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Happy July 4th Y’all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4th of july

July 4th – Steak by Bobby Flay and Ranch Dressing By Ina Garten

If you have been reading my blog for a while you might think I am a little weird and I will not deny it.  I think as a Southerner when someone is weird we will say they are eccentric.  Whatever you want to call me really doesn’t matter but you might think my choice of sharing a ranch dressing with you for the 4th of July to be a little strange.

When I was working extra hours over the last few weeks and browsing through my Ina Garten cookbooks,  I determined that I could whip up Ina Garten’s ranch dressing quite easily and it would be great with the fresh summer greens and vegetables.  I think if you are attending a July 4th occasion this would be a great option.  Of course, it may be passed up for baked beans, potato salad or macaroni and cheese but trust me, the guests that make that choice are missing out on something luscious.

This past weekend Mr. D and I prepared steak on the grill at home and as I was tired, he prepared most of the meal.  We had greens with sliced tomato and the wonderful ranch dressing, steak grilled using Bobby Flay’s recipe and baked potato with garlic bread.  I would call that meal restaurant quality for sure.

Here is a link to Bobby Flay’s method of preparing restaurant quality steak at home.  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/grilled-rib-eye-steak-with-brown-butter-and-blue-cheese.html

The only thing that we did differently was use a New York strip instead of the rib eye and we did not garnish with blue cheese as we did not have any. I must say that the steak was wonderful and we will probably continue to use this method.

Here is a picture of my ranch dressing:IMG_3476

As I share Ina Garten’s recipe below for the dressing, I do agree with her that you only need a quality portion of bibb lettuce as the salad for this dressing.  I used curly lettuce I had purchased at the farmer’s market and either cucumber or tomato to add a different texture and color.

Here is the recipe from Ina Garten’s cookbook “barefoot contessa how easy is that?.” I used green onions instead of the shallot and the dressing is just absolutely amazing.

ranch dressing

 

I may be eccentric or just downright weird but I have learned that you can prepare something simply and it can still be tasty.  I think the best part of the meal was sharing and cooking together with Mr. D.  It wasn’t a chore or a curse, it was spending fun time together and enjoying a restaurant meal at home.

Hope you have fun plans scheduled for the upcoming July 4th weekend.  Thanks for stopping by.

 

Crustless Tomato Pie

The last two weeks have been challenging for me.  I usually work between 17 and 20 hours a week but I was asked to work about 30 hours for the last two weeks.  I was happy to help out in a staff shortage situation at work but I have decided I enjoy working part time when it really is part of the time. Complicating the situation was the fact that Mr. D and I volunteered to help out with Vacation Bible School at our church the first week and that meant I was away from home from around 5:00 PM until at least 8:30. I was very appreciative of the fact that a meal was served at Vacation Bible School and that helped with the time challenge. And then the worst part was the fact that I had to be at work every morning at 8:00 AM.

Towards the end of the first week I could feel myself spinning out of control.  I told Mr. D that I felt very stressed and as if I was neglecting our home. This is the funny part.  I came to my cookbook shelf and scooped up all of my Ina Garten cookbooks and took them to him.  He said, ‘What are you doing?”  I said, “I  miss cooking and I haven’t cooked anything good in so long.”  That wasn’t true but at the time I felt as if the world was speedily passing me by.

I started thinking about the recipe I am sharing with you today.  I clipped it last summer and I think I wanted to prepare it and share it with you; however, another post must have taken priority over it.  I made the pie this weekend and it is so good.  It appealed to me because it is crustless and that is good for Mr. D, the Diabetic.  I was a little apprehensive about his take on the pie and but he loved it.  The ricotta and parmesan made it so creamy and the wonderful fresh tomatoes made it even better.  We had our first fresh corn with the pie and it made our meal so special.

crustless tomato pie

I really have no idea where this recipe came from but I do believe it was from Our State Magazine.  I also made an Ina Garten recipe over the weekend so I think I have gotten back to my regular routine.  One of the great joys of being semi-retired is having time and not being in the rush of working full time.  I haven’t forgotten how that feels and the past two weeks have definitely helped me to remember that.

I hope you are enjoying those wonderful freshly grown tomatoes no matter where you are.  Thanks for stopping by.

Summertime Is Party Time In The South

In the summertime it seems as if party time escalates in the South.  There are weddings, reunions, anniversary celebrations, garden parties, picnics and so many other occasions to prepare and share food.  I have really enjoyed reading the By Invitation Only Cookbook by the Junior League of Pensacola, Florida. The book is beautifully illustrated and honestly, I think there is a menu of wonderful recipes for every occasion.  I had every intention of sharing recipes that would be good possibilities for weddings; however, I have chosen several different recipes to share with you that would be great for many different special occasions.

I love Vidalia Onions and I can imagine making this onion dip for a picnic or neighborhood block party.

vidalia onion dip

I think the egg salad sandwiches would be great for a luncheon or a wedding or baby shower.

sandwiches

The Orange Tiramisu would be great for a family reunion and the peaches in wine would be great for just about anything.

peaches

I love the salad dressings and they would be so good for those wonderful summertime vegetables.

dressings

 

 

What about serving this pasta salad as a surprise dish for a mid-week meal.

SW pasta salad

I hope you enjoyed these recipes as much as I have enjoyed sharing them to you.  Here is North Carolina we have been having very warm days and it seems more like August.  I hope it starts to rain soon and we can have more enjoyable days outdoors.  Right now, I am just very thankful for air conditioning.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thinking About Charleston Today

When I woke up Thursday morning and heard about the tragedy in Charleston, I couldn’t believe it for a while.  When I told Mr. D about it, I wanted to think I had a nightmare and it wasn’t really true.

I have written about Charleston many times on this blog and it is one of my favorite places to visit.  I think of the wonderful people I have met and talked to in Charleston and the friendliness and kindness they always expressed.  It has saddened me to think of the hurt they are experiencing right now.

Today, in memory of the people who lost their lives while worshiping and studying the Bible in their church, I just want to share some pictures taken during my visits to Charleston.  I see this tragedy as bringing the city of Charleston together instead of tearing it apart. Our country needs to value life again and stop the killing.

In 1989 Hurricane Hugo devastated the city of Charleston and they rose up from that and rebuilt the city.  They will recover from this tragedy too. There is an old saying that “The South Shall Rise Again and Charleston Shall Rise Again Too.

As you look at these pictures please keep the wonderful people of Charleston in your thoughts and prayers.

Below is a picture of me with Betty Simmons that sells baskets in front of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in downtown Charleston.

2013-04-01 11.10.03

The picture below is of  the steeple of St. Michael’s and that has always been a landmark for me that I have arrived in the beautiful city of Charleston.

2013-04-01 11.05.07

The picture below is of a park in downtown Charleston.

Charleston June-2009 032

The following pictures or street scenes or pictures of homes as we walked through the city a couple of years ago.

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Charleston June-2009 025

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Charleston June-2009 020

Charleston June-2009 019

Charleston June-2009 017

Charleston June-2009 015

Charleston June-2009 014

 

As I wrote this post, the words to this song came to mind.

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be.
With God as our Father
Brothers all are we.
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment
And live each moment
With peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth,
And let it begin with me.

Charleston June-2009 013

 

Growing up in the South, I knew having a gun as a possession was a way of life for many.  However, the people who owned them also had a respect for life.  Times have changed. I hope this tragedy will help us to realize how precious life really is.  Thanks for stopping by.

Dori Sanders – Best Iced Tea Ever and Flash Frozen Peaches

Today, I am featuring two more recipes from Dori Sanders’ Country Cooking Cookbook.  The first recipe is for Best Iced Tea Ever given to Dori by her cousin, Lottie.  I think you have to be really brave to say it is the best iced tea because I think many families in the South take pride in having a family member that makes the best iced tea ever.  I do like Mr. D’s tea but I will say the best iced tea I ever had was at Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House in Savannah, Georgia.

I do like Dori’s recipe and I will try her hint in the first paragraph about removing the rind from the lemon before squeezing the juice.  We are experiencing an extreme heat wave right now and just the thought of this wonderful iced tea sounds so refreshing.

iced tea

I am looking forward to the peach season beginning here soon and I think the idea of flash freezing peaches is wonderful.  I know I have had a few peaches left over before and wanted to do something with them to preserve them but had no idea how to do that.  I do flash freeze a few berries for winter and now I know I can do the same thing with peaches.  I am not going to doubt the advice of a peach farmer that runs a fruit stand.

flash freezing peaches

I hope you have enjoyed the recipes and hints from Dori.  Mr. D and I are hoping that we will be able to take a road trip to Dori’s family farm stand sometime over the summer.  It is less than two hours from our house to farm.

So Does That Mean I Am Southern because I love Dori Sanders, Peaches and Summertime?  I certainly hope so.  Thanks for stopping by.

Dori Sanders – A Summertime Southern Favorite -Fresh Corn and Tomato Stew

dori sanders cookbook

Over the last couple of weeks I have featured a favorite fellow blogger on my blog.  Today, I am going to share one of my favorite Southern cooks and cookbooks.  Last year I found Dori Sanders’ Country Cooking cookbook at our local library and decided I wanted my own personal copy.  Dori grew up on one of the oldest African American-owned farms in South Carolina.  On Summer days Dori is either working on the farm or at the Sanders Farm Stand in Filbert, South Carolina.

As she has written two novels, she tells wonderful stories and shares many experiences of growing up on a farm in the South.  I think I relate so much to her stories because they remind me of my life growing up and the stories my parents or grandmother told us about growing up as farmers.

I am truly amazed at some of the innovations Dori uses and she explains in her introductions how the recipe was created and a lot of it had to do with the food that was available on the farm.

Today I am sharing Dori’s recipe for Fresh Corn and Tomato Stew because it uses so many of the fresh vegetables that are becoming available for us to enjoy.

PAGE 1

corn & okra stew 1

Page 2

corn & okra stew 2

Along with the recipes are stories of different events and memories of growing up and one of my favorites was about the wash pot.  I do remember when I was really young that we had a wash pot.  It was only used on rare occasions and then I remember that my Mother used it as a flower-pot and planted flowers in it.  The story of Dori’s wash pot brought back fond memories for me.

wash pot

The farmers not only in the South but all over our country used the ingredients they grew on their farms to feed their families.  I think it is good that we are becoming more conscious of eating fresh products.  I think for people like Dori it has always been a way of life.

So Does That Mean I Am Southern Because I love Dori Sanders, I certainly hope so.   Thanks for stopping by.

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