Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell – Brunch and baking

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I’ve always enjoyed a brunch, both as a hostess and a guest. One reason that you can serve almost any food you prefer, from an egg and cheese dish to a tenderloin. When I begin thinking about which of my favorite dishes I usually prepare for a late-morning or noontime gathering, I realized that I can serve a wide variety of selections. So this week, I decided to include the more traditional brunch dishes. Brunch also provides you with a perfect opportunity to serve a wide variety of jams and jellies, which I love to make. I enjoy going in these little quaint Southern shops and seeing the vast numbers of pickles and relishes that I‘m always dying to try.

The Best Breakfast Casserole
Tear four slices of white bread and place in a greased 9×13-inch Pyrex dish. Brown and drain one pound of Dean’s mild sausage. Spoon sausage over bread.

Sprinkle with an 8-ounce extra-sharp cheese, hand grated. Beat six eggs, two cups of milk, a little salt and a dash of black pepper. Pour over mixture in baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until brown. You may have to increase temperature the last few minutes for it to brown.

Andy’s Note: Put this together the day before, and then it’s ready to pop in the oven the next morning. I could definitely write a book about this recipe and all of the memories that I have making it over and over through the years. When Doug and I first married, my mother made fried quail and milk gravy and angel biscuits every Christmas morning. Doug would fill a freezer with quail every season. When he quit hunting, we switched to this breakfast casserole, which my mother then baked for years. I have so many wonderful memories of my Southern mother in her kitchen.

Peach Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour or cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons almond flavoring
1 ¼ cups pecans, chopped
2 cups chopped peaches
1 ½ cups oil
3 eggs, beaten

Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl; add pecans and mix. Make a well in the center. Mix the rest and pour into the well. Stir enough to dampen all ingredients, then pour into a large greased and floured tube pan or two greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Andy’s Note: This is a sweet and moist bread that should be eaten immediately after cooking. This recipe can also be baked in muffin tins, which if you decide to do, the muffins will bake a little more quickly. This is such a dainty sweet treat that they can be called cupcakes!

Carol Collin’s White Raisin Oatmeal Cookies
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
1 cup Crisco Oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon water
Cream the above ingredients together.

1 ½ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
Sift these together and add to cream mixture.

2 cups one-minute oatmeal
1 cup chopped pecans
1 ½ cups white raisins
Add to the mixture above.
Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.

Andy’s Note: My sister Mary Fielder bakes these all of the time and says they are the “Best Oatmeal Cookie” that she has ever eaten. Of course, anyone who knows Carol knows that she is a fabulous cook! Thanks, Carol, for sharing this wonderful recipe!
Happy cooking y’all!

“Southern Cooking with Andy Bedwell” can be purchased at The Messenger newspaper at 1957 Rainbow Drive.

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