The Dawgs Suck

It’s pumpkin season, as I’m sure you know.  We have a little pumpkin patch of our own this Fall. My grandsons have been keeping a check on them and next weekend we will have a family cookout and raid on the pumpkin patch to carve jackolanterns.

I’ve never made pumpkin soup, heretofore, but as I have these little pumpkins, I thought I’d try it. I washed, seeded, chunked,  and coated 2 pumpkins with olive oil, before roasting in the oven. When tender and cooled, I took a spoon and scraped out the cooked pulp. I had about 3 1/2 cups, which I smoothed out with an immersion blender. In a big pot, with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, I sauteed 1 chopped yellow onion and 4 chopped cloves of garlic. I added the pumpkin pulp into the pot, added spices of salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutneg and pepper to taste. To this , I stirred in 4 cups of chicken stock and let it simmer for around 15 minutes. After it was through cooking, I stirred in a 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Another spin with the immersion blender to ensure it’s creaminess and the soup was ready for my bowl.

Along side my bowl of pumpkin soup, was a plate of mustard decorated corndogs. Why not? I’m a  Louisiana State University fan. Can’t grow up in Baton Rouge and not be. Today we play the Mississippi State University Bulldogs. The Bulldogs call us Tigers corndogs. Yeah, really, why?  Both are agricultural schools. And the trek to MSU is way more rural than it is to LSU. Are the Tigers and their fans uncouth, is that what the Dawgs are trying to say? Oh, well.

My opinion of the Dawgs is rendered in mustard. 20191019_12523720191019_125347

Even the wildflowers gathered on my morning walk are rooting for the Tigers. Purple and gold, baby.

Tiger Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

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Two Weekends

Nottaway Plantation held its second annual wine walk a couple of weeks ago. I fell in love with this white castle when I was a young girl in 1980. It had been restored and opened to the public for tours. My parents and I took a road trip and we were some of the first visitors through their renovated doors.

 

So, when I saw on social media that Nottaway was having a wine walk, I wanted to go. Problem was I know nothing about wine and didn’t want to go alone. Enter my birthday sister Trina. When I asked if she would go, she was all in. And even though the home was serving heavy hor dourves, we made it fun, by bringing our own: Plain and Barbecue Vienna Sausage. You know, real foodie minds have tried to answer the question for years: Which wine to serve with Vienna Sausage?

Eight stations for wine tastes were set up in the beautiful home. We test tasted sips of different wines and only the sommelier at table five gave us legit suggestions as to which wines would go better with Vienna Sausage.  There was a sparkling Brut Rose from J Vineyards that was just lovely to sip. Another  I liked was an inexpensive Charles Smith called Kung Fu Girl Riesling. So, to answer the question of which to serve with your chicken meat sticks, go with a sparkling white wine or rose.

This past weekend, we had an early Thanksgiving at my farmhouse. This year is the only time that all three of my sons will be in their twenties, so to commemorate that milestone, pictures were taken. Out to the big barn we all went.

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Team Player became a brotherhood catch phrase many years ago. The three were playing football with their Uncle and my oldest scored. My middle son kind of pouted and their Uncle said he needed to be a team player. The youngest eagerly announced that he could be a team player. He was no more than 5 at the time,  hand caught up in his sweaty t-shirt, exposing his belly, he asserted: “I team player! I team player!”

The three brothers have been just that: team players. We nicknamed them Adam,  Hoss and Little Joe Cartwright. They have always had each other’s backs. They are fun to be with. I hope that you have the same blessing with your children.

And speaking of children! I have two more grandbabies on the way!

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Thanksgiving Blessings from the Exiles Kitchen.

Thanksgiving 2016 In Pictures

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Donned my mother’s apron early this morning. My Aunt Rose Marie Ellison Cooper made the brown background with teal, stylized flowered apron decades ago. I love aprons- I feel so domestic diva-ish.
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A big bone in ham. I mixed up an easy orange juice and honey glaze. Yum!
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A smoked turkey, with a little extra help: one melted stick of butter, lemon juice and a dash of Cajun seasoning. So juicy! Of course there were the traditional sides of green bean casserole, cornbread dressing, candied sweet potatoes, corn casserole, cranberry sauce too.
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The sasanqua were late this year (probably the two month drought), but I’m kinda glad, because they are plentiful now. Paired with Nandina fronds for a simple table arrangement.
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After dinner there was kick ball in the front yard, dominoes at the cleared dining room table and a few naps blissfully taken wherever a quiet corner could be found.

It was a good holiday. I am thankful for so much this year. A new beginning has been given to me, and with God’s help, I don’t plan on wasting it.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

I Burned the Cranberry Sauce Years Ago

20151121_124437I burned the cranberry sauce years ago and my youngest son has never let me forget it. And just for the record, it’s easy to make cranberry sauce from scratch. If you serve something that slides out of a tin can like a red tird, shame on you! Cranberry sauce should be lovingly spooned next to homemade cornbread dressing and homemade sweet potato casserole and homemade green bean casserole-never ever, ever sliced and chunked onto your Thanksgiving plate.

The year I burned the cranberry sauce, my mother had called to tell me to make sure I made it because Uncle Bobby never really liked cranberry sauce before he tasted mine. Probably because all he’d ever had was that congealed stuff from a can. Anyway, I had gotten quite busy that morning getting all my cooking done and I got distracted. Yep, burned the cranberry sauce to a dark sticky mess in my stainless steel pot

“You burned the cranberry sauce,” my youngest son announced. “No cranberry sauce next to my turkey? What about Uncle Bobby? He loves your cranberry sauce.”

I gave a disgusted sigh.

” I’m not going to the store for more berries on Thanksgiving. Don’t say anything about my burning it and maybe no one will notice that there’re no cranberries.”

When dinner was served and plates were fixed, we all sat down to eat. The inevitable happened. Uncle Bobby looked at his plate, looked at everyone else’s plate, looked up and down  the dinner table. He opened his mouth and took a breath.

Before Uncle Bobby could even ask,  “Mama burned the cranberry sauce, Uncle Bobby. So, there won’t be any this year.”

My own son ratted me out.

Here’s my recipe:

1 bag of fresh cranberries, rinsed in cold water

1 cup white sugar

1 cup water

1/4 cup orange juice

pinch salt

pat of butter, optional

What to do:

Place rinsed berries in a two quart pot and turn burner to medium heat. Add sugar,  water, orange juice and pinch of salt. I think the tiny bit of salt helps cut the bitter taste that cranberries sometime have and makes the taste brighter. Bring berries to a gentle boil, stirring to disolve the sugar.

The berries will begin to pop, as their skins split. You’re almost through  with the cooking part, at this stage. When the berries foam up, turn the fire off. With a metal spoon, skim the pink bubbly foam from the top of the pot.  If you want to, add the pat of butter. This helps reduce any foam that may remain- it’s kind of hard to get all of the foam out of the cranberry sauce.

Cool the sauce before placing it in the frig. It can be made a day or two ahead of turkey day. Which is what I should have done the year I burned the cranberry sauce.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.