Page 1

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

Love Chocolate for the of page 34

$

4.95

DELICIOUSLY SEXY EGGPLANTS CHICKEN AND ANDOUILLE SAUSAGE GUMBO

www.eatdrinkmississippi.com

PIZZA FARM OFFERS UNIQUE LEARNING EXPERIENCE eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI  1


presents

WHEN & WHERE

April 5, 2014 Renaissance at Colony Park, Ridgeland, MS VIP TASTING 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM $125 in advance (includes Grand Tasting) GRAND TASTING 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM $80 in advance, $90 at the door

TICKETS AVAILABLE AT SANTESOUTH.COM BENEFITTING THE

2  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH


VOLUME 3 • NUMBER 2

2014

FEBRUARY/MARCH

64

32 “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” • Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own •

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 3


kt_le_creuset_4.5x4.625.pdf

1

3/7/13

12:31 PM

Why advertise with us? Reach over 35,000 readers with each issue.

C

M

Y

CM

MY

CY

Distributed throughout Mississippi and more than 35 states.

CMY

K

Mississippi’s only magazine dedicated to the food and hospitality it’s famous for.

3720 Hardy Street, Suite 3 | Hattiesburg, MS | 601-261-2224 www.KitchenTableNow.com

For more information, call 601.756.1584 or email: info@ eatdrinkmississippi.com.

Cooking

Harvest

. t. drink ea Hunter's

ks Josh Mar

son with Veni

75 Yea rs of Edam

Cheese

t. dri M

ea MISSISSIPPI

Caf CL IM

B

Canada'

n SIPP k.

ISSIS

James Beard Dinner

s Missis

sippi Que en

I

drink. eat. MISSISSIPPI The Crawfish Boil

Comeback Sauce

Mrs. Ann Straw ie's Famou berry Cake s page 22

Giardina's on ories Keeping Traditi M egant em & El ping Fresh ap

Sw page 62 es & Cooki

page 28

Collins Tuohy

RY/M

H 201

AUGUST/S

EPTEMBER

LY 2013

JUNE/JU

ARC

3

2, NUMBER 4

IPPI

MISSISS

Shr & Griimp ts

A Southern Favor

eat. drink.

Picneic MISSISSIPPI

APRIL/MAY 2013

NUMBER 5

VOLUME

e

RUA

VOLUME 2,

eat. drink. . k MISSISSIP n i r PI d at. FEB

cue nning Barbe

Award-Wi

2013 /JANUARY i.com

MBER

DECE s issipp atdrinkmiss Dairy Farm www.e

ite

page 18

Prime Time

for a

eat. drink.

at. dri eat. drink. nk. MISS IS MISSISSIPPI

MISSISSIPPI

page 28

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2013

DECE

MBER

/JANU ARY 2014

Easy

H etizers

SIPPI

ber 2013

August/Septem

ol Small Touches, BigA Flavor pp iday page 46

page

June/July

eat. drink.

26

MISSISSIPPI

1

WORLD’S ONLY APRON MUSE UM IN IUKA CLINTON LUNC HROOM LADIE IN RACHAEL RAY'S CAFE S GO HEAD TO HEAD TERIA COO K-OFF GRANDMA’ S POUND CAKE eat. drink. MISSISSI

2013

www.eatdrinkmississippi.com

4  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

BAKED AND FRIED PUMPKIN CAKE PASS CH RISTIA MORE N OYSTE THANTEAM ROBERT ST. JOHN AND WYATT WATERS R FESTIV 30 GR AL EAT REC TO CREATE AN ITALIAN PALATE IPES FO SUPER R THE HOLID GAME DELTA HOT TAMALES AYS DAY GR UB

PPI  1

2013


CONTENTS 15

14 WHAT'S HOT Biscuits - A Southern Staple

16 DELICIOUSLY SEXY EGGPLANTS Morrison's Eggplant Casserole Is Welcome Addition to Table

22 FROM ALASKA TO NATCHEZ Chef Regina Charboneau LIving Life to the Fullest

28 FEATURED FESTIVAL Catfish in the Alley

32 MISSISSIPPI MADE Family Finds Hot Success With Dad's Disappearing Salsa

40 COMMUNITY Pizza Farm Offers Unique Learning Experience

16

50 FROM MISSISSIPPI TO BEYOND Twinkle Van Winkle Is a Shining Star in Indianapolis

48 IN THE BLOGLIGHT

74

55 FROM THE BOOKSHELF Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey

56 RAISE YOUR GLASS Sweet Indulgence for One Cinnamon Chip Mocha Milkshake

58 THE HILLS Smith. in Corinth

62 THE DELTA Sumner Grille in Sumner

66 THE PINES Lee's Steakhouse in Sebastopol

44 THERE'S A FUNGUS AMONG US 70 CAPITAL/RIVER Mississippi Natural Products Local Supplier of Shiitake Mushrooms

21

IN EVERY ISSUE 6 From the Editor 8 From Our Readers 12 Fabulous Foodie Finds 20 Deep South Dish 78 Events 80 Coming to Terms Recipe/Ad Index 82 Till We Eat Again

King's Tavern in Natchez

74 COASTAL Fleur de Lis Bakery in Gulfport

Gracefully Gluten Free

ON THE COVER: Share the love of chocolate this Valentine's Day. See page 34. Recipe, food styling, and photography by Lorie Roach.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI  5


{ from the editor }

L

John Taylor, J.J., John, and Anne Morgan Carney recently attended the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn.

cuits

ade Bis

Homem

Fried Pork Chops with Fried Okra and White Gravy

Fudge

ife is sweet in Mississippi! From sweet tea and homemade biscuits to friendly neighbors and genuine hospitality, the Magnolia State is a special place to call home. Speaking of biscuits, the rest of the world is finally realizing what we've known all along...how awesome homemade biscuits are. 2014 is predicted to be the "Year of the Biscuit." Turn to page 14 to see what I'm talking about. We've just survived Christmas, the sweetest time of the year, and one of the sweetest days of the year is around the corner - Valentine's Day. I say it's one of the sweetest days of the year because it's celebrated with an array of sweets like candy, cookies, cupcakes, and chocolate. According to Nielsen, Americans purchase more than 58 million pounds of chocolate for the big day. This year, why not give a gift from the heart and make something homemade for those you love? On page 34, Lorie Roach shares three great chocolate recipes that your sweetie(s) will surely savor. Choose from Chocolate Eclair Poke Brownies, Chocolate-Hazelnut Malteds, or Cinnamon-Coffee Chocolate Gravy. Just reading the recipe titles makes me salivate. On Valentine's Day, you just can't go wrong with chocolate. If you sit down at a high end restaurant in Mississippi and see "Mississippi Shiitake Mushrooms" on the menu, chances are they're from Mississippi Natural Products in New Hebron. They're grown in my neck of the woods and we're so proud of the fantastic job they're doing. The process of growing mushrooms is quite interesting. Check out their story on page 44 and see how they're providing local farmers with an alternative crop and supplying restaurants and grocers with gourmet mushrooms. My family and I recently attended the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn. to help cheer our Ole Miss Rebels on to victory over Georgia Tech. I knew before we left home that we'd be dining at the legendary Loveless Cafe. It was #1 on my culinary bucket list for Nashville. We had tried to dine there once before, but weren't willing to hang around for the more than two hour wait. This time I was determined to get my hands on one of their famous homemade biscuits no matter how long it took. Their fried chicken and biscuits have been part of their history for more than 60 years. Thankfully it didn't take two hours, but both were well worth waiting 50 minutes for. Their fried pork chop and fudge pie were worth waiting for as well. Next time you travel to Music City U.S.A., grab some patience and stop by The Loveless Cafe to enjoy a fabulous traditional Southern meal. Don't worry that they'll run out of biscuits before your turn to eat; they make more than 7,000 a day. All this talk about biscuits has made me hungry for some of the soft, hot pillows of heaven, as I like to think of them. If you're craving them, too, grab a cast iron skillet, roll out a batch, and let's eat!

Pie

the glory of God.� q “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for 1 Corinthians 10:31 r 6  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014


Let Your Kitchen’s True Colors Shine Let Your Kitchen’s True Colors Shine

P aula D een Collection

New Energy Efficient LED Lighting Options No Bulbs to Replace Reduces Energy Costs By Up To 85%

Let Your Kitchen’s True Colors Shine 25 Year Warranty Hattiesburg 201 Thornhill Dr. 601.268.2052

Bring in this ad for $100

Off your purchase of $599 or more.

Flowood 990 Top Street 601.932.8989

www.sunbeltlighting.net New Energy Efficient LED Lighting Options

Mississippi No Bulbs to Replace Louisiana Reduces Energy Costs By Up To 85%Rouge · Lafayette Laurel · Picayune Baton

Hattiesburg 201 Thornhill Dr. 601.268.2052

www.sunbeltlighting.net Mississippi LaurelLaurel - Picayune - Gulfport · Picayune

Louisiana BatonRouge Rouge· -Lafayette Lafayette Baton

Flowood 990 Top Street 601.932.8989

Baton Rouge, LA ~ Mandeville, LA ~ Long Beach, MS afd-furniture.com / 1-888-969-9499 Mon-Sat 10am-8pm ~ Sunday 1 pm-5 pm Expires 2/28/14. Not valid with any other offer.

Landscaping • Irrigation Waterfalls • Lighting Outdoor Kitchens & Patios Iron & Brick Work

601.270.8512

Thurman’s Landscaping eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI  7


{ from our readers } Just got my first magazine and love it. Miche Greenlee West Monroe, La. I just received your magazine. It is very well put together and beautiful. I wanted to take the time to thank you for the wonderful write up that Kelsey Wells did on my book (December/January 2014). She was very fair with her evaluation and took the time to write an accurate piece on my book. Thank you very much. Don E. Marascalco, M.D. Meridian I love the magazine so much. I moved from Jackson to Columbia, Mo. in August 2013 and your magazine helps me feel like I have a little bit of Mississippi with me. Keep up the great work! Thank you. Angie Henegar Columbia, Mo.

We just wanted to tell you that we have had several write-ups about us, but yours by far was the best. Jennifer Jacob Brown sure has a talent for writing and photography. Thank you so much for including us in your magazine. We love it! Shady Acres Village Seminary We so enjoy your magazine. My husband and I travel frequently to Mississippi and have visited many of the places written about in your articles. We have never been disappointed. We picked up our first two issues on one of our trips and fell in love immediately. I subscribed as soon as we returned from our trip and can hardly wait for each new issue. Thanks for a great effort. I wish Alabama did a magazine like yours. Libby Soulis Leeds, Ala.

We Like To Be Followed www.facebook.com/eatdrinkmississippi www.pinterest.com/eatdrinkms www.twitter.com/eatdrinkms www.linkedin.com/company/eat-drink-mississippi www.foodspotting.com/eatdrinkms

DROP US A LINE

Thank you for your interest in this magazine. We would love to hear from you. Please understand that letters submitted become the property of eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI and may be edited for length and clarity. E-mail us at info@ eatdrinkmississippi.com, leave a comment on our Facebook page, or write to P.O. Box 1051, Monticello, MS 39654.

NEW ADDRESS? If you're a subscriber and your address has changed, please let us know. The post office doesn't provide forwarding service for the magazine and we don't want you to miss an issue. Send your change of address to us at P.O. Box 1051, Monticello, MS 39654 or e-mail us at info@eatdrinkmississippi.com. 8 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI J.J. Carney Publisher/Editor John Carney Executive Editor Anne Morgan Carney Executive Assistant

Carra Keith Amelia Perdomo Advertising Executives

www.eatdrinkmississippi.com eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI is published six times a year by Carney Publications LLC P.O. Box 1051 Monticello, MS 39654 601-756-1584 info@eatdrinkmississippi.com Š eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced or reprinted without written consent from the Publisher. Advertising rates and more information is available upon request. Subscriptions are $24 for one year and $36 for two years. Subscribe online or make checks payable to: eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI P.O. Box 1051 Monticello, MS 39654


{contributors} MARK BOEHLER served as editor of the Daily Corinthian from 1995-2008, then returned in 2010 for a second tour of duty. He has worked in Corinth, Selmer, Iuka, and Booneville.

JULIAN BRUNT is a food and culture writer from the Gulf Coast whose roots run more than three hundred years deep in Southern soil. He is deeply concerned with culinary and cultural traditions and thinks no man worth his salt that cannot hold forth in tall tale and willingly endure the heat of the kitchen. LISA LAFONTAINE BYNUM is a freelance writer from Grenada. Her work has appeared in several publications in Mississippi. She is a graduate of Delta State University where she received a BA in Marketing and her MBA. In her free time, she enjoys food writing and photography. She currently resides in Brandon. Photo by Alisa Chapman Photography COOP COOPER is a journalist, film critic and filmmaker based in Clarksdale. He graduated from Southern Methodist University with a B.F.A. in Cinema, and received his Masters in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute in Hollywood. You can read his past film-related articles at www.smalltowncritic. com. KIM HENDERSON is a freelance writer living in Copiah County. While at Mississippi College, she was named their most outstanding journalism student and has since been published by sources ranging from the Associated Press to LifeWay Christian Resources. She currently writes a weekly slice-of-life column for Brookhaven’s Daily Leader. KARA KIMBROUGH is a freelance writer who specializes in writing about food, travel, and healthcare. She writes a syndicated food column for several newspapers around the state, operates a public relations and marketing firm, and teaches public speaking at The University of Southern Mississippi. She earned a B.S. degree in Mass Communication from USM, M.Ed from William Carey University, and a master’s certification in Speech Communication from USM. KATHY K. MARTIN is an Ole Miss journalism graduate who currently lives in Collierville, Tennessee with her husband and two children. She works as a freelance writer and chairs her church’s Christian writers group.

LINDSAY MOTT is a writer from Pascagoula and a graduate of Spring Hill College in Mobile. She scours the South for new (and old) restaurants, coffee shops, music joints, local bands, festivals, and anything else that makes the area unique.

GENNIE PHILLIPS, a Forest native, is the publications coordinator at East Central Community College in Decatur and a freelance writer, photographer, and graphic designer. She is the former editor of The Demopolis Times, a five-day daily newspaper in Demopolis, Ala., and managing editor of The Scott County Times, a weekly newspaper in her hometown. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism, she has received numerous awards from the Associated Press and the Mississippi and Alabama Press Associations. She is the proud mom to an infant daughter, Mallory Grace. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and cooking. LORIE ROACH lives in Buckatunna with her husband. She is a food blogger and owns her own photography business. She is also an avid cooking contest participant and has traveled the country to compete. In 2008, she competed on Food Network’s Ultimate Recipes Showdown: Cakes, where she won first place in the cupcake segment of the show. JANETTE TIBBETTS is a ninth generation Mississippian. She grew up on a Jones County dairy farm, attended Millsaps, taught school, and was a merchant. She is the founder and curator of “The Sandbank,” a Beatrix Potter Collection, at USM. She is a freelance writer and photographer. Janette writes weekly garden and food columns for magazines and newspapers. She was awarded a writer’s grant from the Mississippi Art’s Commission and the National Endowment of the Arts. She lives with her husband, Jon, and writes in their home near Hattiesburg. A published author of short stories, she is presently completing a novel. KELSEY WELLS is a news writer at Lawrence County Press in Monticello. She is a graduate of Southwest Mississippi Community College where she served as editor of The Pine Burr. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communications at William Carey University and served as a staff writer and life editor of The Cobbler student newspaper until she became managing editor her senior year. She currently resides in the Divide community where she is active in her church and community.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI  9


Don’t miss a single bite!

Only 24 $

for six issues SUBSCRIBE TODAY! Subscribe online or mail payment to:

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI

P.O. Box 1051 • Monticello, MS 39654

www.eatdrinkmississippi.com 10  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014


Express

Yourself

Collect. Create. Celebrate. In Ridgeland, the masterpieces are yours in an array of galleries, the Mississippi Craft Center, the state’s premier shopping centers and the great outdoors. With an abundance of attractions and events, more than 1,500 quality hotel rooms and over 140 great restaurants, Ridgeland is the perfect stop for travelers seeking the arts – whether it be culinary, craft, fine art or just nature’s creations. Enjoy the Art of It All...in Ridgeland.

Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival • April 5-6, 2014

800-468-6078 www.visitridgeland.com

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI  11


{ fabulous foodie finds }

2014 Color of the Year Pantone, the global authority in color, annually combs the world looking for color influences to determine the "Color of the Year" based on upcoming trends in the retail market. Radiant Orchid, a captivating, magical, enigmatic purple, has been chosen as the color of the year for 2014. “An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute in a recent news release. Add a pop of color to your kitchen or dining space with these fabulous finds. Radiant Orchid complements olive and deeper hunter greens, Pantone said, can be paired with turquoise, teal and even light yellows, and is sure to liven up neutrals including gray, beige and taupe.

Lenox French Perle Violet, $86.00-115.00 Belk

Zak! Designs® Dot Glasses - Juice, set of six, $20.00; Double Old Fashioned, set of six, $30.00; Highball, set of six, $38.00 www.jcpenney.com

Customizable Jumbo Mug, $23.95 www.zazzle.com

12 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

see page 80 for store information


Hampton Forge Rena Flatware Set, $23.99 www.target.com

Keurig® K10 B31 MINI Plus Personal Coffee Brewer, $99.99 Kohl's

Art and Cook Knives, $7.99-14.99 Bed Bath and Beyond

Emerson Electric Wine Opener, $19.99 www.target.com

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 13


{ what's hot }

Biscuit Beignets

Fried Chicken Benedict

For a sweet treat, try Biscuit Beignets at Another Broken Egg in Ridgeland. Southern style biscuits are deep fried, dusted with powdered sugar, and served with honey marmalade for dipping.

Brunch at Nick's in Jackson is a culinary adventure. Try the Fried Chicken Benedict - a fried chicken cutlet, atop a sweet potato biscuit, with a poached egg and smoked tomato-jalapeĂąo hollandaise sauce.

PHOTO BY J.J. CARNEY

A Southern Staple

PHOTO BY EAT JACKSON

BISCUITS!

For those of us in the South, a homemade biscuit is nothing new. Most of us have been eating them since we were toddlers. The rest of the world hasn't been so lucky...until now. Food analysts are predicting 2014 to be the year of the biscuit. The Southern staple is showing up on fine dining menus around the country. Eateries that serve nothing but biscuits are popping up in places like New York City, Chicago, Portland (Ore.), Jacksonville, and Asheville. In our own backyard, chefs are putting their own spin on this favorite comfort food. For a new twist, roll out a batch of Sweet Potato Biscuits.

Pulled Pork Biscuit

PHOTO BY JAY REED

At Restaurant Tyler in Starkville, English muffins in benedicts are replaced with biscuits. Fried Green Tomato Benedict is sometimes a special while B.L.T. and Catfish Cake Benedicts are mainstays on their brunch menu.

14  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

The South is known for biscuits and barbecue. Put them together and...oh my! Embers Biscuits and BBQ in Oxford has done just that with their Pulled Pork Biscuit...a delicious combination.

PHOTO BY KRISTEN WILSON HOTTYTODDY.COM

Fried Green Tomato Benedict


Photo by Tom Warner / istockphoto

Sweet Potato Biscuits 2-1/2 cups self-rising flour 1 cup mashed cooked sweet potatoes 2 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon salt ¼ cup (½ stick) butter, softened Milk, as needed Sweet Potato Biscuits recipe from Mississippi Hometown Cookbook by Great American Publishers.

Combine first five ingredients; add a spoonful of milk at a time until

dough is moist. Turn dough onto a floured surface and roll to ½-inch thick. Cut with biscuit cutter and bake at 400º until biscuits are beginning to brown, about 12 minutes. Serve hot. The White Family, Oxford

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 15


Deliciously ~ Sexy ~ Eggplants story and photography by janette tibbetts

D

uring the early forties while my sister and I were growing up on a Jones County dairy farm, by late January every winter Mother had lined her sunny kitchen windows with seed pots. I watched and waited with my sister as the seeds pushed through the soil and the little pots overflowed with treasured plants. We had observed, without an in-depth explanation from our parents, their excitement when one of our prize-winning Jersey cows "found" a heifer calf. When we saw the baby chickens under the red hen that had hid and sat on her eggs in the hay barn, there was no doubt from where the chicks had come. At 5-years-old my sex education was still limited to those beautiful experiences our mother had spoon fed us until tidbits came down to my sister and me from the older girls in our rural community. From them we heard that an elderly woman who lived in the quarters several miles below our farm was convinced (along with many pregnant women from across the county) that she could tell by just looking at the woman if an expectant lady was going to give birth to a girl or a boy baby! Because our grandmother could tell if an eggplant was a boy or a girl without ever gathering it from her garden, this information which the older girls regarded as amazing, did not seem out of the ordinary to our much younger ears. Mother was quick to dismiss our newly acquired knowledge as just an old wives tale. Neither did Mother appear concerned over the sex of her eggplants. She was careful to gather our eggplants while they were still young and tender. Mother watched while peeling and slicing the dark purple vegetables and if one did have seeds, she just removed them with the point of her butcher knife. She always soaked the slices of eggplant in salt water and a pinch of baking soda for at least an hour before rinsing, draining and marinating them in sweet cream mixed with a tablespoon of honey and a few sprigs of mint. On the other hand, our grandmother completely avoided the girl eggplants and left them in the garden to mature and become seed for plants in the next year's garden. She said, "That's all the girls are good for!" Grandmother endeavored to teach my sister and me the difference between the girls and boys by showing us the female eggplant's deeper 16 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014


eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 17


indentions and longer slits in the bud end (opposite from the stem). Grandmother explained that the longer and deeper slits in the girl eggplants were where the girl flower on the plant had been fertilized by bees with pollen they had gathered from the boy flowers and deposited deep inside the girl flower. We attempted to show our mother how the boy's dent which is small and round differed from the girl's, but she was not interested. Mother just continued to soak, marinate and batter the slices in eggs and sweet cream seasoned with salt and pepper before she floured and fried or baked the girl eggplants the same as she did the boys. Although my sister and I thought we could taste the difference between the boy and girl slices, we enjoyed the special treat of eggplant chips so much we never mentioned the girl's slightly bitter taste to our mother. Eggplants start producing during the hottest months and continue until frost. Although the eggplant's flavor increases and they retain their delectable taste in the fall, when the temperature drops below 70 degrees at night their production slows. As the night temperatures drop into the 50s and 60s, the taste of many vegetables grown in South Mississippi gardens intensify. The plentiful produce in Mother's fall garden were also the ingredients of a marvelous ratatouille. Though she desired to keep the proportions of eggplant, squash, tomatoes and zucchini equal, her adjusted ratatouille recipe was dictated by the availabilities of the ingredients still in the garden. Mother seasoned her culinary delight with peppers, onions, and herbs. She sautĂŠed the individual vegetables separately and they maintained much of their identifiable flavor even after she combined all the vegetables and allowed them to simmer with basil and thyme in her large dutch oven. Mother usually served ratatouille with pork roast or baked chicken. After tending to our outside chores on cool fall evenings and playing basketball in the night air, I recall the times we were greeted by the aroma of ratatouille as we raced toward the back 18  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

With the first taste of Morrison's perfectly blended flavors in this culinary delight, one may think decadence and ask,"What did you put in this?" A glance at the ingredients only reveals very commonly on hand staples and the procedures are elementary.

Janette Tibbetts gets ready for a Super Bowl party where her eggplant casserole scores big with fellow football fans.


door. During supper, those unforgettable flavors just seemed to explode in my mouth. But years later while a student at Millsaps College, I discovered the most delicious eggplant dish I have, ever unto this day tasted! By then Grandmother was gone and this homesick country girl knew better than to write home to her mother about finding an eggplant casserole at a cafeteria, even if it were Morrison's, that topped her mother's cuisine. Much scientific research concerning the correlation between the bitter taste of some eggplant's and their sex has been published during the last five decades. While a few proven facts in the data disproves part of what we understood from Grandmother's lesson on the bees and the eggplants, the research supports Grandmother's knowledge that the fruit

of eggplants have separate sexes and scientists agree that the markings she showed us many years ago is the common way to distinguish between them. However, they note that eggplants are self-pollinators (each flower has both male and female parts) and another flower is not required for them to produce fruit. The flower usually pollinates its self (its pollen moved to the stamen) during its opening movement or by the wind. If a bee visits a self-pollinator flower they often actually cross pollinate the flower. But the bees' work in the eggplants pollination process is not necessary. Research also confirmed that the boy eggplants have fewer seeds than the girls. Too, as Mother and Grandmother already knew, scientists concluded that the seeds are the source of the fruit's bitter taste. I choose to think the bitter seed is nature’s way of discouraging the consumption of the seed, thus insuring the survival of the species. Eventually Morrison’s Cafeteria sold most of their holdings to Piccadilly; however, not before publishing many of their treasured recipes including the original eggplant casserole in their collection entitled Morrison's Recipe Manual. Chefs should purchase small eggplants and search for the guys. Because eggplants quickly oxidize and turn black once their peeling is removed, they should immediately be rubbed with salt or emerged in salty water. I still remove large seeds, soak, drain and marinate eggplants before they are cooked. Although this recipe may be halved or divided and frozen before baking, I double it when preparing the dish for our Super Bowl Party. We place this large hot casserole on the line along with dips and chips. Some things change--the color of Peyton's jersey and Brett no longer plays in the NFL, but coached our local high school's offense to the state title. However, this casserole still scores big with guests. Regardless of the eggplant's sex, the recipe appears equally appreciated by quarterbacks as by cheerleaders. edm

Morrison's Eggplant Casserole From Morrison's Recipe Manual

2 or 3 small eggplants equaling 2 to 3 pounds 5 strips of bacon (approximately 5 ounces) 1 large onion 6 ounces of saltine crackers (40 crackers) 1 large egg 1/2 cup evaporated milk Salt and pepper 4 ounces (1 cup) grated cheddar cheese Cut eggplant into 2-inch cubes. Place in a pot with enough salted water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender. Drain well and set aside. Preheat oven to 400­° F. Chop the bacon into small pieces and sauté until half done. Add onions and cook until lightly browned. Remove from heat. Place eggplant, bacon, onion, and all drippings in mixing bowl. Crush crackers into small pieces and add to mixture. Stir in egg, milk, and seasoning. If mixture appears stiff, add a little more milk. Pour into covered 2-qt. casserole. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake until bubbly (15-20 minutes). Let it sit a minute or two before serving. Serves 8 to 10 Serve Morrison's Eggplant Casserole for dinner on winter nights with leg of lamb, baby-leaf spinach salad, crusty beer biscuits, mint jelly and dill-flavored butter.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 19


{ deep south dish }

Food. Family. Memories.

Gumbo Knows No Season BY MARY FOREMAN

Southern winters, such as they are, pretty much wind down in early to mid-February, especially here along coastal Mississippi. By March, though a cold spell might sneak in here and there, color is already beginning to return to the landscape and new growth is sprouting from the ground. When the big winter storms moved across the country back in December, the lower southeastern states were literally the only ones that didn’t have some form of ice or snow on the ground. We tend to wax nostalgic in those youthful memories of the white stuff because it’s such a rare event to see it down here, but are grateful at the same time with the knowledge that we don’t have to deal with these big storms when they cripple the rest of the nation. I guess we’ll settle for making our snowmen out of sand! Steaming pots of soup and hearty stews tend to be relegated to these colder months for most folks even in the Deep South, but gumbo, another favorite one-pot meal, is one food that really has no season here. Winter, spring,

summer and fall, it’s on the menu. Here along the Coast, we do tend to favor the seafood-based gumbos the most, thanks to easy access to the bounty from our Gulf waters. Still, a gumbo loaded with shrimp, oysters and fresh crab is not inexpensive, and has all but become a special occasion meal, even for us coastal residents. Much more often, you’ll find chicken gumbo simmering in kitchens all across Mississippi, and virtually all year round. February is also the beginning of the Mardi Gras season here in the Deep South, and all the festivities start long before Fat Tuesday. Although the weather for carnival season is typically mild, I can remember a few past parades that involved multiple layers of clothing, being wrapped in several blankets and still freezing waiting on those floats. Greasy fried chicken and parade route sandwiches can tide you over even in that kind of miserable cold for at least a few hours, but there is nothing like knowing a bowl of steaming hot gumbo is waiting for you at home.

In my opinion, chicken gumbo should always include a quality smoked sausage and while any kind will work, Southerners tend to lean to the more robust flavor of Andouille sausage, especially for our chicken gumbo. Andouille is a highly spiced, smoked sausage that is blended with Cajun spices. Whether it’s homegrown in Mississippi, or from our sister states of Louisiana or Alabama, using Andouille sausage is very familiar to Mississippi cooks because it adds a nice spicy kick and intense flavor to any dish where you would otherwise use a kielbasa or other milder smoked sausage. Although we rarely do wait, gumbo is a dish that only improves with advance preparation, making it a perfect meal to come home to after the parades. The flavors really benefit from mingling together and, while it’s amazingly good right out of the pot, it’s always even better the next day. So, make it ahead of time whenever possible. Prepare, let cool and skim any accumulated oil off the top before storing. edm

Perfect Boiled Rice From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish

4 cups of water 2 cups of long grain rice 1 teaspoon of salt Bring water to a rolling boil, stir in salt and rice and return to a boil. Cover immediately, reduce heat to very low. Simmer and cook for 20 minutes, covered.

Mary Foreman, a native of Biloxi, is the author of the popular website deepsouthdish. com, where she shares her favorite, homespun, mostly from scratch and, very often, heirloom and heritage, Southern recipes.

20 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

Don't peek and don't lift the lid. After 20 minutes, remove the pot from the burner and set aside, keeping covered. Allow the rice to continue steaming until ready to serve. Use a fork to fluff. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers. Tip: To freshen refrigerated or frozen rice, defrost, sprinkle lightly with water, cover and microwave on high until hot and tender.


Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish

1 (3 to 4 pound) whole hen or fryer, cut into serving pieces Salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning, to taste 1 cup plus 2 to 3 tablespoons of cooking oil, more or less, divided 1 pound of Andouille or other spicy smoked sausage, sliced in 1/4" rounds 1 cup of all-purpose flour 1-1/2 cups of chopped onion 1/2 cup of chopped green bell pepper 1/4 cup of chopped celery 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic 2-1/2 quarts of room temperature water 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme 1/8 cup of chopped fresh parsley 2 medium bay leaves 1 to 2 teaspoons of hot sauce, optional Couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce 1/4 cup green onion, chopped, optional Hot, cooked rice Season the chicken on both sides with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning. Heat 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil in a large, deep sided skillet, over medium high heat

and brown the chicken in batches on both sides, adding additional oil as needed. Remove and transfer to a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the sausage to the drippings and cook until lightly browned; remove, cover and refrigerate. Add enough additional oil to the pan drippings to bring it up to one cup. Blend in the flour a little at a time, until fully incorporated. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture becomes a milk chocolate color, about 30 to 45 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Stir in 2 cups of the water, a little at a time, until mixture is well blended and forms a gravy, gradually bringing to a boil. Remove from the heat. Add the remaining water to the pot with the chicken; stir and bring to a boil. Transfer the skillet of roux to the gumbo pot and stir in. Add the thyme, parsley, bay leaf, hot sauce and Worcestershire. Return to a boil, then reduce and low simmer for 1-1/2 hours, uncovered. Remove chicken, skin and bones and set aside to cool. Add the sausage to the

pot and simmer another 30 minutes. Add the green onion and cook another 20 minutes. Shred or chop the chicken and return to the pot, discarding the skin and bones and let simmer until chicken is warmed through. Taste and add salt and pepper only if needed. Let gumbo rest off the heat for 10 minutes, skimming off any excess oil from the top. Stir, remove and discard bay leaves, and serve gumbo over hot cooked rice with buttered French bread on the side. Offer hot sauce and gumbo file at the table. For the Slow Cooker: Prepare as above, except transfer everything to a 6 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours. Cook's Notes: To save time, you may substitute a frozen gumbo seasoning blend (onion, bell pepper and celery) and a commercial jarred roux product. For less fat, skin chicken pieces before browning. May also use other chicken pieces such as thighs or about 4 large, boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 21


22  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014


From Alaska to Natchez and Everywhere In Between Alaska

l

Natchez

Chef Regina Charboneau is living life to the fullest and loves every minute. By Lisa LaFontaine Bynum

I

magine being the mother of a daughter in her early twenties and one day receiving a collect phone call from –of all places – Alaska. Your daughter informs you that she’s taking a job as a cook for eight men at a construction camp in the middle of nowhere. Thirty-five years ago, chef and Natchez native Regina Charboneau made such a call to her own mother. “This was before email and cell phones. There was really nothing she could do about it,” she says. Charboneau grew up in a family that loved to entertain and always felt a draw towards cooking. After high school, she attended a few different colleges across the South, but never really found her niche. That is, until one summer when she and a group of friends decided to take a trip to Alaska. The Tobeluk Consent Decree of 1976, also known as the Molly Hootch Act, had gone into effect a few years earlier. The act required the State of Alaska to build high schools in Alaskan native villages, meaning construction

jobs in the area were plentiful at the time. Regina took a job as a waitress in a café in Anchorage. However, she didn’t work there long before a customer came in and offered her a job cooking at one of the construction camps. “It was a great time to be in Alaska,” Charboneau recalls. “Anchorage was only 50 years old at the time. There was so much going on. I really wasn’t qualified to do the job, but there was so much need for help in those days, that they really didn’t care.” Despite the understandable concern of Charboneau’s mother, that trip would change Charboneau’s life forever. The work was hard, but she learned a lot about cooking. Working in the bush of Alaska meant there weren’t any supermarkets nearby. Fresh food was dropped every 2-3 weeks and had to last until the next drop. Fresh salmon and caribou were usually among the supplies. Charboneau says she became more of a game cook while living in Alaska than she ever did growing up in Mississippi.

“That experience gave me my travel lust,” she explains. “I was in my early 20’s. I felt like the whole world was open and I could do anything.” While in Alaska, Regina also met her husband Doug. She jokes, “His girlfriend was sweet enough to introduce us.” Eventually, Charboneau managed to save enough money to put herself through cooking school. She attended Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris, France, one of the first accredited professional cooking schools in France to offer instruction in both French and English. Afterwards, she returned to Alaska and accepted the position of executive chef at the Tower Club in Anchorage. In the mid-1980’s Charboneau and her husband decided they were ready to move back to the mainland. The couple was torn between moving to New York or San Francisco, but during a visit to The City by the Bay one clear February night, they knew they had found their new home. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 23


24 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014


ABOVE - Just a few of the 100 hand drawn sketches that used to hang in Regina’s at the Regis. They now hang in Charboneau’s home in Natchez. LEFT - Guests aboard the American Queen Steamboat, of which Charboneau serves as culinary directory, are greeted by a full spread in Charboneau’s dining room at Twin Oaks. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 25


Twin Oaks in Natchez

“It was a beautiful night and I told Doug, ‘This is the place,’” she says. “The food scene was just getting going and the timing was perfect.” Her career in San Francisco began as a cook at the Golden Gate Grille. The restaurant was a popular hangout for singers and had great reviews, but it wasn’t what Charboneau wanted to do. Once again, fate intervened when she was introduced to a group of people opening a restaurant in San Francisco’s Regis Hotel. The opportunity was a huge leap for the young chef. “People ask me, ‘Weren’t you scared?’ I didn’t know any better. I just dove in feet first.” Regina’s at the Regis opened in 1985. Because of its proximity to San Francisco’s theatre district, it quickly became a favorite among theatre goers, actors,

26 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

musicians, and celebrities. Charboneau would go on to open a total of four restaurants in San Francisco, including the famous Burger and Blues, which won the WC Handy award in 1999 as the “Best Blues Club in America.” Despite her wanderlust, the call to return home to Natchez finally won her over when Charboneau’s father passed away. In 2000, she and her husband returned to Natchez with their two sons, Jean-Luc and Martin. The couple purchased Twin Oaks, a beautiful 1830’sera home in the heart of Natchez. Even though life moves slower in the South, that hasn’t stopped Charboneau. She serves as the culinary director for the American Queen Steamboat Company, where she oversees menu and recipe development; runs a sixbedroom guest house on the Twin Oaks

property; and frequently gives tours of her home during the Natchez pilgrimage. In early 2013, Charboneau and her husband purchased King’s Tavern, a restaurant housed in the oldest building in Natchez. After several months of renovations, King’s Tavern reopened in September 2013. The restaurant specializes in handcrafted, wood-fired flatbreads made in a wood-fired pizza oven on site. A rum distillery is scheduled is open in the spring of 2014. Looking back, Charboneau is the first to admit that her life has been nothing short of amazing. “I can honestly say I have loved my life,” she admits. “I have met so many people along the way. People that I cherish and still have life-long friendships with.” edm


Braised Catfish with Smoked Tomato Coulis and Black Eyed Pea Vinaigrette

SMOKED TOMATO COULIS 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium onion 3 medium carrots 3 cups canned, diced tomatoes in juice 1 dozen smoked Roma tomatoes (see recipe below) 2 tablespoons pickled jalapeños 8 fresh basil leaves 5 cloves garlic 2 whole bay leaves Place olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Cut onion into 8 pieces and carrots into 4 pieces and sauté for 5 minutes. In the same pot, add tomatoes, jalapeños, basil, garlic, and bay leaves. Cook over medium heat for 35-40 minutes. Remove bay leaves and pour mixture into food processor. Use the pulse button of the processor. This sauce should be a coarse purée, not soupy. Makes 2 quarts. This freezes well and is great to have on hand.

Oven Smoked Tomatoes I smoke tomatoes with olive oil, sea salt and cracked black pepper. I put the tomatoes in a pan and use hickory chips and smoke for about an hour for a deep smoked flavor. When weather or time does not permit, I take this

short cut. It works quite well for the smoked tomato coulis. 1 dozen Roma tomatoes, cut in quarters 1/2 cup olive oil 3 tablespoons Liquid Hickory Smoke 1 tablespoon sea salt 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper Lay tomatoes on a baking sheet (one with sides - not a flat sheet). Mix olive oil with Liquid Hickory Smoke. Drizzle over tomatoes, then sprinkle with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Bake at 300° for 45 minutes.

Braised Catfish 4 pounds catfish filets 2 tablespoons flour 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic powder 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds 1 tablespoons paprika 5 tablespoons olive oil Cut the catfish into 6-7 ounce portions. Mix flour, salt, garlic, cayenne, black pepper, fennel and paprika. Evenly distribute over catfish filets. Place cast iron skillet over medium heat. Let the pan get hot before adding 2 tablespoons of oil. Cook fillets

in batches or three or four at a time. Cook for 4-5 minutes until fish has good rich color. Flip fillet and cook for 3-4 minutes more. Makes 8 servings.

Black Eyed Pea Vinaigrette 2 shallots 1/3 cup cider vinegar 2/3 cup light salad oil 2 teaspoons brown sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup julienned green onion 2 cups cooked black eyed peas Rinse black eyed peas so they are not “starchy” and chill in the refrigerator. In a blender or food processor, purée shallots. Add cider vinegar, brown sugar, salt and blend. Slowly add oil to emulsify. In bowl, add black eyed peas, green onions and toss in vinaigrette. Chill vinaigrette and use to top hot catfish right before serving. Makes 8 servings. To assemble: Place warmed Smoked Tomato Coulis on plate. Top with hot Braised Catfish. Spoon warm Black Eyed Pea Vinaigrette over top. This can be served on individual plates or on a platter family style. Serve immediately.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 27


{ featured festival }

- Columbus -

Catfish in the Alley

28 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014


Farm-raised, fried Mississippi catfish will be in plentiful supply at the 2014 edition of Columbus’ Catfish in the Alley. PHOTO BY KATIE MCDILL PHOTOGRAPHY STYLING BY HARVEY’S, EAT WITH US GROUP

This Year’s Festival Scheduled to Coincide With 2014 Spring Pilgrimage; Catfish Cook-off Added eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI  29


STORY BY KARA KIMBROUGH PHOTOS COURTESY OF COLUMBUS CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU

I

f driving down tree-lined streets surrounded by stately antebellum homes is right up your alley, then you’ll want to visit the picturesque city of Columbus this spring. Columbus’ spring pilgrimage, scheduled for March 28 April 12, annually attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world. An award-winning event named one of the most authentic home tours in the South, the spring pilgrimage also includes horse and buggy rides and Tales from the Crypt, a graveyard tour that re-creates the lives of famous Mississippians and Civil War soldiers interred at Columbus’ historic Friendship Cemetery. Besides its rich history fostered by Civil War, another memorable period in the city’s history is known as Catfish Alley. During the 1800s, African American fishermen fished for catfish in the Tombigbee River on First Street. They would then bring the fish to Fourth Street, where it would be fried and sold. The aroma of catfish cooking permeated the air and the alley soon became known as a hub for thriving AfricanAmerican businesses, blues music, and fried catfish. Nearly 200 years later, the alley will again be filled with the sounds of blues and smell of catfish cooking as the sixth annual Catfish in the Alley festival kicks off March 29 on Fifth Street. Staged to coincide with the pilgrimage, the familyoriented event will feature a catfish cook-off, arts and crafts area, and plenty of delicious food accompanied by some of the South’s top blues musicians. The catfish cook-off is a new event added to this year’s lineup to allow attendees to showcase their cooking skills related to Mississippi-raised catfish. Advance registration is required, and those interested can contact the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau to make arrangements to participate. Guest judges will officially determine the overall winners. However, members of the public can participate as People’s Choice judges for a nominal fee. The special judges will be allowed to sample 30  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

each entry and their votes will determine the winner of the People’s Choice category. Nancy Carpenter, executive director of the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Columbus Cultural Heritage Foundation, said Catfish in the Alley celebrates the entrepreneurship of African Americans past and present while offering visitors an up-close look at the city’s civic and cultural opportunities. “Thousands of visitors come to Columbus each year to enjoy the spring pilgrimage,” Carpenter said. “Therefore, we decided to give them an opportunity to get to know our city and residents while sampling the best of Mississippi cuisine and listening to the blues music for which our state is famous. Catfish in the Alley continues to grow in both quality of events and number of attendees. With the return of the popular catfish cook-off and an incredible lineup

of blues performances, this year’s festival will be the biggest and best yet.” Throughout the day, guests will have the opportunity to enjoy Mississippiraised catfish as well as entertainment by musicians. Scheduled to perform are Terry “Harmonica” Bean One-Man Band from Pontotoc, Mickey Rogers and the Mickey Rogers Band from Greenville, and Grady Champion and his Blues Band from Canton. All of the musicians have performed throughout Mississippi, the South and in several European countries. Food and beverages will be available for purchase, including the star of the day, fried catfish plates. Catfish in the Alley is free and open to the public. To learn more or view a schedule of events for the 2014 Spring Pilgrimage and Catfish in the Alley, visit the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau website at www.visitcolumbusms.org or call 800-327-2686. edm


eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 31


{ mississippi made }

Enterprising Family Enjoys “Purdy Hot” Salsa Success story By Kim Henderson | photography by danny vasquez

S

teven and Jenny Mena never pictured themselves on Canton's courthouse lawn peddling salsa, but the two California transplants were in fact there on the square at last October's flea market offering a popular new line of dry mixes. Salsa-savvy shoppers were present as well, crowding around the Menas' quilt-draped booth for samples and some heated debates – literally. What to buy - “Fair to Midlin” or “Purdy Hot”? Or maybe the betweenheat option, Smokey Chipotle? Introduced as a retail food product last February, Dad's Disappearing Salsa Mix has made quite a showing in its inaugural year. “Once we received our official permit from the health department, we hit the ground running, selling at all the local festivals, flea markets and shows,” Steven explains. “We also maintained a weekly presence at the Livingston Farmers Market in Madison and Fresh at Five Farmer's Market in Clinton throughout the spring and summer months.” Additionally, the 32 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

Mississippi company launched a fullfeatured website in October and began selling wholesale to stores. As a mother of eight, Jenny knows all about the disappearing aspect of her husband's famous salsa. “We've spent a lot of time around the table digging into it,” she says. “Steven's been tweaking his recipe for years, until it was just right. Everyone raved about how amazing his salsa was, so we began thinking – 'Hey, can we actually sell it?'” At their very first venture into vending, the Menas found their cilantroheavy concoction in heavy demand. It wasn't long, however, before the entrepreneurs came to an important realization - the prep work involved in making jarred salsa was just too much. “A friend suggested we try coming up with a dry mix,” Jenny remembers, “so Steven went to work selecting the right combination of dry ingredients that would not only taste just like his fresh salsa, but would also meet our high standard of a healthy, all-natural

product.” Customers liked the new mix so much that the Menas often sold out at retail events. “From their first appearance at Clinton’s Olde Towne Markets, Dad’s Disappearing Salsa was an instant hit,” Tara Lytal, Main Street Clinton Director, says. “They have built a loyal following among Clintonians who have loved their salsa and the warmth of the Mena family.” As a result of their success, the family had to make a decision. “We had to decide whether we were really going to go for it,” Steven recalls. “We knew that we wanted to work together in a family business, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.” That's when Steven, a skilled carpenter, began building a certified "Salsa Kitchen" onto their Terry home. Little did the Menas know that their dry salsa mix would actually be welcomed by the public as three products in one. In addition to traditional tomato-based salsa, two new customer


Steven and Jenny Mena

favorites quickly emerged - a sour cream dip and a tomatillo green salsa, both made using the mix. “Our fans are continually telling us new ways they are using the mix – from pasta to cheese dips to bacon,” Steven shares. In fact, visitors to the company's website are invited to share their mix-based recipes with the Dad's community by posting them on a special page called Dad's Recipe Box. And while it's Dad's salsa on store

shelves, it's Mom's drawing that appears on the label. Jenny makes no claims as an artist, but tells that she gave the original sketch to Steven as a Christmas gift a few years ago. “I wanted to help spur him on.” The path of proprietorship has been a winding one for this young family, who initially moved to Mississippi 15 years ago for Steven to attend Jackson's Reformed Theological Seminary. “We never dreamed we would go from pur-

suing ministry in Africa to selling salsa, but we believe that God can use us in anything we do,” Steven states, adding that his family's vision goes deeper than dry mixes. “There is something very special about bringing your family and friends together around the table to enjoy good food. It's about connection and meaning, and that's what we hope to encourage with our product.” edm www.dadsdissappearingsalsa.com

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 33


Chocolate Eclair Poke Brownies 34 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014


Love Chocolate for the of

RECIPES, FOOD STYLING, AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY LORIE ROACH

Valentine's Day and chocolate go hand in hand. Gifts from the heart are usually homemade, so share the love this year with these decadent treats. No matter which one you choose for your sweetie(s), these are truly labors of love that will sweeten their day.

For more of Lorie's great recipes, visit www.loriesmississippikitchen.com.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI  35


Chocolate Eclair Poke Brownies Filling: 1 (3.4-ounce) box French vanilla pudding 1 1/2 cups cold whole milk 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature 1 cup non-dairy whipped cream 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Brownies: 3/4 cup butter 3/4 cup cocoa 1 cup sugar 2/3 cup light brown sugar 2 large eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1-1/3 cup all purpose flour 6-8 graham crackers Chocolate Frosting: 4 tablespoons butter 3 tablespoons cocoa 4 tablespoons whole milk 1-1 /2 cups powdered sugar, sifted 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 36 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

In small mixing bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and milk until smooth. Let stand for five minutes. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, whipped topping, and vanilla together on medium speed with a handmixer until smooth. Fold in the pudding mixture to the cream cheese mixture and refrigerate until needed. Preheat oven to 350­°. Melt 3/4 cup butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the cocoa until combined. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup sugar and 2/3 cup light brown sugar. Whisk in the eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Stir in the baking powder, salt, and flour, just until combined. Spray a 13 x 9 inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Spread brownie batter evenly in pan and bake for 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Do

These indulgent fudgy brownies are poked and filled with a creamy vanilla pudding filling, then topped with graham crackers and a chocolate frosting. The graham crackers will soften when sitting in the fridge overnight.

not over bake. Let cool completely. Using the end of a wooden spoon, poke holes in the brownie about 3/4 to 1 inch apart, all over the surface. Spread the pudding mixture over the top, pressing the mixture into the holes and smoothing out top. Place a single layer of graham crackers on top, breaking to fill in gaps if needed. Refrigerate. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a medium heavy saucepan. Whisk in 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, the milk, and the powdered sugar until melted and combined. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Let cool for 5 minutes, then pour evenly on top of the graham crackers brownies. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours to overnight before serving. 12 servings.


CHOCOLATE-HAZELNUT MALTEDS 1/2 to 1 cup whole milk (depending on how thick you want it) 2-1/2 cups chocolate ice cream 1/2 cup chocolate flavored malted milk powder 1/4 cup Nutella or hazelnut spread Extra hazelnut spread for garnish Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish Place the milk in a blender. Add the ice cream, malted milk powder,

1/4 cup hazelnut spread. Blend until smooth. Place a spoonful of hazelnut spread in the bottom of each of two tall glasses, then pour in the ice cream mixture. Garnish with whipped cream and drizzle with extra hazelnut spread. 2 servings. Hint: Heat a tablespoon or two of hazelnut spread in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Stir until smooth. This makes it easy to drizzle on top.

These quick and easy ice cream treats are perfect to share with your Valentine. Old fashioned malteds get a makeover with rich and delicious hazelnut spread.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI  37


Cinnamon-Coffee Chocolate Gravy

Chocolate is not just for dessert. Show your Valentine how much you love them by serving them a breakfast of hot buttermilk biscuits and this decadent chocolate gravy with a hint of cinnamon and coffee. It’s even delicious on ice cream.

38 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

1 cup sugar 3 tablespoons cocoa powder 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1-1/2 cups whole milk 1 tablespoon butter 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract Hot buttered biscuits, French toast, or pancakes, for serving Mix the sugar, cocoa powder and flour together in a medium bowl until there are no lumps. Slowly whisk in the milk and stir well to combine. Melt the butter over medium-high heat in large skillet. Slowly add the flour mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk in the cinnamon and coffee granules and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until bubbles form around edge and gravy thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla. Serve warm over hot buttered biscuits, French toast or pancakes. *If gravy is too thick, whisk in 1-2 tablespoons of milk.


eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 39


{ community }

PIZZA FARM story By Lindsay Mott photography by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence

T

he name Pizza Farm evokes some exciting and different images in one’s head, especially for kids and pizza lovers everywhere. While it might not be quite what you’re thinking, the agents at Mississippi State University’s North Mississippi Research and Extension Center have taken a broad love for pizza and turned it into a unique, educational experience for the area’s children. “You find very few kids who don’t like pizza. We use that as the base and say this is what all it takes to produce your favorite food - pizza - and that gets the kids attention,” said Sherry Smith, Mississippi State Extension agent in Lee 40 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

County. “You know kids want to go see what a pizza farm is.” The pizza-shaped farm is divided into eight “slices” that focus on the different materials that go into making a pizza, according to Smith. The herb slice shows kids where pizza’s flavor comes from and the tree slice shows what the pizza boxes start as. A soy bean slice shows the oil that goes into the crust, while the veggie, wheat, beef, pork and dairy slices show materials that go directly into the heart of pizza. The slices each have a visual element – live plants or animals – to show the origin of these materials. After viewing the larger outside

farm, the students go into the agri-center for a more hands-on experience that repeats the slices and goes deeper. Some stops will have a game, the nutrition educators may put on a play about good nutrition, the students get to taste some tomato sauce with herbs and some without, and the forestry specialists show them how a tree gets turned into paper. They also have an exercise stop with some line dancing and a combine machine to show how the crops are harvested, according to Smith. To end the experience, the students are given individual pizzas for lunch to tie everything back together and show them all the things they have talked


Stephanie Hitt, Extension program assistant in Calhoun County, shows school children tomatoes and peppers, some of the vegetables that are used to make pizza.

Benton County Extension agent Michael Pruitt explains how pine trees are turned into the cardboard boxes used in pizza delivery.

Students from West Union Elementary School in New Albany examine some of the herbs used as spice for pizza. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 41


Skip Glidewell, Prentiss County Extension agent, shows school children a beef cow as he explains how cows provide both meat and dairy products for pizza.

42 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014


Scott Cagle, Chickasaw County Extension agent, speaks to school children about hogs, key pizza ingredients as they provide the pork for pepperoni and sausage.

about that day in the final product. “It gets kids understanding the whole process,” Smith said. “You see their eyes open up because they don’t think of what all goes into it.” Pizza Farm is a response to the loss of emphasis on farming and agriculture over the years, according to Smith. They’ve been doing the farm for more than 18 years and have about 1,000 kids come through each year. Smith said it’s been a great way to teach kids about agriculture and show kids where their food comes from. They hope the kids that come through will support agriculture as they grow older. “We try to help the younger generation understand the importance of

agriculture and what it takes to put the food on our table,” Smith said. Smith said the farm spotlights the different areas within extension and involves these groups working together to promote themselves and education. These include the 4H agents and their animals, the nutrition group, those in research and forestry, and more focusing on the parts related to their specialty. Smith said that it’s good to have “one voice to educate children about agriculture.” She said they also get a lot of support and resources from such groups as the Mississippi Pork Producers, the Mississippi Soy Bean Board, and the Mississippi Cattleman’s Association,

who were involved in getting the farm started. The Pizza Farm is focused on third grade as that’s the first year students can get involved with 4H, and they’ve found that much of what they teach matches this curriculum. Smith said they get classes from 21 counties in the district and some come from as far away as Holly Springs and Choctaw County. The extension center begins taking reservations for the Pizza Farm after the first of the year and they are first come, first served. Call 662-841-9000 to schedule. The farm is located at the Lee County Agri-Center in Verona. edm

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI  43


There's a Fungus Among Us! 44  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014


Mississippi Natural Products Local Supplier of Shiitake Mushrooms STORY BY KELSEY WELLS AND JOHN CARNEY | PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN CARNEY

T

o many, a mushroom is just a fungus that grows in moist environments. One Lawrence County industry has worked hard over the last 10 years to change that stereotype by providing the delicacy to high end restaurants and grocery stores from New Orleans to Memphis and most places in between. According to Wanda McNerney, President and CEO of Mississippi Natural Products in New Hebron, the company is selling virtually everything it can produce and needs to expand in order to take on new customers. There is more to growing quality mushrooms than meets the eye. For Mississippi Natural Products (MNP), the process began in 2003 when the Small Farm and Agribusiness Center at Alcorn State University approached MNP with research on growing Shiitake on substrate blocks. MNP began as a small farmer cooperative seeking a viable herb crop for farmers in Mississippi as an alternative to tradi-

tional row crops. They began by leasing a small office and garden plot in nearby Monticello. Since herbs are classified as weeds, the only way to successfully grow them in Mississippi involved using plastic and drip irrigation. These methods made herb growing cost prohibitive for the state's small farmers. The research on Shiitake mushrooms, however, proved Mississippi an ideal region for growing mushrooms due to the high humidity and abundance of hardwood sawdust. MNP relocated to New Hebron and eventually purchased a manufacturing facility that had been vacant for many years. After extensive renovations, MNP began manufacturing the first substrate blocks in July 2004. The blocks were produced on a small scale of 50 per day for several months to experiment with various types of sawdust and strains of Shiitake mushrooms. In September 2004, Smith Lake Farms of Brookhaven signed the first grower’s contract for growing

Shiitake mushrooms. Once the Smiths were able to successfully grow Shiitake, MNP expanded their production with the purchase of additional equipment and renovation of an additional 2500 square feet in which to incubate the blocks. Smith Lake Farms purchased 600 blocks weekly, grew the mushrooms, and delivered fresh mushrooms to the cooperative twice a week. Hamp, Brett and Scott Smith have grown mushrooms for nine years and Brett serves as President of the Board for MNP. Their average weekly production has been about 600 pounds per week. In 2008, with new markets to fill, a second contract grower was added in Mendenhall. With this addition, MNP renovated another 2500 square feet of incubation space in order to supply Hayman Farms with substrate blocks. Hayman Farms renovated an old chicken house and currently

Shiitake mushrooms are grown on inoculated growing blocks manufactured at Mississippi Natural Products in New Hebron. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI  45


PHOTO SUBMITTED

Shiitake mushrooms grow on substrate blocks in the growing room at Mississippi Natural Products; Denise McDuffey, Keith McDuffey and Tisha Newsom work in the sterile lab at the company to inoculate the growing blocks that will be sold to contract growers; Mushrooms that are unmarketable are dehydrated and ground into Shiitake dust.

ASPARAGUS SHIITAKE MUSHROOM RISOTTO 3/4 pound fresh shiitake mushroom caps 1 pound small to medium sized asparagus 1-1/2 cups Arborio rice 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 stick unsalted butter 1 small onion, finely chopped 1/2 cup white wine 5 cups chicken broth 2 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 1 cup water First cut both the shiitake mushroom caps and asparagus into 1/4" thick slices and leave the asparagus tips at least 1 1/2" long. Next mix the chicken broth and water in a 4 quart pot and bring it to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until tender, but still crispy, with the

46  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

pot uncovered. That usually takes about 3 to 4 minutes. Next remove the asparagus but let the broth keep simmering, and put it in a large bowl with ice and cold water to chill it rapidly. Then strain it and dry it. Now heat the olive oil with a tablespoon of the butter in a 4 quart pan over medium high heat and saute the mushrooms until they brown. You'll need to stir them from time to time. That normally takes around 4 minutes at which point you will season them with salt and pepper and put them in a bowl. Cook your finely chopped onion in 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it softens after about 3 minutes. Then add the rice

and cook it together for about a minute, stirring the entire time. Next, add the wine and keep stirring until it's absorbed after a minute or so. Use a ladle or whatever you have available to add 1 cup of the simmering broth to the saucepan and stir it in until it too is absorbed. Repeat this process with a half cup of broth continuously until the rice is tender and creamy, after about 20 minutes. Take it off the heat and mix in the cheese and a tablespoon of butter along with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the asparagus and shiitake mushrooms, then cover the pan and let it sit for 1 minute. You can then thin the risotto with the remaining broth if you like.


produces about 800 pounds of fresh Shiitake weekly. The manufacturing of a substrate block is much more technologically advanced than one would imagine, requiring expensive equipment and specialized facilities that would prohibit most small farmers from producing their own blocks due to cost. Using hardwood sawdust, several nutrients and water, the substrate is mixed, bagged in specially manufactured bags and then sterilized in an autoclave. The bags then enter a sterile lab where spawn is used to inoculate the substrate. The bags are then sealed and placed in incubation rooms, which are maintained at 74 degrees for ten weeks. During these ten weeks the mycelium or root of the mushroom encompasses the mixture forming it into a substrate block. Blocks are then ready to go to growers, who will harvest their first crop within ten to twelve days. The contract farmers will harvest four crops from each block over a twelve-week period and replace blocks on a rotating cycle to provide a harvest every week year round. Once delivered to the cooperative, the mushrooms are weighed, graded and packaged for delivery either in bulk for restaurants or in retail packages for grocers. Currently, 98% of all marketable mushrooms are being sold, said McNerney. Any unsold mushrooms are dehydrated and sold as dried or ground up. The ground up Shiitake are used to make Shiitake Dust, a seasoning used to add the Shiitake flavor to meats, vegetables, and pastas. Sharon Newsom, sales manager, calls chefs and grocers weekly for orders. Chefs love the thick meaty caps found on Mississippi-grown Shiitake. Retail packages sent to grocers such as McDade’s and Rouse’s Markets are adorned with the Make Mine Mississippi logo, which allows consumers to support their local industry and provide themselves with the freshest Shiitake mushrooms available. The cooperative also sells blocks to small independent farmers who grow and market their own Shiitake to their local farmers’ markets or restaurants. These farmers are able to supplement their other crops as well as have a crop year round. The substrate blocks produced by MNP are shipped throughout

the United States. McNerney says the cooperative hopes to expand in the near future in order to fill additional markets within a four hour radius and offer other farmers an opportunity to become contract growers. MNP also offers additional species of mushrooms at specific seasons during the year. A Maitake can be produced on the same substrate block but takes about twice as long to incubate and produce as a Shiitake requires. Hericium or Lion’s Mane can also be produced on the same substrate blocks and can be done in half the amount of time a Shiitake takes to produce. The Hericium, however, is not as well-known or consumed as much as the Shiitake.

Mississippi-grown Shiitake can be found in Mississippi at several fine dining establishments. To get a taste of these Mississippi-grown mushrooms, visit Char, Bravo, Sal and Mookie's, Fairview Inn, The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen, Iron Horse Grill, and McDade’s grocers in Jackson; Strawberry Café and Local 463 in Madison; Table 100 in Flowood; Purple Parrot Café, 206 Front, Bianchi's Pizzeria, or New Yokel Market in Hattiesurg; or The Caboose in McComb. edm Mississippi Natural Products 401 Main Ave., New Hebron 601.694.2893 www.naturalmushrooms.com

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 47


{ in the bloglight }

Gracefully Gluten Free Health First: Grace Good Combines Southern Cooking with Gluten Free Diets STORY BY KELSEY WELLS |PHOTOS SUBMITTED

S

outhern Cooking is not known for its concerns with health, but rather taste. Some of our favorite ingredients include salt, sugar, and flour (to be used in frying batter.) Grace Good, however, seeks to produce healthy, gluten-free twists on Southern favorites. Much of her work was born of necessity, as she is gluten intolerant and has food allergies and her husband is a diabetic who requires sugar-free dishes. Grace grew up in small town Mississippi. Researchers did not know much about gluten and food allergies, and Grace and her mother were ill on a regular basis. Her mother was known for her good Southern cooking and prepared dishes in the normal fashion of the day, using rich ingredients and Southern cooking techniques. Though guests greatly enjoyed the delicious meals that came from the kitchen, Grace's mom remained ill and could not tolerate many of the dishes she prepared. Grace and her family made a life changing decision move to Guatemala in 1994. Grace continued to work hard in the kitchen, but she struggled with severe headaches and other illness. She later learned that her maladies were caused by an allergy to wheat, and her journey back to health began when she eliminated this food from her diet. Grace's mother continued to have health issues which eventually resulted in her death. Only later did Grace discover that not only did she have food allergies, she was also gluten-intolerant. The change that occurred in her health 48  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

after she began living a completely gluten-free lifestyle amazed her. Though she still struggles with environmental allergies, her health is vastly improved and she enjoys cooking for her family, especially her grandchildren. In 2010, Grace's daughter suggested she begin food blogging as a way to support others who have to lead gluten-free lifestyles. For years, she had been a go-to source of recipes and encouragement. Though hesitant at first, Grace decided to try blogging to make her information and cooking ideas readily available to others. When first diagnosed, many people are overwhelmed and feel hopeless, said Grace. She wants to help these patients understand that many gluten-free dishes are also delicious. “My goal is to provide friendship, encouragement, and advice that has been tried and proven to those suffering from Celiac Spru, gluten intolerance, or wheat allergies,” she said. Grace's blog includes not only recipes, but also her personal story, links to

information about gluten intolerance, and cookbook recommendations. “If it helps one person it is worth it all. I consider my blogging a ministry of sorts,” said Grace. Grace continues to try to keep her blog current and up to date by posting new material frequently. She plans to continue blogging for as long as she is able. To access Grace's blog visit http:// gracefullyglutenfree.blogspot.com. She also has boards on Pinterest available at http://www.pinterst.com/gracefullygf. edm


YUMMY GLUTEN FREE CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BROWNIES 1 box Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownies Mix 1/4 cup butter 2 eggs 2 heaping tablespoons unsweetened applesauce 2 heaping tablespoons Skippy Natural Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Spread Enough buttermilk to make batter creamier and easier to stir 1 small handful of chocolate chips of your choice 1 small handful of peanut butter chips

Frosting: Betty Crocker Milk Chocolate frosting mixed with Skippy Natural Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Spread Preheat oven to 350°. Mix the brownie mix according to package directions. Add the applesauce and peanut butter spread, mix well. Add the buttermilk and mix well. Fold in the chips.

Pour into a 9x9 pan and bake for around 35 minutes or until it does not stick on fingers when touched. Frost with frosting mixture while still warm. Cool completely then cut and serve. *These are really good with a glass of cold milk or topped with vanilla ice cream.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI  49


{ from mississippi to beyond }

A Shining Star in Indianapolis

STORY BY KATHY K. MARTIN PHOTOS SUBMITTED

ith such a sparkly name, Water Valley native Twinkle VanWinkle knew that the motto for her recipe development and consulting business needed to reflect her unique personality. “Make your life shine” personifies her attitude on life in general and more specifically, her writing, cooking, gardening and do-it-yourself projects that reflect her Mississippi roots. She believes in taking time to enjoy life and stepping out of any rule boxes. “Really the only time I follow rules is when I’m baking,” she laughs. “My philosophy is to make cooking a positive experience where I show how I’m doing this and you can too.” For example, she says she might demonstrate how to make croissants, which can be a lengthy process that takes at least two days to complete, but can be managed over a weekend. She admits

W

50  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014


that she doesn’t have many lofty goals, but just wants to share her knowledge with others. Today Twinkle lives in Indianapolis with her partner, Tyler, daughter, Rosie, stepson, Aiden, and a baby on the way. She consults with many area businesses and public relations clients who need her fresh perspective on the latest ways to produce videos and blogs on products related to food, cocktails and recipe development. One of the best parts, she says, is that her kitchen is her office. Born and raised in Water Valley, Twinkle grew up watching her grandmothers cook her favorite dishes such as fried chicken, greens and black-eyed peas. While each lady had her own personal style, Twinkle described it as delicious country food. “I watched them and learned and I always liked to eat all of it and be involved.” She attended Ole Miss and earned her bachelor’s degree in creative writing, followed by a master’s in new media and journalism. She said the town was, and still is, a thriving cooking town with many chefs and restaurants. She started her own blog, “Oxford In Stereo,” and wrote for a weekly arts publication, Oxford Town, which featured recipes and stories that expressed her love of food and music. However, before all that she began her cooking career as a dishwasher, a pizza delivery person and a quesadilla

chef. Eventually, she worked her way up to sous chef at a harvest café, which she said was a co-op, vegetarian restaurant that was a new concept for the South in the 90s. “I learned from the chefs and it was fun to eat different things, which many considered a foreign way to eat at the time.” When that Oxford restaurant closed, she turned to baking and worked her way up to head pastry chef at Bottletree Bakery, a place where she said she discovered her natural love for baking desserts and pastries. When the Food Network was seeking the best pie in the country, a crew came to the bakery and filmed her creating her signature pies – the famous apple ruffle tart, a double-crust strawberry ginger pie and a chocolate chess pie with a brioche crust. In 2003, Twinkle was contacted by “The Oprah Winfrey Show” about featuring her pies on the show’s annual tribute to Oprah’s favorite products and food items. So Twinkle and her sister drove a carload of pies to Chicago and audience members were able to taste them. In order to keep the pies cool during the drive, they didn’t turn on the heater and shivered all the way there on a frigid February day. After traveling the country for a few years as she completed her thesis on women and rock ‘n roll, she received a phone call from a friend about a job

possibility in Indianapolis. “I was about 35 and thought it might be time to leave the nest and do something different,” she jokes about leaving her home state in 2008. The job was as a video production manager for Angie’s List and included a wide variety of topics with strict deadlines. She worked there for two years before moving to LIN Media, where she said she had the opportunity to use more of her skills and make more money as a digital media strategist and consultant. “I built my job into a brand (Twinkle’s Kitchen) that gave all of our online properties magazine-quality lifestyle stories on anything from making cupcakes with candied orange peels to creating do-it-yourself Christmas decorations.” Today Twinkle also stays involved with the Indianapolis food community. She participates in farmer’s markets and food swaps with others who share her passion for food and learning how to cook with new ingredients. She prepares food that focuses on local ingredients and world fusion recipes in her home on a regular basis. However, when she misses Mississippi, she always makes her grandmothers’ fried chicken, black-eyed peas, and a big pot of collard and mustard greens. “My South sensibilities have traveled with me, but I do like the urban landscape here and I’m finding ways to make my own way.” edm eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 51


REJOICE! GLUTEN-FREE FRIED CHICKEN For a Southern gal, flipping some of my most treasured hand-me-down recipes to gluten-free has been a priority. Biscuits, breads and desserts, of course, had to get a makeover. But first on my list was one of the family’s favorites: Fried Chicken. I work hard to create healthy meals each day, so fried chicken isn’t one of our regular menu items. But that makes it all the more special when we have it. So, it was of extreme importance to work up a gluten-free version.

Twinkle’s Gluten-Free Southern Fried Chicken Tenders 1 pound chicken strips 1 teaspoon sea salt 1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper

52 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

1 teaspoon paprika 4 cups buttermilk (or your favorite dairyfree alternative) 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour mix 1 cup crushed gluten-free tortilla chips 1 cup vegetable oil Equipment: Iron skillet Cooling rack Sheet pan Paper towels Wash and rinse chicken tenders and soak in buttermilk while prepping your oil and flour mixture. In a large bowl, mix your crushed tortillas and gluten-free flour mix, salt, pepper and paprika together with a whisk. Set up your wire cooling rack on

the sheet pan on one side of your stove. This is where you’ll transfer your tenders when they are ready to take out of your hot oil. Line the pan with a paper towel to catch the extra oil. Take your tenders out of the buttermilk 2-3 at a time and dredge through your flour mixture. Once the tenders have browned – where the color begins creeping up on the other side - flip over. You’ll want to watch them carefully so the underside doesn’t burn. Let them fry on the other side for about 5 minutes. Repeat until all tenders are done, making sure to scoop out any crusty crumbs from the oil. Serve with gluten-free cornbread, greens and black-eyed peas.


Raspberry Rosemary Tartlets Makes 8 tartlets The Crust: A simple pâte brisée is a crispy crust, flaky, buttery and slightly sweet. It is my personal choice for desserts like this one. You’ll need to blind bake these prior to adding the filling. You’ll need eight small tartlet pans and dough must be blind baked. The Custard: 3 large eggs 1 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt 2 cups whole milk 1 cup heavy cream 1 whole vanilla bean (or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract) 1 sprig fresh rosemary, diced 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest Preheat your oven to 400­° F. In a medium, heavy-bottomed sauce pan, scald your milk and cream. In your stand mixer, blend eggs, sugar

and salt until they just turn frothy. Add this to the milk mixture, stirring gently. Carefully cut open your vanilla bean and place in warm liquid. Add fresh rosemary and cook on low for five minutes, just enough to incorporate the fresh vanilla bean rosemary. *If using extract, just add into mixture with eggs and drop the vanilla bean step. Strain with a fine mesh strainer into your blind baked pâte brisée shells, a little over halfway full. Grate nutmeg and lemon zest over the top. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 325­° F. Bake for 10 minutes more, or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool completely.

Fresh Raspberry Coulis and Topping 5 cups fresh raspberries 8 small sprigs fresh rosemary 1 cup of sugar + 1/4 cup sugar for sprinkling

1/2 cup water To create your coulis, combine one cup of sugar, three cups of berries and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until all sugar is dissolved – about 10 minutes, depending on your range. Remove from heat and cool completely. Place your cooked raspberry coulis into a blender or use an immersion blender and puree until smooth. Press through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth and cool in refrigerator. Once your custard tartlets and coulis is cooled, spoon 2-3 tablespoons of coulis onto the top of each tart. Carefully line tops with fresh raspberries. Garnish with a sprinkle of sugar and a sprig of fresh rosemary. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 24 hours. Custard tartlets and coulis can be prepared 2-3 days in advance.

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 53


HUNT THE DELTA

• Shared duck leases season hunt program • Exclusive duck leases • Guided morning duck hunts • Shared deer leases season hunt program • Labor Day dove hunt

www.msdeltaducks.com info@msdeltaducks.com 662.455.6556

54  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014


Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey

{ from the bookshelf }

Recipes From My Three Favorite Food Groups (and then some)

Author: John Currence

by kelsey wells

Ah, the beginning of a new year. The time when gym memberships soar and people resolve to lose weight, get active, and live healthy lifestyles. We recoil at the sight of fat and sugar and promise ourselves once again that this will be the year that extra 15 or 50 pounds comes off. Of course, this is Mississippi. We aren't exactly known as the healthiest state of the Union. We love our fried catfish and our potato salad, golden fried chicken and cakes that contain a mere 500 calories per slice. Maybe we should lean more toward chef and author John Currence's approach: “Healthful living is not about cutting out fried chicken or hush puppies entirely. It is, on the other hand, about having those things in greater moderation.” Currence, who was brought up in New Orleans, La., and is now known as “Oxford, Mississippi's Big, Bad Chef,” owning the City Grocery Restaurant Group, knows the challenges of maintaining a healthy lifestyle with all of the great Southern food available at our fingertips. He emphasizes moderation as a key factor and encourages readers to splurge every now and then to taste and enjoy Southern cuisine. If the title of Currence's cookbook, Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey: Recipes from My Three Favorite Food Groups doesn't intrigue you enough, a quick scan through the pages is certain to draw you in. With more calories per page than you can imagine, pictured in stunning photography by Angie Mosier, the book contains 130 recipes classified not by the traditional methods of cookbook organization (appetizers, casseroles, soups, desserts, etc.), but by cooking method. With “foreplay” written by good friend John T. Edge, this whimsical journey through Southern cuisine is as charming and mysterious as a Mississippi back road on a summer afternoon and reveals true Southern culture focused on family, friends, food, and fun. After an introduction to John and his cooking philosophies, readers are then greeted to basic oil and seasoning recipes they will need. The “Stirring, Shaking, and Muddling” chapter might at first appear to be only mixed-drink recipes for the “adult” crowd such as City Grocery Bloody Mary and Mint Julep Redux, but it also contains lemonade and tea recipes perfect for the whole family. Readers can experience the true tastes of Southern food through recipes like Top Shelf Chicken and Dumplings, Pickled Peaches, and Coca Cola Brined Fried Chicken. For a delicious ending to a meal, try Banana-Walnut Layer Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing or Cayenne-Praline Ice Cream. Step over to the wild side and try Pickled Pig's Ears and Rabbit Cacciatore. Currence backs up even the most unique recipes with his own stories and testimonies of their deliciousness. Mississippi is known not only as a center of delectable Southern cuisine but also as the “Birthplace of America's Music.” As the reader indulges in Currence's delectable recipes, they will notice a song title and artist, handpicked by John, on each recipe page. All of these songs are accessible through Spotify and help enhance the cooking experience. The title is curious, the recipes mouthwatering, the photography beautiful, and the author a perfect picture of Southern culture at its best. Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey makes a perfect addition to any cook's collection. edm

STEEN'S SYRUP-BRAISED PORK BELLY 3 tablespoons salt 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes 1 (5-pound) slab pork belly 3 tablespoons pure olive oil 1-1/2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions 2 tablespoons minced garlic 1 cup peeled, small-dice carrots 1 cup small-dice celery 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves 10 cups ham stock 2-1/2 cups Steen's cane syrup The night before you want to serve this dish, combine the salt, sugar, black pepper, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Trim the pork belly into a tidy rectangle and remove any surface fat that is obviously gratuitous. Rub the spice blend evenly into the pork belly. Cover with plastic wrap, place on a large baking sheet, and refrigerate overnight. When ready to cook, prepare a hot charcoal fire. Unwrap the pork belly, pat it dry, and rub off any excess spice mix. Place the pork belly on the hot grill and cook briefly, just until both sides are well marked. If you do not want to grill the meat, you can still make this dish: Alternatively, coat the pork belly all over with a little olive oil and place it in a large braising pan over high heat. Sear the meat quickly, just until brown on both sides, and remove from the heat. Preheat the oven to 325­° F. In a large braising pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil until it shimmers. Sauté the continued on page 80 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 55


{ raise your glass }

Simple Indulgence for One

CINNAMON CHIP MOCHA MILKSHAKE Toss the ingredients into a blender for a quick treat for yourself. This recipe makes one large serving, or two small. Double or triple if you want to share! 4 large scoops vanilla ice cream 1/2 cup milk 1/4 cup brewed and cooled coffee 56  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

2 Tablespoons chocolate syrup 1/4 cup Hershey's Cinnamon Chips Add the first four ingredients into the blender. Blend until smooth. Add cinnamon chips and blend for just 5 to 10 seconds more, until the chips are broken up and distributed throughout the milkshake. Pour into

a large cup with a wide straw and enjoy! Yield: 1 large, or 2 small servings Nikki Gladd Madison For more of Nikki's great recipes, visit www.seededatthetable.com.


-

Sumner Grille -

-

Sumner

Smith. Corinth

The Hills The Delta -

-

Lee'sSebastopol Steakhouse -

King'Natchez s Tavern -

The Pines

Fleur de Lis Gourmet Bakery -

Capital/River

Our wonderful state is divided into five travel regions - The Hills, The Delta, The Pines, Capital/River, and Coastal. It is our goal to give equal coverage to all regions of the state in every issue. The following sections are color coded by region for your convenience. We hope you will take the time and travel to all regions to take advantage of the diverse culinary styles present throughout our state. We do suggest that you call to verify operating hours before visiting any of these wonderful establishments.

Gulfport

Coastal

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI  57


The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills This booth offers customers a neat peek inside the huge wine cellar at Smith. 58 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014


Preserves History, Transforms Today's Cuisine STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARK BOEHLER

O

ne historical footnote about downtown Corinth, outside slugburgers and the Civil War struggle over an important railroad junction, bears the story of a legendary bank robbery. Five men on horseback rode into the town in Northeast Mississippi on Dec. 7, 1874 and robbed the Tishomingo Savings Institution of between $15,000 and $20,000 in cash and bonds, plus gold watches, diamonds, rings and other jewelry. A bank president and customer were wounded and a dog was the only fatality, shot down as the robbers fired shots as they left the bank. Historians believe the robbers were J. Frank "Kit" Dalton, brothers Cole and Jim Younger and brothers Frank and the famous Jesse James. The legendary James brothers won't find a bank at the same location today on Fillmore Street. They'd find culinary gold at Smith., a new restaurant which transformed a historical building and developed a menu with a unique twist on Southern fare. When Smith. opened its doors in June 2013, it was a dream come true for owners Julia and Russell Smith. "Russell had a vision," explained Julia, 37, who met Russell when the two

were working in an Oxford restaurant and she was a student at Ole Miss. The couple married in 2005 and two years later moved to Corinth for Russell to help with the family business, Russell's Beef Steak House. The business carries Russell's name, a place with its own history of chargrilled steaks started by Russell's grandfather in 1978. Russell was out to find just the right building and he fell in love with the Rankin Printery building. THE BUILDING, DECOR "We tried to keep the building as much to the original state as possible," noted Julia, who helps out in any way at the business, including management and party bookings. The restaurant

has the original floors and ceilings, while plaster was removed to expose beautiful old brick walls. Decorative concrete was added to the

Russell Smith shows one of the signature dishes at Smith. - a Fried Green Tomato Grilled Cheese sandwich. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI  59

The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills

Smith.


The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills

Smith. offers a grilled burger topped with homemade pimento cheese and pickles made by Chef Joel Smith with a side of sweet potato fries.

Julia Smith shows the homemade Cornbread Salad offered at Smith. It includes a topping of tomato relish from her grandmother's recipe and a side of fried green tomatoes.

entranceway and remain the focal point in the restrooms. There is a mix of openness and private booths in the dining area to continue the restaurant theme, "fine dining done casually." The building was built in 1869 and the printery remained in operation there from 1905 until the mid-1990s. "I wanted it to look industrial, but functional," noted Russell, 35, whose kitchen experience includes City Grocery in Oxford and Harvey's in Tupelo and Starkville. "We wanted to preserve as much as possible." A printery sign hangs on a wall and nearby is a handwritten ledger kept on a wooden door facing. "We want people to feel welcome," added Julia. "A place to meet after work, or a place to go after the gym. We want to appeal to everyone." Local dentist Bill Bailey and business owner John Frame enjoyed lunch on a recent weekday. They are regular customers. "I've never gotten anything bad," said Bailey. "Everything is awesome." Bailey's favorite dish is the Filet and he loves the creme brulees. "I like the way they kept the building," said Frame. "The place is a lot of fun. There is so much history." During his high school years, Frame 60  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

was employed at Rankin. Seated in a booth, he pointed to where he "stuffed envelopes right over there." Frame usually orders the Black and Blue Salad, "with a double order of medium rare flank steak." Husband and wife Jacy and Kalin Burcham estimate they have been to Smith. "about 10 times." Katlin usually orders The Burger ("It's awesome," he said) and he is fond of the huge craft beer selection. "This has a college town feel," said Katlin. "This is so cool for Corinth." The bar is upstairs at Smith. with access via the restaurant or a separate entrance. There is a full line of mixed drinks, wines, draft and craft beers and a bar menu. Like the restaurant, the Smiths tried to keep as much original as possible, right down to the cigarette burns on the floor, a reminder where poker games were once played deep into the night. There is a balcony overlooking downtown. Live entertainment is offered on weekend nights. THE MENU The menu was developed by Julia and Russell and Russell's cousin, Chef Joel Smith, a product of Johnson and Wales University's College of Culinary Arts in Providence, R.I. Joel's previous stops include the Red Pony and 55

South, both in Franklin, Tenn. The printery touch appears on the menu, pages which look like they were produced by an old Underwood typewriter and then placed on a clipboard. Russell calls the menu traditional Southern fare with different twists, including some Cajun influence. The Trash Wings are Russell's favorite. "They are amazing," he said. He admitted he discovered them in a St. Louis bar, then added a few personal touches. The homemade Guacamole is a close second favorite, followed by Homemade Cheese Sticks, where "homemade" is part of the name for emphasis they are not frozen store bought, but produced daily from scratch. Smith. offers six salads, the most popular being Classic Cobb Salad, which the list of ingredients include romaine lettuce, chicken, bacon, tomato, hardboiled egg, avocado, Swiss cheese, blue cheese, plus a choice of dressing. The Black and Blue Salad is also popular and Julia's favorite, blackened flank steak served on top of iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes, red onions and blue cheese crumbles. All salads can be topped with grilled selections of chicken, flank steak, salmon, tuna or shrimp. Russell's classic The Burger is "flying


Great Response

Response to the new eatery has been great, noted the Smiths, with a good mix of local regulars and out of town visitors. A large group of men from the Jackson area visited "just to give us a try," noted Julia. "We are blessed," she added, as she credited the success to their 25 employees, including a dozen servers. They agreed a strong ownership team adds to the success. "She keeps me sane," said Russell, as the couple has three young daughters. "She takes care of so much." "I think we are a pretty good team, don't you think? asked Julia. Russell smiled. "Yes, honey."

Russell was quizzed about the significance of the dot at the end of Smith when naming his eatery. It's no dot com. "It's not Smith. It's not Smith's restaurant," noted the owner. "It's Smith, period." Smith. -- the end of a sentence, yet the beginning of a new tradition in downtown Corinth. Period. edm Smith. 603 N. Fillmore, Corinth 662.594.1925 www.smithdowntown.com

The most popular dish at Smith. is Shrimp and Grits - creamy Mississippi stone ground grits topped with pan-seared shrimp in a mushroom butter sauce.

Customers get to watch Russell Smith's kitchen magic through a kitchen window at Smith. in downtown Corinth.

This private dining room for a party of 12 inside Smith. shows the exposed brick and ceilings to reveal the building's history. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 61

The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills

out the door," he said, as the man with Russell's Beef Steak House roots knows his beef. Of the eight sandwich offerings, the Fried Green Tomato Grilled Cheese, Chicken Salad Quesadilla and Lazy Chicken Sandwich are customer favorites. Lazy Chicken is fried or grilled chicken tenders with bacon, white cheddar cheese, lettuce and smokey BBQ mayo. One would expect grilled steaks (6 oz. or 10 oz. Filets), Prime Rib (Joel's Rub) and homemade pastas (Jambalaya and Pecan Chicken), but Joel and Russell also take several more entrées to the next level. Joel's Shrimp and Grits remain the number one dish. It's creamy grits from Delta Grinds of Water Valley, pan-seared shrimp in a tangy, butter sauce with bacon and mushrooms, then garnished with chives. Chicken and Waffles remain popular -- fried chicken and Belgian style waffles -- and the Catfish and Collards with Etouffee "is really catching on," noted Russell. "Once people give it a try, they're are hooked," he noted, as the dish includes grilled or blackened catfish (Mississippi raised, of course), braised collard greens with crawfish etouffee. Desserts change regularly, with Bread Pudding and Mississippi Mud Cheesecake among the most sought after. Joel cooks up different creme brulees which would make New Orleans proud. S'more Creme Brulee with graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows has been a huge hit, noted Russell. Russell said the Smith. menu will be changed regularly, with new items appearing about every six weeks. Craft beer is a passion of Russell's, something reflected on the selections available at Smith. There are nine beers on draft, including Southern Pecan and Yalobusha River Ale. There are about 20 craft beer selections, including Mississippi breweries -- Lazy Magnolia, Lucky Town Brewing Co., Yalobusha Brewing Co. and Oxford Brewing Company. Expected to soon be added to the list is Southern Prohibition Brewing Company.


The Delta • The Delta • The Delta • The Delta • The Delta • The Delta • The Delta • The Delta

Something's Cooking in Sumner Sumner Grille: A Delta Dining Hotspot

story and photography by coop cooper | a.k.a. the small town critic

N

estled behind the courthouse in the town square of Sumner in Tallahatchie County hides a new destination dining hotspot in the Mississippi Delta. Sumner Grille opened in August 2013 much to the excitement of locals who haven't had anything resembling an upscale eatery in town for quite some time. Since its debut, Sumner Grille has attracted many customers from Charleston, Cleveland, Greenwood, Clarksdale, and beyond as word of mouth continues to spread. Those in-the-know brave the drive in part because of chef Walt Norwood, who has developed a following of fans over the years due to his previous culinary startups. Born and raised in Sardis, Nor-

62 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

wood turned to cooking as a life change after a career as an investment advisor left him unsatisfied and burned out. “I kind of got to a rough place in my life...” says Norwood. "After that I had nothing to do and I didn't know what I wanted to do and somebody said 'Why don't you do something you like?' It sounded like a pie-in-the-sky, but I was flat on my back so I thought, 'Well I like to hunt and I like to fish and I like to cook.' I didn't think my wife wanted to move to Montana and live in a cabin, so I decided to cook. I walked into a restaurant in Memphis one day and asked the lady for a job and that was twenty five years ago.” After getting hands-on experience

from different restaurants in Memphis, Norwood soon found his calling. “I was lucky to get into some good places early on and it was a great relief to find that this is what I was meant to do.” While in Tennessee, Norwood moved around to different restaurants, including the first one that he owned with his wife in Collierville. He then moved back to Mississippi and gained notoriety for his popular restaurant in Oxford called Waltz on the Square, where the college town foodies discovered his gift for infusing different culinary genres. After moving on and working for a restaurant in Tunica called The Café Marie, Norwood developed another cult following in


Seared Tuna appetizer

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 63

The Delta • The Delta • The Delta • The Delta • The Delta • The Delta • The Delta • The Delta Chef Walt Norwood


The Delta • The Delta • The Delta • The Delta • The Delta • The Delta • The Delta • The Delta

hrimp nghai S

Sha

er

appetiz

Red Beans & Rice

Clarksdale becoming the chef for the fledgling espresso bar/bistro/bakery, Yazoo Pass. After nearly a year there, Walt was approached to help start up the new restaurant, Sumner Grille. “I'm working my way south,” jokes Norwood who admits the owners of the Sumner Grille made it easy for him to get on board. “I knew Mike Wagner, he's one of the owners and a big rice farmer. He had involved me in a big rice-cooking contest down in Cleveland and I knew the (Sumner Grille) building had been completed but dormant for about a year and a half... The opportunity came up, they asked me to open it and we hit it off the first day and have been going ever since,” says Norwood. Owners Mike Wagner and Graham Flautt had always wanted to start up a restaurant in Sumner and it had been an idea years in the making. One of their first hires was manager Vanessa 64  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

Pimpton. A local who formerly managed Double Dy Express in Tutwiller, Pimpton says both the restaurant and the bar have collected a number of dedicated locals in the short time since their opening. “We have regulars that come just for the bar,” says Pimpton, pointing to one of the corner chairs. “One of the local lawyers and his wife sits there every time. I'm gonna have to put their names on the seat.” Tallahatchie County boasts some of the best duck hunting land in the state

and Sumner Grille has given hunters a new place to relax after a cold, vigorous morning of calling in the drakes. At night, hunters line the bar to tell tales of the day's bounty and knock back a few fresh beers from the tap. Although the Sumner Grill only serves beer, it welcomes brownbagging and also offers access to a locker area in the back where frequent patrons can store their wines and spirits for easy access when the notion strikes. The establishment features a main dining room, a bar, a small porch for


al fresco dining and a room for private parties called 'The Showroom'. Due to the building's former life as a Ford dealership, Norwood agrees the name is appropriate. “That's actually where they showed cars back in the day. It's a nice layout, they've done a good job with it,” says Norwood. Lately, The Showroom has been getting a lot of use. During the holiday season, the Grille has been hosting many parties, sometimes two at a time. “It's definitely been our busiest time so far,” says Pimpton. One of the most popular events at Sumner Grille is the Sunday brunch. “They've had quite of a turnout for Sundays,” says Norwood. “They have typical fare, French Toast, Bananas Foster, things like that. A lot of people are coming for that.” Pimpton describes the night-time menu as a “variety”. “You can get everything from shrimp to soul food to a good, ole steak,” says Pimpton. The unique dinner menu features exotic (to the Delta) appetizers such

as seared tuna and Shanghai shrimp as well as traditional country dishes like catfish, Frito tamale pie and three different varieties of 'Buckhead Beef ' steaks. While the 8 oz filet and the 'Porterhouse for Two' are popular menu items, most agree Chef Norwood's blackened ribeye is one of the most flavorful steaks ever consumed. The Grille also offers an assortment of seafood, including cajun dishes such as crawfish etouffee, 'Bayou Gumbo' and blackened redfish. For the non-spicy seafood fan, there is grilled salmon, 'Old Bay' crabcakes, seared tuna and oysters on the half shell. There are a couple of tasty pasta dishes - the “Rector's Pasta” being a particular favorite - and of course fresh soup and Southern-themed salad. There are also three different burgers named after Sumner Grille customers: The “Waynes” World which is topped with fried bologna, egg, bacon and USA cheese, the “SG” smothered in white cheddar or smoked gouda and the Big “D” with double patties, chili, pepperjack cheese and grilled onions.

With the owners' background in farming (Sumner's bread and butter) they added a few touches to the decoration to celebrate their profession and heritage. “There's corn and rice in the bar,” says Pimpton as she points to little grains lacquered into the bar's glossy finish. “Most people don't even notice it.” Touches like that make local restaurants special and Sumner Grille is definitely special to the people here. Not a group comes in without greeting at least three other tables before sitting down. Word is the eatery has generated interest in revitalizing the town square and even the courthouse in the center of it is getting a much-needed facelift. Sumner Grille is certainly the kind of restaurant that friendly and hardworking small town folks deserve, and they might get a few new visitors out of it. edm Sumner Grille 105 South Court St., Sumner 662.833.3051 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 65

The Delta • The Delta • The Delta • The Delta • The Delta • The Delta • The Delta • The Delta

Manager Vanessa Pimpton


The Pines • The Pines • The Pines • The Pines • The Pines • The Pines • The Pines • The Pines

For A Great Steak Every Time...

66 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014


By GENNIE PHILLIPS

PHOTOS BY GENNIE PHILLIPS

LEFT - Richard, Karoline (3), Kyndall (5), and Robbyn Lee

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 67

The Pines • The Pines • The Pines • The Pines • The Pines • The Pines • The Pines • The Pines

Q

uality is what sets the standard at Lee’s Steakhouse in the small town of Sebastopol. Owners Richard and Robbyn Lee said they pride themselves on producing the best tasting food for their customers and because of their dedication to excellence their business has boomed since it opened in 2008. The restaurant abides by the goal “to serve only the finest Black Angus Ribeyes. All of our steaks are aged for superior tenderness, flavor, and quality." “I hand cut our ribeyes each week and prep our meats,” Richard said, noting that this process assured him and his patrons of the quality of steaks they cook. He said he credits the success of the restaurant to “high quality ribeyes with an eye on consistency.” Approximately 70 to 75 percent of the orders at Lee’s Steakhouse are just that… steaks, serving more than 400 steaks per weekend to an average 550-600 customers each Thursday and Friday night. All of the steaks served are described as Braveheart Premium Black Angus beef that is aged, hand cut, tenderized, seasoned and chargrilled to perfection. The steaks are uniquely named based on their size or cut. Options include the Filet Mignon (6 ounce), Buckaroo (9-ounce ribeye), Rancher (12-ounce ribeye), Cowboy (16-ounce ribeye) and the Hoss (20-ounce ribeye). All steaks are served with a choice of side item of baked potato, baked sweet potato or French fries, one trip to the salad bar and Texas toast. Richard said he most proudly serves the 6-ounce filet. “It is such a great cut of meat for tenderness and flavor,” he explains. In addition to the most popular steaks, Lee’s Steakhouse also serves entrees including fried catfish, grilled shrimp, hamburger steak, hamburgers, chicken tenders and a variety of other menu options. The restaurant also offers a full salad bar, which includes homemade dressings. Lee’s Steakhouse has been voted Best Restaurant by The Scott County Times Best of the Best voters choice awards in 2010 and 2011. The restaurants popularity is evident by the patrons who drive from all around the state to dine in the wood cabin ambiance. On most of the nights that the restaurant is open, the parking lot is full of vehicles and some line up along Highway 21, a reflection of the public’s support. “We think our location and dedication to high quality steak at a low price is what sets us apart from other steak houses,” Richard said. To found the restaurant, the Lees said they combined interests. “Robbyn had always been in the restaurant business and I liked to grill and cook so with the help and guidance from others, we were able to have a successful steakhouse,” Richard said. The restaurant is clearly a family operation as well as being a favorite place for families to enjoy a meal.


The Pines • The Pines • The Pines • The Pines • The Pines • The Pines • The Pines • The Pines

PHOTOS SUBMITTED

FROM LEFT - Bacon Cheddar Bites, Ribeye Steak, Cheesecake with Strawberry Topping, Fried Catfish

68  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014


restaurant after it flooded as a result of Tropical Storm Lee. The steakhouse sustained major damage due to three feet of water inside the restaurant. “We couldn’t believe it when we saw the amount of water that was in here. The water was as high as the front door knob,” Richard said recalling the devastation. “It was Labor Day weekend and we had a lot of help, people kept showing up to help,” he said. “We had more than 50 people and probably even more than that show up to help us that weekend and for the weeks following as we rebuilt the damaged area.” After three long hard weeks, Lee’s re-opened with a new look and renovated dining area. “We will forever be grateful for our community and how they supported us then and now,” Richard said. In the future, the Lees said they plan to continue to provide their patrons high quality food at reasonable prices as well as continue to host private parties and catering. “We are so thankful for our success so far and hope to continue to keep our customers happy and coming back to see us,” Richard said. edm Lee's Steakhouse 15874 Highway 21 N., Sebastopol 601.625.7379 www.leessteakhouse.com

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 69

The Pines • The Pines • The Pines • The Pines • The Pines • The Pines • The Pines • The Pines

“We love working together and we enjoy the success. We have built a relationship with our staff and customers,” Richard said. The restaurant is open Thursday and Friday nights but special events can be scheduled there on other nights. The steakhouse also offers catering services. Serving the people that they know well is an added bonus in operating a business in Scott County according to the Lees. “We love working at home because we both grew up here so we are close to our own family,” Richard said. The Lees also said they love their location in the town of Sebastopol, although the restaurant is actually located just south of the town limits. Richard said not only is it great to have the support of the restaurant’s home community but it is also great when he sees his weekly regulars coming in the door. “We want our customers to have the best steak they have ever had every time they come in our restaurant,” Richard said. He also noted that the fried catfish plate was their second best seller behind their steaks. In 2011, the Lees learned just how much the Sebastopol and Scott County community loved Lee’s Steakhouse when they reached out to help the


Capital/River • Capital/River • Capital/River • Capital/River • Capital/River • Capital/River

"Hot" items on King's Tavern's menu are the handcrafted flatbreads, which are baked in a wood-fired pizza oven. The mozzarella used atop these specialties is freshly made by Chef Regina Charboneau.

70 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014


A New Restaurant Brings Life Back To Natchez’s Oldest Building story By Lisa LaFontaine Bynum | photography by stephen flowers

D

riving through the picturesque streets of Natchez is like stepping into a time machine. It’s not everywhere that you can catch glimpses of grand antebellum estates through the magnolia trees. However, turn down Jefferson Street and you are sure to find one structure that catches your eye. It’s an imposing wood and brick structure that predates anything else still standing in Natchez. King’s Tavern has a long and colorful history. It was originally constructed in the late 1700’s from the wood of scrapped ships as part

of Fort Panmure, which housed a large detachment of British troops that occupied Natchez at the time. Eventually an entrepreneur named Richard King purchased the building and set up a tavern and inn for weary travelers. The tavern also housed Natchez’s first post office and soon became a popular gathering spot for the town. As the rise of steamboat travel began to hurt Mr. King’s profits, the tavern eventually fell into the hands of the Postlethwaite family. The Postlethwaite’s would live in the structure for nearly 150 years,

until 1973 when it was purchased by an investor and was once again reopened as a restaurant. King’s Tavern sat abandoned for almost a year until 2013, when Doug and Regina Charboneau purchased the property. Regina Charboneau is no stranger to the restaurant business, having owned and worked in restaurants from Alaska to San Francisco to New York. When the couple returned to Natchez in 2000, Regina thought she was through with the restaurant business. However, all that changed when Doug decided he needed a “project.”

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 71

Capital/River Coastal • Coastal • Capital/River • Coastal • Coastal • Capital/River • Coastal • Capital/River Coastal • Coastal • Capital/River • Coastal • Coastal • Capital/River • Coastal

King’s Tavern


Capital/River • Capital/River • Capital/River • Capital/River • Capital/River • Capital/River

Marinated Shrimp with Mozzarella

72 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014


Wood-fired Brisket Flatbread with Horseradish Cream

Confit of Tomato Salad with Kalmata Vinaigrette “I really had no intention of getting back into the restaurant business,” Regina reveals. “But Doug wanted to open a rum distillery, the King’s Tavern was available, and it seemed like the perfect place.” Regina had just ordered a woodfired pizza oven for her home. When a concept for the new restaurant began to take shape, she decided to construct the oven at the restaurant instead. Several months of renovations were needed before King’s Tavern could open for business. Finally, in September 2013, the historic restaurant welcomed the general public once again. The restaurant’s specialty, under the direction of Executive Chef Allison Richard, is handcrafted, woodfired flatbreads topped with an array of mouthwatering toppings such as brisket and horseradish cream, smoked bacon and shaved Brus-

Wood-fired peppered oysters

sels sprouts, or shrimp and smoked tomatoes. Like many chefs, Regina is enthusiastically embracing the farm-totable movement. Her menu items are seasonal and she is even making her own mozzarella for the flatbreads. The bar features craft beer and cocktails, unique Italian sodas, and craft bottled sodas. Bar manager Ricky Woolfolk frequently offers mixology classes on weekends. In Spring 2014, Doug and the Charboneau’s son, Jean Luc, plan to open Charboneau Rum Distillery in the restaurant’s former bar. The pair plan to sell white rum and eventually aged rum in small quantities. It will also have a tasting room and provide tours. Rum may not be the only spirit residing in King’s Tavern. The restaurant is notorious for ghost sightings, the most famous named Madeline,

a young girl who was supposedly murdered and then buried within the building’s walls. Regardless of whether the story is true, the lore has earned Madeline her own dish on the menu. However, staff and visitors over the years have reported seeing apparitions walking throughout the tavern, including Regina herself. “I don’t believe in that kind of thing, but there was one instance during renovations when I was meeting with the construction crews and we all saw a shadow move across the room and block out the light. Whether it was Madeline, I don’t know.” Maybe there is a reason the tavern’s tagline reads, “Spirits of All Kinds.” edm King's Tavern 619 Jefferson St., Natchez 601.446.8845 eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 73

Capital/River Coastal • Coastal • Capital/River • Coastal • Coastal • Capital/River • Coastal • Capital/River Coastal • Coastal • Capital/River • Coastal • Coastal • Capital/River • Coastal

Shaved Apple and Parmesan Salad Topped With Crispy Proscuitto


Capital/River Coastal • Coastal • Capital/River • Coastal • Coastal • Capital/River • Coastal • Capital/River Coastal • Coastal • Capital/River • Coastal • Coastal • Capital/River • Coastal

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at

• Fleur de Lis • Gourmet Bakery Strawberry Bavarian Cream Cheese Cake

74 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014


Chef Brewer

Coastal • Coastal • Coastal • Coastal • Coastal • Coastal • Coastal • Coastal • Coastal • Coastal

by julian brunt

J

ason Brewer spent years apprenticing to become a pastry chef and his efforts have paid off in a big way. Fleur de Lis Gourmet Bakery in Gulfport is a growing business with a serious flair. They have only been in the present location for one year, but the business is already well established. There are a handful of bakeries on the Gulf Coast, but few produce the level of artistry that Chef Brewer has achieved. His creations are European inspired, so if you think doughnut shop when you see a bakery this place will surprise you. Also expect a relaxing atmosphere, with light jazz in the background and great coffee and espresso. This is the sort of place to grab a chair and stay a while. One of Fleur de Lis' best sellers is the Strawberry Bavarian Cream Cheese Cake. It is made of moist, delicious yellow cake and Tahitian vanilla, and is filled with fresh, sweet strawberries and rich cream cheese mousse. It is beautifully garnished with whole strawberries and toasted almonds. One look at the sumptuous cake and you know you are in a very special place. Another house specialty is the Belgian Chocolate Mousse Cake. This very popular cake is made with French Valrhona chocolate and filled with layers of mousse made with the best Belgian chocolate. It's iced with decadent Belgian chocolate ganache. A ganache, to the uninformed, is a delicious mixture of cream and chocolate. What could be better? The confections this pâtisserie offers really are a cut above most. Check out the chocolate raspberry cake, red velvet, a true Southern favorite, Swiss butter cream and old fashioned carrot cake. The fresh fruit cake is unusual and

French King Cake

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 75


Capital/River Coastal • Coastal • Capital/River • Coastal • Coastal • Capital/River • Coastal • Capital/River Coastal • Coastal • Capital/River • Coastal • Coastal • Capital/River • Coastal Key Lime Tart

76 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014


Red Velvet Cake

Fleur de Lis Gourmet Bakery 500 B Courthouse Rd., Gulfport 228.896.0005 www.fdlgourmetbakery.com

Belgian Chocolate Mousse Cake Fresh Fruit Tarts

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 77

Coastal • Coastal • Coastal • Coastal • Coastal • Coastal • Coastal • Coastal • Coastal • Coastal

deserves a long look, too. If you are not familiar with doberge, the chef will be more than happy to tell you how he layers Tahitian vanilla yellow cake, chocolate and custard, along with other ingredients, to make this beautiful cake that has its origins in New Orleans. The Fleur de Lis menu is cake heavy, but they also offer a good variety of pastries, croissants, danishes, gourmet cookies, and what the chef calls personal treats, or three inch personalized cakes and tarts. If you are planning an event, Chef Brewer will also be glad to sit down with you and discuss a customized menu. Fleur de Lis really is a top of the line bakery, the likes of which you might expect only in a larger city. The quality of the ingredients just couldn’t be better and the chef and his staff are committed to excellent customer service. If you’ve got a sweet tooth and find yourself in Gulfport, then this is the place for you. Chef Brewer sums it up when he says “Taste comes first, everything else follows.” edm


{ calendar }

Fill Your Plate

February/March 2014

Food Festivals & Events February 7

Vicksburg 20th Annual Chili Feast The Vicksburg Kiwanis Club is hosting the 20th Annual Chili Feast on February 7 from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. for lunch and 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. for dinner at the Purks YMCA, 267 YMCA Place. The cost is $6 and includes chili, salad, crackers, dessert and tea. All funds raised will be used for the club’s service projects and college scholarships for local youth. For more information, please call Charlie McKinnie at 601-218-1754. 78 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014


February 22-23

D'Iberville - 8th Annual BBQ Throwdown & Festival In D'Iberville's annual BBQ chicken, ribs and brisket cook-off, teams compete for over $5,000 in cash and prizes. The event continues to grow yearly with the addition of a youth BBQ cook-off. Bring the kids as they can win cash and prizes as well. Live entertainment is provided all day along with arts and crafts, face painting, children's activities and games, clowns, Pulled Pork Taste Tent, and, of course, barbeque. This event is sanctioned by the International BBQ Cookers Association and has been named a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Winter Event. For more information, call 228-3929734.

March 7

Columbus - Catfish in the Alley Dating back to the 1800's when African-Americans would catch catfish in the Tombigbee River and bring it uptown to sell, the smell of catfish cooking would permeate the air in Columbus. Hence the name Catfish Alley, which became famous for blues, dining and early African-American business leaders. This event was created years ago to celebrate contributions of notable African-American residents and leaders of the community. Don't miss this fun and special event suitable for the entire family. Admission is $7.50 per person. For more information, call 800-920-3533.

March 15-16

Biloxi - 8th Annual Grillin' on the Green Teams barbecue their favorite recipes in competition at this annual event in Biloxi. It also features arts and crafts, kids games, live music, and more. Grillin' on the Green has been named a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event for 2010, 2011 and 2012. For more information, call 228-435-6339.

To have your food festival or culinary event included in future issues, please contact us at info@eatdrinkmississippi.com. All submissions are subject to editor's approval. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 79


Recipe Index Asparagus Shiitake Mushroom Risotto, 46 Black Eyed Pea Vinaigrette, 27 Braised Catfish, 27 Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo, 21 Chocolate Eclair Poke Brownies, 36 Chocolate-Hazelnut Malteds, 37 Cinnamon Chip Mocha Milkshake, 56 Cinnamon-Coffee Chocolate Gravy, 38 Fresh Raspberry Coulis and Topping, 53 Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies, 49 Gluten Free Fried Chicken, 52 Morrison's Eggplant Casserole, 19 Oven Smoked Tomatoes, 27 Perfect Boiled Rice, 20 Raspberry Rosemary Tartlets, 53 Smoked Tomato Coulis, 27 Steen's Syrup-Braised Pork Belly, 55 Sweet Potato Biscuits, 15

Advertisers Index American Factory Direct Furniture Outlet, 7 Etta B Pottery, 4 Lorie Roach Photography, 47 Mississippi Press Association, 83 MS Delta Ducks, 54 Ridgeland Tourism, 11 Sanderson Farms, back Santé South Wine Festival, 2 Sunbelt Lighting, 7 The Kitchen Table, 4 Thurman’s Landscaping, 7 continued from page 55 onions and garlic until they begin to wilt. Stir in the carrots and celery and sauté again until they begin to soften. Blend in the thyme and heat through. Push the vegetables to one side and lay the pork belly in the pan with the vegetables. Add the stock and Steen's, cover with aluminum foil, and braise in the oven for 3 hours, or until very tender. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool briefly. Carefully remove the belly from the pan and let rest at room temperature while you finish the sauce. Strain the braising liquid into a medium saucepan, discard the vegetable solids, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and skim off any fat that floats to the top. Once most of the fat has been removed, turn the heat back up, and reduce the sauce until it thickens. Season to taste with a touch more Steen's, or salt and pepper. Cut the belly into equal portions and arrange on serving plates. Pour the thickened sauce over the top of each piece and serve. Serves 6 80  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

coming to terms

 IN

E

TH

Kitchen

WITH JULIAN BRUNT

Ramen For most of us, when we think of ramen noodles we think of the dried instant noodles that are available in almost every grocery store in the USA. That version of ramen was invented by Momofuku Ando in 1958, but it has little to do with the dish that is so popular today in Japan. Ramen is Japan's most popular comfort food and thousands of shops serve it exclusively. It is a soup with a meat stock base, wheat flour noodles, and varying combinations of vegetables and meat. There are many regional variations, not only in Japan but around Asia. There is even a museum in Yokohama dedicated to this food phenomenon. The national dish of Vietnam, Pho, is a relative of ramen, but the genesis of this wildly popular soup is most probably China.

STORE INFORMATION from pages 12-13 Belk Department Stores www.belk.com

Bed Bath and Beyond www.bedbathandbeyond.com

Store locations: Biloxi Columbus Corinth Flowood Gautier Greenville Gulfport Hattiesburg Laurel McComb Meridian Natchez Oxford Ridgeland Tupelo

Store locations: Flowood Gulfport Hattiesburg Jackson Meridian Southaven Tupelo Kohl's www.kohls.com Store locations: D'Iberville Flowood Hattiesburg Southaven Tupelo


Vendors

eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI

eat. drin MISSIS

SIPPI

Easy H o A ppetiz liday ers

k. DECEMB

ER/JANU ARY 2014

page 26

PASS CH RISTIAN OYSTER FESTIVA AN 30 GR L EAT RECI PES FOR THE HOLID SUPER GA AYS ME DAY GRUB

MORE TH

Find your own copy of eat.drink.MISSISSIPPI at any of the vendors listed below. MISSISSIPPI

Wal-mart Stores Walgreens Stores

Aberdeen – Cottage Tea Room Amory – The Precious Possum Bay Springs – Piggly Wiggly Beaumont - Sissy's Biloxi – Beau Rivage Biloxi – Books-A-Million Biloxi – Food Giant Biloxi – Keesler Commissary Biloxi – Keesler Air Force Base Mini Mall Brandon - Mockingbird Marketplace Brookhaven - Piggly Wiggly Brookhaven - The Finishing Touch Bude - Peoples Drug Store Choctaw – Silver Star Hotel Clarksdale - Mag-Pie Gift & Art Shop Cleveland - Cotton Row Bookstore Clinton – Grocery Depot Columbus – Air Force Base Main Columbus – Air Force Base Shop Columbus – Books-A-Million Columbus – Piggly Wiggly Columbia – Piggly Wiggly Columbia - Second Street Bean Como – Main Street Antiques Corinth - Bookland Corinth - Ginger’s Crystal Springs - Clear Creek Flowers Crystal Springs – The Meteor Ellisville – Corner Market Forest - OAK: A Southern Experience Gautier – Jerry Lee’s Greenwood - Crosstown Gifts Greenwood - Mississippi Gift Co. Greenwood – Turn Row Book Co. Grenada - Sugarplums Bakery & Coffee Shop Gulfport – Barnes & Noble Gulfport – Food Giant Hattiesburg - Accents Fine Home Interior & Gifts Hattiesburg – Books-A-Million Hattiesburg - Campus Book Mart Hattiesburg – Corner Markets Hattiesburg - Gourmet & More Hattiesburg – Forrest General Gift Shop Hattiesburg - Main Street Books Hattiesburg - Sunflower Hattiesburg – The Kitchen Table

Hazlehurst – Copiah County Courier Holly Springs - Jennie's Florist & Gifts Indianola - The Crown Restaurant Jackson – Books-A-Million Jackson - Brent's Drugs Jackson – Keesler Thompson Field Jackson – Lemuria Bookstore Jackson - Lovelle's CMMC Gift Shop Jackson - Mississippi Baptist Medical Center Jackson - The Everyday Gourmet Jackson – Two Sisters Kitchen Kosciusko - Sullivan’s Drugs & Gifts Laurel – Corner Market Laurel – Grocery Depot Laurel - Lauren Rogers Museum of Art Laurel – Piggly Wiggly Laurel - Sunflower Leakesville – Piggly Wiggly Long Beach - Long Beach Drugs Magee – Piggly Wiggly McComb - Bookland McComb - McComb Electric McComb – McComb Market McComb - Sunflower McComb - Topisaw General Store Mendenhall - Mendenhall G & G Meridian – Anderson Pharmacy Meridian – Books-A-Million Meridian - Keesler Meridian - Mathis Peaches & Produce Meridian – Mr. Discount Drugs Meridian – Piggly Wiggly Monticello - Hudson Pharmacy Monticello - Lawrence County Press Monticello - Ole River Gypsies' Market Monticello - Ramey's Marketplace Moss Point – Piggly Wiggly Natchez – Bookland Natchez – Natchez Markets Natchez – South Side Market Natchez – Turning Pages Newton – Garvin’s Piggly Wiggly Oxford - DeShea's Oxford - Square Books Pascagoula – Antique Treasures & Treats Petal – Corner Market Picayune - MeLinda’s Fine Gifts Prentiss – Cowboy Jim’s Quitman - Hometown Quitman Treasures Richton – Fulmer’s General Store Ridgeland – Barnes & Noble Ridgeland - Fresh Market Ridgeland - The Everyday Gourmet

Rolling Fork - The Onward Store Rolling Fork - The Shoppe Sebastopol - Spoonfudge! Shivers - Shivers Creek Fish House Southaven – Books-A-Million Starkville - Book Mart & Café Starkville - Giggleswick Starkville – Piggly Wiggly Stonewall - Christy's Fine Dining Taylorsville – Piggly Wiggly Tupelo – Barnes & Noble Tunica - Tunica Pharmacy Tylertown - Southern Charm Tylertown - Sunflower Utica - Sunflower Vicksburg - Bookland Vicksburg – Corner Markets Vicksburg - Lorelei Books Vicksburg - Levee Street Marketplace Wesson - Porches West Point - Culin-Arts Wiggins – Piggly Wiggly Yazoo City - Downtown Marketplace Yazoo City – Kaye's Food Market ALABAMA Mobile - Books-A-Million Spanish Fort - Barnes & Noble Tuscaloosa - Barnes & Noble Tuscaloosa - Books-A-Million ARKANSAS Jonesboro - Barnes & Noble LOUISIANA Baton Rouge - Barnes & Noble (Perkins Rowe) Baton Rouge - Books-A-Million Covington - Books-A-Million Ferriday – Kaye’s Food Market #4 Hammond - Books-A-Million Mandeville - Barnes & Noble Metairie - Barnes & Noble Monroe - Books-A-Million Slidell - Books-A-Million Vidalia – Vidalia Market TENNESSEE Colliverville - Barnes & Noble Memphis - Barnes & Noble

If you would like to sell eat.drink.MISSISSIPPI at your business, call 601-756-1584 or email info@eatdrinkmississippi.com. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI  81


Need an Excuse to Eat Well? There's a Holiday for That!

BILL DABNEY PHOTOGRAPHY

{ till we eat again }

BY JAY REED

I

t’s about to get busy at the Reed hacienda. February is a pretty big month on our family calendar - a birthday, an anniversary, and more holidays than I ever realized – lots of good reasons to celebrate, and what’s a party without a snack? Daughter was born on Groundhog Day. That probably would have meant more to her had she actually been born in the States. We told her she was a groundhog baby, and she wore that banner proudly – she just had no idea what it meant. We had groundhogs (or at least a cousin) in that Kingdom of Far, Far Away, but we had no winter, so the idea of some furry rodent on the side of the road becoming a meteorologist for a day was as foreign as the language she was learning. The perfect set of birthday meals for Daughter would be a dozen Shipley’s Donut holes for breakfast, a turkey and crackers Lunchables at noon, Chester’s Hot Fries for a snack, and filet mignon for dinner...the diet of a tweenager. As for the coinciding holiday, a few years ago I wondered aloud what the appropriate meal for Groundhog Day would be. Would it have the same sort of double meaning as Turkey Day? If all was right with the world, would the meat department at the supermarket be running specials all through January on various cuts of woodchuck? Would the barbecue joints be offering Pulled Punxsatawney sandwiches? Would Chez Fancy-Pants have a February 2nd special of Phil-et Mignon? Don’t get your hopes up. According to my source at the Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, there is no hunting

82  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

season for groundhogs. And on www. groundhog.org, there is only one recipe - for a cookie - and there is absolutely no groundhog in the ingredient list. It's kind of misleading if you ask me. On into the month a fortnight and The Wife and I will celebrate the big one-seven. No, we did not get married on Valentine’s Day. That was the rehearsal dinner. We had one of our first arguments as an engaged couple about that rehearsal dinner. Ahhhh, memories. I thought it would be great to have barbecue and catfish and all the trimmings. I am from the South. She thought I was a nutbrain. Her kind was used to more formal dinners. Her kind had roots in upstate New York. I told her, in the most kind and loving way possible, that this was my dinner and I’d be eating what I wanted - and I wanted catfish and barbecue. Our first argument turned into our first compromise. I got to keep the barbecue and she got a caterer to fancy up the sides. My folks brought Little Dooey pulled pork on dry ice from Mississippi to the wedding in North Carolina and the caterer made tri-color slaw and roasted potatoes for sides. Success. And not too many months later, her best bud had a barbecue rehearsal dinner in a BARN no less. Vindication. Since President’s Day has even less food traditions than Groundhog Day (less than zero is really not much at all), and Valentine’s Day is mostly about chocolate, we have to turn to made-up holidays to give us an excuse to eat well. Good thing February is loaded with them. On the healthy side, February is Banana and Avocado month. I’m not

Jay Reed, a graduate of Ole Miss, lives in Starkville where he is a pharmacist by day and a freelance food writer by day off. He is a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and writes “Eats One Ate,” a weekly column in the Starkville Daily News.

sure those are supposed to be eaten together, but who am I to argue with the holiday people? If those are too boring for you, celebrate Exotic Vegetables and Star Fruit Month instead. I mean it’s just not February if you haven’t paid a lot of money for a funny-looking piece of fruit that you’re not quite sure how to eat. Ironically, February is considered by someone to be Hot Breakfast Month, which must have come as a big surprise to the folks who dubbed the first Saturday of this short month to be Ice Cream for Breakfast Day. (That’s a holiday I can truly appreciate.) Solo Diners EatOut Weekend happens to be the week before Valentine’s Day. It’s only fair. And despite my adventurous culinary spirit, just because National Pancake Week overlaps Jell-O Week doesn’t necessarily mean that they should be on the same plate. I think I like February. Somewhere between Crepe Day, Chocolate Mint Day and Chili Day, you’re bound to find something to celebrate, too. If not, you are welcome to celebrate our anniversary with us – they say the appropriate gift for the seventeenth is furniture, and we could use a Viking Range. edm


Surprise! Younger Mississippians Surprise! are loyal Younger rise! newspaper ger readers, too. Mississippians

ssippians oyal paper ers, too.

are loyal newspaper readers, too.

SCAN TO READ THE SURVEY SUMMARY

SCAN TO READ THE SURVEY SUMMARY

A new study* shows 1.5 million Mississippi adults are loyal newspaper readers. But did you know that includes many younger Mississippians?

younger consumers. And young (18-34) adults actually prefer to receive advertising information supplements with their newspaper.

tudy* shows 1.5 million younger consumers. adults areReadership loyal news- of newspapers is ders. But did you know And young (18-34) adults actually stronger among young adults Whether in print, online or on the des many younger Mis- prefer to receive advertising in(18-34) than information most states. Use go, are the leading s? supplements withnewspapers their of newspaper newspaper. websites adds sig- source of information for Missisnificantly to p of newspapers is printed readership sippi. There is strength in numbers amongadults all groups, there among young Whether particularly in print, onlineand or on the is power in print. an in most states. Use go, newspapers are the leading aper websites adds sig- source of information for Missisto printed readership sippi. There is strength in numbers ll groups, particularly and there is power in print.

ndd 1

SCAN TO READ THE SURVEY SUMMARY

A new study* shows 1.5 million Mississippi adults are loyal newspaper readers. But did you know that includes many younger millionMississippians? younger consumers.

A new study* shows 1.5 Mississippi adults are loyal newsReadership of newspapers is stronger among young adults (18-34) paper readers. But did you knowthan inAnd young actually most states. Use of(18-34) newspaper adults websites adds significantly to There is power in print. readership among all groups, particularly younger consumers. that includes many younger Mis-printedprefer to receive advertising insissippians? formation supplements with their And young (18-34) adults actually prefer to receive advertising There is power in print. newspaper. information supplements with their newspaper. Readership of newspapers is Whether in print, online or on the go, newspapers are the leading stronger among young adultssourceWhether print, online or on the of information in for Mississippi. There is strength in numbers in print. (18-34) than in most states. Useand there go,is power newspapers are the leading of newspaper websites adds sig- source of information for Missiseat. drink. MISSISSIPPI  83 nificantly to printed readership sippi. There is strength in numbers *Source: American Opinion Research, Princeton, NJ, 2013. Copyright Š 2013 Mississippi Press Services, Inc.

130801.MPA.youth.indd 1

*Source: American Opinion Research, Princeton, NJ, 2013. Copyright Š 2013 Mississippi Press Services, Inc.

7/30/13 10:24 AM

7/30/13 10:24 AM


Since we started in 1947, our chicken has been free of extra salt, water and other additives. It’s not just 100% natural. It’s 100% chicken. For recipes visit us at SandersonFarms.com or find us on Facebook.

84  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014


The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills

Smith.

Preserves History, Transforms Today's Cuisine

Russell's most popular dish at Smith. is his Shrimp and Grits - creamy Mississippi stone ground grits topped with pan-seared shrimp in a mushroom butter sauce. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI  85


story and photography By Mark Boehler

Russell Smith shows one of the signature dishes at Smith. - a Fried Green Tomato Grilled Cheese sandwich.

The building, decor "We tried to keep the building as much to the original state as possible," noted Julia, who helps out in any way at the business, including management and party bookings. 86 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

The restaurant has the original floors and ceilings, while plaster was removed to expose beautiful old brick walls. Decorative concrete was added to the entranceway and remain the focal point in the restrooms. There is a mix of openness and private booths in the dining area to continue the restaurant theme, "fine dining done casually." The building was built in 1869 and the printery remained in operation there from 1905 until the mid-1990s. "I wanted it to look industrial, but functional," noted Russell, 35, whose kitchen experience includes City Grocery in Oxford and Harvey's in Tupelo and Starkville. "We wanted to preserve as much as possible." A printery sign hangs on a wall and nearby is a handwritten ledger

kept on a wooden door facing. "We want people to feel welcome," added Julia. "A place to meet after work, or a place to go after the gym. We want to appeal to everyone." Local dentist Bill Bailey and business owner John Frame enjoyed lunch on a recent weekday. They are regular customers. "I've never gotten anything bad," said Bailey. "Everything is awesome." Bailey's favorite dish is the Filet and he loves the creme brulees. "I like the way they kept the building," said Frame. "The place is a lot of fun. There is so much history." During his high school years, Frame was employed at Rankin. Seated in a booth, he pointed to where he "stuffed envelopes right over there." Frame usually orders the Black and Blue Salad, "with a double order

The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills

O

ne historical footnote about downtown Corinth, outside slugburgers and the Civil War struggle over an important railroad junction, bears the story of a legendary bank robbery. Five men on horseback rode into the town in Northeast Mississippi on Dec. 7, 1874 and robbed the Tishomingo Savings Institution of between $15,000 and $20,000 in cash and bonds, plus gold watches, diamonds, rings and other jewelry. A bank president and customer were wounded and a dog was the only fatality, shot down as the robbers fired shots as they left the bank. Historians believe the robbers were J. Frank "Kit" Dalton, brothers Cole and Jim Younger and brothers Frank and the famous Jesse James. The legendary James brothers won't find a bank at the same location today on Fillmore Street. They'd find culinary gold at Smith., a new restaurant which transformed a historical building and developed a menu with a unique twist on Southern fare. When Smith. opened its doors in June 2013, it was a dream come true for owners Julia and Russell Smith. "Russell had a vision," explained Julia, 37, who met Russell when the two were working in an Oxford restaurant and she was a student at Ole Miss. The couple married in 2005 and two years later moved to Corinth for Russell to help with the family business, Russell's Beef Steak House. The business carries Russell's name, a place with its own history of char-grilled steaks started by Russell's grandfather in 1978. Russell was out to find just the right building and he fell in love with the Rankin Printery building.


The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills

Smith.

Preserves History, Transforms Today's Cuisine

Russell's most popular dish at Smith. is his Shrimp and Grits - creamy Mississippi stone ground grits topped with pan-seared shrimp in a mushroom butter sauce. eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI • 87


story and photography By Mark Boehler

Russell Smith shows one of the signature dishes at Smith. - a Fried Green Tomato Grilled Cheese sandwich.

The building, decor "We tried to keep the building as much to the original state as possible," noted Julia, who helps out in any way at the business, including management and party bookings. 88 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

The restaurant has the original floors and ceilings, while plaster was removed to expose beautiful old brick walls. Decorative concrete was added to the entranceway and remain the focal point in the restrooms. There is a mix of openness and private booths in the dining area to continue the restaurant theme, "fine dining done casually." The building was built in 1869 and the printery remained in operation there from 1905 until the mid-1990s. "I wanted it to look industrial, but functional," noted Russell, 35, whose kitchen experience includes City Grocery in Oxford and Harvey's in Tupelo and Starkville. "We wanted to preserve as much as possible." A printery sign hangs on a wall and nearby is a handwritten ledger

kept on a wooden door facing. "We want people to feel welcome," added Julia. "A place to meet after work, or a place to go after the gym. We want to appeal to everyone." Local dentist Bill Bailey and business owner John Frame enjoyed lunch on a recent weekday. They are regular customers. "I've never gotten anything bad," said Bailey. "Everything is awesome." Bailey's favorite dish is the Filet and he loves the creme brulees. "I like the way they kept the building," said Frame. "The place is a lot of fun. There is so much history." During his high school years, Frame was employed at Rankin. Seated in a booth, he pointed to where he "stuffed envelopes right over there." Frame usually orders the Black and Blue Salad, "with a double order

The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills

O

ne historical footnote about downtown Corinth, outside slugburgers and the Civil War struggle over an important railroad junction, bears the story of a legendary bank robbery. Five men on horseback rode into the town in Northeast Mississippi on Dec. 7, 1874 and robbed the Tishomingo Savings Institution of between $15,000 and $20,000 in cash and bonds, plus gold watches, diamonds, rings and other jewelry. A bank president and customer were wounded and a dog was the only fatality, shot down as the robbers fired shots as they left the bank. Historians believe the robbers were J. Frank "Kit" Dalton, brothers Cole and Jim Younger and brothers Frank and the famous Jesse James. The legendary James brothers won't find a bank at the same location today on Fillmore Street. They'd find culinary gold at Smith., a new restaurant which transformed a historical building and developed a menu with a unique twist on Southern fare. When Smith. opened its doors in June 2013, it was a dream come true for owners Julia and Russell Smith. "Russell had a vision," explained Julia, 37, who met Russell when the two were working in an Oxford restaurant and she was a student at Ole Miss. The couple married in 2005 and two years later moved to Corinth for Russell to help with the family business, Russell's Beef Steak House. The business carries Russell's name, a place with its own history of char-grilled steaks started by Russell's grandfather in 1978. Russell was out to find just the right building and he fell in love with the Rankin Printery building.


The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills

Smith. offers a grilled burger topped with homemade pimento cheese and pickles made by Chef Joel Smith with a side of sweet potato fries.

Julia Smith shows the homemade Cornbread Salad offered at Smith. It includes a topping of tomato relish from her grandmother's recipe and a side of fried green tomatoes.

of medium rare flank steak." Husband and wife Jacy and Kalin Burcham estimate they have been to Smith. "about 10 times." Katlin usually orders The Burger ("It's awesome," he said) and he is fond of the huge craft beer selection. "This has a college town feel," said Katlin. "This is so cool for Corinth." The bar is upstairs at Smith. with access via the restaurant or a separate entrance. There is a full line of mixed drinks, wines, draft and craft beers and a bar menu. Like the restaurant, the Smiths tried to keep as much original as possible, right down to the cigarette burns on the floor, a reminder where poker games were once played deep into the night. There is a balcony overlooking downtown. Live entertainment is offered on weekend nights. THE MENU The menu was developed by Julia and Russell and Russell's cousin, Chef Joel Smith, a product of Johnson and Wales University's College of Culinary Arts in Providence, R.I. Joel's previous stops include the Red Pony and 55 South, both in Franklin, Tenn. The printery touch appears on the menu, pages which look like they were produced by an old Underwood type-

writer and then placed on a clipboard. Russell calls the menu traditional Southern fare with different twists, including some Cajun influence. The Trash Wings are Russell's favorite. "They are amazing," he said. He admitted he discovered them in a St. Louis bar, then added a few personal touches. The homemade Guacamole is a close second favorite, followed by Homemade Cheese Sticks, where "homemade" is part of the name for emphasis they are not frozen store bought, but produced daily from scratch. Smith. offers six salads, the most popular being Classic Cobb Salad, which the list of ingredients include romaine lettuce, chicken, bacon, tomato, hardboiled egg, avocado, Swiss cheese, blue cheese, plus a choice of dressing. The Black and Blue Salad is also popular and Julia's favorite, blackened flank steak served on top of iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes, red onions and blue cheese crumbles. All salads can be topped with grilled selections of chicken, flank steak, salmon, tuna or shrimp. Russell's classic The Burger is "flying out the door," he said, as the man with Russell's Beef Steak House roots

knows his beef. Of the eight sandwich offerings, the Fried Green Tomato Grilled Cheese, Chicken Salad Quesadilla and Lazy Chicken Sandwich are customer favorites. Lazy Chicken is fried or grilled chicken tenders with bacon, white cheddar cheese, lettuce and smokey BBQ mayo. One would expect grilled steaks (6 oz. or 10 oz. Filets), Prime Rib (Joel's Rub) and homemade pastas (Jambalaya and Pecan Chicken), but Joel and Russell also take several more entrées to the next level. Joel's Shrimp and Grits remain the number one dish. It's creamy grits from Delta Grinds of Water Valley, pan-seared shrimp in a tangy, butter sauce with bacon and mushrooms, then garnished with chives. Chicken and Waffles remain popular -- fried chicken and Belgian style waffles -- and the Catfish and Collards with Etouffee "is really catching on," noted Russell. "Once people give it a try, they're are hooked," he noted, as the dish includes grilled or blackened catfish (Mississippi raised, of course), braised collard greens with crawfish etouffee. Desserts change regularly, with Bread Pudding and Mississippi Mud Cheesecake among the most sought eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI  89


Great Response Response to the new eatery has been great, noted the Smiths, with a good mix of local regulars and out of town visitors. A large group of men from the Jackson area visited "just to give us a try," noted Julia. "We are blessed," she added, as she credited the success to their 25 employees, including a dozen servers. They agreed a strong ownership team adds to the success. "She keeps me sane," said Russell, as the couple has three young daughters. "She takes care of so much." "I think we are a pretty good team, don't you think? asked Julia. Russell smiled. "Yes, honey." Russell was quizzed about the significance of the dot at the end of Smith when naming his eatery. It's no dot com. "It's not Smith. It's not Smith's restaurant," noted the owner. "It's Smith, period." Smith. -- the end of a sentence, yet the beginning of a new tradition in downtown Corinth. Period. edm Smith. 603 N. Fillmore, Corinth 662.594.1925 www.smithdowntown.com

90 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

This booth offers customers a neat peek inside the huge wine cellar at Smith.

Customers get to watch Russell Smith's kitchen magic through a kitchen window at Smith. in downtown Corinth.

This private dining room for a party of 12 inside Smith. shows the exposed brick and ceilings to reveal the building's history.

The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills

after. Joel cooks up different creme brulees which would make New Orleans proud. S'more Creme Brulee with graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows has been a huge hit, noted Russell. Russell said the Smith. menu will be changed regularly, with new items appearing about every six weeks. Craft beer is a passion of Russell's, something reflected on the selections available at Smith. There are nine beers on draft, including Southern Pecan and Yalobusha River Ale. There are about 20 craft beer selections, including Mississippi breweries -- Lazy Magnolia, Lucky Town Brewing Co., Yalobusha Brewing Co. and Oxford Brewing Company. Expected to soon be added to the list is Southern Prohibition Brewing Company.


The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills

Smith. offers a grilled burger topped with homemade pimento cheese and pickles made by Chef Joel Smith with a side of sweet potato fries.

Julia Smith shows the homemade Cornbread Salad offered at Smith. It includes a topping of tomato relish from her grandmother's recipe and a side of fried green tomatoes.

of medium rare flank steak." Husband and wife Jacy and Kalin Burcham estimate they have been to Smith. "about 10 times." Katlin usually orders The Burger ("It's awesome," he said) and he is fond of the huge craft beer selection. "This has a college town feel," said Katlin. "This is so cool for Corinth." The bar is upstairs at Smith. with access via the restaurant or a separate entrance. There is a full line of mixed drinks, wines, draft and craft beers and a bar menu. Like the restaurant, the Smiths tried to keep as much original as possible, right down to the cigarette burns on the floor, a reminder where poker games were once played deep into the night. There is a balcony overlooking downtown. Live entertainment is offered on weekend nights. THE MENU The menu was developed by Julia and Russell and Russell's cousin, Chef Joel Smith, a product of Johnson and Wales University's College of Culinary Arts in Providence, R.I. Joel's previous stops include the Red Pony and 55 South, both in Franklin, Tenn. The printery touch appears on the menu, pages which look like they were produced by an old Underwood type-

writer and then placed on a clipboard. Russell calls the menu traditional Southern fare with different twists, including some Cajun influence. The Trash Wings are Russell's favorite. "They are amazing," he said. He admitted he discovered them in a St. Louis bar, then added a few personal touches. The homemade Guacamole is a close second favorite, followed by Homemade Cheese Sticks, where "homemade" is part of the name for emphasis they are not frozen store bought, but produced daily from scratch. Smith. offers six salads, the most popular being Classic Cobb Salad, which the list of ingredients include romaine lettuce, chicken, bacon, tomato, hardboiled egg, avocado, Swiss cheese, blue cheese, plus a choice of dressing. The Black and Blue Salad is also popular and Julia's favorite, blackened flank steak served on top of iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes, red onions and blue cheese crumbles. All salads can be topped with grilled selections of chicken, flank steak, salmon, tuna or shrimp. Russell's classic The Burger is "flying out the door," he said, as the man with Russell's Beef Steak House roots

knows his beef. Of the eight sandwich offerings, the Fried Green Tomato Grilled Cheese, Chicken Salad Quesadilla and Lazy Chicken Sandwich are customer favorites. Lazy Chicken is fried or grilled chicken tenders with bacon, white cheddar cheese, lettuce and smokey BBQ mayo. One would expect grilled steaks (6 oz. or 10 oz. Filets), Prime Rib (Joel's Rub) and homemade pastas (Jambalaya and Pecan Chicken), but Joel and Russell also take several more entrées to the next level. Joel's Shrimp and Grits remain the number one dish. It's creamy grits from Delta Grinds of Water Valley, pan-seared shrimp in a tangy, butter sauce with bacon and mushrooms, then garnished with chives. Chicken and Waffles remain popular -- fried chicken and Belgian style waffles -- and the Catfish and Collards with Etouffee "is really catching on," noted Russell. "Once people give it a try, they're are hooked," he noted, as the dish includes grilled or blackened catfish (Mississippi raised, of course), braised collard greens with crawfish etouffee. Desserts change regularly, with Bread Pudding and Mississippi Mud Cheesecake among the most sought eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI  91


Great Response Response to the new eatery has been great, noted the Smiths, with a good mix of local regulars and out of town visitors. A large group of men from the Jackson area visited "just to give us a try," noted Julia. "We are blessed," she added, as she credited the success to their 25 employees, including a dozen servers. They agreed a strong ownership team adds to the success. "She keeps me sane," said Russell, as the couple has three young daughters. "She takes care of so much." "I think we are a pretty good team, don't you think? asked Julia. Russell smiled. "Yes, honey." Russell was quizzed about the significance of the dot at the end of Smith when naming his eatery. It's no dot com. "It's not Smith. It's not Smith's restaurant," noted the owner. "It's Smith, period." Smith. -- the end of a sentence, yet the beginning of a new tradition in downtown Corinth. Period. edm Smith. 603 N. Fillmore, Corinth 662.594.1925 www.smithdowntown.com

92 • FEBRUARY/MARCH 2014

This booth offers customers a neat peek inside the huge wine cellar at Smith.

Customers get to watch Russell Smith's kitchen magic through a kitchen window at Smith. in downtown Corinth.

This private dining room for a party of 12 inside Smith. shows the exposed brick and ceilings to reveal the building's history.

The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills • The Hills

after. Joel cooks up different creme brulees which would make New Orleans proud. S'more Creme Brulee with graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows has been a huge hit, noted Russell. Russell said the Smith. menu will be changed regularly, with new items appearing about every six weeks. Craft beer is a passion of Russell's, something reflected on the selections available at Smith. There are nine beers on draft, including Southern Pecan and Yalobusha River Ale. There are about 20 craft beer selections, including Mississippi breweries -- Lazy Magnolia, Lucky Town Brewing Co., Yalobusha Brewing Co. and Oxford Brewing Company. Expected to soon be added to the list is Southern Prohibition Brewing Company.

Profile for Eat Drink Mississippi

February March 2014  

Our February/March 2014 issue features different ways to enjoy a southern staple - biscuits, the Columbus Spring Pilgrimage and Catfish Cook...

February March 2014  

Our February/March 2014 issue features different ways to enjoy a southern staple - biscuits, the Columbus Spring Pilgrimage and Catfish Cook...

Advertisement