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East Coast USA, United States
Lowcountry porch sitter. Appalachian Mountain lover. Finger Lakes dreamer.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Buttermilk, Patriots and Poppies

Only a few guidelines set the tone for this particular Memorial Day weekend...securing red poppies and perfecting my picnic fare. This year, buttermilk takes center stage as the headline ingredient in many of the courses. (Actually, I started pouring and it just kept going). Here I feature three of those items. Borrowing a recipe from @TheRunawaySpoon for Buttermilk Fried Chicken as the Southern experience mentioned in the recipe blog is one I can truly identify with. Also after diving into Chef Richard's blog post on the GastroPub of the modern I'm drawn back to his portfolio to indulge readers in another home grown recipe from Maggie's Pub for Local Beet and Buttermilk Blue Cheese Salad. And finally a Buttermilk Pie that is likened to creme brulee's culinary cousin. What is not included here, poppy seed dressing for fresh greens, marcaroni salad, coleslaw, biscuits, and Amish sugar cookies round out the experience. We will graze, yes, but no one will lose site of the intent to reflect and salute those that have made such leisure pleasures possible.

Friday, May 20, 2011

True Grits and Relish

Grits are a staple dish in this part of the country, pretty much everyone knows that or discovers that after reading back issues of Coastal Living, Garden and Gun or Southern Living. Sometimes it's a reference to the people you find in the Lowcountry (those I like to refer to as salt of the sea type folk) other times its the food product. Our local farmers markets provide a myriad of produce, food products and grit (we have an abundance of such entities in Beaufort County, just waiting for another one to pop up so that we can start taglining the area as "serving local product from the source seven days a week"...seriously I think that would be something to tout) . One of my favorite food product vendors that exemplifies true grit as they make the rounds to all the local markets is Vegetable Kingdom, they carry jarred delicacies from preserves to pickles to chutney in about every seasonal flavor imaginable. My favorite is the Hot Pepper Pecan Jelly, truly it can stand on its own no need to use it as a garnish or spread, but lately I've been turned on to their relishes. So I've pulled out a recipe from my Vegetarian Recipes: Better Homes and Gardens Cooking for Today a 1993 hard copy edition that takes the ever popular staple (grits) and marries it with a relish...Southern Grits Casserole with Red Pepper Relish. I've married this particular recipe with VK's Cool Point Tomato Relish, but can say the red pepper relish visually makes for a far better table setting. I like food with my eyes as well as my palate and this casserole makes for a great Sunday Brunch filled with ah has!

Monday, May 9, 2011

In the land of Dr Enuf

Going home to Appalachia is at times a necessity, other times an immersion experience to recall a rich cultural link that I share by birth and familial allegiance. Over the years I'd smile silently when someone would mention the Smokie Mountains, Cherokee National Forest, Eastman Kodak, Tennessee Valley Authority, Roan Mountain, Beech Mountain Ski Resort, Grandfather Mountain, Watauga Lake, Boone Lake, The International Story Telling Center, the Penland School for Crafts, Tweetsie Railroad, The Biltmore, or the Bristol Motor Speedway. Reminiscing places is a favorite past time for most of us as is recalling food and beverage experiences. This particular visit home had a mission associated with it other than to spend Mother's Day with my father. That is,to purchase a soda drink called Dr. Enuf -- not found in the Lowcountry much less any place else other than in the Tri-Cities -- so that it could be used to produce a beverage I longed to include in my evening porch rituals in South Carolina. Dr Enuf I must note that my admiration for this beverage is certainly in its flavor and connection to East Tennessee but it also stems from the clever branding strategies of the bottler to distribute the product. "The Doctor has Arrived" seems to herald what can be bottled and consumed to achieve great verve and fortitude. Dr. Enuf at its inception claimed to relieve people's "untold misery" from aches and pains, stomach disturbances, and general malaise. And such claims of relief fuels my incorporation of Dr. Enuf in a porch-time libation. The libation being the Junior that I enjoyed at City House in Nashville, Tennesse. So as I sit peacefully to enjoy the later evening solitude of my porch I whisper "Indeed the doctor has arrived."

The Junior (from cocktail menu @ City House)
Death’s Door White Whiskey, Crème de Violette, Dr. Enuf, Lemon

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Lime light and Quinoa

Simple is the order of the day when summer time frolic creeps into being the routine rather than a solitary diversion. Easy to pack foods that don't lose their luster when secured in portable containers (tucked away in an ice-laden cooler) dominate the weekend menus. Tis the season for...motor boating along the intercoastal waterways, taking excursions to local fishing holes or socializing with friends on a tide exposed sand bar. Revisiting a folder from a 1999 Wegmans School of Culinary Arts class I took in Ithaca, NY called Grains and Greens for a light, refreshing lime vinaigrette infused quinoa "the mother grain." Quinoa cooks like rice, takes half the time and expands to four times its size. Found a similar online recipe that includes black beans to link here, but my preference is for apricots and currants instead of the beans. Served with grilled shrimp ala Bobby Flay prepared on skewers over a simple hibachi shore side this two course meal paired with some grilled pineapple makes for a relaxing leisure filled afternoon in a lawn chair or on a blanket size beach towel.
Life Enrichment is like a travel and learn program...offering infusions that make every day life thereafter far more interesting! ~ Ann-Marie Adams, Reflections on a Meaningful Life