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Dec 8, 2012

Butter Bliss


I love Allison Glock's article, "Because We Praise the Lard," in the November 2012 Issue of Southern Living. Her one-page tribute to lard and butter made me realize that I have more in common with the South than I thought.

Recently, Butter-Queen Paula Deen has taken heat for her liberal use of butter and sugar — as if she is responsible for its role in the Southern soul. Paula just capitalized on a good thing. Allison wrote, "Shame has no place in the Southern diet. Agreeable gluttony is a cultural right."

My own connection with butter began in Kindergarten with a jar of heavy cream. We took turns shaking the contents until it reached a sweet, creamy consistency. I watched my teacher intently as she spread the freshly created butter onto saltine crackers. I knew I was about to taste something special. It was heavenly!

Allison shared, "We kept our butter on the table in a cornflower blue, Fiesta Ware keeper, so it stayed soft and, more critically, accessible." My own family used a Franciscan Ware, Desert Rose butter dish for special occasions. Our everyday butter was stored in a covered glass dish in the cupboard designated for sugar, cinnamon, jelly, and peanut butter. Divine design if you ask me. It was sad when it was later relegated to the refrigerator.

French Butter Dish
James Sloss Pottery
As an aside, I now keep my butter accessible in a French Butter Dish, sometimes referred to as a French butter keeper, butter crock or butter bell. The butter stays fresh and spreadable at room temperature. The top section stores the butter and is then lowered into a small amount of water that creates a seal. 

Allison continued, "My family ate butter on everything. Steak. Hard-boiled eggs. Bologna. Peanut butter sandwiches. Cake. As a toddler, I would eat butter plain, spooning it from the dish like ice cream." I plead guilty to all of that except the hard-boiled egg part and I am bound to try it!

I consider adding butter to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich an act of marriage. I also prefer butter frosting on cakes and swoon over herbs and butter on pasta.

Lastly, I memorized a tongue twister from a children's book while babysitting years ago. It was the "butter" theme that grabbed me and I can still recite the twister rapidly. There are a few variations out there, but here is the one I committed to heart.

Betty Botter

Betty Botter bought some butter,
"But," said she, "this butter's bitter;
If I put it in my batter,
It will make my batter bitter!"

So she bought a bit of butter,
Better than the bitter butter,
Put it in the bitter batter,
Made the bitter batter better.

So twas better Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter!


Have a butter-full day!

Dec 4, 2012

Tea for Tuesday

I'm making a list, checking it twice, creating some goodies that ought to be nice! My workshop is keeping me busy. I am bursting to tell you but . . . shhh . . . this is secret stuff.

Creative pursuits call for a party. Any excuse, right? Last night, I whipped up some pumpkin bundt cake with cream cheese frosting. My Paris Tea is on standby. Me, myself, and I will be attending and I have the perfect poem... 


The Tea Party

I had a little tea party
This afternoon at three;
'Twas very small,
Three guests in all,
Just I, myself and me.

Myself ate all the sandwiches,
While I drank up the tea;
'Twas also I who ate the pie
And passed the cake to me.

-Anonymous Author



Smiles,

Dec 2, 2012

Soup Weather

IT'S SOUP WEATHER! We have had several days of rain. The temps are stubbornly clinging to the 40's, so as our mountain community pines for snowfall, we can only imagine...

Several ladies gathered at Jennifer's home on Thursday evening. It was our monthly Movie Night and the savory aroma of homemade soup enveloped us. We enjoyed 2 soups: Pumpkin and Sausage Soup and Potato Chowder. Our bowls did double duty.

I recently made a traditional African rice dish with golden raisins and ginger that is steeped in the cooking water. Delicious! Thus began my ginger journey. Tea Foodie [by Zanitea] is never at a loss for good recipes. I am intrigued by her inspiration and stra-tea-gic use of tea in her cooking. Here is a recipe that utilizes the amazing ginger root, as well as loose leaf ginger tea.

Ginger-Infused Sweet Potato Coconut Soup

(Adapted from the Sweet Potato Coconut Soup recipe served at One Ten Thai in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.)

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:
2 cups water
2 pyramid bags of Teatulia’s Ginger Herbal Infusion (or 2 heaping teaspoons of your favorite loose leaf ginger tea blend)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 one-inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon ground garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
4 medium sweet potatoes (or yams), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 (14-ounce) cans coconut milk
2 or 3 whole fresh or dried kaffir lime leaves (optional)
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
1 ½ teaspoons soy sauce

Preparation:
1. Boil the water, pour it over the ginger tea blend, and steep for 7 to 10 minutes. Strain, discard the tea leaves, and set aside the brewed tea.
2. While the tea is steeping, heat the oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, and cook for about 10 minutes, until the onions are very soft.
3. Add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, cumin, salt, and white pepper to the onions, and cook for 2 more minutes.
4. Add the sweet potatoes to the pot, stirring to coat them with the spiced onion mixture. Pour in the brewed ginger tea and coconut milk, and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat down to a visible simmer, then stir in the kaffir lime leaves, sweet chile sauce, and soy sauce, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are very soft and falling apart when you put a fork through them. Taste the broth, and adjust any seasoning, if necessary.
5. Carefully, and in batches if necessary, add the soup to a blender, and puree until very smooth. Put the pureed soup back on the stove over low heat, and serve.

Tips:

  • You can make the soup as spicy as you like by adding additional ginger, pepper or chili sauce while it’s simmering.
  • Serve with chopped cilantro or parsley and some spicy condiments on the side to season the soup by the bowlful.
  • This soup freezes really well.
Soup-cerely yours,