Tag Archives: Good Food

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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THE STITCHED CAKE

Our local bakery – called Sugarbakers – makes the most beautiful cakes. I personally think of them as “old-timey,” because they remind me of my childhood birthday cakes with white buttercream frosting and plenty of scallops and swags.

Here is a beautiful cake they recently made for me for a special occasion using a “stitched” Anna’s Garden pattern on the top. I think that this would make such a beautiful wedding cake (or birthday, or shower, or anniversary).

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TOMATO SANDWICH DIET

It is (finally) the time of year to begin the Tomato Sandwich Diet.

THE BREAKFAST, LUNCH, AND DINNER TOMATO SANDWICH

Wheat bread
Homemade mayonnaise (see below)
Heirloom tomato slices – patted dry
Salt & pepper to taste

HOMEMADE MAYONAISE
- from a recipe by Scott Peacock

1 large egg yolk, at room temperature (very important)
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup olive
1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Blend with whisk attachment on a low speed the yolk, mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until smooth. Add 1/4 cup oil drop by drop, blending constantly until mixture begins to thicken. Blend in vinegar and lemon juice, and add remaining 1/2 cup oil very slowly in a thin stream, blending constantly until well incorporated. If at any time it appears that oil is not being incorporated, stop adding oil and whisk mixture vigorously until smooth, then continue adding oil. Blend in salt to taste and white pepper.

Mayonnaise keeps, covered and chilled, for 2 days.

THREE-LAYER CAKES

My holidays – up until Monday morning – were a cookbook extravaganza. We made birthday dinners (Fried Chicken a la Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock), holiday brunch (Turkey Pot Pie a la Screen Doors), buttermilk rolls (The Joy of Cooking) back-yard picnics (Bunyan’s Barbeque and anything from White Trash Cooking #2), homemade truffles (a la Nicole Spiridakis) , seasoned pecans (Bon Appétit Y’all) and an array of other goodies. But the highlight of two weeks “kitchen play” was the three-layered (and sometimes two-layered) cakes.

I told Angie recently that I am terrified by the three-layer cake. Although I see myself as accomplished in the kitchen, I have never been one to do much baking. However, I have become obsessed with the three-layer cake. My grandmothers and great aunts could whip out a cake in an early morning. They made layer cakes for church bazaars, birthdays, neighbors who fell ill or just because it was time for Sunday supper.

I took the holidays as an opportunity to face my fears, channel Angie, go beyond the simple cupcake and try my hand at the stacked treasure. (I have actually been working up to this for months.) In August, I purchased a cake decorating set which has been unused in the drawer since purchase. And recently I purchased 3 – 9” round cake pans.

First step: Butch requested a Red Velvet Cake with Chocolate Icing and Pecans for his birthday on the 24th of December. I got an old-time recipe from page 277 of my favorite, A Gracious Plenty, the soulful Ellen Rolfes Book from John T. Edge. The Chocolate Buttermilk Icing is a recipe passed down from my great-aunt (in Alabama Studio Style) and this was topped off with fresh shelled pecans from Butch’s grove.

Second: It was hard to believe that my son Zach turned 27 on January 4th! And although he does not really like sweets, I asked him to name his favorite cake. He said that he once ate a yellow, chocolate chip cake with cream cheese icing that was the best cake he ever tasted. In adventure mode, Maggie and I attempted a yellow cake, scattered with chocolate chips and our three layers became two when one layer fell apart!

Not to be deterred, I attempted it again and wound up with two perfectly iced layers.

I found a great set of cake tips on page 460 of The Lee Bros. Southern Cook Book and ordered The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum – which came highly recommended by Angie.

My copy of BakeWise by Shirley O. Corriher arrived yesterday morning & it is AMAZING… lovely how baking can be broken down to a science. Shirley prefers to bake one cake and then slice into three layers. The book is filled with interesting math – like the perfect measuring methods and baking stones. I now know how little I know and can’t wait to get started baking again…

Butch swears that he is going to make cakes every Thursday of the New Year.

Now, I am off to the gym…

Anybody have a recipe for Chocolate Chip Cake with Cream Cheese Icing?

Posted at 8:08 am

CHEZ PANISSE FOUNDATION

On Saturday afternoon, I had the honor of touring the Edible Schoolyard and having lunch in the new Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School Dining Commons. Alice Waters, the Chez Panisse Foundation and a team of others are working towards changing the way we see the school lunch program in America.

The program was inspiring, delicious and beautiful and I am committed to bringing this philosophy into the life of my own daughter.

Here is an overview of the work being accomplished by the Chez Panisse Foundation:

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