Monthly Archives: October 2015

Are you going to Marlborough Fair?

Not to be confused with Scarborough Fair….or the song of that name.

Marlborough Pie is a rich, enriched sort of custard and apple concoction that is far too easy and good, good, good to have ever fallen out of favor.

And now seems to be having a teeny-tiny rebirth.

First – there are various historic sites that keep it alive, thank you Old Sturbridge Village

Here’s Ryan Beckman on  pie

and then a story on Eater : what-is-marlborough-pie

…which could be why I’ve been fielding Marlborugh Pie questions all week…

Here’s a recipe from OSV

Marlbor pud RX

There;’s a certain (tasty) place where pie and pudding intersect. Pudding Pie is a real (GOOD) thing.

marlbor pud OSV

Tastes like a million bucks! Don’t skimp on the sherry…

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Filed under Autumn, Pie, Thanksgiving, Wicked Wayback

Coffee Cake

Cardamon Coffee Cake. Sour Cream Cardamom Coffee Cake.

I first had this cake maybe thirty years ago, and I remember it as if it were yesterday….and the memory still makes my mouth water.

It was a cold, crisp day in the fall…a day much like today.

Pat and Troy, two excellent bakers, were at work standing with a cake dish that had the most amazing cake smell coming from it.

I immediately became so focused on the CAKE that I can’t remember who made that particular cake, but it did inspire the other to make a second cake a few weeks later, so I had this cake twice in a month, lucky lucky lucky me…

Back to that first CAKE.

This image is from the Bakepedia website - there will be a link in a minute.

This image is from the Bakepedia website – there will be a link in a minute.

Don’t be deceived by appearances, it’s not just the look – which is that of a very nice coffee cake – but the aroma,

Oh, The AROMA!

And thus I smelled cardamom (or evidently, as  the English call it cardamon , which must be why I am going back and forth between the two spellings) for the very first time. 

Troy and Pat were discussing pre-ground cardamon versus buying the pod and grinding your own, as well as the expense….for the money, buy the pods and grind your own, it doesn’t take that much time or effort and it is 100 times better at much less then 100 times the cost.

spice-islands-ground-cardamom-2-oz-pack-of-3_1566247

Ground cardamom – sure , it’s good….but you can do better!

If you don't have a spice grinder OR a little mortar and pestle, you can use a baggie and a rolling pin (or other weight object) to grind it fresh - no excuses!

If you don’t have a spice grinder OR a little mortar and pestle, you can use a baggie and a rolling pin (or other weighty object) to grind it fresh – no excuses!

Then the conversation went to the vast amount of butter – a POUND – that goes in, as well as the vast amount of sour cream that goes in – a POUND – ….

This is not a cake to make impulsively, or for yourself.

This is a cake for an OCCASION, an  EVENT, a HOLIDAY, a GATHERING, a CROWD.

You will need a big bowl.

But first, you will need a recipe.

So did I.

It took me a while to find the recipes. Every time I got into a bookstore, I couldn’t remember WHICH of the Mollie Katzan

Mollie Katzan, the Moosewood years

Mollie Katzan, the Moosewood years

books it was, and when I got one I made soups and salads, because REALLY how is a dessert vegetarian??????Most desserts don’t have meat in them….and I had cake and cookie and dessert cookbooks to give me all the sugar and spice and everything nice recipes that I could make.

moosewood_large

This is the cookbook with the Sour Cream Cardamon Coffee Cake to Die For Recipe in it

When I finally brought the right cookbook home, and got past the Gypsy Soup – this is SUCH Gypsy Soup weather….

page from the book - I recognized Gypsy Soup at a glance!

page from the book – I recognized Gypsy Soup at a glance!

I bought the cardamon and copious amounts of sour cream and butter and got everything mise-en-place, I went to bed to get up early, make coffee and make the cake. Had to use my trusty Kitchen-Aid, my biggest Budnt pan, which I put on a baking sheet, just in case there was overflow……it’s a LONG bake, but after about 25 minutes….back to

Oh, The AROMA!

It was a downright cold day the day I baked, and I hesitated to take it out of the pan because I didn’t want it to collapse, so I popped the pan, on the baking sheet in the back seat of the car, the one that smelled like baked beans in the hot summer sun, and set off to work. Once more,

Oh, The AROMA!

and when I arrived at work, before I could find a plate big enough to turn the cake out of the pan on, I found myself  surround by curious co-workers, and conversation about cardamon being so important to Finnish Christmas cooking, and the secret ingredient  of really good Chai …..and when the cake came out, a little slumped under the weight of the sour cream and the butter and the sugar and the spice…..and there were pieces of cake and plates and all passed around and then….silence.

A moment of silence.

We don’t get many of those in the workplace, so I wasn’t sure if it was endorsement or disappointment.

NOT disappointment!

More plates, pieces saved for lunch, pieces saved for those not in quite yet…..

I’ve made this cake several times, always the same reception.  But I haven’t made it recently.

But a lunchtime conversation about cardamom with someone named Molly….cardamon flashback

I will be making this coffee cake sooner rather then later…..

Being separated from my cookbooks only makes things more interesting.

What I’ve found on the Internet:

  1. This is an Occasional Cake – crave it occasionally, make it for a special occasion. This is not an everyday  cake.
  2. There are some who would cut back on the butter and/or the sour cream or shrink the volume to fit into an 8×8 pan- IGNORE THEM. They are idiots. They have completely missed the point. If you want low fat make an angelfood cake or eat a piece of fruit.
  3. You will need a big bowl, a big pan and some big time. It’s 90 minutes, at least, in the oven alone.
  4. It will be totally worth it.

And now for the links:

  • Bakepedia – Cardomom Coffee Cake – the first of their Throwback Thursday posts, and Mollie in her own words
  • Enchanted Fig Huge and Beautiful Cardamom Coffee Cake:  Momma Diaries 2
  •  Art of Gluten-free Baking  – Coffee Cake Friday: Cardamom Coffee Cake, Gluten-Free
cardamom in flower

cardamom in flower

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Filed under Autumn, Cake, Influencers, winter

Popcorn, Pilgrims….

Myth and Magic

Once upon a time, a long time ago…

John Howland pondering popcorn at the first Thanksgiving - from a scene from a 19th century novel

John Howland pondering popcorn at the first Thanksgiving …MYTH

CHAPTER XXVI.

THE FIRST THANKSGIVING DAY OF NEW ENGLAND.

The meal was a rude one looked upon with the dainty eyes and languid

appetites of to-day, but to those sturdy and heroic men and women it was

a veritable feast, and at its close Quadequina with an amiable smile

nodded to one of his attendants, who produced and poured upon the table

something like a bushel of popped corn,–a dainty hitherto unseen and

unknown by most of the Pilgrims.

All tasted, and John Howland hastily gathering up a portion upon a

wooden plate carried it to the Common house for the delectation of the

women, that is to say, for Elizabeth Tilley, whose firm young teeth

craunched it with much gusto.

Breakfast over, with a grace after meat that amounted to another

service,…..

STANDISH OF STANDISH : A Story of the Pilgrims By JANE G. AUSTIN Author of “A Nameless Nobleman,” “The Desmond Hundred,” “Mrs. BeauchampBrown,” “Nantucket Scraps,” “Moon Folk,” Etc., Etc.Boston and New York Houghton, Mifflin and Company The Riverside Press,Cambridge 1892 Copyright, 1889,by Jane G. Austin.All rights reserved

But the problem with myth, is that it GROWS….

… and then other myths grow from there.

Popcorn is American. Nobody but the Indians ever had popcorn, til after the Pilgrim Fathers came to America. On the first Thanksgiving Day, the Indians were invited to dinner, and they came, and they poured out on the table a big bagful of popcorn. The Pilgrim Fathers didn’t know what it was. The Pilgrim Mothers didn’t know, either. The Indians had popped it, but it probably wasn’t very good. Probably they didn’t butter it or salt it, and it would be cold and tough after they had carried it around in a bag of skins.

Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls WIlder, p. 32.

Farmer Boy coverAnd who doesn’t want to believe Half-Pint?

laura6

Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls in the TV show ‘Little House on the Prairie’

So although popcorn is a variety of corn that was not grown in New England before the nineteenth century, and therefore popcorn could NOT have been part of the first Thanksgiving, popcorn has a whole lotta cool in its past….even in the Little House in the Prairie series….like this:

You can fill a glass full to the brim with milk, and fill another glass of the same size brim full of popcorn, and then you can put all the popcorn kernel by kernel into the milk, and the milk will not run over. You cannot do this with bread. Popcorn and milk are the only two things that will go into the same place.

Farmer Boy, Chapter 3

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The History of Corn is amazing

Polenta, grits, SAMPE – different words for the same corny goodness. Sampe Fest 2015 is Saturday and Sunday at the Plimoth Grist Mill. Come over and try our cornbread and our Pottage Without Herbs, which is made with sampe and tasty good.

Foodways Pilgrim

Or is it more properly ‘a-maizing’?
Either way, a few pictorial highlights – and a recipe – for a Wicked Wayback Wednesday from a talk I gave on a dark and stormy night for the South Shore Locavores.

corn The audience was all ears!

In a nutshell –

Corn has been around for thousands of years in the America, in Europe not so long. In the 16th century maize was new and fashionable, but since it was easy to grow, and grow well, it became more and more common and less and less fashionable…..case in point – polenta.

Murillo - the Polenta Woman -17th century - notice how she's not fashionable Murillo – the Polenta Woman -17th century – notice how she’s not fashionable

Pietro Longhi - Polenta - notice that it's being pored onto a cloth, from which it will be eaten Pietro Longhi – Polenta – notice that it’s being pored onto a cloth, from which it will be eaten. This is the 18th century when ‘The Poor’ become romanticized. Their romantic  image is fashionable, not the poor actual selves .

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Fluffernutter!

October 8th is……..

National Fluffernutter Day!

There was a bill to make the Fluffernutter the state sandwich in Massachusetts, Bill H.2868 188th (2013 – 2014), 

SECTION 1. Chapter 2 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 59 the following section:-

Section 60. The fluffernutter shall be the sandwich or sandwich emblem of the commonwealth.

An Act designating the fluffernutter as the official sandwich of the commonwealth. By Ms. Reinstein of Revere, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 2868) of Kathi-Anne Reinstein relative to designating the fluffernutter as the official sandwich of the Commonwealth. State Administration and Regulatory Oversight.

but I’m not sure where it is at the moment…..

But you don’t need legislation to make a sandwich – yet.

Indulge.

fluff retrofluffernutterfluff jar

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Filed under Eating, New England, Recipe

Pumpkin Bread

Not just ANY pumpkin bread.

Mary Peddell’s never fail, super zippy, fast and easy, quick bread pumpkin bread.

Although in polite conversation she was Mrs Peddell (until in more recent years when she is Mrs Crothers) the bread has always been, to us, Mary Peddell’s. My mother made this literally hundreds of times in the late ’60’s, early ’70’s. I have made it hundreds of other times in the early ’70’s to the right nows. I have copied this recipe out of the Church Cookbook several times, just to make sure I wouldn’t/couldn’t lose it.

Easy-peasy.

Doubles easily.

Make two.

One to snack on when it comes out of the oven, the other for whatever you intended it for in the first place.

.

Mary Peddell’s Pumpkin Bread

1 ½ C sugar* (I sometimes use a little less now)

½ C salad oil

2 eggs

1 C canned pumpkin

1 2/3 C flour

1 tsp soda

½ tsp cloves

¾ tsp salt

¼ tsp baking powder

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

½ C raisins

½ C nuts

Mix together and put in a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 ½ hours.

  1. A Book of Favorite RECIPES compiled by the Ladies Sodality of St. Joseph the Worker Church, Hanson, Mass. p. 59.

Serve with tea or coffee, old friends or new, cream cheese or Brie….you’ll have time while it’s baking and cooling to figure out your game plan.

Plain ole pumpkin. Easy and good. If you want to pick out a pumpkin, peel, seed, boil, drain (or roast) and then mash - go right ahead! Freeze it in 1 Cup batches so it's good to go when you want it.

Plain ole pumpkin. Easy and good. If you want to pick out a pumpkin, peel, seed, boil, drain (or roast) and then mash – go right ahead! Freeze it in 1 Cup batches so it’s good to go when you want it.

If you pick up the pie filling instead of regular plain pumpkin, you have jsut let Libby's do the seasoning for you. Adjust the spices accordingly.

If you pick up the pie filling instead of regular plain pumpkin, you have just let Libby’s do the seasoning for you. Adjust the spices accordingly. Pumpkin, Sugar Syrup, Water, Salt, Natural Flavors, Spices. Gluten free. Better plan – just use the plain pumpkin.

This is what we felt we looked like back when Mary Peddell's Pumpkin Bread was new to us...

This is what we felt we looked like back when Mary Peddell’s Pumpkin Bread was new to us…groovy

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Filed under Autumn, Recipe, The 1960"s

Punkin Bread Puddin

Last week, after making Indian Pudding and Sops of Pompion for the Mass Bay masses….I found I had rather a lot of sops of pompion left.

There are some things that can be re-heated and be just fine…but OTHER things need to be re-imagined to turn into something else altogether to eat.

Let’s start with the sops……..

Here’s the 17th century recipe for the sops…..

To butter Gourds, Pumpions, Cucumbers or Muskmelons.

Cut them into pieces, and pare and cleanse them; then have a boiling pan of water, and when it boils put in the pumpions, &c. with some salt, being boil’d, drain them well from the water, butter them, and serve them on sippets with pepper.

– 1675. Robert May, The Accomplist Cook,

RobertMayTheAccomplishtCookFrontispieceI’ve never tried this with gourds or cucumber or even muskmelons – only pumpkins.And my pompion/pumpkin/punkins  in this case were pre-peeled butternut squash from the grocery store.
In Austraila butternut squash is called butternut pumpkin...confused yet?

In Austraila butternut squash is called butternut pumpkin…confused yet?

I cut the pumpkin into smallish cubes, and dropped it into a pot of boiling, salted water. When it was tender I drained it.

Just like macaroni.

I toasted sliced Thirded Bread from Plimoth Plantation’s  Plimoth Bread Company. For the Boston event I carried both elements separately and finished the sops when I got there to Boston:

Put ample butter in a frying pan, add the cubed, boiled squash and saute until heated, golden and just starting to get a little not quite mushy, but most definitely soft. Spread the pumpkin and butter on the toasted bread – I cut each slice into halves or thirds to make it easy to eat as an appetizer.. Sprinkle the tops with fresh ground pepper. Easy. Serve. Great with beer.Or with soup. Once you have it, you’ll figure out how it fits into your life.

And then the leftovers ( a late 19th century term) …..otherwise known as the relics or the orts……to PrestoChangeo into

PUDDIN

  1. Take your pumpkin sops and eyeball them. You should roughly equal amounts of bread and pumpkin. There were some pears that were a few minutes past peak, so they got cut up and added to the mix. With a whole grain bread you’ll need to add a little more moisture. If you have an enriched type bread, not so much to worry.You can break the pieces up or keep them very large to be broken up in the serving.
  2. The liquid is going to be about equal to the mass of the bread and fruit (technically, pumpkin is a fruit, so is squash) so plan panage accordingly.
  3. The bottom half of a granite ware roasting pan was my choice

    The bottom half of a granite ware roasting pan was my choice. Any type of baking dish you can put in the oven will do.

    Butter the pan very well. Then butter it again even better. As Julia Child has said, “Add more  butter”. The butter keeps it from sticking and the butter will help the edges brown and crisp up nicely and just improve everything.

  4. Mix equal amounts of milk/cream and/or half and half with beaten eggs . We used 6 eggs, but four would be enough for a smaller amount. I’m thinking the ratio is 1:1:1:1 – bread:fruit:eggs:milk. If you have juicy fruit (peaches, say, not the gum) keep that in mind when sloshing in liquids. It’s very forgiving. A little longer in the oven helps dry it out.

    juicy-fruit-vintage-packaging

    Commercial Break!

  5. Mix the eggs and milk together with the bread and fruit. Now is the time to think about spicing…..if you don’t know how to pumpkin spice…….pumpkin pie spice
  6. Or you could go with something different….Ginger, cinnamon and some anise seeds are good. Nutmeg on top another good choice.  Or orange peel and fennel seeds…..
  7. Drizzle honey all across the top. Be generous, like the caramel on a sea salt caramel latte generous.
  8. This whole thing can sit while the oven heats up…helps every little thing to soak up and get it’s act together, working out the melody and the harmonies so it can stand up and sing when it time to serve it.
  9. Bake in a 350° oven until heated through and has crispy edges and a knife in the middle comes out dry and not dripping.
  10. Enjoy hot, warm or cold.

Now if you had Pumpkin Bread….you could also make a different Punkin Bread Pudding again…

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Filed under Autumn, Bread, Recipe

Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit

Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait (1819-1905) Rabbits on a log 1897

Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait (1819 – 1905) Rabbits on a Log 1897

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