Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

1. Amazon had The Miracle of the White Stallions DVD on sale for $8.49, so I snagged a copy. The last time I looked, the sale price was still in effect, but you had to wait for restocking to get one. It’s as much about outwitting Nazis, and about a formerly free people chafing under oppression, as it is about the famous horses. It’s from 1963. Well worth a watch. It’s rated G, but I’d suggest parents watch it first, so they’re ready if a kid picks up on the talk of concentration camps and other war related stuff.

2. While I was at it, I ordered Justin Morgan Had A Horse, also from Disney’s good old days. It’s not on sale, sorry. But it is a fun, cheerful, film. Like The Miracle of the White Stallions, it’s based on a true story, in this case, the founding of the first American horse breed. I suspect this one has a wee bit more artistic license in it than the other one, but, then, it would probably have to. The other film was based on events in living memory, which were documented by the people involved. Both films were made before the PC crowd started cramping storylines. Good stories, both.

3. Once upon a few years ago, I noticed that many old cookbooks had ‘pancake’ recipes that were fancy ways of using leftovers. They mixed just all sorts of stuff in batter, and cooked away, sometimes as side dishes, sometimes as main dishes. Veggies, meat, fruit, whatever; sometimes spicy, sometimes bland. Since then, I’ve had great fun making up my own recipes. Perhaps recipes is the wrong word for those times I just use what’s on hand. A few weeks back, I had some cooked pumpkin I needed to use up, but didn’t feel like making a pie. So I put in all the ingredients except eggs for pumpkin pie filling – just as if I was making a pie – and mixed that with two batches of pancake batter (which provided all the eggs I figured I needed). Then I adjusted with more flour and water for better consistency, and a little extra oil so it wouldn’t stick, and wound up with pumpkin pie pancakes. They were pretty good, and kept well in the freezer. As to that last point, that pancakes freeze well is one of the things I like about them. Very handy, that.

4. I’m rereading The Pilgrim’s Progress, both parts. If you only read about Christian’s pilgrimage, you’ll have a lively read, but do try and get your hands on the second part, which follows the pilgrimage of his wife and children. I’m not sure but that it might be impossible to understand early American history if you haven’t read these books. Seriously. Bunyan and other nonconformist writers both reflect the age, and helped shape it.

5. I’m starting to feel bad that I didn’t send out physical Christmas cards this year. I’ve received a few, and it’s such a treat. Then I look at the price tag on the back, and factor in postage, and figure I have a good excuse. But, still, it’s such a treat to get them. Maybe next year…

6. Like quite a few other women in this part of the country, I don’t even own a pair of pants anymore. This would be neither here nor there, except that this time of year I hear silly objections about dresses being too cold to wear in winter. Obviously not, since women have been doing it for thousands of years. If you’re wearing a dress long enough to be modest, that helps. Layers help even more. For slips, it’s perfectly all right to make your own from flannel or something else sensible, or to wear a t-shirt dress as a slip. Yes, even with sleeves; there’s no reason an underdress can’t have sleeves. And, uhm, ladies, long underwear can be worn under dresses. Really. For that matter, dresses of a proper weight and sensible cut can be warmer than pants, just like mittens can be warmer than gloves.

7. Merry Christmas. (I’m a Christian. I can say that.)

(7 Quick Takes Friday is hosted by Conversion Diary. Why not pop on over and check out some other blogs?)

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Save money and time, with make-ahead breakfasts.

hat tip: The Raising Arrows Facebook page

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I finally got around to cutting up and cooking up the pumpkins I got harvested before the hard frost. Inspired by cartons full of mashed pumpkin, I decided to try making a pie (I’m not a seasoned pie maker). Gathering some old cookbooks for inspiration, and not having on hand the ingredients to make any one of the recipes as written, I winged it. Since it turned out pretty good, I’m trying to recall what I put in it. I think the filling went something like this:

1 and 1/2 cups cooked pumpkin

2/3 cup brown sugar (Some recipes call for white sugar, some for brown. I had dried up brown sugar I wanted to use up.)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (One of the recipes I was looking at called for 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon, but that sounded like too much for me, so I went with a less spicy recipe.)

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (Two of the recipes called for ginger in the same amount as the cinnamon, but I didn’t have ginger, and cinnamon and nutmeg go well together, and I generally use half as much nutmeg as cinnamon when I’m using both.)

1/2 teaspoon salt, I think (The recipes were all over the board on how much salt to use, ranging from 1/8 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon. I think I went with 1/2 teaspoon, as something of a compromise.)

A little over a cup of milk (I used what was on hand: 2 percent milk.)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon lemon juice (I think I used a tablespoon. I might have used a different amount. Didn’t use much, in any case.)

A small handful of walnut pieces, broken into quarters or smaller. (One of the recipes suggested 3/4 cup walnuts, but I went with what was left of the walnuts in a half-full jar of mixed nuts. I’m not sure I’d want a whole lot of nuts anyway. Some recipes call for pecans instead of walnuts. Some put the nuts in the filling, others put them on top after the pie is baked. I put these in the filling.)

Two eggs, slightly beaten. (I don’t have any fancy equipment. I used a fork to beat them.)

I think that was it for the filling. I made a pie crust dough, rolled it out, and put it into a ceramic pie pan, put the filling in, put the pie into an oven that had been preheated to 450, baked for somewhere between 12 and 15 minutes at that temp for the sake of the crust, then lowered the heat to 325 for the sake of the filling, and baked until it was supposed to be done, then lowered the temp again to keep cooking it until some of the excess moisture came out. I have no idea how long I cooked it. I just looked now and then through the oven door’s window at it, and when it looked done, I quit. It took a lot longer than the cookbooks predicted, is all I can tell you.

I have enough pumpkin in the freezer for six more pies. I only planted two hills of pumpkin, I got them in late, and therefore didn’t have many to harvest – but after giving some away, I still have enough for six more pies. The seed packet cost me a dollar. I didn’t use all the seed. Yay, gardening.

P.S. For the pie crust, I used a very simple recipe. Mix one cup all-purpose flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cut in 1/3 cup vegetable oil. (You can use shortening instead, if you’d like.) Sprinkle in 3 to 4 tablespoons water, tossing lightly with a fork. (When the dough holds together, stop adding water.) Roll out. It didn’t seem like enough dough for the pie pan I was using – I wound up with very thin crust. But it worked.

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Recipe: Salmon chowder

This sounds good.

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I like rice and beans, but I haven’t tried it Jennifer F’s way, yet (see Quick Take #7). But it sounds good. (And easy. Yay easy.)

We eat a lot of oatmeal, but I haven’t tried baked oatmeal yet. But it sounds good. And we’re having cold weather (again, or do I mean still?), so I’m happy to find an excuse to use the oven to warm up that part of the house. (hat tip: Veronica on the Verge)

I found the following recipe in the remains of a church cookbook somebody brought to our bookstore. Amongst the missing parts of the cookbook is the part that would tell me where the cookbook is from and when it was printed, but from adding clues from here and there together, it seems to be some church called St. Andrews, and it seems to be in the Portland, Oregon area, and I’d peg it from anywhere between twenty and forty years ago, at a wild guess. (It’s from when we were all taught to double space after a sentence, if that helps any…) At any rate, there is a recipe in there for Amazingly Fast Cookies, submitted by a Karen Davis, and the subtitle is “No, there isn’t any flour!” I couldn’t resist trying them, to see what cookies without flour come out like. To my surprise, if you’d handed me the cookies and had me sample some, and hadn’t told me that there wasn’t flour in them, I wouldn’t have guessed. They’re a bit too rich for me, but if you’re feeling like experimenting, or have wheat allergies, or are having a cookie attack without flour in the house, here goes: 1 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy), 1 cup brown sugar, 1 egg. Cream everything together. Drop by teaspoonfuls on greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees about 10 minutes… Yields 30 to 40 cookies.

Added: This post has a link to a recipe for a pureed zucchini soup made with chicken stock, olive oil, and nutmeg.

Added: This (go to number 10) doesn’t sound like what I think of when I think Apple Pancake, but it sure sounds good.

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In case you don’t know, it’s not all that hard to make English muffins from scratch.

One of my biggest problems is that I never seem to remember between batches how low the burner should be set. The right temperature doesn’t seem high enough to cook bread, but it is. I scorched a few muffins this week before I got my act together. You’d think I’d learn…

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