“I just throw things together when I cook, I don’t measure. I’m a taster,” said George Hitt of the Pleasant Hill community. He is told by some that he cooks some mean vegetables–turnip greens, white beans and cornbread, and he learned this and more when he was young from his grandmother, the late Cora Hitt.
She always used streak o’lean and a little sugar when cooking her vegetables, and he does, too. He first made chili sauce from her recipe last year when he had some late tomatoes in his garden. He also made a batch from green tomatoes and says it tastes about the same. “It’s really good on peas.” He learned to make butter roll from his mother, Ruby Lee Hitt, saying her recipe is a little different from most butter roll, and they used to fight over it when she made it.
The Hitts have an annual weekend family reunion on Mother’s Day and he cooks a good bit for that. This year he made 100 of the stuffed jalapenos for it. “All that cooking is not as easy as it used to be,” he said, but still does it, and cooks for his three kids whenever they are home, and for Thanksgiving. He usually makes squash dressing then, along with turkey, and ham prepared with brown sugar and mustard. For Christmas, he cooks some at the kids’ houses, but they are all good cooks, according to George. They like for him to grill steak when he visits.
George cooks at a lot at home for himself, saying he “just loves to eat, and he lives to eat instead of eating to live.” He also shared his version of red beans and rice which includes two can Bush’s Best kidney beans, tex mex tomatoes with peppers, cup of rice, and sauted chopped onion and a half bell pepper. He uses Conecuh Hickory Smoked Sausage, sauted separately. Then puts it all together with two bay leaves. He said one thing he would like to try to make but hasn’t yet, is hot tamales. “One of these days I’ll probably try it,” he said.
Ruby Lee Hitt
2 Pillsbury rolled-up pie crusts from refrigerator section of grocery store
2 sticks butter
1 cup, plus 8 Tbsp. sugar
Cut each crust into four triangles. Put 2 Tbsp. butter per triangle in center of each one. Sprinkle one Tbsp. sugar per triangle over butter.
Fold edges of triangles over to meet in the middle to seal it. Put smooth side up in an 8 or 10″ baking dish sprayed with Pam. Use 16 oz. bag of frozen blackberries or any fruit of your choice. Bring frozen berries to a boil in enough water to cover fruit. Cook for a few minutes and mash fruit with potato masher. Strain juice from fruit and discard fruit. Add a cup of sugar to juice while it is hot. Pour juice over biscuits covering them about half way up. Bake at 350-375° for about 35 minutes. When top is brown, it is ready.
1 gallon ripe tomatoes, chopped fine
4 lbs. sugar
1 pint vinegar
4 large green cayenne peppers, chopped fine
4 bell peppers, chopped fine
4 large onions, chopped fine
2 Tbsp. salt
Drain all juice off tomatoes. Put all ingredients in large (at least 2 or 3 gallon) heavy metal pot. Start off cooking slow and cook until mixture thickens (about two hours) stirring frequently. Have pint jars clean and hot. Put sauce in jars and seal immediately. Makes approximately seven pints.
Cut large jalapeno peppers lengthwise, clean out inside. Cut chicken tenders into four pieces each, sprinkle with Tony Chacere’s seasoning, putting one piece of chicken into in each pepper. Wrap each with a thin piece of bacon and secure with toothpick. Grill on medium heat until bacon is done.
Chicken and Dumplings
3 or 4 large chicken breasts with skin on. Put enough water to cover chicken in 8 qt. pan. Add crushed red pepper and salt to taste. Boil chicken ’til it gets tender (about 45 minutes.) Can cover and reduce heat and it will cook faster. Take chicken out and let cool and save all the broth. Take meat off bones. Throw away bones and skin. Use one 12-oz. package Mary Hill frozen dumplings. Break dumplings half in two and drop in pot. After dumplings are in pot, cover, reduce heat and simmer on low about 45 minutes. If you need extra broth you can use canned. Dumplings can be reheated the next day, just add a little milk and reheat.