Country Kitchen: Trying New Recipes

Country Kitchen: Trying New Recipes
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As we find ourselves into another new year, we may wonder what we can do to make changes in our lives or ensure that it will be filled with new experiences. Why not try some new recipes and delve into types of cooking you haven't explored before.
When Jim and I travel to other regions of the country, I'm continually finding new foods and cultural stories. My interest in the cuisine of different areas began more than 40 years ago when we moved from New Hampshire to Texas for Jim's Air Force pilot training.

There I discovered that residents of that state prepared foods differently than we did in New England and New York State, where I grew up on a family farm. This led to my writing my Country Kitchen columns for newspapers and magazines.

Discovering New Foods

We're still traveling and discovering new foods. I enjoy postcards with regional recipes on them and sending these to friends who collect recipes. Regional cookbooks find their way to my bookshelves and talks with cooks and restaurant chefs have resulted in interesting food stories.

I've found, too, that buffet restaurants vary around the country, even within the same chain. We talked with a manger of a restaurant in Florida and mentioned a different way to prepare bread pudding that we liked in the North.

He explained that the bread pudding with a sauce similar to vanilla icing was preferred in that region. Also, our traditional bread pudding often contains raisins while that found in the South included peaches.

Bread pudding, as we prepared it in the North wouldn't be so popular there. So when we find regional dishes, we realize that's what their customers generally are looking for.

Rice is another food we find more plentiful in the South. Potatoes are offered, but rice is very popular. Black-eyed peas, lima beans, green beans with bacon, sweet potatoes and yams, as well as corn bread are other Southern, and sometimes Southwestern, specialties.

Recipes to Try

APPLE/RAISIN TOSSED SALAD - For a new recipe, why not try adding apples and raisins to your tossed salad. Soak ½ cup raisins in warm water until softened, about 20 minutes. Then drain and pat with paper towel to remove extra water.

Core and slice thinly one apple. Toss it with ½ cup carrot strips and 12 oz. mixed salad greens in a large bowl. Add 3 tablespoons slivered almonds and the raisins.

Serve with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing or other salad dressing of your choice.

GREEN BEANS & TOMATOES - Pour two cans green beans and one can stewed tomatoes into a large saucepan. Stir in one thinly sliced medium onion and 2 slices crumbled crisp bacon. Simmer gently until juice is reduced to half. My mother used to add a few crushed saltine crackers to thicken stewed tomatoes or tomatoes and beans.

Article (C) 2005 Mary Emma Allen

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About The Author

Mary Emma Allen researches and writes from her multi-generational NH home. Check out her new site, Tea Time Notes

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