Posted tagged ‘recipes’

“In my South, the most treasured things passed down from generation to generation are the family recipes.”

July 14, 2018

Today is already hot, but I am cool here in the den though I do expect the air conditioner will be needed in the not too distant heat of the day. The breeze is steady. I can see it ruffling the leaves in the backyard. I’ve started a new book so I may relocate to the deck a bit later and read the day away.

My neighborhood is quiet now. I could hear mowers earlier, but they’ve moved on. The birds are singing. My feeders are filled so they’ll be dropping by to munch. I saw chickadees earlier.

I have to water the deck plants. That’s it for the day’s chores. I suppose I could find more to do but I can’t imagine why I’d look.

Yesterday I read a book and munched on Twizzlers while I was reading. An order had come from a candy site. The box had those Twizzlers, anise bears and some candy and nuts for movie night. I love the taste of anise especially those round cookies with white frosting and colored sprinkles. My uncle used to make some for me every Christmas. He did share his baking secret. Use anise oil, not anise extract. He even gave me the recipe.

My mother once gave me a small, three ring notebook. It was for recipes. The cover had pots and pans and kitchen utensils on it. My mother had given some blank pages to mostly relatives and asked them to write down recipes for me and to sign each page. I thought that one of the greatest Christmas gifts. I have made apple cake, the anise cookies, a strawberry dessert, some bread, a grasshopper pie and a couple more. Three of the contributors have passed, but I have this wonderful legacy from each of them.

The clouds have started coming and going though rain is not predicted. The breeze has picked up a bit; maybe it has even become a wind. I can feel it blowing through the back door screen. I may just sit here with my Twizzlers and watch bad black and white science fiction. I’m thinking that’s a perfect Saturday afternoon for me.

 

“At last the dishes were set on, and grace was said. It was succeeded by a breathless pause, as Mrs Cratchit, looking slowly all along the carving-knife, prepared to plunge it in the [goose] breast; but when she did, and when the long- expected gush of stuffing issued forth….”

December 14, 2017

Yesterday and last night were quite cold. During the day the wind was a blast of frigid air making it feel even colder. When I took Gracie out early, I was hoping she’d be quick. She was. The only good part was my chimes bounced around in the wind and sounded  lovely.

I finished decorating my tree yesterday. I had put the lights on the day before so I added the finishing touches: garlands and ornaments. I took my time and sat down periodically.  What tired me out was hauling bins up from the cellar and then hauling them back down. I still need to check some bins today as I am missing a few traditional decorations. I’m a bit afraid to look as I figure I’ll see more decorations for the house, and I’ll be back to hauling again. I also haven’t found the lights on, lights off floor button, and I don’t want to be crawling under the tree. I was a sweaty mess when I finished, but it was worth it. The tree and the house look lovely and are filled with Christmas. After my exertions, I had an egg nog, a well-deserved egg nog, and sat in the living room admiring the tree.

I still have cards to send, and I need to choose my cookies and make a shopping list. Looking through recipes is enjoyable for me. When making a dinner for guests, I image how the dish will look, how it will taste and what might go with it. Cookies are easier.

One Christmas season I invited my friends to dinner a couple of weeks before Christmas. That was the year of the goose. A Christmas Carol and goose for dinner at the Cratchit’s house piqued my interest. I looked up recipes to use and presented my friends with an English feast. The goose was delicious with its crisp crust and moist meat and a bread stuffing with sage and onions. We dined on mashed potatoes and gravy, apple sauce just as the Cratchits had, and I added a combination of roasted root vegetables: parsnips, turnips and carrots. The dessert was the crowning glory. I made Christmas pudding, poured brandy on it and brought it to the table aflame. There was applause. I bowed though I figured the applause was more for the pudding. That dinner was remarkable.

Okay, I brought some bins down the cellar while my coffee was brewing, and I couldn’t help myself so I went hunting in a few bins I hadn’t checked. Eureka!! I found what I wanted: my small aluminum tree, my on and off light button and a few ornaments I wanted to add. That ends the hunt.

Today I have a few errands and I’ll write out the rest of the cards. I will do nothing  strenuous. All those bins took their toll.

“My weak spot is laziness. Oh, I have a lot of weak spots: cookies, croissants.”

November 14, 2017

I was awakened at five by Gracie’s panting so I got up and opened the front door. I didn’t go with her but did check a couple of minuets later, no Gracie on the grass. In a panic I ran barefooted outside to the wet, cold lawn then noticed the lights, the motion detector lights, were on in the backyard. I had left the gate open and Gracie saw it, went in the yard and did her business. She showed up a bit later at the front door. I was thrilled. That means on the coldest nights Gracie can go alone while I stay inside and man the door. During the daytime, though, I’ll go with her.

I had an early morning meeting, early for me anyway, at nine. Alexa’s dulcet tones were set to wake me, but I beat her to it and woke up on my own. That gave me a chance for coffee and a tiny bit of the paper. I was meeting ready.

Dismal is still with us. The sky is cloudy but not as dark as it has been. It will get down to the 30’s tonight. I am not enthused.

This time of year, my mother and I used to buy just about every issue of the Christmas magazines. We’d talk on the phone discussing the recipes and the decorations and then we’d decide what new recipes to try. My usual Christmas goodies to make were two or three kinds of cookies, one being orange cookies, my mother’s favorite, date-nut bread, fudge and toffee. My mother made mostly cookies, one kind was always sugar cookies. They were my favorite. She made great sugar cookies. My father was thrilled this time of year. All the goodies were in tins on the dining room table. He’d make several trips every day. Every morning he had date-nut bread slathered with butter. I used his mother’s recipe, about the only good thing she made. To say she wasn’t an inspired cook is an understatement, but the weird thing is the date-nut bread recipe is the only recipe handed down from my grandmothers.

Every Wednesday both newspapers have food day so I cut out recipes I know I’ll  probably never make but want to have just in case. I also cut out recipes from magazines for the same reason. Under my table here in the den are three huge baskets. The middle one is overflowing with recipes. Every now and then I pull them out and go through a few piles in case one inspires me to action. I keep telling myself the recipes need to be organized but that’s as far as I get.

I have a couple of house things to do but none are pressing. That might have to do with my having three new books to read from the library. They are right where I can see them, and I swear I can hear them calling my name.

“I made a sandwich out of things. I’m an American. We can eat anything as long as it’s between two pieces of bread.”

January 24, 2015

The road was covered in slush when I went to get the paper. I left deep footprints and could see the track of the car which had been driven down the street some time this morning. Gracie was hesitant to go down the back steps. They were covered in slush like the road. It was raining, but there had been a sprinkling of snow first. After Gracie came in, I threw de-icer on the steps. I don’t want the steps freezing. Off-Cape is getting the snow.

Today lends itself to laziness. It is an I won’t get dressed day or do any chores day. I will most decidedly take a nap later. That is not in question. I may have a pizza delivered. I don’t know. That sounds too much like a plan, and today is not a day to plan. It is a whatever happens day. Fern and Gracie are asleep on the couch beside me. They are my role models.

I cut out recipes and have a gigantic folder filled with them. Periodically I go through the gigantic folder and put the recipes I’d most like to make in a smaller folder. I have yet to make any. Most times I fall back on the familiar: my curry recipe, my brother-in-law’s chili and my uncle’s sausage cacciatore. This week I am going to make Peg’s corn chowder. She brought it down when she and Bill last visited, and I loved it. It is a perfect winter recipe, one to warm the innards.

When I was young, my mother sometimes gave us Campbell’s tomato soup and her grilled cheese sandwiches especially on cold days. I still love grilled cheese sandwiches, especially gooey ones, but mine have become a bit more sophisticated than using yellow cheese unwrapped on Wonder bread. My aunt was the first to give me one with tomato, and I still like tomato as a basic addition to the sandwich. I also like bacon, jalapeño or avocado with pepper jack. I think grilled cheese is the best sandwich to personalize. A BLT is just that. Bologna is about as unsophisticated as a cold cut can get.

A couple of Christmases ago I got a panini maker from my sister. It elevates sandwiches from a simple lunch to something far greater, far tastier. Avocado is the best addition of late to grilled cheeses and regular sandwiches. I now have an addiction to them. When I was a kid, I would have thought avocados too squishy and far too green. The rule of thumb back then was to avoid anything green. The only exceptions were green beans and unripe bananas as they had a yellow future.

“Quiet is the new loud”

November 9, 2013

A bright sunny day is always welcomed, even when it’s a bit chilly, as is today’s wonderfully beautiful blue sky. My feeders are going to need filling in a bit as the birds are many this morning. I think they too are drawn out by the sun. The western part of the state got less than an inch of snow yesterday, but it is the first snow of the season.

Gracie got a chew treat from me this morning and went outside to bury it. I watched her dig a small hole then use her nose to push the leaves over her treat to hide it. Her face, when she came in, was all sandy and Gracie wasn’t happy having it washed. Later she’ll dig it up and bring in inside. The treat will be covered in dirt and look disgusting.

I have nothing on my dance card today. I finished a book yesterday and have another to start. I also have recipes cut from magazines and newspapers which need a bit of culling. I always think I’ll make that delicious looking dish or dessert so I save it. When I’m having company or want to make something special, I pull out the recipes and go through them. I always think I need to sort them and then start piles. After a while, I get tired of it and put the piles back with the rest of the recipes and then put them all back into the basket which stores them. Soon the basket will be too small.

One of the differences this time of year brings is the quiet on a Saturday morning. In the summer I can hear lawn mowers, people shouting, kids playing and those annoying leaf blowers. This morning I first heard nothing then I heard the blast of hot air from the furnace. Fall gets us ready for the quiet of winter.

“Morning is wonderful. Its only drawback is that it comes at such an inconvenient time of day.”

June 11, 2013

Another early morning for me-this is a habit I have to break. I was up at 7, read the papers, even did the crossword and the cryptogram, then left for my library board meeting at nine. I just got home.

Last night it poured again. The world is green and lush but damp and chilly at only 64˚. It is supposed to rain again today. I have to go out later to do three errands but not until the afternoon. Yesterday I did my laundry, all three loads of it. The hall is now clear. I even took the clean laundry out of the dryer and put it away. Usually it sits there a while. I don’t know where all this industry is springing from, but I’ve had enough.

My landscaper and I discussed the flowers he forgot to plant last week. I was able to grab him for the chat as I up and about so early. He promises tomorrow he’ll plant and then mulch. I reminded him that last week he also promised Wednesday. He laughed. Sebastian keeps telling me he wants to take down the two pine trees and the two wild roses in the front yard. I keep saying no.

It has been a long time since I last cooked a fancy dinner, and I’m thinking it’s about time for another. I’ll have to do my flow chart such that I cook over a couple of days so my back will be okay. No big dinner of mine ever gets done without a flow chart. It always starts with the recipes in order: appetizers, meat, side dishes and dessert. Beside each dish is where the recipe can be found. I then make a list of the ingredients by category like fruits, veggies, frozen, meat and assorted to make shopping easier. The flow chart also lists the steps for each day and on the day of the dinner for each hour.. Some things I can cook ahead a few steps but not finish until the big day. After the dinner time is set, my flow chart works around that time so all the food is ready and on the table together. The need for a flow chart grew out of past bad experiences when the dishes were ready at all different times and some dishes, especially salads, were left in the fridge and never served. My flow chart and I get made fun of by my guests. Taunting the hand that feeds you is never a good idea.

Marge, it’s 3 AM. Shouldn’t you be baking?”

July 16, 2012

The day is breezy and sunny. It’s also warm and will stay that way through tomorrow when the high is predicted to be 88˚. Last night we had rain. The drops started slowly around one. I know that because that’s when I went upstairs to bed and that’s when I found the dead mouse in my room. Earlier I had heard the ruckus and knew Maddie was the cause of the noise. It didn’t occur to me she was playing with a mouse. That’s the third one in a little over a week. There must be a small welcome mat outside the cellar walls. I wrapped the deceased in paper and took it outside. That’s when I felt the rain. I could also smell the air, the smell of the rain hitting the hot pavement. I stood for a moment enjoying the rain then came back inside and went back to bed in the cool house. I fell asleep right away.

When I was a kid, I never cooked anything. I wasn’t interested in the kitchen except to sit down to dinner. For lunch sometimes, I’d make a bologna sandwich, but I always cut the meat a bit lopsided, thin on one side and thick on the other. I’d add hot peppers to give the bologna a bit of a zing. It was always mustard on my bologna. Even in college, when I had an apartment, I didn’t do much cooking. I became quite adept at opening Dinty Moore’s beef stew. My roommate actually cooked meals for us with meat, potatoes and a vegetable. I was amazed.

I made sugar cookies for Christmas when I was in Ghana; they were traditional in my family, and I needed a connection to home my first Christmas away. I was hesitant as I had a total lack of baking skills, but I had nothing to lose so I gave those cookies a try. Despite my having to sift out the bugs and use a beer bottle as a rolling-pin, those cookies were perfect and they were delicious. They brought Christmas to me.

After that no recipe fazed me. When I got home, I was willing to try anything, even chicken Kiev. After all, I had made sugar cookies looking like bells and reindeer in a small oven in Ghana so I knew I could make anything.