March 2016
Homeplace & Community

The Co-op Pantry

Our cook of the month, Anita Grimes of Coffee County, has a wonderful legacy of both cooking and the Quality Co-op system. We appreciate both her and her husband’s dedication to Alabama agriculture.

Here is her story:

“I grew up in south Coffee County on my parents’ family farm. I loved to cook with my mother and grandmother from an early age. We grew a very large garden, so I learn to freeze and can foods, too. On our family farm, we grew corn, cotton, peanuts, rye and pasture grass for cattle. Oh yeah, we raised chickens, catfish and hogs, too. And farming was a family affair, too. We all helped with wherever was needed.

 
  Anita Grimes and newest grandson, Bradley.

“We were all involved in several leadership roles in church and community activities: the Cattlemen Association, Alabama Farmers Federation Home Demonstration Club, etc. My sisters and I enjoyed showing beef calves for several years.

“In 1977, I met my husband, Bryan, while attending Troy University. It was ironic, we had grown up with similar backgrounds and growing the same agriculture as his family’s farm in west Coffee County. He also helped with cooking, gardening and farming.

His family was also involved in several leadership roles in church and community activities: Coffee County Farmers Co-op, Farmers Livestock Co-op and Alabama National Guard. Bryan began his career farming with his father and in the National Guard.

“After college, I taught young, needy families and foster children independent living skills as a licensed social worker. My husband began career farming with his father and was in the Alabama Army National Guard.

“His father retired as Director of Coffee County Farmers Co-op’s board and Bryan followed by being elected to the board and has been president for most of the 22 years he has currently served. In fact, our family farm is about two miles from the Co-op in Elba.

“We love to cook together and enjoy new recipes from many sources. We were blessed with a son and daughter, who enjoyed cooking with us and continue to inquire about recipes at different times. We were very involved in church, 4-H, Boy & Girl Scouts, football, band, FFA, etc. with them.

“They now both have great families of their own and are very successful. We are very proud to have four grandchildren. We are extremely proud to announce that we have a healthy, new grandson, Bradley, born January 19.

“We continue to enjoy family gatherings for a meal together on a regular basis! Bryan also loves to cook on the grill and barbecue with several farmer friends on occasion.”

Mary Delph is an associate editor with AFC Cooperative Farming News. You may email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

ENGLISH PEA
AND ASPARAGUS CASSEROLE

1 can small English peas

1 can asparagus, drained

1 can cream of mushroom soup

½ cup milk

Salt and pepper, to taste

4 eggs, sliced

2 cups cheese, shredded

Saltine crackers, crushed

Layer peas and asparagus in a 9×11 casserole dish. Mix soup, milk, salt and pepper. Pour mixture over vegetables. Layer with eggs, cheese and crackers. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Note: This dish has become a tradition for me to cook for my family, especially at holidays.

SPAGHETTI

1 pound ground beef

½ cup onion, chopped

¼ cup bell pepper, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon seasoning salt

Medium can chopped tomatoes

Medium can tomato sauce

1 (12-ounce) package thin spaghetti noodles, cooked and drained

Brown beef, onion, bell pepper, salt and pepper. Drain. Add next 4 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Cook on simmer for about an hour. Serve over noodles.

TEA CAKES

2 cups margarine

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

4 cups self-rising flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°. Cream margarine and sugar. Mix eggs and flour. Add to sugar mixture. Mix well. Mix in vanilla. Shape and bake for 10 minutes.

Note: This recipe was handed down from my grandmother and I enjoyed helping her make them. All ingredients prepare better at room temperature.

HAMBURGER CASSEROLE

1 pound ground beef

½ cup onion, chopped

¼ cup bell pepper, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

½ Tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon seasoning salt

1 large can chopped tomatoes

Small package wide noodles, cooked

1 can whole kernel corn, optional

2 cups cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350°. Brown beef with onion, bell pepper. Drain. Mix in remaining ingredients except cheese. Put in 13x9x2 greased casserole dish. Top with cheese. Bake for 30 minutes.

Note: This casserole was passed down to me from my mother-in-law, Marylene Grimes. I enjoyed cooking with her and also her mother.

MAMA’S HUSHPUPPIES

2 cups fine white cornmeal

1 cup buttermilk

2 cups water

2 eggs, well beaten

1 large onion, chopped fine

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1 teaspoon black pepper (optional)

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Hushpuppies should be fried after frying fish. Use a teaspoon to drop mixture in grease (always using a cup of water to dip spoon in after each spoonful of batter). Hushpuppies will float to top and brown when done. Serves about 14-16. Recipe may be doubled for larger number.

Note from Bryan: In loving memory of my mother, Marylene Grimes. She would always make this batter for my father to take to the Co-op whenever we would have a fish fry when he was Director of the Board at Coffee County Farmers Co-op in the ’80’s. Now I am the President of that same Board!

 


 

I am looking for cooks of all ages, cooking traditions and skill levels to feature in this column. I want to hear from those in Alabama as well as our out-of-state readers. The simple requirements for being a featured cook are to love to cook (and eat) and to share your story with us. Get those recipes coming! Any featured cooks during 2016 will receive a free copy of our new cookbook.

 


 

 

PEANUT BUTTER BONBON PIE

Crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup shortening

½ cup crunchy peanut butter

Blend ingredients with pastry blender. Roll carefully. Place in 9-inch pie plate. Push crust up to edge of pie plate and flute with forefinger and thumb. Bake at 450° for 10-20 minutes – check frequently until nicely brown.

Filling:

8 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

2 cups milk, scalded to boiling point

½ cup coconut

2 Hersey Chocolate candy bars, broken into pieces

½ cup roasted peanuts, finely ground

Beat yolks and sugar in saucepan. Add flour and vanilla to milk. Pour milk over yolk mixture. Stir over medium heat to boiling point. Blend in coconut. Cool for 10 minutes.

Fill pie shell with mixture. Dot top of filling with candy bars while warm enough to melt them. Sprinkle with peanuts. Let cool. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Note: My mother was the National Peanut Festival 1979 Grand Prize Winner with this recipe and she tested it with our family several times until she perfected it for the contest and frequently afterwards, making it a family tradition. In loving memory of Bowden and Claire Sessions.

MAMA’S BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

5 cups self-rising flour, plus extra for shaping

1 cup buttermilk

6 teaspoons cooking oil, divided

Preheat oven to 425°. In medium bowl, put flour. Make a hole in flour with a cup. Add buttermilk and 2 teaspoons oil. With clean hands, slowly combined flour with liquids until all are mixed. Knead dough several times until dough is a smooth consistency of biscuit dough. Pinch off enough dough for biscuit and roll with flour in hands until smooth. Place on well-greased small baking pan. Mash down each biscuit with thumb in middle of biscuit, adding about ¼ teaspoon of oil on each biscuit. Bake about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Yields: 8-10 biscuits.

Note: My mother made these biscuits for my father every day at dinner, our middle meal of the day, when my Daddy farmed. She kept her flour pan covered under the sink at all times. This recipe was past to her from her mother and then to me (it takes some practice, so don’t give up on them). In loving memory of Bowden and Claire Sessions.

COCA COLA CAKE

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

½ cup margarine

½ cup oil

3 Tablespoon cocoa

1 cup Coca Cola

½ cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon soda

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1½ cups small marshmallows

Mix sugar and flour. In sauce pan, combine margarine, oil, cocoa and cola. Bring to a boil. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well. Add buttermilk, soda, eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Fold in marshmallows. Pour in 9×13 pan. Bake at 350° for 40-50 minutes.

Icing

½ cup margarine

3 Tablespoon cocoa

6 Tablespoons Coca Cola

1 box powdered sugar

1 Tablespoon vanilla

1 cup nuts, chopped

In sauce pan, mix margarine, cocoa and cola. Bring to a boil. Add sugar, vanilla and nuts. Mix and spread on cake.

Note from Anita and Bryan: This is a family-tradition recipe that Marylene Grimes loved to make, especially at big family dinners such as Easter and birthdays.

EGG CUSTARD

1 can evaporated milk

4 eggs

4 Tablespoons self-rising flour

4 Tablespoons margarine, melted

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325°. Put all ingredients in blender and mix well. Spray pie pan with cooking spray and sprinkle with flour. Pour mixture in pan. Bake for 35 minutes. This pie makes its own crust.

Note: This was my mother’s recipe and is so easy.