Southern Comfort and Elvis

Tuesday was the First day of Summer, although in Miami, it’s felt like summer for a while. I took photos of my garden, which I try to do at the beginning of each season. While my tomatoes are gone, as well as most of my herbs, I do still have pepper plants (Jalapeno, Serrano and Habanero), as well as Sage, Basil, Oregano (Mexican and Cuban), Chives, Scallions (grown from scraps), Butterfly Pea and a smidge of Peppermint. I will wait until the Fall to replant, when it’s cooler.

My Starfruit tree is producing more fruit -it’s like the Ever Ready Bunny- it never stops and I have one Banana Tree left. My Mallika Mango tree is loaded with green, teardrop-shaped fruit. So far, I’ve just eaten them plain, but have plans for Mango Ice Cream, Mango Bread and Salad Dressing. We’ve also been lucky to get fruit from other people’s trees.

On that same day as the First day of Summer, I was invited to participate in a #eatnorthamerica Instagram Food Blogger’s meeting, where we all posted recent photos and liked and commented on each others posts. We then had three challenges to post- breakfast, our favorite chicken dish and dessert. For the breakfast post, I posted what I ate for breakfast that day- Coffee and Chilaquiles and (we were allowed 2 posts) and a Miami Bowl, which is a breakfast bowl of my own invention. It consists of: rice, black beans, sliced avocado, salsa, a fried egg, plantain chips & a cilantro lime sauce on top. Que rico!

For someone who LOVES chicken almost every which way, I had a surprisingly small amount of chicken photos- I need to work on that. The last challenge was dessert, but I missed the cut-off time of 9 p.m. to post.

I was SO excited that the new Elvis movie by Baz Luhrmann came out last week, on Friday. I’m a huge Elvis fanatic and actually got to see him in 1970 with my grandparents and sister Kelley on Miami Beach. I still remember picking out my outfit for the concert with my grandmother (as if Elvis would notice an 10-year-old little girl) and being so excited for the show. After the concert was over (it was fantastic!), we were going to try and see him outside, but instead heard the famous words: “Elvis has left the building.”

Since I went to the concert with Kelley, we went to see the movie together on Sunday. The actor who played Elvis (Austin Butler) did a fantastic job nailing the voice, moves and look of Elvis. I wasn’t as crazy about the actress who played Pricilla, more for the lack of chemistry between the two of them, than her acting ability. Baz Luhrmann’s films are glitzy, fast-paced and eclectic, blending music and genres, and this one was no exception.

Elvis, the movie, did a good job conveying how revolutionary this Southern boy was with his music (which crossed race lines) and his singing style, back in the ultra-conservative 1950’s. I mean, this is a guy who wore a pink Lansky Brother’s suit to sing on the Louisiana Hayride! Ultimately, it was also a sad story, as the once-wild Elvis becomes trapped in the gilded cage Parker created for him. Although Tom Hanks, who plays Parker, says he tried to find the humanity in the part, make no mistake about it. Colonel Parker is the villain here.

The food I craved this week was Comfort Food, probably similar to what Elvis ate when he was home at Graceland. Although I didn’t have his famous Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich, I did make myself a delicious BLT one night for dinner, with sliced vine-ripe tomatoes, Romaine Lettuce and bacon. I slathered mayo on one side and mashed avocado on the other, on a PumpernickeI Tuscan toast. It really hit the spot! I don’t eat bacon very often so keep it in the freezer, but the problem with this is, it freezes together in a solid lump and makes getting one or two slices extremely difficult. I saw a video on Instagram on how to solve this problem. Brilliant hack!

While I don’t really like cooked salmon, I did attempt a Food and Wine Roast Salmon with Miso Butter and Radish Salad recipe which was baked in the oven, and served with Scallion Oil. It was actually very good (for someone who doesn’t like salmon.) I’m trying to eat more of it. Those Omega 3’s are supposed to be good for your brain!

Thursday I made my favorite homemade Mac ‘N Cheese to go with grilled pork loin and sliced tomatoes. The leftover Pork Loin turned into Pork Tacos for lunch the next day. And Sunday, after the movie, we grilled St. Louis Style Ribs on the charcoal grill with a rub, along with corn on the cob, Elote-style and Baked Beans. I used Bush’s Baked Beans, but jazzed them up with some mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and chopped onion, like my Mom makes.

In preparation for the Elvis Movie, I watched an Elvis documentary called The Searcher on HBO Max. It’s a 2-parter and part one was really good. We are still slogging through The Staircase; honestly sometimes I feel like I’m on trial trying to get through this darned show! I recently watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the hilarious movie set in Hawaii with Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Jason Segel, who also wrote it. Catch it while you can, because it’s leaving Netflix soon, as are a slew of other good movies. I presently stream Netflix, Peacock and HBO Max and Zeke wants to get Paramount + to watch The Offer, about the making of The Godfather. Where does the streaming stop? How many subscriptions can one have? Remember the old days when you just turned on the TV and there were three main channels?

Christopher and Courtney are coming back to Tallahassee after an almost-year stint in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. My sister Elise just got back from a visit there and was able to spend time with them, little Liam and Boxer dog Maggie. I won’t have all three grandchildren in Miami, but at least they’ll all be in Florida and that will have to be enough. And it seems that most everyone I know has fled, or will be soon fleeing, the humidity of Miami for the cooler mountains of North Carolina.

Youngest son and middle grandson headed back to the Sunshine State.

Were he still alive, Elvis would have been 87 this year, the same age my Dad would’ve turned on his birthday, July 4th. They were born in 1935- both Depression babies, children of the South, Rebels, Military Veterans, Family men and Hellraisers. My Father, however, couldn’t sing his way out of a paper bag, although he did sometimes belt out the Marine Corp Hymn with gusto. I’ll be making my Dad’s favorite dessert, Toll House Cookies, for his birthday on the Fourth of July in his memory. If you want an excellent recipe for Pound Cake, look up Elvis’s Pound Cake on Epicurious. It’s a hunk, a hunk of deliciousness.

Speaking of which, Azucar, the wonderful Ice Cream Shop in Little Havana is coming to Suniland. They are taking over the old Tutti Frutti spot. They have so many delicious, Miami flavors but also have the Elvis- a Peanut Butter ‘N Banana ice cream- that would go great with that pound cake!

And totally unrelated to all this, Happy Birthday to my husband Zeke! He’s 60 today! Yippy!

This was the song that we danced to as our first dance at our wedding.

Wise men say, only fools rush in But I can’t help falling in love with you.

Elvis, Blue Hawaii

Up Next: Mom’s Baked Beans

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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