Category Archives: 1990’s

Birthday Cake!

Today is someone’s birthday….

Well, that’s true about every day, but today it’s someone close to me….

Jacob and me

and much, much taller then he was twenty five years ago!

I found the recipe I used for his fifth birthday, so it seemed time to use it again.

First, get out the trusty 9×13 pan

13x9-pan nordicware bake and store

one with a lid…and get to work.

Chocolate Birthday Cake

2 eggs

1 ½ cups firm packed brown sugar

2 oz (2 squares) unsweetened baking chocolate, melted

2 cups sifted cake flour (like I had a 5 year old and cake flour in the house at the same time – HA!)

1 t. baking soda

½ t. salt

¼ C white vinegar

¾ C milk

1 t vanilla extract

½ C butter, softened

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Have all the ingredients at room temp
  3. Butter and flour a 13x9x2-inch pan.*(I used a pan that has its own travel lid.)
  4. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt (the Drys)
  5. Separately, combine vinegar, milk and vanilla (the Wets)
  6. In a big, deep bowl beat together eggs, brown sugar and chocolate (3 minutes by hand – 1 minute with an electric Mixer)
  7. Into the big, deep add the drys and half the wets.
  8. Beat 3 minutes by hand and or 1 minute electric.
  9. Add the rest of the wets and beat for another minute.
  10. Pour into the prepared pan.
  11. Bake for 45 minutes or until it shrinks from the sides of the pan and tests done.
  12. Cool completely and frost.

*or 2 8-inch layer cake pans

– Adapted from ‘3-Minute Fudge Cake’ in Nika Hazelton. From Nika Hazelton’s Kitchen. Viking Penguin. 1985. p. 298.

from-nika-hazeltons-kitchen

And don’t forget the candles – and some matches….

Birthday-Cakecandles closeup

Happy Birthday!

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Filed under 1990's, Birthday, Cake, Holiday, Recipe, Summer

Bunny, blushing bunny

2006AR0188-01

Embroidered Rabbit. England, 17th century c. 1625 V&A

This little blush colored  bunny ( a detail from an embroidered jacket) made me think of another sort of Blushing Bunny….

Bunny, Miss and Thumper

Miss Bunny and Thumper…from Bambi – but not this blushing bunny

This Blushing Bunny:

blushing bunny LAtimes

From “Worldly Blushing Bunny”  by Charles Perry Jan. 3. 2007 LA Times

One that is Welsh Rabbit ( or rarebit) with a can of tomato soup added

Campbells_Soup_Cans_MOMA

Campbell’s made soup good food; Andy Warhol made soup cans good art

Rabbits go back to Hannah Glasse

Glasse - First catch

A modern edition of The Art of Cookery is titled ” First Catch Your Hare.” Very appropriate for the first Welsh rabbit recipe to be there, too! Even though we all know that hares and rabbits aren’t the same thing…

and then are one or two more, the way there is never ONE rabbit….

18th century ‘Rabbit’ Recipes

1747

To make a Scotch rabbit,toast the bread very nicely on both sides, butter it, cut a slice of cheese about as big as the bread, toast it on both sides, and lay it on the bread.

-1747. Hannah Glasse. The Art of Cookery Made Plain & Easy. Prospect Books ed. p.95

 To make a Welch rabbit, toast the bread on both sides, then toast the cheese on one side, lay it on the toast, and with a hot iron brown the other side. You may rub it over with mustard.

-1747. Hannah Glasse. The Art of Cookery Made Plain & Easy. Prospect Books ed. p.95

To make an English rabbit,  toast the bread brown on both sides, lay it in a plate before the fire, pour a glass of red wine over it, and let it soak the wine up. Then cut some cheese very thin and lay it very thick over the bread, put it in a tin oven before the fire, and it will be toasted and browned presently. Serve it away hot.

-1747. Hannah Glasse. The Art of Cookery Made Plain & Easy. Prospect Books ed. p.95

Or do it thus. Toast the bread and soak it in the wine, set it before the fire, rub butter over the bottom of a plate, lay the cheese on, pour in two or three spoonfuls of white wine, cover it with another plate, set it over a chafing-dish of hot coals for two or three minutes, then stir it till it is done and well mixed. You may stir in a little mustard; when it is enough lay it on the bread, just brown it with a hot shovel.

-1747. Hannah Glasse. The Art of Cookery Made Plain & Easy. Prospect Books ed. p.95

The 1740’s

Scotch Rabbit

Toast a bit of bread on both sides then lay it on a plate before the fire. Pour a glass of red wine over it, and let it soak the wine up, then cut some cheese very thin and lay it thick over the bread and put it in a tin oven before the fire and it will be toasted and browned presently….You may stir in a little mustard.”

—   Scottish manuscript, cookbook of Moffat family.

  • The Thirteen Colonies Cook Book, p. 238

 1753          

To make a Scotch Rabbit.

Toast a Piece of Bread on both Sides, butter it, cut a Slice of Cheese about as big as the Bread, toast it on both sides, and lay it on the Bread.

-1753. The Lady’s Companion. London. p. 264-5.(foodtimeline)

 

To make a Welch Rabbit.

Toast the Bread on both Sides, then Toast the Cheese on one Side, lay on the Toast, and with a hot iron brown the other Side. You may rub it over with Mustard.

-1753. The Lady’s Companion. London. p. 264-5.

To make a Portugal Rabbit.

Toast a Slice of Bread brown on both Sides, then lay it in a Plate before the Fire, pour a Glass of red Wine over it, and let it soak the Wine up; then cut some Cheese very thin, and lay it very thick over the Bread; put it in a Tin Oven before the Fire, and it will be toasted and brown’d presently. Serve it away hot with Sugar over it, and Wine poured over.

-1753. The Lady’s Companion. London. p. 264-5.

Or do it thus.

Toast the Bread and soak it in the Wine, set it before the Fire, cut your Cheese in very thin Slices, rub Butter over the Bottom of a Plate, lay the Cheese on, pour in two or three Spoonfuls of White Wine, cover it with another Plate, set it over a Chafing-dish of hot Coals for two or three Minutes, then stir it till done, and well mixed. You may stir in a little Mustard; when it is enough lay it on the Bread, just brown with a hot Shovel. Serve it away hot.

– 1753. The Lady’s Companion. London. p. 264-5

An Italian Rabbit.

Toast a Slice of Bread, butter it, put upon it a Slice of Cheese the Length of your Bread, Let that be toasted; then put upon the Cheese some Mustard and Pepper, then Parsley minced, and upon the whole some Anchovies, in Pieces, very thick, to serve away.

-1753. The Lady’s Companion. London. p. 264-5

The Welsh are not alone in this! Scotch, English as well as Italian and Portuguese. This is one well traveled rabbit.

rabbit italian c1460

Italian rabbit 15th century

Sooooo

when do rabbits become rarebits?

1852

No. 164. How to Make a Welsh Rarebit.

First, make a round of hot toast, butter it and cover it with thin slices of cheese; put it before the fire until the cheese is melted, then season with mustard, pepper, and salt, and eat the rarebit while hot.

 

  • Francatelle, Charles. A Plain Cookery Book. p. 78.

But that’s not the end of rabbits – rarebits and rabbits continue together through the centuries

1858

Welsh rabbit.

Welsh rabbit is made by melting cheese and adding wine and other seasonings.

  • Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt Book. p. 206.

I haven’t been able to fill in the 100 year gap between The Lady’s Companion and Miss Beecher (who is Catherine Beecher, Harriot Beecher Stowe’s sister), but this already became more obsessive/compulsive then it began.

In the 2oth century, English Monkey, Yorkshire Buck, Scotch Rarebit, Cheese Muff, The Mackie, Oyster Rarebit, Midnight Rabbit and of course, Blushing Bunny.

Welsh Rarebit

6 servings

Melt in the top of a double boiler over simmering water:

1 tablespoon butter

Stir in and heat until warm:

1 cup beer, ale, milk, or cream

Gradually, stir in:

4 cups shredded sharp Cheddar or Colby (1 pound)

Cook, stirring constantly with a fork, until the cheese is melted. Stir in:

1 egg, beaten

    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

    1 teaspoon salt

    ½ teaspoon sweet paprika

    ¼ teaspoon dry mustard

    (¼ teaspoon curry powder)

    Pinch of ground red pepper

Cook, stirring, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.

Serve at once on top of

12 slices white, rye, or other bread of your choice, toasted, or 18 crackers

 The Mackie

Prepare Welsh Rarebit, above, topping toasted slices of white bread with sliced tomatoes and crisp bacon before covering with cheese mixture.

Blushing Bunny

Prepare Welsh Rarebit, above, substituting tomato juice or canned condensed cream of tomato soup for the beer or the milk.

  • Rombauer, Irma S., Becker, Marion Rombauer and Ethan Becker. Joy of Cooking. Scribner: NY. p. 112.

 

joy of cooking 75th

and on the Rabbit/Rarebit debate, Joy of Cooking says this:

“Our correspondence is closed on the subject of rarebit versus rabbit. We stick to “rarebit” because “rabbit” already means something else. We can only answer the controversy with a story. A stranger trying to calm a small crying boy: “I wouldn’t cry like that if I were you.” Small boy: “You cry your way and I’ll cry mine.”

 

I realize that the history or recipes and food  isn’t quite the same as MY history with food and recipes, I’ve stared another blog  for the historical things. Foodways Pilgrim will continue as my journey with food. But for the historical inquiry, The Backstory of Welsh Rabbit (or Rarebit, as the case may be) or What Did They Serve at the First Thanksgiving sorts of questions/stories/cool background, that will now be at Plays with Fire.

Caravaggio_-_Cena_in_Emmaus 1601 National galleryLondon

Cena in Emmaus – 1601 –  Caravaggio at National Gallery, London

Caravaggio_supperat Emmaus Milan Brera Fine Arts Academy1606

Caravaggio, Supper at Emmaus (again)  this in 1606 and now in Milan at the Brera Fine Arts Academy .How has the food changed – and why?

   Plays With Fire

Van Goh rabbits in landscape

Vincent Van Gogh Landscape with Rabbits 1889

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Filed under 1990's, Books, Bread, Recipe, Wicked Wayback

Winter Blues

Ready for the Snow – George Lucas

 

Snow, snow, snow. Cold, cold, cold. Short days, but getting longer, but not nearly long enough. Long nights getting shorter, but not short enough. Not quite enough sunlight. At least the snow makes the full moon light brighter.

Beth went to  some sort of Publishers Book Fair earlier this month and brought me back some samples. (Thank you Beth! XoX). These are books that haven’t yet been released, the advance reading copies, which makes them doubly delightful, being both new reads and being ahead of their own time, as it were.

One book had menus as chapter headings, and the first chapter was Xmas, so I dove in – what better to read in a snow storm/Jonas/apocalypse?

It turned out to be about a woman pursuing a career (that she’s AWFULLY ambivalent about) with a marriage that she’s outgrown and then she re-invents herself as a single in the city …and since she’s had a career for over 20 years, she’s not exactly a Spring Chicken, but on the other hand she has a young daughter…sometimes….and a non-romantic interest nonagenarian (that’s a 90 something) who is a cook/philosopher. And she finds a Mister Man of Her Unrealized (at the books opening) Dreams before the end.

But of course.

A Twenty-First Century Sleeping Beauty/Snow White/Cinderella Fairy Tale, complete with Disneyesque Princess and unnamed Prince Charming.

disney_live_Three_Princess

Even Disney can’t tell them apart anymore

Each chapter in this fairy tale begins with a menu, and some of the dishes have descriptions or almost recipes written in, and good kitchen advice as well. And drinks. There is plenty of alcohol fueling this fairy tale, too.

As I was reading, I was imagining who would be cast in the movie version…Jennifer Lawrence, perhaps,

Jennifer Lawrence

even though Sandra Bullock would be more age appropriate, and no doubt Dustin Hoffman

dustin_hoffman

could play the Yoda/spatula wielding-leading man… or maybe it could be a limited run TV series, that’s part Drama/part Cooking show with cookbook/life manual to go with it. Since she doesn’t write about his death, and he’s ninety something in 2009, there’s sequel material out there……

And so I went to bed. It’s not until this morning that I realized the name of the leading lady is the same name as the author…both first AND last names, a woman who had done the sort of work that the leading lady had done and that the book is dedicated to someone who has the same name as the darling and mostly absent daughter, and

in a Dawn Breaking over Marblehead moment

dawn over Marblehead

Dawn (or light) breaking ovah Marblehead. We take our figures of speech literally round here.

did I realized this might be

MEMOIR.

As a novel, I’d have more to say about this, but as someone’s portrayal of their life……although my own life is sometimes

A Movie Directed By Mel Brooks,

Mel Brooks

it is not a telenovelas or a soap opera or reality show. And it certainly wouldn’t be  in my written versions. That kind of DRAHMA I can’t sustain for longer than a cup of coffee. If that long.

 

On the other hand, Our Leading Man put a homemade blue cheese dressing on avocados, which make me want that combination in the worst way. And since I have some Blue cheese in the house, and a recipe for blue cheese dressing   This one is a creamy version. I have another vinaigrette somewhere….If I can figure out where the book is -it might be on the shelf of the little bookcase that is still at the ancestral home.

Avocados are on my shopping list, even though I still don’t know how to buy one or keep it or eat it in the place between rock hard and tasteless and brown and slightly oozy and scary bad. But avocados and SuperBowl Sunday go together hand in glove, so there are plenty to go around and at a good price, too.

I’ve also been eating orange and red and yellow food, just for the color warmth.

Squash soup made with the frozen squash and some cranberry apple cider that got much sweeter as it cooked; I searched Anna Thomas Love Soup and she had a version of squash soup that had red lentils in it, so I added some of them, and some water. Her soup also had some spices, turmeric, cumin, red pepper – which sounds a lot like curry powder, of which there was none in the house. And although the vegetarian Anna Thomas wouldn’t suggest it, sausage would cut the sweet…

Love Soup

Curry powder and sausage go on the grocery list.

The lentils reminded me of Simon Mujumdar’s Life Saving Dahl, so find his book and put dahl on the list, too. Is Eating My Globe at the ancestral home, too? Interesting what got save first, and once safe was moved to the no worries list…..ah, internet:

EatMyGlobe

 

Life Saving Dahl – Simon Majumdar

And now, back to blues, as in foods.

 

Stiltob cheese

Stilton cheese – a blue cheese

 

 

I bought the bit of supermarket Stilton for a rarebit….and then  took a little trip down a rabbit hole as well.

Just what IS the difference between rabbit and rarebit? When did this become a dish and not just toasted bread and cheese? Inquiring minds want to know!

The short version of which is: It’s confusing! Both rarebits and rabbits abound and there are also a few other names for cheese on toast.

Hannah Glasse (The Art Of Cookery Made Plain & Easy) has the earliest printed Welsh Rabbit recipe, and it’s a rabbit, in 1747. Welsh not the only rabbit in Glasse – there is also Scotch and English rabbits there. In the next chronological reference I could find (this is all rather haphazard and not the least academic) in 1753 (The Ladies Companion)there is A Scotch, A Welsh A Portuguese and An Italian…. and later on there is also Scotch Buck and English Monkey and Blushing Bunny….and the rabbit/rarebit divide isn’t just between England and the US or even between centuries. Both countries and both 19th and 20th centuries use both names. Rabbit Hole.

Alice in Wonderland Tennial

Rabbit or Rarebit?? And just where are you from??????ONE answer, please!

I’m close to crying ‘Uncle’ in all of this, and then it will be a Wicked  WayBack Wednesday post.

In the meantime, this is the blue cheese rarebit that I clipped from Bon Apetit back in 1994 and have enjoyed numerous times since then, especially since I found that the local convenience store sells milk not only in Gallons and Half gallons and Quarts, but also in 14 oz. to-go bottles. As someone who doesn’t drink milk, buying even a quart means I have to come up with at least one other way to use it, so instead of 12 oz of milk, I use the 14 with no harm.

Stilton Rarebit

1 ½ T butter

1 ½ teas flour

1 tsp Coleman’s dry mustard

1 ½ C milk

1 C Stilton (4 oz)(an English blue cheese)

1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

4 slices WW bread, toasted

Walnuts, chopped

 

  1. …Whisk flour in and cook 30 seconds. Whisk in mustard.
  2. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
  3. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer till thickened, whisking occasionally: 5-10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and add ½ the cheese and whisk until melted. Add remaining cheese, whisk until melted and smooth.
  5. Season with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
  6. Cut toasted bread slices on diagonal and overlap 4 halves on each of 2 plates. Ladle rarebit over.
  7. Garnish with chopped walnuts.

2 servings.

  • Bon Appetit magazine. Dec 1994 issue (New Year’s supper 1994)Bon Appetit Dec 1994 cover

In my notebook it’s on a page with Dylan Thomas quote:

….there was sherry and walnuts and bottled beer and crackers by the dessertspoons….

By 1994 I knew that ‘cracker’s’ in this case were NOT saltines…..

christmas-cracker_

 

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Filed under 1990's, Books, Bread, winter

Laurie Colwin

One of the joys – and distractions – of unpacking my books is finding the ones I had forgotten about, forgotten as “What the heck IS this and when and why did it end up with me?” and forgotten as in, “Well, Hellooo again Old Friend it’s been tooooo long. Let’s catch up”

The vagabonds have been packed up and sent to more appropriate homes, some to friends, some to work, some to Savers. But the Old Friends…some have proved to be the sort of friends that are about a time and place that is no more, that you do lose over time, so after a little visit, when it apparent we have nothing left to say to each other, they, too, will leave with no forwarding address, all on amiable terms and scarce a backward glance.

But the true Old Friends, the friends that are friends from the very first moment, the kindred spirits, the friends that you pick up right where you left off last, like it’s only been an hour even when it’s been forever and a day since you’ve seen each other and then, caught up, you keep going into your tomorrows….on these friends I spend a little more time and attention.

Laurie Colwin is one of those friends.

lauriecolwinNYT

She had a column in Gourmet, which I used to read fairly regularly. Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen, which includes some of her Gourmet writing, came out in 1988. I received my copy in 1991 as a housewarming present from a friend who also read her column and knew Laurie was a kindred spirit.

Laurie had a second volume of essays, More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen that came out in 1993, shortly after she died unexpectedly of a heart attack at age 48.  My copy is dated 2001. I think I got it on markdown from the amazing and now gone Jessica’s Biscuit. Both volumes are dog-eared and splattered.

laurie-colwin

In re-reading I realize how she articulated so many vague kitchen related topics for me, from “Why I Love Cookbooks” to “Bread Baking without Agony” as well as Red Peppers, Chocolate, Tomatoes and Coffee. It was in her coffee essay that I first learned of Bach’s Coffee Cantata.

There was a broccoli sauce for pasta recipe in some magazine last month, quick and easy way to get more veg in your diet, where you cooked the broccoli while the pasta was cooking, puréed the broccoli with some olive oil and maybe some lemon juice and perhaps some hot pepper at least that’s the way I’d do it…..did do it…..

At this point in the recipe I realize I used to do this. Quite a bit. Like maybe weekly. For years. Not just with broccoli, but spinach and kale and then butternut squash. Any chopped frozen veg. One box. While the macaroni is cooking, microwave one box frozen (preferably chopped) veg. In a pan heat some oil with garlic or shallot or onions or celery, also chopped. Add the cooked veg and stir around. Add some chopped parsley or basil or mint or not. Drain the macaroni and save some of the water to thin the sauce if needed. Put the macaroni back in the pot. Add some lemon or orange or chopped vinegar peppers to the pan veg to zing things up. Add this pan sauce to the macaroni; use the water to thin and spread around. Top with cheese, hot pepper flakes or the jarred hot chopped peppers. Or not. Or chopped olives. Whatever.

antonios chopped hots

One of my pantry staples

I can’t vouch for what the magazine recipe actually said, because they made it look more complicated, like they just INVENTED green sauce. And where did I get it from oh, so many years ago??????

Right. Laurie Colwin.

“Now to broccoli. How some people hate it! However, it turns into a sleek, rich pasta sauce. First you steam it. Then you sauté it in dark green olive oil with two cloves of garlic until the garlic is soft. Then you toss it all in the blender with pepper, a pinch of salt, the juice of half a lemon, more olive oil and serve it on penne or ziti or fusilli with lots of grated cheese, and no one will suspect of what is being served.”

 

Laurie Colwin. Home Cooking. Alfred A. Knopf. NY. 1988. p. 60.

Bingbingbingbingbing.

Since it was raining and close to 40 when I went to bed last night, and there was no snow in the forecast (I’m not entirely sure there was rain in the forecast, come to think of it) I assumed there would probably be ice on the streets in the morning. Sure enough, I woke to the sound of a car not quite getting traction at the stop sign at the slight incline just outside my kitchen. When I looked out the window, it looked like SNOW. While I was making the coffee, yep, it was certainly snow snowing. More snow. Fairly thick flurries through the second cup of coffee. Enough to add snow removal to the list of things to do today.

Which is as good as an excuse as any to make brownies later.

If I make them tonight I can bring some in to work tomorrow and not be forced to eat the whole pan by myself.

Unless I let them cool and wrap them individually and put them in the freezer and take them out to eat them one by one. My Aunt Anne could do that, a diabetic with a sweet tooth. But I know they only take 10 or 15 minutes to be chewable (not the same point as edible) and that with a microwave, you can have a hot brownie in under a minute…..

I realized yesterday that my freezer has no shelf. When it was totally empty, I couldn’t quite figure out why it was so BIG, and kept telling myself it’s because it’s empty. But now that there’s 10 pounds of squash and a few other frozen veg and some nuts and Cuban coffee….I went to put an ice cube tray in and THAT’S when I realized – no shelf.

Back to brownies.

Laurie Colwin on brownies:

“There are as many brownie recipes as there are flowers in the meadow. Some are fancy, some are plain. Some have nuts, which I consider a bad idea, because children seem to hate them and end up picking them out and getting brownie crumbs all over everything. I also have several friends with fatal nut allergies, and so I leave the nuts out. I have been served brownies with chocolate chips and brownies with raisins, but what most people want is plain old brownies. Some people like their brownies on the cakey side and some feel they should be more like fudge. I myself like brownies that are what I called ‘slumped’ and the English call ‘squidgy’ which means slightly undercooked and not quite runny in the center.”

Laurie Colwin. More Home Cooking, HarperCollins, 1993, 95, 2000. p. 75.

I wholeheartedly agree with her brownie assessment. If you want cakey brownies, you really want cake, so just make cake and move on.

Brownies…..brownies are the place between fudge and cake.

Since in my youth, the center was the part of the brownie  went to the bake sale or the covered dish supper or whatever function the brownies were really for…. we usually had to share the edges or the brownie bones, which may be why I think of them as good coffee dunkers and really feel like I’ve won a blue ribbon when I get the squidgy part.

BROWNIES-NYT KH

New York Times version of Katharine Hepburn Brownies

The recipe Laurie gives is Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies, which she got from a friend who got it from a magazine. I remember that magazine article. I clipped the same recipe. I have made those brownies.

Katharine Hepburn  was the cover girl of August 1975 issue of The Ladies’ Home Journal.

152817Beside the brownie recipe, the thing that stood out was that she had no door on her bathroom. She said she lived alone so that it wasn’t necessary, and she wasn’t about to look if someone else was there. Growing up in a house were the only one minute of privacy you ever got in a day was when you closed the bathroom door behind you, I just couldn’t imagine it. Now that I live by myself, I can see it….sorta. Old habits and comfort zones die hard.

In fact, I had pretty much made brownies with no nuts for years, but Katharine Hepburn persuaded me otherwise. It became my brownies with walnuts go-to recipe. Yes. I have more than one brownie recipe, because they really are like the flowers in the meadow…or more like the trees in the forest, changing with the season and some have nuts.

On the internet there is both a baker’s chocolate and a cocoa versions of this recipe. From a  letter that appeared in the New York Times (July 6, 2003) after Katharine Hepburn’s death, it seems that she made them both ways, depending on what she had on hand.

Both good.

KATHARINE HEPBURN’S BROWNIES

1 stick (8 Tbl) butter

2 squares unsweetened chocolate (or ½ cup baking cocoa)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

½ teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup AP flour

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped walnuts

  1. Melt butter and chocolate together and take saucepan off the heat (or melt butter and add cocoa )

  2. Stir in 1 cup sugar, add 2 eggs and ½ teaspoon vanilla and beat well.

  3. Stir in ¼ cup AP flour, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1 cup chopped walnuts.

  4. Bake brownies in a buttered and floured 8” square pan at 325 for 40 minutes. Cool completely and cut into squares.

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Filed under 1990's, Books, Influencers

Salads, Dressing

Claude Monet Jar of Peaches

Why did the peach blush?

Because it saw the salad dressing!

 There are so many things that can be salad…..really – like

Potato to make Potato Salad

Potato to make Potato Salad

Tuna for Tuna Salad (this tuna is named Charlie)

Tuna for Tuna Salad (this tuna is named Charlie)

Fruit in fruit salad

Fruit in fruit salad

even kale can be a salad

Kale and Chickpea Salad

Kale and Chickpea Salad

But the mostest salad I’ve eaten in my days is a lettucey, leafy greens base with stuff in/on/around and topped with

Dressing

Dressing that increasing came in bottle form…..

Ken's Blue Cheese Salad Dressing is on of my faves...it reminds me of steak and baked potato and a side salad. Now I mostly eat if without the steak and I'm as likely to put it on the potato as the salad. Also good on the sandwich made from the leftover steak - a thing I did not know existed in the world until I moved out and away from 4 brothers - in a sandwich with sliced tomato the next day for lunch

Ken’s Blue Cheese Salad Dressing is one of my faves.

Ken’s  reminds me of steak and baked potato and a side salad. Now I mostly eat it without the steak, and I’m as likely to put it on the potato as the salad. But when there IS steak it is also good on  leftover steak – a thing I did not know existed in the world until I moved out and away from 4 brothers – in a sandwich with sliced tomato the next day for lunch. Excellent good, in fact.

Jars replace bottle in the late '80's and '90's as even better salad dressing.

Jars replace bottles in the late ’80’s and ’90’s as even better salad dressing.

My son is a ranch Dressing lover, so this was on our table for years......

My son is a Ranch Dressing lover, so this was on our table much of the ’90’s

But this is the ranch dressing he really wanted, so these packets were part of our pantry for years...

But this is the Ranch Dressing he really wanted, so these packets were part of our pantry for years…

Newman's Own is my current bottle of choice. Bottle are convenient to carry to work for lunch salad.

Newman’s Own is my current bottle of choice. Bottle are convenient to carry to work for lunch salad.

The supper salad – the home game, versus the away game lunch salad – was increasing dressed in the bowl, like I was taught in ’60’s, but with more variety, like in Red, White and Blue Salad, which I had thought I had already shared, but it’s not showing up here when I searched for it…so here it is, possibly again

RED, WHITE AND BLUE SALAD

2 cups red cherry tomatoes (or grape tomatoes or big ole vine ripened tomatoes, chopped and equal to the grapes)

2 cups white grapes

Optional: ½ cup roasted and chopped nuts

Dressing:

         1 Tablespoon Blue cheese

1 Tablespoon wine vinegar

3 Tablespoons yoghurt

2 Tablespoons oil

1 garlic clove

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

  1. Put all dressing ingredients in blender and blend (use a food processor if you prefer. Creamy, rich, tasty goodness.
  2. Put aside.
  3. Wash and dry the fruits. Cut the cherry tomatoes and grapes in half over the bowl you toss them into.
  4. Top with the dressing and mix.
  5. Top with chopped nuts if you prefer.

Dorry Baird Norris. Sage Cottage Herb Garden Cookbook. The Globe Pequot Press. 1991, 1995. p.267

Sage Cottage Herb Garden Cook Book by Dorrie Norris

Sage Cottage Herb Garden Cook Book by Dorrie Norris

Mason jars are good to mix salad dressing in - NOT the salads, which need bowls or plates.

Mason jars are good to mix salad dressing in – NOT the salads, which need bowls or plates.

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Filed under 1990's, Summer, The 1980's

Birthday Casserole

Because a certain someone has a BIRTHDAY TODAY …and one of his ulterior motives to help me with the technical aspects of a blog was to have access to his favorite recipes….another of Grandma B’s recipes.

Mrs. Granatowicz’s Casserole

(Mrs. G was a LEIGH, NEBR- neighbor-)

A JACOB Favorite

1 ½ lbs. hamburger

1 C chopped celery

1 C chopped onion

2 Tb Oil or Butter

1 sm can mushrooms chopped

1 can cream of mushroom Soup undiluted

1 can cream of Chicken Soup undiluted

1 can Chinese Noodles

  1. brown onions & celery in butter
  2. mix soups together Add the above to soups.
  3. brown hamburger , then add #1 & 2

You can add ½ can bean sprouts or/& water chestnuts. I usually DO NOT. Also, you can leave out the can of mushrooms – I usually use these.

  1. Place in casserole
  2. Top w/ Chinese Noodles.
  3. BAKE 350° for 25 to 30 MIN – until heated through. I have a friend who uses Chicken in place of hamburger.

From Jeanette Burrey, I didn’t date the year she gave me the box, but this was in the box….

Back in the day, Chinese noodles meant one thing - THESE things. Now, there's quite a variety of noodles called Chinese

Back in the day, Chinese noodles meant one thing – THESE things. Now, there’s quite a variety of noodles called Chinese, but these are the one I’m talking about today

The beauty of this casserole is that it is also a last minute Express Lane Special. I usually have celery and onions on hand, it’s the hamburger and the soups – the crema – and the noodles that I need to grab and go. One short list, 10 items or fewer.and a quick mix up and pop in the oven once home. A salad and a bowl of fruit….even better if it’s pineapple chunks you eat with toothpicks or a mango, cut up hedgehog style – OK, 2 more things to pick up.

Open can, pour into a bowl, stick some toothpick in the hunks, happy child at the end of a meal

Open can, pour into a bowl, stick some toothpick in the hunks, happy child at the end of a meal

cut in half, discard pit (or try to root it - I got a little shoot growing out once, but then the cats played wit it one night...)and then cut slices one and and across but not through the skin - pop up and serve...with extra napkins  - mangoes are JUICY

cut in half, discard pit (or try to root it – I got a little shoot growing out once, but then the cats played wit it one night…)and then cut slices one and and across but not through the skin – pop up and serve…with extra napkins – mangoes are JUICY

Jacob and me

Happy Birthday!

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Filed under 1990's, Birthday, Recipe

Car O’Beans

The Bean 11 RH 22

The Bean 11 RH 22 – this is not the Car O’ Beans, but rather the Bean Car. They are not the same thing, although they could be confused.

An invitation to a family cookout on a Saturday in the Summer – what to bring? what to bring? It should be something that

  1. Can be made ahead
  2. Travels well
  3. Tastes really good
  4. Family approved
  5. and Plays nice with other  cook-out food.

My favorite go-to take-away dish of the time:

Boston Baked Beans

recipe by none other than Julia Child, and made in a slow cooker, no less.

Easy-peasy.

Mixed everything up the night before. Remember to plug in the plug. Everything bubbling on schedule. Remember to put the beans in the car – the brand new, the first and only owner being me, me , ME, new car. Complete with new car smell.Tried out several places for the beans – in the end they fit snug and well in shotgun seat. I put the safety belt across. Time to go!

I drove the many miles, crossed town line after town line to get there. Turned into the drive, which has quite a slope. Went up the hill and then had a little physics lesson:

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

action-reactionTurning off the slope into the flat parking place = slop of beans into the car.

NEW car smell….shades of the Great Molasses Flood of 1919

450px-BostonMolassesDisaster

The smell of it, not the mess of it. A small shadow of the mess of it.

I thought of Saturday nights and Boston baked beans, whenever it was warm or I turned on the heat while I owned that car. I owned that car until it was an old car.

BOSTON BAKED BEANS

SLOW COOKER, JULIA STYLE

2 quarts of beans serve 6-8 or (double)

4 quarts of beans to serve 12-20.

6-8 (1#) oz salt pork

This is what the salt pork should look like after it's blanched. Salt pork is salted but not smoked,and the same part of the pig as bacon.

This is what the salt pork should look like after it’s blanched. Salt pork is salted but not smoked,and the same part of the pig as bacon.

2 (4) cups small white beans

Navy beans, soldier beans, pea beans - small white beans

Navy beans, soldier beans, pea beans – small white beans

4 (8) cups water *you’ll need to check and possibly add a little more later

1 ½ tsp (1TBL) salt

1 (2) cup finely diced onion

2 (4) finely minced garlic cloves

¼ (½) cup dark unsulfured molasses

grandmas_molasses

2 (4) TBLS Dijon or spicy brown mustard (secret ingredient)

½ tsp (1) ginger

Fresh ground black pepper

  1. Blanch the salt pork: put the salt pork into strips against the rind, simmer for 10 minutes water; drain and add to the slow cooker. (see illustration above)
  2. Add all the other ingredients, mix together.
  3. Turn slow cooker to high.
  4. When bubbly through, turn to low for 12-14 hours.
  5. Check every now again – * if the beans are soaking up the water, add more. If they seem soupy enough, leave them be.
  6. When they’ve turned a dark reddish brown, they’re done. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. The smaller amount doesn’t really take less time to cook. If you cook beans on high It will take less time, but you won’t have that luscious partial bean breakdown that makes the BBbeans so thick and good.
  8. Made be made a day or more ahead and reheated.

Adapted from Julia Child’s The Way to Cook. Alfred A Knopf, Inc. 1989. p. 335.

waytocookJC

Hamilton-Beach---Slow-Cookers---5-Qt-Stay-Or-Go-Sc---Red_1368322

Years later – 2011, in fact – I saw this slow cooker on a supermarket shelf the week before Christmas. It was marked down and I bought it. Just like that. It wasn’t even on my wish list, much less my shopping list. LOOK at those clips to lock the lid! NO MORE SLOP ON THE SLOPE.

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Filed under 1990's, Recipe, Summer

Misc.

“Inspiration does exist but it must find you working.”

—Pablo Picasso

Inspiration - Picasso

Thank you, Karen Resta for sharing

So, here I am working the blog thing and the rain is finally falling….and my umbrella is safely in car, not here with me in the coffee shop…..but after WEEKS of dry, a little rain isn’t a bother, not at all. It’s rather a relief. And I’m not made of sugar, so I won’t melt when I go out in it when I’m done here.

And it’s not that I’ve been uninspired as much as overwhelmed. And I’m no big fan of the whelmed feeling – that surge, that WAVE, that upside down feeling, both over turned and covered over.

Arcimbolo - The Cook - c. 1570

Arcimbolo – The Cook – c. 1570

The same painting, upside right. The bowl in whelmed.

The same painting, upside right. The bowl in whelmed.

And I’m trying to avoid whiny – both in others and in myself.

expectations

On the NOT whiny front:

In the Month of May assorted Pilgrim colleagues

recreated a painting:

The Cok - the sign

BTS - Molly  and Sally

BTS – Molly and Sally

 roasted ribs  on a spit

roasted butter on a spit (that’s right, BUTTER)

and assorted other feats of culinary awesomeness

Meanwhile on the home front…..

garrison

A reasonable facsimile of the ancestral abode….

Packing, sorting, soot removing……and missing my books. I grab at random tomes each time I go through the old address not currently fit for habitation.

One recent grab –

Marlena Speiler's From Pantry t Table  - helped me feed my boy and keep my sanity  back in the '90's...and now for those carrots I have to use soon....

Marlena Spieler’s From Pantry to Table – helped me feed my boy and keep my sanity back in the ’90’s…and now for those carrots I have to use soon….

 AND the Hokusai show is still at the MFA.

I haven’t missed it yet….now THERE’S a wave to be overwhelmed by….

800px-Great_Wave_off_Kanagawa2

The Great Wave off Kanagawa


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Filed under 1990's, Books

Culinary Biography for Two

One of my stated purposes of this blog (which I need to review from time to time because I’m easily distracted) is to form an outline of my culinary biography.

What are the foods and food occasions that I remember and shaped me ever so many different ways?

My fascination and delight with cookbooks is part of my foodways story.

Because it’s the Chinese New Year, there’s one cookbook in particular that I associate with this time of year. I actually bought it September, according to my note in the flyleaf, and probably read it then. It’s been read several times since as well.

Helen Chen’s Chinese Home Cooking

Helen Chan Chinese Home Cooking

Helen Chen’s Chinese Home Cooking

I remember that I was going through Kingston Mall,(which properly was called something else, and is something else yet again now, but it’s proper alias is ‘Kingston Mall’ and eventually the people who make all the fancy signs and naming decisions will just name it what it is called) on my way from one place to another, and there was a display of books where there usually wasn’t a display of books.

With a sign.

40_off_peIn my memory this was in Lechmerelogo, which I believe was never actually in Kingston…but it was also 1995….and the sticker on the book says “Provisions” which was a great little fancy kitchen shop. But in my memory there were large appliances and a basket of books where there were usually none. I would have sworn this basket was near dishwashers or washing machines….but probably not.

The real point, and the one I can document, is that the books were already marked 1/2 off – Chinese Home Cooking was regularly $25 and a red line was drawn through that number and a  $12.50 was written in by hand. It all seems so quaint now…..and they were additional 40% off.

I’m not good at math, but I even can figure out Under ten bucks at this time……and that put it right in my cheap thrills budget.

Now Helen Chen happens to be Joyce Chen’s daughter….

Joyce Chen from Channel 2, WGBH who had a cooking show Joyce Chen Cooks in the 1960’s.

Julia (Child) and Joyce (Chen)

Ironically, although they shared studio space, the only image I could find of the two of them together was when their commemorative postage stamps were released in 2014.

Ironically, although they shared studio space, the only image I could find of the two of them together was when their commemorative postage stamps were released in 2014.

joyce-2

Here’s Joyce cooking up a storm.

So my purchase, and my use, is part of my culinary biography.

The book is also part of Helen Chen’s culinary biography.

This book is lovingly dedicated to my mother, Joyce Chen.

“….my mother used to talk to me about her wish that one day we would write a mother-daughter cookbook. As the weeks became months, and the months became years, our busy lives never brought us together in the kitchen to accomplish this collaboration. With the advance of my mother’s illness and dementia I thought that dream was gone forever.

I was wrong. One morning I awoke with the realization that my book was the collaborative effort my mother wished for after all. Instead of having my mother beside me, I had her thoughts, her philosophy, her recipes, and her stories to guide me.

….I can’t recapture our past or change our destiny, but with my mother’s recipes I truly feel that she has actually been with me, leading me through the maze of her recollections, stories, traditions, experiences, and food that she once prepared. Once in a while I’d be working on a recipe and think of her so much I would have to drive over to the nursing home to be with her.

In my mind I see her now as she used to be – smiling, talking, spatula in hand, apron on, warm fragrant aromas wafting from our little kitchen in Cambridge. That’s how I remember my mother.”

Helen and Joyce

Helen and Joyce

Here’s one recipe from the book:

Smashing Radishes Salad

20 radishes or 2 bunches or in times of desperation, a grocery store prepacked bag

½ teaspsoon salt

2 Tablespoons light brown sugar

2 Tablespoons cider vinegar

1/3 teaspoon sesame seed oil

  1. Trim both ends of the radishes. Wash them well and drain well. Scrape away any discolored bits.
  2. Crush each radish with the broad side of a Chinese cleaver. If they’re large, cut them in half first. You want them crushed enough to soak up the dressing. Lacking a broadsided Chinese cleaver find something else handy (and clean) to thwack a mighty blow. A can-na something, a marble pestle, a handy rolling pin. More than a bruise, less than a buncha broken bits.
  3. Crushed radishes into a bowl, sprinkle with the salt, toss….let them rest for 15 minutes. Then drain. Transfer to the serving dish.
  4. Mix the sugar and vinegar together in a small bowl (I actually use a small jar and shake it all up).Pour over the radishes, drizzle it all with the sesame oil and toss to blend.
  5. Serves 4 as a side.

NOTES: I have used both dark sesame oil and light sesame oil depending on carefully I read the directions or the labels on the bottles – both are good.

Also – a little hot sauce – and I’ve tried them all, my favorite is Rooster sauce – is hardly ever amiss. ½ teaspoon or to your taste.

Helen also mentions that her mother would buy extra radishes that they would snack on with peanut butter….also very good; any sort of peanut dressing is also good on smashed radishes.

Adapted from Helen Chen’s Chinese Home Cooking, p. 285.

radishes

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Filed under 1990's, Chinese New Year, Influencers, Recipe

It’s snowing and it’s only the second of November…..snowMaybe it’s not THAT much snow, but it might as well be…I have my rain boots at the ready, my rain gear by the back door.

What is this SNOW???????? I’m not ready for snow before Thanksgiving.

Time to head back to the kitchen. Since I really don’t want to go to the store, what’s in the pantry for tonight?

Potatoes. Onions…if there are eggs in the fridge, I know what I’m-ma gonna do….

chicken w a cape on

The Little Chickie was so cold she had a cape on…but still, there are eggs!

Potato and Onion Frittata

¼ c olive oil

2 medium potatoes

4 medium onions

6 large eggs

¼ c grated Parmesan cheese

¼ tsp salt

Ground black pepper to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 9” pie plate.
  2. Heat the oil in a large cast iron or nonstick frying pan. Peel and cut the potatoes into ½ cubes
  3. When the oil is hot but not smoking, fry the potatoes until golden and tender.
  4. Peel and dice the onions
  5. Remove the potatoes from the pan with a slotted spoon. Cook the onions about 15 minutes, stirring and tossing frequently until very tender. These aren’t caramelized onions, just very well done – more beige then dark brown, but meltingly soft.
  6. Beat the eggs with the salt and pepper and cheese.
  7. Add the potato and onions to the eggs.
  8. NOTE: Keep the onions and eggs in one bowl, the eggs and seasonings in another, cover and fridge for several hours before cooking. Bring out and mix together while the oven is preheating.
  9. Put mixture into pie plate and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Jeanne Lehman. Quick Vegetarian Pleasures:152.

simple vegg pleasur peaseWhich is all well and good, and I’ve made  plenty of fritattas this way, BUT as a single single (versus my single Mom days) I now make half as much and just keep it all on the stove, maybe listening to some NPR at the same time, or staring at the white board at the side of the fridge, writing down things as they flit through my head…

So

1 potato, peel it and cut it into a dice, or really thin slices. Fry in olive oil – the olive oil is part of the flavor. When it’s tender and golden, take those taters out and add in 2 onions, any kind, any color, sliced very, very thin or diced, cook them slowly in the oil, stirring them every now and again, keep it all moving along. By now you’ve already checked around the fridge – any leftover bits that might be nice – but only bitty bits in the fritatta for one.  A slice of ham, one piece of bacon, a stalk of broccoli. Or not.

Beat 3 eggs, add some salt and pepper, maybe a pinch of smoked paprika or a pinch tarragon….by now you know what you’re hungry for. Add the potato to the eggs, add the onions to the potato, and if you want some cheese in it, now the time. If the bottom of the pan is still slick you’re good, or add another drop or two of oil to it. Put the egg mixture in the pan, keep it at medium and shake it about a bit to get the eggy parts to the bottom to cook, and to keep it from sticking.  Put a lid on it, and don’t go too far away….10 or so should do it. Slide it out to your plate, and sit at a table, preferably one with a view (if you don’t have a view, get flowers) and enjoy.

Clara Peeters - flowers, good; mouse, optional

Clara Peeters – flowers, good; mouse, optional

It’s still snowing…….

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Filed under 1990's, Autumn, Recipe