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Today is December 3, 2021

Featured Cookbook

Delta Delicious with Marth Hall Foose

By Martha Hall Foose

Delta Delicious with Marth Hall Foose

Molasses gingerbread, pear and pecan Dutch Baby, and easy potato soup with all the fixings

Molasses Gingerbread

(Makes one 10-inch ring loaf)

Keep the pumpkin spice for this and that. For me, the flavors I crave as soon as there is a dip in the temperature and the fire pit is ablaze are spicy ginger and the old-fashioned sweetness of molasses. This recipe has been passed down for generations in my family.

Adding boiling water helps distribute the molasses throughout the batter and gives the leavening agents, baking powder, and baking soda, a head start rising. Butter and oil keep the gingerbread incredibly moist. I find this ring loaf to be even better the next day, making it a perfect “make-ahead” when expecting visitors.

 

INGREDIENTS

1/2 (1 stick) salted butter, melted and cooled

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup molasses

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 cup boiling water

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10-inch tube pan with nonstick spray.

In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter, oil, molasses, brown sugar, and eggs.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices.

Pour the wet ingredients into the fl our mixture and stir well to combine. Pour the boiling water into the batter and stir very well. Pour batter into the prepared tube pan.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the top springs back lightly when touched or a cake tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

 

Easy Potato Soup with all the fixings

(Serves 4 to 6)

Crisp bacon pieces, sharp cheddar cheese, snips of fresh chives, dollops of sour cream, and all of the classic loaded potato toppings are super on top of this easy to put together soup. Everything can be prepped ahead of company’s arrival, and the casual meal leaves the host with plenty of time for visiting.

 

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons salted butter

1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion

1/4 cup shredded carrots

1/4 cup chopped celery

4 cups chicken stock

3 Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 -inch pieces

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 cups half and half or heavy cream

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Optional toppings

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Do not brown.

Add the stock, potatoes, carrots, celery, and bay leaf. Season with a little salt and pepper. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until potatoes begin to fall apart. Using a potato masher, press the potatoes to make a slightly chunky soup. Stir thoroughly and add the half and half. Simmer for 15 minutes over low and stirring often. Serve with your favorite baked potato toppings.

 

Pear and Pecan Dutch Baby

A Dutch Baby is a poofy pancake made in a hot cast iron skillet that has crispy brown edges and a custard like center. It puffs in the oven while baking like a popover and settles, leaving a perfect indentation to fill with sautéed pears and pecans that have been sweetened with maple syrup.

Just mix the batter with a blender, pour into a hot skillet, bake for a bit, and there you go with a stunning breakfast with little effort. Much easier than flipping a bunch of flapjacks. I like to serve some little smoky sausages alongside my Dutch Baby.

 

INGREDIENTS

2 large eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 1/2 tablespoons

unsalted butter

 

For the topping:

1 tablespoon butter

1 pear thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped toasted pecans

Dash of ground cinnamon

2/3 cup maple syrup

Powdered sugar for dusting if desired

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Place the eggs in a blender container or a 4-cup glass measuring cup if using a stick emersion blender. Blend to combine. Add the flour, milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Blend making sure the flour is fully incorporated. Let the batter sit while heating the skillet and oven.

Place oven rack in middle position in the oven making sure there is plenty of room above it to rise. I usually just remove the top rack. Place a 9-inch cast iron skillet in the oven. While the batter is resting, heat oven to 425 degrees.

Once the oven and skillet have heated, remove the skillet to the stove top and add the butter. Make sure the skillet gets a nice coat of the butter. Pour the batter into the hot buttered skillet and bake for 18 to 20 minutes.

Prepare the topping as the pancake bakes.

In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat, add the pears, and cook until tender. Add the pecans, cinnamon, and syrup. Cook until warmed through. Pour into center of pancake when it comes out of the oven.

 

Martha Hall Foose, the author of “Screen Doors & Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales of a Southern Cook,” won the James Beard Award for American Cooking. Her latest collaboration is “A Good Meal is Hard to Find: Storied Recipes from the Deep South” with Amy C. Evans. Martha makes her home in the Mississippi Delta with her husband and son. She is a member of Yazoo Valley Electric Power Association.

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