Uncommon Goods – Uncommonly Good

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    This post was sponsored by Uncommon Goods. As always, all opinions are mine — and you know I have them!

    diningwithdebbie uncommon goods

    What makes Uncommon Goods so uncommonly good? Yes, their products are remarkably beautiful. Yes, their designers are among the creative best. Yes, their products are all handmade by skilled artisans using “interesting, unusual, reclaimed, or recycled materials.”

    But more than that, I think what makes Uncommon Goods so uncommonly good is told through their stories. The stories of the people and places behind those stories.

     

    Our buyers don’t just evaluate new goods based on materials and function. They also take a deeper look at where each design comes from. We’re interested in how it’s made, who’s making it, and the process that leads to the finished product
    .

    Take a look at the story of Tracy Shea an Ohio mom of two who spends her days making her popular Pedestal Jewelry Holder

    Perfect Girl's birthday necklace from Uncommon Goods featured on her great great grandmother's handkerchief.

    Perfect Girl’s birthday necklace from Uncommon Goods featured on her great great grandmother’s handkerchief.

    Or Beth Lawrence of Tennessee who created the Freshie & Zero Past, Present and Future necklace we are giving Perfect Girl for her 9th birthday this month. Where is my tiny baby girl?

    kb baby girl bubbles

    “Founded in 2006, Beth Lawrence’s studio is located in Nashville, TN where she creates each piece of jewelry while her dog Zero sleeps nearby. A Nashville native, Beth has made jewelry since she can remember, and even sold her work to neighbors and boutiques while still in elementary school! After earning a BFA in Studio Art from Belmont University, she worked in art and craft galleries in Atlanta and Nashville before rekindling her passion for creating jewelry. Mainly drawing inspiration from geometry, she makes each piece with “love and a hammer,” using sterling silver and gold-filled wire to create jewelry that is simple and delicately feminine. Beth travels extensively to promote her jewelry. However, Zero typically stays in the studio dreaming about squirrels and peanut butter.”

    You just have to love a story like that, and I love the story of Perfect Girl’s birthday necklace representing me, her mom and her. I hope it will be a treasure she passes on to her daughter one day. Shhhh. She hasn’t received it yet.

    Uncommon Goods offers so many beautiful creations for persons of all tastes. Still needing something special for Mom for this Mother’s Day? They have gathered some beautiful and unique pieces — not just jewelry– for you to consider. 

    How about a homegrown spa experience? Or this personalized family print from Mary and Shelly Klein? What mother or grandmother wouldn’t love to receive either one?

    With berry season just coming in, I’ve been giving strong hints that this Berry Buddy by Brian Kunkelman needs to find its way into my kitchen.

    “We’re on the lookout for designs that serve a purpose, solve a problem, stun us with their beauty, or make us wonder why no one thought of it before.”

    When you read that quote from their web site, you just know you’re headed for an amazing adventure. If you’re anything like me, you’ll certainly be drawn to the unique merchandise, but more than that, you’ll be drawn to Uncommon Good’s people and its mission.

    I’d love to hear from you after you’ve paid them a visit. I really know it’s going to be the beginning of a shopping love affair:)

    Thanks for stopping by. Come again soon and #letsbreakbread.

    Pappardelle with Peas, Parmesan and Pancetta

      ***SITE UNDER RECONSTRUCTION***

      One of the dishes I prepared for my THV11 This Morning segment called Peas, Pretty Please (aren’t I clever), was the pasta dish, Pappardelle with Peas, Parmesan and Pancetta. I was inspired by a Mario Batalli dish and just took it from there.

      peas, pancetta, pappardelle 3 vert

      If you’re not familiar with pappardelle, it’s the pasta Hubby prefers with my homemade Bolognese.  These noodles are large, very broad, and flat, similar to wide fettuccine only fatter. I especially like them in this dish since part of the richness comes from the pea pesto that ultimately coats the noodles. The pea pesto coated noodles, coupled with the saltiness of the pancetta and the brightness of the fresh spring peas, creates a rich and very satisfying dish.

      Even if you’re one of those people who used to push your peas off the plate or slyly fed them to the dog under the table, you really should give this dish a try.

      Fresh or even freshly frozen spring peas are much more lively than the ones in a can. Now, don’t fuss at me over that. I know canned peas have their fans. I just don’t happen to be one. And, yes, I have used them on occasion. It’s not that I hate them; I just think frozen ones are far better if you can’t harvest fresh ones from your garden or locate them at the farmers market.

      Pappardelle with Peas, Parmesan and Pancetta

      Ingredients

      • 4 ounces pancetta, finely chopped
      • 3 cups freshly shelled sweet peas (substitute frozen baby sweet peas)
      • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
      • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus additional
      • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallot
      • 1 pound fresh or dried pappardelle
      • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
      • kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

      Instructions

      1. 
In a cast iron skillet, over medium-high heat, cook the pancetta until crisp; remove pancetta from skillet and set aside to drain on paper towels.
      2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
      3. Put half of the peas in the water. Cook for 4 minutes. Plunge immediately in ice water; strain.
      4. Place the blanched peas in a food processor along with 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
      5. Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper.
      6. Reheat the skillet with the rendered pancetta fat over medium-high heat, add a drizzle of olive oil if needed
      7. Add the shallots and the rest of the peas; sauté until softened, about 10 to 12 minutes.
      8. Add the fresh pasta to the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes or until al dente. Or cook dried pasta according to package directions; drain reserving pasta water.
      9. Add the pea pesto and a ladle of the pasta water into the pan with the peas and stir to loosen the sauce.
      10. Add the cooked pasta directly into the pan with the pea mixture, stirring gently to mix well, adding a bit of pasta water if needed.pasta water if necessary.
      11. Add more freshly grated cheese and scallions and toss to combine.
      12. Gently stir in the cooked pancetta.
      http://diningwithdebbie.net/2016/04/28/pappardelle-with-peas-parmesan-and-pancetta/

      #letsbreakbread

      Thanks for stopping by, y’all.

       

       

      It Really Is: #HummusMadeEasy {Smoked Turkey Wraps}

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        This post was sponsored by The Women Bloggers, LLC and #SoapBoxInfluence. . Special thanks to the Kendal King Group creators of #HummusMadeEasy Campaign. As always, all opinions are mine — and you know I have them!

        Hubby and I often have wraps as our preferred sandwich style. I tend to make them often especially during the spring and summer months when I can fill them with tons of fresh vegetables from the garden or farmers market. And since he envisions himself as king of the smoker, we always have plenty of smoked meat or fish around to include as an added protein.

        #hummusmadeeasy red pepper turkey wraps slider

        When I was contacted about  Hummus Made Easy from Bush’s Beans, I knew right away I’d have to try one of the three varieties in a wrap. I make hummus all of the time and truly wondered why anyone would consider purchasing Hummus Made Easy when hummus is already pretty darn easy to make anyway.

        Blend #HummusMadeEasy with a can of drained and rinsed @BushsBeans garbanzos.

        Blend #HummusMadeEasy with a can of drained and rinsed @BushsBeans garbanzos.

        But I’m always open to new ideas, and I am soooooo glad I gave this one a go.  It’s delicious and oh so easy. I’m very sincere when I tell you I’m pretty much “in love” with it. Not only is it super tasty, it could not be any easier to make.

        I mean. It may have taken me all of 15 seconds to make the basic recipe using the Roasted Red Pepper variety  with Bush’s garbanzo beans. I paired it with smoked turkey and lots of crunchy veggies on FlatOut Light Original flatbread (only 90 calories) to make the wrap we had for lunch that day.

        #hummusmadeeasy roasted red pepper @bushsbeans plated on cutting board horz

        It could just as easily been made with smoked turkey, ham or pulled pork and a tortilla as well. I plan to try the Classic #HummusMadeEasy with some fresh herbs, garlic and smoked trout or salmon. 

        Here's a Party Idea
        How about setting up a hummus wrap bar for your next family or friend gathering. Let each person create his or her wrap with whatever floats their boat!

        And the hummus was even better, if that could be, the day after I made it.

        My Perfect Daughter and Perfect Girl are hummus lovers just like we are. She probably would tell you that I went on and on about Hummus Made Easy — maybe a little excessively?? But I have no doubt she’ll be loving it as much as I do once she gives it a whirl. 

        Honestly, it’s so easy to make I’m certain 8-year-old Perfect Girl could make it all by herself.

        My Community Bible Study group had lunch together this week, and I took the leftovers with me to share and get their reaction. It was a 100% super hit with each lady in the group. I even had to pull up a photo on my phone so they could be sure to identify the product on the shelf at Walmart since several were headed there to get some of the packets and beans after our lunch!

        How’s that for an endorsement?

        By the way, the packets are really easy to find. They’re sitting right there on the shelf at Walmart next to the Bush’s Beans. Can’t miss ’em.

        If you’re interested in some more delicious ideas using #HummusMadeEasy from Bush’s Beans you can check out their website and also do a search using the hashtag, #hummusmadeeasy. Several others from The Women Bloggers are creating deliciousness that you’ll definitely want to try. 

        #letsbreadbread

        #HummusMadeEasy {Smoked Turkey Wraps}

        6 wraps

        1 wrap

        Healthy and delicious smoked turkey wraps made using Bush's Beans Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Made Easy and garbanzo beans. I used FlatOut Light Original Flatbread (90 calories) instead of tortillas to decrease the calorie count.

        Ingredients

        • 1 15.8-ounce can Bush's Beans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
        • 1 6-ounce package Bush's Beans Hummus Made Easy Roasted Red Pepper variety
        • 1 11.2-ounce package Flat Out Light Original Flatbread (substitute tortilla wraps)
        • 6 leaves romaine lettuce, ribs cut out
        • 6-12 thin smoked turkey slices
        • 1 medium red pepper, membranes and stem removed, julienned
        • 1/2 English cucumber, julienned
        • 1 1/2 cups julienned carrots
        • 1/2 cup julienned radish strips
        • Fresh mint leaves, optional

        Instructions

        1. Process drained Bush's Beans garbanzo beans and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Made Easy in the bowl of a food processor until smooth and creamy; set aside.
        2. For each wrap, lay a flatbread on your work surface and spread with approximately 2 Tablespoons Hummus Made Easy.
        3. Cover hummus with a lettuce leaf and two slices smokedd turkey. Top with red pepper, cucumber, carrot and radish strips as desired.
        4. Add a few leaves of mint, if desired.
        5. Fold the bottom edge of the flatbread over the filling. If using a tortilla, fold in the sides, then roll up, squeezing the wrap so that the roll is tight and compact.
        6. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes and up to 24 hours.

        Notes

        Hummus may be made in advance and kept for several days. The flavor will become even more pungent and delicious. The wrap can be made a day ahead and kept wrapped until serving time.

        The amounts given may be varied to suit each person's taste.

        http://diningwithdebbie.net/2016/04/25/really-hummus-made-easy-smoked-turkey-wraps/

         

        Kitchen Basics: Kitchen Herb Garden, Part 1

          This is my new herb garden location Hubby created for me. I know he did it because he loves me, but my constant whining may have had a little something to do with it as well. Either way, I’m tickled pink and really looking forward to nursing it through its first year. This particular spot provides both partial shade and full sun which is good since different herbs have different light requirements. 

          Just as in real estate, there a 3 basic rules for the placement of your herb garden: location, location, location.

          herb garden

          • First: Put your herb garden as close to your kitchen as you can. You’ll want to have it just as handy as your spice cabinet. This will ensure you will actually use and take advantage of your herbs on a daily basis.
          • Second: For the most part, herbs thrive in full sun. Partial shade is okay in areas of intense afternoon heat. Full sun will promote fuller foliage
          • Third: A kitchen herb garden, I believe, has to be one of the most useful gardens you can grown. But, it needs to be located where you will access it frequently. With just a little maintenance, you herb garden will reward you with an abundant and steady supply from spring through much of fall. In fact, my parsley, sage and rosemary typically winter over outside just fine.

          I’ve grown herbs for years. In pots and pans, in garden and flower beds — wherever I could find a spot to stick a plant. I love the little surprise and sensual pleasure they bring when you walk by and brush your hand across them. Or when they bloom and the butterflies and bees hover over by seemingly by the hundreds (Just indulge me with that stretch of hyperbole, won’t you?).

          Some ideas for you to consider:

          • Start simply. It’s easy to get a little too excited and overplant. Trust me. I’ve been there. Lots.
          • Choose what you will use. If you don’t like the taste of licorice, don’t plant tarragon. And if cilantro is the very last flavor you want in your salsas or pico de gallo, for heaven’s sake, don’t waste your money and precious space growing them.
          • Contain the wanderers. Do you absolutely adore mint? Well, it probably will adore you right back and spread all over the garden unless you hinder its little journey. The same with oregano, marjoram and chives. They are aggressive little fellows that love to spread their wings — and roots—everywhere. And I do mean EVERYWHERE. Plant these fellows in containers unless you have room to let them spread rampantlyPersonally, I love have oregano as a large ground cover in my front shrub and flower bed. It makes for a VERY ample supply and it’s a great conversation starter.And I let my mint and garlic chives have free reign in an area below the garden where not much else grows except rocks. So why not. They love the area and I love having them around.

          Some recommended favorites from my garden:

          • Basil. I grow copious amounts of basil, especially Genovese basil. In my opinion, it is the best overall variety for cooking. It is certainly the best for pesto, caprese salad and other tomato dishes. I keep bottles of basil-infused olive oil and basil compound butter in my refrigerator and freezer year round.herbs genovese basil

            There will also be Greek or spicy globe basil just because it’s such a cute little plant, and I do like the little kick it brings to some dishes. It has a peppery aroma and is very easy to grown in the border or planter.
            herbs spicy globe basil
             

            I’ll also have a purple variety, usually called Fluffy Ruffles, just because it looks so bright and cheery in summer salads and it makes a gorgeous purple vinegar (so, so easy to make — come back later and I’ll show you how to do that). The flavor of purple basil warm and similar to licorice. Herbs purple basil
            I also include Thai basil and Cinnamon  basil as well. I use the Thai basil for stir fry dishes. Thai basil has a peppery, sweet aroma with a sweet, anise-licorice flavor. Cinnamon basil, a native of Mexico, has a lively sweet cinnamon aroma. Serve it with spicy, stir-fries, beans and other legumes.Other varieties I really like are Lettuce basil and Lemon or Thai lemon basil. I haven’t located any plants this year, but hope to do so soon. Thai lemon basil perks up noodle and curry dishes when added just before serving. Lettuce basil, with its big, floppy and wrinkled leaves is excellent in any dish where you would use Genovese basil. It’s a gorgeous variety, I think.

            An annual, basil is best used fresh. Heat will dissipate the flavor, so wait until the end of the cooking time to toss it into your dish. And it doesn’t like cold either so keep it out of the refrigerator.

            Simply store it in a glass of water, changed daily, on the countertop and it should last a few days. In fact, it may even decide to sprout roots.

            Keep basil pinched back to encourage bushy growth and cut off any flower heads that show up.

          • Chives. I mentioned that I have garlic chives growing along a hillside below the garden. Those babies have been there for years, and I didn’t legitimately plant a single one of them.How did that happen? Well, when your chives take over the garden, you pull them up by the roots and toss them down the hill. They rebel and start multiplying like jackrabbits.Chives have a mild onion flavor and are perennials.  Garlic chives have, as the name suggests, a subtle garlic aroma and taste as well. It’s easiest to grow chives from plants, but you can grown them from seeds if you have the time and patience. Trim them on a regular basis to encourage growth and divide and replant them every few years. Or share a starter plant with a neighbor or friend.herbs chive blossom
            Go ahead and use the lightly purple edible flowers which make a lovely addition to salads. Toss chives into your savory dishes at the end of the cooking time. Otherwise, they will become bitter. Plus, you don’t want them to go to seed unless, of course, you want a yard full of errant chive plants.
            Chives should never be cooked as they lose their flavor in the cooking. Snip them with scissors into butter, sour cream, thick yogurt or over baked potatoes and other vegetables.
          • Cilantro. This is one annual I don’t really have in my herb garden anymore. It’s certainly easy enough to grow from seed, but don’t try transplanting because it doesn’t usually transition well.herbs cilantro
            Cilantro bolts so quickly in our Arkansas heat, I find it’s just cheaper and easier to buy it in the grocery now. However, if you live in a cooler climate or are prone to fall gardens, plant a patch. The entire plant is edible—well, maybe not the roots;) My preferred variety of Santo if you can find it.
          • Parsley. I do love me some parsley, and I almost always grow it from seed. However, it is readily available each spring as plants. I plant both flat-leaf (also known as French or Italian parsley) and curly varieties. The Italian variety is what I use most often in cooking while the curly variety makes a beautiful garnish or addition to mayonnaise or soups.Flat-leaf parsley is a key ingredient in bouque garnis, fines herbs, Italian gremolata, salsa verde and tabouleh. It pairs very well with eggs, lemon, lentils, fish, rice, most vegetables and tomatoes. herbs flat leaf parsley
            Many sources agree that parsley is the world’s most popular herb. Its name comes from the Greek word meaning “rock celery” (parsley is a relative to celery). It is a biennial plant that will return to the garden year after year once it is established and allowed to go to seed.Did you know that parsley roots are actually edible? They resemble carrots when you pull them up, and you cook them in the same way you would carrots.

            Parsley is highly nutritious and can be used in a multitude of ways: gremolata (parsley. olive oil, garlic and lemon), compound butter, salad just to name a few. I like to fresh it in ice cubes to use for winter soups, stews, casseroles and sauces.

            Be sure to store it correctly once harvested, and it should last several days after cutting.

            TIP
            Parsley contains several essential oils. One of those is apiole, a kidney stimulant. Parsley, in large quantities, should be avoided by pregnant women since those oils can simulate uterine contractions. However, after the baby is born, parsley will help tone the uterus and promote lactation. The Complete Guide to Natural Healing.

            Each fall, I plant parsley seed in a pot and let it winter over outside or inside under my grow light when the temps are extremely cold. By doing so, I have a big pot of fresh parsley ready to go in the spring.

            The pot from the previous fall’s planting will be allowed to go to seed so that it reseeds in the same pot. I usually have good results, but I always have parsley seed on hand and routinely start plants throughout the year that grow under our basement grow light.

            flat-leaf parsley

            Flat-leaf parsley going to seed.

          COMING NEXT:  Part 2: Oregano, Marjoram, Mint, Thyme, Fennel

          I’ll keep you posted on the progress of the new herb garden. Thanks for stopping by.

          Red Apple Inn Paradise Pie

            #letsbreakbread

            So this week on THV11 This Morning I shared  some goodies from one of my favorite Arkansas gems, The Red Apple Inn at Eden Isle. You know I’ve featured them before:

            One of the recipes I shared was for Paradise Pie which Mrs. Ruby Thomas, one of the original owners,  always had available on the menu. Even though the property has changed hands a couple of times since the Thomases owned it, the Red Apple Inn has kept many of her recipes available due to their tradition and popularity. Paradise Pie is one of those.

            It’s really a simple pie to make. You just won’t believe how uncomplicated it is really. It can be frozen quite well so it’s nice to have it available when you need to prepare ahead or to keep on hand for last-minute guests. I suggest you let it mostly thaw before serving. You could eat it frozen, I suppose, but it would be rather like eating a meringue popsicle.

            Red Apple Inn Paradise Pie

            “I first had this simple but delicious dessert 30 years ago in Booneville, Arkansas. It is still a favorite at the Red Apple. It is quickly made and freezes well.” Ruby Thomas

            Ingredients

            • 3 egg whites, at room temperature
            • 1 cup granulated sugar
            • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
            • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
            • 1 1/2 cups grated coconut, divided
            • 20 saltine cracker squares, crumbled fine in a food processor
            • 1 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
            • 1/2 pint heavy cream, whipped

            Instructions

            1. Butter a 9-inch pie plate; set aside.
            2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
            3. Lightly toast 1/2 cup coconut while preheating the oven; set aside to cool completely.
            4. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff
            5. Gradually add in sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon coconut extract and 1 cup coconut continuing to beat during additions
            6. Fold in crumbled crackers and pecans.
            7. Pour batter into prepared pie plate and bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees.
            8. Cool completely. Freeze until shortly before serving.
            9. In a chilled mixing bowl with chilled beaters, beat whipped cream with 1 teaspoon vanilla until stiff.
            10. Top cooled (or frozen) pie with whipped cream and sprinkle with 1/2 cup lightly toasted grated coconut.

            Notes

            The pie can also be frozen after topping with the whipped cream and toasted coconut.

            Adapted from Feasts of Eden by Ruby C. Thomas

            http://diningwithdebbie.net/2016/04/16/red-apple-inn-paradise-pie/

            Be sure to join me next week when I’ll be sharing even more Favorites from the Red Apple Inn. In the meantime, go check out those first 3 links where you can read about the history and development of the inn property.

            I sure hope you get a chance to visit this Arkansas jewel in the near future. When you do, be sure to tell Rachelle and Jack, long-time employees, I said hello. They are great people and I’m sure they’ll do everything they can to make yours a enjoyable visit.

            favorites from the red apple inn on thv 11

            PS: Dear FTC, I have not been compensated in any manner for this post. These opinions, as usual, are my very own. 

            Favorites from the Red Apple Inn {What’s Cooking on THV11}

              One of our favorite Arkansas places to spend a pleasant few days is the romantic Red Apple Inn on Eden Isle near Heber Springs. While it is beautiful any time of the year, fall is probably my favorite season at the Red Apple  I love the smells, the colors, the crisp air…just the beauty that abounds all around. You may have read a little of the background when I wrote  about it a couple of years ago.  Red Apple Inn: Its Food, Its People, Its Stories briefly shares the story of the inn’s origin.

              red apple inn 2 desktop

              This week for my segment on THV11 This Morning, I’ll be featuring a few of the Red Apple Inn’s signature favorites from original owner, Ruby Thomas’ cookbook Feasts from Eden which is out of print. I was fortunate to be able to locate a signed copy of the book some time back and have enjoyed recreating some of her dishes.

              “We’ve never even attempted writing another book,” he said. “Many Arkansans have rich memories of dining here. My parents and my wife’s parents, all from Little Rock, would drive here to celebrate special occasions because it was one of the few places where folks could find fine dining.” David Smith, former general manager, Three Rivers Ed., Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

              red apple inn 620

              According to Jack Gay and Rachelle Kirkpatrick, long-time employees of the inn, some of recipes from Feasts of Eden are still frequently found on the current menu. Ruby’s Dinner Rolls, Chocolate Roll, Grits Cooked in Chicken Broth, Carmel Custard and Paradise Pie are always available. The French Onion Soup is always on the nightly menu; others such as the Cheese Souffle and the Prime Rib and Horseradish Sauce are available on certain nights.

              If you happen to be at the inn on Mother’s Day you just might find the Eggplant and Mushroom Casserole, Green Bean and Mushroom Casserole and the Stuffed Squash on the special buffet. For a listing of the current menus, you can find those available online.

              You can also check back with me since I will be including some additional recipes from Feasts of Eden throughout the next several months. For Tuesday’s THVII segment, I’ll be sharing my adaptations of these favorites:

              Coming soon to Dining With Debbie

              If you’re a regular viewer of This Morning, you will often see camera shots from the inn used during their telecasts, especially during the weather.

              red apple inn dining room

              Photo courtesy of Red Apple Inn

              Recent and extensive renovations  have returned much of the beauty to the Red Apple. Most of the rooms, if not all, have been updated from their dark, heavy Mediterranean feel to  a lighter, brighter and more modern appearance. The dining room remains one of the most regarded and popular places to dine in Arkansas.

              Photo Courtesy of Red Apple Inn

              Photo Courtesy of Red Apple Inn

              Note: I have not been compensated for this post. All opinions expressed here are my own.

              #letsbreakbread

              To-Die-For Potato Casserole {Funeral Potatoes}

                I don’t know what you call ’em in your neck of the woods, but around here we mostly call ’em Funeral Potatoes and for good reason. In the South, you can show up at a wedding without a covered dish (aka casserole), but you never, ever, ever show up at a funeral or the “visitation” prior to the official “visitation” without food in hand. Or a birthing. Whichever comes first, of course.

                If you’re a gourmet chef fixated on preparing the world’s next best famous plate, then you just may turn up your nose at this offering. And you would NEVER EVER send it over to your neighbor’s when Great Aunt Mabel dies cause you’re snooty that way. But…you would be missing out on some seriously delicious, calorie-busting to-die-for tastiness.

                Trust me.

                Funeral Potatoes may not win any beauty contest, but they will ALWAYS win when it comes to the casserole that is ALWAYS eaten to the last drop at any family gathering or church potluck. Or funeral lunch ’cause we always celebrate deaths with food in the South, ya’ know.

                I mean. It’s got all those food groups your doctor or health coach warned you to stay away from: cheese, sour cream, cream of something soup, butter — the real kind. Is your mouth watering yet?

                funeral potatoes o'brien w ham diningwithdeb garnished horz

                I sometimes vary the dish by using frozen Potatoes O’Brien instead of the regular hashbrowns. Adding leftover ham is another option and makes this a full meal when accompanied by a tossed green salad.

                Plus, it’s one of those dishes you can make-ahead and freeze just so you’ll have it hot and ready for the next funeral. Or birth. You want to get there first, of course, and lay your claim to having the tastiest dish on the table.

                Funeral Potatoes are definitely to-die-for!

                funeral potatoes o'brien w ham for thv11 diningwithdeb

                To Die For Potato Casserole {Funeral Potatoes}

                Ingredients

                • 8Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided use
                • 1 10-ounce package frozen Pictsweet Seasoning Blend*
                • 2 cloves garlic, minced
                • 1 1/2 cups sliced baby portabellas
                • 1 32-ounce bag frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, lightly thawed
                • 110.5-ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup (or homemade substitute)
                • 1 cup sour cream
                • 1/4 cup fresly grated Parmesan
                • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
                • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
                • 2 cups freshly shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese
                • 2 cups lightly crushed corn flake cereal

                Instructions

                1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
                2. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat.
                3. Saute the seasoning blend stirring, until soft and translucent, about 6 minutes.
                4. Stir in the garlic and sliced mushrooms and cook until fragrant and softened, an additional 2 minutes.
                5. In a bowl, toss together the cooked onions and garlic, hash brown potatoes, condensed soup, sour cream, Parmesan, salt, pepper and 1 1/2 cups Cheddar.
                6. Spread the mixture in a 9 x13- inch casserole sprayed with nonstick spray.
                7. Melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter and stir into the corn flakes.Top the casserole with the corn flake mixture and sprinkle with the remaining Cheddar.
                8. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 25 minutes; remove the foil and continue to bake until it bubbles around the sides, about 25-30 minutes more.
                9. Allow the casserole to rest 15 minutes before serving.

                Notes

                *I keep Pictsweet Seasoning Blend in my freezer all of the time. If you prefer, substitute 1 cup diced onion, 1/2 cup sliced celery and 1/4 cup diced bell pepper.

                This casserole freezes very well before baking. Allow to thaw before cooking.

                Variation: Use frozen Potatoes O'Brien instead of the regular hash browns. Add 1 1/2 cups leftover cubed smoked ham, optional.

                http://diningwithdebbie.net/2016/04/08/die-potato-casserole-funeral-potatoes/

                Meyer Lemon Madeleines

                  I dearly love anything lemon, especially when it’s Meyer lemon and since I’m the proud owner of my own Meyer lemon “orchard.” (Just humor me on that one.) I have savored every little drop of juice and piece of zest from my harvest this year plus I managed to grab several bags at the market while they were available. While I use them in both savory and sweet dishes, I’m really excited about these Meyer Lemon Madeleines.

                  Once you make them, you will be excited as well.

                  I’ve adapted a recipe from David Lebovitz’s Living the Sweet Life in Paris which I’ve been reading off and on since purchasing my copy some time ago. Because I really enjoy more of a lemon flavor, I added the lemon emulsion plus a little more zest.

                  The taste of a Meyer lemon is a cross between a lemon and tangerine so the flavor of these cookies isn’t exactly tart. You can, of course, use regular lemons if you prefer or if Meyer lemons aren’t available.

                  meyer lemon madeleines vert on rack 620

                  Remember, you can easily freeze citrus for later use. I usually have a couple dozen Meyer lemons in my freezer left over from the season. They work just as well as fresh after thawing.

                  You will need to purchase a nonstick madeleine pan if you don’t have one. Allow it to cool between batches. You’ll want it when you make my plain madeleines soon anyway!

                  Today I made a Meyer lemon bread with blueberries and will be sharing that soon. What is it about lemon and blueberries? They just seem to really marry well together, don’t they?

                  Meyer Lemon Madeleines

                  Ingredients

                  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
                  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
                  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
                  • 1 1/4 cup flour
                  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
                  • 1 teaspoon lemon emulsion (or extract)
                  • Fine zest of one Meyer lemon
                  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
                  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
                  • 1- 1 1/2 Tablespoon freshly-squeezed Meyer lemon juice

                  Instructions

                  1. Chill the madeleine pan(s) in the freezer for 1t least 10-15 minutes. Spray with nonstick baking spray shortly before baking.
                  2. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, beat the eggs, granulated sugar and salt for light and thick.
                  3. Sift the flour and baking powder together.
                  4. Add the lemon zest and lemon emulsion to the cooled butter, then drizzle the butter into the batter, a few spoonfuls at a time,gently folding gently but thoroughly.
                  5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours. Remove from refrigerator 20 minutes prior to baking.
                  6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
                  7. Fill the madeleine molds three quarters full. Do not spread the batter.
                  8. Bake 0-12 minutes or until just feel set.
                  9. While the madeleines are baking, in a small mixing bowl 1. Brush the indentations of a madeleine mold with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap off any excess, and place in the fridge or freezer.
                  10. 2. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, whip the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt for 5 minutes until frothy and thickened.
                  11. 3. Spoon the flour and baking powder, if using, into a sifter or mesh strainer and use a spatula to fold in the flour as you sift it over the batter. (Rest the bowl on a damp towel to help steady it for you.)
                  12. 4. Add the lemon zest to the cooled butter, then dribble the butter into the batter, a few spoonfuls at a time, while simultaneously folding to incorporate the butter. Fold just until all the butter is incorporated.
                  13. 5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Batter can be chilled for up to 12 hours.)
                  14. 6. To bake the madeleines, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
                  15. 8. Plop enough batter in the center of each indentation with enough batter which you think will fill it by 3/4’s (you’ll have to eyeball it, but it’s not brain-surgery so don’t worry if you’re not exact.) Do not spread it.
                  16. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until the madeleines just til set.
                  17. While the cookies are baking, make a glaze in a small mixing bowl by stirring together the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Add more juice or powdered sugar as needed.
                  18. When done, turn the madeleines out onto a cooling rack and spread with a thin layer of the glaze. Allow to cool completely.
                  19. Store in and air tight container a single layer with parchment paper between the layers.

                  Notes

                  Madeleines are best eaten shortly after baking.

                  http://diningwithdebbie.net/2016/04/01/meyer-lemon-madeleines/

                  Gracie Lee Guests on THV11 with Me!

                    I’m so excited about this week’s segment on THV11 This Morning y’all. And not just because you don’t have to get up before the crack to see it! Instead of 6:15 AM, tune in at 9 AM to catch this week’s feature which I’ll be sharing with my friend, Talya Boerner, author of The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee.

                    I’m sooooo excited I could just p… well, ya’ know. But southern girls don’t mention those things!

                    The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee

                    Ten-year-old Gracie Lee is the central character in Talya’s recently published debut novel — and one you just HAVE to read. Set in the Arkansas delta region of Mississippi County, Gracie Lee knows all too well the promises and pitfalls of growing up the daughter of a cotton farmer. Sometimes funny. Sometimes sad. Sometimes confused. She may remind you of Scout from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. 

                    Or she may remind you of yourself.

                    Accidental Salvation? What is that all about?

                    “Ten-year-old Gracie Lee knows a few things. She knows which trees are best for climbing. She knows how to walk through the hallway without making a sound on the hardwood floor. She knows if Daddy’s crop gets one more drop of rain, the whole family will pay the price.

                    There are plenty of things Gracie doesn’t know. These things keep her awake at night.

                    Gracie longs for something bigger and grander and truer, and feels certain there is more to life beyond school and dull church sermons. She worries about the soldiers in Vietnam and wonders what it must be like to have been born Lisa Marie Presley from Tennessee instead of Gracie Lee Abbott from Arkansas. Mostly, she wishes her Daddy wasn’t so mean.”

                    the very best meatloaf from dining with debbie for gracie lee

                    “Gracie’s unchecked imagination leads to adventure, and adventure leads to trouble. She confides in unexpected characters and seeks solace in a mysterious gray house beyond the cotton field. When Gracie faces a difficult family situation, she must make a life-altering decision, one that will test the very essence of her character.”

                    Talya will be talking about Gracie Lee Eudora Abbott, and I’ll be sharing some of Gracie Lee’s favorite foods that you’ll find on any honest-to-goodness southern table.

                    Funeral potatoes? Are you kidding me?

                    the best mac & cheese in all the land talya boerner for gracie lee

                    Photo Courtesy of Grace,Grits and Garden

                    You’re welcome to join us. We’ll set a place for you at the table.

                    nana's strawberry cake - gracie lee's birthday favorite - talya boerner

                    Photo courtesy of Grace Grits and Garden

                    Smoked Pork Enchiladas

                      When Hubby smokes a pork butt (Why  is it called a butt when it’s actually a shoulder?), there’s only so much of it we can eat as barbecue sandwiches which is typically what we do. So I’ve learned to come up with some pretty interesting variations like these Smoked Pork Enchiladas.

                      I mean. They combine some of our favorite flavors and come together quickly and easily. I generally use canned enchilada sauce, but do whatever floats your boat as far as that is concerned. It’s really simple to make from scratch so I should probably make mine, but sometimes…well, ya’ know.

                      This recipe typically makes about 6 enchiladas, but it may stretch to as many as 8 depending upon how full you make them. For us, 2 enchiladas make a generous serving. Freeze the rest or, even better, share with a neighbor. 

                      I also like using a small amount of the shredded smoked pork in my chili, but I’m hoping chili season is about over around here. Since I am definitely not a cold weather person, I’m really ready for Spring and gardening season.

                      How about you? Do you have any great ideas for using up leftover smoked pork? Please share.

                      #letsbreakbread

                      smoked pork enchiladas diningwithdebbie

                      Smoked Pork Enchiladas

                      Ingredients

                      • 2 cups leftover shredded smoked pork butt
                      • 1/2 cup chopped onions
                      • 2 10-ounce cans enchilada sauce
                      • 1 teaspoon ground smoked chipotle pepper
                      • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
                      • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
                      • 1cup Mexican Crema (or sour cream)
                      • 1 4-ounce can chopped jalapenos (or equal amount fresh)
                      • 2 cups freshly shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
                      • 6 - 8 7-inch flour tortillas
                      • chopped cilantro as garnish
                      • halved cherry tomatoes as garnish

                      Instructions

                      1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray; set aside.
                      2. Sauté chopped onions in 1 Tablespoon canola oil until tender; set aside.
                      3. Combine cooked pork, sauteéd onions, 1 can enchilada sauce, smoked chipotle, garlic powder, crema, jalapenos and one cup of the shredded cheese in a large bowl.
                      4. Pour a thin layer of plain enchilada sauce in the 9x13 baking dish.
                      5. Spread pork mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll tortillas to enclose filling; place seam side down in the baking dish.
                      6. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the filled tortillas. Top with the remaining 1 cup cheese.
                      7. Bake in preheated oven until hot and bubbly, about 30 minutes.
                      8. Garnish with chopped cilantro and cherry tomatoes before serving.

                      Notes

                      Optional additions: sliced black olives on top of the cheese topping and sliced green onions as garnish.

                      http://diningwithdebbie.net/2016/03/22/smoked-pork-enchiladas/