Thursday, August 6, 2009

What's a Hush Puppies

Hush puppies are finger-shaped dumplings of cornmeal that are deep-fried and traditionally served with fried catfish. Also know as corn dodgers, they are especially popular throughout the South.
There are several interesting stories of the origins of hushpuppies. My dad told this story, an African cook in Atlanta is said to have given the name hushpuppy to this food. When frying a batch of catfish and croquettes, a nearby puppy began to howl. To keep the puppy quiet, she gave it a plateful of the croquettes and said, "hush, puppy." Since the name was cute, it stuck. My husband said this is the story his dad told. This same story but it is attributed to a Creole cook. Hunters and trappers could be on the trail for days at a time. At suppertime the hunting dogs would get hungry, so the hunters would mix a batter out of cornmeal or flour and cook it in grease on the campfire. Then they would throw the fried dough to the pups, telling them to be quiet, shut up, or "hush."


4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups milk
1 cup water

In a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, heat vegetable oil to 350° F or until a small amount of batter dropped into the hot oil sizzles and floats. Do not let the oil get too hot or the center of the hushpuppies will not cook thoroughly.

In a large mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, egg, salt, baking soda, milk, and water. Mix until batter is smooth and free of any lumps. Batter should be stiff (if batter is too dry, add milk; if batter is too thin, add cornmeal).

Using two spoons, push a small amount of batter into hot oil (370° to 380° F).
After about 10 seconds, hushpuppies will float to the top and begin to brown. Fry for approximately 5 minutes or until golden brown, turning to brown all sides.

Remove from oil and place hushpuppies on paper towels; continue cooking the remaining batter (fry in small batches, adding 4 to 6 hushpuppies to the oil at a time).

They can be held in a 200° F oven until serving time (approximately 30 minutes). Serve hot.

Makes 2 dozen hushpuppies.


The pound cake, most known as a rich cake, originally contained a pound of each of the main ingredients, including flour, sugar, and butter. That’s where the pound cake gets its name.
When I was a young girl, my grandmother didn't have a mixer she would beat this cake by hand and folded the dry ingredients in a little at a time before baking. She said it needed 300 strokes so we used to count as she mixed. She would bake it during the week for Sunday dinner,also she would bake one for my dad's Friday Fish Fry.

1,2,3,4 POUND CAKE


1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour sifted (to day we use Swans Down Cake Flour)
4 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 teaspoon orange zest, grated
1 - 2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate, thawed


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat on medium speed 10 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add flour mixture alternately with milk and flavorings, creaming by hand until smooth after each addition. Spread batter into prepared 10-inch bundt pan. Bake until tester inserted into cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 25 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool on rack.
Glaze with OLD-FASHIONED BOURBON GLAZE: Combine sugar, bourbon, zest and enough orange juice to make a thin glaze. Drizzle onto cake.

Mouthwatering Fried Catfish


Enough Catfish fillets, about 3 or 4 medium
pieces per person.

1 cup Yellow Corn Meal (This should be enough
to coat the catfish fillets)
2 tsp. seasoned Salt
½ tsp. paprika
1 tsp. black pepper
¾ tsp. onion powder
Crisco or your favorite cooking oil.
(Enough to cover the Catfish).

You can use fresh Catfish fillets, or you can use the farm raised variety available in the supermarket freezer section.

Rinse the fillets thoroughly, trim the Catfish of any skin or membrane, pat dry with a paper towel. If using fresh Catfish skin the Catfish and then wash thoroughly. Pat dry with a paper towel.

Roll the Catfish fillets in a mixture of corn meal and seasoning. A quick way to coat the fish in the corn meal and seasoning
mixture is to place it in a plastic or brown bag and just shake it.

Drop into deep fryer at 325 degrees. Fry until it turns golden brown, about 5 minutes. Dump onto paper towel and allow to drain. (I use a deep fryer although a frying pan will work just as well)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


The secret to frying Catfish is cooking it at just the right temperature. A good test to determine if the oil is hot enough is to toss a one-inch cube of bread in the oil. If the cube becomes golden brown in less than a minute, the oil is ready.
When you first drop the Catfish into the hot grease it will seal in the moisture and flavor, this is my dad secret to best fried Catfish on west coast.

Monday, August 3, 2009


My favorite dish is a good old fashion CATFISH DINNER.
When we were kids my Dad would have a Friday fish
fry once or twice a month and invite our family over
for dinner. We would play broad games and the older
people would play cards. My Mother would make the
sides and my Grandma would bring her delicious
123 pound cake. My Dad could fry up the best Catfish
you have ever had. Our family and friends never
missed a chance to come over for his famous fish
fry’s. My Dad love’s to tell story, one of them was
about Catfish. Catfish was once considered the
food of the poor and folks turned their nose up
at this fish, he would say if you turned up your
nose at my Catfish you were just being uppity”
because his Catfish is toe tapping and mouthwatering
good. One of the characteristics of Catfish that I enjoy,
is it does not have a fishy smell or taste, it has a mild
sweet taste. For the best down home dinner on the
West Coast; try my Dad’s famous mouthwatering Fried
Catfish serviced with my Mom’s hush puppies and coleslaw
Top off with a sliced of my Grandma ‘s pound cake.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


The month of August was designated as National Catfish Month by Congress in the late 1980s, so how about some Catfish recipes. Catfish was once considered the "food of the Poor," Fried catfish is nearly an iconic as hush pups, sweet tea and pork.
If you've turned up your nose at this surprisingly healthy (and easy to get fresh) fish, you're just being -- as my mama would say -- uppity. Rural fish lovers, especially in the southern states, dote on the sweet flavor of catfish,it is the most widely eaten American fish. U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish is the No. 1 farm-raised fish in America. More catfish is produced in the United States on a yearly basis than all other farmed fish combined.
In a time when Americans are more and more concerned with the origins of their food, U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish has become one of the safest choices in seafood, because the fish are raised in freshwater ponds and fed a strict diet of wholesome grains.
Catfish can be used in any recipe calling for a non-oily white fish, but most southerners prefer it dredged in cornmeal and fried. This month I will share my father's mouth watering fried Catfish recipes and other family favorite from soup to grill Catfish.