Sunday, August 10, 2008
86: A Few Recipes
My husband and I moved into my grandmother's kitchen this weekend. Much of my time spent in Michigan was either paddling around the lake, zipping about to take photographs, reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, but especially: cooking. And baking.
- Sweet Vermouth Chicken: A new recipe for me. I adapted it by putting the sauce in the casserole dish halfway through the chicken's time in the oven. It allowed the sauce to soak a bit more, and it turned out well. We served it with spiral pasta. I couldn't find cranberries, so I used craisins, and I think anyone reading this will know that was a mistake. Despite this, I would make it again. Without the craisins.
- Chicken Stock: I roasted a chicken to go with the myriad of garden vegetables my grandmother warmed for us on Thursday night, so Ryan and I turned this into chicken stock with carrots, celery, and onions. We also added pieces of what was left of the chicken from the night before and froze the soup in glass jars. We're hoping this little store of soup will be handy for Grandma in the winter. It was actually an incredibly long process as we picked out all the bones, which meant we literally spooned the crock pot full of soup into the jars one bite at a time to make sure none of those tiny ribs or vertebrae made it in.
- Banana Bread: My grandmother's oven isn't as warm as others, I discovered, as I had to add extra time to this recipe and wound up staying up until 1:30. I usually use my mother's recipe, which is wonderful and involves walnuts, but this was incredibly easy and did in a pinch. I didn't taste it, but my grandmother went back for more, which is awfully good considering how little she eats.
- Spinach Dip: This is an adaptation of the Green Mill spinach dip, which I have found addicting. I used fat free sour cream and low-fat mayo, and I don't think you can taste the difference, once all the spices and vegetables are mixed in. It's incredibly important to make certain the dip sits for at least three hours, however.
- Baked Ziti Casserole: Another new recipe for me. Hillsdale apparently does not have ziti, so I threw in penne instead. We layered penne, then cheese, then the sauce, then cheese again in the pan, and it worked out well. I must note: this would serve an army. Had I known this would yield so much food (along with the bread and the dip), I might have halved the recipe. It's good though, even if it breaks my no-mammals-in-my-meals rule. We put the remaining pasta and sauce into the cake pans we bought for the last recipe and froze them, figuring it would make good food later for Grandma and guests.
- German Chocolate Cake: This is the second time I've made it; last year, I made the cake from scratch for my father's birthday. My grandmother was born July 5th and my father on July 11th, so this was a treat a month late for the two of them. We even sang "Happy Birthday," and I sang along, which is a rarity given how off key I am and how that humbles me so. The cake turned out well--very rich. I can never get the icing to not be so runny; I can't get it stuck to the sides as the directions call for. Despite this, the cake was good, and I remembered to do things like wash off the beaters before whipping the egg whites (which didn't happen last time, though the cake turned out just fine despite the bubbly egg white foam) and I also remembered to cut the tops off the cakes so it didn't wobble quite as much. I did, however, get icing just about everywhere, since it was so runny: along her countertops, at the back of her refrigerator, on her tablecloth, and later, when I was cleaning out the fridge, in the crotch of my pants (which had a second washing--the first being after I swam through sand two days before).
Ryan and my own tastes are so different in the kitchen that it's hard to make some of these recipes. Just glancing up, I can say he doesn't like mushrooms or bananas or spinach or coconut, so much of this I couldn't have made at home, unless I planned on only eating that dish for the entire week. When I'm with other people and have the energy (read: not while teaching high school), I love love love to be able to test out new recipes, to try new things in the kitchen. And Ryan is willing to try many things once. Maybe even a second time. But he's still one of the pickiest eaters I have ever met.
And I love him anyway. :)