Autumn…

fall jeremy 4

There’s nothing stingy about Autumn… Generous words always describe the Colorful Wonders of Autumn. fall jeremy 8

Without a word spoken, her adjectives are Lavish, Splendid and Magnificent.

Reaching toward a Sapphire Sky…fall jeremy 9

the Treasures of Autumn are Emerald, Gold, Ruby, Copper, Amethyst and Bronze.

Autumn is the most generous of all seasons – fall jeremy 6

Rich and warm- she sheds her Abundant Harvest at the feet of fields and forest…fall- jeremy 1

No wonder thoughts of Home and Holidays open our hearts in Autumn.

Love y’all, Camellia

* Alabama in Autumn photographs are used with permission from Jeremy Miniard who so generously shares his talents with Camellia’s Cottage. Find him at jeremy-miniard.fineartsamerica.com

Abundant Fall…

For the Beauty of the Earth… for Seedtime and Harvest…

 

for Fields and Farms…

 

for Vines and Orchards…

 

And for Those who heard and answered the Ancient Call- ‘Be Fruitful and Multiply’…we are grateful. To the Creator of All, for Your faithfulness to provide the Beautiful Abundance of Fall, we thank You.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day! Love y’all, Camellia

*all photographs are obviously mine

Cornbread Patties…

DB7A8595-A4AF-4EAE-A968-756E7AC144A4Even though Cornbread and Biscuits are made in every region, we Southerners always think ours are the best! Biscuits seem to be the higher culinary art compared to Cornbread’s rustic texture. And the truth is, Cornbread has it’s roots in poverty, yet often graces the finest tables.  French trained Southern Chef Virginia Willis said it best:

 ‘…cornbread and barbeque are close to religion in the South… cornbread was the primitive Baptist to the Episcopalian biscuit, the all night tent revival to the prayer luncheon.’

Give Southerners a sack of cornmeal and- if they’ve lived here  more than a generation or two… they’ll have at least a half dozen variations that are based on the simple recipe for Cornbread. There’ll be no looking up recipes, it will be second nature as the Southern cook will know exactly which one to use for which meal.

  • Onion studded Hushpuppies are perfect with seafood,
  • Slender Corn Sticks seem to finish a big pot of chili or savory beef stew,
  • Long Pans of Cornbread Dressing must reside alongside a baked hen or roasted turkey…
  • a Pone of Cornbread goes with almost anything, though is true alchemy with our Barbeques,  Chicken and Dumplings and makes our Southern Vegetable Plates unforgettable.

It’s the lowly and quick Cornbread Patties which seem to enhance big steaming bowls of Vegetable Soup, Potato Soup or simple Lima Beans with true bliss.  Just a quick change in the amount of liquid to our regular Cornbread Batter, a spatula and a bit of oil heated in a Cast Iron Skillet as hot as the Devil’s Doorknob and before you know it…you’ll have a golden pile of Cornbread Patties! Here’s how you make ’em…5D35CC49-7912-42F0-BC0C-B9A7CE65F311

Camellia’s Cottage Cornbread Patties

  • In a mixing bowl combine 1 1/2 half cups of White Self Rising Cornmeal, 1 large egg whisked, enough water or milk to make a batter similar in texture to pancake batter except maybe thinner.
  • Vegetable Oil for frying (just enough to cover the bottom of the skillet)- these are not deep-fried!
  • Heat oil until very hot, with a small ladle pour batter into approximately 3 inch rounds.
  • Fry until there are bubbles around the edges of rounds and batter is set, carefully flip over and fry until golden brown, drain on paper towels.
  • Serve as soon as possible.  These are better when they are hot and crisp with a dab of butter.  Makes 18-20 small patties.

Now, I must say- I never heard Cornbread Patties called Johnny Cakes or Hoe Cakes (which I think of as a Yankee version with a heavier batter, y’all ) but I have heard Cornbread Patties called Fried Corn Pones. Now, bless your heart, call ’em whatever you want to, just don’t add one grain of sugar- these are meant to be savory!55E12AA3-EA48-4B2B-8305-4306291A8F49

The day I made mine, I sautéed some chopped baked ham and onion in a bit of bacon drippings, then steamed the fresh baby limas. Served warm in a bowl with cherry tomatoes, a baked sweet potato alongside and a sweet onion cut so thin you could see through the slices were extra good with these crispy little Cornbread Patties!

8DDA806A-5CC8-46C3-AE58-7BC4CC9F5616Oh my, I hope you’ll try a batch and substitute them for plain soda crackers when you make a big pot of soup this Fall!

Love y’all, Camellia

*Chef Virginia Willis is the author of a wonderful cookbook aptly named Bon Appetit, Y’all and has her own version of Cornbread Patties which she calls Cornmeal Griddle Cakes

*Photographs are obviously mine

Fall Forage…

It’s early Fall, when mornings are cooler, days are slowly but surely getting shorter and evening deep blue skies are a bit darker hue. Armed with clippers, I went out to see what I could see, a Fall Forage that inspired me to bring a bit of early autumn indoors to enjoy…IMG_0182

I found bright purple Beauty Berries, almost fluorescent in color, the Glory Bower’s pale blossoms are now magenta and dark blue berries…a few Figs still left unripe, leaves still crisp and green…plump and orange-y Rose Hips…IMG_0196

Lichen laden branches pale and ghostly alongside unripe celadon Nandina berries… Clipping and cutting, my bag was getting full and interesting…A papery hydrangea nodding her summer head.IMG_3484

Frilly ferns and fronds under leaves just thinking about changing to Fall colors. Chive seed heads bright and white cheerfully stood alongside unforgettable spidery blooms from a fall bulb I can’t recall! Lavender and pale blue wild blooms growing near thick leaved sedum- always my Autumn Joy…IMG_0189

When I spread out the morning’s bounty from my early Fall Forage… I lined them up like the scouts they were- to let me take their beauty shots. They behaved so nicely… I couldn’t stand to let them go to waste and wilt. What would my Fall Forage look like in a bouquet… IMG_3495

Then a fleeting thought. What if I could somehow take a photograph that resembled an old oil painting…You know the ones with black backgrounds.

I think they call them Old Masters. IMG_0199

A happy coincidence I will admit, a quick and blurry picture, with not a single brush stroke except from the Master Gardener Himself and random clippings from an early morning Fall Forage.

Love y’all, Camellia

*All photographs are obviously mine- Oh my, on days like this! *Plants are not listed in order.

Sweet Spicy Snack Crackers…

IMG_3290In the South, we’re known for hospitality, especially for our ability to offer pickup foods at a moment’s notice. ‘Y’all come over, no- we’re just having pickup foods’ … It could be as simple as parched peanuts…or quickly toasting some buttery salted pecans, even  pulling some cheese straws from the freezer and baking them off to put in a little silver bowl.  I have to admit having a little snack greatly improves conversation! We tend to keep a box or bag of a favorite cookie or cracker, but we do have our standards! The best is a little 1 inch square cheese cracker we’ve all been eating, all across this country since the 1920’s! It’s dangerous for me to be in the vicinity of a bright red box of Cheez-its®! IMG_3287

The all time favorite snack cracker of my lifetime- Cheez-its®, to my way of thinking can hardly be improved upon; now, with so many different flavors on the market why would anyone even want to try? Well, on a scrap of paper found in one of my cookbooks- I had scribbled-

  • Cheez-its®
  • Melted Butter
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cayenne and Salt
  • Bake

*No measurements, no oven temperature, no bake time…were on that scrap of paper!  Who even knew why I kept it? Recently, I needed a new pickup food. Of course I had a box of Cheez-its squirrelled away in the pantry! I have to tell you, everything else on that list has a permanent place here too! I thought about it- and here’s how I made them:

Camellia’s Cottage Sweet Spicy Snack Crackers

  • I preheated the oven to 350 degrees, and poured the entire box of  Cheez-its (12.4 oz size) into a large mixing bowl (approximately 4 cups more or less)
  • I lined a sheet pan with parchment paper and I was ready to go!
  • Cheez-its are baked not fried, so I melted a stick of Salted Butter on low heat.
  • I mixed together 3/4 cup of firmly packed Brown Sugar, added 1 teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon, a couple of pinches of Cayenne Pepper (go easy here) and poured them into the melted Butter.IMG_3288
  • On low heat, I waited until the Brown Sugar and spices were almost dissolved.
  • I poured the whole pan of spicy sweet mixture over the Cheez-its and tossed to coat them well, then spread them out in a single layer.
  • They were baked for 12-15 minutes, tossing occasionally until the crackers were shiny and the edges were carmelized.

After these Sweet Spicy Snack Crackers were pulled from the oven, I sprinkled a bit of Sea Salt over the top- not much now… When the crackers were cooled, I do admit to having to break some of them apart.  *If not serving right away, I would recommend storing them in an airtight container.IMG_3289

The results after just one try- were, to my taste- worthy of offering as a pickup food to drop in company!  I had some plump red grapes, a few fresh figs and small tangerines on hand. Okay, to make it seemed more like a healthy snack! It didn’t hurt that the kitchen smelled warm and spicy on an early Fall Day!

Love y’all, Camellia

*Cheez- it® are a registered trademark of Kellogg- under the name of Sunshine Bakery. This is not a paid advertisement, just a testimonial of how much we love them here at Camellia’s Cottage!

Alabama Backroads Beauty…

 

 

75BEC44E-B2E7-4316-ABFA-802C59978E7FAlabama is a beautiful and unique state- we have mountains, rivers, lakes- all the way down to the most beautiful beaches and bays you can imagine! In the Fall, folks like to take a Sunday drive to see the colorful displays of autumn beauty or stay beside one of our Lakes, hike through the woods to see a Waterfall or stop at a Roadside Stand. When Mother Nature shows out and throws down carpets of gold, green and red and happily reaches her arms up to the sky with brightly colored leaves– it’s breathtaking when we have a beautiful Fall, y’all! Let’s get going on our Road Trip- through the Backroads of Alabama…

Off we go!

Let’s get over to the Rivers and Streams…

And take a look at these close ups!

 

And stop at a road side stand…jeremy-fall-30-marketYou can almost hear the singin’…. ‘For the Beauty of the Earth…’ ringing out from the churches!jeremy-fall-27-church

 

How thankful we are for the enormous talents of Jeremy Miniard and his generosity in sharing these beautiful photographs of Alabama the Beautiful! Enjoy!

Love y’all, Camellia

find Jeremy at jeremy-miniard.fineartamerica.com

photographs may not be reproduced without express permission from Jeremy!jeremy-fall-26

Fall…

imageIn the South, Fall is usually the shortest season of the year. Summer starts cheerfully in May, then trudges until the end of October. The new magazines are Showoffs with Fat Pumpkins, artful pictures of Fall Fashion, even Autumn inspired Apple and Pumpkin Pies- to be honest, I never say Autumn and I’d take a Sweet Potato Pie over Pumpkin any day! The magazines show Fall Home Décor and  stunning photographs of Fall Foliage- it just galls me, here we sit sweltering in the heat! That glow Southern women are known for comes from the heat and humidity that stays with us almost all year round…By Fall? We pine for, we long for cool crisp air- we would dearly love to put on fall fashions, except you cannot go outside – you must be inside under the air conditioner to wear your cute sweater set and boots. The Weather Channel gets a huge Southern audience in the Fall for Hurricanes, First Frost Dates or Scorching Temperatures in the high 80’s. Folks just start runnin’ for the hills.  Honestly a Fall like this one is enough to make you willing to give up Iced Tea for one cool breeze! At SEC football games, it has been so hot the players had to have IV’s for dehydration! Alabama often has stunning Fall Color- that means the leaves have turned pretty colors, just not here, this year.  This Fall is one of those curl up and die years; giving us the sense that the yard is saying –‘Ok, ya’ll,  I give up, I’ve had it with this heat, I’m taking a nap.’  I got up my courage, and decided in the last few days to root around and see what I could find in the Yard and the store that said- Fall.

 

I found Green Figs that are still ripening, my second crop of Arugula and believe it or not  heat resistant Tomato vines have some tiny green ones growing- even though deer had a snack on the top leaves, we’re still picking Jalapenos, they’re hot too. A few Zinnias are getting the last word with Green Envy®. I have begun to get out a few Fall decorations like the Cotton Wreath and the little carved wood leaf man, which was a sweet gift from a dear friend…

Braving the heat, those sweet Dogwoods have fat Red Berries with crumpled brown and yellow leaves sidled up to a few cheerfully green but limp leaves. I love to find Pinecones which are dropping in disgust now. At the grocery store, there was a happy looking bin of Tiny Pumpkins and Apples which survived the trip over to Alabama. We have  Beekeepers and even more Pecan Growers-…listen, we don’t say Pee-Can…that’s something Yankees came up with- we say Pa-cahns.  The abandoned Hat Nest looked sweet on a bench. Hydrangeas, enough to fill more than two large galvanized tubs- are drying inside now. The much aligned Golden Rod is shyly showing up. Our ‘Mums for Music’ are popping open their Red Blooms in perfect harmony.

 

Right here in the Yard at Camellia’s Cottage- (we don’t say lawn in the South- it’s yard, front or back) there are subtle signs that Fall is here… All in all, I felt a bit better about our no-show curl up and die Fall when I put together all I had found…I’d love to hear what’s going on in your yard…and how you’re celebrating Fall! Meanwhile, I’ll sip some iced tea and keep up under the air conditioning! Oh me…

Love y’all, Camellia

*Eden Elementary is a local school which raises funds for their Music Program by selling wonderful Mums in the Fall and Ferns in the Spring- we love supporting music programs for children!