First . . . to report on the Cranberry-Vanilla Ice Cream. . .
I’m not going to make a larger batch right yet. The first was really a bit less than a one-quart batch, and it’s lasting Kathryn and me a week. We’re sort of rationing it out rather than pigging out. And it seems that the longer it stays in the freezer the harder it gets. I wonder if it’s the same way with the ice at the bottom of the Greenland icecap.

It’s supposed to get really cold this weekend, so I checked the extended weather report . . . well, even for Texas, 55 degrees at night is not particularly cold. And 45 degrees on Monday?  I’m going to have to keep holding off on the root beer brewing. I need the weather to really chill out for a week or so. I think my students and PineWoodDerbyWorkshop kids are going to become the lab rats for my root beer brewing session. We’ll just have to see. The root beer is fermented naturally with yeast and sugar. Root beer uses ale yeast which goes dormant when it gets cool, otherwise the bottle can blow up. Not good. At camp, of course, we’ll have several coolers and just keep them iced down. (I’m going to have to trek up to the attic and check to verify how many coolers we actually have already. Maybe that’ll be enough for a first brew-up.)

Here’s a recipe for “campfire onions” I have to try out this weekend. It just looks like a vegetable candy. (And, besides, onions come right after tomatoes and jalapenos on my must-eat list.) It all comes in fours: Four onions (the big sweet Vidalias); four TBSP Brown Sugar; four TBSP Beer (O’Doul’s and Sharp’s are non-alcoholic); Four TBSP of Butter. Cut off the top of the onion; leave the root. Dig a cavity in the middle of the onion. Fill each onion with one of each. Wrap in aluminum foil. Set them in a baking pan at home or in the coals at camp. Bake forty-five minutes at 350 degrees. I’m going to try these this weekend. You try ‘em too, and tell me what you think.

Wednesday I had a pasta dish called “Chicken Spaghetti” for lunch.   Friends and neighbors, this one is glorious. It goes like this: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces (2 cups of light & dark meat)
(I’m personally going to boil the chicken first, then tear it apart.)
1 pound thin spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
¼ cup fine diced green pepper
¼ cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/8 to ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Cooking directions:

1. Add the chicken pieces to boiling water, stew it till it’s done , then simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. (See comment under “1 chicken” above.)
2. Remove the chicken and 2 cups of the chicken broth from the pot. When
chicken is hot, remove the skin and pick out the meat to make 2 generous cups.
3. Cook the spaghetti in the same chicken cooking broth until al dente.
4. When the spaghetti is cooked, combine with the chicken, mushroom soup,
1 ½ cups cheese, the green peppers, red peppers, onions, seasoned salt, cayenne, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
5. Stir in 1 cup of the reserved chicken cooking broth, adding an additional
cup if necessary.
6. Place the mixture in a (hotel pan) and top with the remaining 1 cup of cheese.
(One cup? Is it possible to put too much cheese in a recipe? Really?)
7. Bake until bubbly, about 45 minutes. Cover with foil if the cheese starts to
get too brown.

Right behind the chicken spaghetti Wednesday came the dessert.  . . . Wait for it. . . . French Silk Pie. Yes; yes; I know; you’ve tried it; it’s wonderful . . . but have you had it with crushed salted pretzel crust. Oh, my stars, Maude Applegate! That’s amazing. The basic recipe, I learned, came from ( I’m not sure where the chef came up with the crust.

Anyway, I have a herd of parents and their kids coming to PineWoodDerbyWorkshop this weekend, and I’m going to be busy with that. But not so busy I (we) can’t cook up something.

Thank you for reading. Stay hungry, my friends.

What the hands learn the mind cannot forget.