Food of Dreams

Is there a particular food you are so fond of that you dream about it? You know I wouldn’t ask such a question if I didn’t intend to tell you about my dream food, right? I’d make you guess, but I doubt anyone except my friend Lila would even come close, and she only reads my blog sporadically.

How about a multiple choice quiz?

a) grilled shrimp

b) sushi

c) pepperoni pizza with onions and pineapples

d) gazpacho

Okay, if you chose a, b, or c, you’re not far off, I’m fond of them all, but d) gazpacho is my ultimate craving. I can taste it even as I type.

The first time I had this cold tomato soup I was in a high school home economics class. As I recall a local farmer had donated a whole bunch of tomatoes to our class, and our instructor, Mrs. Craig, decided to introduce us to a dish most of us had never heard of. I remember wrinkling my nose at the prospect of a cold soup, but then being quite taken by the combination of tastes. Still, I didn’t try gazpacho again until I was in my forties, and that’s when I became slightly addicted to it.

I’ve never actually made gazpacho. Studly Doright refuses to try it, and I don’t want to be wasteful. Plus, I eat too many tomatoes too often, I break out in a rash. Last night, though, Studly was out of town, and I decided to make myself gazpacho juice using our favorite new toy–a masticating juicer.

My juice was awesome. I need to fine tune the recipe a bit to make it taste more like the soup I crave, but I’m already close to having it perfect.

Here’s a recipe for gazpacho, although, it can be made with different ingredients, and below that, one for the juice I made.

Gazpacho Recipe from Barefoot Contessa website

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Gazpacho Juice

Ingredients 
  • 4 pieces plum tomatoes
  • 1 piece red bell pepper
  • 1 piece lime
  • 1 piece large cucumber
  • 1/4 piece small red onion
  • 2 cups parsley leaves
Directions
  1. Wash all produce well
  2. Stem and roughly chop parsley
  3. Peel cucumber and lime
  4. Juice in a juicer
  5. Pour over ice and enjoy!

Yummy stuff.

Peace, and good eating, people!

Nanny’s Recipes

Many years ago my mother’s mother, Nanny Grace, gave me a book filled with her favorite recipes as a Christmas gift. It was then, and remains to this day, my favorite gift of all time. And even though I’m no cook, I have actually considered using her recipes on many occasions. Fortunately I always come to my senses and let someone else do the cooking. 

A couple of weeks ago one of my cousins asked if I still had my recipe book, and if so, could I share it with her. And of course I thought, why not share it with everyone? So here are a few of the recipes my Nanny wrote out for me. Enjoy.

Cheese Puffs:


No Cook Chocolate Candy:


Rye Bread Capers:


Rye bread capers continued below:


Mexican Cornbread:


Mexican Cornbread, continued.


Eagle Brand Fruit Cake:


White Fruit Cake:


White Fruit Cake, continued below:


Cinnamon Pound Cake:


Cinnamon Pound Cake continued below:


Millionaire Pie–I’ve actually made this as evidenced by the condition of the card, and it is so good.


Millionaire Pie, continued below:


Lemon Chess Bars


Lemon Chess Pie


Rice Dressing:


Rice Dressing, continued below:


Broccoli Dish:


Potato and Cheese Casserole:


Potato and Cheese Casserole, continued:


Jalapeño Corn Casserole:


Jalapeño Corn Casserole, continued:

Cheese and Egg Soufflé:


Cheese and Egg Soufflé, continued:


What I love most about these recipes is having examples of my Nanny’s handwriting and a glimpse into her life. She was a beautiful woman. And she could cook!

That’s Nanny with my mom behind her and my Aunt Nedra beside her.

Let me know if you try any of the recipes, or if you need clarification. Nanny would be so proud.

Peace, people!

Sticky Date Nut Roll Update

Yesterday morning I posted a piece about a recipe for a candy my mom used to make. I couldn’t find her recipe for Date Nut Loaf and had to turn to Google for one. 

My youngest brother, “JB,” read my post on Facebook and subsequently found his copy of the recipe. I give you the famous Date Roll: The recipe that only turned out perfectly about 10% of the time.


Thank you to THE GREAT JB! Not only did he have Mom’s recipe, but it’s in her handwriting. 

Why has that become such a big deal to me? I mean having a sample of my loved one’s handwriting? It’s so personal, I guess. What will our children have of us? A text? An email? 

For goodness sake, sit down right now and write a note to someone you love. Write out a treasured recipe. On paper. With a pen. In cursive. 

That’s JB and his lovely wife, L. (Initials used to protect my innocence. 😉)

Peace, people.

Sticky Date Nut Roll

Today would have been my mom’s 79th birthday. She’s been gone for many years, and I still miss her every day. 

Mom was a Christmas person. She didn’t do a great deal of baking during the year, but at Christmas she pulled out all the stops. She baked cookies and made candy and sweet breads. She made a sticky date nut roll that either came out perfectly or had to be peeled off the wax paper in gooey chunks. But she made it every year, always hoping for the best.

I haven’t had that date nut roll in years, but I’ve been going through my recipes this week and reminiscing. Wouldn’t it be great, I thought, to make Mom’s date nut roll, to see if I could make it come out perfectly, in her honor. Alas, I can’t find it. Maybe I never had that one. 

I turned to Google and came up with this one, though:

Date Nut Roll

Ingredients 

3 1/2 C. Sugar
1 C. Milk
1/4 C. Butter or Margarine
1 16 oz. pkg. Pitted Dates
1 C. Chopped Pecans
1 Tsp. Vanilla extract
Powdered Sugar

Directions

-Combine sugar, milk, and butter in a saucepan. Stir until sugar dissolves.
-Cover and cook over medium hear for 2-3 minutes to wash down sugar crystals from the sides of the pan.
-Uncover and continue to cook without stirring until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage (240°).
-Cool to lukewarm (110°).
-Add vanilla.
-Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until the mixture thickens and cools.
-Sift powdered sugar on a linen towel.
-Divide mixture into two portions and shape each portion into two rolls, each

    1 1/2″ in diameter.
    -Wrap in towels.
    -Let stand until set, then cut into 1/2″ thick slices.

    As far as I can tell its Mom’s recipe; although, I don’t think she used a candy thermometer, and that probably explains why it only turned out perfectly about 20% of the time.

    Will I give it a go and try to make this Christmas treat? I kind of feel Mom urging me to do just that.

    Mom as a teenager.

    Cooking for Studly: In Progress

    My roast chicken and potatoes are in the sixth hour of slow cooking. The odors emanating from the crockpot are seriously mouth watering. Since I could no longer resist the instruction manual’s admonition against lifting the lid, I did so very briefly. Mmmmmm.

    The chicken is tender and appears to be as potentially tasty as it looks. Now is the time my anxiety kicks into high gear. In my limited cooking experience I tend to screw a meal up in the final stages of cooking. So the time is ripe for doing something ill-advised.

    I never know what form the screw up will take–over cooking? Under cooking? Dropping said meal? Realizing too late that the instructions were continued on another page that I didn’t read? Opening the lid one too many times? Oh yes, I’ve done them all, and more.

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    Damn! I opened the lid again, but I need input. How does it look to an experienced cook? I wish I had an “add aroma” button on the iPad.

    Studly should be home around 5 p.m. Eastern time. I’ll cook corn and put together a salad to complete the meal. And just for good measure, I’ll have a fortifier, or two, ready. Tell me, white whine or Blue Moon or both? I think both.

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    What’s the old adage, “Cooking Lasts, Kissing Don’t”? I’m planning on puckering up anyway, just in case the cooking goes awry.

    Here’s the recipe:

    Slow Cooker Roast Chicken and Potatoes
    Serves 4

    1 whole chicken, skinned (4-5lbs.)
    4-5 garlic cloves (Studly doesn’t much care for garlic, so I used only 2)
    1 onion, quartered
    4-5 golden potatoes
    2 tsp. Kosher salt
    1 tsp. Paprika
    1 tsp. Onion powder
    1/2 tsp. Dried thyme
    1 tsp. Italian seasoning
    1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
    1/2 tsp. black pepper (I used freshly ground pepper because I feel chef-like turning the grinder.)

    1. Scrub potatoes, prick with fork, wrap in foil, and place in bottom of slow cooker.
    2. Clean, skin, and rinse chicken; pat dry.
    3. Stuff cavity with onion and garlic.
    4. Combine seasonings and rub over chicken.
    5. Place chicken over potatoes, breast down.
    6. Cook on high 4-5 hours or on low for 8 hours.

    Because I’m really slow at prep work, I got the chicken ready last night, and let it hang out in the fridge wrapped in foil. I sure hope that was ok.

    Peace, People!

    Cooking for Studly: The Adventure Begins

    Today is the day! If you’ve followed my blog at all you know that I am:

    1) a 58 year old narcissist
    2) married for 38 years to a man I lovingly call Studly Doright, and
    3) about to embark on a long overdue adventure in cooking for Studly.

    By cooking, I mean real, healthy “cooked at home” meals. Heretofore, my cooking has consisted mainly of heating things in the microwave and making reservations at my favorite restaurants. I excel at both.

    In preparation I’ve bought some kitchen gadgets. I even know what some of them are.

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    I’ve also solicited advice from friends and complete strangers. Pinterest has been consulted. I’ve got this.

    Here are my choices for tonight’s dinner:

    1) Chicken Tortilla Soup
    2) Chicken Stroganoff
    3) Roast Chicken and Potatoes

    Notice a commonality? Yep, chicken. That’s because Studly really likes chicken and very little else.

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    I am open to suggestions for future healthy, EASY meals for two. Just keep in mind that Studly will not consume seafood of any kind, any type of pasta with marinara sauce, ground turkey, meat loaf, mushrooms, any vegetables except for corn and green beans.

    He does like plain old steak and potatoes, some Mexican food, rice, and the aforementioned chicken. If food poisoning doesn’t kill us, boredom most likely will.

    Wish me luck, and send recipe suggestions! My life might be in your hands.

    Peace, People!

    Hey, Good Lookin’! What Ya’ Got Cookin’?

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    In just a week my “full time/part time” job will be at an end. Yea! I will continue administering assessments to 2, 3, and 4-year-olds at various preschools in the area, but I’m stepping away from the intervention arena.

    My new gig won’t pay as much, but it will truly be a flexible, part time role. Studly is fine with me making less money, as long as, (drumroll) I take on all of the cooking duties.

    I don’t cook. It’s basically against my religion. Twice a year, on Thanksgiving and Christmas, I ignore the basic tenet (thou shalt not cook) of The No Cook Cathedral of the Coast and prepare a meal. This might not seem like a big deal to some, but in my religion it’s basically the same as ignoring the commandments against infidelity and idol worship.

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    My culinary skills are pretty basic. I can boil water. I am qualified to operate a can opener. I’m surprisingly adept at microwaving. But, the stove is off limits unless I have adult supervision. And knives are a no-no. No–a NO-NO-NO!! If I had a dollar for every time I’d sliced into some portion of my hand I’d be able to retire comfortably to a remote Caribbean island, and perhaps purchase a prosthetic appendage.

    But I’m going to take Studly up on his offer. I’m going to refute my no cooking religion and embark on a new adventure: Cooking for Studly. Heaven help us both. Speaking of which I’ll probably need to find a new religion, too.

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    Peace, People!