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Baked Fruit

Baked Fruit

My Dad used to proclaim, “This will stick to your ribs and put hair on your chest!” He called on those old sayings when he made something in the kitchen that was particularly hardy.

And I believed him about the hair thing until I discovered I grew up to be a girl.

Even so, when the weather turns icy and the birds puff up their feathers and look forlorn, I crave hardy stick-to-your-ribs stuff usually beginning with pork and accompanied by apples and cinnamon.

This is not a recipe for pork but for a complementary side dish.  It works for just about any hearty winter meal and may also be a perfectly fine dessert, makes a great leftover, and is ridiculously easy to prepare.  It is also guaranteed to impress the most discriminating guest.

Don’t you love the mouth watering scent of baking cinnamon?  Well, this combination of fruits and spices will sell your house if it is up for sale and tastes as good as it smells.  And it’s another Homeplace Recipe that’s easy-does-it, has very few ingredients, and takes less than 15 minutes to prepare. I make it over and over again because everybody loves it, especially in winter.

COUNTRY SPICED FRUIT

A HOMEPLACE RECIPE

1 – 16 oz. can apple pie filling

1 – 16 oz. can chunk pineapple (in own juice)

1 – 16 oz. can tart cherries

1 large can (or 2 – 16 oz. cans) sliced peaches 

Drain all but pie filling. 

Place all fruit in a baking dish with 1 tsp cinnamon and ½ tsp nutmeg. 

Sprinkle ½ cup of brown sugar on top.

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

Enjoy!

 

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Mom's Pot

Mom’s Pot

Daily Prompt: Ingredients

What’s the one item in your kitchen you can’t possibly cook without? 

A spice, your grandma’s measuring cup,

instant ramen – what’s your magic ingredient and why?

Maybe it’s because I hate to cook that no specific special ingredient comes to mind.  I do wish there was a magical elixir like a spice or something.  If I had to choose, maybe it would be powdered gravy!

But if we are talking about “items” and not food ingredients, I would choose my Mom’s flat bottomed sauce pan.

I silently call it “Mom’s Pot.”  Mom is long gone but I still miss her, so that pot has deep meaning.

Because it belonged to her and I always saw her cooking things in it, I figure it must have wondrous qualities.  Mom would only want the best for her kids – like the best mashed potatoes (even though hers were always lumpy).

Still, I have my issues with Mom’s Pot.  I think I have mentioned she was not a good cook and maybe she could blame that pot and never told me.

It burns everything I cook in it.

I spend hours soaking the thing and then scraping off the stuck on stuff with a sharp instrument.

But hey – it’s Mom’s Pot and it is the one thing in my kitchen I would never want to do without.  And I would NEVER give it up.

“Cooking with memories is a far finer thing than serving a good meal.” ~Dor

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Spinach Strawberry Salad 2

A  HOMEPLACE  RECIPE

This lovely, elegant, colorful salad will wow your guests every time!  Well, at least it wows my guests every time.

It’s a true country recipe learned leaning over the shoulders of two lovely, elegant, colorful friends.

Believe it or not, we-the-elegant were in a ladies’ poker group and took turns providing dinners.  We were known to spend more time talking about shopping, recipes and local gossip than playing cards until one of our ladies (Viola) would holler, “Are we going to PLAY or NOT?”

This salad appeared at one of our  poker night dinners at a  farmhouse way out there in Fairfield, and the salad was a colossal hit!

SPINACH STRAWBERRY SALAD

Dressing:

¼ cup sugar

2 TBS Sesame seeds

1 TBS Poppy Seeds

1 TBS finely chopped onion

¼ TSP Worcestershire sauce

¼ TSP paprika

½ to 1 cup of olive oil (1/2 is usually enough)

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Blend all of the above in a food processor.   Do not refrigerate.

Toss with spinach just before serving.

Garnish top of salad with sliced strawberries and

 slivered almonds to  taste.

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ZucchiniANOTHER HOME PLACE RECIPE

One summer, we harvested so much zucchini from Bill’s garden, that I had to leave the extras at my neighbors’ doorsteps.  I would drop a basket, knock on the door and run!

Seriously, we did have a lot of zucchini that season and I was constantly looking for recipes to use it up.  In perusing my favorite local cookbook called “Lexington Cooks,” I found one for Cold Zucchini Soup.

O.K. – sounds pretty gruesome.  I’m not much for cold soup to begin with, and zucchini?  Ughhh.

However, in desperation, I decided to go ahead and try it.

Verdict: DELICIOUS!

I can’t get enough of the stuff, and now my neighbors are making it too, so I can knock on their doors and I’m even invited in.

Here is the recipe:Zucchini Soup

COLD ZUCCHINI SOUP

2 large zucchini, sliced               1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped             1 teaspoon fresh dill or ¼  teaspoon

½ cup chopped onion                       dried dill

3 cups chicken broth                   Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup sour cream 

 

     Place zucchini in saucepan, reserving 4 slices for garnish.  Add green

Pepper, onion, and chicken broth.  Simmer covered for 20 minutes.  Strain

Vegetables, reserving stock.

 

     Place sour cream, parsley, and dill in food processor or

blender.  Add cooked vegetables and blend.  Add stock and blend.  Season 

To taste with salt and pepper.  Chill.  Add raw, chopped zucchini for crunch.

  Makes 6 servings.

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“We lose things as we age.

That’s the hardest part,”

 Mom said.

Christmas has come and gone and I found myself craving things lost.  Mostly I missed the people I wished could gather round and share our holiday celebration.

But in the days leading up to Christmas, I also had mysterious cravings for foods!  The list began to grow of  favorites I gave up long ago for the sake of health or weight.  Or maybe some of them were simply replaced –  lost for years –  but not entirely forgotten.  And suddenly I WANTED a whole list of Ghost Foods of Christmas Past!

This year I craved Macaroni and Cheese!

Mac & CheeseSupermarket aisles are still full of the old box versions, plus every possible variety dreamed up by the merchandisers.  But, I haven’t had old fashioned, “original” Mac & Cheese in years!   This was one of my early wifely sacrifices since the husband hates cheese!

But I keep dreaming of Mac  & Cheese so now there’s MY personal box in the pantry reserved for cheese cravings, nostalgia, and a carbohydrate boost.  

Country Tip for City Dudes:  Comfort food can be comforting just sitting on a shelf!

Then there’s Orange Iced Sweet Rolls!orange sweet rolls

I wonder if our son remembers Sunday mornings long ago when his Dad made orange sweet rolls and sausage for breakfast.  The rolls came in a cylindrical box you banged on the corner of the sink to open, then set on cookie sheets to bake,  and lastly you coated them with a scrumptious orangey icing.

I used to drive our son crazy trying to wake him up with “Rise and shine! Rise and shine!” and singing off-key, “It’s time to get up.  It’s time to get up.  It’s time to get up in the morrrrrning!”   Mmmmm!  The scent of baking and sausage from the kitchen is what finally worked to get him out of bed.  He blocked out the singing with a pillow over his head.

Guess what we had this Christmas morning?!  And that got Dad and me to talking about other foods we recall from the “olden days” when we could handle sugar overloads with grace.

My Mom used to make Baked Beans and Hot Dogs for dinner!

The beans came out of a can and she simply chunked up the hot dogs and heated both together.  Not the healthiest scenario but who knows?  Lotsa protein anyway.  I’m not craving that meal so much but the memories are huge! Wonder how it would taste with a sprinkle of cheese!

Canned  Brown Bread.

Oh yes, we found it at one of those vintage stores and ordered two cans of date-nut bread!  I used to love canned bread because it worked so well with baked beans and hot dogs.   Guess what?   It tastes the same as it used to.  On the other hand, it doesn’t taste the same at all.  Does that make sense?  Do taste buds change along with facial character lines?

Liquorice Allsorts Licorice Allsorts.

Uh Oh!   My craving for these beauties  never leaves, and my husband loves them too.  I know if we find Licorice Allsorts, the entire box will be gone in a matter of days.  He found some for Christmas!

SpaghettiO’s.

Was this my little brother’s favorite or my son’s?  The images are beginning to blur.  O.K., I know it’s a brand name I’m giving a plug.  Maybe the brand has become generic for any pasta in a can (like bandaids or kleenex)?  I never really liked SpaghettioO’s but the little fellas in my life always did.  Still, the “O’s” were always a pantry staple at home, and deserve a test again for my elderly taste buds!

Rum Balls.rumball2

Oh, how I loved Mom’s rum balls and usually make them every Christmas.  “Not this year,”  I reasoned, since  I practically inhale every single one!  Nope, this year I will practice abstinence!  After all, a hysterical craving for rum balls is embarrassing, especially when added to all that licorice intake!  Have you noted my admirable will power as proof of total self control.  Ha!

Ahhhh!   How I love Christmas and the Ghost Foods of Christmas Past.

This virtual trip was really unexpected, and wandering down a memory lane of long ago favorites, I wondered if I was alone in craving such lost delicacies.

Have any of my blogger friends been experiencing this odd way of looking at the past?

Have you been thinking of Ghost Foods you would like to try again?

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Cooking together

Cooking together (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a lovely place just outside town offering delightful views and opportunities to explore a tree-shaded farm setting.  The owners are a charming couple who encourage folks to stay and enjoy fabulous luncheons prepared and served right on the premises.

The cost for lunching in that bucolic setting is only about $15 per person.   Who could resist?  So, one unforgettable summer my friend and I signed up for lunch.   “Let’s get away,” we said, “to enjoy the countryside and discover new tastes and textures in a meal prepared by the experts.”  Yes, I know this post is about summer and we are in winter now and the snow flakes are falling across my blog.  Can’t help it.  I’m in the mood to tell this exciting story!

And the menu was enticing.

FrittataRoasted Vegetable Frittata

Classic Homemade Dinner Rolls

Mediterranean Salad

peach-tartFrench Peach Tart

LET’S TAKE A COOKING CLASS TOO!

Yes, we signed up for lunch, but then we read the brochure a little further and discovered we might also attend a cooking class.  The class would occur an  hour or so prior to the luncheon.  “What fun!” we said.  “Let’s sign up for that too! We might learn something.”  The cost was just an additional $30 each.

It was a warm summer day and off we went to a country adventure in haute cuisine.  I had never attended a cooking class before but having seen a few like Julia Child on television, I expected we would be watching an expert chef ‘s fascinating demonstration.

THE GATHERING OF THE CHEFS

Upon arrival, we joined eight other would-be chefs in a very small kitchen.  Each of us was awarded an apron and given the freedom to choose knives from a stack on the table.   Even then, I was still blissfully ignorant of the real intent.  Next we were provided a recipe sheet to share and follow.   If anything in the recipes called for vegetables, we were told we could fetch them from the garden!

And then?

And then the leader of the class promptly left.

WHAAAT?

Yes, all of us eager cooks awaiting a demonstration were left to our own devices!  And you don’t need too many devices for peeling and chopping things (which is what was required in the recipes).

“X&%*x##!!!!!!   I can do this in my own kitchen,” I thought.  “Why am I peeling and chopping here too?”  My friend seemed to be enjoying herself though, chatting on with the neighboring laborers.

“Am I seeing things?” I asked myself.  “Is she thinking this chopping and peeling session is actually fun?

“O.K. – Relax.  Breathe. Follow her lead.  Enjoy.  Help is bound to come.”

About that time, the handle fell off my knife so I had to search through drawers and around people to find another.  Nothing else being available, I continued chopping with a handle-less knife.

YOU HAVE YOUR ORDERS!

And help did not come until all the chopping was over.  Then someone in charge assigned us to posts.

“You fry these – stand here.

Two people frying please!

You over there with the broken knife – beat the eggs and have ’em ready here.

You begin peeling the peaches.

And you are in charge of the rolls.”

And so, the cooking class droned on.  There was no air-conditioning so the small kitchen grew unbearably hot and I had to go outside to breathe.   I went in and out with my broken knife and wounded ego.  The eggs were beaten and ready though.  I do obey orders.

But finally, everything was cooked.  I was surprised that it all looked and smelled wonderful too.

SIGH – LUNCHEON IS SERVED!

O.K. – I’m ready for lunch!

Not yet?!!

Now what?

And you won’t believe this!

Us Reluctant Chefs were now THE WAIT STAFF!  We were expected to SERVE the eleven folks sitting blissfully under shady trees.  They were the Lucky Eleven who had only ordered lunch!   Mind you, they paid $15 each, whereas my friend and I paid $45 each for the privilege of:

– Working in a hot kitchen (which we could do at home)

– Harvesting the vegetables in the hot sun (which we could do at home or enlist husbands)

– Chopping and peeling things (which we could do at home)

–  Frying vegetables (which we could do at home)

– Serving ungrateful diners (which we could do at home)

– Finally sitting down to taste our own cooking (which we could do at home)

And by the time we did sit down to eat, our portions were cold!  Delicious I might add – but cold.

And after lunch I seem to recall we had to clear all the dishes too!  I could be wrong on this, but I’m sure I was blinded at the time by barely repressed rage.

I complained and babbled all the way home.  My friend, on the other hand, just snickered.  “I had a lovely time,” she said , “and I didn’t mind all that cooking and serving at all”.

DID I LEARN ANYTHING IN THE COOKING CLASS?

Well, I learned never to sign up for the cooking class again – only the luncheon!  It’s a far better buy!

I did also learn about SILPATS.  Ever hear of those rubbery sheets made in France?  They are fairly expensive (about $25 each), but wonderful if you are baking sticky things.  Nothing adheres to them and you can line cookie sheets and avoid a mess!  Then wash ‘em off and store for next time.

I suppose that might be worth $45 for lunch and the class, plus $25 for a Silpat.    What do you think?

silpat

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Choc Chip CookiesVIRTUAL COOKIES

There are all kinds of cookies of course – the delicious kind and the computer kind. I suppose you could call the latter, virtual cookies.

Computer Cookies are bits of personal information stored on your computer’s web browser. Some cookies are helpful, such as those that store your passwords or user names with your permission. Others are useful because they allow your favorite sites to tailor certain website data to your preferences. Other cookies can track the sites you visit on your computer, which some feel invades privacy. You can view the types of cookies stored on your computer and change your browser’s settings, if you choose. ~Tielle Webb, eHow Contributor

HOLIDAY COOKIES – THE REAL THINGS!

Yes, cookies are all different and the diversification is never more evident than in the weeks before the holidays.  I have begun my yearly Battle of the Bulge by baking and then trying to ignore the aromas in the kitchen and the grumblings in my gut.  Determined to exercise the ultimate will power, I continue making macaroons and ginger snaps and chocolate chip delights, and put them all up in lovely tins for my lovely family and friends.

“Just one taste,” I think – “to make sure they are all right.”  And that leads to two or more tastes and then at least two or more whole cookies guiltily devoured.

“This one broke so it would be a shame to throw it away. Boy, those are good.  One more won’t hurt!”  Do you know the drill?

THE UN-COOKIE SOLUTION

I will now let you in on a monumental secret.  It’s a cookie minus a key ingredient – an ingredient shunned and banned by beleaguered dieticians and health food experts.  This deadly ingredient in most other cookies is guaranteed to vastly increase the caloric value of a holiday treat and especially guaranteed to generate guilt in the holiday chef who is accustomed to “tasting.”

What is it you ask?

FLOUR!

A “real-time”cookie WITHOUT FLOUR!  Imagine? AND it’s one of my traditional Homeplace easy-breezy, no hassle recipes too!

FLOURLESS PEANUTBUTTER-CHOCOLATE CHIP DELIGHTS

1 Egg

1 Cup Brown Sugar Firmly Packed

1 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Vanilla

1 Cup Chocolate Chips

1 Cup Chunky Peanut Butter

Beat eggs.  

Mix everything together and drop by tablespoons full onto parchment paper.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

Credit: This was a recipe reported to me as found in Southern Living Magazine.

I wonder how they would turn out with fake sugar instead of the real thing.  Then I could enjoy the whole tin!

HAPPY TASTING!  HAPPY BAKING!  HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU TOO!

Luv from Your Shamelss Chef, Dor

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I have no idea where the recipe originated.  I do know it always earns an oooh and aaah reception as a winter-weather side dish and adds just the right zip to almost any entrée.

Are you looking for another Easy-Breezy-1-2-3 Recipe  with a minimum of ingredients that make friends think you are a gourmet cook?

Try this one and enjoy the notoriety!

Dor’s Rave Review Red Cabbage

1 lb. red cabbage (a head) cut into 1” slices

1 medium onion sliced thin

¾ c dark raisins

1 c sweet cider

3 Tbs cider vinegar

¾ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

½ tsp canola oil

In a stainless steel saucepan combine all of the ingredients listed.  Reduce heat to medium.  Simmer 45 minutes.  Most of the liquid should evaporate but cabbage should be moist.  Cook longer if there is excess moisture in bottom of pan.  The small amount of liquid remaining should be carmelized and brown and the cabbage, crunchy.

Serves 4-6

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“Recipes are like rumors.  You never quite know where they originated”.  Believe it or not, that’s my own wise quote.

I acquired this special, healthy, kid-loving recipe for Fruit Pizza from my country friend, Donna, who is not even really from the country.  Like me, she is a transplant.  Well, at least I met her here in rural Virginia and who knows,  she may have received the recipe from a real, honest-to-goodness local.

DONNA’S CRESCENT ROLL FRUIT PIZZA

DESIGNED FOR KIDS OR YOUNG-AT-HEART GROWNUPS

(Get the kids to help)

2 Packages of Crescent Rolls. Press into a 15 x 11” pan or cookie sheet.

Bake in 350 degree oven until done.  Package will give approximate time.

Spread with cream cheese and begin to add the fruit in a pattern or design.

Place and press strawberries around the edge, then blueberries, peaches, mandarin oranges, watermelon, etc.

Create pizza slices!

Thanks Donna!  This is healthy cooking and a great family project!


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It’s no secret that I dislike cooking.  I can fool some of the people some of the time however – especially if I have a recipe that has been tested and deemed superb.

If a recipe is a) above all, EASY, and b) consistently delicious and c) generates rave reviews, it makes it to my Gold Star Book.   Now here’s one with two stars!  I  personally intensely dislike meat loaf.  I have disliked it all my long life, that is until a country woman shared her intensely delicious, savory version. I am now a convert and no other recipe will ever suffice.

BARBECUED MEAT LOAF EXTRAORDINAIRE

A HOME PLACE COUNTRY RECIPE

1 ½ pounds ground beef

1 cup bread crumbs

1 onion, finely chopped

1 egg, beaten

1 ½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce, divided

½ cup water

3 tablespoons vinegar

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Combine the first six ingredients in a large mixing bowl; add ½ can tomato sauce, mixing well.  Place mixture in a 10-x6-x2-inch baking dish, and shape into a loaf.  Combine remaining tomato sauce and remaining ingredients in a small mixing bowl, and pour over loaf.  Bake at 350 degrees for one hour and 15 minutes or until done, basting often.  Yield: 8 servings.

Sometimes I add a few drops of hot sauce to the sauce for extra zip.

O.K., I know you have your own favorite version of meat loaf and it’s undoubtedly grand, but do try this recipe too.  And let me know what you think.  If you are as hooked as I am, I ask only one thing (well, two things) – name it Dor’s Meatloaf Extraordinaire and give it a gold star!

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