Enhanced Carrot Cake in an Enhanced Turn of the Century Kitchen

Just park your "brolly" and come into the most interesting kitchen in, well, the United States and Texas.

A delightful family bought a large old turn of the penultimate century home in my village.  The wife, a Canadian transplant and I have cooking and art and music and home restoration and even Canada in common.  She has painted and sanded and worked her way through each room of this manse to bring a new life to an historic home.  Her kitchen is the heart of the “plant” and that is where she embellishes recipes daily.  She is a mother to three but all are in college except one.  She is, therefore, cooking for 3 and often me.

Catherine went out and found period cupboards and hutches to put in the kitchen.  She had the granite kitchen island installed with her sink across from her range/oven.  The brick pillar is what remains of a chimney for an old pot-belly stove.

Harry James is the family’s Beagle mix.  Make no mistake.  He is the king of this castle.  He stays close to the cook because it’s warm and fulfilling in the kitchen.

Large windows overlook the gardens in back of the house.  The pantry can be seen at the far end of the room.Harry James has his own chair at his own large window.

Below, a picture of an interesting lamp Catherine picked up at a garage sale.  She has an eye for prints and old things of all periods and she pulls them all together in vignettes that are fresh and imaginative and completely her own.

Behold, the better carrot cake - a lot like a better mousetrap! It really grabs you if you love fruit cakes.

Catherine loves to tweak recipes and to generally add more of the healthy ingredients to them.  With the carrot cake she baked this week, she added extra nuts (walnuts AND pecans), cran-raisins (in addition to raisins called for by the recipe), extra carrots and, in her one slip from the healthy pathway, she used coconut oil instead of vegetable.  What a moist, sweet cake.  We enjoyed it without frosting.

Just take your favorite carrot cake recipe and tweak it a la Catherine. Bravery in the culinary field of battle should be recognized.  Catherine, this is in honor of  your successful cooking campaigns over many years.  You get a SamHenry heart of appreciation ♥

Mo’s Plum Pudding

Like SamHenry, my maternal Grandmother was also from Britain. She was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1885 and moved to London where she resided until the end of World War 1.

At the end of  the “war to end all wars”, she married my Grandfather and moved to the United States, bringing along her recipe box filled with instructions for preparing traditional English fare.

Every Christmas my Grandmother would spend days & days in the kitchen, baking cookies, fruit cakes & plum pudding as gifts for her family and friends.

Plum pudding was traditionally made in a “bag” & hung for weeks prior to Christmas to enhance the flavor. By the time I came on the scene, my Grandmother had adopted the pudding can* since she liked to make several small puddings to give away as presents.

You can’t get much more traditional English fare at the Christmas holiday than than a good plum pudding.


Mo’s Plum Pudding

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups sifted flour
  • 1 TSP. baking powder
  • 1 TSP. salt
  • 1 TSP. cloves
  • 1 TSP. all spice
  • 1 TSP. nutmeg
  • 2 TSP. cinnamon
  • 1/2 TSP. ginger
  • 1 package brown sugar
  • 1 # chopped beef (suet)
  • 1 package currants
  • 2 # seedless grapes
  • 1 package seeded raisins
  • 1 # chopped, mixed peel
  • slivered almonds, blanched
  • 6 beaten eggs
  • 1 can apple sauce
  • 1 TSP. molasses
  • 1 TSP. almond extract, grated lemon rinds or essence of lemon
  • 1 cup of broth. Can be water, cider or fruit juice

PREPARATION:

  • Mix all ingredients together
  • Grease bottoms and sides of pudding cans*
  • Put wax paper in bottom of cans
  • Fill cans with mixture and cover top with wax paper
  • Steam for about 6 hours or more in roasting pan, with water halfway up side of cans
  • Add boiling water about every hour
  • Remove from water, place on rack and leave covers off cans overnight

*Don’t have any “pudding cans”? Wash & save a few empty soup cans from your kitchen. Recycle – that’s what your Grandma did!

posted by Mountain Republic                                 recipe by Amy Chenevert


Old Fashioned Rice Pudding

Here’s a quick & easy recipe for old fashioned rice pudding. As you probably know, all my recipes are quick & easy or I wouldn’t be cooking it! Here we go:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 TSP. salt
  • 1 TSP. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3 -1/2 cups milk
  • ground cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300°

In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients, except cinnamon.  Mix well.

Pour mixture into a lightly greased 1-1/2 quart baking dish.  Sprinkle top with cinnamon.

Put baking dish in a pan of hot water in the oven and bake for about 1-1/2 hours or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Can be served warm or cold. Top it with some whipped cream if you like. Enjoy!

recipe by Mountain Republic

Mom Jones’ Cookies

I remember my Mom made these cookies often when I was a kid.  This recipe was from my Grandmother & dated April 1955. I don’t know who Mom Jones’ was or where the recipe originally came from, but I do know these cookies sure are good!

This is definitely one of my favorite cookie recipes and it makes a good, large batch. I’ve baked these cookies for soldiers that I support in Afghanistan several times. The troops have always liked them, since I’ve heard the hard ones make fine projectiles to use on the Taliban!

I’ve made these many times for our family gatherings as well & they always seem to disappear fast. I remember my Mom used coconut more often than raisins, but I like them both ways. If you’re so inclined, you can add both raisins & coconut or cut the fruit out all together. The raisins tend to caramelize a bit in the oven and with the brown sugar, the cookies have a nice chewy texture.

So they don’t get too hard, I only like to bake them about 10 minutes or so. Let them “set” on the cookie sheet for two minutes before removing to cool on a wire rack.

This recipe can easily be cut in half. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup shredded coconut or raisins
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 cups quick oatmeal

PREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream shortening & sugars together. Mix well.

Beat in eggs.

Add flour, sifted together with baking powder, baking soda & salt.

Blend in oatmeal, nuts, vanilla & raisins or coconut. Dough will be very stiff.

Drop by rounded teaspoonful onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 10 – 15 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 8 – 9 dozen cookies, depending on size.

posted by Mountain Republic                            recipe from Amy Chenevert