7 Home-Cooked American Classics

Meet Kim Severson
Contributing chef Scott Peacock and New York Times food writer Kim Severson deliver the best of what's happening in home kitchens across the country: local and organic foods, cherished food traditions, and seven recipes that pull it all together.

Spiced Pork Rib Roast with Seasonal Vegetables

Rub this Sunday supper roast with a home-ground spice blend of coriander, cloves, and bay leaf and serve with roasted corn and green beans. "To me, a roast says family and America like nothing else," says chef and recipe creator Scott Peacock. "It's easy to cook and bring people to the table. Plus, there's so much great heritage pork coming from farmers in the Midwest. I chose the spice blend for interest and as a nod to the spice drawer we all grew up with. The trick is to make sure the spices are fresh as can be."

Shrimp-and-Sausage Red Rice

Jalapenos and crushed red pepper give this robust rice dish a kick. "This dish mixes flavors from the shore, garden, and butcher into a classic Southern dish perfect for a gathering of friends," says chef and recipe creator Scott Peacock.

Slow-Baked Tomatoes with Garlic and Mint

This starter or side dish is ready in under an hour and can be served hot from the oven over pasta, roasted chicken, or generous slabs of bread smeared with soft local cheese. "The success of this dish depends wholly on great tomatoes -- it's worth a trip to the farmer's market or a knock on the door of a generous neighbor with a green thumb," says chef and recipe creator Scott Peacock.

Golden Layer Cake with Chocolate Icing

A hand-me-down recipe for boiled icing made from evaporated milk and powdered cocoa is the secret to this keepsake cake. The five thin layers may look fussy, but they're done in regular cake pans and bake in just 15 minutes. "Nothing compares to a homemade cake," says chef and recipe creator Scott Peacock. "When you cut into it and there's all those layers, friends are dazzled."

Chicken-Chile Stew with Beans

This regional dish's sweet-but-spicy flavor comes from a mix of local chile peppers, butternut squash, and a touch of honey.

Buttered Apples in Maple Syrup Custard

Combine white cheddar cheese with rich custard, tart apples, and maple syrup to make this comforting dessert.

Cucumber Agua Fresca

This recipe for agua fresca (which is Spanish for "fresh water") is sweetened and flavored with fresh mint, cucumber, and lime.

Meet Scott Peacock

To chef Scott Peacock, American cooking is all about wonderfully flavorful food and embracing the uniqueness each region brings to the table. "It's exciting that we are finally reconnecting to local food and regional traditions," he says. Scott left the restaurant business in 2010 to focus on writing and to produce a documentary about the food and culinary practices of Alabama -- his native state -- as told through oral histories of its longest-living citizens. He also produces the Better Homes and Gardens "American Classics" features.

Meet Kim Severson

"The family table has always been the place I come back to, the place where I learned all my life lessons," says New York Times food writer Kim Severson. "I go there for comfort, great food, and for laughs." Kim got her start as a reporter in the Pacific Northwest and later moved to San Francisco to become a food writer. She's been with The New York Times since 2004.

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