Sunday, September 28, 2014

From The Tee-Tiny Experimental Kitchen- Succotash with Buttermilk and Ham

If there is any dish I remember from my youth with horror it would be succotash. I do not remember when I first met it, though the hospital cafeteria at the old Mary Hitchcock would be a good bet.
Awful, awful, and more awful.

Yet this past Friday I bought a pound bag of fresh Tennessee grown lima beans at the farmer's market at the Methodist Church on Old Harding Pike.

What a difference forty years can make in our perspective!

I boiled the beans till tender in chicken broth. I sauteed a large white onion in a mixture of 1/3 stick butter and a heaping tablespoon of lard until the onion was tender and sweet. I added the drained beans and a 15 oz can of creamed corn( I did not have fresh or canned plain corn kernels). I added a little sea salt to taste, then poured in 1/3 cup of buttermilk. After all why bore your taste buds with plain cream when you can wake them up with buttermilk! Then I tossed in a cup of diced up fully cooked honey ham.

Oh what a happy Thanksgiving side dish this would be, served up in a beautiful Hall pottery bowl!


I am certain frozen lima beans would work, and that plain corn kernels would be acceptable, but I think the creamed corn adds something special-

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Portabello Quiche

Despite its rather funereal appearance, this is a delicious quiche. I made it yesterday with a pound of half priced Manager's Specials Portabello mushrooms from Kroger. I reserved four thin sliced mushrooms for the top, then put the rest into the food processor, where I chopped them finely.

Then I mixed them with a cup of shredded Gruyere cheese, five eggs, and a third of a cup of cream. I also added a bit of salt to taste. I put them into a pie shell I had blind baked for 12 minutes , then baked the quiche at 350 for around 50 minutes. And as the observant will see, I did decorate with a few slice tomatoes prior to baking.

 I have been reluctant to post many recipes on the site lately because I am ambivalent about Internet recipes. I am sad that people are abandoning cookbooks for recipes of dubious provenance posted by people who may or may not know what they are doing.

As an example, I will cite instructions for making risotto that called for first browning the rice!

Marcella Hazan would weep

Use cookbooks people. Do not abandon cookbooks-

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Autumn Garden Scenes- Nashville

Here are a few photos of the garden in West Meade that I take care of.  These were taken this morning-

A lovely, clear September day today, and what a joy it was to be outside!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Back From Hiatus

Miss Betsy is back from a much needed break. To celebrate I have composed a bit of light verse foolishness.

One of the younger nurses at the Little Big House once told me the story of an elderly prisoner who became depressed when his pet died. Now pets are hard to come by in prison, but this man had found one. Now you and I might befriend a cat, dog, or rabbit, but prisoners must be creative. Here is the story of an inmate named Denny-

The night that Denny's cockroach died

The mourners brought the wine.

They made it in a hidden still

that the guards would never find..

A matchbox was the coffin.

A Band Aid was the shroud.

And Denny gave the eulogy

To a large, felonious crowd.

"He was my friend for thirty days.

I did not know him long.

But some damn fool came in and sprayed

Now Cockie Roach is gone".

The old man cried for half a week

Till inmates in the house

Assuaged his sadness

By catching him a mouse.

Welcome to Fall and the Autumnal Equinox. May God protect us from any more dew points of 80!

Monday, August 4, 2014

160 People From Turkey Reading My Blog?

In the past few days I have been getting much blog traffic from Turkey, and I wonder if anyone else has too-

This blog has perhaps 8 regular readers, though visitors do stumble in on it when they are looking for information on Tennessee lizards or Harpeth River State Park and Hidden Lake.

I think the Turks, forbidden to use Twitter and Facebook, are looking for ways to bypass what their government is blocking by going in through backdoors.

My hands would fall off before I would use Twitter or Facebook, though a few years back my sister talked me into joining. I used it two weeks, then got the hell out.

I do not think my blog links to either of these sites.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

"I Gave My Cat a Bath-"

Any reader who remembers the late Seventies may remember the Steve Martin routine where he describes bathing his cat, a project that went well though the fur stuck to the comedian's tongue.

Well, I gave a cat a bath a bath last week, and I will never try it again.

This cat, a gray male Community cat named Minuscule, had endured a bath in mild dishwashing liquid when he was a bit smaller, and I could not imagine he would object to being rid of fleas again.

(The white cat has no name. She is Minuscule's sister.)

Minuscule, a swaggering little man cat, had become a particular friend. He let me rub him, pick him up, carry him about the house. I intended to make him a house cat, a neutered one, who would avoid a fate of running all over the place looking for females and eventually ending up being eaten by a coyote, or getting hit by a car.

I intended to get him used to the dogs and the apartment, but first the fleas had to go-

This involved a big blue bucket of water, some organic flea soap touted to be safe for older kittens, and a resident fool to give the bath.

I picked up Miniscule by the neck, as his mother would have, squirted soap on him and dunked him in the bucket.

In the next few seconds it was as though I had been attacked by a half dozen thorny rose bushes. Glistening with soap Miniscule, with suds coming out of his mouth, retreated under the hedge. I, his friend, had become Satan's Spawn.

Horrified,  I spent an hour trying to catch him to get the soap off. I had a towel to throw over and trap him, and thick winter gloves to protect my hands-

I tried luring him in with a felt fake mouse on a string. I tried sweet talking. And some of this drama
entertained the lawn crew, who already think I am a loco old Anglo woman, though that is another story.

I could not catch him, and there he cowered, spewing soap bubbles.

Oh no, thought I. He will run to the upper apartments and some one will see him and he will be foaming at the mouth and they will think he has rabies. The cops will come, and animal control, and they will take all the cats and kill them, and it will be all my fault and I will end up in jail or on Channel 4 at 6. Or maybe he will die from the soap before anyone sees him and I won't go to jail but I will be a cat killer.

I was depressed and despondent all day. I felt better when the cats came back that evening for food.
Minuscule, looking as thought his rear end had dragged through hair gel, was with them. He refused to speak to me.

The next day they all came back, though the little gray cat was wary. But no worse for wear, since he chugged down Tender Centers.

Now, a week on we are best friends again. I pick him up and pet him, I put him on my lap. He brought me another dead vole, give to him by his mother Brushy Tail, who is a relentless Stone Killer.

All seems back to where it was pre-bath.

Maybe he is just waiting for revenge. Biding his time. Maybe tomorrow when I pick him up he will bite my nose off.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Liquid Salad

I have heard Gazpacho described as a "Liquid Salad", and while this recipe is not for a classical Gazpacho, it tastes just as refreshing.

It is easy to make. Simply cut up three medium fresh tomatoes, and one medium peeled cucumber, and puree them in the food processor or blender. Add three or four roasted peppers( I used canned Piquillos), two garlic cloves, and some sea salt to taste and puree them into the mixture along with one slice of any bakery quality white bread. Add up to an ounce of Sherry vinegar- tasting as you go- and blend well.

Serve cold.