We had a fun- filled weekend starting with Hannah’s first winter formal dance. It was a 1920’s theme and I think she pulled off lady Hannah rather beautifully. And Chris was quite the dapper chaperone!
While Hannah and Chris were off dancing the night away, Norah and I went out for Indian food.
Saturday was spent cooking, cleaning and sprucing up our home for dinner guests that evening.
On Sunday we hosted an afternoon Valentine tea party. There was lots of chocolate, whipped cream, heart shaped sugar cookies and of course conversation hearts. But my favorite were the pickled radish hearts. We have an over abundance of watermelon radishes from our winter CSA share and last week I packed a huge mason jar full and covered them with a salty, spicy brine. I was pleasantly surprised to find that within a few days they had turned a beautiful shade of pink. Cut into hearts, they were perfect paired with cheese and nuts.
We ended the evening with Downton and all was right with the world:)
Today Norah cashed in on one of her Christmas gifts and attended a 4 hour long cooking class. She came back even more inspired to cook new things (if that was even possible).
It is now snowing and we are getting ready to cozy up and watch this.
How was your weekend my friends?
I love Sunday. It is definitely my favorite day of the week. I try to keep Sunday sacred by leaving it completely open and most of the time I strive to never get into a car or even leave the house (except for my morning walk or maybe to walk to the market).
Our Sundays shift and change with the seasons but Sundays in the winter and autumn are definitely my favorite. There’s always a late, sit down breakfast. There’s always a fire. And there’s always a chicken in the oven by late afternoon.
There is something so slow and intentional about making a meal on Sunday. And there is something so special about ending the week with your favorite people eating that meal.
I use this recipe every time but use different roots from week to week and usually serve it up with garlicky sauteed greens such as kale, collards, swiss chard or mustard greens.
After the chicken has been carved and picked over, the bones and carcass are thrown into a pot and covered with water. I simmer the broth over night for 12 or more hours and wake to find a golden elixir!
Monday night is chicken soup night. I make several variations but always fall back on a few simple tricks. This week I made a curried vegetable, chicken soup. There is always a salad and if time allows, homemade biscuits or corn bread with a hunk of cheese.
If there are left overs, lunches on Tuesday consist of thermoses of hot soup. Although I admit to eating it for breakfast too.
Curried Chicken Soup
2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves of garlic chopped
1 onion chopped
3 stalks of celery chopped
4 carrots sliced
2 tablespoons curry powder (I am a curry-aholic. Feel free to half this)
1-16 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes
6-8 cups of homemade chicken broth
1 cup frozen riced cauliflower (my new favorite TJs find!)
1 bunch fresh spinach or kale, leaves finely chopped
3 cups of cubed cooked chicken
Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Heat butter in bottom of soup pot. Sautee garlic and onion. Once translucent, add celery and then carrots. Add 1/2 the curry powder and a pinch of salt. Once the veggies are soft, add the tomatoes and then broth. Let simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Add cauliflower, greens and chicken and rest of curry powder. Simmer for 30 more minutes. Turn off heat. Season with salt and pepper.
This soups improves with age.
I grew up eating a lot of applesauce. There was always a jar in the fridge and I loved a bowlful sprinkled with cinnamon. One of my favorite meals served up at Nan and Pop’s house was pork-chops and applesauce.
I had only experienced store bought sauce until my first farm apprenticeship in my early twenties. Aside from learning how to grow my own food, a whole new world in the kitchen was opened up as I began to experience making many a thing from scratch. Homemade salsa, tomato sauce, fresh baked bread. But I will never forget my first taste of freshly milled applesauce. I was hooked and I have been making it every year since.
The orchard at the farm where I work had a bumper crop of apples this year.
We grow a large variety including Jonagold, Stamen, Cortland, Braeburn and my favorite, an heirloom variety, Cox’s Orange Pippin.
We like to stock up on sauce to eat throughout the winter months but also to give as holiday gifts.
I have been making the same simple recipe over the years but like to try something a little new and different from time to time.
4-6 pounds of a variety of apples (the sweeter variety, the better)
2 tsp vanilla
2 TBS cinnamon
Core apples and chop, leaving the skins on.
Cook apples down in a large soup pot with a little water or apple cider to prevent from burning the bottom of the pot. Simmer until apples are very soft.
Turn apples through a food mill. Stir in vanilla and cinnamon.
:: I recently remembered reading somewhere about adding lemon rind to the apples as they simmered down. I tried it and was pleased with the results.
:: I like to use sweeter apples rather than tart to avoid using sugar. I sometimes add a few over ripe pears for a little extra sweetness.
I hope you all had a lovely weekend and for those who celebrate, a joyous Easter.
We certainly did and will share through photos tomorrow.
For now I will share with you a favorite springtime treat~pickled beet hard boiled eggs.
It really is the perfect combination don’t you think?
Now that spring is here, our hens are laying daily which means lots of hard boiled eggs to be pickled.
I used fresh horseradish from our garden-the first harvest of the season!
The beautiful crimson beet juice soaks right through the egg white and yolk making for a show stopper plate of deviled eggs.
Pickled Beet Hard Boiled Eggs
6 medium beets
1 medium white onion, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp. black peppercorns
1/4 tsp. whole cloves
2 tbsp. grated peeled fresh horseradish
3 tbsp. peeled sliced fresh ginger
3 cups cider vinegar
4 tbsp. sugar
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled
Trim stalks off the beets. Wash beets and put into a medium pot, cover with water, and boil until soft, 45–60 minutes. Drain, slip off skins, slice beets, and put into a large glass jar.
Add onions, peppercorns, cloves, ginger and horseradish.
Bring cider vinegar, 3 cups water, and sugar to a boil in a small pot, then pour into jar. Set aside to cool, cover, and refrigerate until chilled. Store in refrigerator up to 1 month. Add eggs to jar at least 4 hours and up to 5 days before serving.
It was our turn this week to host dinner with Izzy.
It’s always fun to share some of our favorite recipes with the ones we love, so we smoked up the house with a fish fry.
There was breaded fish made with coarse cornmeal served with garlicky roasted potatoes and sauteed swiss chard and kale. In the middle of the table there were dishes of tartar and cocktail sauce and slices of lemon.
No one seemed to mind the smoky fog as we delighted in the fact that we are now eating dinner without having to turn on a single light!
Chris’s Fish Fry
4 fillets of atalantic cod, talapia or sea bass
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1 1/2 cup coarse cornmeal
Olive oil or coconut oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a large cast iron pan heat 1/2 inch of olive or coconut oil at medium to high heat.
Coat fillet in flour on both sides.
Dip floured fillet in egg wash, coat entirely.
Coat fillet heavily in cornmeal.
Fry in oil on both sides until cornmeal turns golden brown. About 3 minutes on each side.
Drain on a paper towel.
Norah has been inspired these days by this show and was wanting to branch out and bake something a little more fancy this week.
Her heart was set on a cake and she wanted to include berries with pink frosting.
She chose a recipe for a simple yellow cake from Joy of Cooking but added mixed berries that she had cooked down with some sugar.
She strained the berries to make a simple syrup which she then added to a cream cheese icing to get the pink hue she was going for.
Once the cake was cool she adorned it with fresh strawberries and icing where she got to use her new piping set she got for Christmas. She tested out each tip size and used the finest one for a face on each strawberry.
It was so much fun watching her come up with her very own creation. I helped a little but really just followed behind wiping and cleaning up.
Next week she wants me to have a list of ingredients laid out when she comes down in the morning to challenge her to make something with them.
I see a future cooking show star on our hands!
We made these last night for dinner and they were to die for.
True comfort food I tell ya.
Early morning I started a whole chicken in the crock pot and when I arrived home in the afternoon I made the dough and filling. I saved the fun part of constructing the pies for Norah and Chris. They got straight to work rolling out and crimping the dough when they got home.
We make a good team.
I doubled the recipe so there would be plenty of pies to pack in everyone’s lunch the next day with still a few left over to freeze.
Everyone declared that pretty much anything wrapped in that cream cheese dough would be delectable.
So we came up with a list of different fillings we want to try.
Yesterday as I was preparing and setting up to host a few lady friends for a gathering I found myself in a rhythm. I truly love to entertain (maybe that’s where Norah gets it) and have found a routine that I seem to follow as I primp my home for guests.
I always rely upon a few items when entertaining. The tools I use for parties and gatherings are part of my every day decor. I don’t have to rummage through cabinets and closets each time I entertain. Because I buy things that I find beautiful and that I truly love, these items are always out on display and easily accessible.
:: My glass pedestals (all thrifted) live on the top shelf of my open pantry. I have a variety of heights and sizes and love how they look all displayed together. Pedestals look beautiful all on their own holding a cake or quiche or towered on top of one another with cookies, bars and chocolates. I find a table presenting foods at varying heights is pleasing to the eye.
:: Cutting boards, many of which were thrifted, are daily essentials in my kitchen. They live stacked up against one another on my counter top and I have a few hanging up almost as artwork around the kitchen. They are all easy to grab and I find myself reaching for them every time I entertain. They work great for anything that needs to be sliced or forked like meats, fishes and cheeses. I like to add a few bowls with olives and nuts on top. Remember this big cutting board I made! I have a variety of shapes and sizes and love the organic feel they bring to the table.
:: I adore my antique cutlery caddy (thrifted) and have it out on full display in my kitchen at all times. It’s beautiful, functional and versatile, the perfect combination. I keep my antique silverware in it which gets used on a daily basis. When it’s party time I add a few paper napkins on the other side of the silverware, grab the handle and plop it where it needs to go. In the dining room, by the stove for soup, outside on the patio. Makes for easy set up!
Hannah has taken on an internship this year so on Mondays it’s just Norah and I. Norah is a dynamic young lady full of creativity and a passion for cooking, baking, eating and food! She loves to work in the kitchen. She loves to host friends and family for meals and is always concocting up a new recipe. She excels in breaking me out of my “comfort zone” in the kitchen. The other day we were having a friend over for dinner and I was pressed for time and decided to make a vegetable fritatta. Norah insisted (she is a very persistent child) on making a quiche instead. I argued we didn’t have time to play around with a crust nor did I have much experience with quiche but I gave in and we ended up with one of the most delicious meals we have made in a while!
In the new year we thought it might be fun to make Mondays our baking day and to strive to make new things we have never made before. Yesterday we made a new york style cheesecake from this recipe. I have always thought cheesecake was an overly involved and tricky cake with a long list of ingredients but we found it was quite easy and simple really. We didn’t have enough graham crackers on hand so we substituted some homemade gingerbread men left over from the holidays for the crust. We also added a bit more lemon than called for. Santa brought Norah a citrus press for Christmas! It was rich, creamy and delicious with the perfect lemon zing. Norah and I were both beaming as we undid the spring form pan.
Next week…… bagels!!!