BOONEVILLE – In April 2020, Laura Galloway’s mother invited the whole family over for Easter dinner in Tennessee. As usual, she put out a spread and showed her hospitality.
Less than two weeks later, Galloway’s mother went into the hospital. She died the following month at the age of 53.
“Her death, her hospitality, her cooking, her doing nice things for family, is what inspired me to start a food and hospitality blog,” said Galloway, 32. “I share recipes, and write a good bit about hospitality itself.”
Galloway posts on the blog, gallowaygrazes.com, four to five times a week, so she tries new recipes just about daily.
“I’ve been cooking since I was 17,” said Galloway, a title abstractor for attorney John Windsor in Corinth. “I started with traditional Southern food. Now, the majority of what I cook involves finding simple recipes and tweaking them just a little bit to make them taste gourmet.”
Galloway grew up in a little town called Leoma in southern middle Tennessee. Her earliest memories are of her family sitting around the table at her grandmother’s home, enjoying a meal her grandmother and mother had prepared.
“I’m the youngest of five children and my dad was one of six, so we had a very large family,” she said. “We all lived within a couple of miles of one another, so we were always together. My mom never cooked a small meal. There were always lots of sides, a pickle tray, cornbread and dessert.”
Galloway likes to share that same hospitality when she and her husband, Drew, entertain at their home in Booneville.
“I’ve gotten into charcuterie boards the last year,” she said. “I started with traditional things, like fruits, veggies, salami, hummus and cheese. Now, I’ve moved onto fancier appetizers, like dates stuffed with goat cheese, drizzled with honey and thyme, wrapped in bacon and baked, or brie baked in puff pastry with blackberries. And I love Mediterranean food, Greek food – anything with lemons, garlic, hummus and herbs.”
In addition to her 9 to 5 job and her food blog, Galloway is also writing a book with her late mother, Marian Dryden.
“She had a big patch of blackberries, and she picked gallons of them during the summer,” Galloway said. “When she passed away, I found some notes she had written about her picking blackberries – very spiritual things. It was almost as if she had outlined a book she never got to write. I think I’ll call it something like, ‘Meeting Jesus and Mama at the Blackberry Bush.’ I can tell her story and it gives me a bit of closure, too.”
DO YOU KNOW A GOOD COOK? Send your nominations to Ginna Parsons, Cook of the Week, P.O. Box 909, Tupelo, MS 38802. Or you can call (662) 678-1581 or email them to [email protected]
BALSAMIC MUSHROOM AND CARAMELIZED ONION PASTRY
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
14 ounces sliced baby portobello mushrooms
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
6 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded
Heat butter in a nonstick skilled over medium heat. Once sizzling, add onions, thyme and rosemary to skillet and cook until they’re beginning to brown.
Add minced garlic to skillet with onions and herbs and cook for another minute or two; transfer to a plate or bowl to cool.
Add mushrooms to skillet and cook, without stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar and cook until mushrooms have reduced their volume by half and liquid is evaporated. Let the mushrooms brown a little. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to dish with onions and herbs and let cool.
Use a sharp knife to slightly score the puff pastry along all four sides of the dough, leaving about a 1-inch border; do not cut all the way through the dough. Transfer the pastry onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Prick the dough with a fork, leaving 1-inch border untouched.
Sprinkle cheese in an even layer over the dough. Top with cooled mushrooms, onions and herbs.
Brush egg on the edges of the pastry. Prick the center of the dough with a fork a couple of times more. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden and flaky. Serve immediately.
MARIAN’S FAMOUS BLACKBERRY COBBLER
1 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups frozen blackberries
1 refrigerated pie crust, unbaked
Stir together 1 cup sugar, flour, melted butter and vanilla in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Stir in frozen blackberries. Spoon mixture into a greased 7×11-inch baking dish.
Cut the pie crust into strips and place on top of blackberry mixture.
Combine egg white and water. Brush pie crust strips with egg wash. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and blackberries are bubbly.
THYME-CRUSTED PORK LOIN ROAST WITH SPICED PLUM GLAZE
1 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) pork loin roast
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
Butter or thyme compound butter
Cover all sides of pork loin with salt, pepper and fresh thyme. Slice each plum into sixths.
Pour a little olive oil into a cast iron skillet and place over high heat. Brown all sides of pork, about 2 minutes on each side, until the meat has a nice, brown crust.
Remove skillet from heat; top pork with spiced plum jam, plum slices and more fresh thyme. Place skillet in oven and bake pork at 425 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, until juices run clear (a small amount of light pink color in the center of pork is fine).
Remove skillet from oven and let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. Add a dab of butter, or thyme compound butter.
SPINACH AND TORTELLINI SOUP
1 pound bulk Italian sausage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 (19-ounce) bag refrigerated cheese tortellini
2 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1 large can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until browned and done; drain and set aside.
In a large pot, saute onion and garlic in olive oil for 1 minute. Add basil, parsley, salt and chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes to soften onions.
Return to a boil and add tortellini; cook until tortellini is almost done, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add spinach, diced tomatoes with juice, heavy cream and grated Parmesan. Add cooked, drained sausage and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.
Ladle soup into bowls. If desired, garnish with fresh parsley and/or additional grated Parmesan cheese. Serves 8.
NAKED-ISH CHOCOLATE CAKE
2 boxes Duncan Hines Devil’s Food cake mix
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3 to 4 (8-ounce) tubs whipped topping
1 cup blackberries and blueberries, mixed
Blend cake mixes, water, eggs, and oil in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed for an additional 2 minutes.
Pour batter evenly into four greased round 8-inch cake pans and bake at 350 degrees for 24 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and cool completely on wire rack.
You’ll need three layers for this cake. Freeze the fourth layer or save for another use.
Poke a few holes in the tops of each of the remaining three cooled cake layers. Place one cake layer on a cake stand. Using a spoon, drizzle some of the sweetened condensed milk on top of the layer, just until it fills he holes and lightly falls over the side of the cake.
Liberally spread one tub of whipped topping over the layer. Repeat with second and third layers.
Top the last layer with additional whipped topping and garnish with fresh berries. Refrigerate.
SMASHED RASPBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE LAYER CAKE
1 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar (use 2 cups for a sweeter cake)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (do not thaw if using frozen)
1 1/2 cups raspberry jam
3 sticks salted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
8 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the cake layers, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease three (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter.
In a large bowl, beat together the coconut oil, yogurt, eggs, sugar, buttermilk and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix until just combined. Fold in the raspberries and swirl in 3/4 cup raspberry jam, leaving a few streaks of jam throughout the batter (it shouldn’t be fully incorporated).
Divide the batter among prepared cake pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the tops are just set and no longer wiggly in the center. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan and turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack. Cover and let the cakes cool completely before assembling.
To make the frosting, beat together the butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Add the melted white chocolate and vanilla, and beat until combined.
To assemble, place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread 1/3 of the frosting over the cake and layer with about 1/4 cup of jam. Repeat with the remaining two cake layers. Be careful not to overfill your layers or the cake will be hard to slice. Lightly frost the outside of the cake, then decorate with smashed raspberries. Chill 30 minutes. Serve or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.