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.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Green Tomatoes...

My Upside-down tomatoes are looking good!My problem is letting my tomatoes ripen. When they get to this stage I am craving Fried Green Tomatoes!

I think I will resist picking these big boys, and rush off to Wayne's Market to buy some juicy vine ripe tomatoes. I'm making a big batch of Gazpacho!

3 cups spicy tomato juice
1 small onion, diced
1 small green pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cucumber, peeled & diced
2 red tomatoes, diced
1 Tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
3 Tbs Italian salad dressing

Chop and dice all the vegetables, this can be done in a food processor. Combine in a large bowl. Add tomato juice (may substitute 1/2 spicy &1/2 plain) and salad dressing. Cover and chill. Serve cold with a dollop of sour cream.

This recipe is straight out of our Starting Fresh Cookbook. It is perfect for a hot summery day!
Y'all stay cool,

Friday, June 29, 2007

Need to Dance!

I'm feeling a little bloggy blue today.
This is a little pick-me-up.

The Evolution of Dance

Y'all gotta love You Tube!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Raspberry Sorbet

Laura at Eat, Drink, Live is hosting a roundup as a part of Hey Hey Donna Day. This month is summery sorbet. I have not been a part of this event... but have enjoyed following everyone else's posts.

My friend Jerry has been making me drool over his ice creams from David Lebovitz and his rave cookbook The Perfect Scoop. As I was sitting out melting in the muggy heat I decided that it was high time for me to give sorbet a try. I don't have an ice cream machine~ that is, if you don't count the old crank model in the garage~ but I've heard you can make a smooth sorbet without one.

As usual, I'm up for a challenge.

Raspberry Lime Sorbet
3 cups frozen raspberries
1/3 cup sugar
2T Rose's lime juice
1 cup water

In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass 9x9 baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer. After 30 minutes, remove and stir well, breaking up any clumps. Cover and re-freeze, stirring every 30 minutes or so. The more often the sorbet is stirred, the smoother it becomes. Freeze solid before serving.

Honestly, this sorbet was smooth and tangy. Wonderful on a hot afternoon! Most importantly~ it couldn't have been any easier!

Y'all give it a try!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

It's a beautiful day~lily

Today we are officially in the 5th season in the south~ Muggy. This is according to Harriett who lives South of the Gnat Line. It is to hot to wiggle and to dry to swim... the up-side down tomatoes are wilting. The kudzu is even looking hot and tired.
The lack of rain this year has hurt the peach crops in Chilton County, but the peaches promise to be much sweeter!

Luckily, with a little good planning, our yard is blooming!
The best plant to have in your yard when you live in Alabama is a day lily. They can take a lot of abuse and each year pop up in their same spot, with a few more sprouts than the year before.
I have several varieties. I don't know any of the official names. I just call them beautiful!
Y'all have a beautiful day~Lily!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Chicken Marmite

One of my favorite things to do when I travel to a new area is to spend time in the local markets. Pitiful isn't it? Only a foodie would understand. I love to wander through the grocery stores and look at the selections on the shelf. Some things are vaguely familiar, some totally bizarre.

While I was recently in London, I saw something on the shelf that looked like something I had never seen at the Piggley Wiggley. Marmite it a jelly? a sauce? a spice? I'm still not real sure.

Marmite is a condiment~ I guess. It was enough to intrigue me, so I bought several jars. Bringing home a local condiment is better than a tee shirt isn't it? People seemed to either love it or hate it.

I did use it as a baste on chicken and it was rather interesting. Kind of a hops, yeast, toasted, salty flavor...really a nice compliment to a bland free range chicken breast.

Chicken Marmite
4 chicken breasts
1/4 cup Marmite
1 onion, sliced

Coat each chicken breast generously with Marmite, pepper generously. Place in a baking dish with slices of onion. Cover and bake at
350° for 45-50 minutes.

I really was very good! The chicken stayed moist and the 'sauce' was good over rice. Bill and I pronounced it a winner!

Does anyone have any experience with Marmite? If so let me know~ I have several more jars to use!

Let me hear from my London friends!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Centerpiece of the Month~ June

Here we go again with the centerpiece of the month club~ courtesy of Janelle at Talk of Tomatoes. Last month we didn't have many table tops to show off. We had a festive bucket of candles from Switzerland where Myriam writes Once Upon a Tart. Joy offered a beautiful vintage pitcher for a Spot of Tea.

I am hoping that this month we can find a few new ideas. It is always fun to see what is inspiring folks.
My inspiration this month was the summery sunflowers, mixed with the ocean blue of iris. It was perfect for my bright sunroom. I spend a lot of time in this room on the laptop (wonder why?) It has a wall full of windows~ and air conditioning with a ceiling fan. The only way to spend a hot Alabama summer afternoon! My Slow Travel friends Palma & Brad are off to search for sunflowers in Tuscany. Sounds like an excuse to me... you can get them at Costo!

For those of you have been wondering, the upside down tomatoes are still alive. I haven't actually gotten any big tomatoes yet ~ just a handful of cherry maters. I will say~ they do need a lot of water everyday. I guess a buckets won't hold as much moisture as god's good earth!

So... what is in the center of your table?

Y'all send them to Janelle!


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Southern Thangs

I was tagged again with the 8 things list by Mrs Nesbitt who's Place is in Yorkshire. She is a fairly new WhistleStop visitor and must not realize that we have been tagged with this before. But I am up for the challenge.

Immediately, I went to Bill as he was absorbed in the Braves game, thinking I could squeak out a few more weird things. No such luck! He caught me like a sneaky pete with slaw. He's not giving me any more leeway with his quirky habits.

I, of course, have none. (she says with tongue in cheek)

So... I am just going to reveal 8 facts that y'all may or may not know about southerners in general. You may recognize yourself!
1~ Even a baby in the south knows that 'gimmie some sugar' means a kiss.
2~ Banana Pudding counts as a vegetable when you are at a country meat and three diner.
3~ You learn early to never drink from a coke can that has been in your pawpaw's truck.
4~ A southerner will hug you both commin' and goin'.
5~ We don't all talk like Paula Dean... some are much worse!
6~ We all know that 'fixin' just means you are about to get something done.
7~ You can say just about anything about someone if it is followed with 'bless her heart'.
8~ Y'all is singular... All Y'all is plural.

Now as with any Tag the next step is to pass it on to 8 other bloggers. I am going to tag all y'all from the south.
Andrea who has a True Southern Heart
My it's a small world neighbor Song of the Morning
Mallow at Pie Town Press
Jenn who is the Left Over Queen
Sandy with the cutest pugs at Ragus Pug
Inside the Shell is Tut-Tut
Giddy Garden Gnome who is a transplanted southerner

What can y'all add to my list?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Orange Mint Tea

Have you ever made Sun tea? It is a way of using the heat of the sun to brew a perfect pitcher of tea. We did this a lot in the hot Oklahoma sun... and it works just as well in hot and humid Alabama. A large glass jar with a lid
2 quart sized tea bags
1/2 cup sugar
Fill the jar with tap water add family sized tea bags. Set in a sunny location for 1 hour. The tea will be ready when it reaches the perfect color. Add sugar and stir well until the sugar is dissolved.

Orange Mint Tea

Add fresh mint leaves and slices of orange to a tall glass. Mix, smishing oranges and mint leaves (I think the official term for this is muddle) Add crushed ice and sweet tea.

Now take your glass of sweet tea out on the porch and enjoy it while sitting in the shade of a magnolia.

(Close your eyes silly!)

Can y'all taste it?


Monday, June 11, 2007

Southern Tea

Sweet iced tea is the national drink of the south. Of course... NASCAR and the makers of Bud Light may argue that. Honestly, sweet tea is about as southern as kudzu and fried green tomatoes.

The good news is that you can make sweet tea... even if you are living in Boston. We use Red Diamond tea, because it is made right here in Birmingham. You can use any tea~ I think the secret of sweet tea is in the sugar!

To make a gallon of Southern Sweet Tea
4 cups boiling water
2 quart sized tea bags
1 cup sugar
Bring water to a boil. Pour into a heat resistant pitcher. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Add tea bags and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Remove tea bags and fill to the top with fresh water to dilute.

How about some fun iced tea sippers?

Basil Lemon Tea
4-5 slices lemon
1 small bunch fresh basil
Muddle basil and lemon in a tall glass, add ice and fill with sweet tea. This is a fresh citrusy tea that is so refreshing.

Y'all give it a try!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Duck Duck Goose

When you create a post you never know where it will go... that was the case with our cheesy tribute.

I was lead to Jolene's blog Give a Family Tree a Shake and...A few Nuts fall out. She is a proud mother of a young soldier in Afghanistan. She had the idea to send her son Chad a rubber ducky to remind him of the Duck Duck Goose game. You know~ don't be the goose running around, duck down! I am wondering how many ducks we could get to his company to remind them all that being a duck is not such a bad plan, and how much we support our troops. Andi is doing the very same thing!

An inexpensive rubber ducky with your name and where you're from would be a welcome treat. While I am on my duck hunt, I may for some treats to put in my package as well.

Chad George
APO AE 09354

The whole idea quacks me up!Are y'all game?


Sunday, June 03, 2007

A Tribute

You know Taylor Hicks is a Birmingham boy~
This makes us proud! I wish I had found it before Memorial Day.
So here's a late tribute.

A tribute, along with a recipe for
Orange Cheesecake with a Raspberry Topping
1 cup gingersnaps
3 Tbs sugar
3 Tbs butter
Crush the cookies. Mix with sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a springform pan that has been sprayed with a non-stick spray. Bake at 325 for 10 minutes.
3 pkg cream cheese
1 cup sugar
2 Tbs orange concentrate
1 Tbs orange zest
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 egg white
Combine softened cream cheese with all ingredients except the eggs. Blend until smooth. Mix in eggs one at a time, mixing just until blended. Pour onto crust, tapping to remove all air bubbles. Bake at 300 for 55-60 minutes. Allow to cool slowly, then refrigerate.
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbs cornstarch
1/2 bag frozen raspberries
3 Tbs orange juice
In a small sauce pan, melt down raspberries with juice, add sugar and bring to a boil. Add cornstarch and simmer until sauce thickens. When thickened, add egg yolk by including slowly with small amounts of hot liquid to avoid scrambling the egg. Topping can be spooned over individual cheese cake slices or topped on the entire cake and refrigerated.

I guess we could say that was a cheesy tribute~
Y'all enjoy!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Stylish Sangria

I have this great jar that I found at Target. I just had to have it for my sangria! It is right up there with the 'not most practical' items in my kitchen. But I had to have it anyway. Folks, sometimes we have to sacrifice for style!

1 large bottle red wine
3/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup sugar
slices of orange, lemon, lime, apples
Mix all ingredients together the night before. Add sugar more, or more, to taste. I freeze the slices of orange, lemon, and lime to put in the pitcher as ice cubes.

Bill didn't quite agree with the style issue~ and I will admit it did get a little exciting when the spout came loose. A little epoxy and I'll make sure that doesn't happen again.

Several months ago I was tagged for a MeMe to list 6 weird things. I painfully made my list. Momma bear, who is actually an Alabama Bear In Exile has tagged me again with the weird list. Now the list has gone from 6 to 8! (that just proves that there is exaggeration in this blogsphere)

Needless to say I don't have anymore weird things that I want to be public knowledge. So I turned to the 'co-blogger' on this WhistleStop Cooking blog. Now~ I am still waiting for his list of new years promises to post...So I had to threaten with a list of my own.

Here is Bill's list of 8 weird things~
*He rinses his ice before using it.
*He is born and raised in the south, but doesn't like pecans.
*He can add a column of numbers faster than anyone I know...this may come from practice adding high numbers in dominoes.
*He pays bills months ahead~ letting Alabama Power hold the money~ because he hates writing checks.
*At the cafe, he loved when the lunch rush was over. He would get a scoop of everything and wash it down with sweet tea.
*He dunks cheese toast in his coffee.
*He organizes his entire life on yellow legal pads and still has lists from years back.
*He was an engineer on Norfolk-Southern for years before he came back home to work at the cafe and start Whistlestop Products.
*...Oh, that is already 8?

Now we are s'posed to pass this on to 8 more. Honestly, I can't find 8 friends who haven't done it! So if you stop in and have 8 weird things that you want the world to know~ consider yourself tagged!

Thanks y'all

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