Sausage Gravy is a southern comfort food. We southerners have always enjoyed good pork sausage – when I was young, we raised hogs and had hog killings. And we didn’t waste anything, not even grease, fat or lard; hence, our love of sausage gravy. This recipe was given to me by one of my long – term Big Mill B&B guests, Janell.
Easy-to-Make Sausage Gravy
When I was young, we raised enough hogs to feed five families for the entire year. We had pork chops, corned backbone, bacon, lard, fat back, ribs, plenty of good sausage, chitlins and cracklins‘ (yes, we say it like that.) Sausage, hams and shoulders were always hanging in the Smoke House to cure. I still have that wonderful Smoke House here on the farm. Although I especially like Sausage Gravy on cold days, we serve it all year long as a real comfort food. Click to get Chloe’s recipe for Sausage Gravy
Who says Bone Broth has to be boring? This Beef Vegetable Soup made with bones is the best I have ever tasted. The secret – BONES.
This soup uses bone-in chuck roast and oxtails. Another secret ingredient is lard. Our grandmothers were right – lard is great.
Click to get Chloe’s Bone Broth Beef Vegetabl Soup Recipe
Popcorn Sutton was a short, squirrelly dude with a trashy mouth, and I can’t help but be fascinated by his persona.
READER BEWARE: Popcorn had a smart mouth and made some lewd signs depicted in the photos that he sent to me.
Click to see photos and story of Popcorn Sutton – BEWARE – some are lewd.
I just love this Pozole Recipe. Pozole is a Mexican Soup that is usually made with pork; this recipe is made with chicken. It can be made in a crock pot if you’d prefer.
Pozole – Mexican Hominy Soup Recipe - a Gringo Version
- • 1 medium onion, chopped
- • 3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
- • 3 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
- • 1 box (32-ounce) chicken broth
- • 1 large (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
- • 1 can (10-ounce) red enchilada sauce
- • 3 cans (15.5-ounce) hominy, drained
- • Salt and Pepper to taste
- • 2 (10-ounce) cans white meat chicken breast, drained and broken up (I think you could use any cooked chicken that you have – you need 2 cups cooked chicken)
- Sauté onion in olive oil in a large pot until onion is translucent. Add garlic and sauté for a couple minutes more.
Add chicken broth, chopped tomatoes with their juice, enchilada sauce, drained hominy, salt, and pepper. Simmer until hot.
Add chicken and cook at least 30 minutes. It is fine to simmer on the stove or in the crock pot for longer.
Yield: 8 servings or more
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Gene Eastham shared this recipe with me after he cooked it for me!
click to learn all about HOMINY
These tiny bottles of Peppers and Vinegar are a must-have for any southern cooks to serve with greens like collards. They also make great gifts.
Click to learn more about Chloe’s Hot Pepper Vinegar Recipe
This does not need to be refrigerated.
- 1 pound of small, hot red peppers-the peppers must fit into the mouths of the jars
- 1/2 gallon distilled, white 5% vinegar
- 8 small, clear decorative glass jars
1. The small individual 875 ml wine bottles are great for making this pepper vinegar; you can also buy pretty decorative bottles. Be sure to use only clear glass jars. Wash jars and remove labels if there are any. Basically, any jar will work – some folks use Mason jars. I like to use small jars so that I have more bottles of pepper vinegar to give away.
2. Trim any long stems on the peppers. Pack as many peppers as you can get into the jars. Use the handle end of a wooden spoon or a chopstick to stuff the peppers in the jar, being careful not to damage the peppers. If you have sensitive skin, wear gloves.
3. Using a funnel, fill each jar with the distilled vinegar, covering the peppers. Set on a shelf and in a few weeks you will have glorious hot pepper vinegar. You can refill the jars several times.
I know you have seen them off in the distance – a bright splash of color on an old barn. These are “Barn Quilts” and they are a great tribute to our heritage and “the art of rural America.” They honor our long-gone quilters, like my mother Chloe.
Old Tobacco Barn at Moratock Park with “Tobacco Times” Quilt block
Quilt trails are popping up everywhere the U.S.A. and Canada. You can see them all over the mountains of North Carolina and now we have a trail here in eastern North Carolina. The first barn quilt in Martin County (part of the Tar-Roanoke River Trail) was on the Pack House barn at Big Mill Bed & Breakfast. We now have 12 quilts installed in our county – and more to come. Click to see all the Barn Quilts in and around Williamston, NC
Griffin’s Quick Lunch is an Eastern North Carolina Icon
Griffin’s Quick Lunch – Mom and Pop Diner in Eastern NC
Griffin’s Quick Lunch, just like many Mom and Pop diners in eastern North Carolina, is a landmark. Unfortunately, we are losing many of these cafes; Williamston is lucky to still have Griffin’s.
If you go to Griffin’s, you MUST try the Banana Fritters. These were first made famous at Cobb’s Corner Restaurant; sadly, Cobb’s is gone. A relative who worked at Cobb’s gave the recipe for her Banana Fritters to her son; he later bought Griffin’s, so now they serve these sweet delights. I have the recipe, but like the recipes my mother passed down, it is just a list of ingredients. I am still trying to make this recipe work. When I do, I will post it.
Click to see specialties of the house at Griffin’s Quick Lunch…
Biscotti is perfect for those who don’t want a super sweet confection. I like to bundle up a few Biscotti, tie them up with a festive ribbon, and take as a house gift or as my donation to the the Christmas party.
Cranberry Almond Biscotti
The biscotti will keep for several weeks if stored in an airtight container.
- 2½-cups all-purpose flour
- 1¼-cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 large eggs (if mixture is too dry you may need to add another egg)
- 2 egg yolks (reserve the egg whites)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
- 1 teaspoon almond flavoring
- 1½-cup slivered almonds (reserve ¼ cup)
- Zest of one lemon or lime
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Grease a large, heavy cookie sheet.
- Mix flour, sugar and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. In another large bowl mix eggs and egg yolks together. Add vanilla, almond flavoring and 1 ¼ cup of the nuts and the zest to the eggs.
- Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, stirring until just barely blended. You will have to use your hands and perhaps add another egg or you can use some of the reserved egg whites if the mixture is too sticky to form.
- Using greased hands, form dough into three 4-inch by 9-inch (or thereabouts) rolls that are 2 inches thick. Mixture will be sticky and you will have to use your hands. Using a greased spatula, gently place the “rolls” on greased cookie sheet, making sure the rolls are several inches apart.
- Press reserved almonds on top of the shaped dough.
- Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the dough will hold together. Remove from oven and cool slightly. (You must not cool the biscotti too much because they will get too hard to cut). When cooled slightly, gently slide the rolls to a floured cutting board and gently cut through each roll at an angle into 1½- inch pieces. Turn each piece on its side and place on the cookie sheet.
- Bake again for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and turn each piece onto another side. If you prefer harder biscotti, turn biscotti and bake for 5-10 more minutes.
Click to read Chloe’s clever serving suggestions…
Cranberries – no food says Christmas holiday recipe quite like a cranberry. This Cranberry Salad Recipe is one of my favorites.
Cranberry Salad Recipe Spreads Holiday Cheer
- 1 orange, washed
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 12-ounce bag cranberries, washed and picked over
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup celery, diced
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- 1 teaspoon key lime juice or lemon juice
- 3 packages unflavored gelatin (3 tablespoons)
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- Remove stems from orange and cut orange into pieces, leaving peel on. Put orange pieces in a blender with the orange juice and pulverize.
Add cranberries and sugar. Pulse to mix, but do not completely pulverize. (This part of the salad can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator).
Add celery and nuts and lemon juice. Blend again.
Soften gelatin in 1/2 cup cold water. Add 1/2 cup boiling water. Add to cranberry mixture.
Click to see Chloe’s insights into this old family recipe.
Picking peanuts reminds me of growing up in eastern North Carolina. My nephew Barney and I loved to play hide-and-seek in the peanut fields. Back then, the peanuts were dug and stacked on poles to dry. There is a certain earthy smell that is everywhere.
Harry Roberson leaning on his Peanut Stacks in Gold Point, NC, circa 1940 (Thanks to Hank Roberson for the use of his grandfather’s photo)
We loved to hide behind these stacks and to climb them, much to the dismay of my parents. All the children in the neighborhood joined us and we stayed out until way after dark. Sadly, the peanut stacks are gone. Click to see video of Peanuts being Picked