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“If you can read, you can cook” – Julia Child

April 17, 2019
guest post by Harmony Lea Tersanchi

Apart from the more obvious reading of a recipe, cooking and reading arenʼt necessarily two things that youʼd normally think to put in the same category. However, I believe there arenʼt many things more closely aligned than these two activities. What has the power to transport you to another time or place without ever leaving the comforts of your own home, a good book and a good meal. What can bring people of different ages, nationalities, and religions together, a good book and a good meal. What can simultaneously invoke the feeling of love and also despair, coming to the last page of a great book, and realizing that youʼve taken the last bite of a great meal.

When your childhood best friend is Puerto Rican, there are a few things that you learn pretty early on in life, the love of food, music, and that nobodyʼs cooking holds a candle to Momʼs cooking! I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my love of cooking stems from those endless nights sitting on the stools at the bar of my best friend’s house, chatting away & watching while “Mom” was throwing down in the kitchen. As an adult now myself, I can say that there are few other things in life that bring me more joy than cooking and feeding those whom I love.

As most of you can probably relate, I may have a slight Outlander obsession. Whatʼs not to love, a handsome, drool worthy 18th century Scottish warrior, men in kilts, time travel, passion, romance, history, and did I mention men in kilts! Needless to say, I was shamelessly hooked at the first sight of James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser. I came to the books through the show and almost instantly became enthralled with the love story between Jamie & Claire. One other thing that stuck out to me, beyond the obvious, was how much of the story was centered around food. The gatherings, the family reunions, the celebrations, the banquets, Mrs. Fitz and her bannocks, the wine, whisky, and Rhenish. Food and drink were consistently present throughout the entire story. As I stated above, food has a way of bringing people together, a fact that wasnʼt lost on these 17th century characters.

Theresa is currently working on Outlander Kitchen 2!

Luckily for me, a woman by the name of Theresa Carle-Sanders decided to come out with a cookbook called Outlander Kitchen Cookbook: The Official Outlander Companion Cookbook. Any opportunity I get to bring my love of cooking and reading together, you better believe Iʼm taking!

So thatʼs what brought me here–well, more like a slightly crazy obsession with a fictional character, then a realization that Iʼm not alone in my craziness, followed by a Facebook page and blog run by the wonderful Beth Pittman actually brought me here, but yʼall get where Iʼm going with this. So here I am fellow Sassenachs, with my “Outlander Companion Cookbook”, a glass of red wine, and a spatula, getting ready to throw down an Outlander-inspired meal from start to finish, and Iʼm bringing yʼall along for the ride.

Puff Pastry Boar Tusks

First up on this journey for the taste buds is “Murtaghʼs Gift to Ellen,” or Puff Pastry Boar Tusks. Asparagus and puff pastry and bacon…..oh my! The cookbook does have a recipe for a Blitz Puff Pastry, however I chose the easier route & visited the freezer section of the local grocery store for some Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets. Before you get all “Thatʼs not how they did it in the 18th century,” just know that the cookbook does offer that as an option in the recipe, and that was one modern adjustment I was definitely going to take! The construction of this adorable appetizer was quite simple & easy enough to do, yet looks as though great detail went into the prepping/cooking process. Would I make this again? With one minor adjustment, aye, I most definitely would. As for that adjustment I mentioned, Iʼd probably opt to coat the puff pastry part with a melted garlic herb butter once removed from the oven. That would take it from being a cute & tasty appetizer to a cute and delectable appetizer thatʼd impress anyone youʼd serve it to.

Brianna’s Matchstick French Fries

Letʼs talk sides. When youʼre slaving away over a meal of this magnitude, keeping it simple yet delicious is key, and boy did I unlock a couple of winners! I went for the “Broccoli Salad,” (p. 210), and the “Matchstick Cold-Oil Fries.” I have been making homemade fries for the past 10 years, and now I know that for the past 10 years, I have been doing them totally WRONG! Who wouldʼve thought that the trick to getting the most crispy and delicious homemade fries youʼve ever had, was to start off with cold oil? Certainly not me, but I can guarantee that I will never make fries using any other method again.  Iʼm here to tell you that the cost of this cookbook is well worth it for this recipe alone! My only regret is that I didnʼt make more!

Now, not to take any shine away from those seriously insane french fries, but the broccoli salad was pretty darn amazing in itself. Fresh, crunchy, tangy, with just a hint of sweetness, and did I mention bacon? Yes people, more bacon. Letʼs be honest, can you ever go wrong with a recipe that has crunchy bacon as an ingredient? The answer to that question, is absolutely not & this recipe was no exception. There isnʼt a single thing that I would change about this salad. So just to recap……yes, yes, and more yes when it comes to these two sides!

Sweet Tea-Brined Chicken

Moving right along, we come to the main entree, “Sweet Tea-Brined Fried Chicken,” (p.112). Now, I love a glass of sweet tea just as much as the next person, but I canʼt say that Iʼve ever imagined using it to brine chicken, or anything for that matter. Once I got beyond the initial “Huh?” phase, I was ready to jump right in. You start off by brining the chicken for a few hours in a homemade sweet tea concoction, filled with what else other than a ton of sugar. Yes, there are a few other ingredients, but youʼll have to buy the book to figure those out. Believe me when I tell you, I not only wanted to like this recipe, but I really wanted to love it, unfortunately that wasnʼt necessarily the case. Donʼt get me wrong, the chicken was outrageously juicy and tender, accompanied with a perfectly crisp outer coating, what lost me was the sweetness. Not overpowering, but enough to make the dish just “okay”. The crispness of the coating was spot on though, Iʼd only say it needed a little salt to make it fried chicken perfection. The recipe wasnʼt a total loss for me though, Iʼd definitely use that coating again, and like the idea of brining beforehand, however Iʼd personally stick with just a good ol’ salt water brine.

Last but certainly not least, I bring you the “Warm Almond Pastry with Father Anselm,” (p. 255) for dessert. Thereʼs really not much I can say about this dessert other than delicious! If you like a dessert that isnʼt overly sweet, then this is the dessert for you! Itʼs light and flaky, and would go perfect with a nice cup of hot coffee. I will for sure be making this again in the very near future.

Warm Almond Pastry

I hope youʼve enjoyed the ramblings of this food obsessed Sassenach. If you donʼt already own this cookbook, do yourselves a favor & go buy it ASAP. If the last thing you need is another cookbook lying around taking up space, then visit your local library, check it out and take pics of the recipes that interest you. You wonʼt regret it! This has been quite the tasty experience, but now itʼs time for me to summon my children and have them roll me into bed. Good night yʼall.

Harmony was born and raised in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, but found her forever home in the mountains of North Carolina in 2017. She is married to her “Jamie” and the mom of two boys whom she homeschools. Harmony discovered Outlander while Season 2 was showing on Starz, and instantly fell in love with Jamie and Claire’s love story. In her spare time, she enjoys being with her family and getting outside to explore their new home in the mountains. Harmony is a moderator for the Outlander North Carolina Facebook Group, and hosted “Happy Hour with Harmony” on Saturday evenings, using recipes from the Outlander Kitchen cookbook to make cocktails and mocktails. If you’d like to see the videos, join the Outlander North Carolina group on Facebook, and go to our Videos section–Harmony is a great hostess!

Do you have a copy of Outlander Kitchen, or have you been a follower of Outlander Kitchen website before there was a cookbook? What’s your favorite recipe?

Drums Of Autumn Fraser's Ridge Native Americans Outlander North Carolina Pre-Revolutionary War Period River Run Season 4

Episode 410 Recap – The Deep Heart’s Core

January 11, 2019

Guest Post by Cameron Hogg

After last week’s episode, I was especially excited for this week to see the truth about Roger’s disappearance come out, and this episode did not disappoint!

As a devoted Daddy’s girl myself, I love the dynamic building between Bree and Jamie.  This episode starts with a heart to heart between the two of them, but it becomes clear that this is not an episode of “Father Knows Best.”  Jamie does some pretty slick reverse “psychologizing” on Bree here.  He smoothly goes from reassuring Bree that no one thinks less of her “for something {she} didn’t do, but was done to {her},” to turning things around and suggesting that maybe she was “playing with the truth” to cover a mistake.  But it doesn’t take long for Jamie to bring on the brawn to show her there was no way to have prevented what Bonnet did, no matter how strong Bree feels she is or feels she should have been. Man, does this guy know how to create a great teachable moment, or what?  Then the two discuss how Jamie has dealt with his own experiences with BJR at Wentworth.  Scenes like this help show Jamie’s depth and complexity, and I think Sam Heughan plays it beautifully every time.

You may be wondering what poor Roger is up to right about now.  Oh right, he’s being dragged through the mountains by the Mohawk.  Our writers and producers do love a good slog through the wilderness, now don’t they?  At least these treks seem to be getting shorter, and this one had more plot relevance than 15 minutes of Claire hacking through the jungle or Bree limping through the highlands, but I digress…

Meanwhile, back on the ridge- Claire and Bree have an emotional talk about what Bree plans to do regarding her pregnancy.  They discuss all the options, and both are essentially contemplating the loss of a child- Bree is deciding on the future of her pregnancy, and Claire is facing the possibility of losing Bree a second time if Bree chooses to go back to her own time.  Could someone please pass the tissues?

On a lighter note, I loved the exchange between Claire and Bree lamenting all they miss from the future.  From cheeseburgers to Led Zeppelin, toilets to aspirin, this was a sweet moment for the two of them displaying how much they’d missed each other when separated by 200 years also. 

In a nod to Jamie’s nightmares season 2, Bree’s dream sequence includes a loving visit from Roger, showing how incredibly understanding he is and how much he loves Bree but quickly turns terrifying when he is replaced by Stephen Bonnet and we get a taste of the violence Bree likely experienced during her attack, but was mercifully left out in the original scene of their first meeting.  When Lizzie tries to comfort her, Bree realizes that Lizzie has been keeping something a secret and begins putting together that Roger isn’t really missing or back in the 60’s after all.  Side note- does anyone else want to smack Lizzie right about now?  Maybe she needs a Jamie-style teachable moment about not jumping to conclusions. 

Now that Bree knows what’s up, stuff is about to get real… Bree storms in to confront Jamie about his part in the mix up that sent Roger packing.  If that weren’t enough to make you mad at Jamie, then he turns around and accuses Bree of actually lying to cover her pregnancy and claiming to be raped when it was really consensual.  Well now, Jamie deserves slapping too… and Ian doesn’t get left out for his part and gets slapped… hey, Lizzie’s there, can we slap her now too?  Here we really see how Bree is just as fiery as her parents and all heck breaks loose when Jamie gets all indignant again, when Bree calls him on it saying, “you don’t get to be more angry than me!” Go, girl!  During this exchange, Jamie learns that Bonnet was the real rapist when Claire slams the retrieved ring on the table, and the change (from the book) of which ring was taken by Bonnet pays off!

Now comes the time when Jamie and Young Ian acknowledge their mistake and promise to get Roger back.  It’s also here that we learn that Bree is planning to keep the baby, if there’s even the slightest chance that the baby is Roger’s.  But Bree doesn’t trust the menfolk to get it right after all that happened, so she tells Claire she has to go to supervise.  Understandably Claire balks at this as it means she can’t be with Bree when the baby is born.  Bree tries to convince her she’ll be fine… because she has Lizzie.  Is that supposed to be reassuring at this point?  Thank goodness Jamie suggests sending Bree off with Murtaugh to Jocasta’s.  Murtaugh certainly doesn’t seem to mind a visit to Jocasta, and knowing his fondness for Jamie’s mother, could this be foreshadowing of their relationship to come? 

Jamie and Claire argue over the situation and it occurs to me that Claire doesn’t really have a lot of right to be so mad at Jamie for it when she knew it was Bonnet all along.  But Jamie entrusts Murtaugh to find Bonnet after seeing Bree safely to Jocasta’s so that Jamie can kill him, as he’d persuaded Bree not to do when they were recounting the attack at the beginning of the episode…the phrase, “do as I say, not as I do,” comes to mind, but you have to love the protective instinct Jamie has for those he loves.  

Fast forward to the painful goodbyes- Jamie, Claire, and Young Ian are about to ride off on their quest to find Roger, and Bree, Murtaugh, and Lizzie are headed for River Run.  Leave it to Young Ian to provide a bit of levity here, vowing to marry Bree if they can’t find Roger, only to be called an “idjit” by his uncle.  Jamie reassures Bree that there will be no need for that, as he won’t rest until Roger is found. 

Bree arrives safely at River Run, and meets Jocasta, who reacts especially well to a previously unknown pregnant niece appearing on her doorstep, in my opinion.  Maybe Murtaugh being there softened the blow.  Can you tell, I’d love to see him find a little happiness after all this time?

Talk about a cliff hanger! While Jocasta welcomes Bree into her home, Roger is still with the Mohawk when he falls and dangles from a rope over a rocky ledge until the rope snaps and he can finally attempt his escape.  He manages to elude the Mohawk recapturing him and finds himself near a buzzing stone structure.  He has the jewels he received as payment from Bonnet, he’s right there, he reaches out, but does he go?  We’ll have to tune in next week to know for sure!

Cameron Hogg is a North Carolina girl currently living in northern Virginia. She is a mom to twin boys and works in nursing education and clinical practice, which may explain the draw to Claire and the medical aspects of the books and show. She enjoys history and loves to explore the notable sites wherever she goes, but especially those that have a tie to NC and more recently those related to Outlander. She is also a moderator for the Outlander North Carolina Facebook Group. 

Cameron Hogg
Fraser's Ridge Pre-Revolutionary War Period Quotes Season 4

Daniel Boone ~ A North Carolina Legend

January 3, 2019

By Susan Jackson

Unfinished Portrait of Daniel Boone c.1820

Did you notice in “The Birds and Bees” when Jamie was showing Bree the view from the Ridge, and Bree mentions Daniel Boone? Very likely, she was familiar with the television show that aired in the 60’s, if not from history class in school.  Boone was a trapper, hunter, frontiersman, landowner, politician, and in spite of his Quaker birth and upbringing, owned slaves. He is credited with “discovering” the state of Kentucky. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1734, but his family moved to North Carolina around 1750, settling on the Yadkin River in what is now Wilkes County.

Boone was not afraid to defend the white settlements from the Native Americans, and at 16, joined a militia for that reason.  1755 brought the French and Indian War to his region, and he served as a wagoner, and when that was done, he married. He built two cabins, one near the Yadkin, and one on Beaver Creek, and settled down. Eight children later, he and his wife Rebecca moved to Kentucky, and in 1755, he helped arrange a treaty between the Transylvania Company and the Cherokee, who sold the majority of what is now Tennessee and Kentucky to a Richard Henderson, owner of the Transylvania Company.  Boone and other settlers built and lived at a settlement called Boonesboro. The land is now a state park in Kentucky, complete with camping sites and a living history museum.

Boone never returned to North Carolina, and, after losing his land in spite of being a Kentucky representative in the Virginia General Assembly, moved his family to what is now Missouri, where he was given land by the US Government in exchange for clearing the land. Upon his death in 1820, he still owned 850 acres of the homestead.

Much of what was written in the early history books and biographies about Daniel Boone are stuff of legend, and mostly untrue.  One author interviewed Boone, but elaborated a great deal in his book, and other biographies were written about him, mainly to encourage people to settle in Kentucky.  One story goes that he dictated his life story to his grandson, but the papers were eventually lost when a canoe he was traveling in tipped over, and the “manuscript” was lost in the water.  

He was somewhat famous, however, and he didn’t like it much, stating, “Nothing embitters my old age [more than] the circulation of absurd stories … many heroic actions and chivalrous adventures are related of me which exist only in the regions of fancy. With me the world has taken great liberties, and yet I have been but a common man.”  Wonder what he’d have thought of the television series?!

According to findagrave.com, “Seven counties, a national forest, and numerous towns and schools across the United States are named for him.”  The lovely mountain town of Boone, North Carolina is one of those namesakes.  Those of us at the recent Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming got to visit Whippoorwill Academy, where there is a replica of the cabin Daniel and Rebecca lived in and raised their family.  The rocks that form the chimney are from the original cabin.

Appropriately, in Boone, NC, you’ll find the Hickory Ridge Living History Museum, and during the Summer months, they produce the long-running outdoor drama, Horn in the West, portraying the life of Boone and other settlers in the region before and during the Revolutionary War.

Oh, and, according to his son Nathaniel, Daniel Boone never wore a coonskin hat.

Susan Jackson is a mother of four who lives in coastal North Carolina, and is an avid Outlander fan.  Besides reading, she loves cooking and baking, and music.  She is a thyroid cancer survivor and has worked in education most of her life. She hopes to one day blog about her thyroid cancer journey. She is a contributing author for Outlander North Carolina and, among other articles, has previously written about the infamous Stede Bonnet in Will The Real Stephen Bonnet Please Stand Up? 


Drums Of Autumn Fraser's Ridge Outlander North Carolina Season 4

Where Is Fraser’s Ridge, North Carolina?

November 24, 2018

It’s the question all Outlander fans are asking so where exactly is Jamie & Claire’s new home, Fraser’s Ridge? Although no one knows for sure the exact location, Diana has said that Fraser’s Ridge probably lies within ten miles of Blowing Rock or Boone, North Carolina and that it covers land north of the Yadkin River.1

If you’ve watched Episode 401.3, The False Bride, Jamie & Claire see a river below Fraser’s Ridge and if the show writers are staying true to Diana’s specifications for the location of Fraser’s Ridge, I imagine this river is the Yadkin. The Yadkin River’s headwaters start near Blowing Rock in Watauga County, not far from the Thunder Hill Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. From there, it flows southeast through Caldwell County before turning northeast and flowing through Wilkes County.

Below are some maps I’ve put together. Please keep in mind, these are not scientific, and we are talking about a fictional location. (OMG!!! Someone please slap me! Did I just say that Fraser’s Ridge is fictional?!?!)  Since the headwaters of the Yadkin are located near the Blue Ridge Parkway and based on Diana’s description, I think it’s a safe bet to say that Fraser’s Ridge would be located east of the Parkway.  With that being said, Fraser’s Ridge could be located in one or more of the present day counties of Watauga, Caldwell or Wilkes. 10,000 acres covers a lot of ground!

 

 

 

Are you planning your trip to find Fraser’s Ridge? If so, where do you think it is?

P.S. If you believe Fraser’s Ridge is fictional as I so incorrectly stated earlier (that was before I slapped myself back into reality), you might want to check out this letter written by an unbeliever to Dr. I. Fash, YeKen, Ph.D., and his very timely response.

Drums Of Autumn Fraser's Ridge Outlander North Carolina Season 4

The False Bride – Outlander 403 Recap

November 21, 2018

Post by Contributing Author, Harmony Tersanschi

“‘How shall I tell ye what it is, to feel the need of a place?’ He said softly. ‘The need of snow beneath my shoon. The breath of the mountains, breathing their own breath in my nostrils as God gave breath to Adam. The scrape of rock under my hand, climbing, and the sight of lichens on it, enduring in the sun and wind.’

His breath was gone and he breathed again, taking mine. His hands were linked behind my head, holding me, face-to-face.
‘If I am to live as a man, I must have a mountain, he said simply.’” (Diana Gabaldon, DOA)

………And a mountain ye have finally found.

We start off episode 403 in 1970 Inverness with Roger playing his guitar (swoon) then handing the keys to his childhood home over to Fiona and her new husband. “I may not read tea leaves like my grannie…..But I can see ye’re in love with her”, ummm yasss Fi, you tell him! What a great start to this episode, I have certainly missed seeing Roger & hearing that accent, as I’m sure many of us have.

We’re then transported back to River Run where Jamie & Claire are bidding farewell to Aunt Jocasta. This was my only issue with the entire episode, the addition of the unneeded conflict between Claire & Jocasta. Again, the harshness of Claire’s attitude is not something that I’m fond of regarding the series, however I was happy to see that it quickly dissipated once River Run was out of sight. On another note, I don’t think I can put into words how much I adore John Bell as Young Ian. He has fully filled the roll in my opinion & is an absolute joy to watch! Listening to him plead his case to Jamie on why he should be permitted to make his own decision regarding the place he will call home, was no exception. Fantastic!

Now on to what I’ve been waiting for all season, yes I know we’re only just now three episodes in, but I have been looking forward to this since reading DOA this past summer. Bree & Roger are reunited once again & on their way to Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. I loved the parallel of them being in present day N.C. while her parents are also in 18th century N.C.! A slightly awkward and tad stiff performance from Sophie in season three has been replaced by a confident & completely natural embodiment of Bree in this episode. I mean, she totally killed every scene she was in & I couldn’t be happier! The looks between the two, the chemistry, the flirting, the “Minister’s Cat”, the passion, the fight, was all done seamlessly! These two have already brought some of my favorite parts from DOA fully to life and there’s so much more in store. I of course can’t conclude my thoughts on Roger & Bree without mentioning the performance! I was completely lost in Roger’s voice as he sang, and Bree’s expression perfectly mimicked every other woman’s face at the festival, including my own, while he serenaded us all. I had to apologize to my hubby for the sighs of delight that were coming from my mouth as I briefly forgot that he was sitting right there next to me. Luckily he doesn’t mind my Outlander/Jamie/Roger obsession. Although, it’s more lucky for him than it is for me, because no amount of disapproval could come in the way of my ultimate swooning over Roger’s voice, both singing & speaking.Back to our two main characters, Jamie & Claire who are now wandering the woods for a place to call home. Otter Tooth & his skull made their appearance much sooner than I had imagined albeit I fully enjoyed how it was handled within the episode. The scenery was absolutely beautiful and very reminiscent of trails that I’ve personally found myself on since making North Carolina my home. “Jamie look, strawberries”, Claire calls out to Jamie which was all the sign he needed to realize that they had finally found home. A home soon to be called Fraser’s Ridge.To say that I enjoyed this episode would be a vast understatement! The show once again has sucked me in and I found myself wishing it was much longer than a mere 62 minutes. This has now made my anticipation for what’s yet to come even more extreme, please excuse me while I shout “BRING ON THE TIME TRAVEL!”Harmony was born and raised in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl, but found her forever home in the mountains of North Carolina in 2017. She is married to her “Jamie” and the mom of two boys whom she homeschools. Harmony discovered Outlander while Season 2 was showing on Starz, and instantly fell in love with Jamie and Claire’s love story. I’m her spare time, she enjoys being with her family and getting outside to explore their new home in the mountains.