Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Decadent Red Autumn Tablescape for DAR Tea - Laden with Scones,Tea Sandwiches, Tassies and Cream Puffs
Dr. Larry Ray and Mary Cowan stepped in the day before the event when the designer became ill. With a few roses, lilies and snapdraggons, he mixed fall foliage such as bittersweet, ivy and oak leaf hydrangea, along with pomegrantes and pears to create the spectacular tablescape. Three antique British wine coolers centered the banquet table with a runner of embroidered ivory vintage silk. They implemented Bill Holland's designs and we all continue to pray for Bill's complete and speedy recovery. Another gorgeous antique wine cooler which belonged to Mary's mother held flowers on the punch table. An antique silver bowl centered the table in the entrance which held the party favors of AT HOME TENNESSEE magazines which featured the renovation of the Tennessee Governor's Mansion. Leah Ashby, a member of Opera Memphis, sang the National Anthem and then provided background music on the baby grand. I'd say this was a twirl!
My aunts, then my mother joined the DAR and took me with them. I have to admit that I am not an active member, but I do respect the organization and the work they do. Last Saturday, they held the Founders Day Tea to honor the four women who founded this non profit in 1890.
So I volunteered to help my mother with their special day. The committee went all out and had almost a hundred guests, a gorgeous tablescape, a formal tea, live music, and even re-enactors as greeters and to serve the tea.
The ladies had fun planning their event, watching others marvel at their efforts, and welcoming state officers who usually don’t attend such functions. They welcomed over twenty new members which is unheard of with small town DAR chapters.
Oh they were so dressed up, many wore hats, a few sported medals and sashes, favorite fragrances filled the air and the blue skies were crisp with an autumn breeze. They held their event in a gorgeous mansion once known as Chevy Chase, but is now the Memorial Hall of First Presbyterian Church. The banquet table and sideboard in the dining room were resplendent in shades of red. Silver trays, punch bowls, and wine coolers of flowers were polished and appropriate for this gathering.
It was wonderful to see my mother and her friends have so much fun, even if they were all exhausted at day’s end. As the members left, you heard over and over, “I’ve never seen anything like this since I’ve been a member.” Oh well, anything worth doing, is worth doing Over The Top if it makes your mama happy!
Teresa Murphy with her mother-in-law, Josephine Murphy
Jamie and Evelyn Keele, re-enactors
New member, Mary Jo Middlebrooks is welcomed by Jackie Utley, Regent, Jackson-Madison Chapter TSDAR
DAR members volunteer more than 60,000 hours annually to veteran patients, award over $150,000 in scholarships and financial aid each year to students, and support schools for the underprivileged with annual donations exceeding one million dollars.
As one of the most inclusive genealogical societies in the country, DAR boasts 165,000 members in 3,000 chapters across the United States and internationally. Any woman 18 years or older-regardless of race, religion, or ethnic background-who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution, is eligible for membership.
Encompassing an entire downtown city block, DAR National Headquarters houses one of the nation's premier genealogical libraries, one of the foremost collections of pre-industrial American decorative arts, Washington's largest concert hall, and an extensive collection of early American manuscripts and imprints.
Tea Sandwiches of
Country Ham & Fig Sauce
Roquefort Butter & Red Pear
Egg Salad with Watercress
Smoked Turkey and Apple Butter
Salmon Mousse with Water Crackers
Devonshire Cream & Strawberry Preserves
Sweet Potato Tassies
Earl Grey Tea & Memorial Punch
1 cup water;1/2 cup butter; 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour;1/4 teaspoon salt;2 tablespoons cornstarch;4 large eggs;Vanilla custard
Bring the water and butter to a boil in a medium-size saucepan. While it is heating sift together the flour, salt, and cornstarch. Add the flour mixture to the boiling water all at once, stirring quickly and constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a ball around the spoon. Remove from the heat.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, to form a smooth, stiff, glossy dough. Drop the dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets, about 2" apart. Bake in a preheated 375°oven until light golden brown and firm, 25 to 35 minutes. Cool thoroughly.
Cut the puffs in half horizontally and fill the bottoms with about 1 tablespoon of vanilla custard. Replace the tops. Makes about 24 mini cream puffs.
For more information about DAR visit www.dar.org
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Sunday, October 25, 2009
Laurice with friend and supporter, Patsy Camp
Laurice with her beloved accompanist, Dr. Don Huneycutt
“If you look inside Lanier, you will find a small hole that would somehow be connected to God’s walkie-talkie”.
Once upon a time a little girl was born in a small southern town, one of a house full, but this little girl was born with a gift and her mama knew it. Not only did she have a bright light in her eyes and a smile as big as Texas, she had a voice that was meant to be heard.
As a little girl, she had always pretended that she performing on stage; singing to the world, all the while never leaving her room. She grew up singing and playing the piano at the small church her father pastored. When a high school music teacher heard that voice, she recognized it for what it was. That teacher mentored, taught and encouraged her student, Laurice Lanier of Jackson TN, to pursue her dreams. The people in town begin to hear of her miraculous voice and the members of First United Methodist Church took Laurice as one of their own. Sundays she would sing in the choir and the members of the church took a personal interest in her welfare.
Finally she was ready for the big day and her application was made to Juilliard, which is one of the most prestigious arts conservatories in the world. Only about 8% of the applicants are accepted and as you might well imagine, it’s extremely competitive. Laurice’s audition tape was sent and the wait began along with plenty of prayers.
The call came and Laurice was granted a live audition before the staff. Never having spent much time away from home, this was a major step for a high school student. Off to New York to the Lincoln Center she went with dream in hand. When those on the admissions board heard that voice, they called their associates and then asked Laurice to repeat her performance. They knew they had just heard one of the most powerful and versatile voices to ever apply.
That little girl with the huge voice and bigger heart moved to New York and in four years graduated from The Juilliard. She married her best friend, has her own little girl with a big voice, has traveled the world, won many awards over the last few years and now is starring in Three Mo’ Divas. She took a break from the tour to return home this weekend for a performance to raise money for the homeless of our community.
I was there for her senior concert at the Lincoln Center; I was there when she performed at galas, for disadvantaged children, the Governor, and in churches throughout the Mid-South; I was on the front row Saturday night when she sang to raise money for those who live in cardboard boxes. Afterwards we had time to visit and laugh a bit at a little party in her honor. Her precious husband Demetrius now understands “twirling” has nothing to do with a baton! She has star power and now the world is truly her stage. Laurice Lanier is my soul sister and I will always be in her corner and I am so proud of the grand diva she has become, inside and out! BRAVO!
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 3 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup dry white wine
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence or dried thyme, crumbled
1 small jar sliced mushrooms
3/4 cup crumbled Roquefort cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Chives, chopped loosely for garnish
Chop fresh garlic. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to skillet and cook until golden brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add cream, wine, garlic, mushrooms and herbes de Provence. Cover and simmer until chicken is tender and cooked through, turning once, about 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter. Boil cooking liquid in skillet until reduced to sauce consistency, about 5 minutes. Add cheese and whisk until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Season generously with pepper. Pour sauce over chicken. Garnish with chives and serve.
The herbes de Provence used in this recipe is a blend of dried marjoram, thyme, summer savory, basil, rosemary, fennel seeds and lavender—is typically found in the cooking of southern France.
Visit with Laurice at http://lauricelanier.com/
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
The Nectar of the Gods is Made in Finger-Sorghum From the Fields to a Pumpkin Tablescape with Spice Cookies
In years past it was an important source of sweetener with twenty million gallons being produced annually at the turn of the century. Some farmers grew it as a cash crop but the majority just had a patch of cane for their own use. Most neighborhoods had at least one farmer who had a mill and evaporating pan where everyone would bring their cane to be squeezed and cooked into syrup. With the decline of the family farm and the production of other sweeteners most of these operations have faded with time.
A family in Finger Tennessee continues to make sorghum on their farm following a thirty five year tradition started by Victor Stoll. His wife, Esther, now oversees the operation which produces about 8,000 gallons a year, with the help of her children and grandchildren.
In September and October, the canes which can reach 25 feet tall are cut off close to the ground and piled in heaps in the field by the Stoll sons and son-in-law. The “head” of seeds are removed and the leaves dry out leaving the cane. The juice is extracted from the canes in the field into tanks using a presser attached to their tractor’s PTO. In olden days, a pair of mules walked in a big circle turning the sorghum mill linked to their harnesses by a long arm. As they walked the stalks were squeezed through rollers crushing them and squeezing the green juice out of the cane into tanks.
The Stolls take the tanks of juice in a pickup truck to the sorghum house for cooking. The juice is piped through a strainer into the first compartment of the evaporator pan which is a metal cooking trough measuring about 7 x 18 x 1 atop a brick fire pit. The actual process of ‘cooking’ sorghum requires a lot of energy to remove the moisture and reduce the juice into syrup. LP gas fuels two large gas burners which blow heat beneath the pan. This pan is divided into compartments so that several “batches” can be cooked at one time facilitating a continuous cooking process. As the juice boils, the sorghum maker uses a long wooden skimmer to remove the foam which is the impurities cooking out of the juice. Two industrial window fans pull the steam off the bubbling brew giving the impression of a house on fire. But the sweet aroma assures you otherwise.
As it begins to turn from juice to syrup, the sorghum is moved to the next compartment by raising gates in the pan that divide the sections and another batch fills the first compartment. When the syrup reaches the final stages after about twenty minutes of boiling, it’s here that cooking becomes a fine art. Only Nathan, Herman and Steve have the know-how to oversee this phase. The gauges are closely monitored and the temperature is regulated to keep the syrup plus or minus two degrees of the optimum 232 degrees for the desired consistency. Remove the sorghum too soon and it will be too runny, wait too long and it will be thick and have a strong taste.
In addition to the sorghum, they grow other produce and vegetables and raise a rare breed of chickens. Esther’s husband Victor whose health now prevents his day to day involvement has the largest documented Purple Martin colony in North America. As you approach the sorghum house, you can’t help but notice the hundreds of birdhouses, gourd lines and racks which house the migratory birds. In the last thirty years, more than 12,000 nesting pairs have claimed the Stoll farm as their summer home, always leaving before the sorghum is ready.
1/2 c. margarine; 1/2 tsp. salt; 1/2 c. vegetable shortening; 2 1/4 tsp. baking soda; 1 1/2 c. sugar; 2 tsp. ground ginger; 1/2 c. sorghum; 1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves2 eggs, lightly beaten;1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon; 4 c. flour
In a large mixing bowl, cream margarine, shortening and sugar. Beat in sorghum and eggs; set mixture aside. In another large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cloves and cinnamon. Blend thoroughly with wire whisk. Gradually mix flour mixture into creamed ingredients until dough is blended and smooth. Roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls. Dip tops in granulated sugar; place 2 1/2-inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 deg. for 11 min. Do not overbake. Cool on wire rack. Store in tightly-covered container to maintain softness. Yields about 3 dozen cookies. These cookies are soft and chewy and freeze well.
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Saturday, October 17, 2009
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 smoked link sausage, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 ½ pounds ground beef
2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons chili powder
½ teaspoon each – paprika, cayenne pepper, oregano, thyme
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon chicken base
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 (12-ounce) bottle dark beer
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, crushed, and their juices
1(14.5-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 small can chopped chili peppers
1 package chili seasonings
1 tablespoon sugar
1 (27-ounce) can chili kidney beans with juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated cheddar cheese, garnish
1 cup finely chopped green onions, garnish
1 cup sour cream
In a large heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and onions, cook till browned. Add the sausage, chicken base, garlic, chili powder, salt, spices, chili seasonings and cook, stirring often, 15 minutes. Add the beer and cook about five minutes, bring to low boil.
Add the tomatoes, sugar, peppers and chili beans to the pot. Stir well and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for an hour or longer, stirring occasionally to prevent the chili from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. You may thin with water to your taste.
To serve, ladle into bowls. Sprinkle each serving with grated cheese, sour cream, green onions, and serve hot with corn chips or crackers.
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Saturday, October 10, 2009
Jane Seymour Savors Tripp Country Ham Breakfast at Tennessee Antebellum Home(Don't forget the French GIVEAWAY)
Charlie and Judy Tripp welcome Jane Seymour and her husband, James Keach, to a country ham breakfast at their antebellum home in Brownsville Tennessee
Baked Tripp Country Ham on the Buffet
Charlie Tripp carves up a Tripp Country Ham
October is Country Ham Month. Here's a story about the Tripps who have some of the world's best country ham and the Hollywood celebrities who stopped by for breakfast. It was a hit. Did you know that country ham can be barbecued, baked, boiled, grilled or fried - plain or with a choice of marinade or sauces - Coca Cola, Pineapple Juice, Ginger Ale & Brown Sugar, Honey, or Cranberry Glaze. Serve it on yeast rolls or biscuits with butter and sorghum or on toasted French bread with tomato marmalade.
A Slice of Tripp Family Tradition
When Charlie and Judy Tripp of Brownsville entertain, their menu usually includes a serving of family tradition – slices of the country ham or bacon that made their family famous. Tripp Country Hams was started as a “side-business” over 45 years ago by Charlie’s dad, Charles Tripp, Sr. who was a Methodist circuit minister. From this old agricultural town where cotton is still king and the natives speak with a drawl as distinctive as the curing process; the Tripps ship their award winning products around the world.
The special curing process is a family secret which has been passed down from father to son. That distinctive country flavor associated with the South for over a hundred years is achieved when the hams are cured, that is they aged to perfection with a mixture of salt and sugar then smoked over burning hickory wood. Country ham can be fried, baked, boiled or smoked over an open pit and served at any meal.
It was only natural when Mary Susan and J.D. Clinton of Brownsville and Naples Florida told Judy that Malibu friends, James Keach and Jane Seymour were in town to visit over the July 4, 2004 weekend that they would all be invited to the Tripp’s antebellum home for a casual country breakfast. Everyone got there around ten and settled in the den. Hurst and Denver Clinton, and twins Kris and John Keach (named after Christopher Reeves and Johnny Cash) joined in the fun with their parents and were captivated by the Tripp’s two English bulldogs Beauregard and Sophia.
The hungry crowd soon gathered around the dining table for the Keach’s first taste of country ham and bacon. The homemade biscuits and bubbling hot grits casserole came out of the oven and breakfast was served. The mahogany table was set with family silver, china, and linens then laden with a spread of Southern delicacies fit for royalty which happened to be dressed in capris and. khakis. Judy had really outdone herself.
Talk centered around the movie James was producing in Memphis, the Academy Award winning ‘Walk the Line.’ Jane and James were enthralled with Brownsville’s historic homes and brother, Billy’s artwork. Jane shared with Judy some the recipes which she serves with afternoon tea at their home in Bath England, St. Catherine’s Court. James and Jane had never been treated to such a spread and the only thing missing was a sleeping porch and a big fan. Jane asked for the grits recipe and James ordered country ham and bacon for shipment. Now there’s a family on the Pacific Coast Highway who knows what it’s like to enjoy a slice of a Brownsville family tradition.
To order your Tripp Country Ham or Bacon visit my dear friends in Brownsville Tennessee. They ship slices or whole hams around the world and it makes a wonderful gift. http://www.countryhams.com/
The Tripps are carring on a Tennessee tradition enjoyed by the 7th President of the United States, Andrew Jackson, as he served ham and rolls frequently at his home, The Hermitage. This presidental dining table was the scene of many family meals, as well as, the site where many guests from around the country gathered when visiting with "Old Hickory."
1 1/2 cup swarm water; 2 packages yeast; 1/2 cup sugar
Mix yeast with sugar and water. Let stand till foamy.
4 cups all-purpose flour (1 cup reserve); 1 tablespoon salt; 1/2 cup Crisco
Work 3 cups flour, salt and Crisco to a course mixture. Add yeast mixture to flour. Make a good dough. Put into greased bowl and refrigerate till ready to use. Remove dough as needed. Let rise till double in size 1 to 2 hours. Punch down, knead, roll, and cut. Place in butter pan dipping both sides in butter. Let rise 1 to 2 hours longer. Bake at 425 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. Judy Tripp