Monday, September 1, 2008

The South: My Tribute!

It's no secret I love Southern food. Fry it, dye it, and flip it to the side I'll eat it - as long as it's served with hot sauce, Texas Pete specifially. Recently, I had two drips to the South - one to Memphis/Southaven, Mississippi and the other to Spartanburg, South Carolina. Both trips were a culinary delight for me - there were some hits and some misses, but overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my dining experiences. I was inspired - how so? Here's the menu:

Fresh salmon cakes with a lemon butter drizzle, a quick corn chowder with maple smoked bacon and oven roasted rosemary potatoes, and the star of the show...a buttermilk biscuit with a sweet tea syrup. Yes, you read correctly...a syrup inspired by the drink of the South...sweet tea! The best part was this was simple and easy enough to do as an everyday meal.

Let's get cooking!

Quick Corn Chowder
5 strips of maple smoked bacon
1cup of chopped onion (half of a large onion should do)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 large potatoes, diced
2 table spoons of olive oil
3 ears of corn, shucked
2 cups of unsalted/low sodium chicken stock
1 tablespoon of dried rosemary
1/4 cup of white wine
1/4 cup of heavy cream
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. When ready mix potatoes, salt, pepper, rosemary, and olive oil together. Roast on a cookie sheet for about 10 minutes, or until tender and crisp around the edges. In a pot, cook bacon until almost done. Add onion, celery, garlic, corn and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute. Add chicken stock and white wine. Check seasoning and if need be add salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until reduced over high heat. Once reduced, add cream, sugar, and cornstarch. Reduce heat and add roasted potatoes. Cook for about 2 minutes and serve.

Salmon Cakes
2 5-ounce salmon fillets, cut into small chunks
1/4 cup of minced onion
1/4 cup of minced celery
1 minced garlic clove
Zest of 1 lemon
1 egg
1/4 cup of milk or cream
1/4 cup of corn meal
salt and pepper
olive oil

Saute onion, celery, and garlic until almost transparent and tender. Add to a mixing bowl. Add salmon, egg, cream, corn meal, lemon zest, and salt and pepper. Form into small cakes and cook on one side over medium heat until golden brown. Flip over and immediately put pan into a 400 degree oven for 6 minutes. When done drizzle with a mxiture of melted butter and fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Sweet Tea Syrup

2 cups of unsweetened tea (regular Lipton will do the trick, this works best if you brew it yourself)
Sugar 1
2 tablespoons of water
1/2 teaspoon Cornstarch
Fresh lemon juice

In a small sauce pan add tea and sugar. Taste the mixture for the desired sweetness. Cook over medium heat until tea reduces to a sweet sticky syrup. Add two tablespoons of water and whisk in the cornstarch until incorporated well. Finish the syrup with a sqeeze of fresh lemon juice. Top this with your favorite biscuit recipe and enjoy.

Isn't the world better with bacon? This starts off the quick corn chowder!

Diced potatoes - ready for roasting.

They're done!

Freshly shucked corn!

Fresh salmon fillets - cubing them for the cakes!

Lemon and seafood...a perfect combination!

The salmon cakes - notice the cast iron skillet!

The quick corn chowder bowled up!

The plating...notice the sweet tea syrup.


Nik Snacks said...

Salmon is a staple at my house. At least once a week a can of salmon comes out. I love it! Yours look just like mine at my house.

Well done on the chowder and tea glaze. You're getting creative like me! Am I rubbing off on you?? :)

glamah16 said...

Sweet tea syrup! You are onto something. Excellent meal. Again where was my invite?;-)

OhioMom said...

As a northern girl with southern roots I can totally relate to country cooking! My daddy made the bestest biscuits in the world ... with lard :)

LadyLee said...

Very nice indeed... I will definitely be hooking up that sweet tea syrup... very nice, all of it!

Shý said...

I'd been wanting to learn how to make salmon cakes...thanks for the tasty 411, gonna to make some later this week :) I'll tell you have it turned out.

Anonymous said...


I love you.


I do.

Sweet tea syrup? You my friend, need to copyright that ASAP.

Remember folks, you saw it here first.

Did I tell you I love you?

Dragon said...

It all looks delicious but what really stood out was the salmon cake and syrup. Stunning!

Dee said...

Sweet tea syrup? Wow, I wouldn't have thought that up. Clever, D!

So, are all these amazing meals just regular dinners, or do you keep having parties we don't hear about?

Anonymous said...

Everything sounds and looks delicious (and fattening)..but what the heck! The sweet tea syrup is a new one on me...very interesting :)

Foodycat said...

That all sounds good, but the chowder sounds AMAZING! Yum!

Dawn said...

Oh I love a good chowder. Definitely a southern feel on your dishes here.
Love that crispy coating on those salmon cakes.

fuzzy said...

I am going to hurt you and congratulate you at the same time for giving me so many ideas!

Keisha "Kitten" Isaacs said...

I'm officially mad at you!!!! Why didn't I get an invite for the salmon cakes??? I'm terribly disappointed right must cook me some and make it up to me...this time it's not an excuse for a meal...I'm crying....when should I expect my makeup salmon cakes?... :)

Elle said...

THAT is some gorgeous food! I just finished dinner--and this post makes me hungry all over again.

Proud Italian Cook said...

I like the roasting of the potatoes for the chowder, nice touch!

English Mum said...

Hello! I arrived via Little Bird Eats. Mmmm those salmon cakes look gorgeous. And I've never cooked chowder so might have to give this a go over here in rainy Ireland - I don't suppose it makes the sun shine too does it?

Dhanggit said...

Everything in this meal is beautiful and exquisite!! yummy

Anonymous said...

Wow! As a grits loving sweet tea drinking South Carolinian these look wonderful!

Opinionated Diva said...

I'm with Iesha...just in love with you.

Why aren't all men as crafty as you in the kitchen???? gonna have a sista planning a trip to Chi town just to stalk your kitchen.

D...another outstanding mouth watering menu!

You ever thought about trying out for one of those food network shows?

dessex said...

anything with salmon I'm down for. One of my favorite fish

Gloria (Canela) said...

mmmm! all this look yummuy!!! xGloria

Cooking and the City said...

everything looks so good, especially the corn chowder! being in Aus I've never had biscuits like that :-)

Adam said...

I just stumbled on your blog dude, and your food is awesome. Your passion for food totally shines through.

Great job on the salmon cakes too, I can practically smell them. Keep up the good work :)

Haley said...

Hi! I just stumbled upon your blog, and all I can saw is, my mouth is watering! Sweet tea syrup... I'm in heaven! Everything looks delicious! I'll definitely have to frequent your blog!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

OMG, that looks ever so scrumptious! I love that kind of tasty and highly comforting food! I'm drooling...



Cluizel said...

Dammit! Now I am crazy hungry and it is only 10:48am...that looks amazing! And I LOVE salmon...

Complaint Department Manager said...

Sweet tea syrup...GENIUS! Pulled out the stops and threw out a curve ball yet again. You nailed it on the Texas Pete's sauce, it really is good. You might also want to try "Kick Ass" brand hot sauces, they have a great variety and flavor as well.

Keep this stuff coming.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I love love love corn chowder - and bacon too! What a great recipe.

Your sweet tea recipe is very clever too.

Southern food really is great. As my mother once said, down south they can make your shoe taste good.

Natashya said...

Loving those salmon cakes!
Fed Ex me one?
You are right, a compound butter would make my cornbread even herbier and tastier. Next time!

samantha said... a north carolina girl, the whole salmon cake thing really threw me off. are you sure salmon? i live in the pacific north west now and i gotta say salmon ain't southern! but hey...they still look really really good...cheers.

Darius T. Williams said...

Hey Samantha!

Salmon cakes are hugely popular in the south. They refer to them as salmon croquettes. For the African American diet, these are are mainstay. We typically eat them on a weekend morning with grits or rice, scrambled eggs, a biscuit and some really good maple syrup.

We also eat these for lunch or dinner just the same. Google Pillar Rock Salmon - this is the brand of choice.

I did a tribute using fresh salmon cuz I had it on hand. Try it me though - it's definitely southern!

Kevin said...

This meal sounds great! One day I would like to get the chance to visit some of the southern states to try the food.

Rose&Thorn said...

Wow, you're a fantastic cook, your meals looks sooooo good. I don't know Southern cooking (except the fried chicken), but you have definitely wetted my appetite to experiment with some of these dishes. We love spicy food, so I'm sure it's going to be well liked.

Jan said...

WOW sweet tea syrup! I'm loving those salmon cakes!

Sexxy Luv said...

I love salmon croquettes! my grandma use to get sown on these! lol

i just adore you and the food you cook up!

Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

Darius, congratulations. An award well deserved. First time on your blog, thanks to foodycat. Your menu is divine. I love crab cakes. Good job.

Nicole said...

Sounds good. I think the salmon cakes would be my favorite!!!

Jeanne said...

OMG, look at that corn chowder! If that isn't comfort food, I don't know what is. I've always wanted to visit the South, but I just know I'll come back twice the size I am now!

rebecca said...

The Star

Twinkle, twinkle, little star!

How I wonder what you are,

Up above the world so high,

Like a diamond in the sky.


When the blazing sun is gone,

When he nothing shines upon,

Then you show your little light,

Twinkle, twinkle all the night.

The dark blue sky you keep

And often thro' my curtains peep,

For you never shut your eye

Till the sun is in the sky.


'Tis your bright and tiny spark

Lights the traveler in the dark;

Though I know not what you are

Twinkle, twinkle, little star!

-----by aoc power leveling



love this rice, so many ingredients in that creation!

Southern Plate said...

Hello Darius, I just found your blog by your comment on mine and I am so glad you left that because I LOVE IT HERE!!

You just seem so friendly and personable and your food looks and sounds fabulous, I feel like I just met a new friend and am hanging out getting supper cooked for me!

Great blog! I look forward to being a regular!
Christy :)