Julieanne Case From the Heart

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August 31, 2014
by Julieanne Case
19 Comments

Fusion Chicken with Coconut Milk

Chicken cooked in coconut Milk

Dinner is ready

It has been several months since I blogged and I’m rather glad so many want this recipe that it got me back into doing a blog. Now I have a couple more lined up. One I actually wrote in April!

I named this Fusion Chicken because it’s got Chinese, Thai, and Indian seasonings. Please let me know if you have a better name. Leave it in the comments for  me.

I’ve been making this chicken for my husband and I for the last few months. It’s a recipe that started with a modified Jaime Oliver recipe of Chicken in Milk that used coconut milk. That appealed to me more. I tried that one but Ron (hubby) didn’t like the cinnamon in it. It wasn’t thrilling me but I liked it.

So I began to play. Over several tries and checking various recipes, i would add this and that ingredient. I finally arrived at this version which we really enjoy. It has this amazing aroma and the taste is multi-layered.

I like to use organic chicken because the flavor is better and it’s better for your health.  I get my chicken from Main Street Meats in Ventura. And I use a Le Creuset 3-1/2 qt oval dutch oven. I know they are expensive but this one is probably 34 years or older. I don’t even remember when I bought it.

It’s really an easy recipe. The majority of the work takes place before you put it in the oven. At the bottom, I’ll give you more details on the ingredients. And I’ll add more pictures that I’ll take when I make it next. Here is the list of ingredients:

  • 1 3 to 5 lb organic chicken, washed and dried
  • Olive Oil
  • Cilantro stems ( Just the bottoms of the cilantro – NO leaves), washed and patted dried
  • Himalayan pink salt (It’s all I ever use)
  • Freshly Ground pepper
  • Ground or fresh turmeric ( can be done with either or a combo)
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, cut into 1/4″ or 1/2″ slices (cleavers cut them very easily)
  • 2-3 inch piece of ginger, cut in 1/8″ or more inch slices ,you can add more.
  • 3-6 cloves of garlic (based on your taste), mashed with the side of the knife and diced or minced
  • 1 can of Light coconut milk (I like Trader Joe’s brand)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Once the chicken is washed and dried, I let it sit while I prep my dutch oven. I put 1-2 tbsp of olive oil in the bottom of the pot and tilt it till the bottom has a coating of oil. I then take my cilantro stems and cover the bottom of the pot with them.

Next is seasoning the chicken. If you are using fresh turmeric, then you will want to grate some in a bowl. I found it easier to use dried for rubbing into the chicken and using the fresh in the cavity and dropping some into the coconut milk. I lift the chicken skin up from the chicken so I can season under the skin. Just lift it enough to get your hand under it. And you will have to break through some thin connecting tissue. I find that if I start from the neck region, the skin tears less. I rub the turmeric under the skin over the breast area. I then rub some more on the underside of the chicken and on the legs. I put some fresh or ground in the cavity along with pepper and himalayan pink salt.

Then I put the chicken on top of the cilantro stems. I put a couple slices of ginger in the cavity and distribute the rest around the chicken. I do the same for the lemongrass and the garlic. I pour the coconut over the chicken and around the chicken. If I have fresh turmeric grated, I add some to the coconut milk around the chicken.

Then I put the lid on the pot and put it in the oven. I leave it in the oven untouched for at least an hour and a half. When the chicken leg moves easily or you see that the skin on the leg has pulled away from the ankle, it’s done. I found a 3.5 lb chicken is usally done in 1.5 hours, a 4 lb one about 1.75 hours.

To serve, I take the chicken out and cut it up or pick up the pieces if the chicken falls off the bone and put them on a plate. I strain the pan juices to remove the chopped seasonings. I pour some over the chicken and put the rest in gravy boat or bowl.

If you want or need some help with some of the ingredients or quantity suggestions, I have some pictures here to assist.

 

My Le Creuset Dutch Oven -You can see it looks brand new  it gets used a lot.Dutch Oven

Some grocery stores will sell lemongrass in the herb containers.  They are long stalks to they are trimmed and cut in half to fit in the boxes. Some local farmers markets will sell the full stalks.  I have found these in Whole Foods and Vons . I have sometimes found the lemongrass at the Channel Islands Farmer’s Market on Sundays.

Trimmed lemongrass

Lemongrass from grocery store.

Turmeric is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family. It is smaller and a beautiful bright orange color. The pieces in this picture are about 3 inches long. One piece was grated and you can see the lovely orange interior. 

Turmeric

Turmeric, whole and cut.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ginger most everyone knows. But I took a picture to give you an idea of how much I use. The tile is about 7-1/4 inches by 3-3/4 inches. I would easily use about 1/2 of this piece.  Why? I love ginger. Please feel free to alter the quantity. I have also gotten this at the Channel Islands Farmers Market and I’ve seen it fresh at Whole Foods.Ginger

Large ginger root

December 2, 2013
by Julieanne Case
19 Comments

Life Long Passion for Food Part 9: Puffed Pancakes

The other day I posted a picture of our Thanksgiving breakfast dish. I have made this dish on days I deemed special over the last 30 plus years. The Marlene Sorosky cookbook, Cookery for Entertaining,  is falling apart! I’ve also made her Frozen Lemon Cream served in hollowed out lemons.

Puffed Pancakes for breakfast

Lovely Pear Blueberry Puffed Pancake

Marlene Sorosky had a cookware store and I had attended a class there with French chef, Jacques Pepin. What a delight he was. And during the class Danny Kaye dropped in and showed Jacques how to make these special Chinese Chicken Lollipops, made from the wing segments.

It was a delight to see a world-renowned chef so open to learning something new. Both of my Jacques Pepin cookbooks were signed by Jacques and Danny.

Okay, back to breakfast. There are a few recipes in this cookbook, that was published in 1979, that I really like. The Apple Puffed Pancake is one of them. I’ve played with this over the years and put in different fruits.

I’ve done apples, peaches, nectarines, blueberries and pears, peeled and unpeeled. I’ve put blueberries with apples and pears. I’ll probably try a few others, mango comes to mind.

It takes about 10-15 minutes to prepare, then 20 minutes to cook. It puffs up like a souffle and falls some as it sits. But it’s festive looking, a delight to eat and impresses any guests who are lucky to have been invited to join you.

Here is your recipe:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 lb of butter
  • 2 apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Mix your eggs, milk, flour, sugar, vanilla, salt and cinnamon in a bowl until blended. Put the butter in a 13″x9″ baking dish and put it in the oven to melt. Once melted, add the apple slices and put it back into the oven until the butter begins to sizzle. You don’t want the butter to brown. Remove the dish at that point, pour in the egg mixture over the fruit and sprinkle with brown sugar. Put it back into the middle of the oven for 20 minutes or until puffed and brown. Serve immediately. It will serve from 4 to 8.

Now I think you could substitute rice flour or almond flour if you need. I have substituted Coconut Palm sugar for the brown sugar. I may try almond flour or amaranth flour one day.

Franciacorta Italian Sparkling Wine LI=ine up

Villa Brut is on the very right. I had the privilege of doing a tasting with these lovely Franciacorte Sparkling Wines

I have also added powdered ginger along with the cinnamon or instead of as well. But then I love ginger. And I haven’t tried the coconut milk yet but I may! It might be better to try some coconut cream mixed with coconut milk.

Let me know how you like it if you try it. I often halve the recipe for my husband and myself and use an 8″x8″ pan. If I had bacon or sausage or a big bowl of fruit and toast, I might have leftovers. But we just finish this off easily and feel pampered.

I’ve also served this with a bottle of champagne on special occasions. It would be lovely to serve Franciacorte Sparkling Wines from Italy for this, especially the Franciacorte Villa Brut DOCG, if you are lucky to find it near you!

Do you have any special recipes you save for special occasions?  How do you celebrate special days? Do you ever cook something elegant just for yourself?

 

Julieanne Case came from a left brained world, having been a computer programmer who worked on the Apollo missions and, due to circumstances orchestrated by God/Source/Universe, joined the growing ranks of the right-brained world starting in 2001. She became an energy healing practitioner in 2004 and has studied various techniques. She is a Reconnective Healing Pracitioner, a Reconnective Artist, and a blogger. She assists you in reconnecting you to your original blueprint, your essence, your joy and your well being! ©Copyright Julieanne Case 2013

November 20, 2013
by Julieanne Case
15 Comments

Life Long Passion for Food Part 8: Avocado Tasting

Upon opening my box from Avocado Diva, I found two layers of avocados. You can see the box in the previous blog about avocados. Then I found a letter telling me what varieties were included and a description of each type. Also in the box was a little jewel called a finger lime, citrus caviar.

There was also a card that describes heritage avocados. On the flip side were three ways to ripen avocados since they do not ripen on the tree.

I had a wait about 3-4 days before I could eat any. My box included the following varieties: Reed and Lamb. She also included a couple of Walter Hole and a Gem avocado.

My first taste was the Walter Hole. They are very small and their skin is edible. I cut it in half, salted it and ate it whole. It was a strange experience for me to eat the skin. The interior was soft coupled with biting through the skin. I got a peppery taste which I’ve never experienced with an avocado. Even eating it without the skin,I still got the pepper flavor.

ReedWalterHole

Sliced Reed & Walter Hole with skin

Then I added some balsamic into the center and ate the other half. I enjoyed them both ways. For dinner that night, my husband cut a Reed into wedges and the last Walter Hole with the skin, placed them on lettuce leaves and put an Italian vinaigrette dressing on them. Both were delicious.

Eating it this way, I didn’t get the peppery taste from the Walter Hole that I got before. It really makes a difference if you experiment by trying the avocado with no vinegar or lemon. The natural state let me taste its flavors better because they are delicate.

ReedLamb

No browning after one hour – salted only

I had a special twitter wine tasting to attend where you taste 4-6 wines and tweet about them with people around the world. This was a #planetbordeaux tasting. I took a Reed and a Lamb avocado to pair with the wines.

I was stunned that the reed and the lamb never turned brown during the entire tasting and I had just salted the two, no citrus or vinegar. I wanted to taste them virgin, plus with wine – I didn’t want the vinegar or lemon conflict. The avocados actually went great with one harsh red and smoothed it out.

ReedCut

Reed – so creamy – Great skin container

The next day I ate 1/2 reed avocado in its skin, I used it as a bowl. What surprised me the most was how creamy it was. Of all the avocados, it’s so creamy. And it does not turn brown. I had 1/2 in the frig for 3 days with the seed and plastic wrap. It did not turn brown. I ate it with salt and balsamic vinegar and it was yummy and creamy still. The lamb avocado to me tastes like a refined Hass but they are larger than Hass. I wish I had a Hass for a side by side.

The skin on the Reed blew me away. It can be used as a bowl. It was harder to cut through than a Hass. It is strong enough to be a bowl from which to eat the avocado, like a flexible plastic. You could easily stuff the avocado with something too.

The gem got put on lettuce with dressing. I only had one so I felt I didn’t get a really good taste of it. I’ll get another sometime. It was bright, fresh and a bit more tooth to it than a Hass.

The lambs took the longest to ripen. It was lovely experience and I love the Avocado Diva’s attention to detail, her care and her packaging. Now I want a Reed avocado tree in my yard!

Julieanne Case came from a left brained world, having been a computer programmer who worked on the Apollo missions and, due to circumstances orchestrated by God/Source/Universe, joined the growing ranks of the right brained world starting in 2001. She became an energy healing practitioner in 2004 and has studied various techniques. She is a Reconnective Healing Practitioner, a Reconnective Artist, and a blogger. She assists you in reconnecting you to your original blueprint, your essence, your joy and your well being! ©Copyright Julieanne Case 2013

November 13, 2013
by Julieanne Case
26 Comments

You Are Enough Just As You Are!

Everyone needs to stop right now disapproving of the way they look, especially the young people of today. No, you don’t need to look like the models or the photos in the magazines or like the movie stars. Truth? Most of the movie stars don’t look like their own movie star image without the hair, the makeup or the clothes. Maybe a couple do. Just like there are a few common people who look pretty spectacular whether they wear makeup or not.

There was a video on the internet that shows how they make the models look better than they are. The photos we see don’t represent real people at times.

Why do I say this? I had a major ah ha moment the other day. I was scanning in faded pictures. Once I got some color back in and I looked at them closely, I saw myself as a young woman. I was stunned by what I saw. I saw a gorgeous looking woman who had a lovely figure. I had spent my entire youth and most of my adult hating my face, my body. I felt ugly and I felt fat. And no one, no one could convince me otherwise.

I know why I felt that way. It doesn’t matter now. I know it came from my family and I bought it. The words parents use with their children are so very important. I never believed anyone when they said I was pretty or beautiful. I distrusted their motives for saying it. I was not taught to appreciate who and what I was. I was taught I wasn’t good enough. I know my sister and my cousin who are in the picture with me felt the same way, too. My sister didn’t even believe that was her in the picture.

 

JulieCindyPenny73-b

Myself, my sister and my cousin

I have spent years overcoming that. I cried the other night for the time I hated who and what I was. I cried the other night for all the times I hated what I saw when I looked in the mirror. I cried the other night for not appreciating how beautiful I was back then. I cried the other night for things I couldn’t go back and change. And I let it go.

Know one thing. You are perfect just as you are. You don’t need to compare yourself with anyone. You don’t need to do anything to change how you look. You don’t need to compare yourself to what the TV shows, movie or the ad companies show as the epitome of beauty is. It’s all fake. We are all beautiful in our own unique way. There is no one you need to emulate.

The best thing you need to do is to be yourself, your glorious self. Be the best you that you can be! And no one can do you better than you. No one can bring to the world what you can bring to the world.

In what areas have you not accepted yourself?  What do you criticize about yourself?  Where can you learn to love and accept yourself ?

Julieanne Case came from a left brained world, having been a computer programmer who worked on the Apollo missions and, due to circumstances orchestrated by God/Source/Universe, joined the growing ranks of the right brained world starting in 2001. She became an energy healing practitioner in 2004 and has studied various techniques. She is a Reconnective Healing Pracitioner, a Reconnective Artist, and a blogger. She assists you in reconnecting you to your original blueprint, your essence, your joy and your well being! ©Copyright Julieanne Case 2013

October 31, 2013
by Julieanne Case
23 Comments

Being Sad and Feeling Sad: Is There a Difference?

Have you ever stopped to think about this? The difference between being sad and feeling sad? You may say there is no difference. But I believe you are wrong. What brought all this up? I see posts where people respond to something tragic with “I am sad” or “This makes me sad” and we accept that so easily.

Cool Ginger

Be the observer – stay cool!

We don’t stop to think of the word “being”. Being means “the nature or essence of a person” according to Wikipedia. The free on-line dictionary says it’s “The state or quality of having existence”.

Feeling is an emotion. The definition of feeling is “an emotional state or reaction”. Emotions normally only last 90 seconds unless we feed them to make them last longer. Have you ever been angry at someone and the more you think about it, the angrier you get?  You know what I’m talking about.

Words spoken or in thought are very powerful. If one accepts that situations cause us to “be sad”, “be angry”, be whatever, then it becomes a state of being. Yet if we just change those words to “I feel sad” or “that makes me feel sad”, it’s an entirely different thing. Because emotions don’t last long without being fed.

If we recognize this difference, we can be happy and still feel sad over a situation. What chance is there to be happy if we choose to be sad?

It’s a distinction I think worth exploring. Watch what you say or think. See what you automatically think.

Are you accepting uncomfortable feelings for a short-term or the long-term? How do you automatically react to sad or tragic events?

Julieanne Case came from a left brained world, having been a computer programmer who worked on the Apollo missions and, due to circumstances orchestrated by God/Source/Universe, joined the growing ranks of the right brained world starting in 2001. She became an energy healing practitioner in 2004 and has studied various techniques. She is a Reconnective Healing Pracitioner, a Reconnective Artist, and a blogger. She assists you in reconnecting you to your original blueprint, your essence, your joy and your well being! ©Copyright Julieanne Case 2013

October 25, 2013
by Julieanne Case
13 Comments

Life Long Passion for Food Part 8: Avocados

Taking a break from my food history and writing about avocados. Why you may ask? I got an amazing package in the mail from a woman, Brenda Cusick, who calls herself the Avocado Diva. And that she is. She can give you so much information on avocados. It’s amazing. I never knew there were so many varieties of avocados.

My knowledge of avocados is pretty basic. I probably first had them in a Mexican restaurant in the form of guacamole. I’m familiar with Fuertes (not a favorite) and Hass (favorite).  When we bought our house many decades ago, we acquired an avocado tree. Until we moved here and had a tree, I didn’t know that avocados have to be picked and put in paper bags to ripen. We kept waiting for them to ripen on the tree!

I heard about Brenda at the Ventura County Fair in the Agriculture Building from Kat Merrick of Totally Local VC but never got to meet the Avocado Diva. Totally Local VC promotes buying from and supporting our local community and our local farmers.  I saw some really large avocados and some really small ones. I didn’t get to sample any however. Kat told me that there is one avocado that you can eat with the skin, too.

AvocadoDiva1

Lamb avocados and one Gem (small black avocado)

Then there was an event at the Petty Ranch to taste and buy local figs where I got to taste new varieties of figs, too.  Brenda was there with her avocados and I finally met the Avocado Diva. I tasted some of her guacamole made from Gem avocados. Yes, a new type for me. Had never heard of it. Great avocado flavor. Nice texture and a bright green/yellow color.

We hooked up on Facebook, I received a box of her lovely avocados (picture is the bottom layer of the box)  and now I’m writing a blog about her avocados. I have experienced the various types she sent me in different ways.  Some with just salt, some with Italian dressing on them, some in a salad, some with wine.  The Lamb avocados can be large as you can see.

The avocado Diva will send a box of avocados along with something like spices or a “finger lime” which I got. It’s small and finger shaped. You cut it and squeeze the little round balls of citrus out. They are caviar like! Bright citrus flavor that goes well with the avocados.

You get a lovely newsletter that tells you about the various avocados you received. She describes them so you can tell one from another and sometimes includes a photo. She includes instructions on how to ripen them as well. The avocados are heritage avocados and are all purchased from small farms and ranches along the Central California Coast.

These could be great business holiday gifts or a gift for a friend, family  or even for yourself.

That’s the basics. Next blog will be about my experience with 4 different avocados: Walter Hole, Reed, Gem and Lamb. Yes, those are avocado varieties! Surprised me too.

What are your experiences with avocados? Do you like them? Did you, too, think they ripened on trees?

Julieanne Case came from a left brained world, having been a computer programmer who worked on the Apollo missions and, due to circumstances orchestrated by God/Source/Universe, joined the growing ranks of the right brained world starting in 2001. She became an energy healing practitioner in 2004 and has studied various techniques. She is a Reconnective Healing Pracitioner, a Reconnective Artist, and a blogger. She assists you in reconnecting you to your original blueprint, your essence, your joy and your well being! ©Copyright Julieanne Case 2013

October 20, 2013
by Julieanne Case
6 Comments

Life Long Passion for Food Part 7: Thanksgiving Stories Continued

I had written about something that went wrong in my last post. Now the getting away part.

After I had graduated college, I had moved to California. I got to visit here with my cousin at the age of 19 all summer and fell in love. I went back to finish school with the firm intent to move to California upon graduating.  Luckily for me, I had two job offers.

Some 17 or 18 years later I was married. My cousin had married into a large family whom I had lived with a few months while apartment hunting a few years earlier. I had wanted my cousin to come for Thanksgiving but with her came all the in-laws, too.

Thanksgiving1981

My table at Thanksgiving in 1981

I was having the clan over for Thanksgiving. In all, there would be 21 people. Our home couldn’t seat 21 at the dining room table but I had a table in the kitchen too. I created two beautiful tables and decided to buy two smaller turkeys, one for each table so each table had their own turkey.

It was easy to do because we have a professional two oven Wolf stove. I had most everything under control. I can’t remember why my sister’s in-laws had to stop by the house that day. They were picking up something to take to my sister’s in Ohio. When she saw that I had two turkeys, she was flabbergasted. She didn’t stop talking about this for years. She thought I was being over indulgent or something to that effect by having two turkeys. She never understood my reasoning of two smaller birds for one big bird. I rarely saw them so I chalked it up to weird people and moved forward with dinner.

This is where it got away from me. I forgot that my cousin’s mother-in-law did things  without thinking of consequences or notifications. She brought an unexpected guest! And I had no place to put him and that was my undoing!

We got him a place to eat. We must have found a chair and squeezed him in. However, back then I was not the person I am today. Anger was my first, middle and last name. I angered easily and held on to it a long time and everyone knew it. I was angry and upset and I let it ruin my holiday. Somehow, we got through it all.

However, we never again had 21 over for Thanksgiving. Nowadays, I simply don’t want to do all that work. We either make a dish and go to where we are invited. Or we simplify the meal and make us a holiday dinner at home.

Holidays don’t hold the same panache for me anymore. I think any day you can have dinner with your loved ones is just as important, if not more so, as the legal holidays. It used to mean the world to me until circumstances took it away from us. That’s when I learned that your perspective on how you view situations, holidays, traditions, etc can make you happy or miserable. I chose to be happy.

How about you? How do you feel if you must have a holiday dinner alone or with your loved one only? How do you feel about all the hype about gathering together to celebrate that is shouted from radio, tv, print and internet?

Julieanne Case came from a left brained world, having been a computer programmer who worked on the Apollo missions and, due to circumstances orchestrated by God/Source/Universe, joined the growing ranks of the right brained world starting in 2001. She became an energy healing practitioner in 2004 and has studied various techniques. She is a Reconnective Healing Pracitioner, a Reconnective Artist, and a blogger. She assists you in reconnecting you to your original blueprint, your essence, your joy and your well being! ©Copyright Julieanne Case 2013

October 19, 2013
by Julieanne Case
5 Comments

Life Long Passion for Food Part 7: Thanksgiving Stories

I had written about Thanksgiving but I couldn’t fit in a few stories. You know, the ones that went wrong or the ones that got away! First up is Went Wrong.

I was maybe 12 or so and Mom had gone to the store. She couldn’t find white raisins, also known as Golden raisins. This was very upsetting to her. Yet she couldn’t make the stuffing without raisins so she grabbed a box of raisins (so she thought!). She proceeded to make her stuffing , stuffed the capon and then did  all the other dishes.

currants

Mistaken substitute

We took the capon out and everything looked good. it looked a little darker but we didn’t think much about it. Then mom put it on the platter and she cut into it and then she gasped.

We were quite surprised to find it had changed colors! It looked almost black! It probably was a dark purple. That is when she discovered she had bought currants, not raisins! Now we understood why the color was so dark. We didn’t realize that currants would do that!

You didn’t throw food out in those days because of color changes! Mom took a bite and said it tasted pretty much the same. We looked at her doubtfully but we took a bite and learned it had some change in taste but basically the same. Except for the color! The gravy helped cover some of that up ! The stuffing was even darker! I have a vague memory of eating it with skeptical lips. You know what those are, right? The lip is curled up on one side?

My dad came for a visit that day and I made a plate of food for him. He didn’t skip a beat. He loved my mom’s cooking, just not my mom! Well, I didn’t really know other than my mom was furious with him. Dad was a very loving man. I was just happy he was there. He came over for a visit on holidays until he remarried.  Then that stopped. Years later I learned the truth and I understood.

It doesn’t really matter why. It all happened as it was meant to happen.  It was part of my journey and I’m grateful for all of it. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it were different.

We survived that Thanksgiving and that mistake never occurred again!

Did you ever have anything happen along these lines, mishaps that you remember? How did your Thanksgiving survive that?

Julieanne Case came from a left brained world, having been a computer programmer who worked on the Apollo missions and, due to circumstances orchestrated by God/Source/Universe, joined the growing ranks of the right brained world starting in 2001. She became an energy healing practitioner in 2004 and has studied various techniques. She is a Reconnective Healing Pracitioner, a Reconnective Artist, and a blogger. She assists you in reconnecting you to your original blueprint, your essence, your joy and your well being! ©Copyright Julieanne Case 2013

October 17, 2013
by Julieanne Case
4 Comments

Life Long Passion for Food Part 6: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was always celebrated, sometimes together with the aunts and their families, sometimes the uncles from out of state and their families would join us. Mostly it was just the sisters and sometimes we had Thanksgiving for just the three of us.

CaponInOhio

Ron getting his Capon dinner at my aunt’s house.

My mom was a very good cook. At our family Thanksgivings, we rarely had turkey. To this day, I’m not a huge fan of turkey, well, until recently, when I discovered Diestel Turkeys. But that’s another blog. What we had for almost every Thanksgiving and sometimes Christmas as well was fresh capon.

For those unfamiliar with capon, it’s a castrated rooster. We would order them fresh from the farmer. My mom liked them because they had a much larger breast which held a lot of stuffing. And they had smaller sizes for our smaller families. You could get 8-11 lb capons. Even when we had larger gatherings, they would just get two capons. We all just loved them for Thanksgiving.

Ron and I were scheduled to go back for Thanksgiving one year. We both got sick and had to postpone for two weeks. My aunt and mom had prepared two capons. They put them in the freezer and when we got there, they defrosted them and cooked them. I miss having capons. I have found them frozen only out here. I can’t believe I found a picture from that trip!

Mom made the best stuffing and I still make it. It’s very basic but one ingredient she added to the stuffing that just perks up the basic stuffing is white raisins! They have to be the golden raisins, not black. And the other thing she added was the turkey liver minced up very fine and cooked in butter along with the onions and the celery. It is really perfect stuffing as far as I’m concerned. People who hate liver would eat the stuffing and rave about it. Shhhh! Don’t tell.

Roast duck with apples and glace de viande

Roast duck with sauteed apples and glace de viande

I’ve tried other stuffings too. I have added roasted chestnuts to Mom’s recipe and I do like that but it makes for a much richer stuffing. We always did the mashed potatoes. Cranberry sauce was from the can and I didn’t like it. We did have gravy and pumpkin pie.

We preferred sweet potatoes to yams but I don’t remember having them at Thanksgiving. It’s not a strong memory. We did have sweet potatoes in the fall. We would bake them whole and open them up and put salt and butter on them. My one aunt would do the yams with brown sugar and marshmallows but I never liked them. They were too sweet for me.

I modified things for my Thanksgivings. I sometimes did turkey. I would sometimes just stuff a chicken if it was just a small gathering. When it was just Ron and I, I have done Duck a l’Orange or Duck with sauteed apples in glace de viande or a small prime rib or a rack of lamb. We did have a capon a few times, frozen, I know but it’s all I could get out here. And I make a great cranberry sauce with orange juice and ginger!

What is your favorite Thanksgiving food memory? Do you ever meander from the traditional?

Julieanne Case came from a left brained world, having been a computer programmer who worked on the Apollo missions and, due to circumstances orchestrated by God/Source/Universe, joined the growing ranks of the right brained world starting in 2001. She became an energy healing practitioner in 2004 and has studied various techniques. She is a Reconnective Healing Pracitioner, a Reconnective Artist, and a blogger. She assists you in reconnecting you to your original blueprint, your essence, your joy and your well being! ©Copyright Julieanne Case 2013

October 16, 2013
by Julieanne Case
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Life Long Passion for Food Part 5: Holiday Cooking

thumbprintcookies

Thumbprint cookies

Holidays always meant lots of cooking in our families. I say families because my mom had two sisters nearby and we often did joint dinners but not always.  Sometimes the out of state siblings came in as well. And Italians can be so noisy!

Christmas cookies were a must. Mom always made thumbprint cookies and sugar cookies and once again, I was begging her to teach me. I remember the first thing she let me do was put the thumbprint into the cookie where the jelly would be put. She made the thumbprint cookies with nuts. I would help with the Christmas cookies. One of my aunts made these Nut Crescent cookies and my other aunt or mom would make the ricotta cheese pie.

Of course, someone would make pizzelles. They always were done with the anise flavoring. They weren’t a favorite of mine until I moved to California and didn’t have them anymore. I bought a pizzelle pan and I found a recipe for Lemon Pizzelles and tried them. Mom and Aunt Louise loved them. Yeah!

After many years in California, I asked my aunt for her crescent cookie recipe. Having never seen her make them, I didn’t know how she did it. I guessed and I brought some back home one year for Christmas (along with my pizelles). My mom said I made them better than her sister and we could never tell her! Families!

Grandma would make gnocchi on some occasions. I would watch and Grandma would try to teach me how to roll the cavatilles (gnocchis) on the back of the fork to get that special design on it. I just couldn’t get it then but years later I did learn it. The thing about cavatilles, they tasted so good when you were eating them, then after a couple of hours your stomach felt like lead! You see when Grandma made gnocchis, it was just one of several courses. There was soup, the pasta course, then roasted meats, chicken, salad and potatoes followed by dessert!

Bread was also made. My favorite was at Easter time. It was braided and had hard boiled eggs woven into the top of the bread. Only once have I found a recipe that was like what they made. I’m still searching.  It is a slightly sweet bread.

Years after my sister and I had grown up, we were talking to mom about Christmas and then mom mentioned she hated milk! We always put cookies and milk out for Santa. I asked if she just put the milk back into the frig once we went to bed. She said “No, I drank it”. I asked her why if she hated it. She said “Because you kids put it out for Santa so I had to drink it”. The cookies didn’t pose that problem for her!

Mom was a tough cookie. She didn’t like to show her feelings except from afar or when we were really little. She loved to curl our hair and put ribbons in them, too. As we grew older, she got more reticent in displaying affection. But she would do things that no one knew about. I wonder what else she may have done that we never knew about.

What was holiday cooking like in your family?  Did you have certain things that were always done? Or was cooking a non event in your family? 
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