Sunday, February 21, 2021

Popovers from Any one can Bake, 1929

Apparently the Canadian weather decided to take a vacation here in Texas!  We had around 8" of snow, followed by several inches of sleet/freezing rain and several days of below freezing, all the way down to -1F one morning.  I know that a lot of the world deals with this every winter, but in this part of Texas we don't.  Normally we get maybe one snow per year.  We shut everything down, ooh and ahhh for a day, then it melts by late afternoon.  This snow/ice combo overstayed its welcome!


We were fortunate that we didn't lose electricity or water, like so many people did.  And we were very happy that one of the extras we decided on when we built this house was a wood-burning stove.  The cats were also pretty happy about that choice during all this!

Gil and his adorable toe beans!

Another thing we were happy about is that our Chambers stove uses propane.  We had just had the tank filled, so we were able to cook without worrying about using too much electricity.  And as cold as it was, I was looking for any excuse to turn on the oven.  

One one of the coldest evenings, I was making some soup and looking for something to go with it.  I pried this gem, Any one can Bake by the Royal Baking Powder Co. (1929) out of the overstuffed bookshelf and spotted the recipe for popovers, which start with the oven at 450F.  Yes, sign me up!

I don't remember how I acquired this book, but I do remember thinking that for an older book, the quality seems to be really high - glossy paper for the pages, a lot of (charming) color illustrations.  The outside of my particular copy has taken a beating, but the pages are pristine.  


The Green Corn Gems sound interesting

I'll be trying that Cocoa Bread one of these days

I had exactly 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour left, so I opted for the whole wheat version mentioned below the recipe.  I don't think I have ever had popovers before, so I don't have a basis for comparison, but I liked these.  I am guessing that the whole wheat flour made them a little more dense than usual, but Farm Boy and I liked them.  

The recipe says it makes six popovers, but it filled nine of the eleven cups (11?  why 11??) of my cast iron muffin pan.  I wasn't sure how full I could fill them without the batter running over, but I think I could have gone a little higher.  

Chambers stove oven range

So warm!

This is the first recipe I have tried from this book.  Since we were pleased with the results and there are quite a few other recipes that look promising, it will be bringing it out again.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Hedge Hogs

This little cookbook, Our Favorite Recipes by the Abilene School Food Service Association, belonged to my mother-in-law.  Since her mother-in-law was a teacher in Abilene at one time, I'm guessing that's who originally gave it to her, but there is nothing to note that.  Nor does it have a date or an explanation of why it was published.  It only contains 64 pages, but it's made of a stiff, highly textured paper that makes it hard to open.  The outside cover is stained, but the inside pages are pristine, so I don't think it saw a lot of use.

No date listed, but maybe late 1950s/early 1960s?

I was in the mood to bake something the other day, but not in the mood to put a lot of effort into it.  After flipping through a few other cookbooks, I pulled this one out and found something that suited my needs: Hedge Hogs by Mrs. Cliff Landers.

There is a food grinder somewhere in this house, but it seemed like a food processor would work just fine and would also let me make it in one container.  Yay for even less effort!  

Chambers gas range stove
Not the most beautiful cookies, but tasty!

Mine look more like feral hogs than hedgehogs, but they are quite nice in flavor and texture.  They are dense and chewy, somewhere between an energy bar and candy, flavored strongly of dates and brown sugar with a hint of coconut.  I gave my sister a few and she asked for the recipe and baked her own batch the next day, so I would say this is a keeper of a recipe!


Friday, January 22, 2021

Scotch Apple Pie

I first made this pie a little over four years ago.  We really liked it, so of course I promptly forgot which cookbook it was in.  I had shared a photo of it, so it popped up in my memories every year, punishing me for my forgetfulness.  However, a few days ago I was going through some old photos and saw not only the picture of the pie, but a picture of the recipe and the cookbook, too.  Hooray!
 Talk About Good cookbook
Talk About Good! by the Junior League of Lafayette, Lousiana

I found this cookbook at an antique store several years ago.  I picked up up, carried it around, put it back, left, drove back the next day and bought it.  My copy is the 1967 edition (printed in 1971), but according to the Junior League of Lafayette's website, it is still in print and available for purchase more than 50 years later!

Farm Boy was a little disappointed that no scotch whisky was involved

Rule #1 of baking: make sure to spill some flour!

Thermobaker instructions

Because I am a Chambers nerd, I chose to bake it in the Thermobaker in the Thermowell.  With the well preheated for a few minutes, you can bake an 8" pie with about 15 minutes of gas, then 30 to 40 minutes of retained heat cooking.  Have I ever mentioned that I adore this stove?  Oh, I have?  Sorry!  

Chambers gas stove Thermobaker Thermowell
It smelled divine while baking!

I was too impatient to wait for it to cool, so my servings were not very photogenic, but it was as tasty as I remembered!  I would say it's closer to a crisp or a cobbler than a pie, since there is no bottom crust.  It is fairly sweet, too, so perhaps the sugar could be cut back a bit or maybe serve it with whipped cream to buffer it a little.  But the combination of the crunchy brown sugar topping and the clear apple flavor of the filling really work well together, so I will be making this again in the future now that I have rediscovered the recipe.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Lemon Pie - Reliable for the 7th Annual Pieathalon!


That's right, boys and girls, it's pie time again!

To recap the rules of Pieathalon:

1) You choose a vintage recipe and send it in
2) You receive a vintage recipe submitted by someone else
3) You make that recipe
4) You post about your experience

Last year I was feeling all kind and benevolent and sent in Honey Cream Cheese Pie as my submission.  For 2020 I have reverted back to my normal state and am waiting with baited breath to see the results of Avocado Lime Pie.  Lime gelatin, pineapple, avocado and cream cheese.  Heh heh heh.

Fortunately for me, Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla is less evil than I am.  She chose Lemon Pie - Reliable from the 1908 Washington Women's Cook Book and even sent a slightly updated version (with modern instructions) from the new book about women's suffrage, All Stirred Up by Laura Kumin.  I've already added it to my "books to read" list.

Based on the instructions from All Stirred Up, I added more lemon juice (3 small lemons) and an extra egg, along with a bit of salt.  I'm pretty sure this is the first lemon meringue pie I have ever made and I was surprised at how easy it was and how firmly it set up. 

Chambers stove
Hey, that's not too shabby!

For the taste test the only human participants this year were Farm Boy and myself.  We both thought it was quite nice.  It has a pleasant lemon flavor which we thought was even more pronounced the second day. 

Gil, our resident orangey, decided that he wanted to represent the felines this time around.  Alas, it turns out that he is not a fan of citrus.

"Why?  WHY???"

Rejected lemon filling and a harrumph.

It was great fun to be able to participate in another Pieathalon.  Thanks to Yinzerella at Dinner is Served 1972 for organizing this once again! 

Now go check out the rest of the pies!

Yinzerella at Dinner is Served 1972 is making Betty Crocker Sombrero Pie

Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla with Lattice Pineapple Pie

Dr. Bobb at Dr. Bobb's Kitschen tries out Empenada Mariscona

Kelly from Velveteen Lounge makes Chocolate Mint Prune Pie

Battenburg Belle of Kitchen Confidence with Sour Cream Apricot Pie

SS of A Book of Cookrye and Honey Fruit Pie

Jenny of Silver Screen Suppers makes the intriguing Party Pink Pie

Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm tries Cherry Blossom Pie

Surly from Vintage Recipe Cards gives Crumb Pie a try

Taryn of Retro Food for Modern Times with Easy as Pie Chicken Salad

Poppy Crocker of Grannie Pantries drew the short straw with my Avocado Lime Pie

Judy of Book Club Cookbook tests Pumpkin Pie with a Secret

and Greg of Recipes4Rebels gives Apple Crumb Pie a whirl

Monday, September 30, 2019

Spanish Pork Picadillo

What's the next best thing to Pieathalon?  That's right, it's <switch to Keith Morrison's voice> MUR-DER!

Or rather, it's the Murder, She Wrote Cookalong!  Jenny over at Silver Screen Suppers is in the process of creating a Murder, She Wrote cookbook and invited everyone to play along by testing recipes from actors who appeared in the TV series.  After perusing the list of recipes, I chose Bill Brochtrup's Spanish Pork Picadillo because I knew if pork was involved, Farm Boy would be excited.  Plus, I like saying picadillo.

I didn't actually know who Bill Brochtrup was, so I had to look him up.  Apparently he is best known for a role on NYPD Blue, but he also made a couple of guest appearances on Murder, She Wrote.

Bill Brochtrup and someone else's hair

Once again, Farm Boy, Sister of Farm Boy and Daughter of Sister of Farm Boy joined in for the taste test and everyone agreed that this recipe is a winner!  It was really easy to make and the house smelled incredible while it was cooking.  The cinnamon added a special flavor that everyone liked, but no one could guess what it was.  We had the leftover picadillo (see, still a fun word!) a few days later and it reheated very well.  We liked it so much that when we got down to the last serving, there was a little dispute over who got it...

All mine!
I will be making this again, for sure.  So thank you, Bill Brochtrup, for sharing your pork picadillo recipe.  And thank you to Jenny at Silver Screen Suppers for letting me play along!

* No Farm Boys were actually harmed during this cookalong.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Cheese-Applesauce Pie - 6th Annual Pieathalon

That's right, it's Pieathalon time again!

To recap the rules of Pieathalon:
1) You choose a vintage recipe and send it in
2) You receive a vintage recipe submitted by someone else
3) You make the recipe
4) You post about your experience

While I have followed Pieathalon from the beginning, this is only my second year to participate.  I was happy and surprised to receive a second invitation, considering that my submission last year involved a pie that combined raisins and onions. (Farm Boy still insists that he would probably like it, but I have not worked up the courage to actually make it.)

This year I found several wonderfully terrible recipes, but I decided to play nice and sent in Honey Cream Cheese Pie from Sunset's New Kitchen Cabinet Cook Book (1938).  The recipe caught my eye because Farm Boy has bees and he got his first real honey harvest this year, about seventy pounds worth of delicious golden sweetness.  So we're on the lookout for recipes that use honey.  If you have a good method for making mead, please share!

The recipe I received this year is Cheese-Applesauce Pie from the Woman's Day Collector's Cook Book (1960) and it was submitted by Poppy Crocker of the so-much-better-named-than-my-page Grannie Pantries.  You can see the great illustrations in the cookbook in Poppy's post, The levitating cow head, queen of the damned, and other wonders.

Corn flake crust - sounds promising!

Cheesecake-like filling - I'm in!

Applesauce, lemon, almond topping - hmmm.

I couldn't find corn flake crumbs, so I used regular corn flakes and pulverized them in the food processor.  I also used the food processor on the cottage cheese instead of forcing it through a sieve, primarily because I got rid of the sieve a few weeks ago in a fit of decluttering.  I took the whole load straight to the donation center because I didn't want it sitting around the house for ages.  Of course, I needed the sieve the very next day.  Argh.

In honor of Pieathalon, I dug out my vintage Pyrex lime green pie dish.  This is my second one.  The first one died in a tragic quiche accident.

Fresh out of the oven - oooh, it smells nice!

Topped with the applesauce/lemon juice/almond mixture.  

A side view.  I had a hard time getting a decent picture because...

Queen Lily was demanding her share! She requested no toppings.

Hmmm, let's see if we like this...

We do!  Give us more.  MORE!

Ground crew member Daisy wanted to participate in the taste test.  She also approved!  But she has some questionable eating habits, so we just nod and smile politely when she recommends something. 

In addition to Lily and Daisy, we also had two human testers: Sister of Farm Boy and Daughter of Sister of Farm Boy*.

The group consensus among the human testers:

  • The corn flake crust has a nice flavor, but it's soft.  Maybe bake it beforehand?
  • The cheesecake filling part is fantastic!  Good flavor and texture and easy to mix and bake. I will definitely make that again.
  • The applesauce topping is, mmm, okaaay, but not something any of us would go out of our way to have again.  It mostly tastes like lemon.  Farm Boy liked it the best out of all of us.

So, on the whole, it was much better than last year's pie, most of which went into the trash.  I think I will keep experimenting with the crust and the filling, but I'm going to let the applesauce topping go.

Thank you to Yinzerella at Dinner is Served 1972 for organizing this event yet again!

To read about the adventures of the other Pieathletes, visit their blogs:

Yinzerella from Dinner is Served 1972 with Dali Oasis Leek Pie
The Battenburg Belle from Battenburg Belle with Betty Crocker Hawaiian Pie
Dr. Bobb of Dr. Bobb's Kitschen with Macaroon Pie
Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla with Flaming Peach Pie
Greg of Recipes4Rebels with Artichoke Pie
Jenny of Silver Screen Suppers with Spaghetti Pie
The Homicidal Homemaker with Bamberry Turnovers
Kelly from Velveteen Lounge Kitsch-en with Angel Pie
Surly at Vintage Recipe Cards with Salmon Custard Pie
Peter, Curator of the Vincent Price Legacy UK with WW Cherrie Pies
Poppy at Grannie Pantries with Banana Split Pie
S.S. of  A Book of Cookrye with Huntington Fidget Pie
Taryn from RetroFoodForModerntimes with Honey Cream Cheese Pie

*Not their actual names.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Andrea's Special Date Cookies

Growing up, summers involved trips to North Dakota to visit my mom's side of the family.  I don't know if it's a North Dakota thing or a Scandinavian thing, but at each home we visited, we were presented with a staggering array of foods and we were expected to eat some of everything, even if we had been to three other homes that day.  Lefse, ham, locally made summer sausages, rolls with actual farm butter, cookies, etc., always presented as if this was an everyday occurrence and we just happened to show up at the right time. 

The largest spread was always at Helga and Andrea's home.  Helga and Andy were sisters (and my mother's aunts) and even though Helga was married to Dave - and everyone adored Dave - it was never Helga and Dave, always Helga and Andy.  And Dave.

Great Aunt Andy, my sister and myself (the short one)
I was really too young to appreciate how much effort went into preparing all the food, but I do remember appreciating how delicious everything was.  Unfortunately, because we lived so far away, I never had a chance to learn any cooking secrets from them.  I was given Helga's roll recipe a while back, but I haven't worked up the courage to try them yet because Helga's rolls have achieved mythical levels of deliciousness in my memory.  I am fairly certain that nothing I could make would taste as incredible as what I remember.  Soft, buttery, light as a feather, slathered in unbelievably good salty butter.  Mmmmm....

Ahem.  Anyway.

A few years back my mom came across a recipe of Andy's, called Special Date Cookies. The instructions were something along of the lines of, "mix, crisscross with a sugar-dipped fork and bake."  People weren't sticklers for details  back in the day.  Mom remembered them as very good, pale and only lightly browned on the bottom.  Well, at least that was something to aim for!

I had intended to try these many times, but just never got around to it.  Then, a few weeks ago, I came across some Medjool dates that had gone hard and while trying to decide what to do with them, I remembered Andy's cookies.

I made a couple of changes to the recipe (because I can't leave things alone).  First, I halved it because it looked like it would make an enormous amount of cookies.  I'm glad I did, because I ended up with 47 cookies from a half batch.  Second, I rolled the dough balls in Sugar in the Raw before crisscrossing them because it seemed like a good idea.  We all liked the extra crunch the coarse sugar gave the cookies, so I'm sticking with it.

Technically, I suppose I made a third change.  The work bowl on my ~22 year old KitchenAid food processor was on its last legs already, and when I started trying to chop the dates in it, the blade seized up.  After several attempts to redistribute the dates for chopping, I added some bourbon to soften them.  It worked well enough to let me finish chopping those dates, but both the work bowl and the plastic cover on the spindle were broken beyond repair.  The motor still works, but alas, replacement parts are no longer available.  RIP, food processor.  You served me well.

For the record, I'm pretty sure Andy would NOT have approved of the addition of bourbon to her cookies!  I couldn't taste bourbon in the final cookies, but I did enjoy a few little bites of bourbon-soaked dates.  Hic!

Poor old food processor!

I wasn't sure how flat to mash the cookies while crisscrossing, so I tried some thinner (not all the way flat) and some thicker.  The thinner ones had the nicest final texture, I think.  I also guessed at 325F for the oven temperature, because I was afraid of over-browning them. 

The finished product!  I think these should have been mashed just a little flatter for the best texture

We really liked these cookies.  They have a nice date flavor and aren't overwhelmingly sweet, which we prefer, and the coarse sugar adds a nice texture.  They also keep well for several days.  We polished off the last one after about 8 days and while the texture had softened over time, it was still good.  As usual, though, I liked them best while still warm from the oven. 

Andrea's Special Date Cookies (Printable recipe)

  • 3/4 cup soft butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • coarse sugar for rolling the dough balls (I used Sugar in the Raw)


Preheat oven to 325F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well. Stir in the milk and vanilla. Add the flour mixture in two or three additions, mixing well each time. Fold in the dates. Roll the dough into small balls, then roll in coarse sugar. Crisscross and flatten with a fork. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned on the bottom only.