Monday, August 29, 2011

Celebrating A Life in Recipes

On July 29th, I posted a farewell to my online buddy Becky. Today, her birthday, I will share with you some of my favorites of the recipes she had shared with me over the years.

I invited some friends for lunch to enjoy Red Beans and Rice, a salad of spinach, sweet potato, goat cheese, and bacon, and a dessert of chocolate meringue pie while I told them the wonderful things I knew about Becky. Her roots in Louisiana, her two daughters and wonderful husband. Her farm in Tennessee and her residence in Alabama. Her dedication to the Huntsville Botanical Gardens and her passion for art deco, Fiestaware, and vintage linens.


Red Beans and Rice

2 cups dry red beans
6 cups water
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon thyme leaves
6 grates nutmeg
1½ teaspoons salt
1 lb. smoked sausage, Optional
2 cups uncooked rice

About noon on Sunday wash the beans and put in crockpot with water, onion and garlic. Turn heat to LOW, cover and cook.
Sunday night before you go to bed add the Tabasco, Worcestershire, cayenne, oregano, thyme, nutmeg and salt. Add more water, if needed. Cover and continue cooking.
On Monday morning slice and steam the sausage if you are going to use it; add to crockpot. Again, add water, if needed. Cover and cook till suppertime. Cook rice according to package directions. Place cooked rice in soup plates and ladle the beans on top.
Serves 6


Here is the link to Becky's blog and her recipe for Chocolate Pie.

I have only recently tried Becky's recipe for Pound Cake, and it is truly delicious. Here is the recipe and her history with it.


Pound Cake
In my birth family I was known for never being able to get a cake out of a pan in one piece. However, when we got married, Mike's aunt gave me Southern Sideboards (Jackson Jr. League cookbook). In it was a recipe for Selma's VA Pound Cake. He had requested pound cake for dessert and being a newlywed, I wanted to try to make it. Well, I made it and it turned out of the pan perfectly! No more jinx. I tinkered with the recipe a little, and this is my version of that cake. It's been a success for 27 years now.

1½ cups butter
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
3 cups unbleached flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch salt
½ teaspoon baking powder

Grease and flour a large tube pan.

Cream butter and sugar till smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add flour a little at a time. Slowly add milk, flavouring and salt. Put in the baking powder last. Pour batter into pan and place in cold oven. Turn temperature to 325ºF and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool slightly and remove from pan.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Best Part of Late Summer

School children wimper and wail as Summer winds down and slowly eases into Fall, but those of us past the age of romping barefoot in fields of clover, chasing firelies and sucking honeysuckle have reasons to celebrate. While temperatures still dance in the low nineties, late summer fruits are in full harvest.


Great grapes! It's time for grapes. Not the grapes available year round in the supermarket...those marevelously thick hulled grapes grown on arbors in back-yards and wild grapes with vines climbing sturdy old trees in secret places. Forget the ragweed, pick up your buckets and baskets and head out for Scuppernongs and Muscadines!

If you've never experienced it, you should give it a try. Take a grape and look for the point where it grew from the vine. Place it half-way between your lips and gently bite down until the juicy flesh pops into your mouth. Chew softly, separating the pulp from the seed. Your tastebuds will dance, your nostrils will flare, your eyes will light up.

These delights are native to the southern United States and make marvelous jelly and wine. But truly, they are best enjoyed with your feet propped on the porch rail, popping them in your mouth and discarding seeds and skins into a piece of newspaper while watching the sun set on another late summer day.

If you aren't fortunate enough to have a neighbor or friend with a vine, certain supermarkets will carry them for a short time. I've found them at the Piggly Wiggly, Publix, and even Walmart. Life is an adventure..try something new!