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Summer Watermelon Salad Recipe

Calling all watermelon lovers!! This Watermelon Salad is a beauty. I adapted this recipe from one in the June, 2017 issue of “Our State Magazine,” the same magazine that did a wonderful story about Big Mill in their August issue.

Summer Watermelon Salad

Summer Watermelon Salad

Ingredients

  • 6 cups seedless watermelon, cut into cubes
  • 1 sweet yellow bell pepper cut into thin strips
  • 1 sweet onion like Vidalia or 1 red onion, cut into very thin rings
  • 4 ounces of Feta Cheese (or goat cheese), crumbled
  • Juice of 1 lime (about 3 Tablespoons)
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • This is a “make now and eat now” salad. If you dress it, you eat it. You can cut the parts of the salad early, but do not amalgamate it until you are ready to eat it.

  • Cut the watermelon into large chunks and lay it out on a plate lined with paper towels to remove some of the excess water. I do that when I am making watermelon skewers for my B&B guests. It keeps the watermelon from weeping into the dish.

  • Cut watermelon again into cubes about 1½" large. Put cubes of watermelon, pepper strips and onion rings into each salad bowl. Add crumbled cheese. For each salad, cut 1 basil leaf and 1 mint leaf into very thin strips and place on top of each salad.

  • Wisk together the lime juice, honey, salt and pepper.

  • Garnish with an edible flower like a begonia or nasturtium. Dress salad just before serving.

  • Instead of individual salads you can make one large salad if you prefer. Also do not dress this until just before serving.

  • This salad recipe is adapted from a Watermelon Salad in "Our State" magazine.
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In eastern North Carolina, we do many things with watermelon. We also are very picky about where we buy our watermelons. Folks around here swear by Rocky Hock watermelons and cantaloupes. Rocky Hock is a small, rural area of the Chowan River – folks say the sandy soil is the reason these melons are so good.

Click here to read more …

I heard about this new gardening idea – it is called the Rain Gutter Grow System (RGGS). Being a real southern farm girl, I love farming and gardening. Once I read about this innovative growing system, I couldn’t wait to start.

Rain Gutter Grow System Garden at Big Mill B&B in eastern NC | https://chloesblog.bigmill.com/rain-gutter-gardening-big-mill-bed-breakfast/

Chloe’s Rain Gutter Garden in July

Basically the Rain Gutter Grow System is a self-watering container gardening system “on steroids.”  Plants grow in pots or bags in either a gutter or pipe or even a kiddie pool.  To see Chloe’s Rain Gutter Garden click here:

Folks in eastern North Carolina love Purple Martins and I am one of those folks. My dad taught me to treasure these special birds. Every spring he watched for his Martins to return. And now I do the same thing.

Purple Martins are chatty birds and they eat bugs | https://chloesblog.bigmill.com/welcome-purple-martins-eastern-nc/

A Family Squabble

In March, a Purple Martin scout would come and sit on the bird house – these are special houses or gourds. Then in mid-April, if the scout approved of the accommodations, the “family” of Martins would arrive. By this time, you had better have your Martin houses or gourds ready!

The houses must be built to certain specifications – my Martins seem to prefer painted white gourds. They demand a clear flight path and a water source. Of course, they like to have a good supply of bugs. If the Martins arrive early and we have a late freeze, they will suffer because there won’t be any bugs. Click to read more about these spectacular birds.

Okra, Corn and Tomatoes Recipe

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

Okra, Corn and Tomatoes Recipe

Okra, Corn and Tomatoes 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 Corn, Okra and Tomatoes

I’ve Written a Cookbook!

I have always wanted to write a cookbook that told the stories behind the recipes.

Innkeeper at Big Mill BB Chloe Tuttle has new cookbook of Southern Recipes

Sign up to get the free cookbook with your email address below

One time, I took a month off and house-sat for my friends in the Florida Keys. Well, as usual, I was sidetracked with the beauty of the area. I would make a recipe and spend all my time taking photos of the food. I do love to photograph food – it doesn’t whine or wiggle or complain that the picture makes it look fat.

Friend Jody has helped me FINALLY produce a wee digital cookbook that features some of my favorite Southern recipes; we call it Chloe Ann’s Farm Life Recipes. My folks grew up in an area very close to Big Mill B&B called Farm Life, so that seemed like a lovely homage.

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While we were pulling this book together I was happy that I took the pictures. I’m guessing all these recipes will hold memories for those of us who grew up in the South.

I hope you enjoy it and I promise there are more to come.

Chloe Tuttle Big Mill Bed and Breakfast near Greenville NC

 

 

Dig for Fossils in Aurora, North Carolina

Dig the past at the Fossil Museum in Aurora, NC | https://chloesblog.bigmill.com/collecting-fossils-fossil-museum-in-aurora-nc/

Big kids and little kids like to dig in the dirt. When I was growing up on the farm here in eastern North Carolina, if we dug deep enough we could find a fossil. It was so exciting to get those remnants from the past and to know that right where we were digging was once under water. Click to read more about Fossils and the Fossil Museum in Aurora, NC

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.

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

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