I remember when our daughter Dana turned 2. Birthdays are always a celebration at our house and this was no exception. Party hats were purchased, special treats prepared and we all gathered round to celebrate.
Two meant that she was now our “big” little girl…no longer a baby, not yet a girl. By now, she was toddling toward knowledge and independence…trying to figure out the world and her place in it, growing day by day.
I feel the same way about Return to Sunday Supper turning two today. It’s no longer in infancy; it’s grown and changed along the way and will continue to move forward.
Thank you all for being patient with me during my hiatus. As you all know, family comes first, and I needed to put my undivided attention toward a family project.
I believe that if I can’t put 100% of my time and energy into a post and make it as good as it can be, I shouldn’t be posting it. It actually takes me days each week to write, photograph (yep, I’m doing all the pics myself now, no more help from hubs), edit…and if there’s a recipe, making sure that it works.
Return to Sunday Supper is no longer a new blog, but I don’t feel that it has reached its full potential. I hope in the future to return to the beginnings of the blog and tell more of YOUR Sunday supper stories. I now realize that in our hectic world, it’s hard for readers to sit down and type out a family recipe and share a brief paragraph about what Sunday supper means to them, but I’m going to keep trying.
This year there will be some changes. I may not be posting every week…and when I do, there might not always be a recipe. I plan to talk about families and communication and healthy eating as well. I’ll still be taking you with me as I travel…2013 looks to be a great year for that, starting with Australia!
I hope that you will again join me and together we will celebrate 2.
Just like the butterfly, I’m in the process of metamorphosis. Change, oh where it is taking me? I do know that right now I can’t put my heart and soul into Return to Sunday Supper…it needs to be elsewhere, and I think that you know just how much love and energy goes into every post. As soon as I land where I’m supposed to be, I’ll be back with stories and recipes that I’ve been working on…but right now, I have to ask for your patience.
It was the biggest adventure of my young life. I left the Midwest to study art history in Europe…yes, how exciting was it to be a student in another country looking at art that I had only seen previously in textbooks. I could write many blog posts about that trip, but this one is about something that happened to me while I was staying at a tiny pensione outside of Rome on a steamy July day in 1969.
Believe me, this place was spare, sparse and run by nuns. But, there was a tiny…and I mean tiny, television in the lounge and on July 20th, all of the American students gathered around it. We watched as Apollo 11 landed on the moon…but the announcement was in Italian, we didn’t understand a word…we got the fact that the US had landed, but that was all. When I returned home I finally heard the words that Neil Armstrong had said on that historic occasion…”One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Such a simple, poetic statement.
He lived up the road from where I was born in Ohio. A man of values and courage from Wapakoneta. He stayed that way all of his life…unlike so many, he choose to remain humble and unaffected by fame. He taught at the University of Cincinnati where I went to college, and he lived in my community…all the time, remaining true to who he was. A real hometown hero.
On the news, the family said that if anyone wanted to know what to do to honor Neil’s memory, they should push boundaries and commit to causes greater than themselves. I thought that was worthy of sharing with you and your family and friends today. That’s a goal for us all, isn’t it?
Also, his family said the best way to honor his memory is “the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink,”.
OK Neil, I’ll be winking…I’m sure you’ll be smiling.
I grew up in the city, but I had the opportunity to spend a few weeks with my aunt and uncle in the country every summer. There I got to run barefoot in grass still moist and fragrant from just being cut. If it was obnoxiously hot (like this year) the sprinkler would be hauled out and it would start to make lazy circles in the grass. That was my clue to toss on a bathing suit and hop around in the low streams of water like I had fleas. God, what fun that was!
To get to their small cottage we would drive till the highway ended…then onto small, dusty country roads and finally a single lane gravel road where you had to pull into a driveway to pass another car. Along the roads were fields…fields of soy beans, fields of grazing cows, and lots and lots of corn. I was always concerned that it would be “knee high by the 4th of July”…and it always was. Later, that corn made its way to farm stands set up along the side of the road.
Now in Chicago we have wonderful farmer’s markets to choose from that takes the place of those roadside attractions. The one I haul my shopping cart to the most is on Division Street. There I find that the country has made its way to me and that makes my weekend.
This week at one of my favorite stands set up by the folks at Nichols Farm was something that I want to share with you for a couple of reasons. The first is that I don’t think that children always realize just what “food from the source” looks like when you buy it in a pouch and the second is that this is just plain fun…especially for the kids.
I walked over to the display of dried corn to find this sign.
And these little, yellow, dried cobs. OK, I’m game. I’ve never done this before, but I’m thinking that it will be fun and tasty, right?
So, how easy is this? Put a corn cob into the brown paper bag…I folded the ends a few times. Put it into the microwave for a few and out pops a treat for your Sunday supper for a fun appetizer.
I had to glam it up for us with some melted butter and truffle salt, but if you prefer, it’s great plain as well.
Corn on the Cob Popcorn Recipe
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 2 - 3 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Fun to make, especially for the kids!
1 ear of popping corn
Salt to taste
Butter to taste
Place the ear of corn into a medium sized brown paper bag.
Place in the microwave and cook for 2 minutes. If not completely popped, you can cook at 30 second increments till cooked. I cooked mine for about 2.
Have an adult take the bag out of the microwave and shake popped corn into a container. Sprinkle with butter and salt, or eat plain, if you prefer.
Sometimes things that start badly turn out for the best. That’s what happened to us when we discovered a computer issue that we had to take care of while we were away. We had to drive a distance to Belfast, Maine where there was a computer store that would have the solution we needed. My tummy was growling as we walked out the door, so I grabbed a guide book hoping to find a restaurant where we could have lunch. There was a place that looked interesting practically right across the street…Chase’s Daily.
The guide book said that it was a vegetarian restaurant that also housed a daily farmer’s market…sounded up my alley. Even though I’m not a true “veg head,” I love to eat fresh, flavorful veggies and I believe that some of the most creative dishes can be all veg.
We walked up to the door and I noticed the large windows filled with flowers…a perfect introduction to the natural scene within.
Even though we arrived before noon, it was packed. We gave our name to the very friendly hostess and headed straight for the back of the restaurant where we found the market area…large galvanized containers were center stage and freshly picked produce was the star.
Folks were streaming in the back door and heading straight for their favorites…I so wish that I had a kitchen…it was kind of a tease…all of this fabulous produce and NO kitchen!
As we were being led to our table, we went by folks eating the most lovely pizza…you know, sometimes you just crave a pizza, right? Especially when you’re coming from Chicago…so you won’t be surprised by what we ordered.
This week’s Sunday supper was inspired by our visit and based on the concept of going to your local market or garden, finding the freshest ingredients and combining them for a light and flavorful meal. Fat, thick slices of red ripe tomatoes straight off the vine, tender sweet kernels of Silver Queen corn and lots and lots of bright fresh herbs.
I decided to experiment and use a packaged pizza dough for this recipe. I used the whole grain version, cut out individual-sized rounds using a bowl and a knife and followed the instructions that said that I should bake the dough for about 6 minutes before adding the toppings, then bake again for about 6 – 9 minutes. I found that the crust was crisp and the veggies were not overcooked. I sprinkled more fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil before serving.
I think that the next time I make this, I’m going to use homemade pizza dough, but if you’re pinched for time, you might want to consider the packaged version.
Fresh Herb, Corn, Tomato and Goat Cheese Mini Pizza Recipe
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Straight from the garden to the table.
1 container of packaged pizza dough (I used whole grain) or use your favorite pizza dough recipe
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons good quality olive oil (to oil cookie sheet and add to top of pizza before adding the veggies)
4 medium tomatoes, sliced
1 ear fresh corn, kernels removed from husk
8 oz. goat cheese
1/2 cup mixed herbs (I used basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme, removed from stems)
Olive oil to drizzle on top
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Oil cookie sheet.
Roll out dough. For individual mini pizzas, cut out by pressing a 6 to 8 inch bowl down onto the dough, use a knife to cut around the bowl, then lift out rounds and place on oiled cookie sheet.
Bake according to packaged directions, remove from oven after 6 minutes.
On top of pizzas spread a bit of olive oil, then sprinkle on finely minced garlic, add sliced tomatoes, kernels of corn, goat cheese and herbs.
Return to oven and bake for an additional 6 or so minutes.
Remove from oven, sprinkle with more fresh herbs and drizzle with olive oil.