FRIED PIES

If you’ve been to a convenience store in Alabama, chances are you’ve encountered a fried pie, stowed in a basket at the counter and wrapped tightly in cellophane or butter-drenched wax paper. Growing up, family road trip pit stops didn’t mean Cracker Jacks or candy bars for me; it was the fried pies I coveted, portable pockets of apples and peaches wrapped in a pie crust shell. A certain gas station in Cullman, Alabama, sold my favorite pies, so stopping there was always one of the most anticipated parts of a trip to the beach.

I was inspired to try my hand at the fried pie after a recent brunch at Dyron’s Lowcountry in Birmingham, where I had an apricot-goat cheese fried pie served alongside brown-butter ice cream. This got me to thinking about the endless possibilities of fillings and thus the fried pie experiment began. Two things I’ve since learned: don’t overstuff the pies, and make a large batch because they go fast. Here are a couple of recipes that I hope would make my Southern grandmother proud:

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REVERSE APPLIQUE RUNNER SUPPLY LIST

From the Creativebug Website:

“Reverse applique is the signature look of Natalie’s designs at Alabama Chanin. Natalie demystifies the process in this workshop, showing you how to add depth and texture to a cotton table runner. The technique is worked on two layers of fabric, with the top layer stenciled and then stitched to the backing layer. Once stitched in place, parts of the top layer are cut away to expose the color below for a satisfying final reveal.”

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DONNA KARAN

When I was a design school student at the end of the 1980s, there was one name that you found in all of the magazines and on everyone’s lips: Donna Karan. She was changing the way women dressed. She wanted to “to design modern clothes for modern people.”

Karan became a presence in the fashion world as the women’s rights movement found its footing in the 1970s and women began working in the business world in greater numbers. Most designers didn’t know how to dress this burgeoning new population of professionals. You saw women dressed in double-breasted suits with tight skirts, wide shoulders, and, often, pin stripes. Virginia Slims adverts of the time showed images of women in suits – straight, lean, no curves, nothing womanly at first glance. The models could easily have been men.

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DIY THURSDAY: EYELET DOILY

For DIY Thursday, we share instructions for the Eyelet Doily, from Alabama Studio Style. Start yours now for your July 4th table spread.

We chose Apple organic cotton jersey fabric for our doily. The “petals” of the doily peek out underneath a serving platter or cake plate, leaving the decorative embroidered eyelets visible. Our favorite colors for the 4th of July are Apple, Natural, and Navy, of course.

We also have a DIY Eyelet Doily Kit in our Studio Store. It comes in your choice of fabric color with all materials and notions needed for completion. The size measures approximately 15 1/2.”

Add your own plate and recipe.

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STRAWBERRY ROSEMARY PROSECCO COCKTAIL

If you ever find yourself with a surplus of strawberries after picking, puree the extra and make a delicious summer cocktail. Any excess puree can also be stored in the freezer for future use; however, strawberry cocktails are popular at my house and there is rarely much leftover puree.

Experiment with any ripe fruit as you progress through the holidays. We’ve previously posted strawberry cocktail recipes: Homemade Strawberry “Fruli” and strawberry-tarragon simple syrup with Prosecco. This recipe from our ‘Celebrate America’ catalog, shared again below, combines watermelon juice and orange bitters. Garnish with blueberries on rosemary stems for the perfect combination of tart, spicy, sweet, and bubbly.

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STRAWBERRY COBBLER

Some five years ago, Martha Hall Foose visited Florence, and made the best strawberry cobbler I’ve had to date. Strawberry season came a little early this year. In early May, my patch began producing.  I’m hoping that the plants will continue bearing through the coming weeks so my son, Zach, can make his classic strawberry cobbler for our 4th of July celebration.

We originally shared his recipe in our ‘Celebrate America’ catalog.

Looking forward to the upcoming holiday…
xoNatalie

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RED, WHITE, AND BLUE CERAMICS

When I was working on our Heath Ceramics collaboration, we worked with colors rooted in the Southern vernacular and my upbringing in the 1960s and 70s in Alabama. When I look at the dishes, I see parts of my childhood in the shades of red and blue.

The chosen red is appropriately called red clay, as it was inspired by the color of Alabama soil. This miraculous color used to bring tears to my eyes as I would fly in from my time living in Europe.  As a child, our summer clothes were stained with the color. The bottoms of our feet were permanently red clay colored after the temperature reached 78 degrees.  Gillian Welch’s song Red Clay Halo cannot say it any better:

All the girls all dance with the boys from the city,
And they don’t care to dance with me.
Now it ain’t my fault that the fields are muddy,
And the red clay stains my feet.

Being a barefoot child who played in the garden, I knew this color intimately. This is the color of hard-working farmers and farm wives; it is the story of a community.

Southern musicians have written about Alabama’s red soil for decades. EmmyLou Harris’s Red Dirt Girl is another iconic example.

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