Experimentation

Archived | October 8, 2015 | By

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. All the windows had been flung open, one by one, throughout the day, and I was making some pumpkin bars because I’ve had a hankering lately, and because there was a can of pumpkin, and mostly because it feels good to whip something up while I’m listening to good music.

Truth be told, I haven’t been to the grocery store for a real load of groceries since sometime in early August. That last trip was a big one, and once the kids left Mr. S and I have been busy and a bit adrift too, and figured why not see what we can make with what we’ve got, just for a while, and he thought that sounded fun. We have, of course, picked up milk, butter, eggs and bread pretty regularly, and made a few visits to smaller grocers and farmers’ markets for fruit and vegetables, but we’ve done quite well cooking with what there is, and we’ve learned a few things and tossed out a few failures and have pretty much enjoyed what feels like a bit of a culinary experiment.

We’ve made Thai chicken pizza, jambalaya and calzones, all homemade, and we’re working on a taco pizza that’ll tip the kids right on over. We’ve had extraordinary salads covered with crushed crackers and tuna and cubed cheese, some Mexican hotdish with no meat (a good amount went to the compost and the dog found it and that was a small ordeal later on), and we’re both near-experts on Fine Grilled Cheese sandwiches. There was the sauerkraut/cream soup/spicy sausage dish (which led to a small argument but that’s another story), and we’ve had a number of gravy-meat-bread dishes that were pretty much okay. We’re using up everything in the freezer, too, and had creamed pheasant last week, and some chili with venison this week, and looks like something with chicken for tonight. Only one box of pasta left, and I made pudding for dessert last night, banana pudding with real, ripe bananas and shortbread cookies and Mr. S thought it was the best thing in a while.

Seems next week will be the week to re-stock the cupboards, but it’s been a fine stretch of weeks giving some thought to using what we have. Hard to recognize abundance when it’s there all along, and even now with a near-empty fridge, I’m feelin’ pretty blessed. Got butter and eggs, and real maple syrup, and someone to share it with and that’s a fine thing.

These bars are good for gatherings, and I’m sharing this recipe early so you can try it out once or twice before Thanksgiving and Christmas. The recipe has Scandinavian roots, but everyone I know who has tried one says, “Oooh” or “Mmm” or “Well, now.” Nothin’ fancy, nothin’ fine. Just plain good.

Almond Bars

2 cups flour
½ cup powdered sugar
1 cup softened butter
Mix and pat in an ungreased 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
½ cup sugar
1 tsp almond extract

Combine, and pour over hot crust and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Cool completely.

Frosting:
1½ cups powdered sugar
¼ cup melted butter
1½ tsp milk
1 tsp. almond extract.

Spread onto cooled bars and top with slivered almonds.

Enjoy!