This morning I run into the little grocery store in the village where my shop is located. As I chatted with the young man at the register, I saw out of the corner of my eye, another friend scanning the well-stocked store shelves. He happens to be a really good cook, a mighty fine chef, once again, fortunately for many of us, providing a food service.
I am envious of him, not the job that he has, not the schedule he keeps, but the fact that the grocery store where he works is an open cupboard. He doesnt need to write a grocery list, he can just walk out of the kitchen and choose ingredients right off the shelf. Forget something, he doesnt need to go back to the store, hes already in the store. Trying a new recipe, he already knows what is available.
I appreciate the convenience, running into the little grocery store to pick up my short list items, the quick walk to grab a fresh salad for lunch, a thick sandwich which I can save half for the next day, and paper supplies for my shop. But I want more than the short jog down the street convenience.
I want to be able to go into my own cozy, country kitchen and chant, Cupboard, cupboard on the wall give me Aisle 2. And when I opened my eyes, and opened the cupboard doors I could see all the cooking ingredients I need to prepare breakfast. No more running to the neighbors to borrow a teaspoon of baking soda for my biscuits.
Yes, Ive done that. But, I didnt run, I had to drive down our quarter mile lane, turn left at the road, drive 100 feet, and repeat back home. A magic cupboard could have saved me gas and time. In our neck-of-the- woods we have no quick run-next-door neighbors, but I will say they are certainly generous.
I wish all my cupboards were magic cupboards; say the chant and open up to well-stocked, picture perfect shelves right from the grocery store. There would be less plastic bags in the world; no longer needed to cart the goods home. And there would be less stress in the world; no more choosing a perfect pushing cart and when halfway down your list, decides its mileage time has been fulfilled. And I could wear my pajamas while shopping, which is a no-no in real life grocery shopping. (Please spread the word on this one.)
I suppose the convenience of such a dream coming true would probably still have drawbacks, I would still have to pay for my groceries, unlike the grocery store chef that just puts it on the store tab. Thats what Ill do put it on my tab. Cupboard, cupboard on the wall.
Celebrating with food is what we greatly enjoy during a two month holiday season. Share your recipes with Hearth & Home, 5973 Blachleyville Rd., Wooster, Ohio, 44691. Emails are always welcome; firstname.lastname@example.org
Carrot Spoon Cake
1 regular size boxed spice cake mix
1 small box instant butterscotch pudding mix
1 cup water
2 cups shredded carrots
3/4 cup cooking oil
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple
1 cup sour cream
Spray a 5 quart slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 4 1/2 to 6 hours. Serve warm.
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 (10 to 12 ounce) rib eye steaks
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 cup chopped garlic
1 (12 ounce) can regular beer
6 button mushrooms
2 red bell peppers, chopped
Spread the chopped onions in the bottom of a large baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Rub the steaks with the seasoned salt, pepper and garlic and place on top of the onions in a single layer. Drizzle steaks with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Pour the beer over the steaks and tuck the mushrooms and peppers around the steaks. Roast the steaks in a 400 degree oven for 30 to 45 minutes.
Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes
2 pounds red skinned sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into 1 inch pieces and put in a 9 x 13 baking dish. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, honey and lemon juice. Pour mixture over potatoes and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the salt, and bake at 350 degrees, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour, until potatoes are tender.
Fancy Schmancy Green Beans
2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans
2 slices bacon
1/2 cup red bell pepper strips
1/2 cup thin onion wedges
1/2 cup whole cashews
In a small bowl, stir together the teriyaki sauce, honey, and butter. Fill a bowl with cold water and ice cubes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the lemon juice. Drop in the beans and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until beans are bright green. Drain the beans in a colander and then plunge them into the iced water. Drain again and set aside. In a skillet, cook the bacon until very crispy, crumble and set aside. Sauté the bell pepper and onion in the hot bacon fat for 2 minutes. Add the beans, cashews, and bacon to the skillet. Add the teriyaki-honey sauce and toss gently.
Holiday Buffet Veggie Dip
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1 cup sour cream
1 cup buttermilk
Heat oil in skillet and cook onions over medium high heat until tender. Stir in spinach, cayenne and feta. Combine spinach mixture, sour cream and buttermilk in food processor and blend. Serve with assorted vegetables
Garlic-Herbed Beans and Peas
1 (16-ounce) bag frozen French cut beans
1 (16-ounce) bag frozen peas
4 strips bacon, chopped
1 cup red onions, slivered
1 1/4 cups half-and-half
1 (1.6-ounce) packet Knorr garlic herb sauce mix
Salt and pepper
Combine frozen green beans and peas in a microwave-safe bowl. Add 1 tablespoon water, cover and heat on high or 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once.
In a large saucepan, brown chopped bacon. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from the pan and add onion slivers, sauté until softened. Add half-and-half to pan and whisk in garlic herb sauce mix. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened. Drain green beans and peas. Add to pan with the sauce and stir. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Cookie Crust Fruit Pizza
Sweet Cookie Crust:
2 tablespoons real dairy butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg white
1/3 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped fine
1 (8 ounce) package low-fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, liquid
2 tablespoons lemon zest
4 kiwis, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup canned, sliced peaches packed in light syrup, drained
1/2 cup strawberries cut in 1/2 lengthwise
1 medium banana, cut into 1/4 inch slices
Preparing the sweet cookie crust; cream the butter, honey, and brown sugar together in a mixing bowl. Add the egg white and combine; mix in the applesauce and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients together. Add to the sugar mixture, stirring just to combine. Gently stir in the oats and apricots. Spread the cookie dough on a lightly greased pizza pan. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned about 30 minutes. Cool. To prepare the topping; in a mixing bowl, whip cream cheese with the thawed apple juice, and zest until lightly creamy. Spread white mixture over the cookie pizza crust, leaving a 1/2 inch border for outside crust. Arrange fruit toppings over top. Chill until ready to serve.
Next Day Shepherds Pie
2 cups leftover turkey meat
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1 1/2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
Salt and pepper
In a large saucepan, combine turkey, carrots, celery, onion, bay leaves, and thyme. Pour over chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes, until liquid reduces slightly. Remove bay leaves. Remove from heat and stir in peas. Transfer turkey mixture to a shallow casserole dish placed on a baking sheet. Spoon potatoes over top and; smooth to make an even layer. Place pie on a baking sheet; bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, until top is golden brown and bubbly.