Heirloom Eats – 2017

(above) Jim and Linda Keown put the finishing touches on Jim’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake. 

photos by Rich Smith

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By Brenda Shafer

Take a walk down memory lane with these local families who share their most-treasured recipes, passed down from generations before.

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Jim Keown


My mom was originally from Monteagle, but she moved to Chattanooga. Her parents grew and sold flowers for a living. She passed away in 2000, at age 83. This Sour Cream Coffee Cake was one of her recipes that I have used for years.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt


2 tsp. cinnamon
8 tsp. brown sugar

Cream together butter, sugar, and eggs until light and fluffy. Add sour cream and vanilla. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour 1/2 batter into floured and powdered tube pan and sprinkle with 1/2 topping. Repeat. Bake at 335° for approximately 45 minutes.

photos by Rich Smith

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“This is my grandmother Loretta’s recipe. Her grandfather’s family was from Ireland. They settled in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and owned land on Mackinac Island. My grandma was a single mother with five kids who taught special education. She was an incredible woman – ahead of her time. She kept her house on the island even on a teacher’s budget, and she loved to entertain. She always had a house full of people. I learned to cook from her and from my mom. I wish I could bring her back to have a meal with us.”

Annie Robbins


Irish Oven Stew

6 slices bacon
1 & 1/2 lbs. chuck, cubed 1 & 1/2 inches
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup dry red wine
1 can (10 & 1/2 oz.) beef broth
3 tbsp. parsley
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. tarragon
4 medium potatoes, diced
4 carrots, sliced lengthwise
12 small white onions
1 can (4 oz.) mushroom pieces of fresh mushrooms
1 can artichokes, optional

Cook bacon until crisp. Reserve drippings. Cut beef and shake a few at a time in a bag with flour and salt. Brown in bacon drippings. Put in 2-quart casserole dish. Mix wine, broth, and herbs in bowl. Whip in flour remaining from shake bag. Pour mixture over beef and bake covered 4 hours at 300°. After 2 hours of baking, stir potatoes, carrots, and onions into dish. Add more broth if needed. Remove from oven and stir in mushrooms, artichokes, crumbled bacon, and scatter parsley on top. Variation: leave out the potatoes and serve on mashed potatoes. You can also add peas.

Photos by Terry Henson

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“My mom was born and raised in the Philippines. She moved to Chattanooga for college and brought with her many recipes from her childhood. She made this one for our family the most frequently, sometimes mixing it up with a different main ingredient such as chicken, shrimp, tuna, or tofu. She passed away last year, but her love for cooking and her Filipino upbringing live on whenever we make these recipes she loved. And they will certainly be passed on to generations to come.”


Madison Templeton



Pork Adobo

2 lbs. pork (chops, loin, belly, etc. no bone), cut into bite-sized pieces
Cooking oil
4-5 garlic cloves, mashed
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
4-5 bay leaves
1 tbsp. whole black peppercorns
Brown sugar (optional)
Jasmine rice, cooked according to package directions

Brown pork in a Dutch oven or large saucepan with oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add all other ingredients except sugar and rice and let simmer for 30 minutes to one hour. You can use a sachet or tea infuser to contain the peppercorns if you don’t like them loose in the broth. Add brown sugar to taste to cut bitterness if you like; remove bay leaves. Serve over a bed of jasmine rice.

Photos by Lanewood Studio

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“My grandmother, Louella Bouldin Houts, was born in 1898 and was the oldest of seven children. She learned how to cook at a very early age to help her family. She was an excellent cook, homemaker, seamstress, gardener, carpenter, and rook player! She was also very frugal. She saved enough money to buy land on Possum Creek and build a log cabin and a dock that housed her own boat. My brother and I spent many summers there, and one of my fondest memories was waking up in the morning to the smell of her homemade biscuits. In the evenings, we would enjoy her beef vegetable soup and cornbread baked in one of her seasoned black iron skillets! My grandmother was quite a woman. She had a great recipe for soup and for life! She gave me this recipe when I was 20, and she also passed along her cast iron skillet and pot to me.”


Judith Houts Silvey



Beef Vegetable Soup & Cornbread


Soup bone (if you can get)
1 package stew meat or 1 package brisket (both, if you like lots of meat in your soup)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup celery
1 large onion
2 large carrots
1 large potato
1 quart tomatoes or 1 large can of V8 juice
1 cup small macaroni

Cook your soup bone and meat together. Add salt and pepper to meat. When tender, cut meat off the bone. Separately, cook all vegetables and macaroni in 1 quart of water until vegetables are done. You should have 1 & 1/2 gallons when all done. Don’t cook too long; you don’t want your vegetables cooked to a mush. Add to meat and broth.


1 cup cornmeal
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, separated
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder

Sift cornmeal into heated milk. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat and add butter & salt. Add beaten egg yolks. Beat whites until stiff and add sugar and baking powder. Fold into mixture. Bake in black iron skillet 25-30 minutes at 400°.

Photos by Terry Henson

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“When I was a senior in college, I lost my father (who grew up in South Alabama) to leukemia. After I had children, I tried to resurrect the childhood memories of my father’s gumbo for my children. I never found his personal recipe, but I have been perfecting this one for years in his honor. It has become quite a hit with my family and friends. It picked up the name “Yankee Gumbo” when I made the mistake of offering to serve the dish during an annual hog hunting trip I make to South Alabama. Just after I offered it, I realized most of the hunters were from Mobile, Alabama, and all gumbo connoisseurs. My gumbo was well received, and they now affectionately call it “Yankee Gumbo” because its origin is this far north in Tennessee.”


Fox Johnston, Jr.

Lookout Mountain


Yankee Gumbo

2 cups yellow onions, diced
1 large green pepper, finely diced
2 cups celery, finely diced
2 tbsp. olive oil
6 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
2 cups okra, chopped
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 medium tomatoes finely diced
12 cups chicken broth/stock
2 bay leaves
1/2 lemon, peeled and diced
1 lb. lump crabmeat
12 oz. crawfish tails
2 tbsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. course ground pepper
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
Tony Chachere’s (or your favorite) Creole seasoning to taste
Old Bay seasoning to taste
Crystal (or your favorite) Louisiana hot sauce
1 lb. jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp. butter
1 bunch green onions, chopped
Fresh parsley

Combine the “holy trinity” of onions, green pepper, and celery into a sauté pan, and sauté with olive oil until the vegetables are softened. Add the garlic and turn the burner off. Simultaneously, bake the chopped okra for 12 minutes at 250° or until okra turns slightly brown and turn oven off. In a large pot, heat the oil to medium high and slowly whisk in the flour until the roux begins to thicken into a light chocolate color with a nutty smell. This step should take 10-15 minutes. Once the roux is ready, stir in the holy trinity, tomatoes, and lightly baked okra immediately followed by the chicken stock. Bring mixture to a slight boil. Add the bay leaves, diced lemon, crabmeat, and crawfish. Season mixture with kosher salt, ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, Tony Chachere’s, Old Bay, and Crystal hot sauce. In separate sauté pan, cook the jumbo shrimp in butter. Do not put the shrimp in the gumbo. Instead, place cooked shrimp on top of gumbo just before serving. Serve gumbo with or without rice. Finally, garnish with chopped green onions and parsley. Serves 10-12.

Photos by Karen Culp

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“My husband Peter’s family is from Cornwall, England, and one of the most famous Cornish foods is pasties. Legend has it that pasties evolved because Cornish miners, who, unable to return to the surface at lunchtime, needed a hearty, easy-to-eat lunch. With their hands often dirty from a morning’s work, the pasty could be held by the thick pastry crust without contaminating the contents. I’m Jewish and consider myself a bagel snob; I almost always refuse to eat bagels unless I’m in New York or New Jersey, where my mom was raised. The reason I mention this is it’s the same for Cornish people and pasties! Though they sell them in train stations and at food stalls all over the country, Pete only eats them when we’re visiting his family in Falmouth, Cornwall, or if they’re made at home by his mother. Luckily, my mother-in-law, Jane, taught me how to make them, so Pete doesn’t always have to travel back home to enjoy one of his favorite foods!”


Stephanie Hays & Peter Woolcock


Cornish Pasties

8 oz. shortcrust pastry, thawed 
8 oz. lean beef, rump or skirt, trimmed of excess fat
4 oz. potatoes, peeled and diced
1 small onion, peeled and chopped finely
2 oz. rutabaga, peeled and diced
1 tbsp. water
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Milk to glaze
Divide the pastry into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece out on a floured surface into a 6-inch round. Cut the meat into thin strips (1/4 x 1 inch). Mix the meat, potato, onion, and rutabaga together with the water and season with salt and pepper. Pile a quarter of the mixture onto each pastry round, dampen the edges, and draw them together to form a seam across the top. Flute the edges with your fingers. Repeat the process with the other three pasties. Place on a baking tray and brush with milk. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes.

Photos by Terry Henson

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“My mother-in-law, Jeannine, gave this recipe to me 25 years ago. I make it all the time; it’s a family favorite. It’s wonderful because you don’t have to precook your lasagna noodles. Besides a couple of my tweaks, it’s stayed the same over the years.”


Margaret Mullin

Soddy Daisy

1 & 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, diced
2 large tbsp. garlic, diced
3 heaping tbsp. basil, diced (use fresh if available)
2 large tbsp. oregano, diced (use fresh if available)
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
32 oz. chicken broth
2 cubes chicken bouillon
1 cup water
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. red pepper
1 & 1/4 cups parmesan cheese, grated
1 15-oz. container ricotta cheese
2 eggs
3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 box regular lasagna noodles

In a large sauce pan, prepare ground beef until crumbled and cooked. Drain and rinse in a large colander. Using the same pan, sauté onion and garlic in a small amount of water until tender and transparent. Add the basil, oregano, garlic salt, and cooked ground beef. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, and bouillon cubes, along with 1 cup of water. Simmer on medium heat to reduce liquid for approximately 1 hour. Add cinnamon, sugar, and red pepper.  Stir in the grated parmesan cheese and allow to simmer for another hour.

Mix ricotta cheese in a large bowl with two beaten eggs and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and set aside.    

In a 9 x 13 inch pan, add 1 cup of prepared sauce evenly on the bottom of the dish. Layer uncooked lasagna noodles over the sauce. Top the noodles with half of the ricotta cheese mixture and cover with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Finish and top with a generous portion of sauce. Build a second layer by adding more noodles, ricotta cheese, mozzarella and a generous finishing layer of delicious sauce. 

Bake uncovered at 350° for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from the oven when bubbles begin to appear in the middle. Let sit for 10 minutes then serve and enjoy with a salad, some bread, and a nice bottle of wine.

→ Cooking Tip: Please note that it is best to use regular, uncooked lasagna noodles.  Not having to pre-cook the noodles greatly reduces the prep time required to make this delicious dish.

Photos by Terry Henson

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