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Author Susan Puckett

  • Susan Puckett

    Contributing Writer

    Susan Puckett is the former food editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and has written or edited seven cookbooks. She recently completed work on a book about the foodways of the Mississippi Delta and is currently collaborating on several other food-related books. She is a longtime member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, and her forte throughout her career has been finding and telling food stories with a sense of place. While at the AJC, she won numerous awards for writing and editing through the Association of Food Journalists and James Beard Foundation. She was also featured in Saveur magazine’s 2008 Saveur 100 List, where she was cited for the AJC’s ongoing Southern Recipe Restoration Project, in which top Atlanta chefs helped breathe new life into readers’ recipes. Each month for Atlanta magazine, she gathers heirloom Southern recipes for our Home Plates column. Puckett has a journalism degree from Ole Miss and also studied nutrition at Iowa State University. She has been published in numerous national publications including Saveur, Country Home, Woman’s Day, and Restaurants and Institutions. A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Puckett lives in Decatur with her husband and rescued greyhound.

 

Fresh Lime Pie with Gingersnap-Pecan Crust

Purists insist there is no substitute for the distinctively acidic flavor of the ping pong ball-sized, yellow-skinned Key lime, but since I rarely see them at the supermarket I routinely use the more commonplace Persian limes instead for making the classic custard pie. I prefer the fresh taste to that of bottled, especially with a  good dose of grated zest mixed in. To crank up the flavor even more,  I bake it in a crust made of gingersnaps and pecans instead of graham crackers. It’s so easy and refreshing and everyone loves it, whichever lime variety you use. – Susan Puckett Read More

Cathy Conway's collards with smoked tomatoes

The Baltimore native’s love for vegetables began on summer vacations to her grandparents’ tiny farmhouse deep in North Carolina tobacco country. On the linen-covered dinner table, collards typically shared space with just-picked corn, tomatoes, and the beans and peas she and her siblings had shelled and snapped that morning. Meat, other than as seasoning, was often absent, and rarely missed. Read More

Cathy Conway's cornmeal dumplings

If you enjoyed the Avalon Catering chef's collards with smoked tomatoes, try adding these dumplings for extra flair. Read More

Spinach, Cherry Tomato, and Feta Pizza

Making pizza at home from scratch isn’t as easy as ordering it to-go, but it doesn’t have to be much harder than that. I recently combined two Food Network recipes (thanks, Rachael and Giada) for an easy dinner that needed only a simple romaine salad to complete. The dough for the extra-crispy crust comes together in minutes with the aid of a food processor, and can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Vary the toppings to suit you, but I really like this Greek-flavored combo that would be all the better with a scattering of Kalamata olives.  – Susan Puckett Read More

Chocolate Oat Bars

Backstory: I debated between taking oatmeal cookies or brownies to a potluck where both kids and grown-ups would be present. Then I stumbled across this recipe in the Best Loved and Brand New Joy of Cooking 75th Anniversary edition, which combines the best of both.  An oatmeal cookie dough forms the crust for these bar cookies, which is then topped with a thick layer of fudgy frosting.  Then you drop dollops of the remaining dough on top, which forms a crunchy, cobbled surface when baked. What’s not to love? – Susan Puckett Read More

Adam Evans' North Alabama Chicken Stew

A native of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Evans moved to Atlanta to helm the kitchen at Buckhead’s now-defunct Craftbar. His focus at the Optimist is seafood, but he still craves the earthier Southern comfort foods of home: his mom’s biscuits and gravy, his grandmother’s chicken and dumplings, and most of all, North Alabama chicken stew. Read More

Spicy bourbon chicken thighs

Backstory “Making cocktails with bourbon is easy,” writes Kathleen Purvis in “Bourbon,” part of the popular Savor the South cookbook series by UNC Press. “Cooking with it, beyond the basics of brushing a cake with bourbon or deglazing a pan, isn’t that obvious.” Read More

Kathryn King's coconut custard with blood orange sauce

s a child, King’s military family was always on the move. But wherever they lived—Virginia, Missouri, Hawaii—her grandmother, Mildred King, came for extended visits, bringing the flavors of Georgia with her. “Ganky” (as King called her) was revered for her layer cakes and pecan tassies. But the dessert that King most remembers is a simple, delicate coconut custard. Read More

Brazil nut shortbread cookies

These easy slice-and-bake cookies melt in your mouth. Brazil nuts, now found bagged and shelled in many grocery stores, give them a distinctive flavor, but pecans, almonds, or other nuts can be substituted. Read More

Greens and Ham Spoon Bread

In their James Beard award-winning tome, Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking, Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart aptly call spoon bread “the South’s answer to a soufflé.”  This recipe is a very slight adaptation of one of their variations on this cornmeal-based dish, which is more of an airy casserole than a bread. Add a salad, and you have a light but satisfying meal, good for a simple supper or brunch.  –Susan Puckett  Read More
 

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