Sunday, November 23, 2014

Paul Prudhomme and my stove

Even though I haven't cooked a lot of Cajun food, I have had a special fondness for Paul Prudhomme for a long time.  That fondness was cemented when we ate at his restaurant, K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen about 15 years ago. It was one of the best meals we have ever eaten in our lives and despite how miserably full I was, I did not leave a crumb on the table.  I don't remember now what we ordered, but it was all delicious.  I hope to go back there one of these days.

My friend pointed out this Paul Prudhomme book at an estate sale this week.  She said she already had it, so I picked it up to look through it.

When I opened it up and saw that it was inscribed to Betty, I took that as a sign that it needed to be with my stove, Betty (okay, I saw it as something I could rationalize... po-tay-to, po-tah-to.) 

Betty, this book is for you!  I'll just hold onto it so you don't catch it on fire.

chambers 90c stove range
My girl Betty

Friday, November 21, 2014


No, I'm not dead!  I'm still here! 

I have been cooking, but I either seem to make something that's not novel enough to post about or I forget to take a picture.  Which leads me to cornbread...  I made this so I could make Farm Boy's mother's chicken and dressing.  The dressing turned out pretty good (I think it would have met her expectations), but I forgot to take a picture.  I did, however, get a picture of the cornbread and since it's a recipe I really like, I'm sharing it so I can say I've posted something.

I always make the Canary Corn Sticks recipe from the 1950 Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book, but I bake it in a cast iron skillet instead of a corn stick pan.  The key is to heat the skillet beforehand in the oven, then throw in a couple tablespoons of butter to melt.  When the butter is sizzling, add the cornbread batter and pop it back in the oven.  This gives the cornbread a great crust, especially where the butter oozes over the top of the batter around the edges.

chambers 90c stove range
That is some buttery goodness around the edge of the pan
Most of this cornbread went into the dressing recipe, but we did have a couple pieces left.  The next morning they were sliced in half and toasted on the griddle, then drizzled with maple syrup.  Leftover cornbread makes for a mighty fine breakfast.
Cornbread (Printable Recipe)
from the 1950 Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book recipe, Canary Corn Sticks
1 egg
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups corn meal
1 teaspoon sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons butter (for skillet)
Preheat oven to 450F.  When the oven is hot, add a 10" cast iron skillet to the oven to heat it.  After about 5 minutes, add the 2 tablespoons butter and let it begin to sizzle before adding batter.
Beat the egg and buttermilk until well combined.  Stir together the soda, flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add to egg mixture, along with melted butter, and beat together.  Pour batter into heated/buttered skillet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Coconut Bars

A local medical association has a twice yearly book sale to raise money for medical field scholarships.  Despite the fact that I'm in danger of being crushed to death by my cookbook hoard, 9 books followed me home from the fall sale.  Most of them came from the clearance room, so my total cost was $11.50, with the big splurge of $5 for the Julia Child book.

Hors d'Oeuvre and Canapes by James Beard, Austrian Cooking & Baking by Gretel Beer, The I Hate to Cook Book by Peg Bracken, Eat Great, Lose Weight by Suzanne Somers, Homemade Cookies Cook Book from Better Homes and Gardens, The Way to Cook by Julia Child, Magic Chef Cooking, Lorain Cooking, Southern Plantation Cooking by Corinne Carlton Geer
Don't ridicule me for the Suzanne Somers book.  It violates my rule against diet books and she can be a little "out there" sometimes, but she knows tasty food.  I had copied a few recipes out of that book in the past, so I couldn't pass it up for a quarter.

Interestingly (to me, at least), the Magic Chef cookbook is a later edition of the Lorain cookbook beside it. From my brief searching, it looks like Lorain made oven regulators that were used on many different stove brands, much like my Chambers stove has a Robertshaw oven regulator.  I would guess at the time the Lorain book was  published (1928), temperature-regulated ovens were a modern marvel.

I wanted to justify adding more books by baking something from one of them for Sunday tea and crumpets.  Alas, I had a serious craving for these coconut bars and since I hadn't blogged about them before, I decided to go for it.

Cookies by Bess (1980) by Bess Hoffman

This book did come from one of the previous book sales, so that counts for something, right?  Right?  It has also become one of my favorite books for cookies and bars.  Bess Hoffman knew a good cookie!

These are really good, with a brown sugar shortbread base, topped with a gooey butterscotch/coconut filling that becomes brown and crisp on top. It's been a hit every time I have made it.

Chambers 90c stove range

Coconut Bars (Printable recipe)
from Cookies by Bess (1980) by Bess Hoffman

1 cup sifted flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/8 teaspoon salt

2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped shredded coconut

For the crust: Sift together the flour, brown sugar and salt.  Cut in the butter.  Press  mixture into greased 8x8x2 inch pan.  Bake at 375F for 10 minutes.

For the topping: Beat eggs slightly; add sugar.  Add flour, soda and salt to eggs.  Fold in vanilla and coconut.  Spread evenly over hot baked crust.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes longer at the same temperature.  Cool and cut into squares.