Comfort: Food

Food is a language I speak fluently.  For me, food has always been the very best way for me to express love.  When Nick and Olivia came home, they left absolutely everything that was familiar.  They had to get accustomed to a new culture with customs, foods, and language different from the one they had always known.  They were introduced to faith and its practice in a meaningful way.  And they had to learn to be a part of a family.

One of the things that I can do is to create meals around dishes that are familiar to them, or that were especially memorable for them, recalling those precious good memories from the years before they came home to us.  We have been eating a LOT of Bulgarian food lately because I have been compiling a collection of Bulgarian recipes that Nick and Olivia have requested.  This requires converting and modifying them for the ingredients available here in the States, and testing them to further tweak for our tastes. 

I’m about three-quarters through the recipes that I have collected, and I’m beginning to style and photograph each recipe.  Once that is complete, I’ll start casting about for printers so that I can make them available as a complete cookbook.
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{Family Centered Kitchen} : Chicken and Rice Soup

This is a light one.  I never seem to make my soups the same way twice.  I just feel my way.  Here’s the one we had for luncheon today:

Chicken and Rice

  • 1 chicken carcass
  • 1 onion
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 2″ piece ginger
  • 1 1/2 c. rice
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes, large dice
  • Coriander
  • Tarragon
  • Dill
  • Bay leaves
  • Oregano
  • Marjoram
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Place the chicken, onion, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, herbs and a couple of carrots in a large stock pot and cover with water.  If you have some celery, you can throw that in now, too.  You can also add a little bit of white wine if you’re feeling fancy. 🙂  Bring to a boil and simmer for about an hour.  strain the solids from the broth and strip the meat from the carcass when cool enough to handle.  In the meantime, add diced carrots (about 2 c.) and rice to the broth and adjust the seasonings.  Cook for about 10 minutes and add the tomatoes.  Cook until the rice and carrots are cooked through.  Serve with parmesan cheese, good bread, and olive oil.

The coriander is very bright, almost citrus-y.  If you haven’t any, you can add some citrus peel to the stock.

Snow’s Coming

After that early snowstorm in late October, we thought we were in for a very snowy autumn.  Just two days ago, the children were playing outdoors with only wooly jumpers, and asking for a picnic lunch.  In December.

But the snow is coming.  We’re forecast to get some snow tomorrow morning, then again perhaps over the weekend.  We’ve been grateful for the stay, but are looking forward to seasonal weather.  There are hills to sled on at the farm, and I need a little something to help get me into the anticipatory spirit of Advent.

The snowy winter helps also to turn my mind to seeds, and farm babies.  We’ve got two bred Shetland ewes coming to the farm on Saturday afternoon, and we’re working on having our six eligible Oberhasli (milkers and yearlings) bred by two handsome boys at a friend’s farm.  And I’ll be planning for older egg layers, chicks, poults, and goslings for the coming season.  The three barrows have an appointment with the knackerman next month, and the girls will be bred for spring piglets.

The house is nearing the end of restorations, and I am looking forward to sitting in the bay window of our living room, with a piece of handwork, watching the children play in the snow, while something comforting bubbles on the stove.

Geese paddling in the water alongside the barn after a mid-autumn snow.


Hens in the yard, as the snow had begun to melt away.


Scratching among the boughs of the 40-foot evergreen that was felled in late summer.

There are many who would wish away winter.  I say, “let it snow”.

Butternut Squash Bisque with a drizzle of homemade cranberry sauce.


Butternut Squash Bisque

2 butternut squash, halved and cleaned of seeds and fibres

1 medium onion, chopped

butter or oil

1 qt. chicken stock

1 c. heavy cream (raw if you can get it!)

cinnamon, coriander, and ginger (ground) to taste

salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400.  Place squash halves on a baking sheet, cut side down and roast for 1 hour, until quite soft and caramelized.  Set aside to cool.  In a stockpot, sauté onions in butter (or oil if you prefer) at medium heat for about 10 minutes, until soft and translucent.  Add spices and cook a further 2 minutes, taking care not to burn the spices.  Add chicken stock and heat through.  Scoop flesh from the squash and add to the pot.  Remove soup from heat and purée using an immersion blender, food processor, or standard blender.  Return soup to the pot and add cream.  Gently heat through and serve with a dark green salad and homemade bread.  We like to drizzle on freshly made cranberry sauce, but a dollop of sour cream would do nicely also.

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