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Posts Tagged ‘cook book’

My mother-in-law had a copy of this book in hardcover. I was immediately drawn to the illustrations in black and white of each herb and spice you can imagine, all in alphabetical order for ease of reference. This book gives anywhere from one to a dozen recipes for a specific spice or herb.

I wouldn’t call this “American” or “French” per se, it’s just simple recipes to give you ideas on the versatility of those little plants and jars in your kitchen. I also like the descriptions, they give times-past associations of spices with prosperity, luck, love, and hate!

I tried the Cabbage with Capers last night and my husband said it was one of the best things I’ve made in a while!  (Why doesn’t he like the rest of it? Or is he too nice to tell me so? Well I have to admit that I’ve been heavy handed with the salt as of late…)

Adapted from Cabbage with Capers from Cooking With Herbs And Spices by Craig Claiborne

  • 1/2 head of green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup cooked ham, small dice
  • 1 Tbsp bacon fat
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp capers with brine
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup water

Start with the bacon fat, ham, and onion.  Add the garlic after the onion is soft and fragrant, cook for a minute.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine then quickly cover and reduce to medium-low for 10 minutes.  It’s ready when the cabbage is soft, stir to scrape up any bits stuck to the pan if needed.

This dish resembled a very mild sauerkraut only the caraway was replaced with capers.  Big Brother is not a fan of caraway seeds, so this is a good swap for him.

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In other news… I’m hosting a bake sale on Mother’s Day!  I’ve opened a cottage bakery in my house, Cardamom Finnish Cottage Bakery, and I thought this would be a good way to let neighbors know about me.  And for all of you Austin readers, this is a chance to actually taste some of the sweet things you’ve been drooling over while reading my blog.  Locals can pre-order via the bakery website to pick up on Sunday, or just come on by between 9 and 11 am and shop at the sale (2800 Adelen Ln, Round Rock).

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Beatrice Ojakangas fudgy brownie recipe modified by adding chocolate chips and mini marshmallows.

Making brownies from scratch is pretty simple.  Take your favorite chocolate, some butter, eggs and flour.  Bit of sugar.  Splash of vanilla or strong coffee.  Bake until almost done.

My mother-in-law bought me a set of those silicone pans, sheets and muffin cups.  One of my pet peeves is scraping brownies out of my metal or glass pans.  I used a silicone square pan to remedy this twitch.   And I discovered silicone is not a brownies’ friend.

After the initial alloted baking time stated in the recipe I took the brownies out of the oven.  They smelled good and had a crinkled top due to my addition of mini marshmallows.  They were left to cool as dinner was made.

Trying to pop the pan mold off the brownies nearly ended in disaster.  The middle was not set.  Not one bit!  I poked around with a toothpick and found these brownies were closer to the batter I poured into the pan than the chewy chocolate morsels I thought were coming out of the pan.  Back to the oven.

At this point I was beyond mad.

Another 10 minutes.  Still gooey.

I’m finished making dinner and try to get everyone seated at the table.  Distractions occur in the form of a two-year old.

Another 10 minutes go by, possibly more.

I remembered that I forgot to reset the kitchen timer;  leapt into the kitchen and pulled out the brownies.

They were done alright, just not…  almost done.

Brownies

Adapted from Beatrice Ojakangas’ recipe in The Great Holiday Baking Book

  • 2oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • handful of chocolate chips and/or marshmallows

Mix.  Bake at 350ºF in a 8×8″ pan for 25 minutes.

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The first recipe I saw that I knew had to be made as soon as possible was the Brown Sugar Glazed Ham.

I’ve never cooked a ham before, eaten plenty though on the farm.  A glazed ham with sides of vegetables and potatoes is not too common in Texas, at least the bits I’ve been in.  Pork butt (shoulder) smoked for hours over mesquite or oak is proper in these parts.  BBQ has always been one of my favorite ways to prepare meats, sometimes whole meals while camping in the summer.

Ham is something else and needs to have a place at this Texas family table more often.

Slice of heaven…

The ham had the perfect salty-sweet combination of flavours.  I wish I had some home-made mustard to go with this in a sandwich!  You can check out Austin Gastronomist’s blog for a beer mustard recipe.

Here is the book (click on the image to go to Amazon) which includes the recipe for the Brown Sugar Glazed Ham.

While Paula was in Austin, she told her audience that this sort of cooking is not for every day.  Save this for get togethers or Sunday dinners.  I could probably eat something from this cook book everyday of the week until I’ve tried every recipe, then start over again, but I might double in girth.  If you eat sensibly and listen to those “full tummy” messages from your body, you could cook like a Southern Belle everyday and eat like a bird.  Just be sure there are plenty of folks around to eat the remainder and spread the love of a good ‘ol fashioned home cooked meal.

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I’ve had Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking on my kitchen shelf for nearly a year now.  I’ve used one single recipe out of the lot.  This book revolutionized American cuisine at home, along with the PBS cooking show starring its author.  You would think, being enthralled with food, I would be half way through cooking every single recipe.  My obstacle is time, and to a slightly lesser degree, energy.  The willful will prevail.

Cooking from scratch is, or at least was, going by the wayside at an alarming rate.  It’s far too easy to grab food to-go on the way to your destination, while we are busy watching the clock instead of our waistlines and our health.  How many people do you know who bake their own bread, make their own fresh pasta, prepare batches of stock, and bake their own cookies?  Grandma.  Hmmm… anyone else?

Sweet Onions for the soup

In contrast to Julia’s methods, I read through my vintage cook book written in the early 1980’s by a group of church ladies.  I could positively tell you that over half the recipes in their collection contained at least one canned or otherwise pre-packaged ingredient, as well as half a cup of oleo (of which puzzled me, I found out that oleo is short for oleomargarine.  Also, based on when this cook book was written and guessing the participants were probably at least 50 years old, they probably wanted to say that vegetable margarine should be used, not one containing animal fat.  Margarine as we know it today was created in 1950 (when the recipe ladies would have been of “marrying age” and learning the fine art of becoming domestic goddesses) due to newer technology that enabled the extraction of oils from vegetable matter in a cheap enough fashion for commercial production.  It’s just a guess though!).  Not all pre-processed foods are created equal.  Compare a box of cheesy macaroni to a freshly frozen pasta dinner, both are pre-packaged pastas that require minimal cooking on your part, but one is not fluorescent orange (and nasty).  Does it hurt to use a can of cream of mushroom soup now and then?  I don’t think so.  I’m a mom, I take advantage of short cuts.

Back to the recipe at hand today, onion soup.  Not from a can or box, real onion soup.

Soft Onions

Julia Child calls for booze in this soup, which I don’t keep on hand, nor do I see a need for it.  These onions had so much flavour that I didn’t want to mask them with much other than my homemade chicken stock perfumed with fennel.

French Onion Soup

I found these vintage soup bowls at Goodwill for a few dollars, nifty eh?  Do make yourself some croutons and melt Gruyère cheese on them, this is a must for your French Onion Soup experience.  This reminds me of home-ec class because this was one of the few recipes we were tasked to replicate.  My home-ec teacher had to taste everyone’s creation at the end of class in order to receive a passing grade for that day, I’m not sure I would want that job.  I wasn’t the greatest cook at the wide-eyed and bushy-tailed age of thirteen.

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Retro BTE Sandwich

Little Sister and I ventured out to the antique mall just to get out of the house.  I had a couple of things in mind to look for in the piles and shelves packed full of old things, waiting to be someone’s new thing.  Pyrex, the old casserole dishes in particular; cook books; plates; and of course we stopped to look at toys at the demand of my 18 month old.

No luck with the Pyrex but I did find an old cook book…

It’s from Rockdale, TX and printed in 1982…

I love the retro art work…

A church group put this together, probably as a fundraiser.  My neighbour showed me a similar type of cook book that she helped compile many years ago.  I will have to take her up on her offer to borrow it for a while.

All that shopping made me hungry.  I whipped together a Bacon-Tomato-Egg sandwich to quell the hunger monster.  This also presented an opportunity to show you my “new” plate.

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