If you are hungry when you start reading this, I’ll warn you right now, you will be drooling by the time you get to the bottom of this post. Lots of food pics and lots of talk about food. My family gathered in my parent’s mountain house in NC (they live in ATL, but have had this mountain house for about 25 years) for a few days. We ate, we sat on the porch, we walked for miles and miles a little bit, we talked about food, and we ate like pigs some more. 🙂
My family dearly loves a good meal and when we get together, there’s plenty of celebrating with food. We are so blessed to have parents that know how to grow things and this is how we were raised. Fresh vegetables from the garden, my mom “putting up” food for eating later, either canning or freezing that bounty from the garden. So, this is normal for us. I feel for those of you who do not know what eating fresh veggies from the garden is all about, but I know that many of you do. We had plenty of it and still do, thanks to my hard working parents who still enjoy growing their own food and sharing it with us. They are 81 and 82 now and that hasn’t slowed them down much at all. My mom can still cook up a storm and I’ll share some of that with you here.
We are blessed indeed! I have a sweet video of my mom making this cornbread, but I haven’t been able to get it uploaded. If I do, I’ll post it later. On a side note, I should have mentioned that this recipe comes from a book about some of my family who were missionaries in Paraguay back in the late 60’s, early 70’s. So, this recipe was mentioned in the book and mom decided to try it.
Edited: Several mentioned the cole slaw and I’ll try to remember to get that one and post it too. 🙂
Paraguayan Cornbread from Aunt Evelyn
(Note: This recipe is for a 9 x 13 pan, but mom halved it)
3 cups Martha White cornbread mix
6 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cup milk (skim is fine)
1 lb. Monterey Jack cheese (cubed)
3/4 cup oil (olive is fine)
4 cups chopped onion (2 large onions)
Grease 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Chop onion, saute in olive oil. Cube cheese (don’t use shredded, the cubes will bake & get gooey, you want that!).
Measure cornmeal in one bowl. Beat eggs & mix with milk in another. Pour milk into cornmeal all at once, beating with whisk to eliminate lumps. Add cubes of cheese. Pour hot oil/onion mixture into cornmeal batter. Quickly mix well. Pour into greased pan. (Note: mom didn’t saute the onions, but added them in raw & they cooked fine inside).
Bake at 450* for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Cut and serve hot. I also think adding chopped jalapeno or chile peppers would be great too.
I took pics of most of our meals and you can see, we eat well. Our first breakfast was grits and tomato gravy, with homemade biscuits, sausage and bacon. Tomato gravy is probably not something that is common to all Southerners, but my mom has been making this for as long as I can remember. She serves it over grits or rice and it’s delish. She uses fresh tomatoes when available and when they are not, she uses her canned tomatoes. I use her canned tomatoes for a LOT of things I cook too.
Tomato gravy is basically, a little bit of bacon grease (left over from cooking bacon), a couple of TBL will do, add some flour (couple TBL) and then add those fresh chopped tomatoes with salt and pepper. Add the flour to the grease first, making sort of a roux, then add the tomatoes and stir, stir, stir. The gravy will thicken up a bit and you’ll have a delicious gravy that is to die for over grits.
Mom’s made from scratch biscuits. Don’t ask me how to make these, I have no idea. I don’t make biscuits from scratch. 🙂
Here’s my plate, with the grits and tomato gravy, bacon, sausage, and a biscuit topped with honey. We found a local small fruit market near my parents that carried Sourwood Honey from Asheville for $10 a quart and we brought home 2 quarts. It’s not that easy to find and Sourwood honey is the best, in our opinion.
My dad in the garden, where he feels so much at home among all the vegetables.
We did take a walk down the street one morning and here are the sights we saw.
Queen Anne’s lace growing wildly in the nearby meadows.
An old and rustic barn.
A pretty hydrangea in someone’s driveway.
We hiked up to a neighorhood across the street from my parent’s house that has filled up over the last few years. There’s quite a view from up there. This house was adding a double decker observation deck and I’m sure they will enjoy that.
Cause here’s the view that they will have. Gorgeous, huh? Nothing like the NC mountains for the most beautiful scenery.
We drove down by the river that’s near our parent’s house too and had never been down this little lane.
There are some beautiful cottages and mountain houses right here on the river. Loved that this house is apparently Bama fans! Roll Tide.
Back to my parent’s house, they have a sweet little creek right in their front yard.
My parent’s creek.
Flower in the creek.
My parent’s also have huge blueberry bushes that are always loaded. They gave us 2 big bags of blueberries to bring home, as the end of blueberries is near. We did go out and pick about a gallon more off the bushes, since there were still some left. They are big and sweet.
Back inside, we are getting ready for yet another wonderful meal. Mom’s getting ready to fry some okra.
Eggplant is frying here and she’s getting the rest of the veggies ready to go.
We had feasts at every meal.
Fried okra, zipper peas, black-eyed peas.
Creamed corn, fresh tomatoes, and pole beans. Are you drooling yet? 🙂
The girls played Mexican train dominos one night. That’s my niece, Lauren, who went yardsaling with me a few weeks ago.
And the breakfast finale on Saturday morning: Blueberry pancakes with sausage and bacon. I told you we like to eat. We certainly cannot eat like this all the time, but it sure is a treat for a couple of days.
While we were out shopping a little, I took this pic of the local store in Brasstown, near my parents house. Clay’s Corner is known for the New Year’s Eve possum drop. They drop a possum in a basket, then set him loose to celebrate New Year’s Eve. You know, just like New York and dropping the Big Apple. 🙂 It’s quite the culture here in the NC mountains.
A few short years ago, news of the possum drop in Brasstown, NC made The NY Times and the fine folks at PETA (ha!) decided to sue this little store for animal cruelty if they did the possum drop that year. So, the store backed off for a year or two until things died down and now they are back to normal with the possum dropping. Thank goodness. They sure don’t need anyone telling them what to do. I mean, after all they weren’t hurting any possums, just having some good clean fun with them.
The grand finale was a fish fry. Dad and Lauren are cooking up the fish, while I was getting the ice cream churn going for our homemade vanilla ice cream. My mom gets fresh perch from her brother in Florida and we love, love having fish fries with this wonderful filleted fish. It’s the best!
Fried perch and my mom’s hushpuppies, along with cole slaw.
My plate, with baked beans and cheese grits. We love to serve cheese grits with our fish fries down here too.
And to top it off, homemade vanilla ice cream with fresh peaches. We were so stuffed, of course we didn’t eat anything the rest of the day. Again, can’t eat like this every day. It will be back to normal with the exercise routine.
We brought home some wonderful fresh SC peaches from the local market, as well as peppers and cucumbers from my parent’s garden.
Just picked okra came home with us too. I’ll be frying this up this week.
Two bags of fresh blueberries. I sure do love these on my morning cereal.
And we brought home a huge box of tomatoes that some friends had given my parents from a local garden that had been picked and they had a surplus. More salsa coming up! We also brought home more frozen veggies that my mom had put up as well as a case of her canned tomatoes, which is so great to have around. I use it for everything from spaghetti sauce to homemade soups.
So, I hope you enjoyed going to the NC mountains with us! It’s always a treat to just hang out with my family, eat and visit, and be together. There’s no cell phone coverage where they are or internet service. They do have a big TV though with satellite, so are not completely isolated. But, it’s a great way to get away from the busyness of life in the city and enjoy country life for a few days.
Linked to Jen’s Tasty Tuesday.
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