Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mayberry CB Review/Strawberry Pie

My Husband took me for another Texas adventure last night; we ate at Prairie House in Roanoke. What a historic town with a great knack for preserving historic buildings and promoting local businesses! With several locally-owned eateries, they are proud to call themselves a, "restaurant capitol". Having grown up in a small town, I have a warm, fuzzy feeling when I drive through Roanoke. There are little cottages, older stick-built homes and even a couple of Victorian "painted ladies". On Oak Street, there's a line of quaint restaurants and a book store/coffee shop. You can try to get into Babe's (there are often people waiting) if you want to eat fried chicken and watch the wait staff line-dance. On down the street, there's a variety of cowboy grub and authentic Mexican fare, too. What made me especially curious about Prairie House was the rustic look of the building and the name of the restaurant. I had to go in to see if Marshall Dillon or any of the Ingalls family were sitting at a table! It was unique and rustic inside, as well. The food was so good that midway through the meal, I looked across the table at my sweetie and said, "I am just in hog heaven!" I had smoked meat BBQ, homemade onion rings, cole slaw and a mason jar of brewed iced tea. Oh....and jalapeno corn muffins! Ronoake reminds me of a TV town called Mayberry and my favorite small town...Paden City. All of this is leading up to my book for review today; Aunt Bee's Mayberry Cookbook.
If ever there was a famous small town in the collective memory of baby boomers, it is Mayberry. And if ever there was an iconic cook it is Aunt know, Bee Taylor, Sheriff Andy's auntie who toted him homemade food in a basket, just for lunch! Barnie, the deputy, always waited for that fried chicken and apple pie to show up at the jailhouse. I loved that show and still do! If you enjoyed it, you might want to look for this wire-bound cookbook from 1991. Ken Beck and Jim Clarck put it together with the editing done by Julia M. Pitkin. The publisher was Rutledge Hill Press from Nashville, Tennessee and its ISBN is 1-55853-098-3. I like the fact that a cookbook is dedicated to the memory of Frances Bavier (the actress who played Aunt Bee). I didn't buy my copy there, but I saw this cookbook being sold in gift shops when we visited the town that the TV show was based on. That famous little place is the town where Andy Griffith grew up-Mount Airy, N.C. If you loved the show, it's fun to visit Mount Airy.
This book is really full of good down-home recipes that you would typically find in a community or church group's cookbook, but it has names of characters from the show attached to the recipes. There's Barney's Salt and Pepper Steak; Goober's Secret Spaghetti Sauce and Opie's Oreo Ice Cream. Tidbits about the show, pictures of scenes from the show and character bios of Mayberry's well-known citizens are included. It's a fun read, especially if you're a fan! Here's a sample recipe from page 198:

***Cookbook hunter's alert: I saw 2 copies of this book at Antiques Mall in Keller, TX this past weekend. One copy was $10.00 and the other was $6.50!***

Mayberry Strawberry Pie
(Mary Ellis-Albuquerque, N.M.)

2 pints fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
1 C sugar
4 TBSP flour
1 C water
1 9-inch baked pie shell
whipping cream

In a saucepan, mash about 5 or 6 ripe strawberries, and combine with the sugar, flour and water. Cook until thick and refrigerate until cold.
Just before serving, place the strawberries in the pie shell, reserving a few for garnish. Pour the glaze over the berries. Cover with whipped cream and garnish with reserved berries. Slice and serve. Serves 6-8.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Leftover Eggs? Egg Salad-4 Ways

If you had an "eggs-travagant" Easter and still have boiled eggs in the fridge, don't fear! Here are 4 different ways to make a delicious sandwich spread from your boiled eggs. We always called it "egg salad" at our house, but it is good on a bed of lettuce or spread on bread or crackers. My favorite version always includes hot sauce...ditto for deviled eggs. Happy Springtime!

Egg Salad #1
3 C chopped hard-boiled eggs
1 C minced celery
1/2 C minced stuffed olives
pinch of salt
dash of pepper
1/4 C mayonnaise (I like a little more)
Blend and chill.

Egg Salad #2
Blend 6 hard-cooked egg yolks with 2 TBSP melted butter or margarine.
1 TBSP French dressing
1/4 tsp prepared mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
pinch of salt

Egg Salad #3
Mince 6 hard-cooked egg whites (from #2 above) . Blend with 2 TBSP pickle relish , 2 TBSP minced green pepper, 1/4 C mayonnaise and a pinch of salt. Chill.

Egg Salad #4
4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
3/4 C chopped celery
1/2 tsp mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Tabasco hot sauce (I like a little more!)
1/2 C mayonnaise
Mix and chill.

My humble opinion: Unless you have your grandma's homemade recipe for mayonnaise, buy Hellmans' original mayonnaise. It is the best one on the shelf! If you're going to the trouble of making fresh chicken, pimento, egg or any other salad, why on earth would you skimp on the mayonnaise? I'm a bargain hunter at heart, but I'm particular when it comes to a crucial element in the recipe. For fresh salads and spreads, mayonnaise is crucial (those of you on special diets for health reasons can totally ignore me! Pay attention to your Dr.'s advice :)

***Special thoughts and prayers go out to our son, Blake, who's in the midst of final tests and presentations this week and next***

Friday, April 15, 2011

Old Home Remedies, Receipts and Wives' Tales in a Cookbook

***Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of North Carolina as they recover from the horrific damage done by the tornadoes this weekend***

Old Cookbook Review: Seems Like I Done it This-a-Way by Cleo Stiles Bryan

Sometimes I slog through cookbooks at a painstakingly slow pace, dreading the review that I have yet to write. Other times, the reading is a joy and the review seems to write itself! This is one of those fortunate weeks; this book goes on my favorites list! I got it in a thrift store in Oklahoma for $1.00....and it's worth every penny.
If you aren't sure that you would like some home remedies for croup, warts, a black eye (or how to get rid of a kidney infection!) mixed in with old family receipts (recipes) , retired Extension Home Economist, Cleo Stiles Bryan will make you a believer. Her unusual cookbook is called Seems Like I Done It This-A-Way. She came up with the title because her mamma, Mary Elizabeth Reed Stiles (who was all of 5 ft. 1 and 89 pounds!) reared 11 children and would reply this way when they asked for advice. A picture of "Mamma" is, of course, included in the back cover. I love writers who give credit where credit is due.
The author worked with homemakers and youth throughout counties of Oklahoma for 35 years as an Extension Home Economist. Her experience included world travels, as she also served as National President of the Extension Home Economists. In 1974, the U.S. Department of Agriculture selected her as one of 9 extension workers in the U.S. to receive the Superior Service Award. Not bad for one of 11 children born on a wheat and cotton farm 7 miles southwest of Snider, Oklahoma! If any of you have stories to share about this exceptional woman, please leave them in my comments. She spoke all over Oklahoma, the U.S. and in other countries, so I'll bet that some of you know about her. Please share!
When it comes to writing, Cleo Bryan is practical in her style. There are no pictures, just recipes, planting tips for your garden, remedies for sickness and potions to make for housekeeping and laundry. There are old receipts that she collected for years from friends she met through her work. Many of these recipes are written just as the person gave them (orally) and lend a special flavor to this delightful cookbook.
My signed copy of this book is the 2nd edition, printed in1980; the first edition was in 1976 (I would love to have it and will have to start searching this summer), and within the book, ladies are sharing 100- year-old recipes for gingerbread and plum puddings, etc. from their grandmothers. In fact, Ms. Cleo gives us her mamma's recipe for Poor Man's Pie in the pie section and tells us how her sister,Rea, fixes ham, in the meat section of the book.
If you like the feeling, as you read a cookbook, that your mom, grandma and sisters are at a table swapping advice and recipes with you...this is your book. The book doesn't give an ISBN, but an address for information on ordering the cookbook. If this is outdated, you might be able to get a copy through the Oklahoma Extension Agency. This address given in the back of my book is: Box 749, Tahlequah, OK 74464.

Our sample recipe is from page 217:

Old Fashioned Gingersnaps
Willie Mae Street, Memphis, Tenn.

2 1/4 C flour
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 C shortening
3/4 C sugar
1 egg, well-beaten
1/2 C molasses

Sift flour, measure, add cinnamon and ginger. Sift again. Cream shortening, add sugar gradually and beat until light. Add beaten egg and molasses. Dissolve soda in 2 tsp of hot water and add to the creamed mixture. Chill. Roll out on a lightly-floured board to 1/8 inch thickness, and cut with a round cookie cutter or gingerbread man-shaped cutter. Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. For a crackled surface, brush each cookie with water before baking. Makes about 6 dozen 2-inch cookies.

***Taste of Home Cooking School will be in Lawton, OK on May 10. Tickets are $12.00***

Friday, April 8, 2011

Quiche Lorraine and Julia's Wisdom!

There are times in the kitchen when I pray for wisdom......usually when a sauce looks too watery, or something in the oven is not, "rising to the occasion"! I'm not professionally-trained in cooking, I'm just a trial-and-error home cook trying to make everyone at my table happy. Sometimes my trials are, "trials by fire".... or dehydration. I must admit that learning to prepare large pieces of meat was tricky for me when I first began cooking. I have burnt or dried-out my share of roasts! That said, one of the little cookbooks in my collection is from a professional chef who took the time to jot down bits of cooking wisdom in a loose-leaf kitchen reference guide to remind herself of her trials in the kitchen, and what she did to remedy the situation. If you've ever had a cheese sauce turn out less-than-perfect, you know that cooking tips from Julie Child in a book form would be an invaluable addition to your cookbook shelf.
Julia's Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a lifetime of Cooking was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2000 and its ISBN is 0-375-41151-8. The web address for the publisher is Good luck in finding this one, it is more recent than many of the old cookbooks that I review, so you might have an easier search. In the acknowledgments, Mrs. Child calls this book her, 'happy collaboration of forty years of cookery with colleagues and friends'. She goes on to say that the idea for the book came after Geoffrey Drummond produced a 2-hour PBS special called Julia's Kitchen Wisdom that featured film snippets of her earlier shows on public television.
I'm so happy that Mr. Drummond's idea was transformed into book form. It is not a large cook book, but is concise and full of cooking basics. There is color blocking, which makes it easier to read, as any quick reference book should be!
Julia covers a wide array of food items, but keeps it basic: stocks, soups, sauces, salads,vegetables, meats,eggs,bread and dessert. She does include variations for each basic recipe. And, in true Julia-fashion, she gives us helpful information, all along the way (I needed this back in the days when I was turning pot roast into shoe leather!) Today I will give a sample recipe included on page 93.

Quiche Lorraine
for a 9-inch quiche, serving 6

6 strips of crisply-cooked bacon
A partially-baked 9-inch tart (pie) shell
3 large eggs
About 1 C cream
Salt, freshly-ground pepper, and nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Break bacon into pieces and strew in shell. Blend the eggs with enough cream to make 1 1/2 C of custard, and blend in seasonings to taste. Pour into shell to within 1/8 inch of rim. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until puffed and browned. Unmold onto a round platter and serve warm or at room temperature.

Note from Julia: Quiche Proportions
Any quiche can be made with either heavy or light cream or with milk. The proportions always are 1 egg in a measuring cup plus milk or cream to the 1/2 C level; 2 eggs and milk or cream to the 1 C level; 3 eggs and milk or cream to the 1 1/2 C level; and so forth.

***Old Cookbook Review-Every Friday!***

Friday, April 1, 2011

Colonial Cookbook

When the show, Survivor, was in its first season on television, my son, Justin, was a fan. The premise of the show is that people who are unfamiliar with some far-off, exotic location are dropped off there and must adapt to their surroundings and learn how to survive. Food, is of course, of utmost importance to the contestants: what to eat; which items are edible; and how to get enough to have energy for the tasks. While reading our cookbook for review today, I saw a great parallel. The first people to settle in America from England were "survivors"! Yes, they had many concerns and tasks to accomplish, but much of their time and energy revolved around food: what to eat (and plant, successfully); which native items were edible; and how to get enough food to have energy to work and fight illness. They were blessed with knowledgeable help; Native Americans gave them information and assistance.These "survivors" became known as Colonists. Their diet ended up being a blend of flavors brought from their mother country and delicious new tastes, provided by friends from their newly- adopted home.

The Old Farmer's Almanac Colonial Cookbook from Yankee Books (Dublin, New Hampshire) is a 1982 reprint of an almanac first published in 1792. The reprint, by Yankee, is seven wonderful chapters from that 1700's almanac of authentic Colonial foods, "adapted for preparation in the modern American kitchen." The ISBN is 0-89909-008-7. Their address given in 1982 is: Yankee Books, Box C3CC, Depot Square, Peterborough, NH 03458. Other books they've published that you might be interested in: The Old Farmer's Almanac Heritage Cookbook; Yankee Church Supper Cookbook; and The Innkeepers Cookbook.

I've given as much information as I have on this book to help you hunt it down, because I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The authentic Colonial foods are a history lesson in themselves. There are several recipes that require cornmeal, pumpkins and beans. Seafood is also a popular ingredient. The recipes reflect the fact that foods had to be cooked outside or at a hearth and had to be easily kept. Food was precious and nothing went to waste (lots of chowders, soups and porridge). Breads were made with "emptyin's", a type of sourdough starter that they kept in a crock pitcher, or Thirds Brown Bread which was made with liquid hop yeast (hop-flavored malt extract, yeast, potatoes and sugar mixture). They ate Whitpot, a hot cereal (cornmeal) cooked and dotted with butter. They made their own soda crackers with soured milk. If you like cornmeal, you're in luck! There's Spoon Bread, Hasty Pudding, Johnny Cake, Crackling Bread....the dinner rolls even have cornmeal and oats in them! These were hearty, money-saving foods for the Colonists, and great whole grain recipes for today's diet. I especially like the recipes called, "Hardscrabble Oatmeal Pancakes" and "Snow Griddle Cakes" (which use snow as the leaven!)

The cooking method known as "Bean-Hole" is the earliest "Crock Pot cooking". They put dry beans in a pot, covered with water and boiled it over the fire for 5 minutes. The pork and other seasonings were added and the cast iron lid fitted tightly on top of the pot. In dry ground, they set the pot in a hole dug 2 feet deep by 2 feet wide in which a hardwood fire had been built earlier. The fire had been burned down to coals. Some coals were dug out to place the bean pot, and then used to cover the top of the pot. The pot was left in the hole all day. If you want to do this with your kids when you go camping this summer, the whole recipe is in this great cookbook.

As I've mentioned, the Colonists also brought favorites from their original country with them, so the book has recipes for: Bubble and Squeak; English Meat Pie; Mincemeat; Roast Suckling Pig and Roast Goose. In New England-style there are recipes for Boston Brown Bread; Sally Lunn; Harvard Beets; Original Plymouth Succotash and Brunswick Stew. The menu for the authentic foods for a traditional Thanksgiving feast is included.

I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed reviewing it. I happened upon my copy when a young chef in New Martinsville, WV decided to sell some of his cookbook collection in his yard sale...silly boy!

Here's our sample recipe for today:

Hasty Pudding

1/2 C yellow cornmeal
1 C cold water
1/2 tsp salt
2 C boiling water

Mix cornmeal to cold water. Add with salt to boiling water. Reduce heat and cook 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve with cream and maple sugar, brown sugar, honey or molasses. Chill unused mush, slice, dust slices with flour, and brown in butter or bacon drippings. Serve with syrup.