Kosher recipes from the South You aint just whistlin Dixie

The cover shot of crisp, golden-brown Southern fried chicken seduced me instantly, and I swiftly tore into “Simply Southern with a Dash of Kosher Soul.”

One of the most elegant and sophisticated fundraiser cookbooks I’ve ever seen, this book is filled with more than 300 easy-to-make (and easy-to-read) recipes. The dishes are Southern and kosher — but you don’t have to keep kosher to enjoy them.

The book’s genesis was five years ago, when the Margolin Hebrew Academy in Tennessee began a project to collect kosher recipes unique to the South. Meant as a modest fundraiser, the venture grew and grew, eliciting more than 1,500 responses. In the book, stories and anecdotes about Jewish life in the South — such as the difficulties of keeping kosher in the South — accompany the recipes.

The recipes include colorful photos of the end products, and the notes with each recipe often provide a valuable cooking tip or an explanation of an interesting ingredient. The cookbook’s most appealing feature, however, is its reverence for Southern generosity and great food.

Sweet Potato Peanut Soup

Makes 4 servings

1 Tbs. margarine or oil

1⁄2 large onion, chopped

1 small stalk celery, diced

2 carrots, sliced

1⁄4 tsp. cayenne pepper

11⁄2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

31⁄4 cups chicken broth

1 cup soy milk

1⁄2 cup creamy peanut butter

chopped toasted peanuts


Melt margarine in large Dutch oven. Sauté onion, celery, carrot and cayenne pepper over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and chicken broth. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Purée soup in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return to Dutch oven. Whisk in soy milk and peanut butter. Simmer, stirring often, for 15 minutes. Garnish with toasted peanuts.

Gone Fishin’ — Dixie Caviar

Makes 6 servings

4 cups canned black-eyed peas

1 cup julienne-cut yellow pepper

1 cup Italian salad dressing

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1⁄4 cup chopped red onion

4 green onions, chopped

1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped

1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced

1⁄3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Toss well.

Oven-Fried Chicken Drumsticks

Makes 8 servings

1⁄2 cup flour

1 cup corn flake crumbs

2 Tbs. dried parsley

11⁄2 tsp. garlic powder

1⁄2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. paprika

1⁄4 tsp. pepper

4 lbs. chicken drumsticks

2 eggs, lightly beaten

3 Tbs. margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine flour, corn flake crumbs, parsley, garlic powder, salt and paprika and pepper. Dip each drumstick into egg. Roll in bread crumb mixture.

Arrange drumsticks in a greased 13 x 9 baking dish. Drizzle margarine over chicken. Bake for one hour.

Louise Fiszer is a Palo Alto cooking teacher, author and the co-author of “Jewish Holiday Cooking.” Her columns alternate with those of Faith Kramer. Questions and recipe ideas can be sent to j. or to

Louise Fiszer