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An Excerpt from Clay Stephens' Upcoming Fine Cuisine Cookbook

TIFTON, GEORGIA   1956                        MOMíS SURPRISE DINNER!

My mother was a single mom in 1956 and worked as a nurse for one of our local doctors. I decided that (at age 10) I would surprise her with dinner when she got home. I had never cooked before!

My menu:

  • Pinto beans with fat back (pork)
  • Home made biscuits- I had watched mother make these and thought it looked easy!?? She would throw a lump of lard into a pile of flour in a wooden bowl, start pouring in buttermilk while mixing with her fingers, shape the dough with her hands, bake in a hot oven and presto, out came the best biscuits I have ever eaten! 
I canít remember what else I served, but the beans were undercooked and hard as small pebbles and the biscuits like hockey pucks. My poor, dear mother ate it and told me how delicious it was, so my interest in cooking was born! I have had a lot of fun experimenting in the kitchen ever since, thankfully with much better results!

Actually , I can now make biscuits successfully but find it too much trouble so I buy rolls or some other fabulous bread or make cornbread, which is easy and good for you!

Following is my recipe for pinto beans, perfected over the years.

Live Life with Joy, Wonder and Style Cookbook
Clay Stephens  2010



Clean and soak pinto beans, I usually fast soak, which involves putting the beans in water and bringing to a boil. Turn off and cover for 1 hour-drain and cook as follows:

  • Cover beans with water and cook with salt and freshly ground black pepper till tender, and broth is thick and creamy.
  • Add 1 can diced tomatoes with peppers, celery and onions; you can buy this mix ready made.
  • 2 quartered onions
  • Garlic- chopped, or garlic powder
  • Healthy pinch of coriander
  • Whole black olives, pitted
  • Cook for 30 minutes or till onion is tender
  • Add freshly grated parmesan cheese and stir to blend
  • Keep warm 15 to 20 minutes and serve.
This is wonderful with a roast pork or pork chops, turnip (or other) greens, and corn bread; southern with a Mediterranean twist! 


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