30 September 2009

Little Cheese Dishes


As Ambrose Heath writes:
“With cheese in the larder, there is always an appetizing, quickly-prepared meal at hand. Ring the changes in its preparation, please the eye as well as the palate, and you will never be at a loss for a delicacy. Be it a snack to nibble at or a substantial repast, you can make it with cheese –- and quickly.”
Heath compiles his recipes in Little Cheese Dishes, another in the Home Entertaining Series. Heath is British so the recipes for cheese toast abound. In a funny twist, the introduction says,

“...it was advisable, however, to dispense with those recipes that are so generally known, such as Macaroni or Cauliflower Cheese."
I am pretty sure that if you can make Macaroni and Cheese you can probably make Cheese Toast, but who am I to question Ambrose Heath. During his writing career, Heath wrote and translated over a hundred books about food. He translated Madame Prunier's Fish Cookery Book.

Here is a nice twist on potato pancakes and a great planned-over if you are making mashed potatoes.

Cheese Potato Cakes

Mash up half a pound of potatoes with butter, work in two ounces of flour and two ounces of grated cheese, and bind with beaten egg. Roll out and cut into small round cakes which can be baked in the oven or cooked on a girdle or heavy frying-pan.
A much better choice than Cheese Toast!

29 September 2009

How To Feed Your Friends With Relish


My friend Sandra made a quick trip across the pond, though she didn't make it to West Virginia, some books did. Sandra hauled several cookbooks with her from London and mailed them to me. It was the next best thing to a visit. On of the books was How To Feed Your Friends With Relish, by Joanna Weinberg.

It is a lovely book, filled with recipes and tips for entertaining. She begins the book as any good hostess might, by introducing us to all her friends and family. Not drawn to the domestic side of life as a child, no one is more surprised than Weinberg, herself, that she became the chronicler of entertaining.

It is that transition from having no desire to laying a table, to becoming the person that loves to entertain, that gives Weinberg her voice. He style of entertaining is simple and laid back, preferring to concentrate on the people around her and not the trappings of space. Her recipes are straightforward and simple, though not at all boring.

Check out this chocolate recipe:

Fresh chocolate orange turrón

500g blanched almonds
200g orange-flavoured dark chocolate, chopped
100g icing sugar
pared zest of 1 unwaxed orange, cut into fine strips
cocoa, for dusting

Line a baking sheet or tin with greaseproof paper.
Grind the blanched almonds in a blender or food processor until they are as fine as possible --this will take 4 or 5 minutes with it screaming full blast.
Add the chocolate, icing sugar and orange zest and whiz on until the chocolate is fully blended (you can see by the colour). It will probably ball up like pastry as it will get warm and soft from the heat of the blades, which is when you'll be done.
Spread the mixture out on the lined sheet so that it's about 1.5 -2cm thick, then leave it to cool in the fridge. Cut into 2cm squares and dust with a little cocoa before serving.

this is a great little party treat, or a treat in and of itself!

28 September 2009

Williams-Sonoma Paris

I never met a Williams-Sonoma I didn't want to move into. There is a back room which would just be perfect for a bedroom. The center area, where the registers sit, could be easily gutted and gigantic table placed right there. Every day, I could summon the casual shopper who gave off an amusing air, unlock the door and let them in to have a lovely, late lunch...

A girl can dream!

If one can't live in the Williams-Sonoma then surly she will want to have their cookbook, Williams-Sonoma Paris. Not only is it filled with lovely recipes, but the photographs are close to actually beings in Paris. I lied. Nothing is like being IN Paris, other than being in Paris, of course. But if you can't fly away, try theses.
Madeleines aux Citron

2 eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon. almond extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
and cooled
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat an oven to 375 F. Using a pastry brush, heavily brush softened butter over each of the 12 molds in a madeleine pan, carefully buttering every ridge. Dust the molds with flour, tilting the pan to coat the surfaces evenly. Turn the pan upside down and tap it gently to dislodge the excess flour.

2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, granulated sugar and salt. Using a wire whisk or a handheld mixer on medium-high speed, beat vigorously until pale, thick and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. Sprinkle the sifted flour over the egg mixture and stir or beat on low speed to incorporate.

3. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the lemon zest and half of the melted butter just until blended. Fold in the remaining melted butter.

4. Divide the batter among the prepared molds, using a heaping tablespoon of batter for each mold. Bake the madeleines until the tops spring back when lightly touched, 8 to 12 minutes.

5. Remove the pan from the oven and invert it over a wire rack, then rap it on the rack to release the madeleines. If any should stick, use your fingers to loosen the edges, being careful not to touch the hot pan, and invert and rap again.

6. Let the madeleines cool on the rack for 10 minutes. Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the tops with confectioners sugar and serve.

It is cold a very dreary here in West Virginia and I can't think of anything that might just lift the spirit more than a nice pot of tea and some Madeleines aux Citron. In an attempt to bring about the total "Paris" experience, Williams-Sonoma offered a companion CD cleverly entitled, Williams-Sonoma Paris.

While you are waiting for the tea to steep give this cut a listen. It's that kind of electronic, "housey" music that is all the rage in Paris clubs.

Breath -- Telepopmusik

27 September 2009

The Myra Breckinridge Cookbook


Rarely does a cookbook post allow us to mention, in no particular order: Edith Head, a book I edited, cumin covered cock, and Mae West. Not to mention Gore Vidal and Raquel Welsh. So it not hard to understand why The Myra Breckinridge Cookbook is such fun.

Once upon a time, Gore Vidal wrote a book, Myra Breckenridge. Then for some unknown reason (read $$$) he allowed the book to be made into a movie which is where Edith Head enters the picture.

Head was asked to do the costume design for stars including Farrah Fawcett, Raquel Welsh and, of course, Mae West. When West agreed to the part she insisted that Edith Head design her costume, not knowing that Head had already signed on to the production.


This design was an homage to West in "Belle of the Nineties." And this lovely number was just how I want to look when I am 80.



Then there was this iconic ensemble for Raquel Welsh.



Years later, Richard Peabody and I edited a book of interviews entitled Conversations With Gore Vidal.


But, before we edited Conversations With Gore Vidal, Beverly Pepper and Howard Austen wrote The Myra Breckinridge Cookbook which is where the cumin covered cock comes in. For those of you who have a slightly more than passing knowledge of Vidal, you will recognize Howard Austen was Vidal's companion for over 40 years.

The cookbook, as in the movie, features dishes from some of the old celluloid masterpieces. One chapter, however, features Myra's Favorites. Needless to say, the favorites are a minefield of double entendre and and not so "double" references. In addition to the Cumin Covered Cock (chicken I presume), there are dishes whose titles include kiss, faggot, trick, bun and hole. That Myra! Here is the rather tame...

Coconut Balls

Roll balls of chocolate ice cream in freshly grated coconut early in the day. Keep them in the freezer until serving.

I am not quite sure one does it "early in the day" perhaps it is because you shouldn't be rolling your balls right before dessert. Mae made me say it!!! Here's a little number from Myra Breckinridge, courtesy of Mae West.

Hard To Handle -- Mae West mp3



Always remember:

26 September 2009

The Goodness of Vinegar


In the mid 1990's, Random House did a series "The goodness Of..., which featured a collections of small cookbooks each dealing with "the goodness of" a particular ingredients: grains, nuts and seeds, olive oil, potatoes and root vegetables and vinegar.

I am afraid that I am a sucker for these little "series" type of endeavors, though no one can hold a candle to the English when compiling tiny books of recipes. John Midgley was in charge of the series, which features lovely watercolors by Ian Sidaway and all in all they are pretty and good, though lacking in a lot of recipes. The Goodness of Vinegar gives a brief history and outlines the different types of vinegars. As one might expect, there are a few salad dressings


This recipe is a big winner.

Crema Piccante

2 sweet red peppers
8-12 medium-hot dried red chilies
2 fresh or canned tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 tbs red wine vinegar
2 tbs water
generous pinch of oregano
sprig of thyme
3 sprigs basil
salt
olive oil

Remove the cap, pith and seeds of the peppers. Put the flesh into an enamelled pan together with all the remaining ingredients except for the olive oil. Bring to the boil, cover the pan, reduce the heat and simmer for 4 minutes, stirring once or twice to prevent bottom from burning.
Allow the mixture to cool. Transfer to a food processor and process to a smooth paste., adding 3 tablespoons olive oil while continuing to blend. When cooled, spoon the crema into a sterilized jar, cover with a thin layer of oil and seal tightly. Once opened, use up the sauce within a week.


This is a great little sauce. You can use it for a spicy spaghetti sauce or add it to a spaghetti sauce for a bit of a kick. It goes really well with cooked greens. Use it in lieu of mayo on a veggie sandwich.

If this recipe was on one of those cooking shows where vinegar was the featured ingredient, critics would say that this sauce doesn't feature vinegar that prominently, but I am not a judge, so try this tangy sauce.

25 September 2009

Garlic Book

There are those little cookbooks that are a kind of afterthought. Actually, I think they are the kind of little gift books that one gives as a hostess gift, tucked into a basket of garlic. I think they are best to introduce someone to a new ingredient they are loath to cook with. Now I can't think of anyone who is loath to cook with garlic. I guess vampires don't frequent a lot of Italian restaurants. Frankly, what good is eternal life if you don;t get to eat garlic.

In the south, garlic was considered a bit "witchy", the kind of thing one found at a gris-gris woman's and not in some Belle's kitchen. Luckily, times have changed.

Garlic Book is by no means the definitive book on cooking with garlic. Carolyn Dille and Susan Belsinger catered, so they have used the recipes in this little book for many occasions. The book has a series of simple and traditional garlic recipes to introduce garlic to those vampires among us. there are a couple of rather non-traditional ones as well, like Chocolate-Covered Garlic. I would eat cardboard covered in chocolate, so this seems fine to me. there is also an extensive bibliography in the back, so these girls have read up on their garlic.


Here is a nifty little sauce to compliment any number of veggies, both hot and cold as well as meats and fish.

Yogurt, Garlic and Herb Sauce

2 or 3 garlic cloves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup unflavored yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped nixed herbs:dill, chervil or tarragon , and parsley

Pound the peeled garlic cloves in a mortar and pestle, or mince and then mash them well with the flat of a cleaver or large knife. Place the mashed garlic in a bowl, salt and pepper lightly, then stir in the yogurt, sour cram, and mixed herbs, blending well.
cover and let stand a cool room temperature or refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Adjust the seasoning before serving and serve at cool room temperature.


Put aside your blood lust and grab up some garlic.

24 September 2009

The Emily Post Cookbook


"For you inexperienced or would-be cooks who have savored beautifully prepared dished in de luxe restaurants and in the expertly appointed homes of leading hostesses, but who thought lack of skill, time, or courage to try, have not been able to enjoy these delicious dishes in your own home --this book is for you."

Emily Post

Diagram that sentence! As you know, we love Emily Post, so it no doubt that we might just have a copy of her cookbook on the shelf. In 1951, The Emily Post Institute spent five years compiling and testing recipes chosen by Mrs. Post and her son. The recipes run the gamut from Turtle Steaks to Wet Hash to Buttered Soda Crackers. Yes, buttered soda crackers are just that, buttered soda crackers but The Emily Post Institute seems to think they are the bee's knees so who am I to disagree. And there is absolutely no way (being the leading hostess that I am) that I am going to invite Emily Post over for Wet Hash.

We are ecstatic that Emily Post passes the infamous Southern cornbread test -- no a drop of sugar in her cornbread. Bravo, y'all.


The recipes in The Emily Post Cookbook are easy and quite diverse. And speaking of hash...

Guinea Hen Hash

During the war, there was a period when all the butchers in New York had to offer were some very tough guinea hens. Roasted they were practically uneatable, but they made delicious hash.
Cook 1 2 1/2 -lb. bird in the pressure cooker for 40 minutes. Remove all skin and bones -- which is easily done after that much cooking. Run meat through meat chopper, adding salt, pepper, and a little orégano.
Heat in 2 cups cream sauce in a double boiler.

Well the recipe is easy provided you have old guinea hens, a pressure cooker, a meat grinder, and a double boiler.


I am very enamored of The Emily Post Institute. There are so many "institutes" out there and they are so very stuffy, studying things like public policy and foreign affairs and wingnut political ideologies. At Lucindaville, we are thinking of starting the Lucindaville Institute dedicated to the study of cooking, entertaining, manners, gardening and other aesthetic pursuits. Sounds like an excellent tax-deductible venture! Speaking of Lucindaville, check out our post on Emily Post.

23 September 2009

Consider The Oyster


I love oysters and have mixed emotions about this book. the title is and homage to the great M. F. K. Fisher's book of he same name. Consider the Oyster is more of picture book than a cookbook. IT has stunning photographs and great info on oysters, including where to eat them and where to watch them being shucked. Pactrick McMurrary was the 2002 world champion "shucker" at the Galway International Oyster Festival.

I suppose the great thing about this book is that the oysters are shucked and served with no real recipes. The best way to eat and oyster is right out of the shell.

OK, maybe there is one better way.

Vodka Shooter

There are many variations on this one, so have fun. Use a firm, plump East Coast oyster big enough to fill half the glass. Top with chilled vodka and go! For a twist, use fresh lemon and/or lime juice, hot sauce, and try some of our Horseradish vodka.

How does one make Horseradish Vodka?

Before heading out to a catering event once, I decided to pregrate the horseradish root. but how would it keep it from turning gray? It was vodka to the rescue. I pured vodka over the fresh-grated root in and mason jar and Wahoo!


Consider the Oyster may have only a few recipes, but Horseradish Vodka is worth the price of admission!

22 September 2009

Desserts and Salads



In the late 1800’s Gesine Lemcke ran cooking colleges in New York City and in Brooklyn. She was the author of several cookbooks, including Desserts and Salads. It seems an odd combination for a book. With an exhaustive compendium of over 1000 recipes, there are very little desserts or salads left to chance.

In her preface, Lemcke lays out the instructions for using her book. It has all the didactic poetry of a stern teacher who sent young women into the homes of the rich and famous for a life of relative drudgery!




Preface

I ask every one who may become possessed of this book to read the recipes herein contained carefully and thoughtfully before attempting the making of any of them, and also to observe the following instructions:

Weigh and measure all ingredients exactly, and have every thing ready to mix before you commence.

If you measure your ingredients by means of a cup be sure you use one which holds a half pint.

Use neither more nor less of anything than the recipe instructs you, and be sure to have your fire just right, as also instructed be the recipe.

If at first success does not come to you do not despair, but persist in following the advice of the old adage: “Try, try again.”

You should always bear in mind that honest work is never lost and that reward must come in the end.
Recently, the New York Times ran a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that called for the dough to be refrigerated for up to 36 hours. The reasoning was that resting the dough made the cookies more flavorful and easier to cook.

Lemcke’s recipe for these cookies features that same sort of resting period.

Aniseed Wafers

Rub some shallow tin pans with wax, place 1/2 pound of sugar and 4 whole eggs in a bowl, set the bowl into a pan of hot water, beat the contents of the bowl with an egg beater 15 minutes, then remove and beat till cold; add 1 teaspoonful well-cleaned aniseed and 1/2 pound sifted flour, fill the mixture into a pastry bag and press small cakes on to the waxed tins, cover and let them stand till next day, when the little cakes have obtained a crust, then bake them in a slow over.


There is something rather interesting about letting the dough sit out and dry out before cooking. After reading this, I kept thinking of other cookies that might benefit from this “drying out” process. I wonder if any cookie that is supposed to be crisp might benefit from being cut and left to dry. I am not very fond of crispy cookies, but I think it might work.

21 September 2009

The Art Of Fine Baking



In the early 60’s The Art Of Fine Baking by Paula Peck was the bible of baking. Even today, the book holds up to the onslaught of baking books. While the recipes are very traditional, they offer the classical techniques that form the basics of baking. There is a good list of equipment that a baker will need and a very dated and funny looking list of sources for baking needs with shops listed, (most of them in New York) and an assurance that they offer mail order. The last entry on the list:

Williams-Sonoma, 576 Sutter Street, San Francisco, California. Imported aids to the baker and cook. Descriptive price list available.

To this day you can get a “descriptive price list” from Williams-Sonoma. It is funny to think of them as being a little store in San Francisco. Now days, of course, one just looks online for any baking need.



Peck taught at the James Beard School for many years and Beard would say of her:

“She is an outstanding juggler with rolling pin and mixing bowl, and the magic results fill her larder and freezer to overflowing. Her home is an oasis for hungry travelers and guests, for there is always enough delectable food in her kitchen to serve a good-sized party.”


Here is a fun and flourless cookie:

Nut Crisps

1 1/2 cups nuts (almonds, walnuts, filberts)
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Grate or grind the nuts fine.
Cream butter and sugar. Stir in the ground nits, salt and vanilla. Form dough into a long roll, I inch in diameter. Wrap in wax paper. Chill until firm.
Set oven to 350 degrees.
Cut into thin slices. Place slices on ungreased baking sheet.
Bake about 7 minutes, or until cookies are lightly brown. Watch carefully to prevent burning.
Place cookies on paper towels to absorb excess fat, if any.

Generally, I am not that fond of nuts, but I am thinking of putting aside my prejudice for this cookie!

20 September 2009

Cookery For Invalids


The late 1800’s and early 1900’s often produced cookery books for invalids. Invalids were those individuals who received medical attention and then were sent home to recover or those who were terminally sickly and probably, for many young women, those who were anorexic.

Not only were there invalid cookbooks but there was also a burgeoning business in invalid feeders. Frankly, no one has the time to spoon feed your invalid with that yummy toast water. Invalid feeders bear a striking resemblance to small pitchers or oblong tea pots. This is a popular design. Notice the the flat rim on the the end of the spout. This allows you to place a nipple on the end if your sickly one is a child. If your invalid is a grown up, just pour the nutrition right down their throat.


Cookery For Invalids by Mary Hooper is one of those books. Just reading the names of the food that the book suggests you serve to your invalids is enough to make you an invalid. There are several gruels including an onion gruel that is cooked for five hours. Then there is beef tea, a beef broth to aid strength. Out of the beef tea you can make meat lozenges, in case you are traveling with your invalid and it is not conducive to make beef tea, you can just slip a meat lozenge for train travel.

Then there is toast water, which is exactly what it sounds like. Hooper says:

“ This useful beverage, like many other simple things, is too frequently very badly made, and has acquired an evil reputation from the crumbs of charcoal-like character, or little sodden morsels of bread, which too often are found floating on the surface.”


Whatever you do, STRAIN your toast water, as the sick amoung us do not want to drink toast water with debris floating in it.

Once you have arrived at you destination, fortified with gruel and toast water you need a really great entrée. This will have you up and about in no time.

Brain Cakes

Boil the brains as directed above [Having carefully washed the brains, boil them very fast for ten minutes, in order to harden them] ; mince then, and to each tablespoon of the mince add a teaspoonful of bread crumbs, enough egg to bind them, pepper and salt to taste, and a pinch of chopped parsley. Take a small lump of the mince, flour your hands, roll it into a ball, and then flatten into a cake: dip in egg and seasoned bread crumbs, fry in a little butter, first on one side then on the other, until a nice brown.

If this post has peaked your interest in invalidism (you know it has!) there are two good books to further your study.














Invalidism and Identity in Nineteenth-Century Britain by Maria H. Frawley

19 September 2009

Cooking By The Garden Calendar



Ruth Matson wrote Cooking By The Garden Calendar for “gardeners who like to cook and cooks who like to garden.” Matson follows the age-old gardeners year approach of listing recipes month-by-month to correlate with the vegetables that would be in season that month. She begins with the month of February. January has little vegetables, but February is ripe for soup, Black Bean soup, Fish Chowder, Cauliflower Soup, Lentil Soup. It is also time to start talking to your fellow gardeners about what they are planning for the coming year.

We even get a lovely outline of Matson's own garden were her inspiration comes from.



In the fall, October to be exact, Matson waxes poetic about the red cabbage.

“Queen of the cabbages. I find it difficult not to grow lyrical about red cabbage. What lovelier sight is there than red cabbage ripening in the garden with misty-red veined leaves and crisp=curled heart? What more striking in the kitchen when, stripped to its red heart, it discloses whorls of crimson and white as you slice it? What more mouth-watering than red cabbage, cooked to perfection, in a heaping bowl on the dinner table?”


From the Black Forest of Germany, she offers up this lovely cabbage.

Red Cabbage De Luxe

1 small red cabbage
1/2 onion
1 big apple
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup grape jelly

Chop or shred the cabbage and onion; pare, quarter, and core the apple. Set all these to cook in 1 cup of boiling water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, a light sprinkling of pepper, the butter and red wine, which should be of the burgundy type. Cover the pot and let the cabbage cook briskly for 1/2 hour. Then add the grape jelly. Ten minutes’ further boiling completes the cooking, and the dish is ready for the table.


Need this recipe in a few minutes? Can't make it to the Black Forest, but have a supermarket close by? Grab a bag of pre-packaged "slaw" mix at the grocery. Substitute a white wine and and orange marmalade. You can have it on the table in 15 minutes. I know, it's not "from the garden" but if you don't grow cabbage, it is really an easy side dish.

18 September 2009

The Country Seasons Cookbook


Gladys Manyan wanted to be a singer. But as often happens in life, she fell in love, married and had children. She thought she might end up on the stage in New York City but she ended up in the woods of New Hampshire. In the end, not a bad trade off.

She and her husband bought a farm with twenty-one acres, a house, a barn and some out buildings for $2,300. It was the 60’s! Today you need an extra set of zeros to even think about such a property. But back then, in true sixties style, Manyan developed an interest in healthy cooking and became a bit of a “health nut”. Though she started out as a lousy cook, she became quite proficient and for many years wrote a column called “A Domestic View” for The Concord Monitor.

In 1974 she assembled a collection of her recipes following a month-by-month arrangement. It’s a kind of “crunchy granola” type of cookbook that sprang up, as hippies became health food advocates. There are a lot of recipes with soya powder and carob, recipes for making your own yogurt and wine and several references to Euell Gibbons.

Manyan’s husband was never a big squash eater and like me, he did not want nuts in his food, but this is a squash he loved. She believes that anyone who hates squash will be converted with this recipe.


Mashed Squash With Honey

1 medium butternut squash or other winter squash
1/2 cup water
salt
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup honey
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom seed
pepper, freshly ground
1/2 cup broken nuts

Peel the squash, cut into cubes, and put in a saucepan. Add water and some salt, cover and cook it until soft. Drain, mash, then add butter, honey, and cardamom, if available. Add pepper, preferably freshly ground, and fold in the nutmeats (if used).


OK, I will eat it but you simply must leave out the nits!

17 September 2009

The Greenhouse Cookbook


Stanley Marcus, of Neiman-Marcus fame, called Helen Corbitt the Balenciaga of food. Being a huge Balenciaga fan, this is no small complement. I will say, I am not so sure that he is right, but it was a different time and place, so he may well have been.


For fourteen years, Helen Corbitt served as the Director of Restaurants for Neiman-Marcus as well as being a consultant to the Greenhouse, the store’s spa, outside Dallas. Unfortunately, she died before the publication of The Greenhouse Cookbook. It the late 1970’s it was considered one of the “must reads” for women who wanted to slim down the fashionable way. All the recipes were considered “dietetic”

Corbitt admonishes her readers, “Think thin and you will automatically say “No, thank you” to the extra calories from bread and highly starchy foods.”

There seem to be a lot of “quichey” recipes in the cookbook and given the time period, that would seem altogether fashionable.

Here is a chile torte, basically a green chile quiche, sans crust.


Green Chile Torte

1 1/2 cups skim milk
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups jack cheese, shredded
1 4-oz.can whole green chile peppers, seeded and finely diced
1/4 tsp. Vegetable salt
a pinch of cayenne

Heat milk until hot but not boiling. Beat eggs; slowly beat milk into them. Add cheese, peppers, and seasonings. Pour into 6 lightly greased shirred-egg dishes, or a 9-inch pie tin. Bake at 325 F/165 C about 40 minutes, or until set.


If you are feeling rather "heavy" and are looking for a nice "dietetic" luncheon dish, give this a try.

16 September 2009

Vegetable Cooking Of All Nations


The garden has been full of vegetables and I have been looking at many of those vegetable gardening cookbooks that had a resurgence in the late 60’s and 70’s in much the same way they are having a resurgence now.


Florence Schwartz compiled a collection of 700 vegetable recipes from around the world. There are 27 variations of artichokes, 36 for beans, 34 for eggplant, 37 for mushrooms, and 72 for potatoes, not to mention chestnuts, chayote, hops, leeks, nettles, salsify and more. Vegetable Cooking Of All Nations gives a good variety of vegetables but the “world” leans toward Europe.

The dishes are plain and easy to follow. One of the dishes that represent Israel is an onion and fruit recipe.

Onions and Prunes

1 1/2 ponds firm onions
4 tablespoons margarine
1 pound prunes

Select onions about the size of the prunes. Peel and sauté them gently in the margarine over low heat. Soak the prunes for half an hour and then add to the onions. Cook until tender (20 to 30 minutes). If necessary, a very little water may be added to keep the ingredients from frying quickly.


If you think about the slow roasting of onions, you will know that they grow sweeter the longer they are cooked. Adding the prunes makes this a chunky marmalade like accompaniment to pork or chicken.

15 September 2009

From Wilder Shores


From Wilder Shores gets its title from Lesley Blanch's first and most famous book, The Wilder Shores of Love. It is a cookbook and more as Blanch sets out in her foreword:

"My book is not a cookery book in the classical sense, and no more than glancingly autobiographical. Nor is it strictly a travel book, although it does tell something of far lands and the circumstances which have led me to eat local dishes in a variety of local settings, from Rothschild dinner tables to Turcoman tents.
Perhaps it could be best described as a sketch book: sketches offering the dishes, places and people I have encountered while on the move through life. "


When she lived in the village of Roquebrune in France she noted there was only one shop in the village which, she noted, "makes housekeeping difficult -- or perhaps very simple."

Here is her simple recipe for an apéritif:

Ida's Bitter Orange Apéritif

To one bottle of red or white wine (good), add the thin shredded rind of three bitter oranges, about half a pound of sugar, a large wine glass if alcohol* and some chamomile flowers. leave for thirty days, but shake once a day, violently. Sieve, before rebottling. That's all.

* When pure alcohol is unobtainable you might substitute vodka.

I am also very fond of Lesley Blanch. Head over to Lucindaville for our more informative post on Blanch's life.

14 September 2009

Round The World In 80 Dishes

In 1955 Lesley Blanch wrote a cookbook borrowing a theme from Jules Verne. Having traveled the world with her husband, Romain Gary, a French diplomat and author, she knew a thing or two about eating around the globe.

"It is said that a nation is made by what it eats: undoubtedly diet affects character," Blanch wrote in her foreword to Round the World in 80 Dishes.

Here is her recipe for a chicken from Africa.


Congo Chicken

1 3 pound chicken [one 3 pound chicken]
1/4 pound butter
Salt
6 green peppers
Oil
Peanut butter
1 cup roasted peanuts, unsalted

Take a 3-pound chicken, cleaned and prepared for roasting: now pack the inside with 1/4 pound butter and a handful of peanuts. Rub the chicken all over with salt and dabs of butter. Put in a medium oven and roast. The length of time depends on its weight: reckon 20 minutes to the pound. Thus a 3-pound chicken needs just about 1 hour. Baste it occasionally.

Meanwhile, take 6 green peppers and cook them whole, very fast, for 10 minutes, in a frying pan with very little oil. Let them get a bit burned, or blackened, outside. Take them off the fire, allow them to cool slightly, cut off the tops, scoop out the centres, cut the rest in strips, and put in the oven around the chicken, spooning a little of the butter the chicken in cooking in over them. Baste again when the chicken is half done. When your chicken is tender (prod the leg with a fork to see), take it out of the oven and spread it all over thinly with peanut butter. Salt it. Now take a cupful of chopped or coarsely ground roasted peanuts and sprinkle them all over your chicken. They will stick to the peanut butter and form a prickly-looking nutty coating. Put back into the oven and cook for another 5 or 6 minutes. Then serve surrounded by the green peppers. Eat plain rice with this, into which at the last moment you have sprinkled finely-chopped fresh green parsley.

As a rule, I am not fond of nuts in my food, but I have grown very fond of peanut butter as a cooking sauce for chicken.


I am also very fond of Lesley Blanch. Head over to Lucindaville for our more informative post on Blanch's life.

13 September 2009

New Recipes From The Moosewood Restaurant

I still have a decimated copy of my original Moosewood Cookbook. Several weeks ago, a neighbor gave me her extra copy of New Recipes From The Moosewood Restaurant. The "new" recipes come to us from 1987. I was recently thinking of pumpkin soup when I ran across this recipe for a sweet potato soup and all thoughts of pumpkins left my head.


Potage Jacqueline

2 tablespoons butter
2 cups chopped onions
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
1 cup milk
½ cup heavy cream

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan and sauté the onions until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the celery and ginger and continue to cook until the onions begin to brown. Add the sweet potatoes, water, bay leaf, salt and pepper and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender.

Remove and discard the bay leaf. Purée the soup mixture with the milk and heavy cream in small batches in a blender or food processor. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste and reheat gently. Take care not to boil the soup.

Garnish Potage Jacqueline by floating a thin lemon round on each serving.

Winter is coming and I am on the look out for warming soups.

12 September 2009

Spices, Salts and Aromatics In The English Kitchen


Grub Street is a small British publisher devoted to food and military history. We make no judgments here at Cookbook Of The Day. Grub Street is dedicated to keeping in print venerable old cookbooks from the history of English cuisine. This reprint bring to light probably the least known of Elizabeth David's cookbooks, Spices, Salts and Aromatics In The English Kitchen. It is no big surprise that we love Elizabeth David. As with many of David's books, this volume is not just a Cookery book but a history as well as a cultural survey of how the English feel about spices. she devotes a full five pages to salt alone.

In her original preface to the book she writes:

"For some two thousand years, English cookery has been extremely spice-conscious, not surprisingly to anyone in the least familiar with the history of the spice trade in Europe and the part it played in it, successively, by the Phoenicians,the Romans, the Arab conquerors of Spain, he Norman crusaders, the merchants of Venice and Genoa, the religious orders which fostered the arts of healing, medicine and distillery, the Portuguese explorers who opened the sea route to the Indies, the Dutch empire-builders who wrested the spice trade from Portugal, the British East India company whose merchants in their turn made London for two centuries the greatest spice mart in the world."


Here is David's "spicy" dish of mushrooms. Double the recipe for a lovely side dish.

Coriander Mushrooms

This is a quickly cooked little dish which makes a delicious cold hors-d'oeuvre. The aromatics used are similar to those which go into champignon à la grecque, but the method is simpler and the result even better.
Ingredients for three people are: 6 oz firm white, round and very fresh mushrooms, a teaspoon of coriander seeds, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, freshly milled pepper, and one or two bay leaves.
Rinse the mushrooms, wipe them dry with a clean cloth, slice them (but do not peel them) into quarters, or if they are very large into eighths. The stalks should be neatly trimmed. Squeeze over them a little lemon juice.
In a heavy frying pan or sauté pan, warm the olive oil. Into it put the coriander seeds which should be already crushed in a mortar. Let them heat for a few seconds. keep the heat low. Put in the mushrooms and the bay leaves. Add the seasoning. Let the mushrooms cook gently for a minute, cover the pan and leave them, still over very low heat, for another 3-5 minutes.
Uncover the pan. Decant the mushrooms–with all their juices–into a shallow serving dish and sprinkle them with fresh olive oil and lemon juice.
Whether the mushrooms are to be served hot or cold do not forget to put the bay leaf which has cooked with them into the serving dish. The combined scents of coriander and bay go to make up part of the true essence of the dish. And it is important to note that cultivated mushrooms should not be cooked for longer than specified.

My favorite history of the British East India company is The Honourable Company by John Keay.

11 September 2009

A Treasury of Great Recipes


Most people remember Vincent Price from his vocation as an actor. But, for some of us, he may be as well known for his avocation as a cook. With his wife, Mary, Price traveled the globe visiting the finest restaurants in the world. In 1965, they gathered recipes from many of their favorite restaurants as well as some favorite family recipes and created a notable cookbook.



A Treasury of Great Recipes by Mary and Vincent Price is a large, unmistakable tome in its padded leatherette cover. In addition to the recipes, there are menus and photographs from many of the restaurants. One of the Price’s favorite haunts in Chicago was The Pump Room, founded in 1938, it is still going strong. When the Price's ate there, The Pump Room featured a plaque and a dessert bearing the name of the fabulous Gertrude Lawrence. Lawrence was in Chicago doing a play in 1938 and she went to The Pump Room every night of the 90-day run, firmly establishing its caché.

One of my favorite blogs, Little Augury, recently posted about the divine Miss Lawrence. Since she has been swirling in the air, it is fitting and proper that we feature a dish that was named after her. Price says of the dessert,
“the sauce is very much in the tradition of The Pump Room’s cuisine – it is an interesting combination of flavors, and it flames, almost a prerequisite for appearing on their menu."


Gertrude Lawrence in Vanity Fair

Coupe Gertrude Lawrence

Vanilla ice cream
Orange
Jamaican Rum
Salt
Semisweet Chocolate
Brown sugar
Cream

CHOCOLATE SAUCE (Makes 1 Cup)

In a saucepan put: 4 squares semisweet chocolate, broken into small pieces, 1 cup brown sugar, 2/3 cup cream, and a pinch of salt. Stir over low heat until chocolate is melted and sauce thickens. (Extra sauce will keep in a jar in refrigerator for several weeks.)


PRESENTATION

Put: a scoop of vanilla ice cream into each of four bowls or coupe glasses. In a chafing dish put: 3 tablespoons grated orange rind. Stir in pan to heat, then add: 4 tablespoons Jamaican Rum and ignite. While flame is burning add 4 tablespoons of the chocolate sauce. Pour over ice cream and serve.

If you missed Gertrude Lawrence's 1938 performance on the stage, don't despair. Here is a little snippet of what she sounded like.

Someone To Watch Over Me -- Gertrude Lawrence.

Vincent Price was also an innovator by recording a “cookbook” Here is one of his recipes.

Viennese Stuffed Eggs -- Vincent Price


As unusual, our Friday post is stolen from Lucindaville's Famous Food Friday.

10 September 2009

Purefoy Hotel Cookbook


I grew up in a small town in Alabama. Fine dinning was the Dairy Queen. Yet, hovering in the air was a remembrance of one of the best restaurants in America. Just twenty five miles up the road in Talledega, was the home of the Purefoy Hotel, founded in the 1920's. Sold in 1944, the hotel was razed in 1961. Fortunately for us, in 1938, Eva Purefoy put together a spiral bound cookbook of recipes from the hotel and various household hints that made the hotel run smoothly.

I never had the opportunity to eat at The Purefoy Hotel, but the memory lingers in the air. Everyone that ever ate at the Purefoy can wax poetic on the food. Dinner was served “family style, with everyone crowded around a table with a starched white tablecloth that was ladened with food.



An everyday dinner at the Purefoy included:

Baked Chicken
Dressing
Rice
Gravy
Turnip Greens
Creamed Irish Potatoes
Candied Yams
Macaroni and Cheese
Escalloped Oysters
A Good Rump Roast or Home Baked Ham
Fresh Spinach
English Peas
Cranberry Relish
Homemade Hot Rolls
Corn Muffins
Creamed Chicken or Chicken Croquettes
Fruit Salad
Lettuce
Cabbage Slaw
Gingerbread
Lemon Pie or Boiled custard
Coffee
Tea or Milk

For Thanksgiving another 10 to 20 dished were added. I’m really sorry I missed it! But you can recapture a bit of the charm with this recipe for their famous oysters.

Delicious Scalloped Oysters

1 pint of fresh oysters, out a layer of cracker crumbs in the bottom of a baking dish, then a layer of oysters, sprinkle pepper, salt and butter.
Cook 1 cup of finely cut celery 20 minutes and mix with each layer of oysters. Repeat until dish is 2/3 full, cover top with cracker crumbs.
Pour enough rich chicken broth over this to moisten the crackers well. If broth is well seasoned no salt or pepper is needed.
I always roast my chicken with a little celery and onion –1 medium onion, 3 stalks celery for each hen.
The oysters should be fixed and let the hot broth stand on them 5 minutes before baking. Bake in a hot oven about 20 minutes, till well set and light brown.
Beat 1 egg thoroughly and pour over top and brown well. Serve piping hot. Do not crumble crackers too fine.


Clearly, the oysters are better than the writing of the recipe! One can tell that the oysters were made every day, so the recipe was second nature to Eva. To actually explain how to make the oysters, led to rather convoluted instructions. This is definitely a recipe that needs to be read before making.

While the hotel has been gone for decades but the recipes live on in the Purefoy Hotel Cookbook. A cookbook that is still in print, with older copies being quite collectible. Many a book dealer wondered why people are out there looking for a spiral bound cookbook from a long closed hotel. While most people think of Talladega as another stop in the NASCAR circuit, many people remember it as the beginning of fine dining in Alabama.

09 September 2009

Domestic Cookery

Domestic Cookery is a very old American cookbook. First published in 1845, my copy dates about ten years later. It followed an early tradition of combining receipts, home remedies, and household elixirs in a single volume. In one book you get recipes for oysters, tomatoes, and custard. You also get recipes for boot blacking, mending china with milk and cleaning kid gloves. And finally, you get a recipe to cure lock-jaw, warts and cramps.

And there is advice for the new housewife. Again, it the mid 1800’s, and the women who are buying cookery books have considerable disposable income. Mrs. Lea writes,

“When your circumstance permit, a good manservant is a valuable acquisition; and they are sometimes more easily governed than females.
If mistresses were better informed, they would not complain so much of the ignorance and awkwardness of their domestics. Always give them their orders in time. If a new dish is to be cooked, superintend its preparation yourself.
If you are capable of directing, a cook will soon learn to do without your constant attention.”

Get the cook working on a batch of these.

Crisp Ginger-cake

Take three pounds of flour, one of sugar, and one of butter; mix these together with three table-spoonsfull of ginger, some cloves and aniseseed, and wet it with molasses; roll it thin; cut it in shapes, and bake with a quick heat.

If she has never attempted Crisp Ginger-cakes before, do superintend. Then, go out and find yourself a manservant, as I hear they are quite handy.

08 September 2009

Court Favorites


As a child, Elizabeth Craig kept a look out for unusual recipes, especially recipes dealing with the royal family. While other girls were out playing games, Craig was carefully copying out recipes from magazines and newspapers, so it is no wonder that she spent her life writing cookery books.

Court Favorites came about a fluke. Craig knew a woman who knew a Princess who had a keen interest in housewifery. They often dined together and the Princess spoke of a household scrapbook kept by Queen Victoria when she was a girl. It came to Queen Victoria from Princess Charlotte; the daughter of George IV and the Queen gave the scrapbook to a housekeeper to use.

The book had recipes written in an old Italian hand and others that were simply undecipherable. There were recipes for wine and peacock as well as elixirs for teeth and complexion. Elizabeth Craig asked if perhaps she might get a recipe or two for a book of royal recipes. Several months later she receive a large parcel of recipes and permission to reprint them Court Favorites was born.



This recipe came written in Queen Victoria's own hand:

Queen Victoria’s Marrow Toasts

Get a large marrow bone and have it well broken. Cut the marrow extracted therefrom into small pieces, about the size of a filbert nut, and parboil same for a minute in boiling water. Drain instantly upon a sieve. Season with pepper and salt, and parsley, and maybe a suspicion of shallot. Toss lightly together and spread upon crisp slices of toast. c. 1845



Ten years earlier at Kensington Palace, Queen Victoria offered up this little recipe for icing.

Icing for Cakes

Mix a pound of refined sugar, sifted very fine with the whites of twenty-four eggs, in an earthen pan. Whisk them well for three or four hours, till the whites are thick and white, and then with a thin broad knife or bunch of feathers, spread it all over the top and sides of the cake. Set the cake before a clear fire and keep it turning continually that it may not change color. But better to place in a cool oven for and hour. This will harden it.



Clearly, it pays to be a Queen. You get to live in Kensington Palace and you don't have to mow the lawn and you have someone to whisk icing for four hours! As much as I love to cook there is no way I’m whisking icing for FOUR hours.

07 September 2009

Dinner at Mr. Jefferson’s


Dinner at Mr. Jefferson’s is not really so much a cookbook as a history. A history of a dinner whose conversation changed the course of American history; actually the dinner probably preserved American history.

The subtitle of the book is Three Men, Five Great Wines, and the Evening that Changed America.


The three men in question were:


Thomas Jefferson


James Madison

&
Alexander Hamilton


The five wines were:

A Hermitage, a white wine made in the hills near the village of Tains

A 1786 Bordeaux from the canton of Grave[sic], another white

A Montepulciano from Tuscany

A Chambertin, an exorbitant red

A Champagne, a rare champagne non-mousseux, Jefferson believe the real connoisseurs disdain bubbles, preferring the simple grape to shine without the pretension of effervescence.


The Evening was a dinner party hosted by Jefferson. The purpose of the dinner was to heal a rift in the between Secretary of State Jefferson and Treasury Secretary Hamilton that threatened to destroy the foundation of United States Constitution. Madison was seen as the father of the Constitution and sided with Jefferson who wanted the 13 original colonies to retain much of their powers. Hamilton wanted power concentrated in a Federal entity. The fear was Hamilton was moving the republic toward a monarchy.

I won’t spoil the ending, but, needless to say, dinner was a success.

While Jefferson did not introduce ice cream to America, he was a huge supporter of the cold confection. He often served ice cream in a baked pastry shell, making it appear as though the ice cream was baked into the pastry. Today’s cook probably finds it easier to turn out ice cream than in Jefferson’s day, of course, Jefferson had servants to make the ice cream so it was very easy for him.

Jefferson’s Vanilla Ice Cream

2 quarts heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
6 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar

1. Bring the cream and vanilla bean to a simmer in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl until smooth and whisk in the sugar. The mixture will be quite thick.
2. Slowly beat about 1 cup of the hot cream into the egg yolks and gradually stir this egg mixture into the hot cream. Cook, stirring constantly, until lightly thickened, enough to coast the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Strain the custard through a double layer of cheesecloth or a fine strainer, and remover the vanilla bean. Stir until slightly cooked. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour or overnight.
3. Freeze the custard in an ice-cream machine according to the manufacture’s directions until set but still a little soft. Scoop the ice cream, into a three-quart mold, or several smaller molds, running a spatula through the ice cream and tapping the mold firmly to remove any air bubbles. Fill the molds completely. Cover and freeze.
4. To serve the molded ice cream, dip the mold briefly in hot water, or wrap briefly in a towel that has been heated in a clothes dryer. Run a knife around the top edge to separate the ice cream slightly from the mold. Invert the mold over a serving dish and gently lift it from the ice cream.


The next time you entertain the notion of having a dinner party, but think it might be too much trouble, remember Thomas Jefferson. You can just run out to the store for the ice cream. And when you whip up dinner for three, you will never have to worry that one of your guest might want to subvert the constitution and become King.

06 September 2009

Duchy Originals Cookbook



In 1990, HRH the Prince of Wales founded Duchy Originals. The mission was simple: to highlight British foods that were of the highest quality while being produced with sustainable agriculture. The company was a rousing success.

In 2006, Johnny Acton and Nick Sandler were commissioned to gather a cookbook featuring the farmers and cooks that contribute to the Duchy Originals brand and to highlight their food. In his introduction to the Duchy Originals Cookbook, Prince Charles writes:



“I was particularly concerned by what we appeared to be discarding casually in the name of “progress”, including rare breeds of livestock, time-honored food production methods and any semblance of patience…I wanted to promote a sustainable approach to agriculture…I hope that the Duchy Originals Cookbook will inspire many more people to care about what they eat and where it comes from and, above all, to enjoy and benefit from eating it.”


The recipes in the book feature British products, so there are quite a few game recipes, brambly apples, pigeon breasts, and lots of fresh mackerel. Clearly some of these recipes require living in England or in a very large metropolitan area... or perhaps, in West Virginia.

The recipe for potted venison is sublime.

Potted Venison

500g (18 oz) venison filet, cut in large chunks
250 ml (9fl oz) chicken stock
200ml (7fl oz) port
3 cloves
10 black peppercorns
2 cardamom pods
1 star anise
150ml (1/4 pint) goose fat

Simmer all the ingredients apart from the goose fat together for at least 2 hours, then remove the venison and leave it to cool.

Strain off the stock and return the pan to the stove. Slowly reduce until you are left with about 50ml (2fl oz) of intense concentrate.

While the stock is reducing, shred the venison into strands. Either use your clean fingers or a couple of forks.

Add the shredded venison to the stock, together with the goose fat. Simmer for 5 minutes or so and pour into an earthenware pot.

Press the venison down so that the goose fat forms a layer above the meat. Cover tightly and set in the fridge.

The potted venison will keep for around 10 days before you have broken the fatty seal, but after you have broken it consume within 5 days.


As Prince Charles says, you need patience for this type of cooking. What you end up with is an amazing confection, rich and unctuous and totally delicious. Spread a tablespoon on a thick slice of warm bread and you will be transported.

05 September 2009

Health Foods and How to Prepare Them




In 1899, Emma Todd Anderson wrote a book about health food for the National Institute of Science. Health Foods and How to Prepare Them has advice that is current for today's reader. No salt or seasoning of any kind, no flesh, to alcohol or tobacco, and plenty of water. She has empirical evidence for her findings and offers numerous examples of how to live to 100.

Judith Bannister, of Cowes, Isle of Wight, died in 1754, aged 108. She lived the last 60 years of her life upon biscuit, milk and apples.

Philip Loutier, died in London at 105. He ate but two meals a day, mostly vegetables, and drank nothing but water.

Elizabeth Macpherson, living in the county of Caithness, Scotland, died 1765, aged 117. Her chief diet for many years was bread, buttermilk and greens.


Anderson advises, “If parents would give their children abundance of fruit AT MEALS, they would not grow up with an appetite for intoxicants.”

If you want upstanding, teetotaling children that will live to be 100+ try this next Thanksgiving.

Vegetable Turkey

One cup of chopped nuts (one or more kinds); 1 cup dry breadcrumbs; 1 cup milk; 1 teaspoonful nut butter dissolved in the milk; mix well together. Add 2 eggs well beaten, teaspoonful pulverized sage; teaspoonful salt. Bake twenty minutes.

The above recipe was used at the large banquet held by the Vegetarian Society at the Great Northern Hotel in 1896, the price being $2.50 a plate.


Frankly, if I have to eat buttermilk and water to live to be 100, I’ll pass. Give me a rib eye and a bottle of wine and I will go gently into that goodnight.

04 September 2009

Mahalia Jackson Cooks Soul


Contrary to popular belief, the best thing to come out of New Orleans is not red beans and rice, it is Mahalia Jackson. Jackson is the greatest gospel singer of all time. Seriously. She had the voice range of a contralto.

Jackson led a rather happy early life despite a bowing in the legs. Doctors wanted to break both legs and set them, but family members rejected the idea and her mother would rub her legs down with greasy dishwater to try and correct the problem. When her mother died, Jackson and her brother went to live with an aunt. There she was worked from dawn till dusk. If the house wasn't spotless, she was beaten, needless to say, there was no time for school but Jackson found solace in the church. One day, after hearing her sing, another aunt proclaimed that one day Mahalia would sing for royalty. The prediction came true.


At sixteen, Mahalia left New Orleans for Chicago. There she found her true calling. She began singing and touring with a pianist. Before long, the venues were so large, she was accompanied by an orchestra. Though she was offered exorbitant amounts of money to switch to secular music, she refused, staying true to the gospel music that changed her life.

In 1998, the Grammy Hall of Fame honored Jackson's recording of the song "Move On Up A Little Higher", recorded in 1948, it sold eight million copies.


What many people don't know about Mahalia Jackson, is her avocation as a cookbook author. Mahalia Jackson Cook Soul was published in 1970, two years before Jackson's death. The book is filled with great old-fashioned soul food, catfish stew, succotash, beef and biscuit pie and my favorite, gizzards and rice, which she calls a "Soul Bowl". Here is a muffin recipe with a distinctly Southern flair.

Sorghum Muffins

1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup sorghum
1 cup milk

Sift meal four, salt, and baking powder together. Cream shortening and sugar together and add egg, beating well after each one Stir in milk and sorghum. Add dry mixture, stirring gently. Pour into well-greased muffin tins until each ring is two-thirds full. Bake at 375 F for twenty-five minutes. Makes eighteen.

When I lived in Alabama,we never missed the chance to go over to Loachapoka, Alabama for their annual "Sorghum Sopping" when the population of Loachapoka rises from 135 to 15,000. Though it is often called sorghum molasses, sorghum is actually harvested from the cane as a juice and then boiled into a syrup. Molasses is a by-product of making sugar.

Whip up some of these muffins and blast Mahalia Jackson from your speakers and you just might find yourself in the presence of God.

Amazing Grace -- Mahalia Jackson

P.S. Once again we have stolen Lucindaville's Famous Food Friday. But we don't want you cookbook nerds to miss them!
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