Friday, June 24, 2011

Can She Bake A Cherry Pie?

Stay tuned to find out!

I've put one into production. (I've made the crust and put it to chill, and assembled the filling.)This year's Chifferobe Stars and Stripes event is featuring a pie contest, as last year's did. I won the "Mom's Best" award last year...that, and the empty pie tin, made me very happy! [See ]

Last year I made a red raspberry pie, so this year I'm going for cherry. I baked a test pie a few weeks ago, to take to a party, and it disappeared in short order, so I'm optimistic.

What's your favorite pie? Is it one you make yourself, or is it your mom's, aunt's, dad's?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Good Cooking: Hominy Muffins

It's raining today. I got a run in before it really started coming down, but even in warm weather, a rainy day brings comfort food to mind.

So when I got back (and changed into a dry robe: 1930s, of course, peach with brown & green appliques) I sat down to page through old cookbooks.

Last year I scored some great 30s cookbooks. One of my favorites is Good Cooking, by Marjorie Heseltine and Ula M. Dow, 1933 (rev. 1936).

It's well-named; the authors were serious about cooking, and there are not only good recipes, but excellent tips for cooking, baking, canning and more.

Anyway, I started looking in earnest in the "breads" chapter, and the first recipe happened to be hominy muffins. They're actually made with grits, a favorite of mine. And they are leavened with yeast, not baking powder. If you've never had yeast raised muffins, do yourself a favor and try some, even if you don't want to bake them yourself; they're great!

Hot cereals were common in the 30s,and so was the problem of what to do with leftovers. In cookbooks of the period you'll find plenty of oatmeal, rice, and other muffins. Most of them, though, use quick bread recipes.

This is faster than many yeast breads: little to no kneading is required, and only a single one-hour rise. The recipe makes one dozen muffins.

Hominy Muffins (12 muffins)

1/2 c. cooked hominy grits* (hot or cold)
2 tbl. fat [I used butter]
2 tbl. sugar [I used just one]
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. milk, scalded

2 cakes yeast [I used 2 envelopes of dry yeast]
2 c. bread flour

Put the cereal, fat, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl; stir the scalded milk slowly into the contents of the bowl to form a smooth mixture. Cool until lukewarm (when a drop poured on the wrist will feel neither hot nor cold). Crumble the yeast cake [sprinkle both envelopes of yeast] between the fingers into the bowl. Add the flour and beat in the flour and yeast thoroughly.

Fill greased muffin pans half full of the mixture. If a metal tablespoon is dipped into cold water each time before it is dipped into the mixture, the dough will not stick to the spoon**. Let rise in a warm room until the pans are full or about 1 hour. Bake in a moderate oven (375 to 400 F.) for 25 minutes.

If I make these again (and I probably will) I'll do two rises, but they're good. Dense and a bit chewy; they'd be great with a stew or any dish that tastes better with crusty bread.

*I made one serving of grits: 3 tbl. grits to one cup of water. There were a few spoonfuls left over. I smoothed it into a pan to be cut and toasted later

**I kneaded the dough briefly, and then divided it as follows: half, half again, and each of these quarters into thirds. Roll into a ball and place smoothest side up in the muffin cup.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

A happy Father's Day to all the dads, folks who stand in for the ones who can't be there, mothers who have to be both, and especially dads who also have to be mothers.

I wasn't lucky enough to know my father; he died when I was very small, but my mother did talk about him and we were able to know him through her.

It seems that I'm not alone in loving "vintage", either...when they bought their house, he promptly ripped out all of the carpets and refinished the hardwood floors. And preferred a gin (real!) martini to a vodka (I came late to that one), and loved to cook.

He was an artist--mostly in charcoal, I think. I have a few of his sketches. He loved good food, and cooking, and gardening.

So here's to my father, and yours, and you, and all of the fathers in our lives.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Just a quick update... say that I'm still digging in the dirt: one small patch to go before I can plant my roses.

The Cat Blankie continues. It's nearly done.

I have begun a new 30s pattern. It's the Normandy, from the Minerva Paris volume. I'm making it in orchid Shetland, with natural as a contrasting color--it has a check pattern sailor collar. Lots of swatching for this one, as my Shetland is a little more coarse than the stuff called for in the pattern.

And I'm revving up for another pie contest. I made a test pie yesterday (cherry) and am glad to say my guinea, tasters...polished off the whole thing in record time.

More photos soon. They're on the camera, but not yet uploaded. I hope your summer is as full and fulfilling as mine is!