Rebekah Lyn's Kitchen

Come have a cup of coffee

Memories Created February 20, 2017

Filed under: DIY,Family — itsrebekahlyn @ 7:00 AM
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This blog isn’t about cooking, but it does take place in my kitchen, so I hope you’ll pour a cup of coffee (or tea), sit back and enjoy a story.

Tea Table

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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…)

 

Winter Wonderland February 18, 2014

Filed under: Baking,Family — itsrebekahlyn @ 8:19 AM
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The first time I saw snow falling was on a high school band trip to Washington DC over Spring break. The cherry trees were in bloom and the weather was beautiful when we arrived. Two days later we awoke to flakes falling outside our windows and kids running down the hotel hallway shouting “It’s snowing! It’s snowing!” (more…)

 

Cooking up Memories December 10, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Family,Tea — itsrebekahlyn @ 11:55 AM
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What is it about fall and winter that make us want to bake? Why do Thanksgiving and Christmas seem to revolve around sweet treats? Maybe its because the weather is turning cooler and it isn’t so dreadful to have the oven running for hours on end. Of course, in Florida, it is still in the 80s and we have to run the air to battle the heat of the kitchen, but it is worth it for the joy of holiday baking.

Image from Amazon.com

Image from Amazon.com

I have many fond memories of Christmas baking with my mom. We would spend an entire day making M&M cookies, Peanut Butter Blossoms, Chocolate Chip, and Lemon cookies. I loved mixing them up, rolling them in colored sugar, licking the bowl clean, but I also loved packaging them up to give to friends and family. These days, between work, writing, and marketing I don’t have much free time, but I decided to make time over the weekend to do Christmas baking.

I subscribe to Tea Time Magazine and the November/December issue is full of wonderful new recipes. I started with the Double Chocolate-Cranberry cookies and Dark Chocolate-Pistachio Toffee. Both of these were incredibly simple and made me nostalgic for those childhood recipes. I found one for M&M cookies, and used mint M&Ms for a more contemporary flair.

Double Chocolate-Cranberry Cookies

On Wednesday, I am going to tackle Vanilla-Sour Cream Tea Bread and Cherry-Hazelnut Scones (if I can find hazelnuts). If these turn out well, I can see them turning up in a future book. If I can find the lemon cookie recipe, I think I will make some of those as well. All of these treats will make a nice gift bag for my friends and coworkers. What are your favorite Christmas treats?

Double Chocolate-Cranberry Cookies

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup salted butter, softened

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup dark chocolate morsels

1/3 cup white chocolate morsels

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans (I used pistachios)

Preheat oven to 375

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt, whisking well. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine butter and sugars. Beat at high speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla extract, beating at low speed until combined. Add flour mixture at low speed until incorporated. Add both dark and white chocolate morsels, cranberries, and pecans, stirring to combine.

Using a levered 1-teaspoon scoop, drop batter 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake until golden brown, approximately 7 minutes.

Dark Chocolate-Pistachio Toffee

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons salted butter, divided

3/4 cup finely chopped, roasted and salted pistachios, divided

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate morsels

Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat. Spread 1 tablespoon butter in a 9-inch diameter circle on baking mat. Sprinkle 1/2 cup pistachios over butter circle in an even layer.

Coat the inner top 2 inches of a large microwave-safe bowl with 1 tablespoon butter. Place remaining 1/2 cup butter in bowl. Add sugar and water. Do not stir.

Microwave on high until mixture turns very light brown, 6 to 8 minutes.

Immediately pour hot mixture over pistachios, covering nuts in an even layer. (Spread quickly as sugar mixture sets quickly.)

Immediately sprinkle chocolate morsels over sugar mixture in an even layer. Let sit for 1 minute to melt, then spread evenly, using an offset spatula.

Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup pistachios over melted chocolate.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until candy is firm.

When firm, cut into pieces, using a long sharp knife and pressing down.

 

Dad’s First Brownies October 19, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Family — itsrebekahlyn @ 11:55 AM
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It has been entirely too long since I last blogged, but I have been so involved with editing Winter’s End and working with my cover designer, there hasn’t been a free creative moment. However, when my dad announced the other night that he wanted to

The cover for Winter’s End compliments of Laura Wright LaRoache at LLPix.

bake a cake I knew I had to carve out some time to document this moment.  Let me set the scene. When I was a kid, my mom worked the night shift at the hospital and dad was responsible for making dinner at least a couple of those nights. While he was no chef by any means, I have fond memories of him standing three or four feet from the stove and tossing frozen shrimp into a pan of hot grease or pulling out a baking sheet that our frozen pot pies had bubbled over onto. Give the man a grill and he has more success, but he has never in his life tried to bake anything that I am aware of.

Fortunately, I keep a good stock of baking mixes in my pantry in case I need a quick fix without all of the scratch fuss.  I decided it might be better to start him off with something simple and pulled out a box of Ghirardelli brownie mix. He managed to locate the brownie pan with minimal instruction from me, then, he proceeded to ask if he could just mix everything up in the pan. At the time, this gave me quite the chuckle, but looking back it really is a reasonable question. I suppose if it wasn’t necessary to spray the pan so the brownies wouldn’t stick you could mix everything up in there.

Mom and I needed to run to the grocery for some other items and we left dad alone to make the brownies. Five minutes later, he was calling to see where my vegetable oil was. Turns out, the last had been used a couple of days earlier so we added that to our shopping list and returned home. Dad took the oil, finished mixing things up, and figured out how to set the timer on the oven. Forty-five minutes later the house smelled divine and we had gooey, hot brownies.

Dad’s First Brownies

I have to say I am rather proud of my dad for being willing to learn something new. Maybe I can get him to try out some of the recipes I found when writing Winter’s End. I will definitely be sharing some of those in the coming weeks, it just needs to get a little cooler here in Florida to inspire me to cook more.

 

Fireworks, Salsa, and Memories July 4, 2012

Filed under: Family,Fresh Foods,Recipes — itsrebekahlyn @ 11:55 AM
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Happy 4th of July!  I hope you all take some time today to reflect on what makes this day so very important in the history of the United States, especially as times are so rapidly changing for us.  There is another reason this day is so important to me though.  Today would have been my grandmother’s 90th birthday.  I have been thinking about Grandma Pearl all week and wish she could have been here over the weekend to help me with my first endeavor at canning on my own.

I have many memories of helping her can preserves, green beans, and tomatoes.  I remember setting up the Coleman stove on the back porch, watching the giant pot boil, peeling the skin off the tomatoes and skimming the froth off the strawberries. Those are memories that I will always treasure.

Since I had so many tomatoes of my own I took 25 of them and made salsa.  I don’t recall the process of peeling and coring tomatoes taking so long or causing back pain when I was kid, but I plunged ahead and found my 25 Roma tomatoes would make about 2 pints of salsa.  It may not sound like much, but split them up into ½ pint jars and I probably have enough to last me the rest of the year.  I can’t wait to crack open a jar at my next social event and share the fruits of my labor.

If you are interested in learning more about canning your own salsa check out this website:

http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html

 

 
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