Living in Washington, D.C. can lead to a bit of an identity crisis – invariably when someone asks me where I am from I answer Boston immediately and then clarify that I live in DC. However, next year will mark the year I have actually lived longer below the Mason Dixon line then I ever lived in New England. Most Southerners will tell you that absolutely does NOT make me Southern and that’s ok by me. I am going to try and continue my mix of the best of both worlds – reading my Southern Living magazine on my front porch with some iced tea wearing my Red Sox hat. One thing that I have always admired and tried to emulate though is the Southern hostess’s way of making people feel welcome and comfortable even if it’s 100 degrees outside. I am learning that the key is making sure that the food isn’t too formal, that you make as much as possible in advance and that you lean heavily on comfort foods. That perfectly fits my entertaining mode so I threw together this Southern dinner party so we could beat the heat and catch up with friends. Southern summers are so hot that going out to dinner actually becomes a chore, where as this delicious meal is made mostly in advance and with the help of a slow cooker that won’t heat up your house. And who doesn’t love a party where you eat corn nuts out of a silver bowl??? Southern entertaining at it’s best.
These bite size appetizers are insane. Spicy, salty, sweet, cheesy, crunchy, meaty. It leaves nothing out and none will be left behind. I served these with a bowl of corn nuts and that was it for the first course – dinner is pretty hearty so don’t front load the first course. A great selection of craft beers or a crisp sauvignon blanc would be a good pairing for these bites.
When you read this recipe you are either going to think it sounds like the best thing ever invented or totally disgusting. The first group is correct. This large beef roast is cooked in a slow cooker with basically ranch dressing for over 6 hours to become meltingly tender and delicious. This recipe has been around for a long time but to those of us outside of Mississippi it took the New York Times of all publications to bring it back in vouge. It really is incredible and not at all greasy. If you have leftovers they would make for an amazing sandwich. Make sure to have extra pepperoncini on hand to serve alongside the roast.
Mashed potatoes seemed like a natural side for the roast but this version by Country Living actually makes for a lighter and brighter side perfectly contrasting the meat. The addition of lemon peel while cooking the potatoes and using creme fraiche instead of a ton of butter and cream makes this one of my go to potato dishes.
This quick cooking side was featured in its own post in June and has been shown a lot of love since. Any roasted or even grilled vegetable would make a great side here but I like the simplicity and the fast that all you need is a broiler rather than a 400 degree oven.
It wouldn’t be a Southern party without a little bourbon and the use of a cast iron skillet! These single serve peach crumbles are so good and can be made way in advance. Once dinner is over move every one to the living room or a porch if you have one for an after dinner drink and pop these in the oven. People will love that they each have their own dessert and the sweet peaches are the perfect note to end the night on.