Indian Spinach Salad

1 10 ounce bag baby spinach leaves

1 tablespoon  toasted sesame seeds

1/3 cup roasted peanuts

1 apple, chopped, unpeeled

1/2 cup raisins

6 green onions, chopped

Just before serving, toss with dressing (recipe below.)  Add remaining ingredients.

Dressing:

2/3 cup salad oil

1 teaspoon Worcestershire

1-2 tablespoons mango chutney

1 teaspoon curry powder (may add more to taste)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

This recipe is adapted from  The Texas Experience a Cookbook from the Richardson Woman’s Club in Richardson, Texas.

My Kitchen Table

It would be a mistake to indicate that the only ingredients in my kitchen required for successfully and joyfully feeding my family were found in my pantry or simmering on the stove.  I will occasionally include table blessings, some “table talk”, and most important for the keeper of this kitchen: prayers.  I wrote this one as a prayer poem in 1998.

                                        My Kitchen Table

                      As I open your Word and lean here one more time,

                  Make my table a holy place with your presence, Lord…

                     This table of pecan wood, not hand crafted acacia.

              This table scratched and stained with family years and family tears.

             This table that has been a family gathering place in so many places,

                 A place of offering and receiving nourishment of many kinds.

                     A place of joy and jelly, high chairs, and holding hands.

                   Birthday cakes and boy talks, spilled milk and spilled hearts.

            A place where I have put my head down and wet the wood with tears.

                         A place where your care and feeding of my soul

                            Joined the care and feeding of my family.

                              My heart is seated at this table, Lord.

                                You make this a holy place.

                                   I worship you.

                                                      Mary Ann Parker, March 1, 1998

Chili

I am including this recipe this week because that is what we are having for supper tonight.  But strictly speaking, chili is a category all by itself.  Yes, it is made in a similar manner to most soups, but there are hundreds of chili recipes.  Chili was proclaimed the state dish of Texas by the Texas Legislature in 1977.  I have made it with beans and without, with ground beef and chunks of lean ground meat.  I even make a white chili with shrimp and white beans.  But my favorite chili has a some tomatoes  and beans in it.  The only chili cookoff I ever won was with the white chili, and it is without doubt yummy. This is a quick, easy version that uses my old friend, Pace Picante Sauce.

                                                 Parker House Chili

                         3 pounds of coursley ground lean beef

                         1 large onion, chopped

                         2 cans Ranch Style beans, or any chili beans, undrained

                         1 cup Pace picante sauce, or more to taste

                         1 – 2 cups water

                          2 Tablespoons flour

                         1/2 Teaspoon garlic salt

                         1/2 Teaspoon oregano

                          2 Teaspoons cumin

                          1/2 Teaspoon salt

Saute onion in heavy pot until tender, add ground beef and brown.  There shouldn’t be much fat cooked off, but if there is, you can press a large spoon down to collect and drain excess.  Add flour and mix.  Add picante sauce, water, and seasonings.  Simmer 30 minutes, add beans and cook another 30 minutes, adding water if mixture becomes too thick.

Often, we have chili served with tortilla chips, chopped onion, and grated cheese.  Sometimes I make a pan of cornbread.  Tonight we are having wedges of cheese quesadillas.

Curry Soup

Yesterday’s recipe made me remember another great soup with curry.  I have been making this soup since  September 1988, when we lived in Jakarta, Indonesia.  I am fondly remembering the meal, and the three couples who came to dinner that night.  Every time I serve this, people love it and have fun guessing what the ingredients are!  I usually serve it in small espresso or demitasse cups, and seconds are always requested.

                                                Curry Soup

                                 3 Tablespoons butter

                                 1 onion, diced

                                 1 clove garlic, crushed

                                 2 Tablespoons flour

                                 1 Tablespoon curry powder

                                 2  Cups half and half

                                 1 quart chicken stock

                                 1 raw apple, peeled and quartered

                                 Salt and Pepper to taste

                                 1 Teaspoon thyme – I like to use Penzey’s French thyme.

Melt butter in large soup pot.  Add onion and garlic; cook over low heat until onion is soft and beginning to turn golden.  Add flour and curry powder; cook about 3 mintes, stirring. Add cream and chicken stock, continuing to cook and stir with a wire whisk until smooth, about 15 minutes.  Add the apple and thyme, salt and pepper.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Serve in demitasse cups before dinner.  Serves 12.

The original recipe is froom one of my all time favorite cookbooks, The Texas Experience, Friendship and Food Texas Style, which was given to me by my dear friend Sondra for Christmas in 1984.

Curried Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

Last Spring, we planted carrot seeds.  We thought they never came up which is what usually happens with carrots in the Parker garden.  Our granddaughter Skye loves to help us plant, and the seeds she put so carefully into the ground this year were for a special variety of carrots – red ones!  All summer we checked, but the only carrot tops we found had a root about the size of a toothpick!  We thought they were all gone, failed by the unusually hot and dry months.  But today as I pulled up some scraggly mint and basil, I found a big surprise!  There were our carrots.  To be sure, they are a bit knobby and scraggly, but they are ours, and they will go into a soup with sweet potatoes and ginger.  I love making and serving soups to my family and guests.  So for the next few posts, I want to share some favorite soup recipes.

                                         Curried Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

                          2 Tablespoons olive oil

                          2 medium onions – substitute 8 shallots if you prefer

                          1 pound of sliced carrots

                           3 cups cubed sweet potato.  (To make this easy, bake potato first)                                                      

                           1 Tablespoon grated ginger

                           2 Teaspoons curry powder, or more to suit your taste

                            4 cups chicken broth

                            1/2 Teaspoon sea salt

                             2 Tablespoons butter

Heat olive oil in dutch oven or sauce pan over medium heat.  Add onions, saute until tender and translucent.  Add sweet potato, carrots, ginger, and curry, cook 2 minutes.  Add broth; bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 25 – 30 minutes or until vegetables are fork tender,stir in salt.  Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth, add butter, and serve with a swirl of yogurt or heavy cream on top.  Serves 6.

I have seen this recipe in a number of collections; this is my version.  We like the curry flavor, but you may omit the curry powder if you wish.

What a pretty fall dish!

Brown Rolls

This recipe has been tucked into my file box for nearly 50 years!  Before we were married , Joe and I enjoyed the company of a couple who later moved to Midland, Texas.  Staunch Texas A&M fans, they often attended football games and alumni gatherings wherever they lived, so naturally they accepted an invitation to an alumni event in their new city.  Carrying their picnic potluck contribution, they drove up to the covered park pavilion and joined the large crowd of fellow supporters already immersed in catching up conversations and general hilarity. Since they were new to the area, they were not surprised to feel like they didn’t know anyone, but joined right in with group fun, and of course, group food. After a satisfying intake  they grabbed some more iced tea and settled down to relax and wait for the videos of recent Aggie games that were always shown on big screens at social occasions like this.

After a while, when there were no screens being set up, they asked about it, got a puzzled look and when some comments about the most recent A&M football victory did not get an expected response,  a discovery was made. They had just attended a local bank employee picnic where they had eaten their fill! They found this much less amusing than all the bank workers, and soon left in embarrassment, driving away with none of the bravado with which they arrived. I confess that I never really asked what they took to the picnic, but it is likely that the offering was Brown Rolls, the recipe which was given to me in July, 1963.

Brown( AKA Gig’Em Aggie) Rolls

1. 2/3 cup sugar
1 cup Kellogg’s All Bran
2 teaspoons salt
¾ cup Crisco

2. Pour 1 cup boiling water over above ingredients and cool.
3. Beat 2 eggs in small bowl
4. Dissolve 2 packages of yeast in 1 cup lukewarm water.
5. Mix all 3 solutions together

6. 6 cups of flour, sifted.

7. Stir, and mix all together very well. No kneading. Let rise about 2 hours Punch down and roll on floured board. Cut with round cutter and let rise about 2 hours again. Bake.

Store unused portion in refrigerator. Will keep for days. Delicious!

Edith Brown’s Pancake Recipe

Our go to recipe for pancakes for a crowd at breakfast was given to us many years ago. It is typed on file card sized paper that has been dog eared, is as aged as parchment, and is brown-spotted. There are three things that make it unusual. One is that it is named for Edith Brown. I never met her and don’t know the story of how these pancakes became “hers”, but have had fun imagining how she became famous for her pancakes. Also, the ingredients leave you guessing. How much flour is “for proper consistency?” For that matter, what is proper consistency?” Experiment by adding the flour gradually and being ready to add more if you find it too thin when pouring the first pancake. The last thing that makes this a different recommendation?  There are no directions for cooking!  In the spirit of adventure….

                                              Edith  Brown’s Pancake Recipe

                                                   6 Eggs

                                                   1 Quart milk

                                                   6 Tablespoons sugar

                                                   3 Heaping Tablespoons Baking Powder

                                                   1 1/2 Sticks Oleo (I use butter)

                                                    Salt

                                                     Add flour for proper consistency