Holiday Stuffing Wars, Southern Style
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Holiday Stuffing Wars, Southern Style: Guest Blog and Giveaway with Susannah Sandlin
Most non-Southerners think of the Southeastern United States as a homogenous region filled with people who say “y’all” and eat cornbread. While most Southern areas have a lot of culinary traditions in common, New Orleans marches, as in all things she does, to her own drummer.
Brody and Samantha, the hero and heroine of DEADLY, CALM, AND COLD, are a little too busy dodging murderous bad guys to compare cuisines, but by the time things settle down and they’re able to celebrate a holiday together, I can tell you one thing they’ll argue about: stuffing or, as it’s called in most of the South (including New Orleans), dressing.
As someone who’s lived about half her adult life so far in New Orleans and about half in other parts of the South (with a couple of short aberrations to California and Illinois), I can tell you that both of these versions of dressing are amazing. But very different.
Brody grew up in rural Florida, and the northern part of Florida has more in common with its Deep South cousins in Alabama and Mississippi and Georgia than with its South Florida cousins. So Brody’s Cornbread Dressing goes something like this:
Southern Cornbread Dressing
Basic cornbread (either Dixy Lily or Sunshine white cornmeal mix, buttermilk, and
oil, period. Baked at 450 for about 20 minutes in an iron skillet. No eggs and, for the sake of all that is holy, no flour or sugar)—day-old cornbread is best
1 cup each diced onions and celery
2 biscuits (day-old) or 3 slices of toast
2 cups shredded chicken breast (already cooked)
3-4 cups chicken broth
Seasonings to taste: sausage seasoning, sage, poultry seasoning, black pepper
Preheat oven to 350. Crumble cornbread and biscuits/toast together. Saute onions and celery and add to cornbread. Mix it with your hands to ensure it’s well blended. Add in spices to taste. Sage and black pepper should be added gradually until it has the desired amount of heat. Brody likes his sagey and hot!
Stir in chicken and enough brother to make it into a thick, soupy consistency. Add the beaten eggs. Pour into a greased 9x13 casserole pan and bake for 45 minutes or until it’s set. If it gets too dry, stir in a little more chicken broth.
ICK! Says Samantha, a New Orleanian. Here’s what Sam wants on her holiday table:
New Orleans Oyster Dressing
2 pints fresh oysters in brine
1 pound ground beef
10 slices day-old white bread (or toasted)
¾ cup water
2 sticks butter
½ cup each dice onions, celery, green and red bell paper
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp cayenne pepper (can add more to taste)
2 eggs, beaten
Preheat oven to 350. Drain oysters (save the liquid) and chop coarsely. Cut bread into one-inch cubes in place in mixing bowl; add brine from oysters and ¾ cup water and mix until all liquid is absorbed. Brown ground beef in a stock pot; add onions, celery, peppers, and garlic and sauté. Add bread and chopped oysters and blend. Cook 15-20 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid sticking. Season to taste with thyme, cayenne pepper, and salt. Add eggs, and pour mixture into 9x13 baking pan. Bake 30 minutes. Can top with bread crumbs if desired.
Oo-eee, dat’s good, as the locals might say.
So who do you want to dine with on New Year’s—Sam, with her oyster dressing, or Brody, with his traditional cornbread dressin?
Deadly, Calm and Cold
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Date of Publication: December 2, 2014
Number of pages: 280
Word Count: Approx 88,000
Cover Artist: Kerrie Robertson/
From award-winning author Susannah Sandlin comes the second book in The Collectors series.
How far will ordinary people go to protect their secrets? The Collectors’ games are as much about manipulating lives as finding lost treasure. Everyone is expendable as the ruthless C7 pushes people into gambling with their lives in order to find priceless objects lost to history.
Samantha Crowe's secrets could ruin her career, while Brody Parker's could get him killed. They become pawns for two Collectors seeking Bad King John's crown jewels, which disappeared in rural England back when Robin Hood roamed Nottingham.
This time, however, the Collectors--a ruthless dotcom billionaire and a desperate London detective--might not be playing for the same team, leaving Sam and Brody trapped in the middle.
One thing's for sure: If either hope to survive, Sam and Brody will have to find a way to overcome their distrust--and their growing attraction--in order to succeed on this winner-take-all treasure hunt.
Samantha hadn’t intended to watch Brody Parker take a shower, only to peek in the window to see if he was in the bathroom so he could let her in the house.
But damn, that man was sexy. He was facing her, his head thrown back and eyes closed as the water cascaded over every ridge and muscle and . . . everything. She had to look, right? She might have taken a vow of celibacy but she hadn’t taken a vow of blindness.
You’re an absolutely pathetic loser, Sam’s inner nag said, and she agreed. Anyone who’d stand in the middle of a monsoon and ogle a man in his shower should have LOSER stamped on her forehead.
As soon as Brody stepped out of the water and saw her, his mouth and eyes battling for which could open the widest in shock, she stepped away from the window and splashed her way around the corner, returning to the back door. And yeah, giggled a little, the laughter bubbling up and spilling out before she could get it under control. She hadn’t laughed much in the last couple of days.
She’d never been quite so wet and cold in her life. The wind had picked up, stabbing horizontal blades of rain into her face as she waited at the back door. For a few seconds, she wondered if he might leave her out here, but then the door opened and he stood there with a white towel slung loosely around his hips, which would have been sexy as hell except for the black T-shirt he’d pulled on. Droplets of water dripped from his black wavy hair onto his shoulders, getting said T-shirt wet.
“Nice fashion statement.” She gave him her best lopsided smile as he moved aside to let her in. “You’re shy about going without a shirt? You have man boobs, don’t you?” Which would be a crime against nature.
“I certainly do not.” Looking offended, Brody pulled the T-shirt up, exposing a rock-hard set of damp abs and nice, firm pecs without a trace of man boob. He jerked the shirt back down before she started salivating, which was good, given her celibacy and all.
“Why were you leering in my bathroom window?” He cocked his head. “Are you stalking me? How long had you been watching?”
Not nearly long enough. “Just a few seconds. I knocked on the door earlier and you didn’t answer.”
He glanced out the door, where the rain almost obscured the garage. “Where’s your car?”
“Ah, that’s the real story. Do you have a fire lit?”
Brody closed the door, shutting out the hiss of rain hitting the slate courtyard. “Not yet. I was going to do it as soon as I showered. Give me a minute to get dressed.” He made no attempt to leave, though, but instead treated her to a head-to-toe visual inspection that she could swear grew a little heated when his gaze landed on where her soaked, thin sweater clung to her breasts.
Her nipples perked up just to make sure he could see them, the traitors. They didn’t want her to be celibate. They wanted to be touched and licked and nibbled on, even if the attention came at the lips and tongue and teeth of the man who’d deliberately punctured her tire.
About the Author:
Susannah Sandlin writes paranormal romance and romantic thrillers from Auburn, Alabama, on top of a career in educational publishing that has thus far spanned five states and six universities—including both Alabama and Auburn, which makes her bilingual.
She grew up in Winfield, Alabama, but was also a longtime resident of New Orleans, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football, cheap Mardi Gras trinkets, and fried gator on a stick. She’s the author of the award-winning Penton Legacy paranormal romance series, a spinoff novel, Storm Force, a standalone novelette, Chenoire, and a new romantic thriller series, The Collectors, beginning with Lovely, Dark, and Deep.
Writing as Suzanne Johnson, she also is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series.