Rebekah Lyn's Kitchen

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Simply Southern April 7, 2016

Pimento cheese sandwiches are one of my favorite simple southern foods. As a child I would sit at the kitchen table watching my grandmother mash up a block of cheese then mix in the mayonnaise and pimentos. When I got older she let me do the cheese mashing and there was something gratifying about it. The sandwiches we made weren’t anything fancy. Sometimes we might toast the bread a little, but this was a simple meal served with an ice-cold Coca-Cola.
The past few years, I’ve noticed a number of restaurants making more gourmet versions of the sandwich. Probably the most unique twist was at the Little Switzerland Cafe, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, where the pimento cheese was served as a dip with grilled French bread and celery sticks. It was so good I wouldn’t mind making the two hour drive back to the cafe for another serving. A few weeks ago, I was in North Carolina taking some time to work on my new book, Virginia, and had the chance to visit a new restaurant in downtown Franklin called The Bowery. It opened last year and I’ve wanted to visit ever since I noticed it during my trip in December.
Once inside, I immediately liked the place. The decor is a perfect balance of elegant and rustic. The booths have high backs, made from boards that look like they were reclaimed from a barn, that provide a feeling of privacy. The chairs were plush and upholstered in a cappuccino suede. Bare light bulbs hung inside simple glass jars. The lunch menu was simple and there were the pimento cheese sandwiches again. One was served with fried green tomatoes and the other came with a bowl of soup. It was a chilly day, so I opted for the butternut squash soup and pimento cheese sandwich, while mom ordered the smoked chicken sandwich with pasta salad.

The Bowery

The Bowery

Our meals arrived quickly and I was impressed with the taste of everything. The soup was creamy and the sandwich was warm, the cheese melted just right. I wish I’d taken a picture, but it looked so good I couldn’t stop myself from digging in. I’m not sure why this simple sandwich is showing up on so many menus, but I plan to enjoy them as often as possible.

 

Not My Daddy’s Shrimp September 11, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — itsrebekahlyn @ 7:15 AM
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I grew up on the coast and I have many fond memories of seafood. My grandfather, Papa, would go to the beach several times a week and come home with loads of fish. One night I devoured eight whiting filets. I was off fish for about a month after that, but they were delicious at the time.

On of my favorite memories is of my dad trying to cook frozen shrimp. Mom worked the night shift at the hospital leaving dad our cook for evening meals. We had a lot of frozen pot pies and fish sticks. I still love a good pot pie. (more…)

 

Traveling in the Clouds July 9, 2015

Filed under: Family,Fresh Foods,Southern Cooking — itsrebekahlyn @ 8:25 AM
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I had the pleasure of spending my Fourth of July weekend in North Carolina. The weather was 20-30 degrees cooler than

The rhododendrons were still blooming.

The rhododendrons were still blooming.

Florida and I basked in every minute of reprieve from the heat. Usually when I go to NC I spend most of the time working on my next book, but this time I only had time to cram in a few hours of work time.

 

 

Another Florida friend was already staying with my family and we had made arrangements to drop her off with her sister in Banner Elk, NC on July 2. This should have been about a 3-hour drive, but it ended up being more like 5 or 6 hours. I’m beginning to learn to be wary of anything that says it’s 3 hours. One day I’m going to be on a 3-hour trip and become the next Gilligan! (more…)

 

A Cheesy Celebration February 9, 2015

Filed under: Baking,Books,Recipes — itsrebekahlyn @ 7:20 AM
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I love cheese. I’m fascinated with how many different types of cheese there are and want to try them all. A couple of years ago, when it was just me and my parents for Christmas, we started a new Christmas Eve tradition. We went to Candlelight Service, came home to a spread of hors d’oeuvres-chocolate caramel popcorn, spinach dip, cheese, crackers, and glog- then watched a movie. It’s a nice quiet evening to reflect on what Christmas is really about.

 

The first Christmas spread

The first Christmas spread

Cheese galore

Cheese galore

This year, I noticed that the Aldi I shop at started having specialty cheeses a few weeks before Christmas. I bought up every one of them for our Christmas Eve nosh. We had Jarlsberg, Parmesan Regiano, Prima Donna, Tomato Basil, Jalapeño Jack, Fontina, and Cranberry White Cheddar. I’ve been wanting to try the Parmesan Regiano since I read about it in one of Frances Mayes’ books. It wasn’t my favorite as a stand-alone cheese, but it is great in cooking.

 

As you might imagine, with all of this cheese we couldn’t possibly eat it all in one night. Mom found a recipe that used the Fontina along with a Marscapone cheese, to make what is basically a fancy mac & cheese. The recipe sounded so good, I used it in the book I was working on, Spring Dawn, and when I finished the first draft we made a batch to celebrate. Shredding all of the Fontina seemed to take forever, but it was worth it. Next time I think I would add some bacon bits though, to give it a little more kick.

The left over Jarlsberg has made a wonderful evening snack and now I have three more varieties to snack on from Ireland, Wales, and Britain. I better have a few slices then get back to work.

Fontina & Mascarpone Baked Pasta

Fontina & Mascarpone Baked Pasta

Grating the Fontina

Grating the Fontina

 

Bakingpalooza December 20, 2014

Filed under: Baking,Family — itsrebekahlyn @ 9:31 AM
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We’ve had almost two glorious weeks of cool weather here in Florida. I’ve enjoyed having the windows open and a fresh breeze drifting through the house. It was on one these lovely days last week that I decided to crank up the oven and do my Christmas baking. I had several recipes I wanted to get through so I started as soon as I finished my coffee and bagel.

 

My parents have been staying with me since Thanksgiving, so mom offered to run out to the store to pick up a couple of items I didn’t have on hand. While she was out, I made the easy cookies, the ones from a mix that didn’t require anything extra. I found a pumpkin spice cookie mix that I have fallen in love with and I decided to add some chocolate chips. They were the perfect addition and I tucked some of the cookies into a tin for my parents’ drive back to North Carolina.

 

The house quickly filled with the smells of fresh baked treats. By the time I turned off the oven I had five types of cookies, gingerbread cupcakes, and vanilla-sour cream tea loaves. My kitchen is tiny, so having more than one person working at a time can be tight, but toward the end of the day, mom, dad and I were all working together to clean up the dishes and put everything away.

 

I hope you have a wonderful Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year with those you love.

The first round of cookies

The first round of cookies

 

Birthdays and Markets August 29, 2014

Filed under: Family,Fresh Foods — itsrebekahlyn @ 7:27 AM
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Birthday cake

Sunday was my mom’s birthday so I flew to North Carolina to spend the weekend with her. The moment I stepped outside the airport I was welcomed by a cool breeze and the fresh, woodsy scent that always makes me smile and fills my heart with peace. I inhaled deeply while I waited for mom and dad to arrive from the nearby McDonalds and could feel the muscles in my body unwinding.

 

There weren’t any real plans for the weekend, but I was looking forward to visitng the Farmer’s Market Saturday morning. I was delighted to find out it was customer appreciation day and there were tons of free samples- garlic cloves, organic coffee, pastries, homemade pesto, homemade soaps, there was even a chance to win $200 worth of fresh produce and a fresh pie of our choosing. Sadly we didn’t win.

 

My own hometown has been trying to get a farmer’s market off the ground, but with only one produce vendor and a handful of other non-food related booths, it hasn’t gained much traction. This North Carolina market, though, it was what I always envisioned. Knots of people gathered between each booth to catch up the week’s events; multiple farmers with their fresh-picked crops; a table piled high with delicious-looking homemade bread that reminded me of a scene from a French movie; a cooler with fresh, free-range chickens; a table of fresh pastries, a lady with homemade soaps and other bath products, and even flower vendors. We bought some ears of corner and a couple of huge tomatoes before wandering into some nearby antique shops. Looking back now, I’m surprised that I can’t remember any sounds or smells and can only guess my eyes were so overwhelmed all of my other senses were dulled.

 

That evening I had a yummy tomato sandwhich, and was actually able to tell a difference between this tomato and those from my own garden. I had read that basil is an excellent companion plant and added one to my tomato area. There definitely is a difference.

 

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Launch Celebration July 17, 2014

Blog Tour Graphic Swirl

July and August are shaping up to be quite busy with the release of Jessie. Wendy at Fabulosity Reads put together a roundup of blogs offering author interviews, character interviews, excerpts, and reviews that will be posted July 16-18. Below is a list of the blogs you can visit and enter to win some great prizes.

Room with Books                     My Cultural Cocktails             Blazing Sword Faith Based Promotions            Effrosyni’s Blog
Deal Sharing Aunt                   You Are Victorious                  Lisa Day on the Web                                               Dormaine G
Sheila Bliss                               JGR Writer                                Words, Words, Words                                            The V Mirror
Michelle Lewis’ Blog              Mark Shearman’s Blog            Sue’s Reveals and Promotions                              Xhosa Chick On A Budget
Cheekypee Reads and Reviews

(more…)

 

 
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