Tag Archives: Southern

Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

One thing to love about The South’s culinary history is the abundance of old-timey cookbooks and recipes. Collections of church-ladies’ hand-written cards complete with illustrations, Junior League “receipts” full of whiskey and gelatin, and faded, stained scraps of paper hidden inside cupboards or messy drawers. If the author of “Julie & Julia” had worked her way through a Southern church cookbook, I would have been way more impressed than Julia Child’s novel of a cookbook. Because these old recipes are crafted off generations of memory, without exact science and a good deal of guesswork on the part of the reader.

For example, “Add enough milk” and “Add dessertspoon butter” And “Sprinkle with xxxx sugar.” Part of the fun is guessing, or calling your Southern mother/grandmother/friend to help translate.

For Christmas, one of Grant’s sisters gave everybody a copy of an old family recipe from Ms. Nell Bennett, “Granny’s Strawberry Yum Yum Pie.” Description: “This is an old fashion way of making fruit pies (or cobblers). My! What flavor the juice in this pie has.”

And so it does.

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

I made this for a small crowd recently, all who loved the cakey batter made soft with strawberry juices and caramelized bits around the edges. I probably took the baking a bit too far, but the recipe wasn’t exact – I shall learn next time.

Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

Ingredients (I altered for the modern reader):

  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 T cold shortening
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • milk (I probably used 1/2 c.)
  • 2 c. sliced strawberries
  • 2 T cold diced unsalted butter
  • 2 T sugar

Mix flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening to resemble coarse meal. “Add enough milk to make a soft batter” = use a wooden spoon to stir in up to 3/4 c. milk (I used whole milk), until it comes together like a cake batter. Pour into baking dish. Sprinkle strawberries evenly over, then cover with 2 T sugar. Dot with butter.

Bake at 400 about 25 minutes, increasing the heat to 450 to brown the top, if needed, for the last 10 minutes. The batter rises to the top and forms a nice crust around the strawberries. Again, I let mine brown a little too far, but no matter.

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

Set aside to cool to your liking, then scoop onto plates.

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

It is wonderful at room temperature or even cold, but is so easy to warm up, which people seem to prefer. Would be fabulous with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top.

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

Enjoy, friends! xoxo


Shrimp and Grits with Andouille Sausage

Oh, shrimp and grits. So Southern, so low-country, so unhealthy. But what’s not to like about a combination of creole spices, firm shrimp, peppers, onions and sausage simmered with cream and then poured over grits (cornmeal) mixed with lots of cheese? I don’t know how shrimp and grits originally came to be, and I don’t much care. I’ve eaten all sorts of versions – with grits cakes, creamy grits, watery grits, seared shrimp, fried shrimp, boiled shrimp, etc. But never made my own…

I saw this recipe at Closet Cooking and it appealed to me because I happened to have many of the ingredients on hand. Part of my commitment to “being an adult” this year is to do more proactive grocery shopping: buying ingredients that are common across different meals and that have a long shelf life. Grits – I just used plain yellow cornmeal, which most cooks have; shrimp – had some in the freezer; andouille sausage – I had some left over from probably last year, but any smoked ham would do; onions, peppers, celery, cream, etc.

The recipe calls for cajun seasoning and wouldn’t you know it, I could only find creole. What’s the difference? This, again, falls into the I-don’t-care territory, and it still tasted so spicy and wonderful. #don’tsweatthesmallstuff

The only thing I would change next time is the peppers. I just don’t like peppers. And they figure prominently in this dish. Perhaps one jalapeno would do the trick? I’m not sure what the solution is, but I aim to find out.

I would also like to point out that Grant questioned why I was using cornmeal and not grits. Now, I’m not from here, but what’s the difference? He literally ate his words later, once his words were full of extra sharp cheddar cheese.

Adapted from Closet Cooking

Shrimp and Grits with Andouille Sausage


  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup grits/cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 pound andouille sausage, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon cajun or creole seasoning
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning, or creole
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 handful parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup extra sharp cheddar, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
Bring the water to a boil, whisk in the grits, reduce the heat and simmer until tender.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and sear, about 3 minutes and set aside.
Toss the shrimp in the creole seasoning, add the shrimp to the pan and cook, about 2-3 minutes and set aside.
Heat the oil in the pan, add the onions, peppers and celery and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and creole seasoning and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the broth and tomato and simmer to reduce a bit, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage and shrimp, season with salt and pepper, mix in the cream, and remove from heat.
Whisk the butter and cheddar into the grits (they will be thick, like polenta….in fact, exactly like polenta) and remove from heat.
Serve the shrimp over the grits, sprinkling with green onions and parsley, to taste.

You also might want to add a dash or two of Texas Pete’s hot sauce, just for extra seasoning.

The grits are creamy and the extra-sharp cheddar is perfect in it. The shrimp remain firm and well seasoned, and the sauce is peppery and creamy. It fills you, top to bottom.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo