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.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thank you, Mom

On September 29th, 2008 we celebrated the life of a woman who battled some of life’s darkest moments with the humor and heart of a champion. As a daughter I was not always able to see past the surface of the day to day goings on. I did not always agree or understand why my mother did or did not do some of the things that she did. As with most children I was more focused on how what she did or did not do affected me. We as children tend to forget that our parents are human beings struggling with their own flaws and misconceptions while making their own way through this often time’s unfair world.
I am happy to say that I was able over time to grow as a person and learn to appreciate my mother and her ability to do her best especially when the odds were working against her. I am humbled to recognize my own flaws and fears that have guided some of my less than perfect decisions and have led me to greatly appreciate my mother even more.
Sadly on November 18th, 2008 my mother fought her last battle in this life with the same dignity and humor that she had always possessed. My mother is finally at peace and I will always cherish the gift of humor that she instilled in me. To be able to laugh in the face of adversity with a loving heart and a head held high….. Thank you, mom you will forever be remembered.

In honor of my mother I am including the links to her favorite food posts.

Spanish Rice

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What's Inside Your Grandmother's Purse?

There were two types of cookies that always made there way home from a wedding in my grandmother's purse. The first one an almond paste cookie rolled in pignola nuts, sliced almonds or topped with a halved maraschino cherry. The second was that wonderfully spicy round chocolate gem known as The Italian meatball Cookie at least that is what we always called them as kids. They are more commonly known as; “chocolate pepper cookies or Italian Spice Balls”. You will always find these traditionally at Italian weddings but these are also a traditional cookie to be served during the holiday season. This cookie does have a lot of ingredients compared to most others but together they create a flavor that will keep generation after generation remembering and wanting more.

Italian Meatball Cookies

1 1/4 c. shortening
2 c. sugar
2 drops red food coloring
1 tsp. baking soda
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 & 3/4 c. cocoa
1 tbsp. orange rind
1 c. chopped nuts
3/4 c. sour milk
4 eggs
5 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 c. orange juice
1/2 c. raisins, soaked in 2 tbsp. of warm water

Cream shortening, sugar and eggs and beat well. Add dry ingredients, orange rind and juice with milk and food coloring and mix well. Fold in raisins and nuts. Roll into walnut sized balls and place on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 370 degrees for 10 minutes. Do not over bake. Cool cookies and frost.

FROSTING: Beat 4 egg whites with 1 teaspoon cream of tartar until foamy. Add 1 pound confectioners' sugar. Add vanilla and beat well. Spread on cookies. Yield: 12 dozen.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Spirited Apple Butter

As promised in the previous post, here is the recipe Chrissy’s grandmother used to make her apple butter. It is one of the best tasting apple butters that I have ever tried, she found this recipe on the Betty Crocker website. Since her first batch she has played around with it a bit and tried some different spirits such as peach wine which was absolutely delicious. I really hope that you will all give this a try, you will not be disappointed. This would be perfect for gift giving this holiday season.

Spirited Apple Butter
Brown sugar, spices and sweet red wine give this apple spread lots of spirit.

Prep Time: 20 min
Total Time: 3 hours 20 min
Makes: 5 cups butter

1 can (12 ounces) frozen (thawed) apple juice concentrate
1/2 cup sweet red wine or apple cider
4 pounds cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into fourths
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup apple brandy or apple cider
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1. Heat juice concentrate, wine and apples to boiling in 4-quart Dutch oven; reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered about 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until apples are very soft. Mash with potato masher if necessary, to remove all lumps.
2. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until no liquid separates from pulp.
3. Immediately pour into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars; seal. Cool on wire rack 1 hour. Store in refrigerator up to 2 months.