I've published two cookbooks, "Emily's Kitchen" and "The Country Gourmet". I'm currently working on my third..."Cooking Down a Country Road". Cooking is a passion, not a drudgery for me and I love to create new recipes. I love home canning and usually put up about 600-700 jars of fruits, veggies, jams, jellies, chutneys and various sauces per year. A lot is from my garden but a trip to the farm stands always gives me plenty of ambition to stock up for the winter. I count myself lucky to have a husband who is ALWAYS ready to try a new recipe and who is honest enough to tell me "it wouldn't break my heart if you didn't make this again". That doesn't happen often though and he has really helped me with encouragement and constructive criticism. I pride myself on making everything possible from scratch including seasonings as most prepackaged and convenient foods are loaded with sodium, chemicals and preservatives. My herb and veggie gardens provide us healthy alternatives and joy.
My favorite things to cook
We love venison and try to stock our freezer every hunting season. We're lucky that Alabama has a long season and we usually process up to 14 deer per year. Venison provides us with lean red meat without the cholesterol and fat of beef. Every year we host 2-3 "Beast Feasts" where my husband and I cook wild game of every description and serve 10+ different dishes to an average of 50 guests. These gatherings are held outdoors and each one has at least one or two new dishes for our friends to sample. Summertime brings me the chance to thrive in the kitchen doing home canning. Nothing is more satisfying than gazing at my cabinets loaded with home canning ready for the winter months.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Every year we have a "Christmas" dinner with the "kids" we've claimed as our own. This dinner is early December so as not to interfere with biological families and I really blow it out with special dishes. The table is set formally and gives us all a chance to be together and share the traditional style dinner in a world where everything is fast paced. I think it's important that today's generation gets a chance to experience a dinner where old values are cherished.
My cooking triumphs
The best recipe I've created so far is Prime Rib Soup using the bones from a prime rib roast. My favorite recipe is the one I'll create next. Each year I enter a lot of home canning at the Alabama National Fair (28 years and counting...) and so far I've won well over 800 ribbons plus 4 Best of Fair. In 2008 I created a recipe called "Honeysuckle Jelly" made from the blooms of the honeysuckle that surrounds our country home. It tastes like the honeysuckle smells.
My cooking tragedies
Stuffed squid. Enough said...