Oct 27, 2010

Mountain Girls

To welcome my mama back to the States (she's been in Italy taking cooking and Italian classes, tra-la), I decided she needed some food which celebrates our Appalachian roots.  That's a lie.  I was just craving some beans, and didn't want to eat the whole pot by myself.  Scott Peacock talked about soup beans in this months Better Homes and Gardens, and I'd thought I would give his take a whirl.  He stayed at the Beach Barn once.  I got there right after his stay, hoping for shelves filled with Tupperware full of leftovers from all his cooking.  My hopes were dashed.  He mainly ate out. 

Moving on.  Beans, greens, and cornbread remind me a lot of dinners with me and mama, when Brother and Daddy weren't around.  Although they like it.

Not as much as my maternal grandfather though.  He ate lots of beans, greens and cornbread.  Papa Bruce was a doctor, and believed that a big bowl of greens would cure whatever ailed you.

So for the beans, get a hunk of country ham.  I'm lucky to have Benton's right down the road, so I used that.
After rinsing them off, soak a bad of pinto beans in cold water overnight.  Drain the water, cover again in cold water, and toss your country ham on top (about a quarter of a pound or so).  Cook.  Cook. Cook.
Seriously, bring the beans to a strong simmer and cook for an hour or so.  Meanwhile, throw a big can of whole maters in a bowl and break them up with your fingers.  It's a mushy job.

Next, chop an onion.  I like a rough chop since my eyes were watering so bad I could not see for ten minutes, because it's a rustic dish.

Sauté the onion and a couple clove of garlic in some olive oil until they are soft.

Add the tomatoes and cook for about fifteen minutes.
Then add the tomato mixture to your beans.
Cook for a couple hours til the beans are tender.  Add more water if necessary, as the beans should be pretty soupy to dip your cornbread into.  Mine were not, as I was under the influence of mad amounts of cold medicine.  I decided to rest my eyes while the beans and greens were cooking and zonked out for an hour and a half.  So the beans cooked down a little too much.
My grandfather's farm in Cades Cove.

While the tomatoes and beans are simmering away, start your greens.  Put a couple cups of chicken broth in a big pot, and bring to a boil with a couple tablespoons of olive oil.

Add your greens.  I prefer collards, but it's really a matter of personal preference.  Now you no longer have to go through the rigmarole of washing all the sand off the greens.  You can just buy a bag of greens in the salad section.  Maybe not as farm to table, but it sure is convenient. 
Add about a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of baking soda to the greens.  The baking soda makes them sooo tender.  Now, I was going to be good, and make heart healthy greens with no meat.  But I had this hunk of country ham just staring at me, dying to make good pot likker with these greens.  I acceded to the ham's wishes, chopped it up, and added it to the pot.

My mama and her mama in the garden.

Mama made cornbread and brought it over.  I can't make cornbread for the life of me.  Mine always turns out off. 
My brother and Papa Bruce, my grandfather, on the farm.
Then we ate.

It was good.  I ate the entire pot of greens, with some help.  The beans lasted a week, and were tasty.

Just like how my great-great-great grandparents ate.

I resemble my father's side of the family, who were also Appalachians.  Next time I eat something country, I'll scrounge up pictures of that side.

Oct 25, 2010

Orange is All Around

A good gameday always begins with a solid breakfast (especially night games, because who knows when I'll get a chance to eat again- too busy talking to eat!).

Toad  in a hole, and hazelnut coffee.
I popped over to my parents to pick up some orange sweaters for the game, and couldn't resist this guy hiding in the leaves.

Although Henry was camouflaged, Dixie wasn't hiding.  They loved all of your raves about rescue dogs as both of them were rescued from our local Humane Society. 
Scooted home and cleaned the house for our first house-guests, and got food ready for the tailgate- bacon crisps!  They disappeared in a minute at the tailgate- I've blogged about them last year. A club cracker sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and wrapped in half a piece of bacon.  They are deadly.  Especially to my waistline when I decided to eat all the slightly overcooked ones for "lunch".  Nutritional powerhouse for sure.
The trees were dressed and ready for the game in every shad of orange.  Days like Saturday remind me of my childhood and teenager-hood.  A group of children near of tailgate were jumping into a huge pile of leaves over and over again.  I was tempted to join them, but alas, my wool plaid miniskirt would not have been the best apparel for gleefully throwing myself into a muddy pile of leaves.

Our guest Alison and me chilling with Smokey.  The tailgate was full of old friends in town for the game, so there was lots of laughing, hugs and catching up.

Here's our house guests (stole this from fb, Alison)

I know that y'all know this, but I just love college football- the pageantry, the cheerleaders,band and drum major, oh, and the majorettes! All the players running out onto the field and the anticipation gets me everytime.  

In middle school, all of our guy friends were the coke boys.  You would hope that your crush would be slinging cokes and hot dogs in your parents' season ticket section so you could coyly buy a large coke and turn red and giggle (much to your father's chagrin). 

In high school, everyone congregated in section U-T to rebel and smoke cigarettes under the ramp.  Sometimes the older boys would give you sips of their doctored cokes, and you would act tough like you couldn't taste the bourbon, then try not to brag to your friends that you had illicit sips.

No matter the age, the best part of a night game in later fall is a warm touchdown frank.  Mmmmm.
That would definitely be the best part of the Vols' game.  At least they won the first quarter.  And the Dawgs won. 

Did y'all go to games growing up?  Hide and smoke cigarettes under the bleachers?

This is How We Do It (in the mountains)

Oh, y'all this was one of those fall weekends that define your memory of fall.  Clear blue sky, crisp air, and a backdrop of orange, gold, and red.  And a full harvest moon. And the possibility of a big, red, furry dog (more on that later).

And moonshine. 

A few of those cherries, and my cold that I've been battling all week had magically disappeared! Temporarily at least.  If it was good enough for my grandparents, and their parents, well, it's good enough for me.  Obviously, moonshine has a very strong presence in the East Tennessee area.  Hubs and I  received some as a wedding present in fact. 

Hubs approved.

We attended a fundraiser Harvest Moonshine Party for Knoxville's oldest home- where the Tennessee constitution was signed, and great amounts of moonshine was consumed.  We're nothing but historically accurate.

And ba da dum, we got to go see a dog!  If you have been reading for a whole, you know that I have been positively aching for a buddy.  We met with a potential new member of the family, and I am over the moon!  Fingers crossed!  We are meeting one more of golden retriever rescue's pups this week.  Deep breathing and patience have been my go-to tactics to not scream and dance around every five seconds.  "I'M GETTING A DOG!!"

Has anyone adopted a dog from a rescue organization?  Give me the scoop- good or bad!

Oh, and if y'all have any moonshine stories I'd love to hear them- I could tell quite a few, but don't want to get myself in hot water!!

Oct 19, 2010

Me in a Bathtub

Yeah, that's me.  Just hanging in the smallest bathtub I have ever encountered.

Tron and Wiles joined me.

All part of our wonderful stay at the Treetopper.

There was even a poem composed in our cabin's honor-

Hubs honored us with a dramatic reading of that moving material. Such a . . . masterpiece.

Lisa's wedding was absolutely gorgeous.  We had a blast in Big Canoe, and it always so fun to see all my girls.
Then Saturday night we headed back home for another wedding.  Apparently I have mental issues and confusion about my age.  I am now practically thirty.  I cannot stay up late laughing and talking, and taking pictures in tiny bathtubs until the wee-ish hours, then dance the night away at another wedding.

 Isn't it a beautiful wedding?  The bride's father is a judge, so it was held in the courtyard of the federal courthouse.  Congratulations to two beautiful brides and their lovely fun celebrations!

So, have y'all ever stayed in a decahedron before?  And before y'all think that I am genius I had to look that up.  I took Latin not Greek.

How about a wedding double header?  Once, was 22-23ish, I went to a Georgia game Saturday, then came back and tailgated and attended a Tennessee Sunday (it was Labor Day weekend).  And then I thought I was going to die.  I should have known better this time!  I'm old, ladies!

Oct 15, 2010

Just In Case

You were thinking, "Gosh, I really need to get Samma a present."  Dear blog readers, I know this goes your head frequently.  Especially those of you who don't know me in real life.  So as I trek down to the mountains of north Georgia for a wedding extravaganza I give you these to contemplate-
This Milly dress (it's on pre-order at Nordstrom, I'll take a size 6 please)

Or, less useful, but just as darling-
This Nanette Lepore number.  (I size down in Nanette, so a size smaller than the Milly, please)

Your choice- either dress would be lovely, thankssomuch! xoxoxo