I am constantly amazed at how animated and talkative people get when you mention food. The mere aroma of certain foods can evoke memories that transport us back to a special place and time. Food can bridge the gap between all ages, races and ethnicities.
Let's face it, the only thing that should ever come between people is a table and some serving bowls.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sweet September

When September arrives I immediately think apples and apple cider. I think most of us do while looking forward to a change from the extreme heat of summer. A nice crisp apple is synonymous with the crispness of fall.
I think fall was one of my Mother's favorite times; maybe being born in September had a little to do with it. My mother would just come to life when the apple farms and cider mills went into full swing. Her great love for pork didn't hurt either, she always said that apples and pork were a match made in heaven and I would have to agree.

Apple Cider Stew

1-2 lbs. Pork shoulder (any pork with a good amount of marbling) cut into bite size pieces.
8 large carrots, chopped
6 potatoes, chopped
2 apples, chopped
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 large onion chopped
2 c. apple cider

Place carrots, potatoes, and apples in crock pot. Add meat and sprinkle with salt, thyme, and onion. Pour cider over meat and cover. Cook on low heat 10-12 hours. Thicken gravy using 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in a separate bowl mixed with a little bit of the hot gravy. Put cornstarch mixture back in pot of hot stew and bring to a boil while stirring.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Best Of Memories


   After a long much needed pause..... Noshtalgia is getting ready to take another trip down memory lane and retell the stories and share the recipes of people past and present. Before we move forward, I thought it would be nice to revisit some of the best posts Noshtalgia has shared over the years.
   Our goal is to make today the yesterday that will bring a smile to your face tomorrow one story at a time, one delicious bite at a time...... enjoy and many thanks.

Over the years.......


                              2006 - Italian Pizzelles 

                              2007 - Mimi's Chicken in Potato Chips

                               2007 - My Afternoon Dunks with Peepa

                               2008 - The Richness in Being Poor

                              2008 - Twenty-One Years Later

                              2009 - Caution.... Women Eating Dessert.... Do Not Disturb

                               2009 - XXX Mimi

                               2010 - Choose Laughter

                               2010 - The Scent of A Woman



Friday, October 15, 2010

From Pumpkin Patch To Table

Pumpkins give so much of themselves, they are decorative, they are fun, they are loaded with seeds for both snacking and replanting and all that glorious pulp to cook in a variety of ways.
We already have one very large pumpkin gracing our table with a beautifully carved witch all a glow by candle light. This very same pumpkin has given us golden toasted, slightly salty seeds to munch on. Now awaits the big hefty pumpkin sitting outside. This one is very heavy and extremely meaty and will be cut up and cooked down to be enjoyed in this recipe and probably several others by the size of it.

FYI- When preparing my fresh pumpkin, I like dividing the pumpkin into sections leaving the skin on. I then drizzle with a little oil and roast it at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour. Then just scoop out the flesh and put it into containers and store in the refrigerator. You may also cut the flesh of the pumpkin into chunks and boil but I find the roasting brings out the natural sugar of the pumkin and imparts more flavor.

Pumpkin Lasagna

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large onions, chopped
1 can (about 4 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained (sauteed fresh mushrooms, even better)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried, Italian seasoning
1 Pkg. of frozen spinach thawed, squeeze out all the liquid
2 cups of fresh pumpkin, canned works fine as well
1 container (15 ounces) ricotta cheese, preferably whole milk
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground, black pepper
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup Alfredo sauce, jarred is fine
15 lasagna noodles (about 3/4 pound), cooked according to package

Cook time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and Italian seasoning, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the spinach and heat through; set aside.
Mix pumpkin and ricotta cheese in a large mixing bowl. Stir in Parmesan cheese, salt, black pepper and nutmeg until well combined.
Grease the inside of baking dish with the remaining teaspoon of olive oil. Spread 1/2 cup Alfredo sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. Top with 3 noodles, covering the bottom of the dish. Spread 1/4 of the pumpkin mixture over the layer of noodles and scatter 1/4 of the green mixture over the pumpkin. Repeat layers of noodles, pumpkin and greens, until you have 4 layers of each. Top with the remaining 3 noodles; spread the remaining 1/2 cup Alfredo sauce over the top. Cover with a sheet of foil and bake for 45 minutes until bubbling around the edges. Remove foil; top with remaining Parmesan cheese and return to the oven for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned.

Let lasagna rest for about 15 minutes before cutting, the squares will hold together better.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Basil In Winter

The nights are starting to get too cold to leave the herbs outside and I don't want to lose any of them. Herbs can sometimes be difficult to keep fresh once picked. You can dry them which will intensify the flavor. Plus by drying and removing all the moisture the herbs will last for a good length of time. I will sometimes layer the herbs between sheets of wax paper, place in a container and freeze. The shelf life is not quite as long as the drying method but the flavor is a little closer to fresh. One of my favorite ways of keeping that intense basil flavor and aroma for several months is by turning the basil into a pesto. I love reaching for that jar of pesto during the winter months it gives every meal a hint of summer.

Basil Pesto

2 Cups of Basil leaves, stalks removed and torn into pieces
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
3-4 cloves garlic
1/4 Cup of pine nuts or walnuts
3 tablespoons Parmesan
3 tablespoons Pecorino Romano
1 1/4 cup olive oil

Put everything in a food processor and then slowly drizzle in the oil. You do not want this completely smooth. Serve on bread, flavor your meats or seafood or just toss some into your favorite pasta dish.

image WebECoist

Monday, September 13, 2010

Falling Into You

Falling Leaves, falling temperatures no wonder we call this the fall season quite aptly named I would say. While things are falling steadily outside the inside temperatures are on the rise. We slowly raise our thermostats and once again begin to turn up the burners for some cold weather cooking. For me it is an automatic reflex on our very first cold, dark damp day that my soul longs for a big bowl of homemade soup. I never know which one to make first, I have so many favorites but since it is that time of year filled with crisp aromatic apples and rich velvety squash in such great abundance I believe my soup journey should begin here.

Apple Harvest Soup

4 slices day old bread
3 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 lg. butternut squash, peeled and sliced
2 med. onions, sliced
4 c. chicken stock, canned or homemade
3/4 tsp. dried tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. apple wine, may substitute with apple cider
1/2 c. heavy cream
Sour cream

Make bread crumbs of the bread. Place in stockpot with all ingredients up to apple wine. Simmer 30 minutes until vegetables are tender. Puree the mixture and reheat to simmer. Add the apple wine and cream - do not boil. To serve, garnish with dabs of sour cream.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hot For The Picking

This time of year is bittersweet, sweet because most of the gardens bounty is ripe for the picking and bitter because it means summer is coming to an end.
On a brighter note fall is just around the corner and it brings with it crisp air and an abundance of apples, corn and squash to console us through the winter.
I had only planted a couple of jalapeno plants at the beginning of the season and to my surprise these plants are producing dozens and dozens of peppers. So here is a really nice salad that combines a little bit of everything; hot, sweet, tangy, crunchy but most of all delicious.

Jalapeno, Jicama and Mango Salad

1 small Jicama sliced thin, adds a nice crunch to the salad but can be omitted.
4 ripe mangos
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
4 fresh jalapenos, seeded and sliced fine
1/4 c. light oil
1/8 c. of apple cider vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
Dash of sugar to taste

Peel and slice the mangos and Jicama and combine mango, jicama, onion slices with the jalapenos. Make a dressing by stirring the oil, cider vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar together. Mix well and let stand for at least 2 hours before serving.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Eaten Not Stirred

My mother’s great grandparents came from Russia and one of the stories that I found most fascinating was their tradition for a Bloody Mary. According to them the Bloody Mary’s that we are all familiar with stray far from its origins. There was a time when the tomato and the vodka never married together in a glass instead the tomato was eaten with a little salt and then washed down with ample amounts of vodka. Over time when the Russians introduced this tomato eating vodka drinking tradition to the United States many people started to add their own twists and created the many versions of the Bloody Mary that we are all quite enjoyably familiar with today.
Since my cherry tomatoes in my garden are red, ripe and bountiful why not pay homage to them by making some bite size Bloody Mary's.
Please make sure you have some ice cold vodka chilling to wash these down with, we wouldn’t want to break from tradition afterall.

Bite Size Bloody Mary’s

1 box ripe cherry tomatoes or fresh from the garden, even better
1/4 c. very cold vodka
2 tbsp. kosher salt
Save the rest of the Vodka for drinking

Poke 3 to 4 holes in each cherry tomato using a toothpick, place tomatoes in a container that has a cover. Pour vodka over tomatoes, give them a stir then cover and refrigerate over night or longer if necessary. To serve place tomatoes in serving dish, in separate dishes have toothpicks and kosher salt. To eat place tomato on toothpick, dip in kosher salt and eat.

FYI- may also provide dishes of chopped dill and some hot pepper for those who like it spicy.

Bloody Mary