It was love at first site. I mean how can you not be smitten by a cookbook entitled: Cider Beans, Wild Greens and Dandelion Jelly? This fine work, subtitled Recipes from Southern Appalachia, may take some liberties, I see a number of delicious looking Cajun influenced recipes sneaking in here, but it’s certainly a fun read.
The book features several beautiful pictures of this wonderful and still wild span of States, as well as a short but engaging history of the settlement of the region, but the meat of the book, no pun intended, is, of course, the set of classic recipes, sourced from some of the area's finest restaurants and inns. There is also a great appendix resource in the book that not only lists all of those restaurants, (road trip anyone?) but also offers sources for some of the typical ingredients used in Appalachian cooking.
This is one of the great regions of America, a region that has retained its own distinct personality and culture to this day, partly because it remains off the beaten track. While being bypassed by time is a double-edged sword, there is something particularly comforting in the food of Southern Appalachia. These are recipes drawn from states that are almost at my doorstep; yet seem able to transport me back to a time before fusion restaurants and molecular gastronomy! And you know what, I’m liking that trip!
I usually only pick a recipe or two from a cook book but I had to add a third. I mean how can I say no to 'I Love Bacon Muffins"?
These look to be perfect all-day muffins, and something that might round out a meal with some Cider Beans!
I LOVE BACON MUFFINS
makes 1 dozen
Imagine these muffins served with scrambled eggs or an omelet for breakfast. They would also be good served with a luncheon salad or Wild Greens Salad. This down-home muffin is a real treat served with Sweet Onion Butter (recipe follows), and you just may have to make more of both.
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon bacon drippings
1 cup milk
2 large eggs, well beaten
6 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and crumbled
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a standard 12-cup muffin pan and place it in the oven to heat.
In A LARGE BOWL, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add the bacon drippings, milk, and eggs and stir to blend. Fold the crumbled bacon into the batter and mix until blended. Spoon the batter into the hot muffin pan.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.
Sweet Onion Butter
makes 3/4 cup
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup finely grated sweet onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
In A MEDIUM BOWL, combine the butter, onion, and garlic powder and blend well. Pack the mixture into a butter mold or place it in a serving container and chill it in the refrigerator before using.
Note: The butter will keep for about 4 days in the refrigerator. It can also be heated and served as a sauce over steak, hamburgers, or vegetables.
—From Cider Beans, Wild Greens, and Dandelion Jelly by Joan E. Aller/Andrews McMeel Publishing