Volume 7 Issue 5
*** Random Thoughts
My calendar works just fine. I have no excuse, then, for skipping the May issue of Delta Dish.
I felt like something was missing. I looked around, patted my pockets. I had my keys, my cell phone. I realized it was the entire month; it had gone in a flash.
Summer brain encourages dawdling, gazing at nothing, and daydreaming about fresh peaches and ripe tomatoes.
It’s not an entirely lazy state of mind; summer brain also involves tending a growing vegetable garden, end of school year activities, diving into the new novel I'm working on, and getting time in to think about what all we’ll eat while visiting South Carolina.
For years, I was not a summer person. I still don’t get crazy excited about the extreme heat we’ll suffer for two or three straight months.
I wish I’d realized years ago that summer requires slowing down. Piddling. Spending time in an inefficient manner. Sipping mint iced tea. It’s the only time of year, really, when one can say, “I’m going to the pool for the day! I’ve got lots of lying around, lounging, and lolling about to do. Back later!”
That should be celebrated. That and the fresh squash, the homemade ice cream, the sound of an air conditioner clicking on.
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*** Great Quotes
“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.” - John Lubbock
*** Fun Food Ideas
During the first week of May, I made the cutest cookies for the 3rd grade teachers at my son’s school. They were in the shape of apples, frosted with the amazing wonderful cookie glaze I’ve just discovered.
The cookies were big and went in a cellophane bag. My son signed the tags that hung from the ribbon.
Wouldn’t you think I would have taken a picture? At least one?
Yet I didn’t. The cookies were big hits. The teachers were not expecting it. I may do the same thing when the next school year starts.
Another good one: Watermelon and Sweet Tea Granita.
Talk about refreshing! I made it for my book club last week and it was delicious.
1/4 vanilla bean
1 Tbs. good-quality loose black tea, such as English Breakfast (I used a Lipton tea bag)
2/3 cup boiling water
2 Tbs. granulated sugar
3 cups puréed watermelon (from about 4 cups diced, seeded watermelon)
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
Sweetened whipped cream (optional)
I didn't detect much tea flavor in the finished product. I bet you could use lemonade or other fruit juice in place of the tea, if you don't happen to have any tea on hand.
Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Put the vanilla seeds and tea in a small bowl (save the pod for another use). Add the boiling water and steep for 10 minutes. Add the sugar and stir gently to dissolve.
Or just add a bit of vanilla extract to 2/3 cup strong sweet tea.
In a large bowl, combine the watermelon purée, lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Strain the tea mixture into the watermelon mixture and stir to combine. Pour into a 9x9-inch metal baking pan, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze. After 1 hour, stir and scrape the mixture with a fork, repeating every 30 to 40 minutes, until the mixture has an icy shard-like consistency, about 3-1/2 hours total.
To serve, scrape the granita into chilled bowls, and top with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream (if using).
*** More from the Kudzu Kitchen:
Incredibly delicious and easy homemade bread with roasted red peppers, sprinkled with thyme and sea salt.
*** Hit the Highlights – a few choice posts from this month’s blog
We got the garden in.
Love the Peabody Hotel.
You’ll never guess who got a bike!
Our two-year wedding anniversary
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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 ReaderViews.com
*** Recommended Reading
I had the great fortune to read several good books here lately.
Another was A Homemade Life by Orangette blogger Molly Wizenberg.
From an Amazon.com review: In A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, Molly Wizenberg recounts a life with the kitchen at its center. From her mother's pound cake, a staple of summer picnics during her childhood in Oklahoma, to the eggs she cooked for her father during the weeks before his death, food and memories are intimately entwined.
I got an advanced reader’s copy of South of Superior, which I really enjoyed.
From the jacket flap: When Madeline Stone walks away from Chicago and moves five hundred miles north to the coast of Lake Superior, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, she isn't prepared for how much her life will change.
April Books here.
*** 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. To learn more, visit www.mississippiwritersguild.com
June 14 – Flag Day
June 21 – Summer Solstice
June 29 – Book Club. This month's read is Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt.