Cornbread Calas - A Ticket to Freedom....

Cornbread Calas | Southern Soufflé

Cornbread Calas | Southern Soufflé

Cornbread Calas | Southern Soufflé

"Belle Calas! Tout Chauds, Madam!"
Ms. Mattie, waved her hands dramatically, giving me her best interpretation of how the Calas women would walk the streets of New Orleans with baskets perched on their heads. While I tried my hardest to roll the cold rice into balls, unsuccessfully.
"Mo guaranti vous ye bons!"
She continued bellowing -loudly at that- telling of the street vendors in brightly colored tignons near old St. Louis Cathedral selling calas and potato cakes.
Calas are creole rice fritters, old rice mixed in an egg batter and fried, then showered with powdered sugar. Originally made with rice and yeast concocted the night before of boiled potatoes, cornmeal, flour and baking soda, then left to ferment in the night air. Highly addictive gustatory delights, with a storied past that's as deeply fused in the history of New Orleans as Marie Laveau. A past that helped some enslaved African Americans obtain their freedom.

Cornbread Calas | Southern Soufflé

Calas were also consumed in other parts of Louisiana and the American south where mixtures of cow peas and other legumes were sometimes used in place of rice. Like the Saraka rice fritters of Sea Islands in South Carolina and Acaraje sold on the streets of Salvador Bahia in Brazil, Calas origins trace back to Ghana and other parts of West Africa. These rice fritters are very much a part of the culinary African diaspora and were a vital piece in the advancement of many African Americans in New Orleans.
Before the Louisiana purchase, while under Spanish rule, the practice of coartación allowed the enslaved of New Orleans to purchase their freedom. Many took to the streets, chanting advertisements for "gaignin calas". Crisp around the edges with luscious centers, these little fritters were, for many enslaved, the key to earning money for these purchases.
The ticket to freedom bubbling in hot grease.
According to African American Culinary Historian Jessica Harris, "Not all Calas vendors were enslaved. And the ones who were, often sold them for their mistresses. If they were lucky, they were allowed to keep a portion of the money, or perhaps have it go towards their freedom."
Even after the Louisiana Purchase, which put an end to coartaion, New Orleans still remained home to many freed slaves who made their living selling calas and other street foods up until the 1940's when only one remained. However, they were preserved in a lot of African American families, eaten on Mardi Gras, on the morning of a child's first communion and on one Thursday afternoon at Ms. Matties dining room table.

Cornbread Calas | Southern Soufflé

Over the past decade, Calas have reappeared on more restaurant menus thanks to a few trying to preserve the tradition. The Old Coffee Pot on St. Peters Street serves them with grits.. I love this place, but they do move a little slow. I've had a savory calas in Charleston with hominy and red pepper aioli. Some with red beans and rice favoring a more savory side of life.
I've kept this more in line with tradition, honing in on the old ways of mixing in a little cornmeal, with crumbs of stale cornbread. My Mardi Gras fare always includes a hot basket of Calas. As homage to my ancestors, those who came before me, moving oceans, paving paths, making a way for me to be born into a life of freedom.

Cornbread Calas | Southern Soufflé

Deep Fryer or 12in skillet| Frying Thermometer| Slotted Spoon

Cornbread Calas 
Prep Time 30mins (with 15 mins rest time) Cook Time 15 mins Yields 18-20 golfball size calas

1 cup cold, cooked rice
½ cup crumbled day old cornbread
2 tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered Sugar for garnish
Peanut Oil for frying

Pour enough oil into the pot or deep fryer to fill it 2 1/2 to 3-inch depth and bringing the oil to 350.
While the oil heats up:
In a large bowl combine the rice, cornbread crumbs, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the egg with the cream and vanilla. Fold the egg mixture into the rice mixture. Once ingredients are incorporated, all the mixture to rest for about 20 minutes in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, heat your peanut oil to 350. Roll the rice mixture into small balls. Adding a little flour to your hands will help with the sticking. Or you could drop a spoonful into the hot grease at a time (this will give you odd shaped calas but will still be just as good and less messy).
Working in batches of about 4 -5 calas at a time, fry each one until the rise to the surface and turn golden brown. You want to make sure to maintain the temperature of the oil while frying. If the oil cools too quickly from the cold ingredients is will not fry the calas properly. Remove them from the oil using a slotted spoon. Place on a wire rack over a baking sheet to allow the excess grease to drain from each fritter. This will keep the exterior crisp.
Dust with powdered sugar and serve while hot.. “Tout Chauds”


Cornbread, Sunday Supper and inclusion at the table......

Spicy Sea Island Red Peas 5 (1 of 1)

This Sunday at 6pm a group of people, some of whom have never meet; will gather together at one dinner table laden with cornbread, braised pork, rice grits and red peas. Yet the deeper part of it all, is the diversity of the people who fill those chairs.
If only that was the same within this food media community. As I peruse a lot of these sites it's troubling, hardly anything that is written seems to really resonate with me. In all honesty, the lack of diversity, the constant exclusion of different cultures impact on this culinary atmosphere, really makes it hard to keep posting and writing every week.
I refuse to conform to the mold to be accepted..
Food has had a different influence on me then what I did this week, or my issues with the weather. So I try to relate that in stories about food and my beloved, complicated south.
So when people write about the south and romanticize places that are downtrodden in poverty and disenfranchisement and this is published and highlighted over and over, completely missing the effect the people and environment has had on the food. It's disheartening.
Design Sponge highlighted a stellar group of African American chefs, artist, writers and entrepreneurs. It's truly something special and shines a beautiful light on their achievements, a lot of whom I call friends. If only others would take note. If only there was a little more inclusion around the media dinner table. A collective of people telling about the food they eat, study, love and breathe.. Instead, it all looks the same, and that same looks nothing like me.
Don't get me wrong, there are those that captivate me every time they hit publish.. But it's just..
It's not enough..

I've gotten a lot of question about the cornbread in my post about Sunday's Dinner.. I can't help but laugh because it's a very old recipe that my Aunt Mabel made every Sunday, that my great grandma made every Sunday, that her grandma made every Sunday, you want me to keep going? (I can) Unfortunately as good as this cornbread is, I can't hold a candle what she used to put on the table, wrapped in an old tea towel. But it's close.
The cornbread debate is one that I've touched on before. The recipe listed adds sugar and I chuckle to myself when people write how "unsouthern" sweet cornbread is. That is far from the truth. The enslaved Africans that worked on southern plantations were often not awarded desserts and such. Instead they ate molasses (long sweetin) with their corn pone and ash cakes. After emancipation, the recipe evolved-much like the people -and the sweetener became an ingredient rather than an accouterments. So while the recipe below many be considered unsouthern to some, they seem to overlook the history that it has to others.. Down here in my beloved, complicated south.

Quick shout out to those that continuously rsvp to eat at our table, it's small but mighty. My gal pal Kenan and I truly are thankful for ya. We bonded over our love of food, the betterment of community and the South. Despite the complete differences in our cultural backgrounds, our experience around the Sunday Dinner table and through the fellowship halls of the church were the same. It's connected us, showcasing how ones perspective can change when everyone is included, when you really get to know those that you'd otherwise might overlook.

*All ovens are not created equal, I've learned this the hard way. Test your cornbread after about 15 minutes. Because one that is definitely unsouthern is dry cornbread.*

Buttermilk Cornbread
Aunt Mabel’s Cornbread Recipe
Prep Time: 15 mins Cook Time: 25-30 mins Yield 8 servings 

1 ½ cup yellow cornmeal (not self rising)
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350
Place 9in cast iron skillet in the oven.
In a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
Stir in buttermilk, eggs and butter until just combined. Batter will be lumpy.
Remove skillet from the oven and pour the batter into the skillet (it will sizzle, this is fine, this is expected, this will lead to crusty edges that can act as spoons) and bake for 25-30 mins.
Or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 2-3 minutes before trying to slice.


Chocolate Rosemary Muffins + Makings Of A Morning.....

Chocolate Rosemary Muffins | Southern Soufflé

Chocolate Rosemary Muffins | Southern Soufflé

Chocolate Rosemary Muffins | Southern Soufflé

One of the most devastating and heartbreaking obstacles I've faced in my life, is the fact that it seems to be a requirement (that is if you're a "responsible adult") to get up early in the morning.
Let me rephrase that.. Get up early in the morning to get your kids ready and off to school, your husband the right color socks and tie and- I don’t know- go to work... maybe...
And while I know (I Know) that in this beautifully curated world of blogland that exist outside of the actual universe, a lot of people are "doing what they LOVE" in perfectly arranged kitchens while staring at the dew that gathers on their window sills (quick grab your camera). So getting up isn't as hard for them. Yet, for some of us- those forced to remain on this planet- we're on planes, trains, and automobiles at 6 am (3am for my bakery/restaurant peeps) trying to get somewhere.
And no matter how much you LOVE what you do.. That alone has more Makings Of A Murderer then anything they showed about Stephen Avery.
Have y'all seen that.. ? There is so much I want to say.. But it would make NO sense if you have no idea what I'm talking about..
But it's coming.. just need to wrap my head around it (it being injustice) and how the economic and socially disadvantaged are preyed on and ultimately set up to fail.. There is no justice for those that don't fit the mold. But I'll stop there.
So onward..
My mornings have been a little on the rough side lately.. I've got a few projects simmering (Lord Halp Me).. And well, work. Then there's the fact that my kids would rather be forced to eat lima beans then to get their butts in gear and go to school. Everyone's still on holiday hours. This morning my 4 year old looked at me when I pulled the covers off his head and asked me "Why?"
Good Question....
How do you handle the morning grind..? Especially with the onset of cold weather that makes your bones ache.. (or that might just be my age but whatever)
Keeping a batch of muffins in rotation seems to help. Something people can grab as they head out the door. Most of the time way after I've already left for work. A basket full of muffins waiting used to make me smile as a kid.
Even if they were just the Martha White mix.
Muffins, the handheld quick bread, can easily be made the day before (make a big batch and freeze them to be reheated later).
Chocolate also helps.. Lot and Lots of chocolate.
Since eating a snickers bar seems to be unacceptable morning nourishment, I figured chocolate muffins would be a better idea..
You can still find the mini snickers in my bag though..
The first time I made these muffins we consumed them so quickly that I ended up making them again just a couple of days later. The rosemary and chocolate combination is wondrous and has me thinking of waffles and of course biscuits.. I mean we do eat chocolate gravy here in the south.
Rosemary gives off that pine and almost mint like flavor that complements sweet dishes. Also the aroma of these baking in the oven will saturate your house and make your soul happy.

Chocolate Rosemary Muffins | Southern Soufflé

*Hot Grease Notes*
*Overmixing the muffin batter will give you 12 tough muffins and have folks talking about you when they think you ain't looking. So don't do it. Just a few quick stirs to mix all the ingredients together will do.* 
*Muffins that contain less than 4 tablespoons of butter or oil will go stale quicker due to the small amount of fats inability to protect the starch. So you'll want to eat them the same day you bake. This recipe here will last a little longer due to the amount of olive oil in them.* 
*To Freeze- I normally bake them as directed, let them cool, then indiviually bag and freeze them. When ready to eat, place the still frozen muffin on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for about 5 to 10 minutes.*

Chocolate Rosemary Muffins 
Prep Time: 20 mins   Cook Time: 15 mins Yield: one dozen 
Needed- Muffin Tin | 2 Mixing Bowls | Muffin cups (optional) 

2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 cups buttermilk
½ cup olive oil
4 oz bittersweet chocolate roughly chopped.

Preheat oven to 400°
Prepare 12 cup muffin tin by either- greasing with vegetable shortening, butter or non stick cooking spray, or lined with paper cups. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, rosemary, baking soda and salt.
In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, buttermilk and olive oil.
Gently add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredient mix with just a few light stirs to incorporate (see notes). Fold in the chopped chocolate. The batter will be lumpy but that’s fine.
Spoon muffin batter into prepared muffin tin cups. The standard seems to be about two-thirds of the way full but I fill mine to the rim to get the more doom like tops.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of 2 or 3 of them comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 2 to 3 minutes before trying to remove from the tin.
*This batter can be mixed and spooned into the muffin tin then refrigerated overnight to be baked in the morning.*


Coxinha- Brazilian Chicken Croquettes

Coxinha Brazilian Chicken Croquettes| Southern Soufflé

Coxinha Brazilian Chicken Croquettes| Southern Soufflé

Coxinha Brazilian Chicken Croquettes| Southern Soufflé

Coxinha Brazilian Chicken Croquettes| Southern Soufflé

Coxinha Brazilian Chicken Croquettes| Southern Soufflé

Happy 2016! Hope y'all enjoyed your holidays.
I figured what better way to kick off a new year than with something wholesome, tasty and fried. Because I'm generous and thoughtful to your diet-detox-waist training situation like that.
Savory chicken salad wrapped in dough made of flour and chicken stock and flash fried for good measure. Oh and Dukes Mayo..
Dammit 2016 is off to a good start.
Coxinha, is Brazilian street food at it's finest. At it's most basic, shredded chicken wrapped in dough, then battered and fried. Think next level chicken nuggets.
However, my first experience was on the streets of São Paulo and the filling was more like a bean paste and the coating was manioc flour surrounding the dough. The crisp outside layer crunched, met with a chewy dough layer, and ultimately this savory filling that was nothing short of Heavenly. I went back to that stand 6 times over the course of one week (it was right beside the guy selling the drinks), on the last day I may have purchased all the coxinha's she had ready on her cart.
When returning home and sharing with a friend of mine the tales of my gluttonous exploits, I learned more about them. Such as,  they're actually called Coxinha- and not fried hot pockets. As well as, how my southern accent butchers most words that are meant to sound foreign.
My friend, originally from Recife,  got down with the get down and made me a huge batch following her grandma's recipe..
I've been in love with the "Co-Co" ever since and although these are a bit on the time consuming end, I still try to whip them up on special occasions, like New Years Eve Dinner parties.
And always have enough leftovers for the little guy in my life....

Coxinha Brazilian Chicken Croquettes| Southern Soufflé

These take a bit of time.. It's sort of a 4 step process to chicken fried sin..

Hot Grease Notes:
*I used vegetable oil here, but as a side note the best oils for frying foods are those with high smoke points, so that they don't burn the food while frying it. Vegetable, peanut, canola and even pecan oil are all great.*

*You don't need a deep fryer to deep fry- A deep sauce pan, wok, or stock pot will get the job done. You want to make sure you have a thermometer to read the temp of the oil.*

*There should be enough oil in the pot to cover what you are cooking. For this recipe it's about 1 quart (4 cups) which was enough to cover.*

*Don't overload the pot with food when frying. Adding too much food at one time will cause the temp to plunge making for some funky fried chicken, fish, etc. The goal is to maintain the same temp over the course of frying all of your batches of food. End Game- golden crisp crunch on each piece.*

*When removing fried foods from the grease make sure you have a sheet pan topped with a drying wire rack to place the food on. This will allow the excess grease to drain before you serve. I'm guilt of putting food on paper towels out of the grease sometimes, but this can cause the crisp outside to become soggy.*

You'll Need These- 2 to 4 quart pot with lid | Large pot stock pot or wok to use for frying (thermometer) | Large bowl | sheet pan and wire rack |

Coxinha Brazilian Chicken Croquettes| Southern Soufflé

Coxinha (Brazilian Chicken Croquettes) 
Prep Time- 45mins Cook Time- 25mins Yield- 2 dozen
Adapted from Epicurious 

You'll Need These- 2 to 4 quart pot with lid| Large pot stock pot or wok to use for frying (thermometer)| Large bowl | sheet pan and wire rack|

* Duke's Mayo is a cornerstone in southern cuisine.. it can transform the most basic dishes into sensational meals. I realize it's not as easily found outside the "Magnolia Curtain", so you can substitute with whatever type of mayonnaise you have on hand.  Just not Miracle Whip.. Just say no to miracle whip..* 


For the stock and to poach the chicken:
1 pound boneless chicken breast
4 cups chicken broth
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 celery rib, quartered
1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
¼ cup Dukes Mayo
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced

For the Dough:
½ tablespoon olive oil
2 cups all-purpose flour

1 egg
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 cup plain bread crumbs

Poach the chicken: In a large pot, add the chicken in a single layer at the bottom of the pot. Then add the onion, celery and salt. Pour the broth over the top, it should fully cover the chicken and vegetables (If not add more). Bring to a boil on the stove over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and Cover allowing the chicken to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Start checking the chicken after about 10 minutes. It should be opaque in the center and (using a instant read thermometer- it should read 165°F)

Turn off the stove and remove chicken from the pot. (Leave the pot with the liquid on the stove to cool)

Allow chicken to rest for about 10 minutes or else your fingers will be on fire trying to shredded that meat while it's hot. #trustme

Chicken will shredded easily with a fork or you can use a knife. Just make sure to cut (or shred) the meat finely so it will mix well in with the other ingredients that go into the filling. It should make about 2 to 2 1/2 cups of shredded meat.

While the liquid is cooling, let's make the filling...

In a large bowl, mix the shredded chicken with cream cheese, dukes mayo, green onions, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Fold in nicely to well incorporate all the ingredients. Set aside.
*Dukes Mayo is a southern thing, if you're unable to find it in your area, use whatever mayo you have on hand. Just not the abomination that is called Miracle Whip* 

Returning to the poaching liquid on the stove, strain about 1 ½ cups and you can discard the rest or if you're like me save this stock for other use. (I used it for some chicken and dumplings I made the next day)

Return the strained liquid back to the stockpot, add in the 1 tablespoon of olive oil and bring to a boil. Add flour slowly, while whisking vigorously until the dough forms. This only takes a minute so be careful. Remove from the heat and turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead by patting out to about a ½ inch then folding over and repeating this process about 3 or four times to smooth out the dough. (Same way I do for biscuits) Roll the dough out to about ¼ inch thick.

Cut out small rounds using a 3in cutter or the floured rim of a round cup.

Place about a spoonful of the filling mixture in the center of each round and pinch the top of the round together at the top to seal. It's supposed to be a teardrop shape, as you can see mine were more of a twist and twirl with a pinch at the top, but whatever.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. Pour the bread crumbs out onto a plate, this will make it easier to roll the dough in.

Carefully dip each pouch into the egg wash and the roll in the crumbs to coat. Set them on the wire rack lined sheet pan once coated.

Heat your oil and fry: Over medium high heat bring the oil to 350°F. (see my additional notes of deep frying up top)

Fry the coxinha in small batches about 5 or 6 at a time until golden brown. Remove using a spider, slotted metal or bamboo utensil. Place them on the wire rack to allow any excess grease to drain.

Serve while warm.

These are great with dipped in a little creole mayo- Try this recipe


Sour Cream and Onion Biscuits

Sour Cream and Onion Biscuits | Southern Soufflé

Sour Cream and Onion Biscuits | Southern Soufflé

Sour Cream and Onion Biscuits | Southern Soufflé

Tis the season of giving, so here is one more recipe that finds it’s way on my table during the holidays.
Or Sour Cream and Onion biscuits to be more precise.
It’s no secret that I eat biscuits like potato chips. You can find evidence of this sitting on my kitchen counter in abundant supply. It’s also hiding in the confines of my hips.
On a daily basis I might day dream about a hot biscuit smothered in warm cane syrup or molasses, causing this persistent
state of hunger that granola, or green smoothies or any of that other crap can cure.
We’ll have at least 5 different types of biscuits this holiday. Mainly because my family loves the crazy delicious versions that I dream up in my mind. Santa gets old fashioned buttermilk biscuits with a side of potato salad. We’ll have gingerbread biscuits Christmas morning and then these babes will be in the mix during Christmas dinner.
Sour cream has a lovely way of making baked goods soft and tender. It transformed these biscuits into delicate bites of savory splendor. Add in the bits of onions and chives and overly buttered tops and it’s clear why biscuits are my favorite thing to eat.

Real quick, to all of you good people, my kinfolk from all over. Thank you for visiting this space and supporting me from afar (and near by). Thanks to all of y'all that have sat at our Sunday Suppers  (next one is Jan.24th) and relished in good food and company. 2015 has been a great year. 2016 is going to be even better. Mad love and biscuit hugs to you all.. xoxo

Sour Cream and Onion Biscuits | Southern Soufflé

*As with all my biscuits I used White Lily Self-Rising flour. It’s my go to flour with any biscuit recipe, creating stellar results with just a few ingredients. Killing the “hard as a rock” – “difficult to make” biscuit myth.
It’s best to mince the onion up finely so they blend in well with the dough and huge chucks of onions don’t work when trying to cut these babes into rounds (or squares).*

Sour Cream and Onion Biscuits | Southern Soufflé

Sour Cream and Onion Biscuits
Prep Time: 20mins Cook Time- 10mins Yield- 1 dozen 

2 cups self-rising flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup minced sweet onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons buttermilk
Melted Butter, Optional

Preheat the oven to 450
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt., Stir in the onions and chives. Make a well in the center and add in the sour cream and buttermilk. Gently mix together until combined. (The dough will be shaggy and somewhat sticky) Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Normally I add a bit more flour to my work surface when making biscuits, it ensures the dough comes together without sticking and becoming hard to work with.
With floured hard pat the dough out to about ½ inch thick. Fold dough in half, sprinkling with a little more flour. Pat out again to ½ inch. Repeat this process once more.
Using biscuit cutters, cut out dough rounds and place onto prepared baking sheet.
Bake at 450 for about 10 minutes (turning the biscuit pan around half way through) or until biscuits are golden brown on the tops.
Remove biscuits from the oven and brush the tops with melted butter. This part is optional but not really because who says no to melted butter.
Serve while hot.


Banana Breakfast Cakes

Breakfast Banana Cakes| Southern Soufflé

Breakfast Banana Cakes| Southern Soufflé

Breakfast Banana Cakes| Southern Soufflé

The weather is a bit fickle this year.. Does it want to rain? How about freezing temps one morning then warm enough for short sleeves the next?
Let me not complain though, because I'm seeing winter wonderland pictures via Instagram that make me cringe. Y'all can keep the snow and I'll stick with the bizarre weather we're having down south. Because one drop of snow or ice here will cause widespread panic and highway apocalyptic scenes of disaster.
No Thank You!
We celebrate Christmas with fervor. The tree and decorations go up right after Thanksgiving and I might of started buying presents in July.
My house is the gathering point for family, which fills me with happiness and anxiety in the same breath. Luckily, I have a fully stocked liquor cabinet endless amounts of patience. While we do have a large dinner the day of Christmas, as a tradition, there is always several breakfast/brunch situations that happen during the holidays also. Mainly because by the time everyone is up and about and ready for breakfast, it's getting close to lunch time-if not pushing into the hours of dinner.

So brunch style fare is on deck each year and I'm going to share some of the most requested menu items that I serve each year for the month of December. At least that's the plan.

We'll start with Booze, I mean Bananas, I mean Buttermilk.. I mean all three..
Cake for breakfast all day err day.. this is completely acceptable.

Breakfast Banana Cakes| Southern Soufflé

Banana Breakfast Cakes
prep time- 25 mins cook time- 15-20 mins yield- 6 mini bundt cakes 

*These are dense little cakes that are also wonderful with a few of your favorite nuts mixed in. Pecans are my personal favorite. The pan that used is this one... this one works well also.* 

1 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large egg
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 ½ cup mashed bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup buttermilk
¼ cup Frangelico Hazelnut liqueur
Powdered sugar- optional

Preheat oven to 350. Generously grease with butter or cooking spray a mini bundt pan
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, bananas, buttermilk, and liqueur. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture, stirring until moistened. Be careful not to over mix. The batter will be slightly lumpy, this is ok.
Divide the batter among the six bundt "cups" on the pan; the batter should come to within ½ inch of the rims of the pan. (If you fill these to the top it will create a doom on each that you'll have to slice off in order for the cakes to sit "flat side" down)
Bake cakes at 350 for 15-20, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool in pan completely before "unmolding". Do this by turning the cakes over onto a wire rack.
Serve with powdered sugar sprinkled on top- this is optional.


Sweet Potato Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing.... Thankful?

Sweet Potato Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing | Southern Soufflé

Sweet Potato Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing | Southern Soufflé

Thankful.. ?
Last week my son brought home a little project; paint a turkey, using his fingers to trace out the feathers, each feather listing something you’re thankful for. Getting out the paint and cardboard paper, we set about completing the task of getting a 4 year old to sit still long enough to do as instructed.

By the end, I would just be thankful in the ability to get the paint stains off the floor beneath us.

Yet, in the process of explaining the meaning of “thankful”, I caught myself staring at him. He’s eyes untouched by the ideas of hate, they sparkle with life and trust, unbeknownst of what is happening around him. Bright brown with flecks of gold, much like that of his mama. My eyes however, lack the effervescence of a life that knows nothing of the immoral rules of ignorance that weeds its way around us, grabs hold and seemingly never let’s go.

I’m just thankful to be alive.

We went with the typical answer, thankful for mommy, daddy, nana, his hot wheels and such. Ending with a colorful turkey adorned with two horns on his head and a button for his nose. My son is quite imaginative.

This lesson would stay with me, begging the question of what am I thankful for, feel the most gratitude towards.

To be alive.

Every morning my grandmother would get up early to read her devotion. By the time I’d made my way- sluggishly- down the hall, she’d be in full breakfast mood. This was even more of a feverish activity around the holidays.

She’d turn to me completely unbothered by my teenage angst and almost sing..

“Ahh, she’s alive.. God is Good.. It’s a great day to be alive.. Praise the Lord and grab that plate for these eggs”

It was ridiculous, the amount of energy she put into those words each morning, intentionally and honestly.

She was truly happy to be alive.

As I grew older, more experienced, more exposed to things that my parents sheltered me from, I came into a new understanding of just how steadfast she had to have been to remain so faithful. After seeing so much and living in a time when the fate of an entire race was in jeopardy, where unjust treatment was justified as the law.

To remain in a place where there isn’t a constant doubt of humanity that makes you hesitant in every step you take.

There are many things I should be thankful for.. I've recited them daily over the past couple of weeks. The past couple of months. This entire year.
Like some dutiful affirmation.

I’m thankful for the saltless school counselor that told me there are career paths better suited for “people like me”- I get to prove him wrong EVERY SINGLE DAY and so will my children.

I’m thankful for those kids protesting their right to be treated equally, standing firm on the demands that have yet to have been met since they were requested over 40 years ago. Shining light on the racism that is a daily aspect of the life of a minority on a supposedly “diverse” college campus.

This is not a new issue..Stand Strong.

I’m thankful for the teachers striving for the advancement of our children. That get up every morning and deal with inadequate supplies and unfunded programs. With kids that sometimes don’t listen, kids that sometimes are hard to teach in areas that people want to gentrify but send their kids (and their money) to private schools, while the area children around them suffer. Shout out to you for continuing to prepare our young leaders, especially when they are stamped as thugs, hopeless and unteachable.. Stay Strong

I’m thankful for my family, my mom and her request for Patti Pie this Thanksgiving- and forwarding that video that made me laugh when I couldn’t feel anything but anger.

I’m thankful for y’all who tune in and read my sporadic post.

I’m thankful to be alive..

For each breathe that I take, when there are those from Paris to Beirut to Kenya to right here on US soil that will never hug their loved ones again. No one’s tragedy trumpets the other. The argument over facebook flag profiles is petty and obtuse. We live in a world that needs repair, we live in a time where events of the past are reminiscent of the headlines today. Think about how insane that is..

When looking in the face of blind hatred and terrorism, the dislike and retweets over Starbucks cups makes me want to break something and sign off social media forever.
I wish I could wax poetically about this stuffing recipe, the combination of euphoria the sweet potato gives you in each bite, hints of spice float from chorizo slices. But I just don’t have it in me. The holidays are important because we get to reconnect with family. It feels needed more now than ever. Here’s something to add to your holiday menu repertoire.

Continue to walk forward my good people. Grab someone’s hand and pull them up along with you.

Sweet Potato Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing | Southern Soufflé

Sweet Potato Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing.
Prep Time: 30mins Cook Time: 40-45 mins (30 mins for cornbread) Yields 6-8 servings 

1 lb day old cornbread, broken into ½ inch pieces (recipe to follow)
1 ½ stick unsalted butter
1 cup of leeks, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 lb chorizo, cooked, diced
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups chicken broth
2 eggs, beaten

Aunt Mabel’s Cornbread Recipe:
1 ½ cup yellow cornmeal (not self rising)
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions For Cornbread:
Heat oven to 350.
Grease a 8 in baking dish.
In a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
Stir in buttermilk, eggs and butter until just combined. Batter will be lumpy.
Pour into prepared baking pan and bake for 30-35 mins.

Directions for the stuffing:
Preheat oven to 250. Place cornbread pieces onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes to dry out the cornbread. Stirring occasionally and rotating the pan halfway through. Let cool, then add then add to a large bowl. (Needs to be large enough to hold all the ingredients to mix)
Butter a 13x9 in baking dish and set aside
In a medium skillet, heat the butter, add the onions and leeks, stirring often until softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.
Add the onion leek mixture to the bowl with the cornbread. Stir in chorizo, sweet potatoes, parsley flakes, 1 ½ cup of the chicken broth, black pepper and salt to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining 1 ½ of the chicken broth with the eggs. Gently fold this into the stuffing mixture to incorporate all the ingredients. Adding more salt and pepper if desired.
Preheat oven to 350
Pour into prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for about 40 -45 minutes. Stuffing can be made a day ahead.