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Luscious Candied Figs Are the Food of Kings

One of the great things about late summer is that we have luscious figs. And when they ripen, they all ripen.  I have 8 little fig trees so I am always looking for new fig recipes. Friend Nancy gave me this recipe for dried figs. I fiddled with it and came up with Candied Figs.

Luscious figs fresh from the orchard at Big Mill Bed and Breakfast near Greenville, NC

For Chloe’s Candied Figs Recipe, click here.

Every summer I grow Basil and it thrives here in eastern North Carolina.What can you do with all this basil? Well, I make Pesto and freeze it to enjoy all year.

Basil is easy to grow and fresh Basil is perfect for making Pesto Genovese | https://chloesblog.bigmill.com/pesto-genovese-recipe-innkeeper-eastern-NC

Fresh Basil from Chloe’s Cook’s Garden

Pesto will keep a long time in the freezer. It can be frozen in ice cube trays — handy if you only need a small amount of pesto.

Basil is also easily rooted if you want to try to keep a pot inside over the winter. I just put a stem in a glass of water, then plant in soil once it shows roots. Click to get Chloe’s Pesto Genovese Recipe

Did you know that some flowers can be lunch?

Edible flowers add a certain pop to any meal. They are easy to grow |

Edible Flowers are all around you

I grabbed my Edible Flower book and wandered around the yard, tasting. I eat whatever is in the yard that I KNOW is edible, including  pecans, blackberries, mulberries, blueberries, tomatoes, wild cherries, figs and cucumbers.

Now I have added Edible Flowers to my “Okay to eat” list. I don’t use these flowers as a main course – they are too pretty blooming in the yard! I pick them as garnish and they add a special pop to any dish. Click to see what edible flowers grow all around you.

I love growing okra – it reminds me of late summer on the farm

With all the great summer produce, sometimes we just want to make something that takes us back to the farm and to Grandmother’s cooking. In coastal North Carolina, this recipe is an expected summer treat.

Okra, Corn and Tomatoes – A Southern Recipe

Okra, Corn and Tomatoes – A Southern Recipe

Ingredients

  • • 1 large sweet onion or 2 small onions, peeled and chopped
  • • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • • 2 cups fresh, tender okra (about a double hand full)
  • • 6 large ripe tomatoes (or a 28-ounce cans whole, peeled tomatoes - canned tomatoes are fine)
  • • 3-4 ears of fresh, mature corn
  • • 1 teaspoon sea salt or regular salt
  • • Pepper, if desired
  • • ½ cup water

Instructions

  • Melt butter in a large saucepan. Cook chopped onion for a few minutes until transparent, not browned.

  • While the onions are cooking, blanch the tomatoes for half a minute. Drain and cool tomatoes. Peel, remove the cores and cut into chunks, making sure that you save the juice. If using canned tomatoes, cut the tomatoes into large pieces, saving the juice.

  • Wash the okra. Cut stem ends off and cut into ½ inch round pieces.

  • Shuck corn and cut corn off the cob. Older or mature corn works best for this recipe.

  • Add the tomatoes and juice, okra, corn, salt, pepper and water to the cooked onions. Cook covered over medium to low heart for one hour or until the ingredients are all done.

  • Serve with homemade cornbread.

  • Yield: 7-8 one-cup servings
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Click to read more about this Southern Recipe …

No matter what you think about bears, when someone says, “I saw a bear,” you listen.

Big Mill Bed and Breakfast innkeeper blog post talks about the Black Bear Festival every June. Black Bears can be seen through the low lying areas of eastern North Carolina | @bigmill | www.chloesblog.bigmill.com/black-bear-festival-plymouth-nc

Bears in North Carolina are usually black with a cinnamon color muzzle

Increasingly, we are beginning to see bears here in eastern North Carolina. They are mostly in the mountains and coastal regions – bears love our coastal pocosin habitat.

In one of the articles I read, eastern North Carolina was said to have the highest Black Bear population of all the states. A 500-pound bear is not at all uncommon and bear biologist, Colleen Olfenbuttel, confirmed that they are seeing “an increased frequency of 700+ pound bears.”

Click to read more about Black Bears and the Black Bear Festival in eastern NC

When I was growing up we had mules: Big Red, Little Red, Rock, Kit and Mary. There were other mules before my time, but I don’t remember their names.

Big Mill B+B is a Farmstead Inn, located in Williamston in Eastern North Carolina. The old mule barn has been converted into the Mule Room Suite. It's perfect for long-term guests who want all the comforts of home - including a full kitchen. See more photos and read about the newly renovated Mule Room on Chloe's Blog. | @bigmill.com

The living room in the Mule Room Suite has great views of the lakes

We have spiffed up our mule Mary’s quarters and we call her home the Mule Room Suite. Much discussion went into what to call it. A good friend wanted me to call it a shed, but on this farm sheds only have 3 sides. Click to read more about the Mule Room — past and present …

The Hen and The Hog Restaurant in Halifax, NC, is a wonderful surprise.

Looking for fun dining in Halifax, NC? The Hen and The Hog is a NC farm to table restaurant specializing in edgy southern comfort food and an easy day trip from Big Mill Bed and Breakfast in Williamston NC. | @bigmill | chloesblog.bigmill.com/hen-and-hog-gourmet-restaurant-halifax-nc

I love to explore local gems and this one is perfect. The restaurant is located in an old hardware store and the old floors remain – no trendy marble tiles here. But don’t be fooled – this is an upscale place; it just retains its local character. Read more about Hen & Hog

This Recipe for Banana Bread is a Guest Favorite

Sometimes it seems all banana breads taste the same. Well, not this banana bread.

Banana Bread with a Secret Ingredient

Banana Bread with a Secret Ingredient

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup corn oil
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup mashed over-ripe banana (1 VERY RIPE banana)
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 mini loaf pans with cooking spray with flour like Baker's Joy.

  • Whisk the egg in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the sugar, corn oil, vanilla, milk and stir. Stir in the mashed bananas.

  • Stir the flour into the banana mixture. Add chopped nuts.

  • In a small bowl mix the Tablespoon of flour and the blueberries until berries are coated with flour. This will keep berries from "bleeding" in the bread. Gently stir the blueberries into the bread mixture.

  • Fill loaf pans about 1/2 to 3/4 full; don't be tempted to overfill, the loaves will be ugly.

  • Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until a skewer or straw inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool on rack and serve with butter or cream cheese.

  • Yield: 2 small loaves
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Did You Spot the Secret Ingredient?

My recipe for Banana Bread is a wee bit different from other recipes you’ll find.

The secret:  Use VERY RIPE bananas, almost fermented. And you know how good fermented foods are for you. Click to read more about why the secret ingredient is so good for you …

Spiced Mulled Cider Recipe

Hot, Spicy Apple Cider Warms the Heart

Warm mulled cider is a great way to please a crowd on chilly days. It is easy to make and doesn't cost much. A great way to start the holidays! @bigmill | https://chloesblog.bigmill.com/spiced-mulled-cider-recipe

Spiced Hot Apple Cider tastes great and you can kick it up with a shot of brandy

A great way to welcome fall and the chill in the air is to make up some hot, spicy cider. If you live where apples are grown, then you can use fresh-pressed cider.

The rest of us can pick up some great cider in the store and create our own brewing spices. North Carolina apples are the best – I see a road trip coming!  Click to get the easy spiced apple cider recipe!

The most easterly Barn Quilt on North Carolina’s Quilt Trail is on the Pack House barn at Big Mill B&B in Williamston, NC. I just love it!

The eastern-most barn quilt trails in North Carolina comprise the Tar River Quilt Trail. The most easterly barn quilt is on the Pack House barn at Big Mill Bed & Breakfast near Greenville NC @BigMill | www.chloesblog.bigmill.com/big-mill-nc-barn-quilt-tar-river-quilt-trail

Barn Quilt in eastern NC at Big Mill B&B in Williamston

I used to go to Quilting Bees with my mother when I was a child. I would play under the quilt all by myself. There were no other children.

The ladies made such beautiful works of art. Mother would sew the pieces of fabric together and let me help. When it was all pieced together, we put it in the frame along with the backing and the batting. Then Mother’s friends would come for several days until the quilt was quilted. My father used to make cotton and wool batts for his mother to quilt. I wish I had gotten him to show me how.

In 1976, everyone had caught Bicentennial Fever and felt patriotic so Mother (also named Chloe) made a quilt of red, white and blue. Click to read more about Barn Quilts and Miss Chloe’s LaMoyne Star …