Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cooking on a Winter's Day....

Snow is beautiful, but ice is majestic. Snow covers everything so that nature is hidden beneath a layer of pristine, white. Ice says that nature is beautiful, just as it is, so it freezes the image into a sculpture, no artist could recreate.

This morning, my honeysuckle bush was covered with a layer of ice.

This branch may be more excited for Springtime than me....

All of Bill's hard work on the deck this past summer...

Is now encased in ice, waiting for the Spring thaw...

Last night I couldn't sleep, so at 1:30am, I decided to learn how to poach an egg. I know that sounds strange, but I wanted to make Eggs Benedict, but I have never poached an egg before. First I tried the method in Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" but it just became a gooey mess. So I turned to old faithful, my "Betty Crocker" cookbook, circa 1978, that I received as a wedding gift. That method was so much easier! I discovered I really like poached eggs! They taste so much more delicate than fried, or boiled eggs. How have I lived 50 years without ever making or eating a poached egg???

How easy is that? I can't believe I've never tried this before.

By breakfast time I was a pro, and I even poached three eggs at the same time.

My son was off school today because of the ice, so all three of us had Eggs Benedict for breakfast.

I had my daughter Melissa, and her husband Tommy over for dinner this evening. Being such a cold, wintry evening, I thought that making a hearty, taco soup would be nice.

It is such an easy soup to make: Just use some of your favorite beans, tomato sauce, hamburger, taco seasoning, ranch seasoning, onions, and a can of rotel tomatoes. I cooked the whole thing in the crockpot for six hours. Just brown your ground beef first. Then serve with crushed tortilla chips, cheese and sour cream.

As a side dish, I made Sagaponack Corn Pudding, from my Barefoot Contessa cookbook.

First, cook butter, 5 cups of corn, and 1 onion together for a few minutes until thoroughly warmed.

Whisk together remaining ingredients: Ricotta cheese, eggs, cornmeal, milk and half & half, basil, seasonings, and cheddar cheese.

Then top with cheddar cheese, and pour into a greased baking dish. However, that baking dish has to fit into another deep baking dish, which you fill halfway with hot water, and bake at 375 degrees until set (a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean). I didn't have a larger baking dish to set my dish in, so I divided my corn pudding into two baking dishes, and placed them into the stoneware bowl I cooked my chicken in last week. Until last week, this stoneware bowl has never done anything but serve as a lid to my 9x13 stoneware baking pan. Now it is employed regularly....

Yummm....what a delicious casserole. One of the things I love about being a homemaker, is having the time to create something. Whether it is a new recipe in the kitchen, or creating something beautiful by crafting, decorating, or gardening, it is such a privilege to exercise this ability.

It served up beautifully. That, plus the salad Melissa provided, and dinner was complete!

We finished the meal with a chocolate mousse, with whipped topping. It was layered and garnished with chocolate cookie crumbles.

I was thankful today for a busy day in the kitchen, a cozy home on a cold, winter's eve, and the warm company of family.


  1. What a WONDERFUL post!!! I loved the way your eggs Benedict looked. They looked like a professional cookbook picture. Plus your hands don't look near as old as mine, what gives??!! Great blog thoroughly enjoyed it!!

  2. Thanks Kelley. Pics of hands don't matter, we both know yours look younger in person!

  3. Its a Damn good post.I like it.I didn't find eggs looking so lovely as it is in this post.

  4. Wow, I have already decided I am going out in the morning to get the ingredients to make Taco Soup!!! yummy... I'll make it in my new crock pot too :-)