A Southern Menu to Honor a Great Man

At first, I felt very intimidated when I sat down to plan a special menu for MLK Day. After all, I am viewed as a white woman by the world around me. My father is a mix of native American and Irish-English decent. My mother came from Filipino-Spanish ancestry with a dash of Chinese for good measure. While I consider myself to be a Heinz-57,  I am perceived as a white woman. An old white woman who can still remember a time when “Whites Only” was the norm. An old white woman whose education began in a school without “color” and all the faces looked like mine. What could I possible understand about honoring a man of such greatness?

If I planned something Southern, with all the negative association of Black lives in the south, was that disrespectful? After all, Dr. King was a southerner and he was raised on good southern cooking. Lord knows, the last think I wanted to do was to show any disrespect for such a great leader. Although Southern Fried Chicken was a favorite of Dr. King’s, offering such a “stereo-type” dish was bound to offend someone somewhere. Couple that with a few of his other favorites, and it would have been stereo overload. (Fried Chicken, Collard Greens and Pecan or Sweet Potato Pie).

Then I read an article regarding his final meal. Often, Dr. King was invited to dine in the homes of his supporters. It would have been difficult in the 1960s for a black man to dine in a restaurant. Not every town had a restaurant willing to serve him and his band of volunteers. (This reality still sends a shiver down my spine as it was a common to see open discrimination and racial separation within my lifetime). While the article did not provide recipes, it did mention the foods served. Steak, baked potato and broccoli. Another article mentioned that Dr. King was especially fond of Smothered Steak and Peach Cobbler. As I read these things, a delicious menu began to take root in my mind.

While I know MLK Day isn’t until Monday, today was a fitting day to post a menu that contained much though. After all, this would have been Dr. King’s 90th birthday. He came into the world on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. King was a prince of peace in the Civil Rights Movement.

As a Catholic, we have feast days throughout the year to honor Saints. A man as great as Martin Luther King Jr deserves a feast day. I’m not saying he was a saint, but he does deserve honor and respect. I think honoring Dr. King with a well-thought out meal is much better than having big blow-out sales.

MLK Menu
Down Home Smothered Southern Steak
Old Fashioned Baked Potato
Southern Style Spinach Salad
Pan-Roasted Broccoli with Garlic
Southern Sweet Ice Tea
Southern Peach Cobbler

Down Home Smothered Southern Steak
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 cup flour
4 pieces cube steaks (butcher tenderized)
1⁄2 cup oil
2 cups water
1 beef bouillon cube
1 large yellow onion, sliced rings

In small bowl mix together salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.

Place flour on a flat surfaced dish (save unused flour for smothering).

Sprinkle both sides of each steak piece with seasoning mix. Rub seasoning deep into groves of steak. There will be seasoning remaining. Reserve this for the gravy.

Place a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and heat the oil. Dredge each piece of steak in flour, pressing down into the flour using just the tips of your fingers. Shake off any excess flour and re-dredge again. Carefully place the steaks in hot oil for 1 minute on each side.

Turn down the heat and fry the steaks for 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove and let steaks rest on a serving platter.

Add water, bouillon cube and remaining seasoning. Mix until gravy begins to thicken slightly. Test taste for spice as this is the time to adjust (salt or water).

Return the steak back in gravy and spread onion rings over the tops. Cover and simmer 30-40 minutes.

original recipe: GK Southern Lady

Southern Style Spinach Salad
The Salad
1/2 lb bacon
2 lbs spinach (rinsed and chopped)
1/4 cup fresh mushrooms (sliced)

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.

In a large salad bowl, combine the bacon, spinach, croutons and mushrooms. Toss to mix.

Set aside while the dressing is made.

Pour enough dressing over salad to lightly coat. Toss and serve.

The Dressing
1 onion (chopped)
2/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoons salt
1 cup Canola oil
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (ground)
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard (prepared)

Prepare the dressing in a blender by combining the onion, sugar, salt, oil, vinegar, pepper, celery seed and Dijon mustard. Blend until smooth.

Classic Southern Sweet Tea
12 regular-size tea bags
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 qt. distilled or bottled water
1 qt. ice cubes
1 1/4 cups Simple Syrup (below)

Place tea bags and baking soda in a large heat-proof glass pitcher.

Bring water just to a rolling boil in a saucepan or kettle, and immediately pour over tea bags, making sure bags are submerged. Cover and steep 7 minutes. Remove tea bags without squeezing; discard tea bags.

Add ice, and stir until ice melts. Stir in Simple Syrup, and serve over ice.

Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Boil 1 minute or until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, and cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.

Southern Peach Cobbler
The Peaches
8 fresh peaches – peeled, pitted and sliced into thin wedges
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine peaches, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Toss to coat evenly, and pour into a 2 quart baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix assemble the ingredients for the cobbler.

The Cobbler
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup boiling water
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Stir in water until just combined.

Remove the peaches from oven, and drop spoonfuls of topping over them. Sprinkle entire cobbler with the sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Bake until topping is golden, about 30 minutes.

Original Recipe: Aeposey at Allrecipes

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.



Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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