Sometimes I just wonder how I come across. Was that explanation necessary to all? To some? What must people think of me? These are things you generally have to get over if you're going to have a blog. And I suppose, if you're going to be a pastor's wife, you have to be quite comfortable with people assuming the worst about you. On the other hand, not everyone will. But most people will tell you that there is always someone who is not happy with the pastor. Or that is what they try to prepare you for anyway, so you will have thicker skin. I have to confess that I have very thin skin. Or didn't you notice? And perhaps I should get over the desire to want to make everyone understand me and my motives so that they will be less apt to think the things that will hurt my feelings. My friend Rebekah has said it best, "Abby, you just always want everyone to be so nice!" It is more than that though. I also want us to all be honest. You can be nice, you know, without really meaning it. And so, given the choice between having someone confront me, even in an insensitive and hurtful way, or having someone be very nice to me, all the while assuming the worst about me and spreading gossip around about their suspicions and frustrations, I would much rather the confrontation. Ideally though, people recognize who other people are and what they are about, so they won't need an explanation for a person's every action; and even in the case of a person's sin or shortcoming, can confront in a loving and sensitive way.
What am I talking about? So many things. Someday, I will write my autobiography and this will all be very clear. Of course, I need to do something interesting first so that people will have a reason to read. No worries, I am certain that I was intended for greatness. Well, no, I am certain of no such thing. But I am confident that I am intended for something. And for this moment, I believe it is to share a recipe.
It is time for fall, and for all things apple, pumpkin, and cozy. If you search "pumpkin recipe" and "brownie recipe" you will find some of my favorite fall recipes that I have posted for y'all in years past. I have a real shortage of apple recipes though, partly because we eat them too fast and they are far too good that way to mess with them by cooking them, and partly because they are kind of expensive. Anyway, there is one way I cook them fairly often, the old Southern way to mess with them, fried apples. Mmm boy! I don't have to tell most of you how to make these, but for any curious non-Southerners, here it goes. You just chop you up some granny smith apples (lots because they really reduce when they cook), throw them, with the peels on, into a nice amount of butter melted in your cast iron skillet, and fry them up on medium low heat. I always put a lid on them so they get softer, quicker, and you'll want to move them around every now and then so they don't brown too much on one side or another. After a while, they will be real easy to smoosh up. Basically, you're going to end up with a hot applesauce that is way better than any applesauce you have ever tasted. That's why we don't even call it applesauce; it's in a league of its own. Put enough sugar in to sweeten to your liking, but wait until the end or it will caramelize and burn. Oh my goodness! I am going to be fixin' us some this week!
We are having a contest at our church fall festival for the best apple dessert. I can't decide if I want to jump in there and compete or just taste and learn. I may have a look-see at a few of the cooking magazines I didn't pack in storage, but I confess to not having an old standby when it comes to apple desserts. I have been known to make a nice apple pie, but nothing award winning. Chili on the other hand, I might could win with. Every year I contemplate entering the contest and I never do. My problem is that I'm not much of a chili connoisseur, so I really have no way of knowing if mine is really that good. I have tried other recipes and have never found one I like so well, so that is something, I guess. Anyway, win or lose, I will post the recipe after the contest. The festival is next weekend. In the meantime, one more recipe bears sharing, even though it has actually been put in an old church cookbook from when we put one together at our church in Birmingham. Many years later though, I have changed it a little, and most of you wouldn't have access to that cookbook anyway. My problem here is that I am no good with quantities. However much you want to make, make. How 'bout that? Seriously, I am totally making up amounts and cook times, so if you are a details person, sorry!
any combination of russet, red, or gold potatoes, peels on, baked and chopped, scooped, or smooshed into bite sized pieces
carrots, peeled and chopped
onion, peeled and chopped
3 cans chicken broth
1 1/2 c. cream (oh yeah!)
1 tsp. dried basil (more, if using fresh, which I do often)
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
This was originally a crockpot recipe, so if you choose, you could chop all the veggies raw and cook them in chicken broth for around 8 hours. I have no presence of mind at nine in the morning to do this, so I have revised the recipe to work for my "it's three o'clock, what will we eat for dinner tonight?" approach to meal prep. If you choose to crock pot it up, just add the basil and cream about thirty minutes before time to serve.
Here's what I do:
saute carrots and onion in butter for several minutes to soften
place cooked veggies (including taters) in a pot with chicken broth and bring to a boil. turn heat down and let simmer for a few minutes while I do other stuff- run out to the garden for basil, grate cheese, answer the phone, swap out laundry, whatever. add basil sometime during the simmer. then, like five minutes before serving, add the cream. it's sort of one of those things that can simmer for a while, or for just a few minutes, depending on how well baked your potatoes are. the starch in the potatoes thickens it up pretty nicely, I think. George's mom used an immersion blender to break it up and thicken it some when I made it the other day because we were on like a ten minute simmering schedule. the original recipe called for fat free half and half and flour as a thickening agent. but, while I almost always have cream in the fridge, I never have half and half, and I figured I could cut the calories from the flour because of all the ones I was adding with the cream. and of course, you gotta top it with some fresh grated cheddar.