Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mother's Fruit Cake: Boozeless (Mostly) Fruit Cake

I love a good fruit cake. I even like a mediocre fruit cake. The fact that so many people mock fruit cake makes me sad, mostly because I really would love to start getting fruit cakes as gifts again as folks did in days of whatnot. We've already covered one fruit cake option (Brandied Fruitcake Drops) here, but Presbyterian Palate Pleasers gives us a proper, mostly-full-on recipe.

Mother's Fruit Cake

1 lb. brown sugar
6 eggs
1/2 lb. butter
1-1/2 lb. flour (6 c.)
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. milk
1 c. wine
1 lb. currants
1 c. black walnuts
1 lb. raisins
1/2 lb. dates
1/4 lb. citron
1 lb. English Walnuts
1/4 lb. cherries
1/2 lb. figs
1/4 lb. lemon peel
1/4 lb. orange peel
1 c. flour to dredge fruit

Mix ingredients. Grease and flour one large tube pan and one 9x3" loaf pan. Fill each pan 2/3 full and bake at 275° until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serves about 25. Old recipe.

Anne Hinkle
Oh, Anne. We had such high hopes, seeing as how your churchly volunteering led you to take a bartending course. One cup of wine hardly seems properly boozy for such a lot of cake. Especially seeing as how the wine is baked with the cake, and so much of the alcohol goes away.

To fix this, I'd suggest basting the finished cake in rum, and then soaking cheesecloth in rum and wrapping the cake up with the cheesecloth and basting it every few days/weeks for a good long time.

My mother, however, prefers her fruitcake boozeless. No, really. She has many other fine qualities, I assure you.

Though the recipe doesn't specify, I'm betting all the fruit in this recipe should be dried and/or candied/glaceed. The cloves should be ground. The nuts can be swapped with other nuts if you're anti-walnut. The wine can be whatever you have -- knowing that it will lend color to the cake if you use red wine. I'd go for a sherry, or a tawny port, likely.

My favorite thing about this recipe has got to be the fact that there are two cake pans in use here. One gives you a big, pretty, take-it-to-the-church-pot-luck sort of cake. The other one is what you keep for yourself, to nibble on next to a cup of tea or a glass of sherry or port.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ham Loaf, Redux: Presbyterian Ham Loaf

It's been a while since we contemplated on how fun it is to say "Sheboygan." Presbyterian Palate Pleasers has brought it back for me, for, lo, there's a ham loaf. Not Ethel Holbrook's Ham Loaf, but the less-eponymous more-institutional Presbyterian Ham Loaf.

Presbyterian Ham Loaf

1 lb. ground ham
1 lb. ground pork
1 c. bread crumbs
1 c. milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten

Thoroughly combine all ingredients. Shape into a loaf by packing mixture into a 5"x10" loaf pan. Then, invert on a shallow baking pan. Score loaf with a knife. Boil ingredients below into a syrup to make the following:

Brown Sugar Glaze:
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. vinegar
2 tsp. dry mustard

Spread loaf with glaze and bake at 350° for 1-1/2 hours. (This loaf will burn easily. Do NOT bake longer than 2 hours.) Baste frequently while baking.

To form loaf, use 1-1/2 lbs. of ground pork, 1 lb. of ground smoked ham and salt and pepper to taste. Double the glaze recipe ingredients and substitute 1/2 c. pineapple juice for the water.

To form loaf, reduce breadcrumbs to 1/2 c., leave out the milk, and add 1/3 c. Ketchup, drop of Worcestershire sauce and 2 Tbsp. dry mustard.

Optional Glaze:
Make a mixture of brown sugar, mustard and sweet pickle juice.

Zoe Bowen
Claudia Strite
Anne Hinkle
Claudia's back! Zoe is harder to pin down -- who knew there'd be so many Zoe Bowens out there? -- but Anne Hinkle proves to be an easy find.
Anne Hinkle, 90, makes volunteering her full-time job.

She moved to Washington County in 1938 and has volunteered "since the first Sunday I was in church," she said.

She served as a deacon and an elder and worked with the Sunday school for her Presbyterian church, she said.

Her volunteer efforts recently prompted Hinkle to take a bartending class.
Oh, she seems like our kind of people! I'm hoping she's the one who added the optional glaze with the pickle juice.

But I promised a head-to-head of a sort. First off, and this wigs me out a bit, Ethel uses ground beef in her ham loaf.

Beef is not ham.

Beef is a good and tasty thing, but it's not a pork product.

I'm anti-loaf pan for my own meatloaves (meatloafs?), and while I respect the Presbyterians for not baking their meat in the loaf pan I must wonder at why they use a loaf pan in the first place.

Gentle readers, you do not need a loaf pan to help you shape your loaf. Use your hands. Mound it up in a pleasing loafy shape. Go to town with it. You don't need to dirty yet another pan.

Ethel's glaze is going to be less sweet than the Presbyterians'. I grew up glazing ham and Spam (yes, Spam -- I love it. No shame!) with brown sugar dissolved in white vinegar, so I lean towards thinking Hagerstown has it all over Sheboygan.

Except Sheboygan is more fun to say.

Savory Snacks: Bacon & Cheese Paste, and Scotch Eggs

Presbyterian Palate Pleasers's second recipe sealed the deal on this twelve-and-a-half cent purchase.
C.&.B.'s (Sandwich Filling)

1-1/2 lb. cheddar cheese
2 to 3 slices bacon (uncooked)
1 small onion
Green pepper (as desired)

Place all ingredients into a food grinder and mix well. To serve, spread on slices of party rye or English muffin and place under broiler to toast. Serve warm. Mixture may be kepet in refrigerator in a tight container for a week or two. The above amounts may be varied according to personal taste.

Marie Lockwood
It's bacon paste. Bacon & cheddar paste. You take raw bacon, and you grind it up with cheese, and you call it macaroni. (No, you don't. You call it "C & B.") Me, though, I'm calling it bacon paste.

And there's nothing at all wrong with that.

Okay, there's one thing wrong with this -- odds are, it looks like other processed cheese products one might have in one's fridge, but THIS one has raw pork fat in it. So, put a little warning on your crock of cheesy bacon paste, so that no one confuses Ms. Lockwood's masterpiece with some port wine cheese spread.

There is nothing about that recipe that wouldn't make me want to buy this cookbook. But, just turn the page, and there's another classic savory snack recipe!

Scotch Eggs

4 hard-boiled eggs, cooled and shelled.
Roll lightly in flour.
1 beaten egg with little milk for dipping in before coating.
Fine bread crumbs
8-oz. sausage meat, with herbs added, if desired.
Deep-fat or oil to fry.

Divide sausage into 4 equal parts and smooth over eggs. (Try to cover egg all around.) Coat these with egg and milk mixture and roll firmly in bread crumbs. Deep fry and drain on paper. Remember, the sausage must cook through, so don't rush the frying process. Serve hot or cold. May be cut in half or in large slices. Excellent as an appetizer or on a picnic. This recipe was received from Jenny Cannon, who is from England.

Carol Alphin

First, I must say, the typesetter left out the period after "Fine bread crumbs," not me. Diligently capturing typos makes me twitch.

Now, I love me some Scotch eggs. They remind me of Chefly Husband, who has made them for children's menus and called them "dinosaur eggs." They remind me of the Maryland Renaissance Festival, where, I swear, a day without a Scotch egg is as close to a sad day as one can have at the RennFest.

A bit of hyperbole goes a long way on a blog. The statement above is not hyperbole.

I think it's sweet that Ms. Alphin doesn't claim the recipe as her own, but rather credits a Brit. Does it add authenticity to the Scotch-ness of the recipe?

Ms. Alphin's from the great Pacific Northwest, originally -- even went to Pacific Lutheran College. I don't know what brought her out to Hagerstown, but in Hagerstown she was and in Hagerstown she is. My crazy little brain likes to make up stories to fill in the details and connections, so in that c.l.b., somehow this recipe for Scotch eggs is what inspired the RennFest to have Scotch eggs, and...

It's not at all a likely scenario. But it stars yummy, savory snacks.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

PUNCH!!!! No, Seriously. Punch. With Actual Booze.

Presbyterian Palate Pleasers has a metric buttload of punches.

Well... it SAYS it does. It has shockingly few punches with any punch. Thank God the Presbyterians give us at least one punch with some booze in it.


1 qt. ginger ale
1 can Hawaiian Punch
1 box frozen strawberries
Whiskey (optional)
1 pt. orange sherbet
1 pt. pineapple sherbet

Mix all of the above ingredients, add ice cubes to make cold. Foat orange and lemon slices on top. Serves 12 to 15.

Joyce Stephens

Bless Ms. Stephens's heart,

First off, for a proper punch, the booze is not optional. I'll admit that the last time I made a punch, it was 2 gallons or more of non-alcoholic beverage, but... it lacked booze, so it wasn't a proper punch.

We of Take One Cookbook... never think that cheese is optional, that bacon is optional, or that booze is optional.

We trust you love us anyway.

Let's look at this and realize this is making 12 servings that are really, really, really small. Like, teacup size, not even coffee mug size. Certainly not Solo cup sized, and when was the last time you were at a punch-worthy occasion that called for less than Solo cup sized servings of anything?

I've never made a sherbet/HawaiianPunch/soda punch with whiskey. I tend to use cheap bubbly. Prosecco, American "champagne," whatever is less than $13 and has bubbles and booze in it.

But, really, let's again look at that size... This is not enough punch for real people. Here's how I'd do it:

4 liters ginger ale or other clear soda
2 liters of Hawaiian Punch or other fruit punch (not a can of concentrate)
1/2 gallon of rainbow sherbet
1-2 bottles inexpensive toasty/yeasty fizzy booze

Plop sherbet in large (I mean LARGE) vessel. Pour non-fizzy liquid over top. Pour non-alcoholic fizzy stuff over top. Pour fizzy booze over top. Serve.

Wendy A F G Stengel

This punch will do sans alcohol if you have a baby shower and a pregnant woman lurking. It does taste good virginized.

But the boozy bubbles make a punch.

Trust me.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Grasshopper Pie & Rhubarb Pie: Pies for Peace

Sometimes, when it seems the whole world is sliding into a cesspit, JJ, Heather and I declare Pies for Peace. Basically, this means we get together and bake pie after pie after pie. Somehow, filling the kitchen with yummy smells makes the world at large seem a bit more cheerful and manageable.

Pies for Peace shouldn't be confused with Piepocalypse, our yearly Thanksgiving glut of pie. One is all about peace and the other is all about topping last year's number & variety.

Like any self-respecting church cookbook, Presbyterian Palate Pleasers has a lot of pie recipes. Today, we'll look at two of them: Grasshopper and Rhubarb.

Grasshopper Pie

16 Oreo cookies (crushed)
3 Tbsp. melted butter

Mix and press into a pie pan.

24 marshmallows
3/4 c. milk
2 oz. creme de menthe
1 drop green food coloring
1 oz. creme de cacao
1 c. whipped cream

Melt marshmallows in double boiler. Add milk, blend and cool. Add creme de menthe and creme de cacao. Fold in whipped cream; add food coloring. Pour into cookie crust and chill.

Ann Bean

How much do I love grasshopper pie? It was one of my favorites growing up -- the other was coconut impossible pie, which I should really dig up and post here, because...yum. Anyway, I am not quite sure how such a boozy pie became the favorite of a wee child. I suppose it's possible my mom used mint extract and chocolate syrup or some such, but really, I doubt it.

This is one of the easier grasshopper pie recipes you'll see out there. No fiddling about with gelatin, no whipped egg whites. One thing to note: It's 24 big marshmallows, not mini. I advise you to toss the double boiler; you can melt the marshmallows in the microwave. "Less fussy" is usually the way to go.

For the ultimate in reduced fussiness, you could always buy your chocolate crumb crust pre-made. Your pie will lack a certain rustic beauty, though, and you'll miss out on the fabulous catharsis one can find when bashing Oreos into dust.

Rhubarb Pie

3 large c. rhubarb
1 egg
1-1/2 c. sugar
Butter size of walnut

Pour boiling water over rhubarb and let stand 5 minutes; drain. Mix all ingredients well and fill unbaked crust. Dust with flour and put on top crust. Bake at 350°F for 40-50 minutes.

Mrs. George S. Lehner

(Mrs. Lehner and her husband owned and operated the Dagmar Hotel for years.)

Go, Mrs. Lehner! Here's her hotel:

Hagerstown Dagmar Hotel
Dagmar Hotel, Hagerstown, MD,
by Mr. T in DC, under Creative Commons license.

The Dagmar Hotel was also the headquarters of the M.P Moller Motor Car Company for a good stretch of time. They made custom cars (called Dagmars, naturally).

Now, I dig that cooks of yore often assumed you knew without being told that you'd need crust for a double crust pie, and that you would know how to make it. I know how to make a really good pie crust.

Confession time: I usually just buy the Pillsbury crust from the refrigerator case. What can I say? It's not as good as homemade, but it's only marginally less good, and it's so fricking easy. So, you can do as I do, and there's no judgement coming at you from this corner. You can rustic it up with your crimping technique, or by being less than anal with straight lines for your lattice strips.

Never done a lattice crust? Don't fret -- it's easy, and there are lots of tutorials on how to make a lattice crust out there.

I will insist upon you having a lattice crust. It's rhubarb pie. I can't imagine a rhubarb pie without a lattice crust. Save your regular top crust for your apple pies, your blackberry pies, your peach pies. Go lattice for rhubarb.

Three cups of rhubarb is about one pound, for what it's worth. Yes, you could buy a pound of chunked up frozen rhubarb -- if you do, thaw it before using -- but it's still rhubarb season. Go buy a pound.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Three Jell-O Salads; Presbyterian Palate Pleasers, The Presbyterian Church, Hagerstown, MD

Chefly Husband and I are headed out to Wolf Trap today to hear the Indigo Girls perform, and to hang out with friends, and to picnic, picnic, picnic. There's lots of cooking going on, and not a little bit of assembly. It's all very summery.

Yesterday, we hit St. Alban's annual sidewalk book sale. I am constitutionally unable to restrain myself at such things. There shall be cookbooks! Oh, yes. There shall. I did show some restraint -- we left with only four new-to-us cookbook treasures. One is a great single-color comb-spined church cookbook from the Presbyterian Church up in Hagerstown, MD. It cost me all of twelve and a half cents. Half a quarter. You can't beat it! So, this week, before I head out to the wilds of Taiwan for a fortnight, we'll be exploring Presbyterian Palate Pleasers. Ya can't beat that title, either.

Going through the cookbook last night with my trusty Post-it flags, I found far too many cool recipes for one week, so on some days, we're going to have multiples.! Today, you get three -- three! -- molded salads, of varying difficulty.

Cherry-Coke Salad

1-lb. jar red bing cherries
1-8-oz. can crushed pineapple
1 small pkg. orange jello
1 small pkg. cherry jello
2-6-1/2 oz. bottles Coke

Drain juice from cherries and pineapple. Add enough water to make 2 c. liquid. Heat and bring to boil, then add 2 pkgs. of jello. Stir, dissolve and let cool. Add pitted cherries and pineapple. Add Coke and mix well. Refrigerate at least 3-4 hours. Serves 8.

Floyd Bingaman

Now, I like to do a little Google stalking of people who contribute to these great old cookbooks, and I was a bit surprised to see how many Floyd Bingaman hits I got. I seemed an odd sort of name. Seems that it's a family name in Hagerstown, MD. I'm suspecting that the Cherry-Coke Salad Floyd is the father or grandpa of the unfortunate Floyd who was sentenced for a terrible crime not so very long ago. (What is it with these old cookbooks and the connections with the unsavory? The Maine islanders were all linked to stories of arson and abuse, and now child murder. :shudder:)

I didn't choose this recipe for lurid tales. No, I chose it because it reminded me of a recipe from the Jell-o (let's use the preferred brand spelling, shall we?) cookbook I had as a kid. I remember making a streamlined version of this years ago, with Coke replacing water while making cherry Jell-o. Tasty stuff, and the bubbles seemed sophisticated.

Odds are, you can actually find tiny bottles of Coke at the grocer's these days. I won't think poorly of you, though, if you use the cheaper 12 oz. can. Honest.
Bloody Mary Aspic

1-24-oz. can cocktail vegetable juice
1/3 c. vodka
1-1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Hot pepper sauce
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
Salad greens

In a 1-1/2 qt. saucepan, over 1 cup cold cocktail vegetable juice, sprinkle gelatin. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove from heat; stir in remaining vegetable juice and other ingredients, including a dash of hot pepper sauce. Do not add greens. Pour into a 1 qt. mold. Refrigerate until set. To serve, unmold on salad greens. A delicious salad for luncheons and dinners. Serves 6.

Frances Machen

I ran across a chilled tomato and vodka soup recipe the other day, and yelled "Just call it a Bloody Mary In A Bowl and stop with the soup pretense!" No pretense here, though Frances does stop before calling this "big Bloody Mary Jell-o shots." She also gives the helpful advice to not gunk up the salad by putting the veg IN the salad. Trust that this sort of guidance is vital in old cookbooks. You never know what someone is going to tell you to put in there; it's nice to be told to hold something back.

It seems Ms. Machen died a year ago at age 78. She had a music store, and was known as Aunt Fran to her friends' children.

See, that's the happier kind of story I like to associate with cookbooks and Jell-o.

All in all, the Bloody Mary Aspic sounds pretty tasty. You have your V8, your Tabasco...all clean bright colors. But, where is the fearful sort of molded salad we all love to read about and fear will land on our plates? Never ever think the Presbyterians are going to let you down!
Presbyterian Jello Salad

1 can tomato soup
1 box lemon jello
1/3 c. chopped celery
1/3 c. chopped green pepper
1/3 c. chopped onions
1 c. mayonnaise
2 c. cottage cheese

Melt soup and jello together over low heat, stir constantly. Add the celery, green pepper, onions, mayonnaise and cottage cheese. Chill until firm. Serves 6.

Claudia Strite

Oh, Claudia. I suspect this serves a lot more than 6.

Claudia had a big, big heart, from an early age. This, from a 1937 slave narrative:
Henry killed a man in anger and was sent to Parchman. Friends in Pontotoc intervened when they saw Emmeline's tears. Henry was made a trusty, then transferred to Jackson as a chauffer and house-boy to Governor Earl Brewer. Henry became the especial friend of the Governor's youngest daughter, Claudia, former society editor of the Daily News, now Mrs. Samuel C. Strite, of Hagerstown, Maryland.

One day Claudia, a very young miss, stuck a note under her father's plate, 'Please set Henry free.' Governor Brewer when he left office gave Henry a pardon, and the freed negro was hired as strawboss on a delta plantation, 'but I guess he was too biggety by then,' his whitehaired mother says, 'because it wasn't long until he got into another scrape and got killed.' Henry's grave in the delta is marked by a tombstone that Claudia placed there.

Okay, I just teared up. Not ashamed to say it. Much of that tale is sad, too, but the fact that the governor of Mississippi's little daughter was concerned about Henry, and years later still cared enough to place the tombstone? It's touching. And I'm a sap.

This is what this blog is about: scary recipes, warm hearts, and a generosity of spirit that shines across the years.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Strawberry-Rhubarb Puff: A Reminder About Altering Recipes All You Want

Betty Crocker's Outdoor Cook BookIt's time for our semi-regular reminder about how most recipes are more about method and less about specific implementations. The Betty Crocker's Outdoor Cook Book has more than its fair share of brand-specific recipes, and relies a bit more on canned/tinned/processed foods than modern sensibilities tend to allow (in public, at least -- in private, even Chefly Husband eats ravioli right out of the can sometimes).

Thing is, all the glorious 1960s short cuts? Can be slowed down. And, really, if you're picnicking, sometimes it's all about reclaiming an older, slower, simpler something.

Illustration by Tom Funk.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Puff
Ideal to carry to picnic site and reheat.

1 pkg. (16 oz.) frozen rhubarb, thawed
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen strawberries, thawed
1/2 cup sugar
1 can Betty Crocker Bisquick Refrigerated Biscuits
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Heat oven to 375°F (quick mod.). Mix rhubarb, strawberries, and 1/2 cup sugar in sq. pan, 9x9x1 3/4". Cook 5 min. over medium low heat. Place biscuits on top of hot fruit. Make hole in each biscuit and put a little butter and mixture of sugar and cinnamon in each hole. Bake 25 to 30 min. Cool. Cover top of pan with aluminum foil; place pan on outdoor grill. Heat until aluminum foil feels hot. Uncover and serve with cream or whipped cream, if desired. 8 to 10 servings.

Let's give a bit of thanks that the temperature is given in degrees, and not just with the guidance of "quick moderate." Even "hot" and "very hot" temperatures vary depending on who's judging. I trust that it's good to know how long one can put one's hand in an oven of a certain temperature, but as I don't cook in a wood stove, and don't intent to, I'm happy with °F.

I've not seen refrigerated Bisquick biscuits before. If you want to be a recipe purist, your best bet is going to be "can o' biscuits" -- choose your favorite brand.

If we're slowing down this recipe, though, how's about making your own biscuit dough? Use your favorite recipe that makes 8 or so big biscuits. No need to worry about cutting the dough into rounds; you can cobble the top with little bits of dough you tear off.

Did I say "cobble"? Well, sure. The recipe may say "puff," and I'm not going to say the dough won't puff, but it's a cobbler. Cobble away.

Other ways to slow this down: don't use packaged frozen fruit. Go to the store. Rhubarb's in right now, as are strawberries. Get a pound of one, and a pint or quart of the other, and slice up into nice even-ish chunks. If there's no rhubarb, you can choose some other fruit. Or, if you're not a strawberry person, how's about some nectarines, or blueberries?

I'm not opposed to frozen fruit. I have lots in my freezer right now. But it takes only a smidge longer to use in season fruit and feel a touch more connected.

Stuffed Acorn Squash, or Every Vegetable Is Even Better With Butter And Sugar

Betty Crocker's Outdoor Cook BookBarbequeing isn't all about the dead beasties. Sometimes, you need something more vegetal. Betty Crocker's Outdoor Cook Book gives several options, including this recipe that makes me think of Halloween and Thanksgiving more than Memorial Day or the Fourth of July.

Stuffed Acorn Squash
Apple and brown sugar caramelize as squash bakes. Good with pork or baked turkey, as pictured on pages 34-35.

Select 3 medium acorn squash. Cut into halves; remove seeds. Place each half on a double thickness of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Put 1 tsp. butter and 2 tbsp. brown sugar in each half, add mixture of 3/4 cup chopped apple and 2 tsp. chopped walnuts. Dot with 2 tsp. butter and wrap securely in foil. Barbecue on briquets 40 to 50 min., or on grill about 1 hr., turning once. Squash is done when it feels soft when touched with an asbestos-gloved thumb. 6 servings.

Please tell me you're not actually having an asbestos-anythinged anything in or near your food. Use a heat-proof glove. It could be an Ove' Glove or something your great-aunt crocheted for you, as long as it's thick enough to keep you from burning yourself and, oh, yes, not carcinogenic.

I know that I said that barbeques weren't all about the dead beasties, but you know how we are around here at Take One Cookbook... we love the dead beasties, and really think that this would be even better with a good crumble over of crisp bacon. If you're not adverse to pork products (yummy, yummy pork products), I highly suggest crisping some up and adding it in here.

Butter and brown sugar and orange squooshy vegetable goodness reminds me of candied yams. This makes me want to add mini marshmallows to the squash.

Yes, even with the bacon.


Especially with the bacon.

I was going to prattle on about the fact that there's no list of ingredients for this recipe, but then I got distracted by the spelling of "barbecue." I nearly typed "misspelling" there, because to me, "barbecue" is spelled "barbeque." A little Googling shows me, though, that I have evidently embraced a "popular spelling variant." I say, it's abbreviated "BBQ" not "BBC," so I'm sticking to my popular variant.

I'll save the BBC for my Doctor Who needs.