What a good morning! I really enjoy meeting new people and today I hit the jackpot. Thanks to an R-E column I was contacted by a lady who grew up where I did in Arkansas those many years ago. Our phone visits have been so much fun and I will be meeting she and her husband in person this coming Sunday. Isn't it great to meet someone you've shared a common experience with, even though you didn't know them at the time? I'm sure the conversation will get around to the foods we had as kids...so stay tuned!
I'm looking forward to Aug. 20th when the women in our family will begin to gather (all four generations) for a very special occasion. Daughter Molly will be hosting a Blessing Way for her daughter Rachael who is expecting her first baby in October. This will be a time to celebrate this new life and welcome Rachael to the joys of motherhood. Material gifts are not given.....love is. This love is expressed through poetry and readings and small heart gifts are given to encourage the mother during the birthing. Of course we put our own spin on it with the things that are meaningful to our family. It is a wonderful bonding and strengthening of the family ties, and the unspoken pledge to be there for the new mother and the little one. It's also a time of laughter and feasting. I can hardly wait!
I hope your summer is going well and not too fast. Have you discovered any new ways to cook those same great garden vegetables you've cooked for years? The "experts" are saying they have more nutrients if eaten raw...that cooking destroys the vitamins. I have a suggestion if you have lots of swiss chard. My friend makes cabbage roll-ups and substitutes the chard for cabbage, It is delicious and the leaves are so easy to work with.
I think I have my Mother's vinegar gene, because I love vinegar. She poured it on everything edible, cleaned and disinfected with it and even used it for a hair rinse! I've always preferred the red wine or cider vinegar . Now I'm playing with the Balsamic that has become the new star in the food Hall of Fame, and is being touted as the Holy Grail of vinegar. That is extreme, but it makes the point that it's the ultimate they've been searching for. It is aged 75-100 years and sells from the grocery store variety at $3.50 to the supreme gift quality at $429! It is produced mostly from grapes.
I have a big brown bottle of Modena (not the really expensive kind) sitting on my kitchen table, a gift from the daughter who works at Whole Foods. It looks so much like liquor I feel I either need to hide it or explain it when my Methodist friends come for coffee!
Balsamic Garlic Salad Dressing
2 T. olive oil
2 T. Balsamic vinegar
1 t. Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, split in half
A small dash of salt and pepper
Mix together and taste for tartness. If you prefer a sweeter dressing add a little honey or sugar, stir to dissolve. Store in a bottle with a tight fitting cap and refrigerate. Will keep indefinitely. Makes about 1/3 c.
This dessert sounds really delicious and would be great after a heavy meal.
Strawberries with Balsamic Mint Sauce
4 T. Balsamic vinegar
5 T. sugar
2 T. chopped fresh mint
1 qt. fresh strawberries, cleaned and halved
Yogurt or vanilla ice cream (optional)
Place strawberries in a large bowl. Mix vinegar and sugar together and stir until sugar dissolves.
Pour over the berries, sprinkle with the mint and toss. Chill till serving time. Delicious over yogurt or vanilla ice cream. Serves 4
Balsamic Peach Pork Loin Chops
4 boneless pork loin chops
1/2 t. salt, garlic powder and onion powder
3 T. butter, divided
1/4 c. minced sweet onions
1 c. chicken broth
1 fresh peach, peeled and chopped
1/4 c. Balsamic vinegar
1 T. minced fresh sage
Peach slices and parsley for garnish.
Place each loin chop between sheets of plastic wrap and pound to 1/2 to 1 in. thickness.
Season with the salt, garlic and onion powders.
Heat a large heavy skillet over medium high heat, add 1 T. of butter and swirl to coat skillet. Sear and cook meat until golden brown and done, only turning once. Remove to a platter and keep warm.
Reduce skillet heat, add 1 T. of butter and saute onion for 2 minutes, add remaining T. butter and peaches. Saute another 2 minutes.
Carefully pour Balsamic vinegar into the skillet and deglaze by scraping up the brown bits. Cook about 1 minute, add chicken broth and sage, stirring, simmer until reduced about half and thickened.
Return chops to skillet, and any juice left on their platter. Coat both sides with sauce and reheat for 2 minutes. Serves 4
Parting Shot: True nobility is not in being better than someone else, it is in being better than you used to be -- author unknown