Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Alabama State Dinner

Country-fried steak
Mashed potatoes
Fried green tomatoes
Sweet tea
Sweet Potato Pie with Praline Sauce
I found this recipe on a message board:

2 eggs
1 c sugar
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c whole milk
2 Tbsp butter
1 c cooked sweet potato pulp
1 unbaked pie shell

Beat eggs slightly; add sugar, salt , spices and milk. Add butter to sweet potato pulp. Then add liquid mixture to sweet potato pulp. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake in hot oven (450F) for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until filling is firm.

Praline Sauce
2 c (7 oz.) pecans
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 c water
1 c cream
1/4 c bourbon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 12
minutes, or until browned and fragrant. Let cool, then coarsely chop the pecans.
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water and cook over moderate heat without
stirring, until a deep amber caramel forms, about 20 minutes. Gradually stir in the heavy cream and continue stirring to dissolve any lumps of caramel, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the bourbon and the pecans. Serve the sauce warm or at room temperature. The sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated.

Could this dinner have any more calories?! The trouble with all these southern states is that so much of the food is interchangeable between states. This Alabama dinner could represent just about any state south of the Mason-Dixon Line! Country fried steak is probably German in origin (think wiener schnitzel) but it has become closely associated with Southern cooking. And you can't have country fried steak without mashed potatoes and gravy.

Fried green tomatoes are another delicious Southern dish. I put them with Alabama because of Fannie Flagg's book Fried Green Tomatoes, set in Alabama.

The sweet potato pie is a nod to George Washington Carver. Carver wasn't born in Alabama but spent much of his life at Tuskegee Institute. He is famous for developing many uses for the sweet potato as well as the peanut. I added the praline sauce not only because it is delicious, but because the pecan is the official state nut of Alabama. (The kids also enjoyed the praline sauce on waffles the next morning. Mmm, it would also make a good topping for cinnamon rolls.)

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