Monthly Archives: December 2016

The comfort of a good meal and lively conversation

I agree with the interviewee who I heard on NPR yesterday that it is important to be able to enjoy the lively and open discussion of politics with your guests.  I actually believe we need to have more open and respectful discussions outside our homes as well, but I will save this topic for a future post because today I am sharing my gratitude for a meal enjoyed with friends.  Good food and lively conversation is definitely one of my favorite ways to enjoy an evening, and thanks to Susan’s new cookbook, I finally ventured back into the kitchen.

We sampled three of Susan’s savory bites with the Blue Cheese and walnuts with a dollup of Bee Branch Farm honey, of course, being our favorite.  This is very simple to prepare and to have all the ingredients on hand for when guests drop in for a visit, which is one of the aspects I appreciate about Susan’s recipes, they are not overly complicated and most of the ingredients are readily available.  Entertaining should be fun; keep it simple and relaxing.  It is not about impressing people; it is about having a lovely time with friends.

My mouth is actually already watering for the main course of Beef Bourguignon, again.  Before you jump to correct my English/French combination name of this dish, you will just have to get the cookbook and learn the rest of the story.  This was my first time making this french classic, and Susan has simplified and adapted the recipe to easily available ingredients and modern cooking styles.  Absolutely delicious!!  Well done Susan; I am going to add this to my favorite recipe repertoire.  I served it with peas and a crusty seeded sourdough bread to soak up that tasty gravy.

We finished off with an apple and pear bread pudding, which was a slight adjustment on Susan’s Pumpkin Bread Pudding.  Susan’s recipe called for a pumpkin butter, but I had a jar of my mom’s apple butter, and my mom makes the best apple butter.  This recipe can be served for breakfast or dessert, and Glenn and I just enjoyed it for both!

There is no pretension in Susan’s cookbook, just as there is no pretension in Susan.  It is absolutely delightful.  Enjoy.

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Cookbook Confession

I love reading and collecting cookbooks, but lately I have not been in the mood to cook.  Now before you think, “That is a great way to lose weight.”  Notice, I did not say I was not in the mood to eat, just not cook.    Thus, when I saw Susan Murray’s Our Family Table:  Recipes & Lessons from a Life Abroad at Addison Farms Vineyard’s A Handcrafted Christmas event this past weekend, I decided it was time for culinary inspiration.  Susan and her husband, James, are the charming innkeepers of Carolina Bed and Breakfast in the historic Montford neighborhood of Asheville.  We have partnered with them on a Sandy Mush Fall Farms and Artisans Tour the past couple of years, and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them and hearing stories of their travel adventures.  If you were at Addison Farms this past weekend, then you were treated to some of Susan’s delectable specialties.  Lucky you!

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While on that topic, thanks to everyone who came out to Addison Farms Vineyard this past weekend and supported our farmland conservation efforts in Sandy Mush.  We raised $500, and Jeff and Dianne Frisbee, owners of Addison Farms Vineyard generously matched that $500 for a total donation of $1000 to Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy to support the continued conservation efforts in Sandy Mush.

Back to culinary inspiration, I have thumbed through recipes, invited friends over to dinner and now heading to the market to gather ingredients.  Soon to be out of my culinary rut, or so my friends and Glenn hope!  A few bites I am considering to whet the appetite…Bourbon Grape Truffles…Proscuitto-Wrapped Asparagus….

Wishing you all inspiration,

Terri