Wednesday, October 7, 2009

In Memorium

While the rest of the world is obsessing over Julia Child and Julie Powell (the inspiration for the film "Julie and Julia"), I have stood somewhat aloof from this craze.  One reason being Drew and I are not much for most things French.  I know, food snobs in my readership, I will never be a true foodie - oh well.  Another reason must be because I have other heroes in my cooking world.  My heroes have spent lifetimes in their kitchens lovingly preparing food for their families.  They have made recipes not found in cookbooks.  These women in my life have taught me that food is love.  They have shown me the way to prepare food with the eaters in mind - thoughfully and prayerfully.   And they made a kitchen table the place to make the best memories, the place where good food and good conversation led to connections that last a lifetime. 
My world lost one of those remarkable ladies this week.  My Granny, Nellie Grace Dees, passed away on Sunday.  She was a special lady who had a knack for baking that has influenced generations.  I have so many memories from her kitchen in Mississippi.  I will always remember the way her house smelled and the flavors of the food she served.  My favorite recipes of hers are the family favorites I serve Drew now (every now and then): mac and cheese, cheese enchiladas, cherry pie (I ate an entire pie when I was 8 or 9), banana nut bread, just to name a few.  I am so thankful that I got to spend summers at her house when I was young - what a blessing she was to me! 
While thinking about her this week, I have been desiring to make her banana nut bread.  A little comfort food to comfort the weary.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A New Degree

In this world there are many degrees of fabulosity.  Many of these degrees are "new" degrees.  Ghetto. Retro.  Absolutely.  Well, I have come up with my new degree based on tonight's dinner: Starchy fabulous.  Tonight we tried PC's Loaded Baked Potato Chowder from the Season's Best for Fall/Winter 09.  I love potato soup in general.  It is one of those comfort foods for me that is always satisfying.  Drew tends to really enjoy it, too.  I think this is the first time I have ever made a potato soup.  I need look no further for recipes.  I loved how easy this one is to make and the flavors - starchy fabulous.  One of the things that makes this recipe so easy is the Covered Baker from PC.  You do the whole soup in the microwave in less than 30 minutes, including "baking" the potatoes.   I love the idea of putting broccoli in this to change it up next time.  This time, I just cooked up a little bacon, crumbled it, and sprinkled it on top. I ate way too much of this, but I didn't want to miss out on all the creamy goodness.  Mmm!  As my mother-in-law would say, "Put a star by that one!" 

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dinner with Friends

Tonight, we had the privilege of hosting some of our friends for dinner.  I had the special privilege of trying a new Pampered Chef recipe with my very own Pampered Chef!  Becky and Daniel came over and as soon as Becky got in the kitchen, we got to work on PC's 29 Minutes to Dinner 2 Skillet Phyllo Pot Pie.

I would describe this dish as classy with a comfort food feel.  I think it is definitely good enough for company, but it has all the flavors that remind you of fall (Thanksgiving, in particular).  This dish, as promised, goes together very quickly.  We served this with a "green salad."   On the technical side: I would definitely recommend making sure the vegetables are thawed completely before adding them to the pot pie mixture.  If you do not, the finished product can be a little less thick than you may desire.  Additionally, you could make a little roux before putting the rest of the ingredients in for a thicker result.  I enjoyed the phyllo dough "crust."  I think it is definitely worth the time it takes to work with such a delicate ingredient.  Drew thought it was good and I think Daniel and Becky enjoyed it too. 
We had a nice long conversation over dinner, then the guys went upstairs to play video games, while I cleaned up and talked with Becky.  Becky brought over some Mocha Hazelnut sweet rolls (yum!...and so easy) and we took them up to the guys for dessert.  A great night with great friends!  Looking forward to lots of friend dinners as we get geared up for fall!