Friday, May 27, 2011

Custard Pie/ 1968 Osterizer CB

I remember our Osterizer 8-speed push-button blender. It was a symbol of summer. Dad would get some ice cream, and soon, he and mom would make us three kids some great milkshakes in that blender using Hershey's chocolate syrup (the real stuff, the kind in a brown can) and vanilla ice cream. It was the 60's and few people, if any, had air conditioners in our little town. Our "air conditioning" consisted of screen doors and box fans; it was hot in the middle of summer, but the benefit was that we knew our neighbors ...and the people who walked past our house, because most of our summer was spent on the porch or in the yard. As kids "deprived" of air conditioning, we spent the days running through the sprinkler, collecting frog eggs in the shady wet marsh behind our house and riding bikes with neighbor kids. We didn't know that we missed air conditioning....we had Osterizer milkshakes!!

These days, because everyone is so busy, I am the "library courier" for our family. The last time that I went to pick up my husband's thrillers and my teenage entrepreneur's books about business success, I found a treasure on the free shelf. There it was in mint condition, in pink and turquoise blue with a picture of two now-vintage blenders on the cover...a cookbook from 1968. Spin Cookery Blender Cookbook, published by the John Oster Manufacturing Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin 532217. This is the same model blender that was used to make our milkshakes in the late 60's. It has 8 speeds that are accessed by push-buttons on the front; I believe ours was avocado green...Mom was a fan of that color and it was very trendy at the time (so was copper and "harvest gold").
At the library, a woman ahead of me had just, " made off like a bandit" with two bags of new paperbacks by very popular authors (I think I saw dollar signs in her eyes as she she shuffled away from the free shelf and out the door with more-than-enough books!). Normally, I might have been disappointed that she was so greedy in spirit, but nothing could dampen my excitement that she evidently didn't cook or collect cookbooks.
As you can imagine, this little cookbook is full of recipes that would need a blender for the preparation. Great recipes for French Pancakes with Orange Butter Sauce and Cheese Blintzes are just an example of the breakfast goodies. There are also lots of sauces, omelette's, cakes and pie fillings. Curious to note that there are no smoothie recipes, I guess that's a part of our cooking and health evolution. Just like smoothies make for a quick snack or breakfast, this book serves up recipes that are quick to make because of the blender. I think you'll enjoy it. Great for summer treats! Our sample recipe is for a pie that is an American tradition and would be delicious for a Memorial Day get-together.

***Book I'm Reading: The Kennedy Detail***

Page 53 Custard Pie

4 eggs
2/3 C sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
2 C milk, scalded
One 8 " pie shell, unbaked

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put the eggs, sugar, salt nutmeg and vanilla into OSTERIZER container, cover and process at WHIP until sugar is dissolved and eggs lemon colored. Remove feeder cap and add milk, continue to process until well-blended. Pour into an unbaked pie shell. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a silver knife inserted into the custard comes out clean.
NOTE: My mom made this kind of pie and put a layer of blackberries in the bottom. It's a wonderful addition!

Friday, May 20, 2011

1915 Cookbook/Asparagus Soup & Chocolate Angel Food

If it was any given Sunday in 1915, you might have been to a place of worship, relaxed with your coffee and the newspaper, and/or spent a slow day reconnecting with family over a special meal. Sounds great, doesn't it? Our old cookbook today is called Fifty-Two Sunday Dinners by Mrs. Elizabeth O. Hiller; published by N.K. Fairbank Publishing.
Even as a child in the 60's and 70's, I enjoyed the slow-paced predictability that Sundays brought. Granted, the Sunday mornings at our house had a quicker pace, with all five of us trying to get ready, and look presentable for church service. My paternal grandparents, however, seemed to have an easier time, with no children to get ready. Their course of action every Sunday morning was to stop by the local grocery store to pick up their newspaper, treats for three expectant grandkids, and do a "candy-drop" at our house on their way to church. It's the little things that are a big deal to kids!
My grandfather, who we lovingly called "Pappy", would leave a treat for us to find every Sunday morning. Early that morning, as he bought his paper at Doak's Market, he would buy three bags of M&M candies; it was always a thrill to find the bags of chocolates on our coffee table. He and Mammam would already be in their pew when we arrived at the church building; Pap liked to get there extra early! Sometimes they would come over after service for lunch, sometimes we went to their house, or out route 7 to visit Mammaw and Pappaw Winland (this visit often included cousins!) It was a day for connecting with family and recharging your spiritual battery. I think this kind of Sunday would benefit us greatly in today's world.
Mrs. Hiller, the author of 52 Sunday Dinners, would agree with me, I believe, that Sunday dinner is a custom that allows families to sit down and bless each others' lives over some chicken or ham. In her book, she gives complete menus for every Sunday in the year. The meal plans are separated by months, with foods that are more festive for holiday seasons, and vegetation that should be at its peak flavor in that particular month. We love asparagus in the spring when it's beautiful in color and a good price, so I'm sharing Mrs. Hiller's recipe for Cream of Asparagus Soup from page 66 for our sample recipe today:

Cream of Asparagus Soup

3 C chicken stock
1 bunch asparagus
2 C cold water
2 slices of onion
4 TBSP butter
2 TBSP flour
1 1/2 C scalded milk
1/2 C hot cream

Process: Wash, scrape and cut asparagus in one-inch pieces, reserve the tips. Cover with boiling, salted water, cook ten minutes; drain, add stock and onion and cook until tender, rub through a sieve (food processor or blender :). Melt butter in a sauce pan, add flour, stir to a smooth paste; remove from fire and add first mixture slowly, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper, add hot milk and cream, continue stirring. Cook tips in boiling, salted water until tender, drain. Turn soup into hot soup tureen, add tips and serve.

Cook's note: tips on fresh asparagus should be tight and have a bluish tinge.

***Jen, one of my followers, asked for me to share the Watkins Chocolate Angel Food Recipe from a previous Old Cookbook Review. I always like to keep my followers happy, so here you go, Jen!***

Watkins Chocolate Angel Food Cake from 1938

2 C egg whites
1 1/2 C well-sifted granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C Watkins Cocoa
1 tsp Watkins Cream of Tartar
3/4 C sifted cake flour
1 tsp Watkins Vanilla

Note: For small cake use one half of recipe. Bake in 9-inch ungreased tube cake tin, about 35 minutes, 350 degrees F.

Prepare flour before beating egg whites. Sift flour several times, sift cocoa several times, combine the two, sift three times. Beat egg whites on large platter with flat wire beater (I think this could be updated:) Add salt and cream of tartar; continue beating until egg whites are stiff, but not dry. Fold in sifted sugar, vanilla and then flour. Fold carefully into ungreased angel food tin, bake in moderate oven 50-55 minutes. Remove from oven, invert pan until cake is cold.

***My blogger friend, Kristen@ We are That Family has contact information and a list of needed items for the tornado victims in Joplin, Missouri. Please visit her blog and do what you can to help out!***

My Adventures in Texas: Town square in Denton on Saturday for great antiques and one of the best used book stores, ever!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Ripe Bananas? Make Cake Frosting/Watkins CB Review

My grandmother, who we referred to as "Mammam", always used Watkins' Pure Vanilla when she baked. She thought that their vanilla was the best, and that pure vanilla was worth the added cost over extract. When I found, recently, that Watkins' vanilla is still available at Target, I was thrilled and bought 4 bottles in one trip! I prefer to buy the smallest bottles because I think it stays fresher as I use it.
While roaming around the flea market at Canton, Texas, weekend before last, I was equally excited about my discovery of this 1938 Watkins' Cookbook. It is a blue, hardback cookbook that sold for $1.50 in the thirties. This example of cooking and advertising history, published by The J.R. Watkins Company of Winona, Minnesota, is worth your search. Fortunately my find is in very good condition. There are full page ads included in the cookbook for Watkins' cocoa, extracts and fruit syrups. For any history enthusiast, the advertisements make the book that much more interesting. The recipes in this cookbook have the expected wartime flavor; money and time-saving dishes all using Watkins' products.
In the thirties, some food items were expensive or in short supply (just like today!) so there are recipes for "One-Egg Cake" or "Two-Egg Cake", as well as, "Lima Bean Loaf" for a meatless meal. It covers a wide range of menu items, but I believe, because of Watkins' fame for baking supplies, the section for baking is the star of this book!
One of the more unusual baking recipes is for a Chocolate Angel Food Cake. I plan to try the recipe for Watkins' Jelly Roll, too. This book gives the history of the company and its sales strategy; good American salesmen selling great American products, including a map locating the 10,000 Watkins' dealers. Above the map it claims to be, "The Largest and Oldest Institution of its Kind in the World".
Our sample recipe today is a great way to use up that ripe banana that always seems to be lying on the kitchen counter.

Page 155 Watkins' Banana Frosting

Pulp of 1 ripe banana
2 C confectioners' sugar
1/3 tsp Watkins' Almond Extract

Sift sugar, slowly add to mashed banana. Blend to smooth paste. Add flavoring. (I think this would be great on a chocolate Texas Sheet Cake and then drizzle with chocolate!)

LATEST ADVENTURE IN TEXAS: SOUTHLAKE FOR JAPAN FUNDRAISER LAST WEEKEND (great bands, fantastic taco bowls, all-around-fun-time!!)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Old Style Green Beans and New Potatoes/Man's Recipes

Being the mother of three sons, I particularly enjoyed this , well, it's not technically a "cookbook", but rather, a recollection of one man's memories, both good and bad, of the food and kitchens of his lifetime. Supper Time: Recollections and Recipes by Leon Hale, a Houston Chronicle columnist, is a treat. I smiled, laughed, got teary-eyed, and then copied-down some great recipes; it accomplishes everything that a successful book full of food chat should do. Mr. Hale has written ten books and four column collections, so he knows how to spin a tale that intrigues the reader.
Hale begins the book with food creations that he came up with in a one bedroom apartment, living in the new world of bachelorhood at 60, after a divorce. He pulls no punches as he describes his trips to the grocery stores in the wee hours of the morning (because he couldn't sleep). He talks about well-meaning friends and compassionate ladies in his apartment building who gave him cookbooks, and goes on to explain how useless the books were because, for example, a recipe would call for boiling a chicken first and then on with the next step. He needed a book that told him, in to boil a chicken!
He tried cooking one new food item at a time; his "Vienna sausage period" was followed by several months of chicken pot pies for every meal, sometimes twice-a-day. At one point, he craved cooked vegetables, and so, invented "The Soupwich" consisting of vegetables he had on hand, cooked into a type of stew and poured over a thick slice of wheat bread. His was a method of cooking by trial and error- out of necessity. It reminded me of talking on the phone with my middle son who's in grad school, and his thrill at discovering frozen skillet meals and vegetables in steamer bags...I think these items make up the bulk of his grocery shopping purchase.
The more tender parts of this delightful read are about the author's food recollections from a boyhood during the Depression; a move to his grandma's farm; carrying school lunches (and fried pies) in a syrup bucket; his army days in mess halls and Italy (and dreams of Mom's cooking); college cafeteria food in College Station, Texas and his his mother-in-law's and grandmother-in-law's kitchens and dining rooms.
This book, published in 1999, is not filled with recipes, but the ones he gives, relate to the people in his past that were precious to him. The recipes are all easy to fix with ingredients that are available in any grocery store. I really thought this one was worth the time. I would like to read some of his other ten books! If you want to look for it, the ISBN is 0-9657468-3-6

Green Beans and New Potatoes page 125

1 pound string beans or Kentucky Wonders
6 or 8 new potatoes
1 piece salt pork, 2-3 inches square
1 large pot, filled three-quarters full with water
3 or 4 whole black peppercorns

Peel the potatoes.
Cut off the stems of beans, pop in half, stringing them if necessary.
Score the salt pork in several places with a sharp knife. Place the pork and potatoes in the pot.
Bring the water to a rolling boil and add the beans. Reduce the heat to a simmer and partially cover.
Cook the beans like this until they are thoroughly done and the potatoes are tender (half hour or so). At this point, some people will heat a scant TBSP bacon grease in a skillet until it's sizzling, then add the cooked beans and potatoes, tossing them lightly in the grease for a few seconds until they are shiny. Then add salt and pepper if needed, and serve.

***Happy Mother's Day to my own great mom and all the rest of the hard-working, wonderful moms out there***