Skip to content Skip to site navigation

April McGreger's Posts

Comments

Sweet bites for the holidays [RECIPES]

Editor's note: We're regifting you this oldie about goodies for the holiday season. Photos: April McGreger Christmas is on the horizon, and my kitchen has been turned into a mini cookie factory. Every inch of countertop is occupied by cookies in some process: mixing dough, rolling out dough, icing cookies, filling sandwich cookies, dusting cookies with powdered sugar, and packing cookies into boxes with red tissue paper. The scent of roasted pecans and powdered sugar transports me to my mother's kitchen, where I began helping out with the holiday baking before I could even reach the countertop. I rarely bake …

Read more: Food, Living

Comments

Not your grandma's sweet potato pie

Sweet, tart: Heirloom sweet potatoes stand up to poblano peppers nicely.Photo: April McGreger Tubery good: Sweet potatoes at a Jackson, Miss. farmers market.Photo: Natalie MaynorI've been called the patron saint of the sweet potato. I was born in the self-proclaimed "Sweet Potato Capital" of America, where every other family is in the business of sweet potato farming and the most exciting thing all year is the Sweet Potato Festival. My first job was working in the sweet potato fields, and sweet potatoes were as common on my family's dinner table as potatoes are in the Midwest. To me, the sweet …

Read more: Food

Comments

Six ways to save time and energy in the kitchen

Chop shop: A little advance prep saves lots of time. If you're like me, summer is chaos: traveling, packing and unpacking, and structureless days. Fall usually brings much-needed order -- if I can spend the time to get organized and to regroup. For me, cooler temperatures also mean a return to cooking. For me, Labor Day is the signal to get the kitchen ready for the season. My goals have been the same for years -- I just try to hone in on them more every year. Like Grist's resident Urbivore Jennifer Prediger, I want to eat out less, and …

Read more: Food, Living

Comments

Southern fig cake and old-fashioned fig preserves

(April McGreger photos)I'm embarrassed to admit just how powerful an influence the two enormous fig trees on the property were on the purchase of my new home. Later, when choosing paint colors for the house, my husband, an artist, suggested pulling from other color combinations that capture my imagination. Again, the first thought I had was figs. With color variations in their skins from apple-green to bronze to violet, and their delicate strawberry middles, is there anything more beautiful than a fig? I am certainly not the first person to derive inspiration from a fig tree. The ancients wrote poetry …

Read more: Food

Comments

Savory fruit salads are a 4th of July taste revolution

(April McGreger photos) We all know the 4th of July routine: fireworks, grilling, and all-American pies for dessert. But unlike Thanksgiving, no side dishes traditionally stand out. This year, don't get stuck eating potato salad or tri-color pasta from plastic deli containers. Instead, give fruit salads a chance to redeem themselves. Forget that big heaping bowl of generic, soulless, supermarket fruit that you pass right over at potlucks. If fruit salad to you seems more like a lackluster dessert or brunch dish than a smashing summer side, let me assure you that you just haven't met these fruit salads -- …

Read more: Food, Living

Comments

Summer in a bowl: Blueberry buttermilk ice cream

April McGreger photos Ask me about my favorite foods, and I will inevitably list my favorite food experiences -- all of which, by no coincidence, are cooked or eaten outside: boiled peanuts, barbecue, fried crappie, roasted oysters, boiled shrimp, watermelon, and homemade ice cream. Everything tastes better outdoors. With sun on our face and a warm breeze on our skin, our senses are heightened and our appetites are primed, making even the simplest piece of ripe fruit taste divine. As an added bonus, eating meals outdoors means a free pass on customary table manners. No one looks twice if you …

Read more: Food, Living

Comments

Support Southern seafood with this Vietnamese-style caramelized catfish dish

The addition of spring greens makes this Vietnamese-style caramelized catfish a complete meal.(April McGreger photos) Recently I visited my family in Mississippi, where I dodged tornadoes and lamented flooded fields of corn and soybeans and the many farmers who've gone bust. The one thing that distracted us from the immediate crises in the northern half of the state was the abominable news coming from our neighbors to the south. The television constantly blasted updates on the Gulf oil spill -- the consequences of which we found hard to fathom, when so many residents are still barely hanging on from Katrina. …

Read more: Food

Comments

The real ‘Food Revolution’ starts with healthy Appalachian cornbread

Why can't a revolution based on traditional Appalachian foodways be televised?Photo: April McGreger Having watched the first three episodes, I've been thinking a lot about Jamie Oliver's "Food Revolution" TV Show. Who can argue with his efforts to get fresh food into West Virginia's schools? No doubt, the pantries and fridges in most school cafeterias need to be purged and restocked. However, from what I can tell so far, our imported food revolutionary could stand to slow down and think a little bit harder about what he's up to. First, Oliver has demonstrated little knowledge of (or interest in) the …

Read more: Food, Living

Comments

Getting back to our green roots with potlikker soup

Collard greens, pork stock, and corn dumplings soak in the rich broth of history.  (Photos by April McGreger) Recently I was one of more than 1,000 Southern farmers, chefs, and co-producers attending the Georgia Organics Conference in Athens, Ga. The theme of the conference was "Reclaiming Agriculture," with the spotlight on "culture." The keynote speaker, Slow Food International founder Carlo Petrini, gave an inspiring speech calling on all there to remember that Slow Food's mission is not simply to support local food, but to preserve local, cultural food practices. He suggested that if we can reconnect food to culture, we …

Read more: Food

Comments

On Valentine’s Day, say ‘I love you’ with a doughnut brunch

Now that's a hole lot of love. All photos by April McGreger I'm no fan of the hyped-up consumerist, romantic fantasy of Valentine's Day. But I won't stand between you, your chocolate, and your special friend. Forget the box of candy from the drugstore; I'm promoting Valentine's Day as a chance to spread a little love through baking. Let us rise to the chocolate challenge! What could be better than handmade chocolate truffles or a luscious chocolate cake? Well, how about ... chocolate for breakfast? This year Valentine's Day falls on a Sunday, and that makes it an opportunity to …

Read more: Food