Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday Supper

Reading food blogs is so inspirational, recently some of my favorite bloggers posted dishes that I knew I had to cook. Lucy. of Sweets, Savories, Etc. Sticky Chicken has graced our table several times. The food critic is addicted to this chicken. Paula over at It's All Gouda posted a Scottish Savory Oat Stuffing that intrigued me and appealed to my Scots-Irish roots. Marie, the Proud Italian Cook and Grace of A Southern Grace both posted roasted, glazed Acorn squash. I couldn't decide which squash dish to make because they both sounded so good, so I made both. Supper was finished off with rosemary & thyme roasted root vegetables and fried okra.

I prepped the chicken for Lucy's sticky chicken, stuffed it with Paula's oat stuffing and cooked it at the high heat. The only complaint I heard was there was not enough stuffing, next time I will double the recipe. This stuffing is a great alternative to the standard bread stuffing. The glazed and roasted acorn squashes were absolutely divine, I can't pick between the two because I loved them both. Please click on their blogs for these wonderful recipes.

Sticky Chicken and Oat Stuffing

Balsamic Glazed Acorn Squash

Maple-Cinnamon Glazed Acorn Squash

Thank you ladies for a wonderful Sunday Supper!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Potato

I was talking with a friend recently and we were reminiscing about a different time in our lives. As children of depression era parents, we grew up eating "in season". At that time the outer suburbs had many family farms (not housing developments) and I can still remember the farmers bringing their trucks full of produce to the West Side Market before the sun rose. Everyone in our community had a kitchen garden, and what we didn't grow could be purchased from the numerous farm stands just outside the city limits. Fruit trees grew in abundance in my neighborhood, we children would spend the summer climbing in and out of trees loaded down with apples, pears, peaches, cherries and plums. Berry bushes seemed to grow wild, and our hands and mouths would be stained with their sweet, purple juices.

Returning to a sustainable way of life did not take a lot of effort on my part, I simply returned to my roots. There were seven people living in our small 1,000 sq. foot home, yet there was only one trash can on the curb on pick up day. Everything was recycled, reused and re-purposed. Kitchen scraps went into the compost pile or worm bin, clothing was mended, or when no longer mendable, torn into strips and made into rag rugs or cleaning rags. Waste not want not was not just a phrase in our household, but a way of life.

Which brings me (finally) to the "potato". Potatoes were a staple in our winter diet, stored in baskets and boxes in the root cellar, they were served at just about every meal. So when we speak of comfort foods, I would have to put the potato near the top of my list. Baked, roasted, fried, I could eat potatoes every day. The following recipe is simple, and the aroma while baking will have your mouth watering.

Roadhouse Potatoes

4 medium potatoes, unpeeled and grated
1 1/2 cups whole milk or half-n-half
1/4 cup butter
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat milk (cream) and butter. Add salt and pepper. Place the potatoes in a lightly greased baking dish (2 quart). Pour milk mixture over top. Add the Parmesan cheese over top. Sprinkle lightly with dried parsley.

Bake in a pre-heated 325 degree oven 1 hour or until golden brown.

To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else ~ Emily Dickinson

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bananas + Carrots + Nuts

....oh my! This bread has all the good stuff we need in our diet, so I declare it health food. It does store well in the fridge or freezer, so make it ahead for the holidays. Spread with a little cream cheese for breakfast or lunch. Yummy!

Banana-Carrot Bread


2 cups all-purpose flour
(or whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup oat bran
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1 cup ripe banana, mashed
2 cups finely grated carrots
1 cup pecans, chopped

Grease and flour a loaf pan, set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients, set aside. Combine eggs, oil, banana and mix well. Add flour mixture and stir just till moist. Add carrots and nuts. Pour into loaf pan. Sprinkle a little brown sugar and nuts over top. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

You can also bake as muffins. Grease muffin tins, fill 3/4 full. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean.

falling leaves
hide the path
so quietly
~John Bailey

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cranberry-Nut Muffins

Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn ~ Elizabeth Lawrence

Fresh cranberries are here! The kissin cousin of the blueberry, cranberries can be frozen and stored for later use. Just spread them out on a cookie sheet and leave for several hours or overnight, store in air-tight plastic bags or containers. I am squirreling away as many as I can to enjoy later. I went a surfing thru the net for a cranberry-nut bread and came across this recipe, from the The Francis Malbone House Bed and Breakfast in Newport, Rhode Island, which I then adapted to my own taste. Enjoy!

Cranberry-Nut Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a muffin tin.

Combine dry ingredients, set aside. Cream together butter and sugar. Add milk and eggs and stir well. Add dry ingredients and stir until blended. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.

Sprinkle tops of muffins with chopped nuts and granulated sugar.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

Quick bread recipes can be baked in loaf pans or muffin tins. Adjust baking times accordingly. For a bread pan, set oven at 350 and bake 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Note: Bake up your fruit breads early and freeze for the holidays, I have made mine a month before Christmas, wrapped in wax paper and foil and stored in the fridge. They make wonderful gifts for family and friends.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Winter Squash

The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet ~ James Oppenheim

For a change of pace, instead of adding sweetness to winter squash, one of my favorite ways to prepare it is to simply peel and cut up the squash into one-inch pieces. Then toss with olive oil, minced garlic, fresh parsley, salt and freshly ground pepper.

Place in a small roasting pan and sprinkle with freshly-grated Parmesan cheese. Roast in a 400 degree oven for about an hour, or until squash is tender.

Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must ~ Goeth