July, although hot beyond words, it my favorite month.

This is the month when I married the best man I have ever know, besides my dad. It was 14 years ago and the Boy was young, but very happy. We were so relaxed – it was almost stupid simple.

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Duke – the best GSD ever is in the background – too funny

I was an event planner for at least a decade before, although not a wedding planner – thank goodness! I planned events for a couple of universities. And to be honest, once you have been an event planner, it seems to me that planning – well it just does not matter much any more.

We were living in North Carolina together, but only after we were engaged and my dad had given his consent – so old fashioned I am. The MoTH drove to Chapel Hill and said, “Honey, I’m home.” And I knew I was done. It was the best thing ever.

Our anniversary is coming up this weekend. I am so very fortunate. We are the best of friends and can basically finish each others sentences. We do it all the time – yes, really all the time. Jinx, personal jinx, you owe me a soda. There is the Boy again. Yep.

I do wish we had at least Duke when we got married, because he would have been involved in the ceremony. As it was, the event woman at the Highland Lake Inn did not understand how I really did not care about much of anything – I’ll call the local florist and see what is left over from last weekend. See, we were married on a Tuesday. That tells you all – I just wanted him to be my husband. He makes me so happy. I am blessed beyond words.

I will post all the recipes that I made for our pre-wedding reception – it was pretty damn good – if I say so myself.

 

 

Pre – Thanksgiving – Sweet Potato Biscuits

I always seem to make too many sweet potatoes for my most requested Sunday Sweet DD_0184Potatoes  – I just never know how many potatoes makes how many cups. Or how many sweet potatoes make a pound or whatever. I suppose one day I will have to figure that out. Ugh – math. Oh, and in November / December sweet potatoes are really inexpensive. Like .49 cents per pound – hello, just buy lots. If I remember correctly, they are also a local crop for us. Cool.

Our dogs love mashed sweet potatoes. Yes, they do. The Big Dog was a huge fan. They also keep for a good while so you can surprise the pups with them through January and February. I always did almost anything to make the Big Dog happy.

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Duke – The Big Dog – Best GSD. Ever.

Another thing is to make sweet potato biscuits. Sublime things, that are stupidly simple.

I was living in Chapel Hill, NC the first time I had sweet potato biscuits and they were served just like this – with salty ham and horseradish cream. Heavenly. The caterer for my job (love you JW) was the one that introduced me to it. I cannot believe, being a kind-of* Southern girl, that I had never had them. My mom made biscuits often, although if you asked me to re-create them, I would not be able to, but she’d never made sweet potato biscuits of any kind, even though she was from NC. Not sure where the “lost in translation” bit happened. I will just be grateful I found these when I did.

 

 

Sweet Potato Biscuits

5 cups self-rising flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup cooked mashed sweet potato
2 Tbsp. salted European butter, melted – spend the little bit extra.

Preheat oven to 425°. Stir together first 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Cut butter cubes and shortening into flour mixture with pastry blender or fork just until mixture resembles coarse meal. Cover and chill 10 minutes.

Whisk together buttermilk and sweet potato in a large measuring cup. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Don’t over work this – I think it will affect the rise.

Turn dough out onto a well floured surface, and knead lightly 3 or 4 times. Pat or roll dough to 3/4-inch thickness; cut with a 2-inch round cutter, reshaping scraps once (Do not twist cutter – this is way more important than you may think, but biscuits are a bit fussy about things like this – just don’t do it. The won’t rise well if you twist.). Place rounds on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Bake at 425° for 18 to 20 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. Remove from oven, and brush tops of biscuits with melted  (salted) butter – do this.. Serve immediately.

Makes 3 dozen.

Source: Foster’s Market – Foster’s is on the 15-501 between Chapel Hill and Durham, NC. It is a fanciful place that does so many things well. I miss it greatly, but I loved going there. Sara Foster is gifted in a way not many people are and it was a great joy to be able to frequent the shop/restaurant/coffee shop/whatever. The Foster’s Market Cookbook is the ONLY signed cookbook I have. Ms. Foster is charming, engaging, and lovely.

Made a half recipe this time, but they were excellent.

Had been using Emeril’s recipe for sweet potato biscuits for years – a dozen or so, but I think the Foster’s Market version rose a bit better. I do like the use of ground pecans in Emeril’s recipe. Need to figure out how to combine the two. Both recipes are now in my Thanksgiving binder, so that means something

*You have to put the “kind-of” in front of Southern if you are raised in Jacksonville. Sigh. Even if your parents are really Southern.

Currant – Glazed Chicken

Currant Glazed Chicken with Rice and White Corn

I’m not quite sure how to describe this dish. It’s pretty simple, but the flavors – Dijon mustard, lemon, and currant – work well together. Do love shoepeg corn. Slightly less sweet than yellow corn, but my favorite with rice, some salt, and a good bit of butter. Another childhood favorite – rice and corn w/butter.  I really am simple I think when it comes to flavors, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
2 Tbs unsalted butter
2 Tbs olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
12 oz jar of currant jelly

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray. Pound each chicken breast between two sheet of waxed paper until 1/2 inch thick. Heat one Tbs of butter and 1 Tbs olive oil in a skillet and brown each chicken piece on both sides, working in batches and adding other Tbs of butter and olive oil as needed.
Remove to prepared baking dish. Leave butter oil mixture in skillet and deglaze with lemon juice. Add mustard and currant jelly. Heat and stir until melted. Pour currant sauce over chicken. Cover baking dish with foil and bake 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 20 minutes more (or so – here’s where it can get tricky..

Modified from Southern on Occasion, p. 192

Southern on Occasion is an entirely different story – a very wonderful cookbook. And more recipes to come from it. Including one from our wedding pre-party.

I do mark down dates that I make things – it’s kind of telling what’s good and what stands the test of time and why my memory can be so terrible. This was a Chapel Hill dinner and I can’t believe I had forgotten it  – memory problem anyone? Now on the roster again. Pretty damn simple really.  Next time I think with roasted potatoes. Although I do love rice and corn together.

June 2002
13 September 2002
18 October 2002
7 April 2015