Friday, April 6, 2012

Introducing my "Touch of Nostalgia" Cherry Hill Blog Series featuring Chicken a la King in Toast Cups!

Hello to all my dear friends and readers!

I hope each one of you has been having a happy Easter weekend!

I know I am.

In fact, filled to the brim with the spirit of resurrection, I have decided to bring back a web  series to the blog that will marry my love of food and cooking with some of my other passions - including my ongoing affinity for the fashion, customs, advertising, and food of the 1940's.

So while you can expect lots more delicious recipes, how to cooking videos, pithy observations, and my blog series How a Pork Tenderloin Saved My Life, I thought I would bring back "A Taste of Nostalgia - Cherry Hill Blogs" featuring a fictional character named Amanda Fitzpatrick.

Amanda is a married twenty five year old mother of two, who's husband Paul has recently taken a position as the only doctor in the sleepy village of Cherry Hill Saskatchewan in 1947.

As such, this is the first time she has ever been away from her home in Halifax Nova Scotia, her beloved mother, and her two older sisters.

Each week the Cherry Hill blog will feature a letter home from Amanda along with a vintage recipe from one of the many recipe books I've collected over the years.

***

I hope you enjoy!















December 27, 1947

Dear Mother,

It's a gloriously bright and crisp day here on the prairies, and though no amount of warning could have prepared this maritime girl for the bitter cold, I have taken your example and am choosing to look on the bright side.

And oh how bright it is!

Mother, the sun seems to shine her most golden on the coldest of days proving to me that you have always been right when you've said that God has a plan for everything.

Although I could let myself feel sad shut up in the house as I am, I realized this morning that I have never seen a sky more blue, or a sight quite so lovely as the sunlight glistening off the icy white crystals of snow just outside our door.

Of course the children love it.

Paul built them their very own ice rink as a surprise from Santa Claus. You should have seen him out there in the back yard after church on Christmas eve half freezing himself to death and telling the children he was working on a burst water pipe in need of repair.

Having such a good and loving husband along with the knowledge that you are there and proud of the choices I'm making has been warm comfort these past few months as I've settled into small town life - but, oh! How I've missed you.

Patti, and Deb too - and of course, Daddy, but it's you who I have missed the most.

Especially this Christmas, where I must admit, the challenge of running the household on my own, along with all the Christmas trimmings, cooking, and baking has been much more difficult than I ever anticipated - mother, you always made everything seem so easy.

Some days I wake up and have to pinch myself. One minute I was a little girl playing house...

















Then in the very next breath I have somehow become a full fledged adult.

It makes me better understand now when you would sigh and whisper "Where does the time go?"

I feel the same when I look at the children and realize how much they have grown.

Bobby is a going concern, always on the move, forever curious with a sharp interest in learning how things work, and Sally, well she is just such an angel and so keen for school. She told me the other day she would like to be a doctor like her daddy and was so earnest I didn't have the heart to tell her otherwise.

Maybe by the time she's an adult girls will have more opportunities. Though I don't think I could ever imagine a day when Paul would take kindly to a female doctor. He gets frustrated enough by the nurses.

But who am I to talk out of turn?

After all, he does spoil me so.

 My kitchen is filled with all the latest appliances - including a brand new Frigidaire range! Mother, it's just as the advertisements say, and I've been able to put together all sorts of fancy modern confections for the holidays that I believe have put me on the map with the church auxiliary.

And not a moment too soon!

As much as I worried before coming to Cherry Hill that I was joining a town filled with country bumpkins, nothing could be further from the truth. The ladies are all very smartly dressed and I have had to contend with some of the most formidable of homemakers.

Including a certain Mrs. John Wilson, head of the Protestant Ladies Association.


















She is not only smart and modern, she is notorious for throwing the most original and creative dinner parties and luncheons in Cherry Hill.

Just last Autumn she threw a harvest dinner and had all the guests seated on bales of hay in the barn. I know this sounds terribly uncomfortable, but aside from the rash Paul came home with afterward, it was really quite avante garde.

As you can well imagine, I have been nervous about entertaining ever since.

Especially since Mrs. Wilson seems to have an interest and an opinion about everything I do as "doctor's wife" - which to her mind seems to imply that I don't have a brain in my head.

Last week it was my lipstick, the current cranberry red by Max Factor that she claimed brought forth a greenish tinge to my skin.

I mean really!

But Mother, you know me - always up for a challenge, I decided two can play the creative game and invited the Protestant Ladies Association in for a snowball tea the week before Christmas.

Though I have never been one to blow my own horn, I have to admit it was glorious.

Using a chenille bedspread as a tablecloth, darling little snowflake ornaments, and candlelight to offset the mood, the ladies of the auxiliary were more than complimentary about my creative hostessing.



And the fancy little ricotta snowball cakes were the hit of the party - though I fear the entire affair may not have had the desired effect on Mrs. Wilson who snubbed me at every turn.

Were it not for your voice in my head reminding me of Christian charity, it is quite possible a snowball would have ended up in her perfectly coiffed hair set.

In the meantime, Paul has advised me to keep a low profile.

And so that it is just what I shall have to do.

My first resolution for 1947 will be to blend into the very woodwork of Cherry Hill society thus redeeming myself in the eyes of the competitive Mrs. Wilson.

In the meantime, I thought I would share a clever little recipe for left over chicken or Christmas turkey. I saw it in last month's Good Housekeeping and knew I had to try it.

The absolute newest way of cooking is to serve food in clever little toast cups.

They're not only elegant, they also taste just wonderful with Chicken or Turkey à la King.


















Please give my love to everyone and know that the children very much enjoyed the toys you sent. The Silly Putty and Slinky were particularly popular.

In the meantime, here is the recipe...

Read the next installment in the Cherry Hill Series here: Amanda's Quiche Tartlets

***

Chicken or Turkey a la King in Toast Cups

For printable recipe click here

Ingredients

    8 slices whole wheat bread, crusts removed
    2 tablespoons butter
    3/4 cup chopped onion
    1/2 cup diced carrot
    1/2 cup diced celery
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 cups chicken broth
    1 cup milk
    2 cups cubed cooked chicken or turkey
    1 cup frozen peas

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Roll each slice of bread to roughly 1/4" thickness. Nestle and press each flattened piece into 8 6-ounce ramekins lightly coated with nonstick spray. Place into the oven and bake until golden, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium - add onion, carrot, celery, salt, thyme and pepper. Cook until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  4. Whisk in broth, and milk - cook, whisking often, until slightly thickened, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in chicken, or turkey and peas - cook until bubbly and heated through, about 3 minutes. Serve mixture in toast cups.
Makes 4 servings.

All my love and Happy New Year to all!

Your loving daughter Amanda

xo

20 comments:

  1. I am so happy you brought these back! This series was always one of my favorite Kitchen Witch things. It's great to see you writing again. The combination of food and words is what I love so much.
    ~Divah Dee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been meaning to dust these off - so glad you're enjoying them Dee!

      Delete
  2. LYNDS,

    AMANDA HAS RETURNED AT LAST!

    I FEARED THAT SHE SHOULD 4EVER REMAIN MISSING AND I'D NEVER KNOW, "THE REST
    OF THE STORY."

    I REALLY GOT CAUGHT UP IN THIS BLOG WHEN U FIRST BROT IT OUT IN2 THE LIGHT, AND I AM SO PLEASED 4 ANOTHER CHANCE 2 GET 2 KNOW AMANDA AND COMPANY MUCH BETTER.

    I MAY HAVE SAID B4, BUT IT BEARS REPEATING THAT NO MATTER THE ENDEAVOR THAT U UNDERTAKE, I SHALL ALWAYS B YER BIGGEST FAN B/C I BELIEVE W/ ALL THAT I AM THAT THERE IS NOTHING U CANNOT ACCOMPLISH ONCE U SET YER MIND 2 IT.

    I'VE WATCHED U SUCCEED AT EVERYTHING U HAVE SET YER CAP 4 SINCE OUR DAYS 2GETHER ON MYSPACE, THEREFORE I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO REASON NOT 2 EXPECT THE VERY BEST FROM YER EVERY ADVENTURE.

    U R TRULY AMAZING, MY FRIEND.

    CAN'T WAIT 2 GET 2 THE POINT WHERE WE LEFT OFF IN THE CHERRY HILL BLOG.

    SO, SO GLAD THAT U R BACK 2 WRITING AGAIN, 4 I HAVE MISSED U TREMENDOUSLY.

    TOWANDA, DOLL!

    ~ERIN~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What would I do without you Idgy? I needed to find out what happens to Amanda too!

      Delete
  3. I will go and read past posts because I think this is great and I'm missing part of it, just from what the comments have said.I'm a new follower and need to play catch up, love your blog, Have a wonderful Easter Weekend,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Laurie, this is the first "installment" I am bringing it back so some of my friends have already read the first few. So nice to see you! You haven't missed anything :-)

      Delete
  4. Does this mean we'll be eating off the Value Village plates again? Ha ha. Great job Lynds.
    Vaughan

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm thrilled to have a new friend in the blogging community. Right now I have a house full of company but look forward to getting to know you and read your blog. Thanks so much for stopping by!

    Happy Easter to you and yours!

    Best,
    Bonnie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bonnie, thank you for stopping by!

      Here's wishing you a very happy Easter.

      Delete
  6. Hi lovely lady.
    Your Chicken la king in the toast cups looks so Yummy. This would be great for dinner with a spring mix salad.. I hope you have a wonderful Easter with your family. We are having Bake Ham.
    XXOO Diane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Diane - the toast cups are sooooo DELISH!! Happy Easter xoxoxo.

      Delete
  7. Amanda is a treasure. It is interesting to see how times have changed in and out of the kitchen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's amazing to me to see the influence all of the Nancy Drew books I read as a kid have had on writing this :-) I can't wait to see where Amanda goes!

      Delete
  8. I enjoyed this installment, and loved the pictures! Looking forward to reading more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Patti! I'm looking forward to our apple cook off next weekend!

      Delete
  9. Awesome. Loved this segment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, thank you Velva! I can't wait to being more :-)

      Delete
  10. Lyndsay, I love just about anything apple. Can't wait to see your apple adventures and recipes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too - apples are good with just about everything! If you get the chance you should try my recipes on the sight for apple cake and stuffed mushrooms with gruyere and apples. Both are very good!

      Delete