Savor the Flavor of Tennessee

Today we celebrate Tennessee, the Volunteer State. What an awesome nickname – Volunteer State. People who volunteer are people who are willing to make personal sacrifice for others. Tennessee has stepped up to that plate time and time again, and that’s a history they should be proud of.

Just 15 years after gaining statehood, General Andrew Jackson led a charge with 1,500 fellow Tennesseans at the Battle of New Orleans, the final major battle in the War of 1812. This war between the British and Americans lasted for two years. Neither side truly won a resounding victory. It was a stalemate of wasted of lives and resources. I will admit, the only thing I know of the Battle of New Orleans comes from Johnny Horton’s 1959 release of The Battle of New Orleans.

In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in a town in New Orleans

Tennessee’s habit of volunteering didn’t stop there. During the Mexican-American War in 1846, the Secretary of War asked for 2,800 soldiers. Tennessee sent over 30,000 volunteers to fight in the war. Davy Crockett, a former Tennessee Congressman, died at the Alamo, and Tennesseans felt passionate about stepping up to the plate. After the Mexican-American War, Mexico relinquished claims to the Lone Star State. Tennessee created a long-standing relationship with Texas and solidified the nickname of the Volunteer State in the annals of history.

The Flavors of Tennessee
– Beverage –
Memphis Ice Tea

– Appetizers –
Fried Pickle Spears
Memphis Burger Bites with Mustard Sauce

– Main Course –
Memphis Slow-Cooker Broiler Ribs
Bush’s Southern Pit Baked Beans
Tennessee Blue-Ribbon Cornbread with Honey Butter

– Dessert –
Tennessee Hummingbird Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Memphis Ice Tea for 6
1 (12 oz) can Club Soda
Sweet Tea as needed
1 large Lemon
Ice as needed
6 oz Tennessee Whiskey
Mint Leaves for garnish

Chill club soda and sweet tea well. Slice lemon into garnish wheels, wrap in plastic and chill until ready to use.

Fill 6 ice tea glasses with ice.

To each glass, add 1 oz of whiskey, a splash of club soda. Fill the reset of the glass with sweet iced tea.

Garnish with lemon slices and mint leaves as desired and serve.

Repeat as often as desired.

Fried Pickle Spears
Oil for frying
10 Pickle Spears
1/2 cup Flour
1 Egg
1 tablespoon Water
1 cup Breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon Montreal Steak Spice
1 cup Ranch Dip
Chives, snipped for garnish

Heat oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat.

Remove any excess liquid from pickles by blotting well with paper towels.

Place flour in a 1-gallon ziplock bag and add pickles, shake well to coat. In a bowl, beat the egg and with water together. In a second ziplock bag, combine breadcrumbs with steak spice. Shake to blend.

Working with 1 pickle at a time, shake pickle in flour, dip in egg then shake in breadcrumbs. Place pickle on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Repeat for all pickles.

Genly lower pickles into hot oil. Do not overcrowd, fry in batches if necessary. Cook until nicely golden-brown.

Drain on paper towels. Serve with Ranch Dip garnished with chives.

Memphis Burger Bites with Mustard Sauce
Mustard Sauce

3 tablespoons Mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Deli Brown Mustard
Cayenne Pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and brown mustard. Season to taste. Set aside until ready to use.

Burger Bites
1 medium Red Onion
1 lb Ground Beef
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh Black Pepper
12 small Dinner Rolls, split in half

Slice onion into rings, break apart. Heat a flat top grill pan to high heat. Add sliced onion to grill pan and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix ground beef, onion powder, salt and freshly ground pepper. Divide beef into 12 equal-size balls. Flatten into patties about 2-inches across.

Cook burgers on the flat top for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

Split rolls in half. Place burger bites on the bottom half. Top with grilled onion, drizzle with mustard sauce, the finish with top half of rolls.

Memphis Slow-Cooker Broiler Ribs
2 racks Pork Baby Back Ribs (about 5 lbs)
1/2 cup White Vinegar
1/2 cup Water
3 tablespoons Smoked Paprika
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Salt
2 teaspoons coarsely ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon ground Cumin
1 teaspoon ground Mustard
1 teaspoon dried Thyme
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 teaspoon Celery Salt
3/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Barbecue Sauce as desired

Remove silver membrane from the back of the ribs. Lay ribs out on a rimmed baking pan and set aside.

Combine vinegar with water, brush over ribs to dampen. Pour remaining vinegar mixture into a 6-quart slow cooker.

In a bowl, mix all the spices and brown sugar together. Reserve half of the spice mixture. Sprinkle ribs with remaining seasoning blend. Rub gently to adhere to the meat.

Cut ribs into serving size sections as desired. Arrange ribs into the bowl of the slow cooker

Cover, cook on LOW until tender, about 5 or 6 hours depending upon size of ribs.

Line a baking sheet with foil, spray with cooking spray and set aside.

Remove ribs from slow cooker and arrange on prepared pan. Skim fat from the cooking juices and discard. Using a clean brush, brush ribs generously with the skimmed cooking juices.

Sprinkle ribs with remaining seasoning. Place in the oven under the broiler for just a few minutes to lightly blacken.

Thicken cooking juices with barbecue sauce. Remove ribs from broiler. Brush ribs with the thickened sauce. Return to broiler just long enough for barbecue sauce to “glaze”.

If desired, cut ribs into individual ribs. Serve with thickened sauce on the side.

Bush’s Southern Pit Baked Beans
6 slices Bacon
1 medium Yellow Onion
4 (22 oz) cans Bush’s Grillin Beans Southern Pit Style

Dice bacon, set aside. Peel and dice onion, set aside.

Heat a dry cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Fry bacon in the skillet until almost crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, leaving drippings in the skillet.

Cook onions in bacon drippings until almost tender, about 6 or 7 minutes over medium heat.

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Empty cans of beans into a casserole dish or large foil pan. Pour onions, with drippings, into the beans. Stir to blend. Scatter bacon over the top of the beans. Cover tightly with foil, place in the warm oven.

Let slow bake for 2 or 3 hours for flavors to dance together. Give the beans one last stir just before serving.

Tennessee Blue-Ribbon Cornbread with Honey Butter
2 tablespoons Bacon Dripping, melted
1 cup Cornmeal
1 cup Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 cup Sugar
1 cup Milk
2 Eggs, beaten

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Melt bacon drippings, set aside to cool slightly.

Note: If you don’t keep your bacon grease, use melted butter instead.

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Stir in enough milk to make a very stiff batter.

Lightly beat eggs, add to the dry ingredients. Lastly, beat in the melted bacon drippings.

Pour batter into a 9-inch square nonstick pan. Bake in heated oven for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

While the cornbread bakes, make the honey butter.

Honey Butter
1 cup Butter, soft
1/4 cup Honey

Mix together butter and honey until smooth and well blended. Taste and adjust honey to personal preferences. Mound in a small crock. Serve at room temperature.

To serve, slice cornbread into squares, serve warm with honey butter.

Tennessee Hummingbird Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Hummingbird Cake
3 cups Flour
2 cups Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1-1/2 tablespoons Cinnamon
3 Eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cups Vegetable Oil
2 teaspoons Vanilla
2-1/2 cups chopped Bananas
2 cups chopped Walnuts
1 (10 oz) can Crushed Pineapple

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans. Set aside.

In a bowl sift all dry ingredients together, set aside. In another large bowl, beat eggs with oil and vanilla. Set aside. Peel and chop bananas, set aside. Chop walnuts, set aside.

Beat dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, continue to beat about 2 minutes until well blended.

Using a fork, gently fold bananas, pineapples and nuts into the batter.

Divide batter evenly between the pans. Bake in heated oven for 45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

Let cake cool in pans on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans, let cool completely on racks before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup Butter softened
8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
4 cups Powdered Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Let butter and cream cheese soften at room temperature. Sift powdered sugar, set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together butter and cream cheese. Turn the machine off, add vanilla and blend on low until incorporated. With the machine off between additions, add, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, blend before adding next addition. Add enough powdered sugar to achieve the consistency you want. For spreading,add about 3-1/2 cups of sugar; for piping, go with more sugar.

Note: If you need more than 4 cups, sift sugar before adding for a smooth blend.

To finish cake, level top of first cake. Place on a serving plate, trimmed side down. Lightly brush cake to remove any crumbs. Spread a layer of frosting on the top. Place second layer, bottom down, over the first cake layer. Frost top of cake, then finish with sides.

Place frosted cake in the refrigerator for the frosting to set. Remove from refrigerator about 20 minutes before serving.

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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