Weekend at the Farm

Have you ever felt like you were in a book? I have, once, a few Saturdays ago.

Farmhouse Kitchen

We drove about two hours outside of town to our friends’ farmhouse, and although we’ve been there dozens of times, something about this time was different. I felt like I was being guided, almost pulled, by some crafty writer who kept making grasshoppers chirp and laughter bellow and who just couldn’t keep from  jumping and pointing and saying, “Did you know that a place like this could exist? Look! It does! Let me show you.”

Farmhouse Table

I started noticing it that night when I fell asleep to the smell of vanilla, wrapped in fleece and hand-sewn blankets in a room bound by wood and family heirlooms. Sunday morning, it felt like my writer was pleading, “Look! Look at the sunshine streaming through the windows! Look how it makes everything glow! Forget the vanilla. Smell the coffee, the leftover smoke of late-night cigars! Listen to the bacon hit the cast-iron and sizzle!”

Liquor Cabinet

It continued through breakfast. We gathered around the table and drank coffee, black, over 1920s jazz. We ate potatoes fried in bacon grease; cheddar melted over grits; and avocado, bacon, and egg atop toasted sourdough.

Pouring Coffee

I tell you, the farm really is like a house you find in books, the ones that most people dream about but wouldn’t know how to live in even if they had the chance. Our friends, however, have perfected the art, and they make a weekend in the country everything it should be. I’m crossing my fingers that it’ll be cold enough next time to light the stove.


(And, because I’m sure all that talk about bacon made you hungry, here’s  a recipe. It’s especially great served with hash browns, cheese grits, and fresh bananas.)

Avocado, Bacon, and Egg Breakfast Sandwich

Avocado, Bacon, and Egg Breakfast Sandwich

Start to finish: 20 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 2 sourdough buns, cut in half
  • 4 slices of thick-cut bacon
  • 4 large eggs
  • Spicy brown mustard
  • 2 avocados, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Toast sourdough halves 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp and brown.
  3. Meanwhile, fill a medium saucepan with cold water and eggs. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 3-4 minutes. Immediately remove from heat, drain, and soak eggs in cold water and ice. Once cool, remove eggshells and slice eggs.
  4. Layer sourdough halves, spicy brown mustard, avocado slices, egg slices, and bacon.

Apple Pecan and Cheese Salad

The one thing I enjoy more than spending sunny mornings on beaches is spending hot afternoons on porches alongside breezy bays – peeling shrimp, dipping fish in tartar, and sipping the same, cool beer used to batter the hushpuppies and bake the bread.

It was during one of these very moments alongside a bay in Alabama that I discovered another kind of seafood (and by that I mean the kind of food you eat while at the beach) that warrants some consideration. It’s another s-word like salmon, swordfish, scallops, and shrimp.

What’s that about a new kind of seafood? Oh yes. Salads. Particularly this salad, which features apples, toasted pecans, and goat cheese. Savor the taste for a few minutes as you skim the ingredients.

Apple Pecan and Cheese Salad With a Cinnamon Vinaigrette Dressing
Recipe inspired by Shipp’s Harbour Grill
Photo by Laurel Fan / Creative Commons

Start to finish: 20 minutes
Servings: 2


  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 bag spring mix
  • 1 Red Delicious apple, sliced into wedges
  • 2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup raspberry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake pecans for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
  2. In a large bowl, mix pecans, spring mix, apple slices, and goat cheese. Chill until ready to serve.
  3. In a small jar, combine next seven ingredients and mix by shaking jar. Chill at least 20 minutes. (NOTE: Dressing adapted from Southern Living)
  4. Lightly coat salad with dressing just before serving.

Now, I know what you’re saying. There’s no sea in it!

To which I say yes, sort of.

There’s nothing in the salad that comes from the sea, but it’s the perfect bayside dish because it is the sea. It is the crispness that is the waves, the brisk splash of saltwater that hits the small of your back without warning, the sudden breeze that saves you as it flaps against your skin. But it is also the heat of summer, the tingling warmth that overcomes you when you first lay down into sand. It is a hot-cold, breezy day at the beach.

Simply put, it is delicious, so I guarantee you’ll want to try it. At the beach, I ate it as an entree, but I’ve also made it as a side. It’s particularly tasty alongside shrimp chowder. Go figure.

Check out 5 Tips (And Recipes) For Hosting a Dinner Party After Work for ideas about how to incorporate this recipe into your next dinner party menu.