Sandlapper Society

Spring 2009

Dining With Friends & Family

Betsi Jordan Shares Her Recipe for Happiness

Like many southern women, Betsi Neeley Jordan grew up in the kitchen surrounded by women. “My sister Kay and my cousins and I spent Saturday mornings with my grandmother Ruby. The house was full of catalogs and we’d page through them for hours in the kitchen while Grandmama Ruby laughed and cooked. It was a wonderful time of togetherness, and when we finally ate whatever delicious meal she had prepared, it only added to the fun.”

As an adult, Betsi found that although she was able to get dinner on the table every night, cooking wasn’t something she enjoyed. “My mother always made sure we had really good, healthy meals, but she was never into cooking as a hobby. Kay and I had both followed in her footsteps.”

About six years ago, that changed. “Kay had started playing around in the kitchen a few years before that, and she turned out to be an excellent cook and entertainer. She really seemed to really enjoy it, and so did her family. Watching her family gather in the kitchen reminded me of all those good times we’d had as children with Grandmama Ruby, so I decided to let them inspire me.

Following are recipes for a spring picnic.

Sweet B’s Pimiento Cheese

1 small block sharp cheddar cheese
1 small block medium cheddar cheese1 small block Colby cheese
1 4-ounce jar chopped pimiento
Chili powder to taste
About 1 cup of mayonnaise (I use Kraft®)
Paprika for garnish

Grate cheese. I use the food processor and rotate between cheeses as I’m grating to blend  (you may have to take part out of processor if it gets too full). Place half cheese in large mixing bowl, leaving the other half in food processor. Pour pimiento, including juice, in food processor with cheese. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and chili powder to taste. Pulse to blend cheese and pimiento. Add to bowl with the rest of the cheese.

Stir in the mayonnaise, adding more if necessary to get it creamy. At first it may appear to have too much mayo, but as it is refrigerated, the mayo absorbs into cheese.

Serve on cut-up pieces of celery (sprinkled with paprika—of course) or your favorite cracker. Also good as a sandwich spread or on an English muffin at breakfast.

Sweet B’s Tuscan Pasta

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 boneless breasts of chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 box (about 14 oz.) whole wheat penne pasta
1 Knorr® chicken bouillon cube
2 cans diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon butter
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil (plus a little for garnish)
2/3 cup feta cheese with basil and sundried tomatoes
2/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cavender’s Greek Seasoning®
Chachere’s Creole Seasoning®

Sauté shrimp in butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil seasoned with lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon each of Cavender’s and garlic powder. Season chicken breasts with Chachere’s; sauté until done.

In a large bowl combine tomatoes, garlic, feta and goat cheese (you can use 11/3 cups of just one type cheese, if preferred), olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix well. Cover and let stand at room temperature to marinate for 1-2 hours

Bring water seasoned with salt and Knorr chicken cube to boil in large Dutch oven. Cook until al dente (done), about 12-15 minutes. Drain and put back into the pot. If you are not going to mix right away, put a little olive oil in with the pasta to keep in moist.

In frying pan, sauté chicken in olive oil until done and drain. In same pan, sauté shrimp using Sautéed Shrimp recipe. Pour shrimp, including juices from pan, chicken and tomato mixture into pasta and mix. Serve in pasta bowls (if you have them) sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and some more fresh basil.

Curried Mashed Potatoes

1 bag—about 5 pounds—Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and cut into cubes1 Knorr® chicken cube
1 tablespoon Cavender’s Seasoning®
1 cup sour cream (I use the less-fat or fat-free variety)
2-plus cups grated cheddar cheese (divided)
1½ teaspoons curry powder (or to desired taste)
Milk for thinning

Place potatoes in Dutch oven and generously cover with water. Add chicken cube, Cavender’s and salt to taste. Boil until completely done. Pour liquid off, leaving potatoes in pot. Mash potatoes with potato masher or fork. Add 2 cups cheese and stir around with fork to melt. Add sour cream, curry and additional Cavender’s season salt, a little garlic powder and pepper (you can experiment with this to come up with the flavor you desire). Gradually pour in milk (about 1/2 cup at the time), stirring each time until you reach your desired consistency (I like mine moist but not runny). Pour potato mixture into round, deep casserole dish, preferably one with a lid. Sprinkle additional cheese on top as well as a little more curry, season salt, pepper and (you guessed it) paprika. Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes or until heated thoroughly.

This can be made several hours ahead. Cover and keep at room temperature until ready to cook

Tip: For an added little kick, add 2 teaspoons Wasabi paste.

Big Sam’s Baked Shrimp

A specialty of Betsi’s dad, Sam Neeley.

Place peeled, deveined shrimp in broiler pan or Pyrex® dish. Sprinkle with seasoned salt. Brush with lemon/melted butter (1/2 stick butter, juice of 2 lemons). Bake at 500 degrees on top rack approximately 7 minutes. Use large shrimp (preferably 21 count). Option: Add 1/4 cup capers to the butter mixture and a sprinkle of paprika.

Marinated Sirloin Steak

3-4 pound beef sirloin about 1-1.5 inches thick

Place beef in large zip-lock bag and pour in:

1 cup Worcestershire
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup red wine


Alternate Southwestern Marinade:
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 medium cloves garlic, pressed, about 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Marinate in refrigerator several hours—the longer the better. Place on hot grill and cook until meat thermometer registers 135°. Transfer to a heated platter and let stand 5-10 minutes. Slice against the grain into strips. Serve with your favorite sauce or mushroom gravy.

Tip: If entertaining, we like to start cooking the meat about 45 minutes before the guests are scheduled to arrive. In this case, we cook it to 120 degrees and cover with aluminum foil. Just before eating, we put back on the grill for about 5 minutes to heat it up and then slice.

Babby’s Salad

This is named for friend Barbara “Babby” McArthur of Columbia.

Mixed baby greens
Feta or goat cheese, crumbled
Toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
Granny Smith apples cut into bite-sized pieces
Green olives, sliced (optional)

Toss ingredients together and dress with Girard’s champagne salad dressing (I use the lite one), or whatever you prefer.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Because Betsi and Shep aren’t big sweet eaters, the cookbook doesn’t have a dessert section. To round out a meal, Liz McMillan often makes this pound cake, which travels and freezes very well.

3 cups sugar
3 cups self-rising flour
11/2 cups butter, softened
1 cup cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 eggs

Beat butter and sugar until blended, then add cream cheese and beat until light. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and flour and blend well. Pour batter into 2 large, greased and floured bundt pans and bake at 325° for 90 minutes.