Sunday, September 25, 2016

French Bread Pizza

Pizza made with French bread and a few of my own unique, personal twists that put it over the top.

French Bread Pizza

A few days ago I went to Walmart for one of those bigger trips that usually involve multiple pet products and various and sundry household stuff. I couldn't resist picking up a few more Pioneer Woman goodies while I was there - these adorable little measuring cup bowls and some of the kitchen towels this time.



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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Spaghetti with Olive Oil, Garlic and Melted Tiny Tomatoes

My interpretation of Aglio e Olio, spaghetti, sauteed in olive oil and garlic, tossed with fresh herbs, red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese, and finished with melted tiny tomatoes.

Spaghetti with Olive Oil, Garlic and Melted Tiny Tomatoes

I cannot imagine living my life without pasta. I hope the day never comes that I have to!

I try not to go overboard with it, of course, and yes, like everybody else, I try to incorporate some of the healthier pastas into my diet here and there too. Some of it is quite good, like this Dreamfields brand (love!).



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Friday, September 16, 2016

Melted Tiny Tomatoes

Melted tiny tomatoes - cherry and grape tomatoes, roasted with olive oil and a few seasonings, pictured here smeared on toasted bread, though they also serve as an excellent base when pureed for sauces, tossed with pasta, as a pizza topper or added to sandwiches and salads.

Melted Tiny Tomatoes

It's still hotter than hot down here in the Deep South, and I am already missing summer vegetables. Locally grown summer vegetables are pretty much out the door around here. Thankfully, veggies from other sources, in and outside of the country, can always be found thanks to free trade and all that, so that's some solace... I suppose. Truth is, I'm already starting to have cravings for the foods of fall anyway.


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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Book Review - Heart of the Home: Notes from a Vineyard Kitchen

The 30th anniversary revival of Heart of the Home: Notes from a Vineyard Kitchen by Susan Branch, is truly a nostalgic step back to a much simpler time. Beautifully hand-written and illustrated with an emphasis on simple, fresh, homemade recipes, it's a celebration of the best things that truly make life sweet and perfect for gift-giving, even as a gift for yourself!
I love to read, always have for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a very modest household, however, and there really wasn't a budget for book purchases - though I have since made up for that about a bazillion percent! Bookshelves overflowing with books are a natural part of my home decor and they range from every type there is.

Back in the day the library was my second home and the bookmobile always a welcome vision for me as a young girl. They even came around the neighborhood during the summers! We couldn't afford family vacations, but I could certainly escape to anywhere within the pages of a book.


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Saturday, September 3, 2016

Southern Style Skillet Ratatouille

Southern Style Skillet Ratatouille - a simple stew of diced vegetables, made with bacon drippings, the Trinity of Southern Cooking, zucchini and summer squash, tomato, eggplant, okra and fresh herbs.

Southern Style Skillet Ratatouille

Most folks these days seem to associate ratatouille with the Disney movie of the same name, and many may only know it from that. It actually is a real Mediterranean dish, most closely associated with France and said to have originated in Nice. The word perhaps comes from "touiller" and translates to mean something akin to "toss or stir."

Traditionally ratatouille is simply zucchini and tomatoes, with peppers, garlic and onion, sometimes sliced, sometimes cut into chunks. Somewhere along the way, eggplant was included, and though it wasn't always a part of the traditional dish, it's pretty much expected these days. I decided to make it with a dice of a variety of summer vegetables that we love in the south.


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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Pineapple Icebox Cake

Pineapple Icebox Cake, made with layers of Nilla wafers, a blend of cream cheese, pudding and condensed milk with pineapple and whipped topping. I like to finish mine with a little coconut, maraschino cherries and a sprinkle of chopped nuts.

Pineapple Icebox Cake

Can y'all believe that summer is almost out the door? Well, it won't be temperature-wise around here for months yet, but kids around here have been back in school for weeks now and we're already coming up on Labor Day?

Well, are y'all sittin' down? Because last month I shared a Summer Berry Cobbler and today, I already have a dessert again!! I say that, because, if you've been around here any length of time, you know that I'm much more of a savory gal than I am a sweets lover.


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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo

Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo - highly spiced, sauteed shrimp, tossed in fettuccine noodles and a lighter alfredo sauce, made with 2 percent milk and a quality freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo

I don't know too many folks who don't like a rich alfredo sauce. I mean, let's face it. When you go out to a restaurant do you ask for your cream sauces to be made with skim milk? Um, nope.

Heavy cream is delicious, though I don't keep it in my fridge all the time, and it's not something I want to consume on a regular basis. I usually only buy it for a very specific recipe. Like holiday mashed potatoes. Custard ice cream. Rich, oyster stew. Or my spicy tomato cream sauce for pasta. Definitely my cream biscuits with the leftovers!


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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Refrigerator Dilly Beans

Refrigerator Dilly Beans - Fresh green beans, quickly blanched, then covered in a pickled brine, with fresh dill, garlic and hot peppers.

Refrigerator Dilly Beans

I have a love-love relationship with anything pickled - cucumber pickles, of course, my favorite being bread and butter - I can plow through a jar of those like nobody's looking, though frankly I really haven't met a pickle I didn't love.

I adore pickle relish. My favorite hotdog, aside from chili and cheese, is one with mustard, ketchup, chopped raw Vidalia onion and boatloads of pickle relish. Pickled okra? Yep. Pickled veggies? Yes, indeed. Pickled onions, of course! Even pickled shrimp. And now, pickled green beans, better known as Dilly Beans.


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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Southern Style Butter Beans - Baby Lima Beans

Fresh butterbeans, or frozen, baby lima beans, slow simmered in a ham hock seasoned broth with onion, chicken base, salt and pepper, and finished with a nob of butter or bacon drippings - a definite summertime southern favorite.

Southern Style Butterbeans - Baby Lima Beans

I love butterbeans - big and small - and I don't understand for the life of me, why some southerners get all up in a tizzy about what is a butter bean, any more than what constitutes a "real" cornbread or whether a hoecake is flour or cornmeal based. The internet has opened the south to all southerners and revealed that despite what we thought growing up, there is no one south. Truth is, how you cook in the south and what you call things in the south, depends on what part of the south you grew up in and how your mama did it, which is more likely than not to be different from how somebody else's mama did. Folks in south Mississippi cook differently than folks in north Alabama and folks in Louisiana cook differently than folks in Georgia. It's just food y'all, it's all good, so how about let's just eat and stop with the arguing about what we think is right?

These are another very simple side dish that southerners love and another one that I can literally make a meal of. Just add a chunk of cornbread and I'm pretty happy! These are one side dish that I have to share though, since it's one of the few that the veggie opposed Cajun in my household will also eat.


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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Foil Packet Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob, smeared with a garlic and herb butter blend, individually wrapped and baked or grilled.

Foil Packet Corn on the Cob

I'm hearing chatter here and there of back to school already and I'm not all that unhappy! No, it's not for any of the reasons you're probably thinking. It's all because back to school means fall is near, and I am sincerely looking forward to fall this year. This summer has been miserable and it seems as if it gets harder and harder to handle as I get older. I've become a near vampire this year to avoid the heat, so I'm ready for some soup and sweater weather!


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