Friday, January 14, 2011

The Good Old Days

There is such a wonderful feeling of home and family when you open your door and walk in to find the aroma of good home cooking wafting through the house. Somehow, it fills us with a peaceful joy…like all is good in your life.

I remember when I was in high school, returning from church on Sunday School, to find either fried chicken or pot roast just about ready to be put on the table. Both of my parents were great cooks. My Mom’s fried chicken is one of my fondest memories. For the life of me, I have never been able to perfect the art of frying chicken! Mine isn’t bad….it just isn’t Mom’s.

Most nights we would have meatloaf, liver and onions, pork chops, etc. Just regular home cooking. As we finished eating, my Dad would push his chair back from the table and say “Okay GE and Westinghouse, it’s time to do the dishes. My sister Ann and I would spend the next half hour washing the dishes, finishing just in time to join the family in front of the television to enjoy programs such as The Milton Berle Show with stars such as Jack Benny, Groucho Marx, Eddie Cantor, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Abbott and Costello, Alan Young, Red Skelton, Red Buttons, Jackie Gleason, Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, and countless more. We watched I Love Lucy, Gunsmoke, Dragnet, and so many more. Such fun!

After about 30 minutes, my Dad would say, “Katie (that is what he called me) I think it is time for dessert.” Off to the kitchen I would go to create some ooey-gooey concoction. My Dad did love dessert!

Today, we not only don’t have variety television shows like we had in the 50s, but we don’t have Mom home cooking all day. Harriet Nelson and June Cleaver are long gone, and so are many of those home cooked meals. Now days, Moms rush home from work, drive kids to practices or lessons and try to get by the store to “pick up something” for dinner. Gee, our lifestyles sure have changed! And it is kind of hard to make the house smell wonderful when you open that bag of burgers from McDonalds! May I suggest the following? They may take a little time, but with slow cookers, it can be done!

photo by about,com/southernfood
 Slow Cooker Braised Short Ribs
4 beef short ribs (4 to 6)
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups apple juice
1 cup beef broth
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cups frozen pearl onions, thawed (1 to 1 1/2)
Toss short ribs in a food storage bag or paper bag with the flour, paprika, chili powder, salt, and pepper. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Sear the ribs on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Transfer ribs to the slow cooker. In the same skillet, heat the apple juice and beef broth; pour over the ribs and add chopped onion. Cover and cook on LOW heat for 6 hours. Add the pearl onions and continue
cooking for 3 to 5 hours longer. Serve with Cornbread Casserole and a green salad.

Serves 4.

Cornbread Casserole
1 can whole kernel corn (15 to 16 oz.)
1 can cream style corn (15 to 16 oz.)
1 stick butter, melted
1 Jiffy corn bread mix, dry
1 pkg. sour cream (8 oz.)
Mix together in casserole. Bake 1 hour at 375 degrees.

photo by sex, food and rock and roll
 Sloppy Joe on Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits
3 tbsp olive oil
1 lg onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 1/2 lb ground beef
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 can 28oz whole tomatoes in juice
1/2 c ketchup
2 tbsp molasses (not blackstrap)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/4 tsp hot sauce, or to taste
Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 stick butter
6 oz extra-sharp cheddar, coarsely-grated
3 tbsp parmesan, finely-grated
3 scallions, finely chopped
1 1/3 c well-shaken buttermilk

Heat oil in a wide 8-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté onion, celery, and garlic, stirring occasionally, until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Add beef and sauté, stirring occasionally and breaking up large lumps with a wooden spoon, until meat is no longer pink. Stir in salt and pepper.
Purée tomatoes with juice, ketchup, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce in a blender until smooth. Add to beef and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, 25 to 30 minutes.
Serve on top of cheddar buttermilk biscuits.

Biscuit directions:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F. Butter 1 large baking sheet.
Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, then blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in cheeses and scallions with a wooden spoon, then add buttermilk and stir until just combined.
Drop dough in 8 equal mounds about 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool to warm, about 10 minutes, then cut in half horizontally.

Hope your home smells heavenly very soon!

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
oil painting by Kay Tucker

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek
Oil Painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection


oil painting by Kay Tucker

Kansas Storm

Kansas Storm
oil painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection

Watercolor Collage

Watercolor Collage

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time
48"x36" sculptural painting by Kay Tucker