Southern-Style Summer Menu
Enjoy a nice, light summer dinner from the South. By: John Kessler
But this attention is real and deserved: Regional heritage, flavors, and ingredients are all being celebrated in the passion for country ham, grits, fried chicken, and chowchow.
Cooking Light's Test Kitchen and editorial offices are in the heart of the South, down in Birmingham, Alabama, where agrarian roots run as deep as any. We wanted this menu to reflect the exciting culinary developments of the new South, characterized by reverence for the past and spiked with lots of inventive ideas. We wanted a menu perfect for cooks with overactive vegetable gardens and healthy mind-sets. The recipes abide by Southern kitchen principles: Keep it simple, get creative in combining native Southern ingredients, and find some use for all that fragrant garden mint that will take over everything if given half a chance.
Fresh squash blossoms are a lovely seasonal treat. Enjoy the contrast of crisp, fresh flowers with rich, creamy cheese spread. Be sure to use the best bacon you can find–brands that smoke with real wood offer the best flavor. And roast your own pepper; jarred versions may taste tinny. Use plain cheddar cheese for a mild flavor, or choose extra-sharp for more tang.