I'm on my church's Bereavement Committee, and am frequently asked to contribute food for funerals. My specialty is cake, although I have been known to make lasagna or Spanish rice. Recently I've been asked to make salads, which is awkward for me. Salad fixings need to be fresh, and it can be difficult to squeeze in an unplanned shopping trip.
This time I was called in the early afternoon for a funeral the next morning. Since I was going to be teaching most of the rest of the day, there was literally no time to shop.
I was given a choice between salad and casserole. Most of my casseroles involve cheese, and cheese is a limited commodity around here these days for budget reasons. I knew I had some macaroni and it occurred to me I didn't have to make a green salad. In fact, last time I made a cucumber salad.
So I chose to make a salad.
A thorough search of my pantry uncovered few suitable ingredients for macaroni salad. Most critically, we were completely out of olives. But on my way out of the pantry I tripped over a bag of potatoes.
I never make potato salad because the rest of my family hates it. We're not talking "will only eat it if I have to" or even "don't let it even touch any food on my plate," but rather a deep-seated revulsion of the kind I don't have the heart to describe.
Because potato salad is one of my very favorite foods.
I improvised this recipe, and saved out a serving for myself. Next time I'll make double the amount and eat an entire batch---maybe in one sitting. It was that good.
2 pounds yukon gold potatoes
1/2 pound carrots (3 or 4 medium)
2 ribs celery
2 boiled eggs
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 green onion (greens only---about 10" long each)
Scrub potatoes and celery. Peel and slice carrots. Place whole potatoes in boiling water and cook for 12 - 15 minutes or until a fork goes through them easily. Remove with slotted spoon. Add carrots to boiling water (I used a steamer basket for easy removal) and boil for 5 minutes. Chop potatoes, celery, and eggs. Mix with the carrots in a large bowl.
Stir together mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, salt, paprika, and pepper. Pour over salad and mix. Chop green onions and stir gently to add.
Last night my young friend Harrison and I worked out we could give four children three meals a day for nearly a year with the money raised during our recent Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry.
I set a goal of $300 for the sale. Share Our Strength recommends a goal of $700. But this wasn't going to be a "send out press releases and recruit the masses" sale---only a "set up a table and see who brought cash with them to dance class" sale.
We raised $403.04. No Kid Hungry connects children with 10 healthy meals for every dollar. That's 4,030 meals!
Harrison's idea was to divide 4,030 by 3, which gave us 1,343 remainder 1. That's 1,343 days of 3 meals a day, plus an extra meal. Then we divided 1,343 by 365 to see what that means in years. That took a little longer, and we had to use pen and paper. The result was 3 years and 248 days of 3 meals a day (plus the extra meal from before).
Done another way (dividing 1,343 three-meal days among 4 kids), we get 335 remainder 3. That means those 4 children get 3 meals a day for 335 days, and 3 of them get another day. We want to feed them all equally, so let's multiply out the extra 3 three-meal days to get 9 meals. Let's add the extra meal from above (the remainder from figuring out the number of three-meal days) and we get 10 meals. Divide 10 meals among 4 children, and each kid gets 2 1/2 meals.
So with the money from our sale, we're feeding 4 kids 3 meals a day for 335 days, plus 2 1/2 meals on the 336th day. Not bad.
But during the month of November, Domino and C&H sugar are matching all bake sale proceeds. How many children can we feed with $806.08?
First of all, yes, this is a cheater pie made with cherry pie filling from a can. I love a homemade cherry pie, but we don't grow cherries in Louisiana so I buy canned filling and enjoy it. Very much.
I meant to take pictures of the pie at each step of the way, but I was so excited to complete the next step . . .
This pie was very well received by my family, and took barely any time to make.
Cherry Cream Cheese Pie
2 cups almond meal or almond flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tblsp coconut oil
8 oz cream cheese (low fat okay)
1 Tblsp sugar
1 can cherry pie filling
Put first 3 ingredients in food processor and pulse until dough forms a ball. Press into a 9 - 10 inch pie plate.
Put next 3 ingredients in food processor and blend. Pour and scrape into crust. It doesn't matter if some crust crumbs get on this layer, since it will be covered by the cherries.
Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 - 20 minutes. Top will be cracked and slightly golden.
Spread pie filling on top.
A friend of mine recently complained that rice pasta does not reheat well. I learned from somewhere (probably my mother, the source of much wisdom) to add a little water to rice before microwaving.
I tried the same trick with pasta. In fact, I added more than a little! A tablespoons of water per cup of pasta is just about right. Toss the pasta in the water before and after reheating, and let it sit for a minute when it's done.
Tender (but not mushy) and delicious!
I'm a little late posting this, and if the winter greens are finished in your part of the world, you'll just have to print this recipe for next year.
Nobody in my family enjoys collards, so my son recommended we make pesto from the ones we got from our CSA. After telling him collards aren't pesto greens, I looked it up on the internet.
And it turns out they are.
Here's my version of the recipe, tweaked to please my little family.
1. Blanch greens in boiling water to cover for 1 minute; drain. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain well.
2. Roughly chop garlic. Toast pecans in dry pan over low heat. Process garlic and pecans in a food processor until finely ground. Add greens, olives, cheese, herbs, salt, and 1/2 cup oil; process until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Add more oil if necessary to achieve desired consistency.
We had this the first night over rice pasta with black olives and extra parmesan. Yum! But spread on pitas, topped with mozzarella cheese, and baked at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes it was a real hit. If you're looking for a new way to eat your greens, give this a try!
I was a little nervous about taking this road trip to North Carolina, never having traveled on a gluten-free diet. But it was no problem at all!
We packed a lunch to eat on the way to Charlotte, and once there we were pleased to find a variety of restaurants with gluten-free options.
Our first stop was the Flying Biscuit Cafe, where we started with fried green tomatoes (coated with cornmeal, not flour) with goat cheese and a sweet cashew-jalapeno relish. I have never been able to manage fried green tomatoes in my kitchen, despite a plethora of helpful hints from well-meaning friends. These were crispy on the outside, and the tomatoes melted in my mouth, but I'm not sorry I can't make them myself---they're not especially stunning. The relish was a delightful surprise, however, providing just the right complement to the tomatoes. For my main course I chose black bean cakes with tomatillo salsa and tomato-basil "stoup" (a cross between stew and soup). Both were delicious.
Next I visited Mexicasa for lunch with a yarn company representative. There I had some wonderful roasted vegetable street tacos topped with generous amounts of cilantro. Very tasty!
For dinner that evening we chose Toast Cafe, based on the lunch menu we had seen earlier that day. The dinner menu was very different, but after grilling the earnest wait staff, we managed to order a delicious dinner. I got a cup of thick roasted vegetable soup and a large plate of spinach and fruit salad. My gluten tolerant companions had the ravioli and loved it. Every one of the servers was friendly and happy to help. I wasn't surprised to see the slogan on their website, "where every server is your server."
We went back to Toast for breakfast the next morning. It was that good. I ordered the gluten-free pancakes (which looked fluffy but were actually quite dense---tasty, though!) and hashbrowns (chunks of potato well-seasoned and cooked until soft but not dry).
Unfortunately, that left me very little room for the Indian buffet at Spice Cafe. They plied us with complimentary mango lassi and dosa (the latter regrettably not gluten free) and I enjoyed delicious vegetable biryani, aloo mutter, and dal with honeydew melon for dessert.
Charlotte is a great place to eat for the gluten-intolerant. As long as you know what to order, the assortment of ethnic and American restaurants makes it easy to find something for every taste.
Gluten-Free Peach Coconut Muffin Bread
I seem to have developed a sensitivity to gluten. According to my endocrinologist, this sometimes happens with people with thyroid problems. Besides tummy problems, symptoms included a lip sore that wouldn't heal. That struck me as strange, but not only has it disappeared since I went off gluten, it returns every time I accidentally ingest some. Sounds like a correlation to me.
I love baked goods, so I developed a killer recipe for gluten-free muffins that even my gluten-receptive family fights over. Here it is:
1 cup whole grain gluten-free flour mix
1 cup brown rice flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
spices to taste
1/4 cup sweetener (dry like sugar or liquid like honey)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil or melted butter
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
Stir together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, stir together wet ingredients. Add wet to dry and stir just to combine.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups or a greased pie plate.
Bake muffins at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 - 20 minutes.
Bake muffin bread at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
I have made this recipe with
frozen cranberries, allspice, and cinnamon
dried cherries and almond extract
chopped peaches and coconut
and it's been a hit every time!
Two food posts in a row! It was either that or a laundry post.
Would you have preferred to see all the clothes folded in piles on our bed? Well, too bad . . . you get PIE!
This was a quick, delightfully messy production. For those of you who have never made a strawberry pie, I recommend it heartily. It's relatively easy, and the results are divine (especially with TruWhip)!
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