Sunday, October 18, 2009

In Mom's kitchen you could relax and just be yourself.  There was never any judgment made about anyone or anything.  Everyone was welcome to just come on in, sit and of course, have that always ready cup of tea. 
Believe it or not - my Mom's kitchen had everyone from hobos and trappers to celebrities and politicians come for tea and all were more than welcome.  As she would have said - they are all people just the same as we are.  People still remember and comment about the warmth and love in my mom's kitchen.

When I think about warmth and comfort the next thought is food.  One of my all time favorite meals is spaghetti with meat sauce.   We did not get it very often so perhaps that is why we considered it a special treat. 

I make my own sauce but I  use canned sauce and tomatoes.  It depends on what I have in the cupboard as to what goes into the sauce.  The base is a bottle of spaghetti sauce and a can of whole tomatoes.  I cut the tomatoes into chunks.  The rest could be all or some of the following ingredients.  Sliced or whole small mushrooms, green, red or whatever color bell peppers, onions (dried or fresh), fresh leeks (small wild ones), garlic (cloves or powder), chili peppers, hot sauce, carrot slices (precooked).  I throw it all in a pot and let it simmer until it looks thick enough to be spaghetti sauce - Each time is different and each time I have enough sauce to put several containers in the freezer for another day.  

As for the pasta - I will either use dried pasta or the fresh pasta you can buy in the deli. Sometimes I use the vegetable pasta, whole wheat pasta.  There are so many types to try out.   I find that other than cooking times pastas are all good and easy to prepare.  Some people prefer it al dente and some prefer it cooked all the way through. 

Because it is such a versatile meal - you can pour the sauce over the pasta or mix it in.  Some like to put parmesan cheese on top. 

Whatever way you like it - it is easy to make and fun to eat. 

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A family favorite - Syrupy Butter Tarts

One of the most popular things in my Mom's kitchen and in her home bakeshop was butter tarts the real drippy kind.  Customers would pack up even the day old ones and the frozen ones to take home with them.  Dozens and dozens of them.  Whatever was there didn't last long.  I use that same recipe for all the holiday festivities in my own kitchen now.  Everyone gets very upset if I don't make any and have started to come to my house early to bake them themselves.  They never last until the big dinner but we have fun making and eating them anyway. 

Syrupy Butter Tarts

1 cup raisins (soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes then drained)
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup of brown sugar
1 well beaten egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix well until foamy and pour into prepared unbaked pastry shells and bake at 350°F until golden brown.
Approximately 10 minutes depending on your stove.
Remove from tart tins before they cool too much, but be careful - they are still very hot on the inside.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thanksgiving weekend in Canada

What a lot of things we have to be thankful for.  All in all - we have had so many memorable moments with family and friends and giving thanks for whatever we had was easy to do.  I don't recall ever having a turkey dinner when I was growing up but we always had lots of chickens and pork.  New potatoes, squash, and carrots smothered in gravy and homemade pumpkin pie with real whipped cream for dessert.  I often wondered how my parents ever managed with 4 children but as time went on - those children brought more children to the dinner table and eventually - well, you know what I mean.  As the family grew so did their garden and there was always lots of good food to eat.  My mother, bless her, always cooked everything by herself and never wanted any help.  Now I find I am that mother, grandmother and great grandmother doing exactly the same thing and I am truly thankful for all of it. 

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Chilly? Chili!!!

There are so many different recipes for chili - I remember that my father was the one that actually made the chili at our house. Most of the ingredients were home grown and much different than what most other people make.  With the cooler weather here I thought this might be a good time to try one of my friends recipes. Randy loves to cook and has done some short videos that are great and interesting.  If you would like to try his chili, just click on the link below.  Enjoy!!