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.

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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.