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Southern Specialties

Posted On July 6, 2016

Make it southern, buy it locally, throw in something unexpected

By KATHY PETTIT

Photos by JAY BROWNE

Summertime is perfect to indulge in some easy-to-make, tempting treats. Try these recipes at home, to impress your family and friends. 

And one more thing.  If the recipe calls for fresh greens, pick them from your backyard garden, or buy them from a local green grocer.  The fresher the better.


If pina colada is your go-to drink, these concoctions are probably not for you.  They taste fresh, healthy and delicious – a drink you could enjoy before or during dinner and feel good about your choice. 

Strawberry Basil Margarita

Makes one drink

Ingredients

1 ounce tequila (Lunazul Blanco, etc.)

1 ounce Cointreau

2 fresh strawberries

2 fresh basil leaves

1 teaspoon lime juice

2 ounces fresh lemonade

Directions

1. In a medium glass, muddle the strawberries and basil to release color and flavor.

2. Fill glass with ice, then add tequila and lime juice.  Stir

3. Top with fresh-squeezed lemonade and add a sprig of basil to serve.

Ginger Beer Mohito

Makes one drink

Ingredients

1.5 ounces Don Q. White Rum

1 teaspoon lime juice

6-8 fresh mint leaves  

2 ounces ginger beer  (Regata, etc.)

Directions

1. In a medium-tall glass, muddle the mint leaves in the bottom to release their flavor.

2. Fill glass with ice, then add rum and lime juice.  Stir.

3. Top with ginger beer and add a mint sprig and lime slice to the drink.


Most good southerners could eat pimento cheese with a spoon.  If you’re trying to show a modicum of restraint, try this version, spiced up with a bit of horseradish, on a bagel chip. 

Horseradish Pimento Cheese

Makes about 4 cups (8 - 4oz servings)

Ingredients

3 cups shredded cheddar

¼ cup mayonnaise

2 ½ Tbsp cream cheese

½ cup diced pimentos

¼ cup horseradish

½ tsp salt

Finely grated white onion, to taste

Directions

1. Mix all ingredients until well-blended.  May be prepared a day before use.  Substitute for your formerly favorite recipe.

2. Bagel chips.  For added oomph, make your own chips by thinly slicing bagels, spraying with vegetable spray, sprinkling on roasted garlic seasoning, and baking at 325 degrees in a convection oven for about 15 minutes.


Another southern favorite.  This version reminds me of Mama’s tried and true.  Always tasty.  The perfect sandwich for ladies who brunch, or hungry men watching sports.

Chicken Salad

Makes about 4 cups (8 – 4oz servings)

Ingredients

3 cups cooked chicken

¾ cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup sweet relish

½ tsp black pepper

1 tsp granulated garlic

1 tsp onion powder

1 ½ tsp celery seed

Directions

1. Mix chicken, sweet relish, pepper, garlic, onion powder and celery seed.

2. Add mayonnaise, mix well.

3. Serve on rolls, croissants, in a hollowed out tomato, or on a bed of crisp lettuce.


To borrow Emeril’s trademark, kick the traditional favorite up a notch or two by adding the following ingredients.  If you love the flavor of curry, this will hit the spot.

Congaree Chicken Salad

Makes about 4 cups (8 – 4oz servings)

4 cups chicken salad

¼ cup Craisins

½ cup chopped pecans

1 ½ Tbsp curry powder

Green Grapes (optional)

Directions

1. Mix chicken salad and curry powder.

2. Fold in the Craisins, pecans and grapes.

2. Serve on rolls, croissants, or over a salad with other sliced vegetables.

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