Thursday, March 11, 2010

Steak & Salad

“Salad is never more appetizing than when served in a large wooden bowl.”

Dorothy Draper, 'Entertaining is Fun’ (1941)

Steak & Salad

My MIL was craving a good steak and huge, tossed salad. She gave us the money so my husband got the meat and I got the produce . . . funny how much that reflects us. I love fruits and vegetables and healthy, wholesome foods. Blake? He loves meat. If our freezer and refrigerator were full of beef, chicken, turkey, fish, and on and on the list goes --- he would be fine with little else.

Anyway, our DIL and grandbits came over and our 6-year-old went with Granna to see Grandpa in the VA hospital. While they did that and my husband grilled steak and chicken breasts, the rest of worked on the salad. It turned out better than any, ever before!

My DIL, 15- year- old daughter, and our 3-year-old granddaughter all helped! We washed and spun dry two heads of lettuce and filled a large drainer with a bounty of produce. We washed it well and peeled, cut, and grated everything into one, large, bowl.

My MIL came in mid way through and suggested I use the salad shooter for all of it since that is what it is for. I’m in such a habit of using a knife or food processor that I only shred the carrots and cheese most of the time, using the shooter.

I grated a bag of washed, peeled, carrots with the ends cut off and filled a bowl with them. Emily, my granddaughter asked me what the salad shooter was and I told her. She replied: “You mean, carrot shooter, Nandy?”

It was cute because she looked up from her little cutting board with little cutting knife (a small butter knife with a blue handle) and her small, yellow drainer full of vegetables to cut up. She paused with knife mid air and then went right back to cutting.

Caden, her younger brother (2 years old) took her spot using the old, wooden stool from Mamaw’s house. He added flair to his work by chewing some of the vegetables up and spitting them on the work table. Yes, I stopped him. Just thought the difference in Emily’s precise job and his stark contrast set smiles up in my heart.

Hailey talked and jabbered with a soft lid to one of our storage containers from a pallet on the floor. One of our Christmas Eve kittens was fascinated with her and kept watching her every move. The beagle tried to plop down with her since she loves pallets but we didn’t allow it and she sauntered off to the living room to sneak up on the couch.

Onto the salad!

This was it:

Bite sized lettuce
Sliced cucumbers
Sliced zucchini
Slice yellow squash
Sliced (half wise) vine ripe tomatoes
Shredded carrots
Sliced radishes
Sliced green peppers
Fresh broccoli heads
Dried cranberries
Sliced Pears
Sliced Kiwi (peeled, too)
Sliced Mangoes
Sliced red onions

It sounds like a strange combination, I know. It was beyond words and everyone raved on and on and on over it.

The next day, we ate it topped with shredded, sharp cheddar cheese.

We made up bottles of the Italian dressing you buy in packets and mix in cruets. When it is first made, we add honey and shake well before serving --- a tip from one of my sisters that we have fallen in love with.

We also had Raspberry Vinaigrette with walnuts and light Ranch for those who wanted it.

The salad was enjoyed at least as much as the steaks and this included my husband! He has always joked about me eating rabbit food but now he loves it. Laugh . . .

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday: 3/10/10

God has given us two hands:- one to receive with and the other to give with. We are not cisterns made for hoarding; we are channels made for giving.|

Billy Graham

Oatmeal Cake
1 ¼ cups boiling water
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon of cinnamon
½ teaspoon of salt
¼ teaspoon of nutmeg (we used this and then freshly grated some to go with it.)
Combine water and oats in a small bowl; set aside.

Place butter, brown sugar, and sugar in bowl. Attach bowl and flat beater. Turn to speed 4 and beat 1 minute. Stop and scrape bowl.

Add vanilla. Turn to speed 4 and add eggs, one at a time, beating 15 seconds after each addition. Stop and scrape bowl. Add oat mixture, flour, soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Turn to speed 4 and beat 30 seconds.

Pour batter into greased and floured 9 x 9 x 2-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50-55 minutes. Cool cake in pan. When cool, top with Broiled Coco-Walnut Topping

Yield: One 9-inch cake

*My notes* We doubled the ingredients (started with the Kitchenaid but I made a mistake with the oatmeal so we needed to double it so I transferred everything to the Bosch mixer) and I added more nutmeg and chocolate chips --- ideas from my creative DIL!
I also put the topping on the cakes while the cake was hot and it was delicious!

Broiled Coco-Walnut Topping
¾ cup shredded coconut
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
3 Tablespoons heavy cream

Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Spread on top of cake. Place under broiler until topping is bubbly. Cool before serving.
From: The KitchenAid Cookbook

Wednesday with my DIL and three of my grandlittles was today and what a day it was! The first part of the morning consisted of me doing laundry, mopping the kitchen floor and doing some basic tidying and my DIL taking three kids in the rain on errands without an umbrella!

I wanted to bake something so the warmth created by the oven and the comfort of home baked goods would make things inside more welcoming.

We had salads for lunch (left overs from last night and I’ll share that in another post) and ended up adding French bread and roasted garlic hummus. So good!

We bounced babies on our knees while going through cookbooks and Brandy found the Oatmeal cake recipe. Great idea!

This was well loved by us and the three teen girls who came talking and laughing in from school later this afternoon.

We watched a movie (“Murder In Coweta County” --- a true story and had Andy Griffith and Johnny Cash in it) and visited until this evening. We were both so tired and longed for naps but those are pretty non-existent. {Smile}

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My Dad & Notes on Now

My Dad & Notes on Now (I sent this to the wrong blog the first time!)
Dear Readers,

For any of you who don't know, my dad passed away on February 8th at 11:30 pm.
I am hoping to write more soon and to share the recipes again now because I know he would encourage me to do just that.

I miss him.
Tonight, I was doing yet another cozying of my kitchen (have been working on it for days) and moved a picture of him with his name at the top. I felt like sitting down and crying in my hands until the tears were all gone but closed my eyes and kept moving.
The latter was much more comforting this time.

I hope each one reading this will cherish every single moment with your parents. Grandparents, kids, grandkids and on it goes. They are such SOUL GIFTS.

Onto the blog focus on food so I don't overwhelm you with too much of my own world and thoughts:

Today in my kitchen, I made four loaves of homemade bread, a delicious roast with carrots and potatoes in the oven, a very large chicken breast "oven fried", a pot of two pieces of chicken simmered in water with carrots and seasonings, a pan of homemade style noodles in the chicken broth (once the meat and carrots were removed) and a cast iron skillet full of fried chicken with a pan of gravy on the side.

This served us for lunch, dinner and some snacking through the day!

I planned to make a Cocoa and Banana bar dessert but didn't have bananas! If I end up liking it when I do try it, I'll share the recipe here.

The roast was put in a greased cast iron deep skillet and I cut it in four pieces, rubbed with oil, salt, pepper, minced garlic, and onion flakes. I added lots of carrots and some small potatoes.

The fried chicken was just a cut up chicken, washed and dredged in a flour, salt, pepper, and all purpose seasoning mixture. Once fully coated, I put it in a skillet with some peanut oil already getting hot and then sprinkled a bit more all purpose seasoning over all. The chicken didn't get turned until it was lightly browned on the side nearest the heat.

We really enjoyed these foods and all the ovens and stovetops created some darling heat all through the main rooms!

Our son was here from college (he came to see his brother and his new baby) so it provided a nice lunch and snack for him.

Our DIL took our oldest son back to the Police Academy so she stopped by and we had coffee and fixed plates of chicken, noodles, gravy and bread. God made that time cooking today overflow to comfort and feed all of us!