Thanksgiving podcast appearance!

Winter Squashes - butternut, kabucha, pumpkin & golden nugget

Today at noon, I’ll be a guest on Wiseheart Woman’s blogtalkradio podcast. The host, Lisa Capehart and I will be talking about “New Healthy” alternatives to Thanksgiving food favorites.

“New Healthy” Food Ideas for Thanksgiving Podcast

Go to Wiseheart Woman’s blogtalkradio site to listen LIVE at noon EST on Monday, November 18th or to hear the archived broadcast when you get a chance. 

UPDATED: Here is the link to the archived show:
Wiseheart Woman blogtalkradio The “New Healthy” Thanksgiving 

Here are links to my blog posts about each of our discussion topics:
– Thanksgiving cocktails
– Fresh Green Bean Casserole from scratch
– Pumpkin Pie from Scratch
– Making Pie Crust from lard

Cranberry Cocktails

Thanksgiving cocktails with cranberries – Cosmopolitan, Champagne & Chambord and Cranberry Margarita

Making Cracklin Cornbread

Cornbread with cracklings

When I finished my lard rendering project, I was left with about 4 cups of cracklins. Cracklins (or cracklings) are crispy bits of fried pork fat. They are pretty much just like the crispy ends of a bacon strip. Not wanting to waste them, I put them in the freezer for later use.

Cracklings or cracklins

Cracklings or cracklins

Ever since I had cracklin cornbread at Harold’s BBQ in South Atlanta, I’ve been wanting to make some at home. One exceptionally cool night last week, with a pot of veggie soup on the stove, I pulled out my cracklins from the freezer and made a skillet full.

One thing I want to make clear… you should never, ever, ever add sugar to cornbread. That is just wrong.

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Making Pie Crust with Lard

Pie Crust with Lard Uncooked

Sometimes, when I talk about an ambitious food project that I’m working on at home, I get the sense that people think I’m crazy. Am I that much of a food freak? Maybe I just have too much time on my hands, but I sincerely love good food and I’ve realized over the years that the best food comes from a certain amount of effort done in my own kitchen. I know I’m not the only one who thinks this. Many of my friends are like-minded – spending a lot of time, energy and love on their food. I hope that you’re one of those people, too.

One thing I love to do is make pies, including my own pie crust. A homemade pie crust has a flavor and texture so superior to a store-bought crust and is so easy to make, that I never even think of buying one. If you have cold butter (and/or lard), flour, salt and sugar, you can have a pie crust dough ready to put in the refrigerator in 10 minutes.

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Making Lard at Home

A jar of freshly-rendered lard

What’s wrong with lard? Nothing. That’s why you should be making lard at home.

In the 60’s & 70’s, everyone knew that butter and lard were full of saturated fats and cholesterol and if you cooked with them, you were just handing out heart attacks on a plate. My Southern mother, being the progressive person that she was, always cooked with Crisco or margarine. Why? Because science told her it was healthy! To us, lard was a bad word, connoting greasy, porky, fatty food. I’m sure the ghosts of our Southern great-grandmothers were collectively rolling their eyes at this. Why? Because as it turns out, switching out manufactured shortenings and fats for natural fats was a huge mistake. It turns out lard is a healthful fat!  

How healthful? Lard contains less saturated fat than butter, is mostly a mono-saturated fat (the good kind of fat), has no trans fats and has a high smoke point, making it ideal for frying. If it is naturally rendered, it is free of artificial colorings, flavoring or additives. It is also has an incomparable taste in a pie crust or a tamale. It’s really no wonder that chefs have rediscovered cooking with lard as a return to natural whole foods. 

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