Stephanie Was Dead Right!!!!!




Gladys & Dad 87 years and going strong.

As many of you know, Stephanie entered the Hallmark Barbara Marshall 2010 Competition for Creativity and she won!  Her premise was the importance of food in the celebration of life, family and love.  This last week end of September, her premise was again proven valid as the 87th birthdays of Dad and Aunt Gladys were celebrated in fine style with good food, great weather, and a beautiful venue.


Linda opened her home and kitchen to many of the Boonville relatives for a Fall dinner of sausages, chili and cakes.  She moved into her bungalow home in Boonville after retiring a few years ago.  Her green thumb has always been busy and her new home’s yard and patio is just lovely and very amenable to entertaining.


The results of Linda's Green Thumb




Since our extended families are known for hearty and flavorful food, several different dishes were contributed by the guests.  However, Linda did some heavy lifting with the Dump Chili.  The menu was varied and substantial:


  • Linda’s Dump Chili;
  • Johnsonville Brats;
  • Johnsonville Italian sausage;
  • Frick’s Red Skin Franks;
  • Oscar Meyer Hot dogs;
  • Aunt Gladys apple salad;
  • Aunt Gladys cold bean and vegetable salad;
  • Irma’s Fiesta Dip;
  • Veggie’s, pickles and olives;
  • Kraut for the sausages along with other tasty condiments.






 The Grill with Brats, Italian Sausage, Frick's Red Skins




Although the name for the chili may create visions quite unappetizing, the result was exceptional.  The level of heat in the flavor is up to you.   Linda calmed hers down because of  several older stomachs in the crowd but plenty of heat was available to be added from hot sauce and chili powder.  The ingredients for the chili depend on the contents of your refrigerator and pantry, thus the descriptor of “Dump”.    For this version, Linda used:


  • 2 lbs of ground beef;
  • Green pepper, finely chopped;
  • Red pepper, finely chopped;
  • Large onion, finely chopped;
  • 2 cups of Roman tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 cans of Fired Roasted Tomatoes;
  • 1 large can of crushed tomatoes;
  • 1 large can of chili beans;
  • 1 can of black beans;
  • 2 packages of Five alarm chili seasoning;
  • a health dash of Chipotle chili pepper;


A simmering delight


  • Saute the peppers and onion in olive oil until soft;
  • Brown the ground beef in the same skillet than drain the grease;
  • Combine all the ingredients in a Crock-Pot and cook on low for 24 hours.


Linda had actually prepared the Dump Chili 3 days prior and refrigerated until the day of the party than she reheated in the Crock-Pot.  I often believe that the cooling down and subsequent sitting for a few days makes the sauce, soup or chili even better.  This rendering was no exception.  The chili was eaten in bowls, on sausages and right out of the pot.  Excellent!!!!!!!!!!!


Over the years I have observed that this clan has been blessed and cursed by an overactive sweet tooth.  The fore named tooth of those in attendance left more than satiated.  Hershey’s, ice cream and cake was the delivery devices for sweetness. 


  • Mom and Dad’s condo neighbor has become legendary for her Angel Food Cake with white icing.  Tonight’s offering was no disappointment. 
  • Dad’s request to Mom was for her German Chocolate Cake.  Becky actually got an advance sample Friday night and pronounced the cake excellent. 
  • Finally, Aunt Beck (reputedly the Paula Dean of Boonville)  brought  a Grandgirl’s Fresh Apple Cake from Georgia that I particularly enjoyed.   I was able to pry the recipe from Beck and you will definitely want to try.


Ah Sweets


Grandgirl’s Fresh Apple Cake:

  •  Mix:
    • 2 cups of sugar;
    • 3 eggs;
    • 1.5 cups of vegetable oil;
    • .25 cup of orange juice;
    • 3 cups of all purpose flour;
  • Add:
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda;
    • 1 tablespoon cinnamon;
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla;
    • .25 teaspoon salt;
    • 3 cups of peeled finely chopped Gala apples;
    • 1 cup coconut;
    • 1 cup chopped pecans.
  • Grease a 9X13 pan and bake 325 degrees for 1.5 hours, but check after 1 hour.
  • A maple icing adds the finishing touch.


As we celebrated Gladys and Dad’s 87 years, I remember how similar this occasion was with all those other times when our family has  gathered to share and partake of good hearty food, abundant sweets, a wonderful outdoor setting and the constant laugher and quiet discussions of a family who has loved, quarreled and shared. 

 Steph was dead right about the importance of food in the life of families and our society. 



soul kitchen…..yeah man

i know i have said this before but seriously food needs to be a genre on netflix.  for all you other foodies who also love to watch movies that center around the love of food, i got a new movie for yeah.  soul kitchen.  it’s a german film (yes there are subtitles, subtitles make you a better person) about a greek dude in berlin who is running an american soul food restaurant.  i know sounds wonderful, right?!

sunday night dinner: september 18, 2011 — chicken scratchbacks

when you cook almost every meal at home, research sometimes becomes necessary.  out come stacks of cook books looking for new recipes and old forgotten recipes.  ever just read a cook book?  there are actually pretty interesting and can start generating ideas beyond whats on the page.

research, research, research and a beer

this week’s sunday night dinner came from a very old friend of a cookbook.  one i have had since i was a kid.  it was my american girl cookbook for the character addy.  don’t skip over kids’ cookbooks there are some damn good recipes in them!  my nancy drew cookbook, yes i have a nancy drew cookbook, is where i got my curried shrimp recipe.

you can just ignore the instructions that tell you to have an adult take things out of the oven

chicken scratchbacks……what is that?  well scratchback is a term that was used to describe a method for baking cornbread.  scratchbacks are spoonfuls of cornmeal batter that are dropped into a buttered baking dish.  when baked, scratchbacks have rough, scratchy tops, thus is where they get their name.  baked the bread too long?  turn them into dogers.  those are cornmeal cakes that are baked so hard that if they were thrown, you better dodge them!  i was so excited i got to use my new cast iron cornbread pan for dinner.  there was much debate about what size of pan to get the 5 cob pan seemed too small yet the 10 cob too many so i got the 7.  after making a whole batch of cornbread batter…..should have gotten the 10 cob.

love that cast iron

look at them golden scratchbacks

to turn a scratchback into a chicken scratchback, take cooked chicken, make a milk-based gravy and add the chicken to it.  let it all get heated through and in the true farris way add lots of pepper to that gravy.  of late i have actually been contemplating making the holes bigger in my pepper shaker, like every other farris does.  any veggie is yummy to pair with chicken scratchbacks but i recommend peas because you can mix all that together!

Sunday Night Dinner: September 4: Vodka Sauce at Lynley’s House- Steph & Lyn Conversation Post

Menu: Nest of pasta (spaghetti with ravioli in the middle) with homemade vodka sauce, salad, ciabatta bread and the best pie in Knoxville.

Steph: We showed up at Lynley’s apartment to find her taking a cherry chocolate pie out of the oven.

Lynley:  this pie was totally an experiment, and probably the fastest pie i ever put together.

Steph: I said hello to Lynley’s friend Alana and strapped on an apron. I was put in charge of washing and blending the tomatoes.

Lynley:  How many people can we fit in the kitchen!!!!!!

Steph: Then I sautéed the tomatoes, garlic, onions, and peppers.

Lynley:  I believe this also involved an in-depth discussion of the cast iron we should have purchased that day at the factory outlet.

Steph: Then I moved on to salad.

Lynley:  I had to keep washing my hands because I made the mistake of de-seeding peppers with my fingers and not a knife, slight burning sensation that wouldn’t go away.  IT BURNS!!!!

Steph: We threw in some grape tomatoes whole and uncooked to add an interesting texture and look. Eggs in our nest of pasta as Alana said!

Lynley:  The master plan was to have the slightly burst open, it didn’t work.  Think we got to do it earlier next time.  I now always want eggs in our nest of pasta.

Steph: this is my favorite picture of us (next to the tap dancing from Thanksgiving 2009)

Steph: John took pictures of Dottie entertaining herself. He’s a good Uncle even to the furry nieces.

Lynley:  I think he as a secret crush on Dottie.

Steph: Lyn dished up the spaghetti.

Lynley:  The nest of pasta thank you Zios for this wonderful concept….spaghetti with ravioli on top, yum.

Steph: While I dished up the ravioli and sauce.

Lynley:  We need to have another marathon of ravioli making, I think we can do so much better than what we purchased.

Steph: I tried to get a picture of the “nest” but the sauce was so thick (and AMAZING) you couldn’t really see the ravioli on my plate.

Lynley:  Looking at this makes me HUNGRY!

Steph: After I added the rest of the meal to my plate. Lyn, do you remember what we talked about? All I remember thinking was how it was the best meal I ate all weekend.

Lynley:  No I really don’t remember to well.  I do remember us describing dad as a totally wimp when it comes to anything scary, movies, stories, etc.

Steph: That pie was wonderful Lyn. I loved it with all my heart. Cooking with my sister is one of my favorite top 5 things to do!

Lynley:  and the sherridan’s that traveled 12 hours to go with it, pretty freakin amazing.

The Smell of Beans

After a hellish July and August when the heat would beat you into the parched earth, September has broken cool and moist.  The cool temperature is perfect for crock pot and simmering dishes. 


Early in the morning, Becky breaks out the Rival Crock-Pot Cookbook, (published when “Hector was just a pup”), the great northern beans, a smoked ham hock from Harter House, and Jiffy Corn bread mix and begins filling the house with the great aroma of simmering beans, veggies and meat.  Amazingly, since we open the windows this time of year, the whole neighborhood can get the whiff of this simple but filling meal.

 I used to make the beans, but Becky was concerned with my habit of cooking the beans all day in a stew pot on the stove while at same time I left the beans unattended and ran errands.  She likes the security of the Crock-Pot better. 

 The recipe is as follows:

    • Pre soak 1 pound of great northern beans, I also add a handful of pinto beans to give color and some additional flavor;
    • Meaty Ham hocks, quantity depends on your meat tolerance;
    • Broth (chicken or vegetable) and water, enough to create 2 quarts of liquid or enough to amply cover the beans in the Crock-Pot;
    • 1 medium onion, chopped;
    • 1 celery stalk, chopped;
    • 1 carrot, chopped;
    • 5 whole peppercorns;
    • Cook in the Crock-Pot on high for about 60 minutes and than reduce to low for the rest of the day.

Bones of Ham Hock after simmering 8 hours


Corn bread is a must and we use old reliable Jiffy mix.  The directions says 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees, but we find it is done just shy of 15 minutes.


Jiffy CornBread mix, simple ingredients, quick baking!!!

The leftovers are as good as the day the dish was made.  Tonight I will use Clos du Bois chardonnay and midget sweet pickles to accent the meal.  Truly Hearty comfort food that leaves you satisfied and smiling.


Even the Pumpkin was excited.

corndogs, tilt-a-whirl, 4h club exhibits, funnel cakes and a ro-d-eo: it’s time for the tennessee valley fair

it always seemed the whole point of going to the fair for the farrises was to get corn dogs, a funnel cake, and those little jugs of root beer sold by A&W at the ozark empire fair.  we’d go look at the quilts, the cows, people watch and after about an hour and a half we declared ourselves done.  this year i got to experience my first tennessee valley fair.

my friend kathryn and i headed out on friday, ready to devour some fried food on a stick, ride some rides, and i was going to expose kathryn to her very first rodeo.  i don’t know why but i find rodeo’s intriguing and at the fair, no matter what fair you are at, there is always a free one.

when we first got to the fair we did an entire walk through to get the lay of the land.  first we went and saw a cow show.  then we headed to the 4H exhibits.  things that are way different in tennessee than in missouri with these is a heavy emphasis on vocational skills competitions.  these included plumbing, electricity, and cosmetology.  most bazaar the display of mannequin heads for hair styling competition, the one i loved most were the saloon design competition in a box.

hair styling competition

and of course i was so excited to check out the fair food entries.  i love to see how the judges just take one tiny bit out of it and always find it a tad gross/funny how that food is still sitting around on display 3 weeks latter.  how it kind of starts morphing, falling off the plate, etc.  how course no pie here! i just don’t understand the south sometimes.  seeing the produce competitions always makes me feel determined that one day i am going to have a badass garden to submit prize-winning green beans or something.

blue ribbon pumpkin

prize-winning tobacco...its the south y'all

and of course east tennessee's famous honey

after the tilt-a-whirl, which we concluded would probably be the closest thing you could get to feeling like you were in a washing machine, and one go around on the ferris wheel.  we went to find us some classic fried food.  out of all the corn dogs, onion rings, cheesecakes on a stick options, we got hand dipped corn dogs by ruby’s who has been at the fair over 40 years hand dipping their dogs and selling beans and cornbread.  then came for kathryn’s life changing moment….her first rodeo which of course we celebrated with a funnel cake.

look at that fried goodness!

rodeo time

Sunday Night Dinner: September 18, 2011- Hillbilly Shepherd’s Pie with Homemade Biscuits- Yeehaw!

You would think I would learn, but no, pretty much that doesn’t happen. I spent a crazy day in the kitchen on Saturday testing out several kinds of pumpkin pie recipes, so Sunday I just decided to take it easy in the afternoon and read. I lounged for too long and found myself scrambling at 7:30 trying to get homemade biscuits and hillbilly shepherd’s pie made all at once.

THANK GOD John stepped in and helped make the biscuits and do other prep work. He is an excellent chef and partner. The biscuits turned out very tasty. Good job honey!

On to the hillbilly shepherd’s pie. Tennessee rubbed off on me a bit and I got the wild hair to make vegetarian shepherd’s pie (and here’s the hillbilly part) and top it with cheesy grits instead of mashed potatoes. A traditional shepherd’s pie has a buttery mashed potato topping, and trust me there’s nothing wrong with that, I heart mashed potatoes. I just thought buttery, cheesy grits might be a good twist.

Hillbilly grits with a pad of butter- pre-baking


I made John some unfortunately lumpy mashed potatoes (sorry sweetie) since he doesn’t dig on grits. In the end the veg filling which used tempeh and a homemade mushroom gravy need more kick and spice in the gravy– so I’d judge it as only ok. The grits were good though. The whole thing was super rich and filling.

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie with corn, mushroom gravy and tempeh

My plate.

We also had brown sugar carrots on the side– how can you not?

Mixing it all together!

We talked about our upcoming work week, the movie we saw on Friday night (Our Idiot Brother), Dr.Who, and my longing to study astronomy (I was told the math was too hard for me)  and John’s college class with Dr. Wolf.

For dessert, we taste tasted all of my new pie recipes: buttermilk pie, pumpkin buttermilk, cinnamon sugar top crust pumpkin pie, harvest moon pumpkin pie, and 2 different versions of spiced whiskey nut pumpkin pie (I tested those, not JY- teetotaler).

We both really enjoyed the buttermilk pumpkin pie which was a Steph original recipe I’m proud to say! But they all were good. Guess we were getting into the fall spirit (and thinking about a pie business!)

meatless monday: pb-tomato-cheddar sandwiches

it was a hell of a day last monday.  seemed one of those days where they was just one thing after another that cause me to go “ARRRGGHH”  there are ways to make these days way better.  one of the first one’s i discussed with steph… in the shower.  oh yeah why not?  i mean how many times have you heard of women taking baths with a glass of wine.  me beer in the shower.  of course we contemplated the fact you might get water in your beer.  the genius solution?  just turn your back to the water!  of course i can totally her my mom “tisking” at this but some days that is just what you need.

beer in the shower! (this might be a staged photo)

and of course a fabulous dinner makes the day end on an up note.  for this meatless monday  i channeled my mom’s dad, ford, who was known to fancy a peanut butter-tomato sandwich now again.  let dinner making begin.  music choice for the night to had to be the footloose soundtrack.

my pb-tomato-cheddar sandwiches were constructed and put into my sandwich maker.  i love sandwich makers.  i have actually had this sandwich maker since middle school.  i started saving betty cocker points for it.  not knowing how many points i would need i saved a ridiculous amount.  when i finally sat down with the catalog i discovered i had enough points to get 4 fiesta ware place settings.  thus was born my fiesta ware collection.

they are a bitch to clean but i love em

i paired my sandwich with some pasta salad and made my day a lot better!  while i ate i watched an episode of “Family Ties” and now having made it through 2 seasons of this fabulous 80s show i have fully concluded the keaton family would have been down with meatless mondays.

sunday night dinner: september 11, 2011: prosciutto-goat cheese pancakes

pancakes....another thing i love that starts with the letter p

while i wait at the bus stop traveling back and forth to campus i am trying to practice the art of constructive boredom.  what is constructive boredom?  it’s the moments in everyday life such as waiting for a bus, waiting in line, stuck in traffic, etc that we used to take to just catch our thoughts and day-dream.  now in the world of iphones, smart phones, ipods, tvs everywhere our brains never get a down moment to just wander, this isn’t good for you.  and as much as i love using the bus as a way to catch up on podcasts, i really try to just have some good ol’constuctive boredom time.  thus was born this concept for pancakes, prosciutto-goat cheese pancakes.

one thing i miss about pulling kitchen shifts at work was a cakes shift on the weekend.  all you are encharge of is pancakes:  regular, strawberry, chocolate chip and french toast:  regular, cinnamon raisin, and nutella french toast.  with every once in a while some fantastic special such as chocolate chip bread pudding french toast.  the classic order combination pancakes with a side of bacon.  think about it, it is a perfect combination, balance of protein and carbs, sweet and savory.  my thought process why not just put the savory into the sweet pancake.

the prosciutto i cut up into large pieces.  what i hadn’t considered is how much the goat cheese thickened the batter.  then came the debate about what to top the pancakes with.  just butter?  would syrup be good?  or something better than syrup but with a similar sticky texture…… about a balsamic vinegar reduction sauce!  i will say this they were fabulously yummy but i think the balsamic reduction might have been a little too much for the flavor palette.


RECIPE:  Balsamic Reduction Syrup

*a typical reduction is just the vinegar slowly cooked down till it becomes think and sticky*


2 cups balsamic vinegar

3 tbspn brown sugar

1.   combine all ingredients into a sauce pan heated at medium heat.  constantly stir till vinegar is reduced down from a watery sauce to a thick syrup consistency.