Monday, May 31, 2010

For Doors and Sardines: Sardine Dip

Think of the first night as the dress rehearsal. If we can just get through the play once tonight - for doors and sardines. That's what it's all about, doors and sardines. Getting on, getting off. Getting the sardines on, getting the sardines off. That's farce. That's - that's the theatre. That's life.
--Noises Off
For the last recipe (at least this time 'round) from the Cook Book Presented by The Fishwives of Charleston Oregon, I figured I really did have to feature fish. Well over half of the cookbook is dedicated to fish recipes, as well it should be; after all, how many cookbooks do you have on your shelves that kick off with an exhortation to call your Congressmen, and a prayer that they and the State Department will speak up for our country? "The Soviet Union and Japan pose a threat to the economy of our nation" is just not a phrase normally found next to a Brandy Alexander recipe, nor official resolutions from national professional federations. (If you're curious, the resolution recommends that the U.S. recognize a serious conservation problem, and kill all foreign fishery operations off the U.S. coast.)

It's certainly my only cookbook with such content. Moreover, I think it's my only cookbook with a sardine section. Not just a sardine recipe--a section! Sardine Submarine Sandwich. Sardine Rarebit. Marinated Sardines. Sardine Caesar Salad. Sardines with Sauce. Crispy Fried Sardines. Sardine 'n' Bacon Snacks. Sardine Cheese Toastwich. And, our recipe for today, Sardine Dip:
Sardine Dip

1 can sardines
1 pkg. cream cheese
1 tbsp. McKay's milk
2 tbsp. parsley, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. grated onion
1 tsp. steak sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce
Chopped parsley
Assorted chips, crackers or raw vegetables

Drain sardines and flake. Cream the cheese and milk. Add remaining ingredients except parsley and chips. Add sardines and mix thoroughly. Chill. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with chips, crackers or vegetables.
I....I have no words. I don't think I ever had a sardine until sometime in the last decade, and even then, it's a stretch for this formerly-fish-adverse gal. And this is sardines mixed with dairy.

I've done smoked salmon spread, of course, and even tuna spread, so this shouldn't throw me so much. It just does. I can't say I think I'll ever make this (no, nor any of the other eight sardine recipes). Heck, I'm hard-pressed to think I'd ever follow the footnote advice on page 128: "For a quick snack use sardines, cracker and cheese." I'm fascinated. I'm appalled. I'm willing to hear how this recipe turns out...from someone else.

Let's close out our week with the Fishwives of Charleston with a bit from the foreward:
This is a unique cook book filled with memories and illustrated with pictures of some of our won fishing fleet.

When next you visit Charleston, stroll along the docks and you are sure to see some of the boats pictured in our cook book. We are proud of this cook book. It has taken the concentrated efforts of many Charleston area residents to compile it. Many of them are no members of the fishing industry, but have joined with us in this endeavor to raise funds for what they also believe is a good cause.

--The Editor, Kay Wells

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Triple Underline: Brownies

It's Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start to summer. I suspect many of you have cook out or picnic plans today or tomorrow. There might be a parade. Here's a good take-along, from the Cook Book Presented by The Fishwives of Charleston Oregon:

1/2 c. McKay's margarine
1 c. sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 c. McKay's flour, sifted
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 sq. chocolate, melted
1 c. nuts, chopped
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream margarine and sugar. Add well-beaten eggs, sift dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Add the chocolate, walnuts and vanilla. Pour into a greased pan. Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.

--Karen Landers
Really, no call to ever use a brownie mix. Really. It is as easy as Karen Landers makes it sound. Actually, it's easier. And you can substitute like made with brownies. Change up your chocolate source. Omit nuts. Add caramel. Add coconut. And there's hardly any day that can't be made better by a brownie (some day, I'll wax lyrical about my triple chocolate, caffeinated brownies from college dorm days...).

What's really special about this recipe is, again, the notes in the margin:
DELICIOUS You ought to try, Jan. --JB
"JB" are the initials of the woman who gave my mom this cookbook. JB really, really, really liked this recipe. Really, really, really. I know this because, dang, the woman triple-underlined the word "delicious" (and used all caps). It again makes me despair of the paucity of HTML code; how to indicate such enthusiasm?

It'd have to be something like this:
Perhaps blinking. And scrolling. With little sparkles.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Potluck Pleasers: 7 Layer Cookie, and Grasshopper Pie

I was a child of the '70s, and I love me some potluck. So, today, we'll look at two recipes from the Cook Book Presented by The Fishwives of Charleston Oregon that I absolutely guarantee will be welcome at a potluck in your future.
7 Layer Cookie

1 stick McKay's margarine
1 c. graham cracker
1 c. coconut
1 pkg. chocolate chips
1 pkg. butterscotch chips
1 c. eagle brand milk
1 1/2 c. chopped nuts

In a cake pan melt the butter. Then sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs over the butter. Sprinkle each of the ingred. in succession over the proceeding one. Bake at 350 for 30 min. Cool and cut.

--Flora Ann Anderson
Is this the first bar recipe for Take One Cookbook...? If so, what a bar to kick us off! It's easy as sin to put together, and, good golly, but it's tasty. I love all the textures, the gooeyness, the crumblies, the chewy coconut. As for your pan, I'd say break out your trusty 9x13, but if you want to try it in a 9x9 or an 8x8, I won't tell you no. You'll just get thicker bars (and I think we all appreciate a good thick bar, no?).

I've mentioned before that I was a margarine girl for the first half of my life. So, it tickles me that Flora Ann calls for margarine in the ingredient list, but only refers to butter in the instructions. I'll admit it: I called margarine butter. And, though this goes against everything I've said before, I really think that margarine is the way to go for this recipe.

Maybe it's just my childhood taste buds taking over. Perhaps I'll do a cook-off, with one pan of margarine 7 Layers and one of butter. My childhood taste bud, having thoroughly commandeered this post, also dictate the next recipe choice:
Grasshopper Pie

1 1/4 c. choc. wafers, crushed
1/2 c. sugar
3 tbsp. McKay's marg., melted
1 1/2 tsp. gelatin, unflavored
6 tbsp. cold water
1 McKay's egg, sep., beaten
1 c. creme 'de menthe
1/2 c. creme 'de cocoa
1 2 1/8 oz. pkg. whipped topping mix

Heat oven to 450 F. Combine the wafers, margarine and sugar. Press the crumbs into the bottom and sides of a well-buttered 9 inch pie plate. Put in oven. Bake 2 to 3 min. Cool. Combine the gelatin and water in a small saucepan. Place over low heat. Stir until dissolved. Combine the other half of sugar and egg yolk in a mixing bowl. Add the dissolved gelatin, creme 'de menthe and creme 'de cocoa. Chill. Prepaer the whipped topping mix. Fold into the gelatin mixture. Pour into crust. Chill 3 to 4 hours. May be topped with additional whipped topping.

--Viola Nappier
Ooooh, the green and black and creamy and minty icebox pie! Grasshopper Pie and Impossible Pie were my two favorite non-holiday pies for a good long time. I'm not sure about the reasoning for the apostrophes before "de" in the liquors, but this pie has a cup and a half of liquor, so I'm not going to nitpick.

If you were pressed for time, or find yourself with a better stocked bar than pantry or baking aisle, you could use a pre-made chocolate crumb crust. These don't taste as good as homemade, but they are tidy, and they come in their own pie tin, which means you don't have to think about how to get your tin on your way from the potluck.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Call and Response: Zucchini Bread

I always try to pick a theme for the recipes here. Granted, sometimes the theme is just "what were they thinking?" but there's always an attempt at theme-ing. Usually, during the course of a week, the theme takes a few unexpected twists. I thought that the Cook Book Presented by The Fishwives of Charleston Oregon would be all about the boats and the scrap fish recipes of the southern Oregon Coast. Then, I settled in on baking. But here we are, and it seems pretty clear that the real theme is "My Mom."

Today, we start off with the Fishwives' Zucchini Bread.
Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
1 c. McKay's oil
2 c. sugar
2 c. peeled, grated zucchine
2 tsp. vanilla

In a separate bowl mix:

3c. McKay's flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. walnuts

Beat the eggs until light and foamy. Add next four ingredients; mix lightly but well. Add flour mixture and blend. Add nuts. Divide batter in two greased loaf pans, and bake 325 for 1 hr. or until done. Remove from pan at once and cool on rack. May be frozen for future uses, and it is delicious.

--Kay Wells
--Betty Brown
I wonder what Kay and Betty's story is, why they are both credited with this recipe. Are they sisters, sharing a family favorite? Were they rivals, each claiming the superior recipe, when really they were identical? I also wonder if everyone knows when a quick bread like this is done, as "or until done" is a bit vague. Here's my take: use the toothpick/broomstraw/knife method--insert the pokey tool of your choice into the cake/bread, pull it out, and see if there's any wet stuff clinging to the pokey tool. If so, let it cook a bit longer. If not, it's done. Now we're all on the same page.

Okay, with one detour: yes, I've been known to use an actual broomstraw to test my baked goods. If it disturbs you, well, more baked goods for me. You're safe for right now, though, as our broom didn't survive the Snowpocalypse we had this winter. Anyway.

So, what did Momma have to say about Kay & Betty's Zucchini Bread? Nothing directly--she didn't annotate the page.

She did, however, slide in a slip of paper, upon which she wrote:
Zucchini Bread

1 hr. at 350°

5 eggs
1 1/2 oil
3 c sugar
5 tsp vanilla
3 c zucchini
4 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
5 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 c soda
3/4 tsp Baking powder
I've got to assume Mom meant 1 1/2 cups of oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda; it doesn't make any sense otherwise. For assembly, I'd follow the order listed by Kay & Betty. But, oh, it makes me smile to think of Mom rewriting this.

Momma had a recipe box. There's no reason that she would have to put a favored recipe into a cookbook. So, she chose to put it here, between pages 180 and 181. Take that, Kay & Betty.

I have only the vaguest memories of the kitchen in Coos Bay. Most of those are probably false, just the mind putting in placeholders of imagined kitchens and homes; we left Coos Bay when I was 3, after all. But I remember Momma baking. It would be grey and damp and cool out--it was Coos Bay--and she had two little ones under foot. I think I remember where the loaf pans were stored. I think I remember where the oven was, opposite the sink. I remember Don Quixote (our cat) looking in through the screen door from the back stoop. And once again, the theme takes a turn, and it becomes more about the shadowy memories of childhood.

What will it be come tomorrow?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mom's Emphasis: Dump Cake and Oatmeal Cake

I love thumbing through a cookbook and finding that the cooks before me have annotated the recipes. Still, it is always a little bit of a shock to see my mother's handwriting in the margins. We live 3000 miles apart, and yet, there's her handwriting, as nun-trained as ever, telling me what I should know. In the Cook Book Presented by The Fishwives of Charleston Oregon, her guidance marches across the baking section like "JMJ" used to march across the corners of her exam papers. (Nun-trained, I tell you.) Today's recipes are both on the same page, both with Momma-notes, and both some variety of "good."

Let's start with what will come to be known as "damned with faint praise."
Dump Cake

1 1-lb. can crushed pineapple
1 1-lb. can cherry pie filling
1 pkg. white cake mix
1 cube McKay's margarine
1 c. chopped nuts

Place entire can of pineapple and pie filling in square baking pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over top. Cut cub of margarine in small pieces over the top of cake mixture. Sprinkle nuts over all. Bake 45 min. at 350 or until done.

--Dorothy Kerns
Momma's comment: "Good but Very Rich." This would be high praise, indeed, if only it weren't for...
Oatmeal Cake

1 c. oatmeal
1 1/3 c. boiling water
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. McKay's margarine
2 eggs
1 1/3 c. McKay's flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Add oatmeal to boiling water; let stand for 20 minutes. Mix sugars and add to margarine, cream. Add eggs, beat after each addition. Add oatmeal to creamed mixture, sift dry ingredients; add to creamed mix and stir just enough to blend. Add vanilla, pour into greased and floured 9x12 pan. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes.


1 c. brown sugar
4 tbsp. McKay's margarine
1 c. coconut
1/3 c. cream or evap. milk
1/2 c. chopped nutmeats

Cream margarine and sugar, add coconut, moistened with cream. Spread on top of warm cake, sprinkle nuts on topping. Return to oven under broiler until topping bubbles. Serve warm.

--Miriam Landers
My mom would have you know that this is "Very GOOD" (if only HTML had a way to double-underline...the "GOOD" is double underlined) and that it "STAYS MOIST."

So, sorry there, Dump Cake. You only merit a single-underline, and that's under "rich" not "good." You are nowhere near as Mom-pleasing as the Oatmeal Cake (even though I balk at the 9x12 pan, when a 9x13 would be the logical, wholesome, wonderful choice).

Ingredients notes: Yes, I grew up using margarine for everything, butter for nothing. Feel free to substitute butter; I know I would. For the oatmeal, use Quaker Instant (or other instant); the illustrators helpfully drew the cannister of oatmeal on the page, so we're pretty safe assuming that we needn't find some coarse-ground groats.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Very Good": Lemon Jell-o Cake

I mentioned yesterday that I hadn't realized how many of my family's recipes came from the Cook Book Presented by The Fishwives of Charleston Oregon, and then I posted a recipe that I'd never tasted. Time to remedy that, boys and girls!

My older sister, Kelly, is a bit of a picky eater (okay, that's an understatement, but she's slowly becoming more of a foodie). There's one food, though, that she's always, always loved: Lemon Jell-o Cake. And, we've the Fishwives to thank for introducing us to what would be come the birthday cake in our family.

When I say "Lemon Jell-o Cake," most people think I mean some sort of poke cake, where you have red dribbles of Jell-o going into a white cake. Now, I love me some poke cake, I do. But Lemon Jell-o Cake is a different beastie altogether.
Lemon Jell-o Cake

1 pkg. lemon jello
1 pkg. lemon cake mix
4 eggs
3/4 c. McKay's oil

1 c. powered sugar
3 tbsp. lemon concentrate

Dissolve lemon jello in 1 c. boiling water in mixing bowl. Cool, add the cake mix, eggs and oil, beat well, and bake at 350 for 40 min. While baking make icing, mix sugar and concentrate thoroughly. After removing the cake, stick with fork several times and spread icing on while hot. Will glaze.

--Elsie McDonald
Momma has written in the margin: "Very GOOD." "Good" is underlined twice; it really is that tasty.

The Jell-o keeps the cake moist for a long, long time. It does, however, also start setting up if you're not quick about things. So, don't think about using this as a cupcake recipe unless you're blessed with an oven (or set of ovens) that is big enough to do all the cupcakes at once. The batter won't wait 15 minutes.

So, if not in cupcake what?

That's right.

You know what I'm going to say: A 9x13 pan.

It's a classic. Ideally, you'll use a clear Pyrex 9x13, but whatever you have will work. If you want to fancy it up, the recipe neatly fills one Bundt cake pan; you'll just have to adjust your cooking time.

I've picked a theme for this week with the Fishwives: baked goods. We'll look at the fish dishes later on, but for now, it's 1970s classic cakes all the time.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cook Book Presented by The Fishwives of Charleston Oregon; Good Cake

When I was a very small creature, my family moved to Coos Bay, Oregon. My dad was a forester for the state, my mom was raising my sister and I. We lived on a slough. We had a really dumb dog, an Irish setter named Millicoma (after the river & forest in southern Oregon) (and, no, it is nothing like "melanoma") who would eat dying fish out of the slough. There was a bramble patch, and I would hack at it with a hoe while making up songs in the grey gloomy happiness of youth. We left Coos Bay for more temperate climes when I was just a smidge over three years old, so my memories are piecemeal, fragmented, and not to be trusted. Aren't all our childhood memories?

When I was home in Oregon a few years back, my mother gave me her copy of
Cook Book Presented by The Fishwives of Charleston Oregon, published by the Commercial Fishermen's Wives Association of the Port of Coos Bay in 1972. Mom came by her copy in '73, a gift from a friend at St. Monica's. I remember looking through the book and loving the hand-drawn ads, and the drawings of all the fishing boats comprising Charleston's fleet.

What I didn't remember or know was just how much this cookbook guided my meals growing up. So many recipes that I think of as "our" recipes, "family" recipes are all from the fishwives. That being said, there's no way I'll ever limit myself to a mere seven recipes from this book. My love for it seemed a good way to kick this blog back into gear.
Good Cake

1/2 c. McKay's margarine
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. McKay's flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs or whites of 4
Flavor to suit yourself

Mix well, bake at 350 till done. This recipe comes from an old old cook book. I double the recipe and then make 3 9-inch layers, very good frosted with 7 minute icing topped with coconut.

--Pat Loomis
McKay's is still open, so if you find yourself in Coos Bay, and you want to bake a cake, by all means, use the specified brand. Otherwise, embrace the fact that McKay's was a big advertiser in the cookbook, and so you can probably substitute your favorite brands in good health.

I'm not at all sure why "GREAT GRANDMOTHERS" are a part of the recipe, or, at least, why it's in the recipe where it is. "Great Grandmother's Good Cake" would make a good title, and is probably what this receipt is really about.

For the flavor, you could go basic vanilla, or (if you're using coconut) how about some rum?

I know you're shocked; I'm suggesting booze.

I do not think I ever ate "Good Cake." See, there's a little hand-written note at the end of the recipe...
Bake 30 min--It falls if oven door is opened. Not to good. JB
"JB" is the woman who gave Momma this cookbook. All spelling is hers.

Patos, Owner-Skipper Victor H Purdy

As we explore Fishwives of Charleston, I'll post some of the (really quite cool) art work. This cookbook was a labor of love, and feels very different from the more formulaic fundraiser cookbooks you find at jumble sales. There's a sense of time, a sense of the authors, and boy golly, a sense of place.

So. Many. Fish. Recipes.

But that can wait until tomorrow.