Home > California Farmers, Diet & Nutrition, Food and Food Safety, Recipes > Special Food and Special Hands

Special Food and Special Hands

I meant to get this post up last week, but, well…..

This year I give thanks for the consumers who purchase what we grow and raise, the farmers and ranchers who provide the bountiful choices we so enjoy and particularly the hands that prepare the food.

In preparing for Thanksgiving this year I was thinking of the wonderful and delicious dishes that I have been so blessed to be able to try over the years. Some of the recipes have been handed down, some are new.


My favorite dessert comes from my great-grandmother, passed to my grandmother and now my mother. Shoefly Pie, a blend of molasses, flour and sugar, best when less flour is used, making it chewy and very enjoyable with a hot cup of coffee…especially for breakfast . My first memories of this delicious pie goes back to when I learned to play canasta in great grandmother’s home.


When it comes to favorite vegetable dishes it’s a toss-up between another of my great grandmothers recipes for broccoli with cheese, sour cream and cream of mushroom soup, which I now prepare. This dish is what started my love for broccoli…thank you grandma. 🙂 The other is a dish, discovered and prepared by my mother-in-law, sweet potato casserole, which is never around for left over’s. I was first enticed by this dish when I spent my first Thanksgiving with my wife, away from home… definitely a good omen for the future.


As for fruit, my mother prepares a fresh fruit salad with a brandy dressing…she has yet to share how to make it…but I won’t complain. I can’t remember when I first enjoyed this tantalizing combination…perhaps it is because of the brandy. 😉

As you sit down at the table this year, whose dish are you most looking forward to and what is it?

Feel free to share recipes and stories…as long as it doesn’t place your life in jeopardy.

Broccoli Casserole

Pre heat oven to 350. Fill the bottom of a 9 x 14 dish with broccoli. Season the broccoli (I use a mix of lemon pepper, mustard, garlic and oregano). In a separate bowl, mix 2 cans of condensed cream of mushroom soup,  1 1/2 cups of sour cream, 1/2 – 3/4 cup milk and 1/2 cup small curd cottage cheese.  Mix until smooth. Pour evenly over the broccoli. Cover with grated cheese, 3 – 4 cups. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes for crisp broccoli, 20 – 25 minutes for soft broccoli.

  1. November 23, 2011 at 6:08 AM

    I was going to ask you these very same questions today.lol As far as my favorite dishes, I guess I’m a comfort food type. Garlic mashed potatoes with gravy. I just put some cloves of garlic in alum.foil, letting them cook in the oven with the turkey. Then add to the potatoes before mashing, along with a tad of milk, butter,salt, and pepper. I like to fold in a dollop of sour cream at the end. you really don’t need the gravy,but hey it’s tradition right? I would like to add, I hand mash the potatoes- I have a mixer but, I just like doing it this way. Cranberry sauce, can’t have Thanksgiving without it. If I can still get fresh summer squash and zucchini, I like that. Nothing fancy, just cooked together with a little sweet onion,and just a tad of water on top of the stove. Of course there is always the traditional sweet potatoes, sausage stuffing, home made mac and cheese. As for dessert,not big on pumpkin pie,but I do like sweet potato pie. Your mother’s dessert of fresh fruit sounds good, I don’t know if I could handle the brandy, a Tylenol knocks me out.lol A dessert I prepare, which is probably a favorite of mine is peach cobbler. Pretty basic recipe:Preheat oven to 350 deg., unless using a glass baking dish then heat to 325 deg.. Ingr.: 4 cps peeled and sliced peaches(about six to eight good size peaches) I use a 3qt. baking dish, in which I melt 8 tbsps. butter in oven-then remove. Mix together a half cup of water with a cup of sugar for syrup, pour over peaches, then set peaches aside. For batter,mix together one and a half cps. self rising flour, 1 cup sugar, and one and a half cups of milk with a elec. mixer. Most people then pour the batter over the butter, adding the peaches on top. I do the opposite, just to make sure I don’t over fill. It comes out the same. Sprinkle cinnamon on top-bake 30 to 45 min., just until golden. Best served warm, maybe with a scoop of ice cream. Anyway there you go. 🙂

  2. Elizabeth N.
    November 23, 2011 at 9:05 AM

    I learned to do a marvelous cranberry orange relish a few years ago: pack of fresh cranberries, one non-waxed seedless orange (because you use the whole thing), one sweet onion.

    Zap it all fine as you want it in the food processor. Put it in a pot and add 1 cup of sugar and a cinnamon stick if you like cinnamon. I also like a little bit of red pepper or ancho chili–some heat but not much. One or two whole cloves are nice as well.

    Bring it all to a boil on the stove and then simmer, stirring constantly, for just one minute. It’s icky if overcooked.

    Cool, remove the whole spices, and serve.

  3. November 24, 2011 at 4:54 PM

    I am so thankful for the Farmers and Ranches who provide the food that makes it to our tables. Some days I’m overwhelmed with how much work goes into your days so that we can walk into a grocery store and never once give thought to where it came from. I try to point out to my boys as we see the harvest happening of how thankful we should be.

    My oldest son was looking forward to my aunt’s stuffing. I made my first pumpkin cheesecake and can’t wait for the food to settle to snack up! My youngest son was looking forward to the turkey and cranberry sauce. Happy Thanksgiving Jeff to you and your family.

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