Category Archives: Cooking

Christmas Will Come

For the naysayers who think that we all rush the Christmas season, I say humbug. My grandmother used to tell me stories of how she would start in October baking fruitcakes for Christmas giving. I don’t remember that, but probably because we didn’t visit in the fall, we had visits at Easter and Christmas, mostly as I recall… in the midst of the holiday celebrations when the fruition of the plans and preparations were unwrapped, served, and enjoyed.

The reason for writing this is because the other day @ Curves the women were all talking about looking for creative recipes to add to their Thanksgiving menus. Not too creative, mind you, when the conversation turned to one artichoke pastry sidedish. That was deemed a bit too California for these midwestern ladies.. the consensus was that the kids wouldn’t touch it, and it seemed too complicated to make anyway. I remained quiet. Too busy working out.
But then I thought of my page of holiday menus and how that now might be a good time to post it here. I am considering making something more creative this year myself. So once I work that out maybe I will try for posting that, although I doubt if I will be blogging as much when the holidays arrive in earnest. I tend to be a basic down-home sort of cook, like many of my midwestern ladies @ Curves cohorts.

My Holiday Menus, from Christmas in Ohio website (which I just renovated due to moving to my own domain). Enjoy.

For those interested, there are some wonderful ideas in Martha Stewart Living, and I am seriously thinking of brining the turkey this year as per her instructions. I know MS got lots of flack for her jail time, but she really does wonderful things with the home living ideas! I have her Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook, which I bought for a daughter-in-law and myself. I also have a Christmas softcover book, but I like to get the magazines to see new recipes, etc.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for all of Martha Stewarts homemaking sensibilities. It appeals to the challenge of the impossible in me.

Potatofest 2006

Rebecca Writes is hosting a potato fest- and this is just the right time of year for it- while the weather turns cold and you want something substantial on your table. She has a wonderful picture from Carl Larsson to help in the celebration and is gathing in the recipes and posts from all over.

I have something to contribute as well ( to go with the recipe inspiration from The Anchoress earlier in the week) Just too much happiness for one week :)

Ok. Here is my recipe [posted a long time ago in one of my old blogs, Spiced Tea]:

Homey Colcannon-based Casserole

For the casserole base: You will need some potatoes, I recommend Yukon Gold.

bag of coleslaw- sliced cabbage

small onion sliced finely, sauted til soft

some heavy cream, and some milk, as well as a bit of butter. Some shredded cheese, I used cheddar.

And slices of Gouda.

One parsnip, some breadcrumbs,

some flavored olive oil ( I like cilantro flavored),

and your favorite spice mix (like for bread dipping).

OK. Slosh a bit of the heavy cream across the bottom of the casserole dish.

Fill large pan with water to parboil the sliced potatoes. Remove those and place in casserole dish or glass pan. Add some milk enough to keep the potatoes moist during baking. Sprinkle with salt , cracked pepper and Hungarian Paprika.

Next layer the onions on top

Use the same water to parboil the sliced cabbage until just fresh green. Remove to bowl.

Press out excess water then add as a layer on top of the potatoes.

Sprinkle with more Paprika, salt and cracked pepper.

Dot with butter over the top, cover with aluminum foil, and bake slowly at 300 degrees ( slow oven) until everything is nicely baked.

Remove from the oven and then sprinkle the top with the shredded cheese.

Ok that is the basic, but here is what sets it apart:

Saute parsnip, sliced into matchsticks, in a drizzle of the olive oil sprinkled with the dipping spices.

After they soften, add breadcrumbs and continue to cook til crumbs brown.

Add thin slices of Gouda to the top of the colcannon casserole, melt a bit, add the parsnips as a garnish around the side.

It probably has bunches of calories from the cheese, but it is very good, satisfying and nutritious . Very homey type meal. Excellent with Constant Comment Green tea.

The Anchoress » Baked Oatmeal; it’s like eating Christmas!

After a number of years of cooking you get to know -just from reading a recipe- whether something is worthwhile to add to your cooking repetoire. My bets are on this recipe that The Anchoress posted. When you have loads of your family in for the holidays you want something yummy and simple and capable of feeding a large group for breakfast- and I am thinking especially of Christmas morning breakfast. This promises to substitute for the sausage casserole and far surpass it.

Large families take note! Delicious, good for you, and sounds easy. The Anchoress has done me a service in posting this recipe. I’ll let you know the feedback ;) after it makes its debut on the gathered family table.

The Anchoress » Baked Oatmeal; it’s like eating Christmas!
a steaming bowl of something slightly crusty on top, moist below, served with hot milk on the side. It smelled heavenly, and I took a spoonful and thought, “dear Lord…this is the most delicious thing I have ever tasted…” It was oatmeal, but it had apples and cranberries and walnuts in it, and brown sugar and raisins and cinnamon…and I took another taste and said to Buster, “this is like eating Christmas! It’s just unreal!”

( and no… it is not too early to think about Christmas holidays )