French Crepes/any kind you like!

On a recent trip to New Orleans my niece, Ashley Tomlinson, introduced me to these cute little crepe carts. Not only can you watch the crepes being made, but you can choose from a large variety of fruits and sauces, even grand marnier and other liqueurs. Ashley’s favorite is filled with just butter and sugar. I added cinnamon to mine.

Years ago my sister bought me a small crepe maker but it does just as well, and the crepes are actually easier to eat by putting them on a plate and using a fork. Adding a little more batter makes the crepe thicker and leaving it on the griddle longer will make it crispier.

I also saw people ordering them as sandwiches using cheese topped with bacon and tomato. Turkey with Munster or Swiss plus a little mayonnaise or spicy mustard also looked good. And of course the all time favorite of pepperoni and mozzarella cheese with a little pizza sauce is always a winner. I like to add a little hot pepper flakes to mine.🌶

Here is a basic recipe for crepes. Mix together 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups milk, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon cooking oil or melted butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Now is when it gets fun! For dessert crepes you leave out the salt and add 2 tablespoons sugar. Get more creative by adding  vanilla or other flavorings. You can add rum or brandy and liqueurs. Even orange and lemon zest is good. It depends on your filling, so let your artistic side start working! For those of you who want to make it even simpler, try using thin pancake batter. Crepes also come pre-made in some grocery stores, too.

In the picture, I’m eating two crepes.  One has fruit, strawberries and bananas, with whipped cream. The other is Ashley’s favorite made with lots of butter while it’s still on the griddle, sprinkled with sugar, folded  and served.

A taste of Cuba in Florida

Who would have guessed that when I went to visit my friends in Florida I’d be introduced to the Cuban culture. Florida has oranges and grapefruits and gators galore. Buckets overflowing with sand and seashells. Shrimp you can peel or have fried or sautéed. But, Cuban food! We ventured to a place called Cafe’ Havana. It is owned and operated by a family of three generations. They were so very patient with us as we asked many questions about the food and even gave us samples of everything. They offered chicken in a coconut sauce, a spicy beef mixture and pork covered with cooked sliced onions. They had many choices of rice and a south of the border root plant called yucca which reminded me of a potato. They fixed the yucca two ways, one in a butter and garlic sauce and the other fried in a light batter. Both were enticing. The experience was fun, the people were very friendly and the food was very tasty. To top it off at the end of the meal one of the owners came around and passed out a shot of their Colombian very hot, very strong, dark coffee with whipped cream and sugar on top. Aww, this was the best treat of all! And if you smile real big like I did, they give you another one!!☕️ ☕️ After all, they say in Cuba you must always end your meal with coffee. The way they fix it, it’s like dessert!image.jpeg

So yes, Florida has oranges and lots of cows but why not run off to Cuba while you’re here!  I thought of my Dad and Barney Pierce and their group of friends who traveled to Cuba many many years ago  to sing and play their instruments.

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Country Craft Fairs/Homemade Biscuits and Sausage

imageRecently on Facebook I was reminded of how fun our country’s outside fairs are. All  over Georgia, Tennesse, Alabama, North and South Carolina I have enjoyed participating in southern outdoor craft fairs. From spring until fall these craft fairs bring people together with music, food and expert craftmenship from all over the country. I have made wreaths and baskets and different handcrafted items but my favorite has always been cooking. It started one year when I brought homemade biscuits and fried sausage to make for our breakfast before the fair opened. The other artists started early setting up their booths and when the smell of the fresh biscuits and the frying of the sausage filled the air, here they came. They were willing to pay whatever I asked. So the next day I prepared a little better with help from dear friends, Diane Corn, Bea Chadburn and Don Bright who stayed up late to help me make and bake biscuits. It seemed no matter how many biscuits we made, we always sold out. Here’s the recipe for biscuits from our sweet Mimi Short.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Add  2 cups self-rising flour to mixing bowl and rub in 3 heaping T of shorting or butter. Add 1 cup buttermilk and work it together. Pour onto surface and roll out the thickness you want for your biscuits. Cut with floured cutter and place not touching onto a greased pan. Bake about 10-12 minutes or ’til the color of brown you like. Add cooked sausages or bacon. I alway have mustard and jelly available!

 

Summer Sandwiches/Pineapple, English Cheese and Fried Green Tomato

Last summer when I went to my son-in-laws’ family reunion,  I was never so surprised to see pineapple sandwiches. The white bread is cut to match the pineapple rings, and of course, since it’s the South, you spread mayonnaise or salad dressing on the bread. Don’t knock it till you try it because I was delightfully surprised.

Then on a trip to England several years ago my husband and I found in all the travel stops what we thought was pimento cheese. But it was without the pimento, just shredded cheese and mayonnaise mixed, then topped with thinly sliced tomatoes and sometimes a little lettuce. I was keeping foster children at the time and when I made it for them, they loved it. A lot of kids don’t like pimento so this is perfect. I called it an English cheese sandwich.

Now this next sandwich is perfect if you have ADHD like I do. When the tomatoes start growing  and you don’t want to wait any longer for them to turn red, just pull them, slice them thin and lightly roll them in flour with a little salt. Fry and drain. Use a good bread so it won’t fall apart while you’re eating it. Add bacon and lettuce. A fried green tomato sandwich! I love this one too.

 

Thank you, Mrs. Brooks / Wedding Mints and Pound Cake

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When I was going to Asbury College, now known as Asbury University, located about twenty minutes south of Lexington, Kentucky, I had the pleasure of meeting two of the sweetest girls I think I’d ever met. They were sisters and “very” southern. They had that heavy southern drawl and loved their sweet tea!  Bobbie Brooks and Evan Picone clothes were in fashion and they wore a lot of them. Everyone thought they for sure came from money since these styles were on the expensive side, especially the Evan Picone. As time went by I had the opportunity of meeting their mother. What a charming southern woman she was. After one meeting with her you knew how her daughters possessed the delightful gentle southern charm they had.  Her voice was soft and her stature short, but she was far more than the country chicken farm she lived on. Remember the elite clothes her daughters, Barbara Brooks Johnson and Evelyn Brooks Barnard wore?  Well, Mrs. Irene Brooks would make them herself. She studied what was in style and then came up with almost an identical copy. I learned from her to add a touch of class when setting the table. Using silver and lace with your ordinary flat wear was okay. The important thing was to use your good things and enjoy them. She catered weddings and made delicious cakes and punch. She was the first person I ever saw put real fruit in ice rings and use them in her punch bowls. Her rosebud mints are now known world wide since both her daughters married men that served in the military, and they shared her recipe everywhere they lived. It’s now been passed down to their children. She was always willing to teach anyone who wanted to learn how to makes these delicate sweet treats that have adorned many wedding tables, including my daughter’s and step-granddaughter’s.

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I had to add Mrs. Brooks pound cake. I can’t ever remember going to her house or her daughters when she lived with them that I didn’t have a piece or two of her delicious cake with my coffee in the mornings. But it’s not just for mornings! I’ve had it for a snack and for an evening dessert with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Her family likes it with chocolate icing, but as for me, just give me a fork and I’ll eat it plain.

 

Brain Foods/Blueberry Pancakes

img_4697 There is this funky place I like to go eat. Not many people want to go with me because it’s in an old house with tiny tables and bar stools and it’s very crowed. Like Yogi Berra always said ” no one goes there anymore, it’s too crowded!” Anyway there are steps to climb and so much stuff on the wall it could give you a headache. But…. the food!! Their pancakes are thick and covered with fruit and powdered sugar. They have wonderful shrimp and grits too and omelets just to mention a few other items. Well, the last time I bribed someone to go with me I saw they had the pancake batter in a box for sale. I purchased one and have had it on the shelf for a long while. Pancakes have never been my forte.  I burn one side or the other and often they are still doughy inside. Not like my friend, Anne Underwood, who can make them all turn out just perfect. Well, today is state testing day for all of Georgia’s schools and for a week my son Adam and his two older children, Austin and Maddy have been sharing the knowledge of brain foods. Austin thought that an omelet with flaxseed and fish and nuts and blueberries would be just the thing. But I decided it was time to take this Aretha Frankenstein’s mix out of the closet and do my best. Pancakes with blueberries and a little flaxseed served with walnuts and blackberries on the side. Sausage for protein and milk to drink. My pancakes turned out delicious  just not as thick as the ones you buy there. Come visit and if you dare to go with me, I’ll drive!! Rachel Ray headed straight to Aretha Frankenstein’s on her visit to Chattanooga. And she showed us how much she loved these pancakes in her interviewimage.image.jpegA mess worth making!! Yum!!