When a magazine covers as much ground as Blue Ridge Country does, writers, photographers and editors don't connect very often. Seeing as the holidays are a time for friends and family to gather, we gathered some of our Blue Ridge Country family together for a winter meal.
Publisher Richard Wells and his wife Alison not only opened their Roanoke, Va., home to the crowd for an evening, but cooked the turkey (the recipe came from Norma Lugar, editor of our sister magazine, Mountain Homes Southern Style), gravy and stuffing.
You'll recognize some of the guests' faces and names: Contributing editor Elizabeth Hunter who's written "From the Farm" since the magazine began, here with her sweetheart Doug Hibshman. "The Hike" columnist Leonard Adkins with his wife Laurie, a few months before they started their Appalachian Trail through-hike.
Also attending: Contributing editors Su Clauson-Wicker from Blacksburg, Va., with her husband Bruce Wicker, and Deborah Huso from Highland County, Va., with her husband French Grimes. Husband-and-wife team Pat and Chuck Blackley, who've shot so many of our most stunning covers. Marla Hardee Milling, who's written for us for years from North Carolina.
Susan Mills, executive director of Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway, joined us with her husband Bob (Susan's grandmother's orange walnut cranberry cake is on the cover of this issue [Nov/Dec 2007]). Kurt Rheinheimer, founding editor-in-chief of Blue Ridge Country, with his wife Gail, and Cara Ellen Modisett, editor of BRC, with her husband Phil Atkins rounded out the group.
An heirloom recipe shared by the granddaughter of a good Swedish cook
Shared by Elizabeth Hunter
"[The recipe] is from 'Farm Journal's Country Cookbook,' Doubleday, Garden City, NY, 1972 edition. I chose it because of the Swedish woman who married a local boy and came to my community back in the second decade of the 20th century, and because the rutabaga is one of the vegetables that the old timers in Bandana [N.C.] remember their families growing. Root vegetables that could be stored were valuable in a community without electricity until well up in the 20th century."
2 medium rutabagas, peeled, quartered, and sliced 1/4" thick
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoon butter
Cook rutabagas in boiling salted water and drain. Meanwhile, combine brown sugar, ginger, salt and pepper; mix thoroughly. Add with butter to rutabagas. Stir gently over low heat until sugar melts, 2-3 minutes. Makes six servings.
Shared by Cara Ellen Modisett
"I grew up with rice pudding (or rice salad) – my grandmother made it and so did her sister, my great-aunt – it was comfort food, nothing fancy. Some add raisins, but we haven't traditionally. My sister is carrying on the tradition, and made it most recently as a surprise for my wedding rehearsal dinner."
Cook 1-1/2 cups rice with 6 cups water until water is absorbed. Add 1-1/2 cups sugar and pinch of salt. Beat 4 egg yolks with 2 cups milk, 1 tsp. vanilla. Add to rice and bring to a boil. Cool overnight. Top w/Cool Whip and nutmeg.