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Sage Hill’s Patriotic Kitchen…..



Well…Yes…if one thinks about it and depending on what patriotism actually means…and, what “salad” actually means….hmmm, this could be deep!!
Fear not, I’ll explain…

Although the ancient Greeks and Romans did not use the word “salad,” they enjoyed a variety of dishes with raw vegetables dressed with vinegar, oil, and herbs. Pliny the Elder in Natural History, for instance, reported that salads (acetaria) were composed of those garden products that “needed no fire for cooking and saved fuel, and which were a resource to store and always ready” (Natural History, XIX, 58). They were easy to digest and were not calculated to overload the senses or stimulate the appetite.

The medical practitioners Hippocrates and Galen believed that raw vegetables easily slipped through the system and did not create obstructions for what followed, therefore they should be served first. Others reported that the vinegar in the dressing destroyed the taste of the wine, therefore they should be served last. This debate has continued ever since.

The history goes back even earlier, but trust me, you do not want to go there!!

It seems to me, in many ways salad has become an escape from too many choices and sometimes no choices…of the best foods.

I find salads to be intriguing, works of art and if eaten in a certain manner….an experience of Culinary Bliss!

Example….the oldest history of this dish explains the layering aspect…(not tossed or mixed)

It does open up a plethora of flavors when eaten from a layered design…

In my culinary dictionary, Iceberg lettuce is the worst example of edible greens…it has no flavor, no nutritional value and almost impossible to digest.
Romaine, Butter Crunch, Corn Salad Mix and a host of other greens are much better choices….Romaine being at the top for nutritional value…

Always break/tear the lettuce/greens instead of chopping….the latter cuts off or slows down the release of flavor and nutrients.

Today’s choice….
(*each of these ingredients are a layer-separated by a light layer of your greens)

Romaine…small amount
Asparagus spears,cut on a diagonal
Sweet onion/half moon slices (cauliflower can substitute)
Carrots or kale stalks/cut on a diagonal
Peaches/slices/fresh or canned
Sweet Yellow peppers
Walnuts or pecans…I like the flavor the pecan imparts….

As you layer sprinkle lightly with Sea Salt, fresh ground pepper and  a light dash of your favorite dressing…Poppy-seed is excellent on any salad with fruit.
Also Olive oil with extracts of orange and other flavors are delicious.

Now comes the most important step of having the ultimate salad experience!

Do Not take your fork and mix/toss all these ingredients…use your fork to spear down inside the layers….with each bite you will get a different and distinct taste/flavor….this opens and tantalizes your taste-buds, activates your digestive system to standing at attention….

If possible eat without bread or crackers….if not possible…toasted French bread would be a good flavor match…crispy and good!

All foods have a complimentary companion…get that basic understanding and the kitchen will be more inviting!

Tis the season…design your own culinary favorites and simplify!



The best way to understand the real meaning of Easter would be from Jesus, in His three words … the new covenant.

Most all of us adapt to our current day forms of celebrations…….
Maybe that is OK as long as we don’t forget and fail to teach the real history, how and why the holiday came to be.

My oldest son loved holidays with all the trimmings…so naturally he enjoyed his basket and his little brothers basket! (circa 1966) his brother was a preemie of 5 months…no photo’s until his 6 month check-up.


A master-piece by Bradley and Jack…grandsons..about 2009 I think.

May your Easter Sunday be blessed with love and truth….

Roll Tide

There was a time when the dinner table served a dual purpose, one… to feed hungry folks and two, to discuss any and all important issues of the day.
In the south, football and all things pertaining to, certainly qualifies for that spot!
Nothing speaks football in the south better than Tailgating…I’ve heard it said in fact…it is akin to a military exercise!!

I do know these two truths are high on the event calendar.

Alabama has its RV Army, whose troops converge by the thousands on Crimson Tide games. They come with coolers, grills, TV’s enough food for …well, an army! ( I have seen the kitchen table a few times)

Tennessee  has its Volunteer Navy, a fleet of various vessels that collects in equally impressive  numbers around Neyland Stadium…one of only two college football venues accessible by water.

So, there you go folks…gather round the dinner table, give thanks to Almighty God for your freedom to yell…Roll Tide!

Patriotic Kitchen

Sage Hill’s Patriotic Kitchen is more than a place to cook and eat…although that is a priority…most days…..It’s also a place where honest, hard working people, dedicated to love of God, family, and country, come together to feast…not only with food, but with love and respect for all those whom have gone before us…paved the way…paid the price….left a legacy worthy of carrying on.
My patriotic kitchen has birthed good music, blues, country, and gospel…
Football is sometimes king and the southeastern conference is the kingdom….
In my Patriotic kitchen age matters…yes ma’am…no ma’am…please and thank you.
You can wear shoes or not, no one cares…but you will say grace and salute the flag…for you see…my Patriotic kitchen is a state of “Amazing” grace.

Season of the Pumpkin

Around our house October and November mean lots of pumpkins, big fat orange ones, and dainty, and not so dainty, white ones, fat, skinny, perfect and totally warped ones. I never ever have enough pumpkins to satisfy my never-ending use for them. Of course the pumpkin isn’t the only autumn fruit/vegetable that is worthy of attention in the colorful scheme of this most loved part of the year.
Gourds, corn stalks, and the different array of apples, from green to yellow to red and a combination of all the previous mentioned colors, it really is the most colorful season.

We enjoy using the colorful selection as an inviting grouping on the front porch, a lovely selection of pumpkins on the farm table in the dining room is very fitting.
A few scattered around the gardens provide a little touch of color to a somewhat fading look by this time of year.

And…of course we must not forget the Jack-O-Lantern.

What would October be without that special face sitting by the door greeting everyone who passes by or comes to call.

One of my very favorite uses for the pumpkin is in the kitchen of course.

For the family meal at Thanksgiving I use a medium size “Sugar Pumpkin”…(best for cooking)as a serving bowl for our favorite stew.

Sugar Pumpkins

The options are many, just use your imagination for the stew.

Cut the top from a medium size Sugar Pumpkin, scoop out at least half of the pulp/without leaving the shell too thin. Set aside to use in the stew.

In a large deep pan place the pumpkin in boiling water, about 1/3 of the way up on the pumpkin.
Place in a very hot oven and cook until all the water is gone or until the pumpkin is just starting to get soft.(don’t overcook)

Remove from oven, let sit for a few minutes to cool slightly.

Sprinkle the inside with salt and pepper or your favorite spices.

Saute’ the firm parts of the pumpkin pulp, season according to your other ingredients. Stir all together and add to the pumpkin shell. Put it back in the oven and cook about 20 minutes, just enough to blend the flavors.

Makes a lovely centerpiece for the table and delicious too!

Enjoy this season, however you celebrate …it is ever so special.

Christmas As Seen Through The Eyes Of Dickens~

The Christmas Story…according to the Christmas Bible story, Christ came down to earth from heaven to be born at Christmas, because of his love for all humanity.

Christmas Through the Eyes of Dickens~(1812-1870)
( a cry for social justice )

Christmas in Scrooge’s day…in 1843 Christmas was much less commercial. Many people went to church, and many followed the ancient tradition of making merry. however, nothing was allowed for or geared to the working class or poor classes of people
We all know the heart-tugging story of  “A Christmas Carol” by- Charles Dickens…what many may not know are some of the historical facts that inspired this classic.

The English Christmas was at a low ebb when Dickens was a youngster.
his desire was to make it understood and to change how the working poor lived from day to day. Dickens loved his city and spent his life wandering the streets, by the time he was 15 he know it well…yet never stopped exploring and writing about its restless energy.

Much of today’s London was built in the 19th Century,
it was full of dark alleys and lanes, the streets were crowded, noisy, and very dirty.
Almost anything was bought and sold, the atmosphere was more akin to a modern third-world city than modern London. Many of the vendors were children-there were no child labor laws such as we have today. Many worked as young as 5-sweeping the streets.

The growth of the city exploded in the 1800’s and became know as “the Fever-Patch.” It was the first big industrial city in the world, and it was dirty, extremely polluted and unhealthy. disease spread quickly…there were four cholera epidemics in Dickens’s lifetime. plus regular outbreaks of typhoid, scarlet fever,, and other ills. Two hundred open sewers ran into the Thames River…and more than half of the London population took their water from it for cooking, laundry, bathing and drinking.

“A Christmas Carol” was written in 1843, as was the first printed Christmas cards. However in 1843 many very old traditions were still being celebrated. Some dated from ancient pagan midwinter festivals-which were celebrated long before the first Christmas. The latter part of the 1840’s began to see signs of new customs and ways that brought London out of the disgusting conditions it had become famous for.

The year after ” A Christmas Carol” was published , nine London theaters staged versions of this book…it has been a favorite of stage and screen ever since. The classic being the 1951 version.

After the success of ” A Christmas Carol” Dickens wrote a Christmas story each year for the next several years, including The Chimes,(1844) and The cricket On The Hearth (1845)-none were as popular as A Christmas Carol. It added a new word to the English language (“a Scrooge” is a miser…very few stories have done that.

Today’s Christmas is commercial in a way Dickens could not have dreamed of…but in part and thanks to him, we still feel that Christmas should be a time for family warmth, wholesome fun, kindness to others and especially children…his vision lives on~ RIP Charles Dickens.

Merry Christmas~

The Sage Hill Farms Family~ 


salmon patties
My first memory of these delicious little cakes go back to the late 1940’s… the WWII years when food was carefully chosen to get the most for the needs at hand….. shopping was not the event that we know today….many things were scarce are totally unavailable….. most people grew/raised their own food…..most men were in the war , away from home, farm, family….. A good memory from a not so good time.
My mother made a sauce of catsup, mustard, and pickle relish…when we had all ingredients…one would often be the choice…. a hot biscuit, sliced onion and the salmon patty was my favorite .

  • 1 (14.75 ounce) can salmon, undrained and flaked
  • 1 slice of bread, shredded
  • 3 Tbsp chopped green onion, including the green parts
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped dill weed, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
  • Several turns of freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp grape-seed oilBlend all ingredients with a wooden spoon until easily to form a patty cake by hand.
    Heat a griddle pan slightly oiled and fry on med heat until brown and crispy or less cooking if crisp isn’t desired.

These are a childhood favorite…they can be served on a bed of greens with a spicy Cajun sauce …. Remoulade.. recipe below

On a bun as a burger with your choice of toppings…thick sliced onion and green tomato are yummy! or red tomato!

Served alongside your egg and asparagus brunch dining…

Or…one of my favorite ways is snacking while on the move….

A hot cup of herbal tea (or coffee) a couple of patty cakes and a walk through the gardens mid morning or early evening…..Oh yeah!!

Remoulade Sauce…

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup Creole Mustard
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil ( I cut back to 1/2 cup and use an alternative oil…grapeseed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely minced celery
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons minced green onion
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


  • In a nonreactive mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, mustard, vinegar, horseradish, 3/4 teaspoon of the salt, the paprika, cayenne, and black pepper. On a cutting board, mash the garlic and the remaining 1/4 of salt together, using the side of a chef’s knife to form a paste. Add the garlic paste to the bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Combine the oils in a measuring cup with a pour spout, and while whisking continuously, drizzle the oil blend very slowly into the mustard mixture until a smooth, thick emulsion is formed. Whisk in the celery, green onion, mayonnaise, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce. Chill thoroughly before using; the remoulade will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

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This Last week has been a wonderful Independence Day Retreat for me…
Lot’s of family time, friends, and “me” time!
I feel blessed and refreshed…
Today was a welcome back work schedule…..
This Bread&Butter pickle recipe goes back generations in my mothers family….probably yours also.
God Bless America… Another birthday to be grateful for!Thank you Lord for family and B&B Pickles!pickles


Herbs, Home and History~

Nothing more patriotic than home embraced….

Those who know me well know I’m an avid history buff…the more ancient the times, the more intense the interest.

I found this to be a very calming bit to know.

In Victorian times the seeds of Fennel came to symbolize the virtue of strength.
(a patriotic truth.)

At one time , fennel seeds were combined with those of Dill and Caraway in little sacks or purses, to be chewed at prayer meetings to quell hunger pangs; they were
known as “meeting seeds.”

Fennel is a self sowing herb valued for it’s distinctive aroma.
The leaves have an aniseed aroma.

I make this wonderful cleanser for my skin a couple of times a week during the winter.

1 tablespoon fennel seed
8 ounces of boiling water
1 teaspoon local honey
2 tablespoons buttermilk

Lightly crush the fennel seeds,
place in the boiling water and allow to infuse for 30 minutes.

Strain the cool liquid into a small bowl, add honey and buttermilk.
Put into a clean bottle and keep in the frig.

Used once or twice a day this will last about a week.

Rub over face and neck or the whole body…leave on for a few minutes and gently rinse away with a soft cloth and warm water.

Leaves the skin silky, clean, and delicious smelling.
(our body is a temple, on loan…treat it with love and respect.)

This makes a lovely wash for children and small babies.
(parents, treat your children like precious jewels…for they surely are)

Little girls adore it and it’s just bold enough that little boys don’t think it’s to girlie.

Enjoy-pamper yourself and your children~

Eat together, sit by the fire, read good books (including the Bible)
Sing, tell stories, laugh and fly the flag high and proud.

A great new year is waiting in the wings….make it a full fledged Patriotic one!!