My Childhood in Food
Dungeness crab with lemon, garlic butter, and French bread (a tradition that continues each December with my husband now catching them from his kayak in Tamales Bay!).
My grandpa's cottage cheese latkes with sour cream and jam. I even remember my Mickey Mouse bib! Now I make my own version with my sourdough starter. Every Saturday morning.
My mom's turkey (the crispy skin was and is my favorite), gravy, and cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving. She still does it most years - so blessed! (Alicia)
Every Friday night we would do laundry at Red Hill shopping center and then go to Wendy's for dinner. "Fancy" dinners at Sizzler with the great salad bar and surf n turf and garlic bread.
My dad's garlic bread. The only thing he could cook. TV dinners with him when he was a bachelor. My favorite was the Hungry Man turkey dinner with mashed potatoes and buttery peas. Him taking me to fondue.
Picking strawberries and lemons at my grandmas. Eating the lemons whole. Her serving Bitter Lemon and "finger toast." (buttered bread sliced in vertical strips). In my young adult years, her giving me olives, artichoke hearts, and smoked oysters from her pantry.
Picking Ollalie berries in Half Moon Bay on the way home from camp.
All kinds of olives at every occasion because everyone knew how much I loved them.
And that's just getting started...my best childhood memories involve food and these little traditions that birthed a passion for food and cooking.
(this post is a template I intend to return to and fill out much more completely, so a rough draft/base for an essay or even book to come, Lord willing...)
My Recipes on Food.com
I just added a link to the sidebar to my recipes (75 that have been reviewed) on food.com. The average rating is 4.6 stars. My most popular recipe is my Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties. It was also published in Taste of Home (with adjustments they made to the amounts - I recommend my original quantities for the most flavor).
Three Ingredient Breakfast
I found this delicious Kodiak Cakes Super Fruit Syrup - Forest Berry - at Costco and it goes great with granola on Greek yogurt. How's that for accidental alliteration?
Tuna Egg Salad
I love tuna salad. I love egg salad. Rather than choose between them, put them together, and you've got a marriage made in tastebud heaven. The ingredient that holds it together is the sweet pickles. I first made it with sweet and spicy pickles, and have since used a combination of bread and butter pickles (sweet) and spicy dill pickles. I am not exacting with amounts, since different palates prefer didn't pungencies - I will say that I like strong flavors, which means lots of pickles and onions :)
Tuna Egg Salad
1 can of albacore tuna, flaked
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
chopped pickles (sweet & spicy), to taste (I use about 3-4 tablespoons)
onion, finely chopped, to taste (I use about 1-2 tablespoons)
mayonnaise, to taste (I use about 2-3 tablespoons)
dried dill weed (optional)
black pepper (optional)
Mix it all up, folding in the chopped eggs last.
Serve as is, in a sandwich, or my favorite way (as pictured) - on crackers...specifically Trader Joe's whole grain seed crackers and Ak-Maks (also whole grain, also sold at TJ's).
Keeping it Fresh
A prime example of habituation is with food, as illustrated (literally, lol) in the children's book (that I adore), Bread and Jam for Frances. Or, in my case, with bacon cheddar cheese, which I was buying routinely for my teenage daughter who couldn't get enough of it until...she had too much of it. Now she's moved on to pub cheese (another Trader Joe's item).
This is one reason (health is another) that I don't indulge in certain foods on a daily basis. Having them only on the weekends or or on special occasions makes them more enjoyable, although we have been known to eat Thanksgiving dinner (which is also Christmas dinner) in March.
Another way to avoid habituation is (as the author suggests) to slow down and savor the moment. Perhaps eating and drinking for the glory of God (as Scripture tells us to) means sitting down, chewing a while before swallowing, so we actually taste and see...that the Lord is good, as are the ordinary pleasures he serves us. In so doing, we are enjoying and glorifying him forever, which is chief end of man.
It's also the way to eat, drink, and be merry, which King Solomon says is our purpose in the book of Ecclesiastes, which could be thought of as the handbook of habituation, what with it's anguished sigh of "Is there anything new under the sun? Meaningless, everything is meaningless..."
Pictured: My 14 yr-old's Saturday brunch she made herself - she, so far, hasn't tired of these foods...but maybe that's because she takes her time and is gratified by the work of her hands. She is my all American meat & potatoes girl 😊
Deconstructed Cobb Salad
How I Make Steak
On my monthly Costco shop, I always buy a package of flap meat. It makes the best steak for the best price ($8-9 per pound - used to be $6!). It's a splurge but we get two "fancy" meals out of our $25 purchase. It comes in two pieces, so I put them in the freezer individually in gallon bags (I usually thaw by submersing the meat - still in the sealed bag - in a bowl of hot water for about twenty minutes).
To make this delicious steak, I heat up butter (or bacon fat) in our cast iron pan on medium high, turn on the fan, and cook it on one side for 5-7 minutes. I flip it and repeat. Sometimes I have to flip it one more time to get it perfectly medium to medium rare. I let it sit for a few minutes before slicing against the grain.
If I am cooking onions (usually red), I cook them in the (greased) pan for about 5-10 minutes and then add the steak, cooking them both together until the onions are nicely charred (I take them out before the steak). Sometimes I add mushrooms, but if I do that I usually cook it all before I make the steak, so as not to overcrowd the pan and because mushrooms are liquidy.
This is one of our favorite family dinners - steak, mashed potatoes, and salad (the kids don't have the onions and blue cheese - more for us!).
Beef Barley Soup
My husband asked me to write down the beef barley soup I concocted yesterday, since he said it was "restaurant quality," so here goes (read it all the way through before preparing):
Brown 1lb chunks of stew meat in bacon fat, stir in chopped onion, celery, and carrots, about a cup of each.
After a few minutes, add 4 cups beef stock and 4 cups chicken stock, a half pound more of stew meat (not browned), 2 bay leaves, 1 T Worcestershire sauce, 1 T tamari (or soy sauce), 1 T Trader Joe's umami paste (optional - can use tomato paste), 1/2 t seasoning salt, 1/2 t garlic salt, 1 t chicken bouillon concentrate (because the cartons of stock from Trader Joe's aren't as flavorful, though healthier), and top with a cup of sliced mushrooms.
I did all this in my instant pot. Turn it to the slow cook setting on normal for two hours. Turn it up to high for another hour. Add Trader Joe's quick cooking barley for the last 20 minutes.
Hard Boiled Eggs
My recipes on Food.com (4.6 star average rating)