My "back porch" is my kitchen, my favorite room in the house. Come on in, the coffee is fresh, and I just made a pitcher of sweet tea. The cookies will be out in a minute. I have over 40 years of recipes to share with you, along with my opinion on everything. Oh my, you are right, it is cocktail time. What can I get you? Of course I can make you a Mint Julep! Stop by anytime, something is always cooking, and the back door is never locked.

Bon Appetit, Y'all

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tomatoes Provencal

This is just one of my favorite ways to have tomatoes. I did have a "few" left from making sauce and tomato juice on the weekend. Parsley, garlic, and tomato are a timeless combination.

Serves about 4
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4 medium or 8 small firm, ripe tomatoes
3-4 cloves of garlic - to taste
1 cup parsley leaves, preferably flat-leaf
3 tablespoons chopped basil
3/4 cup bread crumbs made from day-old homemade bread
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a gratin dish. Cut tomatoes in half around their equators and gently remove the seeds with your fingertips. Chop the garlic, parsley, and basil together, then mix them with the bread crumbs and season well with salt and pepper. Lightly fill the tomatoes with this mixture, set them in the gratin dish, and drizzle olive oil generously over their tops. Bake for 30 minutes. They'll be soft, so remove them carefully from the dish.

Monday, July 30, 2012

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Couldn't you eat about a dozen of these at one time! I had never made these until today. Had eaten lots of them. I looked at all the recipes on line and they were all about the same. I was ready to pick one and go. For some reason I flipped over my bag of Ghirardelli White Classic Chips and right there was the recipe I knew I would make, more nuts and more chips. These were for a very special young friend and I wanted the cookies to be just as special. Plus, she would let me know if they were not up to her standard since they are her favorite. They may not meet her standard but I think they are fabulous.

about 5 dozen
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1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups unsifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups (one 11-ounce) bag Ghirardelli Classic White Chips
1 1/2 cups Macadamia nuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, and beat well. Blend in flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in white chips and nuts. Drop by teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Cook's Note: I like to chill my cookie dough for at least an hour or longer before baking. It helps to maintain a more uniform shape.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Saint and Scripture Sunday

I feel sure I have posted this before, but it was my mediation yesterday and I loved it. Hope you do too.

To keep a lamp burning we have to keep putting oil in it. - Mother Teresa

Our spiritual nature must be nurtured. Prayer and mediation lovingly kindle the flame that guides us from within. Because we're human, we often let the flame flicker and perhaps go to. And then we sense the dreaded aloneness. Fortunately, some time away, perhaps even a few moments in quiet communion with God, rekindles the flame.

For many of us, the flame burned low, or not at all, for many years. The flickering we may feel today, or tomorrow, or felt yesterday, will not last, so we many put away our fears. We can listen, to the voice of God in others. We can listen, too, as we carry the message. Prayer surrounds us every minute. We can fuel our inner flame with the messages, received from others. We can let our spirit spring forth, let it warm our hearts and the hearts of others.

We each have a friend whose flame may be flickering today. I will help them and thus myself. A steady flame can rekindle one that's flickering.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Canned Seasoned Tomato Sauce

Most of the time I make plain tomato sauce, but because of the big storm on Thursday its seems every ones tomatoes were blown off the vines when the tomato cages were blown over. I thought I'd try a few jars already seasoned. And if you think I lugged 45 pounds of tomatoes home you are not in your right mind. I made half the recipe. Plus, if I didn't have my Back to Basic Food and Sauce Strainer I wouldn't make this, tomato juice, apple sauce or a number of other things. If you are a canner I think this is a must have item.

Yield: about 14 pints or 7 quarts
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45 pounds tomatoes
6 cups chopped onions
12 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons oregano
6 bay leaves
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup salt (optional) I don't use it
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper (optional) I use
Bottled lemon juice

Wash tomatoes; drain. Remove core and blossom ends. Cut into quarters; set aside. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil in a large saucepot. Add tomatoes, oregano, bay leaves, black pepper and sugar. Stir in salt and crushed red pepper, if desired. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaves. Puree tomatoes using a food processor or food mil. Strain puree to remove peels and seeds. If you have a Back to Basic Food Strainer this is all done in one quick step. Cook pulp in a large, uncovered saucepot over medium-high heat until sauce thickens, stirring to prevent sticking. Reduce volume by one-half. Add 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice to each pint jar, 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice to each quart jar. Lade hot sauce sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints 35 minutes, quarts 40 minutes, in a boiling-water canner.

Friday, July 27, 2012

West Indies Salad

Before you had to take a second mortgage on your home to buy lump crabmeat, this was my favorite salad. It still is, just not as often. You can still make it for 4 at home for the price of one serving in a restaurant. It has become a special occasion dish. I can find a special occasion any day.

I love servings this with fresh sliced garden tomatoes, deviled eggs, assorted crackers and No Knead Rosemary Bread.

Makes about 3 1/2 cups
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1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over twice
1 medium-size sweet onion, diced
1/2 cup vegetable oil ( not olive oil)
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup ice cubes (do not omit)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Garnish: fresh chopped parsley

Toss together all ingredients except parsley. Cover and chill at least 8 hours or up to 48 hours.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Summer Squash Casserole

Of course I have another squash casserole recipe! If you could see the amount of squash on this farm you would not believe it. This is easy, delicious and can be made ahead. The kids will even eat it because you mash the squash and they have no idea, because it has lots of cheese.

Yesterday was freezing and canning again. More sauerkraut, 5 pounds yellow squash in the freezer and another head of cabbage. I have enough cukes for another batch of bread and butter pickles. I'll be making tomato juice and sauce by the weekend. It was 80 degrees this morning at 7:30 when I was in the garden. I'm praying for rain and storms today.

About 8 servings
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3 pounds yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
16 saltine crackers, divided
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoons pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Cook first 3 ingredients in boiling water to cover in a Dutch oven 25 minutes or until squash is very tender. Drain well, and mash mixture with a fork.

2. Crush 10 crackers, and stir into squash mixture; stir in 1/2 cup cheese and next 5 ingredients. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 11x7-inch (or close) baking dish.

3. Crush remaining 6 crackers, and sprinkle over casserole; sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheese evenly over casserole.

4. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cheese melts and casserole is bubbly.

Cooks Note: To make ahead, prepare recipe as directed; do not top with crackers or cheese. Cover and refrigerator; let stand 30 minutes. Uncover and top with crackers and cheese; bake as directed.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

String Bean Salad

This is from a couple of years ago, very good. My posts this week may be a little hit and miss. Busy week for me. With all the beautiful green beans in the garden now I'm trying to think of every way possible to enjoy them. This is a salad I haven't made in a few years for some reason. It is lovely and great with almost any fish, meat or poutry.

String Bean Salad
serves 4
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1 pound string beans
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste (House Seasoning is better)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium sized red onion, minced
1/2 cup lightly toasted walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Cut the ends from the beans and wash. Cook the beans in lightly salted water for 5 minutes. Mix remaining ingredients (except walnuts) in a bowl and stir together. Drain the beans. Place, while still warm, in the bowl of dressing. Stir so that the dressing coats the beans. This salad may be served chilled or at room temperature. Just before serving, mix in the nuts and cheese.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Easy Zucchini Bread

Two little zucchini just looking so lonely in the vegetable drawer. Not enough for a casserole I don't think, or fritters. Well crap why not another couple loaves of zucchini bread. Why not is right since I've already made cream cheese zucchini bread, lemon zucchini bread, chocolate zucchini bread. I really need more zucchini bread! At least this one is very easy.

2 loaves
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1 cup chopped pecans, divided
1 (18.25-ounce) package spice cake mix I used Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Spice Cake
1-1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup canola oil
3 large eggs
2 cups shredded zucchini (about 1 medium)

1. Place 2/3 cup pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan.

2. Bake at 350 degrees for 6 to 7 minutes or until pecans are lightly toasted, stirring occasionally. Don't burn them.

3. Beat cake mix and next 3 ingredients at low speed with an electric mixer 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and beat 1 minute, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Stir in zucchini and 2/3 cups toasted pecans. Pour batter evenly into 2 (9x5-inch) lightly greased loaf pans. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup pecans evenly over batter.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire rack, and let cook completely before slicing.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Saint and Scriptures Sunday

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the horrible shootings in Aurora, Colorado. I had thought of having my entire post about this, then decided it would only be my opinion and not necessarily that of everyone. Maybe a mediation about living in the present is better.

One of the conclusions I have come to in my old age is the importance of living in the ever-present now. In the past, too often I indulged in the belief that somehow or other tomorrow would be brighter or happier or richer. - Ruth Casey

How easily our minds jump from the present to the foibles of the past or our fears about the future. How seldom are our minds on this moment, and only this moment. We need to practice, with diligence, returning our minds to whatever the experience at hand. A truly creative response to any situation can be made when we are giving it our undivided attention. And each creative response initiates an even more exciting follow-up experience.

All we have of life, all that it can offer us is here, now. If we close our mind to the present, this present, we'll only continue to do so when the tomorrow we dream of now becomes the present. There are no tomorrows.

I will let go of the past and the future. My only reality is here, now. God's gifts are here, today, right now.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Tomato Gravy

In the Deep, Deep South they love preparing this gravy with their fried chicken. It was also often prepared for a hearty breakfast and spooned over hot biscuits. For nonchicken use, prepare the gravy with bacon fat in place of the chicken frying fat, and substitute chicken stock for the milk.

Makes about 2 cups
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2 tablespoons bacon fat or fat from frying chicken (yesterdays post)
1 cup finely diced onion
2 large cloves garlic finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 pound tomato, fresh or canned, peeled, seeded, and chopped into 1/3-inch pieces
(about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream

Heat the bacon or chicken-frying fat in a heavy nonreactive skillet, and add the diced onion. Saute' over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic, 1 teaspoon of the salt, the freshly ground black pepper, and thyme, and cook for another 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over and cook, stirring well, for another 2minutes. Stir in the chopped tomato and the remaining 1/2 salt, and cook 5 minutes longer. Slowly stir in the milk and heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for 5 minutes. Taste carefully for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as needed.

Serve hot.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Southern Pan-Fried Chicken

Enough with the vegetables for a few days. I'm tired of thinking about what to do with zucchini and squash. Let's talk about Southern Fried Chicken. This is more along the lines of how my grandmother fried her chicken. It requires a little extra effort, but the results are outstanding. The chicken gets two long soaks, first in brine and then in buttermilk. The frying fat is a special mix of lard and sweet butter, flavored with country ham, which makes the chicken extra crispy and rich-tasting. Carefully cooked, fried chicken will absorb a minimal amount of fat. Be sure to pat off all excess dredge; fry evenly at the proper temperature; and drain the chicken well on crumpled-up, not flat, paper towels or a wire rack.

Buy the freshest chicken you can find, meat market, or your neighbor who has a chicken farm.

Makes enough for 4
print recipe

One 3-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces, brined for 8-12 hours.
1 quart of buttermilk
1 pound lard
1/2 cup ((1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup country ham pieces, or 1 thick slice country ham cut into 1/2-inch strips
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch (do not omit)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Prepare brine by using 1/4 cup of kosher salt per quart of water. Make enough to cover chicken. Add chicken pieces cover and refrigerate for 8-12 hours.

To prepare chicken for frying: Drain the brined chicken and rinse out the bowl it was brined in. Return the chicken to the bowl, and pour the buttermilk over. Cover and refrigerate for 8-12 hours. Drain the chicken on a wire rack, discarding the buttermilk.

Meanwhile, prepare the fat for frying by putting the lard, butter, and country ham into a heavy skillet or frying pan. Cook over low heat low heat for 30-45 minutes, skimming as needed, until the butter ceases to throw off foam and the country ham is browned. Use a slotted spoon to remove the ham carefully from the fat. Just before frying increase the temperature to medium high and heat the fat to 335 degrees F.

Prepare the dredge by blending together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl or on wax paper.

Dredge the drained chicken pieces thoroughly in the flour mixture, then pat well to remove all excess flour.

Slip some of the chicken pieces, skin side down, into the heated fat. (Do not overcrowd the pan, and fry in batches if necessary.) Cook 8-10 minutes on each side, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Drain thoroughly on a wire rack or crumpled paper towels, and serve.

Fried chicken is wonderful eaten hot, warm, at room temperature, or cold.

Wait until you see the gravy for this tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Seasoned Vegetables

This recipe is similar to a ragout-a thick well-seasoned stew. I love making this in the summer with everything from the garden. No one will miss the meat. Serve this over cheese grits, noodles or rice, with a wonderful sliced tomato and cucumber salad.

6-8 servings
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1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 carrots, chopped
3 small red potatoes, diced
2 small turnips (about 1/2 pound), peeled and chopped
2 celery ribs, diced
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 (14-ounce) can chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cornstarch

1. Saute onion and garlic in hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat 5 minutes or until caramelized. Add carrots and next 4 ingredients, and saute 12 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender, Increase heat to medium-high; stir in chicken broth and next 3 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

1. Whisk together cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water until smooth. Whisk into vegetable mixture in skillet, and cook, stirring constantly, 3 to 5 minutes or until thickened.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Matzo Meal Fried Green Tomatoes

This early in the season some people get very protective of their tomatoes, green tomatoes that is. They are holding out for the big beautiful red ones. I don't really know anyone that knows exactly how many tomatoes they have on the vines so they never really miss 4 or 5. Just sayin'.

The biggest problem with fried green tomatoes is you never get to sit to eat if you are the one cooking. As fast as they come out of the skillet someone has them and gone.

You will love the crunchy from the matzo meal, and a bit of heat from the hot red pepper in these New Orleans fried green tomatoes.

4 to 6 servings - maybe
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1/2 cup matzo meal
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon sugar
4 to 5 large green tomatoes (about 2 pound), cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Vegetable oil
Kosher salt (optional)

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a shallow dish.

2. Dip tomatoes into eggs, allowing excess to drip off. Dredge in matzo mixture, pressing into the surface. Place on a wax paper lined baking sheet.

3. Pour oil to a depth of 1/2-inch into a large, deep cast-iron skillet; heat over medium heat to 360 degrees. Fry tomatoes, in batches, 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with additional salt, if desired. Serve immediately.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Squash-and-Mushroom Hominy

You will not believe how wonderful this is. Serve it with a beautiful pork loin roast, or chops. If you have leftovers reheat them for breakfast. Seriously! I can say the word hominy and my mouth starts watering.

About 6 servings
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3 small yellow squash (about 10 ounces) I have plenty if you need some.
4 thick cut bacon slices, diced
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (29-ounce) can hominy, drained
4 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Salt to taste

1. Slice squash lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch slices

2. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium-low heat 8 minutes or just until crisp' remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet.

3. Saute' onion in hot drippings with olive oil over medium-high heat 8 minutes or until tender. Stir in hominy, and saute' 5 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add mushrooms, broth, and pepper; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 5 minutes or until mushrooms darken. Add squash; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minute or until tender. Stir in lemon rind and juice. Cook, uncovered, 3 to 4 minutes or until liquid thickens slightly. Remove from heat, and stir in parsley and bacon. Season with salt to taste.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Saint and Scriptures Sunday

I'm actually writing this on Tuesday so I don't forget again. I receive in my email daily a minute meditation from the Franciscan Media. I love them! Everyone has a minute to meditate.

Many years ago I heard a minister say, "What people think of me is none of my business". Since then I have really lived by that. I felt Tuesdays minute meditation went right along those lines and wanted to share with you.

Positive Self Worth

The more we focus on what God's plan for us might be, the less we need to concern ourselves with other people's reactions. Our self-worth is not dependent on other people's opinions of us. No one else has the power to make us better or worse than we are.

Have a wonderful and Blessed week.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Cornbread Salad

I've been waiting for two months to post this. Making sure everyone had plenty of garden fresh tomatoes. Elizabeth Rankin is by far the best cook I've found in this area. She makes everything look easy, and cooks everything. Hand her a 40 pound country ham and she acts like it's no big deal. She makes her own beaten biscuits. That should be enough said right there.

She has made this for many church functions and in my opinion it's the best cornbread salad out there. Elizabeth uses leftover cornbread so of course so do I. I'll give you the recipe as it was in the Special Olympics Cookbook where I believe she got the recipe. I forgot to write all that down.

about 6 servings
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1 box cornbread mix
8 tablespoons sugar, use less if you want
Mix cornbread as directed on box with added sugar, bake. Cool completely and crumble into a pretty glass bowl.

4 medium tomatoes, diced
2 medium onions, diced
1 large green pepper
1/2 pound bacon, fried and crumbled
1/2 cup sweet pickles, diced, not pickle relish

1/2 cup pickle juice
1 cup good mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sugar

Mix dressing and add to salad just before serving.

Thank you Elizabeth!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Curried Chicken Salad

This is a fast fixin's - make ahead. What could be better. Use it for sandwiches or for an appetizer at your next cookout. Perfect to have in the fridge on canning day when the kitchen is a disaster and you are starving. Sure beats eating a handfull of raw green beans.

Makes 4 servings
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1/2 cup good mayonnaise
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon curry powder, a little more if you love curry
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
3 green onion, finely chopped

Whisk together first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir in chopped chicken and green onions just until blended. Chill.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Corn Relish

This was originally posted. in July of last year. It is well worth a re-post. This is what I made yesterday. The corn I got from David this morning was picked while I watched. I'm a good watcher. It was really to beautiful to be used in a humble relish. But there is plenty more for frying and corn on the cob.

There is nothing like having a pretty dish of Corn Relish on your Thanksgiving Day table. This recipe calls for cabbage, but if your want to make it without cabbage, substitute 1 cup chopped celery for cabbage. Add 1 clove garlic, minced. Follow recipe. I make it both ways. This batch I used cabbage since we were overrun with them this year.

This is not nearly as hard to make as it looks.

Corn Relish
about 6 pints
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2 quarts cut cooked corn (about 18 ears)
1 quart chopped cabbage (about 1 small head)
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
1 cup chopped sweet green peppers (about 2 small)
1 cup chopped sweet red peppers (about 2 small)
1 to 2 cups sugar (I use 1)
2 tablespoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1 tablespoon salt ( Kosher)
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 quart vinegar
1 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Pack hot relish into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hot Slaw a la Greyhound Grill

I would have bet money I had already posted this recipe. Not! This is from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook, 2006. I love that book, and those guys. This recipe is an ode to the Greyhound Tavern in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, which, according to Mat and Ted Lee, serves some of the finest fried chicken anywhere. That's because they never tasted my grandmothers fried chicken. It's here they were first introduced to hot slaw.

Makes 6 servings
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1/2 large red cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds), shredded
1/2 large green cabbage (about 1/12 pounds) shredded
4 thick-cut bacon slices, diced
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pepper vinegar to taste (optional)

1. Bring 3 1/2 quarts water to a boil in a large stock pot. Cook cabbage in boiling water 4 minutes or just until it turns a dull gray purple. Remove from heat, and drain well.

2. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium-low heat 8 minutes or just until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in skillet. Stir in cider vinegar, celery seeds, and crushed red pepper, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet. Stir in cabbage, salt, black pepper, and bacon; cook stirring occasionally, 4 minutes or until cabbage is tender and turns a bright magenta color. Place cabbage mixture in a serving dish, and, if desired, sprinkle with pepper vinegar to taste. Wonderful!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bread and Butter Pickles

I made a batch of these on Saturday from cucumbers from Larry and Edie's garden. No I didn't steal these, they gave them to me! This truly is the best recipe I have found for homemade bread and butter pickles. It is right from the pages of Ball Blue Book of Preserving.Very important to allow 4 to 6 weeks for fresh pack pickled goods to cure and develop a satisfactory flavor.

Did I mention you can use zucchini instead of cucumbers and you will have beautiful Zucchini Bread and Butter Pickles. Make sure your zucchini are small.

Yield about 7 pints
print recipe

4 pounds 4-6-inch cucumbers, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 pounds onions, thinly sliced (about 8 small)
1/3 cup canning salt
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seed
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons celery seed
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon peppercorns
3 cups vinegar

Combine cucumber and onion slices in a large bow,layering with salt; cover with ice cubes. Let stand 1 1/2 hours. Drain; rinse, drain again. Combine remaining ingredients in a large saucepot; bring to a boil. Add drained cucumbers and onions and return to a boil. Pack hot pickles and liquid into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Scalloped Tomatoes

Can you believe I forgot to post Saint and Scriptures Sunday yesterday. I really am getting old and forgetful, or I've got too much going on at the moment.

This is a delicious old-fashioned casserole for high summer, when tomatoes are juicy and abundant. The toasted croutons soak up the juices of the tomatoes and give both a buttery flavor and crunchiness. The sugar in the recipe is intended to balance the acid of the tomatoes: use only as much as you need to achieve a nicely rounded flavor, not to sweeten the dish. This is really good with grilled or roasted meat or fish.

Makes enough to serve 4
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6 large vine-ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
4 slices white loaf bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Put the tomato pieces and chopped onion into a large nonreactive bowl. Season with the salt, black pepper, and sugar, and toss well. Scatter the bread cubes on a baking pan, and drizzle 4 tablespoons of the melted butter over them. Toast them in the oven until they are golden brown, 8-12 minutes

Add the toasted cubes of bread to the tomatoes, and toss, well. Taste the tomatoes for seasoning and adjust, adding more if needed. Turn everything into a buttered 9x13-inch nonreactive baking dish, and drizzle the remaining melted butter over. Place a piece of parchment paper directly over the tomatoes, and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 35 minutes, then uncover and bake for 10 minutes longer.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Fried Okra

106 degrees F. in the shade and I'm out running around like it's spring. I think my brain is fried. David called and his first batch of corn was ready, Silver Princess, my favorite. We all know the first several pickings are for corn on the cob only. You know you have to have at least 4 ears the first few times just to satisfy that fresh corn craving.

The fresh okra was also ready. Nothing I love more than a big skillet of fried okra. It's so easy you don't need a recipe. Cut the okra crosswise, coat in cornmeal, and fry in a little oil and bacon grease. Salt and pepper when you remove from the skillet. If you have some left slice it and freeze on a flat sheet and put it in freezer bags to fry later. Okra doesn't last long so work with it the day you get it.

Sliced tomatoes, fried okra and corn on the cob with a piece of cornbread. You tell me if you need anything else for supper! Maybe iced tea.

It's too hot to blog. Have a wonderful weekend. Find a farmers market in your area and enjoy the bounty.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Red Onion, Cucumber, and Tomato Salad

I was only depressed because Ryan left, Edie's son. I love when he comes to visit. The sweetest young man you would ever hope to know, plus he is so much fun. He will be back soon so I'm okay. I need to find soon new dishes to cook for him.

With the temperature being over a hundred everyday for days I'm looking for something cool to eat. And if you have a drop of Southern blood in you you will have eaten pounds of this in your life. Growing up this was a cold vegetable dish rather than a separate salad. Put this on the same plate with grilled food and fresh cooked green beans, letting the juices run together.

Soaking the onions first in salted water makes them milder and more digestible. You can then dress the vegetables and refrigerate them, from 30 minutes up to several hours. If the tomatoes are too ripe, though, add them only at the last, so they don't get mushy.

4-6 servings
print recipe

1 large red onion, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
4 cucumbers, peeled and sliced into 1/3-inch rounds
3 large vine-ripe tomatoes, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for soaking onion
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup cider vinegar
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon finely shipped parsley

Soak the red-onion wedges in a small bowl of salted ice water for 20 minutes. Drain well.

Put the chilled onion wedges, sliced cumbers, and tomato wedges in a large bowl, and season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper. Whisk together in a small bowl the vinegar, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and vegetable oil until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour the dressing over the vegetables. Toss the salad well, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Taste carefully for seasoning, adjusting as needed, and add the snipped parsley before servings.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Zucchini Relish

This is from the archives, but so worth making. I make it every year. You will love having this on hand during the winter months. It is so hot here, as well as all over the country, I can hardly stand to go out. The zucchini are as big as baseball bats, really. Use the smaller ones for this. I double the recipe and make several batches when I have time. Happy canning!

Do I sound depressed today? Well I am. I might tell you why tomorrow.

Zucchini Relish
about 4 half pints
print recipe

2 cups chopped zucchini (about 3 medium)
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
1/2 cup chopped sweet green pepper (about 1 small)
1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper (about 1 small)
2 tablespoons salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons celery seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 cup cider vinegar

Combine zucchini, onion, green and red peppers; sprinkle with the salt; cover with cold water. Let stand 2 hours. Drain; rinse and drain thoroughly. Combine remaining ingredients in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil. add vegetables; simmer 10 minutes. Pack hot relish into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Grilled T-Bones with Grilled Corn Relish

Happy July 4th to everyone!

If you are not cooking hot dogs and burgers there is a good chance you are grilling steaks. I hope Larry and Edie are not keeping a close inventory of their meat freezer. Use any cut of steak you like, or is on sale. This recipe is all about the relish. With the corn, tomatoes and peppers right from the garden this is a no brainer. This is a recipe from one of my favorite cook books, Bitchin' & Grillin'. Everyone loves this relish so you better double it.

Grilled T-Bones with Grilled Corn Relish
Serves 4
print recipe

4 T-Bones, at least 1-inch thick
6 cloves garlic crushedd
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 ears corn
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
1 sweet pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine the garlic, pepper and salt. Sprinkle over both sides of the steaks and rub in with your fingers. Place on the grill on medium heat. Turn once. Allow 10-12 minutes for medium rare.

In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, olive oil and chili powder. Remove husks and silks from the corn. Brush with the lime juice mixture and place on the grill. Grill for 10 to 20 minutes, turning several times. Cool. Cut the kernels from the cob. Combine the corn, tomatoes, sweet pepper, cilantro, onion, salt and pepper. Sprinkle lime juice over it.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Blueberry Crisp

I love any kind of crisp. But to be honest I've been on mission to make everything blueberry I can think of. I feel sure it has nothing to do with the fact that Edie gave me several quarts of blueberries that Carrie, her friend, had given her. There is nothing like free food. You will love this! Use the topping on almost any fresh fruit you have

Blueberry Crisp
about 6 servings
print recipe

4 cups fresh blueberries
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats, not instant
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspons freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 cup butter

Grease the bottom and sides of an 8x8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray or butter. Rinse the blueberries and drain. Place in the prepared pan. Mix the brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. Cut in the butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over the blueberries. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve warm alone, or topped with homemade ice cream.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Grilled Country Ham & Cheese Sandwiches

If you think you have seen this before your are right! It's on the Hellmann's website. It is so easy, so good, and so perfect for this hot weather. It is not your average grilled ham and cheese sandwich. It could be the No Knead Rosemary Bread that I made, but you can use a country-style bread about an 8-inch round loaf will work. Don't omit the apple or the thyme or you're back to a regular old grill ham and cheese.

Serves 4
print recipe

4 tablespoons Hellmann's or Best Foods Real mayonnaise, divided
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
4 slices country-style bread (3/4-inch thick, from an 8-inch round loaf)
8 ounces sliced country ham
2-3-ounces sliced cheddar or Swiss cheese
6 slices Granny Smith apple

1. Combine 2 tablespoons mayonnaise with thyme in small bowl.

2. Evenly spread mayonnaise mixture on bread, then evenly layer remaining ingredients.

3. Preheat grill pan or 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Spread remaining 2 tablespoons mayonnaise on outside of sandwiches. Grill turning once, until golden brown, about 8 minutes.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Saint and Scriptures Sunday

No one can build security upon the nobleness of another person.-Willa Cather

Where do we look for our security? Do we look to our husbands or our lovers? Do we look to a parent or our childred? Perhaps we seek our security in our jobs. But none of these avenues brings lasting contentment.

Security of the spirit is with us from our birth. It's just that we haven't tapped into the source. Perhaps we don't even know the source, but it's been with us always, awaiting our realization of it.

No step do we ever take alone. Each breath we take is in partnership with the eternal source of strength and security within us. We have the choice to accept this partnership at any time. And this guarantee of security in all things at all times is the gift of freedom.

Our desire for security is God-given. The security we desire is also given by God to us. We are secure today and every day.

Each step I take is in concert with God. I need experience nothing alone. I can breathe in and tap the plentiful source of strength awaiting me, now.