Saturday, September 26, 2009

Foods of Durham Past: Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

If you were lucky to have a mom like mine, you had freshly baked cookies a lot. These weren't my favorite (I'd probably rather have chocolate chip) but I think my mom loved these because she made them whenever she had a chocolate craving -- well, these or brownies. But these are practically brownies. In fact, I remember my mom making brownies and sifting powdered sugar over them. So, pretty much the same thing in cute, pretty roundish forms.

I don't think this is the recipe my mom used though. Hers were more flat and fudgy. These are more puffy and cakey, but still, "crinkly".

Aren't they pretty? I got this recipe from the Joy of Baking. And yes, I totally ripped off their photo idea by photographing mine on the cooling rack too.

Would I eat them again? Yes.
Would I make them again? Yes.
Would I feed them to friends? Absolutely.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Foods of Durham Past: Chicken, Rice and Broccoli Casserole

It's about time I throw a casserole out there. Casseroles are a staple in family dining and they make great leftovers.

I decided to feed my brother's family last night while he was out of town. I came into this under no illusion that my nieces would actually eat it. My sister in law had their default dinner of Macaroni and Cheese all ready to go. The oldest, Chloe, takes after her dad in that she doesn't eat vegetables. In fact, Carter came home towards the end of dinner time. I told him I brought dinner and he headed for the pot of macaroni and cheese.

Anyway, I always loved this casserole. It's simple: chicken, rice, broccoli, cheddar cheese, cream of chicken, sour cream and some curry. I also put some yellow onion in there.

So...I didn't check the recipe before I went to the store and ended up getting just one can of cream of chicken soup. So it didn't turn out exactly as mom made it (the recipe calls for 3 cans). But if I were to make it again, I would probably only add 2 cans instead of 3 anyway. I guess you could call this the low fat version. I also used "light" sour cream which is a cardinal sin at my mother's house. She would get a little upset whenever I went to the store for her and came back with a jar that said "light" on it.

My favorite part was when Piper blessed the food. She said, "Please bless the food that it will taste good." She also asked a special blessing on their newest sister Tessa that she would "get bigger", which I think is funny considering the current size of this girl's healthy belly.

Kelly told me that Chloe (the oldest) pretty much sets the stage for what the others will eat. I thought they would all like the rolls, because, c'mon, who doesn't like a roll? They were excited about helping me preapre the rolls, and Chloe loved hers, but Piper's was "too hot" she said.

Sadie is the third child and probably the best eater. Chloe once told me, "Sadie eats everything. She always gets dessert."

Despite the look on her face in this picture, Sadie actually thought the casserole was tasty and had a couple of bites.

All in all, it was a successful dinner. And I have leftovers to feed me for a couple days.

Would I eat it again? I'll be eating it for lunch.
Would I make it again? Yes.
Would I feed it to friends? Yes. Kelly really liked it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Peaches and

A reader told me yesterday that she was sick of the pork chop. So was I. I attempted two other recipes this past week, but when I started a dessert, my mom told me it had the potential of going horribly wrong due to my ingredient improvising. And then before I started the second one, I stopped myself after realizing the ingredients I had on hand expired in 2006.

On to something simpler.

I learn from observation. I observed my dad eating this for breakfast on occasion. Peaches and milk. I watched him many times before trying it myself. It wasn't something that I LOVED enough to make repeatedly, but it was tasty.

A coworker brought me some peaches from his orchard yesterday. He said he's allergic to the fuzz. I asked, "Why don't you just peel off the fuzz?" He told me it wasn't worth the trouble.

Not worth the trouble? Any good piece of fruit is worth any kind of trouble you want to create for yourself. This peach was good too. There is something so completely wholesome and satisfying about a piece of really good fruit. In fact, being the purist that I am, I was kind of planning on draining the milk and just eating the peach, but when I tried it, I forgot how tasty this is. Double dosing the sweetness by adding brown sugar has a lot to do with it.

Dad would add much more milk to his bowl, but I'm a milk conservator and didn't want to waste too much.

Would I eat it again? Why not.
Would I make it again? I guess I would have to if I was going to eat it again.
Would I feed it to friends? Possibly.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Foods of Durham Past: Pork Chops with Peaches

I loved helping with dinner when we had pork chops. My job was fun and simple: put the pork chops in the Shake 'n Bake baggie and "shake" to coat the meat with the yummy crumbs. And then Mom usually had me pour some of the remaining crumbs on top of the pork chops.

After I left my parents house, I learned that some people (even non-Jewish people) are weird about pork. I don't know whether it was unfamiliar to them or what, but for some reason I got the impression that it was a "bad" food for them. Maybe they were afraid of the way it was cooked, I don't know. Mom made pork pretty often. On Sundays, she would sometimes roast a big pork loin, but mostly I remember the Shake 'n Bake pork chops.

The Shake 'n Bake pork chops were more kid friendly I think. Anything that's breaded more closely resembles a chicken nugget, therefore, a kid is more likely to be comfortable with it. The peach portion here was the grown up part. I don't think I ever had a peach atop my pork, nor did Carter or Lisa. I distinctly remember watching these through the oven door, wondering what would happen to that peach during baking time. Not much, really.

What did happen during baking time was the crumbs that fell off the pork chops got all burnt and crispy. That was my dad's favorite part. After dinner he would walk over to the stovetop where the baking sheet was and scrape up all the remaining burnt bits with his fork and eat it, right there in the kitchen. Sometimes he would preemptively scrape them off the sheet and onto his plate in a big, burnt crumb pile as part of his dinner.

I should thank Lisa for giving me the box of Shake 'n Bake which not only inspired, but partly funded this post.

Would I eat it again? Sure. I'd probably scrape the peach off and eat it separately though.
Would I make it again? Yeah, but only for kids, my grown up tastes prefer the pork roast.
Would I feed it to friends? My little kid friends.