There really is a place that serves a
One Pound Brioche Doughnut
Need I say more?
Would you eat one?
Use the best quality ingredients you can for amazing cookies.
Add the butter and sugars, stir to combine. Add eggs and vanilla, mix until smooth.
In a separate bowl combine:
Add to sugar and butter mixture; stir to combine. Do not over mix.
Use a small scoop to make even size cookies. Space 2 inches apart. Sprinkle the tops of each cookie with Maldon Flaked Salt, if desired.
Bake 350°F for 15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Let cookies sit on the pan for a few minutes to “set up” before moving the cookies to cooling rack.
Make sure you hide some for yourself because they go fast!
Tradition in the American south has wide influences. In this traditional New Years dish, you can see cultural influences from Europe and Africa.
Hoppin’ John is a dish that combines rice and black-eyed peas. Typically it is flavored with a ham hock or bacon. But if you don’t eat pork, you can make a vegetarian version that is just as flavorful. This year we used spicy turkey sausage and it was great!
Stories go according to how many black-eyed peas you get on your fork, is how much luck you will have in the new year.Three peas should be left on your plate to represent health, wealth, and love or faith, hope, and charity or even luck, romance and money.
The meal is accompanied with food items that represent wealth: greens like collards, turnip greens, swiss chard, cabbage or kale represent “folding money” so be sure to serve plenty of greens on new years.
Carrots are cut into rounds to represent gold coins, corn bread is often served because it is the color of gold as well.
Tradition states to eat like a pauper on New Years day and eat like a king the rest of the year.
In some parts of the south, left-over “Hoppin’ John” is called “Skippin’ Jenny” after New Years day. After that, we just call it beans and rice, served up with a “mess of collards” and cornbread.
Don’t forget the pot liquor.
Slice the sausage into 1″ slices. Saute in olive oil for 3 minutes.
Add onion. Sweat the onions (cook without browning) until they become translucent.
Add the garlic, rice and thyme. Stir to coat the rice.
Add the chicken stock, black-eyed peas, oregano, salt, and pepper.
Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer 20 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender.
Here is a 20 minute video of how to make a crown roast for the upcoming holiday meal. Enjoy!
#crownroast #crownroastofpork #crownroastoflamb #holidaymeal #delicious
These spiced pecans are from China Grove, NC. A friend of our has a grove of pecans that produced a bumper crop this year. The three boys use the pecans to raise money for music instruments. So it is a great cause to support.
I look forward to the Helms Farm Pecans every year.
There are so many spiced and candied nut recipes out there, you can modify any one of them to fit your tastes. Personally, I love the sweet, salty, slightly hot flavor of these nuts. The warm spices enhance the amazing flavor of the roasted nut, the chili powder gives a slight amount of entertaining heat and the sugars make them indulgent.
Imagine these with fresh pears and bleu cheese! Now, that is an amazing platter to put out with pre-dinner wine and champagne.
Pre-heat the oven to 300°F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment or use a silpat.
Beat the egg white to soft peaks. If it is properly beaten, there will be no liquid in the bottom of the bowl.
Tip: Wipe the bowl and beaters with vinegar to remove any possible oils that may be on the surface. This will ensure a successfully beaten egg white.
While the egg white is beating, mix the sugar and spices in a small bowl.
When the egg is properly beaten, add the seasonings.
Fold in the pecans and toss to evenly coat all of the nuts. Separate any nuts that stick together.
Spread onto a lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Stir them occasionally for even roasting.
Cool, separating any nuts that stick together again after roasting.
Package and present as a wonderful gift for anyone!
Please be aware that if you put these out for a party, they will disappear fast! I suggest you save them for a small group.
A nip in the morning, time to grab a light jacket.
Here is a quick listing of what’s in season now.
Click on the links for recipes and other great information while you read the list!
Apples – Quite abundant for apple dumplings and apple sauce now through February. Find an orchard and go apple picking!
Beets – get some baby ones and roast them. So delicious! Pickle some for later. Ummm
Bok Choy – debuts mid month! Make a refreshing salad of crisp stir-fry
Cabbage – plenty on hand until mid December. Try your hand at making Sauerkraut or Kimchee
Cherry Tomatoes – these juicy gems will be gone by November. I’ve witnessed my plants slowing way down in production. Enjoy them now!
Collards – A year round favorite green. Make some cornbread, cook up some pinto beans, add simmered collards and YUM! You’ve got quite a meal.
Cucumbers – are saying good bye. As in days of yore, if you haven’t put up your pickles yet, you’re almost out of time!
Greens – Like cooler weather so there should be a good selection through mid December. Time to fortify.
Herbs – There are many you will find in the markets. They are quite easy to grow so you should consider a small container of herbs for your kitchen.
Indian Corn – for decoration
Kale – Hearty and healthy; abundantly available. Make salads, stews, soup, smoothies, chips, saute it, wraps. . .
Lettuce – makes another quick season before it gets too cold.
Muscadine Grapes – nearly gone. Freeze some for holiday punch bowls and drinks. Crush, simmer and extract the juice. Make sorbet to die for. Definitely worth doing
Mushrooms – you should be seeing a nice supply through the end of November
Napa Cabbage – shows us a quick cool season until mid December when the deep cold sets in with shorter sunlight hours
Peanuts – Seems these are always available
Pears – Nice juicy pears are around until the end of October. Poach a few, can a few more for winter treats.
Persimmons – The perennial Fall Favorite to those who like them. Honestly, I don’t get it.
Pumpkins – Yay! I get them for carving, roasting, eating, I plant succulents on them, decorate with them. After Thanksgiving, I paint them Christmas colors.
Radishes – There should be a bunch of radishes this month. I love the French Breakfast Radish. Yeah.
Raspberries – Fresh and short lasting. Enjoy them, freeze them but that’s just not the same as fresh. Gotta love those little seeds!
Romaine – Another lettuce for the Fall season. Practice your Caesar Salad skills.
Snow Peas – Toss some into your Stir-fry, I like to snack on them like chips. So crisp and delicious!
Spinach – Add just a pinch of fresh grated nutmeg to your spinach for an awesome flavor compliment. Just a small pinch is all you need.
Sweet Potatoes – Available all year.
Tomatoes – If you grow them, watch for the first freeze and pick whats left. Make Green Tomato Chow-chow or Green Tomato Pie (tastes just like apple!)
Turnips – add some to soup, mash some with your mashed potatoes. Toss some into your greens as they cook. My favorite, Pickled Turnips!
#localfood #eatfresh #healthyeating #freshfood #seasonalfood #localfarmers #farmersmarkets #freshfruit #freshvegetables #whatsinseasonnow
These vegetables were grown from the seed, mulched and grown totally organically by Robert’s sister, Shelton, who lives in Boone, NC, up in the mountains.
This explains why she still had broccoli! I was overjoyed at the bounty:
Russet potatoes, garlic onions, red onions, broccoli, green and purple peppers, tomatoes and what looks like a purple tomato, green beans, red cabbage and green cabbage; it is an amazing gift.
We had just bought corn, kale, collards, arugula and spinach at the farmers market so we will be eating quite good this week.
These were just in time for a cold day in July, needless to say, I made some amazing vegetable soup.
TIP: Cut all the vegetables about the same size. Use different shapes for visual interest. Remember everything needs to fit on the spoon, not hang over.
Chop it all up, sweat (cook without browning) the onions, carrots and cabbage, once these vegetables are tender, add the rest of the ingredients.
Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat and simmer until the vegetables are done. Adjust the seasonings and serve.
French Toast Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Slathered in Blueberry Sauce is delicious and nutritious although not diet food. This dish came to me while trying to use up some things to make room in the refrigerator.
I make 95% of the bread we eat and typically use lots of grains in the loaves. We buy organic eggs from the farmers market and the blueberry sauce is made from a batch of berries I bought to make a pie but never did. So instead of the berries going bad (I couldn’t believe no one ate them!) I made a sauce. The recipe is below and is very simple.
Mix all the ingredients, except the bread, in a flat pan. Place the sliced bread in the egg mixture, turning to coat. Let the bread sit in the mixture so it can soak it all up.
Heat a pan large enough to hold all the slices, place the soaked bread in the hot pan and cook until each side is golden brown.
Place the French Toast on a warm plate, immediately spread the goat cheese on one side of the bottom slice, top with another slice of hot French Toast.
Pour Blueberry Sauce all over and serve.
Now if you wanted, you could whip some honey and cinnamon into the goat cheese before spreading it onto the French Toast. It would put this dish completely over the top!
This is soooo good! And made with whole grains so you will feel full and had great energy all morning.
Like I said, not diet food, but whole, real food.
Wash and pick through the blueberries. Discard and soft, moldy or squished berries, leaves, stems and twigs. Combine everything into one pan and bring it to a boil. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until its thick. If you want the sauce smooth, put it in a blender or use an immersion blender to puree the sauce to the desired consistency. I like mine to have a few whole berries left in it. You can always choose to put some fresh berries with it when you serve it too.
This sauce is great on this decadent French Toast and over pancakes, ice cream and even over grilled salmon. Treat yourself and try that one!
At the college where I work, we got permission to raise honey bees and this week was our first opportunity in harvesting honey.
Bees are in danger and need all the care and help they can get. So to see one of the two hives we have thrived is quite a source of glee and happiness.
I am not a bee keeper but I am a local honey devotee.
Local honey helps with all kinds of pollen related allergies. As someone who was highly allergic to just about anything that grew, once I started consuming local honey and local bee pollen, the allergies for the most part, disappeared!
On to the harvest!
The box that had the frames which held the honey had been removed from the hive stack the day before.
It really pissed some bees off, Jim got stung a couple of times. Why not? The bees were only protecting their winter survival source.
The “Extraction Room” had to be readied: plastic on the floor, tables, warm honey extracting knife,
centrifuge assembled, screen filters, buckets,
jars and damp paper towels all in place. Don’t forget the tasting spoons!
Each of the frames weighed around 7.5 pounds before removing the honey and 1.5 pounds after. The process is sticky but amazingly rewarding.
Once you have everything ready to go, one of the frames is placed so the wax caps can be removed from both sides of the frame using a warm knife made for doing just these kinds of things. Catching the wax caps in a bucket below is a great idea as this is “virgin” beeswax, perfect for making lip balms and body lotions; just wash the honey out gently in cool water.
Place the frames in the centrifuge, there’s a certain angle they have to be placed because the bees create the honey combs on a particular angle to prevent the honey leaking out. Clever things!
Once the honey is spun out of the combs, it needs to be filtered.
It gets filtered through a larger screen mesh then into a fine mesh into a clean bucket below.
Then it is ready to bottle. When the honey is first bottled, there are a lot of air bubbles in it.
Due to the viscosity of the honey, it takes some time for them to rise and leave behind the clear, lovely color of the honey.
From our first harvest, we extracted 3.81 gallons!
We are naming it “Greenway Gold” since the hives are near the Greenway here in Charlotte.
Look at our stash!
Our honey is pale yellow and has a very floral flavor, similar to an orange blossom. It is delicate and sweet and couldn’t get any more local. Heck, it’s made just outside my office door!
Here’s an amazing part: the bees will refill the empty combs and will “clean up” any honey left on any of the buckets and other things. It’s good for them. Our main concern is the equipment getting stolen so Jim takes the things home for his home bees.
Did you know a honey bee will only produce about 1 teaspoon of honey in its lifetime? These are amazing critters.
There is a “Bee School” around here that is working hard to encourage people to keep bees. I don’t think I’d ever actually keep my own, but I will certainly continue to help with the honey extraction!
Now I can have some honey flavor in my lip balm formulas, won’t that be nice?
Autumn is one of the great seasons; watching the color of the leaves turn, the brisk crisp coolness in the air and the emergence of pumpkins and squash in the market.
Today I saw these mini pumpkins and some white pie pumpkins, so I filled my basket.
This stuffed mini pumpkin makes a great little side dish. The best part is you can fill it with a variety of things, from soup to salad or use it to hold grains or a mix of things like I did here.
When using a variety of things inside the pumpkin, remember to cut them small so you can get a bit of everything in one bite.
I think these would make a really pretty side dish on Thanksgiving table or buffet.
To present them on a platter, think ‘patch patch’ and decorate around the pumpkins with salad greens or Brussels sprouts.
To prepare the pumpkins, cut the tops off using a sharp knife. Then gently scoop out the insides and discard.
Season the pumpkins inside with salt and pepper and a small bit of fresh butter.
Steam the pumpkins until the inside flesh is tender. Test by using a fork or tip of a paring knife.
Do not poke through the shell to test doneness, that would cause the pumpkin to leak any liquids you put inside.
Once the flesh is done, place the pumpkins upside down on a clean towel and allow them to drain for a few minutes.
Carefully fill each pumpkin with the filling. If serving warm, cover each pumpkin with tin foil and put it in an oven set at 400°F for 30 minutes or until the contents are warm.
If serving the pumpkins cool or at room temperature, chill before filling.
The filling used for these pumpkins is a filling that reflects the changes of the season.
Keeping the vegetables separate as you cut them, roast them for about 10 minutes in a 350°F oven or until each cube is done through.
Chop the toasted nuts and dried cranberries then combine them in a bowl, add the beets and potatoes as they finish roasting. Mix together and sprinkle in the feta cheese. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. A touch in cinnamon or ginger is a very nice addition and fragrant too.
Either cool the mixture to serve cold or warm the mixture then stuff the pumpkins. Cover with the pumpkin “lid”, wrap in foil and warm in the oven.
Use spatulas to lift the cooked pumpkins because the skin gets delicate and tears easily.
Combine all ingredients except the oil in a large bowl, whisk together. Add the oil and whisk to combine. Adjust seasonings, stir or shake just before serving.
Top the stuffed pumpkins with a bit of Honey Peppercorn Vinaigrette just before serving and add a bit to the stuffing for added moisture.
I hope you try making these stuffed mini pumpkins this season. Personally I love squashes of all kinds and look forward to this time of year.