Ham and Biscuit Ring – Perfect End to a Holiday Ham

In my paternal grandmother’s notebook she kept for her cook was the following recipe written in her hand.  The notebook no doubt dates from the 20s’ and 30s’ since she died in 1941.

Ham Biscuit Ring

  • Put through the food grinder (you can use a Cuisinart but don’t get the meat too fine) 1 lb cooked ham.
  • Add ham to your favorite rich biscuit recipe, adding an extra teaspoon of baking powder to the mix.
  • Bake in well-greased ring mold until done – in moderate oven (350)
  • Turn out on hot platter and fill the center with hot buttered peas.
  • Surround with peach halves filled with ground nut meats, brown sugar and butter having been glazed on a cookie sheet in the oven (375).

Shrove Tuesday Discovery: My Brit Ancestors Ate Pancakes Topped with Sugar and Lemon, Oh My

Photo Elliot Smith - the GUARDIAN

In perusing the UK’s Telegraph (no recipe just a discussion about the auld pancake of yore) and the Guardian this fine Shrove Tuesday, I made a shocking discovery for an American in love with fluffy pancakes topped with butter and syrup:  My Great Grandmother enjoyed thin pancakes (like the French) topped with lemon and sugar.  Brits wax very sentimental about these.

The Guardian provides an overview of the development of the British pancake going back to 1594.  That seems far enough when most humans can’t trace their lineage back more than a few generations.

…[M]odern pancakes are descended from those specifically designed to use up fat before the beginning of Lent, which means they tend to be heavier on the eggs and butter than, say, the fluffy American stack, or the squat Russian blini.

Forewarned is forearmed as they say.  Don’t look to these for any dietary benefit only taste.

Here is a website that will help you convert metric measurements.  Learn to do this because we are going global.

As for the pancakes, the key to remember is this.  The first pancake is always a mess.  That’s just how it is for all of us.  So let the cook eat the first one.  Looks bad; tastes good.  From the Guardian:

Makes about 8

125g plain flour
Pinch of salt
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
225ml whole or semi-skimmed milk
Small knob of butter

1. Sift the flour in a large mixing bowl and add a pinch of salt. Make a well in the centre, and pour the egg and the yolk into it. Mix the milk with 2 tbsp water and then pour a little in with the egg and beat together.

2. Whisk the flour into the liquid ingredients, drawing it gradually into the middle until you have a smooth paste the consistency of double cream. Whisk the rest of the milk in until the batter is more like single cream. Cover and refrigerate for at least half an hour.

3. Heat the butter in a frying pan on a medium-high heat – you only need enough fat to just grease the bottom of the pan. It should be hot enough that the batter sizzles when it hits it.

4. Spread a small ladleful of batter across the bottom of the pan, quickly swirling to coat. Tip any excess away. When it begins to set, loosen the edges with a thin spatula or palette knife, and when it begins to colour on the bottom, flip it over with the same instrument and cook for another 30 seconds. (If you’re feeling cocky, you can also toss the pancake after loosening it: grasp the handle firmly with both hands, then jerk the pan up and slightly towards you.)

5. Pancakes are best eaten as soon as possible, before they go rubbery, but if you’re cooking for a crowd, keep them separate until you’re ready to serve by layering them up between pieces of kitchen roll [could be parchment paper – I wouldn’t use waxed].

Yellow Melon from Brazil is Delicious and More Widely Available

Trying to wean yourself from sweets to fruit that is good for you goes better when you allow yourself a special fruit.  This week I discovered a Yellow Melon from Brazil.  The packaging was enticing.  It was in a net closed on either end  with a  material handle affixed for easy transport.

These almost white meat melons have been available in the US since about 2008.  The company that grows and distributes them has been cleared for fruit flies.

With an oval shape but with a size approximating that of a cantaloupe, these will produce 2 ample dishes of melon balls.  The taste is mild and sweet. The texture is smoother than that of a honeydew.  Treat yourself.

Here is a website that will allow you to keep up with produce world-wide:

http://www.freshplaza.com/news_detail.asp?id=30695

Traditional Lamb Cake Recipe from Griswold Vintage Mold Insert

Now that Easter is not really so far off as we would imagine, if you remember lamb cakes from your childhood or are fortunate to have someone or a bakery make one now, you are very fortunate but you can easily learn to prepare one  yourself.  All you will need is a lamb cake mold  of your choice – new or used or antique.One famous mold is the Griswold 866 (no longer manufactured).  Ebay is a good source for the vintage Griswold mold manufactured by an Erie, PA company that is now defunct.  There is one for sale today for $149 or best offer and another at auction starting at $55.  You need to shop around.  Go to this page to learn more about the Griswold  molds and to know the ones from their line that are best.

NOTE:  You do not have to use the Griswold mold or any other cast iron mold.  Heavy aluminum is OK and good success is being experienced by people using the  lighter aluminum molds.  That gives you a range of prices and sources for molds.

Here are photos of my Griswold mold that I bought on eBay a few years ago, still in its original box.

The mold comes in two parts. The two parts are NOT attached

The back piece below has vent holes (see the one in the head).

There was an insert that came with this mold that had the recipe for the lamb cake.  These inserts, (like the one below) are sold on eBay but the internet has several sources for just the recipe.

Here is the classic recipe that came with the mold in an insert like the one pictured above in the purple frame.  This is from a wonderful site found here. It includes the recipe for the icing.  I can confirm as a former librarian that the text at this site and in my insert are identical.

The key to a successful lamb cake is a carefully seasoned mold.

Cast-iron baking molds must be seasoned before being used for the first time, and re-seasoned as necessary. This helps seal the pores of the metal to prevent sticking. Here is a larger picture of a well-seasoned cast-iron lamb mold.

  1. To season a brand-new cast-iron mold or pan, heat oven to 300 degrees. Thoroughly wash the cast-iron in hot, soapy water. Rinse and dry thoroughly. Apply a liberal coat of solid vegetable shortening to every nook and cranny. Place on a baking sheet, open side up, and heat 1 hour. Cool, pour off any remaining shortening, and wipe clean with a paper towel. DO NOT WASH!
  2. Before pouring in batter, using a pastry brush, apply solid vegetable shortening to every crevice and then flour. Tap out any excess flour. The mold is now ready to be filled. After unmolding the finished product, don’t wash, just wipe the interior with a paper towel and the exterior with a damp cloth.
  3. On subsequent uses of the mold, even though it has been seasoned, before pouring in the batter, the mold must re-greased and heated for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and pour off any accumulated shortening, cool, and re-grease and flour before pouring in the batter. See the instructions for Easter Lamb Cake recipe.
  4. To reseason a mold or pan that is starting to stick, repeat step 1.
  5. To reseason a rusty, old cast-iron mold, heat the oven to 275 degrees. Clean the pan very well, making sure to scrub off any dried/baked on food. Dry it thoroughly and coat liberally with solid vegetable shortening. Bake the pan in the oven for at least 15 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven and pour out the excess shortening. Then put the pan back in the oven for at least 2 more hours. Repeat this process at least twice, more if the pan was really rusty.
  6. DON’T DO THIS:
    • Don’t stack cast-iron molds or pans on top of each other. They will get scratched and lose their stick-free properties.
    • To avoid condensation and, therefore, rust, don’t store cast-iron molds or pans with their lids on.

Even if you never make or eat one of these cakes, the history of holiday baking molds is fascinating.

Best Recipe for Crepes – Laura Seacord Cookbook, Canada

I am one fortunate lady. I grew up in a suburb of Rochester, NY. Rochester was the  home of Fanny Farmer Candies.  In my typical middle-class  neighborhood filled with kids, among our neighbors was a Canadian family. They were there because the father was president of Fanny Farmer Candies.

Vintage Fanny Farmer Large Butter Cream Easter Egg Box

Later the family would return to Canada where our neighbor became head of Laura Secord.  Fanny Farmer is pretty well reduced in size to a few stores throughout the US and  has had many owners over the years. But for  you who always loved Fanny Farmer – including those large butter cream Easter Eggs – the dream lives.  Laura Secord has them. They are boxed differently but they are still there!  Some stores will mail to the US, others will not. It is their corporate policy not to do so.  Check their website for store locations and you may find one near you.

One of the projects our neighbor had was coming out with the first Canadian cook book the Laura Secord Canadian Cook Book (1966) and I have a copy (1973). It periodically comes back into print but is available from used and rare book dealers.  I was foraging for a recipe that would come close to the crepes a Dutch woman used to make for me when I picked up the Laura Secord Cook Book.  I tried a recipe I found there and was in heaven. Look in the index under “pancakes” because “crepe” means pancake – not the fluffy American but their wafer-thin French cousins.  You cannot surpass the consistency of a crepe.

Laura Secord French Pancakes (crepes)

Preheat heavy 6″ fry pan and brush with melted butter (I use olive oil because it doesn’t smoke).

Sift or blend together:

1 Cup all-purpose flour.
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Beat together with a rotary beater

3 eggs
2 cups milk

Cover and chill for one hour.

Pour batter onto preheated pan using about 2 tablespoons batter for each pancake (cook singly).  Tip the pan to coat with a thin layer. Turn when brown to brown other side.

Roll up and serve hot with butter, maple syrup or molasses (the old Canadian way).

Dust off the Waffle Iron. It’s Time to Get Saturday Night Serious

This is an old-fashioned cast-iron waffle iron for making waffles using a stove burner. To purchase one, click on the picture.

Having watched our politicians waffle on this tax extension matter (among many matters) I would like to make some waffles this Saturday night, name them after the worst political wafflers and BITE THEM!

The following recipes came from a little notebook kept by my paternal grandmother’s cook.   They date from the 1930s-40s – times like our own now.

Plain Waffles

  1. 2 cups Flour
  2. 2 teaspoons Baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  4. 3 eggs Eggs
  5. 1 cup Milk
  6. 4 tablespoons melted Shortening
  • Sift flour once, measure. Add baking powder and salt. Sift again.
  • Beat egg yolks and combine with milk and melted shortening.  Add gradually to the first mixture beating until smooth and creamy.
  • Beat egg whites until stiff.  Fold in gently to the above.
  • Bake in waffle iron.
  • Makes four 4-section waffles.

Next:  Fora change,  select your favorite waffle or try making some of each – a waffle worshiper would do nothing other than this.

  • Graham waffles – Use graham in place of white flour.  Because graham is not to be sifted, add dry ingredients from the basic recipe and blend very thoroughly before combining with the liquids also from the basic recipe.
  • Cheese waffles – add from 3/4 to 1 cup grated American cheese to plain waffle batter, stirring it in just before adding the beaten egg whites.  These waffles are delicious served with broiled bacon or with grilled tomatoes.

Rice Waffles

  1. 1 and 3/4 cups flour
  2. 2 tsp baking powder
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 3/4 cup cold cooked rice
  5. 2 eggs
  6. 2 Tbs sugar
  7. 1 and 1/2 cups milk
  8. 4 Tbs melted shortening
  • Sift flour.  Add baking powder, salt and sift again.
  • Add the rice and blend with a fork.
  • Beat the egg yolks and sugar. Combine with milk and melted shortening.
  • Combine the above two mixtures.
  • Beat until perfectly smooth.
  • Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into the two combined mixtures.
  • Bake in hot waffle iron. Makes 6 four-sectioned waffles.

Fresh Blackberry Cobbler

Where I live in the mountains of California, blackberries are like an invasive weed. Many folks spend a good portion of time each year trying to eradicate the persistent plant from their property, fighting a good battle, but eventually losing the war.

All that’s mostly forgotten around this time of year, when the blackberries are ready to harvest. Head out into the forest & you’ll find a healthy patch of blackberries growing alongside just about any dirt road or near any damp, shady spot like a creek. Berry patches cover the entrances to many old mines around here.

We like to go hiking along old logging roads. Blackberries grow abundantly along the edges of these now seldom used roads. On our return trip, we’ll pick a gallon of berries to take home. Once home, we wash & drain the berries well. What we don’t use for that night’s cobbler, we will freeze and use later.

The following is my Grandmother’s recipe for Fresh Blackberry Cobbler:

Ingredients & directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a saucepan, add:

  • 3 cup fresh or fresh frozen blackberries (washed & drained)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 cup water

Bring to a boil for about a minute or until it starts to thicken a bit, stirring constantly. Pour the hot berry mixture into a 1 – 1/2 quart baking dish. Top with bits of butter. Dust with cinnamon is desired.

Measure & sift together:

  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 – 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Add to flour mixture:

  • 3 tbsp. soft shortening

(Mix in shortening with a pastry knife or fork until the mixture has the appearance & consistency  of “meal”)

Add to flour mixture & stir until mixed:

  • 1/2 cup milk

Drop spoonfuls of the topping mixture on top of the hot berries until covered.

Bake until golden brown, about 25 – 30 minutes. Serve warm, with cream if desired.

posted by Mountain Republic                                                    recipe by Amy Chenevert

Holiday Cranberry Relish Recipe

Ever since I was a little kid (and that was a while back), we had always eaten canned cranberries with our holiday meals. I remember always looking forward to eating that jello-like substance with my annual turkey dinner.

But over the years, my taste for that cranberry gel seems to have diminished. And lately, my wife & I have enjoyed cooking several birds throughout the year. We cook (or sometimes smoke) the bird, have a nice meal & then freeze the rest for turkey sandwiches.

Can-berry in it's not so natural state.

A few years ago, I ran across this recipe for homemade Holiday Cranberry Relish. It’s supposed to be from a chef in San Francisco and it is absolutely delicious! It makes me want to cook more turkey so I can make more of this relish! It’s so good, I find myself eating it all by itself! And it’s really easy to make. This relish is now a regular part our holiday meals. If you enjoy this recipe, you may want to freeze a bag or two of cranberries for use later in the year.

Holiday Cranberry Relish in it's natural state. Just a bit more appealing.

Cranberry Relish:

  • 2 cups washed raw cranberries
  • 2 skinned and cored tart apples
  • 1 large, whole (peel ON) seedless orange, cut into sections
  • 1 to 2 cups granulated sugar (depending on how sweet you want your relish to be)

This recipe calls for the use of an old fashioned hand turn grinder. If you don’t have a grinder, you can use a food processor instead.

Make sure to cut the orange and apples into small chunks before chopping. Use short pulses when using the food processor or your relish will turn out mushy. After chopping the orange, apples & cranberries, pick out any oversize chunks for re-chopping.

Add sugar to taste. I like my relish a little tart, so I use about one and a half cups of sugar. After adding the sugar, make sure to let the relish stand at room temperature for 45 minutes to an hour to let the sugar dissolve.

This relish keeps in the fridge for about a week and also freezes well. It’s really great on turkey sandwiches!!

Source: Cranberry Relish Recipe

posted by Mountain Republic

Some Interesting Info

I saw today on WordPress that they’ve introduced a new place, called FoodPress.  Here’s some information about it, and here’s the link to it.  FoodPress.

Also, this is the only time I’ll do a LOLCats here, because I have my other blogs for that, but this one came through my Reader today, and it fit so well with this site that I could not resist.   😀

image

posted by DarcsFalcon