They Call Me Mr. Pibb!

November 27, 2007

Why In the Heat of the Night was 1967’s best picture is kind of a puzzlement. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a crackerjack of a movie: Great murder mystery with great acting from all, especially Rod Steiger and Sidney Poitier (they have some killer staring contests in this movie), great photography from Haskell Wexler (you can see people’s pores). But this was a stellar year for movies. 1967’s the year of Bonnie and Clyde (one of my very favorites!) and The Graduate. Watershed films both. I just don’t think Heat measures up.


There’s is a really cool leitmotif in this film though: Soda pop. I have never seen so many scenes in a movie where there is a soda pop machine. Or bottled pop (I’m showin’ my midwesterness here) I wish they still had regular (i.e. Coke, Pepsi) pop in glass bottles not just those fancy Jones Sodas or the Boylan sodas you can get at Trader Joe’s. Pop just tastes better in a glass bottle.


In the Heat of the Night is set in a small town in Mississippi, so for dinner we had a bit of Southern comfort food.

Barbecued Salmon

This is just a super easy way to cook salmon.

Preheat a grill pan until it’s sizzling. Season Salmon filets with salt and pepper. Heat up barbecue sauce in a small saucepan. Place filets on grill pan skin side up. Baste with bbq sauce. Turn salmon over and baste some more. Turn salmon over several times so it doesn’t stick to the pan. The salmon should be cooked in 7-9 minutes.

For good Mississippi recipes I turned to a great Louisiana Chef, Emeril, for inspiration.

I served this with Emeril’s smothered Greens. Wow this was amazing.

Southern Cooked Greens:
1/2 pound sliced bacon, chopped
3 cups chopped yellow onions
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
6 cups water
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
6 pounds assorted greens, such as mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, kale, and spinach, well washed and tough stems removed

Fry the bacon in a large, heavy pot over medium heat until slightly crisp. Add the onions and season with salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Cook, stirring, until the onions are wilted and golden, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the brown sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the water and vinegar and mix well. Begin adding the greens, about a third at a time, pressing the greens down as they begin to wilt. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until the greens are tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Serve hot.

And Emeril’s Hush Puppies

Buttermilk Hushpuppies:
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons hot red pepper sauce
1/4 cup minced onions
1/4 cup minced red bell peppers
1 tablespoon minced jalapenos
1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or more, to taste
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup water
6 cups vegetable oil, for frying
2 tablespoons Creole seasoning

Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, hot sauce, onions, bell peppers, jalapenos, and cayenne in a large mixing bowl and mix well to break up any lumps. Stir in the eggs, buttermilk, and water, and blend well.
Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat to 360 degrees F.
In batches, drop the batter by tablespoons into the hot oil and fry until golden brown on all sides, turning with a long-handled spoon, about 2 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining batter. Sprinkle with the Creole seasoning and serve hot.
Yield: 18 hushpuppies

And Emeril’s Mississippi Mud Cake. This is the easiest cake to bake from scratch I’ve ever made. My 10 year old helped out with this one. Thanks, Natalie!

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound unsalted butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup water
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces mini marshmallowsFor the frosting:
1/4 pound unsalted butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 (16 ounce) box confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt
3/4 cup chopped nuts, such as pecans or walnuts, lightly toasted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9 by 13-inch cake pan.Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt into a medium mixing bowl.

Place the butter in a small saucepan and, when melted, add the cocoa and water and bring to a boil. Add the boiling cocoa mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Add the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla and stir until smooth. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and sprinkle the marshmallows evenly over the hot cake.

Place the butter in a medium saucepan and, when melted, add the cocoa powder and buttermilk and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt and stir until very smooth. Pour the hot icing over the marshmallows on the hot cake and sprinkle with the nuts. Let cool to lukewarm before serving. Cake is best served warm or at room temperature.


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