I’m in the midst of writing my cookbook. 14 chapters. Some done, some not. Over 125 recipes. Some tested, some developed, some not. Personal stories and stories about other Kentucky cooks and farmers. Some written. Some not. And then I have a blog, this blog, the one many of you faithfully visit for previously posted recipes and for the recipe for ever-popular Chex Mix recipe.
This past October and November I spent most of my waking hours developing recipes for another author’s cookbook. It was a wonderful project and as always full of learning opportunities. None the less, I struggled to talk to you about what I was cooking and eating because so much of what I was cooking stemmed from the work I was doing at the time. Plus I couldn’t pass the recipes off as my own. It was also a book about reversing heart disease and I felt guilty about baking chocolate chip cookies, bread pudding, or anything that remotely promoted heart disease. As a general rule I cook pretty healthfully around here but reversing heart disease pushed the limits of what I normally cook.
Now I’m in the same boat, but for a different reason: I struggle to talk about what I’m eating and cooking because much of what I’m cooking and eating, 90 days from my deadline, is going to get published in my book. I’m making an effort to not base my book on this blog, nor base my blog on the book. Instead I want to keep the conversation going about what’s going on here in my kitchen, while I write my book in the background. Perhaps easier said than done. Thus my longer periods of silence and general lack-of-blogging.
So, yesterday, my daughter and I were goofing around in the kitchen. She was bored and rather than send her packing to entertain herself I said, let’s do some cooking. Since I’m trying to use up some ingredients in my pantry, and because I fell for the pre-Thanksgiving pumpkin-shortage scare, we made a pumpkin pie. Not very seasonal for February, but with canned pumpkin many marvelous things can happen – like pies, muffins, pancakes, and bread. In the midst of the pie baking I realized it was lunch time. Again in an effort to use some ingredients in the pantry I mixed up a batch of an old family favorite – Olive-Nut Spread.
From the stories I’ve heard over the years my grandmother made alot of Olive-Nut Spread. It was economical and meatless, making it a perfect filling for a sandwich especially on the meatless Friday’s of Lent. No self-respecting Catholic grade school student in the 1940’s would have ever considered waltzing into school with a bologna sandwich on a Friday of Lent. And no self-respecting mother of a Catholic grade-school child would have packed a bologna sandwich either. I was reminded about the simplicity of Olive-Nut Spread a few weeks ago when my Aunt Mary died. A family friend brought Olive-Nut finger sandwiches to the funeral home for us to munch on between hugs, stories, and memories. Boy they were good. So yesterday that’s what we had for lunch anyway, Olive-Nut Spread sandwiches and tangerines. And no, Olive-Nut Spread isn’t going to be in my cookbook, although it could be because it’s so “Kentucky”.
Makes about 2 cups
Also good with wheat crackers, celery sticks, or thick slices of cucumber.
One 8-ounce package neufchatel or cream cheees
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup pimento-stuffed olives
Dash of hot red pepper sauce
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, pecans, olives, and hot pepper sauce. Mix until well combined. Store refrigerated.