It’s the time called Dog Days, a reference to Sirius, the Dog Star, which beginning a couple of weeks ago, started rising in the sky just before daybreak. The ancients believed the Dog Star ushered in bad luck, drought and madness. Some say cuts are slower to heal. It’s a good time to relax, avoid undue stress and enjoy some easy living. Food shared with those you love is a time-honored elixir that boosts spirits. These are Dog Days dishes, some from legendary kitchens, others from cooking traditions. Plus, a wine recommendation.
Greenbrier Oven Roasted Potato Salad
A visit to the luxury resort replenishes a weary soul. This is one of their heritage recipes.
4 ½ pounds red bliss potatoes, cut into quarters
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, parsley, chives and/or dill
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt and fresh ground pepper
3 stalks celery, sliced on bias
6-8 scallions, sliced
2 roasted bell peppers, diced
4 ounces Greenbrier Mustard House Dressing (or your own mustard-based dressing)
Toss potatoes with olive oil, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper to coat thoroughly.
Spread coated potatoes on baking sheet and place in preheated 425 degree oven for 40 – 45 minutes.
Remove potatoes from oven and while still warm toss with remaining ingredients.
Taste and add additional salt and pepper if necessary.
Add garlic last for a loud garlic flavor.
Serve warm, room temperature or cold
Atlanta’s landmark Colonnade Restaurant has been serving Southern meals for decades. Always crowded, a refreshing cocktail is recommended during the wait.
1 1/2 cups white cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin.
In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the water, oil, buttermilk and eggs. Beat vigorously until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined, about 45 seconds. Pour into the prepared muffin cups and bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm.
Cold Potato Salad
2 pounds red potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup Creole mustard
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons dill pickle relish
1 (3/4 ounce) package fresh dill, stripped from the stem and chopped
1 bunch fresh scallions, green parts only, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water by at least 1 inch. Add the 3 tablespoons of kosher salt and bring to a simmer. Cook the potatoes until a fork goes in with no resistance, approximately 20-30 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and cool slightly.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together remaining ingredients. Toss in the potatoes and lightly coat with the dressing, breaking up some of the potatoes as you stir. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as desired.
Refrigerate until cold, then serve.
Aunt Lacy’s Catfish Tacos
1 1/4 pounds wild catfish fillets
2 to 3 teaspoons spicy seasoning blend
8 corn or flour taco-size tortillas, warmed
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup home-style salsa
Sprinkle catfish with Tony Chachere’s Original Creole seasoning.
In a lightly oiled skillet, cook catfish for 2 to 4 minutes per side. When almost done, break up the fish with a spatula into 1- to 2-inch pieces.
Spread about 1/2 tablespoon sour cream on tortillas. Top each with 1 tablespoon salsa and a few pieces of fish and serve.
Leah Chase’s Butter Cake
New Orleans’ beloved “Queen of Creole Cuisine,” Leah Chase was a legendary chef, restauranteur and art collector.
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled but soft to the touch, plus more for greasing the pan
1 pound powdered sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
2 2/3 cups cake flour, sifted once after measuring, plus more for flouring the pan
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
2 teaspoons vanilla
Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-inch tube pan with vegetable shortening or soft butter, and dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour and set the pan aside.
Cut the sticks of butter into 6 to 8 tablespoons each, and place all the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high until the butter is in one mass, 1 minute. Stop the mixer and add the powdered sugar. Drape a kitchen towel over the top of the mixer so you don’t get showered with sugar. Start on low speed and blend the sugar to incorporate. Increase the speed to medium and let the mixture beat until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time and beat on medium-low until blended. Stop the machine after every two eggs are added and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Repeat with the remaining eggs. With the machine off, add the flour to the mixture. Add salt, if desired. Mix on low speed to incorporate the flour, about 30 seconds. Add the vanilla, and beat on low speed until incorporated, about 15 seconds.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl with the spatula, and turn the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth out the top and bake until the cake is well browned, the center springs back to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes.
Run a knife around the edges of the pan, shake the pan gently to loosen the cake, and turn it out onto a plate. Place a cooling rack over the plate and flip the cake so that it is top-side up on the rack. Let cool 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.
Wine suggestion: 2018 St. Supéry Virtú, a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.
Stay Safe. Eat Well. Love One Another!