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Monday, November 7, 2011

Howdy, Ya'll, Paula Deen and Hoecakes

Howdy, Ya'll!
Good morning, Ya'll!  Today we are going to explore a good old southern recipe.

The other day I was watching Paula Deen on the Food Network.  Well, I hate to admit it but I do love Paula and her penchant for BUTTER!  Ya'll, Sandra and I do try to eat healthy.  Soooo I hesitate to use Paula's recipes because of the high fat content, and I am not much on frying food.  Oh, yeah, Ya'll, cookies don't count because Ya'll just have to use BUTTER to make a good cookie.....and honestly, I have never found a healthy cookie that was worth eating because they usually don't contain BUTTER!

Paula was talking about Hoecakes.  They serve these delectable little cornmeal cakes at her Savannah, Georgia restaurant Lady and Sons.

Photo by 

Ya'll need to  surf on over to the Lady and Sons website and take a look at the menu.  Talk about good old down home cookin'!  Now I know Cousin Sandra and L would absolutely have a drool fest over the selection of fried foods.....I would order one of the signature salads and a plate of those fried Hoecakes, and yes, please pass the BUTTER, Ya'll!

Okay, let's step back into history and learn where and how the Hoecake originated.  Historically speaking, cotton was the main farm crop around 1745.  The hoes designed for cotton fields were large and flat with a hole for the long handle to slide through.  The farm hands at lunchtime would stop work and build a fire, then let the fire burn down to a bed of coals.  The blade of the hoe was washed in a creek and the handle was removed.  The workers would have brought a mixture of corn meal and salt in a mason jar with them to the field.  They would use fat back to oil the hoe blade then place the blade on the hot coals.  A little water was added to the jar until the texture was just right.  This  batter was then cooked on the hot hoe.  Hoecakes were created.

Hoecakes are also called Journey or Johnnycakes.  These were an early American staple food.  These cakes were baked on a wooden board or barrel stave at an angle in front of an open fire.
Traditional Hoecake Recipe

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Hoecakes, Ya'll!
2 cups corn meal
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups boiling water
oil for frying
Put the tea kettle on to boil. In a large bowl combine the corn meal and salt. When the water boils, measure it in a metal or tempered-glass measuring cup. Pour the boiling water over the cornmeal and stir it up. The cornmeal will swell up, absorbing the water, and making a very thick mash.
Heat some oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. You can use as little as two tablespoon of oil per panful, but it is a little easier to use 4 or 5 tablespoons of oil for each panful. Use your waistline and frying skill as the final judge. Now scoop up a little of the cornmeal mush (about 1/4-cup) and shape it into a patty. It will still be warm from the boiling water, so be careful not to burn yourself. You can let it cool down some more first if you like. Plop the patty into the hot fat, and get it to frying. Make some more, until you have a whole pan full. I usually cook about 4 or 5 at a time. When the underside is crispy brown, turn them and cook the other side. When both sides are crispy and brown, transfer them to a plate to keep warm, and start another batch. This recipe makes about 12 hoe cakes.
Paula Deen's Lady and Sons
Ya'll will need:
1 C. self-rising flour
1 C. self-rising cornmeal, or from a mix (recommended Aunt Jemima's
2 eggs
1 Tbls. sugar
3/4 C. buttermilk
1/3 C. plus 1Tbls. water
1/4 C. vegetable oil or bacon grease
Oil, butter or clarified margarine, for frying

Now, Ya'll these are the directions:

Mix well all ingredients, except for the frying oil.  Heat the frying oil or butter in a medium or large skillet over medium heat.  Drop the batter by the tablespoon into the hot skillet.  Use about 2 tablespoons of batter per hoecake.  Fry each hoecake until brown and crisp; turn each hoecake with a spatula and then brown the other side.  With a slotted spoon, remove each hoecake to drain on a paper towel-lined plate.  Leftover batter will keep in the frig for up to 2 days.

After much soul searching and waistline analyzing I think I will make the traditional hoecake recipe.  If Ya'll hadn't noticed the traditional recipe has no added fat, Paula's has 1/3 C. added fat, 2 eggs and buttermilk.  Need I say more.
Now Ya'll let's get busy cookin'.  Oh, by the way, I put a pot of beans on the stove this morning.  We will have brown beans, hoecakes and a green salad fresh from the garden with homemade Honey Mustard Dressing for lunch  Ya'll hungry yet?

Use a Tablespoon to drop mix
in very hot oil.  I found that
flattening the batter when
I dropped them in the oil made
a crispier hoecake.

Fry  in about 1/2 inch of very hot oil til
golden brown.

A lunch plate that would make
The Queen of Southern Cooking
We love you Paula Deen!
The Lady and Sons House Seasoning
I will share a discovery I made recently.  Well, actually, Paula was on the new show The Chew.  Cousin Sandra and I enjoy watching this show daily around noon.  Paula was giving the recipe for the Lady and Sons House Seasoning.  Well she slipped and gave away a secret ingredient because when I googled said seasoning recipe I found this:

1 C. salt
1/4 C. pepper
1/4 C. garlic powder
Ya'll, Paula gave onion powder as one of the ingredients! So, I add:
1/8 cup onion powder
Then because I cannot leave well enough alone, I add:
1/8 cup dried Thyme leaves, (I grind them in my spice/coffee grinder)

Mix all together and put on everything that isn't intended to be sweet.  We LOVE this seasoning!

The Chew comes on at 11:00 am on WFAA Channel 8 courtesy of our satelite provider

Another blog post has been completed.  Ya'll have a wonderful week!  Southernly yours, Susan
Unidentified workers in cotton field
Photo from:
"Texas leads the U.S. in cotton production and it is our leading cash crop, ranking only behind the beef and nursery industries in total cash receipts. Texas annually produces about 25% of the entire U.S. crop and plants over 6 million acres! That’s over 9,000 square miles of cotton fields."  This information is from the Texas A & M Cotton Program website.

Swing low, sweet chariot Coming for to carry me home Swing low, sweet chariot 
Coming for to carry me home If you get there before I do Coming for to carry me home Tell all my friends, I’m coming too Coming for to carry me home

In 1840, the hymn “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”  was penned by Wallace Willis, the black slave of a Choctaw Indian.

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