Du Jour Du Horrid Award, 2007

It is time once again for Coffee & Cornbread test kitchens to award
it’s yearly Du Jour Du Horrid Award.

Like we have stated previously this award is so prestigious that
while the term Du Jour means “of the day” the award is lucky to be
presented once Du Year.

Last year we had recommendations to try cauliflower that wants to
be potatoes.

The recipe “called” Cauliflower was very well received
in the test kitchens….. But “called” Mashed Potato?

We at the test kitchens love cauliflower so
why it would want to parade around as a potato is beyond our

While the kitchens don’t condemn anyone feeling
cauliflower is potato, we do wish to award originality.
Someone out there inventing this masterpiece must have had a very
vivid and creative imagination and we applaud you for it.

Now on to the award winning recipe.

Faux Mashed Potatoes (aka::.. Mashed Cauliflower)

raw cauliflower – a medium head makes about a pound of floret
any combination of butter, milk, cream, or whatever you use
when you make mashed potatoes – about 1/4 cup
salt and pepper
(If you have low carb “instant mashed potatoes”,
add up to 1/4 cup for texture*)
Options: minced garlic (a clove or two);
garlic powder (1/2 to 1 teaspoon);

Use instant “potatoes” made for low carb diets,
such as Dixie Carb Counters Instant Mashers. Or use a
small amount of real potato or instant potatoes to improve the

Break the cauliflower up into florets, or just chop.
Cook it until it’s tender – a fork should easily pierce it.

Put it all in a
regular blender or food processor and blend to desired “mashed potato”

Assuming 4 servings from a pound of cauliflower,
each will have about 3 grams of usable carbohydrate plus
three grams of fiber.

The calories will depend on what else you add.


Meet Lurch

Meet Lurch.


Lurch is my pet/sourdough starter. I named him Lurch because he had to
lurch around my kitchen a while to grow.

As I contemplated self sufficient ways, the thought of bread making
throughout the centuries came to mind.

One did not throw in a packet of yeast each time they
made bread but relied on sourdough starters.

This was right down my ally since ..

1- self reliant ways are a goal of mine
2- no need to keep buying yeast ( at least not as much… But I
must have some on hand for emergency situations –
example..Forgetting to set Lurch out to proof in time?) so that cuts supermarket time and cost

I scoured the net for sourdough starters and began my own

Now this bread site I used told me to start Lurch with just warm water
and flour. It said it was simple. They also said to consider your starter a “pet” hence the name.
I fed Lurch and watched Lurch.

After about a week Lurch certainly smelt sour but was too
lazy to use. A bubble here and a bubble there did not in my
mind seem worthy of bread.

That was when I, being tired of feeding a seemingly border
line pet/starter, gave Lurch a boost with some yeast.

My gosh.. There are tons of sourdough starters out there that
use a boost of yeast or yogurt for the culture.

I felt like I was cheating a bit but once Lurch jumped into
activity I no longer felt so bad.

Here is my first Lurch inspired bread
and Lurch is still alive and well in the fridge for next time.
I believe he will make an awesome pizza crust too.

Lurch inspired bread

Lurch inspired bread with salad

Now all I do is remember to feed him once a week and remember to
set him out to make sponge when needed.

One more mark toward self reliant ways.

All Is Well

It was one of those mornings.

You get up and perk your coffee and go out on the porch to sip the dark brew in those old rockers.

The cane seating is wearing thin in places in those old rockers. One of them belonged to my husbands mother. His brother had initialed the back of the headrest with something sharp as a kid. We painted over it with black paint when we recieved the chair. The initial gives the rocker character.

This morning the mist was coming up off the ponds and deer stood on the hill and watched as I invaded their territory. They didn’t run. They are so used to us now they won’t dash off until you venture a tad too close.

I was at peace with the world.

I thought that this was the peace of the Lord that passes all understanding.

As I sipped I began to think of all the bustle I used to have to endure with my career. It seems so far off now.

I don’t care much for breakfast and rarely eat it. The years I spent toiling in it burned me a bit.

This morning after the last drop of coffee and the deer went searching for more interesting pasture, I made myself breakfast.

One simple boiled egg in a tarragon white sauce.

All is well with my soul.

Cherry Obsession

I have always wanted a cherry tree.

I was obsessing over these beautiful Bing cherries I bought at a steal of a sale.

Aren’t they beautiful?

I didn’t know what I wanted to do with them but decided on a Fruit Crisp idea I got from our local paper. The paper recipe used a mixture of berries, white flour and sugar… but I used only the cherries, wheat flour, and brown sugar.

I also added a bit of lemon juice.

I then planted the cherry pits in a tub outdoors. If they grow I will keep this blog dated, if not forget it.

I have always wanted a cherry tree.

Cherry Crisp

2 pounds Bing Cherries pitted
1/4 C brown Sugar
1/4 C wheat flour
1/4 t cinnamon
small amount of lemon juice
1 C rolled Oats
1/2 C Wheat Flour
1/2 C Brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 stick butter ( cut into small pieces)

Preheat oven to 350.
Gently combine the filling and place in a 9 inch pie plate.
Combine the topping and sprinkle all over the filling.
Bake about 40 minutes or until top is browned and filling bubbles.

Lemon Mint Ice Tea- WHB

A patch of mint and thirsty summer house guests
are a winning combination.

Susan at Food Blogga is hosting Weekend Herb Blogging this week.
WHB is the hot brainchild of Kalyn at Kalyn’s Kitchen.

I hope some of the WHB-ers and readers out there will enjoy this tea as much
as we do here in Virginia, USA.

There are many varieties of mint, most (that I know of) will work well in this.
I have used Peppermint here.

Lemon Mint Ice Tea

Make a simple syrup using 2 cups of sugar
and 2/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Remove from the heat when sugar dissolves
add one cup of fresh chopped mint, then add 4 cups
of fresh brewed tea.

Allow to cool and then strain.

Serve with a lemon slice and sprig of mint over ice.

What a great way to cool off. Most hot house guests will love you for it.

Visit Food Blogga for more great WHB this week.

Summer Squash Parmesan

I love Eggplant Parmesan but have never been able to grow

I decided to try this and substitute a couple of large summer squash.

It came out so yummy!

Eggplant Parmesan (or summer squash..my take)

Olive Oil — for frying
1 medium eggplant — (unpeeled)( I used summer squash)
2 eggs — slightly beaten ( I used one)
2 tablespoons cold water
1 1/2 cups fine dry breadcrumbs with dried italian herbs
2 1/2 cups your favorite italian sauce —
(I used my homemade italian sausage meat sauce I keep frozen
for emergency)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese — OR ( I added 1/2 before baking and 1/2 after)
grated Romano cheese
12 ounces sliced Mozzarella cheese ( I left this off)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Pour small amount of oil in a large skillet.

Cut eggplant into 15 slices about 1/4″ thick; set aside.

In a shallow dish or pie plate, beat eggs and water to combine;
set aside.
Pour breadcrumbs into another shallow dish or pie plate.
Dip eggplant into egg mixture, then into breadcrumbs.

Brown eggplant slices in hot oil, turning once, until tender
when pierced with a fork. Add more oil, if needed.

Butter a 2-qt casserole dish. ( I used individual dishes)

Arrange 5 eggplant slices over
bottom of dish, overlapping if necessary.

Top with about 1/3
of the Italian-Style Meat Mix, 1/3 of the grated cheese and 1/3
of the Mozzarella slices I left off the mozzerella).

Repeat, making 2 more layers.

Bake uncovered 30 to 40 minutes.
Makes 6 servings.

Dill Chips

This morning I gathered dill weed heads for Dill Chips. Hubby and I love dill pickles so much better than sweet pickles.

dill, basil, parsley and oregano

While my cucumbers soaked in ice water for a couple of hours I worked on freezing some basil, oregano, and parsley along with some dill weed. My curly parsley is doing so much better than my flat leaf and I don’t know why.

This pickle recipe I use does not call to soak your cucumbers, but I feel the pickle is crisper if you do for at least 2 hours.

I leave out the garlic because I’m not a fan of garlic in dill pickles and up the dill heads to about 3 per jar. The pickling spice I use has plenty of bay leaf, so I also omit that.

I use coffee filters for the spice bag and they work just fine.

The recipe says it yields about 5 pints. I end up with 4 pints and 1 quart, with enough brine left over to refrigerate a small amount of onion in. I love onion refrigerated in dill brine.

Dill Slices

4 pounds medium cucumbers
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup Canning & Pickling Salt
4 cups cider vinegar, 5% acidity
4 cups water
3 tablespoons mixed pickling spices
5 bay leaves
5 garlic cloves
2 1/2 teaspoons mustard seed
Green or dry dill – (1 head per jar)

Prepare Ball brand or Kerr brand jars and closures according to manufacturer instructions.

Wash cucumbers and remove 1/16-inch from blossom end. Cut into 1/4-inch slices. Combine sugar, salt, vinegar and water in a large sauce pot. Tie pickling spices in a spice bag; add spice bag to vinegar mixture and simmer 15 minutes.

Pack cucumber slices into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Add to each jar; one bay leaf, one garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed and one head of dill. Heat pickling liquid to boiling. Remove from heat.

Carefully ladle hot pickling liquid over cucumber slices, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Remove air bubbles with a nonmetallic spatula. Wipe jar rim clean. Place lid on jar with sealing compound next to glass. Screw band down evenly and firmly just until a point of resistance is met — fingertip tight.

Process 15 minutes in a boiling water canner. At elevations higher than 1,000 feet, boil 2 additional minutes for each additional 1,000 feet elevation. (my note- a water bath seal works fine rather than 15 minutes in a canner)

This recipe yields about 5 pints.

Garden Update

Update on our gardens.

The herb garden is going a bit wild.

Herb Garden

We have been harvesting lettuce, onions, cucumbers, squash, radish and peppers for quite some time, but the watermelon has just started to bloom and form.


Watermelon Bloom
I am amazed the watermelon even came up as it was seed I harvested 3 years ago that I had misplaced and just found this spring.

We are harvesting green beans and carrots.

I roasted green beans for the first time and they were great.

Just put them in a covered oven proof skillet and put on olive oil, kosher salt, onion, a little garlic and top it all with lemon slices. Cover and place in a 400 degree oven about 20-25 minutes or until the doneness you prefer. Top it with parmesan when they come out. They were so good.

The tomatoes are coming on very well and I will soon be covered up. I couldn’t find Romas this year so I am trying some pear tomatoes for the first time.

German Pinks my favorite tomato!

pear tomato
I probably won’t care for them like Romas.

The corn is topping and we will soon have fresh corn.

Corn Tops
I am so happy because last year we had no corn because of mole problems. If you have mole problems those stakes that you place in the ground that vibrate work wonders. They are well worth trying.

I am sad to say my seedling okras met their demise. You can’t win them all you know.

July 4th Celebration

Our celebration of the fourth took us to Holston Lake in Bristol, TN.

It was my first visit to this particular lake. It was down because of drought about 10 feet. It is a really deep lake, so not a big deal except it wasn’t as pretty as usual.

A few pics.

my sis and hubby and sis’s boat

dad, donnie, linda and dad’s boat

dad, trudy, hubby, steve and dad’s boat

my grandsons a little over one month old..as you can see they are not identical which is a good thing for me

And a pic of my rice salad. For a large crowd you should double or even triple this accordingly. Again I used dried tomatoes which are good, but fresh are the bomb. Dried tomatoes do travel a little better though.

Summertime Rice Salad

2 cups cooked rice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper — finely diced
3 scallions — chopped
1 carrot — chopped
3 tablespoons fresh dill — chopped
1 cucumber — unpeeled and diced
1 tomato — peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk — diced
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Put rice in a serving bowl and pour 2 tablespoons lemon juice and oil over. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste. Toss well with fork.

Allow to cool.

Prepare all the remaining ingredients and blend.

Add parmesan cheese.