Sandi is blogging from the WhistleStop Cafe kitchen. It's all about good home cooking; food, family and fun. Thousands of posts . . .

~In the south and around the world.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Limoncello Cheesecake

Kristen at Dine&Dish reminded me that May 16 is LiveStrong Day. Winos & Foodies is hosting a Taste of Yellow blogging event in a foodie effort to raise awareness of LiveStrong Day.

This has been recognised as an official Lance Armstrong event.
LIVESTRONG Day is the Lance Armstrong Foundation's (LAF) grassroots advocacy initiative to unify people affected by cancer and to raise awareness about cancer survivorship issues on a national level and in local communities across the country. LIVESTRONG Day 2007 will occur on Wednesday, May 16th.

The McMichael family has been touched by cancer, and we are not alone in this. I don't think there are many families who have not. Cancer survivors know the true meaning of LiveStrong. We are learning day by day to Live Strong.

It is a small thing to do, but if one little blog can make a difference, we'll give it a try. I thought long and hard about what to post for something yellow. While we were at our friends home in Brevard, Linda had some homemade Limoncello, Yummy! I have a bottle in the freezer from our last trip to Italy... I need to use that up so I can make some of my own.

This is a limoncello cheesecake that is adapted from a basic cheesecake recipe from the cream cheese people themselves.

Limoncello Cheesecake

1 cup gingersnaps
3 Tbs sugar
3 Tbs butter, melted
3 pkgs cream cheese
1 cup sugar
2 Tbs limoncello
1 Tbs lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 egg white
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbs cornstarch
1/2 cup water
3 Tbs limoncello
1 egg yolk
Mix crumbled cookies, sugar and melted butter. Press into a greased springform pan. Bake @ 325° for 10 minutes.

Mix all ingredients, except eggs, at a low speed just until blended. Add all eggs individually, mixing on low until blended. Pour onto crust. Tap to remove air bubbles. Bake at 300° for 55-60 minutes until center is just set. Cool in the oven for another hour. Run a knife around the edge to loosen before removing pan. Cool in the fridge 4 hours.

Mix sugar and cornstarch in a small sauce pan, add liquids slowly. Bring to a slow boil and stir until thickened. To incorporate the egg yolk, first stir a tablespoon of the hot liquid into the yolk- then add to the lemon mixture. Stir and heat until jellied. Cool before pouring over cheesecake.

I hope that you will find a way to support LiveStrong Day in your community. If the Web is your 'community' than you can DONATE here.
Y'all LiveStrong!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Saturday mornings

I like to get up early on saturday mornings, when the house is quiet, the air is cool and fresh. Just me and a cup of coffee in the sun room. It is my time to reflect on the past week, and to plan out the week to come.

Today as I sit with my hot coffee I am really wanting a Krispy Kreme donut.

I won't~ because swimsuit season is here.

I'll just be happy thinking about them... hot and fresh!

Y'all have a donut for me!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Slow Chicks

Another quick road trip... I am not a very good representative for Slow Travel. It seems recently all Bill and I have been doing is short travel.

The Slow Travel idea is that the best way to experience a place is to spend time: live in a rental home or apartment, shop at the corner market, eat the local food, feed the neighborhood cats. You get the idea. This web community is spread around the world, a community of friends who also have wanderlust. I am amazed at how much we have in common, mostly our love of travel. We prove that this is a small world.

This weekend we had the chance to go to Brevard, NC to get together with some Slow Travel friends. Friends that I have never met in person, but only through this community we know as the web.

Brevard is outside of Asheville, home of the beautiful Biltmore Estate & Winery. The winery is a converted dairy farm, now producing award winning wines. The Inn is a wonderful place to stay, for that special occasion when you deserve to be treated like royalty.

The highlight of the weekend was a visit to the Brevard Music Center, and a delightful evening with friends. Thanks to Linda and John for opening their beautiful home, and everyone else being a part of the fun. Palma and I share more than a passion for Italy and limoncello~ there is something about those silver haired men.

I can't credit the music center for our talent for the evening... in fact a little musical training may have helped. The Slow Chicks may not be musically inclined, but we sure know how to have a good time!

Thanks for the chance to share!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Testing~ 123

This is a test.... only a test.
I am trying to learn to download videos from you tube. (cross your fingers!)

This goes to show that you can plant a garden anywhere! Do you think this is where Harrods gets those beautiful veggies?

Friday, April 20, 2007


There is nothing like a 'real' tomato. I don't mean the pretty perfect tomatoes that you can buy at the local grocery... I mean the ones that you find at the local market. Or better yet, the tomato that you pick off of the vine that is growing in your own back yard. They taste like a tomato is s'posed to taste!

We aren't ready to pick just yet...but this is the about the time to be getting those tomatoes in the ground. So after I finish my BLT, Bill and I are headed out to buy some tomato plants.

I might try growing tomatoes upside down this year. It seems like the perfect idea to me...No weeding, no bugs (ok, less bugs), and no fat green worms. Hammacher Schlemmer makes it simple...but a little more expensive than the hole in the bucket idea.

This year I'm going to try my hand with some heirloom tomatoes. I love them with basil and mozzarella. I'll also get some Better Boys- I'm not sure why but that is what we always plant. They are great for our Fried Green Tomatoes, or a tomato sandwich. One bush of cherry tomatoes will keep us in salads all summer.

I don't start my tomatoes from seed (way to impatient for that!). I will run to the local market and buy a tray... and another tray for my neighbor. That way if I give up on mine there will be some right next door. There is nothing better than sharing tomatoes with friends.

Y'all got any to share?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Perdido Key

Some of you may have noticed that I have been absent this week. Sometimes blogging just has to take a back seat...

Road Trip!

We had a girl's week at the beach. Well deserved, much needed, totally girly! Drinks at LuLu's in Gulf Shores~ if you have never been to the HomePort Marina it is a must stop when headed to the gulf. LuLu is actually Jimmy Buffett's baby sister; what a great story she has. My favorite drink is the frozen Key Lime drink! The crab claws were a little bready, the gumbo tolerable, but the atmosphere is awesome.

The best dinner we had was a big bowl of wild gulf shrimp, a salad, and a glass of chardonnay. Steamed right in our own kitchen.

We stayed at a beautiful condo on Perdido Key, I think this is the most beautiful beach in the gulf! How can you not come home relaxed and refreshed?

Glad to be back to the bloggin world~
What have y'all been up to?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Centerpiece of the Month~ April

Here we go again~ It is time for the centerpiece of the month.

Janelle at Talk of Tomatoes has been our gracious hostess. I look forward to seeing what everyone can come up with. Last month there were some really neat ideas. A Spot of Tea used tall pussy willows in a vase, check out her great shots. Sher, who is always asking What Did You Eat made a pretty pink bouquet with great stems of rosemary. Kitchen Mish~Mash used some naturally colored eggs to make an egg-traordinay centerpiece for her Easter table. My personal favorite would have to be Myriam's at Once Upon a Tart, who used an Italian tomato can for a unique poesy pot.

April is a month I look forward to all winter. In spite of the yellow pollen, this is the most glorious time in Alabama. The weather warms up, warm sunshiny days, but the nights are still cool. Our yard is full of blooms~ and I can honestly say it has little to do with my green thumb. My centerpiece this month is all about springtime in Alabama.How can that not make you smile?

I have an extra cup for coffee...
Y'all bring the snacks.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Thinking Blogger?

Pat came off her Back Porch to tag me with the Thinking Blogger Award. I am touched! This award is for a blogger who has inspired someone to think. I am not sure mine is truly a 'thinking' blog... but hopefully a blog that brings a chuckle, brings a warm memory, or inspires a dish.

Now my task is to tag 5 others who have inspired me to think.

My first inspiration had to have been Peabody Culinary Concoctions. Her blog is full of photos that have always made me pause and think...'how the heck can she get that close up?'

Another award winner is Josh Lane who is spending his time in the HOV Lane. His photos are not as much about food... more about life and noticing the most obscure things. Josh has even made me notice unique things in the backroads of Alabama~ and there is plenty to notice!

One of my favorite Thinking Bloggers would have to be Jerry, who spends his days with his Thoughts, Musings, & Rants! His blog is a way to get his thoughts out of that busy head and into our busy heads. I look forward to the day we can sit under a Tuscan sun and share our musings.

One of my favorite cooking blogs is Kristen who is serving up a Dine and Dish. She always has a dish that makes me stop and think... Wow~ I've got to try that. Isn't that the definition of a Thinking Blog?

Finally a thinker who Cooks by the Seat of His Pants. Jerry will post on everything from a most unusual ingredient to ramen noodles. He is not only good~ but real.

When I make a post on our blog these are the things I work hard to be: good~ but real, innovative with something people will want to try, thoughtful in my rantings, unique and southern, and a photographer that makes you say 'Yum'!

I am not there yet...although I appreciate Pat's faith in me. In the mean time I am tagging these 5 who have inspired me!

For those of you who had such wonderful comments about Fannie Flagg~ you will be glad to know that she won the Pop Idol award.

Two award winners in one WhistleStop Blog.

Thanks y'all!


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter Y'all

A special Easter Greeting to all our friends. Easter is a special holiday to the McMichaels. It is one of the few holidays that the cafe was always closed, so we could celebrate it with family. An early morning at church and then...what else- but food!

We will gather around the table with ham, sweet potatoes , macaroni & cheese, and squash. We have sworn to cut back on desserts this year; so maybe only an apple pie, some raspberry crunch and sugar cookies decorated like Easter Eggs and lambs.

Another southern favorite are deviled eggs; just the thing for any church social, picnic, or tail gate. The name is not very easter-ish...but that is what they are. It is the perfect solution for all of those colored eggs. Try this easy recipe for 'sunrise easter eggs'.
Stuffed Eggs
6 hard boiled eggs
3 Tbs mayonnaise
1 tsp honey mustard
2 Tbs pickle relish
Hard boil eggs by placing in cold water, then bring to a hard boil for at least 14 minutes. Cool eggs in the fridge. When cool enough to handle, peel shells- careful not to pick the whites. Slice eggs in half, lengthwise. Collect the yolks into a bowl and set the whites aside.

Mash the yolks with the mayo, mustard and relish until smooth. Spoon or pipe the yellow mixture into the egg whites. Sprinkle with paprika. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Happy Easter Y'all!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Fannie Flagg~ Pop Icon

The local Birmingham News is doing it's own version of March Madness, with local celebrities. Fannie Flagg is in the final four...and we need your support! In this championship round she is up against Hank Williams.

As many of you know Fannie Flagg is the author of the novel 'Fried Green Tomatoes at the WhistleStop Cafe', as well as several other wonderful novels including her latest, 'Can't Wait to get to Heaven'. We also know that she has a great cookbook with southern recipes that Mom worked closely with her on.

The Birmingham News said that "She did for tomatoes what Colonel Sanders did for chicken". She won an Academy Award nomination for her adaptation of the screenplay to 'Fried Green Tomatoes', and made her movie debut in the Oscar-nominated 'Five Easy Pieces'. Back in they day, she hosted the Morning Show with Tom York and was a local celeb long before the world knew her. Her book 'Fried Green Tomatoes at the WhistleStop Cafe is part of the freshman curriculum at a New Hampshire college, where she holds an honorary doctorate.

To get to this final round of the Pop Culture Madness, she had to beat out Mark Cildress, Walker Percy, Truman Capote, Harper Lee, and Tallulah Bankhead. All of these are famous Alabamians.

So let's all get behind her and let her know we that she is our most famous icon. Voting is simple and only takes a minute. We have until Friday at 11pm.
Y'all get busy voting!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Tie Dyed Eggs

Easter is a special time of year. It brings back so many wonderful memories. It is a time of family, church, and traditions. Growing up we always dyed eggs, the smell of vinegar to this day reminds me of those precious memories. We usually used the paas dye kits, sometimes even got the ones that came with stickers! It was always a mess, and I don't know that we ever had a year without at least one broken egg disaster.

The kids are grown...and no one has called mom to say 'let's dye some Easter eggs this weekend'. So I was thinking about doing it myself- for the sake of the blog. Then I saw Martha Stewart using old silk ties to color her eggs. Perfect! Bill has some ties that I really wanted gone...

Unfortunately, Bill didn't share my excitement about using his ties. Instead I raided the fabric box and found a colorful piece of cloth. Martha shows how to dye her Easter eggs with silk ties here.

Basically, I took the eggs and a square of fabric, then wrapped them with a rubber band into little bundles. I gently placed them in a pot of water with 3 Tbs vinegar. I boiled the eggs for 30 minutes, then allowed them to cool.

Taa~ Daa

It actually worked! The bundles even helped keep the eggs from breaking. I would advise you to watch the video and follow Martha's directions a little more closely. I think my problem was that I used a cotton/poly fabric... if I only could have gotten to those ties!
Y'all give it a try.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

WhistleStop Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin is the center cut of the pork loin. It is the most tender portion of meat and a leaner cut at that. 'The other white meat' Because of it's mildness it can be marinated with so many new flavors... spice it up or smother it with sauce.
It is a favorite at this house... always good and easy to prepare.
WhistleStop Pork Tenderloin
1 pound pork tenderloin
1/2 cup marinade
1 tbs fresh rosemary
3 cloves garlic
olive oil
In a large zip-loc bag, pour 1/2 cup WhistleStop marinade, rosemary and garlic. Allow pork to marinate for at least 1 hour. In a skillet pour two tablespoons of olive oil and heat. Brown tenderloin turning to each side. Wrap in foil and put into the oven at 375°. Cook with meat thermometer to a temperature of 150°, about 25 minutes. Allow the meat to sit and rest 10-15 minutes before slicing into medallions. While meat is cooking, boil marinade in the skillet to reduce to a thickened glaze. Serve over wild rice.
You will see lots of tenderloin recipes is always quick and easy. Good enough for family and fancy enough for company!
Y'all enjoy!
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