Sun-Brewed Darjeeling Iced Tea — Pros and Cons

While visiting in Germany last week, I discovered that folks there don’t drink iced tea. It’s not on restaurant menus, there was no instant ice tea mix or family sized ice tea-bags in grocery stores. Missing a glass of ice tea, my son and I bought tea bags and brewed our own. We randomly selected Darjeeling tea and it was actually the best iced tea I’d had in quite some time. After returning back home to Louisiana, I decided to attempt to make sun-brewed iced tea using Darjeeling tea bags. Continue reading

Denise’s Banana Cream Icebox Pie with Toasted Coconut

Would you guess that Louisiana is famous for icebox pies? Probably not. However, several iconic diners across the state have a reputation for fine icebox pies. The family diner, Strawn’s Eat Shop, in Shreveport is one such spot. This restaurant is the inspiration for Denise’s Banana Cream Icebox Pie with Toasted Coconut which I am making for Mother’s Day. It is an old-fashioned and sentimental pie.Denise's Banana Cream Icebox Pie with Toasted Coconut - IMG_8884

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Classic Deep Dish Apple Pie

Warning — you may not be able to stop eating this apple pie. There is something irresistible about the combination of a flaky pie crust, an aromatic (but not too sweet) apple filling and a crunchy oatmeal crumb topping. Autumn is the time of year to find varieties of apples at farmer’s markets and produce stands that don’t appear at other times of the year.Classic Deep Dish Apple Pie - IMG_5627

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Peach Shortbread Tart

Last summer in August we took a road trip and drove through rural Pennsylvania and upstate New York. My husband was a good sport as we stopped at produce stands along the way. By the time we got back to Louisiana, our car was full of fruits and vegetables and it smelled like an aromatic fruit concoction. The New York peaches were ripe; I got busy and made a luscious Peach Shortbread Tart.
Ripe Peach Shortbread Tart - IMG_6421_1

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Memories of an Iowa Farm: Savory Ham and Corn Pancakes

Every summer in August when I was young, we’d travel from Virginia to Iowa to visit our grandparents who lived on an Iowa farm. I have many vivid memories of their farm; one is of the corn–a memory also shared by my cousins. We joked that corn was served at every meal: corn on the cob for lunch and supper and a corn dish at breakfast, too!Savory Corn Pancakes - 1 - IMG_4462_1

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Refreshing Cuban Mojito Rum Cocktail

We visited Miami recently and decided to eat at some Cuban restaurants. Why not try out the local cuisine when vacationing? We enjoyed everything we ordered; especially the refreshing mojito drinks. I thought of all the mint growing in my garden — what a good way to use it!Cubina Mojiko - 2 - IMG_4411_1 Continue reading

Apple & Honey Pastry Squares

Cool, crisp fall weather brings changing colors on trees and ripe apples to much of the country. I especially liked fresh apple cider and donuts while living in Michigan years ago. We miss this in southern Louisiana–wishful memories. Then I opened one of my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) baskets. Surprise, apples were in the basket along with honey and other produce!

Honey Apple Strudel Ingredients - IMG_7872

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Easy Sweet and Sour Cabbage Borscht

I’m quite proud of my Sweet and Sour Cabbage Borscht. I’d never made it–and was pleased with how well it turned out. It started with a trip to Rochester, New York, and a visit to the farmer’s market with autumn fruits and vegetables. I couldn’t resist bringing home a nine pound cabbage. What should I make with the huge cabbage? My mother-in-law suggested cabbage borscht.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Borscht - 1R - IMG_8355

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In Search of the Best Summer Tomato

My favorite summer vegetable is a vine ripe, juicy tomato. You won’t find this in a grocery store for reasons of transport and storage–plus tomatoes don’t ripen appreciably once they are picked and chilled. A farmer’s market, roadside stand or a summer garden is where you’ll find ripe tomatoes. My annual summer search for the best tomato met with success in a very unusual way during a recent trip to Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York.

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When the Farmer’s Market is the Farm

When the farmer’s market is the farm you know the produce will be good. Just picked from the garden, the vegetables and fruit are fresh. This is the way to purchase corn on the cob. It is best when picked and eaten the same day. Our family is scattered all over the country. When we return home to the Shenandoah Valley, this local farm’s produce stand is something we always seek out.

Shenandoah Valley Farm - IMG_5714_1 Continue reading