Monday, September 7, 2009

HEARTH AND HOME - Monday, September 7, 2009

Greetings, Dear Friends!

I pray that this issue of HEARTH AND HOME finds you and yours healthy, happy, and enjoying this beautiful, holiday weekend! Can you believe that summer is over and that autumn is upon us already?

Unfortunately, our family really didn't have much of a summer. The first half of it was consumed with hospital and doctor visits following our grandson'saccident; the second half was lost to illness. Our youngest son, youngestgrandson, oldest daughter, and myself all came down with some sort of awful bug that turned straight into pneumonia. We're all over the pneumonia part, but are still battling the aftermath of it on different levels, and this has been going on for weeks now. Praise God that we're all on our way up! I, myself, am feeling very close to normal again, and am so thankful.

Okay...there are a lot of things to share, so, let's get started...

1) First and foremost...a big praise item! A week ago today found grandson,Silas, and his family in Oklahoma City. They were there to get his first prosthetic made, and it is done! Silas came home Thursday night with a new leg. To keep up with his progress, please, feel free to log in to:

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/silaspennington

(You may have to set up a little account in order to get in, but it's not complicated.)

2) In the last news letter, I shared a little bit about the fact that our youngest son and I are doing a year-long Civil War study. Here are a few of the recipes that we have tried as part of our study...

NAVY BEAN SOUP

Soak the beans overnight or for at least 8-12 hours before beginning the recipe. Cook in cast-iron for better flavor and an authentic re-enactment.

1 cup (8 oz.) dried navy beans
5 cups water
1/2 pound salt pork or slab bacon (we used turkey bacon)
2 large carrots or 1 cup chopped
1 large onion or 3/4 cup chopped
1 large potato, unpeeled, but cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

1. Wash the beans in a colander and pick out and discard any discolored ones or pieces of dirt.

2. Place the beans in a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Cover with water at least two inches above the beans and allow to soak overnight. Drain the beans. Add 5 cups water, salt pork, carrots, and onions to the beans. Stir the mixture.

3. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat and let simmer for at least 45 minutes or until the beans are tender. Add the chopped potatoes, salt, andpepper. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook about 15 more minutes or until thepotatoes are fork-tender.

JOHNNYCAKE

Johnnycakes were popular particularly in the Northeast, but eaten across theUnited States since the 1600's. This recipe is very simple and fun to make.

1 cup water
1 1/2 cups ground yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup buttermilk (we used regular milk)
2 Tbsp. butter
syrup, molasses or preserves for topping

Bring one cup water to boil in a medium saucepan. Combine the cornmeal, salt, boiled water, and milk in a medium bowl. Stir well. Melt the butter in a skillet or a cast-iron griddle over medium heat. Pour one tablespoon of batter into the skillet, pancake-style to cook. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side until edgesare lacy and lightly browned, using a spatula to turn. Serve hot with molasses, maple syrup, and butter.

FRIED APPLES

Tart apples cooked with butter and sugar make a wonderful side dish or dessert.

5 tart cooking apples such as Granny Smith, MacIntosh, or Golden Delicious
4 Tbsp. or more butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Wash, core, and slice the apples into 12-16 narrow wedges. Do not peel. Melt the butter in a skillet or cast-iron pan and add the apples. Cover the skillet and cook the apples 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Stirring continuously, add the brown sugar and the nutmeg. Stir well. Continue cooking the apples, covered, for10-12 minute or until the apples are tender, checking every few minutes. Add additional butter or water if needed to prevent the apples from sticking.

CONFEDERATE CORNBREAD

1 Tbsp. butter
2 cups white cornmeal (not self-rising)
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
2 cups milk
1/4 cup oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan with the butter. Combine the cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a small bowl, beat the eggs with a fork and combine with the milk and oil. Stirring only until all the dry ingredients are wet, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and then pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.

3) I served Tony's CONFEDERATE CORNBREAD will this quick, easy, hearty, and delicious meal, and our family loved it...and it's perfect for fall and winter menu planning...

LENTIL AND TOMATO SOUP

Fry one onion, finely chopped, in a little olive oil. Add 1 tin tomatoes, 1 1/2 pts. water, 3/4 cup lentils, 1/2 tsp. dried thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes.

4) As of this month, we won't be buying anymore store-bought pasta. The gal at the local Amish bulk store gave me a really good deal on a stainless steel, imported-from-Italy, pasta maker (something that my husband has wanted us to get for years). The set includes all that I need to make just about any kind of pasta we could want...spaghetti, angel-hair, fettucini, lasagna noodles, lasagette, gnocci, regular sized ravioli, mini-ravioli, and much, much more. The only two ingredients required to make our own pasta is a good quality wheat flour and eggs. Isn't that amazing? I can't wait to get the machine out of the box and set to work!

5) With everything that's been going on this summer I haven't got to can a whole lot this year, but I did manage to put up a few jars of grape jelly, and, then,the other day, someone blessed us with tomatoes. I turned them all into tomato sauce (first time I had ever done that), and it turned out really good. Out of four flats of tomatoes I put up enough sauce to make 15 meals for us. What a blessing!

6) I took a triple batch of this recipe to our family reunion yesterday. It tastes just like apple pie, and is a great way to use up an abundance of zucchini!

ZUCCHINI PIE

4 cups zucchini (peeled)
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tarter
dash of salt
2 T. flour
dash of nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 T. lemon juice
1 tsp. butter
one nine-inch unbaked pie shell

Cut zucchini lengthwise; scoop out seeds with a spoon. Slice to resemble apple slices. Cook zucchini 10 minutes in small amount of water; drain. Mix cream of tarter, salt, flour, nutmeg, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice with zucchini.Pour into pie shell and dot with butter.

Topping:

1 stick oleo (I used light butter)
1/2 c. sugar (I used brown sugar)
1 c. flour

Mix until crumbly, then cover pie with crumbly mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for45 minutes.

(NOTE: I didn't have any cream of tarter, so I omitted it in my pie, and since, at my husband's request, I make most of our pies crustless now days anyway, so I omitted the pie shell altogether. On the rare occassion that I do make a crust I've got a good oil crust recipe that I use (we only use olive or canola oil; haven't bought shortening in over 4 years now. Either way, this pie is verygood!)

7) Another recipe that I took the family reunion was this recipe shared with me by my daughter-in-law. It's VERY good, and was a huge hit at the family reunion!

ANGIE'S CAULIFLOWER SALAD

Fry 1 pound bacon until crisp...in large bowl layer one head chopped, iceberg lettuce, 1/2 chopped, red onion, 1 head of chopped cauliflower flowerettes, the cool, crumbled bacon, sprinkle generously with Parmesean cheese (1/2 container), then spread 1/2 or more large container real mayo (like icing) on top. Refrigerator. Don't mix until ready to serve. Delicious!

8) My cousin brought this dish to the family reunion. What a great way to use up an abundance of carrots, and it is very tasty!

VERA'S CARROT SALAD'

Slice carrots thin. Add onion and green pepper. Top with French dressing. Very good!

Well, folks, that's all I have time for today. You all have a great holiday weekend, and, Lord willing, I will be with you again very soon. God bless one and all!

All My Love,
~Rebecca

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