Friday, September 18, 2015

Heads will turn with “National Fall Hat Month” “Crispy Coconut & Scallion Breaded Chicken Cutlets” & “Creamy Blue Cheese Slaw”

Do you wear hats? I know lots of people who do and look absolutely stunning in them. I personally am a hat person. I grew up wearing a hat, especially in the winter. There are so many hats to choose from. How about you? Are you a hat person?

September just happens to be "National Fall Hat Month" and this quirky holiday couldn't come at a better time. The official day of fall is next week and temperatures are getting cooler. So it's time to dig out those hats that have been hiding in closets during the warmer months. Hats are a hallmark of the fall season. They can introduce a look, camouflage a bad hair day, and combat the nip in the air.

Fall Hat Month is always celebrated in the month of September. Both men and women wear hats and hats have been a part of our history for years. A hat is a head covering which may be worn for protection against the elements, for religious reasons, for safety, or as a fashion accessory. In the past, hats were an indicator of social status. In the military, they denote rank and regiment. Purveyors of men's hats are called “Hatters” and purveyors of women's hats are called “Milliners.”

Audrey Hepburn
As we know both men and women wear hats from time to time, but it was not so long ago that you didn’t leave the house without some type of hat on your head, no matter who you were or your occupation. Just like clothes fashion, hats helped depict a time period. Just visualize a black top hat and right away you think of Abraham Lincoln in the 1800‘s. In more modern times, there was the pink pillbox hat worn by First Lady Jackie Kennedy in the 1960’s. Hats have always been a part of our history. Others who were known for there hats were Sherlock Holmes, Eliza Doolittle  from “My Fair Lady, Indiana Jones famous hat in the Raiders of the Lost Ark film series,  John Wayne’s cowboy hat, one of the most famous person who wears hats is Queen Elizabeth II, and the list goes on.

"Nanni with her fall hat"
The same is true about our ancestors. Many of the photographs we might have collected of our family through the years will have them wearing a hat, whether they were indoors or outside. So with the month of September being National Hat Month, this is a great opportunity to revisit those photographs and really look to see how many have worn hats and even children wearing hats. There are many styles and just as many names for those styles. There is the derby hat, newsboy cap, a beanie, a top hat and the large brimmed hats, to name a few. It is the very large broad brimmed ladies’ hats of the 1900 to 1915 period that were over the top. You often wondered how they managed to carry such a large hat and not fall over from the weight. Feathers on these large hats also nearly wiped out many bird species. Besides feathers, there might be even ribbons, bows, flowers, and beads all piled on the hat.

I remember going to NYC in the garment district when I was younger with my Nanni (grandmother) for her hat supplies as she was a Milliner. She owned her own shop and called herself “Roberta Originals.” Later on in her life she also was an Interior Designer. One of my many memories of going to her shop which was in Astoria, Queens was helping her for the day. She would take me on the bus and we would go into New York City in the garment district so she could get her supplies for her hats.

Nanni's business card before she moved the shop to Astoria

It was always an experience to be with her as she would teach me about many ways to be creative. Sometimes when we would be in the garment district she would bring me to a store that would carry buttons, scarves, feathers, felt, material and many other bric-a-brac that she used to create her “Originals.“ My Nanni you could say was very flamboyant in her ways. She always dressed to the nines and would expect me to be very prim and proper. Her hats were so beautiful and always different. All I had to do is have a hat on, (at that time they used hats when I was a young girl) she would take a chiffon scarf out of her closet and drape it on the hat, and a new hat would be born. 

Her hats were gorgeous! I especially loved the big floppy hats with the feathers and beautiful colors with bric-a-brac on them. I would always try on her hats and then she would be able to see where to put the accessories on her newest creations. You could say I was her hat model. She made hats for so many people and functions. I also remember that she would always have beautiful Hat Pins to add to her hats. These pins were very long and had a big end to them encrusted with jewelry, rhinestones, or beads. They were always on display in these vases like holders made from ceramic. 

"Hat Pins"

After her passing, I inherited many of her hats, felt ones, ones with feathers, and many with just scarves around the brim. I even have one with fox fur around the hat and a scarf that matches. Her hats were always put in these beautiful big hat boxes to store them year after year. I always show off one of her hats on my dresser according to the season. Every time I look at my dresser and see her hat, I always remember my Nanni and her exuberant ways to share her special profession and love of hats.

So in honor of National Fall Hat Month and a tribute to my Nanni, I have two recipes this week to share. You can pair a Pinot Grigio, Merlot, or a Sauvignon Blanc wine with this dinner.

Crispy Coconut and Scallion Breaded Chicken Cutlets

A crispy coconut breading is a healthier way to add sweetness and crunch to this creative chicken recipe.

Servings: 4

3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut 

1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 scallions
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 large egg
8 small chicken cutlets
Salt and pepper
4 tbsp olive oil

In a shallow bowl, combine the coconut, panko, and scallions. Place the flour in a second shallow bowl and beat the egg with 1 tablespoon water in a third. Season the chicken cutlets with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Dip each in the flour, then the egg, letting any excess drip off, then coat in the coconut mixture, pressing gently to help it adhere. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add half the cutlets and cook until golden brown and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side; transfer to a plate and wipe out the skillet. Repeat with the remaining oil and cutlets. Serve with “Creamy Blue Cheese Slaw”below or a salad of your choice.

In front of Nanni's Shop
“Creamy Blue Cheese Slaw”

Rich, pungent blue cheese gives this crunchy slaw a surprising creaminess and luxurious flavor.

Serves: 4

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. granulated sugar
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1/2 small red cabbage
1/2 small Red Onion
1 Granny Smith apple
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 oz. blue cheese

In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; stir in the fennel seeds (if using). Add the cabbage, onion, and apple and toss to coat. Fold in the parsley and all but 1 tablespoon blue cheese. Sprinkle the remaining blue cheese over the top before serving. Enjoy!

(Recipe from Woman's Day)

Till Next Time……………………………….................

Copyright © 2015 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved  


  1. This post is so cool! My husband read it too, he enjoyed it!
    It is interesting how in America you have different National months dedicated to different things. In England hats are very very popular. I often pass window shops showing very pretty and glam hats but I am not used to wearing them even if I have been in the UK for so long now.
    Your creamy blue cheese slow looks really yummy. I love your addition of apples. Brava. Have a great weekend my friend. Ciao!

    1. Dear Alida,
      Thanks for reading and your husband as well, that is awesome! So glad that he enjoyed it...Yes, America has to celebrate everything....I love the UK because of their hats...I can imagine the shops and the windows with lovely hats. I think you either are a hat person or not a hat person...but that is OK..that is what makes the world goes have to try the Blue Cheese Slaw, it really is apples...Thanks again for your comment...have a lovely weekend with your family.
      Hugs x Dottie :)

  2. Nanni looks stunning in her gorgeous hat! I think hats are beautiful, but not on me. Growing up in Louisville, the KY Derby was a great time with the plethora of beautiful hats the women wore, loved it!
    Your chicken has to be delicious; the coconut coating is new to me on chicken and is a must try. And the slaw with blue cheese, delicious! Thanks for sharing, Dottie, and have a great weekend!

    1. Thank you dear friend, Yes, I agree she was a very attractive woman. I love the Kentucky Derby and watch it every year. I am not into sports, but do love the horse racing...I watch the Triple Crown and this year it was made! As far as the hats go I think they are so lovely and lady like. Especially the big floppy ones..I either think you are a hat person or your not. It is not for everyone.. Oh my yes the chicken with the coconut is so good...if you ever had shrimp that way you would love this one. Also with the slaw it is simply so tasty..Thanks for your visiting Pam and you too enjoy your weekend..
      Dottie :)

  3. Dear Dottie, I loved the beautiful hats that were worn growing up. It was such a treat to pick out Easter hats each year. My grandma loved hats too.
    I wish this was still the fashion to wear hats. For ladies in the day; hats completed the outfit.
    The coconut cutlets and slaw are a perfect meal. Blue cheese is one of my favorites.
    Hope you are doing well.
    xoxo Catherine

    1. Dear Catherine,
      Thanks for your comment. I agree it was fun to pick out Easter hats. Most of the time, my grandmother would make mine, but other times I did get them with my mom. So many people do not wear hats anymore, which is a shame. I loved to coordinate my hats with my outfit. Especially at holiday time. I still wear hats, but mostly in the fall or winter to keep my head warm. I love this recipe, have made it many times, it gives the cutlets that special something with the coconut. Plus the blue cheese on the slaw is really a good combo..Have a blessed day dear friend..
      Dottie :)