A neighborly warm-up

 

A bacon-potato corn chowder checked all the boxes for a warming meal during the rare ice storm that hit the Golden Triangle Monday.

A bacon-potato corn chowder checked all the boxes for a warming meal during the rare ice storm that hit the Golden Triangle Monday. Photo by: Jan Swoope/Dispatch Staff

 

This chocolate cobbler is decadently rich, with a satisfying crunchy surface covering a moist cake beneath.

This chocolate cobbler is decadently rich, with a satisfying crunchy surface covering a moist cake beneath.
Photo by: Jan Swoope/Dispatch Staff

 

 

Jan Swoope

 

 

Monday's fading light gleamed dully off our ice-crusted front pasture and a lightly-traveled rural road bordering it. As tends to happen in the Prairie, neighborly gestures are part and parcel of the culture. I'd gotten a text a bit earlier that a relative was bringing supper. As I watched and, I confess, worried a bit that she not end up sliding into a ditch just to bring us good cooking, Shirley Swoope's SUV made its slow, careful way to our turn-off, about a quarter-mile from her own house. Crunching over the ice-glazed gravel, Shirley came to a stop and soon emerged with a big box filled with more delicious items than I can even list here. What a treat to look forward to on that frigid night with promised wind chill at or below zero -- a phenomenon our very Southern-ness shields us from in saner years.

 

We'll be enjoying the feast for several days to come, but I asked Shirley if she would share a couple of the recipes she'd chosen to use. One is for a hearty bacon-potato corn chowder; the other is for a rich chocolate cobbler.

 

The chowder is filled with comforting ingredients to warm a family up. Shirley's version is slightly tweaked from a recipe found at tasteofhome.com, originally submitted by Katie Lillo.

 

 

"For this one I added a lot more salt and probably a 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese," Shirley shared.

 

The My Granny's Chocolate Cobbler recipe is one she found at the Tasty Kitchen site. It originated with Susan Hawkins. The cobbler may remind you of a molten chocolate lava cake. Enjoy the gooey goodness with a crispy top covering the moist cake.

 

"This one I follow to the letter," said Shirley.

 

My Prairie neighborhood in western Lowndes County is a special place, as another food delivery that arrived by four-wheeler Tuesday attests. Folks tend to check on each other when Mother Nature, or life events, bring things sharply into focus. Whether we live next door, across the way, or down the road, we can all use a little more of that.

 

 

BACON-POTATO CORN CHOWDER

 

 

1/2 pound bacon strips, chopped

 

1/4 cup chopped onion

 

1-1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (about 5 medium), peeled and cubed

 

1 can (14-3/4 ounces) cream-style corn

 

1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

 

1/4 teaspoon salt

 

1/4 teaspoon pepper

 

 

■ In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Discard drippings, reserving 1-1/2 teaspoons. Add onions to drippings; pancook and stir over medium-high heat until tender.

 

■ Meanwhile, place potatoes in a large saucepan; add water to cover. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium; cook, uncovered, 10-15 minutes or until tender. Drain, reserving 1 cup potato water.

 

■ Add corn, milk, salt, pepper, potatoes and reserved potato water to saucepan; heat through, stir in bacon and onion.

 

(Source: tasteofhome.com /via Shirley Swoope)

 

 

MY GRANNY'S CHOCOLATE COBBLER

 

 

1 cup all-purpose flour

 

2 teaspoons baking powder

 

1/4 teaspoon salt

 

7 tablespoons cocoa powder, divided

 

1-1/4 cup sugar, divided

 

1/2 cup milk

 

1/3 cup melted butter

 

1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

 

1-1/2 cup hot tap water

 

 

■ Preheat oven to 300 F.

 

■ First, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, 3 tablespoons of the cocoa and 3/4 cup of the white sugar. Reserve remaining cocoa and sugar.

 

■ Stir in the milk, melted butter and vanilla to the flour mixture. Mix until smooth.

 

■ Pour mixture into ungreased 8-inch baking dish.

 

■ In separate small bowl, mix the remaining white sugar (it should be 1/2 cup), the brown sugar and remaining 4 tablespoons of cocoa. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the batter.

 

■ Pour the hot tap water over all. Do not stir!

 

■ Bake for about 40 minutes or until center is set. Let stand for a few minutes. Serve with homemade ice cream using the sauce to spoon over all.

 

(Source: tastykitchen.com, via Shirley Swoope)

 

 

Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

 

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