Tag Archives: Charleston South Carolina

Old Southern Recipes from Charleston Receipts


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A gracious welcome to my stately (virtual) plantation home. I live in an old country farm-house in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, but for now, we’re in the deeper South. Please have a seat in the wicker chairs on the veranda and relax in the shade of the towering live oak trees. Listen to the warbler singing high overhead in the moss-draped boughs and savor the sweetness of jasmine while I serve refreshing mint juleps and peach upside-down cake prepared with old Southern recipes from Charleston Receipts. My upside-down cake will have to be gluten-free but I’m sure we can find ingredients for that alternative. Or not. And I have scant toleration for alcohol so a little goes a long way, but the rest of you, sit back and enjoy. Don’t worry about me. I can have the mint part of the julep.
Back to Charleston Receipts, this quaint cookbook ‘first published in 1950 is the oldest Junior League cookbook still in print. It contains 750 recipes, Gullah verses, and sketches by Charleston artists. Inducted into the McIlhenny Hall of Fame, an award given for book sales that exceed 100,000 copies.’
Not only does it have excellent recipes, but conveys the reader back in time to another era. Long distant now. Heck, it’s even older than I am. My copy is actually my mother’s book which she purchased in the early 1960′s while our family was on vacation in Charleston South Carolina. I kind of borrowed it from her and still have it. She hasn’t complained, bless her.
My second trip to historic Charleston was also with my mom while doing research for my Revolutionary War romance novel ENEMY OF THE KING.  But more on that later. And I’m pondering the sequel, which I may finally get around to writing. I’ve been pondering it for years but recently gained fresh inspiration. So you fans of the high drama and intrigue–think spies–of the American Revolution, stay tuned. Now, back to my gracious offerings as becomes a true Southern hostess.
For each cold goblet use:
Several mint leaves, sugar syrup (2-3 teaspoons), Crushed, dry ice, 2 ounces bourbon, 1 sprig mint
Crush leaves and let stand in syrup. Put this into a cold silver julep cup or glass and add ice which has been crushed and rolled in a towel to dry.  Pour in the whiskey.  Stir, not touching the glass, and add a sprig of mint. Serve immediately.~
Peach Upside-Down Cake:
1/3 cup shortening, 2/3 cup sugar, 2/3 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons baking powder,  1  and 2/3 cups flour, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon almond flavoring
Cream shortening and sugar.  Add remaining ingredients and beat well.  Pour over peach mixture. Serves six.
ImagePeach Mixture: 1/3 cup butter, 1 cup light brown sugar, 1 1/2 cups sliced peaches
Place butter and sugar in a sheet cake pan and heat slowly, stirring constantly until well browned.  Add peaches.  Cover with cake batter, bake 3/4 hour at 350.  Turn out peach side up.   Serve hot or cold with whipped cream.  Other fruits may be substituted for peaches.  ~
****Follow up to this post. I got around to writing the sequel to Enemy of the King and the next novel in what is now The Traitor’s Legacy Series, which includes Traitor’s Legacy and Traitor’s Curse.

PARTY ‘TILL YOUR HEELS FLY OFF: MEGA AUTHOR BLOG HOP (STOP # 28)


Welcome to the mother of all blog tours.

TOUR RULES:
1) HAVE FUN!
2) INVITE ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS AND SPREAD THE WORD!
3) THIS TOUR STARTS: Monday, June 13, at Midnight (Arizona Time)
THIS TOUR ENDS: Monday, June 20, at Midnight (Arizona Time)
Winners will be drawn and posted June 21st! ***
4) MEET AND MINGLE WITH ALL THE AUTHORS! EXPERIENCE A NEW PARTY DESTINATION AT EVERY STOP. PARTICIPATE IN EVERY BLOG CONTEST AND BE ENTERED FOR CHANCES TO WIN MULTIPLE PRIZES! EVERY BLOG VISITED IS ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO WIN~
5) PARTICIPATION AT ALL BLOGS IS RECOMMENDED, BUT NOT REQUIRED. REMEMBER, THE MORE BLOGS YOU HOP, THE BETTER YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING PRIZES. EVERY AUTHOR IS WAITING TO MEET AND INTERACT WITH YOU, SO PLEASE BE SURE TO SHOW EVERY AUTHOR SOME LOVE 🙂

As a participating author, my theme is Summer in the Big House, Old Southern Plantation Recipes~

A gracious welcome to my stately plantation home. Please have a seat in the wicker chairs on the veranda and relax in the shade of the towering live oaks.    Listen to the warbler singing high overhead in the moss-draped boughs and savor the sweetness of jasmine while I serve refreshing mint juleps and peach upside-down cake prepared with old Southern recipes from Charleston Receipts.

This cookbook ‘was first published in 1950 and the oldest Junior League cookbook still in print. It contains 750 recipes, Gullah verses, and sketches by Charleston artists. Inducted into the McIlhenny Hall of Fame, an award given for book sales that exceed 100,000 copies.’

My copy is actually my mother’s book which she purchased in the early 1960’s while our family was on vacation in Charleston South Carolina.  I kind of borrowed it from her and still have it. 🙂

MINT JULEP:

For each cold goblet use:

Several mint leaves, sugar syrup (2-3 teaspoons), Crushed, dry ice, 2 ounces bourbon, 1 sprig mint

Crush leaves and let stand in syrup. Put this into a cold silver julep cup or glass and add ice which has been crushed and rolled in a towel to dry.  Pour in the whiskey.  Stir, not touching the glass, and add a sprig of mint. Serve immediately.~

Peach Upside-Down Cake:

1/3 cup shortening, 2/3 cup sugar, 2/3 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons baking powder,  1  and 2/3 cups flour, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon almond flavoring

Cream shortening and sugar.  Add remaining ingredients and beat well.  Pour over peach mixture. Serves six.

Peach Mixture: 1/3 cup butter, 1 cup light brown sugar, 1 1/2 cups sliced peaches

Place butter and sugar in a sheet cake pan and heat slowly, stirring constantly until well browned.  Add peaches.  Cover with cake batter, bake 3/4 hour at 350.  Turn out peach side up.   Serve hot or cold with whipped cream.  Other fruits may be substituted for peaches.  ~

For my blog hop prize, I’m giving away an ebook of my Revolutionary War romance novel, Enemy of the King, and Native American historical romance novel Through the Fire.

Blurb for ENEMY OF THE KING:

1780, South Carolina: While Loyalist Meriwether Steele recovers from illness in the stately home of her beloved guardian, Jeremiah Jordan, she senses the haunting presence of his late wife. When she learns that Jeremiah is a Patriot spy and shoots Captain Vaughan, the British officer sent to arrest him, she is caught up on a wild ride into Carolina back country, pursued both by the impassioned captain and the vindictive ghost. Will she remain loyal to her king and Tory twin brother or risk a traitor’s death fighting for Jeremiah? If Captain Vaughan snatches her away, he won’t give her a choice.~

Blurb for THROUGH THE FIRE:

At the height of the French and Indian War, a young English widow ventures into the colonial frontier in search of a fresh start. She never expects to find it in the arms of the half-Shawnee, half-French warrior who makes her his prisoner in the raging battle to possess a continent––or to be aided by a mysterious white wolf and a holy man.~

Thanks for visiting me. Leave me a question or a comment here at my blog below. Please also leave your email address so I can notify you in case you are a winner!

THE NEXT STOP ON OUR FUN BLOG HOP IS AUTHOR RACHEL VAN DYKEN SO POP ON OVER TO : http://deliciousromancebyrachel.blogspot.com/2011/06/party-til-your-heels-fly-off-author.html

Excerpt from American Historical Romance Novel ENEMY OF THE KING


Chapter 1
August 1780, Low Country, South Carolina
Dreadful screeching, like the cries of an enraged cat, tore through the muggy night and into Meriwether’s chamber. She sat bolt upright in bed. “Demented owl,” she muttered and pushed back the short lengths of hair clinging to her forehead. Her shift was also damp from tossing. An indefinable restlessness drove her as a ship before the wind.
The clock downstairs struck two.
Meriwether stiffened at the echo of hooves on the cobblestones in the yard beneath her window. What business could anyone possibly have to conduct at this unearthly hour? Perhaps it was a courier, and perhaps he’d come before. Images of phantom horses from past nights cantered through her mind. She had thought them dreams sprung from fever, but she was much better now and wide awake.
The sound of hooves stopped and the horse snorted.
She parted the muslin curtain around her canopied bed and slid her feet to the carpet. A great golden moon bathed the room in a pearly sheen.  She crept to the partly open glass—gasping as the screech owl flew at her from the live oak outside the window. Round yellow eyes stared into hers for a split second before the bird veered off into the darkness.
Meriwether breathed in sharply. The sweetness of jasmine wafted from the trellised vine as she peered down through moss-draped branches. The milky light streamed over two men standing in the yard, their heads bent in conversation.
One man in a dark coat and black tricorn held the reins of a bay horse. Neither he nor his mount was familiar, but she knew the other gentleman well. Several inches taller than the stranger, he was simply dressed in a white shirt tucked into breeches that molded to his long legs and met his riding boots. Shadows hid his face and the chestnut hair pulled back at his neck, but there was no mistaking Jeremiah Jordan, master of Pleasant Grove and Meriwether’s guardian these past few months. Elegance cloaked him like a mantle.
Her heart quickened at the sight of Jeremiah, rarer and rarer these days. What wouldn’t she give to have him all to herself for even one single hour? That seemed as impossible as an end to this confounded war. Chest fluttering, she knelt at the window to better overhear their low voices.
“Men are gathering,” floated up to her from the stranger.
Her stomach knotted in tight twists. Was this nocturnal visit prearranged? Worse—had Jeremiah joined the Patriots? Her Loyalist sympathies recoiled at the awful possibility.
He’d never voiced any open fervor for the rebel cause.  The neighbors thought him still too distraught over his wife Rachel’s death to take an active role in the war, but doubts gnawed at Meriwether.  She had seen the flash of anger in Jeremiah’s blue eyes whenever British Lieutenant Major Tarleton’s name was mentioned. Perhaps it was just the effect Bloody Ban had on any decent person, but Meriwether suspected far more lay beneath Jeremiah’s outward reserve than he’d ever revealed.
Lacy white clouds feathered the moon as she leaned out the window for a better look at the two men.  Jeremiah glanced around the yard then passed what looked like a leather pouch into the stranger’s hand.  She glimpsed a flap in the center and a shoulder strap like the pouch that couriers used. “The usual place,” reached her straining ears.
Jeremiah lifted his head and stared up at Meriwether’s chamber. She sprang to her feet stumbling back. What would he say if he knew she spied on him? Her thoughts flew like quail flushed from cover. Were his frequent absences from home truly plantation business or far more dangerous errands?
With Charles Towne fallen to the British and the entire Southern Garrison captured, South Carolina was rapidly becoming a crown stronghold.  If Jeremiah were mixed up in this rebellion, he courted disaster. Remaining in her chamber wouldn’t answer any questions. If she slipped down the back stairs and edged closer to the yard, she might learn more.
Eavesdropping on the man who’d graciously taken her in after her father’s death smacked of disloyalty, but how else was she to discover the truth? She hesitated only for an instant. She wasn’t Captain Steele’s daughter for nothing. Mettle accompanied the name.
Arms outstretched, she felt her way in the darkness around the clothes press and washstand and then opened the door and tiptoed from her room out into the hall.  The eerie sensation of unseen eyes sent prickles down her spine as she stole along the dim corridor. Perhaps it was the portraits of Jeremiah’s ancestors watching from the walls or perhaps even someone else, someone gone, yet not gone. She’d had this uncanny feeling before. It made her want to run outside, away from this disturbing presence.
Meriwether sped past the room where Jeremiah’s elderly aunt, Miss Anna, slept—stubbing her bare foot on the low table crouched in the blackness like a jungle cat. “Ouch!” she cried softly and rubbed her throbbing toe, expecting footfalls on the steps.
No one came. Miss Anna could slumber through howling wolves. One clumsy young woman would not disturb her.  Wishing she’d worn her shoes, Meriwether limped to the landing. Moonlight pouring through the recessed window at the top of the stairs lit the glassy gaze of the eight point buck mounted above her. She froze, her eyes riveted on the deer’s head. A snake—perhaps venomous—wound around the antlers. Meriwether was no coward, but she’d rather face a Legion dragoon with a bayonet than this serpent. It must have slithered in through the open window.
Strangling a cry, she bolted past the writhing mass and down the steps. Never mind that the boards creaked beneath her feet. She hit the ground floor at a run and flung open the door. She flew outside, nearly forgetting why she’d come in her haste. Breathing hard, she halted in the archway.
Calm yourself, she admonished, and quietly closed the door behind her.
Flattened against it, she ran her eyes over the yard. Both men were conspicuous only by their absence. Not surprising. She’d unwittingly given them warning. They might have ducked into the stable or carriage house, or melted away into the night, spiriting the horse with them.
Locusts droned and crickets chirped as she poised in the entryway.  Horses nickered from the pasture.  Nothing more.
What now?  She couldn’t go back inside with that snake dangling there and had nowhere else to go except the kitchen, a short distance from the manor house.
Keith Daws, Jeremiah’s right hand man, and his family slept inside its stone walls.
Jeremiah and Keith Daws had been friends ever since she remembered, rare between an Englishman and a Negro. Meriwether didn’t want to risk waking any of the Daws. Keith’s oldest son, York, was a light sleeper and would be more than a little curious to discover her wandering shoeless in her nightdress. Better to remain as she was than to try and find her way to the front of the house in the dark.
She sank down in the doorway, knees drawn up, feet tucked under the linen hem. No serpent was sliding across her bare toes. It was childish, perhaps, but couldn’t be helped. She buried her head in her arms. What a farce she’d made of spying. “Ah, Papa,” she whispered, imagining his hearty chuckle and badly wishing he were still alive. He’d been her compass. She couldn’t find her way without him and her twin brother, Bobby, off fighting for the crown.
“Are you staying the night out here, Miss Steele?”
Meriwether jerked up her head, her heart in her throat. Jeremiah stood at the base of the brick steps that led up to her perch. “Mister Jordan! You move like a ghost.”
“You rather resemble one in that shift, dear heart.”
Moonbeams silvered his well-muscled figure in the full-sleeved shirt and thigh hugging breeches. She drank in every glorious inch. The magical light hinted at his penetrating eyes and aristocratic, almost haughty nose softened by his sensuous mouth. It could be a hard mouth when he was angry, which wasn’t often and never with her; at least, not yet.~

Enemy of the King made the Best Romance Novel list at Buzzle and the BHB Readers Choice Best Books of 2009 at Publisher’s Weekly.   The novel is available in print and or eBook at: The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online booksellers.

The Old Homes Behind Historical Romance Novel Enemy of the King


Mysterious old homes, shrouded mountains and valleys hidden between misty ridges; the lure of Eastern Woodland Indians and Scots-Irish settlers in colonial American…this is what I know and love. But in writing Enemy of the King I spread beyond my Virginia home base and journeyed into the Carolinas at the height of the Revolution. Enemy of the King is my version of The Patriot with flavors of Daphne Dumaurier’s Rebecca.  Instead of Mel Gibson playing the lead in my historical romance, I have the very kewl Captain Jeremiah Jordan.

Pleasant Grove, the home featured in Enemy of the King, was drawn from Drayton Hall, the oldest preserved plantation in America that’s open to the public, located outside the city of Charleston, SC:

http://www.draytonhall.org/

I also incorporated elements of my ancestral Virginia home, circa 1816, located outside the historic town of Staunton. Called Chapel Hill(pictured above) this Georgian style brick house has been in the family for going on eight generations. The old kitchen, a separate building from the main house, no longer stands but I remember it from my childhood. Some outbuildings still remain; among them the smokehouse and stable. The house itself is filled with a wonderful collection of heirlooms. The miniature china dogs I played with as a child turn up in Enemy of the King.

The ‘snake thing’ in Chapter One is drawn from an incident that happened to me at Chapel Hill when I was a girl. Back in my contest circuit days, more than one judge told me a snake couldn’t possibly get into a house and wind around the antlers of a buck mounted up on the wall. They can and one did; a rather horrifying discovery for a child to make in the wee hours on her way to the bathroom. And then there’s the fact that I always suspected the house was haunted, not sure by whom…