Jam Recipe

Dewberries grow wild in our part of the country.  They look like blackberries but are larger and sweeter.  The vines spread out rather than growing up.  This recipe can be used for any kind of berry jam.  Don’t try to make more than six cups of berries at a time or it will not set up.  Should it not gel you can reprocess it by bring to a boil with another half-pack of pectin.  I use this recipe for all berries and fruit.  Splenda can be substituted for sugar.

6 cups fruit

6 cups sugar or Splenda

1 pack fruit pectin

Place fruit in large boiler with enough water to almost cover.  Bring to a boil, turn down, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.  Crush fruit with potato masher or berries by running through berry sieve.  I don’t object to seeds, so I use potato masher, so as to save all the pulp. bring fruit to a full boil with the package of pectin. Stir often.
When the juice is at a full rolling boil, add the sugar quickly and stir constantly.
Bring back to a full rolling boil and cook for exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and ladle into jars that have been prepared and sterilized.
Wipe rims of jars with damp, clean rag and place lids and rings on jars.
Process in a water bath for 10 minutes.  Okay to add just a little water if needed to make batch fill jars evenly.  Caution.  It is okay to reuse rings but not the flats used to seal jars

 

Serve with hot biscuits.

Worst Sandwich, Ever

Long, long ago when I was a but child-bride, I yearned to please my handsome husband so I dreamed of concocting hearty breakfasts, luscious lunches, and delightful dinners. This wasn’t to be. We had wisely married while still in college so were in possession of two things money couldn’t buy, abject poverty and true love. We were just scraping by. After about two weeks, about all we had left in the refrigerator was a half-loaf of bread, mustard, a couple of lonely, frozen chicken gizzards, and an old, dry sliver of cheddar cheese. I fried those chicken gizzards up nice and hard, sliced them as thin as possible, added the slivered cheddar cheese and sat down with My Darling to enjoy the amazing delicacy. It was the worst thing I ever tried to eat. The piquant taste of overdone gizzard slathered with mustard was not a good companion taste for the dried out cheddar cheese. I was never tempted to try that combo again.

Crazy Charlsie Part Part 15

Charley never spoke of Marzell’s visit.  Coming down early the next morning, he sat down to breakfast with his father and Cora.  He buttered a couple of biscuits and poured syrup over them. “I’m starving!  Can I get some eggs and bacon, too?”

”Why, shore, Honey.  You need to put some meat back on them bones.”  She grinned putting a cup of coffee with lots of cream before him.  “Them eggs will be ready in just a minute.”  In no time, a plate of grits, eggs and bacon sat in front of him.

Charles was delighted to see Charley downstairs and hungry, but was careful not to overdo it.”Good to see you up and about so early.  I guess you’re back trying to eat me out of house and home like your brothers.”

“I feel good, Dad.  Do you think you could take me out to the farm? I want to work with Robert and Bobby.  Farm work will make a man of me if anything will.”  Charley was clearly ready to get on with life.

“Let me make a quick call.  It’s my half-day and I only have two appointments.  Dr. Jones can pick them up for me.  He owes me, anyway.  He just got back off vacation and ought to be plenty rested.”  In just a minute he was back.  “We’re all set.  Cora, can you give Bessie a call and let her know we’d love some of her fried chicken for lunch if she has a fat chicken penned up.”

“Dr. Charles, could you bring me back some eggs, fresh cream, buttermilk, and greens.  If the dewberries are ready, could Freddy pick me some?  Oh, and if possible, could you bring me a rooster.  Bessie done tol’ me she was gonna git  Robert to fasten one up when I talked to her last week.  It sure would be handy if you could bring it.  I got to make some chicken and dumplings and chicken and dressing for my church’s Sunday Dinner on the grounds? You know I’ll make plenty for y’all, too.  Ginny has been beggin’ to go to services with me ever’ since she found out we gonna have baptizin’ this Sunday.  She never wants to miss that.  I sure hope they’s enough dewberries for me to make cobbler and put some up.  Y’all seem like you can’t never git enough dewberry jam.

After the weeks of languishing about, Charley welcomed the normalcy of the morning.  He knew he’d always held a special place in Charles’s heart and Cora was simply, Cora, the only mother he’d ever known and his soft place to fall.

Just then, Ginny came banging down the stairs.  “Cora!  Charley ate all the bacon and grits! That ain’t right!  You know bacon and grits are my favorite!”

“Don’t you go startin’ nothing with Charley.  If you hadn’t been so lazy, you’d a got yore share.  Sit down and drink this milk and eat a biscuit while I make you some bacon and eggs, but grits takes a while.  Are you gonna still want some if I fix’em?”

“Since Charley got all the grits, can you make me some chocolate gravy? That don’t take long.   I love that.”  In a bargaining mood, felt she might have an advantage.

“How would know how long it takes to make chocolate gravy, young miss?  I ain’t never caught you cookin’ none.”  Cora was already getting out the pan and the cocoa.

“Ooh, thank you, Cora.  I love you.”  She leaned against Cora, always ready for a hug.

“Huh, you loves chocolate gravy.  You’d hug a hobo if he made you chocolate gravy.”  Her smile belied her gruff words.

Charles pushed out his chair and leaned back in his chair.  “Can I get another cup of coffee!”  obviously, basking in the wonder of a happy morning.  They’d survived many hard times in the past and would face challenges in the future, but today was a good day.

 

Chocolate Gravy (Serve over hot biscuits)

1/4 c. cocoa

3 tbs flour (can sub 1 1/2 tbs corn starch for 1 1/2 tbs flour for ease in getting rid of lumps if desired)

3/4 c. white sugar

12 ounce can evaporated milk.  (not sweetened, condensed milk)  Add 4 ounces water to bring up to 2 cups.  Can use fat-free if desired.(Ha!!)

1 tbs softened butter

2 tsp vanilla

Whisk cocoa, flour and sugar in dry sauce pan together till smooth.  Stir in milk and whisk till well-mixed.  (corn starch makes this easier)  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, 7-10 minutes till it reaches consistency of gravy.  Off course it will scorch if not stirred constantly.  Add vanilla and butter and stir till well-mixed.

Get all you want before you serve it.  It goes quickly.  I used to make this for my kids for rainy days and holidays.

 

 

 

 

 

Just Folks Getting By Part 18

cook-bookJenny walked in the kitchen to find biscuits in the oven and two pies cooling on the counter. “My goodness, Mama.  Didn’t you go to bed last night?  How did you get this all done so early?

“My eyelids flew up like window shades about four o’clock and I was wide-awake.  I knowed there was no use just a’layin’ there, so I got up an’ started bakin’.  I hope I didn’t bother you none.  I kind’a got me an idear.  I’m a’gonna take one of these pies down to Dolly at the bake shop.  It might be she’d want to sell my pies if you could spare me a couple of hours of the mornin’.  Would you mind runnin’ me down there?”  Lucille asked. “I wouldn’t mind makin’ a couple of dollars long as I’m a’gonna be here awhile.”

“I’d be glad to, but you better not let Ben know what you’re up to.  He might not want you cookin’ around on him.”  Jenny laughed. 

“Who’s cooking around on me?” Ben demanded as he walked in.  “Are those biscuits I smell?  Can you wrap me up a couple to take with me?”

“Why sure.” Lucille replied.  I’ll have bacon in just a minute if you’ll wait.” 

“I guess it won’t hurt to be a minute late.  Uncle Amos is always way early.  He can handle anything that rolls in early.  There’s usually a couple of folks waiting at seven-thirty, but after that it’s usually quiet till about nine.  Could you wrap up a couple for Uncle Amos, too.  I know he’d like ‘em.”

“Mama, why don’t you catch a ride with Ben?  You can call when you are ready and I’ll pick you up.  That will give me time to dress and bathe the baby.”

“Yeah, I’ll just get my stuff together while you finish that bacon.” Said Ben.  “Jenny doesn’t need to keep you all to herself. You are leaving one of those pies here, aren’t you?”

“They are chocolate peanut butter.  I guess I could do that.  Jenny, could you wrap these bacon biscuits and put this pie in that carrier while I get my purse and put on a clean apron.”  Lucille washed her hands and hurried out.

Jenny looked at Ben.  “I think Mama’s up to something, don’t you?”

“Kind of looks like it, but it can’t be too bad if it includes pie.” He mused.

milk-add

 

 

 

John’s Favorite Chocolate Pie with Optional Peanut Butter

1 cup white sugar

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk (I used canned evaporated milk for all my cooking)

4 egg yolks, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked

4 egg whites

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

8 tablespoons white sugar

½ cup peanut butter (optional)

Directions

Mix together sugar, cocoa, corn starch and salt in a medium saucepan. Gradually mix in milk. Cook and stir over medium high heat until thickened and bubbly. Blend in peanut butter if desired.  Reduce heat to medium low; cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove pan from heat. Slowly stir about one cup of the hot filling into the egg yolks, stirring constantly; mix back into the custard. Return saucepan to heat, and bring to a gentle boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in vanilla. Pour hot filling into crust.

In a clean bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. (If yellow gets into whites they won’t whip) Gradually beat in sugar, and continue to beat until stiff and glossy. Spread evenly over hot filling, sealing meringue to crust.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden.

Grandma’s Tea Cakes

image

My Grandma made these.  Mother made them.  I make them.  My daughter makes them.  We all had our own twist.  They are the best tea cakes I’ve ever had.  It was so good to come in from school and find these coming out of the oven.

Grandma’s Teacakes

1 cup of butter

2 eggs

3 cups sugar

4 cups self-rising flour (for plain add 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/8 tsp salt per CUP flour)

2 Tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Cream softened butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Add 3 1/2  cups flour and mix till it is a stiff dough.  Use other 1/2 cup to dust over dough and dust your hands while rolling out.  Roll into 1- 1 1/2 inch balls and place on greased cookie sheets.  Cookies should be no closer than 3/4 inch.  Bake cookies center rack. 7 minutes, then turn pans back to front and bake 7 more minutes.  If you use three cookie sheets, switch those on lower rack to top rack.  Cookies are done when edges barely start to brown.  Cookies will be barely done and bend easily but still hold together when you slide a spatula under them.  Cool on wire rack or tea towel to cool.  The secret to keeping them soft is to take them out of the oven just as edges turn golden brown.  If you leave them on pan, they will continue to cook and get hard.

 

variations:

use cream cheese instead of butter

make a thumbprint and spoon in jam or filling of your choice before baking

press Hesheys Kiss on top

Make filling of cream cheese and fruit or chocolate to sandwich

Your family will love you.

I have rolled this dough up, wrapped in foil and frozen. It makes a wonderful gift.

Chicken Soup, Good for What Ails You

imageMother has a cold, so I have a pot of homemade chicken soup to take as soon as it gets done. Some of my warmest memories are of days I was sick enough to stay home from school and be coddled by Mother all day. The very best part was having her all to myself. I loved having her spread one of Grandma’s quilt over the sofa, putting a pillow at the end, and draping the warm quilt over me. If it was winter, she’d warm the quilt in front of the fire before wrapping me in it. It was heavenly. I loved her settling me on the sofa with a tray for meals. When she had time, she’d read to me. When she was busy, I enjoyed my books and toys on my own. I frequently called out for a delivery of fresh books or drink, till I’d worn out my “sick credit” with her. Best of all was the envy of the other kids when Mother reminded them, “Leave her alone. She is sick.”
A few times I was able to convince Mother I was sick when I wasn’t. One day, I waved at Phyllis getting on the bus and foolishly slipped out to play as soon as the bus ran. Mother hustled me down to the corner to catch the bus at the next stop. It wasn’t long till I had to produce fever or throw up to get the chance to miss school. I broke the thermometer once holding it near to fire to simulate a fever. All the got me was a warm bottom. Thermometers don’t grow on trees.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
One quart deboned chicken
One quart chicken broth
Large can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 to 1 ½ cup vegetables (today I tossed in diced turnips, potatoes, and carrots)
3 TBS parsley
2 cloves garlic or to tast
I large diced onion
3 TBS chives
2 TBS oregana
Salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
I use fresh herbs and vegetables but frozen will do
½ lb noodles, fresh, frozen, or dried. You may want more for thicker soup. Add with caution or it may get too thick and stick.
Simmer chicken, broth, herbs, vegetables, and cream of chicken soup. Reduce to simmer and add noodles, stirring constantly for at least 20 minutes. Sometimes I simmer much longer. Serve with crackers or cornbread and butter.

Chicken Gizzard and Cheddar Cheese Sandwich

When I was but a child-bride, I yearned to please my handsome husband, so I dreamed of concocting hearty breakfasts, luscious lunches, and delightful dinners. This wasn’t to be. We had wisely married while still in college so were in possession of two things money couldn’t buy, abject poverty and true love. We were just scraping by. After about two weeks, about all we had left in the refrigerator was a half-loaf of bread, mustard, a couple of lonely, frozen chicken gizzards, and an old, dry sliver of cheddar cheese. I fried those chicken gizzards up nice and hard, sliced them as thin as possible, added the slivered cheddar cheese and sat down with My Darling to enjoy the amazing delicacy. It was the worst thing I ever tried to eat. The piquant taste of overdone gizzard slathered with mustard was not a good companion taste for the dried out cheddar cheese. I was never tempted to try that combo again.

Don’t Spin Your Greens, Granny (Part 2 of Multi-Function Appliances)

greens 2https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2016/02/04/high-efficiency-multi-funtion-appliances/

When you live in the South and visit old folks in the country, the first thing you have to do is admire their garden. You’re liable to come home with a “mess of greens.” For the unenlightened, greens include turnips, collards, or mustard greens. Boiled down low, with a bit of pork, and garnished with a splash of “pepper sauce,” greens make a delicious meal. A true connoisseur polishes off by sopping up the juice, or pot-liquor with cornbread. If you’re above the Mason-Dixon Line, try a roll.

That’s the happy ending. Now, we get down to the nitty gritty, literally. Greens have to be “looked and washed.” The first step is dispossessing the wildlife who habituate greens. Nobody wants to find half a worm or a cluster of bug eggs in their pot-liquor. You have to give both sides of each rumpled leaf a good look, wash, and then wash and rinse copiously.

I’d heard the glorious news greens could be washed in the washing machine, cutting down tremendously on prep time. The next time Bud came in wagging a bag of greens, I didn’t moan like normal, having recently heard the good news that greens could be washed in the washing machine. As usual, the basic information registered, not the total technique. I loaded the washer with dirty greens and detergent and hit the start button. Quite a while later, the alarm sounded, and I went to retrieve my sparkling greens. Alas, no greens remained, just a few tough stems and a few bits of leaves. A follow-up conversation with my friend revealed that I should have only washed them on gentle and not continue to spend.

Though I hoped he’d forget, Bud came in that night expecting greens. I feigned innocence. “What greens?”

It didn’t fly. “The greens I brought in yesterday.”

It’s hard to come up with an excuse how precious greens went missing. I gave up and told the truth, though I don’t like worrying Bud stuff with gets his blood pressure up. I’m considerate that way. “They went down the drain.”

“How in the Hell did they go down the drain?” I don’t know why he gets all up in my housekeeping and cooking business.

“They just did. Now don’t keep asking nosy questions!”

“Exactly what drain and how did that happen?”

“The washing machine drain.” I hoped if I answered matter-of-factly, he’d move on. I didn’t work.

“You put greens in the washing machine? What in the Hell were you thinking?” I hate it when he apes back what I’ve just said. I’ve told him it gets on my nerves.

“It takes forever to look and wash greens. Jenny told me she puts hers in the washer and it works great. I didn’t realize I wasn’t supposed to put them through spin.”

“Grouch, grouch, grouch @^%&( , #@$%! Don’t ever put )(^%&# greens in the washer, again.”

“Okay, okay. Don’t go on forever about it. I get tired of your nagging”

Since then I’ve been careful not to spin them. It works great.

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Fried Chicken Gizzard and Cheddar Cheese Sandwich

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Well, I Never….”

Long, long ago when I was a but child-bride, I yearned to please my handsome husband so I dreamed of concocting hearty breakfasts, luscious lunches, and delightful dinners.  This wasn’t to be.  We had wisely married while still in college so were in possession of two things money couldn’t buy, abject poverty and true love.  We were just scraping by.  After about two weeks, about all we had left in the refrigerator was a half-loaf of bread, mustard, a couple of lonely, frozen chicken gizzards, and an old, dry sliver of cheddar cheese.  I fried those chicken gizzards up nice and hard, sliced them as thin as possible, added the slivered cheddar cheese and sat down with My Darling to enjoy the amazing delicacy.  It was the worst thing I ever tried to eat.  The piquant taste of overdone gizzard slathered with mustard was not a good companion taste for the dried out cheddar cheese.  I was never tempted to try that combo again.