Well folks, it has been a REALLY busy last 3 months, here at home. I’ve cooked of course but merely to keep body and soul together. Nothing special has come out of my kitchen except for some beautiful plate racks and painted furniture. Yes… one whole side of my kitchen is dedicated to paint, sandpaper storage and the various implements that are needed to finish furniture. My partner for life, Keith Miller and I are launching our little furniture business with the help of my computer wiz son, Nate. This business, Thelma and Nate has been tooting along pretty slowly up until this point. It is now taking off like a rocket. We are going to be in the Country Living Fair in Nashville April 24, 25, 26. Big deal, big show. You should come on out and see us. We started thinking of this idea 5 or 7 years ago, making things for our own home and saying, once it was done, while we patted ourselves on the back, “man we should start a business”. It formed solid in my mind when I started this blog. My Granny, Thelma Godfrey Eaker was such an enormous influence in my early life that I think I have been trying to get back to what she treasured about living for years. She lived simply, grew and cooked good nourishing food, her entertainment was the simple pleasures of conversation and home made music. Her home had simple functional furniture, most of which was old and beautifully worn, built well and made solid. I still have her walnut library table that was a wedding gift and sat in her living room in front of her picture window for all my growing up years. It looked out to a front porch with a garden so full of beautiful flowers and blooming trees it took your breath away in spring and summer.
But today is Easter Sunday. And at the very least before I get back to sanding and staining something, I will make a dinner, on the food side of the kitchen. Baked Ham and deviled eggs and an asparagus tart with gruyere cheese and potato salad and pickled beets, with iced tea to drink. For dessert, coffee and a lemon cake, filled with a mixture of blackberry jam and fresh blackberries. A spring feast for the hard working souls that believe in a dream. So here I am at 4:00 a.m. planning and putting eggs and potatoes on to boil. and the ham in the oven, cooking low and slow at 275 for a few hours until the bone starts to wiggle and I know its done. Long before then the wafting smell of baking ham will make me want to reach in with my bare hands and pull off a hunk and eat it burning hot.
My Granny’s day started at 4:00 a.m. everyday of the world. When I was little I would sometimes wake up that early with her. Maybe its why I wake up so often around that time now. I loved that time of day with her, it was so quiet and my PawPaw would be getting ready for work, while she was cooking his breakfast of eggs and meat with butter biscuits and apple cinnamon jelly. He’d come in the kitchen with dark dress pants, hard shiney leather wingtips and a freshly starched white shirt that smelled of the lavender water Granny used when she ironed. Sometimes he would sit me up on his lap while he read our little hometown paper, he would talk to me seriously about what was going on in town and how the new mayor looked to be a man you could trust. I became one of them and they treated me, not like the baby girl I was, but as if I were a grown up like them.
Where I come from, a little extra hard work gives you a little extra. A lot of extra hard work gets you where you are going. This is something that was shown to me at an early age, by Thelma and Sam Eaker, my Grandparents, my saving grace, my touchstones in life. On this Easter Sunday, this spring celebration of renewal and new beginnings, I am so very gratitude filled that I had them in my beginning. They showed me a tiny pathway to a life that lets me begin again… if I need to. So this is our new beginning, hand made furniture from re-purposed materials, and elements that would end up somewhere in land fills. Use it up or wear it out, or make something new and useful out of it. That’s our motto.
Please visit out website, http://www.thelmaandnate.com
So back to food. This is going to be a cheater day for me today, I bought rolls…wait what?
And I am using a box cake, I can’t believe I actually wrote that. But you know a”from scratch”cake is not in the timeline for today. However let me say that if you enhance the flavor of a box cake it is soooo…. much better.
Cheater Lemon Cake
1 box of Duncan Hines Lemon Cake. Mix it up like it says on the package, then STIR IN at the end, 1/2 Teaspoon lemon extract 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest. Bake two round layers and when it is done turn it out and let it cool (cake MUST be cool). Slice the 2 layers in half horizontally and fill between each layer with this mixture. 1 cup mashed blackberries stirred together with one jar of Dickensons blackberry jam, divided evenly and spread almost to the edges but not to the edge of the layers (it mashes out, believe me). Once that is done Glaze with lemon glaze, 2 cups confectioners sugar with 1 to 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice, mixture should be thick just spread it on top and let it drizzle down the sides. You can also use Raspberry jam and fresh raspberries and it makes a pretty yellow and pink cake..
Set it up on a pretty cake stand and it is impressive. Me, I’m gonna set mine up on the beautiful new, Lace and Blue marble table we just made. Just don’t tell your Granny about the box cake.