It’s Good to be Queen

A city rich with history, Southern hospitality, and casual seaside charm~ Beaufort, South Carolina is the “Queen of the Carolina Sea Islands”~ discovered by the Spanish in 1514 and chartered by the British in 1711.

This year Beaufort celebrates its Tricentennial~ a special and historic birthday ~ that’s a lot of candles and a lot of cake!

 A National Landmark Historic District with gracefully restored antebellum homes, centuries-old live oaks, pristine waters, and some of the best fishing anywhere~

Beaufort has a way of reeling you in. . .

While Beaufort proper is the area’s Queen Belle, attracting admirers with her pre-Civil War mansions and sail-dotted bay, the town’s outlying provinces are also must-sees. . . Port Royal, Parris Island, Hunting Island, Lady’s Island, St. Helena Island and Harbor Island (an annual summer destination for us) just to name a few. . .

Queen Beaufort’s peaceful, watery realm is abundant with wildlife and remnants of the Old South~

Beaufort County rules over & encompasses more than 200 islands~ nestled between Charleston SC and Savannah GA~ most of which remain wondrously pristine. . .

A point of local preference that sets apart the Carolinas: In Beaufort, South Carolina, the name is pronounced BYEW-fort. In North Carolina, a coastal town of great similarity with the same name is pronounced BO-fort.

And yes, it matters :-)

Beaufort has an active and enthusiastically supported Arts Council. Mermaid statues, embellished by area artists in 2006, were auctioned off to endow a fund for public art.

 A few mermaids remain sprinkled throughout town. . .

 You can read more about Beaufort’s Mermaids here and see a little of sculptor Kevin Palmer’s mermaid-making process here~ from wood frame to fiberglass.

Miss Beaufort, with her streaming locks of copper wire, stained-glass tail, and beauty queen banner, greets drivers as they come onto Bay Street. She happily swims near a Palmetto Tree at the Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center.

A Celebratory Cupcake in honor of Beaufort’s 300th Birthday~ complete with a molded brown sugar mermaid & chocolate seashells :-)

Happy Birthday Queen Beaufort~ long may you reign!

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The Peach Keeper

The Peach Keeper ****

by Sarah Addison Allen

An Edible Book Review inspired by Jain at Food for Thought, a delicious blog for readers with an appetite for the written word.

“The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Chased the Moon welcomes you to her newest locale: Walls of Water, North Carolina, where the secrets are thicker than the fog from the town’s famous waterfalls, and the stuff of superstition is just as real as you want it to be.”

I’m long overdue in sharing this book that I read back in April~

I always look forward to Sarah Addison Allen’s books~ I had pre-ordered it, anxious for its arrival. It was waiting for me like a nice, juicy peach ready for me to sink my teeth into, when I returned from vacation. I took these photos and cooked this book back when the azaleas were blooming, and although I had shelved this review, I didn’t shelve this book until after I read it cover-to-cover in two days. . . one day if I hadn’t had to unpack & bathe :-)

My intention was to take a little road trip to tie in to this review, and visit Transylvania County in Western North Carolina ~ the area that the town of Walls of Water is based on, and home to over 250 waterfalls. It became apparent that was not going to happen and though it’s still on my list to visit, it looks more like it will be the fall when the weather is not in the triple digits.

My other excuse is that I got waylaid by another book about peaches  . . .

The long-buried secrets and mysteries of The Peach Keeper continued to haunt me to return to it & Walls of Water ever since~  most recently by an article in Our State Magazine.

Full of North Carolina native, Sarah Addison Allen’s trademarks~ magic, small town charm, and FOOD~ The Peach Keeper is easy to devour in one sitting~  and is a great book to tuck in your beach bag or keep by your night stand.

In keeping with this book, I set a simple table where peaches are the stars. Peach blossom-inspired napkin rings from Pier 1, napkins from Stein Mart, Napoleon Bee flatware for the buzzing of the bees & a tablecloth from Kohl’s~

“A cool breeze floated eerily by, smelling of peaches.”

“If anyone had been paying attention to the signs, they would have realized that air turns white when things are about to change, that paper cuts mean there’s more to what’s written on the page than meets the eye, and that birds are always out to protect you from things you don’t see.”

“There was a slight hint of peaches in the air, but it didn’t scare her.”

Tucker Devlin:

“What I know, what I’m best at, is peaches. Peach juice swims in my veins. When I bleed, it’s sweet. Honeybees fly right to me.”

“He looked like the world was a ripe peach and he was ready to bite it.”

There was plenty to tempt my palate between these pages~ Oatmeal Cookies with Coffee Icing, Double Chocolate Espresso Brownies, Lemon-Chicken Salad, Lemon and Broccoli Mini-Quiches, Angel Food Cake, Honeymoon Pie. . .but it just seemed criminal not to use peaches in this edible review~

“Cups of lemon crème layered with hazelnut shortbread crumbles, pansies, lavender, and lemon verbena.”

I layered peaches, store-bought hazelnut shortbread cookies, lemon curd & whipped cream~ and garnished with edible violas for an individual, easy trifle~

“Lunch was then served, beautiful food garnished with edible roses and tasting of lavender and mint and lust. People closed their eyes with each bite, and the air turned sweet and cool. The quartet played ravishing melodies that were strange and exotic. There was a curious sense of longing in the air, and everyone felt it. People began to think of old loves and missed opportunities. Unlike most of these functions, no one wanted to leave. Lunch lingered for hours.”

“So it was with Claire Waverley, a beautiful, mysterious caterer who it was rumored could make your rivals jealous, your love life better, your senses stronger, all with the food she created. Her specialty was edible flowers, and once it got out that she had something no one else had, everyone wanted her.”

I highly recommend sipping on a Peach Bellini on a Saturday or Sunday morning as you read this book :-)

Paxton:

“ ‘Can you really make people feel differently with the food you cook, with the drinks you prepare?’ ”

 

A savory recipe for your peaches~ A Stacked Peach & Mozzarella Salad~

Grilled Peach-and-Mozzarella Salad, recipe courtesy Southern Living

Served with baby spinach and a cilantro-lime vinaigrette~ Delicious & definitely a Keeper recipe :-)

  “Just as they turned to walk back up the steps, the scent of peaches permeated the air for a moment, thick and cloying, before it faded into the night, crossing the moon in a wisp of smoke, then disappearing.”

“Resonant with insight into the deep and lasting power of friendship, love, and tradition, The Peach Keeper is a portrait of the unshakable bonds that—in good times and bad, from one generation to the next—endure forever.”

 “North Carolina novelist Sarah Addison Allen brings the full flavor of her southern upbringing to bear on her fiction — a captivating blend of fairy tale magic, heartwarming romance, and small-town sensibility.”

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Catch of the Day

  I’m tackling a little tabletop fishing~ after a week with family at Harbor Island surf & pier fishing~

My mother-in-law’s fish planter is angling to function as a wine chiller for this Pinot Grigio I was able to catch ~

 I cast a look into my husband’s grandfather’s tackle box for a couple of old reels & lures for the table. . .

Our surf fishing landed a few small sharks. . .

 A trip to Stein Mart landed some green & blue fish that I fell for hook, line & sinker. . .

 

We catch our bait with a cast net. . .

I usually catch up on my reading while I catch some rays :-)

 

 

And there is always “the one” that got away at the pier . . .

 

Fishing always nets a few surprises. . .

While sharks & stingrays were plentiful, imagine my surprise when I reeled in a PureHeart Seedless~

 I chose to release my catch of all its watermelon goodness :-)

You can find directions to reel in your own here.

There are plenty of other fish in the sea, in the way of watermelon inspiration, at the National Watermelon Promotion Board’s site here.

Catch of the Day details:

Fish plates/ Vitali from Stein Mart

Dinner plates/ Oneida Westerly Basket

 Tablecloth/ Food Network for Kohl’s

Chargers, Napkins & Flatware / World Market

 Blue Goblets/ Dollar Tree

 Napkin Rings/ Pottery Barn

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Beach, Birds, Boats & Boys

 

Harbor Island, a barrier island in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, is a private residential community, located between Charleston and Hilton Head Island.  Its three-mile stretch of beach is visited mostly by pelicans, herons, horseshoe crabs and is a nesting site for Loggerhead Sea Turtles.

 

 

 

 

A great beach for boys. . .

To see some boats. . .

 

To watch the birds. . .

 

To watch others watch the birds. . .

And a great place to:

“Sit in reverie and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind.” –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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You Say Tomato. . .

You Say Tomato, I Say Fresh. . .

You Say Tomato, I Say Summer. . .

You Say Tomato, I Say Italy. . .

You Say Tomato, I Say Salsa. . .

You Say Tomato, I Say Pass the Bacon, Lettuce & Duke’s Mayonnaise :-)

However you slice it, nothing says “summer” like a fresh-from-the-garden tomato. . .

We plant our favorite tomato varieties each year. . . German Johnsons, Cherokee Purples & Pink Brandywines. . .

Add a couple of Carolina Golds from the farmers market and you have one of our favorite ways to enjoy heirloom tomatoes. . .

Heirloom Tomato Carpaccio Salad~ heirloom tomatoes~ sliced extremely thin~ onion, capers, shaved parmesan, basil, olive oil, salt & pepper. You can also add pine nuts, shaved fennel, or balsamic vinegar~ whatever ingredients you prefer.

If you’re looking for inspiration with your surplus of summer tomatoes, you can find some fresh ideas for tomatoes from Southern Living, here.

 I spied this recipe for Heirloom Tomato Pie on the cover of the July/August issue of Food Network Magazine. . . it looked so mouth-watering, I had to try it.

We were not disappointed! Definitely worth the effort and so much better than another tomato pie I’ve made~

The key to this pie for me is the cornmeal crust, and the addition of thyme and manchego cheese. . .

You can find the recipe at Food Network’s site, here.

“Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.”

~Henry David Thoreau

 You Say Tomato Table Details:

Tomato Salad Plates & Dinner Plates/ Pier 1

Placemats/ Bed, Bath & Beyond

Napkins & Goblets/ HomeGoods

Napkin Rings/ Pottery Barn

Chargers/ World Market

 

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 StoneGable for On the Menu Monday~

 A Stroll Thru Life for Table Top Tuesday~

Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday~

Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday~

 The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays~

Loggerhead Love

We just returned from our annual family trip to Harbor Island~ a barrier island in the Lowcountry of South Carolina~ home to pelicans, herons, horseshoe crabs and a nesting site to Loggerhead Turtles.

 By the end of our week’s stay, this private residential 3 mile-stretch-of-beach, had a recorded number of 64 turtle nests~ closing in on the record of 66 nests set in 1999~ twice as many than in 2010!

 

On two of our morning walks, we were thrilled to come across turtle tracks and volunteers inventorying and marking nests numbered 62 & 64.

  Nest 63~ a wild nest was also discovered during our week stay.  A “wild nest” is one that was not found and marked during routine turtle patrol. There were 126 eggs that hatched from nest 63.

Approximately 25 volunteers participate in the Harbor Island Project, searching each morning at sunrise for turtle tracks and nests. All nests are monitored until they hatch and data is submitted to the SC Department of Natural Resources and SeaTurtle.org

Nest 8, had 83 hatchlings to emerge~ the last 8 stragglers remaining in the nest were released early one morning. . .

So fun to see them making their way to the ocean :-)

 Wishing all the hatchlings a safe swim :-)

Thank you to Fran, Judy and all the other turtle volunteers for sharing their Loggerhead Love!

 

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Anchors Aweigh

Before weighing anchor & setting sail for the beach, I created a nautical nook on my porch . . .

I hope to return buoyed~ after enjoying a week in the sun with the sand between my toes. . .

I’m looking forward to some coastal scenery. . .

 

I’m filling my beach bag with a few books that will float my boat. . .

And looking forward to a week of wading thru the pages and the surf. . .

 

 In anticipation of my voyage, I decided to set sail with Tomato Mozzarella Basil Stacks. . .

With the wind behind a Basil Leaf Sail~

A little balsamic drizzle to keep the Tomato Mozzarella Stack afloat. . .

 

We cast our net into the tidal pools to see what bait fish we can catch for surf fishing. . .

The results are surprising, but usually we pull in shrimp. . . which explains all the trawlers we see. . .

Shrimp Bruschetta~

Easy & crowd pleasing for sailors & landlubbers alike. . .  shrimp, chopped tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper~ if you’d like a recipe you can find one from Coastal Living, here.

Wishing you a week of Calm Seas & Smooth Sailing~

 Sea you soon :-)

Nautical Nook Details:

Melamine Striped Plates, Bowls & Cups/ Target

Boat Appetizer Plates/ Stein Mart

Flatware & Napkins/ World Market

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 Metamorphosis MondayThe Scoop,

 Inspire Me TuesdayWow Us Wednesdays,

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 Foodie Friday and Everything Else Link Party

Share Your Style

Southwest Flavor

I’m enjoying a little southwest flavor inspired by Lynn’s Celebrity Cook-Along with Bobby Flay.

Bobby Flay, whose signature style~marrying the flavors of southwest with his love of grilling~ and known for his bold flavors & zingy spices, prompted a trip to the Farmers Market for this Cook-Along. . .

for a medley of veggies. . .

and for flowers. . .

Where I married my farmers market purchases with some bold, colorful patterns in salad plates, bowls & placemats for the table. . .

 and blended some fruits for Sangria. . .

 

It’s always fun to play with my food~ economical & convenient, when today’s centerpiece is also this week’s dinner :-)

I spied this Bobby Flay recipe in the May issue of Food Network Magazine~

Red Chile Short Rib Tacos, recipe courtesy Bobby Flay for Food Network Magazine

We enjoyed these and will definitely make them again! I made a few changes~ omitting the port, (using red wine only) ; substituting beef stock for chicken; and using only ancho chile peppers since I was unable to find cascabel & New Mexico peppers. After browning the short ribs, instead of turning on the oven & the heat up in the kitchen, I put everything in crock pot on low for 8 hours, turning heat up in the tacos with a few jalapenos.

Recipe for the Red Pickled Onions included in the Chile Short Rib Taco recipe:

Bring 3/4 cup lime juice, 1/4 cup each red wine vinegar and sugar, and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and let cool, 5 minutes. Toss with 1 thinly sliced red onion in a bowl; cover and chill at least 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Rosé Sangria Spritzer, recipe courtesy Bobby Flay

 I also added some peaches to the Sangria from the farmers market.

Southwest Flavor Table details:

Salad Plates & Bowls/ Kohl’s-  Corsica Home/Tivoli

Placemats & Napkins/ Kohl’s

Napkin Rings & Urn/ Pottery Barn

Dinner Plates/Pier 1

Tray/ Stein Mart

Pitcher, Chargers & Flatware/ World Market

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Inspire Me TuesdayOn the Menu MondayInspire Me TuesdayPig in Mud’s Celebrity Cook-Along, with Bobby Flay Foodie Friday~

Lilacs & Daylight Tablescape

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I was thrilled to have found lilac bundles at Trader Joe’s about six weeks ago, which was the inspiration for this table~ a surprise as delightful to me as their fragrance~ and the only way to enjoy them here since our climate is too warm for them to grow.

I pulled out my Mikasa Daylight Dinnerware for this table~ instead of dining with butterflies, I’m feasting on quilted fields of flowers with the lilacs~

Little clusters of flowers on the lilacs diffuse their heady fragrance, that I arranged with white hydrangeas and the new, green blooms of Chinese snowball viburnum  for a centerpiece.

I love the viburnum’s first lime-hued blooms, that appear before they transition to white. . .their arrival holding the promise of the flowers to come. . .

. . .and whose blooms are the same vibrant shade of the leaves on my Mikasa Daylight pattern~ a hue that reminds me of the energetic, new growth of spring~  trailing across the plates, winding their way inside the bowls & outside the cups.

Since our style is relaxed at the lake, quilts are my table covering of choice~ since they serve double-duty on beds as well as the table and best of all . . .don’t require ironing :-)

A few open-face cucumber sandwiches garnished with the last of the violas (organic!) and basil leaves for fresh-from-the- garden flavor~

And a cup of Chilled Berry Soup, recipe courtesy Southern Living

While the recipe called for blueberries, I used a medley of berries that I had in the freezer.

Refreshing and light for hot summer weather . . .

 And fun for a lunch with the girls, served with a salad garnished with the last of the violas and edible organic nasturtiums. . .

Strawberry Fields Salad, recipe courtesy Southern Living

A flavorful as well as colorful combination of strawberries, nectarines, feta cheese, green tomatoes, glazed pecans, and fresh basil~ on a bed of mixed baby salad greens~

 This 5- Star rated recipe is served with Lemon-Poppy Seed Dressing. Not a huge fan of Poppy Seed Dressing, we enjoy Balsamic or Raspberry Vinaigrette on this salad. Adding a rotisserie chicken, would make this an entrée salad to be enjoyed in hot weather without heating up the kitchen!

“What makes lilacs treasured is not the years they can accumulate, however, but the beauty of their flowers, which come just as the last memory of winter and its ice and snow and barrenness are passing away in the May sun. They flower exuberantly then, hundreds of cobs of bloom appearing over gaunt, gray trunks. That conjunction is itself an emblem of the renewal of the year, but we wonder whether without the fragrance peculiar to lilacs they would matter so much.”

 – Our Life in Gardens

Please Eat the Flowers  :-) Lunch Menu

Lemonade Iced Tea~ with Floral Ice Cubes, how to courtesy Martha Stewart

Open Face Cucumber Sandwiches~ a mosaic “how-to” can be found in my post here.

Chilled Berry Soup~

Strawberry Fields Salad~

 Lilac & Daylight Table details:

Dishes/ Mikasa Daylight Dinnerware

Contoured chargers/ World Market

Flatware/Portmeirion Botanic Garden/HomeGoods

Green Goblets & Napkins/HomeGoods

Bird Napkin Rings & Green Urn/ Pottery Barn

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 Metamorphosis MondayThe Scoop,
 Tablescape Thursday

Latitude Adjustment

 

 

 There is nothing like spending a couple of days in Key West to make you long for a latitude adjustment. . . the laid back lifestyle filled with sun-drenched days, beautiful sunsets, southern charm & Caribbean flavor~   

 

 

 At the peak of summer, the average high is 89° F with an ocean breeze blowing across this 4 mile by 2 mile island & views of azure waters.

 

Visit and you’ll be tempted to. . .

 

 

*QUIT YOUR JOB*

 

 

 

 

 

*BUY A TICKET*

 

 

 

 

 *GET A TAN*

 

 

 

 

*FALL IN LOVE*

 

 

 

 

 

 

*NEVER RETURN* 

 

 

 

 

 

*OR BUY THE TEE SHIRT :-)

 

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A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday~
  
Jenny Matlock for Alphabe-Thursday~ this week’s letter is L for Latitude Adjustment~

The Tablescaper’s new party, “Oh, the PLACES I’ve been!”