Tea with My Little Girl

My daughter and I have been going to The Tea Room since she was a little tyke. It's our own special place whenever we need our girl time. With four boys in the house, we definitely need it!

The Tea Room has a beautiful collection of teas from around the world.

Our scrumptious lunch began with savory, yummy tomato soup! It was so delicious, I made some today. Definitely a keeper!

Almond Encrusted Chicken Salad with Strawberries & Mandarin Orange slices

Pan Seared Tuna Caesar Salad was a delight.

Dainty sweets afterwards. Delicious.
I better savor these days with my girl...because it won't be too long and she will be off to college. (It's making me tear up just thinking about it.)


Event Planning - Tips From an Ex-Caterer

It is such an honor to be able to do a guest post for Becky. Becky is a writer, a Spanish teacher at Veritas Press Scholars Academy, a homeschooling mother, and a dear friend who encourages me daily and many others through her blog, Daily On My Way to Heaven.

Planning a large event for your friends, family or church?

For 9 great planning tips, Click Here!

(IPC's Ladies Luncheon for 100: by Jina Breazeale, IPC renowned Tea Lady)

(Wedding Reception for 150)


Stuffed Tomatoes with Parmesan and Basil

I know it's wintertime and good tomatoes are hard to find. But, I couldn't resist making these for the annual CERF (Coastal Empire Reformed Fellowship) Christmas dinner party which was held in church fellowship hall a few weeks ago.

These look beautiful on a Christmas buffet table and have a fresh flavor with basil, garlic and freshly grated Parmesan.

Slice off 1/8 inch of the stem end. Core and seed the tomatoes. Lightly sprinkle with salt.

Turn the tomatoes with cut side down over a cooling rack and let stand for 30 minutes. This will ensure that the extra juice will be extracted so the bread stuffing won't get soggy.

Mix Panko bread crumbs, basil, garlic, and Parmesan cheese and toss with olive oil. Or add any herb mixture you'd like!
Mound stuffing into tomatoes. Don't press down too hard. Sprinkle a bit of cheese and bake.

There you have it! A flavorful side that will brighten up your table.

Stuffed Tomatoes with Parmesan and Basil
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated

6 firm, vine-ripe tomatoes (about 6 ounces each), 1/8 inch sliced off stem end, cored, and seeded
1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon of table salt
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon olive oil, for brushing
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces), extra for topping
1/3 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
2 medium cloves garlic , minced (about 2 teaspoons)
Ground black pepper

1. Sprinkle inside of each tomato with salt and place upside down on a wire rack; let stand to remove excess moisture, about 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, toss Panko bread crumbs with 1 tablespoon olive oil, Parmesan, basil, garlic, and pepper to taste in small bowl; set aside. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees, line bottom of 9 by 13-inch baking dish with foil.

3. Roll up several sheets of paper towels and pat inside of each tomato dry. Arrange tomatoes in single layer in baking dish. Brush top cut edges of tomatoes with 1 teaspoon oil. Mound stuffing into tomatoes (about 1/4 cup per tomato); drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil, sprinkle some cheese on top. Bake until tops are golden brown and crisp, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.


Scalloped Potatoes for the Church Potluck (The Spirit of Food)

Jeanne Murray Walker is the author of seven collection of poetry, the latest is New Tracks, Night Falling. Her poems and essays have appeared in Poetry, the Georgia Review, Image, the Atlantic Monthly, and many other journals. Among her awards are an NEA Fellowship, and a Pew Fellowship in the Art. In 2007, she was given the Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Prize. She recently hosted a public television documentary on poetry in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A professor of English at the University of Delaware, Jeanne also teacher in the Seattle Pacific Low Residency MFA Program.

I catered for two church related events this past week, and made Ms. Walker's scalloped potatoes both times. This dish was a hit. A simple potato recipe with rich cheese sauce is a wonderful combination.

The recipe called for peeled red potatoes but I took some liberties, and kept the skins on for their beautiful color.

Thinly sliced potatoes are boiled in salted water for about 3 minutes.

Make a simple blond roux and add milk.

Add freshly grated cheddar cheese.

Pour cheese mixture over the potatoes. Cover and bake for 1 hour. Then uncover and bake until top is lightly browned.

I'm so sorry that I can't share the recipe, but I don't have permission from the publisher... so I guess you will need to buy the book! But it's worth it. I promise.

The Spirit of Food can be purchased from:


Barbara's Refrigerated Yeast Rolls (Revised)

Exactly one year ago, I posted this recipe for the first time as a food blogger. Actually, I didn't even know what a food blogging was. My teenage daughter set up this food blog to store my favorite recipes, and my best friend's daughter designed the header and format for me.

I am so grateful for the warmth and encouragement of the blogging community! And to many new friends I have met, who have left gracious comments on this humble blog. So many of you have inspired me to a new level of cooking.

Some recipes are worth reposting. And this yeast roll recipe is one I rely on when I need something easy and delicious to serve at large events.

Buttermilk and yeast bubbling to beautiful foam.

Add bread flour.

And knead until smooth, supple dough forms. Cover and refrigerate overnight! A must for yeasty flavor.

For our Christmas buffet, we made 400 silver dollar rolls and froze them, a week prior to the event.

Freeze completely and dough balls can be stored in a freezer bag.

Thaw and let dough balls rise, doubled in size. Then bake.

We sliced these rolls and stuffed Garlic-Thyme New York Strip to make mini sandwiches.

Print This Recipe

Barbara's Refrigerated Yeast Rolls

Makes 50-60 Silver Dollar Rolls

First dissolve the following in a large bowl:

1 Tbsp. Yeast
1 Tbsp. Sugar
½ C. Warm water
½ C. Vegetable or Canola Oil
2 C. Buttermilk
½ C. Granulated Sugar
½ tsp. Baking Soda
5 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt

Then add:
5 to 5 1/2 C. Bread Flour, extra for dusting

Melted butter for brushing
Kosher salt

Mix first 9 ingredients and let sit for about 10 minutes until yeast dissolves and mixture become foamy. Add 5 cups of bread flour and knead well to form smooth dough adding more bread flour until dough is not tacky. Cover well with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight. This extra time in the refrigerator will add nice, yeasty flavor.

Pinch a small amount of dough. Shape the dough into 1/2-inch smooth ball with seam side down and place on a greased pan 1-inch apart. If freezing, cover well with plastic wrap, then with foil and freeze, up to a month. (Note: once dough balls are frozen solid, put them in a freezer bag to save room in the freezer)

When ready to bake, loosely cover with plastic wrap so dough will not dry out, thaw frozen rolls on oil sprayed baking sheet, 1 inch apart in room temperature for 2-3 hours until dough balls double in size. Gently peel off plastic wrap, brush with melted butter.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Bake 10-12 minutes until light brown. Brush lightly with melted butter again and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Cool completely before slicing to make mini-sandwiches.

This dough can be used for cinnamon rolls and other sweet dough recipes.


Island Peas and Rice

It has been a full week for me. By end of this Sunday, over 1000 will be served out of IPC kitchen. Though I am physically tired, my heart is full with joy knowing that God has gifted me to serve His people in this way.

Last Sunday, the IPC Military Care Group hosted a Military Appreciation Luncheon. This was a small token of gratitude to these wonderful, young families who make a huge sacrifices for our freedoms.

The menu for the luncheon was:

Apricot-Ginger Glazed Chicken
Island Peas and Rice
Green Bean Casserole
Homemade Yeast Rolls
Fruit Salad
Spinach Salad with Apples and Caramelized Almonds
Apple and Cranberry Crisp

This is simple but very flavorful recipe given to me by our church organist, Kathryn Van Eck. Pre-packaged saffron yellow rice mixture is used.

Coconut milk, chicken broth, and seasoning is boiled. Rice added and cooked.

And simply add frozen peas and raisins for color and texture. A perfect rice dish without much fuss.

Print This Recipe

Island Peas and Rice


1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup raisins (optional), soaked in warm water for 5 minutes
1 1/2 teaspoons jerk seasoning (or Old Bay is OK, too)
1 (10-ounce) package yellow saffron rice mix (Vigo or Mahatma brand)
1 cup frozen green peas


1. Combine coconut milk, chicken broth, and jerk seasoning in medium saucepan. Cover and bring to boil on high.
2. Stir rice mix into boiling mixture. Cover and reduce heat to low; cook 22-25 minutes (covered), without stirring, or until most of liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
3. Stir in peas and raisins; cover and cook 4–5 more minutes or until peas and raisins are heated. Fluff rice with fork and serve. (Makes 6 servings.)


Crabmeat Quiche

These warm crabmeat quiches were a hit at the Wednesday Service lunch. Everyone was delighted to have this delicious and flavorful quiche served with spinach salad. The new pie crust we used for this dish was wonderful (recipe coming soon!)

Susan Liana, a member of the kitchen staff, uses her one-hand method to crack eggs. I love it when I see a young staff working like a pro.

Brush on beaten egg white on the edges of pie crust before baking them for pretty, glossy crust.

Adding dry sherry beautifully enhanced the crabmeat in custard.

Sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top before baking.
How about a piece of warm, delightful quiche for lunch?

Print This Recipe

Crabmeat Quiche
Makes 6 large servings.

8 ounces cooked crabmeat, jumbo lump(1 cup), picked over for any shells
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives, or green onions
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
3 tablespoons dry sherry
pinch dry thyme
pinch cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoon of freshly grated Parmesan, to sprinkle on top of custard mixture
1 9- inch partially baked pie shell (warm), baked until light golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes
1 egg white, beaten with a fork to brush on the crust before baking

1. Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Toss cooked crabmeat with chives and set aside. Meanwhile, whisk all remaining ingredients then add the crabmeat and chives in medium bowl.

2. Pour in custard and crab mixture to 1/2-inch below crust rim. Sprinkle 2 tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese. Bake until lightly golden brown about 32 to 35 minutes, the center is almost set (like well set Jello) and just SLIGHTLY jiggly. Transfer quiche to rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: For a crispy crust with soft custard, it is very important to partially bake your crust, then to add the custard while the crust is still warm. This careful step will ensure that your crust won't be soggy. And do not over bake the custard since it continues to cook after you take the quiche out of oven.