January Blues

Robyn always felt a little down when January arrived. The holidays were over. The anticipation, the parties, the dinners, the gifts, the hustle and bustle, the sparkle. All gone! Sure, it was a new year and a clean slate. However, it was the bombardment received from every morning talk show and magazine. You know what I am talking about. New Year’s resolutions, diets, and exercise. It was constant for the whole month of January. Then it started to ease up.Why? Statistics tell us that of people making New Year’s resolutions, only 75% are still successful after 1 week. At the end of 1 month it is 64% and after 6 months it is 46%. On top of this, the hostess in January was into ‘ healthy eating ‘. The rest of us had never even uttered those words. We used butter and heavy cream quite liberally. Nevertheless, Robyn looked forward to meeting up with the broads. She knew that they would soon be laughing at something.

Our hostess, J. J. was not a bad cook. In her effort to eliminate salt, fat, and sugar things tasted a little bland. She neglected to enhance dishes with other flavors. Today’s menu of Wilted Spinach Salad and Cream of Onion Soup was a pleasant surprise. We could hardly believe it. Butter & half&half  together in one recipe. There was a crusty French bread with margarine for those who wished to indulge. Instead of a rich dessert, we ended the meal with a sweet floral tea and more good conversation. It was good to know that Jan also went off the wagon for a day.

Later on, Robyn and Scarlett confided that they sometimes stopped at McDonald’s on the way home from Jan’s luncheons. Neither has been near a McDonald’s in years, nor given up that butter and heavy cream.

Cream of Onion Soup

4 yellow onions, chopped fine

4T butter

½ c flour

2- 14 ½ oz cans of chicken broth

¼ t garlic powder

¼ t nutmeg

¼ t white pepper

1 t salt

2 c half & half

Sauté onions slowly in butter until soft and golden brown. Add flour, stir & cook for several minutes until golden. Add the chicken broth slowly while continuing to stir. Add spices, cook till thickened. Add the cream and heat through.

Yummy in your Tummy Onion Soup

Uptown Café’s Wilted Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken Breasts

8-8 ounce boneless chicken breasts

2 c olive oil

½ c soy sauce

¼ t ground ginger or 1 t fresh, minced

¼ c sherry

1 lb fresh spinach, washed & stemmed

  1. 8ounce can sliced water chestnuts

8  slices of bacon, crisp & crumbled

4 to 8 hard boiled eggs, quartered

Famous Dressing (this dressing is requested as holiday gifts by a few of our husbands every year!) It is simple and AMAZING!

1 c olive oil

1/3 c soy sauce

¼ c fresh lemon juice

1 t chopped garlic

¼ t fresh ground black pepper

Place chicken in a bowl or shallow pan. Combine olive oil, soy sauce, ginger, and sherry. Pour over chicken and marinate overnight.

Divide spinach among 8 serving plates.  Combine dressing ingredients in a saucepan and heat. Remove chicken from marinade, grill 3-4 minutes per side depending on thickness. Slice and place on top of spinach. Sprinkle each salad with water chestnuts and bacon. Place 2-4 quarters of egg on each plate. Top with hot dressing.

We used fruit with this recipe and garnished with lemons instead of oranges

Feast & Frolic

During the holiday seasons, we invited our Thoroughbroad husbands to join us for a dinner event. Hostess Madlyn provided a menu along with the recipes and each one of us selected what we would make and bring it with us along with a hostess gift. After all, the homes were decorated for the occasion and the extra steps in entertaining the husbands as well as us gals was worth a special gift.

December 19th was a memorable evening. The menu was copying a Historic Williamsburg Christmas. Our hostess named the event “Feast & Frolic” and we did both.

The house was full of Christmas décor, trees, garlands, bows, berries, packages, and the smell of a great meal to come.

All of us were dressed in our holiday finery, life in the ’80s was not as casual as it is today so men dressed in suits and ties and the women in heels, velvet, or organza holiday attire. No cut-off jeans with holes in them or scantily clad tops and bedroom slippers like people today. And if there was any writing on your shirt or blouse it was your monogram, not a sport-sponsored logo.

We were greeted at the door with either champagne in flutes or an adult beverage and ushered into the living room where a roaring fire and lit candles and soft holiday music was playing to set the mood. We enjoyed appetizers as there was plenty of seating for all to be able to reconnect with the husbands or comment on a new piece of jewelry one of the broads was wearing or a new hairstyle.

Before we got too involved with each other the “Broads” were asked to come into the kitchen and finalize their contribution to the meal and bring it to the dining table. The table was set with holiday china (which became the thing in the 80s and continues to be purchased today), sterling silver flatware, Crystal glasses, cloth napkins, and a low centerpiece so one could talk to another over the table. A toast was given along with a thank you to our hostess and then the feast began.

We adjourned to the living room to enjoy coffee and dessert and play a game called “Dirty Santa” near the fire. The game consists of bringing the ugliest Christmas item you can find, wrapping it up with no tag as to who brought it. Numbers are drawn out of a basket and the person who gets the number one selects one of the wrapped gifts, opens it and loud laughter follows based on how truly ugly that gift is. The person who draws the number two can either steal that present or take their chances that the next one may not be that ugly. If the gift is stolen then the person who got it in the first place can choose another package. A package can only be stolen once, so you have to think, “ Can I do worse?”

Well, Robyn won as everyone decided that her gift was the worst and so no one stole it. She went home with a side chair cover that looked like a dead animal. She still brings it out every Christmas and it hangs on her hostess chair at her dining table. It brings back great memories of the feasting and frolicking at Madlyn’s house that night with friends while we all lived in Louisville. Try as we might you can not duplicate memories you can only make new ones.

Risole’ Potatoes

From the British Housewife cookbook

6 cups potato balls 2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp vegetable oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Cut balls out of large potatoes with a melon ball spoon. Place the balls in a pan of cold salted water and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Drain them on a paper towel. Heat the butter and oil in large skillet and add potatoes and saute’ over medium heat for 15 minutes tossing lightly often until they brown all over salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

 A Tea Delight (12 OZ.) :

140 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 80 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (22 g sugar), 5 g protein

This Earl gray tea delight had rich citrus and lavender flavors. Combined with vanilla syrup makes for a light dessert.