Dec 3, 2014

A Cozy Winter Dinner

Y'all know I have a problem with cookbooks.  I just love them- especially ancient spiral bound junior league ones.  My second favorite is any cookbook comprised of menus.  My imagination runs wild picturing the 1964 ladies bridge luncheon described, or a holiday tea, or picnic on a blanket for a crowd, etc.  I was pretty pumped to discover "Uptown Down South- A Collection Of Preferred Menus" published by the Junior League of Greenville, South Carolina, in my treasure trove of gifted old cookbooks.

I adapted a "Rainy Day 'Pick Me Up' Lunch" for a cozy little dinner at home.  
Sausage Lentil Soup
Caesar Salad
Apple Claflouti

Take that winter!

 Sausage Lentil Soup:

2 cups lentils, rinsed and culled
1 teaspoon each of dried thyme, oregano, and basil
1 bay leaf
1 pound Italian sausage
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
4 carrots, diced
6 stalks of celery diced (include the leaves)
1 box good quality beef broth

In a large dutch oven,  cover the lentils with water and add the spices.  Bring water to a boil and simmer the lentils covered for about 40 minutes.  Meanwhile, brown and crumble the Italian sausage over medium heat.  Add the vegetables and sauté until soft.  Drain (if there is a lot of fat), and add to the pot with the lentils, along with the tomatoes.  Add 4 cups of beef broth.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.

Caesar Salad
1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese grated
1/2 cup olive oil (plus a little extra for croutons)
1 egg
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon pepper
1 anchovy (optional)
1 head romaine lettuce
1 head bibb lettuce
1 small baguette

Combine cheese, oil, egg, lemon juice, Worcestershire, garlic, anchovy and pepper in blender and process for 10 seconds.

For croutons, slice or tear baguette into chunks, and brush with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and bake at 400 for about 5-10 minutes until golden brown and crispy.

Toss everything together and enjoy!

Apple Claflouti

3 large apples, cored and peeled (I used honey crisps)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoon almond extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut apples into 1/4 inch wedges.  Melt butter in skillet and simmer apples with almond extract and lemon juice for 5-10 minutes until tender.  Remove from heat and cool.  In medium bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt.  Stir in honey, cream and eggs until smooth and blended.  Pour 1/3 of batter in greased shallow baking dish or 9 inch pie plate, spread evenly.  Bake until set, 4-5 minutes.  Arrange apple mixture on top and pour on remaining batter, spreading evenly.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until puffed and golden.  Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar or drizzle with honey.  Cut in wedges.

I slightly overcooked mine pictured above, and it was still delicious.  I gave myself a major tummy ache the next morning by eating over half the pan for breakfast.

Apparently, it has taken me three weeks to finish this post.   Blame the holidays, work, volunteer work and children.  The usual suspects, no?  Anyway, this dinner would be perfect fro trimming the tree!


  1. Oh yay, I love a shout out! I'm on the board this year for the Junior League of Greenville and am so happy to hear you are enjoying the cookbook! It's one of my personal favorites :-)

  2. That looks amazing! You are super-momma Samma! Merry Christmas! xoxo


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