Wednesday, November 26, 2008

So Much To Do

So I've overslept this morning and am playing catch-up as best as I can.
I've been getting up 6:00-ish to work on a church project in the quiet a.m. before the hubby starts moving or dogs start barking. I took the time last night to make a list of all things that must happen today in order to feel successful. That is the problem with expectations, when you fall short, disappointment is standing there. That is a little lesson I learned years ago in yoga, "Expectations that fall short, always bring disappointment to you". Isn't that so true? In the quest for a richer life, since learning that adage years ago, I really try not to have expectations of situations. It really can be done and even though those expectations do creep in, especially around the holidays, there's always tomorrow to work on eliminating them. Why don't we work on it together?
The weather is going to be 50ish today. To my garden I must go and pick spinach for the salad tomorrow. I will clean it today; put it in the refrigerator. Then tomorrow the leaves will be very crisp and it will take very little time to put together my salad for the Thankgiving feast at my friend Sharon's.
Also, today I must bake not only my baked fruit compote, but a sour cream poundcake. I think I will make 2 -- one for tomorrows' gathering, and the other for my friend, Wanda, who recently lost her husband. I think a poundcake which she really enjoys, and a jar of baked fruit compote would be a warm way to let her know I am thinking of her.
This recipe is one of my oldest ones. In fact, I have lost the actual recipe, I just make it from memory. In fact, any good southern cookbook will have a baked fruit recipe in it. When canned goods started being produced back in the early 20th century, it was a sign of wealth to purchase canned foods. Isn't it funny how times have changed, now every culinary magazine is pushing a home garden, or at the very least, shopping at a farmer's market. Nothing wrong with gardens or farmers markets, but for nostalgia's sake, I buy the canned fruit for this recipe.
Even though I could easily "gourmet-ize" this recipe by cutting up fresh fruit, the canned fruit makes it easy to assemble and it tastes delicious. I buy the fruit that is canned in its' juices except for the dark cherries which I can only find in heavy syrup.

Baked Fruit Compote
Serves: about 20

save all the drained juice:
1 20 oz can pineapple chunks, drained
2 15 oz cans peach slices, drained
2 15 oz cans apricot halves, drained
2 15 oz cans pear slices, drained
2 15.25 oz cans dark cherries (in heavy syrup), drained
1 8 oz can mandarin oranges, drained
4 TB cornstarch
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cloves
12 slices of fresh ginger
4 cinnamon sticks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly butter or spray with a non-stick spray 2 13 x 9 casserole dishes. Combine drained fruits in a large bowl. Divide the fruit between the casserole dishes.
Measure out 4 cups of the saved fruit juice. Discard the rest (or freeze in ice cube trays for fancy iced tea or lemonade). If there isn't enough juice (and some times that happens depending on the brand) bring it up to 4 cups with apple or orange juice.
Put cornstarch in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the 4 cups of fruit juice. Add vanilla extract and cloves. Whisk until smooth.
Pour over fruit. Divide ginger slices and cinnamon sticks between casserole dishes; nestling spices throughout the fruit.
Place both casserole dishes in the oven. Bake, uncovered, for about 30-45 minutes or until bubbling hot.
Serve hot, or room temperature.
Cover left-overs and store in refrigerator. Left-over compote is delicious for breakfast with yogurt or as a pancake/waffle/french toast topping.

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