Friday, January 1, 2010

January 2010

Volume 6 Issue 1

*** Random Thoughts

The first Monday of the year brought the prettiest dusting of snow. It didn’t stick, it didn’t make a mess, and was accompanied by no ice. Just snow. It would have been nice if no work and no school had come with the pretty snow but oh, well – we were all happy to see the snow.

I always think I like the cold, that I love cold weather. I’ve learned over the last two weeks that’s not entirely true. What I like is the absence of miserable heat and humidity, which is not necessarily the same thing as cold.

That leaves nothing but indoor pursuits: reading, watching movies, sorting, organizing, cooking, reading, and reading some more. Nothing wrong with that.


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*** Great Quotes

The cold was our pride, the snow was our beauty. It fell and fell,
lacing day and night together in a milky haze, making everything
quieter as it fell, so that winter seemed to partake of religion in a
way no other season did, hushed, solemn.
- Patricia Hampl

*** Fun Food Idea

Later this month, we’ll have dinner at my parents’ to celebrate my birthday. My mother already asked what I wanted to eat and I didn’t have to think about it: chicken pie. Just like last year.

While the pie bakes it smells buttery and savory; birthday smells. It’s a special dish, not something one whips up on a weeknight for fun. It’s not fast. While not particularly hard, the recipe has several steps.

That’s what it makes it special and what makes it taste of birthday – it’s trouble. There is love in that chicken pie. My mother’s hands rolling out the pastry – how many times have I watched her do that while she and I stood in the kitchen chatting. I helped or watched her cook while we talked.

Chicken Pie

1 1/2 - 2 pound chicken
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 to 1/3-cup ice water
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
4 boiled eggs
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400°. Grease a 9x13-inch dish and set aside.

Cook the chicken in enough salted water to cover chicken until tender, but not until meat falls off the bones. Remove chicken from bones, shred into small pieces, and set aside; reserve broth.

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in shortening and add ice water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll out about half of the dough. Cut the dough into long strips, about an inch or two wide, to line the sides of the casserole dish.

Put half of the chicken pieces over bottom of pan. Cut half of the stick of butter in small pieces and place the butter over the chicken. Layer the chicken with egg slices and salt and pepper. Top with the rest of the chicken pieces. Pour chicken broth over chicken.

Roll out the remaining dough; cut into strips and put over the top. Cut the remaining butter into small pieces and dot the pastry with the butter.

Bake about 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

If something quick and easy is more your speed, I can’t recommend this dish enough.

Perfect for weeknight dinners, roasted shrimp with peppers and lemon. Make extra and you can use the leftovers in shrimp quesadillas or to top a green salad.

In the Kudzu Kitchen:
Bite-sized mini tartlets of yummy, cheesey tomatoey goodness, perfect for snacking on New Years Eve or serving at a Kentucky Derby party.

*** Pass It On

If there’s someone you think would enjoy this newsletter, please forward this issue in its entirety. Email me at kudzuuu at gmail dotcom to subscribe.

*** Hit the Highlights

House story: Our kitchen redo

Haircut, care, style 911

New Year, new me, or same me

Christmas recap

The good stuff

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*** Shameless Bid for Commerce

“Keetha DePriest Reed's "More Culinary Kudzu: Recollections and Recipes from Growing Up Southern" is part cookbook, part collection of wonderful essays on food, family and growing up Southern and altogether great fun…

I would very highly recommend "More Culinary Kudzu" to anybody who enjoys good food and good writing as well as to anybody who wants to find out more about the South. As for me, I only have one question left - how do I get invited to one of their family reunions?” – review by

*** Recommended Reading

For the first time, I’m reading Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. I found it slow going at first. My mind kept wandering and I thought about how our attention spans have changed since the 1800s when the classic was written. I kept reading and now I’m hooked. It’s so atmospheric, with the ice skating and the trains. It seems perfect for winter reading.

Books I read in December

*** Adorable Thing My Child Said

A few days before Christmas, The Husband and The Child drove to Greenwood and met me after work. We shopped at a local bookstore, followed by riding around looking at Christmas lights, followed by dinner out. The Child barely stopped talking to the entire time. I suggested he ride home with me and give Jeffrey a break from the talking.

On the drive home, he was still chattering away. He said that The Husband is getting some peace and quiet. He leaned close to me. “But you’re not.”

*** Mississippi Writers Guild

The Mississippi Writers Guild sponsors writer workshops, conferences, writer retreats and reputable writing contests. Membership dues are only $40.00 per year.

The Mississippi Writers Guild is a non-profit association of writers from all over the state and is a growing part of Mississippi’s literary art landscape.

*** Calendar

Saturday, January 16 – I’m teaching a cooking class at Wister Gardens, Belzoni, Mississippi – gumbo, Parmesan French bread, and bread pudding.

Thursday, January 21 – Somebody has a birthday! Not calling any names - but it’s ME!

*** Reminders and Unsubscribe Info.

If you would like to unsubscribe from this newsletter, simply send an email with “unsubscribe” in the subject line to kudzuuu at gmail dot com - we’ll miss you but won’t harass you about staying or coming back.

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