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International Biscuit Festival!

This pretty much sums it up. What a fun and inspiration-packed four days spent in Knoxville last week. First there was the Wednesday night Alton Brown show in the lavishly restored historic Tennessee theatre. He took us on a witty, sciency quest to re-create his grandmother’s southern biscuits. Then there was the first annual Southern Food Writer’s conference created by John Craig, Dawn Coppock and friends (John’s the Biscuit Boss/organizer of the Biscuit festival). What a truly talented collection of food writers, publishers, bloggers, journalists they collected for this event. I had the great pleasure of presenting a session with Jodi Rhoden about collecting recipes and old-time advice from the southern women in our lives. Then there was the (included with the conference, mind you) dinner at Blackberry farm. Over the top elegant/farmy…. how about a soup of poached trout swimming in a clear smoked local buttermilk broth topped with fresh-plucked watercress? Geez! Continue Reading →

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Stinging nettle pesto and branch lettuce salad!

 

 

It’s feasting time here at our Appalachian mountain cabin. The morels have come and gone, the ramps are getting scarce, but the branch lettuce and stinging nettles are in full swing.

Take a little walk with me to the creek and we’ll collect some branch lettuce for a salad and some stinging nettles for pesto. We’re heading though the yard to the woods where it’s damp and creeky. Continue Reading →

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Flipped for Flapjacks

The Guinness has gone but the oat flapjacks remain…. I take that back, I highly recommend flapjacks plus Guinness for dessert tonight. I’ve been staring down photos of oaty Irish flapjacks for years and finally baked a tray of them for an Irish-themed St. Paddy’s day potluck and now I can’t stop making them. And giving them away, and now more people are hooked and it’s gotten out of control. So I’m posting this “recipe” so I can be free of the torment of it all. Think carefully before you make these. Please.

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St. Nik Breads … Weckemaennchen. The perfect simple holiday gift of love!

St. Nikolaus Day is officially December 6th, but it’s never too late to have fun making these, er, ummm, renegade versions of German holiday breads also known as Weckemaenwchen in honor of Nicholas, Bishop of Myra. My friend, Renate, grew up in the Rhineland region of Germany, and she taught me to make the official version of these traditional breads, which are supposed to look like St. Nik. Somehow, they get away from us every year, and they have taken on a life of their own.
They make a nice breakfast treat or you can dry them for festive decorations. Or, if you’re like me, take pictures of them and make that your holiday greeting card … from our quirky family to yours! Continue Reading →

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Do these cornmeal lemon blackberry jam thumbprint cookies make me look fat?

A punchy ending to a fun weekend at our mountain cabin. Our friends left after breakfast and, well, a tin of cookies was left sitting out on the porch.

I actually think the cookies look better on my husband, Wayne. Continue Reading →

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Caramel Onion Pie

Last night, five of my young-ish friends invited me to a progressive garden dinner they were hosting in their vintage West Asheville neighborhood. We bicycled to four urban bungalows and enjoyed a course at each with wine and garden tours. All the food was prepared by these professional bakers out of their front yard bungalow gardens … from homemade hard cider with veggie antipasti to gazpacho with homemade ciabatta, squash risotto, to squashamole and salad. Our final destination was to be a sunset dessert at an old 19th century rambling farmhouse. Too much schmoozing, we arrived at dark. 
     I noticed a big ladder on the porch, leaning on the roof with plates and forks nearby. Holey squash blossoms, I thought, we’re having a roof-top dessert. My perky dinner-mates chirped “are you ok to climb on the roof Barbara?” I am, after all, their mothers’ age. “Oh, of course, I do this all the time,” I say as up and more up we go. I tried hard to walk normal and not skooch on my butt. And then, perched on the roof apex, we ate pie. In the dark. Watching a beautiful lightening storm come our way. Closer and closer.
     The pie was a caramel, chevre and onion with a flax seed and coconut crust. The cheese had red onions in it because somebody gave our young host a quart of homemade chevre mixed with raw red onions. So of course he made a frozen goat cheese and raw red onion caramel pie. Actually delicious, only i had to go to the dentist this morning and my breath stank to high heavens and there I was explaining to him about how I ate a raw red onion dessert pie on the roof with a bunch of young bakers in a lightening storm last night. 
     Remind me never to be an old lady.
Continue Reading →

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