Ugly Maters from the Garden

Ugly Maters from the Garden

Well, y’all, we’ve about celebrated ourselves right out of our skivvies over here in the last four days. Somewhere between the circling, drumming and merry-making our first harvest came and went like so much thunder—hell, we even got rain enough to keep 911 off our speed dials as we lit up our fallen oak tree under the full moon. And the whole shebang left most of us a little thick around the middle, on account of the bounty hurling itself out of our gardens with a vengeance. I figure, it’s been a hot minute since the art of Southern kitchen magic has danced across this blog, so here you have it: my recipes for first harvest celebration. (Loosen up yor’ belts, y’all.)


Dog Day Cornbread

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 cup yellow cornmeal

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 2 tablespoons baking powder

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 2 and a quarter cups buttermilk

  • 3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 2 sticks salted butter–melted

  • 1/3 cup chopped scallions

  • handful fresh okra, chopped

  • four of five fresh jalapeno peppers, chopped (leave some seed in iffin you like the heat.)

  • Three fresh corn ears, disengaged from their maker (or one smallish can of corn, drained)

  • Y’all can also add around 8 ounces of sharp cheddar if you are of the mind.

Now, to make this here cornbread more “corny,” simply adjust the flour to cornmeal by the cup.

Whisk together wet ingredients, sift together dry then introduce them to each other proper in your favorite bowl.

Grease two regulation iron skillets or one big daddy size. (This can be done with bacon fat for extra slapdown.)

For added crunch, put around a quarter cup of good oil in skillet, then heat to a sizzle on or in stove, then pour batter into the sizzle.  (What yor’ skillet when doing this step!)

Bake until golden, serve with beans and hamhock or Alabama Garden Succotash.

Alabama Garden Succotash:

  • 1 can San Marzano tomatoes, whole with juice.

  • 2 or 3 cups fresh, chopped okra

  • 6 fresh ears of corn, disengaged from their maker (or 2 cans corn, drained)

  • Pinch sugar, salt and pepper to taste

  • Splash bacon grease (mayhap around a tablespoon or so)

  • Tablespoon GOOD white balsamic vinegar

  • Splash hot sauce—more iffin you can take it

  • Half cup of water

  • Two or three fresh, ripe maters off the vine

Bubble together for around 30 minutes, then cover and wait to cool. Serve up with catfish and cornbread. Give thanks.

Lime-Basil Shortbread Cookies

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

  • 1 stick salted butter, cold and cut into little squares

  • 2 tablespoons sliced fresh lime basil (packed)

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest

  • Half tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Now, if you have only regular basil, you might want to beef up the lime juice to a whole tablespoon.

Spin the basil leaves first in a food processor, then add everybody to the pool and pulse, carefully, until large lumps form.  Form into spoonful balls and cook at 350 degrees until lightly golden underneath—around 12 minutes, but y’all stay on this one.  Serve with coffee.

Cucumber Saturnalia

Prep time with optional yellow grape tomatoes.

Prep time with optional yellow grape tomatoes.

  • 5 or 6 thick cubed cucumbers

  • Half cup of Fig White Balsamic Vinegar (or more, if your cucs are huge)

  • Quarter cup white sugar

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1 or 2 fairly ripe maters, cubed

  • Quarter cup good olive oil

  • Half of one purple onion, finely sliced (optional)

  • Tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

Toss, cover with Saran Wrap and chill for one hour. Toss again before serving.

The final product ready to chill.

The final product ready to chill.

Serve all of these first harvest recipes with Carolina Chocolate Drops on yor’ boombox, good chilled muscadine wine and firelight—preferably barefoot.

And steady yourselves.  SFW is revving up for some right fine magic posts.


But first, True Blood, rest and homemade chocolate mint tea.