The southern potluck dinner at which Attorney General Griffin Bell's Rooster Pepper Sausage made its Washington debut, featured an interesting mix of the expected and the unexpected. From blackeyed peas and pecan pies to a potato salad from the local deli.
The party was supposed to be, according to Joyce Gailey, who hails from Tiger, Ga., "just a few friends sharing vegetables." Every summer she goes home to Tiger and helps her mother can the vegetables that grow in the family's garden. And every year, Joyce Gailey says, "I steal what I can. I bring it back for Phil (her husband) and Jack (the host). We're friends from a long time ago in Atlanta.
"But look what happened. All you have to do," Gailey said, "is get Nelson involved."
Jack's wife, Barbara Matusow-Nelson, put her executive talents, usually reserved for television productions, to work on the party. Producers tell other people what to do. So Matusow asked each guest to bring his or her favorite southern dish. And she produced the "extravaganza."
There were 25 entries at the First Annual Southern Cookout, which was such a huge success a lot of people want it to become an annual event. The attorney general's wife, Mary, had such a good time, she wants to have it twice a year.
Lest the fuss over Judge Bell's sausage obscure the merits of the other food, here are some of the recipes to try.
JO FRANKLIN'S SHRIMP LOS NOVEDADES
The recipe was "stolen" from a Tampa, Fla., restaurant run by Greeks. That's how feta cheese got into a southern dish.
(8 servings) 3 pounds shelled, deveined medium shrimp 1/4 pound butter 4 cloves crushed or minced garlic 1 can (1 pound) tomatoes 2 bay leaves 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1/2 cup dry white wine Juice of 1 lemon 3/4 pound feta cheese
Heat the butter in a large skillet. Saute the shrimp and garlic until shrimp are pink. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, oregano, wine and lemon juice and simmer for 15 minutes. Rinse the feta cheese to remove as much salt as possible. Cut it into thin slabs and lay them on top of the shrimp. Cover the pan and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until cheese has melted completedly and becomes part of the sauce.
MARY KING'S BUTTERMILK BISCUITS
The recipe comes from Mary's grandmother, who lived in rural Virginia and made biscuits three times a day.
(22 biscuits) 3 cups flour 1 teaspoon salt 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 7 tablespoons shortening 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
Sift the dry ingredients together and work in the shortening with pastry blender, fork or two knives. Add the buttermilk all at once and stir quickly until all the flour is dampened. Turn onto well-floured board and pat out to 1-inch thickness. The less the dough is handled, the lighter the biscuits will be. Cut out with a 2-inch biscuit cutter or glass and place on greased cookie sheet. Allow to stand 15 minutes. Then bake at 350 degrees 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden.
JACK NELSON'S BARBECUED PORK
This was the host's contribution to the potluck dinner. The first half of the cooking was done in the oven; the second half on the grill. But it can all be done in the oven.
(6 servings) 6-pound pork rib end 1 cup tomato juice 1/2 cup water 1 cup chili sauce 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce 1/4 cup vinegar 2 tablespoons brown sugar 1 tablespoon paprika 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon dry mustard 3/4 teaspoon chili powder 1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Combine all ingredients but the pork and simmer for 15 minutes. Place pork in roasting pan and pour over marinade ingredients. Marinate the pork for several hours or overnight. To cook, remove marinade and set aside. Spoon on some marinade. Roast pork at 350 degrees 25 minutes to the pound, basting every 20 minutes or so with marinade.
If pork is grilled outside for last half of cooking, use hickory chips for added flavor.
JOYCE GAILEY'S SQUASH CASSEROLE
(10 servings) 3 cups sliced yellow summer squash 1 medium onion, minced 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup 1 jar (2 ounces) pimientos 3/4 cup grated raw carrots 2 cups bread crumbs, sauteed in 3 tablespoons butter and 1 teaspoon sage 1 cup scalded milk 1/2 cup melted butter 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese 2 eggs, well beaten 1 heaping cup sour cream Buttered bread crumbs for topping
Steam the squash and mash. Mix well with remaining ingredients except topping and place in a 3-quart casserole. Top with additional buttered bread crumbs and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
TERRY ADAMSON'S MOUNTAIN BAKED BEANS
(6 servings) 6 pork chops 1 clove garlic, minced 2 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon rosemary 2 teaspoon tarragon 3 cans (16 ounces each) baked beans without tomato sauce 3/4 cup maple syrup 1 onion, chopped 1/2 green pepper, chopped 1 or more teaspoons chili powder
Saute chops and garlic with half the rosemary and half the tarragon in butter until almost done. Place in a casserole dish. Combine the baked beans with maple syrup, remaining spices, onion and green pepper. Spoon over pork chops. Cover and bake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove cover and cook for 10 more minutes.