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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cuppa' Love


As we sat around the table at my in-laws beautiful and serene mountain home enjoying a bounty of garden fresh food, one of her neighbors walked in with a huge bucket of freshly collected peaches. My mind began to spin with possibilities.
After dinner I headed into the kitchen and started pulling out bowls as my mother-in-law grabbed the basket and started scrubbing and gently suggested I involve the girls in a cooking lesson with our fragrant fruits.
There is that basic recipe you learned at the hands of your mother and know it so well that it’s easy to pass along – and is one that the kids will remember as well. Except this time I forgot the details of a key ingredient and had to scurry to the web to look up which flour to use…
The girls took turns measuring out sugar, flour and milk. Em stirred while Kate proudly watched the fruit cook on the stove top. The oven was watched anxiously until our golden brown crusted dessert was ready to come out. My sometimes finicky eaters finished our cobbler quickly and it never had the chance to see a refrigerator. It was all a very satisfying evening. Special thanks to my mother-in-law, Jo Anne, who reminded me to take moments to teach the girls things I take for granted.
Classic Cuppa Cobbler
½ cup of butter
1 cup of milk
1 cup of self-rising flour
1 cup of sugar
6 or 7 chopped peaches
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup of Brown sugar
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
pinch of salt

Combine chopped peaches with butter in a large sauté pan, stirring as the butter melts and the peaches cook. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, pinch of salt. Cook until peaches are soft and surrounding syrup is thick.

Mix flour, sugar and milk until all lumps dissolved. Pour into greased casserole dish. Pour fruit & syrup mixture on top – as evenly as you can without mixing/stirring together.

Bake for about a ½ hour at 350 degrees or until top has a light golden crust peeking through the fruit.

Great with ice cream or cold whipped cream.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dad and the Spicy Sausage

I’ll say it out loud. Dad has cancer. Part of me thought if I didn’t say it out loud, it would not be true. And it is the cancer that is normally not fatal, but in his case it will be. It is skin cancer. I’ll apologize to my doctors now that for evermore I will make them look at every mole and freckle.

In Dad’s case the cancer is in his neck area and has spread to the nodes and muscle and organs surrounding. They tried to treat the cancer with radiation and chemo. The radiation took out his taste buds and the chemo killed his appetite. In the end, the doc said that they threw their best treatment at the cancer and the cancer just laughed. During the process, Dad has lost an incredible amount of weight, his appetite and the ability to taste anything.

One of our guilty pleasures around the house has been sausage gravy on biscuit -- very simple meal that we really delight in. I remember my mother’s version of this dish growing up. We had friends in the military that my parents had gotten the term “SOS” from and that’s what we always called it. Mom would mix the flour in with the cooked sausage and thin with milk and add additional seasoning as needed. My mother was not one for home made biscuits (sorry Mom, I’m outing you) so we usually served on toast.

In our immediate current family however, Rob and I are constantly competing with each other for the best biscuit title, so lack of fresh homemade biscuits is not an issue here. We are usually trying to school each other in biscuit making. The sausage gravy is a different story. We agree that the best gravy is easily made from the locally produced sausage from GMC and the peppered country gravy mix made by the local Southeastern Mills company located blocks from our house.

I fixed the left over’s from yesterday’s biscuit and gravy breakfast and took them over to Dad this morning. He said “very spicy.” Then he looked at me and said, “that’s a good thing. I can taste it.”  

Rome’s Best Sausage Gravy

1 lb. GMC sausage
1 package Southeastern Mills Old Fashioned Peppered Gravy Mix

1 2/3 cup of water

Milk to thin


Cook sausage thoroughly over medium to medium high heat. Sprinkle gravy mix over sausage and mix in to coat sausage in mix. Slowly pour in cold water and stir as you pour. You’ve effectively made a rue with the sausage fat and the gravy mix and that should keep the gravy from clumping. After it’s all mixed in, if it still needs thinning, add milk as needed to keep from watering down further.
 

 The biscuit recipe is top secret. Rob might be reading....