Friday, December 30, 2011

Magical Tricks with Flavor!

I just discovered a goldmine! The Minute Rice website offers a collection of vintage recipes, including this one, which I thought was appropriate given the holiday season:

Recipes on the ads include such beauties as Thrifty Drumstick Surprise (made with hamburger), Minute Rice and Tuna Treat, and Hot Diggity Stew.

Yes. I said it. Hot Diggity Stew

That's where the magic happens.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Wishes

I've been too busy working and baking to post over the past few days!

My guess is that you've been too busy to read, so it probably all works out for the best.

Hoping you have the very merriest of Christmases.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Brazilian Colonel Cake

This recipe makes me very, very happy.

Just look at its Brazil-nutty goodness!

I love Brazil nuts. Before moving to New England I would buy them pre-shelled in the bulk section of a nearby Wegmans über grocery store (go Wegmans!). The stores in my new little town don't carry them.

But now, thanks to THIS recipe, I can stock up while the nuts are plentiful at Christmas time, and shell them in a big batch!

Can you say WOOT?!?

And while I'm nattering on about nuts, I've got a complaint to make.

When I Google Brazil nut recipes, it comes up with a measly 271,000 results. Contrast that with pecan recipes which get 13,800,000. Walnut recipes come in at 14,400,000.

Why, oh why?

Yes, they are a bit hard to shell. But I'm sure it's more an issue of cost and availability. Brazil nuts are grown in rain forests, of which the U.S. has few. They also apparently require special bee-attracting orchids for pollination.


Guess it's time to build a bio-dome in the back yard. Can't put it off forever.

And while I'm waiting for it to be finished, and for the trees to reach maturity, and for the orchids to thrive, I'll read this little booklet and plan what to make from the fruits of all this labor:

Colonel Nut, I salute you!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Jell-o Cranberries -n- Cream?

I think I'm going to turn this into a holiday recipe by adding a can of cranberry sauce:

I might substitute raspberry Jell-o though. Or cranberry.

And I don't dig the shape, so I'd probably make them in foil mini cupcake papers instead of an ice cube tray.

Now what could I use as a garnish?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Candle Lit Crown Head Bread (Thank you St. Lucy!)

I can't believe I missed St. Lucia Day! It was December 13, but in my view it's never too late to celebrate a cool saint, and to bake something delicious.

First, a tribute to Lucy from the King.

Next, a bit about the saint. She was born into a wealthy family in about 283 and consecrated her virginity to God. She was killed during the Diocletion persecution, after refusing to wed her pagan betrothed. Prior to her death, Lucia either plucked her own eyes out as a gift to her fiance in hope of being allowed to live and worship her God in peace, or had them torn out with a fork by guards.

Because of this, she is the patron saint of the blind, and is frequently depicted carrying her eyes in a platter or vessel. Check it out:


She is honored in many places, including Sweden and Sicily.

There are a variety of recipes associated with St. Lucy, including cookies formed by special eye shaped presses, and a wheat-berry pudding (la cuccìa) that has been eaten traditionally ever since she provided assistance during a famine by sending a ship full of wheat into a starving port town.

You can Google those if you'd like to do a complete St. Lucia's Day feast, or if you'd like to try something a bit better suited to American tastes, here's a recipe for :

[Makes 1 crown.]

1/2 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon saffron powder
4 1/4 to 4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 eggs
powdered sugar frosting, optional (recipe follows)
red and green candied cherry halves, optional
6 candles, optional

Place 1/4 cup warm water in large warm bowl. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved. Add remaining water, warm milk, sugar, butter, salt, saffron, and 1 1/2 cups flour; blend well. Stir in 2 eggs and enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 6--8 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Remove dough to lightly floured surface; reserve 1/3 of dough for top of crown. Divide remaining dough into 3 equal pieces; roll each to 25-inch rope. Braid ropes. Place braid on greased baking sheet. Form braid into circle; pinch ends together to seal. To shape top of crown, divide reserved dough into 3 equal pieces; roll each to 16-inch rope. Braid ropes. Place braid on separate greased baking sheet. Form braid into circle; pinch ends together to seal. Cover braids; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Lightly beat remaining egg; brush on braids. Bake at 375 F for 15 minutes or until done (small braid) and 25 minutes or until done (large braid), covering large braid with foil during last 10 minutes to prevent excess browning. Remove braids from baking sheets; let cool on wire racks. To decorate, make 6 holes for candles in small braid. Place small braid on top of large braid. If desired, drizzle with powdered sugar frosting and garnish with candied cherry halves. Insert candles in prepared holes.

 Powdered Sugar Frosting: In small bowl, combine 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted; 4 to 5 teaspoons milk; and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir until smooth.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Angel Pie with a Bite

Cranberry that is!

I'm beginning to think the term "Angel Pie" is used for a wide variety of pie types.

This recipe has several of my favorite flavors; orange, cranberry, and walnuts.

Here's a blown up version of the recipe:

When I make this, I think I'll substitute orange juice for the boiling water and added some orange zest to boost the orangeyness. And I'm not sure I'd want to disrupt the filling with the texture of walnuts.

Soaking in Jell-o does weird things to nuts.

I think I'd just work the nuts into the crumb crust instead.

But that's the way I roll; if a recipe ain't broke, mess with it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Creamy Green Beany Oniony Goodness

One word:

Green bean casserole!

Just a few simple ingredients plus pepper and you are good to go!

Three great tastes that go great together.

Make some for your next holiday gathering. Throw in some chopped water chestnuts or canned mushrooms if you feel the need to switch it up.

But do it. You won't be sorry.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Most Beautiful Oven I've Ever Seen!

A toy which transformed Christmas gifting for girls forever! A way to bake their very own cakes without the danger of getting burned! 

(Wait. I managed to burn myself. And my survey of one other person proves that this is a statistically significant occurrence.) 

With Easy-Bake's advent, training for being the perfect little wife could start earlier than ever before.

Enjoy these pictures of Easy-Bake ads from the past. Then rush out and buy your little trainee one. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Chocolate Nut Drops? You Decide.

This recipe is undoubtedly tasty. How can you go wrong with chocolate, walnuts, and icing?

But I have to admit, in a week in which my naughty puppy unscrewed the lid of a 1/2 full jar of dry roasted peanuts and consumed them, the picture brought to mind something else:

Go reindeer!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sack Posset Pie

Calling all egg nog lovers!

(You can tell this is a recipe from the fifties; just look at the candied fruit!)

I'm not a big fan of cooking with egg nog. I like to drink it, in moderation of course; even without rum, it is rich stuff. I once used it for french toast because there was till some in the house after the Yule Tide went back out. It worked, though the result tasted strongly, and not surprisingly, like chewy egg nog.

(Speaking of which, the egg nog purchased in cartons from the grocery store lasts a disturbingly long time. Not sure what they put in there to inhibit bacterial and fungal growth, but it works.)

As I typed the title of this post, I wondered: are there other kinds of nog? In case questions like this trouble you too, here's what I discovered: nog can be a strong ale brewed in Norfolk, England, a psychedelic novel, and a Firengi character from Star Trek.

The food timeline says that the term "egg nog" wasn't used until the 1700s, but that the stuff itself was around well before hand. The term for it back in the 1600s was "Egg Caudle" or "Sack Posset", which I think explains the name change.

Here's a 1685 version you may not have tried:

Egg Caudle
Boil ale or beer, scum it, and put to it two or three blades of large mace, some sliced manchet and sugar; then dissolve four or five yolks of eggs with some sack, claret or white-wine, and put into the rest with a little grated nutmeg; fire to a warm and serve it.
Don't forget to scum it. That really is the most important step.

You can sip it while watching this:

Happy nogging!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Who Knew He was a Pole Dancer?

I found this while researching the history of green bean casserole. My BFF DiDi used to have nightmares about this fella, but this takes it to a whole new level.

I don't even know what to say. Village people meets Chippendales meets Captain Kirk's Green Lady?

Sorry DiDi. I just had to.

Poll Feature is Now Working!

Eureka! I figured out what was wrong with the polling feature that I added a few weeks ago! The new one works. Give it a try!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Rejoice! Saltine Toffee Crispy Bits

I got this recipe from a church lady years back, and made it with my kids in the early 2000's to give as Christmas gifts. It is easy, and absolutely delicious.

Saltine Toffee Crispy Bits
1 1/2 sleeves of saltine crackers
1 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts 
Cover a rimmed cookie sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Arrange the crackers to completely cover the cookie sheet. Melt butter and sugar in a saucepan until foamy (about 3 minutes). Pour the syrup over the crackers and spread with a spatula to coat. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Do not overcook! Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top. Return to oven for another few minutes to soften the chips, then spread to cover the entire top. While chocolate is still soft, sprinkle nuts over top and press in lightly. Let cool and refrigerate until hardened.
Admittedly, I am afraid of boiling sugar, I but pushed through it, and it was worth the confrontation. Several steps are not suited for little kidlets, but they can certainly help with measuring, arranging the saltines, and breaking up the candy when it's done.

Variations of this recipe substitute pecans or almonds for the walnuts, or use varying amounts of chocolate, toffee bits, etc. My advice: try this version once and you'll be addicted, then move on to variants.

I couldn't find an old-timey version of the recipe, but I did find some groovy saltine ads for you.

Happy candy making!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Jack Frost Frozen Squeeze Cheese

I found a recipe called Frozen Nippy Cheese on another blog. It was just a typed recipe, and so I hunted down something similar in this 1929 cookbooklet:

Check out the introduction:

I'm puzzled about why these recipes were developed for apartment dwellers. There must have been a socioeconomic trend to justify creating something this targeted, but I'm not sure what it was. I'd love to research it, but I've already jumped down too many Kraft cheese rabbit holes because of this recipe, and it's time to call it quits for the day.

Here's the recipe. 

The original version I found was called "Frozen Nippy Cheese" which is what drew my attention. The idea of freezing cheese spread seemed odd, but apparently the idea stuck around for a while. Here's a version which appeared in the June 28, 1940 issue of the Toledo Blade:

(In case you are wondering, bar le duc jelly turns out to be a highfalutin currant jelly named for a town in France. It is a luxury item served with things like foie gras, or in this case, adulterated processed cheese spread. )

My first question was "What is nippy cheese, and where do I get some?"

One web forum discussion said that nippy cheese was a Kraft product that came in a tube, and perhaps later in a jar. And so off I went on a quest to find an image to share.

All I came up with was this one:

It's not from Kraft. But I like it. The dog and the fox and the hunter, all hanging out together around a box of good old Nippy Cheese, forks held high.

What I did find were some amazing old Kraft cheese food ads. Take a look.

First off, cheese in a can (but not the spray kind). 

Finally a more sanitary cheese! (To serve hard, chill before opening.)

Then we have this little gem, from 1932.

During this hectic season, who doesn't need a few quick cheese tricks up their sleeve?

Here are two color ads from the 1930s:

Let's all cheer along with them! I'm joining in for the neat transparent wrapper!

The Saturday Evening Post proclaims that it's more than delicious. And who can disagree when tempted by green olive topped macaroni and cheese timbales?:

While we are talking about cheesy mounds of goodness, here's an example from the 1940s:

Velveeta is born! Viva la Velveeta!

Sometime soon Kraft branched out into all sorts of varieties:

(Sadly, I still don't see "Nippy" in the lineup. But Smo-kay is okay.)

Next come Swankyswigs!

Ladies choice includes Limburger, and my personal favorite, TEEZ.

Of course Kraft also cranked out other products:

Why oh why can we no longer find dehydrated American cheese on our grocer's shelves? No Nippy, no powdered American...

Unless of course you open a box of Kraft Dinner:

Apparently people just snapped jars off the shelves and ignored the cheese-muffled sound of shattering glass:

This guy probably also brought lots of sliced cheese for Dagwoodesque sandwiches like this one:

You can buy cheaper slices. But none that go better with hard boiled eggs and raw green peppers.

Kids love it too:

Especially when paired with olive-pimento loaf. My kids just couldn't get enough of that stuff. Make your favorite child a spicy cheese sammy with red onion. The kids in the cafetorium will line up to trade their Ho Hos for one of those babies.

Any way you slice it, Kraft does cheese, and they do it right.

But I can't find Nippy anywhere.


Luckily for you, they do still make cheese in jars. If you want to try Frozen Nippy Cheese, just grab one of those and let me know how it turns out.