Category Archives: The Story Behind…

Cookie Road Trip – Connecticut, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Cookie Road Trip – Connecticut

By Beverly Hicks Burch

Our latest jaunt on the cookie trail takes us to one of my favorite regions of the USA – New England. Connecticut is called the Constitution State and has played an important and long part in the history of the United States.

Some of the first Europeans in the Connecticut area were Dutch and they were later followed by the British. Connecticut was one of the original thirteen colonies and it became the 5th US state in 1788.

Bordered on the south by the Long Island Sound, Connecticut is also home to many historic sights, towns, villages, seaports and natural amenities. Having a love for lighthouses, one of my personal favorite memories is driving along the lower routes of Connecticut just so I could take in some of these quaint, historic villages and on occasion catch a glimpse of a lighthouse. Yale University finds its home in Connecticut as does many other institutions of higher learning.

The southwestern edge of Connecticut is considered part of the metropolitan area of New York City and many of the southwestern suburbs are actually bedroom communities for NYC. Connecticut is home for over 3 million people and is one of the wealthier states…people there have a higher per capita income and median household income than any other state in the US. This is due in part to the insurance industry and hedge fund industry that prospered in Connecticut.

Today’s cookie, Raspberry Thimble Cookies, is what many cooks refer to as a “thumbprint cookie”. The cookie is made when the cook uses her thumb or finger to create an indentation in the top of the dough before baking for jam to be placed in.

I’m not sure why raspberry jam was the jam of choice, especially since Connecticut is the 7th top producer of Wild Blueberries in the US…I guess Blueberry Thumbprint cookies seem…wrong. I’m sure if you wanted you could substitute another flavor of jam…say maybe apricot…yum…


© 2008 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

This cookie was submitted by Mary Mullen of St. Timothy Middle School and the Church of St. Timothy in Hartford (which also happens to be the state capital).


Filed under Connecticut, Cookie Road Trip, Cookies, Cooking, Desserts, food, History, Lighthouses, recipes, The Story Behind..., USA

Raspberry Thimble Cookies

Raspberry Thimble Cookies

1 stick butter

1 stick margarine

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sugar

2 – ½ cups sifted flour

Raspberry jam

Heat oven to 350°.

Cream butter and margarine. Gradually add the sugar beating until light and fluffy.

Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition.

Add sifted flour and vanilla.

Shape dough into 1 inch diameter balls. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. With your finger, make an indentation on the top of each cookie. Fill each cookie indentation with jam.

Bake until lightly brown, about 15 minutes.

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Filed under Connecticut, Cookie Road Trip, Cookies, Cooking, Desserts, food, recipes, The Story Behind..., USA

Not So Tough Cookies, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Not So Tough Cookies

By Beverly Hicks Burch

As many of you might know by now Tall & Handsome and I are in the process of unpacking and setting up the house after moving…again. It is a monumental task. Let me explain. In five years I have moved or moved my household belongings to where they were going to abide as many times…five. Each move has taken a little out of me.

The last stay in the “moldy” house was a challenge on many levels. One was the fact that because we had only two days to find a house the one we ended up getting was just not the right one. It was too small…and then there was that mold problem…but that’s another story.

We knew it was a temporary situation…we just didn’t know it would last two and half years. So, for two and half years most of our belongings sat in packed boxes. It was like living in a big storage unit.

The beauty of the situation is now when we unpack a box, more than likely it’s something we haven’t seen in a really long time and we’re so excited we’re beside ourselves. Sometimes we’ve even forgotten we had an item.

Case it point? I discovered a little “cookbook” a pamphlet almost, titled Capitol Cookies – Cookie recipes from every state capitol and Washington D.C. Well, I absolutely could not place where this little jewel came from, but T & H could. It came along with a breast cancer fund raising cookbook his site did in Alabama.

So, what I thought I do this year is share recipes with yall from this book…since many of you live in or are from all over the USA. Of course they are alphabetical and I’ll share them in that order. I hope you enjoy!

Of course the first starts with Alabama

© 2008 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Alabama, Cookbooks, Cookies, Cooking, Desserts, food, Moving, recipes, Southerners, Tall & Handsome, The Story Behind...

Bev’s New Year’s Beans, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Bev’s New Year’s Beans

By Beverly Hicks Burch

Every year after Christmas I usually have a ham bone leftover. I like to leave a little meat on the bone so I can make a big ol’ pot of bean soup shortly after New Year’s. My favorite ham to use is one of the spiral-cut hams because they have that great seasoning that adds additional wonderful flavors to your dish. I’ve used the ones from big named brand chain stores and the one’s you can get from Sam’s. Both provide excellent results.

Since I’m not really superstitious I don’t have what most people consider a “traditional” New Year’s Day meal…that would be greens and black eye peas in some form or fashion. Nope, since marrying Tall and Handsome I’ve adopted a new tradition of having Posole and warm tortillas for New Year’s. That is in recognition of his Southwestern heritage where Posole is considered a dish worthy of the holiday. This year we topped our New Year’s meal off with flan…than wonderful custard dessert from Spanish speaking countries.

Also, since my dad had his bypass surgery in 2005 and has been on Coumadin, greens are a big no-no in his diet. He hates that, too because being a good East Tennessee mountain boy, the man loves his greens. So, bye-bye greens, just another reason to adapt a traditional menu…

We had a scare with Daddy the week after Thanksgiving when his Coumadin level reached dangerously high levels. The plus side was he got to eat salads and greens. Momma had thrown out all the cans of Glory Be greens she had in the pantry because she was concerned Daddy might eat them “accidentally”. When this happened I told her she needed to keep a can or two behind a glass case they could break open “In Case of Emergency”.

Daddy was confined to the house for a week or so…to the torture of eating greens and salads. He did have to be careful. If he even cut himself shaving he could have bled to death. Coumadin can do scary things. In about a week, he went back to the doctor, got his levels checked and they were back down where they should be. Good news/bad news…no more greens…

Anyway after New Years, I got out the ham bone from Christmas and made that pot of beans…or really a bean soup…or as T & H says, it’s more like a stew. Rachael Ray calls those types of dishes “stoups”. Maybe this is what I fix…who knows, but it’s a Bev original. T & H says he’s never had beans fixed this way and he finds them “right tasty”. I think his bowls of seconds vouch for that.

You’ll notice I use a can of stewed tomatoes in the recipe. That’s a different ingredient from a lot of bean recipes. The reason is twofold in using tomatoes. First, I just find it downright tasty and good. Second, several years ago a medical study was released showing that tomato based foods were a good source to maintain prostate health and help prevent prostate cancer. My dad had a bout with prostate cancer about two years after my last bout of lung cancer. So, ladies…and guys…there you are, an easy and tasty and healthy way to fight what could be a deadly disease…so eat those tomatoes and tomato products! Yes, you now have an excuse to eat pizza…in moderation of course and with “healthy” toppings…am I a party pooper are what?

I usually serve with cornbread with this, but hot French bread/garlic bread would be just as good. And, this is a very good dish for cold days.


© 2008 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

Bev’s New Year’s Beans

By Beverly Hicks Burch

1 1 – pound bag beans of your liking (I like to use a 15 bean mix but have used pintos and other types)

1 ham bone with meat, trimmed of excess fat

8 – 10 cups water

Chicken broth

4 cubes chicken bouillon

1 onion, chopped

2 – 4 cloves minced garlic, to your taste (I use about 4)

½ teaspoon pepper

1 small bag baby carrots

2 – 4 potatoes

1 14 – 15 oz. can stewed tomatoes, any flavor to your taste (I used DelMonte basil, oregano and garlic this last time)

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

Wash and pick over beans.

Put beans in a large stock pot and cover with 8 – 10 cups of water. Beans should be covered with 1 – 2 inches of water. Place on stove eye and bring to a rapid boil. Boil for 1 – 2 minutes then remove from heat and soak for at least 1 hour.

Next, to prepare to cook the beans, drain beans and pour off the water the beans soaked in. (Yes, this will cut down on the unpleasant side effects of beans!) Add beans back to stock pot and add the ham bone. Next, add enough liquid to equal 8 – 10 cups. I use all chicken broth or a combination of water and chicken broth.

Add the 4 cubes of chicken bouillon and begin to cook the beans over medium high heat until it almost comes to a full boil. In the meantime chop onion and mince garlic and add them to the beans and ham. Add ½ teaspoon pepper. Turn heat down to low or medium low and allow to simmer.

Allow your beans and these ingredients to cook until the beans begin to get soft. Depending on the type of bean you use, the time will vary. It will be anywhere from 1 – 2 hours, but may be more. Test the beans to see if they are beginning to soften.

Next add carrots and let them begin to cook. They will take a little longer to cook than the potatoes. Be sure they are washed before adding them to the beans. Peel potatoes, cut into chunks, about 1 ½ in. cubes and add to beans. Add the can of stewed tomatoes and cook until vegetables are tender. Add salt.

*Note: I use a brand of beans that has a seasoning pack included with the beans. I add this pack after everything else is done. It gives a little extra flavor. If you can’t find this brand beans you can adjust you seasoning by adding some garlic powder and onion powder or any other seasoning of you choice…that’s the beauty of this recipe!


© 2008 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.


Filed under Beans, cancer, Cooking, Coumadin, Family, Fathers, food, Health, Holidays, New Year, Prostate Cancer, recipes, Seasonal, Soup, Southerners, Tall & Handsome, Tennessee, The Story Behind..., Vegetables

I Think I Found It…, by Beverly Hicks Burch

I Think I Found It…

By Beverly Hicks Burch

Remember a few days ago I shared a new recipe with you I was anxious to try? It was the New Mexico Spoon Bread. Of course the bread has chopped green chilies in it and in the lead up to the recipe, I shared a little of Tall and Handsome and my history with you. With a native New Mexican in the house, I’m always looking for new and diverse ways to enhance our green chili consumption…no, we are not mere mortals…we must ingest this treat like Turkish delight least we turn to desert stone…

Anyway…I was trying to determine what I would serve with this bread. At first, I thought about Posole, but, then after discussing it with T & H, we decided we liked the hot buttered flour tortillas with Posole too much. So, the search continued for the perfect dinner companion for the savory morsel of New Mexico Spoon Bread.

Well, I think I found it! Today I was going through some magazines in preparation for a move…deciding what to keep and what to throw out, when by mere kismet I came upon this recipe. I can’t wait for the weather to finally turn cool…to get that first good, cool, crisp edge of autumn in the air! Because when it does, I’m bringing out my stockpot and making a big pot of this and a pan of New Mexico Spoon Bread to go along with it.

Yee-haw cowboy! Come on cool weather! I can’t wait…

Hope yall enjoy, too…

© 2007 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under "New Mexico", Cooking, food, recipes, Tall & Handsome, The Story Behind..., Vegetables

Hatched…It’s Not an Egg, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Hatched…It’s Not an Egg

By Beverly Hicks Burch

Well, it’s finally happened. You know that green chilies have becomes a really big thing when Southern Living, the Bible for all true GRITS (Girls Raised In The South) does a six page full color spread in their magazine with accompanying recipes. I on the other hand was ahead of this trend and knowledge when I married Tall and Handsome, a Native New Mexican, but, I must add…he is a New Mexican with very Southern roots. Yes, I had foreknowledge of the chili revolution.

Bev is going to let you in on a little secret here. T & H and I met in a rather unconventional way. Yes, we met online…*gasp*…there I said it. No, it wasn’t in a chat room or anything like that…it was playing an online game. My very Southern momma will be very chagrined to know I’ve told that, although she is quite fond of Tall and Handsome. Daddy was afraid I’d met an ax murderer. Now, he, too, is fond of T & H and thinks he is head and shoulders above the ex, the regrettable Gomez the Unremarkable.

I was very cautious and we courted long distance for almost a year before we met face to face. Then, he had to meet me on home territory which meant meeting my former-mechanical-engineer/project-manager-retired-turned-pastor-father, mom and son who was returning home from duty in the Middle East. You could tell Tall and Handsome was raised by a Southern momma…he came bearing gifts from the southwest for each member of my family. (My gift was a beautiful silver and turquoise Cross hand-crafted by local Native Americans.) No wonder he’s been called the Silverfox…

I can tell you this…if he is an ax murderer he is the most patient one in the history of mankind…he’s still waiting to make his move five years later…

Well, after his visit, he returned to New Mexico and I planned a trip out to visit him and see some sights in the southwest. He made plans and squired me around the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta on a VIP pass. We drove up to Santa Fe and actually got engaged there. And, I had some fantastic food…I learn about chilies…both red and green.

la-ristra-hot-air-balloon.jpgNew Mexicans don’t like chilies…they are passionate about chilies. Everywhere you go you can see chili ristras hanging…for sale in different sizes…for decorations, for use, and yes even a hot air balloon at the Fiesta, which I thought was rather bizarre looking and anywhere else would have been considered obscene. Those big blown up red chilies stacked on top of each other floating in the sky just looked…wrong…

red-green-chili-peppers.jpgEven though a chili is technically a fruit, it is the official vegetable of the state of New Mexico. They like `em green and they like `em red. If you can’t make your mind up which you want…no problem…ask for Christmas on the side and you get both.

There has been some competition between New Mexico and Texas over who is the chili state winner, but, I think New Mexico and New Mexicans pretty much win by default and the amount of Capsaicin per cc of blood. Let’s put it this way…if there was a way to measure chili intake like alcohol with a breathalyzer…well, most New Mexicans would stay three sheets in the wind on chilies.

This is not necessarily a bad thing though because unlike alcohol…chilies do have some health benefits. For example, one fresh chili pod has as much vitamin C as an orange, and a teaspoon of red chili powder has all the daily requirements of vitamin A. Capsaicin, the chemical in a chili that makes it hot is used in products to relieve the pain of arthritis and it’s used as an additive in bird feed to keep squirrels out…they really don’t like it, but the Capsaicin doesn’t affect the birds…other than that it will help the Cardinals turn really red.

They take the chili so seriously in New Mexico…as seriously as the South takes football…that there is the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University. The Institute does not have a football team…but, they do study Scoville units, or how hot the dang things are. They range from mild to “scorch you eyes out and melt you sinuses” to “blow out the back of your head”. T & H likes his somewhere in between the last two.

Like Georgia and their Vidalia onion, New Mexican swear there is only one sacred place to get the “right stuff” and that is in Hatch, NM. You can get the fresh or canned kind from there. When Tall and Handsome moved South from New Mexico for our nuptials, about 75% of his U-Haul was filled with Hatch canned goods. That was the only thing I had to sign a pre-nup on…just kidding honey…those puppies didn’t last long and the poor baby had to resort to buying other canned chopped green chilies that will remain nameless.

There is a big festival in Hatch every September during Labor Day weekend. During the fall in Hatch and in most of New Mexico you can buy a big burlap sack of chili peppers that weighs about 40 pounds and then have them roasted over an open flame in a big chicken wire barrel. It will cost you about $15. The scent permeates the air during the fall.

One year around September, not too long after T & H and I got married, we treated our neighbors in a sleepy little northwestern Alabama town to this exotic scent…for a very long time. Oddly, one day I found this HUGE brown box on our doorstep. It was emitting a very strong pungent scent. Since it wasn’t ticking, I went ahead and brought it inside, opened it up and…Viola mon amis…stuffed inside was a whole box of fresh green chili pods. Yep, one of T & H’s buddies had shipped him a box all the way from New Mexico.

Well, he couldn’t wait to get his hands on those puppies and roast them, but, he had a small problem. There wasn’t any chili roasting people with big ol’ chicken wire drums in Marion County, Alabama. Being the resourceful chap that he is, he decided to do them himself…you got it on the grill! Now mind you, this was in the days of pre-Weber grill. All we had at the time was a very small table top, camp size propane bottle powered grill. The surface top was about the size of a pin-head, but by Jove he roasted those chili peppers…and roasted those chili peppers and roasted those chili peppers. We finished just in time to put up the Christmas decorations…that is after removing the skins, placing them in plastic freezer bags and putting them in the freezer.

Now, I make chopped green chilies a staple in my pantry. Want to borrow some high quality chili powder? No problem. This is what happens when you marry a Tall and Handsome cowboy from New Mexico…with Southern roots and who grew up in the South…

As I was browsing my Southern Living I found this recipe. It had Tall and Handsome’s taste buds written all over it. I read it to him and his eyes lit up like a little boy at Christmas. We’re planning what meal we’ll have it with. Thought you folks might like to try it, too…

© 2007 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under "New Mexico", AKA Gomez the Unremarkable, Birds, Bread, Cooking, food, Gomez, Grilling, grits, Humor, recipes, Southerners, Tall & Handsome, The Story Behind..., Vegetables

The Little Green Box, by Beverly Hicks Burch

The Little Green Box

By Beverly Hicks Burch

There are two months that can be particularly hard for me…June and August…and not for the reasons you might think. Although I am a true Southern belle, I hate heat and summer. Mild, temperate summers are something I am envious of say…Alaska! My idea of fun is not scrapping the summer humidity off my skin with a table knife…and this summer has been truly juicy. I am actually more of a spring, fall and winter person.

In reality, these months, June and August, mark certain events…one a birthday and one a very tragic event. They always give me pause for reflection.

I’ve been very fortunate to have some very special, important women in my life. In addition to my mother, I had two maternal aunts, Mom’s two sisters, my Aunt Korinne and Aunt LaRue. They have at different times in my life been like Rocks of Gibraltar for me…and that’s what family is all about. Some aunts are distant non-involved aunts, but not these two.

juanita-korrine-larue.jpgMom was the oldest of the three girls and I must say, they all three were lookers and bright, smart, talented gals.

Juanita Nov 1951I love my Momma. My Mom knew early on what and who she wanted…my Daddy…it was kind of love at first sight for them. Once she laid eyes on that tall, dark haired, handsome looker in a church service in East Tennessee, there was no turning back. Daddy has always said he was drawn to those “big ol’ doe eyes” of Momma’s…translate, big, soft sensual brown eyes, which she passed on to two of her daughters. My baby sister got Daddy’s big ol’ soft sensual gray eyes and all three of us got his long luxurious eyelashes. Momma was 15 and Daddy was 16. They dated four years, all through high school, got married and eleven months later I was born. At first Mom thought she had a virus, but, surprise, it was lil’ ol’ me and I think I’ve been making her sick ever since…just kidding Momma…

Daddy was the “bread winner” and Mom was the stay-at-home mom…raising three girls in the `50’s, 60’s and `70’s. Yes, it does sound a tad like Ozzie and Harriett or Donna Reed…and actually it kinda was. I have no complaints with my upbringing…it was basic, normal and I received what I needed plus I was raised to be independent, a thinker and to take my education seriously. We were raised to believe we could be just about anything we wanted to be…even if it was to be a stay at home mom or a professional.

Momma was the oldest of the girls and the “artsy” one who was kinda quiet and shy. She, like her sisters, was a voracious reader while the other two were more musically inclined. Mom dabbled in art and painting and the textile arts…she sewed many a dress for her little girls. She even took up quilting after I did in the `80’s. Mom has made sure my mentally and physically challenged baby sister stayed home with the family and lived with dignity…a decision that was light years ahead of its time. She’s had health issues and kept on plugging away. She had a way of passing on the desire to cook without making it seem like a chore and she showed us how to be furiously loyal and devoted to a husband and how to like men…yeah, we were Daddy’s girls.

Korinne McGee RoseMy Aunt Korinne was like my grandmother, the educator of the three sisters. She loved kids and taught elementary school. Little boys in her class would fall madly in love with her and hang their coat by hers in the cloakroom and try to play matchmaker with her and their single dads. She had a beautiful alto singing voice and could play the piano and organ and her classroom was the joyous precipitant of that nurturing skill. Along with my Aunt LaRue, Aunt Korinne sang with my grandfather at church in a trio and it is a little girl memory I will hold with me forever.

I was the beneficiary of her skills too, and as a result I could read and write a long time before a lot of my contemporaries thanks in part to my parents fostering reading at an early age…they started giving me books when I was a baby and Aunt Korinne was a strong supporter with her educational skills.

Aunt Korinne was always whisking me away for outings and adventures…even if it was for a ride on a bus…a big thing for a little girl, who thought the bus doors were magical. She took me to see Gone With the Wind for the first time in a theatre in Chattanooga…intermission and all…she actually lost a contact on the way to get refreshments.

I loved my Aunt Korinne. She often told me we were alike and she encouraged me and took the time to listen to me. She read a lot of my writing and encouraged me to continue and pursue it. We talked about traveling to New York and other places together when I graduated from high school. Usually, I would spend two weeks or so with her in Tennessee during the summer. I think I had pizza for the first time during one of my summer visits with her and we were known to mix it up in the kitchen on my visits during the summer. We had many a late night pajama party, sitting up talking girl talk, watching old movies, eating popcorn or snacks and just having a blast. The first time I ever saw the movie Splendor in the Grass with Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty was with her and we both cried our eyes out like two teenage girls…which of course I was… We would be sobbing then look at each other and burst out laughing and then start crying again.

Guys called her a heartbreaker, (as I was called later) but it wasn’t a deliberate thing with her…so many just fell in love with her and it took her a while to find the one to fall in love with…when she did, it was the wrong one and it ended divorce. She had one son she dearly loved from the marriage. It seemed history repeated itself we me because I later became the only sister of three to end up divorced. Yep, I had picked wrong…but, I did end up with a son I dearly loved and I did find Mr. Right when I married Tall and Handsome. She never found her Tall and Handsome…that makes me sad…

Aunt Korinne was a June baby…born on the 19th. Unfortunately, 36 years later she was taken away from us on August 21st just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to everything else she did Aunt Korinne taught a middle school age Sunday School class and they and some more youth from the church were on their way to Six Flags Over Georgia…and they almost made it. Aunt Korinne had driven a blue Ford Mustang and it was loaded with kids. Somehow, someway, a car hit her from behind and when it did her Mustang was thrown into the next lane of the interstate in a 90 degree angle…into the path on an oncoming 18 wheeler truck. There was nothing the truck driver could do. They said he stripped every gear in the truck trying to stop it, but in the end it was futile. Aunt Korinne and every child in her car but one was gone…on impact.

I was 19 years old when that hot August day infringed upon my life and changed it and I was never the same. You always miss the person you loved when they’re gone. For sometime after she was gone, I had very vivid dreams about Aunt Korinne.

Over the years we gather around each other and held on to the family that was left. So, my Aunt Korinne gave me the gift of the years of bonding with my Aunt LaRue…hurray for Aunt LaRue! She is an August baby…born on the 13th so that gives me a joyous reason to look forward to the month. I love my Aunt LaRue!

aunt-larue-28-nov-1974.jpgI could fill pages about Aunt LaRue. She was 15 when I was born…yes, I’ve grown up with young parents and aunts. She is my confidant, best friend, partner in crime, second mom, travel buddy, angel and anything else thrown into one. Like me, she suffers from many of the same autoimmune aliments…proof that they do cluster in families…so we can commiserate on treatments, flare ups, good days, bad days and medications and what not. When my son was born sick and was in neo-natal intensive care, Aunt LaRue was there…when I had lung cancer surgery, Aunt LaRue was at the hospital…

She was the first person I call when Gomez the Unremarkable walked out after 27 years of marriage for a co-worker. She was as stunned as I was because she had just been up and spent some time with us. She told me then she knew something wasn’t right with him. When we had taken her home to Florida, Gomez had spent a lot of time in her back yard among the citrus trees…on his cell phone. Phone records later showed he was calling his girlfriend’s work extension and personal numbers.

Aunt LaRue like her sisters is talented and smart as a whip…and she’s people smart and savvy, too. She’s quick with numbers which doesn’t surprise me, because she is very musical. She had a four octave range voice in addition to playing the piano. Like Mom, she’s dabbled in art. For years, she worked in the family clothing business and can make just about any alteration you need to clothing…men’s suits included.

The woman can cook!! She’s known as THE cook in the family amongst a family of cooks. Chicken and dumpling…to die for! Fried chicken and gravy…yep, to die for. Egg custard pie…yum!

Aunt LaRue and I are known for our marathon talk sessions…yes, long distance that last for three, four, even five hours…that’s why I have that one rate long distance plan…and we usually have these gab sessions in the middle of the day or late at night when Tall and Handsome is out of town on business. My Uncle Johnny says he doesn’t know how two humans can have so much to say…lol! He’s a man of few words, but we do gab and giggle like girls. We talk about books, and recipes and movies and life and anything that comes to mind. One year when Aunt LaRue came to visit, she brought a bunch of pictures for me to scan for my family genealogy files. Sometimes we talk about that. We both share a love for reading and love to read Ann Rule books.

Two of my favorite memories of my Aunt LaRue were a trip with her to the US Virgin Islands and a trip to San Antonio, TX. In the Virgin Islands we saw the second place where Christopher Columbus landed in the New World at St. Croix. We took a hovercraft from St. Croix to St. Thomas and shopped in the beautiful harbor village of Charlotte Amalie. At our hotel that evening, we sat and dined at the open air café on wonderful gourmet food and looked out down over the harbor and watched as the cruise ships quietly sailed back out to sea in the setting sun.

We still chuckle at the memory of traveling across the big ol’ state of Texas in my Explorer at the time. I tend to get tunnel vision and at times food is the last thought on my mind when going cross-country like that…at least until I pass something that really jumps out at me and catches my fancy. Way east of Dallas I heard my Aunt LaRue say, “Beverly, I’m going to have to get down in the floor board and find me some crumbs to gnaw on if we don’t stop and find a place to eat.” I knew that was her way of saying she was hungry.

I had such a blast getting to travel with her and I hope we can do more of that in the future…she deserves it.

In the 1980’s Aunt LaRue moved to Florida from Tennessee…my uncle was transferred down there. I’ve been able to go down a few times and spend a few weeks with her…once when the orange blossoms were blooming. That is a heavenly fragrance. Another time, we decided to do some painting and stuff. We had a blast. Once when she came and spent some time with me I made some of my home-made banana pudding. She said it was the best she had ever had…and coming from my Aunt LaRue, that was one of the best compliments I could have gotten.

So, my friends, are you wondering what on earth caused Bev to rattle on and reminisce like this? The answer is simple…a little green box…my Aunt Korinne’s little green recipe box. For some reason I picked it up and was browsing through…I had been thinking about her Fudge Pie recipe and the moment I popped the box open, there was her handwriting and her printing…just like the perfect second or third grade school teacher that she was…just as if she had left it there yesterday. That little green box will always be a cherished treasure of mine.

I hope you enjoy a little gem I share with you from the Little Green Box…

© 2007 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under AKA Gomez the Unremarkable, Cooking, Family, genealogy, Gomez, Sisters, The Story Behind...

Recent Offerings, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Recent Offerings

By Beverly Hicks Burch

If you turn most men loose in the kitchen, you’re liable to get a bonafide mess. No offence intended guys, but, that’s just the way it is.

My dad’s favorite “gourmet” meal to fix when Mom is out and about shopping or such is this: Find a jar of peanut butter. Find some crackers…any kind will do, but saltines preferable. Apply peanut butter to one cracker and top with another cracker. Consume and repeat…several times. Enjoy with a glass of milk, ice tea or whatever is on hand.

My situation on the other hand is a little different. I married a man that combs the internet for recipes, cookbooks, cooking and grilling gadgets like some men do for porn. No kidding…

This can be a blessing and a curse…the curse is…he has more gadgets than me and his cookbook collection will soon outstrip mine. But, the pros far out weigh the cons. For instance, let me share a sampling of some of the fare he cooked for me recently while I was very sick.

Grilled Hoisin Marinated Pork with Pineapple-Grilled Green Onion Relish

Sugar Grilled Asparagus

© 2007 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Thai Penicillin, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Thai Penicillin

By Beverly Hicks Burch

I may be Southern, but there’s one thing you can say about Bev…she like a diverse range of ethnic food. Tex-Mex, Mexican, Italian, Greek, Chinese, Lebanese, Indian and I’m sure there are others. Several years ago I was introduced to Thai food…and I fell in love. I really prefer Thai spring roll to Chinese egg rolls. I think my favorite taste in Thai food is anything cooked with coconut milk. Repeat after me…YUM!

Tall & Handsome and I have both been sick…coughing, fever, itchy eyes…not a good way to feel when it’s 90+ degrees outside. Of course, while he’s been homesick, he’s been doing his fair share of Food Network watching. The other day we were watching Paula Deen and she was cooking Thai! Yes, that Southern gal was cooking exotic Thai! We are a diverse breed…

Anyway, the sicker we got, my mind screamed, “Jewish Penicillin” which we all know is good ol’ Chicken Soup. I decided to try something new “Thai Penicillin”…Coconut Soup…which has a chicken broth base. Last night I cooked us up a pot of Coconut Soup using a version of Paula’s recipe. I’ve made Coconut Soup before…with a different recipe. I’ll give you both. For dessert I made Thai Fried Bananas…umm…umm..umm.

After dinner, T & H took my hand, kissed it, looked me in the eyes and said, “Honey, thank you for dinner. That was very tasty.” Oh…we were breathing better, too…now, how much better can it get than that?

© 2007 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Reggie & Bev’s Excellent Adventure, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Reggie & Bev’s Excellent Adventures

By Beverly Hicks Burch

Well, you’ve seen the pictures, now you’ll hear the story about Memorial Day weekend. Reggie, yes that’s Tall & Handsome, aka hubby, and I were very busy that weekend. Let me give you a little insider info here. When you live with disabilities, you learn about conservation of energy or to “pace” yourself. Well, baby…I had been “conserving” and I was raring to go for this weekend. I had plans. There was no stopping this Scotch-Irish-German-Native American Southern gal that weekend. Besides, a menu had been planned and groceries had been bought…in advance.

Our first day off was Saturday, I spent some time doing “pampering” things…a pedicure…that kind of thing and cuddled up watching movies with T & H. That’s when we learned Watson understood what, “Do you want a cup of coffee?” means.

Later, that night we had a special evening planned…dinner with friends…at their house. Now, do you remember when friends got together and played cards…you know…bridge, rummy, Rook, Uno? Well, before we left the house we loaded up our laptops because after a wonderful dinner of manicotti, chicken parmesan, Greek Salad, garlic bread and birthday cake (both the guys are May birthday boys) we played computer games after dinner. I’m such a computer geek…and my hubby loves it. (Thank you, Cornbread, for a fantastic dinner!) Well, sometime around or after the midnight hour we all started turning into pumpkins and hubby and I decided to head for the house.

The next morning as golden rays of sunlight pierced and jabbed the flesh of my eyelids, screaming “wake up”…sorry, I’m not a morning person…I felt two big ol’ arms around me and I heard someone whisper in my ear, “Would you like to go to the mountains this morning?”

I thought a minute and then I whispered back, “You know what I’d like to do this morning?”

I felt the suspense in his body as he whispered, “What?”

Breathlessly I whispered, “Go to the cemetery.”

Eagerly he responded, “How soon can you be ready?”

Aren’t we fun people? We have such rip-roaring, spontaneous, action packed fun!

Well, of course he knew what I was talking about. He knew I wanted to document family gravesites for my genealogy files. He also knew those cemeteries were in the foothills and on the way to the mountains. So, after time well spent visiting, documenting and sharing family stories we headed to Cades Cove.

Cades Cove is a special place. Sometime I think of the movie Brigadoon when I think of Cades Cove. Brigadoon is an old Gene Kelley, Van Johnson and Cyd Charisse movie that tells the story of a Scottish village wakes out of the mist every 100 years to live one day. As a result, for all practical purposes they are suspended in time. For me, the Cove seems suspended in time…nature untouched…God’s beauty.

The Cove is a valley nestled and hidden among the footprints of the Smoky Mountains. During the Civil War, the Cove was divided by loyalties…some Federal, some Confederate…brother against brother. It was a sad time for the Cove. I actually have Southern ancestors that fought on both sides…yes, it’s true.

Now, the Cove is full of reminders of days gone by…log cabins, barns, little white churches, cemeteries and wonderful flora and fauna. I think of my Papaw who was an occasional mail carrier in the Cove. He was a farmer, carpenter and he worker at the Little River Saw Mill. Papaw also was a clogger and played the “fiddle” as it was called in the hills and mountains of East Tennessee. The area might have been remote, but the people were not cardboard cut-outs…they were full of life and had interests just like you and I do.

The drive and trip was absolutely wonderful, peaceful and de-stressing. I love sharing “my” mountains with Tall & Handsome. On the drive, I looked at the stonework on the bridges and the tunnel and I was reminded on the story my dad told me of his childhood.

When he was a little boy, during FDR’s presidency, FDR had sent Italian stonecutters to the little back wood mountain town of Townsend, Tennessee. These artisans were part of FDR’s work programs during the dark days of the Depression.

It was those very programs that made FDR a god-like figure in many Southern homes and created many yellow dog Democrats…in others, yes, they would vote for that yellow dog if he was a Democrat. FDR ensconced the Democratic Party in the South for many, many years…because “my daddy and my granddaddy and my great-granddaddy voted…” as you would hear repeated over and over. Lincoln also helped the Democrat Party get a start in the South with that little thing called the “War Between the States”…but, that IS another blog…and I can relate to both sides as I remarked above.

Well, my dad’s family had the privilege of hosting some of the Italian stonecutters in their home while they were working in the mountains of East Tennessee. I couldn’t help but think of that as I passed the stone work of the bridges, tunnel and around the creek beds and rivers in the mountains. Two or three stayed with the Hicks family of Townsend, Tennessee. According to my dad, one of my grandmother’s cousins took a “shine” to one of the fellows, and Mamaw didn’t “cotton” to that and sent her cousin packing. That’s mountain and Southern for, “Mom, didn’t approve of the relationship and sent her cousin Nancy home.”

After our wonderful day in the mountains and the Cove, we had one day left…and that was Tall and Handsome’s day to do what he enjoys. Yep, you guessed it he stoked up the Weber. He had planned this meal in advance…a whole week…so we were prepared. So guess what? Time for another recipe blog courtesy of Bev and Tall & Handsome and the Burch Bistro. Hope you find something you enjoy!

Memorial Day 2007 Burch Cook – out

Burch Bistro Memorial Day 2007 Menu:

Beer – Can Tandoori Chicken

Indian – Style Rice with Cashews & Raisins

Grill Fresh Pineapple with B-B-Q Orange Marmalade Glaze

Bev’s Homemade Orange – Pineapple Sherbet

© 2007 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Cades Cove, Cooking, food, recipes, Tall & Handsome, Tennessee, The Story Behind..., Townsend, Travel