Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Home-Canned Goodness

Home-Canned Goodies
From Our Garden
Pickled Okra, Tomato Jam, Bread & Butter Pickles,
Pickled Carrots & Cauliflower, Tomatoes,
 Red Cinnamon Pickles,
German Okra with Carrots & Red Peppers,
Jezebel Sauce
and Cinnamon Jelly...We've Been Busy!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Your Hometown Shapes Who You Are & Who You Become

Taylor's Pharmacy
Tullahoma, Tennessee
(Circa 1937)

Taylor's Pharmacy...for anyone growing up in my hometown, those two words bring back a flood of memories. It wasn't just a "drug store"...it was an icon, a gathering place, somewhere to go to always see a friendly face and eat a fantastic meal. You see, Taylor's had a "soda fountain" that was the scene of true Americana! You had your regulars, your colorful characters, 5-cent jukeboxes at each booth and counter seating which usually held the men. Men in suits, men in work clothes, men in uniform, all sitting over one of the best cups of coffee in town!

My father took me there frequently all through the week and on Friday evenings, when the "downtown" was a place to see and be seen. I would have a hard time choosing between my two favorites...the best Cherry Milkshake you could ever hope to find or the real-cream Chocolate Ice Cream, which the waitresses would put in a wax-coated Coca-Cola drink cup for me and cover with "wet walnuts" (for you Yankees, that's walnuts in syrup.) I can remember looking longingly at ladies having lunch and wanting one of the beautiful creations on their plate. I didn't know what they were, so my father could never figure out what to order for me. "Daddy, I want one of those round red things with stuff in it. It's laying on something green on a plate and has stuff on top." Poor Daddy...no wonder he had no idea what I was taking about. (My descriptives vocabulary has grown considerably since then!) I was a grown woman, and Taylor's Soda Fountain was long gone, before I knew what that intriguing dish was...a tomato stuffed with what I'm told was one of the best chicken salads you would ever eat and dusted with paprika on the top. Oh, if I only knew what it was, I could have ordered it...something so simple, but far too complex for a four-year-old to know by name.  It only made me want one more...to go back in time and feel so grown up ordering one of those Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes!

I remember a time I was so sick that the pharmacist, Dr. Bill Mathews, brought medication to my home. This is the same thoughtful, caring pharmacist who presented my parents with a silver spoon, engraved with my name, my birthdate and a clock with the time of my birth, that I treasure today. There was "Ms. Annie," the lady who pierced the ears of just about every little girl in town (and maybe even a few boys in the 70s and 80s)...with a hypodermic needle! She is still around town and everyone knows her!

Yes, Taylor's Pharmacy was a huge piece of my childhood. And the food there, along with my mother's exquisite Southern cooking, delighted and intrigued me so much at such a tender age that I knew, even then, FOOD was in my blood and in my future. I have made a career out of loving food...preparing it, selling it, showcasing it, advertising it on television and radio, teaching people to cook it, feeding it to people and eating it! The places and people in our lives are an important part of shaping who we are and who we become. I'm just so thankful and very happy that I had such a wonderful town filled with wonderful people and experiences to give me part of ME and shape me through lessons, memories and parts of who they were then and, if living, still are today.

Oh, and as for the picture, it was taken a few years (quite a few years) before I was born into this town. Hey, I'm an antique little girl, but I'm not THAT old!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Giveaway and a New Foodie Friend!

Julia Child
Mastering the Art of French Cooking
Bon Appetit!

In the Food Blogging World, we share so many of the same interests. We also appreciate each blogger's differences because they give us new ideas, challenge us to try to new foods or techniques or just plain old entertain us! Check out my new Foodie Friend...Apron Strings Blog. They are having a super giveaway, in honor of Julia Child's 99th Birthday on Monday, August 15th, that you won't want to miss. Don't let the timer go off, because it won't be long until this giveaway is DONE! And Bon Appetit!

From Aprons Strings Blog:

Just a reminder to all our fabulous followers: THERE ARE THREE DAYS LEFT TO ENTER OUR GIVEAWAY OF A BLENDTEC BLENDER! You can enter to win up until midnight on Monday, August 15th.
In honor of culinary icon Julia Child’s 99th birthday on Monday, August 15, 2011, we will be selecting the winner through random.org on Monday at 11:59 p.m. and posting the win on Tuesday, August 16th. Be sure to stop by and see who wins!
Oh, and here’s a bonus: We have enjoyed all your comments so much that we have decided to give away three BONUS PRIZES! Yes, you read that right: we’re picking three of our favorite comments and giving away three copies of Julia Child’s Two Volume set: Mastering the Art of French Cooking, the cookbook that started it all.


Two Volume Set
Mastering the Art of French Cooking
by Julia ChildGiveaway at Apron Strings Blog!
Photo Courtesy of: www.amazon.com

Friday, August 12, 2011

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie, A Food Blogger's Request & Remembering Mikey

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie
in Memory of Mikey

Food Blogger, Jennifer Perillo from In Jennie's Kitchen recently lost her husband, Mikey, to a sudden heart attack. Many of us who follow her blog do not know her personally, but still grieve for her and her girls in their tremendous loss. Jennie has asked anyone and everyone in her personal blog post to make Mikey’s favorite dessert, Creamy Peanut Butter Pie, in his memory. Food Bloggers are a "sharing, caring" type of people and recognize that we are one big family knit together not only by our love for food, but our love for family and tradition. How many of us are using recipes handed down by a loved one...or make a special dish for a special someone in our life and think of them each time we make it? One of my favorite foodie quotes is from Laurie Colwin, author of several books including Home Cooking (1988) and More Home Cooking (1993)...she left us at only 48 years old:

"No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers."

I think we are also surrounded by the memories of those who lovingly cooked for us and those for whom we lovingly cooked. Share this recipe with the ones you love today because you don't know if you will get a tomorrow. Today is the only guarantee we have. This one is for you, Mikey.

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie
(recipe from In Jennie's Kitchen)
Serves 10 to 12
8 ounces chocolate cookies
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 ounces finely chopped chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup creamy-style peanut butter
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Add the cookies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Combine melted butter and cookie crumbs in a small bowl, and stir with a fork to mix well. Press mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Pour over bottom of cookie crust and spread to the edges using an off-set spatula. Sprinkle chopped peanuts over the melted chocolate. Place pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and beat using a stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a small bowl and store in refrigerator until ready to use. Place the cream cheese and peanut butter in a deep bowl. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner's sugar. Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Increase speed to medium and beat until all the ingredients are combined and filling is smooth.
Stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream into the filling mixture (helps lighten the batter, making it easier to fold in the remaining whipped cream). Fold in the remaining whipped cream. Pour the filling into the prepared springform pan. Drizzle the melted chocolate on top, if using, and refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving.

Mikey...a Picture Taken by Jennie
on their Last "Date"
Jennie Now Wears His Wedding Ring
Around Her Neck

Monday, August 1, 2011

Our Garden Goodies & Be Back Soon!

Just Kidding!

We have been AWOL lately from Herban Seeds and we sincerely apologize for that. However, we do have a good excuse...no, the dog didn't eat our homework, er, notes, our computer didn't blow sky-high nor were we abducted by aliens and just returned to our home. Our beautiful garden has produced a glorious bounty and we have been working day and night (no, really, not just an expression...day and night) canning, freezing, jelly-making and pickling. We have some gorgeous fruits of our labor, but it hasn't left enough minutes in the day for much else. We will be back soon with some great recipes so, for now, we will just leave you with a peek at some of our garden goodies.

Red Cinnamon Pickles...
So good, they'll make your tongue slap your brain!

Basil Pepper Jelly...Yum!

Spicy Tomato Jam

Pickled Carrots, Cauliflower
& Roasted Red Pepper...Oh My!

Bread & Butter Pickles and Half-Sours
Two Tastes...Both Delicious!

Cinnamon Jelly...Oooh, La, La!

Garlic Dills & Pickled Okra
So Good!

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