Sunday, January 24, 2010

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalms 119:105

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Promised. Promised to marry... what exactly does that mean??? Call me traditional but in my mind when you are promised to marry it is the result of one of two situations...engagement (no need to explain) or arrangement. Take for example when my great grandmother was promised to marry the rancher down in the next town, that was an arrangement by Pappa that was a promise to marry. This usually included a few crossbred heifers and a goat...that's marketing in the old country. Maybe I am traditional... speaking of... this evening I enjoyed a comfort food! For the first time my kitchen cohort and dear friend Amy experienced a Swiss-Italian tradition Pollenta!
For those of you frightened at home, don't be scared. I am going to share with you a twist on a family secret that your family will enjoy for years...

Things to gather from the pantry...
- corn meal (coarse grain is best)
- canned diced tomatoes
- cheese (whatever kind you have)
- some thawed beef, chicken or lamb
- any veggies you have in the fridge!

I always start with salted butter, in a skillet, and sliced onions. Next I would start to brown your meat. Oh and don't forget to start a pot of boiling water. Saute your onions, any kind you have (sweet are my personal favorite), slowly add veggies, I love zucchini, egg plant, and mushrooms. When they are near done welt some fresh spinach, you will love it promise! Next when your water is boiling add your pollenta, at a 3:1 ratio, very slowly, but stirring very quickly. For you Southern ladies this is much like fixing grits. Once your veggies are soft, your meat is brown and your pollenta expanded it's time for assembly. Spray the bottom of a pie plate, or baking dish of your choice, with canola oil spray. If you don't have canola oil spray use what you have and bust out some salted butter. Next layer a little bit of the pollenta on the bottom of the pan covering the surface. Next add a layer of cheese. The add your meat and veggie mixture (don't forget those diced tomatoes). Next add another layer of pollenta followed by lots of cheese! If you haven't caught it yet I love to cook with dairy! Next bake your wonderful creation in a preheated 350 degree oven until the cheese is melted and browning. Pull out the dish and let sit for a few minutes. You can serve alone or with just about any side dish! I am a big fan of a nice little oil and vinegar salad, to make the perfect Swiss-Italian dinner! Remember use what you have, love what you've got and have fun!
Lets talk produce. I love veggies, they are great and I try to use them often in my kitchen. Fortunately, I am a fan of just about every vegetable so lucky for me, I just buy what is on sale. I mean it's hard to beat butternut squash or a fresh bell pepper. Let's just be honest, fresh veggies beat the baling wire out of canned veggies. I am so thankful for conventional row crop farmers who provide us with so many yummy things to eat. For those of you who are organic fans I have a challenge.... Now I am not bashing the marketing strategy used to impliment the organic craze, becuase spending less money to produce lower quality produce is pretty genious, however, I want all of you organic lovers do yourself a favor. Try this test I promise you will like the result. Budgets are tight, so for one month buy only conventional produce. Stay away from the high dollar organic shelves and buy some great produce farmed by families in America just like yours. Near the end of this trial period when you are enjoying a much more flavorful tomatoe, that you probably paid $3 less a pound for, and you realize that your children still have the normal number of extremities and only have two eyeballs, you will thank me, I promise. You may not even ever go back to organic. Not only will you be enjoying better tasting produce and loving the money you will save, you will be able to enjoy a wider variety of produce. Just try it, I promise....

Speaking of trying new things, have you ever wandered through the produce isle and found some things you never have tried. I too have been there, I promise! Let's talk about the big purple monster, that big yummy egg plant you have been afraid of for years. My Pappa grew tons of egg plant in the garden, but still I too was a long time skeptic. Only in recent years have I found a love for egg plant. I want you to try this next time egg plant is on mega sale at the market....
Slice the egg plant thin and fry it in canola oil or even better, salted butter. I promise that most things are amazing in salted butter. While this is sauteeing in the butter season with a little garlic pepper! Serve as a side, or my personal favorite.... on a juicy hamburger, with pepper jack cheese and a couple slices of that sauteed egg plant. For carb avoiders like me leave the bun out of the situation and you will have a totally yummy guilt free burger! Enjoy....

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

They say here in Oklahoma where land was free to run.
Where Homesteaders made their claim,
and staked out land is where the West begun.
But I have another idea of the West
the land of cowboys and buckaroos all the same,
A place where vaqueros roamed and life was lived untame.
Where rocks and sage and purple mountains,
dance with the endless sun.
Where bandits thieved like Poncho Villa,
and even mamma packed a gun.
The "Old West" as it is called needed wide open land at best,
Not caged land scared with wire,
but mountains, canyons and deserts vast were the Real Wild West.
Lets thank Massachusets for finally stepping up and sending a republican to Washington, D.C. I mean its about time... REALLY!
A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9