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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Blackberries


I had to share a beautiful picture of a bucket of blackberries that I had picked this past Saturday.  Our berries are plentiful and I will be filling many buckets with berries.  I have been busy making Blackberry Jelly and Mayhaw Jelly to sell at The Market at Dothan Nurseries.  We have been gathering cucumbers, squash, new potatoes, banana peppers, and bell peppers.  When our jalapeno peppers, sweet banana peppers, cayenne peppers, and bell peppers all get ready, I will be busy making my Hot Pepper Jelly. 

We enjoy our fruit orchard and garden.  Life is good.   

Monday, May 14, 2012

Berry Picking Time!


Berry Picking Time!

Our blackberries are ripening and it's one of my favorite times of year.  I love coming home from work each day, eating a quick supper, and going to the fruit orchard to pick blackberries.  When we get to the time of the season when there are large quantities of ripened blackberries, it does not take long to fill up the buckets.  We have country music playing loud enough for the squirrels, deer, birds, and me to enjoy. 

Our mayhaws have finished producing and we gathered 9 gallons of mayhaws from our 3 mayhaw trees.  We kept all 9 gallons for making mayhaw jelly. 

Our cucumbers have produced enough cucumbers for me to make crystalized sweet pickles.  We have enjoyed new potatoes and squash.  Peppers and tomatoes are coming along nicely.  We will probably pick some banana peppers and bell peppers before the week is over.

Our jalapeno peppers, cayenne peppers, sweet banana peppers, and bellpeppers are grown for my hot pepper jelly.  I made over 200 jars of hot pepper jelly last summer and all is gone but 5 jars.  Time to get busy! 

When you have a garden and fruit orchard, you have to gather when your fruit and vegetables get ready or you will lose what you have worked so hard to produce. 

I'm going to take a break from blogging recipes for a month or two, so that I can gather our fruits and vegetables.  I have over a year of recipes posted on my blog, so please enjoy those recipes until I get back to blogging recipes.   

Thanks,

Dianne



Friday, May 11, 2012

Pimento Cheese



Pimento Cheese

I have always bought the container of Pimento Cheese in the refrigerator section of the grocery store for Pimento Cheese sandwiches because I have never made or tasted homemade Pimento Cheese.  A couple of weeks ago, my friend  and co-worker, Brenda,  brought me a taste of her homemade Pimento Cheese and I was hooked.  It was so much better than store-bought Pimento Cheese.  I made Pimento Cheese Wed. night.  I snapped a picture and then put the Pimento Cheese into the refrigerator.  Thursday morning, I got the Pimento Cheese out of the refrigerator, got out a spoon and attempted to spread the Pimento Cheese onto a slice of bread for a sandwich.  Well, the Pimento Cheese did not want to spread!  We had estimated the amount of mayonnaise for the recipe and I did not put enough mayonnaise in the Pimento Cheese.  Thursday evening, I added more mayonnaise and now I have a winner!  Buy a fresh loaf of bread and enjoy!

Pimento Cheese 

8 oz. block of mild cheddar cheese
2 -3 Tbsp. diced pimientos
1/2 tsp. sugar
salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Grate cheese into a bowl.  Add diced pimientos, sugar, salt, pepper, and mayonnaise.  Combine well.  Refrigerate.



Thursday, May 10, 2012

Zesty Italian Chicken


Zesty Italian Chicken

I was at the Painted Lady beach house in Panama City several summers ago with my bestest friend, George Ann, and her two sisters, Judy and Sandy, who own the Painted Lady.  GeorgeAnn asked me if I had ever cooked Zesty Italian Chicken and I said that I had not.  She said that I would love how simple it was to do and she was right.  I know I have  mentioned this before but let me say it again, we do enjoy good cooking at P.C. Beach when we all get together.

When I got home from work on Tuesday, Phillip had cooked stewed squash, new potatoes baked in butter, butterbeans, and Zesty Italian Chicken.  The squash and potatoes were fresh from our garden.  It's beginning to seem like summer with a gardenia bloom in a bud vase near the kitchen sink -  jars of mayhaw and blackberry jelly sitting on the counter top -  a dish pan of sliced cucumbers soaking in alum as they are being prepared for crystalized sweet pickles.  Yep, summer is coming quick. 
Zesty Italian Chicken

4 - 6 chicken breasts
1 bottle of Zesty Italian Dressing

Spray a baking dish with Pam Spray.  Place chicken breasts in baking dish.  Pour entire bottle of Zesty Italian Dressing over the chicken breasts.  Cover with aluminum foil.  Bake at 300 degrees for 2 hrs.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Kentucky Pound Cake



Kentucky Pound Cake

When Phillip and I were dating, the first cake that I made for him was a Kentucky Pound Cake.  My daddy still likes to tell the story of coming home late from work and finding the cake sitting on the kitchen counter.  He knew that I had baked it for Phillip but the aroma tempted his taste buds.  He sliced a piece of cake and enjoyed it with a glass of milk.  He said he then turned the cake plate around, so that when I removed the cake top to the cake plate the first thing that I noticed wouldn't be the missing piece of cake! 

Kentucky Pound Cake


1 1/2 cups of cooking oil
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 Tbsp. hot water
2 1/2 cups of self-rising flour
1 cup of chopped pecans
2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Mix all ingredients together, except pecans.  Stir in pecans.  Pour into a tube pan that has been sprayed with Baker's Joy cooking spray. 

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hr. 15 min.

Be sure to try a piece of cake with a glass of milk just like my daddy did!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hamburger Soup



Hamburger Soup

My mother always made a pot of homemade vegetable soup using beef stew as the meat.  We have tweeked her recipe somewhat and changed the meat to ground chuck.  I have added sweet banana peppers from our garden.  When you have any many peppers as we do, you begin to experiment with some of your recipes.  The white peas in the recipe are fresh peas that we have in our freezer.  This is a simple soup but one that we really like.  Enjoy a bowl with Saltine or Ritz crackers or a grilled cheese sandwich. 

Hamburger Soup

3 lbs. ground chuck
1 large chopped onion
1 - 15 1/4 oz. can whole kernel corn, drained
1 - 14.5 oz. can diced new potatoes, drained
4 - 14.5 oz. cans petite diced tomatoes with liquid
3 sweet banana peppers
1 pint white peas
1 Tbsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. salt

Place ground chuck in a dutch oven or large saucepan.  Add chopped onion.  Press down on meat with a fork while cooking to break into small pieces.  Cook meat until done and then drain.  Add the rest of the ingredients to the ground chuck.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for a couple of hours.  Remove the banana peppers and discard.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Homemade Biscuits



Homemade Biscuits

After I learned to make homemade biscuits, I thought I had arrived as a cook!  My husband, Phillip, wanted me to learn to make "cat-head" biscuits like his Mother made.  ("Cat-head" is a Southern term for biscuits the size of a cat's head).  My mother-in-law always kept a flour bowl in her kitchen cabinet.  It was a large ceramic mixing bowl with flour and a sifter in it at all times.  She covered it with aluminum foil.  When she got ready to make biscuits, she just took the flour bowl out of her cabinet and made a well or hole in the center of the flour.  She added her Crisco shortening and buttermilk and worked the flour with her hands until she got the consistency that she wanted.  She did not have a recipe, so she estimated the amounts of her ingredients and gave the estimates to me.  I took her estimates and worked with them until I could make the "cat-head" biscuits that my husband loves.

The top picture is of the biscuits inverted on a plate.  Our iron skillet is quite heavy, so Phillip usually inverts the biscuits for me.  As you can see, the bottoms of the biscuits will be a light golden brown.  In the second picture, you can see the top of the biscuit and it is a very light brown.  You can also see a biscuit that I had cut in half and smothered with Pioneer Country Gravy Mix that I had made.  These biscuits are very moist inside.   What a treat this was for us this past Saturday morning!

Homemade Biscuits 

4 cups of Martha White self-rising flour
1 1/2 cups of Crisco shortening
2 cups of buttermilk

Melt 2 Tbsp. of shortening in a large iron skillet.  Sift flour in a large bowl.  Make a well or hole in the center of the flour.  Add shortening and buttermilk.  Use your hands to mix all together.  Pinch off a Tbsp. of dough.  Place into floured hands.  Roll the dough in your floured hands into the shape of a ball and continue to roll until the dough is smooth.  Place biscuit in the iron skillet.  After all of the biscuits have been added to the iron skillet, pat the biscuits down gently.  Your iron skillet will be full of biscuits.  Top each biscuit with a small amount of shortening.

Bake at 400 degrees for 23 min.  Remove the iron skillet from the oven.  Invert biscuits onto a plate for serving. 

Pioneer Country Gravy Mix is delicious with the biscuits as well as butter and homemade blackberry jelly made with blackberries from our fruit orchard.  In the winter, it was always a treat for Mrs. Herring's children and grandchildren to get an invite for a supper of Homemade Biscuits, tomato gravy, and ham.  Precious family memory.

Iron skillets can be found at Cracker Barrel or locally at Porter's Hardware in downtown Dothan.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Gone to Market, Again!

Last night, I was a busy girl putting tags on all of my jellies that I was getting ready to take to The Market at Dothan Nurseries.  I will have plenty of Hot Pepper Jelly, Mayhaw Jelly, and Blackberry Jelly.  I made Mayhaw Jelly and Blackberry Jelly this week from mayhaws and blackberries that I had in our freezer.  Our Mayhaw Trees are finished producing and we have gathered 9 gallons of mayhaws for jelly.  Our blackberries are blooming and have lots of blackberries that will be ripe soon.  I will keep several gallons of blackberries for jelly as well as sell blackberries.   Last summer, I made over 200 jars of Hot Pepper Jelly to hopefully last until this summer.  I'm down to 30 jars.  It's a good thing the pepper plants are blooming and putting on peppers. 

Hopefully, I can do some cooking and blogging this weekend!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Green Beans and New Potatoes



Greem Beans and New Potatoes

The new potatoes in our garden are ready.  We eat our new potatoes cooked several different ways.  We slice them thin and fry to make home fries.  We boil them, thicken with flour, pour into a casserole dish and cover with shredded sharp cheddar cheese for Cheesy New Potatoes.  We also melt butter in a dish, add new potatoes that have been quartered, sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover, and bake.  My mother has cooked Green Beans and New Potatoes for as long as I can remember.  She would always add ham when she cooked hers.  She would bake cornbread, too.

Green Beans and New Potatoes

14.5 oz. can Green Beans or fresh green beans
New Potatoes
1 Tbsp. corn oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Open can of green beans and drain liquid.  Pour green beans into a boiler.  Add new potatoes, salt, and pepper.  Add enough water to cover beans and potatoes.  Add corn oil.  Boil for 1 hour over medium heat.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Stewed Squash


Stewed Squash

We now have fresh squash in our garden.  Phillip said that the honey bees are visiting our cucumber blooms, squash blooms, pepper blooms, tomato blooms, and blackberry blooms.  Our nectarines are ripe and so sweet and juicy.  They taste just like a peach.   With warmer days and nights, vegetables and flowers will grow quickly.  I have to get out in the yard each evening and look at the daylillies that have bloomed.  Today, there were light orange with a white stripe, pink, burgundy, and deep maroon blooms.  I like to add new daylillies to our flower bed every year, so I visit Ann's Daylillies on S. Appletree Street in Dothan.  She has so many and her prices are very reasonable. 

Last summer was my first taste of Stewed Squash and I like it alot now.  Phillip's Mom loved for him to bring her squash.  This is her recipe and we think it's just right.  

Stewed Squash 

Dozen squash
1 onion, finely chopped
salt & pepper to taste

Wash and slice squash.  Cover the bottom of an iron skillet with cooking oil.  Add squash, onion, salt, and pepper to iron skillet.  Cover with lid.  Cook on medium heat for 20 to 25 min., stirring occasionally, until squash becomes soft. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Microwave Bacon


Microwave Bacon

We like our bacon cooked in the microwave.  I usually use about 5 paper plates to cook a pack of bacon.  There are about 15 slices of bacon in a pack and I place 5 pieces on each paper plate.  I cover the plate with another plate and place in the microwave.  I cook for 2 min. and then drain the grease.  I then flip the bacon and return the covered plate to the microwave.  I cook the bacon for 1 min. and then remove the plate.  I flip and separate the bacon pieces.  If the bacon is getting close to being done, I will then cook for 30 sec., 20 sec. or 10 sec.  You do not want to overcook the bacon.  

I know those of you who are waiting on a homegrown tomato cannot wait to have a BLT sandwich.  It won't be long now.  We have tomato blooms and tiny tomatoes on the tomato plants.  Did I mention that Phillip has planted 65 tomato plants?  We will  be sharing a lot of tomatoes this summer!