Saturday, December 20, 2014

Cookie Making Day!

It's been a hectic month.  Year, for that matter.  And that all seems to culminate in December.  To top that, the weather here has been dreary for the last month or more, which zaps motivation and makes it much harder to get good lighting for pretty pictures.  So posts have been sparse lately, and I'm sorry about that.  Anyways, this weekend, we actually ended up with no plans except for that we are scheduled to teach Sunday School on Sunday morning.  NO plans.  The weekend before Christmas.

At first, the hubs and I discussed heading downtown to see the store windows and lights and visit the market...but honestly, I didn't want to deal with the crowds.  And when I asked the kids, they didn't seem that into it at all either.  So then we changed our plan  to maybe go to a more local Christmas market.  But the more I thought about it, the less I wanted to drag everyone out of the house.  Then, my brilliant husband had a fantastic idea:

Family Cookie Day.

Monday, December 8, 2014

An Evening with A Hollow Leg

I recently had an opportunity that I just couldn't pass up.  If you follow From Scratch on Facebook, you might remember that this past summer, I was asking people to vote for a local Chicago drink slinger, Devin Kidner, in Slow Food's Ark of Taste Cocktail Competition.  At that point, I was just happy to be supporting someone who used KOVAL liquor, Seedling cider, Ellis Farms honey, and other local ingredients to make what sounded like a pretty great drink.  Devin contacted me, and we were able to meet up in person.  It didn't take long for me to realize that we shared a lot of the same interests and beliefs about local food, about heritage strains of plants, and about supporting local farmers, and I felt like we could have chatted for days.  Turns out, Devin's drink took first place, earning her a trip to Italy to be a USA delegate at Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto!  And that kicked off a boozy whirlwind of exciting opportunities for her, including being invited to moderate the Speakeasy workshop of Terra Madre, becoming head mixologist at KOVAL distillery, being invited to design drinks for an event in NYC, teaching classes for Rhine Hall (another Chicago distillery) and starting up Hollow Leg.  Hollow Leg is Devin's way of packaging all her passion and knowledge about local drinks and presenting it to people who want to learn.  She offers classes on mixology, some basic and some more in-depth, but all meant to give the students the confidence to experiment with their drinks with Julia Child-like curiosity and conviction.  She has a line of classes called Hep Hops, that focuses on the up-and-coming trend of beer cocktails, and offers services to corporations looking to impress their clients.  She also has what I think is one of the coolest ideas ever: Cocktail Whispering, where she will talk to you, find out a bit about you and what you like to drink, and then design you your own personalized cocktail.  You get to name it and everything!  How cool is that?!?!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Turkey Gumbo

Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and my friends are already teasing me, because I've been stocking up on turkeys.  Right now, I baked one last week, have one thawing in my fridge, and have 4 more in the garage freezer.  Crazy about turkey?  Meh.  More like crazy about turkey gumbo!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Friday, November 14, 2014

Beet Blondies

Are you guys sick of blondies yet?  Am I throwing too many out there?  Sorry, but I'm not sorry.  Blondies are dead simple to make, endlessly adaptable, and fricking delicious.  So I'm going to wrap this week of vegetables with a veggie blondie.  Beet Blondies with White Chocolate, to be specific.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Creamed Cabbage

I get it.  Not everyone likes cabbage.  It kind of smells weird, and it sometimes squeaks when you chew it.  And some will say that it can give you unpleasant side effects, which also may smell weird.  I had a friend once laugh that there was a plant called "skunk cabbage", because, as he put it, "All cabbage stinks!".  But I love a good underdog, and I'm going to tell you that cabbage can be more than a stinky side dish.  When you give it a bit of toasting and then boil it with some cream, it goes from cringe-worthy to crave-worthy.

Take a half head of cabbage (a whole cabbage if it's small) and remove the outer leaves.  Then trim down the stem.  You want to keep a good amount of the stem, because that's what's going to hold each piece together.  Cut the cabbage into wedges from the stem, making each wedge about 2-3 inches at the thickest part, keeping the stem as part of each wedge to keep it together.  You want about 5-6 wedges total.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Broccoli Cornbread

There are a few recipes in my recipe book that I've been making for so long that I honestly don't have a clue of where they started from.  Some of those recipes have taken twists and turns along the way as I've cared more and learned more about the food my family eats.  Broccoli Cornbread is a great example of one of those recipes.  It started as kind of a dump know, where you dump a bunch of stuff in together and then toss it in the oven.   Then we started eating more natural foods and less processed foods.  Broccoli Cornbread had always been a great dish, a yummy way to get things like broccoli and cottage cheese into picky kids, but I started to feel not-so-great about the cornbread mix.  And using frozen broccoli seemed silly when I had such fantastic fresh broc from the garden.  So I adjusted, and I think the current version is better than ever.