Category Archives: Southern Style

everything inspired by the South and the small town

Mother’s Day and Fried Mashed Potatoes

This tasty (and fast) recipe is in honor of MOTHER’S DAY! Mother’s Day is this Sunday kids, so take note. I’m sure everyone can think of a lovely lady in their life, family or not, who has nurtured you/pestered you/made you who you are today.

Fried mashed potatoes are one of those things that Momma makes that make any day a little more delicious. They are also made out of leftovers, and when one lives alone one generally does not make the kind of family-style fare that ends up as leftovers. So I only get them when I go home to Momma. And because I am in the library working on a final that is due in a few hours, I obviously have time to type out the recipe real quick.

You Need:

leftover mashed potatoes

1 egg, beaten (optional)

vegetable oil of some kind, for frying

salt and pepper

optional: grated cheese, preferably cheddar

Grab your bowl of mashed potatoes and check out the consistency. If they’re fresh and/or contain lots of butter, you can probably form them into patties without adding anything. If they are crumbly, stir in a beaten egg. Season with some extra salt/pepper/grated cheese if you’re feeling fancy, and form into patties about 1/2 inch thick.

Thickly coat the bottom of a skillet with vegetable oil. 1/4 inch or less should be plenty. We are not actually deep frying here, just giving those bad boys a crispy coating. I usually test my oil with a drop of water, but I think this is a fire hazard. The proper way is to drop in a little piece of bread and see if it sizzles.

When oil is hot, lay your patties in and fry until the bottom is golden brown. Flip once, and continue cooking until hot and tasty. Serve with ketchup and fried eggs.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mom and I in Scotland

My mom and I in Scotland on the banks of Loch Lomond. I am no doubt dreaming of fried mashed potatoes.

Not Your Mama’s Meatloaf

Meatloaf is the girl with a bad reputation that most people would love if they just got to know her. Warm, comforting, and tasty as leftovers, meat loaf is homestyle boy bait at its finest. Of course, plenty of girls dig mom food too. This is a perfect meal when your honey’s had a bad day (as long as they’re not vegetarian).

better meatloaf

my finished product, with vintage styling.

This version is kicked up a bit with a bottle of beer and plenty of spice. If your only memories of meatloaf are cafeteria-style, now’s the time to give it another chance.

1 lb ground beef (or lamb, or turkey)

1 bottle of dark beer (taste tested with Boulevard Brewing Co. Bully Porter)

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 of one onion, finely chopped OR grated if you’d like to soften the taste

1/2 tsp. dried basil

2/3 cup dry bread crumbs (you can find packaged bread crumbs anywhere. dry stuffing mix or crushed crackers work too.)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (technically optional, but really makes a difference)

salt (start with 1/2 teaspoon), black pepper (generous pinch), and garlic powder (two generous sprinklings)

your choice of topping (see below)

Put the ground beef in a large plastic bowl. Pour in 3/4 cup of beer. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a little garlic powder and stir gently to combine. Be gentle; you’ll be mixing more later and you don’t want to pulverize the meat. Just make sure the beer is evenly mixed in. Cover and refrigerate for as much time as you have, no more than a day.

Note: If you don’t remember to marinate in advance, no biggie. Just remember to add the beer later on.

Add eggs, bread crumbs, chopped onion, basil, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir with a fork to combine, adding another sprinkle of salt, pepper, or garlic if you feel the need. Slide the whole mixture into a loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray. If you don’t have a loaf pan, turn the meat onto a greased cookie sheet or glass casserole pan and shape your own loaf. Slide into a preheated 350° oven and bake for 1 hour and ten minutes.

I highly recommend using one of these topping options…

Like Momma’s: mix 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar OR molasses, and a teaspoon dry mustard OR one teaspoon of regular yellow mustard. Spoon over top of meatloaf halfway through cooking and return to oven.

BBQ: before baking, skip Worcestershire sauce and add 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke. The stuff exists, trust me, and it’s deliciously weird. Halfway through cooking, spoon 1/2 cup BBQ sauce over the top and return to oven.

Restaurant Style: prepare a 79¢ packet of mushroom gravy according to directions. Drizzle gravy over finished meatloaf, reserving some for the table. Don’t forget to throw away the packet where your honey can’t see.

Let the loaf sit for ten minutes or so before slicing, and serve with mashed potatoes.

Hello, Dolly!

Being overseas for Thanksgiving has given me a hankering for some Americana. My oven won’t accommodate a turkey, so I’ve turned to our country’s legends.

Like Dolly Parton.

Clearly, the feather-haired high priestess of country was not always a caricature. Back in her Jolene-crooning hey day, she was a bonafide beauty.

The Look:

Mauve nails, long and oval. This shape is back in a big way, so don’t be afraid to rock some Dynasty-worthy claws. Check out Rihanna’s latest cover in Marie Claire for inspiration.

Big hair. The “natural look” is for Puritans. If you want authentic Nashville hair, artifice is your friend. All you need to rock some heartbreaking hair is a teasing comb, the cheapest hard-hat-hold hairspray you can find, and some hot rollers if you’re feeling fancy. Peroxide optional.

and, naturally, some sass to defend all that feminine glamour.

Squeeze the girls into a polyester pantsuit and you are good to go!

Love!

Things my Mama Taught Me

In addition to the usual (how to boil water, how to cross the street, and that it’s not polite to stare), here’s a few brilliant Things my Mama Taught Me.

1. How to Clean a Hairbrush. First, use a fine tooth comb to get all the hair out from between the bristles. This should be done fairly often, but leaving a few will help the brush glide through your hair. Fact. Every month or so, give the pad of the brush a good scrub using a toothbrush and a dab of shampoo.

2. How to Remove Corrosion from a Car Battery. Say wha? This one can save you loads of money… if your battery has gone dead for suspicious reasons, the terminals (knobs where you’d hook on jumper cables) may be corroded. You can fix this for about 25¢. Pour some baking soda (not powder) in a bowl and add a little water for a thick paste. Dip a toothbrush in the paste and get to scrubbing. Rinse with plain water. Also, please make sure your car is off.

3. Always use cold water to get blood out of fabric. Good Mafia trick.

4. Never make radical hair choices in times of depression. Every ladymag under the sun will tell you that a “new look” is just what you need to get your swagger back. This is a lie. In 2 weeks, you will wonder why the hell someone let you lop 6 inches off your hair while wearing sweatpants and eating nothing but Chunky Monkey for a week. Do yourself a favor and watch a Liz Taylor movie instead.

5. No one has to buy the cow if they’re getting the milk for free. You can take that however you like, but it’s always good to keep a little mystery!

Thanks Mom!!!

oh, and no wire hangers.

Experience the Tradition: How to Make Sweet Tea

Real Sweet Tea (pronounced thayyy) is an absolute lifestyle in the south. Whether served straight up, spiked with bourbon, or with a little mint or lemon, sweet tea is as much a part of summer as charred meat and bikinis.

Meaning that my first summer in Boulder was a bit of a shock. Boulderites don’t generally like their beverages caffeinated and tooth-crackingly sweet. Now I get that Kombucha is great for you, but it just ain’t the same. The solution? Make your own! It’s ridiculously easy, much cheaper, and nothing makes you feel like a retro southern hostess quite like offering the men in your life a tall glass of Sweet Tea.

You need:

white sugar, roughly a cup. If this is your first time be gentle and start with a half-cup. Just remember that you’re making at least a gallon, and that a whole cup of bad bad white sugar works out to around 30 calories per glass.

3 family size tea bags, I recommend Luzianne iced tea blend.

a big glass picnic jug, I found mine in the picnic section of the grocery store. Most stores carry these in summer, or you can find one at Goodwill. You could brew it in a pot but where’s the fun in that?

Pour your sugar into the jug. This is the most important part. If you add it later, you don’t get proper caramelization. Wrap the strings of the tea bags around a fork, and hang the fork over the outside edge of the jar. The bags should now dangle nicely, keeping the paper tags out of your tea. Bring a soup pot of water to a boil. Pour the boiling water over the tea bags and into the jar. See that insta-melt of the sugar? That right there is the difference between Sweet Tea and sweetened iced tea. Minimal stirring, and the sweetness should have a smooth mellow edge bordering on caramel. Let steep for about 5 minutes, then pop in the fridge. I always forget to remove the tea bags, but I like mine strong. Play around with it.

When cool, serve in a tall glass with ice and a lemon wedge. Sip on your porch while bitching about the neighbors.

If you’re using a glass jar with a plastic lid, heads up transporting hot tea. Heat makes things expand. Lifting by lid while hot = serious burns.

note: “Experience the Tradition” shamelessly pulled from the Luzianne homepage.