Strix the harbinger
guards the exit gate, quizzing all
Who will pass this night?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Oakwood Picnic (Review)

The Oakwood picnic went off pretty well again this year. We shared a table with Lorna's sister, Linda and Larry, Sally and The Judge, and Jane Saunders. Jane is the senior resident of Oakwood. She lived here for decades with her late husband George. Recently she broke her knee and is using a walker. She is having an apartment redecorated in a senior facility, so will be leaving Oakwood next month. It going to be a loss for our community. I've going to miss her intelligence and snappy wit. I assume we'll see her back next year for the 63rd annual picnic.

The Judge has lived in Oakwood since 1949, where he grew up in what later became our house. When he and Sal got married he brought her back to Oakwood and bought a house where they lived for a few years before moving to their present home. More continuity. The demographics are changing. When Addy was growing up there were only a handful of kids so they became very close. Today there were about 20 children attending, most in early grade school. It's wonderful to hear the sounds of laughing children again.

George A. asked what the most memorable food I ate was. That's a really tough call because it tends to be everybody's best shot. In the desert category, Mindy Nelson bought an ice cream and chocolate layered cake desert that I really liked - about half a dozen layers, all neatly packed in ice to prevent melting. I noticed The Judge went back for a whole plate of just assorted deserts. He's a small, very thin man. Life just ain't fair. We were in the group assigned "Hot Dish", which I suspect may be a Midwest thing. Hot Dish. I ain't no fool, I'm pushing my wife's dish. The following is what Lorna whipped up for the occasion. Everybody likes a good recipe:

Lorna's Hot Dish

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (4 ounce) can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 can wild rice 
  1. In a large skillet, cook beef, wild rice, onion and garlic over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the mushrooms, salt, oregano and pepper. Add the spinach, soup and sour cream. Stir in half of the mozzarella cheese.
  2. Transfer to a greased 2-qt. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese; bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. 
We cheated just a little and used fresh spinach. Obviously this would be better with fresh mushrooms, spinach and wild rice, but that might move it out of the "hot dish" category.

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