Delancey’s – Perfect Southern Goodness

Brownstone Front Cake

I know some of you already know this, but if you’re late to the Foodie Party, I also write for a local magazine here. I try to share each article with you after it’s published. However, I’m a month behind. This one is from the December 2012 issue of Alamance Magazine. It’s about the most wonderful little Southern restaurant and catering company, Delancey’s in Burlington, NC. I hope you enjoy the article as much as I did eating the food photographed! *smiles*

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Sorghum Syrup, Green Beans, Sausage Balls, Cheese Straws, Meatloaf, Macaroni and Cheese, Pintos, Chow Chow, and Brownstone Front Cake – are you hungry yet? I guess hungry isn’t the question. The one thing I should be asking you is if you felt a little warmer in your soul reading the names of good old-fashioned Southern delights. I have found that food can evoke wonderful memories of times gone by, especially at the holidays.

I have many memories of my family and extended family always gathered around one or more dinner Mac and Cheese 1 copytables during the holidays. Not a one of those memories would I trade for anything. In thinking of the ones involving my first cousins, I can still remember the table full of us when I was much younger. Of course we had to sit separate from the grownups at a card table in the kitchen. We were definitely a messy bunch! Ham, Turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, broccoli casserole, homemade biscuits, you name it…I grew up in a family of amazing Southern cooks and we knew how to devour and make a mess while doing it!

We’re not all together anymore, which is sad, in and of itself. The cousins were scattered as parents moved. Three moved to the West Coast, one to the Mid-West, and three of us were fortunate enough to remain here in the Burlington area. Later on in the years, the three of us that were left remained close. Fast forward a few more years, and sadder still, one of us three is now in Heaven. But, the good thing about families is that they are continually growing and making new dinner table memories. We have been blessed greatly in our family to have the addition of four more cousins here local, and marriages have brought many more with all of our spouses. Even though we’re not around the card table together each holiday now, on rare occasions we have been able to get back together around the “Grown-Up Table” since we are now officially grown-ups in our thirties. Don’t tell anyone.

Collard Greens copyI have my own household now and found my own relationship with Southern Cooking. I love cooking for my family and whoever wants to enjoy a meal. Along with that, I have learned the importance of planning meals out and juggling time. I’ll be honest, it’s no fun stressing away in the kitchen while everyone else is sitting in the den or around the dining room table enjoying the food you have prepared. I definitely don’t like missing out on hors d’oeuvres, because they are my favorite part of any meal. I also end up missing a lot of the conversations and the time that is so rare with family nowadays.

Well, Thanksgiving has passed, and we now have that constant reminder of planning needed to ensure the Christmas meals go smoothly and everything is organized and stress-free. This is where I imagine a good plenty of you just had a silent chuckle to yourself. If only because you know that the holidays bring on a different kind of stressor that you normally don’t deal with throughout the year, and to some, a stress-free holiday is truly a joke.

This is where I want to introduce you, or reintroduce you, to the blessing of Delancey’s during the holidays.

About four years ago I found myself completely stressed about what to fix for a family Christmas meal. IPintos and ChowChow was working a full-time job and time and money were extremely hard to find. There wasn’t much hope for our meal until I ended up having lunch with Maw-Maw (my Grandmother) at Delancey’s one day. Sitting beside their register was this paper. It wasn’t just any paper…it was my saving grace for Christmas.

I had never put two and two together that Delancey’s did take-home meals, catering, or anything like that until then. This was a combination deal where I could choose a meat and two sides to feed a family of 6-8 for quite the low price. I jumped on it, and I picked up my meal the day I needed it. The entire family loved every morsel of food I had ordered, and I got to spend time with them that I otherwise would have spent in the kitchen. That, my friends, is priceless in my book.

Peach Cobbler2 copyLucky for you, Delancey’s still has this along with all of their other Catering options. Even better for you, they’ve sweetened the pot since I took advantage of it. For just $79.99 you can feed 12-15 people. You have your choice of a moist Turkey Dinner which consists of the whole Turkey, dressing, gravy, and cranberry relish, or a delicious Dinner Sliced Ham. Along with your meat, you have your choice of three of their mouth-watering Southern sides. Folks, they have everything your Southern heart can imagine: Broccoli Casserole, Crowder Peas and Corn, Collard Greens, Baked Apples, Squash Casserole, Pintos, Candied Yams, Macaroni and Cheese, and the all-important Sweet Potato Casserole. Those were just a few options. You don’t just get that though. You also get a gallon of Sweet Tea and a dozen Yeast Rolls. Now, I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a great Southern option for a stress-free holiday meal!

After learning about this year’s deal, I couldn’t help but want to tell you about it! (This is where I want you to know that I write what is honestly in my heart, and I wasn’t asked to write about Delancey’s. After deciding that I wanted to tell you about Delancey’s and their Holiday Family Meal option, I went to talk to the owner, Mike Thomas, and find out about his Southern roots. You won’t find any quotes from him here. But, I used his words and passion to inspire what I would take away from our conversation and share with you. He was very inspiring to say the least.)

It all started when his father began making wedding cakes many years ago. Later on, his mother joined Brownstone Front Cakehis father by adding good Southern celebration staples like Sausage Balls and Cheese Straws to the mix and they began catering small events. It wasn’t long before it was a family affair, and fast forward many years later, Mike began his own food adventure with Delancey’s. He felt so passionately about bringing good quality to his guests, that he wanted to ensure the recipes he used stayed true to the South. He explained to me how they are the result of sitting with his father in the kitchen for hours upon hours watching him to get exact measurements. See, his father was a lot like many of us and our parents and grandparents. A dash of this and a pinch of that would make anything taste amazing, but if someone asked for the recipe, they were pretty much out of luck. When Mike felt that all of the recipes were perfected, that’s when he brought Delancey’s to us. On a side note, they also have their own Sorghum Syrup business, for us true Southerners. You buy it directly from Delancey’s to put on your homemade biscuits Christmas morning…just a tasty thought.

In closing, from the Chow Chow made fresh, to the Brownstone Front Cake (just $34 for a 4-layer 9-inch cake!), all the way to his Mom’s Broccoli Casserole recipe, you really can’t describe Delancey’s any other way but lovingly Southern. So when you think to yourself this Christmas Season that you aren’t going to be able to combine family and food preparation easily, think of Delancey’s. Let them do all the prepping for you, so all you have to do is take it home, pop it in the oven, enjoy the company of your guests, and then serve a piping hot Southern meal with Southern hospitality. After all, the holidays are meant for spending time with your loved ones and making memories. Don’t miss out on them because you’re stuck in the kitchen. They will still love you the same, even if you don’t come to the table worn out in a food stained apron.

Molasses, Molasses and Mo’ Molasses…

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Memories come flooding back when I think about Molasses…memories that involve those wonderful Southern Biscuits and my wonderful dear Mom.  I remember sitting across from her at Sunday Lunch at Maw-Maw’s and seeing this yellow jar in her hand.  It was always Grandma’s Molasses.  Growing up, I couldn’t stand molasses.  It made your mouth pucker.  That pucker that is putrid and tasty at the same time…leaves you in shock.  I will be honest, I haven’t had it since reaching my 20’s, and now that I am a couple of years from leaving my 20’s, maybe I should give it another shot.  She would pour it slowly over an open-faced lightly buttered biscuit.  I would watch it as it poured out like what I assume thick motor oil looks like.  Closely colored I assume as well.  But, this little yellow jar of Grandma’s Molasses was my Mom’s favorite part of a good Sunday Lunch at Maw-Maw’s.  While setting the table, I was always reminded to put the butter, honey and molasses on the table to top our biscuits.  Honey for me, molasses for Mom, and butter for the wusses…….just kidding people. 

So let’s go over the health benefits of molasses as told by the Grandma’s Molasses people…

“Not only does molasses taste good, it’s good for you:

  • Iron – Molasses is one of the richest known sources of “available” iron; recommended for growing children, adolescents, and pregnant/lactating women
  • Calcium – Molasses is a good source of calcium, one of the most important minerals in the body
  • Other Nutrients – Molasses is an excellent source of copper & manganese and a good source of potassium & magnesium
  • All Natural – Made from the juice of pure, sun-ripened sugar cane.
  • Unsulphured – Contains no additives”

With all of that being said people…let’s make it unhealthy and a little more Southern!!!  This cake has become one of our family’s all-time favorites.  We have it every Christmas (or at least once a year), and only a few have mastered the art of making it.  Kudos to those family members.  As this blog is my witness, I vow to join their ranks one day!  This cake is super rich, and enjoyed by almost all except for the faint of heart when it comes to rich rich rich richness…tread with caution…We call this concoction of a cake Molasses Cake, but it has also been referred to as Black Pudding.  It came from a relative of ours.  From our family to yours…start salivating now…

The directions are choppy, so I will try my best to interpret from the recipe card.  Luckily, I am sure my family, the experts, will chime in if something is off.

Molasses Cake or aka Black Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup molasses (We use Grandma’s Molasses)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg

Combine as listed, mixing well.  Add enough flour to give it a cake batter consistency.  According to the recipe card it says this is approximately 2 1/2 cups of self-rising flour.  Bake at 375° for 25 minutes in a 9×13 pan.

Icing Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks of margarine
  • 3 eggs (separated)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

Melt the margarine in a double boiler.  Add the sugar.  Beat the egg yolks well and add to the sugar and margarine mixture.  Beat the egg whites separately to form stiff peaks.  When you are ready to serve, and the sugar is dissolved all the way, and at the last-minute, stir the stiff egg whites into the mixture. 

When serving, make sure to serve it fresh and warm.  Slice a square piece of cake and pour a generous (don’t be stingy on this part) amount of the sauce on top of it.  A bowl is good for this cake as you will see below…the more the merrier when serving this, because it makes a good portion, and it’s not so good reheated….

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