Sunday, March 19, 2017

Appalachian Appetite

                      It could have been a spicy radish her dad pulled from the earth that made Susi Gott Seguret fall in love with cooking. Her hippie kind of parents moved to North Carolina to build a cabin, grow food and create art and music in the ‘60s. The mountains limited travel in days of old, so this family also learned to feed themselves from wild nuts and mushrooms, pumpkins, beans, squirrel, turkey feet and pokeweed.
                      I would have loved to be down-the-road neighbors with this family, trading home-grown bounty.
                      The photos of landscapes and foodscapes are beautiful in her book, “Appalachian Appetite: Recipes from the Heart of America.” She shares methods for pickled ramps, grits with morels, Tennessee Ham-Wrapped Peaches, Possum Pate and Susi’s Jack Daniels-infused collards (with bacon fat).
                      I’ll have some fiddle playing while enjoying Leeky Smashed Potatoes and beer bread. Apparently Dolly Parton referred to sweet tea as the house wine of the south. This book explains that in the 1900s sweet tea was a luxury as not everyone could afford tea, sugar and ice. It was also a power boost for working in the field all day.
                      Here’s a recipe for something good on biscuits or pancakes:
              Imogene’s Chocolate Gravy
              Combine ingredients in a saucepan (more sugar and cocoa, in ration to taste, than milk). Boil until it reaches the consistency desired and pour over freshly baked biscuits or pancakes.

                             Olive Love

                      Are you thinking of olives as snacks? Why aren’t you? Gaea is putting almond-shaped Halkidiki variety olives, removing the pits, marinating them with olive oil, oregano, garlic, coriander and lemon peel and packing that Greek flavor into a liquid-free pouch. Come on. If they've done all that for you, you could at least rip open a bag and enjoy. I even shared my fragrant lovelies, which included four servings at 15 calories each. This should be your snack.

         Open & Eat Quinoa
 Few of my foodie friends have played with cooking quinoa, so I wonder if I could convince them to experience Carrington Farms’ bag of toasted quinoa. It’s an “open & eat” bag, no cooking required, and labled “Healthy Foods for a Healthy Soul.” Bold claim and bold flavor. Those toasty nuggets are super healthy and very crunchy and flavorful. If you can’t imagine just getting a spoonful during a busy work day, sprinkle them over Greek yogurt or use them as salad toppers. I’m enjoying them over a bowl full of baba ghanouj. If you don’t know about that, I’ll save it for another column.

         Nuts for Viki’s Granola
         I’d love to have breakfast with Viki. Gluten-free oats, unsweetened coconut, sunflower seeds and pecans would come with the experience. Vicki’s Granola is the good stuff and the healthy stuff mixed together. I tried banana walnut with milk and I managed to save some blueberry almond for yogurt topping. This is so much more “real” than the granola I had as a kid in the ‘70s. Viki has gone back to the natural stuff that granola was born to be.

              This shroom helps you clean
                      So you love cooking and entertaining, but then there’s the cleaning. A sample TubShroom is designed for the shower, but it arrived the very week my bathroom sink drain stopper conked out, so that’s where I tried it. TubShroom is flexible and fits into the drain. Hair warps around the cylinder where you can’t see it. When you pull it out you can clean it off with a paper towel and you’re done. It prevents clogged drains and prevents you from having to use harsh chemicals. You don’t have to install a thing and it works with animal hair, too. This is a product that does what it says it will.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Parker’s passion for Lions Club; group meets at Courtyard Café

Debby Parker has made it personal. The president of the Port Arthur Founders Lions Club wants new members to carry on the “rich tradition” of this club and she’s passionate about spreading the good works this club and Lions Clubs International does for the world.
It’s a “We Serve” attitude that has helped people overcome “river blindness” from unclean water sources, supported eye banks and corneal  transplants and helped residents recover from earthquakes in Haiti and flooding in Deweyville.
“The more members we have, the more service we can give,” Parker said.
Parker is so passionate about educating Mid-County about her club that she barely looked up as a tempting croissant sandwich and soup of the day was placed before her at Courtyard Café in Groves. This is where the group meets each second and fourth Friday of the month to dine, hear a speaker and just have fun getting together. It’s informal, efficiently run from noon to 1 p.m. (Parker said she’s a stickler for time) and the dues are minimal for all you get.
This March Parker will visit businesses and do anything she can to encourage new membership.
“You have to have a heart for this work,” Parker said. “Once you’re involved in Lions, it gets in your heart.”
“We do a lot of things people don’t hear about,” Parker said, but she’d love to tell you.
Lions is turning 100 years old, functions in 220 countries and includes 1.4 million members. This club is one of the first 25 clubs formed, Parker said. She’s been through the scrapbooks and seen the evolution.
“That makes me really proud we have been around so long and I don’t want that history to go away,” she said.
The club offers family memberships to encourage spousal togetherness as all those good works get done
“Once you’re involved in Lions, it gets in your heart,” Parker said.
Call her at 409-363-4092 to get in on all this Lions Club passion.
Lunch at Courtyard Café is what I’d call another perk. When I visited with Parker, I enjoyed gumbo with shrimp and sausage with potato salad on the side.