Glutton for Southernment

I recently traveled to Tennessee to visit extended family for the funeral services of Mary Ann.  On the last day, we wanted to eat brunch before we left our separate ways and tried to determine where to go for a Southern experience.  There was a good  discussion of Midlands vs. Cracker Barrel vs. Waffle House and the general consensus was the need for waffles, so Waffle House seemed the natural choice.

As I have been to several areas of the South, I was familiar with the building but haven’t stepped inside a Waffle House to try the cuisine yet.  The Southerners assured we were in for a true greasy spoon experience.  I wasn’t quite sure if I would appreciate that or be completely disgusted but I was game for trying!

MenuThis small diner wasn’t equipped to handle a group of eight seated together, so we chose two booths and got comfortable for the parade of food that was to come.  It had a counter and several small tables for 2 or four and a jukebox for customizing your personal soundtrack for the meal.

My table of four quickly began negotiating an array of food so we would sample as much as possible and share favorites.  The next table’s approach was to order “smothered” items as they were pros and knew what they liked!  I’m not even sure I’ve seen the word “smothered” in a menu in California?

 

Food began to arrive and I wasn’t sure there would be enough room on the table.  There were cheesy eggs, bacon, raisin toast, grilled biscuits, grits and of course waffles.  We ate and shared, and ate and shared and I think we all enjoyed the cheesy eggs and felt the waffles were a good standard waffle.  No complaints.  My breakfast was pretty much all carbs but I was going to just eat and deal with the consequences of that later.

Table 2The smothered food, well…looked smothered and yummy in a “don’t think about what that is going to do to you” kinda way.

Smothered 2This was a meal that I don’t have to do every time I go to the South but I’m glad we took the time and made this the choice.  The staff didn’t know what hit them when we all walked in, but they did well and we didn’t overwhelm them too much.  There were plenty of locals in the diner which contributed to the ambiance for me.

It was a quick trip to Tennessee and I grow fonder of the area due to the warmness of the people and how different it is from home.  They say I am “Southern” too, as in Southern California.  After the Waffle House, I feel I had a right of passage and am officially a Glutton for Southernment.

When you visit the South, what’s your favorite place?  Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

 

 

Pie for Breakfast!

Breakfast Pie is a hit with most people, so I thought I’d start with a crowd favorite. I found this recipe on pinterest so I can’t say it’s my original thought but I can tell you what works with it. Eggs, cheese, hash browns, green onions – totally works. Bacon – absolutely works!

You will probably hear of me talk about trips with friends often and especially our jaunts to Palm Springs, CA. At least once a year, we rent a house with a pool and hang out there for about 4 days. We do nothing. It’s glorious. I usually plan the food and I luckily have friends that help! This past Memorial Day 2015, I introduced Breakfast Pie to the gang and everyone seemed to give the nod of approval for this recipe.
I adapted my general recipe from the “pinterested” recipe from tablespoon.com
4 large eggs
2 cups of milk
2 cups of potatoes (frozen hash browns, any brand)
frozen pie crust (any brand)
salt, pepper and green onions to taste

You can follow the directions on the pie crust, but you’ll most likely set the oven to about 350, poke the crust a few times with a fork and brown it in the oven for about 10 mins.

In the meantime, combine all of the other ingredients. You don’t have to brown your hash browns before. I didn’t, however next time I make it I might try that for extra flavoring and for color. Once the pie crust is out of the oven and you have ingredients combined, pour them into the pie crust and bake at 350 for about 35 mins. Watch that the egg mixture is solid. You can jiggle it a bit to see if it shifts too much or not or you can also slide a knife of fork in the middle to see if it comes out clean.

Once this basic quiche is cooked, remove it from the oven and set the temp up to 425. While you’re waiting for the oven to heat further, weave bacon on the top in a lattice design. If this is too complicated, nobody is going to argue with you just putting strips across the top! Put the whole pie back in the oven to brown your cook your bacon, probably another 10 to 15 mins will do it.

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You’re supposed to let it sit for about 5 mins, but I’m almost certain that we didn’t follow that direction. I wasn’t the best at cutting and serving this pie, but there were no complaints about that. It tastes great and is easy to prepare. You can even make them the night before. I would suggest making the pies up to the bacon lattice the night before. You can cover with bacon and bake 15 mins prior to serving in the morning.

I’m sure you could also change up the ingredients to other items to vary flavors such as mushrooms, spinach or a southwestern style. I hope you try it and let me know how it works for you.