Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hmmmm, a bit yeasty, don't you think?

From the blog http//goodfoodonkcrw.com

Monday, November 9, 2009

Thanksgiving Prep Time

This is my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. Well, you could say it is the day after the big T-day that's my favorite. I LOVE LEFTOVERS! It's just that simple.

This will be year number two that Joanne's Mom hasn't been with us. She passed on back in January of 2008 and of course holiday time is the time we all miss her most.

I truly miss her for the cooking she did for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not a fantastic cook, she had some great dishes she made and over the years Joanne and I have been together, I have tried to replicate her food and for some things, I do pretty well. Others I've never tried.

She used to make an Italian Wedding Soup that we just called it, "The Soup." She made it with those tiny meatballs, escarole and an incredible chicken broth that was out of this world. A sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and viola! Dinner in a bowl, but just the start of the holiday meal.

Even as a vegetarian, I was unable to resist - I picked out the meatballs and as much of the chicken as I could. I've never even tried making this wonderful concoction. The woman could have made a fortune on this stuff and it was clearly what the doctor orders when you're sick! It would take to the addition of tortellini or little pastina, but hers was basic and fantastic as it was.

I'm considering trying to make it.

Another dish she made for the holidays was a simple sliced zucchini sauteed in tomato sauce. I have no idea where this came from in the history of the family, I just know I loved it every Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter and the holiday just wouldn't be the same without it.

Not sure if I'll make it or not.

Neither of her daughters do much cooking. Not that they can't, they prefer not to, mostly, so neither ever made an attempt to find out how she made these dishes that we all really enjoyed every year. Too bad...now we have to fend for ourselves.

In some ways that's an interesting way to learn, I guess. I know the basics of how to make a chicken soup and little meatballs...and how to saute zucchini in the electric frying pan, but its the little subtleties she added that I may not know and have to work out by tasting and practice.

I've learned to make her tomato salad and do that well, but it took quite a few tries, so maybe I'll have to make a practice run or two before I get 'The Soup' just right. Or make it well enough to just call my own.

As the token vegetarian, I make all the sides. Mashed potatoes are my big contribution as Tyler loves them...nice to have someone just jones for something you make and know they appreciate it. Basically, I have that job because his dad, Pat, who I taught to cook, uses no salt. Nada, nothing, zilch, nope...not even to season the water for pasta. So, potatoes without salt? A travesty for us all!

In the course of the meal, I provide the starches - making both mashed potatoes and some sort of sweet potato dish. I also try to provide something greenish of sorts, ala the zucchini saute or a broccoli casserole and possibly carrots or peas with pearl onions. Sometimes I'll do creamed onions as a nice change. Sometimes even a great, simple fall salad like spinach, romaine and arugula with red onions, chopped, dried apricots and some cashews in a Caesar dressing is nice, too.

From Rachel Ray, I have found a great idea and the past two or three years, I've made them and they continue to be a big hit: Stuffin' Muffins! Make whatever type of stuffing you normally make and put into muffin tins (greased of course) and bake! Everyone loves that little crunchy top and they all get some. Serve with or without gravy and it is really delish!

Oh, and don't forget the cranberry stuff...either you like the canned stuff and who doesn't? Or you go for the gusto and make your own. Here's a fantastic recipe for Susan Stamberg's or rather Mama Stamberg's cranberry relish...try it!

Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish

This relish has a tangy taste that cuts through and perks up the turkey and gravy. It's also good on next-day turkey sandwiches and with roast beef.


2 cups whole raw cranberries, washed
1 small onion
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons horseradish from a jar ("red is a bit milder than white")

Grind the raw berries and onion together. ("I use an old-fashioned meat grinder," says Stamberg. "I'm sure there's a setting on the food processor that will give you a chunky grind ? not a puree.")

Add everything else and mix.

Put in a plastic container and freeze.

Early Thanksgiving morning, move it from freezer to refrigerator compartment to thaw. ("It should still have some little icy slivers left.")

The relish will be thick, creamy and shocking pink. ("OK, Pepto Bismol pink.")

Makes 1 1/2 pints.


Garlicky Cranberry Chutney
Susan Stamberg calls this recipe "my truly favorite cranberry side dish." It's from Madhur Jaffrey's cookbook East/West Menus for Family and Friends (Harper & Row, 1987).


1-inch piece fresh ginger
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1-pound can cranberry sauce with berries
1/2 teaspoon salt (or less)
ground black pepper

Cut ginger into paper-thin slices, stack them together and cut into really thin slivers.

Combine ginger, garlic, vinegar, sugar and cayenne in a small pot. Bring to a simmer, simmer on medium flame about 15 minutes or until there are about four tablespoons of liquid left.

Add can of cranberry sauce, salt and pepper. Mix and bring to a simmer. Lumps are OK. Simmer on a gentle heat for about 10 minutes.

Cool, store and refrigerate. ("It will keep for several days, if you don't finish it all after first taste!")

Monday, November 2, 2009

Talk, Talk, Talk and all the talk is about food!

You have to check out some topics on Serious Eats. I love the idea of posting food questions or queries on here and seeing what others come up with...


Sunday, November 1, 2009


Typically, I don't post on weekends, and I try and stay on the topic of food in this blog, but as fate would have it...I have to pass along this info regarding my friend Bryan's shop.

Bryan started a modern general store about four years ago in the historic village of Springtown, called Almanac. The shop is an eclectic mix of some of most out of the ordinary and delightful giftware I've ever seen. About two years ago, he broke into a small room in the old building he rents and put in a small "food or gourmet" section - so in reality, I'm staying on topic here - and offers his shoppers the opportunity to purchase items you may have to travel quite a ways to find.

Due to some odd circumstances with his landlord and a new tenant, he is being forced to leave before he anticipated in mid-2010. He is now in the midst of selling his wares at a discounted rate and I wanted to let you know of his sale.

It will be sad to see Bryan leave Springtown and before I get too teary-eyed about it, I am happy for him and his future. He's moving onto something positive and I'm sure will do well with his new venture. I wish him well and many hugs to sustain him through the transformation from retailer to yoga teacher for those with special needs!

Check out his postcard for details on his final sale! GREAT HOLIDAY SHOPPING, FOLKS!!!