The other day I was re-thinking of a wonderful experience that I had a few years ago when I was asked to write a story about an historic bed and breakfast in Camden, South Carolina. The story of Bloomsbury, the former home of Mary Boykin Chestnut was my assignment and I couldn’t have been more delighted to write about this magnificent home and the innkeeper Katherine Brown, who has since become my friend.
From the porch, cooled off from the evening shade, Katherine served wine and cheese while I enjoyed a view of the southern garden filled with giant oaks, azaleas and wisteria. It was so aromatic and I can’t remember when I have been more relaxed. I went up to bed later to find a copy of Mary Boykin Chestnut’s book on the night table and I went to sleep reading Diary from Dixie, Mary’s diary of everyday events during the Civil War.
The next morning, up and out, I went downstairs to a table set so elegantly for breakfast that I just didn’t want to leave and go back home to eat in my tiny dining room. Katherine came in from the kitchen to let me know that in addition to the traditional bacon and eggs for breakfast, I’d also be served cantaloupe soup and to my surprise, a biscuit with chocolate gravy.
Chocolate gravy is a recipe that Katherine’s grandmother always made for her as a child, and Katherine loves to see the look on your face when she tells you that you are having it for breakfast. But, hey, I’ll take chocolate gravy with a biscuit any day of the week!
I can’t begin to tell you how to make Katherine’s grandmother’s oh-my goodness really good chocolate gravy but she has kindly allowed me to share her recipe for the cantaloupe soup that she served so eloquently for breakfast. I can promise that you won’t be disappointed. I’d say that you could serve the soup for breakfast, luncheon or as a light dessert after dinner on a warm summer night. If you are serving it for a luncheon, a chicken salad would be good with it.
As you will see from the recipe below, Katherine calls this soup Bloomsbury Cold Fruit Soup because she uses fruits that are in season. She used cantaloupe the morning that I was there, but use whatever fruit you like, it will be delicious.
Enjoy my friends, and thank you Katherine for the recipe. Linda
Bloomsbury Cold Fruit Soup
2 cups fruit (peach, cantaloupe, honeydew, mango…any one of these works well…fresh is better, but canned or frozen will work when well drained)
1/2 cup sugar (sugar to taste depending upon natural sweetness of fruit)
1 (6 oz) individual-sized vanilla bean yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract if you use plain yogurt (extract flavor based upon fruit: vanilla, cinnamon, rum)
1/4 cup heavy cream (add cream to determine consistency desired)
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
Carefully clean/peel fruit. Place in the blender, add all remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.Chill for at least 8 hours. (Garnish with whipping cream, candied/sweet-flavored nuts, fresh mint or whole fruit slices). Serve very cold. Serves 6-8.
By Stacey Hirvela, Spring Meadow Nursery
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners/ColorChoice Shrubs
Landscaping is often an exercise in problem solving: we may have an ideal plant in mind, only to find that it won’t thrive in our yards because our site or soil isn’t suitable. Fortunately, plants are wonderfully diverse and adaptable, so you’re guaranteed to find beautiful, landscape-worthy shrubs that withstand most any of Mother Nature’s curveballs. Think of the plants listed below as the landscape equivalent of the old saying, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!” — they tolerate and even thrive under the difficult conditions commonly found in backyards everywhere. This means less work for you and a better performance from your plants!
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