2 c. sifted flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. shortening
3/4 c. milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a cooking sheet. Sift flour in a large bowl. Add baking powder and salt and nix with a fork. Cut in shortening until mixture looks like “meal”. Stir with a fork to moisten ingredients. If necessary pour in rest of milk. The mixture should round up into a ball (too much stirring makes a tough biscuit).

Place dough on a lightly floured board. Roll the ball around gently 3 to 4 times to coat lightly with flour. Knead 10 times.

Lightly roll the dough into a rectangle 7 x 12 inch. Spread with softened butter.

Mix 5 tablespoons sugar and 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon together and sprinkle over dough. Starting at the long side roll up like a jelly roll. Pinch ends to seal. Cut into 12 slices. Bake cut side up 10 to 15 minutes.

Pumpkin Seed Brittle

1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (procedure follows)
For toasted pumpkin seeds:
1/2 cup fresh pumpkin seeds, unrinsed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

In a heavy skillet combine the sugar and the water, cook the mixture over moderately low heat, stirring and washing down the sugar crystals with a brush dipped in cold water until the sugar is dissolved, and simmer it, undisturbed, tilting and rotating the skillet, until it is a deep caramel colour. Stir in the pumpkin seeds, stirring until they are coated well, and turn the mixture out onto a buttered sheet of foil, spreading it evenly. Let the brittle cool completely and break it into pieces.

To toast pumpkin seeds:
In a bowl toss the seeds with the oil and salt to taste and on an ungreased baking sheet bake them in the middle of a preheated 250?F. oven, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour to 1 1/4 hours, or until they are golden and crisp. (Alternatively the prepared seeds may be spread in a microwave-safe glass baking dish, microwaved at high power (100%), stirring after every minute, for 4 minutes, and microwaved at medium power (50%), stirring after every 2 minutes, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until they are crisp.) Makes 1/2 cup.

Pumpkin Carving Pictures

Helen, GA

Today was the day we finally went to Helen. After first hearing about the Bavarian town in the North Georgia mountains, we had put a trip at the top of our list. We picked an absolutely gorgeous weekend and the drive was wonderful.

A small surprise along the way was the birthplace of the Cabbage Patch Kids, Babyland General Hospital, in Cleveland, GA. Having lived through the craze it brought back some fond memories of the fights that used to break out in the toy store around Christmas.

The traffic going into Helen was as we had heard about, slow and heavy. We passed so many Bavarian style strip malls on the way in we weren’t really sure if we reached it. As soon as you pull into Downtown Helen though you know you have arrived in the right place.

Helen, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the Chattahoochee River, is a ?? re-creation of an alpine village complete with cobblestone alleys and old-world towers.?This Northeast Georgia village has a rich history dating back to the Cherokee Indians and their burial mounds, also early settlers who mined for gold and cut virgin timber. Now Helen celebrates its thirtieth year as a mountain community with a touch of Bavaria. Click here for more on Helen history (very interesting…)

Tina and I enjoyed some Wienerschnitzel, Red Cabbage, and Oktoberfest Bier at the Alt Heidelberg, the most authentic restaurant in Helen. Our giant der Graukopf server was about as Bavarian as they come. After dinner we went window shopping and picked up a few things. We of course hunted down the only Scandinavian Import store in Helen, and bought some new flag stickers for the car. Along our walk we ended up back at the horse and carriage we passed on the way in, and took a tour of the town. After our tour we finished things up at the bridge over the Chattahoochee.

As we were leaving town we stopped at the water mill churned ice cream store that we had marked as our last trip of the day on the way in. The proximity of the store to Helen evidentally makes it close earlier than any other place. As we headed on down the road we stumbled across Doodle’s and quaint little soda shop in Nachoochee Valley. I had a Peppermint Double Scoop in a Waffle Cone and Tina had the Coffee Single in a cone. Unfortunately, I ended up wearing half of it on the way home due to a faulty waffle bottom, but I got most of it in my mouth.

As we pulled back into Alpharetta we looked forward to our next trip.

On to the pictures

Sweet Tea on a Sunday Afternoon

After getting back from a business trip to Dallas, I was having southern sweet tea withdrawls…I made a pot of “Andy’s Famous Sweet Tea”. Here’s the recipe:

8 cups of cold water
4 tea bags (Lipton Iced Tea Regular or Luzianne’s)
1.5 cups of sugar
1 pinch of baking soda to make it dark and remove any remaining sucrose bitterness

Put the water and tea bags in a pot on the stove and allow to come to a boil. Do not continue to boil, remove the pot from the burner, remove the tea bags and as it is cooling add the sugar. Make sure to add the sugar while it is still hot, otherwise you will not get southern sweet tea…it will taste more like the yankee stuff. Stir the tea until the sugar is dissolved. You can then either add cold water and ice and serve, or if you are like me and want it a bit stronger just add lots of ice per serving.

Pour into a glass and enjoy on your front or back porch.

(you are not allowed to shoot trespassers while drinking my tea)


Derby Benedictine Sandwiches

1 large cucumber
1 small onion, quartered
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash hot pepper sauce
1 drop green food coloring
Sliced white bread

Peel cucumber and slice in half lengthwise; remove seeds with a small spoon. Place cucumber in a food processor and pulse about 5 times, until cucumber is minced. Place cucumber into a small glass mixing bowl. Place onion in the food processor, pulsing until it is finely chopped. Add onion to cucumber. Add cream cheese and stir well with a spatula. Add salt, hot sauce, and food coloring. With a round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut rounds out of bread slices. Spread a small amount of mayonnaise on bread rounds. Spread cheese mixture on one half the rounds and top with another round.

Kentucky Hot Brown

1 1/2 tablespoons salted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for garnish
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper
14 oz. sliced roasted turkey breast, slice thick
4 slices of Texas toast (crusts trimmed)
4 slices of bacon
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced in half

In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined to form a thick paste or roux. Continue to cook roux for 2 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk heavy cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2-3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino-Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.

For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 oz. turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and two toast points and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast. Pour half of the sauce over the dish, completely covering it. Sprinkle with additional cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove and cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley and serve immediately.

The Ultimate Derby Julep

8 to 10 mint leaves
1 Sprig of mint for garnish
1 Tablespoon sugar, more or less to taste
1 1/2 Ounce clean fresh Kentucky spring water
3 Ounce premium Bourbon
Crushed ice

Step 1:
Rinse the mint and don’t dry it. The water helps flavor the cocktail.

Step 2:
Put the leaves in a 12 ounce cocktail glass and pour the sugar on top. Muddle them together with a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon.

Step 3:
When the leaves and wet sugar begin to turn to paste, add water and bourbon, and stir with a fork until the sugar dissolves.

Step 4:
Top with crushed ice and garnish with the sprig of mint.