Reviews and recommendations are unbiased and products are independently selected. Postmedia may earn an affiliate commission from purchases made through links on this page.
My first taste of Southern hospitality was many moons ago, when I visited my twin sister and her family in Charlotte, North Carolina. At first, I was taken aback by the friendliness offered not only by my family’s large circle of friends, but also by the people I met everywhere we went.
tap here to see other videos from our team.
On the veranda, I drank sweet iced tea. Under a shade tree on a picnic blanket, I drank Cajun martinis, dined on country ham braised in beer and molasses, and tasted homemade biscuits served with a tangy sweet and savoury tomato jam.
This summer, recreate a Southern menu. Pack a picnic basket with homemade or purchased specialties such as red pepper jelly and cornbread muffins, and head to one of Vancouver’s 22 parks where alcoholic beverages can be enjoyed with family and friends until Oct. 22.
Add colourful bandanas for napkins, plastic wine glasses for martinis infused with a fresh jalapeño, and a thermos of iced tea. Don’t forget a copy of Gone With the Wind.
K-Paul’s Pre-Batched Cajun Martinis
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, slit open top-to-bottom, seeds remaining
1 (750 mL) bottle vodka
3-4 oz dry vermouth
Garnish: pickled vegetable of your choice
Pour out enough vodka (3 to 4 ounces) from the bottle of vodka so that the jalapeño can fit in the bottle without making it overflow. Reserve excess vodka for another use.
Place the jalapeño in the bottle, seal the bottle, and refrigerate for 8 hours. (You may wish to tie some thread or twine to the stem of the jalapeño before adding it to the bottle to make it easier to remove.)
Remove the jalapeño from the bottle and refill to the top with dry vermouth.
Seal and shake lightly to combine. Store in the freezer.
To serve, pour 2 to 3 ounces of the mixture into a mixing glass, add ice, and stir to further chill and dilute.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with your favourite pickled vegetable.
Jalapeño Potato Salad
3 lbs (1.5 kg) new potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
4 hard-cooked eggs, thinly sliced
½ cup (125 mL) thinly sliced green onions
1 stalk celery, diced
½ cup diced red pepper
1 – 1 1/2 fresh jalapeño peppers, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
½ cup (125 mL) mayonnaise
½ cup (125 mL) sour cream
1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, cool slightly and cut into ½-inch slices.
In a large bowl, combine potatoes, eggs, celery, green onions and red peppers. Add salt and pepper and
In a separate bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream and mustard and gently fold into potato mixture.
Taste and correct seasonings.
Serves 6 – 8.
2 lbs (about 12) chicken drumsticks
¼ cup (50 mL) all-purpose flour
1 cup (250 mL) Cajun Spice Mix (See recipe below)
¾ cup (175 mL) peanut oil
Preheat oven to 375F.
Season drumsticks generously by rolling them in the Cajun Spice Mix , ensuring all sides are evenly coated.
Place drumsticks in a single layer in a pan. Melt butter and brush evenly on drumsticks.
Transfer drumsticks to a baking pan.
Bake for 30 minutes, remove from oven, turn and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until internal temperature of thickest part of drumstick reads 165F (74C) on a meat thermometer.
For extra crispy skin, remove pan from oven after baking. Set oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source and preheat boiler to high. Turn the drumsticks over, return pan to oven and broil for 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Serves 4 to 6
Cajun Spice Mix
1 tbsp (15 mL) each white pepper, black pepper, cinnamon, thyme, oregano, basil
2 tbsp (25 mL) each cocoa powder, ground cumin, dry mustard, onion powder, garlic powder
3 tbsp (50 mL) each cayenne pepper, salt
Combine all ingredients and store in a 1-cup (250 mL) airtight container and label.
Makes 1 cup (250 mL).
2 cups (500 mL) ground pecans
2 tbsp (30 mL) brown sugar
1 extra large egg white, beaten until frothy
2 tsp (10 mL) powdered ginger
Zest of ½ orange
Combine all ingredients and press into bottom of 9-inch or 10-inch pie plate and chill.
8 oz (250 mL) cream cheese
¾ cup (175 mL) smooth peanut butter
1 cup (250 mL) icing sugar
½ cup (125 mL) light cream
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
1 cup (250 mL) whipping cream, whipped
¾ cup (175 mL) unsalted, blanched peanuts
Place cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, light cream and vanilla into a food processor with a metal blade and blend thoroughly.
Place batter in a bowl and fold in whipped cream.
Add peanuts, pour into prepared crust and refrigerate or freeze.
Kitchen hack: Avoid rinsing chicken
Rinsing is more likely to spread contaminants around the sink (or onto nearby foods such as lettuce sitting on the counter) than to send them down the drain.