A Polar Vortex Meal

Today it is bitterly cold and yet the warmest of the next several days. This kind of weather begs for a hot soup and a hearty piece of bread. Yesterday’s dinner was a beef stew and rarely is it all eaten in a single meal or day. Consequently, it becomes today’s lunch (without bread) and dinner with waffled cornbread and okra … not fried, but cooked into the bread. (I reached back to the southern roots of my parents.)

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This is a basic buttermilk cornbread using non GMO corn meal from a local farm; unbleached flour, buttermilk, extra virgin olive oil, egg, baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt, The cut okra is added to the batter. Additionally, some red pepper flakes to give it a little kick! (If you use frozen okra, mix a thick batter.)
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After mixing the batter, spoon on to a hot waffle iron… lightly oiled or spray. (Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.) Regardless, because you are making a corn waffle mixture, its best to lightly oil the iron. If your waistline can tolerate some whipped butter… by all means fill those nooks and crannies with butter.

To the leftover stew, I added a can of Cannellini beans (white kidney beans). Rinse beans thoroughly. (My preference is fresh or dry beans, but if not available the canned beans will do… use organic and unsalted.) Heat through on low heat for about 20-30 minutes to flavor the beans. Stir from bottom up every 5-7 minutes to prevent soup from adhering to bottom of your pot. Adjust seasonings. I added two cloves of crushed garlic, some sliced jalapeño pepper and a pinch of salt.

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Look at the bone and marrow waiting for me to devour its richness in both taste and nutritional value.
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Here is a different angle. In some countries, bone marrow is a delicacy. It was certainly tasteful tonight!

Tonight, during dinner my son said, “Mommy, this is the best dinner you’ve ever cooked.” His complement was especially nice because last night he had real pain to deal with. He is not one to cry, so when something is hurting to the point where he cries, I become hyper-vigilant in responding to his needs. His mom is not one to cry either but last night she did… My heart just exploded.

Today just begged for something nurturing and calming for both of us. Earlier, his brother treated us to a paczki (Polish jelly donuts). This year, Mardi Gras and particularly Fat Tuesday came and is now nearly gone… Only a vision of gumbo entered our home. Shame on me. (Thinking it is ok to sneak in a photo of gumbo I made for New Year’s Day.)

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A delicious pot of goodness… I can understand why the people of New Orleans call this a big pot of love… Sneaking this recent photo in of gumbo I prepared for New Year’s Day 2015. How did I forget Mardi Gras?

Well, the lights are dimmed in my TINYKITCHEN where tonight I prepared a GREATTASTEING meal for two amid a BIGHEART still a little sad from last night.

© This article and photographs are the property of J. Faye Guider Productions. Feel free to ask me for permission to use my material or make requests, including for recipes, in the comment section. Thank you.

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