Sharing a seriously fun love for food

Category: Discoveries

Something Old, Now Something New

Something Old, Now Something New

I am fortunate to have a number of heirlooms that had belonged to my Mom and my Grandmothers, but none more precious to me than recipes, written in their own hand. Many are stained from years of use, parts somewhat illegible from age. The memories that are packed into those notecards, onto the slips of paper are full of sound, sight and the aroma that filled their kitchens. If I close my eyes for just a moment I’m transported back to those joyous times.

My Mom’s large family about to feast on a meal with sweet tea all around! The meal prepared by Tassie Mae, the matriarch, seated on the left and my Mom with her coal black hair, pictured in the center of all those brothers.

These strong women in my life taught me to cook, to love food and understand how to bring it up from the earth with their bountiful gardens.

My Dad’s Mother, Grace Pearl on the left along with my dear Great Aunt Mary, center. These two made the most amazing food!

I began sharing this passion with my daughter Emily, starting at a very young age just as my Mom had done for me. Cooking binds us together in family, in community and in spirit long after we’ve lost those we love.

My Mom teaching Emily how to make her hot rolls, aka Denver Biscuits.

Emily also learned the joy of cooking from my Mom, spending years in the kitchen together. In doing so, these handwritten recipes passed down through generations mean a great deal to her as well. This past Christmas she gave me a gift, literally bringing me to tears.

Pictured along with the handwritten recipes are two cookbooks belonging to my Grandmothers, a biscuit cutter that my Grandmother used to cut many, many biscuits, a whisk from my Mom and an antique butter press which belonged to my Great Grandmother.

Emily borrowed a number of these recipes and to my surprise turned them into wonderful treasures. I opened the gift box and saw my Mom’s handwritten recipe for her hot rolls, now printed on a delightful kitchen tea towel. In all, she had fashioned two recipes from my Mom and two belonging to her Mother into tea towels. (I don’t cook without a tea towel on my shoulder!) I’ve had so many people ask me how and where Emily had these made, so I asked her to fill me in on the details.

The recipe for my Mom’s Hot Rolls, now always at my fingertips!

Emily discovered Spoonflower, a company based in Durham, North Carolina. It’s a wonderful online marketplace supporting the design of custom fabric. Using the resources offered by Spoonflower here is how Emily created these treasures:

She started by using the “how-to video” Spoonflower has posted on their website: https://blog.spoonflower.com/2012/07/turn-recipes-into-tea-towels/

Then she spent some time cleaning up the scan of each recipe in Photoshop, which she said made a big difference in the quality and clarity. Emily kept the prints in color (where the recipe cards had color) playing off those tones for the borders. She notes they’d also look great in black/neutral/gray tones too and would translate well in a neutral kitchen. To finish the edges of the towels, she took them to the tailor to have the edges sewn.

Other ideas she shared…It would be fun with letters, ticket stubs (do people still have those?) or kids’ art too… She also thinks you could do a more terry cloth/Turkish material and use them for a guest bath, not necessarily with recipes there! The ideas are endless and the hearts touched will be many.

Thanks Emily for a beautiful and thoughtful gift!

https://www.spoonflower.com/about

Fresh Croissants and Pastries at Your Fingertips

Fresh Croissants and Pastries at Your Fingertips

Flaky, buttery croissants make the perfect breakfast sandwich for family and houseguests.

We are always looking for great food finds to make entertaining a bit more interesting or life a bit simpler. A number of years ago while shopping for my Dad, I stumbled upon some delectable pastries from Williams-Sonoma.

When any birthday, holiday or gift-giving occasion circled around, we always struggled with a great gift for my Dad. He was hard to buy for, as are most men, but he was really difficult… He had a ranch and a horse, so what else does a cowboy need?! My Dad appreciated good food and loved pastries. This might come as a surprise, but croissants and fresh pastries are not widely available in small Texas towns.

For Father’s Day one year I was really at a loss, so I decided to run by our local Williams-Sonoma store in Southlake. We were flipping through their latest catalog in hopes of finding something and I noticed the pastries they had featured. Beautiful, buttery croissants and sticky buns… This was it! And my Dad was in heaven!

To whet your appetite, here is the description from Williams-Sonoma…

“Master pastry chef Jean-Yves Charon crafts our croissants in the traditional French style, using his buttery, award-winning puff pastry, cutting and shaping the pastries by hand. Shipped frozen, they are easy to prepare—just let rise overnight and then bake. The croissants emerge from the oven with flaky, golden-brown exteriors, delicate interiors and an irresistible buttery aroma. There’s no simpler way to bring a taste of France to the breakfast table.”

Fast forward years later and I’m seldom without these in my freezer. The frozen pastries arrive boxed with dry ice, ready to pop in the freezer until you need them. There are multiple options, sizes and types. I normally order the mini-croissants… after they thaw, rise and bake they are the perfect size. You can cook one or two at a time or all two dozen.

Simple to prepare… Place frozen croissants on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover with a sheet of parchment paper before you go to bed. The next morning, they are ready to bake.
Breakfast sandwiches with lightly scrambled eggs, bacon and Havarti cheese will satisfy everyone.
Company’s Coming!

Company’s Coming!

 

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It’s that time of year and with a few simple steps your guests will feel like they are at a five-star resort when they arrive at your home. These tips are easy to do and most things you’ll have on hand or will only take a few minutes of your time to prepare…your guests will love you for it!

*Arrange extra storage in a closet or dresser so clothing can be easily stored during your guests’ visit. An ironing board and iron made easily accessible is also appreciated for a quick refresh after their journey.

*Make the guest room inviting by providing magazines or share your favorite books you already have on hand. Place them on a nightstand for late night reading. An extra reading chair in the room also comes in handy for putting on one’s socks in the morning!

A tray with teas, sweeteners, spoons and napkins all ready for unwinding!
A tray with teas, sweeteners, spoons and napkins all ready for unwinding!

*Take a tray or basket you have on hand, fill with an assortment of teas and light snacks. Leave this on the guest bed waiting their arrival or on the counter in your kitchen. Keep the tea kettle out on the stovetop, place creams and sugar near the coffee maker. Jot down simple instructions in case your guests want to make a cup of coffee in the early morning hours before everyone else is up or late at night as they wind down for the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Place cotton balls, Q-tips and a scented candle on a tray and place on the counter in the guest bath. Include often forgotten toiletries, an extra toothbrush, hair dryer and a clean robe to provide the spa treatment and a bit of pampering. Provide some dark towels and wash cloths to remove make-up so your guests don’t stress over staining your guest towels.

Bath tray

*To wrap up the day, place some luscious chocolates on their pillows. Lindt, Godiva and Ferrero all make individually wrapped chocolates so they’re easy to keep on hand and always appreciated for sweet dreams!