Hearth & Home

Hearth and Home by Daphne Ross

Spring, a season of warm and cool

This is the time of spring when my fur-lined slippers and my flip-flops of-the-day share inside-the-door rug space; my pretty, paisley print mud boots stand tall near-by. My winter-worn, furlined tall boots are now upstairs in the closet, but I know the next early morning farm auction I go to, those will be back on my feet, again.

Soon it will be what color flip-flops will I wear today or what color tenna-shoes will I sport? But know this, there is nothing sport-motivated by my choice, it's all about the color. Athletic shoes, running shoes, walking shoes all the same to me, I just want to wear a pretty summer shoe.

This morning is the first day I wore flip-flops to work. My plan was to grab a pair of footie socks and my aqua and yellow walking shoes, but I wasn't reminded again until I turned the key to start the van. Ah forget it, I thought, my small ceramic heater was not put in the storage closet yet, so if my feet were cold behind the shop counter I'd just plug that in. I think I'll do that now.

Sometimes I am confused by the attire choice of others on a spring day such as this. It is sunny, clear, 58 degrees here in Smithville, Ohio. When I ran into the grocery this morning (a one-stop many errands accomplished store), I saw multiple versions of spring fashion. It was obvious to me, spring is definitely a cool and warm season, but it's a welcomed season of transition.

One gal had on a short sleeve t-shirt, cargo shorts, and wore a zipped up tight down vest. Another fella got off his bike wearing a tank top, shorty-shorts, and well that's it, I've seen him before, you may have, too. One guy wore shorts, flip flops, and a sweat shirt with the hood up. A sweet looking, elderly woman zipped up her jacket and tied on her hair-do saving, plastic bonnet before walking out of the store.

At home we have not completely turned down the thermostat for the season, it's just too early. The firewood bin and kindling box inside the house are empty and have been swept out. Hoping the only wood to burn now is campfire wood. Fortunately firewood for a take-the-chill-off weekend afternoon is stacked just across the yard.

More in-season fruits and vegetables are now on the grocery list as are ingredients for soup, stews, casseroles, and biscuit baking. Some spring days are for grilling on the patio and tossing fresh greens, other spring days are simmering chili all day and baking skillet cornbread. One thing for sure, my quilt will continue to be folded on the back of my chair, cause sometimes I need it for warm, sometimes I need it for cozy, and sometimes it's just a cool, cold cover, if you know what I mean.

What comfort foods get you thru chilly spring days? Share your favorite recipes with Hearth & Home. Mail to: Hearth & Home, 5973 Blachleyville Rd., Wooster, Ohio, 44691. Emails are always welcome: thewriecook@sssnet.com

Spanish Rice
1 tablespoon shortening
1 large onion
1 green pepper
1 pound ground beef
1 cup tomato juice
1 small can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup uncooked tice
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Cook onion and green pepper in shortening until soft. Add ground beef, and cook until brown or until redness is gone. Add tomato juice, tomato sauce, rice, and seasonings. Put in covered casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Bacon & Roasted Red Potato Salad
10 red potatoes cut into bite-size pieces
Olive oil
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 stalk celery, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green onion
2 slices cooked bacon, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread potato pieces onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast potatoes about 45 minutes; remove from and let cool at least 15 minutes. Place roasted potatoes into a large salad bowl and combine with hard-cooked eggs, celery, green onion, and bacon; stir in mayonnaise and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to let flavors blend.

Strawberry Spinach Salad
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoons minced onion
10 ounces fresh spinach, rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
1 quart strawberries, cleaned, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered
In medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seed, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and onion. Cover and chill for one hour. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries and almonds. Pour dressing over salad and toss. Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Steak-on-a-Stick
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons mustard powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 pounds flank steaks, cut into thin strips
32 (8 inch) wooden skewers, soaked in water
In a large resalable bag, combine the soy sauce, olive oil, water, molasses, mustard powder, ginger, garlic powder and onion powder. Seal and shake the bag to mix together. Add steak strips to the bag and seal. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours to marinate. Preheat the oven's broiler. Thread meat onto skewers and place on a broiling rack. Broil the steak for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Arrange on a platter to serve

Triple Cheese Macaroni
1 package (16 ounces) elbow macaroni
2 eggs
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces Velveeta cheese, melted
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mild cheddar cheese, divided
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese divided
Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, butter, mustard, seasoned salt and pepper until combined. Stir in the process cheese and 1 1/2 cups of each Cheddar cheese. Drain macaroni.

Fresh Strawberry Pie
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons light Karo syrup
Pinch salt
Food coloring
3 tablespoons strawberry Jell-O
Fresh strawberries, washed and drained
Large baked pie shell
Cook until thick; cornstarch, sugar, water, light Karo, and salt; add food coloring if desired and dry Jell-O powder. Cool until almost cold. Pour over fresh berries. Stir slightly and pour into large baked pie shell. Refrigerate. Serve plain or top with whipped cream. May substitute other fruit and Jell-O flavors, such as peaches or raspberries.

Cucumber & Watermelon Salad
3 cups diced, seedless watermelons
1 1/2 cups diced cucumber
1 bunch sliced scallions
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 seeded and minced jalapeno
Juice of 2 limes
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of salt
Watercress
Feta cheese
Pepper
Toss the diced watermelon, diced cucumber, sliced scallions, chopped cilantro, 1 seeded and minced jalapeno, lime juice, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Serve on a bed of watercress and sprinkle with feta cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper

Waldorf Cole Slaw
6 cups shredded cabbage
2 cup chopped red and golden Delicious apples
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup peanuts
Miracle Whip salad dressing
Combine cabbage, apples, raisins, nuts and enough salad dressing to moisten. Toss lightly. Refrigerate before serving until well chilled. 8 to 10 servings.

Mixed Fruit Shortcakes
1 cup mixed fresh berries
1/2 cup sliced fresh peaches, or nectarines
4 teaspoons sugar, divided
1/2 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons shortening
3 tablespoons milk
Whipped cream
In a bowl, combine berries, peaches and 2 teaspoons sugar, set aside. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; cut in shortening until mixture is crumbly. Stir in milk just until moistened. Drop 1/3 cupfuls 2 inches apart onto an ungreased baking sheet. Flatten into 2 1/2 inch circles. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Split shortcakes in half horizontally. Spoon fruit onto bottoms; replace tops. Garnish with whipped cream. Yield: 2 servings.

Peas and Pasta Salad
1 pound curly pasta
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 (15 ounce) jar Miracle Whip
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 (10 ounce) package frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
6 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water as directed on box for al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and place the cooked pasta in a large bowl filled with ice water to stop the pasta from over cooking. Stir until the pasta is cool; drain in a colander shaking to release as much water as possible. Dressing: In a large bowl mix the red onion, salad dressing, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and sugar. Taste, then season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add pasta and completely coat with the dressing. Add peas, cheese, and bacon. Add the bacon right before serving.

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