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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

On the road again

Grammy and Grampy were on the road again.  Back to Columbus, OH to see our grandkids.  And, Connie's three sons and our daughter-in-law and Greg's girlfriend and the kid's cousin.  After a dreadful day at work on Friday I was looking forward to curling up in my chair and enjoying a fire in the fireplace. We were to get up at o'dark thirty on Saturday and start driving.  Then, I looked at the weather forecast.  Snow was closing in on Indianapolis.  Three to six inches of snow.  UGH!  It was time to check with our pet sitter and make sure she could take care of the furry kids early.  And, throw clothes in the suitcase and start driving.  I let Annie out and she came back in covered with the most gorgeous huge snowflakes.  Gorgeous that is unless you've got to drive in them.  Fortunately, we got on the road quickly and out ran the storm. 

Saturday morning while Grampy and the grandkids made a tunnel between the couch and the table, I sat down and worked up a menu.  Then, Connie and eldest son David (the one who lives in Columbus) and I went grocery shopping while Bradley and Rosie and their mom and her mom (aka YaYa) went sledding.  The kids were due in about 2:00 and they'd be hungry.  They'd driven all the way from Cape Cod - a lot of it in the same storm we'd managed to avoid.


This is totally off the subject but it's such an incredible idea I have to share it.  My daughter-in-law Kara is talented.  She's just plain amazing.  During her college years she was a Division I athelete as well as a top-notch student.  Now, she's a fantastic mom.  And, she's very creative.  See the photos above the kids' heads?  There are three out in the hall.  And there are dots on the wall below them.  Those dots are clocks set to the time of day that David and Kara were married, Bradley was born and Rosie was born.  Then, the photos are of their wedding and each of the kids.  Above it it says, "The best of times."  How cool is that???

Our menu was:

Marcie's dip
La Brea Tar Pit chicken wings
N'awlins Barbecue Shrimp

Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic
Corn and red bell pepper risotto
Caesar salad
Mounds bars
Chocolate chip bread pudding with cinnamon rum sauce

We got home from the store, unloaded the car and started cooking.  Connie's job was to cut up the chicken wings.  Bradley was a big help.  He was SO good about understanding he needed to wash his hands after handling raw chicken.  I put together the Marci's Dip.  This is a recipe from about 1977.  Marcie, who was the bank president's secretary, brought this to the holiday pitch-in that year.  I asked for the recipe and have made it about every Christmas since.  Now, I'm afraid it'll never be the same because it appears that Henri's Tastee Dressing is no longer made.  The best way I can describe Henri's was as a poppy seed/slaw dressing.  I've got the ingredient list off the old bottle so I may be able to play around and come up with something similar.  Or I may just keep doing what I did on Saturday and add slaw dressing.

Marcie's Dip

8 oz package cream cheese
4 oz package Buddig beef or pastrami or corned beef, diced
1 T sweet pickle relish
1 T Henri's Tastee Dressing
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t onion powder


Whip the cream cheese.  Add the other ingredients and serve on crackers.

Once the Marcie's Dip was ready and the La Brea Tar Pit Chicken Wings were in the oven, I got my mis en place done for the rest of the meal:

BBQ Shrimp

 Mounds Bars
 Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
 Caesar Salad
 Corn and Bell Pepper Risotto
 Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Cinnamon Raisin Sauce

The La Brea Tar Pit Chicken Wings are one of middle son Greg's favorite things.  We made six pounds of wings and they were inhaled. Here's the last one disappearing thanks to Greg:

Last but not least, we made N'awlins Barbecue Shrimp.  The first place I had these was about 30 years ago at Pasquale Manale's in New Orleans.  It was love at first bite.  But, I've not made them at home.  Something about a pound of butter to three pounds of shrimp...  But, in hunting through daughter-in-law Kara's cookbooks for recipes to try I saw the Channel 13 On the Road cookbook had BBQ shrimp from Zydeco's.  Now, if you want to know about Zydeco's, go back and read my post about it.  Fabulous food!  I had to try my hand at the shrimp.  Kara absolutely loved the shrimp.  She said they'd be breakfast and lunch on Sunday.  That's the kind of thing a cook loves to hear.  These were just a bit too spicy for me but the flavor sure brought back New Orleans!

David found a recipe for risotto that he wanted in the Gourmet In Short Order cookbook.  It was good but not up to my normal risotto for two reasons.  One, I use homemade chicken stock when I'm home and two, I have the cookware I need.  David and Kara are pretty basic cooks so have pretty basic cookware.  I frequently take a couple of boxes of cookware over there.  Things like a food processor...  In this case, I was using a skillet that was too small then a stockpot that was too tall.  Oh, well.  While I was prepping the ingredients for the risotto I had two of the best helpers around!

Then, almost everyone disappeared to the playroom while the chicken baked...

The chicken turned out moist and flavorful.  But, nobody else munched on the garlic cloves.  They're now in a storage container to be made into Spanish garlic soup.  The chicken is pretty basic to make.  You slice the ends off a lemon then cut four rounds.  Put those in the baking dish (I use a 9x13 glass pan) as a base for the chicken.  Pour in garlic cloves.  In this case, I cheated and bought the bag of pre-peeled cloves.  Somehow I didn't want to peel 80 cloves of garlic...  Put the chicken on top of the lemon slices and slather it with olive oil.  Bake for about an hour at 350.  About halfway through, pour in about half a cup of white wine.  The chicken should reach about 170 before you pull it out of the oven.

Caesar salad is one of our go-to recipes.  I used three big heads of romaine for 8 adults and 2 kiddo's and the bowl was empty. 

Then, we were on to dessert.  Connie and I aren't big dessert eaters.  These are two of our favorites.  The Mounds Bar recipe is from my friend Liz.  These are amazing and incredible cookies.  I did not bring any leftover Mounds Bars home.  Sad, eh?

Our second dessert was a Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Cinnamon Rum sauce.  This is comfort food all grown up.  My friend Doris made this for a dinner party a few years ago.  Then, I made it for our New Orleans party a year and a half ago.  It makes a 9x13 pan so it's one of those desserts you need a crowd for.  Well, WE need a crowd for because we just don't tend to finish up leftover desserts...  I know.  We're weird.  But, you already knew that!



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