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I rarely see okra in Toronto. And, to be honest, I'm not a huge fan. So I substituted green beans.

This is another recipe from The First Ladies Cook Book. Chicken gumbo was supposedly a favorite recipe of James Munroe.

This chicken gumbo recipe is flavorful, but I'm not sure that all the steps in the recipe really helped. For example, why fry the chicken and then cook it in liquid?


The Cookbook Journey travels back in time

It's been some time since I cooked my way through one of my cookbooks. I pared down my cookbook shelf to a manageable number. Although I do still use my cookbooks, it's usually to look up recipes that I have used before. Still, a few cookbooks remain on my shelf that I haven't yet tried.

The First Ladies Cookbook is from 1969. So "all the presidents" referenced in the subtitle are from Washington through Nixon. When I came across this cookbook a number of years ago, I thought the idea interesting, and looked forward to trying out historical recipes. But every time I looked at the cookbook, I was intimidated, and I didn't try any recipes.

My cookbook shelf is filling up, so I decided it's finally time... I had to try the recipes and figure out if this book is worth keeping.

First up was "boeuf á la mode," a supposed favorite of Thomas Jefferson.

His wife, Martha Jefferson, died before he became President. So, she was never First Lady. But the book did include a chapter about her and a few favorite recipes.

This dish is basically a pot roast. But the recipe I followed is quite different from the beef that Jefferson would have eaten. That recipe is included, but as is typical for the time, the original recipe is brief and missing details. The detailed recipe that I followed is perhaps more appealing to the era when the cookbook was published.

The beef is really good. It's flavored by bacon, brandy, and white wine. But one day I'll try the original recipe, which is flavored with lemons and wine.

I'm not going completely in order, so my next dish was "beggar's pudding," a favorite of John Adams.

This cake-like dessert is made of bread, sugar, and currants. It's not overly sweet and is very moist. I baked this dish with white bread, which kept it cake-like. However, I don't really like white bread, so it was annoying to use the remaining half-loaf for sandwiches and such. I wonder how this dish would turn out with whole grain bread.


I say potato and you say potato

A couple of weeks ago, I finished the potatoes from the CSA in this potato beet salad.

Although it might look weird in the picture,I love how the flavors come together. The potato keeps the beet from becoming overwhelming. The beet livens the potatoes.

Back in the fall, when the temperature started to drop, I used potatoes in stew.

The carrot is also from the CSA.

What are your favorite ways to eat potato?


These pictures are from October, when I got a pie pumpkin from the local farm. I love pumpkins almost as much as I love Halloween.

First, I roast the pumpkin. I never used parchment before for this, but clean-up was so much easier.

I'm really bad at making pie crust, so I purchase a crust and just make the filling.

Of course, pumpkin pie doesn't last long.

Fortunately, I have extra roasted pumpkin in the freezer.  I might make another pumpkin pie in winter. Or I could make pumpkin pudding.

What ever happened to the CSA?

I knew that I had been reading more than blogging, but I just realized that my last entry was in early October! The CSA season until nearly the end of October.

Autumn meant eggplant, carrots, and tomatoes. The CSA didn't include mushrooms. During  CSA season, it was rare for me to buy and produce from the supermarket aside from bananas and apples. And even apples, I purchased from the farm when I'm season.

We got corn until late in the season. As I was still getting radishes but no more lettuce, I had to find other ways to use them. It's easy to roast carrots and radishes when roasting a chicken. Roasting mellows the flavor.

I didn't always eat corn on the cob. Sometimes I make a salad, combining it with tomatoes and a vinaigrette dressing. I got a cabbage in one of the late baskets, so I made coleslaw.

I love sweet potatoes. The omelet is filled with zucchini.

All these pictures of corn remind me of summer. Fortunately, I froze corn throughout the summer and autumn.

Food as colorful as fall foliage

I love bright-colored food.

Those are both yellow and red/purple beets in the salad. I don't see yellow beets so often.

We have a long season of corn. At first, I cooked all the corn each week. But now I don't eat corn every week. What I don't cook, I freeze. No corn on the cob in winter, but the frozen corn is good for soup and stews. Sometimes I sautée it with a bit of garlic.

I love roast squash. I don't think we got as much this year, but maybe most is coming in the last few baskets.

Sautéed shallots top the chicken breast.

The next day, I had leftovers and added cauliflower, cooked with tomatoes.

Not all meals were colorful.

This eggplant sautée was tasty. I included cucumber and radish. I used to think those veggies were just to eat cold in salad.

What are the colors in your cooking?

The CSA bounty continues in autumn

No, the CSA baskets have not stopped. I've just been busy and haven't shown you what I've been cooking.

This year, I haven't been baking as much. This strawberry pear cobbler was so sweet.

My farmer suggested pickling these small onions. But I immediately thought of stew. We didn't get so many tomatoes in the summer, but they are abundant this fall.

Purple potatoes look pretty, but they taste a bit strong. I think I prefer them steamed and transformed into potato salad. The eggs and herbs are also from the farm.


Seasonal food is the best food

When I cook from the CSA basket, my diet changes with the growing season.

In the peak of summer, I ate lots of corn. Omelets were filled with vegetables, like this one full of kale and tomato.

I prepared scallops two ways. First,with eggplant, garlic, bell pepper, and parsley.

Then with parsley, bell pepper, and golden berries. Golden berries taste a bit like tomato and are weird plain, but worked well in this stir-fry. Sweet potato is the first sign of impending autumn.

This potato salad makes a hardy meal. Besides potatoes, it's filled with carrots, green beans, onion, and chicken. Supposedly, in Venuzuela this is a side dish to accompany a roast ham or roast beef.

I used The Food Lab for the fast french onion soup recipe. It still takes a while to prepare, but at least the onions don't need 2 hours to cook. And it's super delicious.


What kind of salad has no lettuce?

When it's a potato beet salad.

This salad was much more flavorful than the usual potato salad. It included purple potatoes, roast beets, celery, and eggs. The dressing was a mixture of mayonnaise, mustard, and wine vinegar.

With onion, celery, and carrot in this week's CSA basket, I had to make soup.

Soup was a good way to use up stray vegetables.

I love the flavors of summer.

I cooked chicken with zucchini, tomato, corn, and fresh parsley.

And for dessert....

Black currant pear crisp. Next time, I'll have remember how much black currants overwhelm the flavor and use far less. The pear was barely noticeable.

What I cook depends on the CSA basket

Sometimes it's what's in the current basket, and sometimes what's left from my previous basket.

This pasta finished the zucchini from the previous week. I included some green pepper from the current basket, as well as all of the cilantro.

This chicken stir fry includes many vegetables from current and previous weeks: garlic, carrots, green onions, green pepper.

And here, potato-crusted quiche. The quiche included green onions and tomatoes. It wasn't bad, but onion or basil might have improved the flavor.

What have you been cooking?



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