Gathering around the table and breaking bread with friends, or new acquaintances has always been a favorite recreational activity. No matter our differences, food always has the ability to bring us back to basics. It provokes in us a truly special smile, when an unexpected emotion or blissful moment is given to us.
My favorite compliments have always been when someone bites into a dish and they are overcome with being transported through time. Sometimes this is on purpose when I attempt to replicate a dish, other times it is just an unexpected surprise. It is for this reason I have always believed recipes are for sharing. Sure I have a few little tricks up my sleeve, but I’m always excited to share those as well. What guests don’t realize is the gift their smiles give me. The emotions beyond words that fill up my heart space and remind me why I’m in this business.
It would be impossible to write this article without acknowledging the loss of creative genius last week. Along with the death of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, the recent two weeks have taken a dear childhood friend and fellow chef, as well as the husband of a childhood friend who also left us too soon. All of these souls shared one commonality, they truly inspired wherever they went. The world is still catching our breath after receiving the news. My heart goes out to their families.
When my father and grandmother died, I was overwhelmed by the amount of food that showed up on our doorstep. In our community, folks show love and nurture each others hearts with food. When we gather together as a community, most events have always incorporated food. And when we gather as a family, wether on a small or a large scale, my family has always attempted to replicate special dishes inspired by family cooks who supported, encouraged, and in many cases raised us.
This week I had the pleasure of attending a family reunion from my grandmother, Nan-Nan’s mother’s side of the family. The Robinson Family Reunion met for the 100th time in Georgetown, Kentucky, near my grandmother’s childhood town of Stamping Ground. The luncheon is always a potluck, and although several folks pick up store-bought dishes, most folks make something a family member would cook up to warm hearts. If I’m being honest, the food is my favorite part of the reunion. It’s a rare opportunity to be taken back in time. It never stops us from missing and longing for those who are no longer with us, but the tender bites can distract us when the tears still come down our cheeks.
This week’s recipes are inspired from my family table. When we share food, eat together, and invite others to our table we are facilitating a unique environment to learn about ourselves along with others. Give today’s recipes a whirl, but remember they will taste even better with a friend.
Good luck and enjoy!
Bacon and Herb-Stuffed Eggs
(Makes 2 Dozen Halves)
1 dozen eggs
3 ounces cream cheese,
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
Hard-boil eggs and peel. Cut the eggs lengthwise into halves and carefully remove the yolks. Process the yolks, cream cheese, milk and salt in a food processor until smooth, scraping the side of the bowl one Reserve 1 tablespoon of the bacon. Stir the remaining bacon, chives and dill weed into the yolk mixture. Spoon or pipe the yolk mix into the egg white halves and sprinkle with the reserved bacon. Serve immediately or store, covered, in the refrigerator.
Southern Potato Salad
(Makes 6 Cups)
2 lbs potatoes
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp stone ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2/3 cup chopped celery
1 onion, minced
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 cup mayo
1 tsp celery salt
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
Paprika for garnish
Combine the potatoes and salt to taste with enough water to cover in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 12 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Drain the potatoes and cut into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Whisk the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, mustard and a dash of paprika in a bowl until combined. Pour over warm potatoes and gently mix. Cover and chill.
Add celery, onion, egg, mayo, and celery salt to the mix several hours before serving and return to fridge. Garnish with parsley and paprika just before serving.
Corn Bread Muffins
(Preheat oven to 450 degrees)
(Makes 1 dozen)
1 3/4 cups vornmeal
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking poweder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 ears fresh corn, cooked and kernels removed
3 green onion bulbs, minced
Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a bowl and mix well. Whisk the buttermilk, eggs, and oil in a bowl until blended and stir in the corn kernels and green onion bulbs. Add the buttermilk mixture to the cornmeal mixture and mix well. Spoon the batter into thte lightly greased or paper-lined muffin cups and bake for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the centers comes out clean.
Old-Fashioned Banana Pudding
Preheat to 350 degrees.
3 cups heavy whipping cream
10 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
8 egg yolks
1 (1-pound) baguette, cut into 1 inch slices
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons white chocolate shavings
Heat 3 cups cream and 10 ounces white chocolate chips in a double boiler over simmering water until the white chocolate melts, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat. Whisk the milk, sugar, egg yolks and eggs in a saucepan until blended. Cook over low heat until warm, stirring occasionally. Gradually add the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture, stirring constantly until blended.
Arrange the baguette slices over the bottom of a greased 9×13-inch baking dish and pour 1/2 of the egg mix over the top. Let settle and top with the remaining egg mixture. Bake, covered with foil, for one hour.
Remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes longer or until golden brown. Melt 8 ounces white chocolate in a saucepan over low heat. Remove the heat and stir in 6 tablespoons cream. Drizzle over the warm bread pudding and sprinkle with the white chocolate shavings. Serve immediately.
The photos and recipes used in todays article are from the kitchen of Chef Babz ([email protected]) with a little help from her family at the Robinson Family 100th Reunion.