Cranberry Chutney

Based on a recipe by Craig Claiborne featured in Bon Appetit magazine.

32 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
½ cup vinegar or water
¾ – 1 cup sugar or to taste
5” fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into matchstick pieces about ¾” long
Zest from one large orange
1 cup orange juice
1 cup golden raisins
8 oz slivered almonds, toasted

Peel the fresh ginger and slice into small pieces
Use a zesting tool or a grater to get the zest from a large orange
Squeeze the juice from the large orange; you want as close to a cup of juice as you can get..
Toast the almonds for a few minutes in an oven set to 350 degrees

Place the cranberries and vinegar or water in a large, heavy pot and simmer until the cranberries begin to pop.

Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit.
Add sugar and stir. Taste For sweetness.
Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. TASTE.

If the chutney needs more sugar, add a bit at a time, stirring after each addition.
You can add more ginger if you want a spicier taste.

After the chutney sets for a while and the flavors have blended, you may want to make some minor adjustments. WATCH The amount of juice you add because you want the chutney to be firm at room temperature.

Keep your chutney in a closed container in the refrigerator.

Mother Has A Baby

A Blue Norther blew into the Houston area toward the end of January, 1940. A Blue Norther is a Texan’s way of describing a cold front that can drop temperatures dramatically, up to 20­30 degrees Fahrenheit in a few minutes. It usually shows up as a dark, blue­ black, curtain sharply defined against a cloudy sky. It arrives with a ‘whomp’ caused by the strong winds that are pushing it, with cold rain, sleet, or snow close on its heels. The one that arrived in the middle of that January brought a snowstorm that left about 8 inches of snow on the ground. The days following this storm were clear, but very cold. Continue reading

Mother Takes Howard for a Drive

Doris Marie Gillespie

Doris Marie Gillespie

Howard was my mother’s little brother.  At the time of this adventure, the family lived right outside of Humble, Texas. in a settlement called Moonshine Hill   When imagining Moonshine Hill, ignore any thought of a raised area visible from a distance because of its altitude. Hill, in this part of Texas is any designated area more than 10 feet higher than the surrounding countryside. This area was known by all residents to be at least 14 feet higher than Houston; in fact, our family evacuated to nearby Humble, which was was not nearly so high, during hurricanes.   There is no information  regarding the Moonshine part of Mother’s birthplace.  Mother said, ”That’s what somebody named it and so that’s what it was called.”  Mother’s suffered from a prodigious lack of interest in background details. Continue reading

Trouble with Roaches

Doris Marie Gillespie

Doris Marie Gillespia

Texas is a haven for roaches.  They certainly flourish and, as near as I know, live without fear of predators They are a fact of life and roundly hated by all Texans.   We grew up with roaches; there were the big black/brown ones that came in from outside and, inside, lived the smaller ones we called German roaches.  We had no choice but to adapt our lifestyle to the behavior of this pest. Mother fought them daily.   They always won.  It’s one of the conditions of living in Texas.   As I’ve said, we adapted. Continue reading

Irish Soda Bread

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease two 9” round cake pans.

  •  4-41/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 Cup sugar
  • 3/4 Cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 Cup buttermilk
  • 2 Cups raisins or currants

In a large bowl mix together flour, salt, soda, baking powder, and sugar until thoroughly blended

Cut in cold butter.  I gliterally take my hands and just break it into the dry ingredients by crumbling it through my fingers until fully mixed into the flour mix. (Do not melt the butter)

Add raisins and toss until coated with flour/butter mix.

Beat the eggs slightly and add them to buttermilk
Stir the buttermilk/egg mixture into the dry mixture until blended.
Turn the mixture out onto floured board
Knead until smooth (2-3 minutes)
Divide the dough into 2.  Shape each half into a smooth round loaf.
Place in the greased cake pans.  Press down until dough fills the pan.

My sister makes this recipe and uses a glass lasagna pan.  She greases it and places both loaves in one pan.Use a sharp knife to mark tops of each with an X
Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes