29 November 2010

Family recipe Monday: comfort foods

Small quilt in honor of a big anniversary

It's been an odd couple of weeks, with days of high activity interspersed with a few quiet moments. I really am not ready for the holidays to be upon us, but, like everyone else, I am ready for the end of the semester. Just wish that we could have a couple of months of paid leave before the next semester starts. Since no one asked me, however, I'll make do with a couple of weeks off. I have a pile of quilting and sewing projects, some of which are badly overdue, to work on.

Next month is an important anniversary for a group that is very dear to me, and that I miss out here in Dakota Territory. Quilts for Comfort is celebrating its 10th year of providing quilts for those in need in the Delaware area. Its founder, Edna Kotrola, organized hundreds of bees (with potluck lunches) and thousands of volunteer workers in the effort. They claim that 7284 quilts have been delivered to at-risk children in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland, as well as to adults receiving dialysis and cancer care in Delaware. I helped with about 50 of these, starting literally the day before I had major surgery myself and needed something calming to do with my mother, who was up to help. We went to a bee in Newark, DE, and I was hooked. And calmed. And the surgery went very well.

Edna gave me the last quilt I worked on with her when I moved out here, as a surprise gift. It was and is indeed a comfort. I miss the bees and am looking for a local equivalent, but it won't be quite the same. I decided to do some quilting for the anniversary.

So I dragged out the fabric stash (which needed reorganizing anyway) and my grandmother's Singer Featherweight (which I only use for quilt piecing, because it is the best machine ever) and took a square from each of 48 different fabrics. I wanted it to be colorful and cheerful for the person who receives it, and reasonably well-made so that Edna does not think she wasted her time on me. If you are looking for a cause to support, you couldn't do better than hers.

It's the right time of year for thinking about warmth and comfort. Here are a couple of classics which I would take to a quilting bee potluck.


1 ½ lb. ground beef
1 ½ tsp salt
1 cup fresh bread crumbs or oats
¼ tsp pepper
1 beaten egg
½ can tomato sauce
1 medium sized onion, chopped

Lightly mix ingredients and form a loaf. Place in shallow pan in moderate (350* F) oven. While it is starting to bake, combine the following to make a tart-sweet sauce:

½ can tomato sauce
2 T brown sugar or molasses
2 T vinegar
1 cup water
2 T prepared mustard

Pour over meatloaf in oven. Continue baking for 1 ½ hours, basting occasionally.
--Vada Brooks Johnson

Note: Shirley never uses the fresh breadcrumbs, but always uses the oats and adds bell pepper.

For this next one, I would only use corn tortillas. It could also be made with chicken instead of ground beef. I would use a good white cheese instead of Velveeta, personally. This recipe can be adapted easily and enlarged to make enough for a whole roomful of busy, hungry quilters. It can be prepared in advance and reheated beautifully--that is, if you didn't use Velveeta.

Green chili enchiladas
Brown 1 lb. meat with small chopped onion--add 8 oz grated longhorn cheese and simmer. In double boiler, heat 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1 can chopped green chilis, 1 small jar chopped pimientos, 1 small can evaporated milk, and 8 oz Velveeta cheese. Heat until cheese is melted. Roll meat mixture in tortillas. Place in pan and pour green chili mixture over enchiladas. Cover with foil and cook at 400* F until mixture is bubbly.
--Vada Brooks Johnson

Happy Monday. Go make someone happy today.

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