Thursday, June 23, 2016

Cookbook Thursday: Evelyn Roughton's 'Crown' jewel of Southern cookbooks

Tourists visit the Mississippi Delta by the literal busload, and one of those important stops is Indianola, Miss., birthplace to B.B. King and now home to the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interperative Center. If you’re visiting Indianola, take time for lunch at The Crown, a family owned restaurant that’s been serving folks since 1976. The catfish and other Southern favorites have been attracting national attention as well, including Bobby Flay and his “Food Nation,” Turner South’s “Blue Ribbon” show, and publications such as Southern Living and Saveur, to name only a few.
The restaurant located in town (it used to be further out in the country in the midst of cotton fields) also sells original Delta artwork, gifts, books about the Delta and the restaurant’s Taste of Gourmet products.
Evelyn Roughton, chief cook and part owner of The Crown, has published a cookbook full of 170 easy-to-male Southern recipes titled “The Crown of Southern Cooking: Recipes from the Birthplace of the Blues” (Quail Ridge Press). There’s Vidalia onion dip, cheese straws, corn fritters and wonderful ways to cook chicken and Mississippi catfish. Of course, because this is the South, there are wonderful desserts, such as The Crown bread pudding, plantation pie and Southern praline pie with caramel pecan sauce.
            Here’s a few items from their menu:
Catfish Allison - Poached fillet of U.S. Farm-raised catfish fillet gratineed with a Parmesan cheese, butter and green onion sauce.
Chicken Allison - The same delicious butter smothering a chicken breast, served browned and over rice.
Creole Catfish Cakes - U.S. Farm-raised catfish flakes mixed with green pepper, onion and bread crumbs, patted into cakes and sautéed (think crab cakes) then topped with Suddenly Peach Salsa.
The Crown’s Royal Sandwich - Thinly sliced roast beef with melted Swiss cheese on New Orleans French Bread with Taste of Gourmet’s Jezebel Sauce and a choice of potato salad, potato chips, vegetable salad, Mama’s cole slaw or side salad.
            I could go on and on but the writing of these delectable creations may force me to jump in my car and head to Mississippi!
You can meet Roughton, learn more about her cooking and watch a demonstration from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 25, at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum in New Orleans. You can also read her advice and sample more recipes than the ones below at her blog

Mama's Buttermilk Cornbread1 1/2 cup white self-rising cornmeal
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk (or add 1 teaspoon white vinegar to plain milk and let it sit a bit)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a bowl, combine meal, flour, baking powder, egg and buttermilk.  Heat oil in 9-inch skillet, roll round skillet to coat bottom and sides.  Pour mixture into hot skillet and place in hot oven.  Bake about 20 minutes until lightly browned.  Invert onto a plate, cut and enjoy every bite!

Deviled Cheese Ball
2 (8-ounce) cream cheese, softened
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 (4.5 ounce) can Deviled Ham
2 teaspoons Worcestershire
2 teaspoons grated onion
1 teaspoon Sassy Seasoning or season salt
2 tablespoons chopped pimento
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 to 1 cup toasted pecans to garnish
            Directions: Mix it all together and chill for several hours. Form into a ball or a football during this time of the year!  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Will keep refrigerated for 5-6 days.