The weather is beautiful here and I couldn’t resist setting up a Valentine-y brunch on the porch.
The weather is beautiful here and I couldn’t resist setting up a Valentine-y brunch on the porch.
The weather in New Orleans tends to be mild, year-round. However, this past winter brought many cool/cold days (though no frost or freezing – it’s all relative). Now that Spring is officially here, it is wonderful to get outside and enjoy the front porch.
We spend so much time on the porch that I am constantly changing up the look for the newest season. You may remember how it looked during the Carnival season:
Here is the Spring look:
A new look on the swing and table: Read More→
The weather was just beautiful here today. It looks like it is time to clean off the back porch and get it ready for Spring. After all, Spring will be here soon. Check out the countdown calendar!
We like to grill all year round. My husband moves the grill up on the porch and he grills in all kinds of weather. He also tends to make things a bit messy.
In addition to his mess, the birds have scattered seed all over the place as well. Oh well, the sunshine and pretty weather made cleaning it all up a pleasant job. Got out the broom, a trash bag and added some elbow grease!
Now, that is much better. Looking forward to bringing out some of my plants that have spent the winter in the house and adding some pretty flowers. Now, when we have the pretty days, I can go ahead and sit out on the porch and enjoy!
Even the doves that have spent the winter inside got to get out. I’m sure we’ll have some more cold weather before it is all over. As my mama says, “We’ll still have our Easter snap.” In that case, I’ll just bring the plant in and the birds can hold down the fort until the weather warms back up.
I’m thinking it is time to change the cushions in the chairs and do a little updating. I’ll let you know how things progress. Hope everyone else is having fun getting ready for Spring. Happy Monday! Have a great week!
Check out what metamorphosis are going on at:
Today’s Lagniappe: Lime Jello Fluff
Something easy and green this week for St. Patrick’s Day!
(Lagniappe = a little something extra)
* 1 (3 ounce.) pkg. lime Jello
* 1 (1 lb.) carton cottage cheese
* 1 can (lg.) crushed pineapple
* 1 (8 ounce.) carton Cold Whip
1. Mix first 3 ingredients in large bowl. Stir in Cold Whip (thawed). May be served immediately or possibly stored for 2 to 3 days.
Ruby Tuesday visitors – made some revisions that didn’t get updated properly last night. Sorry, I didn’t have the link here last night. It has been corrected this morning (Tuesday).
I’ve been out on the porch listening to another storm roll in. We had one earlier this afternoon and all last weekend and last week. One of the storms last week did quite a bit of damage farther south of here. Not a lot of damage other than some limbs down around here.
My garden is loving the storms. All that nitrogen from the lightening is making things grow like, well, weeds! When it dries out a bit in the morning, I’ll get some pics of the garden to post.
The robin babies have been back! You can see how young they are because the red breast is not really real red yet. They sit on the fence and the mother (or maybe father) bird gets some seed from the feeder and goes to the fence to feed them. I’ll try to get some pics of that to post later this week. Those robin babies (or teenagers now maybe) are still so cute. They are very noisy about wanting food still. I’m so glad that they have come back around. We’ve only seen the mom (or dad) and two of the babies. Hopefully the third is off on its own and doing well.
This little red headed guy and his bride have been looking at the old robin’s nest but haven’t decided to move in yet.
Hope all of you are safe from storms and having a great week!
Today’s Lagniappe: Caprese Salad (also known as tomato, mozzarella and basil salad)
Can you tell I love summer tomatoes?
4 tomatoes, each cut into 6 slices (about 1 1/2 pounds)
As promised, here are more pictures. Today we are taking part in Outdoor Wednesday with A Southern Daydreamer.
See more outdoor Wednesday by clicking on the pic above.
Today’s Lagniappe: Shrimp Dip
My Mama used to make a similar version of this that I just loved with tortilla chips, enjoy!
Mix all ingredients together well, adding the shrimp last.
Chill at least two hours or overnight.
As you may recall, last Wednesday, I posted pics of our little robin in her nest. At that time she had two eggs. Since then, she has laid two more eggs for a total of four! She is a very good mother. She runs off Blue Jays that get too near and is always on the watch for danger. She doesn’t seem to mind us. She is not real happy when we take pictures of her little eggs when she is out of the nest, but she poses very prettily for us when she is in the nest.
Won’t be long until we have little baby robins!
Enjoy the other outdoor pics with A Southern Daydreamer’s Outdoor Wednesday.
Today’s Lagniappe: Fried Olives
I love olives and this is a great little bite!
I’ve seen recipes with the olives stuffed with blue cheese, ham, garlic, cream cheese mixtures and more. They can be filled with a pastry bag fitted with a small tip. Just fill them however you like, bread them and then fry them.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup finely ground breadcrumbs or panko
olive oil (for frying)
Heat about half an inch of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat.
Roll the olives in the flour, then, in the egg, then, in the bread crumbs. Fry the olives in batches until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
I wanted to share with you a picture of a little garden bench that was given to me. It was unassembled and plain wood when I got it. I painted it and hung it on the wall of my porch.
I think this little bench was originally intended to be used to set plants on as an accent. I like finding a different way to use things. This makes a nice little shelf for my porch.
Isn’t it sometimes the small things that make us smile? This little bench is one of those things. Really, in times like these, it is good to notice little things like how the grass is now green and the birds singing and the flowers blooming. These things make the big things not seem quite so bad.
Stay tuned tomorrow for an update on the robin’s nest – new eggs with pics!
To see more 2nd time around posts, visit Diane for 2nd Time Around Tuesday.
Today’s Lagniappe: Key Lime Bars
Something refreshing to serve on the porch.
1 cup finely ground graham cracker crumbs
2 1/2 tablespoons finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
2/3 cup fresh Key lime juice , (about 23 Key limes total)
1 cup sweetened condensed milk, (14 ounces)
2 Key limes, thinly sliced into half-moons
Make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a small bowl. Press evenly onto bottom of an 8-inch square glass baking dish. Bake until dry and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.(Leave oven on.)
Make filling: Put egg yolks and lime zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on high speed until very thick, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add condensed milk in a slow, steady stream, mixing constantly. Raise speed to high; mix until thick, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add lime juice; mix until just combined.
Spread filling evenly over crust using a spatula. Bake, rotating dish halfway through, until filling is just set, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight).
Cut into 2-by-2-inch bars. Garnish bars with whipped cream and a slice of lime.
One of my favorite community cookbooks is Louisiana Entertains – A Complete Menu Cookbook from the Rapides Symphony Guild in Alexandria, Louisiana – copyright 1978. The first 54 pages of this cookbook are devoted to breakfast and brunch. These menus offer a Southern breakfast at its best! I’ve set the table on the porch for the menu “Table for Two.”
Eggs Sardou or Eggs Stravinsky
The cookbook then gives the recipes for these delights. I’ll give you the recipe for the Eggs Sardou today.
Thanks for joining me at my Southern Breakfast Tablescape. Check out the other lovely tablescapes at Between Naps on the Porch.
Today’s Lagniappe: Eggs Sardou
Delicious – If you don’t want to make these yourself, just head on down to New Orleans and order it from one of their great restaurants! It was created at Antoine’s and named after French playwright Victorien Sardou
4 Poached Eggs (See below)
1 Recipe Creamed Spinach (see below)
1 Recipe Hollandaise Sauce (see below)
4 Artichoke bottoms
Paprika for sprinkling
Divide the creamed spinach in the center of two heated plates, nest two artichoke bottoms per plate on the spinach. Place a poached egg on each artichoke bottom then top with a generous portion of Hollandaise sauce. Sprinkle with Paprika. Serve.
Poached Eggs Recipe
Fill a dutch oven with 1? of water, heat until just below a simmer. Add a few dashes of white vinegar. Crack the eggs and gently drop them into the water, keeping the shell as close to the water as possible when dropping them in. With a slotted spoon, gently move the ghost like strands of white back to the yolk. The eggs are done when the whites are no longer transparent, and the yolks are still runny. Remove with a slotted spoon and gently dry off with a towel.
Creamed Spinach Recipe
1 Cup Cooked and chopped Spinach, squeezed in a kitchen towel to remove excess water
1 Pint Heavy Cream, reduced by 3/4 of its volume
A pinch Freshly Grated Nutmeg
A pinch of Cayenne
1 tsp Crystal hot sauce
A few drops of Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt to taste
Hollandaise Sauce Recipe
2 tsp Red Wine Vinegar
2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
3 Egg Yolks
1/2 Cup Clarified Butter, warm
Kosher Salt & Cayenne Pepper
1 Dash Crystal Hot Sauce
A few drops Worcestershire Sauce
Place the vinegar, lemon juice, and egg yolks in the top deck of a double boiler. The water in the lower deck should be hot but not boiling.
Whisk slowly until you see the yolks start to coagulate on the sides. If the pan gets too hot, remove it from the heat for a minute, whisking constantly.
Whisk while cooking, minding the bowl temperature, until the yolks are lighter in color and do not leave yellow streaks when the whisk goes through them. If you see any signs of scrambling, remove the bowl from the heat.
When the yolk/acid mixture is good and thick, remove from the heat and slowly drizzle in the clarified butter, whisking constantly, until incorporated.
Add the hot and Worcestershire sauces, and season to taste with the salt & cayenne.
If the sauce is a little too thick, you can thin it down with a few splashes of hot water.
Makes about 2/3 Cup.
P. S. – I’m still getting around to visit all of the outdoor Wednesday folks. Eye Doc dialated my pupils and it really put a kink in things!
It is Outdoor Wednesday and memories of fish fries! Click the pic above for more of Outdoor Wednesday!
I have to interrupt my Southern food series to show you what this pretty little robin has been doing on my porch. After you see the pics, read about my Grandpa’s fish fries – a Southern tradition!
So, she got her nest built and we started waiting for eggs. We have to hold the camera up to the nest and let it auto-focus to get the pics. We cannot see in the nest from the porch. We kept taking pictures of the empty nest and then, finally:
Robins will lay from 3-6 eggs and then they will incubate for around 15 days. We will be looking for more eggs and keeping you up to date on their progress in the coming weeks!
Now, back to that fish fry! I just want to tell you a quick story about my Grandpa’s fish fries. If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll remember that Grandpa is 93 years old this year. He used to hold the best fish fries. He used to go fishing in Canada every year and he would bring back fish and have great fish fries. Eventually, the limit that he could bring back got too small for his parties. He then had a friend that had a trot line on Lake Texoma. He said he would get around 100 pounds of fish from him for the fish fries.
After a while, so many of the local politicians were involved and vying for time that it started getting out of hand. One summer, Grandpa’s beautiful wife, Betty (who had done a lot of the fish fry work) tripped over their Great Dane, Patrick and broke her arm. That was the end of the fish fries. Everyone was really disappointed, but, it was great fun while it lasted!
Southerners have always loved to gather for food and friendship in the steamy hot days of summer. This is one of my memories of those times.
Today’s Lagniappe: Southern Fried Catfish
There are a million ways to do it. Here is how I do it.
4 catfish fillets
1/2 cup cornmeal
3 tablespoons flour
creole seasoning to taste (I use Emeril’s Essence or Tony Cherchere’s)
salt to taste (depending on what creole seasoning you use)
Pour vegetable oil to a depth of about 1 inch in a large cast iron skillet.
Heat the oil to around 375.
While oil is heating, mix cornmeal, flour and seasoning.
Coat catfish fillets in flour.
Once the oil is hot, fry the fish until golden brown and it flakes easily with a fork.
Drain the fish on paper towels and serve hot with tarter sauce.
Today, I’m joining Barb at Grits and Glamour for her porch and patio party. You may be wondering what happened to the series on Southern food. Well, it’s still here. You see, porches and Southern food go together like greens and ham hocks.
Back in the day, they didn’t have air conditioners. So, Southerners would often gather in the shade of the porch on Summer evenings after supper to enjoy the relative coolness of the evening. Remember, it gets blazing hot and very humid down South; so we are always looking for cool spots.
July and August are traditionally favorite times for church socials on the grounds, community barbecues and other outdoor gatherings that centered around food. The crops were already in the ground, and it was a good time for everyone to take a little bit of a break.
Some of the favorites at these gatherings were fried chicken, deviled eggs, potato salad (a true Southerner knows to steer clear of potato salad that has been sitting out in the Summer heat). There would always be desserts and lots of sweet tea.
One year, when I was growing up, my Mama and Grandaddy, decided to get some chickens to “process” in Grandaddy’s backyard. Now, the chicken I always ate came from the grocery store, and I really didn’t want to have anything to do with the actual “killing” of the chickens. When I told Mama this, she informed me that the dead ones were the only kind you could eat! Well, she’s right about that.
Here are pictures from one of my porches. I still love to sit on the porch in the evenings, listening to the birds sing and enjoying the world. Of course, there will be recipes at the end!
Thanks for coming to the party on the porch. Now for some food!
Today’s Lagniappe: Mama’s Southern Fried Chicken
Mama tells me that to get it really crispy you need to fry it in shortening or lard.
shortening or lard
1 chicken, about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds, cut up
2 cups flour
Salt the chicken. Heat the shortening or lard in a large skillet. Combine the flour with seasoning salt and pepper. Roll each piece of chicken in flour and place in the hot fat (about 370° F). Put the largest pieces in first, in the hottest part of the skillet. Arrange the chicken pieces in the fat, making sure not to overcrowd. Fry the chicken until outside is golden brown and crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes, turning once to brown both sides. Reduce heat and fry until cooked through golden brown, about 15 minutes longer. Turn once. Drain chicken on brown paper or paper towels
The fat should be deep enough to cover the pieces when it boils up, but make sure you use a deep skillet, preferably one made for frying chicken, and watch carefully.
To wrap up a week on the porch, here are some ideas of things to look for at garage sales and flea market for your porch. I’m sure many of you have fabulous ideas you could add for inspiration. Here is what I came up with:
Knock out the seat, add a favorite plant and presto!
Punch a few holes, add plants and hang them anywhere.
For plants, and lots of other things.
And, some other ideas:
old candle holders which you could paint any color for your porch.
Old lamps that you could remake into a candle stick.
Old trays, you could repaint.
Anything you can use for a plant container.
I could stay all day thinking of more ideas. What do you think?
Today’s Lagniappe: Angel Biscuits
Biscuits that are as light as an angels wing.
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 tablespoon powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup shortening
1 3/4 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Sprinkle the yeast over warm water and sugar, and allow to stand 5 minutes. Add buttermilk. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients thoroughly. Cut in shortening.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and slowly pour in the buttermilk mixture. Pat dough together and knead gently 10 times.
Do not overmix or the biscuits will be tough.
Roll out to 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch thickness. Cut out circles.
Place on greased cookie sheets with biscuits just touching each other, closely spaced.
Brush with a small circle of melted butter.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 11-12 minutes or until lightly golden.
We have been enjoying the porch all week. If you’ve missed it, check this weeks posts on A Southern Life. Today, we’ll have lunch on the porch. Yes, I braved the wind. Sorry, it wrinkled the tablecloth a little, but, those things are okay when you are enjoying the porch. Y’all check out how my little dog, Bailey (the ham) managed to get in the picture.
Wish you could all join me for lunch on the porch. Life is just better when you can sit on a porch.
Ya’ll go on over and see the other great tablescapes at Between Naps on the Porch.
Today’s Lagniappe: Spring Soup
This soup looks and tastes delicious and takes advantage of the abundance of Spring asparagus.
* 1/4 cup butter
* 1 pound leeks, chopped
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 quarts water
* 3 large potatoes, chopped
* 2 large carrots, chopped
* 1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
* 1/3 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
* 4 teaspoons salt
* 1/2 pound fresh spinach
* 1 cup heavy cream
1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the leeks and onion, and cook until tender.
2. Pour water into the pot. Mix in potatoes, carrots, asparagus, and rice. Season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, until vegetables and rice are tender.
3. Stir spinach and heavy cream into the soup mixture, and continue cooking about 5 minutes before serving.
Here is another great “guest” post from Mama. Today, she tells us about her memories of the porch.
After reading all the comments about porches it brought back memories of my childhood. We had a big cement front porch, a porch swing and two views of the two streets since we lived on a corner.
Many summer mornings and afternoons my friends from the neighborhood would come and play jacks on the porch, swing on the swing, play house or whatever. We would sometimes play cowboys, annie over, rover rover, swinging beauty, or maybe just go to the library and check out books,ride bikes or skate up and down the sidewalk but we would eventually end up on the porch resting and planning what to do next.
When I reached my teens the porch was a “meeting place” for boyfriends to sit in the swing or on the steps with me. We were, of course, under the watchful eye of my parents who were in the living room with the windows open, and could(and often did) appear at any moment to join us. I had many a goodnight kiss on the front porch.
I now have a screened-in porch which we enjoy immensely. Two of our granddaughters love to come and swing on the glider and play and of course the backyard is just outside the screen door so it is like being outside but protected from the wind, bugs, sun, etc.
It seems sad to see so many homes with closed doors, no porches and many times no communication with neighbors. How can we ever get any problems solved, without porches?
Today’s Lagniappe: Sweet Tea
In the South when you order tea, it is either sweet or unsweet. Southerners love sweet tea. Here is a recipe to make your sweet tea to drink with a friend on the porch.
Around 3 quarts water
2 cups Sugar
4 Quart size tea bags.
Bring water to a rolling boil, add sugar. (Stir to dissolve)
Add 4 tea bags. Stir. Let sit around 20 minutes
Pour up into gallon jug or container. Fill the rest with cool water.
Here is a picture of the dogwood branches that I had originally planned to use for my Easter brunch tablescape. The table on the porch is big enough for them but the wind was not cooperating. I caught the branches and turned the whole thing over and, of course, spilled water on my tablecloth. I ended up moving the tablescape inside and my table wasn’t big enough for this arrangement. I thought the dogwood branches were pretty in this carafe and wanted you to see it. Sorry the pic isn’t so great.
After my post yesterday Southern Porch, some of my Facebook friends helped me out by telling me what they thought a good front porch MUST have. Here are some of their answers:
Rockers and a swing!
At least two exposures (sides of the house).
Hanging ferns or colorful flowering plants.
Definitely a porch swing…and creaky steps.
a blue ceiling!
A good porch should have a loyal dog laying at the top of the front steps waiting to welcome friends and chase off others.
Three cats are equal to a dog, if one is a Tortie.
A boot scraper, too.
Mine has to have rocking chairs and I love windchimes. It needs to be a big porch too 🙂
oh and who can forget a swing!
And a screen door into the house so that you can open the main door and allow the sounds and smells from the kitchen spill out onto the porch!
Christi – I love the screen door where the sounds and smells from the kitchen spill out so I asked, “what should be cooking in the kitchen and this is what they said:
A crumb top apple pie served with sweet milk and followed up with some ice cold sweet tea! mmmm….
Fried chicken, green beans, yellow squash, cornbread sticks and baked apples.
Grandma always had something cooking. Blackberry cobbler was my favorite. She would send me and my cousin out to pick them earlier in the day.
I loved all of these responses and just had to share them with you. What do you think a good porch MUST have?
Today’s Lagniappe: Perfect Lemonade
I found this posted by Elise on Simply Recipes and thought it would be great to make to drink on the porch. My mama makes great lemonade. I think she will like this recipe.
* 1 cup sugar (can reduce to 3/4 cup)
* 1 cup water (for the simple syrup)
* 1 cup lemon juice
* 3 to 4 cups cold water (to dilute)
1 Make simple syrup by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved completely.
2 While the sugar is dissolving, use a juicer to extract the juice from 4 to 6 lemons, enough for one cup of juice.
3 Add the juice and the sugar water to a pitcher. Add 3 to 4 cups of cold water, more or less to the desired strength. Refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes. If the lemonade is a little sweet for your taste, add a little more straight lemon juice to it.
Serve with ice, sliced lemons.
Hope everyone had a wonderful and blessed Easter weekend. We had a beautiful day here on Saturday and then rain on Easter. I took advantage of the lovely weather on Saturday to get some work done on the porch. I’ll sit out on the porch anytime I can. We always have some days in the Winter when porch sitting is comfortable, but, when Spring comes around, it is time to get serious.
A porch is very important to Southerners. Even if we don’t have a porch ourselves, we tend to gravitate to someone who does or remember a favorite porch from our childhood. I’ve talked before about sitting on my grandmother’s porch helping her snap beans. That is a favorite memory.
To me there are a few elements that a good porch must have:
These are the essentials for me. I think the best porches server multiple purposes. A place to entertain, a place to read, a place to watch nature, all from one place.
My porch is always a work in progress. I am always moving things and changing things around. If you don’t have a porch, you can enjoy mine. You saw a corner of it in the Tablescape Thursday a couple of weeks ago. I’ll be sharing more of it with you eventually. I would love to hear what you think a porch must have. Let me know in the comment section and we can all share our ideas. Go out and make this a great week!
Today’s Lagniappe: Cheese Hooies
These are from a 1964 edition of A Cook’s Tour of Shreveport by the Junior League of Shreveport.
1 pound butter
1 pound sharp American cheese
7 cups sifted flour
4 teaspoons salt
Cayenne – amount depending on personal taste
Grate cheese into butter and cream well together. Add salt and cayenne, then work in flour until well blended. This takes a good while, and a lot of “working.” Knead on board until smooth. Roll into a long, thin roll and put into refrigerator and chill thoroughly. When chilled, slice in thin slices and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven until slightly brown, 8 – 10 minutes. dust with powdered sugar.
These will keep indefinitely in a tightly covered container. Rolls of dough may be frozen and sliced as needed. – Mrs. Robert H. Nelson
Christi’s note: while it says they may be kept indefinitely, I wouldn’t advise it.
Photo by kdnxdr