ever tasted. The cooking stuff, is from California too. I buy by the gallon from a few places in CA. And love their oils.

      Mixing my heritage with my locavore tendencies is an interesting way to cook, but I love the challenge.

  2. My go-to everyday oil is from California Olive Ranch. Our local markets all sell it. I usually get mine at our Wegmans store.

    For special oil, I have used St Helena Olive Oil, and had it shipped. Occasionally they offer large plastic jugs which are very economical for excellent oil.

    Another choice to have shipped is Sciabica. They do large format also.

    My really special natural flavored oils I get from a local mom and pop store here in the DC Area. Secolari. They source from all over the world and they get some beautiful finishing oils.


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