Recipes: 'Screen Doors and Sweet Tea' This wisecracking, story-telling treasury of Southern cooking offers a variety of delicious dishes. Some, like Apricot Rice Salad, have an elegant, dinner-on-the-porch feel. Others (All for Okra and Okra for All), are resolutely egalitarian.

Recipes: 'Screen Doors and Sweet Tea'

'Screen Doors  Screen Doors and Sweet Tea' cover

Back to Main Story

Get more recommendations from T. Susan Chang.

These recipes appear in Screen Doors & Sweet Tea by Martha Hall Foose, Clarkson Potter, 2008.

Apricot Rice Salad

Serves 6

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 green cardamom pod, crushed

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped red onion

1 1/2 cups basmati rice, rinsed thoroughly

1-inch piece cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup chopped dates

1/2 cup diced dried apricots

1/4 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced on the diagonal

In a 10-inch ovenproof pan with a tight-fitting lid, briefly heat the cumin, coriander, and cardamom over medium heat to toast, shaking the pan to prevent scorching. When the spices are fragrant, remove them from the pan and let cool. Grind the cumin and coriander finely with a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the same pan and heat over medium-high heat; add the onion, cooking and stirring occasionally for 4 to 6 minutes or until the onion is tender. Reduce the heat and add the rice, spices, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf. Cook and stir until the rice is light golden and each grain is coated with oil. Remove the bay leaf and cinnamon stick and mix in the dates, apricots, raisins, and cherries.

Add 1 cup of the orange juice, 11/2 cups water, and the salt, stirring briefly just to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat; reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender and has absorbed the liquid.

Using a large fork to fluff up the rice and fruit mixture, turn it into a serving dish, drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1 tablespoon orange juice, and combine using the fork. Allow to cool, covered by a clean dish towel, then serve at room temperature or chilled, sprinkled with green onion across the top.

All for Okra and Okra for All

Serves 6

1 pound small, tender okra pods

1 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium ripe tomato, seeded and diced

Soak the okra in 1 quart water mixed with the vinegar for 1 hour. Drain and pat the okra dry. Using a v-slicer, mandoline, or sharp knife, cut the okra lengthwise into very thin slices.

In a large skillet, heat the ail aver high heat. Add the onion and red pepper flakes, and cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute or less; do not let it darken. Using a slotted spoon, scrape the onion mixture from the skillet onto a plate and set aside. Add the okra to the skillet and stir-fry for 3 to 5 minutes, or until tender. Add the tomato and cooked anion. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Serve immediately.