Monthly Archives: November 2006

Busy Bee

I’ve been quite the busy bee today – got tons done already (tore up the bread for the stuffing and pineapple souffle, made the squash pie, the blueberry pie, and the crust for the tart, cooked the sweet potatoes, chopped veggies left and right), but still have tons to do tonight so I’m not running around in chaos tomorrow (the deal is, hubby cleans tonight and I cook. And we’re having BW3’s for dinner – I can’t cook *and* cook at the same time, if you know what I mean).

We added a couple of things to the menu – a sausage, apple, and chestnut stuffing, plus greens w/ ham hocks (because it would be a shame to let them go to waste!).

Here’s what I have left to do tonight before I go to sleep:

  • chop onions, carrots, celery
  • make brine for turkey and start the turkey soaking in it
  • assemble sweet potato casserole (half done, just need to peel and slice the potatoes and make the topping)
  • tear up the *other* stuffing bread
  • finish making the nut tart
  • slice squash and apples for autumn casserole, and assemble it
  • make cranberry sauce
  • prep pineapple gratin for baking
  • toast bread cubes for PA dutch stuffing
  • prep green bean casserole (minus the fried onions)
  • prep the sausage, chestnut, and apple stuffing

Tomorrow morning I need to:

  • Make the bird stuffing (I’ll already have the veggies pre-chopped, will just need to add the melted butter and broth and spices)
  • Rinse bird, and stuff with the bird stuffing, slather with butter and herbs and put it in the oven to roast
  • Make mashed potatoes and saute veggies to start PA dutch stuffing
  • Chop turnips and potatoes for mashed potatoes
  • Take out cheese to bring to room temperature

So many other things I know I’m forgetting, I’ll have sit down in a little while and revise the list if I forgot anything. It’s *so* much work putting this dinner together, but well worth it to feed everyone I love. 🙂

Back to the grind…

Thanksgiving CSA Box

We just picked up the turkey, along with the Thanksgiving CSA box. This is what we got, along with a dozen eggs:

It looks like the beginnings of a fine meal, indeed…

In the pic: hearty greens (kale & mustard), salad greens, parsley, potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic, onions, chemical free apples, 2 kinds of turnips, 2 kinds of squash, and carrots.

Thanksgiving Menu

So, the final menu for Thanksgiving is decided on, and now I’m off to shop and do whatever prep I can in advance. We’re having our Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday instead of Thursday (to accommodate my sister’s day off – she has to work the holiday) – anyone who is local and would like to come over and have dinner with us is more than welcome to (we make enough to feed an army), just email me at columbusfoodieATgmailDOTcom and I’ll give you the details (time, place, etc). The more the merrier, so don’t be shy!

Paul will be picking up our turkey from Just This Farm this afternoon, and I’ll be starting the brine for it in the morning. I still have to make a few stops at the grocery store for the other items I need, like heavy cream, some spices from Penzey’s, etc. Luckily, most of the ingredients we’ll need are already on hand or included in the produce box we ordered with the turkey.

I decided that this year, I was going to (for the most part) cook the normal traditional dishes that I’ve been cooking every year – one, for posterity and to get my own recipes jotted down, and two, because that’s what my family likes and expects, at least this year. Maybe next year I’ll try some new dishes (I *am* sneaking a few in this year, we’ll see how it goes!), but this year I’m focusing on the traditional ones, with the twist being that I’m trying to use local ingredients wherever possible. Anything that will be either completely or mostly made with local ingredients will be in bold on the menu below. I’ll link to recipes that are from outside sources, and will post my own recipes on Thursday when I write a wrap-up entry.

For afternoon snacking, we’ll be having a selection of mostly Ohio cheeses (procured from a combination of what I have left from the Clintonville Farmer’s market, and some new cheeses purchased from Curds and Whey in the North Market, and Whole Foods), along with the usual accouterments like crackers, Ohio apples, a meat plate w/ sopressata and other dried sausages, etc. Since it will be fairly close to dinnertime, I don’t want to overwhelm everyone with too much pre-dinner food.

For dinner, I’ll be serving Apple Cider Brined turkey  (apple cider from the North Market Farmer’s Market [not sure which one of the orchards it’s from – it’s the one that’s near the end of the row with the huge selection of different apples], and the turkey is from Just this Farm in Galloway, Ohio), Candied Sweet Potatoes (my own recipe, using sweet potatoes from the CSA Thanksgiving box), New England Autumn Casserole, using apples and winter squash from the CSA Thanksgiving box), Cranberry Sauce with Frills (using some Grand Marnier and walnuts in there somewhere), Turnip Mashed Potatoes (using turnips and potatoes from the Thanksgiving CSA box), Stuffing (my own recipe, using stuffing bread locally baked at Great Harvest, and onions from the Thanksgiving CSA box), Pineapple Souffle (not really souffle, this is something we had last year at my sister-in-law’s house for Thanksgiving, and we loved it!), Pennsylvania Dutch Potato Stuffing (mostly for my husband, who loves the stuff), Classic Green Bean Casserole, Dinner Rolls (from Great Harvest), and Gravy (from pan drippings).

For dessert, Caramelized Nut Tart, Brown Sugar Squash Pie, and Blueberry Pie (still deciding on whether I want a fourth apple dessert or not).

Somehow, I still feel like I’m forgetting something. Any clues?

Simple Sloppy Joes

Why spend the money to buy the canned preservative-heavy sloppy joe sauce when you can make them much cheaper and tastier yourself? And the recipe is so simple, even a child can make it.

Sloppy Joe

Besides, you can always use the leftovers for the base of some killer Shepherd’s Pie.

Simple Sloppy Joes

2 lbs. lean ground beef
24 oz. bottle ketchup
Yellow mustard, to taste
3 tbsp. dark brown sugar

Brown the ground beef, and drain all fat. Add remaining ingredients, and let simmer 5 minutes. Serve on hamburger buns.

Events 11/18/06 to 11/24/06

Between the Ohio-Michigan game and Thanksgiving, there is pretty much NOTHING going on this week in Columbus. Here’s the couple I could come up with:

For the church-going crowd, seen on Craig’s List: “There will be a FREE Thanksgiving Dinner for the community at Bible Baptist Church, 2758 Home Road in Grove City, this Sunday, November 19th. This will be a full Thanksgiving meal with Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, salad, rolls, and pumpkin pie! Everything gets underway at 10:30 a.m. with our service where everyone will receive their ticket for the meal. Free transportation is available by calling the Church at 614-875-2190.”

Also, on Sunday November 19th at the Ohio Historical Center, “Grab your buckled shoes and pilgrim hats (you know who you are!), and take part in the “In Praise of Thanksgiving Dinner and Concert @ the Ohio Historical Center and Ohio Village, Sun. 4-7PM. Reservations are required.” Concert with the Ohio Village Singers and a dinner, 4-7 p.m. Sun. Ohio Village at the Ohio Historical Society, 1982 Velma Ave. $57. 297-2666 or 800-686-1541 for reservations.

After hours of digging, that’s pretty much all the food-related stuff I could come up with for this week. Guess there’s not much going on because of Thanksgiving. Enjoy the time you spend with your friends and family!
If you’ve got a food-related event you’d like to promote, email me at columbusfoodieATgmailDOTcom. See you next week!

Friday Roundup 11/17/06

Wow, it looks like us locals are coming out of the woodwork! There’s yet *another* Columbus food blogger, Charise from more bread and cheese, please!. Check out her site, still very new but very promising!

Speaking of which, a few people have emailed expressing interest in some kind of potluck or supper club for the Ohio bloggers, and I’d love to host a potluck at my house sometime next month. I’m assuming that weekends are better for everyone, how is everyone for December 16th?? And which is better, afternoon or evening? Anyone who is remotely interested in either (a supper club or one-time potluck) drop me an email to columbusfoodieATgmailDOTcom with any input you have, and then I’ll send out an evite when I’ve determined a time/date that will work for most.

Dispatch readers chose the Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe for the Best “Beat Michigan” Party – this week, they want to know which restaurant offers the city’s best turkey dinner. Another area where I have no opinion, as I always cook at home on Thanksgiving. If you have a preference, let them know and be entered to win a $25 gift card.

I was glad to see that the Dispatch did a review of Latitude 41 this week – this is one of the places I’ve been wanting to try, because of their use of local ingredients.

Everybody in the blogosphere is focused on Thanksgiving, naturally – and I came across a bunch of interesting posts on the subject. Like Saveur’s Guide to Buying Turkeys that was posted by megnut, Thanksgiving 101: Planning for Thanksgiving by the San Francisco Chronicle, and Slashfood brings us information on mastering turkey gravy and whether it’s best to cook a turkey at a high temp or low temp. They also have a link to the different holiday hotlines. I think that’s going to be the most difficult thing for me this year, with regards to getting a non-commercial turkey – no white pop-up timer to tell me when the bird is done, LOL.

Also at Slashfood, an interesting article about a bakery in my tiny hometown of Vineland, NJ. Also, the new Jones Soda 2006 Holiday Pack flavors were announced. Blech. They got me last year, not this year, no way. They were *all* yucky last year.

This week’s keeper recipes (and there are so many, due to everyone posting their Thanksgiving menus!) are Sweet Potato Cake with Coconut Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting and Cornish Hens in Cider from the Columbus Dispatch, Creamy Cauliflower Gratin from A Veggie Venture, Chewy, Chunky Blondies from Bakingsheet, Creamy Tortilla Soup from Cookin’ With Cyndi, Flaky Apple Turnovers and Chocolate Torte with Walnuts and Cognac from Cream Puffs in Venice, Breakfast Panini from Is It EDible?, Cooks Illustrated Crumb Cake from Jumbo Empanadas, Braised Pork Chops with Apples from Just Braise, Pumpkin Spice Pancakes from Laura Rebecca’s Kitchen, Corn Chowder from Limes & Lycopene, Granny Smith Apple and Brown Butter Custard Tart from Food & Wine, Creamed Corn Gratin with Fried Onion Rings and Bacon from Epicurious (link originally posted by Restaurant Widow), Caramelized Nut Tart and Toasted Turkey Cranberry Arugula Sandwich from Simply Recipes, Cashew Cookies from Tasting Life…, Pasta with Sweet Onions and Sundried Tomatoes from The Way the Cookie Crumbles, and the No-Knead Bread that everyone’s been talking about.

In instructive and educational posts, Michael from Cooking For Engineers shows us how to temper chocolate, and Daily Unadventures in Cooking tell us how to fix or season a cast-iron pan.

Megnut mentioned that Hellmann’s has changed their mayonnaise formula – say it isn’t so!! I *thought* that it tasted different, and kept telling myself “maybe I just don’t like mayo anymore!” – now I know. Hopefully it will be like new Coke, and sales will go down enough for them to revert back to the old formula. I don’t know what I’ll do in the meantime – I’m a Hellmann’s only girl for mayo, and a Heinz only girl for ketchup.

Whew, off to plan my Thanksgiving menu – expect a post about that subject tomorrow! Until next week, folks…

Cleveland Edition: Babushka’s Kitchen

Well, the trip to Cleveland was rather uneventful – a long drive, of course, but well worth it for the opportunity to see the concert. On the way up, we took a slight detour, about 30 minutes southeast of Cleveland, to visit a place that we had meant to stop at on our last visit, but were unable to beause of the limited hours.

Babushka’s Kitchen, located in Northfield Center, Ohio, is what can best be described as a hole in the wall. But, like most holes in the wall, they have absolutely amazing food. It’s located in a little shop hidden among the trees on a lesser-traveled highway, and a little hard to find because it’s off the beaten path a bit. Luckily, the navigation system in our car took us right the front door – I don’t think we would have found it easily otherwise.

We arrived in the late afternoon, around five – and the dinner crowd hadn’t quite descended yet. This resulted in a blessedly short line, and gave us a minute or two to scan the wall to the left when we came in, where the menu was posted along with that day’s flavor of pierogies. Prices were fairly reasonable, considering the amount of labor that goes into most of these dishes.


The food is traditional Polish fare, reflecting the cultural background of the owners and much of the Cleveland area in general, featuring dishes like golombki, halushka, pierogies, and the like. We placed our order at the counter, and picked out a table to wait for the goodies.

Hunter's Feast @ Babushka's Kitchen

I chose the Hunter’s Feast ($12.99), a huge platter that had a little bit of everything: golombki (stuffed cabbage), kielbasa, sauerkraut and dumplings, kielbasa, pierogi with onion, roast pork, and I chose halushka (cabbage with buttered noodles) and mashed potatoes as my sides. This is definitely comfort food at its finest – the food was fantastic.
Chicken Paprikash @ Babushka's Kitchen

My husband chose the Chicken Paprikash ($9.99) with homemade dumplings ($1.00 extra), with green beans and bacon. While not as heavily seasoned our own chicken paprikash, it was very good – creamy, nice texture to the dumplings, etc.

In addition, he also decided to order a single potato pancake ($1.99)

Potato Pancake @ Babushka's Kitchen

and a pierogie with onions ($2.50) a la carte, in order to give them a try. Excellent pierogies – the dough didn’t overwhelm, the insides were flavorful, and the onions were an excellent complement to the browned pierogie.

Pierogie @ Babushka's Kitchen

For dessert, we shared a plate of kolachky (.60 each or $3.50 for 6) – soft, buttery, sweet and all around excellent. I really wish we had picked some up “to go”. 


All around, excellent Polish comfort food, and it made up for us not being able to make a stop at the Pierogie Palace at the West Side Market. Definitely worth a side trip whenever we’re in the area, since we’re sorely lacking in the Polish food department in Columbus (with the exception of Khrystina’s, of course).

If you’d like to go: Babushka’s Kitchen, 9199 Olde Eight Rd, Northfield Center, OH 44067 – 330.468.0402

Babushka's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Retro Recipe Challenge 4: Fall Favorites

This month’s Retro Recipe Challenge asks us to find a recipe published between 1920 and 1980 that brings to mind the fall season.

The one thing that brings home to me that fall has arrived is seeing apples left and right at the farmer’s markets. Forget Labor Day, the true beginning of fall is marked by the first weekend that you can purchase apple cider. Squash, of course, comes much later. Apples are definitely the deliniation between summer and fall.

With that in mind, I set off in search of an apple recipe – my collection of vintage cookbooks is rather limited – most have been acquired in thrift stores. I finally found one that sounded appetizing in a 1972 edition of Family Circle’s Illustrated Library of Cooking – Volume 7 Des-Eas.


This recipe for Autumn Apple Squares is supposed to be a bar recipe, but it didn’t turn out that way – I’d describe it as more of a cross between a cobbler and a chutney, actually. It had more apples than breading – I’m not one to experiment with baking recipe (knowing that changing too much can spell disaster), but maybe next time I’d try using half the amount of apples. Either way, it was great served warm with a scoop of Haagen Daaz vanilla ice cream.


Technorati tag: RRC4

The Spice is Right VIII: Frankenstein’s Monster

Our usual host, Barbara, is still recovering from the birth of her daughter, so this month The Spice is Right event will be hosted once again by Habeas Brulee.

The theme this month is “Frankenstein’s Monster”, in which we’re challenged to “try using a spice (or blend of spices) with a technique or dish from a cuisine that typically never uses that spice (or blend).” I chose to feature Cincinnati-style chili, which uses spices that aren’t usually found in chili to create an entirely different vibe to an old favorite.


If you’ve never had it, Cincinnati chili is very hard to describe. Most people hear the words “cinnamon” and “chocolate” in conjunction with the word “chili” and make the yuck face. Trust me, it’s not that bad. It’s an acquired taste, of course, but one that I acquired quite quickly once I set aside my preconceived notions and gave it a try. The best way to describe it, tastewise, is like mole sauce or the sauce you find in Greek casseroles. It’s always amazing to me how a certain spice (cinnamon, for instance) is interpreted in the foods of different cultures – moussaka in Greece, mole in Mexico, five spice powder in Asian cooking, etc.

Which makes perfect sense, of course, when you consider that the whole shebang was created by a Greek immigrant who decided to tweak a typically Greek sauce and start serving it over spaghetti and hot dogs. Traditionally, it’s served with a side of oyster crackers. Also, traditionally the ground beef is boiled rather than browned – unfortunately, I didn’t have time to do it that way, as that would have required me chilling it overnight to skim the fat. I did it the “quick” way, as you’ll see below.

There are several ways to serve it, and each person who loves the dish prefers it a different way. A “one way” is a bowl of chili alone, a “two way” is spaghetti topped with chili, a “three way” is spaghetti, chili, and a mound of finely shredded mild cheddar, a “four way” a three way with either diced onions or kidney beans, and a “five way” is spaghetti, chili, cheese, beans and onions. My personal preference is a four way with onions, in case you were wondering. 🙂

Even though it is a regional dish, you can get Cincinnati chili in cans, although of course it’s better fresh. Regionally, if you don’t feel like making it yourself, head on down to your closest Skyline Chili store.

Cincinnati Chili
Modified from several recipes on Recipezaar

As is, the recipe is soupy – if you like your chili thicker, eliminate the water. This is a double recipe, I usually serve half and freeze half for another meal.

2 lbs. ground beef
1 large white or yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 c. water
4 (15 oz.) cans tomato sauce
1 oz. square unsweetened chocolate or 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. beef base or bouillon granules
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
Cayenne pepper or hot sauce, to taste (optional)

For serving:
1 lb box spaghetti, cooked
1 lb. package finely shredded mild cheddar cheese
1 large red onion, diced (optional)
1 can kidney beans, drained (optional)

There’s two different schools of thought on how to make this. Traditionally, you wouldn’t brown the meat first – you’d cook the raw beef in the wet ingredients so it would break up more evenly, and then skim the fat off the next day. If you’re short on time, though – use the method below.

In a Dutch oven over medium high heat, brown ground beef, and then drain off excess fat. Add the onion and garlic, and saute until browned. Add the next 11 ingredients, and cook until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and cover and cook for at least 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions, drain and set aside. To serve, spoon chili mixture over spaghetti, and top with cheese and other desired toppings (onion or kidney beans).