sunday night dinner: june 26, 2011—jerk-curry chicken with rice

when i went and bought the groceries for this recipe it felt like a deja-vu experience.  maybe because i had bought the groceries for jerk-curry chicken 5 days before.  tuesday of last week knoxville had a micro burst sweep through town causing 125,000 people to lose power.  3 other times this year we’ve had massive power outages and both times i was fine so of course it was my turn.  5 nights 4 days without power.  if i had better prepared laundry and food wise i seriously think i could go off the grid for much longer than that.  every hopeful my power would be turned back on in a short amount of time i transformed my fridge into a massive cooler adding bags and bags of ice.  day 2 first casualty the popsicles and by the 4th day almost everything including my jerk-curry chicken ingredients.  needless to say not cooking for 4-5 days also was kind of driving me crazy.  i may have gotten a little over excited to start making my sunday night dinner.  for this celebratory occasion of cooking and having power i wore a new apron.

my new 70s terry-cloth apron

this recipe is one i’ve been wanting to try for a while.  it has some of my favorite ingredients in it; jerk seasoning, curry seasoning (which i swear you can add to anything and it makes it better), sweet potatoes, and peanut butter.  how could you go wrong.  it’s also a one pot dish, which when your  kitchen is tiny and you have no dishwasher is a total plus.  as i was throwing things in the pot i got sudden urges to add extras like red wine, and other veggies.  i soon concluded this is a “everything but the kitchen sink” recipe.

my one pot dinner

the stew like concoction is served with jasmine rice and was really yummy.  i put in a little extra peanut butter which was the right move.  sweet, salty flavors in a bowl of yumminess.

jerk-curry chicken with rice

for some extra “i now have power!” entertainment at dinner i began the first season of “Soap” on netflixs.  yes the ridiculous 70s comedy show that makes fun of daily soap opreas and has a very young billy crystal playing a gay man. and of course this entertainment was best enjoyed with one of my favorite combinations for dessert, vanilla ice cream topped with m&ms.  a celebration of being back on the grid was truly had!

it just looks like a party


Sunday Night Dinner: June 26, 2011- Tomato and Mint Pasta

The first tomato from our garden!
So it must be time for Julia Child’s Fresh Tomato and Mint Pasta Sauce!

I happened to catch Julia making this one rainy Saturday and quickly committed it to memory– it’s so easy.

Fresh tomatoes (I used 1 large tomato for two people), olive oil that covers the bottom of the pan, 4 cloves of garlic (give or take), 4 or 5 fresh basil leaves and 4 or 5 mint leaves. Sauté it until the tomatoes soften and the sauce gets a little thicker, then call it done! Mint and tomatoes are so tasty together.


After 3 days of ball park food and crowds, we ate our fresh home-cooked meal on the sofa.
During the cooking portion of dinner we talked about our favorite parts of the baseball games, answered the crossword puzzle and discussed how John mowed around the sprawling pumpkin vines (tricky).

We mixed the sauce into angel hair pasta, and had cheesy Whole Foods bread and farmers market salad as sides. Much less heartburn inducing than the ballpark food.




For dessert we ate leftover wedding anniversary cake (#6!) and continued watching the season premiere of True Blood– not the best dinner viewing, but we had plenty of garlic to keep the vampires away.


meatless monday

in honor of sir paul mccartney i have decided to start embracing meatless monday.

oh paul


having been a vegetarian for 5 years i thought this wouldn’t be hard, but it suddenly made me way more aware of how much meat i do eat.  it was especially challenging at work monday is always “burger monday” for the specials.  i overcame and had a veggie sandwich at lunch.  for dinner i created a spinach salad with roasted potatoes, blueberries, and a poached egg with raspberry vinaigrette dressing served with homemade poppy loaf and some swiss cheese.  it was delicious!

spinach salad with bread and cheese


sunday night dinner: june 19, 2011 — BLT

certain signs of summer—homemade ice cream, the desire to buy popsicles, and making BLTs for dinner.   i must say my thought while making these sandwiches was….after 5 years of vegetarianism i never thought i’d be frying up bacon!

fryin bacon in cast iron

you know when a BLT is just right it is when you bite into and the tomato is sssooo ripe that it smears the whole sandwich causing it to all slide apart.  kind of making my mouth water just thinking about it.  and of course you have to have mayo on it no BLT is complete without mayo.  choice of side, what else but salt and vinegar potato chips.  potato chips my one true addiction, mmmmmmmm.

BLT with chips, summer classic

since it was father’s day as well i made a special dessert, dream cookies or better known as “no bake.”  why these for father’s day?  because i can remember when i was little when my mom made dream cookies  my dad and i would check ever 5 minutes standing with the fridge open just waiting for the cookies to set up with their ooohhey goooey-ness.  so i have always associated these cookies with my dad.  happy father’s day pop!

dream cookies


Sunday Night Dinner: June 19, 2011- Tis the season for Blueberry BBQ Sauce!

The farmers market is in full swing and that just makes me happy and hungry! In the summer I love to make blueberry barbecue sauce in the crockpot. My lone little blueberry bush (Blue as I call her) isn’t ready for harvest yet, so I must rely on local farmers, which is fine by me!

This Sunday we had baked tofu in the blue BBQ sauce, garlic-butter-onion rice, carrots, broccoli, and John’s Famous cheesy bread (yum)!

It was father’s day so we toasted our dads. Here’s to our manly parentals.

There was a lot talk about up coming family visits: our trip to Indiana, Lyn and Trish and Stan’s visit to Boonville, our niece’s possible visit to see us, mom and dad’s visit next weekend, and finally, why the heck doesn’t Josh come stay with us on his day off???

We were so needy that I had to finish off the Christmas peppermint ice cream I had been hoarding. I know, about time.

Here’s the Blueberry Barbecue Sauce Recipe. It’s easy and good on everything!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup zinfandel or other sweet white wine- I used honey mead because I had it.
2 1/2 pints fresh blueberries
1/3 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 lemon, juice of
1-3 tablespoons of cornstarch
Large pinch of each: red pepper flakes and chili powder
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Crockpot time: 8 hours

In a small skillet, over medium heat, sauté onion and garlic in your olive oil until soft.

Add wine and vinegar and bring to a boil, scraping the sticking brown bits in the pan ( I just realized I forgot to do this part!!)

Transfer mixture to crockpot and add remaining ingredients.

Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.

Then remove lid and add 1-3 tablespoons of cornstarch, making sure to stir it in really well- one of Grandmas cafeteria scooper spoons works great.

Turn heat on high and don’t put the lid back on. Let it simmer for 2 more hours or until desired thickness.

I like mine lumpy, so I choose not to hand blend it, but you can before serving.

When room temperature, leftovers can be scooped into a glass jar and stored in the fridge (with a tight lid) for 2 months!


that’s right slush.  mom doesn’t drink but she is the master mixer of slush, a summer tradition in the farris family.  slush is a yummy frozen combination of lemonade, orange juice, pineapples, apricots, vodka and brandy.  even as small children we knew the wonders of slush.  countless times non-alcoholic versions were attempted but they always froze solid and frankly just weren’t as good.  by ever 4th of july at least one batch of slush had been made.  i decided to bust out the recipe for a ladies night gathering and introduce knoxville to the wonders of slush.

slush in its natural frozen state

after describing it, the ladies were excited and game to try.  all demanded the recipe in hopes of having their tea-toting mothers into a drink with their daughters.  my favorite was when i handed over a glass to my friend courtney, her response…..”oh god damn!”  farrises have you all made slush yet?

alaina trying slush


sunday night dinner: june 12, 2011—“eat up what’s in the freezer”

ever once in awhile i do a week or two of eating up what i have especially the items in the freezer.  this is mainly so i can make more and then freeze the leftovers.  i daydream about deep freezers, no kidding.  so for dinner i baked up a frozen pizza i have had on hand for sometime.  for me i often don’t crave fast food but when i do love me some bake-able frozen pizzas.  my little guilty pleasure.  over the years my favorites have changed (although i will always love the 75 cent party pizzas) but lately i have totally been digging the california kitchen frozen pizza.  isn’t that wolfgang puck?

mmmmmm pizza

this pizza was a spinach and artichoke topped pizza, its one of my favs but, i really haven’t had a bad one and have been eyeing the ones that have bread sticks included, it just seems so decadent!  if you’re making pizza at home YOU NEED A PIZZA STONE.  even if it is just frozen pizza.  they are fantastic and you can also use them to make bread.  a pizza stone with a pan of water….volia instant brick oven.

nice and crispy pizza

and of course you can’t have pizza without a beer.  do to my fantastic best friend taggart i still have some boulevard wheat in my fridge which she brought from kc when she visited in may.  boulevard hasn’t really started shipping east of the mississipp,  so in east tennessee we ain’t got it.  i have totally had to figure out a new “go to” beer. and let me tell you that hasn’t been easy.

beer and pizza classic combo

Sunday Night Dinner: June 12, 2012- Cast iron double battered drum legs

Yes, that’s corn ready to be peeled and just one of our yummy side dishes last night. We had Mom’s Italian potato salad with Zesty Italian (I used little tiny farmers market potatoes and chose not to peel. That made them crisp to bite…I liked that), John’s favorite deviled eggs, steamed corn ala Stephy.

The main course was veggie griller or grandma’s double battered cast iron skillet fried chicken legs.

Now my meat eating is a little rare these days (as in not frequent) so it really has to be worth it. And it was.

The double battering was actually an accident. I forgot to dip them in the egg after I had already dipped them flour
(and of course they had been soaked in buttermilk). A crazy good accident I will be doing again and again. Check out the breading.


The dinner conversation was about which character in the movie Super 8 were we most like when we were Tweens. Then John told some pretty interesting food eating challenge stories from college involving milk…yikes.



And of course we had chocolate chip cookies for dessert! They did not taste like buttery place mats thank god.