Giving Thanks

peelings

With great joy I write to you from my new desk in my new home. This will be the first holiday meal in my new home which for me is the best housewarming gift I could imagine.  To fill my home by pulling out pots and pans and create beautiful food for those I love- this is a gift. All around my table will be those that I love most in the world. My table, my loves, my home. So wonderful.

This past year has been one of great challenges. To be honest, I am getting weary of them. My father passed away this week seven years ago. Ever since that time my life has been on an often difficult twisting ride. Don’t get me wrong, it has not been all bad, if fact, some remarkably wonderful and “best” times have occurred. I am grateful for those times.

I believe in 7 year cycles. I believe that there are seasons of things. Though there have been many times I preferred easier moments, I have been taught many lessons, and I am stronger and more peaceful for having been through the experiences. Life is never easy, nor do I expect it to me, but I believe my spinning now will be in a positive and productive direction. It’s a heart expanding and wonderful feeling.

napkins

Of course this year we have had immediate reasons to take time to reflect and hold dear ones closer. As a person who witness NYC’s attack first hand, my heart goes out to my sisters and brothers in Paris, and everyone around the world, for I believe we’ve all been touched by this.

I’ve been asked more than once recently if I am concerned to be living in the city again, a place where threats seem to be more likely. Each day I/we step out into uncertainty. We are a compact people with many personalities and bump and jostle together as we each make our way. But am I concerned? Not a whit. 

I live my life in happiness and joy. I am tickled every single day when I roam the city streets. All sorts of people, such beautiful people, all living side by side. Life is so rich here, why would I darken it with sour thoughts? No, I do not fear assault. I prefer to move with grace and amongst grace.

recipelist

What I am more concerned with is time. As my mother ages, and my children mature, and my own body begins to creak, I find time more precious. During my recent packing and unpacking, one of the joys is going through the memories. Honestly, moving is exhausting work, but touching all my loved things, and flipping through photos, or remembering the stories behind objects I have collected- it is delicious. I am reminded how we impact the world. How we fit in. How we connect to each other.

Which is what this blog is all about.

Gathering around tables has always been the best place to create bonds and strengthen the ring. Yeah yeah, we sometimes bicker and fight with each other- but for the most part-time heals those wounds, and the being togetherness is richer than the cost.

oranges

I send you all the warmest and most heartfelt Thanksgiving affection in my heart. The folding napkins, the clinking of silverware on china, the rustle of platters and pots in the sink is a symphony to me. As those sounds emanate from wherever you are, know that those vibrations will find their way to my heart and resonate with me- and for that I am thankful.

Cranberry Port Conserve
Print
93 calories
21 g
0 g
0 g
0 g
0 g
76 g
2 g
17 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
76g
Servings
10
Amount Per Serving
Calories 93
Calories from Fat 1
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g
0%
Saturated Fat 0g
0%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 2mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 21g
7%
Dietary Fiber 2g
7%
Sugars 17g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A
2%
Vitamin C
11%
Calcium
1%
Iron
1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 12oz package of cranberries
  2. 3/4 cup sugar
  3. 3/4 cup port wine
  4. 1 tangerine, deseeded and diced
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients into a small saucepan and place over a medium/low flame. Bring the mixture to a low boil and cook until the berries have burst and there is a thick sauce.
  2. As the sauce cools it will thicken. I like to keep my berries just slightly whole for more texture. I also think it adds a touch of acidity too.
Notes
  1. The conserve may be made several days in advance.
beta
calories
93
fat
0g
protein
0g
carbs
21g
more
A Stack of Dishes http://www.astackofdishes.com/

Ginger Herbed Rice Cake with Smoked Chicken

Gingered Herb Rice Cake with Smoked Chicken - A Stack of Dishes

My life will be taking me back to NYC on a more regular basis, one week out of every 5 if all goes well.  My reasons are many and good, but that’s not important here. How that affects my writing here is it gives me some juice, some much needed verve.

I hate to whine on about the have nots that I face in my small Southern city (to be fair things are improving rapidly and well), but I will admit to a lack of inspiration for me at times. I will not place all the blame on place- I’m more of a grown up than that. Art, beauty- it’s all a creation out of nothingness so I should be glad for the grist. But still…

But still, so what.

So freakin’ what.

I cook for others often, but my real mistake is not cooking more often for myself. I LOVE food. I mean I just think it’s the bomb! Do you share my feeling of potential when you enter a well stocked market? There are things that can me done here people! But I now share my life with a fairly picky eater and often dieter, and well… I’m not as able to spread my wings as much as I would like. But I will.

So now- enough of all that- here we have it. Something from more of my wheel house. My gorgeous supermarket stocks these lovely small smoked chickens (and dare I say they are not pricey either). I just adore them. Chicken chicken chicken- I how I can eat thee everyday- but man, is it exciting to have it ready to eat and so tasty! I’ll add it to pasta or top my cheese and cracker snack with a slice. It’s faboo.

After making a batch of chili for a crowd a few days ago I ended up with a rather large bowl of white rice (don’t you know the brown rice went in a flash, bravo!) I hate to waste food and so what to make of it? I thought about rice pudding, and I thought about a casserole, but this is what I came up with. A lovely pan fried cake laced with ginger, parsley and bits of diced chopped dried cherries- the perfect pairing to my smoked chicken. Tadaaaa!

This would be also stupendous in the morning with a poached egg on top, or serve these cakes alongside roasted fish etc. They take no time flat to throw together- use those bits of herbs in your bin, add a jot of cheese if you wish!

And so we have lift off. Cooking from my soul for the freakin’ heck of it. I”m jazzed.

Herbed Rice Cake with Smoked Chicken and Cherries- A Stack of Dishes

Ginger Herb Rice Cakes with Smoked Chicken
make as an appetizer or side dish.
Print
201 calories
21 g
77 g
5 g
18 g
1 g
198 g
937 g
2 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
198g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 201
Calories from Fat 47
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g
8%
Saturated Fat 1g
5%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 77mg
26%
Sodium 937mg
39%
Total Carbohydrates 21g
7%
Dietary Fiber 2g
10%
Sugars 2g
Protein 18g
Vitamin A
21%
Vitamin C
26%
Calcium
3%
Iron
8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup cooked rice (any kind will do)
  2. 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  3. 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  4. 1/2 cup chopped dried cherries
  5. 1 large egg, beaten
  6. salt and pepper to taste
  7. 8 slices smoked chicken (smoked salmon, trout, etc would also work well here)
  8. 1/2 avocado sliced into 8 pieces
  9. extra parsley to garnish
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl combine the rice, ginger, parsley, cherries, egg, salt and pepper and stir well to combine. Let it sit for a minute while you prepare the pan.
  2. Warm a large skillet over medium heat with a teaspoon of oil and swirl to cover. Add large spoonfuls of the rice mixture to create a 4"patty when tamped down to a 1/2" thickness.
  3. Cook gently for 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook the other side until toasted, about 2 minutes.
  4. Serve with two slices of avocado and chicken on top and flourish with some parsley.
Notes
  1. If you would like to serve these at a gathering you may make the patties in advance, not over cooking them. Before serving, gently warm them up in a pan and you're golden.
beta
calories
201
fat
5g
protein
18g
carbs
21g
more
A Stack of Dishes http://www.astackofdishes.com/

Creme Brûlée {for my birthday}

Creme Brûlée~ A Stack of Dishes

I am skilled at making many things, including some pretty faboo cakes. The result is my birthday is often a conundrum for my loved ones. Who can/will make a cake for the baker?  For most of my adult life I felt frustrated by always being the baker and not  being on the receiving end as much. Now that I have retired from the cake business things are getting better. My beautiful Mother in Law is an excellent baker, and does not shy away from baking for me. One of the many things I love about her.

This year she made me a gorgeous and delicious coconut pecan cake, that I absolutely adored and devoured. But somewhere along the line it occurred to me that I actually could make myself anything- I mean ANYTHING- that I wanted. Heck! Why not indulge myself? Who’s to say no? and I am free to cook without having to please anyone but little ol’ me!!

It didn’t have to be the quintessential cake, or treat, or anything like that- just plain old “what am I in the mood for right now?” And Voila! This is what I came up with. [Read more…]