Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Seasonal Meals

Living in the Mojave Desert, where the weather can vary as much as 100 degrees between summer and winter, usually means our eating habits change, right along with the seasons.  I mention this because, even though it's only the end of April, we seem to be headed toward a real firecracker of a summer, as the temperature has climbed into the high-90's over the last few days. What this often means in Rosco's Kitchen, is a change toward lighter fare, and the beginning of grilling season.  

Saturday night's dinner was a prime example as we opted for simple steamed veggies and poached salmon fillets. The poached salmon was me trying out something different, as my previous attempts at salmon often ended badly, ruining what had been otherwise good fish. This time I kept it simple. For two salmon fillets, I added four tablespoons of butter to a frying pan and let it melt, then I added the fish, skin side down, and kept it moving for a bit to prevent sticking. Next I added half a cup of pinot grigio and about three tablespoons of lemon juice, sprinkled some dill over the fillets, and popped on a lid. I let it cook for about  ten minutes total, over medium heat, just long enough to cook the fish through. I was honestly amazed at how something that had been so simple tasted so good.

Something else we eat a lot during the summer months is what we call "Kitchen Sink Salad", which is basically the home-made equivalent of eating at a Salad Bar.  The wife and I started making it as a way to use up a lot of canned vegetables we had on hand, and we liked it well enough to keep making it.  The name came from it including everything but the kitchen sink even, at least the first time I made it, pineapple chunks.  The basic ingredients are fresh spring mix, canned corn, peas, green beans and beets, along with anything else that sounds good that day, like garbanzo beans, boiled eggs, dried cranberries, crumbled feta, sunflower seed kernels, crumbled bacon, etc.  Just toss it all together and serve.  It's great during hot weather with a grilled chicken breast, fish, or on really hot days, cold sliced ham.  We had it last night with store-bought greek-style chicken skewers, cooked on the grill, a tasty way to cool down after a day of running around in the desert heat. 

Happy Eating!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Vintage Recipe of the Day-- 04/19/2013

Happy news!  This is the first Rosco's Kitchen post from my newly resurrected computer.  A few months ago, I asked our son to put my briefcase, with the computer inside, into my car, while I finished getting ready for work.  I came out of the house a few minutes later and saw him chasing one of our dogs down the road, so I jumped into the car and started backing out of the drive to give him a hand.  I made it about six feet before the car lurched, and I heard a distinct crunching sound. Yes, in his haste to chase the errant dog, he had just dropped my case behind the car and run after her, leaving me to run over it.  Fortunately, the hard-drive was intact and functioning, but the screen was broken and the motherboard was damaged.  The screen was easy to replace, but it's taken me four months to find the correct part, when I have the money, to get the motherboard replaced.  So, let's celebrate with some dessert!

From Good Housekeeping's Party Pie Book, copyright 1958,

Whipped Cheese Pie

1 9" unbaked pie crust
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
3 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp. AP flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup evaporated milk
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400F

In a large mixing bowl, beat cheese with an electric mixer until fairly smooth; add egg yolks; beat well.  Stir in sugar mixed with flour and salt; beat until smooth.  Beat in evaporated milk and vanilla.  Beat egg whites until stiff; fold into cheese mixture.  Pour into unbaked pie shell; sprinkle lightly with nutmeg.  Bake at 400F for 10 minutes; reduce temp. to 350F and bake 30 min. longer, or until firm.  Cool on wire rack; refrigerate .

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Best Breakfast in Town

It's not often that I eat out by myself, and when I do, it's usually someplace dreadful.  So, it was awfully nice today to be able to grab a meal at one of my favorite breakfast spots, Crossroads Cafe, in Joshua Tree, CA.  Crossroads is one of those funky, eclectic places that serve what I derisively call "Good For You" Food, but they also do a fantastic breakfast scramble and always have quality beers on tap.  If you ever visit Joshua Tree National Park, they're right on the way.

In the photo: "Mike's Mess" from the Breakfast Menu, a scramble of mushrooms, ham, bacon, onions, potatoes and eggs, covered in melted cheese, sour cream and fresh tomatoes, with rye toast.  I had it with their excellent coffee and a sample of Lost Brewery's Great White ale. 

Vintage Recipe of the Day-- 04/18/13

Hi, Folks, sorry about not posting for the past few days, but I've been a bit under the weather, with a backache that felt like I had been beaten, (the wife swears she never laid a finger on me,) and like a lot of people, I've been trying to keep up with the news from Boston, and now Waco.  

My deepest sympathies go out to everyone injured or mourning the loss of a loved one from these tragedies.

What brought me back to the blog, today, was a recipe for something sweet and comforting-- FUDGE.  And how could I not post a fudge recipe that includes vinegar?  From the Heinz Recipe Book, copyright 1939...

Chocolate Fudge

3 tbsp. butter
3 cups sugar
1 tsp. Cider Vinegar
3 tbsp. dark corn syrup
pinch of salt
3/4 cup milk
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate (cut into small bits)
1 tsp. vanilla

Melt the butter, then brown slightly, then add the sugar, vinegar, corn syrup, salt and milk, blending well.  Wipe any sugar from the sides of the pan, then cover and bring to a boil.  Add the chocolate and boil rapidly until it reaches the hard ball stage (236F) then cool to 120F.  

Add vanilla, and beat until candy begins to cream and hold shape.  Quickly pour into a buttered pan, spread to 1-inch depth.  Cut into blocks when firm.  If nuts are desired, add when candy begins to cream.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

National Food Days

Yesterday was National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, and yes, I observed it. Every delicious, crunchy-creamy-smoky bite.  

One of the things I find amusing, though, about National Food Days is how few people really know about them.  Even at the grocery store where I do most of my shopping, they are oblivious to them.  

Today, in fact, is National Peach Cobbler Day, and you can bet I'll be making a cobbler today.  If you'd like to play along, I'm including a list of National Food Days for the rest of April, I'll be posting each month's observances on the 1st day of the month, and wherever possible, I'll include a recipe from the collection.  But, I'll warn you in advance, watch out on May 24th...

April 14 - National Pecan Day/Peach Cobbler Day
April 15 - Glazed Spiral Ham Day
April 16 - National Eggs Benedict Day
April 17 - National Cheese Ball Day
April 18 - National Animal Cracker Day
April 19 - Garlic Day / Amaretto Day
April 20 - Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Day
April 21 - Chocolate-Covered Cashew Truffle Day
April 22 - Jelly Bean Day
April 23 - Picnic Day
April 24 - Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day
April 25 - National Zucchini Bread Day
April 26 - National Pretzel Day
April 27 - Prime Rib Day
April 28 - National Blueberry Pie Day
April 29 - National Shrimp Scampi Day
April 30 - National Oatmeal Cookie Day

Friday, April 12, 2013

Vintage Recipe of the Day-- 04/12/2013

Since it's National Grilled Cheese Day, I thought I'd continue the theme with today's Vintage Recipe.  The problem is, not a lot of mid-century cookbooks included a recipe for something as basic as a grilled cheese sandwich.  What a lot of them DO include, though, is Welsh Rarebit.  

There are a lot of different versions as to the origins of this dish and its rather odd name. The first recorded use of the name Welsh Rabbit dates from 1725.  Welsh Rarebit a corrupted version of Rabbit, wasn't mentioned for another 60 years, when Francis Grose defined Welsh rabbit in A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue in 1785, mistakenly indicating that rabbit was a corruption of rarebit."
In 1926, grammarian H. W. Fowler stated: "Welsh Rabbit is amusing and right. Welsh Rarebit is stupid and wrong."
Both names identify the same dish, usually consisting of toasted bread, topped with melted cheese, (usually cheddar) and mustard.
Hannah Glasse, author of the cookbook The Art of Cookery (first published in 1747) says:
To make a Welch rabbit, toast the bread on both sides, then toast the cheese on one side, lay it on the toast, and with a hot iron brown the other side. You may rub it over with mustard.
During the 1950's, the dish, usually identified as "Welsh Rarebit" was rediscovered by American housewives, looking for simpler, easier to prepare, meals that could be make with new-fangled processed foods.  Which is where today's recipe comes in.

From the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company's March 1957 edition of the Metropolitan Cook Book,

Tomato Welsh Rarebit

2 cups (1/2 lb.) Processed American Cheese, grated
1 10.5oz. can tomato soup (undiluted)
1 tbsp. minced onion
1 tbsp. ketchup
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
1 egg, beaten

Melt cheese in top of a double-boiler.  Heat soup with all remaining ingredients, except egg; add to cheese. Add egg.  Stir in double-boiler, for five minutes. Serve on crisp toast.  Makes 4 servings.

National Grilled Cheese Day!

When it comes to comfort food, what sandwich can compare to the grilled cheese?  Crunchy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and tasty all over, it's been a favorite of mine since childhood, and as much as I still enjoy the occasional classic, American Cheese on White Bread Grilled Cheese, my personal favorite is a bit fancier.

So, to celebrate National Grilled Cheese Day, I'm giving you my favorite grilled  cheese sandwich recipe, along with my recipes for homemade Tomato Soup and Creamy Tomato Basil Soup, because even the best grilled cheese goes better with tomato soup.

A quick note on photos-- When I first began posting photos of the dishes I've cooked on my Facebook page, I wasn't really thinking about the backgrounds, I was just showing folks what we were eating that night.  So occasionally, you might see a plate of food, sitting in the middle of my old messy desk, or in the middle of a bunch of ingredients.  I also try to show the dishes as they really are, without any "food styling" so they aren't always perfectly plated. I hope you won't mind.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

8 Slices Sourdough Bread
8 strips of Bacon (I like peppered or Applewood Smoked for this)
12oz. Fontina cheese, sliced

Preheat oven to 400F.

Cook bacon in a large skillet until cooked through but still soft, about 5 minutes on each side, then drain on a paper towel lined plate.

For each sandwich, spread a thin layer of mayo on two slices of bread. On one slice, layer two slices of fontina, two strips of bacon, two more slices of cheese, and the other slice of bread, mayo'd side down.  Butter the outside of both slices of bread.  Repeat to make four sandwiches.

Place sandwiches on a hot griddle until browned, then turn to brown evenly. Transfer sandwiches to a sheet pan and bake in oven until cheese is melted. Slice each sandwich in half lengthwise and serve with soup.

Tomato Soup

3 cloves of garlic, minced 
2 tablespoons of olive oil 
3 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes 
2 cups of chicken stock 
1/2 cup white wine
1 tsp of sea salt 
1 tsp of sugar 
1/2 tsp of fresh ground black pepper 
Fresh Pesto
Parmesan cheese 

In a saucepan, saute garlic in olive oil on medium heat for 1 minute - being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the tomatoes and wine, and cook for 5 minutes. 
 Add chicken stock, salt, pepper and sugar. Cook the soup on medium at a simmer for 10 minutes. Serve, topped with a teaspoonful of pesto and Parmesan Cheese.

Tomato Basil Soup 

3 cloves of garlic, minced 
2 tablespoons of olive oil 
3 - 14 oz. cans of diced tomatoes, with juice 
2 cups of stock (chicken or vegetable) 
1 tsp of sea salt 
1 tsp of sugar 
1/2 tsp of fresh ground black pepper 
1/4 cup of heavy cream 
3 tablespoons of fresh basil, julienned 
Parmesan cheese 

In a saucepan, saute garlic in olive oil on medium heat for 1 minute - being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the tomatoes and cook for five minutes. Add chicken stock, salt, pepper and sugar. Cook the soup on medium at a simmer for 10 minutes. Add Basil and Heavy Cream and blend with an immersion blender. Serve topped with Parmesan Cheese.

To julienne your basil easily, stack several leaves together and roll into a cylinder, then cut into thin strips with scissors or kitchen shears.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Where's YOUR Stash?

Top 10 Places To Hide Your Snacks - http://huff.to/151887p

Vintage Recipe of the Day-- 04/11/2013

Once upon a time, the word "ketchup" meant more than just thin, sweet, tangy tomato sauce.  Ketchup was originally used to describe condiment sauces made from a variety of ingredients, including tomatoes, mushrooms, grapes and apples. 

Today's vintage recipe is for one of these alternatives, from Gourmet Magazine, September 1948.  Give it a try!


Put 1 dozen peeled, cored, and quartered tart apples into a kettle with enough water to cover them and simmer them until they are soft and nearly all the water is evaporated. Rub the mixture through a sieve and measure the pulp. To each quart of pulp add 2 cups vinegar, 2 medium-sized onions, grated, 1 cup sugar, 3 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons powdered cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon each dry mustard and ground cloves. Bring the ketchup to a boil, simmer for 1 hour, and pour it into jars. Seal and store in a dry, cool place.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Vintage Recipe of the Day-- 04-10-2013

Today's Recipe of the Day is taken from a book titled "MEAT Selection Preparation and 100 Ways to Serve" copyright 1934 by the Armour and Company.  Like yesterday's recipe, this one sounds like it might taste pretty good, but I have to admit that the preparation involved in this one left me a bit befuddled as to why this someone would go to the trouble.  Read it for yourself and let me know what you think...

City Chicken

1 lb. veal cutlet or steak
1 lb. pork steak
1 3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 egg
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp. bacon drippings
2 tbsp. flour
2 cups stock
1 tsp. minced onion

Soak 8 wooden skewers in water.  With a mallet or meat hammer pound meat until flat and thin.  Pound the salt and pepper at the same time.  Cut into 2 inch squares.  Insert skewers in center of pieces of meat, alternating the veal and pork, using 5 or 6 pieces on each skewer.  With your fingers, mold the meat on the skewers into drumstick shapes, then roll in bread crumbs, dip in beaten egg (diluted with water) and into bread crumbs again.  Let stand about 5 minutes, then brown the "drumsticks" in hot fat and place in a baking dish.  To the hot fat, add flour to form a paste, then add stock and stir until thickened.  Add seasonings and pour gravy over the meat.  Cover and bake in a moderate (350F) oven for one hour.  Serve with hot biscuits or noodles.  Serves 8.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tonight's Menu: Chicken & Vegetable Soup with buttered onion rolls

After a day of cold windy weather, nothing tastes better than soup.  This recipe is super easy, too.


1 stalk Celery, trimmed, washed and sliced thin
2 lbs. Carrots, trimmed and sliced thin
2 lg. Onions, peeled and sliced thin
3 lbs. Boneless/Skinless chicken breasts
4 qts. Chicken Broth
Garlic Powder
Curry Powder
Turkish Bay Leaves
Ground Sage

Add vegetables, meat and broth to a large pot.  Season with 2 tsp. Thyme, 1 tsp. Sage and three Bay Leaves.  Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium.  Simmer until chicken is cooked through.   Remove Bay Leaves and discard.  Remove chicken, shred and return to pot.  Season to taste with garlic, salt, pepper and Curry powder.

Serve with crusty bread or onion rolls.  Makes 18 servings.

Vintage Recipe of the Day-- 04/09/2013

Today's Recipe of the Day is a pleasant change from last week's offerings, as this one could actually be edible.  A pleasant surprise considering it's from a cookbook written to sell vegetable shortening.  The book is "Aunt Jenny's Favorite Recipes" featuring Spry vegetable shortening (It's Triple-creamed!) from Lever Brothers.

Stuffed Meat Loaf (with Onion Stuffing)

Meat Loaf Ingredients--

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork
4 slices bread, soaked in water* and drained
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 eggs
2 tbsp. veg. shortening**
1/2 cup chili sauce

Onion Stuffing Ingredients--

3 onions, chopped
1/4 cup, veg. shortening**
1 1/2 cups, bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. parsley, chopped
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp. water

*for better flavor use milk instead of water
**replace shortening with butter or olive oil

Meat Loaf Directions--

Combine beef, pork, bread, onion, salt, pepper, and eggs, mixing thoroughly.  Line bottom and sides of a greased loaf pan with meat mixture.  Fill center with onion stuffing and cover top with remaining meat.  Brush top with melted (butter) and cover with chili sauce.  Bake in 400F oven for 60 to 90 minutes, until done.

Onion Stuffing Directions--

Cook onions slowly in melted (butter) until translucent; add bread crumbs, sage, salt, pepper, and parsley.  Saute until slightly browned.  Remove from heat, and add beaten egg and water.

Quiche Alsacienne

Quiches are great for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and lend themselves to almost any combination of ingredients.  Some of my favorite quiches are Ham and Spinach, Sausage and Green Pepper, and my wife's Seafood Quiche with Shrimp, Crab and cream cheese.  But my hands-down favorite is Quiche Alsacienne.  

Quiche Alsacienne is a simple variation of Quiche Lorraine, adding caramelized onions to the Bacon and Swiss cheese, and it tastes great.


1 Refrigerated 9" Pie Crust
6 eggs, room temperature
1/2 lb. Bacon, diced
2 cups milk
2 cups Swiss Emmentaler Cheese, grated
1 large onions, diced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. White Pepper

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large skillet, fry bacon until cooked, but not crisp, then remove to a paper towel lined plate.  Add diced onion to skillet and cook until soft and translucent.  Remove from heat and drain.

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until well, then add milk, salt and pepper and whisk until well-blended.

Line a 9-inch pie plate with pie crust, and fill with bacon, onions and cheese, distributed evenly.  Pour egg mixture over filling.  Place pie plate on a cookie sheet and place in oven.  Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes, until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Serves 6.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Vintage Recipe of the Day-- 04-06-2013

Why do so many bad recipes include canned tuna?  I grew up on the stuff, and while it will never compared to the little bits of heaven known as Ahi, Bluefin and Yellowfin, canned tuna isn't horrible.  Not unless some smart test-kitchen chef decides to misuse it.  Which brings us to today's Vintage recipe of the Day.  This one is not for the faint of heart...

Jellied Salad Nicoise
From The New Joys of Jello, copyright 1973, General Foods Corp.

1 can (7oz.) tuna, drained and coarsely flaked
1 small tomato, diced and drained
1/2 cup cooked cut green beans
2 tbsp. sliced ripe olives
2 tbsp. green pepper strips
2 tbsp. red onion strips
2 tbsp. mild French or Italian dressing
1 pkg. (3oz.) Jell-o Lemon Gelatin
1 tsp. Salt
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
2 tsp. vinegar
1 hard-boiled egg, diced
2 cups coarsely chopped lettuce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp. milk
2 anchovy filets, finely chopped

Combine tuna, vegetables and salad dressing in a bowl. Mix lightly; let stand while preparing gelatin mixture.
Dissolve gelatin and salt in boiling water. Add cold water and vinegar.  Chill until mixture just begins to thicken, then spoon tuna-vegetable mixture into a 6-cup ring mold.  Pour on half of the gelatin.  Spread lettuce on top.  Add remaining gelatin.  Chill until firm-- at least 4 hours.

Mix mayonnaise, cream and anchovies.  Unmold salad.  Garnish with watercress, if desired.  Serve with mayonnaise dressing.  

Makes about 5 cups, or six salad entrees.

Kiss Your Butt, Goodbye!

The USDA, along with The Beef Check-Off Program and the National Pork Board announced this week that they'll be renaming many popular cuts of meat, both beef and pork.  What does it mean for those of us who don't spend our day standing behind a counter wearing a paper hat?  The website AmazingRibs.com offers an excellent tutorial for the new butcher case landscape.


For a breakdown on beef:


And a paring of pork:


New names for Porky's parts:


Scratching an Itch, for Man Food...

Like a lot of people, I occasionally get a craving for foods I just know I shouldn't eat, either because they are bad for me, or because they affect me adversely.  Not like avocadoes, to which I'm extremely allergic, but stuff like, a Family-Size bag of Ruffles, a quart of Sour Cream and a pack of Lipton Onion Soup mix.  

Well, yesterday, one of those cravings hit me, and I was helpless to resist.  I wanted CHILI DOGS.  Not just a chili dog, and not a fast-food chili dog (that's a completely different craving.)  I wanted my sorta home-made, totally bad for me, but oh-so-good chili dogs.  These chili dogs are rich, they are unhealthy, and they are delicious.  Lucky for me I like kale, because after these, that's all I'll be eating for the next week...

The ingredient list is pretty basic-- 

Hot dogs (This time, I used Oscar Mayer Uncured Angus Beef Franks) 
White bread buns 
diced onions
grated sharp cheddar cheese
regular yellow mustard
XLNT chili brick (See below)

My method for cooking this delicacy begins with heating the brick chili (I have teen-agers, so I used four bricks) in a medium-sized pot slowly over medium heat.  This stuff scorches easily and sticks like super glue when it does, so I keep the heat low until everything loosens up.  

For cooking the hot dogs, most people would dump them in a pot of water or, God forbid, stick them in the microwave.  I take a different approach, and pan fry them in butter. (For two 8-packs of dogs I used 3 tbsp. of butter.)

When the chili is hot, and the dog are cooked begin assembly-

Place two hot dog buns on a plate and put two hot dogs in each bun:
 Spoon the hot chili generously over everything:
Add a good shot of yellow mustard:
And finish it off with grated cheddar cheese and diced onions:

I like to serve this with an ice-cold beer, but my wife says a chilled bottle of Mylanta would be more appropriate...

A quick note on XLNT Chili-- XLNT is a local California company, that was started in 1894, selling beef tamales from horse-drawn wagons.  Their Chili-con-Carne, is sold in 16oz. "bricks" mainly for use as a "chili starter", to which you can add your own tomatoes, beans, etc. to make a finished pot of chili.  But, on its own, it is the ultimate chili for chili dogs, chili burgers and as a topping for their tamales.  If you can't find it at your local market, it can be ordered directly at www.xlntfoods.com

New Old Cookbooks

As God is my witness, I'll never go hungry, again!-- Scarlett O' Hara

OK, now that that's out of the way, another new addition to my cookbook collection arrived this week, a reprint copy of the "Gone With the Wind" Cook Book.  The original issue was from 1939, and was offered as a premium for buying Pebeco Toothpaste.

For a promotional cookbook, it offers some surprisingly good interpretations of Southern classics like Brunswick Stew, Jambalaya, Seafood Gumbo, Scrapple and Chicken Fried Steak.  As good as the main dish recipes look, I did find it amusing that the majority of the book, 22 pages, is devoted to Breads, Cakes,  Desserts and Sweets, while the "Vegetables" section contains a scant five recipes, one of which is for Candied Yams and two others are for Fritters.  Gotta love that!  Personally, I can't wait to try the recipes for Lady Baltimore Cake and Sour Cream Cookies.

I got my reprint copy through Amazon for about ten bucks, including shipping, but original editions can be found on Etsy and other sites in the $35 range, so check it out.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Vintage Recipe of the Day-- 04/05/2013

Today's Vintage Recipe, comes from a source that's usually pretty reliable, Sunset magazine.  How this one made it to print in one of their cookbooks, I'll never know...

It may just be that our modern palates have become so attuned to the exotic that the more mundane, everyday, cooking of our parents and grandparents seems as bland and distasteful as wallpaper paste, but I also see a trend in a lot of these questionable recipes toward ease or preparation, and time-saving.       Personally, I can't see the attraction, no matter how fast and easy.  

So, without further ado, from 1958's Cooking With Casseroles, by the editors of Sunset Books and Sunset Magazine, I give you:

Tuna and Kraut Casserole

1 med. sized (#2) can sauerkraut
2 cans tuna
1/4 cup water
Buttered bread crumbs

Arrange alternate layers of drained kraut and flaked tuna in a greased small casserole, ending with kraut.  Pour over the water, then sprinkle with buttered crumbs.  Bake in a moderate oven (350F) for 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Serves 6.

Recipes From Friends!

Today I want to share a recipe from an old friend from high-school.  Dawn Billings sent me her Mom's recipe for Pork Fried Rice.  While it isn't exactly traditional, how can anything with a whole pound of bacon be bad?  Right?

The only changes I've made from Dawn's original recipe is including an actual amount for the onions, as she was a bit too non-committal in the original (quote: use as much as you want) and her addition of the water chestnuts, which weren't in her Mom's original recipe.  Can't wait to make this myself... 

Carol Jean's (Pork) Fried Rice
by Dawn Billings,  Bloomington, IL

3 cups prepared Minute Rice (better if it's made ahead & allowed to cool) 
1 lb. bacon cut into squares
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 lb. leftover pork roast, diced (or chicken or ... nuttin')
Soy sauce & pepper to taste
4 eggs

Fry bacon in wok until crispy.  Set aside to drain.  Saute onion in bacon grease.  (ssshhh!)
Add rice.  Cook through.
Add soy sauce & pepper
push rice to sides & add meat to heat it through
Stir all together
Push rice to sides again & add eggs to wok.  Scramble eggs.
Stir all together again.
Crumble bacon & put on top.

The Measure of a Man

If you're like me, that fancy set of nested measuring cups (or spoons) that were perfect for your kitchen soon becomes a scattered collection of random utensils, and you can never find the size you need.  Fear not.  Just follow the link:

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Shout Out!

Just a shout out to Tori Avey, author of two fantastic food-related websites, www.theshiksa.com  and www.thehistorykitchen.com.  I've been following her sites for a few months and have become a big fan of her work. 

Vintage Recipe of the Day-- 04/04/13

Aside from cooking, one of my favorite, food-related things to do is collecting vintage cookbooks. Including the electronic editions on my Kindle, my collection dates as far back as the 1830's, and my oldest "hardcopy" is from 1898, but the bulk of my collection ranges from the 1930's through the 1960's.    While some books contain real gems of recipes, many, especially the ones from the '50's and '60's geared more toward "busy housewives" are almost comical in their over-the-top presentations of some really lousy chow.  How I pity the poor husbands who came home to today's recipe, taken from Shortcut Cooking, by Meredith Corporation, 1969.

If anyone out there has the nerve to make and serve this, PLEASE send me a photo, and we'll post it on the blog! 

Bean Banquet

2- 1 lb. cans (4 cups) Pork & Beans in Tomato Sauce
1/4 cup Ketchup
2 tbsp. prepared yellow mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
2 12oz. cans "luncheon meat"

In a 10x6x2-inch baking dish, combine beans, ketchup and seasonings.  

Cut meat in half lengthwise.  Cutting not quite through, slice each half in 7 crosswise slices.  Arrange meat "accordions" on beans.  Bake at 375F, 25 to 30 minutes, or until beans are bubbling hot.  Place in broiler a few minutes to brown meat; brush meat with melted butter.  Makes 6 to 8 servings.   

Rosco's Bread Pudding

My first recipe offering is easily the most-requested by my friends and relatives, over the years. It is based on a recipe I originally found in a 1950's edition of the McCall's Cook Book.  Done right, and served warm, it is about as close as you can get to a perfect comfort food.  

The original version called for the addition of raisins, and I believe chopped walnuts, but I don't like raisins, and my daughter is allergic to nuts, so I don't include them.  If you want to add them, just include a cup of raisins and 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans.

1 loaf French Toast Bread (I use the store-brand From Vons/Safeway)
8 eggs, room temperature
1 quart 1/2 & 1/2
1 cup + 1/4 cup Sugar
2 sticks butter, melted
3 tbsp. Cinnamon
2 tbsp. Vanilla Extract
2 large mixing bowls
2 small bowls
1 9x13 baking dish or pan
1 10x15 baking dish, roasting pan or lasagna pan
Measuring Cups
Measuring spoons
Oven Mitts
Aluminum Foil

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Combine 1/4 cup sugar with cinnamon in a small bowl, and blend well with a fork. Tear bread into 1" pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with melted butter, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, tossing the bread so that all pieces are coated. Transfer coated bread to a greased 9x13 baking dish and set aside.  (If you are adding raisins or nuts, add them to the bread before transferring.) 

In another large bowl, beat all 8 eggs with a whisk or hand mixer until well-blended, add 1 cup sugar and continue beating until sugar is dissolved, then add half & half and beat until incorporated.

This is where it gets tricky--

Open your oven, pull out the middle rack and place a 10x15 baking dish on the rack. Place the 9x13 dish with the bread inside the 10x15, then carefully pour the custard mix over the bread. Don't splash or the oven heat will turn any spills into concrete. When all of the custard mix is in, add enough hot water to the 10x15 dish to come up the side of the 9x13 to a depth of about 1 inch. Carefully slide the rack back into the oven and bake for 50 minutes.

When done, remove only the 9x13 and cover immediately with aluminum foil for at least 30 minutes. Turn off the oven, and remove the 10x15 with the water after it has cooled.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Yet Another Food Blog

Greetings, fellow food fans!  Welcome to my kitchen.

My goal for this site is simple-- To share my recipes and ideas, to find out what anyone who happens to read this is doing in their kitchen, and basically have fun with food.  I'll be posting food news, food quotes, a lot of stuff from my collection of vintage cookbooks, and maybe the occasional food-related opinion, if it's something I feel strongly about.  

For anyone who doesn't know me, I'm a 45-year-old, married father of teen- aged twins, who got into thrown into the deep-end of the kitchen, and made the best of it. My interest in cooking and food is simply, finding and making dishes that my family and friends will enjoy eating.  

I don't describe myself as a "foodie" because I think that's a term that has too much baggage attached to it.  I'm not really into food trends, or fine-dining, and I don't care for the more judgmental connotations it carries.  To illustrate, let me share some comments about foodies from a 2007 conversation on Yelp! (Some have been edited for brevity and/or language)

“My definition (of foodie) changed because I started noticing people talking about food in a way that was very trendy, much like that of wine tasting, and not exactly indicative of what I was experiencing.  Patrons of restaurants talking about food pairings like they were in the know, but many times talked out their (backsides).  It was more than the comment about a food's MSG content when it did not have one, but it was about preparation or style of certain foods, when it was obviously not the case. Food to me is also very subjective, so I think it is funny when people are highbrow or overly judgmental.  I guess I associate these two attributes with the term foodie, so when I hear foodie, I think of a person who likes to eat and socialize about food as a means to differentiate themselves from the non foodie, but not necessarily for the sake of knowing about or understanding the food itself.” – Kapeli M.

"Nothing wrong with the word foodie.  It's what they do that's so annoying.  They're the hipsters of the food world.  They want to have an opinion but they don't care if it's an informed one, they just like to talk.  Kind of like baseball fans who never actually figure out the game." -- Gil S.

"There is a spectrum of foodies, from the involved food lovers to the crazy food snobs. There should be a second word - just like "Trekkies" and "Trekkers," there could be "Foodies" and "Fooders" - I can't stand the Fooders, mostly because they won't shut up and refuse to eat at taco trucks." -- Andy M.

I bring this up now, so you know what to expect as this blog goes forward.  I'm not here to dump on anyone, I'm here to have fun.  I hope you will, too.