Saturday, June 30, 2012

Grandmama Ruth's Chili Sauce

In the last ten years, I've attempted to re-create Doc's grandmother's "chili sauce" exactly three times times. The third time was a couple of weekends ago when we had a rainy Sunday morning and decided to watch the Methodist Hour and listen to the local gospel channel.

Grandmama Ruth, as Doc called her, and his grandfather moved from Winona to Senatobia when he was in middle school. Apparently, he spent his days helping his grandfather eat. If you're familiar with chow-chow sauce, this is basically the same thing. It's really just hot sauce (like Tiger's or Tabasco) with chunky vegetables with a little more of a sweet/tomato/vinegar taste. It's great on black-eyed peas and spread over corn bread.

It is a good bit of chopping but is fun and goes by quickly if you have two people chopping. The canning process takes awhile depending on how many hands and big pots you have. It's certainly worth the effort especially when you have fresh veggies. Although, in the end, this turned out to be a classic example of a "we" project that quickly turned into a solo affair!

Grandmama Ruth's Chili Sauce

2 home-grown tomatoes
1 jalapeno pepper, disregard seeds
2 green bell peppers
1 red bell pepper
2 white onions
1/2 red onion
1 cup fresh sweet corn
28 oz diced tomatoes with Italian herbs
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Chop tomatoes, jalapenos, red & green bell peppers, red & white onions. Cook mixture, corn, canned tomatoes, brown sugar, vinegar, and spices (except cayenne) in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat for three hours and stirring occasionally. Stir in cayenne.

Put hot mixture in hot, sterilized jars, filling to 1/4 inch from top. Wipe jars clean and cover at once with metal lids and screw on bands (as tightly as possible). This was my set up: mixture in Dutch oven, my two biggest pots to sterilize jars and process. Tea towls helped keep the jars from rattling. I used Doc's grilling tongs and when not in use kept them in the boiling water to keep sterilized. I also found it helpful to have a spatula to help fish out lids and bands.

Process in large stock pot in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Keeps up to a year in the pantry. Refrigerate if possible - this just makes me feel better - especially if you are not sure your cans sealed properly. You should hear "pops" a few minutes after they are sealed. Be sure to tighten lids again before storing.

*Edit: After tasting this we decided that vinegar is a little much. Try using one cup or just add a little brown sugar when you open your jar.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ouiser-ness, Tomatoes and Scout

After a little sleuthing, we finally figured out what happened to our koi fish who made it through our mild winter only to die in March. Apparently, since we found only one skeleton, the bigger koi ate the smaller one and then the bigger one (I suspect) was eaten by this - our precious little cannibal we fondly call Scout. Scout has turned into a true yard dog. If he digs or gets in the flower beds I make him go inside - worse punishment in the world in his book.

He is very interested in our new goldfish - we have 10 and counting down that are replacing the koi in our water garden. As if that's not excitement before 8 a.m. on a Wednesday, Scout figured out that he can see out the kitchen sink widow by placing his front paws on sink's edge (thus knocking down all dishes piled in the sink). Lord help us. It's a good think he's so cute - it's the one survival mechanism he possesses - those eyes just make it impossible to stay mad at him. That and he has the memory of a chipmunk.

My patio garden is coming along: tomatoes, poblano pepper, lemon basil, geraniums and some wild flowers. Not pictured is my herb container with sweet basil, cilantro and parsley. A grape tomato plant is in the side yard in an old trailer tire. Doc told me it would look tacky and I volunteered to spray paint it purple. He now thinks the tire is a great idea. 

Mom and I watched Steel Magnolias last weekend and when I saw the picture above it reminded me of the scene in Dolly Parton's beauty shop when Ouiser goes on a rant about why she grows vegetables in the dirt. I'll try to find it online and add it! 

Saturday morning update - we are down to nine (maybe eight) fish. Scout seems to be able to catch the black ones better than the white and orange ones.  

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Wedding and a Pig Roast

Doc and his classmates took the Step 1 exam during the last two weeks of May. So that left little time to do anything big before M3 year started on Monday, June 4th. They did manage to squeeze in a wedding and a pig roast - fortunately  not the same event!

The wedding was for Erin and Carlisle - they became friends the first semester of med school and started dating sometime during the second semester. Then were engaged around Christmas and married after taking the Step 1! What a time to celebrate. Doc was "chief groomsman" look how handsome he looked in his tux:

Doc and Chandler with Carlisle - they look much better in tuxes than scrubs, in my opinion!

The top of the wedding cake - didn't Savannah do a great job as cake-cutter?

The next day Drew and Katie (the friends with the fairy houses) hosted a pig roast - he cooked it in the back yard for eight hours.

The shirts say: Out of the frying pane and into the fire
Class of 2014 Pig Roast June 3, 2012

benefiting the Jackson Free Clinic
the bellies of the SoM  Class of 2014.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Texts from Frank

When my sister and I were little we called our dad "Frank" like everyone else around us. He thought it was cute. My mother couldn't stand the looks they got in the Mall of Memphis when obviously people were giving sympathetic smiles and thinking: What a nice man to take in that lady and her two twin girls. It ended when Thomas asked one night at the dinner table who Kara and Julia's daddy was - since he called him Daddy and we did not!

All that too say, if you know my father in person you will find the following texts hilarious. If you don't, just know he a wonderful and kind husband, father and grandfather and that he is an exceptional CPA/financial advisor/economics writer with offices in Senatobia and Southaven (had to add that plug for Givens & Givens, CPA)!

I know he doesn't text while driving, but I just found these too funny not to share. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

SHO's Last Fling Before the Ring

We have started summer off with a bang. Memorial Day weekend I went to Nashville for one of my best friends' from college bachelorette party. Sarah Hunt's weekend was so fun and I saw several friends I haven't seen in years. I can't believe we are at the stage where we go five years to eight years without seeing each other!

Me and the bride-to-be - we lived two doors down from each other our freshman year in Martin and instantly hit it off. She's who I got the take-pictures-of-everything bug from (I locked my dorm room door only to keep her and her video camera from coming in at 2 a.m.).

Saturday we went to Escape Day Spa - 8,000 square feet of underground relaxation. This was footage of the ocean on a movie size screen with long cushy chairs to relax in.

Friday night we ate at Virago - a fabulous Asian fusion and sushi place. I had the spicy edamame and "The Bomb" roll with tempura shrimp, avocado and asparagus on the inside, baked jumbo lump crab and spicy mayo on top with a touch of unagi sauce and scallions. Delicious!

This is Jarrett. She dressed me and picked out my food all weekend. Oh how I miss living with her (or more accurately with her closet) - I don't think we've seen each other since my wedding! She, SHO and I shared apartments/door rooms/Tri Delt room our sophomore, junior and senior years at Ole Miss. 

Also, Friday night at the wine bar we went to after dinner - they were playing some sappy music - not exactly what we were looking for in atmosphere. This one is going to the Trident - after some editing - Jarrett, Jane, me and SHO!

This is Saturday night at Cabana from left: Lauren (who we figured out we hadn't seen each other in 8 years but we picked right back up), Rachel, "Buffy," Jane, Whitney and Anna.

Couldn't leave town without seeing two of my favorite Givenses. Ivy and Warren-Jesus. I told him since he looks like Jesus I'm going to start calling him that. We ate at Sky Blue cafe and then they showed me their houses - so cute! Ivy gave me a tour of Vandy - it was beautiful! Ivy had a birthday on June 2 - six, two eyes of blue - happy late birthday!

I can't pass Arlington and not see my precious Martin. He was very interested in my keys. And I loved seeing Bec and Bryan. Their home is so loving and peaceful! I'm sure Becca's not going to like this picture, but I love Martin's expression.

While I was in Nashville, Doc attended Katelyn's 4th birthday party. How precious is this? It was a tea party theme - and all the little girls brought their dolls along.

Katelyn told me that her grandaddies were going to wear tuxes so I told Doc to wear a blazer, tie, dress pants and one of Granddaddy's old hats. He was a little put out with me when he showed up and the other adults - included Walter and Ken - were in shorts and t-shirts. Oops!