Cranberry Chutney

It’s the eating-time-of-year again! The best way to do that for the upcoming holiday feasts is to spread out the tasks over days, making foods that benefit from become richer in flavor when their flavors are given some time to meld.

Cranberry chutney is a perfect example with a variety of flavors mellow and become more united with time. In fact, it has become so popular, ordinary cranberry relish is a thing-of-the-past in our household. The chutney was a bit of an intense change the first year, so it was barely touched (other than by me). The second year, everyone was a bit more adventurous. The third year? No one touched the other two classics – orange & cranberry relish and a cranberry cream-cheese salad, instead, inhaling the chutney. The fourth year, everyone declared that turkey sandwiches had to have cranberry chutney, so I made a double batch. This year? I’m not wasting the time on the classics. My youngest child already asked if I was making “that yummy chutney”, so I’d better get to it!

Cheese Soufflé

Image Souffle Surveying the refrigerator, my eyes landed on a new smoked Spanish cheese I’d been saving for something “special”. Souffle’! Slicing off bites of the cheese, I popped them into my darlings’ mouths. “Oh, that’s very, very good cheese”, my 14-yo said, her eyes squinting as she analyzed its flavor. “There’s a….smoky component…a bit of a bacon-y edge. Let’s go with that.” Excellent! Game on!

Kicked Up Southern-Style Sausage Gravy & Biscuits

Image Sausage Biscuit I had special plans for this morning’s biscuits. Yesterday, I’d picked up some freshly-made ground pork from a local farmer, and my goal was to create smooth, velvety, creamy sausage and gravy to pour over the biscuits. I’ve made some pretty extreme, complex 5-star breakfasts over the years, and while old-style southern-style sausage and gravy over biscuits is deceptively simply, it’s one of those recipes that brings together your “Best Of” techniques.

Apple (or any fruit) Coffee Cake Supreme

Image Blueberry Coffee Cake This 1986 recipe winner of the Pillsbury Bake-Off, has gone through a few changes over the years. Pillsbury once published it, similar to what I’ve included later in this post, but eventually revamped it, replacing the 100% made-from-scratch method with its refrigerated biscuits, loaded with homogenized shortening and chemical-laden synthetic preservative.

Anything Goes Omelet

Image Omelet If I’ve seen a movie or television show once, I have no desire to watch it again, with the exception of “Gone with the Wind”. But as for everything else? It’s time to move on to something new! That rolling-stone (as in “gathers no moss”, not Rock ‘n Roll) attitude transfers to how I cook. I don’t think I’ve ever made the same omelet twice, for example. Even when I have similar ingredients, the end-result is a little different.

Pick-Your-Citrus - Lime, Orange, Grapefruit or Lemon Pudding Cake

Lemon Pudding Cake
One of my favorite childhood deserts was lemon pudding cake, especially welcome on a blustery, cold Minnesota-winter night. One rip and dump of the Betty Crocker box, over which we drizzled hot water, in less than 30-minutes, everyone was licking the last drop of the creamy lemon “pudding” from their spoons. “Magic” pudding we called it, fascinated the pudding somehow appeared on the bottom layer, while the top turned into a light and fluffy cake.

French Onion Soup Mostly Julia's Way

Image French Onion Soup There are those moments, when everything comes together in a magical moment of everything-is-right-with-a-world-that-is-so-not-right….

Baked Orange-Kissed Breakfast Blintz

Image Blintz Slice For two decades, this has been one of our favorite recipes, easy to throw together, dress up or down, and wonderful with a variety of fruit toppings, depending on what’s in-season or on-hand. Blueberry, strawberry, blackberry, and cherry toppings are some of our favorite.

This recipe falls somewhere between a Finnish Pancake – one giant custard-like pancake, baked in a 9×13 pan – and blintzes, stuffed with ricotta. Unlike blintz, there’s none of the tedious work of making and filling individual crepes, but instead, only requires a food processor (or blender) to whip up the batter (used on the top and bottom) and the filling (sandwiched between the batter). This is super-easy to make, any day of the week, but rich and flavorful enough to make for special occasions.

Sweet Potato Gratin

Slices Raw Sweet Potatoes A few bites into dinner, my husband stopped eating, inspecting his forkful of sweet potato gratin. “You’ve been experimenting again, haven’t you. We’d better write this one down…,” he said, with a smile.

Our 13-year-old leaped up, in search of paper and pencil, offering to serve as my secretary, before I “forgot” the recipe.

It isn’t necessarily that I forget to write down recipes as much as I resist it. Cooking has become a type of taste-science where I challenge myself to use on-hand ingredients in new and different ways. It can be something as simple as changing the type of cheese, for example, or using a different herb blend. Since becoming unfettered from recipes, my free-spirit, I’m afraid, has left my poor family wanting a little more consistency and same-old, same-old instead of a surprise party every night.

Chocolate Zucchini Not-So-Quick Bread

Bread Photo I’ve cooked, baked, dehydrated and fermented my way through rhubarb, English Peas, strawberries, blueberries and now zucchini, just to name a few wonderful organic foods we’ve harvested since May.

Summertime was once consumed by beaches, tennis and golf – a leisurely life – but since changing our food-style to whole, healthy, organic, local-farm foods, our routine has shifted. Now, our daily sustenance is dependent on Providence, rather than Safeway or Shaws.

That means we have to work harder, drive farther, and make it all from “scratch” including butter, sour cream, buttermilk, breads, sauerkraut, and old-fashioned half-sour dills.

Little voices chided me this past week when I brought home a huge crate of zucchini from our CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture), “Mommy, remember the yummy zucchini bread you used to make….”. That was years ago. Such amazing memories for some things and not others, like who spilled the water on the cherry end table……