Cooking with Lady Smokey: Summer Beauties

Besides ART, of course, my favorite gifts are those of the food variety. Having been raised in the South, by a Mother who spends a large percentage of her time caring and cooking for others, I am unable to show up at someone’s house empty-handed. I just can’t do it. The couple of times I was forced to do so, I felt like a complete failure as a human being. Not that I ever judge others in the same light, this is purely self-imposed. But what I’ve learned with age, is that no one really needs more stuff. So, food is always a nice gift to take someone, especially something you’ve baked or local fruit and veggies that are in season. This summer, I seem to be on the receiving end of a few of these sorts of gifts. I’m a lucky girl.

Dolan and our buddy Chris were recently in Nashville for the awesome Porter Flea, where I was able to finally see some of these amazing new Dolan Geiman originals in person…

And lucky for us, Dolan and Chris stumbled across a Mennonite farm along the way and brought us a gallon of freshly-picked strawberries!

They were delicious! Grant made me these Strawberry Pancakes the very next morning.

Oops, I only had this phone photo. I was too anxious to eat these!

I then froze a big bag of strawberries that we can enjoy all summer long. To freeze them, I washed and sorted them, placed them all in a single layer on a cookie sheet, stuck it in the freezer for about an hour to get them partially frozen and then placed them all in a freezer bag together and back in the freezer. This process prevents the berries from freezing together in a big mess and allows the individual berries to keep their form a little better.

Speaking of strawberries… we met my family in the mountains of North Carolina a couple weeks ago and my Mom brought us some of her amazing Strawberry Freezer Jam!

This was a beautiful accompaniment for these Parmesan Basil Biscuits. We always have beautiful basil plants in our garden and so we are always searching for more ways to enjoy fresh basil. These were delicious. And strawberries and basil go great together.

Parmesan Basil Biscuits
• 3 cups All Purpose Unbleached White Lilly Flour
• 2 Tbsp Baking Powder
• 1 tsp Sea Salt
• ½ tsp Black Pepper
• 1 cup Parmesan Reggiano
• ¼ cup chopped fresh Basil
• 10 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
• 1 1/4 cups Buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Mix the salt and baking powder with the flour in a mixing bowl and then add the cheese and basil. Mix well and then add the butter. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the butter pieces are a little larger than a pea. Work quickly so that the heat of your hands won’t melt the butter. Pour in all of the buttermilk and, using light pressure, fold the mixture a few times until it holds together. Do not overmix.

In order to make light biscuits, it is important to work the dough as little as possible. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and fold it quickly and gently 4 or 5 times or until it begins to be almost homogenized. Sprinkle a little flour under the dough so that it won’t stick to the board and lightly dust the top of the dough so that it won’t stick to the board and lightly dust the top of the dough so that it won’t stick to the rolling pin. Roll the dough out to about 1/2-inch thickness. Cut the dough into 2-inch rounds, place on an ungreased baking sheet, and bake in the preheated oven for about 11-12 minutes.

During a recent music house party my friend Allison and I had, this awesome guy showed up with a big tray of peaches from his family’s farm in Georgia. He was the talk of the party with these beautiful little treats. What a thrill it must be to get to share one of the delights of the summer with so many people every day.

I’ve always been very partial to S.C. peaches (it is, after all, one of our only exports I am truly proud of) but, I have to say that these Georgia peaches are pretty darn tasty. His business, The Peach Truck, makes it possible for all of us Nashvillians to enjoy good Georgia peaches all summer. It’s been great to see these on menus all around town, too.

Sweet GA Brown sandwich featuring GA peaches on a pulled pork sandwich at Edley’s BBQ in East Nashville.

I love a good peach just on it’s own but also combined with blueberries. I’ve been a fan of this particular union since I was a child so you can imagine my excitement when my Dad drove up from Louisiana for the weekend with this box of fresh picked blueberries!

So I made this Blueberry Peach Pie. Nothing fancy, just simple. I allowed the fruit to be the superstar that it is.

Blueberry Peach Pie
• 1 pie Dough Ball
• Peaches, peeled and sliced
• Blueberries, cleaned and sorted
• ¾ cup Raw Cane Sugar
• ½ tsp Salt
• 2 Tbsp All Purpose Unbleached Flour

For Crumbles:
• 1 cup All Purpose Unbleached Flour
• ½ cup Raw Cane Sugar
• ½ cup Unsalted Butter
• 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425. Roll your pie dough ball (Please never use store bought, make your own, it is easy!) out and place in pie plate. Scallop the edges and place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Use enough peaches and blueberries to fill the pie shell, leaving room for the crumbles on top. The ration is really flexible, depending on what you have. I think I used 3 big peaches and 1-2 cups blueberries. Place fruit, sugar, and flour in a bowl and stir. Pour into pie shell. Mix the ingredients for the crumble topping in a bowl with your hands. Sprinkle the crumbles on top. Bake for 15 minutes on 425 and then reduce to heat to 350 and bake for another 35-40 minutes.

And I made some Berry Scones for him.

Berry Scones
• 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
• 1 cup all purpose unbleached White Lily flour
• 3 Tbsp raw cane sugar
• 2 tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp sea salt
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 4 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into ½” pieces
• ½ cup buttermilk
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 egg
• ½ cup fresh berries (I used a combination of blueberries and raspberries.)
• Brown Sugar to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Using your hands, slowly and gently mix the butter into the flour mixture, pinching with your fingertips until the mixture resembles a coarse meal and there are no lumps larger than a pea. Mix the buttermilk with the egg and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into the flour mixture and stir gently to combine.

Using your hands, press the dough into a mass. Gently add berries into the dough. Turn the dough onto a dough board. Form dough into a round disk about 2” high. Cut into pieces, like a pie. I like to make 6 larger ones but you could also cut into smaller triangles. Sprinkle the tops with brown sugar. Bake 10-14 minutes. Allow a few minutes to cool on a wire rack. Scones are best when eaten right away but if you have some left, store in an airtight container and I would advise reheating before serving leftovers.

And speaking of beauties…

Elizabeth Cook, Nikki Lane & Carey Kotsionis, and Sarah Gayle Meech. Various times over the past few years.

Lately, there have been so many great new releases from women in country music- such as Miranda Lambert, Kellie Pickler, Kasey Musgraves, Pistol Annies, Ashley Monroe, Brandy Clark, Kree Harrison, just to name a few- and some amazing articles and stories on the new women of country music like this one in the Nashville Scene from our friend Jewly Hight and this NPR story by Ann Powers. The exciting thing about this is that I see this unfolding on a microscopic level, too, in our Nashville neighborhood. There are so many new young exciting women who are singing, playing, and recording new music steeped with real country music influences. I’ve talked about many of them before such as- Elizabeth CookCaitlin RoseJulie LeeSarah Gayle Meech, and Nikki Lane.

Taylor Brashears and Kelsey Waldon. February 2013.

Now there is an even newer group of interesting, diverse women just finding their voices. It is thrilling to watch as they all step into the spotlight to share their talents. Just to name a few, women like Kelsey WaldonTaylor BrashearsNora Jane StruthersEmma SwiftSamantha Harlow, and Molly Martin, who has a brand new album that was released a couple of weeks ago.

Molly Martin with band at The Basement May 2012.

Currently living in Nashville, Molly is from southern Mississippi and her music is a bit more country-folk leaning with a big voice that is reminiscent of Bonnie Raitt. Her songs are well crafted and delivered with lots of emotion. You can buy her new album, Somewhere Between,here, as well as posters with original artwork from Nashville printmaker, Laura Baisden.

I’ll close with this little video of Molly singing her new song, Greyhound.

Happy Summer Y’all!