"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: buttermilk

jimmy carter’s favorite dinner again! . . .

delicata squash with maple syrup, corn on the cob, corn muffin and caesar salad - buttermilk

delicata squash with maple syrup, corn on the cob, corn muffin and caesar salad – buttermilk

I wonder how Jimmy Carter is doing? He turned ninety-one recently while having radiation treatments for melanoma. Still had that radiant smile going though. I read once that his favorite meal at a Plains, Georgia diner was always the same: three vegetables, cornbread and a glass of buttermilk.

We’ve had a couple of these meals in his honor already, and for some reason, I thought it would be nice to have it again tonight. There’s a delicata squash roasting in the oven with a maple/butter glaze permeating our kitchen with a delicious fragrance. Fresh corn on the cob and a caesar salad with croutons. A heated corn muffin in the skillet and a chilled glass of buttermilk.

Here’s to Jimmy Carter’s health!



caesar salad! . . .

shrimp caesar salad

A friend told me the other day that one of her favorite meals for lunch is caesar salad. And that the Vermont restaurant she went to near where she lived served “limp lettuce” and the dressing wasn’t very tasty. She said she “loved anchovies” – which coincided with her affection for oysters, clams and other seafood that I also love. We go out for lunch together every two weeks or so when we meet up at an antiques group shop that she runs in New Hampshire.

So today, I bought some buttermilk and a tin of flat anchovies at the grocery store. I rinsed out my small size red Cuisinart food processor and dried it before adding in the following:

2 fresh cloves of garlic, smashed, peeled and ends trimmed

2 fillets of anchovies

Whizzed those ingredients in the small processor; then added:

scant cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise

2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (on a microplane)

small dash of Worcestershire sauce

coarse black pepper (there’s already a lot of salt in the anchovies and parmesan)

1/4 cup of fresh buttermilk (Kate’s)

Blended all of the above in the processor and tasted it: DIVINE!! added a little more buttermilk to thin it out and poured into a clean glass jar.

The recipe I followed (and tweaked) mentioned the dressing is better after it sits in the refrigerator for about 3 hours. It also stated that it would hard to resist dipping a spoon into it for a taste (it’s so good!)

I closed up the tin of flat anchovies and wrapped it tightly in a plastic bag, storing it in the freezer door for future use.

I wanted to try it out for lunch and opened up some hearts of romaine. Into my favorite green bowl, I broke some of the tender center leaves into bite size pieces, added garlic croutons and a few salad shrimp. After adding the dressing and tossing, I grated a little parmesan cheese on top.

It tasted scrumptious! light, tasty and satisfying. The dressing is a keeper recipe for sure and the green salad base could be a supper one-bowl dish with some grilled salmon or teriyaki chicken tenders on top. Yum!

Postscript (a week later): I’ve just made this salad dressing again and have tweaked it slightly. To me, the flavors are a little stronger, more piquant and so tasty that I have to go and have a spoonful every once in awhile. Stored in a glass jar (previous salsa size) with a screw top:

4-5 fillets of anchovies; 3 cloves of garlic, smashed and cut up; (run through small food processor before adding other ingredients.) Add 1/3 cup shredded romano cheese and process with the garlic/anchovy mixture. Then add cup of Hellmann’s mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of Poupon dijon mustard, splash of Worcestershire sauce, Maldon salt and coarse pepper; 1/4 cup of cream/milk. Run processor until smooth. Taste for seasoning. Add more cream (or buttermilk) if too thick. Pour into glass jar and lick the bowl.


a ‘jimmy carter meal’ part 2 . . .

jimmy carter dinner

Here’s our dinner in honor of Jimmy Carter:

3 vegetables: cucumber soup, creamed corn, summer squash;

corn muffins;

and a glass of cold buttermilk!

Made from vegetables from farm stands ready to go on a Sunday afternoon at home. I noticed that it was a delicious meal, made from simple recipes whose tastes complemented each other in a soft and tasty way. Moreover, there was not a hint of obligation to be “vegetarian” – no moral tone to undercut the meal at all. It was just vegetables, cornbread and buttermilk.

I’m thinking we could do this pretty often from now on!

The only thing I might have done differently would be to make the corn muffins from scratch than from a Jiffy box. But the muffins were very quick and easy.

We raised a glass to Jimmy Carter and to his wife, Rosalynn – and hope that their days may be filled with grace whatever comes their way.

a jimmy carter meal . . .

jimmy carter mealI read that Jimmy Carter, who has just learned that he has cancer, likes to visit a favorite diner where he lives in Plains, Georgia (Mimmie’s Restaurant) and always orders the same thing: “three vegetables, cornbread and a glass of buttermilk.”

We wish Jimmy Carter well! He’s led by example and pounded the nails at Habitat, worked in the fields and still teaches classes in Sunday School. He hasn’t just signed checks and made speeches as a philanthropist – he’s “been there and done that” for decades since he was President of the United States. At ninety years old, he and Rosalynn are fortunate they’ve had each other while sharing their life journey for so long.

And tonight, we’re going to have a Jimmy Carter meal for supper!

Our vegetables will be leek/cucumber soup, pale green squash, creamed fresh corn and cornbread. I’ll probably have a cold glass of buttermilk too! The soup has already simmered and is cooling on the stove ready to be processed in the blender. I’ll make the cornbread later in the afternoon while catching up on how the PGA tournament is going. And the squash and creamed corn will be prepared right before we sit down to eat.

I’ve discovered a way to cook supermarket corn on the cob which is not usually as sweet nor as fresh as that found at farm stands. But if one doesn’t have time to run around, it’ll definitely do. We husk the corn and make sure that there are no silk strands adhering to the cob; then cut the kernels off the cob with a sharp, serrated paring knife. (the kernels like to hop all over the place but are easily picked up on the countertop if you line it with paper towels.) For 3 ears, I melt about a third of a stick of unsalted butter in a skillet and simmer the kernels gently to absorb the butter. Then, I’ll add about a spoonful of agave nectar (sugarless sweetener) which is the secret of this recipe – others might want to add some light brown sugar. As it cooks and combines, I’ll add about 3 tablespoons of cream towards the end and stir it in along with Maldon sea salt and coarse pepper. The corn thickens slightly with the cream in it and I serve the corn in small bowls alongside the rest of the meal.

It’s so satisfying to eat simple meals from fresh vegetable bounty during the summer and in the heat, it’s refreshing to start with a cool cucumber soup! An added treat after our meal is a key lime pie that I made yesterday (G. squeezed and zested the limes!) which is chilling in the refrigerator. I’ve started whipping cream for the topping right before we serve the pie, so we’ll have that to look forward to while we’re eating our “Jimmy Carter” meal for supper tonight.

Here’s hoping that Jimmy Carter’s remaining days will be filled with as much goodwill and heart as he and Rosalynn have extended to so many for so long.