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Friday, December 11, 2009

Warm memories

Panini Roast Turkey Stuffed Panini - all homemade, with cranberry sauce, sausage dressing, and gravy.
The Sicilian Panino - turkey, pepperoni, provolone and a sauce made with pickled Italian vegetables.

Gypsy Soup -- a sweet potato stew with lots of veggies and north african spicing (not spicy). (vegan)

Borscht (vegetarian)

Nothing evokes comfort food cravings and memories like the bitter cold blast of winter. I suppose folks from more temperate climates have more subtle triggers, but for me the fourth of July is potato salad and country ham biscuits; falling leaves mean apple butter and pumpkins; winter is bean soup, macaroni and cheese and gravy (on anything - biscuits, potatoes, rice, toast....); and Christmas is brandy-soaked fruit cake and sparking Christmas cookies made with fresh lemon zest.

A hearty cassoulet with crusty bread, a snifter of nice cognac, a fondue or racqlette with friends - all these I would share with you today (preferably by a fireplace), but the food memories that touch my primordial foodie brain are not so swanky. So on this frigid December day I share with you recipes from my childhood. In the left-hand cabinet behind the kitchen table, Granny Duff kept a Tupperware® container of each of these mixes. Go to the store and get the stuff together soon. On the next snow day stop by the cafe for a hearty breakfast of oatmeal with granola, hit Wyman Park for some sledding then go home to dry off and warm up with some Russian Tea and Hot Chocolate (maybe stir some of the hot chocolate mix into a mug of coffee oe heck, splash some cheap brandy in the Russian Tea!).

Russian Tea
3 c. instant tea
3 c. Tang
1 1/2 c. pre-sweetened lemonade
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. cloves
3 tsp. cinnamon

Mix all ingredients well and store in an airtight container. Stir 2 teaspoons of mix into one cup of hot water. A stand mug will take a heaping tablespoon. Note: all of the powdered drinks are available sugar-free and the sugar may be replace with Splenda®.

Hot Chocolate
2 lb Nestle Quick
8 qt box powdered milk
1/2 c. powdered sugar
6 oz Cremora

Mix all ingredients (I like to sift these together) and store in an airtight container. Combine 3-4 tablespoons of mix and hot water in a mug. This also makes cold chocolate milk, just add cold water or milk and stir well.