This weeks Dark Days Dinner is a pretty good one. We were able to wrangle together the last bits of some of our summer growing along with a few choice things from with in our 150 mile radius.There is one side dish not with in the radius but is organic.
Here is our menu:
Grilled Chicken - feet traveled about 10,it is one of our own
Flour Tortillas- Made from our 170 mile wheat,50 mile butter
Tomato Salsa- Using the last of our hanging tomatoes,home grown onions and herbs from our
Shredded Cheese- Left over from our first Dark Days dinner.
Steamed roots and zucchini- from the farm store 10 miles and our own garden/freezer.
Homemade Re-fried beans- not local but organic. We felt the burritos would be lacking with out.
This past week has been a up and down week here.We found out that Sol dose not have Crohn's Disease an up.The first down Issac will need to have his Gallbladder out some time in the coming months.Second down the doctor bills are piling up fast leading me to call the school to see if they can find us some help.That was a humble moment but I will ask if it is for the boys and their well being.
The ups came after I threw my hands up, let go of struggling and put my faith to the test. I am now happily employed! I was not finding anything and had thought I would wait out the holidays before I resumed my search for paying work but, some where in there I had an Ah Ha moment.I put the word out to a few people that while unemployed I am available to babysit figuring it would maybe bring in a few extra dollars here and there,every little bit helps. I now have not one but two regular jobs.The first is one day a week I will be a nanny to an almost two year old boy who lives right across the neighborhood from us.The second job will be 3-4 part days a week working with my young friend Emily who is 17 and is special needs.(there is not a term for for what she has but close to Autism.) I have known Emily and her family for a long time now and have always enjoyed Emily.Strange I know to enjoy the company of someone who can not communicate with you but we just click and some times I feel a deeper communion with her that is beyond speaking.Saturday Emily and I giggled all through lunch a thing that her mother says is rare so I think we are on a good start. The final ups to all of this is both jobs are VERY flexible and the pay is way more than I was seeing through job postings. Letting go is a wise thing when things are looking bad,it takes a deep bravery,is scary as all heck but trust in it you will be ok no matter what faith guides you.
Now I am going to do something I said I was never going to do,I would keep it as a guarded treasure to covet. I am going to share with all of you my Great Grandma's recipe for Dark Secrets a family favorite Christmas Cookie.I really only said I would not share it when my step mother, who was straight out of a story book, wanted it and was going to change it. Change it! Then it would not be what it is a light moist bar with a chewy layer of dates and walnuts on the bottom all rolled in powder sugar.
If you can get them use Black Walnuts since they have the best flavor. For the Dates some years I use the whole pitted Dates and chop them some years I use the pre-chopped Dates kind of depends on time and money either will work. They freeze well,I made ours today and they will be a temptation calling from the freezer until Christmas.
My Great Grandma Berg's Dark Secrets.
Preheat your oven to 350
Oil a 8x8 square pan or if doubling a 9x13 rectangle.
Baking time- 35-45 minutes
3 eggs beaten
1 C walnuts chopped
1 C dates chopped
2 Tablespoons oil
1 Cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoons flour. Yes only 5 tablespoons.
About 1 1/2 Cups powdered sugar for rolling.
Mix in order.The batter is all egg but don't worry.I also don't recommend using a mixer of any kind for these,the dates and nuts make it difficult. Pour into your pan and bake.
The timing on these is something to watch.Just about the time you think they are ready to burn they should be ready to pull out.You are looking for a deep golden brown crusted top.And when you test the cookies like you do for a cake the knife or whatever you use should pull out with a bit of moist not wet batter on it.
Now you have to move quickly, be sure to set up your work area while the cookies are baking.As soon as the pan comes out of the oven run a knife all round the edges of the pan to loosen the cookies.Now cut in the pan so you have 2 inch or so squares.Quickly roll the squares in powdered sugar and set aside to cool.You want the cookies to be hot when you do this so the sugar will stick.Sometimes bits of the dates and walnuts fall off as you pull them from the pan,you can do a repair by gently pressing the bits back into place.Cool or at least mostly cool if you can't wait and enjoy.
Dark Secrets were my first round of this years Christmas Cookies.I still have Lemon Melt Aways,Sugar Cookies,Gingerbread Cookies,something Chocolate and one more something I don't know what yet. Our tree is up,the lights are glowing and the house is starting to smell like the holidays as well.Perfect combination considering winter has rolled in with it's icy breath.
What are some of you making for the holidays?