Should winter turn deadly have your pantry full

Published 7:21 pm Monday, December 8, 2008

By Staff
Today's snowy landscape is certainly reminiscent of January's snow of 1978, isn't it? Scaled down considerably, but still quite capable of reminding Michiana residents that 30 years ago in the month of January, this area was trapped by a devastating blizzard. Motorists were advised to refrain from traveling the roads as drifts of eight to 11 feet made driving virtually impossible. I&M repair crews enlisted the help of the county crews to precede them and break through the drifts.
As I recall, phone service pretty well continued … much to our good fortune. Many parents who were employed out of town were unable to make it back to Niles. Therefore, I inherited seven or eight extra children for several days. As they sat by the fireside munching popcorn and playing board games, they were a picture of solid contentment; for they were much to young to feel any apprehension … so totally unaware that this was the worst blizzard to have engulfed this area since the mid '60s. Twenty-four inches of snow, accompanied by 60 mile-an-hour winds, buffeted the area; but miraculously no deaths were related to this paralizing storm of Jan. 27th … those 30 long years ago.
Thanks to the efforts of Red Cross, Civil Defense, and National Guard volunteers; I did not hear of any deaths that were attributed to this angry storm! All roads in southern Berrien and Cass counties were reported to have been clogged with snow and, as luck would have it, a school bus broke down in front of my home. True to the nature of our Niles community spirit, my phone began to ring incessantly with calls from neighbors offering to take in any of the stranded students. (I still have the lovely letter of gratitude dated Feb. 9, 1967 from Mr. Richard B. Warren, Superintendent of Niles Public Schools).
Although I am not anticipating that this year will bring another winter storm with the velocity of the one we experienced in the year '67, it is nevertheless important to keep your food larder as full as possible. Make it a habit to freeze your meat and poultry broths and keep an ample supply of dried legumes in your pantry; and that gives you a "foot in the door" for a tasty batch of homemade soup!
Filling and nutritious as it is, you can even use these ingredients to concoct a tasty casserole. Never be afraid to experiment with various foods … that is precisely how some of our best known recipes have been born! I even endeavor to keep a box of powdered milk on my pantry shelf for just that type of an emergency. (This advice saved me during that blizzard of '67.)
Although many of you readers may not make your own bread, a tiny package of yeast does not take up much room in your refrigerator, and it can certainly turn out to be a welcome item if bad icy roads prevent you from making that trip to the grocers for a loaf of bread.
Dried Peas with Rice &Tomatoes
1 1/2 cups dried peas
1 1/4 cups rice
4 onions
1 1/2 cups canned tomatoes
3/4 teaspoon salt
pepper as desired
Soak peas in a container with two quarts of fresh water overnight. Use these contents the next morning to cook the peas until they become tender. Add the cooked rice, tomatoes, onions, salt and pepper. Stir well.
Food Facts: Did you know that this legume (classified under which peas are listed) has always been a plant of significance: both mentioned in the Bible and found in some Egyptian tombs?
Homemaker's Hint: There is always an encore for leftovers and do not be afraid to experiment. Eye appeal is easier to obtain if you keep the food in identifiable pieces so that it does not appear homologized.
*Always keep in mind that age is not important unless you're cheese!
Southern Cornbread
2 cups self-rising cornmeal
2 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons bacon drippings
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Mix the cornmeal, buttermilk, eggs and soda very thoroughly. Meanwhile heat the bacon drippings slowly in a good heavy skillet. Pour half of these drippings into the cornmeal mixture and mix. Then pour immediately in a good hot skillet and bake for 30 minutes in a 425 degree oven.
Homemaker's Hint: If you are planning a trip to the south, you're in for a treat. Our southern neighbors have the art of combining cornmeal into the diet down to an art. Whether it is in the form of johnny cake or good old fashioned hot mush and sausages.
Food Facts: Although corn may not be a complete food, it is by far our most important crop; for not only does it serve as food for livestock; but it is also used in more than 800 processed foods.
In the following recipe, you are combining vegetables, which are said to be capable of lowering blood cholesterol levels. Carrots seem to have enjoyed an unblemished reputation; whereas onions seem to have sunk into a somewhat smelly category. Modern technology has covered this base by providing an unlimited category of products available to sweeten the breath and disguise lingering food odors.
Glazed Carrots &Onions
4 small whole carrots
1 – 8 ounce can onions, drained
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
dash ground ginger
1-2 tablespoons melted butter or oleo
Scrub carrots thoroughly, then cook in enough salted boiling water to cover. Allow these to cook for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, then cool. Drain both of these vegetables on paper toweling. Mix the ginger and sugar, then roll the cooked vegetables in this. Turn to coat evenly, then place them into the melted butter and cook only long enough to lightly brown them. Serve hot.
If you have never partaken fruit in a heated stage, you are in for a delightful repast.
Hot Curried Fruit
1-29 ounce can pears, drained
1-29 ounce can pineapple tidbits, drained
1-30 ounce can apricot halves, drained
1-29 ounce can sliced peaches, drained
1- 8 ounce jar maraschino cherries, drained
2 bananas, sliced
1/2 cup melted oleo
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
Combine the oleo, sugar and curry powder in a saucepan and heat, stirring until completely blended. Mix together all of the fruit in a 2 quart casserole, then add the sauce to this. Bake for one hour at 300 degrees.
*How very fortunate we are to live in an area of the world where we can enjoy all four of our earth's bright, seasonal landscapes.
Homemaker's Hint: Sometimes it is rather difficult to pre-judge the size of wrapping paper you will need when wrapping a gift. If the paper seems too small, try placing the gift at different angles on the paper and you will often find that this will work perfectly.
Food Facts: Many fruits are known to be low in calories and high in fiber, making them appealing to those who are watching their weight. Since colds and the flu are prolific this time of year, common sense would tell us to thoroughly wash the fruit before preparing it.
Chocolate Chess Pie
1/3 cup cocoa
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups melted oleo
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 unbaked 9 inch pastry shells
whipped cream or ice cream
Combine the cocoa, sugar and oleo and mix real well. Combine the eggs, milk and extract and mix these together well. Combine these two mixtures, mixing together well, then pour into the two baked pastry shells. Slide these two pastry shells into a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. Cool completely, top with whipped cream and serve.
Of all the food available to us, chocolate is one of the most popular. When chocolate was introduced to Europe, it was only used as a beverage. Thanks to the returning crew of Columbus's fourth voyage in 1502; that was the first time cocoa beans were brought from the New World to Europe. It was the Spaniards who hit upon the idea of combining them with vanilla and other flavorings, sugar and milk and hit upon a concoction that people would "literally die for." The first chocolate bar was marketed in about the year 1910. There is no denying that chocolate can be truly described as a culinary source of pleasure.
With the holidays at our doorstep, we are bound to find recipes for this favorite in abundance.
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
6 whole cloves
1 stick cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon whole allspice
1 tablespoon chopped preserved ginger
1 tablespon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
2 cups unsweetened apple cider
1 1/2 cups orange juice
3/4 cup lemon juice
bourbon to taste
Combine the sugar and water, bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Tie the spices and rinds into a cheesecloth bag; add to the hot mixture. Cover and let stand for two hours. Remove the spice bag, stir in the cider, orange juice, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat and add the bourbon if desired. Serve hot.
Homemaker's Hint: Did you know that by cutting the thread at an angle, it is much easier to thread through a needle?
Humor is a rubber sword, allowing you to make a point without drawing blood.
Blueberry Cheesecake
2 – 18 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
2 cups cottage cheese
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons cornstarch
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup melted oleo, cooled
1 pint sour cream
graham cracker crust
blueberry glaze
Mix cream cheese and cottage cheese, then beat until smooth and creamy. Gradually add sugar while beating well. Next, add eggs and beat until thoroughly mixed. Add cornstarch, flour, lemon juice and extract and mix thoroughly. Add melted and cooled oleo and sour cream, then beat until smooth. Pour this filling into a 10" spring form pan which has been lined with your graham cracker crust (recipe to follow). Slide into an oven of 325 degrees for 70 minutes. By this time, it should be firm around the edges. Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to remain in the oven for a full two hours. Remove from oven, cool completely, remove from pan and chill immediately. Top with blueberry glaze and blueberries (recipe to follow).
Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup melted oleo
1 teaspoon sugar
Combine all thee ingredients, firmly press into the bottom of a 10 inch spring form pan.
Blueberry Glaze
1 pint fresh blueberries, divided
1 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
Combine the sugar with the cornstarch in a small saucepan, then blend this together thoroughly. Gradually stir in the water. Crush just one half cup of the berries and add them to the sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, constantly stirring, until thickened and comes to a boil. Continue to boil for about two minutes or until the mixture is clear. Cool. Arrange remaining berries over the top of the chilled cheesecake, then pour the cooled glaze over the berries.
Food Facts: Blueberries are tasty little "dickens", they actually do not lend too noticeably in nutrients.
Homemakers hint: Did you know that by placing a portion of bread in your broiler pan, it will soak up any fat drippings from the meat, thus reducing your chance of fire or smoke.
Sweet &Sour Green Beans
1 pound fresh green beans
2 tablespoons bacon drippings
1 cup boiling water
dash salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons vinegar
1/4 cup cold water
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
Combine green beans, bacon drippings, boiling water and salt in a saucepan. Bring this mixture to a rapid boil. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until beans test a "crisp tender." Do not drain. Combine the cornstarch and vinegar and stir them together well to blend. Add cold water, sugar, soy sauce and pickle relish and stir thoroughly. Pour this mix over the beans as they cook over a low heat. Stir constantly until smooth and thickened.
Food Facts: Beans are high in foliate, vitamins A and C.
Homemaker's Hint: Need some warmth in your boots? Trace an outline of your foot onto a portion of old, thin carpeting – insert into your boots for extra warmth.
*Here's a handy tip for a tasty twist to your spare ribs.
Orange Garlic Spareribs
6 pounds spare ribs
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon salt
Combine the garlic and salt, then the broth, marmalade, vinegar and ketchup. Pour this mixture over the ribs, then allow them to marinate for a good 12 hours.
Turn them frequently during this period. Grill the ribs over low coals for 60-90 minutes until they test tender, while basting throughout the cooking time.
Food Facts: Although some individuals shy from garlic, it is known to have some medicinal qualities. It is beneficial in lowering blood pressure and high blood cholesterol, it also helps to fight various infections and alleviates nasal congestion.
Homemaker's Hint: As a rule, it is best to not hold thawed fish over one day before cooking it. The flavor is always better if you cook it immediately after thawing.
Fancified Pound Cake
1-10 ounce frozen pound cake, thawed
1/2 cup sugar
1-16 ounce carton ricotta cheese
2-1 ounce squares unsweetened chocolate, grated
1 cup grated peeled apple
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup whipping cream, whipped
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
Cut the pound cake into thin slices. Combine the cheese, sugar, chocolate, apple and almond extract and mix well. Spread this cheese mixture between the slices of cake; then reassemble them in the form of a loaf. Chill overnight in the refrigerator.
Immediately before serving, frost with whipped cream and sprinkle liberally with the walnuts. Slice diagonally to serve.
Food Facts: Cheese can be beneficial inasmuch as it is high in protein and calcium, a good source of vitamin B 12 and some cheeses such as Cheddar and various aged cheeses can actually fight tooth decay. Unfortunately, most are high in saturated fat and sodium and can trigger migraines or allergies in susceptible people.
Have you noticed how much more enjoyable food can be when you share it with friends?