Food: A comforting meal on a cold day
Have you started eating winter food yet? I was talking to a friend about my theory on winter food and it was clear she thought I was nuts.
At my house, I have certain foods I eat during specific seasons. For instance, I don’t eat chili in July. I also don’t cook roasts, bake chicken or chef up batches of beef stew in the summer. These types of dishes I like to cook when the temperatures are cold and the days are long and lazy in front of me. It’s about cooking a dish that is as enjoyable to eat as its savory aroma.
I could see trying to convince my friend of this theory was pointless. It was as if I was explaining PhD level physics to her and so, just to prove my point, I decided to invite her for one of my “winter” meals. The weather cooperated beautifully, too. The evening she walked in the door last week, the wind was blowing fiercely and the temperatures were chilly enough for a winter jacket. A perfect night to stay in and savor a home cooked meal.
And I did some homework, too. I got out my trusty recipe box and some favorite cookbooks and started compiling the menu for the evening early in the day. I really wanted to pound home my winter food theory and besides that, I don’t believe there is anything more enjoyable than perusing cookbooks when company is coming and going outdoors is not an option.
It’s funny what you find in family recipe boxes when you take the time. I found, once again, a favorite recipe for my grandma’s dinner rolls tucked way in the back. It makes a big batch, but you can freeze them or give them away. When my grandma used to make these, we kids would eat them with butter, peanut butter, jam and just plain because we loved them so much. And they smell so good when they are baking.
I also found a recipe buried in the back of my recipe box that I haven’t made in quite a while, but when I open the folded piece of paper, I remembered how good the Berry Crumble dessert was and decided to revisit that. But the one recipe I really wanted to try was the Honeycrisp Apple Sangria. Turns out that is definitely a keeper. In fact, I was sipping on a glass when I put a Cornish hen and vegetables in a roaster for the main dish.
So when my friend did arrive, I set her up with a glass of Sangria, too and then we sat down to the feast I had made. And I think I really got my point across because when my pal was ready to leave, she made the comment that maybe we should do this again, only at her house. I totally agree with that theory. Let the cold wind blow!
Honeycrisp Apple Sangria
2 honeycrisp apples
750 ml Chardonnay
1/3 cup peach schnapps
1/4 cup honey
2 oranges, 1 quartered
1 lemon, quartered
1 lime, quartered
2 cinnamon sticks
2 quarter size slices of fresh ginger
2 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Peel, core and chop one of the apples. In a bowl, combine the wine, schnapps and honey. Add the quartered orange, lemon, lime, cinnamon sticks, chopped apple, ginger and cloves. Refrigerate at least 4 hours. Strain the Sangria into a pitcher. Peel, core and finely chop the remaining apple. Peel, section and chop the remaining orange. Combine the apple and orange in bowl. On a small plate, blend sugar and cinnamon. Moisten the rims of wine glasses and dip in cinnamon/sugar to coat. Fill glasses with ice. Pour Sangria until three-quarters full. Top with a splash of club soda. Garnish with a spoonful of chopped apple and orange.
Grandma’s Dinner Rolls
2 1/2 cups warm milk
4 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tsp. salt
7 cups flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
Pour milk into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle yeast over the surface. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Beat in the sugar, eggs, 1/2 cup butter, and salt; blend thoroughly. Gradually stir in the flour to make a soft dough. Cover bowl, and set in a warm place until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, cover the bowl, and allow to rise again. Repeat this step two more times. Break off 2 to 3 inch size pieces of dough, roll lightly into round shape, and place in prepared baking dish, edges touching. Repeat to make 36 dough balls. Cover and let rise until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Bake rolls in preheated oven until tops turn golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. When rolls are finished baking, drizzle melted butter over the tops.
2 pints of raspberries
1 large package marshmallows
1 pint whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cup flour
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup butter, softened
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine raspberries, marshmallows and whipped cream. In a medium-sized bowl, rub together brown sugar, flour, nuts and butter. Layer berry mixture and flour mixture in baking pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until fruit is soft and topping is lightly browned.