Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Chilled French Bean Salad

When I lived in Oklahoma, a few years back, one of the older ladies at our first church invited a few ladies to her home for a luncheon.  I was one of the lucky card-holders!  Darlene Bridges was a very interesting, well- spoken woman who was a frequent traveler and, an excellent hostess, so to say that I,  "enjoyed the luncheon"  is an understatement. The other ladies and I had the opportunity to introduce ourselves and chat in the living room while Darlene put the finishing touches on the salads (yes, she served in courses!)   When she called us to the table each place was set with this pretty little salad.  The plates were chilled, the iced tea was perfection and the rest of the meal delicious, as well,  but this salad was so simple, yet impressive!  As Darlene slipped into her chair, she said, with that smile that seemed to light up her whole face, "Now, I want each of you to share with us how you came to meet your husband."  She sat enjoying the stories of much younger women relaying the moments that meant so much to them.  At the end, the lady, who had been widowed for years shared her own story.  It was sweet and funny and told as only Darlene could tell a story.  Today's salad recipe is the salad  that we enjoyed that day:

Darlene Bridge's French Bean Salad

1 can French green beans, chilled and drained well on paper towels
Thick slices of a red summer tomato
Hellman's Mayo

Chill salad plates!  Place thick slice of tomato on each one.  Mound French green beans on top and put small dollop of mayo on top of the green beans.  Serve while plates are still chilled.   

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Pap's Fried Mushrooms

 Happy Father's Day to Dad (and "Pappy")

 Over the years, my dad has been praised by his grandkids for some of the select recipes that are uniquely his.  His cooking is like abstract art, a  rare and unexpected pleasure.  When our sons were little they enjoyed a week (sometimes two!) at Nana and Pap's house every summer.   During their magical "no parent week",  "Pappy" delighted his grandsons with such delicacies as fried doughnuts and homemade waffles.  He's famous for breakfast surprises...they usually involved an early morning trip to "Donalds" (McDonalds) "to let Nana sleep."  She had little grandsons staying all week;   believe me...she needed  that extra half hour of rest! 
Upon their return home one summer, I was informed that,  "Pappy's waffles are square, and taste better than your round ones.  We told him that you always put yours in the toaster, but  Pappy had a waffle maker!"  Another summer, it was suggested that, "maybe Nana and Pap could teach you how to make that really good use ice cream and root beer."   Yes, my children had root beer floats!  It's like that saying, "everything seems to taste better when you cook it outside."  Well, in my childrens' eyes everything always seemed more special and tasted better on one of their summer get-away trips to Nana and Pap's house.  
Today, I'm sharing the method that Dad uses to make fried mushrooms.  My guys are grown and are taller than me, now, but they still love spending time with their "Pap" and eating some of his fried mushrooms.

Pappy's Fried Mushrooms

  • 1 clean brown paper bag
  • white mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed
  • vegetable oil
  • all purpose flour
  • salt and coarsely-ground black pepper
  • skillet

Heat oil in skillet until drop of water in the pan sizzles.  Toss clean mushroom caps and stems in brown paper bag with the flour until well-coated.  Place in the skillet and leave a little room around each to get crispy edges.  turn half way through frying.  Salt and pepper generously on both sides!  Drain on paper towels.

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Dessert Waffles from 1933

I found this plaid-covered cookbook by General Foods in an antique shop in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  It's full of baking recipes and was printed in 1933.  Inside its front cover are the kinds of hand-written notes that I always look for, but seldom find! To the left is this note:  "Found this in an old house being torn down in Lampasas-March 1990.  Making way for a Circle K gas station. ~Jean"  On the right inside cover is a hand-written recipe (in pencil, of course!) for Mrs. Shaw Norris' Pear Relish.  I think you will enjoy the easy summertime recipe for dessert that I'm sharing from page 119.
(A Big thank you to my one-man IT staff for his help while he's home from college;  kudos, Ben!)

Summer Dessert Waffles

2 1/2 C sifted Swans Down Cake Flour
2 1/2 tsp Calumet Baking Powder
2 tsp sugar
2 egg yolks, well-beaten
1 1/2 C milk
2/3 C melted butter
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Sift flour once, measure, add baking powder and sugar, and sift again.  Combine egg yolks, milk and butter.  Add to flour, beating until smooth.  Fold in egg whites.  Bake in hot waffle iron.  Cool waffle.  Serve in sections, topped with ice cream and fruit sauce.  Makes five 4-section waffles.

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