A steaming bowl of fish chowder, a thick slice of homemade bread slathered with good butter, and a big spoon. That’s all I need to make a meal that leaves me wanting more even after I’m stuffed to the gills (you see what I did there?). Chowder isn’t just for seafood. You can use fresh water fish, and it’s especially good if you’re using fish you’ve just caught while ice fishing. I stick with white fish and skip any that are oily. If you’d prefer to use ocean fish I suggest haddock, cod or pollock. Good fresh-water choices are cusk, yellow and white perch, and bass.
Our “kids” are grown so Christmas morning is quiet at our house. This year Steve is working “weekend duty” at work so he’ll be out to morning meeting and make sure everything’s alright. While he’s gone I’ll make our breakfast. We traditionally have a hot breakfast, not too big, that holds us over until we have dinner in the early afternoon. This year I’m making a favorite, sausage and cheese breakfast frittata. I’ll give you a couple of ideas to make this a brunch frittata or even a breakfast-for-supper fritta, too.
It’s easy to change up the breakfast frittata. Add a teaspoon of red pepper flakes for a bit of heat. Fresh or granulated garlic changes the flavor slightly. When using fresh mushrooms, saute them first to remove excess moisture. Add leftover vegetables such as asparagus (there’s never leftover asparagus at my house) or broccoli.
For a buffet, remove the breakfast frittata from the oven in time to let it cool for five to ten minutes, then slice. Or, serve it cold. This dish travels well for potlucks because it can be served hot or cold. I’ve learned that when served cold, guests are more likely to add this to their plates if the pieces are small. Instead of cutting the frittata into eight pieces, try 12 or even 16.
Growing up, Christmas was about food, visiting family, food, presents, food, and food. Mum spent days baking and making candy. The dining room table, so big it seated eight easily and ten if we squeezed together, was covered with sugary treats. I carried that tradition on for decades. Now, with a waistline I have to keep a very close eye on and only two of us in the house, I seldom bake sweets. Or…I did until I realized I can bake, have a few cookies or whatever it is I’ve created, and send the rest to work with Steve. Winning! Eggnog Cookies have been on my “I’m going to make that next year” list for a long time. I finally made them this week and now I’m kicking myself for waiting for so long.
The eggnog cookies recipe I started with came from Pinterest. Looking at the ingredients and amounts, I knew I wasn’t going to love the cookies. I made adjustments twice and came up with a recipe so good I can’t stay out of the cookie jar. I packed them up and sent them to work with Steve this morning.
Mincemeat cookies? Really? ohh…no, thanks. I don’t really like mincemeat. “You’ll like these,” Erin Merrill said as she nudged the plate across the table a few inches. I resisted for a while. Erin looked from me to the cookies and back again several times, nudging them now and then. “They’re gooood.” Erin’s convincing, and as mom to my favorite little guy, she’s kind of hard to resist. She was right. These cookies are fantastic. There isn’t a lot of mincemeat in this filled cookie so it’s a great recipe for someone who thinks they don’t like mincemeat cookies, or isn’t crazy about mincemeat but doesn’t hate it, to enjoy the cookies. The cookie recipe is Erin’s. The mincemeat recipe is my Mum’s.
Mincemeat was made back in the day when refrigeration wasn’t as easy as opening a door on an appliance. Spices were used as a preservative. Mum used basic measurements. The main ingredients are in pounds, the spices in tablespoons. If you want to use a bowl for the measuring container use the same bowl, and adjust the spices to suit the amount of main ingredients.
I store these cookies in the refrigerator because they’re filling so the batch lasts a while. I like to either warm them in the microwave for 10 seconds or leave them on the counter until the reach room temperature.
and a strong cup of coffee
Erin writes a blog called …and a strong cup of coffee. What’s it like to hunt from a woman’s point of view? She shares her experiences from learning with her dad to now hunting with Dad and her husband. Erin recommended me for the spot as co-host of On The Fire, and she’s a great friend, outdoorswoman, and financial supporter of this blog. And seriously, she makes excellent mincemeat cookies.
I use the recipe for soft pumpkin cookies for Pumpkin Whoopie Pies, and then use a cream cheese frosting recipe to make the filling for the pies. This filling recipe is very, very sweet. You might want to use almond extract instead of vanilla (did you know that lessens sweet taste?) and eight cups of powered sugar instead of nine. It’s not a huge difference but it does help.
Gundy has a great suggestion. Make these for Halloween and double the batch. Freeze leftover whoopie pies for Thanksgiving, and eat frozen. I’m doing it!
And another suggestion – replace the milk in the filling with Bailey’s Irish Cream and make sure the kids don’t get into the adult batch of whoopie pies.