Saturday, April 2, 2011

When Life Gives You Tornadoes...

...I say cook and bake while the power is still on!

Thursday our lives looked like this...

We were under a severe tornado watch and warning, and several tornadoes touched down in different areas of our county.  Thankfully we just ended up with high winds (the kind where the wind sounds like pouring rain) and severe thunderstorms.  We saw some pretty dark and scary clouds though. It was the kind of day best spent inside, so that's what I did.  But it reminded me of a snow day back in Maryland, and snow days always made me want to cook and eat!  Since we still had power, I got busy in the kitchen.

Earlier in the week I had done a massive clean out in my laundry room.  My laundry room is not necessarily big, but it's big enough to be an area that collects junk. We walk through it from the garage to get into our home, so it's easy to become an area where we drop and go. It had gotten so bad and I had been living in denial for a couple of months - well maybe not denial, maybe just sheer "I have no time to deal this" mode - but I finally spent a couple of hours in there and got the place organized!  We have a small shelving area in there that stores tools, extra pantry items, small appliances, etc, and while reorganizing everything I went through basket of recipes that I had collected when I was a newlywed.

In that basket I found two recipes I immediately wanted to make.  The first was a Cinnamon Bread that my neighborhood pal's mom Peg used to make when we were little.  I used to love going to their house when she would pull warm loaves of this bread out of the oven, and remember she would let us make it sometimes as well. I had no idea I even had this recipe!

The second was a Black Eyed Pea Salad from a woman named Janie.  Many childhood memories involve her family, and anytime we had barbeques or picnics, she always had delicious food to contribute.  I remember trying this salad at a party and asking for the recipe.  Again, I had forgotten i had it.

(Isn't it interesting how food is closely associated with memories?  That's one of the many reasons I love it!)

Both recipes were as good as I remember.  The Cinnamon Bread is the type that comes out with a crispy, crunchy top.  Fresh and hot out of the oven, it was perfect for the dark and rainy day!  The Black Eyed Pea Salad was savory and tangy.  A good, cold side dish - it will be great for summer picnics.

I'll share the recipes with you and hope you enjoy them! Who knows, maybe it will be on your next rainy day!  But hopefully not in a tornado. :)

Peg's Cinnamon Bread

Mix 1/2 cup of oil, 2 eggs, 2 cups sugar, 4 cups flour, 2 cups buttermilk, 2 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp salt in one bowl.  In another bowl mix 1 cup sugar and 2 TBSP cinnamon.  Pour half the batter into 2 greased bread pans.  Sprinkle 1/4 cinnamon/sugar over each bread pan of batter. Pour rest of batter into bread pans.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup cinnamon/sugar mixture on top of each pan of batter.  With knife swirl back and forth until all the cinnamon/sugar is moistened. Bake at 375 for approximately 45 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

Janie's Black Eyed Pea Salad

Mix 2 cans drained and rinsed black eyed peas, 2 minced scallions, 1 red and 1/2 green pepper chopped (I used some mini red, orange, and yellow peppers), 1/4 cup chopped parsley (I didn't have this, also think cilantro would be nice), 1 clove garlic minced (I used a few!) in a bowl. In another bowl mix 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 TBSP red wine vinegar, 1 TBSP prepared mustard, 1 jalapeno seeded and minced (didn't have this either), salt and pepper to taste.  Stir to mix.  Pour over pea mixture. Chill and serve.

*Note: Before I served I added another dash of red wine vinegar and olive oil.  

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