..The Intuitive Times
Kitchen Korner


Comfort Foods

by Karin LaRonde

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Comfort food is something that makes you feel better when you're feeling bad. Enjoying comfort food isn't about abusing food, i.e. scarfing down a whole batch of chocolate chips cookies or eating an entire container of butter pecan ice cream. Comfort food is about treating yourself.

Everyone has their own definition of comfort foods -- mine is those foods which transport me to another time, another me, which bring back emotions and feelings of warmth, of being cared for, of being totally and completely carefree. They are the foods I long for when I'm feeling stressed out, when I have a cold, or when I'm sad, tired or lonely. For different people, comfort food means different things. Most often it is associated with childhood memories. What Mom or Grandma gave you when you weren't well. Few people share the same comfort foods. I have my own, based on some links to my past but also some newly acquired comfort foods contributed over the more recent years by my own family. Here are a few.......

GINGER TEA - ginger has wonderful restorative properties, including quelling nausea. What's great about it is that it's very easy to make, and you can brew it all day long. The fact that it is hot (spicy) really helps clear your sinuses.

To make ginger tea, grate some fresh ginger, and gently simmer it in a small pot for about five minutes, then turn off and allow the brew to steep for an additional five minutes keeping the lid tightly closed. Before steeping you can add any additional ingredients such as honey; mint, lemon, garlic, etc. One of my family's favorite comfort foods is Macaroni & Cheese.

1 each: sliced zucchini, chopped sweet red pepper, cubed carrots
(or any vegetables of your choice)
1 TB vegetable oil
3 cups milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups Shredded light old Cheddar-style Cheese
4 oz light cream cheese
1/2 tsp. each dry mustard, thyme; salt and pepper
5 cups macaroni
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
3 TB butter, melted
2 TB freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In bowl, toss veggies with oil; spread on lightly greased baking sheet. Roast in 450°F oven for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk 1/4 cup of the milk with flour. In saucepan, heat the remaining milk over medium heat until bubbles appear around edge; whisk in the flour mixture and bring to boil, whisking. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Whisk in Cheddar and cream cheeses, mustard, thyme, salt and pepper until smooth. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook macaroni for 8 minutes or until just tender. Drain and return to the pot; stir in sauce and vegetables. Spoon into greased 8-cup casserole. Topping: Combine crumbs, butter and Parmesan. Sprinkle over pasta. Bake in 450°F oven for 10 minutes or until bubbling and golden.

One comfort food that most people think of is Chicken Soup...
4 quarts water
1 small chicken, cut up
1 large onion chopped
½ cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks & leaves, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups fine egg noodles
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
Remove skin from chicken and rinse with cold running water. Place chicken pieces & onion in large pot with water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and skim off fat. Simmer 30 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked through. Remove chicken and boil the broth uncovered for 15 minutes until reduced to half. Meanwhile cool chicken and remove meat from the bones. When broth is reduced, add vegetables, garlic, parsley, & pepper. Cover and cook about 8 minutes. Add noodles and cook another 8 minutes. Season with Braggs Liquid seasoning or salt.

Here's my comfort food...
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 ½ cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup peanut butter (I prefer crunchy )
1 tsp. vanilla
2 ¾ cups flour
¼ cup cornstarch
¾ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips
Cream together margarine and brown sugar. Beat in eggs, peanut butter and vanilla. Add flour, cornstarch, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Stir in chocolate chips. Roll into balls about 1½ teaspoons onto an ungreased baking sheet. Flatten slightly (they don't flatten much while cooking). Bake for 10 minutes at 350 C. Makes 3-4 dozen and here's a popular choice.....

1 ¼ cups warm water
1 Tablespoon yeast
1 tsp. honey
2 tsp. vegetable oil
4 cups of flour (your choice i.e. spelt, whole wheat, or any combination)
1 tsp. salt
4 cups of vegetables of your choice. i.e. onions, zucchini, peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, asparagus, artichokes, etc. 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil ½ tsp.. each: oregano, basil, dill weed Sauce:
1 TB Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 28 oz. can tomato sauce
1 TB Oregano
1 TB Basil
1 TB brown sugar
2 cups low-fat shredded Mozzarella Cheese
In a small bowl, combine water, yeast, and honey. Let it sit until it is frothy (about 10 minutes). Add remaining ingredients. Mix to a soft dough; knead on a floured surface 10 minutes until smooth. Place in a greased bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place 45 minutes or until doubled in size. Punch down dough and knead briefly. Oil an 12-inch pizza pan. Place dough in centre of pan; press out to edges with you knuckles. Pinch up edges to make a rim.
Meanwhile, cut vegetables in uniform sizes, toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle herbs. Place on baking sheet and roast at 400 for about 20 minutes.
Sauce - Sauté onions and garlic in oil over medium high heat until soft. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400. Spread sauce over the pizza crust. Arrange roasted vegetables over the sauce. Sprinkle with Mozzarella Cheese. Bake until the crust is crisp and Cheese is browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven & let cool for 5 minutes.

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