Fresh vegetables and the sound of squash and green tomatoes frying up in the kitchen make me want to share with you all the memories I have had growing up in the country. But there’s just not enough room in this column to do that! I could write a book about the times we had eating delicious fried chicken, fried squash, fried eggplant, fresh cooked peas and moist hot cornbread for summer suppers around our neck of the woods. And don’t forget, fresh sweet iced tea to go along with all this grand food! Yummy! This is what summer in the south is all about. It’s all about family and getting together to enjoy these magnificent meals together! The first recipe this week is a fresh corn and bacon chowder that happens to be one of the finest recipes I have ever come across. I love chowder, and the bacon drippings make it oh oh oh so tempting!!! The second recipe is my mother’s easy breezy strawberry shortcake—an easy recipe to take to any type of gathering. It actually gets better as it chills in the refrigerator for a day or two! And finally, a double lemon cake that I invented. It’s a lemony delight for all you lemon lovers—a fresh, moist lemon cake that is perfect served warm with an ice cold glass of milk or with a scoop of fresh vanilla ice cream. Enjoy, readers!
Fresh Corn and Bacon Chowder
Note: My recipe buddy Jackie Garvin of Florida gave me this wonderful recipe for her fresh corn and bacon chowder. She uses fresh sweet Florida supersweet corn, but any sweet corn on the husk will be great to use! This is a winner recipe and a keeper, readers! Please visit Jackie’s Facebook page (Syrup and Biscuits). She is super sweet just like the corn!
- 8 ears fresh corn, kernels cut and milk scraped
- 4 slices bacon, diced
- Half cup finely chopped sweet onion
- Half cup thinly sliced celery
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- Half teaspoon salt
- Half teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, render fat from the diced bacon. Remove the bacon after it gets crisp and set aside. Reserve 2 Tbsp. bacon drippings. Add onion and celery to bacon drippings and cook on med high heat until tender, stirring frequently, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the corn, corn milk and water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in one and one half cups of the milk, the sugar, thyme, salt and pepper and cook over low heat. Combine the cornstarch with the remaining half cup milk. Stir until cornstarch is dissolved and add to corn mixture, stirring often until the mixture is thick and bubbly. Garnish with reserved bacon pieces. Start with good fresh sweet corn. Discard the husks and silks. The finished product will only be good if the corn is good. Florida Supersweet Corn is preferred, but any fresh corn will do!
Mama’s Easy Breezy Strawberry Shortcake
Note: We’ve been preparing strawberry shortcakes for years, but this one is easy, and just about anyone can prepare it. You will love it readers, I guarantee you! It’s a fresh, fabulous summer treat!
- 1 Duncan Hines butter recipe golden cake mix
- 3 lg. eggs
- One and one third cups milk
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1 lg. container frozen sliced strawberries in sugar, thawed
- 16 oz. Cool Whip, thawed
With electric mixer, combine cake mix, eggs, milk and butter. Beat for about 3-4 minutes. Pour into a greased and floured 13x9x2 aluminum cake pan. Bake for about 28-30 min at 350, or until middle is done. Chill. Poke holes all over cake with a fork. Evenly spread all the strawberries and juice over the entire top of the cake. Allow cake to soak in the strawberries and syrup. Dollop Cool Whip evenly all over the top of the cake. Refrigerate overnight. This cake is best served the next day after all the strawberries and syrup have soaked into the cake. This cake should be refrigerated when not serving.
Brock W. Rogers is an experienced southern food writer, overseas traveler, educator, and connoisseur of the culinary and pastry arts. Contact him with suggestions at email@example.com or find him on Facebook @Brock’s Bites-Southern Recipes.