Thursday May 8, 2008

I am finally getting back in the swing of things since the trip and have been cooking some. Tuesday night I got my Mother’s Day present early (we’re not much for waiting for the actual day around here). Here is what they gave me:


Ain’t she a beaut!! I was so excited! I have been wanting some enameled cast iron, but didn’t know they had any this nice. You can read about it at the Lodge site. I couldn’t wait to use it, so last night I roasted a whole chicken in it with vegetables. Tonight I was really glad I had it as well as I needed it because I was cooking so many side dishes. My menu tonight was:

Apricot Glazed Pork Chops

1 large Family Pack of Pork Chops
8 T. apricot preserves
2 T. water
Tony’s , salt & pepper to taste

This was such an easy dish; I seasoned my meat with a little Tony’s on each side (after tasting I think they needed a little more Tony’s and some salt and pepper). I then mixed the preserves and water and spread it on the pork chops. I baked them at 350 until they reached 160 degrees (which took about 30 min).

Steamed Cajun Cabbage

1 large head of Cabbage
1 stick of butter sliced
1 tsp. Tony’s
1 tsp. salt
a few grinds from the pepper mill
about 1 1/2 inches of water in the bottom of the pan

I steam my cabbage on med heat for about 45 min, watching the water level to make sure it doesn’t cook out. If I cook it more slowly the cabbage sort of melts, which is the way I love it.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

5 Sweet Potatoes, peeled & sliced
1 Stick of Butter
1/4 cup of half & half
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
Dash of Cloves
Dash of Nutmeg
Dash of Allspice

Steam the sliced potatoes in a pot with 1 1/2 inches of water in the bottom. I use a simple metal steamer for this. After the potatoes are finished move them to a bowl and add the other ingredients. Use a hand mixer to cream the potatoes. For the spices I go by smell, so unfortunately I don’t have exact measurements. You can serve these as they are, or you can put them in a 9 x 13 pan with marshmallows on top and brown it in the oven.

Steamed Cauliflower
1 head of Cauliflower, cut into chunks
1/2 tsp Tony’s
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Chop cauliflower and put in a pan with about 1 1/2 inches of water. Sprinkle Tony’s and salt on the cauliflower cover and steam until tender. Take out of pan and put in a serving dish, straining out the water as you do this. Sprinkle in cheese and toss.

Butter Beans
1 bag frozen butter beans
1 smoked turkey neck
1 tsp. Tony’s
1/2 tsp salt
a few grinds of pepper from a mill
water to cover beans

Cook beans over med. heat for about 45 min, or until beans are tender. I buy smoked turkey necks on hand just for beans. I usually buy a pack with 6 or so in it, and then wrap them individually in plastic wrap and then put them all in a ziploc bag. I keep them in the freezer and take one out as I need it.

I have been buying a lot of strawberries lately, going to whichever store that has them for $.99 a pound. We have had strawberry shortcake, strawberries with ice cream and one of our favorites is warm brownies with strawberries, ice cream, cool whip, and chocolate sauce on top. Tonight we didn’t have any of the things we have been eating our berries with, so we decided to try something new. Caroline made Tea Cakes and we had them with strawberries, whipped cream and melted chocolate chips. Talk about good!

Tea Cakes

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

1 T. milk

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs, milk, vanilla and mix. Then add in dry ingredients. Roll into balls (using flour on hands if needed), and pat down to 1/2 in thickness and lightly sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 325 for about 10 minutes. Yield: about 2 dozen

I hope you have a good week, and hopefully I will be posting more in the near future.