Sweet Georgia Day

Today is National Georgia Day. When we think Georgia, we tend to think deep south and all that Southern culture brings to mind. We think cotton fields and the burning of Atlanta. Yet there is so much more to this the 13th colony and 4th state to enter the Union. She is a land of contradiction.

Georgia’s founder, James Oglethorpe, first settled in the colony’s original capital, Savannah. Georgia would move its capital four more times before finally settling on Atlanta. Both politically and socially, Georgia seems to have always been divided. Georgia initially prohibited slavery in 1735. Of the 13 original American Colonies, Georgia was the only one to do so. The prohibition of slavery lasted 15 years, setting Georgia apart from the other colonies. In the years leading up to the American Revolution, Georgia leaned toward supporting the crown and was the only colony not in attendance at the First Continental Congress. At the Second Continental Congress, Georgia originally sent only one delegate, and he did not vote since he represented just a single parish in Georgia. It was only after sending two more delegates that all three signed the Declaration of Independence.

The Civil War was destructive for Georgia. Her economy suffered. Once the only slave-free colony, over time the plantations of Georgia thrived on the backs of slaves. Sherman’s march to the sea left her broken and angry. Georgia’s resistance to social change helped to define much of the south.

With industrial and technological advancements Georgia’s economy once again found a niche. A hub for airlines, military bases and international corporations, Georgia has been transformed.

When it comes to the flavors of Georgia, it’s all about home-cooking and comfort foods. Georgia believes in large servings, and will fry or grill just about anything. One thing is certain, everything cooked up in Georgia is made with a lot of love. It’s the secret ingredient in every kitchen.

Sweet Georgia
Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs with Popcorn Shrimp
Fried Green Tomatoes with Herb Chevre

Grilled Chicken with Georgia Peach Barbecue Sauce
Sweet Corn on the Cob
Georgia Southern Pecan Cornbread

Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Georgia Sunset

Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs with Popcorn Shrimp
4 slices Hickory Smoked Bacon, divided
1 large Garlic Clove, finely minced
1/8 cup White Onion, finely minced
1/2 (4 oz) jar diced pimento, drained
12 Large Eggs
3/4 cup shredded Extra-sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese
4 oz Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
Pinch Cayenne Pepper
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1/2 cup Mayonnaise or more

Fry bacon until crisp. Crumble 2 slices, set aside for the egg stuffing. Crumble remaining 2 slices, set aside for garnish.

Finely mince garlic, set aside. Grate or finely mince onion, set aside along with juices. Drain half a jar of pimentos, set aside.

In a large saucepan, place eggs in a single layer and cover with about 2 inches of cold water.

Heat on medium high until water begins to boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 1 minute.Remove the covered sauce pan from the heat and leave covered for 14 minutes, then rinse under cold running water for 1 minute.

Remove the eggs from the water, gently crack the egg shells and carefully peel under cool running water.

Blot the eggs dry with paper towels.

Slice the eggs in half lengthwise and remove the yolks.  Arrange the whites on one or two serving platters. Place yolks in a food processor fitted with a blade.

Pulse the egg yolks into a fine crumble.Add half of the crumbled bacon, the garlic, onion and pimento. Pulse two or three times to incorporate into the yolk. Add all of the cheeses. Season with paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Pulse again to blend. Fold in mayonnaise a little at a time until desired creaminess is achieved.

Using a spoon or piping bag, evenly divide the deviled egg mixture into the egg whites.

24 Frozen Breaded Popcorn Shrimp
2 Green Onions, sliced

Cook Fried Popcorn Shrimp according to package direction. Let shrimp cool. While the shrimp cools, slice green onion, green parts only. Just before serving, garnish with remaining crumbled bacon, green onions and popcorn shrimp.

Fried Green Tomatoes with Herb Chevre
Fried Tomatoes
1-1/2 lbs Green Tomatoes
1 cup Flour
Pinch Black Pepper
2 Eggs
1/4 cup Milk
2 cups Panko Breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
Vegetable Oil for frying

Note: When selecting the tomatoes, pick firm green tomatoes that are uniform in size, about 2-inches in diameter.

Set oven to warm, about 250 to 275 degrees. Set up an assembly line by placing three wide bowls or dishes with high sides to hold the flour in one, the eggs in another and the bread crumbs in the last along with a large plate.

In the first bowl add the flour. In the second bowl, beat the eggs and milk. In the third bowl mix the breadcrumbs with salt and pepper.

At the end of the assembly line, place a cookie sheet lined in paper towels for the fried green tomatoes.

Cut and discard the tops and bottoms of the tomatoes. Slice the green tomatoes about a quarter of an inch thick on a cutting board next to the flour.

Working through the assembly line one tomato slice at a time, dredge the tomatoes in the flour to give it a thin coating.  Shake off any excess.

Next, dip the tomato slice in the egg-milk mixture to coat it completely.

Move the tomato to the breadcrumbs and fully coat by pressing the tomato to help the breadcrumbs stick.

Move the breaded tomato to the plate at the end of the line.

In a medium skillet add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan with about an 1/8th inch of oil and heat over medium heat.

When the pan is hot add tomatoes a few at a time and fry without overcrowding the skillet. Fry each side until golden brown and then flip.

When the first batch of tomatoes is done, place them on the cookie sheet with paper towels and place in the oven to keep warm.

Note: If the oil gets mucky with breadcrumbs and flour, carefully wipe it out with a paper towel and add fresh oil. Allow the pan to warm again before continuing to fry the tomatoes.

Once all the tomatoes have been fried, make the Chevre Topping.

Herb Chevre Topping
4 oz Chevre, room temperature
4 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons fresh Chives
2 tablespoons fresh Tarragon
2 tablespoons fresh Basil
2 teaspoons Heavy Cream
Sea Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste

Add the chevre and cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat the cheeses until it is soft and fluffy. Set aside.

Finely mince the chives, tarragon and basil. Add the minced herbs to the cheese blend. Mix in the bowl until blended. As it mixes some of the color of the herbs will bleed into the cheese, infusing flavor.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the heavy cream. Once all the cream has been added, increase to high and whip to fullin incorporate. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the cheese mixture into a piping bag with a large star tip.  

Fresh Basil Leaves as desired
Fresh Tarragon Leaves as Desired

When ready to serve the tomatoes, arrange on platters. Pipe a dollop of the cheese on top of each tomato and top with a fresh herbs.

Classic Grilled Chicken with Georgia Peach Barbecue Sauce
Georgia Peach Barbecue Sauce
4 tablespoons Butter
1 cup Peach Preserves
1/2 cup firmly packed Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon Onion Salt
2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground Mace
1/3 cup White Vinegar
2 cups Ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons Honey

Cube butter, wrap and chill well. Puréed the peach preserves, set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine all the ingredients except the butter. Bring to a boil, stir constantly with a long wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. With a whisk, blend in the butter cubes, a couple at a time, until incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.

Georgia Spice Rub
1/4 cup Sugar
2 tablespoons onion salt
1 tablespoon Seasoned Salt
1 tablespoon Garlic Salt
2 tablespoons Paprika
1-1/2 teaspoons Chili Powder
1-1/2 teaspoons Lemon Pepper
1 tablespoon dried Sage
1/2 teaspoon dried Basil
1/2 teaspoon Ground Rosemary
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

Combine all the ingredients and blend well. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

Grilled Chicken
6 lbs bone-in Chicken
1 cup Apple Juice for basting

Note: Any combination of chicken is fine – all legs, all thighs, quarters or breasts. A picnic combo pack works well with legs, thighs and breasts.

Rinse and pat dry the chicken pieces. Generously sprinkle the rub over all the pieces.

For Charcoal Grills: Using a chimney starter, light 40 to 50 pieces of good-quality lump charcoal. When the coals are glowing, transfer them from the chimney to one side of the grill for indirect cooking.

If you have some pieces of apple or oak hardwood, feel free to add a couple to the stack of coals. Put a small foil or metal pan full of water next to the coals.

When the coals are about 90-percent white, position the pieces of chicken, skin side up, on the grill anywhere except directly over the coals. Cover the grill with the lid, making sure that the air vent is opposite the fire. Cook the chicken for about 30 minutes, maintaining a temperature of 230 to 250 degrees by adjusting the vents. (Opening the vents lets in more oxygen and raises the temperature.) Add more charcoal if the temperature drops below 230 degrees. You’ll likely need to add 15 to 20 pieces about 30 minutes after putting the chicken on.

For Gas Grills: Get one side of the grill hot and arrange the chicken on the other side. Close the lid and maintain the temperature of the grill between 230 and 250 degrees.

After a half hour or so, baste the chicken with some of the apple juice. Continue to cook the chicken until it’s cooked through—this will take about 3 hours—basting it and checking the temperature of the grill every 45 minutes or so. As the chicken cooks, you can move the pieces around the grill if those closest to the fire seem in danger of overcooking. But keep the chicken skin side up for the duration.

Check for doneness with an instant-read thermometer after 2-1/2 hours. Cooked chicken should read 165 degrees in the meatiest part of the thigh or breast. You’ll also know the chicken is done when its juices run clear after being sliced into with a knife.

When the chicken is cooked, pour some of the barbecue sauce into a separate container (to avoid contaminating the whole batch) and brush it onto the chicken. Cook it an additional few minutes so that the sauce adheres to the chicken in a sticky glaze; watch the chicken carefully at this point and pull it off the grill if the sauce starts to burn.

Remove the chicken from the grill and serve with more of the barbecue sauce on the side.

Sweet Corn on the Cob
6 Ears of Corn
2 teaspoons Sugar
2 tablespoons Butter, for cooking
6 tablespoons Butter, for serving
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste

Fill a large pot with cold water. There should be enough water to cover the corn. Bring water in the large pot to a boil.

Peel off husks, clean to remove all the corn silk from the kernels. Trim the ends, set aside until water comes to a boil.

Add sugar and butter to the boiling water. Carefully drop the corn into the water. Reduce heat to medium, cover pot with a lid and slow-boil for 10 minutes.

Using kitchen tongs, remove the corn from the pot and place on a platter.

Serve with remaining soft butter, salt and pepper as desired.

Georgia Southern Pecan Cornbread
2 Eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Pecan Flour
1/4 cup Cornmeal
1/2 cup Flour, Self-Rising
1 teaspoon Bourbon

Note: To make Pecan Flour, place 2 cups of pecans in a food processor fitted with a blade. Process pecans until finely ground, about 10 seconds. DO NOT over process or you will have pecan butter rather than flour. Store in an airtight container. For long-term storage, keep in the freezer.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large deep cast iron skillet. Set aside.

Beat eggs, oil, white sugar, and brown sugar together in a bowl until smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the pecan flour, cornmeal, and self-rising flour. Create a well, pour in the egg mixture and blend batter together. Add bourbon, mix well. Pour into the prepared skillet.

Bake in the heated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before serving.

Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
4 Georgia Peaches
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Kosher Salt
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Wash and quarter peaches, leaving skin on and removing pits.

Place peaches in a large bowl. Sprinkle with brown sugar and vanilla. Toss to coat.. Let sit 15 minutes until coating is caramely. Toss again to coat evenly.

Clean grill grate and heat grill to high. Place peach slices on grill, skin side up. Grill for 3-4 minutes, reducing heat as necessary to avoid burning.

Turn peaches (still skin side up) to cook the other fleshy side for another 3-4 minutes, or until grill marks are visible and peaches are cooked.

Remove peaches from grill to a plate. Sprinkle with kosher salt to taste. Let peaches cool.

To serve, place a large scoop of vanilla bean ice cream in the center of a dessert plate. Arrange 4 grilled peach slices around the ice cream. Serve and enjoy.

Georgia Sunset
6 oz Brandy
6 oz Peach Schnapps
1/3 cup Grenadine Syrup or more to taste
1 cup Lemon-Lime Soda, chilled
Ice Cubes

In a pitcher full of ice, combine brandy, peach schnapps and grenadine. Stir vigorously and strain into 4 drinking glass. Top off with lemon-lime soda.

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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