Category Archives: Christmas

Shrimp Girl

I’ve been so busy eating and cooking and eating and eating…..I haven’t been writing about it. Much of my cooking has been taking what was left and making into something new, something fresh, something different…..

Like leftover shrimp from Christmas Day….

shrimp-ring

There was some of THIS left….stay late at the party, score the leftovers!

As much as I love just picking and dunking shrimp to cocktail sauce…..and then thinking

“Is it TRUE that shrimp cocktail came about because of Prohibition?”

Or was that FRUIT cocktail????

I wanted a hot meal, but since the shrimp was already cooked, it just needed to be a re-heat element.

.

eatfeed

Eat Feed Autumn Winter – Anne Bramley

Anne Bramley also does the podcast EATFEED – I’m interviewed in the  PIE episode.

But I had pulled this book off the shelf, and sure as shooting – shrimp!

Citrus in Season

Chapter 18

Chili Lime Shrimp with Rice

Coconut Black Beans

pp. 148-151.

Since this was a light supper, I made a few revisions:

Chili Lime Rice with Shrimp (and coconut)

I made some rice, adding the zest of the lime and some hot pepper. When the rice was done I added the naked shrimp, chopped, and bit of coconut and served it in a rice bowl with a squeeze of the the now naked lime – note to self – next time squeeze citrus first and then zest.

rice-bowl

These are the rice bowls currently for sale at Williams-Sonoma. I bought a set of 12 for less , much less then a set of four now goers for, back in the olden days of the Carter Administration. I still have two.  Nine moves and three decades.

Anne also quotes Harry Nilsson… you know

which make me think of

william_hogarth_002

The Shrimp Girl is a painting by the English artist William Hogarth. It was painted around 1740–45, and is held by the National Gallery, London.

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PORKY TOAST

I had a chance to go to Dorchester. Work related.

For this, the most ancestral of homes, the place the Patriarch was raised and identified as being from. Not matter how many years we lived in Pembroke, he would  still say he was from Dorchester.

Besides, the place is in the midst of another resurgence. Places get that every 80 years or so.  It’s a deep breath away from being – dare I say it? – Hipster. Or whatever will follow hipster, because in 2 years it will no longer hip to be hipster, so whatever we call what follows.

Work The Commonwealth Museum.

And then to lunch.

Local 149, South Boston

On the menu was deep fried mac and cheese….

Yes, please

Then

Lots of deliciousness….

Excuse me, waiter

What is Porky Toast?

 

Pulled pork AND Toast??? Could this be like the Reese’s Cup  – two great tastes that taste great together?

toast toaster

Wall of Toast – toast is pretty awesome on it’s own

porky-toastlocal149

I didn’t even notice the eggs until the plate was sitting in front of me.photo from Local 149 instagram

How to re-create this at home?????

Sister Trish added slow cooker pulled pork to the Christmas Feasting at her house last year…..

which makes it the perfect time to introduce the clan to Porky Toast.

And I just like saying the words:

Porky Toast

I supplied Sis with a Butt. There was Butt discussion.

I got Pirate Spread to sub in/ totally improve on the herb cream cheese.

pirate-spread

Pirate Spread: A spicy, sweet spread made with Salty Sea Feta, sundried tomatoes, rosemary, cayenne pepper and olive oil. Its boldness makes it a perfect match for grilled meats, veggie pizza or oven fries.

Then I got some onion rolls, split them and toasted them

AND

I got to spend Christmas Day saying, “Porky Toast”

 

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Filed under Christmas, Holiday, winter

Christmas Magic!

Time to wrap the pressies…

but first – where’s the TAPE?????

Wrapping paper, tags., working pen to write the names on the tags…..

Add TAPE to the list

Time to run the errands

I could get the cheap and easy disposable roll….

But here’s a dispenser….

tape-dispenser

The label says,”Dispenser with MAGIC’. I think I want THIS one!

So I’ll be wrapping all the presents with magic….Christmas magic.

And now for some real magic…

My cousin Jeanne sent me a Christmas card  – nice, but that’s not the magic part.

As I pulled the mail out of my mailbox (this may be more properly a letterbox..)

mailbox

One envelope had a giant blue question mark on it.

blue_question_mark-svg-2000px

 

 

It was only AFTER I had opened it and read it and double checked that I had her most up to date address, that I noticed.

It had been sent to my old address

I moved last year, so not so bad.

But not to the last address….the one before that.

The ten years ago address

And yet here it was at the right place, right on time.

Awesome work, Postal Carrier!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a

Good Night!

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Cookies, eaten like grapes

header –Snail, Fruit, Nuts, Grapes, and Pinecones by Giovan Battista Ruoppolo, 2nd half 17th century. 

I was thinking about shortbread, a cookie I used to make, and then having made it for two years, it HAD to be made because we

ALWAYS

had it. Until it didn’t get made for a year or two, because new cookies joined the fray….I mean

TRAY

cookie_tray

According to Wikipedia, this is an American Christmas Cookie Tray.

I found a shortbread recipe….or four….or six…..some have splatters and some do not….from the many shortbread years. This will not be a shortbread year. Maybe next year.

I also found a recipe from my cousin Flora. She e-mailed it in 2006. This is her version, with some notes from me. I re-wrote the recipe in 2008, so I had made it several times by then. An easy add to the Holiday Tray.

RICOTTA COOKIES

Blend until creamy:

1 stick ROOM TEMPERATURE butter

1/4 cup ricotta (I actually put in about 1/3 cup)

Add and mix well

1 cup sugar

1 egg

Slowly stir in:

2 cups SIFTED flour (this is less than 2 cups flour sifted)

1/2 tsp baking soda (note from me – baking soda and baking powder are not the same thing, and aren’t really interchangeable. Don’t ask me how I know this, but I do, I REALLY do!)

1/2 tsp salt (note from me – don’t leave out the salt – it activate the soda to leaven)

Drop batter from a tsp onto a greased baking sheet. (I use RELEASE which I think is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I TOTALLY agree!)

Bake in the upper half of oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Tops will be white but bottoms will be brown. Makes 36 cookies. Cool and glaze. Store in a covered container and they will last for a couple of weeks (you won’t get to this point because they will be eaten like grapes).

Glaze: 2 cups sifted confectionery sugar

3 tbls orange juice or whatever flavoring you choose

sprinkles if you have them

Blend well (NOTE: the sprinkles go one the cookies after they have been glazed – don’t add the sprinkles to the glaze)

Bon Appetito!

forte-luca-still-life-with-grapes-1630s-copper-gettyStill Life with Grapes and Other Fruits by Luca Forte, Getty Center, 1630s

“eaten like grapes”

roses_boutons_fr_2012

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It’s Christmas Time in the Kitchen

Christmas time in the kitchen is all about the

cookies

 

The words of Silver Bells just beg to be re-written for our own versions of the holiday.

silver-bell-cookies-pillsbury

Silver Bells cut out cookies from Pillsbury

Even Vogue magazine is about cookies this month…..

A Baker’s Tour of Europe’s Finest Holiday Cookies

by Oliver Strand

european-cookies-2-large

This is the illustration from Vogue

AND….

New York Times Style magazine has this article:

Baking Sweets From Childhood Tales

littlehouse-xmas-ill-06tmag-13look_sign-t_ca0-master768

This illustration from “Little House on the Prairie” shows all it took to make Christmas perfect for Laura and Mary: two heart-shaped cakes, two tin cups, two peppermint sticks and two pennies — one for each girl. Credit Garth Williams, Little House on the Prairie, from group of four, 1953: Christmas Stockings/Copyright Garth Williams 1953; renewed 1981/Image courtesy Heritage Auctions

from the article In Praise of the Good Enough

And today, 12/12 is Ma Ingalls birthday!

ma-ingalls

Today is Ma Ingalls’ birthday! 177 years ago on this day, Caroline Lake Quiner (later to become Caroline “Ma” Ingalls) was born in the Milwaukee area of Wisconsin, the fifth of seven Quiner children. Some said that baby Caroline was the first non-native American baby to be born in the area.

In this picture, Caroline is seated next to her husband, Charles Ingalls.

Happy Birthday, Ma!

Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society

Cookies I’ve written about:

Italian Cookies

S’Wonderful (S cookies)

Oh, Joy! Chocolate Coconut Macaroons with Almonds

Wine with a Twist (cookies)

Oatmeal Raisin cookies

The Cool Cookies

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Expiration Dates

Expiration dates

… Christmas rather peters out at Twelfth Night or Epiphany,   even for those of us who have managed  to keep it going THIS long.

Although, technically, you might continue the Christmas Season until February 2nd – Candlemas – The Presentation of Jesus to the Temple –

candlemas

Candlemas  is  also 40 days after Christmas.and the official official end of the Christmas season. So, my  door wreath is staying up as long as it doesn’t look shabby or it’s February, whichever comes first.

***

I bought new toothpaste and there was an expiration date on the box… toothpaste has an expiration date?????? Best by Au 17….I’ll be sure to use it up by then. It’s marked on the the end of the tube, so  I’ve been missing this for quite some time.

toothpaste barcode

See how subtle it is – and once you turn that end under…

toothpaste-used

barcode – hidden from view

***

Shrimp was on sale and it was too cheap to leave behind – the post-holiday good news!

shrimp ring

I ate  ½ as shrimp cocktail (is it true that fruit and shrimp cocktails are Prohibition stories????) as a starter for my supper. I then has some spaghettini  with olive oil and the rest of the cocktail sauce as the dressing for the pasta, and then a salad  of arugula dressed with  blood orange olive oil  and honey ginger balsamic vinegar. The rest of the shrimp (and the leftover spaghettini) will be my fritteta supper for tonight.

Hot chocolate with marshmallows as my dessert.

The shrimp Penaeus vannamie was farmed  in Viet Nam.

Shrimp also has an expiration date, which seems right…Shrimp(frozen) best by 03-11-2018. Beat it.

***

Mac & cheese – the store brand natural style (that means I bought it in the Natural Foods aisle, implying as it does that most of what they offer is neither natural nor food)  was on sale, so another semi impulse purchase.   I checked those boxes every which way, and could not find an expiration date.

mac-cheese box

I wanted to use up the last of the plain yoghurt, which was close to the end AND had been open several days, as well as the beginning to be a little too limpish to want to eat salad-wise salad greens, spinach and kale. This time of year probably  as many greens get tossed into soup and other hot foods as actual salads, maybe more.

Cooked the pasta, added the yoghurt, cheese powder and the greens – popped it into a baking pan (no-stick, saving the trouble of having to grease it up), and sprinkled the top with same grated cheese (I also had had the very dregs of a bag of sweet potato chip to use as a crunchy topping. I even remembered them – and noshed them down as I was waiting for the water to boil…..so close…..then I put the pan in a 350° oven for a little while just to finish cooking the greens and to brown the top.

I made a double batch, so not only did I have both supper and lunch, I also have freezer treasure.

***

Life hacks – sounds like something you’d wish the cat didn’t do….but there’s been  a workplace wave of microwave egg in a coffee cup. I haven’t tried this at home because most of my coffee cups are not the standard up and down, but hand crafter pottery and narrower at the top the bottom which leads to….. extraction issues

coffee mug handmade

Many of my mugs are more like this, and no 2 alike.

micri eggstep-by-step.xxxlarge_2x

This is how to make an omelet in a coffee mug

BUT – I was looking for something new for my morning oatmeal.So I added the egg to my oatmeal, instead of in a coffee cup. Like putting a poached egg on top of your hash….

I microwave it …so – I microwave ½ c regular rolled oats w/ 1 cup water for 4 minutes (instead of 5) on 50per cent power. Take it out and  make a little basin in the middle of the bowl – there’s often one there naturally – crack the egg and drop it on top of a pat of butter and then back in the microwave for another minute on high (sometimes a minute 30) and then sprinkle liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

A nice warm way to start a cold day.

Hacked

You’ve been hacked – but the good hack, not the evil hack,

 

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Twelfth Day of Christmas

The Adoration of the Magi. Fresco in Lower Church, Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi
And if you’re not entertaining newly arrived Wise Men, you might be the King of the Bean…
beankingGM

The Feast of the Bean King – at the Alte Pinakothek, Munich  Gabriel Metsu 17th century

Le gâteau des Rois, by Jean-Baptiste Greuze, 1774 (Musée Fabre)

Le gateau des Rois by Jean-Baptist Greuze 1774, Musee Fabre

 

Kingcake

King Cake, 21st century, Louisiana

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11 Pie-ers Pieing

Oh, It’s PIPES?

MagrittePipe

Magritte – This is not a pipe – at least not the sort the song means

Angel_playing_bagpipes,_St._Giles,_Edinburgh

Imagine 10 more piping…

Why aren’t there more PIES in the Twelve Days of Christmas?????

Christmas is not just the retail season leading up to Xmas day…it’s also the twelve days following.Christmas Pies used to reign where there is now Christmas Pudding  and Christmas Cookies…Christmas Pie also went by Shred Pie or Mincemeat Pie…..but now the meat is mostly missing, and sometimes they’re known as Mince Pie.

If you eat a mince pie on each of the 12 days of Christmas, you’ll have good luck in each of the 12 months ahead. It’s even better luck if you eat one mince pie in each of  12 different houses -at least that way you won’t wear out your welcome.

We did not have mince pie at  Christmas this year. But the Christmas season isn’t over YET, so there’s time…..

Sometimes Mincemeat Pies were big, raised pies.

pie spanish pieA Pereda 1678

detail of a raised pie, Antonio de. Pereda, 1678

To make minced Pies or Chewits of a Leg of Veal, Neats-Tongue, Turkey, or Capon.

Take to a good leg of veal six pound of beef-suet, then take the leg of veal, bone it, parboil it, and mince it very fine when it is hot; mince the suet by it self very fine also, then when they are cold mingle them together, then season the meat with a pound of sliced dates, a pound of sugar, an ounce of nutmegs, an ounce of pepper, an ounce of cinamon, half an ounce of ginger, half a pint of verjuyce, a pint of rose-water, a preserved orange, or any peel fine minced, an ounce of caraway-comfits, and six pound of currans; put all these into a large tray with half a handful of salt, stir them up all together, and fill your pies, close them up, bake them, and being baked, ice them with double refined sugar, rose-water, and butter.

Make the paste with a peck of flour, and two pound of butter boil’d in fair water or liquor, make it up boiling hot.

Robert May. The Accomplist Cook. 1674

 

RobertMayTheAccomplishtCookFrontispiece

Somewhere along the way in the 18th century Brandy and Other Spirits found their way into mincemeat. Often, quite a bit of spirits, ostensibly for ‘preservation’. Truth be told, much of the newly Industrialized World was in quite a pickle through the mid-17oo’s and the 1800’s. Prohibition was  not for naught, as it were.

To make mince-pies the best way.

Take three pounds of suet shred very fine, and chopped as small as possible; two pounds of raisins stoned, and chopped as fine as possible; two pounds of currants nicely picked, washed, rubbed, and dried at the fire; half a hundred of fine pipins, pared, cored and chopped small; half a pound of sugar pounded fine; a quarter an ounce, of mace, a quarter of an ounce of cloves, two large nutmegs, all beat fine; put all together into a great pan, and mix it well together with half a pint of brandy, and half a pint of sack ; put it down close in a stone pot, and it will keep good for four months.

1740. Hannah Glasse. The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy.

Art_of_Cookery_frontispiece

and one more historic recipe…

MINCEMEAT (Mrs. Brotherton’s Recipe).

INGREDIENTS – 6 lemons, ½ lb. of apples, 1 lb. of raisins, weighed after being stoned,1 lb. of currants, 1 lb. of sugar, ½ lb. of fresh butter, 4 ozs. each of candied orange and citron.

Mode. – Grate the yellow rind, cut the lemons in two, and squeeze out the juice. Boil the rinds in spring water till tender, but not soft, changing the water 4 or 5 times to take out the bitterness, and putting a large tablespoon of salt in the water in which they are boiled. When done, drain the water from them, and take out the seeds and the skins, then chop them with the raisins in a wooden bowl. When finely chopped, add the currants, sugar, the apples, previously prepared as for sauce, the grated rind of the lemons, the juice, ½ a tablespoonful of cayenne pepper, a small teaspoonful of mace, another of powdered cinnamon, 15 drops almond flavor, the candied orange and citron, cut in thin slices, and lastly the butter, melted, and poured in.

This mincemeat may have brandy or other spirits added to it the same as ordinary mincemeat, and it keeps fresh longer; but, as teetotalism and vegetarianism so often go hand in hand, we have not put it amongst the ingredients.*

The pastry recipe may be used for the mince pies or ordinary puff-paste.

Average cost, for this quantity, 3s.

Seasonable at Christmas.

-1903. Mrs. Beeton’s Cookery Book : A Household Guide. J.S. Doige, Blackpool (fasc. Rigby Pub. Ltd, 1981.) p. 185, section: Vegetarianism. * bold mine kmw

Mrs Beetons pb

This is one of the Mrs Beeton’s that I own. I got this on my first trip to London in the early ’80’s on a shop on Charring Cross Road.

Mince_Pie

Modern day Mince Pie are often small pies

Tuesday January 5th is the 11th day of Christmas, so get mincing!

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For Calling Birds

When I was younger I thought they were collie birds – dog birds as it were …

Lassiebw

Lassie – best collie EVAH – just add some wings to make her a bird…..

Hey – there are Catbirds and Bird Dogs, aren’t there?

Green_Catbird_-_Lamington_NP_-_Queensland_

Green Catbird of Australia

birddog330px-English_Setter

English Setter trained as a bird dog

Bird_Dog_single_cover

Bird Dog was also a hit single for the Everly Brothers the year I was born

 

Calling birds isn’t much clearer

tweety.bird.aminated.phone.and.alarm.clock

Tweety Bird on a combination phone/alarm clock.

In some versions of the song, they’re colly birds, which just might be a black bird, colly another word for black, being related to coal, which brings us back to the collie dogs who herded sheep with noses that were black like coal…

4-calling-birds

Colly or calling, these birds have it covered

There were no birds of any other kind at my sister’s table Xmas day. We just don’t do turkey or goose for Xmas; we’re a lasagna/stuffed shells/manicotti kind of crowd

There were 4 generations of family, all present and accounted for, 30 some odd altogether.

There was food, glorious food.

I had my list to pack and take:

Cinnamon Rolls (Grandma B’s recipe made by her grandson); Shrimp Rings; Sweet Potato Chips and Marshmallow dip and Dunkin Donuts  coffee & ½ and ½ (notice how much is store boughten – and I didn’t really make the cinnamon rolls, I just provided space and equipment, and there were issues with each this year, just to keep things interesting. The next time I make the dip I’mma gonna try cream cheese instead of the sour cream, a suggestion/variation that came up at the table, but with so many talking about soooo much, I’ve lost track of who, but sounds great.)

None of this food was lonely when it got to the party….

There were charmellas and cannoli, although the cannoli had chopped nuts on one end and mini chocolate chips on the other, so they seemed to be trying a little too hard. Not that it slowed down their consumption any.

italian-cookies-0081

Charmella

cannoli

Nuts or chips – or melted chocolate dipped in chopped nuts

There were sugar cookies made from the package because that’s what we used to make, back in the dim dark ages, and no one is particularly fond of them (there is one brother who is a noteworthy exception) but we all expect them to be there and we all had one. Or two as the afternoon wore on…because it would be not quite as Christmassy without them;

sugar-cookiesPillsbury

The infamous cut out sugar cookie of our youth. Which is why we still need to have it.

The Santas had spread out to almost life-size size in baking

sugar cookie santa Pillsbury

Much MUCH bigger then a hand…the heads were almost head size

and the candy canes were

HUGE.

sugarcookie candy cane Pills

These are what they were supposed to be – but they spread out MUCH MUCH larger. And still we ate them.

We’re blaming on the unseasonably warm weather…we had a serious conversation about turning on the AC Xmas day. We didn’t, but it was an option. Almost everyone mentioned that they weren’t wearing what they had planned, but something more LESS.

There were also oatmeal cookies, and chocolate chip cookies, and cookies with white chocolate chips and dried cranberries mixed together, a gingerbread house made for eating…..there was a point where I couldn’t see the other end of the table and I didn’t care…..Pies, lemon meringue and pumpkin and homemade  arrived and were made welcome.

It wasn’t all sugar….there was fruit, too. Covered in chocolate…..

edible arrangements boxes

Oh, yes.

But it wasn’t just sugar

Nonnie meatballs and sausages, made ahead and kept warm in a slow cooker.

Pulled pork (a new addition and very nice, very nice indeed) in a slow cooker – my sister is a genius! (She takes after me.)

Calzones – chicken, cold cut – something with peppers….I was saving room for the

Lasagna – and a bowl of sauce. Excellent Lasagna, not too cheesy, not to meaty, not too soggy noodlely – everything just right and very nice indeed. The sauce was also a good dip for the chips…..

This is just what I remember and not a complete list.

santa headband

It was not too hot for Santa headbands

and as for for calling turkey birds:

ClifftBoxCalls002

Hand made turkey call by Robert Clifft in Bolivar, Tenn. His Shop is called: ‘The Last Call’ . I read about him in my new  Xmas cookbook  Smoke & Pickles by  Edward Lee. More about Smoke & Pickles later……

 

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Christmastide

Now that we are at the Third Day of Christmas  – the Three French Hens Day

French hen Volailles_Bresse

Bresse Gauloise – notice the blue feet – “the queen of poultry, the poultry of kings”. They really ARE better then your average yard bird.

Crevecoeur_chicken

Crevecoeur

chickenHühner_(Geflügel-Album,_Jean_Bungartz,_1885)

Poule Houdan from Geflugel-Album of Jean Bungartz, 1885

Actually, I’m still so stuffed from Christmas Day, that although I was thinking of Sunday Chicken dinner, I might opt for a fruit salad of some sort. The part where it is 60º out and that is not what December usually feels like outside round about here might be throwing me off a little, too.

I do want some winter pears. The Boston Globe ran an article by Gordon Hamersley last week and he poached pears with a recipe from a cookbook that I also have – somewhere….

His was a gift from his mother-in-law; mine was a gift from my Uncle Bob.

700 yr of Eng cooking_

This book is not on the ‘time to move on’ booklist. It has a permanent place on my shelves.

I just realized that the partridge in a pear tree part of the song might be where my pear craving is coming from……

 

pear-tree-in-blossom-1888.jpg!Blog VAn Gogh

Pear Tree Van Gogh

 

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