Friday, March 25, 2011

Boone Tavern Cookbook from 1950's

What do you do if you're the manager of a very popular southern inn and people love the food you serve, and are constantly asking for recipes? You publish a cookbook with the recipes in it, of course! I'm referring to Richard T. Hougen, manager of the Boone Tavern at Berea College, Kentucky. The book, Look No Further, was published in 1951, with reprints in 1953 and 1955. It's a hard covered book that sold for $2.95 in 1955 (my copy). It was printed and bound by The Parthenon Press at Nashville, Tennessee. There are a couple of unique things about this particular cookbook: Mr. Hougen included only "specialties of the house", and the entire book is printed in large print so you can see it clearly on the kitchen counter when you have both hands busy cooking-genius!
It is easy to see that the author truly loves cooking, whether for friends, family, patrons, or all three. Although probably half of the recipes are ones that I wouldn't prepare for my family, I'm sure that this cookbook has great recipes...some just don't suit our tastes. The recipes that look appealing include southern dishes and ways to prepare fresh fish. Since the author is French, he seems to have a love for sauces. If you like sauces: Caper Gravy, Mushroom Sauce, Lemon Clove Sauce, or Mint Sauce, for example, this might be a wonderful search item for you. Today I'm sharing Mr. Hougen's recipe from page 138 for pork chops:

Pork Chops, Some Tricky Way

4 lean pork chops
1/2 C tomato paste
1/2 C Parmesan cheese
1 C bread crumbs
2 C chicken stock
3/4 C mushrooms

1. Trim chops and brush over to coat with tomato paste.
2 Mix cheese with bread crumbs.
3. Pat the bread crumbs onto the chops.
4. Pan fry the chops in the skillet to brown on both sides.
5. Place the chops in a covered casserole and add a small amount of water to prevent them from sticking to the dish. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.
6. Serve with a sauce, made by thickening 2 C chicken stock with 2 1/2 TBSP flour which has been smoothed to a paste with some of the cold stock. Cook for 5 minutes. Add 3/4 C of cut mushrooms to the finished sauce.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Microwave Brownie Mix: 5 Variations/1 Mix

As promised, I 'm sharing a recipe this week that I found in my box of old clippings. This sounds so practical for Spring and Summer baked treats without the fuss and extra heat in the house from using your oven. There is a master mix for the basic brownie and then the instructions for making the variations will follow :)

(***Please join me Friday for my Old Cookbook Review***)

Norma Schonwetter writes, "There's no need for buying packaged brownie mix with this short-cut technique to preparing brownies at a moment's notice." She's a food column writer (very old newspaper clipping-no idea which area of the country) who says she got this recipe while attending a food media conference. Here you go:

Microwave Brownie Mix

3 C sugar
2 C flour
2 C unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Combine all ingredients in a large reclosable plastic bag; seal. Shake until ingredients are thoroughly combined. Store mix in plastic bag or tightly-covered container. Shake or mix well before using. Makes 7 cups.

Microwave Brownies

2 C Microwave Brownie Mix (above)
2 eggs
1/2 C mayonnaise
Non-stick spray

In medium bowl combine mix, eggs and mayonnaise, stir until well-blended. Spray a microproof 10 x 6 inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Spread batter evenly in dish. Microwave on Medium (50 %) for 6 minutes, turning dish once. Turn dish; microwave on High 3 minutes or until surface is firm to touch. Cool. Cut in squares. Makes 18 brownies.

-Rocky Road Brownies:

Prepare brownie batter, adding 1/2 C chopped walnuts, spread in prepared dish.Microwave on Medium (50%) 6 minutes, rotating dish once. Remove from microwave. Sprinkle 1/2 C chocolate chips over top, then 1 C mini marshmallows. Microwave on High 4 minutes. With knife, swirl top to marbelize. Cool.

-Peanut Butter Streusel Brownies:

Prepare brownie batter; spread in prepared dish. In medium bowl mix 1/2 C quick oats, 1/2 C confectioners' sugar and 1/2 C chunky peanut butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter. Microwave at Medium (50 %) 6 minutes, rotating dish once. Turn dish; microwave on High 4 minutes. Cool.

-German Chocolate Brownies:

Prepare brownies as directed; cool. In microproof medium bowl or 1-qt. casserole, combine 20 caramels, 1 C flaked coconut, 1/2 C chopped pecans, 2 TBSP margarine and 2 TBSP milk. Microwave on High 2 minutes; stir. Microwave 2 minutes longer; stir to melt caramels. Spread over cooled brownies.

-Raspberry Liqueur Brownies:

Prepare brownies as directed; cool. In microproof medium bowl or 1 qt. casserole, microwave 1/4 C margarine 20 seconds on High or until softened. Mix in 1 3/4 C confectioners' sugar and 1
2 1/2 TBSP raspberry liqueur; beat until smooth and creamy. If desired, add a few drops of red food coloring. Spread over cooled brownies. Refrigerate to set topping before cutting into squares.

~Recipes tested in 625-700 watt microwave; adjust times according to the wattage of your microwave~

***Book I'm Reading: Rhett Butler's People by Donald McCaig***

Menu Plan : Mar. 21- Mar. 26

We had a nice "Spring Break" with all three sons. The oldest son worked until Wednesday, but was off for the rest of the week. Our Middle son, Blake, was in from Tulsa, and Ben, the youngest, was very excited to have both of them home. Hubby took a couple of days off near the end of the week and that, also, was a rare treat! We enjoyed the warm weather, watching movies, grilling out and looking for the "Super Moon" in the sky on Saturday evening. The guys went out for a fun evening of "brothers only" activity that included dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings and old Star Trek movies at Justin's apartment, while hubby and I went out for a date night. The rest of the week was pretty much time spent as a family. When life is so busy and we are all in our separate locales, I remember times like these.

Here's what we're eating this week:

Mon., Mar. 21
Brussels Sprouts

Tues., Mar. 22 ( Happy Birthday, Julie Ruth!!)
Grilled Chicken Soft Tacos
Jello with fruit

Wed., Mar. 23
Pancakes with blueberries

Thurs., Mar. 24

Fri., Mar. 25
Homemade pizza

Sat., Mar. 26
eggs, fried potatoes
bacon, biscuits

grilled chicken salad

****Join me this week for an easy microwave brownie mix that I found in my old clippings box!****

Book I'm Reading: Rhett Butler's People by Donald McCaig (very good so far!)

I'll be at these swaps today:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Irish Breads and Baking Cookbook

I realize that it's unusual for me to post my Old Cookbook Review on Monday, but I had a lousy computer day on Friday. So I'm glad this is Monday and I'm on a different computer. Get your cup of tea or coffee ready 'cause this book is a goody! and just in time for St. Patrick's Day baking.

When our friends, Julie and George, traveled to Ireland a few years ago, Julie made it her mission to hunt for an authentic Irish cookbook (written by a native) for me, and this book has been special to me, ever since. In her usual "Julie style", she wrote the story of where she found it, in the inside cover...yes, she knows me well. I appreciate all the back stories!

This wonderful baking book was bought in a gift shop/cafe' at Eilwee Caves. She notes that she searched for a hardback cookbook, but they were all written by folks who were not from Ireland. I'm happy that she settled for this paperback cookbook written by Georgina Campbell. The Best of Irish Breads and Baking: Traditional, Contemporary & Festive is full of great baking recipes for every occasion. Georgina Campbell is a well-known food writer and specialist on Irish foods. The beautiful food photography is done by Rai Uhlemann.

The only negative comment that I have on this cookbook is that it provides European, metric and US measurements for each item, which can get tedious when you're reading the recipe as you cook. For those of you reading my blog from spots around the world (at last count on my analytics, I had readers in over 15 other countries and remote areas) the additional measurements are most-likely a benefit. For this reason, I'll include them in our sample recipe today.

As I've said, what a baking book this is! Some of the many super recipes are for scones, tea breads, biscuits (cookies), pies, cakes, crumbles and even dumplings. But the absolute star of the book is breads. There's a recipe for culturing your own buttermilk, because it is crucial to the traditional soda breads in the book. You use skimmed milk, boiling water, yeast and sugar for this process. How interesting...imagine not having to run to the store just to get buttermilk for a recipe (I've done this...ditto for powdered sugar!)

As with any cookbook, the fact that the author provides us with stories about the history of each recipe makes it a must-read for me. Georgina gives details about the historic castles and the folks who are managing them today, with credit to the cooks/chefs who make the foods for these establishments. Many of the family-owned castles became too expensive to maintain as individual homes, and so are now used (at least partially) to educate and delight travelers with tours and delicious Irish cuisine.

Ms. Campbell is also good to provide the reader with information about the traditional festivals and holidays of Ireland, and which foods are served for each. This was my favorite part of the book. I learned that Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday) originated as a practical way to use up non-Lenten foods before Lent began. Because pancakes were served, another tradition was to have the eldest unmarried daughter toss the first pancake. The traditional tale went like this: If she made a neat toss, she would have her pick of the young men, but if the toss was crooked, she would not marry in the coming year! (Hold that spatula steady, girl! :)

This is such a wee blessin' of a cookbook that you'll be wantin' it for your shelf :) I'll give you as much information as I can to help you hunt for a copy. It was first published by Wolfhound Press in Dublin in 1996. Mine is a reprint by EPICURE Press from 2004, also in Dublin. The book's ISBN is 1-903164-15-X. The address given for EPICURE Press is: P.O. Box 6173, Dublin 13. You may still be able to order a copy. Other titles by Ms. Campbell include: Irish Country House Cooking (on my wish list!); The Blue Book Recipe Collection and Meals for All Seasons; The Best of Contemporary Irish Cooking. Good luck!

Sample recipe is from page 38:

*Yogurt Loaf*
(From Co. Antrim where Elizabeth Hegarty treats guests to an afternoon tea in the drawing room of Greenhill House on the family farm. She uses the yogurt carton to measure with, making this a fast bread to fix!)

1 carton Hazelnut yogurt (you might have to settle for another flavor-I've never seen this flavor)
1 carton vegetable oil
2 cartons granulated sugar
3 cartons self-rising flour
3 eggs

Preheat a moderate oven, 350 degrees F/180 degrees C/gas 4. Grease and line two 1 lb./450 g loaf tins. Pour the yogurt, oil and sugar into a bowl and beat for a short time to blend. Add the flour and eggs and beat for a minute or until thoroughly mixed. Pour into the prepared tins and bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown and springy to the touch. Turn out and cool on a wire rack. Serve sliced and buttered for tea.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Prayer for People Affected by Earthquake Today

Our thoughts and prayers go out today to the people of Japan, the Pacific Islands and the coastal states of western U.S. (California, Washington and Oregon). The 8.9 earthquake in Japan and the aftermath of tsunami waves are causing massive death and destruction, especially in Japan.
P.S. Since I wrote this early today (I had computer issues and am posting late) Japan suffered, yet another, milder earthquake , along with many aftershocks. Please remember these folks; they've had an unbelievable day of historical proportions.

Because of circumstances beyond my control, my Old Cookbook Review will be featured on Monday of next week. The book that I reviewed is a favorite: Georgina Campbell's Irish Bread Book. Please have a cup of tea with me Monday morning as we chat about this authentic Irish treasure for baking. Have a peaceful evening. God bless.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Healthier Dip

I have been on the lookout for a healthier dip to serve with chips or a vegetable tray. We really like my version of ranch dip (check my archives for that one), but I saw a container of dip made with yogurt at Walmart and decided to search my obsessively-huge files of recipe clippings. Never fear...there it was, a clipping from some magazine from years ago. Hope all the ingredients are still available in stores!

Healthier Dip
2 C yogurt (plain, lowfat)
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed
1/3 C minced onion (think I'll use green onions)
1 envelope Lipton Vegetable Recipe Soup Mix
raw vegetables or chips

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Place in middle of chips or raw vegetables for dipping.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Menu for March 7- March 13

What a great weekend! Hubby and I got to see all three sons, I got to "cook big" for them, and we just spent time as a family. On Saturday evening we stretched out in the living room, after a ham dinner, and caught up on American Idol. The opinions on musical talent (as well as movies, political policies and almost anything else you can think of-are varied at our house!) We all agree that the panel of Idol judges are too soft in their comments this year......Oh, Simon, please come baaaaacckkk! I found myself sitting and imagining what Simon would have said to some of the participants after they had a performance that was lacking.
Oh, well, it's Monday and time to jot down my menu on a wipe-off board on my fridge, and share it with you. Always make a menu for the week; it will save you time and money (less trips to the store, saving you precious gasoline, as well).

Monday, Mar. 7
Chicken and noodles
green beans

Tues., Mar. 8
Swiss Steak (peppers, onions, tomatoes)

Wed., Mar. 9
Vegetable Barley Soup
Grilled Two Cheese Sandwiches

Thurs., Mar. 10
Chili with crackers

Fri., Mar.11
Chicken Casserole
Iced tea

Sat., Mar.12
Scrambled Egg/Bacon on Bagel Thins

Hot rolls

Sun., Mar. 13
Leftover Lasagna

I'll be joining:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Abe Lincoln's Favorite White Cake

Last night, I was quickly looking through some old recipes that I bought out of an estate auction in the early 80's in the Ohio River Valley Area (WV, KY, Va and Ohio). This folded piece of very fragile letterhead stationary caught my attention. It appears to be the stationary of maybe a publication. The top is printed in a beautiful old font and declares: Country Gentleman; Service Department; Independence Square, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Readers: If you can provide further information about the history of "Country Gentleman" please leave it in my comments box so we can all benefit. It would be interesting to me!)

Abraham Lincoln's Favorite White Cake

Long, long ago, a certain little French caterer in Lexington, Kentucky, made a wonderful white cake in honor of his countryman, Lafayette, who was to pay a visit to the city. The cake was beautifully decorated with flags made of colored sugar, and with marvelous icing, but the cake itself contained only the whites of eggs, and when cut was snow white. Thereupon, every cake baker in the Blue-Grass region immediately began making white cakes; and the recipe for the most famous of all was originated in the household of the ancestors of Mary Todd, who many years afterward, made it for Abraham Lincoln. Later, when she became his wife, he declared this white cake was the best in Kentucky. Here is Mary Todd's recipe with modern baking powder included:

1 Cupful of butter
2 Cupfuls of sugar
1 Cupful of milk
3 Cupfuls of flour
3 Teaspoonsful of baking powder
Whites of 6 eggs
1 Teaspoonful of vanilla or other flavoring, as preferred
1 Cupful of chopped, blanched almonds

Cream the butter well, add the sugar and cream again, sift flour and baking powder together, add to butter and sugar, alternately with the milk. Then stir in the chopped nutmeats and beat well, finally fold in the stiffly-beaten whites of the eggs, pour into a well-greased, paper-lined pan and bake one hour in a moderate oven. Ice with boiled icing to which you have added half a cupful of candied pineapple and cherries cut in very small pieces.

Personal note: Many years ago, Hubby took me on a trip through Virginia (I was missing my sister, Becky, who lived in Manasses at the time). One of our side trips was to tour a plantation owned by some distant ancestors of Mary Todd (and the Lees). Shirley Plantation is known for its beautiful, suspended staircase. It is a fond memory of one of our summer trips that we took as a young couple, all because "Nana and Pappy" were willing to keep two little boys for a week. God bless grandparents!