Peaches

This has been the summer of peaches for me. I can’t get enough of them. I don’t work far from the farmer’s market in Nashville and I go there at least once a week to the little Greek restaurant to get a bite. After lunch, I’ll walk through the fruit and vegetable venders and take in all the smells and visual displays. It amazes me how they stack the squashes just so with out them falling all over the place. There’s some serious visual merchandizing going on down there. And then out of nowhere that sweet Georgia aroma hits me in the face and I have to buy a peach, or two or four.

Image

I have pinned so many creative recipes for these little furry guys on Pinterest. I found one recipe for Grilled Peach Mozzarella Salad, another for Ricotta Pizza with Peaches, and another for Barbeque Peach Summer Rolls. But, they never get made. However, they do get sliced up and served straight off the pit.

My husband got his hair cut tonight. He was late getting home and I could have cooked anything I wanted or I could have gotten some sushi to go. What did I do? Grabbed a peach, cut it up, and cracked open some pistachios. Sounds like a tasty and healthy dinner to me, plus it balances out those peanut butter brownies I made last night…

Image

Links to the recipes listed above:

Grilled Peach Mozzarella Salad

Ricotta Pizza with Peaches

Barbeque peach Summer Rolls

Follow me on Pinterest to see what other Peach recipes I find.

Advertisements
Standard

The Dinner Date

It was a dark and stormy night; I had been set up on a blind date. It really was dark and stormy. I walked toward the restaurant and I caught a glimpse from under my umbrella of a gentleman who I hopped was my date for the evening, I never carry an umbrella but I thought it would be the lady like thing to do.

And there I sat across the table from him. Conversation was flowing, he kept me laughing and I thought he was cute. So we ordered dessert, one chocolate brownie sundae, and two spoons. Well, wasn’t this date off to a good start? I have to admit that I had been a tad bit nervous up until this point. But a good southern gentleman knows how to make his company comfortable.

The waiter brought us our dessert and we each took a bite. After a couple of careful bites on my part, I am not as graceful as I wish to be, I surrendered my half of the dessert to my hot date across from me. He must have been so excited that with his next bite, down the chocolate fudge went, a few dribbles on his pale green shirt. All of my nerves melted away at that point. I knew I had met my match. I had shared the first meal across the table from my love. 

Standard

Saturday Mornings

ImageWhile the rest of my peers in elementary school were watching cartoons on Saturday mornings, I was watching cooking shows on the public television channel. This was way before The Food Network was in existence. Julia Child, The Frugal Gourmet, and Justin Wilson’s The Cajun Cook, were my favorites.

But I didn’t just watch them; I became my own version of them. Our kitchen had an open area in the wall that looked into the den. It was my window into my own television audience. With every crack of an egg or measurement of oil to dump into my brownie mix, I described exactly what to do. Sometimes I would make an attempt at Julia Child’s accent as part of the show. Can you imagine a little southern girl doing a deep British accent? Comical I’m sure.

As I continued in my cooking experiments and “television shows”, I began premeasuring all of my ingredients into separate little bowls so I could easily dump them in as I went along. Every good cook does this, right? Well, after a couple times of having to clean all the little bowls, I decided a set of measuring spoons was enough for me.

I still watch cooking shows on Saturday mornings. They help me ease into my morning as I make breakfast for my husband and I. And they also make morning chores a little more enjoyable. There are more options on television now more than ever, and having them is also one of the perks that come along with having every sport channel known to man.

I may or may not still pretend to be on my own cooking show, but I do use the things I’ve learned… I GARONTEE!

Standard

McCool Family Cookbook

Out of my entire cookbook collection, my favorites are the ones created by a community. Some are from high school fundraisers, others created by a local church or community service group. I keep them around for one or two of the gems found in each one. Classroom Peanut Butter Cookies from David Lipscomb High School, The Yankee Pleaser from the Nashville Junior League Cookbook and Walnut Banana Bread from The Nashville Cookbook. But the one that stays in use the most is a collection of recipes from a northern Davidson County family, the McCools. The title of this navy blue plastic comb bound 152-page book is simply, The McCools Cook. And boy, did they ever.ImageHidden in the hills just north of Nashville is a farm that has been in my family for over 100 years. Just off McCool Road, you can still see a springhouse that stored the orchard’s harvest for a family of nine. My grandmother was one of them. The first few pages of this cherished book include a short history, a family tree and a dedication to two women, Francis, my grandmother and Elsie, her sister. It reads, “To their memory and to all the other “Aunt Franceses” and “Aunt Elsies” who can soothe away the troubles of the world with a little love and a chess or chocolate pie, we dedicate this book.”ImageThis book was quite the collaboration. Everyone in the family had a little part. My Aunt Nancy was the editor, my mother, Kay the illustrator and my Uncle Kenny the photographer. Though it was not officially mentioned in the credits, my father is always quality control when it comes to food. I know he tested my own submission, Peanut Butter and Jelly Roll Ups. It was even published it in my own handwriting. I was 7 when the book was published and they were distributed at our seventh annual family reunion.ImageThere are so many favorites in this book. Murrie’s Pancakes, Pop’s Fruitcake and Stevie’s Chess Pie are just a few. It has served as a primer for my southern cooking education. When my Aunt Nancy gave me my very own copy after college, she wrote a sweet note on the front page and lovingly took the time to star her favorites in the index and make notes by the recipes that needed a “revised edit”.

It’s been a while since our last McCool reunion. Every time I open that precious blue book, to find JoAnn McCool’s Chocolate Layered Dessert or Charlotte Lanham’s Chicken Enchiladas, it feels like we are all together again. Each one of us making our way back for seconds to see if we missed anything the first time around that long table littered with tin foil and half eaten covered dishes. We know who brought what, because we all use the same book.

ImageI spy fried chicken, a deviled egg and some chubby fingers.

 

Standard

Culinary Commitment

I married a self-professed steak and potato kind of guy with a sweet tooth to boot. That description not only describes what he likes to eat, but his personality as well. He can yell at the game on TV without hesitation, yet he is really just full of sweetness.

Early in our relationship, before the words I love you were even whispered, we made a commitment to never share a fast food meal. Now, that was a promise I could say, “I do” to. I was elated to find a guy who took the term “wine and dine” literally! Of course, that doesn’t mean that we haven’t run through a drive through a time or two, we just have never shared a five-dollar heart attack with one another.  A pricier version- yes, but that’s another story for another day.

After we married, I tried to infuse some greenery into this white world of potatoes and protein. With every new recipe to try, a promise was made. If I burned it, or botched it, I would buy him a meal from the golden arches just down the road. It might have been considered bribery for a side of green beans, but it worked.

It’s only been three short years later and he hasn’t had to make a run to the drive through- yet. I’m sure there have been occasions that he really wanted to. A burnt pan of under cooked barbeque chicken happens to come to mind! But that’s when the sweet side works to his advantage and mine. I pull out the special dessert he has requested and the smell of burnt protein seems to disappear.

My green bean loving man, he is perfect for me. I’d like to think our relationship is like a well-balanced meal. We have everything we need and enough sweetness to boot.

Standard

Fish Fry

Last night was the annual fish fry at our church. I was definitely in the minority as I made my way to the front of the line and entered the all purpose room. I saw the sea of grey hairs with a few shiny spots all sitting down with their heads bowed and chowing down on the crispy cornmeal coated fish.

The menu was sinful. Fried fish, french fries, hushpuppies, coleslaw (almost as good as my dad’s) white beans with pepper relish, fried pickles and for dessert- peach cobbler and coca cola cake. I love how fellowship tastes.

You never really know who you will sit with at these things. Our family tries to sit together at one of the long plastic covered tables. And then I ended up chatting the night away with someone I have smiled and waved to a million times in the church hall any given Sunday morning but never really gotten to know. I had found my kindred spirit of hot sauce. We must have talked about hot sauce for at least thirty minutes. I can’t wait to try it on popcorn as she suggested and we both agreed that hot sauce on fried fish was the only way to eat it. It’s funny how hot sauce will bring people together.

After all the babies and second helpings had been passed around, we headed home with our bellies and hearts full of goodness that comes from sharing fish and breaking bread together.

Standard

Morning Walks

To offset the calorie intake that comes along with bbq, biscuits, and turnip greens cooked with a ham hock, I’ve started taking morning walks in my little town. Discovering it all over again.

#kingstonsprings #morningwalk #smalltownusa

A post shared by Elly (@ellycaruthers) on

#morningwalk #kingstonsprings #smalltownusa

A post shared by Elly (@ellycaruthers) on

#kingstonsprings #morningwalk #smalltownusa #nofilter

A post shared by Elly (@ellycaruthers) on

Morning walk

A post shared by Elly (@ellycaruthers) on

#morningwalk #kingstonsprings #smalltownusa #nofilter

A post shared by Elly (@ellycaruthers) on

Somewhere in middle merica #smalltownusa

A post shared by Elly (@ellycaruthers) on

Standard

Farm to Table

Most likely if you actually grew up in the South, “farm to table” is not a new culinary concept. It’s not a trend. It’s a way of life.

My parent’s organic produce section was my grandmother’s backyard. Their butcher was my Uncle Jimmy and fresh eggs weren’t far from the door of my Aunt Nancy’s kitchen. The hospitality wasn’t found in one meal on a checkered tablecloth, but in the basket of fresh produce sent home for the week.

In our family, fresh Tennessee tomatoes and strawberries still warm from the sun were the only kid friendly options. Before there were kale chips and wheat grass there were lima beans that actually tasted good. We may have pronounced all the letters in jalapeno, but we canned the best salsa and we didn’t even know that it was organic.

I remember a summer night spent shucking a truckload of sweet corn outside with my uncle and daddy. My sister and I would walk the corn inside to my aunt and mama to be cut off the cob. If we lingered too long in the air, it wouldn’t be long before our dirty little feet were shooed back out the door for more. In the winters, that creamed corn sure did hit the spot.

Another summer, daddy brought home a TON of strawberries from Portland. As mom got everything ready to freeze those little jewels, dad and I raced to see who could cap the most. I won. Nothing beats strawberry birthday cake made with Portland’s finest in February.

It excites me to see “farm to table” becoming popular. It’s just so good. It’s like seeing God on a plate. Can you imagine Him creating a strawberry? He truly does love us. 

ImageThose are Calvin Klein jeans, baby.

 

 

Standard

Scrambled Eggs

I learned most of what I know about cooking from my mother. She started me on the basics- scrambled eggs. While she would be getting all the other things ready for breakfast I was in charge of stirring the eggs. So there I stood on my little strawberry shortcake stool, spatula in hand making sure there were no crusty bits on the edges and that they didn’t stick in the middle. So much to manage at such a young age.

I remember fondly my early breakfasts in our little blue house. Wheat toast- made in the oven- with a pat of butter all melty in the middle and scrambled eggs, stirred by me. On Saturday mornings we would have some bacon or maybe some crunchy (only crunchy) peanut butter on the toast before dad would go to work that morning. We would hold hands around the square drop leaf table, as Dad would say the blessing. Without fail before the Amen, he would always say, “God thank you for the food and bless the hands that prepared it”. And in my little heart I knew that I had stirred the eggs and God was blessing me for doing it. 

Standard

SKYKING

They say, home is where the heart is. I believe the heart is where the table is.

Tonight, my husband and I were planning on sharing a table at a new restaurant in our small quaint town right outside of Nashville. Small southern towns have their big charms, but not often do they have amazing brick oven pizza.

The newest restaurant in town, we had been planning this for a while. I had been hoping for a decent pizza restaurant since I moved here three years ago. We were tired of driving into the city for a pie. When my husband came down with a summer cold, I decided that we were going to have pizza whether it was at our table or theirs. I went in, found a seat at the bar and ordered two 13 inch pies to take home. Margherita for me and pepperoni for the man. The service was fast and friendly. I felt like the place had been there forever.

I love a good Friday night in and it might happen more now that I can share my table with a pie and my love. ImageImage

Standard