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The Holidays Are All About…

Fennel/Sage Ham

…the Ham.  This is a derivation from Mario Batali’s Italian Ham.  This was served on Christmas Night along with Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and green beans. My daughter took over and presented this meal to the family. So happy to have yet another home chef in the family.

Anna Rebecca Photographer, home chef

My daughter, a home chef/photographer

…Apple Red Chili Chutney

Southwest Flavor Apple Chutney

The Apple Red Chili Chutney was ladled over Pork Tenderloin on Friday Night before Christmas Eve.  This savoring relish comes from a recipe book I bought from the Georgia Grille, a neighborhood restaurant in Atlanta.

The Holidays Are All About….cousins re-uniting

Cousins re-uniting

…playing Dirty Santa Games.  My brother gets stuck with a lady’s purse.

Playing Dirty Santa

…tall tales by a fire pit.

Sitting by the fire pit


Turkey Breast Brining in Salt Solution

The Holidays Are All About…

…brining protein in a salt solution.  This is a cooler containing a brine for a turkey breast. Another cooler held venison. In cold weather we can set outside. In warm weather it would be necessary to have ice in the cooler.  For Christmas Eve Dinner we had Turkey Breast and Venison Roast along with a cranberry pecan wild rice mixture and Dijon Brussel Sprouts from smittenkitchen.

…Creamed Corn Salsa

Recipe from Georgia GrilleAnother great recipe from the Georgia Grille.  This is a concoction of corn, green onions, shallots, diced tomatoes, chipotle and cream.  This was served on Friday night as a side dish with another side dish of black beans to the Pork Tenderloin.

The Holidays Are All About…

…Playing Eurorails till two o’clock in the morning.

Family playing Eurorails

…children searching for presents.

Seaching for presents

…a train set.

Child playing with train set

Most of all….it’s about Gratitude.  Life is short, despite that you may live to be 100 or more, wake each day with gratitude.  My husband and I are plenty grateful for the Holiday Season spent with all our children and grandchildren and family.

“Cook Like A Rock Star”

I just received my signed copy. Woohoo! I first noticed Anne when a Sous Chef for Mario Bartoli on Iron Chef. I was fascinated with her expertise in handling her position working along side Mario and her calm approach under stress. It was obvious, the people in the control room noticed this woman of finesse in the kitchen because it wasn’t long before Food Network swept her up and gave her not only one show but two. I watched in awe as grease splattered back into her eye when Anne was doing a Charity Competition on the series “Chopped”. She didn’t win those judges over because she stood before them with makeup on half her face and the other half red and blotchy from the grease. Rather, she won because of her calm reserved manner in which she proceeded through delivering a top quality dish as only Anne Burrell delivers.
I can’t wait to get into the Piccolini….

Apple Pickin’ in Blue Ridge, Ga.

It has been a welcome rainy week here in North Georgia.

A brief dry spell during the morning gave me an opportunity to walk out and grab some shots of one tree in particular that I view from my bedroom window.

There is still a lot of green on the trees surrounding the house as well as the mountains across the way and I speculate by next week fall colors will peak.  Not as dramatically as autumn’s past due to the droughts we’ve had these past years, but pretty nonetheless.

…but with these changing colors comes, Apple Pickin’

This weekend, as all the weekends in October, is U-Pick Apples from Mercier Apple Orchard in Blue Ridge, GA.

Celebrating 68 years of business and still operated by the Mercier Family.

This is the original apple house.  The orchard is the largest in the Southeast.

There are many orchards in
the North Georgia  surrounding areas
that compete for the best fried apple pies.

In my opinion, Mercier’s is the best.
When you get fried pies from other orchards they tend to drip with
grease.  If left long enough in the
parchment paper, one has to peal the pie from the paper.  Euwwwww.
Mercier’s is also known for their dinner plate apple fritters,

Apple Bread

…and Cider.

The only orchard to be licensed to press it and sell it.

So, if you happen to visit this humble
community of Blue Ridge, Georgia, be certain to stop by the Orchard and pluck an apple from a

…and take a bite.