Posts filed under ‘Dining’

Happy Saint Patrick Day!


 

Happy Saint Patrick Day! One day in the year that a great deal of people can celebrate their Irish Heritage. You will see shamrocks and people wearing the traditional green at more than one party. What makes the typical American turn Irish for one day?
Celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day could be an excuse for a day to celebrate after the winter blahs. It could be the corned beef and cabbage. Maybe just maybe it’s the green beer.
With warmer days not too far away, we will be able to plant the garden. Maybe Mother Nature knows best. Yes, there are signs of tulips popping out in the front yard. Hello Spring !
The road maintenance crews are busy, working on the streets before it’s too late for your automobile. County roads are lined with hubcaps lost by passing motorists while ruts in the road wreak havoc with car suspension. I can’t say for certain how deep the chuckholes are but I have heard that if you look in one of the massive chuckholes on the way to Linton you can see the top of a Jeep Cherokee that has been reported missing.
You have to feel sorry for folks who go to Florida at this time of year. No comparison could be drawn to any climate on earth that compares to Indiana’s first blush of spring. A few days from now those daffodils that defy any remaining cold weather will jump up out of your long silent lawn.
Yes, the promise of spring in Indiana has no equal anywhere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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March 9, 2019 at 2:00 pm 3 comments

Soup’s On !

 soup-clip-art-supper-scrapbook-recipes

 

My friend Larry was to be released from the hospital today. What better way to say “I care” than to take over a kettle of vegetable soup. My mother is staying with me a few days and the issue sparked a heated debate. Not that she thought it was a bad idea — it was my cooking of the vegetable soup. How could I possibly make vegetable soup without a head of cabbage?

Who is to say there is only one way to fix vegetable soup? I make an easy hamburger vegetable soup. When I opened a box of frozen peas my mother simply left the room.

My grandmother used to put (beef) neck bones in a kettle, boil, and let them simmer. Then she would skim the residue from the top. Major Yuck! Today we can just buy a can of beef consommé (stock).

I found out that my neighbor uses Tofu in her vegetable soup. Naturally it was a recipe she jotted down from The Food Television Channel. My friend Myrna swears by her microwave vegetable soup recipe. Vegetable soup in only twenty minutes for those who can’t wait.

I asked around the office and found more than one person willing to share their favorite vegetable soup recipe with me. It is interesting to note that no two recipes were alike.

The majority of recipes did call for the standard; carrots, lima beans, potato, tomato, green beans, corn, celery, onion, peas and yes a head of cabbage. A few recipes were unique adding rice, okra, red peppers, avocado and mushrooms, even a rutabaga.

Why was I worried about not adding the head of cabbage when no two of these recipes even called for the same meat. I could have put in lamb, sausage, ham, chicken, beef or no meat at all. Tom’s rendition of the time-honored hearty vegetable soup calls for one pound of frozen or fresh skinless cod fillets.

My co-worker Stella makes an herbal vegetable soup that you refrigerate and served chilled. The recipe calls for cucumbers, radishes, zucchini, and yogurt. Across the room from her, Betty gave me her recipe that has been in her family for years. It is served with dumplings.

Also in  the office is  Candy, who gave me  her  recipe  for vegetable soup that originally, come from Finland  and  it calls for spinach.  Charlotte  gave me  a vegetable  soup  recipe of her   great  aunt  from  Italy.  It was  a  pasta  vegetable soup.

What about this head of cabbage in the vegetable soup? Larry came home from the hospital and later that day I took over a crock of vegetable soup. It was a labor of love – but no cabbage.

 

 

 

 

January 17, 2017 at 9:42 am 1 comment

Return of the Snowbirds

 

imagesMy Aunt Sharon and Uncle Steven should return to Greenwood soon.  They are the family snowbirds. Just like our feathered friends, with the first signs of spring, they return.

“Snowbirds,” just like many actual birds, leave Indiana for the winter, but come back home in the spring.

Aunt Sharon and Uncle Steven have spent the winter in Lake Havasu, Arizona.  They have made friends in Arizona yet they always return to Indiana in the spring.

My husband never fails to mention them when he is out shoveling snow or scraping the ice on the car windows.  Uncle Steven also manages to call late night when it is bitter cold here – just to mention that he has his windows open and is enjoying the evening air.

Some people call them lucky.  These individuals who can migrate away from the cold.  They never have to put their summer clothes away, or purchase a new winter coat.  They never have to worry about which boots to wear just to go to the mailbox.  They spend the winter working on their tan.

By spending the winters in the warmer climate, snowbirds don’t have to deal with icy roads, shoveling their walks, falling on the ice and all of the other winter hazards.

They have a good reason for coming back – it’s home!  If they had to call any one place in the world home, Indiana would be it.  They have their home here and their family.

The neighbors and family watch the house for them.  Snowbirds aren’t just sunny day friends.  They do miss Indiana, but not quite enough to brave the cold and snow.

Basically,  they  escape from  the  hard cold  during the winter  and  it is beautiful  in Arizona.

Within a few weeks you can see the snowbirds flying (or driving) back to Indiana.  You can be sure winter is out of view.  Gone but not forgotten.

 

 

 

 

 

March 3, 2016 at 3:26 pm Leave a comment

Holidays and the In-Laws

Now that Christmas is drawing near, eventually the time will come when the in-laws will come for a visit.  I have a few suggestions on how to make the visit memorable.  It might make a difference if they return next year.

Think of the decorations.  When decorating your house, think more, more, and more.  A house can never be over-decorated.  Decorations should dominate the field of vision at all times.  Explain to them how you have been so busy decorating and celebrating for Christmas.

Give each child at least a dozen cookies a day.  Snickerdoodles, chocolate chip cookies, it doesn’t matter which kind as long as they are sugar coated.  The most the child should have in one day is 27.

Purchase magazines that have headlines about divorce.  Perhaps go to the library and take out a book on open marriage.  Leave it on the coffee table.

Constantly tell your in-laws how you had to buy everything that the children wanted for Christmas.  Who is to say it was not healthy to satisfy all their desires?  Tell them how your husband told you about all those gifts he wanted so badly but never received.  Those disappointments haunt him to this day.

Pick up more than one credit card application as you walk out of the department stores.  Place these half filled out applications throughout the house.  Mention that you do worry about whether you can pay off your credit cards during your lifetime.  That’s a legacy you can pass on to your children.

Purchase gifts that send them a message.  Buy them a piece of luggage and give them a book on travel.  Enclose more than one brochure about taking a cruise for the holidays.

Bring out all the Halloween treats that were never eaten and brag about the good sales on candy you found.

Lose all self-control in your eating habits.  Don’t worry about gaining weight.  You can always lose any pounds in January.  Every time your mother-in-law asks if she can help in the kitchen, be munching on food.  It is a good idea to lick any spoon, cough, and put it right back in the bowl.

Switch the local radio station to an all jazz station or try to find a rap station.  Pretend to understand the lyrics, snap your fingers or tap your foot.

Talk about how you always wanted a Saint Bernard.  If you have a dog already, wouldn’t he be an added enjoyment inside the house?

Try to telephone as many other family members or friends as you can.  So what if your in-laws are in the other room?  Hello Aunt Betty in Georgia, my husband said your pot roast was the best he ever ate.  Can I have that recipe? 

Set the goal of creating that perfect Christmas for the in-laws.  No expectations can be too high for the holiday season.  In fact, next year might be more perfect than this year.   They might actually take that cruise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 23, 2014 at 10:36 am 1 comment

Welcome To The Cookout !

                                                           A_Woman_Barbecuing    

Hamburgers  and  hot dogs on the grill are as American as  fireworks  on the Fourth of July.  Nonetheless .  . . . no two  families  cook  outdoors alike.                                          

Outdoor entertaining can be fun and time consuming. At our house the topic of conversation was should you put aluminum foil on the grill or not.

Why do men enjoy slaving over a hot barbecue?  Because they’re cooking caveman style – throw meat on a fire.  It’s their domain, that’s why.  My family is no exception.  The men cook out while the women scurry to get the rest of the meal.  Any minute the cook will announce that the food is ready.

I was raised on grilled food.  A burned, crusty taste is what I remember.  When my father cooked, he’d grill a hamburger so that it was burned on one side and almost raw on the other.  My sisters and I would tell him that it was both too burned and too raw, but he refused to cook any other way.  Eventually we got to like it.

My neighbor puts non-stick spraying oil on the grates.  I wonder why, when you see him prying to get the hamburgers off.  When he fixed cooked cabbage on the outdoor grill, his back yard had a smell for a week.

My cousin grills corn on the cob, alongside the main dish.  Without a doubt, the corn is done before the meat, but he never listens.  We eat crisp, charred corn on the cob every time.   

A friend of ours had a bad experience with turning and basting a lamb on the grill once.  He now refuses to cook anything but hamburgers and hot dogs.

My uncle always cooks in an area super organized.  The spices, tongs, fork, wire brush, kitchen towel, spatula, even a cutting board all in place.  Everything in its place to grill out. 

At my friend Larry‘s house, he grills with no meat.  No meat?  Yes, his wife fixes a totally vegetarian kabob.  The skewers are filled with green, red or yellow bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, carrots, onions, potatoes, pears, pineapples, even apricots.  He’s tried about every vegetable on the grill other than avocados.  Let’s face it, avocados are one of those acquired taste.

Yet; my father never did learn the knack of using the rotisserie; the chicken would still be pink on one side.  Just like his hamburgers.

So,  foil on the grill or not?   My brother-in-law said it  best.   “I’m the guy cooking, so we use aluminum foil.”

My nephew interrupted, “You’re not stacking the charcoal like Dad does.”  A new controversy – yet an old conversation.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 8, 2014 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment

Grandma’s Chili is the best !

At the dinner table my nephew said it, “I like Grandma’s chili a lot better than moms’” His honesty opened up Pandora’s Box – Whose chili is best?

Chili is something we tend to make only in winter.  It is a cross between soup and stew, only the hot spices bring out its true value.  It has zero degree of difficulty to make, and if you make a big enough pot of chili it might even taste better the next day.

My sister wouldn’t think of making chili without putting spaghetti in it.  Why do people put pasta in their chili?  My aunt loves macaroni in her chili. Doesn’t this make it more like a chili-con-carne?

My sister-in-law puts diced bacon, nutmeg and two bottles of beer (or ale) in her chili.  Now that would make my brother want two bowls.

At our house we put red  kidney beans in our chili, yet my neighbor would never  put beans in. My husband  likes three  bean chili  made with whole green chilies.chilies. I’ve also  tasted it  made  with  great chili  peppers. I’ve also dined  on white  bean  chili.

My sister is watching for low fat meals so she makes a chunky chicken chili. I’ve also had her chili when she made it with venison or pork.  She has even made chili with ostrich meat. 

My mother-in-law never eats chili if it has meat in it.  No meat?  Yes, my friend Myrna fixes a totally vegetarian chili that does taste good.  The flavor is robust and the jalapenos have been smoked.  Yes vegetarian chili can still make your eyes water. 

I add chopped tomatoes  in my chili, while my mother uses whole tomatoes and my sister uses only tomato sauce.  You can add Worcestershire  sauce, oregano, brown sugar, onion, garlic, cornmeal, even carrots.   I have heard of one woman  putting in a square of unsweetened  chocolate.  Go figure.  Every house has a different recipe for chili.

In the winter months, everyone is wild about chili.  It is a collection of fiery treats cooked up anyway you like it.  Yes and why do they call it chili, if we want it as hot and spicy as we can make it? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 12, 2014 at 12:21 pm 1 comment


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