Ruth Is Right

Sharwoods Curry with yogurt

A friend’s cool, dark basement was a welcome place to spend a sultry summer evening. After watching some of a recording of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’s New Year’s celebration, our host popped in the dvd I had brought along. The Lunchbox came out in 2013, but I’d never heard of it. If you have an interest in foreign places and/or enjoy food for more than just nourishment, you might like the movie.

The story was set in India so now, naturally, we are craving curries, paneer, and chapati.  Since the last two recipes from Ruth Reichl’s book, Tender at the Bone, have recently provided success in our kitchen, I thought I would see what she has to say about Indian food. At the end of one of Gourmet‘s foodie travel videos, Reichl gives instruction for a simple tandoori-style entree that you can make at home.

Rather than insisting you purchase a zillion spices to create an imitation of the complex flavors of an Indian restaurant, she claims that the bottled sauces at your grocery store will be sufficient. Besides a bottle of Vindaloo sauce, you need yogurt, cilantro, and mint to season your chicken.  You should let the skinless chicken marinade for at least 40 minutes.

The cooking method almost convinced me to set the recipe aside. Summer temperatures in July do not encourage one to use the oven, much less an oven set to 500*F.  However, after a torrential downpour last night, the outside temperatures have dropped to near 70* F. Because I was still afraid of setting off the smoke alarm,  I didn’t leave the chicken in long enough for it to get the prescribed char.

I’ve got to work on the Basmati rice. But, alongside the curried vegetables, and the slices of raw tomato and avocado, the false-tandoori chicken was satisfying.


Categories: Chicken, Entertainment, Food and drink, Herbs and Spices, Rice, sauces & condiments | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Now & Then

Cake table

As a profession, I don’t think I could handle being a chef or caterer. However, I enjoy planning and preparing get-togethers when the opportunity comes.

A few days ago we drove about 45 minutes north of Columbus to a campground to help my in-laws celebrate their 40th anniversary.  My mother-in-law and I planned the basic menu on Wednesday before heading to the store for groceries. We filled a station wagon and drove up to Peniel on Thursday morning.  The men were happy to drive to Walmart to get anything we were missing (as well as a few extras: 3 lb box of chocolates discounted after Christmas…) after we had unloaded and seen what we had to work with in the camp kitchen.

We left Friday night up to my brother-in-law, and he served us chicken and beef burritos along with chips and salsa.

We left Friday night up to my brother-in-law, and he served us chicken and beef burritos along with chips and salsa.

For breakfasts we took 3 boxes of cereal, 3 boxes of muffin mix, a box of Bisquick, a jar each of peanut butter, jelly, and honey, a dozen English muffins, and 3 dozen eggs.

Soup, sandwiches, salad, chips and cheese puffs were planned for lunches.

Ham & cheesey au gratin potatoes for one dinner and spaghetti with meat sauce for another.


We also had a lot of donated candies and goodies from other family Christmas celebrations.

Bananas, apples and ez-peel clementines were good to have on hand.



The beverage menu included milk,  juices (the kids surprised us by preferring the cranberry over orange), apple cider, coffee and hot cocoa.

Friends were invited to join the family for a reception Saturday afternoon.  Unfortunately, they weren’t asked to RSVP, so we had only a vague idea of how many to expect.  When my sister-in-law, her husband, son and I hopped into their truck and drove through the slightly hilly Ohio countryside to find a Sam’s club, we decided to plan on 50 guests.

Ontario, Ohio has all the stores and restaurants you could ask for.  We only took time to stop at 4 of them ( disc sleds were on our list for the kids’ entertainment as well as food for the party).  When the internet instructions didn’t direct us to the physical location of Sam’s club, we got good old fashioned advice from a human being at Lowe’s.

After stopping for a sample of fudge near the front door, we headed to the bakery section to choose a cake.  Next, we started to look for party trays of croissant sandwiches. The sample ladies gave us plates of treats, but discouraged us with the idea that this store probably didn’t carry the exact thing we were looking for. They were right, so we had to think what would be a good substitute.  At first, we considered putting together our own croissant tray, but eventually agreed to buy boxes of frozen treats: meatballs, pigs-in-a-blanket, mini egg rolls and tortilla spirals.

Since we weren't expecting a huge group, we went to Walmart for ingredients for a simple punch: Mango-Passion Fruit juice, gingerale and orange juice. beverage tableHot chocolate, tea and decaf were also on the table.

Since we weren’t expecting a huge group, we went to Walmart for ingredients for a simple punch: Mango-Passion Fruit juice, gingerale and orange juice. Hot chocolate, tea and decaf were also on the table.

cold stuff table

The layout was pretty simple. We raided the kitchen storerooms for nicer plates and trays.

Scarfs given the day before as Christmas gifts to the ladies in the family served as table cloths.

hot food table

The grandchildren contributed homemade chocolate chip cookies and a gingerbread house.

slideshowThe turnout? Fewer than what we would have liked, but sufficient. The holiday date and rural location, as well as a substantial snowfall didn’t make it easy for friends to come. It did give the guests more time for personal conversation with the hosts.

Leftovers? Of course. But nothing much that couldn’t be used for the following day’s menu.

Categories: Entertainment, Food and drink, Shopping, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tea With Jam and Bread

Every country has their own customs related to drinking tea. Not only do the questions differ in regards to what (or what not) to add: cream? milk? sugar? honey & lemon?   but also in whether to enjoy your cup of tea with or without something to eat.  Personally, I am in favor of  ” a little something on the side”, if not a full-blown tea party.

Here are a few recipes from the get together we had this weekend.They are taken from The Little Black Book of Tea that my parents mailed to Joel several weeks (months?) ago.

Cream Scones

2 c all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preaheat oven to 400* F.  Grease a cookie sheet.
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture has the texture of coarse meal.  Add the liquid ingredients and stir until well blended. Place the dough on a lightly floured counter and knead for about one minute. Roll it out to a thickness of about 3/4-inch and cut into desired shape. Bake the scones for 8 to 10 minutes.  When somewhat cool, split the scone and spread with clotted cream and marmalade.

Almost Clotted Cream

6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup light sour cream
2 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Beat the cream cheese until fluffy, then fold in the sour cram and powdered sugar.






Chicken and Apple Salad Sandwiches

2 c baked chicken, chopped fine
1 stalk celery, minced
1/2 cup granny smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped fine
1/4 cup raisins, chopped
6 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper to taste
White bread


Avocado-Egg Salad Sandwiches

1 1/2 cups chopped avocado (Hass)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
White bread

Categories: Bread, Desserts, Entertainment, Food and drink, Sandwiches | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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