Saturday, 8 September 2012

Recipe: Southern Sisters recipes

A while back, I read Anne George's Murder Runs in the Family, a Southern Sisters mystery.  I was immediately hooked to that book not only because it is a rather interesting whodunnit, but also because it has wonderful twists everywhere: right between the shootings, the suicides and the murders, there would be cooking! 

I was really intrigued with this ability of the characters to maintain balance in life:  yes, there are serious things happening in their lives, they get to pursue dangerous criminals, they even risk their own lives at times.  Still, man has to eat:  food is  one of life's most pleasant delights, and the Southern Sisters make full use of this.  There are several dishes described in the book that make their days even better than they are with all the excitement.  I had an epiphany:  I would try some of these recipes myself.  I had not yet cooked any Southern cuisine, so, what better excuse than this book to inspire me?

Of the several dishes, alas, I limited myself to only two (I am an unbelievably picky eater - I think I won't eat about half the produce out there).  Both were inspired by several recipes I perused in :

Shrimp creole

Mouse makes this dish for her husband, because she knows he likes it (aaahhh, the Southern hospitality....).  I knew I would like this dish, as I'm also in favour of spicy dishes:

  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut in small cubes
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 500g tomatoes, cut in cubes
  • 150g tomato juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • half a teaspoon Harissa
  • 300g shrimp - peeled and deveined

To start, I put the onion, the celery and the garlic in  the mixer and pulse until it is all a beautiful paste.  Using a large pan over medium heat, put a  tablespoon of olive oil and lightly fry the onion paste.  I then add the bell pepper, and stir until it softens up.  Next I add the tomatoes (they will soften up pretty quickly).  Now is the time to add the cornstarch, the tomato sauce, as well the chili powder and the Harissa (you can substitue with Hot Pepper sauce if you like).
Continue cooking until you can see the sauce is binding, and then you can add the shrimp and cook for a further 5 minutes.  The shrimp should actually be medium-sized, but I couldn't find any, thus opting for the larger ones - taste just the same.
Serve over rice, or if you're incorrigible like I am, over tagliatelle (it was simply divine). 

I really enjoyed this recipe, and it keeps very well for during-the-week dishes that have to be prepared in haste...

Peanut butter and banana bread

Instead of a proper lunch, the characters in Murder runs in the Family will sit down and have a peanut butter sandwich with chopped banana.  First surprise:  even my mother (a German, not a Southerner) grew up with such sandwiches.  I honestly could not imagine myself making such a sandwich, so I resorted to the next possible thing:  a bread, with peanut butter and banana:

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

  • Preheat oven at 180oC.  In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar.  Continue mixing all other ingredients until the walnuts, one after the other, until all is incorporated and smooth.  Fold in chopped walnuts.  Lightly oil spray a loaf pan (13x28cm) and pour batter in.  Cook for a little over an hour, (mine took 1:05) or until a toothpick comes out dry.
    Now, banana, peanut butter and sugar make for a seriously sweet bread... Those who knew about it, delighted in it, but I have to be honest:  it was slightly too sweet for my tastebuds.  I may try in the future with even less sugar, where I will be able to enjoy the two main ingredients...

    This post is my entry into Weekend Cooking, a weekly event hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


    1. hmmm...a piece of that bread would be lovely just about now, with my brekkie.

    2. I love cozy mysteries and they are even better when food is involved. :) Both recipes sound great and if I decide to make the banana bread, I'll be sure to cut back on the sugar.

      1. As I say: we are naturally sweet, no need for added sugar....

    3. Oh, I need to try that peanut butter banana bread! Perfect to take this week for snack with coffee. Thanks for turning me on to a new mystery series.

    4. Both recipes look delicious! I would love a slice of that bread right now with my morning coffee.

    5. Mmm...yes, please! I love Shrimp Creole and Shrimp Etouffée and Jambalaya and just about any cajun cooking.

      1. It's one of my favourites now as well!

    6. Oeh... that bread looks lovely~

    7. I love your twist on peanut butter & banana sandwich, I'm going to try it. And the shrimp dish looks tasty.

    8. Yummy! Peanut butter banana bread but no shrimp for this girl:)

    9. I like the sound of that book. And your food looks great. Have a super week.

      1. Glad to hear it! Have a great week too!

    10. These recipes look tasty! The book isn't my 'thing,' but I appreciate any mention of food. Thanks for sharing!

    11. Books that inspire you to cook are the best :) The shrimp recipe ingredients promise a flavourful dish and the peanut butter and banana bread... let's just say that I call myself Dutch but my bf is the sole user of our Calve pindakaas XL pot ;) I've always wondered, what kind of peanut butter do the Germans eat? The American kind?

      1. I have to admit that I also like the combo of plot and food... I

    12. Peanut butter and banana sandwich was an Elvis Presley favorite. Never heard of adding pb to banana bread, but it sounds interesting ... way better than the sandwich.




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