Sandi is blogging from the WhistleStop Cafe kitchen. It's all about good home cooking; food, family and fun. Thousands of posts . . .

~In the south and around the world.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

Now that spring is here, I am eager to get my herbs planted.
Until then, I have to be content going to the store and buying them by the bunch. It is not the same as trimming off branches from my own plant, but I'm glad to be able to get fresh. There is no substitute for the fresh rosemary in this recipe.
A large sweet onion is perfect for these roasted potatoes~ from Georgia or Texas...your choice!

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes
6-7 yellow potatoes
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic
several branches fresh rosemary
fresh ground salt & pepper
3-4 Tbs olive oil
Pre-heat oven to 400°
Clean and slice potatoes in to wedges, leaving the skins on. Soak in a bowl of salted water while getting everything together. On a heavy baking sheet, spread potatoes, minced garlic, and onion slices. Cut the leaves off of the rosemary- I use scissors. Cover generously with rosemary leaves, salt & pepper. Pour olive oil over the potatoes. Bake for 15 minutes, carefully turn with a spatula. Return to the oven and bake until potatoes are tender, another 15-20 minutes.

This is our favorite quick and easy potato recipe. It is perfect with whatever y'all plan to be grillin tonight.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Yellow Snow

What is Yellow and covers the south like a blanket of snow?


This time of year, when everything is starting to bloom, Alabama is undoubtedly the most beautiful state in the country. That is... if you can look past the pollen that covers everything. Blue cars look green, sheets on the clothes line take on a golden hue, and water in the bird bath looks like lemonade.

Car salesmen hate it for the mess it makes on the car lot~ this is after one day!
Car wash businesses are busy with over achievers who think they can beat the pollen season. I just plan to wait until we get some rain to wash off my car. Then I'll put the top back and dust the inside as well.

The weathermen are predicting rain this weekend...until then I'll just keep the windows rolled up and the air conditioner on bi-level. Rain Rain come today~ go away another day!

Y'all want to join me?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

French Toast

It is a beautiful spring day in Alabama.

What a better way to start a Sunday morning than with a cup of coffee and some french toast? Well, some fresh strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream will definitely put a smile on your face.

French Toast
sourdough bread
1/2 cup milk
4 eggs
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla

Whip the eggs and milk, add spices. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish. Slice the bread into 1 inch slices and place in the egg mixture. After several minutes, carefully turn the bread. Allow to soak until most of the moisture is gone. Heat a griddle or skillet with a little cooking spray. Cook toast until golden brown, turning once.
Top with butter & syrup, fresh berries & whipped cream, or that yummy peanut butter that I picked up in Amish country.

While you are at it, make a few extra pieces for a quick breakfast later in the week. Monday through Friday are grab it and go days. Sunday should be about enjoying the morning, a news paper, and a good cup of coffee. Of course with a breakfast like this an hour in the gym is not a bad idea!
Y'all enjoy!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Butternut Squash

I have always thought of butternut squash soup as a 'fall' time meal. The large squashes are scarce in Alabama. Now it is easy to get butternut squash year round. In fact I even found it at Whole Foods already peeled and cubed~ the work is done for you!

Butternut Squash Soup
2 cups cubed butternut squash
1 onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 hand full fresh basil, chopped
5 cups chicken broth
a pinch of nutmeg
2 cups cream
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

In a large pan, combine all ingredients (except cream) and cook until squash is tender. Allow to cool. Pour into a blender and mix until smooth. Pour thickened mixture back into the soup pan. Add 2 cups cream. Slowly heat. Serve with a garnish of fresh basil and a dollop of sour cream if desired.
It may be officially spring...but a yummy bowl of butternut squash soup will warm you after sitting out at softball practice. In another month we will be hollering about how hot it is~ and about the pitching!
Y'all enjoy!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Ginger Asparagus

We are coming up on asparagus season; April in most areas. Although now, it is grown year round and fresh green asparagus can be found almost any time at the market. This is a quick and oh so easy way to prepare asparagus. Even the kids will love it.
Fresh Asparagus with Ginger Marinade
1 bunch green asparagus
1/2 cup Paul Newman Ginger Dressing
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
Wash and trim the ends off of fresh asparagus. If the stalks are thick (thicker than a pencil) scrape off the tougher outside part.
Marinate the stalks in the ginger dressing for 20-30 minutes in the fridge. Heat the oil in a skillet, add the asparagus and cook until tender. The stalks will still be a pretty bright green and slightly crunchy.

The traditional platter of asparagus with hollandaise sauce is yummy, but high in fat. (Yes, even at WhistleStop we have to count calories!) I do love white spargel with hollandischer sauce~ a very traditional german way of eating asparagus.
This is a very light and tasty compliment to most dinners. If you have never liked asparagus, or have eaten it canned rather than fresh... give this a try.
Y'all will love it!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Cabbage-southern style

I know for St Patrick's Day most people had corned beef and cabbage... but we really prefer ham with ours. The WhistleStop Cafe would serve cabbage on fridays with sweet potatoes and ham, or fried catfish. We like to spice our cabbage up with a little pepper sauce and of course a big chunk of cornbread!
Here is our old recipe for cooked cabbage, straight from Fannie Flagg's cookbook.
Cabbage- Southern Style
1 lg head cabbage
1 oz thinly sliced salt pork
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
1 onion thinly sliced
Peel off the outer leaves and cut up. Cut out core using a sharp knife and discard. Cut remaining cabbage into quarters, then cut each quarter in half. Wash cabbage and drain.
Saute salt pork in oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium high heat until lightly browned. Add 1 quart water and salt, bring to a boil.
Add cabbage wedges and cut up leaves and onion. Cover, reduce heat, simmer 15 -20 minutes, or until tender.

Since you are probably asking 'where do I find salt pork?' I will admit that I usually use a few slices of bacon. It is just as yummy!

Now I will make this short and sweet~ because the HGTV Dream Truck will be driving up at any minute!
See y'all on the TV,

Friday, March 16, 2007

Centerpiece of the Month~ March

Time again for the new centerpiece of the month. Did you see the tabletop inspiration for February? Janelle at Talk of Tomatoes has done a great job of putting the centerpieces together.

Sher looked for a whisper of spring over her oatmeal in 'Whats for Dinner?'. Whaleshaman looked to the garden for some winter flowers to go with her Jelly Pizza. Doodles set her table with peanut butter etoufee and a plate of truffles~ talk about a centerpiece that doesn't last long! The wine makers wife also used truffles and tulips for her Valentine's decor. I found some spring time tulips to fill our table... the strawberries were a nice Valentine touch with a little champagne.

For the month of March, I felt like I needed to celebrate St Patrick's Day. What better than a pot of shamrocks, with napkins in a tartan plaid.

I can't wait to see what everyone else comes up with...This is an open invitation! If you have a clever centerpiece, send it on to Janelle. She works the magic.

Thanks Janelle!


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

WhistleStop Food Show

One of the best parts of owning a small family business is being involved in every aspect of the business. When it comes time for marketing~ Bill and I are also the marketing department.

We recently had the chance to go to a food show... in Wilmont Ohio! Troyer's is a great company that offers everything from Amish cheeses, to canned goods and cookbooks. They are going to help us get WhistleStop products to more local markets~ maybe even in your hometown.

If you have ever been to Amish country you know what a beautiful part of the country it is. The endless rolling hills and farm land. Everything moves at a different pace; the clip clop of a buggy, friendly folks, and the smell of fresh baked bread. We stayed at TheAmishDoorInn, an awesome inn with all the modern conveniences and an old homey feel.

It was so nice of the weather man to order up some snow just for us southerners. We were thrilled! The locals weren't quite as excited... but with the bright sunshine it melted away quickly.

The excitement of the trip had only just begun... because we were already so far north, we decided to make a detour. By way of Boston! 16 states in a rental car. $18 in road tolls. One wrong turn in the Bronx. Oprah and Gail would have been proud! This is one time we don't want Bill blogging~ his version of this road trip is not quite as fun as mine. It would be much more colorful... Ya think?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Spicy Sweet Potatoes

When I hear sweet potatoes, I think 'sweet' potatoes. Baked in the jacket with cinnamon and butter on top, or in a sweet potato pie, or a souffle with a little brown sugar crumble. Only in the south would a vegetable be turned into a dessert!

This is an easy side dish where the sweet potatoes are made with cumin and red pepper flakes... It is a twist on our traditional sweet potato recipe. The cumin adds a unique flavor. The red pepper flakes kick up the spice... more or less. Just like you like it!

Spicy Sweet Potatoes
2 medium sized potatoes

1/2 cup sliced onion
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs butter
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less)

Salt & pepper to taste

Clean potato skins well. Cut potato in half and half again lengthwise. Slice into 1/2 inch chunks. In a large skillet, saute onion in olive oil at a high heat. Add potatoes and brown quickly. Reduce heat and stir in spices and butter. Cover and allow to cook until potatoes are tender about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Y'all give it a try!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Tummy Fillin Food

If I have learned anything in traveling around the country. Good home cooking, is the same no matter where you live. Families like quick and easy, tummy filling foods.

In the south there are some things that always need to be in the pantry. Karen-Baking Soda At Bake My Day had us all show our pantries in Take a Peak. If you were to peak around in my pantry you would always find a few cans of cream of mushroom soup, mayonnaise, rice, and some crackers...the basics for a good meal.

There are endless things that you can make with these ingredients. This is a family favorite a chicken curry casserole. Serve it with a big salad and some hot bread. Nothing fancy...Just good home cookin!
Curried Chicken & Rice Casserole
1 6oz pkg long grain and wild rice
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped broccoli
2Tbs butter
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c sour cream
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 tsp curry powder
2 cups cubed cooked chicken or turkey
Preheat oven to 350.
Cook rice according to directions. Saute onion and celery in the butter until tender. combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Turn into a 2 qt casserole or 12x7 buttered baking dish. Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes.
Y'all enjoy!

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