Monthly Archives: June 2010

Ollie’s Ice Box Cookies

My high school friend (Class of ’75), Polly Benfield McKaskle and her sisters put together a cookbook of their mother’s (Marie Elaine Thompson Benfield) favorite family recipes after she passed away. These recipes are an expression of a mother’s love handed down through the generations starting with Polly’s grandmother, Ollie.

 “Ollie always had Ice Box Cookies baked and 3 kinds of ice cream to choose from in the freezer. I so miss those days. In a way I have kept up the tradition. I make up the cookie dough and freeze it. That way my husband, Gary, can slice and bake the cookies anytime. The only problem, he gets in front of the t.v. and lets them burn!”  Polly Benfield McKaskle

Ollie’s Ice Box Cookies
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup shortening
4 cup flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup nuts, chopped
Cream shortening, brown and granulated sugars together. Add eggs and vanilla. In another bowl mix together flour sifted together with the baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until smooth. Add the nuts and mix thoroughly. Spread the batter on waxed paper and shape into 3 rolls. Slice about 1/4 inch thick and bake on cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. The cookies slice easier if you chill the dough first. Cookie dough may also be frozen.


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Orange Basil Vinaigrette, so refreshing!

This is a refreshing and flavorful vinaigrette to use as a salad dressing or as a sauce over grilled salmon. This recipe makes 6 servings.

1 tablespoon orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup minced basil, fresh is best
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a 1 pint mason jar. Screw the lid on the jar tightly and shake vigorously to incorporate all the ingredients. You can save the left over dressing for another day in the mason jar in your refrigerator.

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Filed under Autumn, Dip / Spread / Sauce / Seasoning, Fish / Seafood, Holiday, Pasta, Salad, shrimp, Spring, Summer, Winter

Blackberry Cobbler

Blackberries were sweet and plump this year, but the season is so short.  Tonight I used my last 2 cups of blackberries to make a delicious blackberry cobbler. 

2 cups fresh blackberries

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon flour

juice of 1/2 lemon

Mix sugar, flour and lemon juice, fold in the blackberries and set aside.  Make your basic pie crust – enough for 2 crusts. 

Lightly butter your cobbler pan.  Roll out one of your crust and fit it into the pan.  Don’t try to be perfect; it’s a cobbler.  Pour your blackberry mixture into the pan and top with dollops of butter.  Lay your other crust on top and fold the edges into each other.  Poke a few vent holes in the top and add more dollops of butter.  Bake 350 until bubbly and crust is lightly browned.  Let cool for 3o minutes.  We like our cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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Filed under Dessert, Pies, Spring, Summer

Homemade Bread and Butter Pickles

Mark’s nephew, Keith Hill, got us hooked on eating a slice of bread and butter pickle on a slice of cheddar cheese – try it!  It’s an amazing combination. 

This is a pretty old recipe – they say ice box instead of refrigerator….makes 3 quarts

1 Cup. Salt
½ Gallon Water
½ Gallon Ice
5 Lbs. Cucumbers, sliced (I prefer the smaller cucumbers.)

3 Cups Apple cider vinegar or white vinegar (I use white vinegar mostly.)
3 Cups Sugar
2 Cups Mustard seeds
1 Tablespoon Celery seed
1 Tablespoon Tumeric
1 Tablespoon Black pepper, coarsely ground
1 Tablespoon Chile flake

1 lb. Onions, thinly sliced

Combine salt and water in pot heat until salt dissolves. Add ice and
brine with cucumbers.  Soak overnight in icebox. Drain brine.
Combine vinegar, sugar, and spices. Bring to boil to melt sugar.
Pour pickle over cucumbers and onions. Cool.

Will keep in icebox for 6 weeks.

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Filed under Dip / Spread / Sauce / Seasoning, Summer

Pickled Shrimp – hors d’oeuvre or in a salad

An old recipe of my mothers.  The shrimp aren’t really pickled – they’re cooked and marinated.  This will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.  My mother would marinate them in a large jar.

Delicious for a hot summer evening when it’s too hot to cook.  An ice-cold beer and these shrimp are the perfect answer to a relaxing, Southern evening meal on the porch.  Open a sleeve of Saltine crackers and add a dollop of cocktail sauce – and you are in for a treat! 

1 medium red onion, in small dice
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes. or to taste
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup Creole mustard or other coarse mustard
2 tablespoons sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3/4 cup cane vinegar, malt vinegar, or cider vinegar
1 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 bay leaves
3 pounds medium to large shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined, tails on

Combine the red onion, green onion, parsley, crushed red pepper, garlic, mustard, and sugar in a large bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Add the vinegar and whisk in the oil in a slow, steady stream until the marinade is emulsified. Add the bay leaves and adjust the salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and stir. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Makes enough for 6 entrée salads or hors d’oeuvres. 

Boiled ShrimpEveryone has their own way of boiling shrimp – here’s mine for 3lbs. of shrimp. 

10 quarts water
Crab Boil or your own Creole seasoning                                                                                                                
5 bay leaves
3 pounds shrimp, heads off, unpeeled

In a large pot, bring the water to a boil, add all but 1/4th of the seasoning, and the bay leaves to the boiling water, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for about 3 1/2 to 4 minutes; the exact timing will depend on the size of the shrimp. Drain off all but 2 quarts of the liquid, and add the remaining seasoning and enough ice to chill the liquid quickly. Let shrimp soak for 5 minutes. Drain, peel, and serve. Or for the above recipe….marinate.

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Filed under Dip / Spread / Sauce / Seasoning, Entree, Fish / Seafood, Louisiana / Cajun, Salad, shrimp, Side Dishes / Vegetables, Spring, Summer

Paula Deen’s Gooey Butter Cake

Picture by Paula Deen and Random House


Last week I made a Mandarin Orange Cake for my book club meeting and a couple of hours before the meeting I dropped the cake.  Devastated and short on time, I called my best friend, Sue, and she suggested I make Paula Deen’s Gooey Butter Cake.  AMAZING!  This was a quick and easy cake to make and so delicious – like chess bars. I will make this cake again.    

1 18 1/4-ounce package yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted   

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 16-ounce box powdered sugar   

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.   

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer.  Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.     

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter and beat together.  Next, add the powdered sugar and mix well.  Spread over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.  Make sure not to over bake as the center should be a little gooey.


Filed under Cakes, Celebration, Cookies, Dessert, Holiday, Spring, Summer

Cream Crown Dessert – Mississippi Magazine 2010 Contest Grand Prize Winner

One of my favorite Memphis friends, Ashley Bonds Dacus, shared this recipe with me today – I can’t wait to make this one!  She said this is a glorified strawberry shortcake made with ladyfingers, whipped cream, cream cheese, and sugar.  It’s so pretty too.  

Photo by Ashley Bonds Dacus


This was the Mississippi Magazine 2010 Recipe Contest Grand Prize Winner, submitted by Ruth Smith of Brandon, MS.
The magazine also had some great variations – Lemon, Grand Marnier, Mini Crowns using mini springform pans. It’s a good basic recipe to get creative with.   

2 (3 oz.) packages ladyfingers
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 c sugar
2 c whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
Fresh raspberries or fresh chopped strawberries
2 tbsp red currant jelly
1 tbsp water
For garnish: lemon peeling curls & fresh mint   

Lightly grease the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Line the sides with half of the ladyfingers, rounded sides out. With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add sugar and continue beating for 1 minute. In another large mixing bowl, combine cream and vanilla and beat with electric mixer until soft peaks form; do not over beat. Fold beaten cream into cream cheese mixture. Spread half of cheese filling in bottom of pan. Arrange remaining ladyfingers on top of filing. Top with remaining filling. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Heat red currant jelly and water until dissolved; cool. Before serving, arrange berries on top and drizzle with red currant jelly glaze and garnish with lemon curls and mint. Yield: 12 servings.   

“It’s a great warm weather dessert because it’s so light (and by light I don’t mean calories!).”  Ashley Bonds Dacus   

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Filed under Cakes, Celebration, Dessert, Holiday, Pies, Spring, Summer