It's not everyday at work that you pick up the phone and are requested to come and pick up flowers that were delivered for you! These are from my son and daughter-in-law, Michael and Marisa, and my grand dog, Woody!
Seasonal Florida, A Taste of Life in North Florida, is a
real delight, not only to read, but for the recipes.Having been born and raised in Pensacola,
Florida, it brought back a lot of memories from my childhood.History buffs will enjoy the pages of “back
in the old days!”
The story of how the book came into existence is
remarkable.The author, Jo Manning, a
fifth generation Floridian, and her five sisters bought the S. Knox Gillis
House in DeFuniak Springs.It had been
vacant and in decaying condition for years when they bought it in 1989.Like any other major renovation project,
restoring the house took longer and much more money than originally expected.They wanted to use it for a holiday gathering
place for their large family and possibly later on turn it into a bed and
After they exhausted all their resources, it was suggested
that they publish a cookbook.The rest
is history.The recipes were gathered
from family, going back generations.
The one line in her Forward that I found amusing, “In less
than two years, we had spent almost as much on the outside of the house as we
had initially paid for the house and lots.Estimates keep coming in.And the
inside – have you ever tried to get six sisters to agree on anything?”
I grew up eating seafood that was so fresh it slept in the
Gulf last night!Some of my fondest
childhood memories are of crabbing along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico or
the inland waters, or gigging flounder at night in shallow water.And there is nothing to compare to Gulf
shrimp.I rarely eat seafood up here in
the North because I was so accustomed to “real” fresh fish, that nothing here,
that has been shipped in and sitting in a store display case can even come close
to the flavor of fish from Florida. When I hear people here say, "I don't like seafood," I tell them to go to Florida and eat the "real thing."
The Shrimp Creole recipe on page 181 of the book is much
like I remember eating decades ago.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 medium onions, chopped
2 medium bell peppers, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
216 oz cans diced
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 to 3 teaspoons Creole seasoning (recipe to follow)
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons Worcestershire
2 pounds medium shrimp, cleaned and deveined
2 teaspoons parsley, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
Melt the butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium
heat.Whisk in the flour, stirring
constantly until mixture is a peanut butter color roux.Stir in the onions, bell pepper and
garlic.Cook, stirring until onions are
transparent, about 8 minutes.Add
tomatoes and their liquid, lemon juice, Creole seasoning and bay leaves.Stir and bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat
to low and cook for 45 minutes.Remove
cover if sauce needs thickening.Stir in
the Worcestershire and shrimp and cook 5 minutes more or until shrimp just
turns pink.Remove bay leaves and stire
in the parsley and green onion.Serve
4 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 teaspoons dried basil, crumbled
3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
3 teaspoons cumin
3 teaspoons onion powder
Place all ingredients in a pint jar with a tight fitting lid
and shake vigorously until evenly distributed.
Note the recipe calls for using a cast iron skillet.Cast iron cookware is found in the kitchen of
every good Southern cook.My own kitchen
is filled with several sizes of cast iron skillets and I use them daily.
I hope you are enjoying touring my cookbook collection as much as I enjoy them myself. A neighbor who reads my posts said once, "I'd love to come go through your collection sometime." Cooking and serving an inviting, healthy meal is one of life's simple pleasures.
I was tired. It had been a long week at work. Things were piling up at home that needed to be done. The flower beds in the front yard need weeding. I need to decide what to do with that open space up by the front of the house. . . on either side are two flowering shrubs that do great, but in the middle. . . once upon a time, I planted a holly bush. Except that deer love to eat holly bushes. That poor holly bush never gets more than a foot high now before the deer chew it right back down again. So what can I do to that weed infested space that will detract deer???
There were other things on my mind. My boss is going in this coming week for bypass surgery. Not a walk in the park, for sure. He is a good man and one of the few really great bosses I have ever had. He has given me everything I asked for, from a new paper shredder to allowing me to bring in my own compact refrigerator and microwave to my office.
So, all I wanted to do was come home, sit down with a glass of wine that I could sip on - peacefully and undisturbed. I took care of the dogs' needs. Fed them, let them out, took up time with them. Is it asking too much to allow me to have my glass of wine uninterrupted???
Most of the time, when I sit down with my wine - after taking care of their needs - Morgan and Molly will be at my feet, playing tug of war with a favorite toy. Not last night. No. They needed extra attention from me. So Molly is in my lap, she needs help now getting up in my lap. She will soon be 12 years old and old age is showing its ugly head. Seeing this, Morgan was not to be outdone. She jumps on the couch beside me - it's an old, old couch so I'm not fussy about keeping them off it. The next thing I know, she is climbing up behind my head. "MORGAN, GET DOWN!" She knows how to push the right buttons with me and she isn't even a year old.
Now she is wrapped around my neck, back feet to my left side, her head and front feet unexplainably wrapped around my head. Both dogs' tails are going 90 miles per hour and I'm trying to escape and at the same time see that my glass of wine sitting on the end table doesn't get whacked across the room with either a tail or a paw and that my eyeglasses don't get knocked off my face.
Could it be that God sent dogs into the world as a distraction from all the ugly stuff going on in our lives and to teach us to laugh in spite of it all???
Back in February, the Division of Neonatology, had our first group luncheon. That one was on a bitter cold, stormy day with almost a foot of snow on the ground. We had a crock pot lunch. That one was such a hit that we decided to do it again.
Today we had a salad lunch and people brought in a wide variety of salads, desserts, and rolls. It was from noon to 2:00. At noon, we had one wave of people and at 1:00, another wave! (You have to consider you are competing with numerous meetings and conferences!)
So here are pictures from today.
The dessert table. Vanessa, the mastermind behind the set up and decorations, scattered chocolate and mint candies around each serving table.
Two of the salad selections
These were soooo good! It was a phyllo sheet base. Asparagus spread over each with a sauce of, I'm not sure what all, but honey mustard, dijon mustard, and a couple other ingredients I can't recall right now.
Everyone had a great time. It is fun to be able to talk with co-workers without the stress of our fast paced jobs. We'll definitely do this again.
"A touch of the old, a bit of the new - The Schlabach family shares favorites with you"
I don't remember where I got this one. It was first published in 1997, with the sixth printing in 2002. The Schlabach family is a large family, mostly from Ohio.
Throughout the pages, you will find a wide variety of down home recipes that would excite any cook.
The Five Layer Casserole, below, is one I've made a few times. It is fun to put together. I've always used grated cheddar, rather than the Velveeta that the recipe calls for.
First layer: 1 1/2 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
Second layer: slices of raw potatoes
Third layer: slices of raw carrots
Fourth layer: slices of raw onion
Fifth layer: slices of velveeta cheese
Top with one can of cream of mushroom soup. Cover and bake for one hour at 350.
These Buttermilk Cookies are DIVINE!!!
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups shortening
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tsp. baking soda
4 cups flour
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tablespoon vinegar
Cream together sugars and shortening. Add eggs, vanilla, baking soda, buttermilk, and 2 cups flour. Mix well and add 2 cups flour, cream of tartar, and vinegar. Mix well. Drop onto baking sheet and bake at 350 until firm and lightly brown.
1/3 cup butter
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
Blend butter and sugar. Stir in vanilla and milk. Beat until smooth.
I think it is safe to put my snowblower in its summer home, in the back corner of my garage.
Rochester is known for its Lilac Festival in Highland Park in the city. Yes, I love the lilacs - and there are hundreds of lilac bushes there, along with many other varieties of blooming plants. But, to be honest, I tend to avoid the festival. The vendors, the loud music, and the crowds take away from the beauty of the park, in my humble opinion!
But in my backyard, in the early morning, as I let the dogs out, the eastern sky is just turning shades of pale blue, pink, and dark blue. That is when I really appreciate my lilacs. In the afternoon, when I come home from work, and again let the dogs out, the sun is in the west and shining brilliantly against my lilac blooms!
Against the back fence, many years back, I planted hydrangeas. Right now the leaves are just coming out. In a few more weeks and into June these will be covered in huge white blooms. They slowly turn pink. All of these bushes, the lilacs and the hydrangeas tower over me, the lilacs must easily be ten feet tall and the hydrangeas, a good 7 or 8 feet tall.
Rarely do I read a non-fiction book that really grabs me to the point that I can't stop talking about it! Wild is one of those books.
This past week, my daughter-in-law and I went to hear the author speak here in Rochester. I don't think I moved the entire hour plus that she spoke.
Cheryl Strayed was a 26-year-old young woman from the school of hard knocks (some of her own doing, but most not) when she decided, on a whim, to hike the Pacific Crest Trail in 1995. She had no previous backpacking experience. Now I know a thing or two about backpacking, folks. In my younger years, I probably backpacked somewhere in the 300 to 400 mile range in a string of trips lasting from a weekend to several week-long journeys. My trips were in the Adirondacks of New York State, down in Pennsylvania and up into Vermont. Aside from that, I have done dozens and dozens of day hiking trips in the back woods. When I tell you that you don't decide to go hike 1000 miles on the PCT without a lot of previous experience, I know what I'm talking about! But that is just what Cheryl Strayed did.
So many times in reading her book, I screamed out loud, "NO, NO, DON'T DO THAT!" My dogs looked at me like they wondered what my problem was.
But this book is not just about a backpacking journey. No, it is much more than that. Cheryl's life was one long string of dysfunction. As a very young child, she watched her biological father viciously abuse her mother. She grew up in a very poor single parent home. Her mother remarried and her step-father was a good father to her. But then her mother developed cancer and died within 7 weeks of being diagnosed. That hit Cheryl really hard. She married a man she truly loved, yet she couldn't be faithful to him. Her family scattered after her mother's death and her marriage crumbled. Her world crumbled.
She needed a snow shovel one winter in her native Minnesota so she went to an REI store. That was where her eyes wandered across the cover of a guidebook for the Pacific Crest Trail.
The trials and tribulations that she experienced on the trail transformed her into a strong and confident woman.
I don't want to give away too much here! Read the book! Whether you have ever set foot in the back woods, miles from civilization or not, you will benefit from reading of her journey. Her writing is excellent. She is even better at public speaking!
At Strong Memorial Hospital, where I am employed, specially trained dogs participate in the PETS (Pets Engaged in Therapeutic Socialization) Program. Hospital staff report remarkable changes in patients and families in the presence of dogs. They are great stress relievers and cause anxious patients to relax.
It is not as simple as bringing a dog into the patient areas. The dogs must receive extensive behavioral training, have medical exams twice a year, and be properly groomed. I am told one of the tests a prospective dog must pass is the ability to walk past a bowl of food and leave it alone. . . my dogs would never do that!
When these dogs enter the hospital with their red "Strong PETS" bandannas, heads turn, faces light up, and people crowd around to pet them.
This program has been so successful that they have been awarded a 2012 Board of Excellence Award for Team Excellence.
Michael and Marisa gave me this cookbook as a gift. When I opened the package, I was dumbfounded. What? A Rochester cookbook that I didn't know about? No way!
You can click on any picture for a better view
If you have spent any time at all in Rochester, you know about the Public Market dating back to the early 1900s. On any given Saturday morning during the growing season, folks from every walk of life make their way to the Public Market to get fresh produce, cheese, fresh fish, fresh cut flowers, and other novelties at the Public Market. It is a colorful atmosphere. The food vendors, the "Bonana, Bonana, Bonana" man, a diverse clientele and lots of other sights to take in.
Here is one of many wonderful recipes from this book.
Tomato Basil Tart
1 prepared pie crust
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided
1 cup fresh basil leaves
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place pie crust in a 9 inch pie pan and pinch the edges. Bake for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella cheese. Cool while preparing other ingredients.
Slice tomatoes and place on top of the melted cheese.
Chop basil leaves and garlic, either in a food processor or with a knife. Sprinkle over tomatoes.
In a bowl, combine remaining mozzarella, mayonnaise, Parmesan, and pepper. Spoon over basil layer, spreading evenly.
Bake uncovered until bubbly (about 35 minutes). Cool slightly and serve.
Born and raised in Pensacola, Florida (Escambia High Class of '66), I have lived in Rochester, NY since 1974. Throughout my blog, in pictures and words, I will share my journey through life. I am a person with many interests, traveling, bicycling, kayaking and canoeing, sporting clays, target shooting, spending time with family, friends, and my Black Labs, Molly and Morgan, to name just a few. I am a Conservative Republican and a strong believer in Second Amendment Rights. Feel free to stop by often and leave a comment. I enjoy hearing from those who find their way to my blog and through blogging, I've made friends all over the world.