Comfort Food

Comfort Food


I had the great fortune of growing up with a set of grandparents who lived just a block away ... and a set of surrogate grandparents who lived right across the street!  My Grandmother Schuster was a really good cook and what I remember most about her kitchen is that she had a dutch oven built in to her stove and it had something simmering away in it ... most of the time.  Grandma died about the time crockpots became popular, but she would have loved that trend.

Mrs. Harrison was an incredible cook and she knew everything about preserving food.  In fact, all the women in my childhood neighborhood canned all summer long.  When it was sauerkraut making time, you could smell it on every block!

My mother was frugal, but Grandma Schuster and Mrs. Harrison were even more frugal.  Nothing was ever wasted, and nothing in the garden at the end of the season was ever wasted.  Mixed vegetable relishes took care of all those vegetables.  Green tomatoes that didn't have a chance of ripening were turned into pickles and chutneys.   My grandmother used them to make mincemeat for pies.

I cook for one most of the time, so to say that I had a crisper filled with vegetables that needed to be used ... didn't mean that I had lots to deal with.  Nonetheless, I didn't want nice farmers market produce to be wasted.   So began my favorite vegetable stew preparation.  It happens at least one time a year ... sometimes more!

Not very pretty, but awfully tasty!  I started my preparation by cleaning and chopping everything.  Simple enough.  Yes, that is an apple that I included! Even though the apple will cook down much more than the vegetables, the sweet flavor stands out.  In the left over use of this combination ... the sweetness is important.

I had a half red onion and just a couple baby Bella mushrooms.  I wanted the intense flavor from caramelizing those, so I scalded them in melted butter then let them slowly cook util they caramelized.

While the onion and mushrooms were cooking, I chopped the remaining ingredients into medium (but bite size) chunks.  I cut the corn off the cob and sliced the little cabbage into inch thick slices.

I layered the vegetables in a 1 1/2 quart crock pot by putting sliced carrots on the bottom.  They need to cook at a hotter temperature.  Then the squash, peppers, cabbage, corn and apple ... then finally, the caramelized onion and mushrooms with all the pan drippings ... on the top.  I added just a cup of hot water so the vegetables steamed instead of stewing.  I like crisp tender veges!

Use the high setting and everything hits the crisp tender stage in about 2 hours.  The apple will cook away!

This pretty vege stew is delicious with a nice slice of warm bread.  It freezes well for a quick side dish later on.  My favorite way to deal with the left overs is to drain all the liquid from it, then top it with my favorite vinaigrette and refrigerate!  You cannot beat it as a cold salad.  Sweet, crunchy and lovely as a cold side dish.

I'll share this with a couple of my favorite blog parties, so make sure you check my sidebar for the links!

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