Friday, June 20, 2014

Bluegrass On Liberty Square

It was the third Friday night of the month in Sparta, Tennessee. Tyme Line and Sunny Mountain Bluegrass Band were performing on Liberty Square. We ramble through here own our way to visit Stone's mom, Ms. Betty, who lives on the other side of the mountain.   As we drove through last month, we noticed the sign advertising live bluegrass every third Friday through October.  I packed a picnic, snapped Lucy into her car seat, and Stone and I were on our way.   Here is some history on this charming little town.  Sparta, the county seat, nearly became the capitol of the state of Tennessee, loosing to Nashville by only one vote.  Wow, I didn't know that.  This small township with rolling hills, creeks, caves and waterfalls has a population of only 4,599 at last count.  Hmmm, this is close to the size of my home town. Actually its larger by approximately 2000 people.  It is established on the banks of the Calfkiller River and only a short distance from the Cumberland Mountains.  It has become known as Bluegrass, USA.  This place was home to numerous Bluegrass Hall Of Famers such as Lester Flatt, Benny Martin, Bill Jones, John Henry Demps, and Blake Williams.   So there we sat, Stone, Lucy and I  savoring our picnic of Buttermilk Oven Fried Chicken Legs, Buttermilk Biscuits, Caprese Salad, Chewy Chocolate Cookies and the drink of the South, Ice-Tea. Just minutes prior to starting of the bluegrass music, a storm blew in and cancelled the show.  REALLY!!!  There's always the third Friday of next month.

chicken, liberty square,sparta,caprese,hairless chinese crested,biscuits, bill jones
Picnic at Liberty Square

sparta, liberty square,biscuits,caprese salad,chinese crested,chicken,chocolate cookies

Stone is HUNGRY!!!!

Liberty Square, Sparta, Bluegrass Band, Picnic, Tyme line and Sunny Mountain Bluegrass Band
It's raining, meaning no bluegrass at Liberty Square.

Buttermilk, Oven Fried, Bluegrass, Picnic
Buttermilk Oven Fried Chicken Legs

Chicken Ingredients:
2 cups buttermilk, for soaking
4 Tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons Paula Deans House Seasoning
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried lemon thyme
1 whole chicken cut into serving pieces

Paula Deans House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix above together and keep in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Soak chicken overnight for up to 24 hours.  Preheat oven 425'.  30 minutes before baking drain chicken using a colander.  In a 9X13" baking dish add butter and place in oven long enough to melt the butter.  Whisk together the flour and seasonings.  Dredge chicken pieces in the flour; place into the baking pan.  Bake 425' for 35 minutes, turn and bake another 20-25 minutes, or until juices fun clear and chicken is cooked through.
Total time will depend on the size of pieces you use, but the internal temperature should reach 175' in the thickest part of the thigh, 165' in the breast.  Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely if storing.

Tomatoes, Mozzarella, Celery, Basil, Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar, Picnic,
Caprese Salad

Salad Ingredients:
2 pounds assorted chopped tomatoes
1 pound cubed mozzarella
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped basil
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl.  YUM!!!

Southern Biscuits, Picnic, Liberty Square, Sparta
Southern Biscuits

Biscuit Ingredients:
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoon shortening
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450'. Place iron skillet in oven while preheating.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using my kitchen-aide, mix butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs.
Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk.  Stir just until the dough comes together.  The dough will be very sticky.With my floured hands I divide the dough into four lumps, making four balls.    Take HOT iron skillet from oven and place biscuits in skillet and back in the oven.  You can also brush with a little melted butter if you would like. Bake until biscuits are tall and light, gold on top, 15-20 minutes. Makes 4 medium-large biscuits. Recipe adapted from:
You can also freeze these.  As soon as you have formed them into a ball, wrap them individually and freeze.  When ready to bake, take out of the freezer as the oven with the skillet in the oven is preheating.  Following above baking directions.

The reason you want to put the iron skillet in the oven while it is preheating is that you will have crunchy bottom instead of soggy.

Chewy Chocolate Cookies, butter, sugar, eggs, flour, cornstarch, cocoa, peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, picnic, Sparta
Chewy Chocolate Cookies

Cookie Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups (12 ounce pkg.) peanut butter chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, Andes Creme De Menthe Baking Chips, caramel chips or white chocolate chips. Yeild: 54 cookies.

Heat oven to 350'.
In a mixer bowl, cream sugar and butter until fluffy and light.
Add in vanilla and eggs; beat well.
Combine salt, corn starch, baking soda, cocoa, and flour; gradually blend into creamed mixture.  Stir in chips of your choice.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 14 minutes.  Cookies will flatten out.   OR THIS IS WHAT I DO: Roll into a log and place in the freezer.  Carefully slice into thick slices and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Or use cookie mold pan.  Bake 14 minutes. Do not over bake; cookies will be soft.
Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet onto wire rack.  Cool completely.  Recipe adapted from:
What is your favorite picnic menu?