Happy Mother’s Day and Weathervane in Chapel Hill

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I know that you all know how much I truly love my mother.  The things she and I have been through the last two years have made us stronger than ever.  She is indeed my best friend, confidant, and amazing beyond words.  She is my rock and the reason I go out everyday and try to be the best version of me that I can.  I owe that to her for all of her sacrifices, heart ache, and money spending that I have put her through.  I owe it to her to continually pay back in life what she has given to me.  I owe it to her to always treat others with kindness even though they may have hurt me.  I owe it to her to always take the high road and choose my battles, because she has taught me that I can choose how I react to situations for the best.  I owe it to her to be thankful of where I am in my life and recognize that life is always going to improve beyond where I am at in the present moment.  I owe it to her to hold my head high with confidence as a beautiful woman that she has created from her own beauty.  I owe it to her to be the best daughter she could possibly have prayed for all those years ago, because she has been that mother that God knew I was going to need.  She has shown up every single day for me, and I owe everything to her.

So when it came time to think of a Mother’s Day gift, it became difficult.  I knew she was missing her own mom, and I remembered that we didn’t make the traditional birthday cake at her birthday earlier this year.  It was time…yes time…to make Bishop Bread.  It seems almost sinful to be making it any other time than on her birthday.  I mean, it has been a time honored tradition for an incredible amount of years to be made only on her birthday (that’s me not telling you how young my mom is).  Sometimes life calls for throwing tradition out the window!  But wait, the recipe calls for candied cherries, which makes complete sense why this cake was only made around the holidays.  Grocery stores always had an abundance of candied cherries during Christmas.  If only for those god awful fruit cakes everyone seems to make.  I had to find them somewhere, right?  Very wrong.

After running out of time and places to hunt them down, there was only one option.  I had to make candied cherries myself.  One of my friends had suggested I make them out of Marschino Cherries.  Bleh.  Sorry, folks, I am not a fan of these artificially brightened treats.  However, I needed my candied cherries.  I took to Google, and Google came through with flying colors.  It landed me on ShaunaSever.com.  Thank goodness there was a recipe out there.

They were incredibly easy to make, and here is the link to her post… http://shaunasever.com/2010/12/how-to-make-candied-cherries.html.  Her recipe is below.

  

Candied Cherries

This is a full recipe that will yield about 8-9 ounces of candied cherries. It’s easily scaled up or down, even if you just need a tiny amount for a recipe.

  • 1 16-ounce jar maraschino cherries
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Drain the cherries, reserving 1/4 cup of the juice. Combine the reserved juice and sugar in a small saucepan and place over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Add the cherries, and stir well. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 45 minutes-1 hour, until the cherries are slightly shriveled and firm to the touch. Remove from the heat, uncover the pan, and let cool completely.

When the cherries have cooled, remove them to paper toweling (leaving the syrup behind, your recipe doesn’t call for it) and pat dry. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to six months.

  


Weathervane

We were originally headed to Fearrington Village for brunch, but considering the weather, Mom decided she would rather go to Chapel Hill and visit A Southern Season and Weathervane.  Love love love going to A Southern Season.  It should really be named A Southerner’s Food Heaven.  First, we ate!  

We lucked out and got a seat in the cafe area.  It’s really not that bad, but if you are more than two, you should ask for an extra chair when sitting at the booths. We were immediately advised that their regular menu was not available, and they were only offering a $34 Prix Fixe menu for Mother’s Day.  Which isn’t a bad thing.  I just missed their main menu.  Overall, it was a great experience because I was with my Mom/parents.  It is Mother’s Day afterall.   

They had a beautiful menu and a fresh daisy on each table.  It was set nicely, just as would be expected.

Mom ordered the baked baby brie, orange blossom honey, fig preserves, and toasted country bread for her starter.  I’m not the biggest brie fan, but this had a really nice flavor with all of the elements combined.

 I ordered the Grilled Summer Squash Soup as my starter with charred peppadew peppers, and a sweet corn crem fraiche –  No, I didn’t shake it up or stir it before taking the photo.  It was presented this way.  You eat with your eyes first, and although this ended up tasting decent, it certainly wasn’t plated well.  A little bit of a let down for as amazing as this place normally is. 

 

My Stepdad ordered the Fried Green Tomatoes with a buttermilk cucumber, green tomato relish, and crispy greens.  He said the greens were so soaked in grease, it was hard to enjoy them.  However, they were indeed fried, and we came to the conclusion that maybe that’s the only way some people can eat healthy greens…fried.  The dish was perfect otherwise.

They both ordered the out of this world Weathervane Shrimp and Grits with heritage Andouille Sausage, redeye shrimp gravy, shitake mushrooms, and pimento grits.  Even though we never saw actual pimentos in the grits, this was the best dish of the entire meal at the table.  Very thankful this is on the regular menu!!!


I ordered the Tea Glazed Organic Salmon with heirloom pea succotash, preserved lemon, skinny bean salad, and a green tomato vinaigrette.  This was probably the best cooked piece of salmon that I have had in an extremely long time.  Delicious and buttery.

They copied each other again at first with both ordering the Salty Caramel Apple Cobbler with a brown sugar streusel and buttermilk ice cream.  However, contrary to what your brain tells you, this cobbler was served cold.  I asked the server if it was supposed to be served cold (we were kind of early in their lunch service so maybe they just hadn’t had time to warm it thoroughly), and after going to the back and returning, she informs us that it is supposed to be served cold.  Hmmmm…if this is a new trend, you can have it.  Ice cream (especially such tasty ice cream like the one on this dish) should be melting gently over the HOT apple cobbler.  Maybe next time put that it is served cold on the menu?


After the Cobbler debacle, Mom ended up with the same dessert I had chosen – 11 Layer Chocolate Cake with dark chocolate ganache, roasted strawberries, and a peanut butter mousse.  This was a win in the richness of the cake and the perfection of the peanut butter mousse.  I’ll take a pound of that to go, please!

The few little things that I wasn’t pleased with didn’t outweigh the stellar service, the ambience, or the overall enjoyment of being with my family at a nice restaurant.  It truly was a good experience.  I can’t wait to go back and order my own plate of Shrimp and Grits!

If you’ve made it to the bottom, I hope that you have all enjoyed your Mother’s Day.  If you’re like me, and have only been blessed with being a mother to a cat, then Happy MeowMa Day to you (as I refer to the day).  If you’re not able to be with your Mom, then I hope that she left you with wonderful memories that you can look back on today, and know that you are a better person because she was in your life.

With love to my own Mom,  J

The Most Wonderful Part…Mom

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Thanksgiving and Christmas have passed us now, and it’s time for a New Year already. Can you believe it? I’m not sure about you, but my last year literally flew by. There are things I could have handled differently in that year, and there are things I would do over and over again if given the chance. That’s what life is truly about. It’s about living, learning, and appreciating the gifts we are given on a daily basis.

When the New Year rolls around, I don’t normally make resolutions. I find that I’m quite rebellious when I least expect it and those resolutions quickly exit my life. Instead, I take stock of my life and all the wonderful parts of it. There’s always one part that comes to mind first though. It’s my Mom’s birthday, and she is the most wonderful part of each and every year of my life. Therefore, when I take stock, she’s first on my list.

I feel that I must share a little bit about our Mother/Daughter relationship.

Throughout all of my years (now 30 of those years), my Mom has been there for me unconditionally. Black Eyed PeasThe following are just a few examples. When our cool Southern nights would roll around, Vick’s Vapor Rub was present. I used to love Mom’s tender touch when I was sick rubbing the Vick’s on my upper chest to soothe my congestion. Sometimes on a sick day home from school, we would have cheesy mashed potatoes with chopped up ham and sliced cheese in them. It was a mild dish that I could enjoy. Mashed potatoes are very special to me because of this. There was always sight-seeing in different states when we would travel to make sure I learned about different cultures and history. We were and still are best buds. I can talk to her about absolutely anything.

She allowed me to make the mistakes I needed to in order to grow, and she was always there to pick my broken heart up off the floor and apply some “Mom Glue”. Many times she told me I could do better. Many times she told me you can’t quit a job until you have one. Many times she told me to simply and purely follow my dreams. Many times she told me to always trust in the strength that is God. Many times – many, many times – she has told me she loves me.

For a time, it was just me and Mom. And, you know what? We made it – we would go out to Arby’s and split a meal to save some money, we would have our own little celebrations at home, and we survived, as many single parents and children do.

There are countless magical memories of my Mom I could share…but, alas, there aren’t enough pages for this.

Meal Photo 4See, my Mom is a good Southern woman. Luckily for her, on her birthday, some of her favorite Southern foods make up our traditional New Year’s Day meal. We gather at my Grandmother’s home and enjoy a birthday meal for her. It always consists of turnip greens, cornbread, and the all-important black-eyed peas. I remember growing up and always being told to eat plenty of it all so I could have good luck and prosperity in the year ahead. Sadly, I grew a strong disdain for turnip greens over the year – which probably explains a lot. I make up for it though, with eating lots of black-eyed peas and cornbread! Both of these are two of my favorite Southern foods as well.

While the New Year’s Day meal is strictly Turnip Greenstraditional fare for most households, it’s a special meal for my family. I encourage you to look into all of the different versions of a “traditional” New Year’s Day meal and all of the various meanings. The one story I found the most, and enjoyed the idea of the most, was this…

“Back in the days of civil war, Union troops swept through the south, confiscating crops and livestock to use as provisions for their troops. Southerners who weren’t off fighting were left with precious little, save for peas and greens. You see, Union soldiers considered “field peas” and greens to be fit only for animal fodder. These dishes became cherished and appreciated as what saved many a family from starvation during those times and the tradition of celebrating these dishes on the New Year was born.” – Christy Jordan, www.SouthernPlate.com

Mom’s “Birthday Dinner” is deeply rooted in the Southern traditions and love – just like my Mom. My Mom loves the South. I love the South, and I love my Mom.

As I think about how to close this article for you, I can’t help but think of how many people are without a Mom like the Mom I was blessed with. Hold your Mom’s and Mother figures close. Never forget to appreciate them or tell them you love them in the year ahead and all the years to come. My Mom is magnificent. She is my inspiration. She is my shining and constant reminder of God’s love, and she is the most wonderful part of my life. Happy New Year, everyone!

~Originally published in January 2013 issue of Alamance County Magazine.

Sundays with Friends: My friend Jen and her Peanut Butter Balls…

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022Do you remember my good friend, Jen? She last wrote for us about Wild Turkey Stew, and this time she’s bringing us a very near and dear to her heart recipe for her Mama’s Peanut Butter Balls. I meant to get this to you before Christmas, but we all know how busy the Holidays can become. However, you have to forgive me….I AM bringing you one of the most delightful recipes I have EVER put in my mouth. From my friend that understands the importance of loving her mother and hanging onto handwritten recipes, all the way to your kitchen, please welcome back Jen!

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I love Christmastime and one reason why is because I love making my mom’s peanut butter balls. My 020mother passed away over eight years ago from cancer. We used to make Peanut Butter Balls together every year before Christmas. When my mother became sick she didn’t have the strength to make Peanut Butter Balls with me. I had to make them on my own. She passed away in October 2006, and that Christmas I went to her house. I made the Peanut Butter Balls like I usually did, except that year she wasn’t present to help; however, I felt her spirit there with me.

I try to make my Peanut Butter Balls every year because it was me and Mom’s Christmas tradition. I didn’t make them last year because I was trying to eat healthier and knew if I made them I would about eat all of them. I promised Jennifer that I would make them this year and write for her Sunday’s with Friends. I hope that you can take this recipe, make your own Christmas tradition, and enjoy it like I do.

Oh and by the way I still have the handwritten recipe that my mother wrote.

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  • 2 cups of Graham Cracker crumbs
  • 1 lb of powdered sugar
  • 2 sticks of butter melted
  • 1 cup of chopped nuts
  • 4 oz of flaked coconut
  • 12 oz jar of crunchy peanut butter
  • 12 oz or more of chocolate candy wafers

Mix first 6 ingredients in order given. Form into balls, which may need to be chilled for a while. Melt chocolate wafers in a double boiler and dip balls into melted chocolate. Place dipped balls onto wax paper until hardened. You can put them in the fridge or keep them on the counter. But, let them sit out on the counter for a bit before eating if you’re storing them in the fridge.

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Believing in Humanity…and Curtis Stone, too!

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I am a firm believer that people come in and out of our lives for a reason. I also believe that the kindness of strangers is still alive and kicking. Whether it’s the person you pass in the street you exchange smiles with, or it’s the server at your dinner table…we all meet for a reason. That’s why it’s important to show kindness to everyone you meet, because as the old phrase goes, you never know what struggle someone has in their own life.

All through life, I have tried to do my best to share my smiles (what’s the point in hanging on to them?). I will always try to make you laugh (with clean or naughty humor). I will always believe in you (even when you doubt yourself). Also, I will always respect you (because you’re human, and you deserve it). I don’t care where you came from, where you live, what you eat (unless I need a recipe), or how you prefer your steak cooked. You are you, and I will respect you and do my best to inspire you.

Onto today…

There were quite a few people that came into my life today, and I am very grateful they were brought into it.

Today was the day I got to meet Curtis Stone. *big smiles* Mom and I started off early for the hour drive to A Southern Season (one of our favorite gourmet stores!), and were completely expecting a large crowd waiting. We were the fourth car in the parking lot…*smiles*. We made it inside the store and walked towards the area Curtis would be demoing some of his items. The first person we met…Johnnie. Johnnie was a true delight and knew food like the back of his hand. It was great spending time with him and hearing some of his great recipe ideas. Next, we went to the “gathering” area where we were first in line. Luckily for us, Katy was there to greet us. We had no complaints at all with spending time with this vibrant and kind woman. There were quite a few things we could relate to: her brother has a food blog, she loves fashion, she does design for your home, life, or wardrobe, and she smiled warmly. What wasn’t to love about this woman?

Elaine joined us shortly thereafter with a super warm smile as well. She told us about a movie called Strictly Ballroom…an Aussie film that she loves. She also educated us that she had heard the Julie person in real life from Julie and Julia wasn’t actually the most amazing person you would want to know. Hmmm….that sucks. Then flew in Stacey. Stacey, Stacey, Stacey. We had to let the Security Guard Ryan know that he might want to watch her. For the simple reason that she knew where Curtis had stayed. *wink* With her pearls and sparkly personality she was sweet to bring us tastings as we waited. By the way, the Peppermint Bark at A Southern Season is simply delicious! I adore a good and smooth Peppermint Bark.

Now to back track a bit. All of the above were employees of A Southern Season. There was one more key player in today’s events. About 30 minutes after we had been standing in line, a young gentleman began standing in line with us…Ap. When I say gentleman, he really was one. Well dressed, well groomed, articulated his words, polite, and he knew his food! Oh yeah, and he loves a good steak (can’t fault him there). We exchanged contact information and are definitely planning on keeping in touch. He also let me know about Anthony Bourdain coming to Richmond, VA, in April 2013. Woohoo!!!! *big smiles*again* I always love a new Foodie friend. Might start watching Top Chef Masters because of him, too. *wink*

Right behind Ap, stood a mother of two toddlers and her friend. She had a blog as well. Shamefully, I didn’t catch her name, but I definitely got her blog address. *wink* Go check her out at The Stir Crazy Moms Guide to Durham. It has tons of great ideas to do with your children in Durham. I believe I just saw where they do giveaways once in a while also!

Enter…Curtis…

I had flashbacks of meeting Gordon Ramsay when Curtis Stone walked behind his curtained area to get ready for us salivating women (and a few men). I believe the organizers thought we would be a stampede mess, because a few of them kept telling us how to stand and where to go. But, we knew what we were doing…Curtis couldn’t see us acting like fools. *wink*  By the time 8:30am-11am was gone, we had already “adopted” Ap as one of the family, and we stuck together to make sure we all made it to the front row. Of course we did (it’s the Southern way to look out for your neighbor).

We finally were let in, and now we were standing in front of Curtis Stone while he was showing us a few of his cookware items. I found it to be a little pricey for the average home cook with an average job (like myself), but I can see where everything was practical, great quality, and would be worth the money with some saving. Just as a note…his basic 12″ NonStick FryPan was voted #1 by Good Housekeeping magazine, and his Oil Can was featured in O magazine as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things. I’m not sure you can get better than those two things.

Let’s be honest here. It was hard to focus on much, as he was so damn attractive. *smiles* He shared cooking tips, stories, history, joked around (there’s a naughty side there ladies and gents), and smiled a lot. It was obvious he was passionate about his craft, and I can appreciate that greatly. He took pride in the product he was presenting to us, and he knew how to make you feel important when you met him. Towards the end of the presentation, he sat the plates of food that he had prepared out for us to see as we waited in line for him to sign our cookbooks. But, come on, if you know me, I’m not afraid to ask for what I want. I also don’t believe in just LOOKING at food. So, without hesitation, I proclaimed to him…”I want to try that!” He kindly handed me a fork and the plate, and Mom, Ap, and I enjoyed a bite of his stir-fry dish (which was stunningly flavored). Such a sweetie.

We continued to wait in line for our book signing, and with each person, he took a quick moment to talk to them while signing their cookbook. He got to me, and saw that I already had his autograph in my cookbook (a friend had obtained that one for me, thanks Andrea!). I told him this time I wanted to see it being signed myself, and we could have it signed to “Jennifer” this time, instead of “The Onyx Plate”. He obliged, acknowledged my Fork Bracelet I was wearing, and listened to me briefly jabber about him being an inspiration in my own food passion. We shook hands and he took a photo with Mom and I…damn he’s attractive. Oh wait…did I already say that? Oh well, it bears repeating!

We said goodbye to Katy as we shared a hug, and goodbye to Ap as we recommended he dine at The Weathervane before driving 2 hours home. Unfortunately, they were on a wait for parties larger than one, and we headed back towards home. However, we did stop at a nice little place in Hillsborough called Saratoga Grill. Quite tasty on Churton Street. Delicious Honey Almond Salmon, a light salad, sweet Scones, and a sliver of Caramel Walnut Torte made a nice cap to the day with Mom.

There’s nothing I love more than going on Foodie Adventures with Mom, and even though she says she only goes on these things because it’s for me, I think she secretly enjoys them. Simply put, she got a little too excited when we got to put our arms around Curtis for a photo. And I quote “Ohhh, we get to touch you!” I love my Mom. When I can’t seem to get the words out, she always knows exactly what I’m thinking.

So…in closing…

  • From Johnnie – fantastic recipe ideas for Collards and Fish
  • From Katy – TwentyFiveBucksAWeek.com is her brother’s blog, and her company is Katy Delaney Design. Beautiful Woman/Beautiful Website
  • From Elaine – a new movie to watch!
  • From Stacey – a new brand of Peppermint Bark to indulge in
  • From Ap – a future meeting with Anthony Bourdain (hopefully Ap will be there as well), and a new show to watch – Top Chef Masters
  • From Blogging Mom – a cool website to introduce you Moms to…maybe one day I’ll need it as well.
  • From Curtis Stone – INSPIRATION, INSPIRATION, INSPIRATION and another reason to save money. *wink*

Life is about the people you meet in it as well as the small things you’re surrounded by every single day. When you meet someone, make sure you leave their lives just as enriched as they left yours.

Aspire to inspire.

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The Onyx Plate’s Delicious Quiche!

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Sun-Dried Tomatoes….Mmmmm!

Spinach…..Mmmmm!

Green Onions…..Mmmmm!

Cheese…..Mmmmm!

Eggs…..Mmmmm!

BACON??!!??!!?!!!!!!!…..DOUBLE Mmmm!

What more could you ask for in a good hearty quiche. Not to mention….I used Paula Deen’s base of her quiche to create the egg-mixture. Can we say “Alright ya’ll” all-together now? *smiles*

This has to be one of the best things I think I have ever made. It had such a richness to it. It was full of flavor. The ingredients I chose worked so well together. If you don’t do anything but look at the pictures for this post, I encourage you to send this recipe to someone that you know loves Quiche.

Ya know, Quiche was something that made me seem like an odd kid in school growing up. I was always the kid that bought the Quiche and the Egg-Salad from the Lunch Lady. It was some of the best Quiche ever. I remember a few times getting picked on for eating the Quiche. But, those idiot juveniles didn’t know what they were missing. *smiles*

I remember quite a few Quiche’s growing up. Mom was and still is an amazing cook. She really truly is. She must have done something right to have a kid that has loved Quiche from the get-go. *wink*

Now, it seems the Quiche torch has been passed to myself. I gladly take it and burn it bright, Mom! No more restaurant Quiche for me…or you if you try this recipe! Enjoy!

The Onyx Plate’s Delicious Quiche

  • 6 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 spinach, chopped (I used fresh so there wasn’t any extra water from the frozen packages.)
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 package of bacon, cooked (I tore each slice into thirds while it was raw, and cooked it in my skillet until it was nice and crisp.)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Italian blend of cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 8-inch deep dish pie crust

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Layer spinach, tomatoes, onions, cooked bacon, and cheese in your pie crust.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, cream, and salt and pepper in a bowl.
  4. Pour egg mixture on top of your layered goodies. I shimmied mine a few times to get any air bubbles out to fit all of the egg mixture in the pie crust.
  5. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until when you jiggle it, it no longer jiggles. *smiles*
  6. Serve and enjoy!

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Sundays with Friends: Corn, Fritters, and LOVE

Shucking Fritters on plate with tomatoes

Today’s “Sundays with Friends” comes from a very special woman in my life….Mom.  I told her recently that I wouldn’t change a single thing about any situation we have ever been in together, because I knew as long as she was there, everything was going to turn out alright.  She has done and continues to do a wonderful job as my Mom.  She is my comfort in this crazy world.  Just as the corn she shucked below shows the baby corn steadfast stuck to it’s “Mom”, we have been steadfast glued together through thick and thin (haha, diet wise too I guess).  I love my Mom, and just as I give you a glimpse into who I am with each post…here is a glimpse into the heart of a beautiful woman…

When I was a young girl, we always worked hard and played hard.  Work always came first.  Well, we thought it was work back then.  Now that I am older and can reflect back on that time of life when I was young and living at home, I have come to realize that the work we did was really just being a family and doing what it took to make ends meet while having a good time.  In the South there are strong family ties and strong family traditions.  In my family, round about the 4th of July, that meant the corn would be coming in.  Now, I cannot convey to you how much my Momma loves corn.  That means that we always put corn up in the summer.  When all of us kids were home (3 boys, 1 girl – that’s me) we would sit around a big ‘ol pile of corn and shuck it under the trees.  We would put the shucks on a sheet and then give them to the horses.  I think the horses liked corn shucking days the best!  Well, with three brothers and fresh corn, that meant there were worms being flicked on each other.  Big, nasty worms.  Still hate that part of corn, but I am willing to get past them to get to the sweet goodness of fresh picked corn from the field.  After the boys left home, I can remember many an hour Daddy and I would sit under those shade trees and shuck corn.  Momma would be in the kitchen silking, cutting off, blanching and getting it ready for the freezer.  Those were days I cherish.  The every day, mundane things that once someone is gone, you miss terribly.  It is not the big vacations, the big events, it is the regular things of living life, that you miss when your loved one is not there beside you anymore.  Enjoy your life – even the chores you hate now, but will fondly remember when your Daddy is gone.

Well, this is a food blog, so let’s get on with it!  Well guess what?  Mom and I did corn yesterday!  We only did 6 dozen, not the 12-15 we used to do when Daddy was alive, but I think it was enough for the two of us.  We are very fortunate to have wonderful family friends that are willing to share their bounty.

You gotta have things set up just so.  You want to be comfortable.  Oh, I forgot to tell you, that shucking corn is more about talking and sharing things than the actual work.  Around here, folks gather and help each other out, whether it be shucking corn, shelling peas, or snapping beans.  That is what happens in the South – love woven into work.  Well, I had the best time sitting with my Mom.  We talked about all sorts of things and just enjoyed each other’s company.  I shucked the corn, and being the expert silker she is, she got the brush and got to work.  She always says, “The person who eats the most corn, eats the most silk.”   We always laugh at that one because she does a very good job.  Besides, what fun is eating an ear of corn if you don’t have to pick the silk and kernels out of your teeth?  Just kidding – don’t want you to think we haven’t any manners.  Love my Momma!

 

Yep, we got fresh peaches too!  This corn is called Pearl and Honey.  It is the sweetest corn.  I wish people would try something other than Silver Queen.  But, people seem set in their ways sometimes.

Well, we got all the corn shucked, silked, bagged and put away.  Now what to do?  There is never a summer that I cannot remember Momma making a big ol’ batch of Corn Fritters!  They are my favorite.  We had corn on the cob last night, so I was thinking how good some Corn Fritters would be.  Now mind you, I hate when people say that everything is fried in the South.  Don’t get me started on that one!  (Don’t want to embarrass Jennifer)  So these are not fried in grease.  Just so you know and don’t get your hackles up about something being fried.

For this batch, I used 4 ears of corn.  This is a good time to use those ears of corn that you think might not be pretty enough to feed company.  You know, the ones whose kernels aren’t in perfect little rows.  Still good and sweet, but we always want to impress company with our best around these parts!

 That knife is one of my trusty RADA knives.  You can keep your fancy knives.  This thing is sharp!  You can get them through fundraisers at churches and things like that.  You could probably order one off the internet, but why not just help out a local church or organization?

Well, cut the kernels off into a good sized bowl.  Now don’t worry if you get corn milk all over you, just wash it off or you will get sticky.  After you cut off the corn, be sure you scrape down the cob to get every last drop of the sweet, sticky goodness.

Now, you need plain flour (don’t you like my fancy flour thing?), eggs, salt and pepper, along with some milk.  We only had skim, I don’t think the corn minds.  (Looks like I need to go buy some more!)  I used 2 eggs, about ½ cup of flour, salt and pepper, and a dab of milk.  Always crack your eggs in a separate bowl in case something goes wrong there. (Shell or bad egg)  I got a little piece of shell the first one I cracked.….that would not be a happy for the person that bit down on their fritter if I had not seen it.  (If you use the shell half, it is real easy to scope out the little piece – just a tidbit of experience there.) I put the eggs over to the side so I can kinda beat them a little before mixing everything together.  The idea is to have just enough batter to hold the corn together.  We’re not making corn pancakes here.  It is kind of a gloopy sort of thing.  Sticky – yeah, that’s it.  Sticky to make the corn kernels stick together.

 

Alrighty then, now heat up your nonstick skillet (remember – we are not frying).  You can spray it with Pam if you need to.  I sprayed mine the first time, then just wiped it off before the second batch.  I heated it to medium high.  Let your skillet get good and hot.  This helps keep your batter from sticking.  Now, drop blobs (that is a technical measurement there) on your skillet.  Let them sit there a few minutes, and when you start to smell the corn, then check to see if they need turning.  If you learn to cook by your nose, you won’t even need a timer!  When they are browned to your liking, turn those babies over and kinda smush them down a little.  Don’t be alarmed if some of the kernels come loose from the batter.  They are the teenager kernels and are just trying to be rebellious. (No reflection on Jennifer of course!) hahahaha!!!  They will be so good as little roasted kernels when you finish.  Be careful to get them out though, they can pop on you and let me tell you, they are hot!  When you take them off the skillet, put them on a plate and slather them with butter, margarine, or if you are like me, Brummel and Brown.  You gotta eat one while the others are cooking.  It is a rule.  (Well, I made that rule up, but it sounds good to me and I am the boss in the kitchen! She says as she winks and smiles.)  Now, when you are all done, wash up the dishes, (yes, just do it – you will be glad later on..) get your plate out, lay you a few Corn Fritters on your plate along with a nice, red, juicy, German Johnson ‘mater slice.  Now THAT’S some good eating!

 

My darling daughter, Jennifer, I just want to say, I love you.  Thanks for letting me share my Southern love of cooking with you.

Apples for Strawberries

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There’s always those moments in life that you don’t want to repeat. Then there are the moments in life that you would repeat over and over again. This past Wednesday was one of those days. As you may have already realized, I went to pick Strawberries this past Wednesday. I don’t ever remember doing this growing up (although, Mom begs to differ on this one), and in reality found it quite enjoyable. Whether it was the fresh air, the beautiful scenery, the comfort of being on a farm, or just being with Mom, it was an awesome experience.

It began as we pulled into the dirt driveway of the Strawberry Farm. I chose a local place in my town, so I could support my local farms. We should all do this people! We got out of our car, approached the wood shed and with not many a word we were handed aluminum baskets to gather our Strawberries in. The direction given was to the left and as far back as we could make it down the dirt path. The trek began, and we decided to cut through the middle of the field – no worries, we weren’t trekking through plants, there were designated cross-over spots. Our feet wouldn’t land on one row until we were already looking ahead to the next row to pick on. So, onward we would go continuing to the next row and so forth. The Strawberries always seemed redder the further we went in. This went on for about 7 or 8 rows, until we decided that the next row would always look better, but we should stay where we are because this row was just as beautiful when you really took time to appreciate it – sound like life a bit???

The first Strawberry of our journey, picked by my wonderful Mom.

Back bending after back bending, strawberry after strawberry, filled quart after filled quart. Before too long we had picked 16 quarts. On a side note, we were trying to get done before these two older ladies to our right, but then we realized they were picking 32 quarts and were almost done once we got our 16 quarts done, so we had to concede. *smiles*

Mom and I made our way back across the rows, offering to help an elderly couple make it to the “next redder row” just as we had done. As we made the trek up the dirt path now to the cash register, we noticed there were so many other produce items they were growing here. There were greens galore, broccoli – confession, had never actually seen how broccoli grew, not sure I ever even had an idea how it did grow – tomatoes, lots of peppers, etc. This was truly a beautiful farm. We paid our money and were given flats to place our fresh-picked strawberries in. Mom purchased a cantaloupe and a beautiful head of cabbage for Maw-Maw, and we were on our way back to the car. The service was friendly, not over-bearing, and done with a smile. You really had the feeling like you belonged there.

This leads me to my title…Apples for Strawberries. The name of the farm was Apple Farm. The irony is absolute bliss. It’s here local, and comes highly recommended from The Onyx Plate. The best thing about this farm??? They don’t have a website…I love the simplicity.

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Caking with Mom: The Final Touch of Love

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In the end, just like in life, it’s the little added touches that make everything worthwhile.  Whether it is something as simple as a kind smile added to your day from a stranger, or a special delivery coming in the mail.  It’s all about the special touches of life you and others add daily.

Here, Mom is putting on little edible “pearls”.  They are hand-rolled out of fondant and then dusted with an edible pearl dust.  Every little girls outfit needs a touch of love and pearls…

 

 

The final product, a little baby girl sweater with booties to match, made with love.

 

 

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I hope you enjoyed this journey as much as I did.  May God continually bless your life with love and happiness all the days ahead. 

It’s time now to return to our regularly scheduled program…at least until another series opportunity presents itself.  *smiles*

Caking with Mom: Tying up some booties…

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With every beautiful sweater cake, you need to make sure all details are done.  Right down to the seam on the front and down to the tie on the ribbon of the booties.  Yes, I said booties.  *smiles*  Super cute booties to match the super cute baby sweater.

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Sadly, only one post left for this beautiful cake and experience….