Magazine article Sunset

What's More American Than Apple Pie? History Tells Us That Rockahominie Is

Magazine article Sunset

What's More American Than Apple Pie? History Tells Us That Rockahominie Is

Article excerpt

What's more American than apple pie? History tells us that rockahominie is

What's more American than apple pie? History tells us that hominy is. The name is from the Algonquian Indian rockahominie, meaning parched corn. Corn itself (Indian corn, maize) certainly antedates the apple on this continent, as does hominy's preparation, which, far from simply parching the corn, boils it in a weak lye solution until the grains swell and soften and the hulls come off.

Hominy comes in two forms. Grits, the breakfast staple of the American South, is merely ground hominy. The whole-grain product is available canned. White and yellow hominy look different, but the average cook could not distinguish one from the other in a blindfold test.

The individual hominy grain looks like a tiny dumpling, has a texture between mealy and doughy, and tastes rather bland. The blandness makes it a good helper in casseroles and vegetable dishes. Ralph Walker uses it in a sort of stir-fry he calls Hominy Fry Delight.

Hominy Fry Delight

2 tablespoons salad oil

1 medium-size carrot, thinly sliced

1 medium-size red or green bell pepper (stem removed and seeded), cut into thin, short strips

1 medium-size zucchini (ends trimmed), thinly sliced

1 can (about 1 lb.) white or yellow hominy, drained

1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper

3 green onions (roots trimmed off), including tops, sliced

1 tablespoon Worcestershire

Pour oil into a 10- to 12-inch frying pan and place over high heat. When oil is hot, add the carrot, bell pepper, zucchini, hominy, and lemon pepper. Stir until vegetables are tender-crisp to bite, about 3 minutes. Stir in onion and Worcestershire; serve. Makes about 4 servings.

Liver is not universally admired, but those who like it do so with a passion. Skill in preparing liver--largely a matter of not overcooking it--is certainly one test of a cook. If you are looking for a new way to serve liver, try this recipe. If you are trying to convert a liver hater or induct a novice, the touch of a sophisticated cordial might be the bait you need.

Cordial Liver

1 pound calf's liver, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

1 tablespoon salad oil

1/8 teaspoon grated lemon peel Pepper

1/4 cup herb-flavored cordial-and-brandy blend, such as B & B liqueur

Salt

Trim membrane from liver and discard. Rinse liver and pat dry. Cut each slice into 2-inch squares. Pour oil into a 10- to 12-inch frying pan and place over medium-high heat. Mix lemon peel with liver, then sprinkle meat lightly with pepper. Add liver to hot oil and cook for 30 seconds; turn liver pieces over and cook 30 seconds more. Pour in the cordial and cook, stirring, until liver is just pink in center (cut to test), about 1 more minute. Serve, spooning pan juices over liver. Add salt to taste. Makes 4 servings.

Upside-down pizza sounds like something that could be created only in the zerogravity environment of a space capsule. Visualize an astronaut in a chef's cap plastering olives to the underside of a pizza crust with one hand, while the other holds the crust in place to keep it from floating onward.

Reality is more prosaic; the upside-down pizza is really more like a savory version of pineapple upside-down cake.

Jim Hardeman's recipe gives you all the pleasure of pizza (except a chewy crust), with far less effort.

Upside-down Pizza

1 pound mild or hot ltalian sausages

1 medium-size onion, chopped

1 jar (15 1/2 oz.) spaghetti sauce

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced

1 can (about 6 oz. …

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