it’s beginning to taste a lot like christmas

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This past Saturday, my little Main-Street-USA town hosted its annual Christmas parade.  I look forward to this event each year, as it marks the introduction of the holiday season.  Hubs was up and at’em early, since he had to gather his band together to march, and I had a few hours in between the parade and my mom and my mother-in-law both joining me for the festivities.

my town juxtaposed: the red hat ladies and the hunters, oh my.



how's this for a float, macys?

don't fall out of the sleigh, Santa!

So of course, I decided to bake! And since this was a day to share with both my mother and my mother-in-law, I decided to bake one of my mother-in-law’s famous dishes:  orange poppyseed bread.

It is the most delectable.

Last winter, she and I spent some time in the kitchen and she taught me in the way of the most delicious–and hubs, Mama Jill, and I spent the afternoon decorating her Christmas trees and munching on this bread.  Now,  I taste this bread and am instantly brought back to that wintry afternoon, but you can definitely make this bread any time of year.

So this loaf was made on Saturday, and by Sunday evening it was all gone.
How’s that for proof of good, eh?

MAMA JILL’S ORANGE POPPY SEED BREAD

1–Preheat oven to 350 and go ahead and butter/flour two 9 x 5 loaf pans, or six mini-loaf pans.

2–In a separate bowl, mix together 3 cups flour, 2 1/4 cups sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 2 tsp. poppy seeds, and 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder.

3–Add to the dry mixture the following:  3 eggs slightly beaten, 1 1/8 cup vegetable oil, 1 1/2 c. milk,  and 1 1/2 tsp EACH of almond extract, vanilla extract, and butter flavoring. Combine until JUST wet.

action shot!

**NOTE–butter flavoring can be found by all of the other extracts and flavorings.  I had no idea until I made this recipe, since I have never used it in anything else.  In case you are like me and weren’t sure, now you know—you’re welcome!

4–Mix (with a handheld or electric mixer) for 2 minutes only! No more, no less.

5–Pour batter into loaf pan(s) and bake for one hour, or until a toothpick test shows clean.

it's really ok if it oozes a bit, really. it's ok.

6–While your delicious bread bakes, make the glaze:  whisk up 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup orange juice, and 1/2 tsp. EACH of the flavorings used above. (I used TROPICANA orange juice, because that’s the only kind I buy.  Seriously.  I ought to buy stock in Tropicana.  I can’t start my day without it.  You know how some people have to have their coffee in the mornings?  That’s how I am with o.j.  If there’s no Tropicana in the house, I flip out.  Anyhoo, you get the idea and I digresss…)

7–While your bread is still hot, pour the glaze over it.  Yes, right on top.  Make sure not to get any on your counter or it might dry into superglue-like substance.  While this is not true for how it dries on bread, it is true for how it dries on countertops.  Or so I have been told by Mama Jill.  I heed her warnings, and you should, too.

8–Let bread cool completely before removing from loaf pan……..or act like Farley and myself, whose bread never wholey leaves the pan since we eat it straight out.

Mmmmmmm……..citrusy and Christmasy………

 

Be on the lookout for more holiday cooking from Feeding Farley!
And enjoy!


putting some spice back into the wintry nights

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There is nothing like curry to bring some spice back into your wintry nights.  After a slew of traditional flavorings on ye olde tastebuds and a sky that’s been filled with the promise of snow, it’s been time to warm things up a bit in the kitchen.

With Thanksgiving gone and holiday baking a week or more away, along with the fact that hubs and I are working to create our little, less-than-seven-hundred-square-feet home into a tastefully decorated Christmas wonderland, who wants to spend even more time in the kitchen–well, other than me, apparently, being the author of a food blog, and my other foodie compadres–??

Lucky for all of us, the meal I’m about to share with you rivals the timing of the good ole thirty-minute-meal goddess herself.

This is a perfect dish for a cold night:  the curry and horseradish bring heat to the dish, but less than you would imagine (which is good for the heat-pansies out there, myself included) and the citrus is just plain seasonal.   And it’s only a few ingredients, and cooks up quickly.  Marvelous.

**please forgive the photos; there aren’t the best shots in the world, but they do provide a guide for you visual learners out there**

These ain’t no shake-and-bake:

PORK CHOPS WITH CURRIED ORANGE SAUCE

(The original Cooking Light recipe can be found here)

1–In a small bowl, mix us 1/4 tsp. curry powder, 1/4 tsp. paprika, and 1/4 tsp. salt.  Sprinkle it all over your pork chops.

2–Heat a non-stick pan over medium (or a stainless steel pan with a little bit of olive oil sprinkled and smeared around, which is what I went with) and put your pork  chops in there.  Cook for 3 minutes per side, or until no longer pink.

NOTE:  If your chops are thicker than 1/2 inch thick, be prepared to cook’em a bit longer.  I cooked mine about 5-6 minutes per side and made sure there wasn’t any pink left.  Luckily, they didn’t wind up dry at all, but just be careful!

3–While your chops are a-cooking, mix up 1/3 cup orange marmalade, 1/2 tsp. curry powder, 1 1/2 tsp. prepared horseradish, 1 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar, and 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper.  (Go ahead and mix it in the same bowl you mixed the spices in–why not? Save a bowl, fix a porkchop).

4–When the chops are done, remove them from the pan and set aside. Pour in your marmalade mixture and cook for 15 seconds, scraping up all the good pork chop brown bits from the bottom.   Pour on top of your chops and voila!

Served with Steamfresh Broccoli and jasmine rice (we did the jasmine rice with olive oil, chopped garlic, and white wine….mmmmmm! If you want THAT recipe, holla at your girl over here and leave a comment.)

Stay warm and enjoy!

slow, cooked, and southern.

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I have succumbed to my slow cooker.

And why not?

It’s getting cold outside, kiddos.  Cold to warrant a wool coat with sweaters and jeans hiding underneath.

It’s also *holiday shopping time* according to commercial America, even though we haven’t even APPROACHED our gobble-gobble day of giving thanks yet!! Ugh…but that’s for another blog….

Since my husband has his weekends back, we are doing normal, newlyewed-ish types of things on the weekends:  house-hunting, shopping, daydreaming, being lazy, seeing all of our families (there is a lot and on my side and his), and we, of course, are having fun with all of the new kitchen toys we received as wedding gifts!  (Most recently made purchases at Crate & Barrel with a generous gift card—see?  A normal and newlywed-ish place to shop on the weekends, told ya!)

And while we’re busy being out and about, we still want to cook dinner at home on weekends, but there isn’t always time.

Lo and behold! The slow-cooker to the rescue!

I have always been shy of using a slow cooker, for no real reason other than I didn’t grow up with a Crock-Pot kind of mom—-my mother is an Italian-from-scratch-from-Queens-all-homemade kind of mom, and she does her own slow cooking in a slow oven—why use a Crock-Pot?

But we have one and we are determined to have fun (and good meals) and experimenting with all of our wedding gifts, so be it that the slow-cooker took center-countertop last Saturday.

My sister-in-law-to-be gave me a seriously simple and delicious recipe for pulled pork barbecue, which I couldn’t wait to try out.  Now, I also did not grow up eating this dish and I’m not even sure if you an purchase pulled pork anywhere on my beloved motherland of Long Island, but it’s one of my favorite regional dishes and I have loved it since my Carson-Newman days.  Hubs and I love it so much that we even featured it on the buffet at our wedding.  (Well, we also had chicken parmigiana and baked ziti–it was true and delicious comfort food!)

This came out AWESOME.   I sent hubs to the store, and he came back with a picnic roast—we were told to use Boston butt, but he said it looked no bueno at the store and this looked better–and cost less.  We’re in.

(But feel free to use whichever portion of roast you prefer).

Coming home from Barnes and Noble never smelled so good:

EASY, AWESOME PULLED PORK BBQ

1–Pull your Crock Pot out.

2–Dice up 2 onions.  This may seem like a lot, but I promise it’s not.  They sort of melt down and mix in and seriously, it’s bueno.  So go ahead and dice’em up.

3–Season your 3-4 lb. pork roast (we used a picnic roast) with salt and pepper.  Go ahead, get all kindsa liberal with it.  Set your pork on top of the onions.

 

make sure you put the fattiest side up! that is where the flavah is! it needs to melt down and out.

4–Pour 1/2 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce on top.

5–Turn your slow cooker on LOW heat for about 9 hours and go play outside or visit Grandma.

6–Nine hours sure does go by fast when you’re not at home, doesn’t it?  Now your house should be filled with the awesome aroma of barbecue just waiting for you to dig in and have a huge bite. But hold on partner–you’ve got to shred your meat first.

Remove the pork with two heavy forks and set in a casserole dish.  Shred the sucker up with two forks.  (This is very easy to do; the meat will be tender and fall apart easily.)  Use a slotted spoon to save the onions you left behind (place in with the meat) and get rid of the juices and fat that melted in the bottom.

7—It may not LOOK gorgeous, but who cares? It SMELLS gorgeous and it’s gonna TASTE gorgeous!
Place your shredded pork and onions back into the slow cooker, cover with 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (more if you are feeling particularly saucy) and just wait one hour longer to get your fill.

8–You can serve on buns, on plates, with coleslaw on the top, with coleslaw on the side, however you please.  Green beans would be stellar, as would my corn pudding corn bread.

 

This is seriously good food to come home to on a chilly day of being out and about, and it’s so easy! You oughta try it!

Enjoy!

pantry raid?

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Sundays are always our last chance to be lazy.

Football, napping, napping while the game is on, going for a drive, vegging around the house–all prime Sunday post-morning activities.

So who in their right mind would want to slave over a hot stove on such a deliriously delightful time of ease and respite?

I wanted something delicious and homemade for dinner, but I didn’t want to have to work too hard at it.  I went on a scavenger hunt in my pantry, consulted my self-made cookbooks, and wound up only one item short of glory.  Hubs offered to go to the store to acquire said item, and we were in business, proverbially speaking.

All of the recipes before you can be made and ready within an hour, and most of the items are what one normally might keep around the house.

(Or,  as one of my best friends, Jenny,  said infamously:  you gotta use what you got to get what you want. )

And what you want is something quick, healthy, and yummy that didn’t take much work.

And what could be better than a spicy bean soup and cornbread on a cool autumn night?

(My hubs loves, loves, loves Jiffy bread and he loves, loves, loves beans, so this made him quite happy….then again, there are very few foods he doesn’t eat…!)

**NOTE:  the longer the soup simmers, the better, but you can go ahead and enjoy it after just 1/2 hour of simmah time!**

Have fun doing a pantry-raid for the following:

SPICY TEXAS BLACK BEAN SOUP

1–All good things start with onions, olive oil, and garlic, so do it up right and saute 1 red onion, diced and 5 cloves of garlic in a little bit of olive oil.  I suggest sauteing the onion first, then adding your  garlic midway through so your garlic doesn’t burn.

2–Add to this 5 cans of black beans, undrained. Believe me.  Just go ahead and dump the little ones in.

3–Add 5 T. minced jalapeno peppers, 2 1/2 tsp. chili powder, and 2 1/2 tsp. cider vinegar to the mix.  Stir it up nice and good now.

4–Get your soup to simmer, covered, for at least 30 minutes. Taste and check the seasoning, add a smidge of salt and pepper if you think it needs it, cumin might also be a good one to throw into the mix.

NOTE:  Thirty minutes is the minium amount of time required to acquire such grand and spiced yum yum time.   I, however, let the stockpot sit on the stove for about an hour.

NOTE NOTE:  If you prefer, shall we say, a brothier soup, add a can of chicken stock or a can of veggie stock to the mix halfway through your allotted cooking time.

5– If you have bowls you can warm up in the oven, get’em on in there and get’em out when it’s time to dish up.  Dress it up with whatever you like on your beans:  I used strips of Pepper Jack cheese and sour cream, other ideas are cheddar cheese, monterey jack, tortilla strips, crushed Doritos, crushed Fritos, green onions, etc.  Remember, this is made from your PANTRY RAID!

(fyi, I tried my best to photograph the meal for feeding farley fans, but me and the camera just weren’t working that day; I posted what I could to give you the main idea.)

CORN PUDDING CORN BREAD

1–Get out a large mixing bowl, open up a box of Jiffy bread mix and beat in 2 eggs and 1 stick of melted butter to the mix.

2–Mix in 1 small can of corn and 2 regular cans of creamed corn, along with 1/4 cup milk and  1/2 of an 8 oz. carton of sour cream.

3–Bake this for 1 hour at 350. “Please resist the urge to sneak a peek and pop the oven door open, because it will delay your baking….” says the voice of experience…..(ahem).

The consistency, when poking in a toothpick, should be clearly baked and custardy, not runny or liquidy.  If the latter is your case, then crank up the heat to 375 and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

it was so good.

Not like I’m trying to be vegetarian, but this is a great meatless meal and my husband didn’t complain about the lack of meat in this dish. He loved it, and even I, who am not usually a fan of beans–it’s a texture thing– loved this meal.  It was cozy, warm, fairly quick, totally easy, and mostly delicious.

Now you have my permission to go on a pantry raid and make this meal! Let me know how it goes for you.

 

Enjoy and happy eating!

perfect man food.

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Although the colors of the Blue Ridge mountains have been proof of fall’s arrival for a few weeks, I really didn’t believe it until this past weekend:  it finally got cold enough to turn on the heat.

I love the smell of the heat going on for the first time; it definitely heralds a change of season, since our falls are susceptible to frequent boats of Indian summers.  There are certain and pleasant aromas I will always associate with fall, like the heat going on for the first time, leaves burning, pies baking, and pot roast, um, roasting.

Hubs and I decided to pop in a movie, warm up, and feast on autumn’s premiere main dish.  Then we decided not to be selfish, and promptly invited my mama over to sup with us.

Now, while I do enjoy my mama’s pot roast, mine is one of the few things I make that I prefer to hers.   Why, you ask? Answer is simple:  caramelized onions and beer!  Two ingredients that are supposed to go with meat, in my point of view.

And it ain’t just for Sunday dinners anymore, kiddos:  this is prime man food, it is, and I dare you to find a man who disagrees…….well, ok.  There might be some vegetarian/vegan/allergic-to-beef men out there. If you encounter one of those, well, grab some other man and he is sure to confess that yes, this pot roast recipe is the roast to end all other roasts.

NOTE:   If you don’t have a Dutch oven, a roasting pan will do fine.  Be sure to still brown the meat first and then transfer all that is delicious and good into said roasting pan.  If you can’t find a cover for your roasting pan, a large tent of aluminum foil will suffice.  If you don’t have a Dutch oven and are in the market for one, may I suggest the following: Martha Stewart’s 5.5. quart Dutch oven, available at Macy’s.   It’s a great size, easy to clean, and (if you click on the link) happens to be on sale at the current moment.

NOTE:   …while your meat should turn out sweet and tender, the deliciousness is really in this gravy.

POT ROAST WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS AND NEWCASTLE

a lot of adaptation occured from the original Cooking Light recipe, found here

1–Melt 2 T. butter in decent-sized saucepan over medium heat.  Add in 12 cups of onions (I use yellow, but white will work—this is about 1.5 lbs onions) and 1 1/2 tsp. sugar. You will need to stir this quite frequently, so that they turn a lovely golden shade of caramel.

butter always makes it better

yeah, it's a ton of onions, but it makes the flavah!!!

2–Preheat your oven to 300 while you are tending to the onions.

3–Take a 3.5–4 lb. pot roast and season the sucker with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. (You can use whatever type of meat you usually use for  pot roast, really, but we used bottom round, since that’s what was on sale.) Pop that baby in your Dutch oven (already Pammed/oiled/buttered/fatted up) and be sure to brown on all sides…..this should take up to five minutes.

thyme

4–Now comes the greatness!  Pour all of the onions on top of the meat, along with 1 bottle of Newcastle beer,  1 1/2 cups beef broth, and a generous sprinkling of salt, pepper, garlic powder and whatever your taste buds dream up.   I have used a bay leaf before, but as my father-in-law will tell you, I am not a fan—we tried 1 T. fresh thyme leaves this go round, and it offered a nice flavor to the gravy.

NOTE:  you must use Newcastle as your beer, or at least one very similar to it. I haven’t dared try Guiness—too dark, I think—but you need a nut brown ale to recreate the flavor if you can’t get Newcastle.

the one and only

5–Keep the roast covered tightly for 2 hours.  You can turn it halfway through, which I usually do, as per my mother’s advice…….but I completely forgot to this time.  And you know what? Didn’t make a bit of difference.

before the mixing and the lidding and the roasting

SO…….

When your roast is done, let it sit on the carving board to breathe a bit while you get the gravy going.

GRAVY FOR POT ROAST

1–In a small bowl, combine about 2 T flour with 1/4 c. water and blend well.

2–Put the Dutch oven on a burner so that all the leftover goodness comes to a boil. Pour in your flour mixture and whisk well enough to give your triceps a fab workout or to get all the brown bits scraped up from the bottom of the pan……whatever happens first.

Voila–you have gravy.

Easy!
Delicious!
Man food!
Fit for women, too!
And kids!

Serve over egg noodles, or alongside a great heaping helping of mashed potatoes, sit down with the one you love, or at least like enough to get through an evening with, and enjoy!