SOUP du JOJO

Rhys requested carrots!We invited the Sequina’s to drop by after their marathon tri-state-Thanksgiving-jaunt. Liam and the grilled cheese I told Nichole that I would have healthy stuff since I knew that, like us and every other American, they had their fill of food!  Nichole exclaimed: “NO, we want the fattening stuff!”  HAHA, Of course!  

They are younger than we are but have fooled us into thinking that they enjoy being with us.  Both of them are creative, fun, and love to sit around a table for long periods of time spewing conversation and food!  (YES, I know what I just said…and it happens…)

JoJo and Nichole Sequina are two more of my favorite foodies!  JoJo is from the Philippines and use to lead worship at our church in Pike Road, AL .  He and Nichole have two of the cutest boys in the world and will be holding their new daughter any day now.  They now live in Charlotte, NC.

The DNA on this card would be tasty!

The DNA on this card would be tasty!

On this particular visit I served them two soups (it was cold outside), cornbread, and chocolate rum cake.  (Looking at this now it seems like an odd menu…) And, of course, a hot pot of coffee.

The first soup, vegetable,  was from my husband’s mother’s kitchen. I have made this soup so many times, that it is kinda hard to read the recipe card anymore.  It is tried-and-true and DELICIOUS!The 5-star Squash and Ham Soup

The second soup is Paula Deen’s Yellow Squash and Ham soup I know, squash and ham soup sounds terrible, but it had a five star rating so I tried it back when I had too much fresh squash.  Since then, I have made  it several times!  ITS AMAZING!

The Chocolate Rum Cake  recipe was given to me by Kathy Haney, who was my parents’ across-the-street neighbor in Charleston, SC.  She brought the cake over to my parents when my momma was fighting cancer back in 1995.  The cake added a ‘happy’ to our day then and continues to make the masses smile each and every time I make it!  I NEVER have any leftover!

So I decided to share both the DELICIOUS and the AMAZING soup recipes with you today…in doing so, I also appease JOJO who, along with eating me out of house and home, keeps my website functioning.  Two days ago he asked me to “try another blog” so we can see if my subscriptions are working.

He thinks I have nothing else to do but cook and write…..

Today’s Favorite Foodie: Tammy Griffin

Do you live to eat or eat to live?  This was a question posed by a friend years ago.  I blurted out my response: I eat to live.  My husband proclaimed: I live to eat!  

Over the years we have asked many people the same question, though we, admittedly, already knew most of their responses. (We have eaten with most of them and have seen the familiar glow that appears when the word ‘food’ is even mentioned!)

With that in mind I am chronicling MY FAVORITE FOODIES and how a particular food relates them to me. 

TODAY’S FAVORITE FOODIE: TAMMY GRIFFIN

Presentation, flavor, variety...foodie-heaven!

Presentation, flavor, variety…foodie-heaven!

I’m not one to throw a good friend under the bus, but, honestly, how can a successful caterer not like raisins?  INCONCEIVABLE! (But more on that, later.)

Tammy Griffin (the good friend in question) is the high-energy owner of   A Catered Affair, in Montgomery, Alabama.  We first met when my young family moved to Montgomery in 1991. We were both in our early 30’s and had preschoolers.  Tammy worked at a bank doing bank-y things and I was a woman of leisure (!?) therefore, hosted many a party (isn’t that what stay-at-home moms are suppose to do?)  Tammy, being a lover of all things foodie, sprinkled her gold dust on each and every one of my gatherings, making my mediocre offerings memorable.

Tammy & I have been friends for over 22 years

Tammy & I have been friends for over 22 years

Eventually, she left the bank and opened a home-style restaurant.  Catering was her first love, though, so she sold the restaurant and A Catered Affair was born.

Obviously, Tammy is a die-hard foodie.  She loves presenting beautiful tasty food that has been flavored with the wow-factor.  She as a reputation foralways going the extra mile, making each intimate dinner party or 500 person reception “perfect”.  Recently, her and her brother, Walter Rotton, opened the Butcher Block in Pike Road, Alabama, a combination meat, wines & beers, and gift shop, as well as the new home to A Catered Affair.

Tammy serving children at one of the many South African school we visited

Tammy serving children at one of the many South African school we visited

Along with her business/talent, Tammy also has a heart for sharing!  In 2010, knowing that God told her to “go to Africa and feed the children,” Tammy did just that!  

Cool details omitted, she ended up flying to South Africa with Tim and I for the first week of our six week sabbatical and, you guess it, fed the children…a few HUNDRED of them!  She also set up her stewpot in a poor township and fed  anyone who came with an empty bowl.  She’s just that way.

Bread pudding, half-enhanced with raisins!

Bread pudding, half-enhanced with raisins!

Though there are MANY wonderful foods that make me think of Tammy, the one that makes me drool embarrassingly is her BREAD PUDDING with Vanilla Sauce.  However, I must confess that I altered a recipe just a tad…I ADDED RAISINS…well, to one side, anyway.   My husband likes purity in using Tammy’s recipes! INCONCEIVABLE!

(Bread Pudding Recipe at below featured pictures.  To view pictures in slideshow, click on any featured picture.)

 
 
Bread Pudding
8 c. loosely packed bread chunks (any leftover bread will do)
3 c. milk
1 c. sugar
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 c. RAISINS (MY ALTERATION!!)
2 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. butter, melted_______________
 
Place bread crumbs in a 9×13 dish that has been coated with spay.  
In a large bowl, mix with wire whisk the remaining ingredients except for the melted butter.
Pour mixture over the bread crumbs.
Press the bread crumbs down with the wire whisk making sure they are covered with the milk mixture.
Let sit for about 5 minutes for the bread to soak throughly.  
Pour the melted butter over the bread pudding. Bake for 45 minutes in a preheated 350 degree over.  
The pudding will PUFF UP during baking but will deflate after you take it from the oven.  
Serve warm with vanilla sauce.  Eight (8) servings.
 
Vanilla Sauce
2 c. milk
1/2 c. sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 egg yolks
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. water______________________
 
With a wire whisk, mix milk, egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla in a small saucepan.
Cook over medium heat until slightly bubbly.  Can boil over, so watch closely.
Mix cornstarch and water together until cornstarch is dissolved.  Mix this into the sauce with a wire whisk.
It should be slightly thickened.
If it is too soupy, add more cornstarch dissolved in water.  
Pour over bread pudding.  ENJOY!!

TODAY’S Foodlieland Favorite: My father-in-law

Do you live to eat or eat to live?  This was a question posed by friend, Peggy Sutton, years ago.  I blurted out my response: I EAT TO LIVE.   My husband proclaimed: I LIVE TO EAT!  

Over the years we have asked many people the same question, though we, admittedly, already knew most of their responses. (We have eaten with most of them and have seen the familiar glow that appears when the word ‘food’ is even mentioned!)

With that in mind I am chronicling MY FAVORITE FOODIES and how a particular food relates them to me.

_________________________________________

Father-in-law and Fried Chicken

Prepping to cook

Prepping to cook

Ed double-checked with me to make sure that I really had invited him into my kitchen.  I assured my father-in-law that the second-hand request (via my husband) was authentic. “YES!” I proclaimed! I want you to teach me how to fry chicken! No one fries chicken like you do!”

Rewind 29 years and this same invitation would NOT have been extended.  As a new bride I sighed each time my father-in-law carried bags of groceries into my kitchen.  After all, he had a pre-arranged menu for the entire weekend and plans to cook in my kitchen. My kitchen!

Time has allowed me to realize that his sincere intention was to bless the newlyweds. However, at that time, I chose to believe that he didn’t think I could cook.

So I silently stewed, while my new husband tried to ease the subtle tension. After all, to him, his dad was being true to himself: Ed was, and still is, a die-hard foodie!

Back to 2013. Ed is now 85 and rarely cooks but he still LOVES to eat. However, on this particular sunny day, he sauntered, INVITED, into my kitchen.

Soaking the chicken in salt water helps the chicken not to 'bleed' during frying

Soaking the chicken in salt water helps the chicken not to ‘bleed’ during frying

i hope I remember to adjust the temperature!

i hope I remember to adjust the temperature!

The foodie-glow grew around him as he began describing, in detail, HOW to cut up the chicken and why it needed to be soaked in salt water (to get the blood out). He went on to describe how much grease should be in the pan and how hot it needed to. There was a perfectly timed flipping technique and an emphasis on not overcrowding. He also showed me how to make white gravy!

The chicken was perfect. Thirty years has mellowed me. Oh, my youthfulness prevented me from enjoying years (and more shared recipes) with him in my kitchen.

Ed is my first and my most favorite foodie!

(Click on a photo below to view as slideshow.)