The Novel Bakers ~ Gathering in the Garden ~ Part I

This time the Novel Bakers are cooking from
"Gathering in the Garden", a cute book written
by Shelley Snow and Elaine Husband.

Shelley and Elaine have been lifelong friends from the time they were young
girls, growing up in much simpler times. If you're a baby boomer, you
will easily identify with these two delightful women and some of 
their experiences.

They had much in common then, (as we learn through the book), 
and are still best friends some 50+ years later.

They and their families live in Tennessee ~ 
both women are recognized watercolorist; 
their artwork is featured throughout the book.

This fun little gem of a book is filled with ideas for themed parties for
today, and is interspersed with memories (at times hilarious)
of their time growing up together.


I must say, this assignment has been a bit of a challenge
for me since the forest fires around here drastically
cut into the time we were able to spend outdoors ~
so this post was put together rather hastily (yesterday)
on one of the first clear (ash free) and cooler days since
the fires began in late July.

I think I'm not so good at following 'themes'
sometimes (that's just me...) So I skipped around and
chose recipes from the book that fit in with what
we normally eat.  I fudged a little and tweaked the
recipes to suit our tastes. 

Not many cherry tomatoes this year, so I picked other tomatoes from the
garden and made the Pickled Shrimp recipe (I omitted the olives and
substituted sliced baby cucumbers from the garden.) 

Cover painting "Still Life with Blue Goblet" by co-author
Shelley Snow. (watercolor)

I took some liberties and made a Roasted Bell Pepper and Crab Bisque, 
because it complements the shrimp (though the soup recipe is not
in the book.)  You can serve it hot or cold.

We're relishing the last few days of summer  here . . .

I served the soup with some slices of Asiago cheese bread.

Roasted Red Pepper soup with Crabmeat, garnished with Cilantro.

Tomato Salad from the garden harvest, drizzled
with herb vinaigrette and served with Pickled Shrimp.
I used the same vinaigrette for both the tomatoes and
the shrimp... (see below.)

I love the fresh  colors of summer on a plate . . .

Fishy ~  Crate and Barrel glass tumblers from years ago.

 Zebra striped green tomatoes ~ one of my favorite varieties, very sweet and mild.

Savoring every fresh vine ripened tomato from the garden . . .

. . . because soon they will be gone. 

We won't be able to enjoy these treasures until next year.


Truth in recipes . . . 

I didn't use the bottled dressing as the authors' recipe instructed.  
I made my old tried and true simple
dressing/marinade for the cooked shrimp:

Your favorite minced herbs 
(I used fresh parsley and chives from the garden), 
minced garlic if you want ~ a bit of oil, your favorite vinegar, 
salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar or  other sweetener 
just to mellow it a bit. 

You can't beat it ~ it's FRESH.
And the bonus is, no
synthetic taste, no chemicals or preservatives 
(and costs only pennies.)

You can serve a few shrimp on the tomato salad . . .

. . .  or serve each person a bowl of shrimp.  :)

I hope you, too, are enjoying these last days of summer for this year.

Thank you for coming by to visit!

Please stop by Wednesday for
the next post from our featured book.

And please do check the other Novel Bakers to
see their fabulous impressions of 
"Gathering in the Garden"

Unlike me, I'm sure they followed the rules . . .  ;-)

a quiet life blog

Rattlebridge Farm

Home is Where the Boat is

Bon Appétit!


  1. Oh your pickled shrimp and tomato salad look SO refreshing and perfect for a holiday weekend! So sorry about the devastating forest fires :( but you pulled together a beautiful feast, even gathered at the last minute! Your photos are always beautiful and mouth-watering...Roasted Red Pepper soup with Crabmeat looks picture perfect, especially served in your seaside cups! Wishing you smoke free days as you savor the last of summer!

  2. Looks very fresh and seasonal.
    I am so glad your air is beginning to be acceptable..It must ahve been hard.
    You never know until it's in your area right how uncomfortable things can be.
    Yoou sea themed table is so charming..
    Must feel special using them.:)

  3. You did a beautiful job for pulling things together at the last minute. Everything looks so delicious and inviting. Your sea-themed table is wonderful...especially love the dishes!

  4. I would love to join your garden party....everything looks so fresh and tasty. As I read through novels I seem to pay particular attention to all of the wonderful foods being served....

  5. Your veggie garden must be doing well this summer. The meals you've shared look fresh and delicious. Wish we were there to enjoy some of them!

  6. if this is what you do in a smokey fire pit heaven help us! of course you know i love anything seashorey and i adore shrimp! i even had a shrimp salad at ikea yesterday ;-) your glasses are darling, on my cell phone i couldn't figure it out, i thought they were orange artistic blobs!

    we are twins with our sea life, if only someone had filled my plates with all your fantastic food, instead they sit old and dusty waiting for a hand out...

    especially that crabby soup! its always cold here, that would sure hit the spot any day by the sea for me! your heirlooms are gorgeous, i adore fresh hot off the vine tomatoes, paired with shrimp, OOLALA! fantastic food and pics, does it get any better, well yes, a darling little book to boot! thanks for much for sharing, i am getting so hungry i fear i may have to alter my dinner plans, i am CRAVING IT ALL!

    let me guess, this won't post, you know where i am!

  7. Oh, does this look cool and refreshing for this HOT day here in TX. I'm glad the smoke has cleared some for you. I know it has been a rough summer with all the fires. My neighbors and good friends were evacuated from their summer home in CO and just recently were allowed to return. Fortunately all is fine with their home.
    Love the pretty seaside theme here. Your dishes and linens are lovely. I'm going to make the shrimp for our dinner. It's looks so refreshing. I don't eat tomatoes, but will fix a plate of these for my husband. He'll love this!
    I look forward to the next posts from all you creative Novel Bakers! ~ Sarah

  8. Oh you have my mouth watering, your photos are so clear and sharp the food looks DELICIOUS!!! I will make your dressing/marinade, this might be dinner tomorrow! So sorry about the fires, you did an amazing job creating this. I hope the fires are done soon, I can't imagine what people are going through. I am savoring the last of summer too since we have had the wettest summer EVER!!!! XO, Pinky

  9. What a lovely presentation! The most valuable cooking lesson I learned was to make your own dressing - that it is a ratio - the other lesson was to use fresh herbs. Suddenly my food tasted better. :)

  10. Thank you everybody for your wonderful comments! You made my week. xo :) :) :)

  11. Your photos are stunningly beautiful as always, and this book looks just as delightful as the others~I ordered it immediately after I read the post! I love the tomatoes in the white fish bowl especially! Sorry about your fires, terrible...

  12. Everything is so beautiful and yummy looking! I have had such a crazy summer that I haven't done a table for my blog since June. This one just makes my mouth water and the book looks wonderful too!

  13. Your food looks great! The shrimp look perfect.

  14. Mari, you've been in my thoughts, and I'm relieved that you were able to spend just a little time in your beautiful garden. And to think you put this masterful, mouth-watering presentation together in a day is a testament to your creative soul. I am wild about your shrimp and the glasses with the little goldfish. Your tomatoes look like a brilliant oil painting. I will send good thoughts your way and hope the weather clears pronto! Such a joy to visit--I'm already looking forward to your next post!


Thank you for your comments, friends ~ they make my day!

A Sampling of my food . . .


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