Sunday, February 28, 2010

Vegetable Quiche

Actually, this is not a quiche at all in the true sense. It's a casserole with quiche like ingredients and no crust. This is one of the many dishes containing the Big E, evil eggplant. I personally like eggplant, and many times when the BF's husband goes to California, I whip up ratatouille for dinner. However, my husband emphatically does not like it, so I have to wait for events like potluck dinners to cook all these eggplant recipes.
Anyway, last night, his church group was having a potluck dinner, and I made vegetable quiche. I planned to make another side dish too, just so he could eat it, but I had a cold, so I stuck with one.
To prepare this dish, you start out by slicing and salting one eggplant. This is supposed to draw the moisture out. Since I had plenty of time, I did so. Then, you lightly fry the eggplant, and put it in a baking dish, and sprinkle it with chopped onion, parsley, thyme, and salt and pepper. Then, you top the eggplant with thick slices of what are supposed to be beefsteak tomatoes, but I went with generic supermarket, since beefsteak tomatoes are only available in the late summer at farmers markets.
Then, you top each slice of tomato with a slice of mozzarella, and pour the quichey eggs and cream mixture overall. Then, you bake it for 40 minutes.
It's perfectly good. It has a rather mild flavor. The potluck people seemed to like it. Let's hope they don't get sick of eggplant, because they'll be eating a lot of it.
Some of these dishes, I have no idea who I will get to eat them. Probably no one, if I tell them what it is. For example, this book contains no less than two recipes for head cheese. For those of you not raised in Pennsylvania, or not familiar with the writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder, who describes in detail how to make head cheese in one of her books, head cheese is made from a pig's head. Cheese is a misnomer. There's nothing cheesy about it.
You remove this and that, boil the rest, reserve the ears(?) and then chop it all up and chill it, and it becomes a meat in aspic kind of thing.
The BF's daughter now takes great pleasure in rooting through the cookbook in order to find particularly, shall we say unusual, recipes, to announce to the general public. When she proclaimed that I would have to make head cheese, the BF's husband gave me a look that suggested equal parts anguish and a sort of if-you-make-me-eat-this-it's-the-divorce-court-for-you type of thing. Fun.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Anne's Hamburgers

Anne's Hamburgers, from Missouri, are actually very good. They have such small amounts of additives relative to the meat that one wonders how the additives can make a difference. The recipe calls for 1/2 pound of ground chuck and 1/2 pound of neck meat. Neck meat? What neck? Whose neck? If you Google neck meat, the approved way of finding out what something is, you get quotations from what I call Stupid Guy movies about bruising neck meat when being put in a headlock. I think it's pork, actually. I omitted the neck meat.
It has one egg, 2 tablespoons heavy cream, 1 tablespoon bread crumbs, and salt and pepper. Mix it up and fry it in a pan. Like I said, the additives are so small relative to the meat, that I don't see how they possibly could make a difference in the hamburger, but they do make a nice juicy hamburger.
On the opposite page are two recipes that made my mouth water. Yum, yum. Corned Beef in a Pot, and How to Corn Beef. Now, I have made corned beef innumerable times but I have never corned it myself. I am looking forward to doing it.
Corned beef was one of the culinary wonders of my childhood, second only to its product, corned beef hash with poached eggs on them. To me, this was an ambrosial dish, and exciting because it involved eating eggs for dinner. We lived a culinarily restricted life up there on the farm. My mother, the former New York debutant, was what could be described as a good, plain cook. Chops, roasts, broiled chicken, frozen vegetables, and nothing the least little bit ethnic, or containing, God forbid, garlic.
Actually, come to think of it, my mother did slice garlic cloves in quarters and stick the pieces into the skin of a leg of lamb. But the first time I remember cooking with it was when I made spaghetti sauce from scratch, and had to cut up and cook in butter a clove of garlic. The recipe came out of a Betty Crocker Children's Cookbook. I must have been about 12. My mother looked with disgust at my efforts at mincing a clove of garlic snorted, "You'll reek," and reminced it.
My eating experience was so restricted that I was 17 or 18 and in college when my boyfriend, now my husband, took me to a local Italian restaurant and ordered ravioli. "What do you want to order that for?" I inquired incredulously with visions of Chef BoyRDee swirling in my head. As she got older, my mother did loosen up a bit cooking wise, but we never had anything remotely like Italian spaggetti.
The result of all this was when I did discover some pedestrian staple that the rest of the country had eaten every Saturday night, I went nuts. I remember discovering baked beans at a country club buffet for the Forth of July. "Could we have them again?" I pleaded. No. Ditto fish sticks. I thought fish sticks were amazing.
Anyhow I'm looking forward to corning my own beef.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dinner Party

Saturday evening was given over to The Meeting Between the Families. The Berkshire Farmer's son is engaged to a truly wonderful woman, and we had her mother and brother and brother's fiance to dinner. The cooking went the way it always does. The BF's husband's ideal dinner party is one that is completely ready to go at 5:00 with the guests due at 7:00. He aims for that goal when he cooks. He hasn't quite made it yet, but he's able to be out of the shower before the guests arrive.
When the BF ccooks, things are more haphazard. Due to a morning which involved driving 60 miles, giving a talk to a group of volunteers at school and shopping for the dinner party, the actual cooking did not get underway until around 4:00. The BF's husband expressed mild doubt as to whether all could be completed on time. Never fear, said BF.
Orange Water Ice

First I undertook the dessert, since it had to freeze. BF's daughter is on a wheat-gluten-dairy free diet, so some combing through the cookbook was necessary to find a recipe that contained none of those forbidden items. Orange water ice is incredibly simple, and really good. Squeeze two cups of orange juice, boil three cups of water and two cups of sugar, cool the boiled sugar water on a handy snowbank next to the back door, mix together, pour into some cake pans(you want each cake pan to contain only about an inch of orange sugar water, and slam it into the freezer until dinnertime. You have a fabulous, not filling dessert. These frozen desserts are really easy.

Leg of Lamb with Saffron-and-Caper Sauce

Then came the main course. Let us say that I did not exactly read this recipe before I started to make it. I did look at the list of ingredients and buy those we lacked, like a 5 pound boned lag of lamb. but I was somewhat taken aback by the first words in the instructions, "Night before..." It was now 4:30pm. The leg of lamb was supposed to sort of marinate over night after being coated with a mixture of butter, garlic and cayanne pepper. Then, it was supposed to be roasted in tin foil.
I chopped up the garlic, mixed it with 6 tablespoons butter and a tablespoon of cayenne pepper, smeared it on the leg of lamb, wrapped the whole thing in tin foil and dumped it in the oven. It was now 5:20 and BF's son was issuing edicts about how his future mother in law liked meat. (Well done). Whatever marinating needed to be done could be done in the oven.
BF's husband was peeling potatoes for oven roasted potatoes.
Fresh Vegetable Soup
Next up was the soup. This was rather a problem. I had made many of the soups in the 80s, 90s and oughts and the ones that were left tended toward the A. meat based or B. weird. (There are four pages on how to kill a snapping turtle and make soup out of it.) So, about all that was left was this very simple (bland) soup.It called for carrots, peas, string beans, potatoes, water, salt, pepper and flour. The first thing I decided, was all these veg floating around in water broth would be a little too uninspired. So, I substituted vegetable broth for the water and pureed it in the blender.
This operation is always fun. I remember making pumpkin soup back when the kids were young, and painting the kitchen wall a nice pumpkin color. I always overfill the blender and blast a tsunami of hot soup all over the wall and myself. I added a little bit to the collage of soup on the kitchen wall and tasted. Bland, not
as bland, but, still, pretty bland. Worchestershire sauce, a dollop of vegetarian boullion mix, and an array of herbs followed, and it was declared to be "all right."
While timing the vegetables, I contrived to turn off the oven, an act of genius that was not discovered until 6:00 pm. The oven was turned back on and up, and various curses were spouted.
In spite of potential or real disasters, the nicest woman in the world's family had a great time, and so did we. The lamb was just fine for her mother, and okay for us too. The dessert was a triumph and nobody walked out over the soup. My son did demand to know why I had pureed it. I churlishly snapped, "Because I thought it would taste better."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Texas Spaghetti

For a common food, spaghetti is a hard word to spell. There's that h stuck in there for no effect, and the two t's, but not two g's. What makes Texas Spaghetti Texan is a tablespoonful of chili powder, a tablespoonful of paprika, and a teaspoon of cumin seed. The result is more like chili than spaghetti, except you pour it over noodles and it has no beans. It's spicy.
It was received well by a family that is as particular about spaghetti as they are about meatloaf. A family that in fact reveres spaghetti. My son had a dinner party for his 28th birthday, and his first choice of food was spaghetti. He switched it to lasagna, but the fact that he would ask for spaghetti when he could have had roast beef or steak, is telling.
When we went back to boarding school and college, my mother would ask what "the condemned man's last meal" would be. My condemned man's last meal was always standing rib roast, referred to in our family as "noble sight." We called it noble sight because in the 1942 edition of the Boston Cooking School Fanny Farmer Cookbook, next to the recipe for Yorkshire Pudding, were the words, "A standing rib toast is a noble sight." I never quite understood what the appeal of Yorkshire Pudding was. For one thing, it wasn't pudding.
My family has a code named dish too. It is called, Are you ready for this? The sordid secret of its tastiness. The name came from a food newsletter written by a guy in Boston named John Thorne. The ssoit, is a casserole made of sliced parboiled potatoes, sausages, and Cheese Whiz, or Cheese Wheez as we like to call it. IThe name comes from a newsletter written by a Boston food writer named John Thorne. Thorne had a wicked sense of humor. In one of his articles he wrote about the traditional women's magazine kind of dish, with some strange, secret ingrediant, like chewing gum or grape jelly. The title referred to mayonnaise.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Avocado Meatloaf

My husband, always the wit, described this as "not nearly as disgusting as one might think," We have very strict standards for meatloaf in our house. Meatloaf contains hamburger, rice krispies, ketchup and chopped onion. These standards were laid down 50 years ago, by my mother-in-law and are not to be messed with. So serving meatloaf with avocado is something close to a heresy. Or so he thinks.
This is just a normal meatloaf recipe, (not enough onion or ketchup, I think) except for the mashed avocado one adds at the end. The instructions say not to overbake it, because that will give the avocado an acid taste. Thankfully, we avoided the acid taste, although it was hard to estimate cooking times because the recipe said to cook them in a muffin pan, to get individual little meatloaves, and I cooked mine in one large loaf.
The gravy, which also contained avocado, was interesting. It instructed the cook to brown the flour in a heavy dry frying pan, but not to burn it. This is tricky. I had never browned flour before. You sprinkle it into the frying pan, put the pan on moderately high heat, and stir it constantly. When the pan gets really hot, take it off the gas and keep stirring. That's when the browning takes place.
It gives the gravy sort of a burned taste which is obliterated by the avocado. Avocado gives the gravy a thick, creamy consistancy. This is one of those "What are we going to do with all those gd____________ (fill in the blank here with your produce of choice) recipes." While most of us are not troubled with avocados to the extent that we need to invent recipes to deal with the excess, this makes a nice change from the rice krispies. But only once. Back to school tomorrow. The little nephew of The Big Snow failed to materialize.

Avocado Meat Loaf

Meat Loaf
1 egg well beaten
1 pound ground round steak
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons celery tops, finely chopped
1/4 cup catchup
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup soft breadcrumbs
1 avocado, peeled and roughly mashed
2 tablespoons parsley
3 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1/4 cup flour
1 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon Cheddar Cheese
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
few drops lime juice or lemon juice
1/2 avocado, peeled and roughly mashed

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Combine all the meat loaf ingredients, mix well and spoon into well-greased twelve-hole muffin tins. Bake twenty minutes. Do not overcook or an acid taste will develop from the avocado.
3. Meanwhile, melt one tablespoon of the butter for the gravy and saute the onion in the butter slowly until transparent. In a separate small dry skillet, brown the flour, stirring constantly, but do not allow flour to get too brown or to scorch. Add remaining butter, mix well and cool.
4. Add wilted onions to cooled flour mixture. Stir in the broth, cheese, pepper, Worcestershire and lime or lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring until thickened.
5. Add the avocado to gravy just before serving. Reheat if necessary, but do not overheat or an acid flavor will develop. Serve gravy over meat loaves.
Makes four to six servings.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

More on Grapefruit Sherbet

May I say the Grapefruit Sherbet was sensational. It tasted like the essence of grapefruit. Grapefruit sweetened and squared. I put a drop of red food coloring in the mix and it turned a lovely light pink. The separation problem is solved by the last step, where you scrape it out of the pan where it has frozen for an hour, mix it up again and refreeze it.
Life is now getting back to normal, after The Big Snow and The Son of the Big Snow. Teachers had to go to school on Friday, and basically. it was about time. There is an ugly rumor via the weather people that we will shortly have the Little Nephew of The Big Snow, on Monday afternoon and evening. So, probably that means fewer recipes cranked out unless the Little Nephew of the Big Storm turns out to be bigger and meaner than predicted.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Marmalade Recessitation

Even though the tenth was yet another day off from school, another day snowed in (We are now on Son of The Big Snow and another foot of snow), not much happened cooking wise. For breakfast, I made Eggs (not huevos) Rancheros. This involves making chili sauce, (I used salsa.)frying tortillas in lard or peanut oil (I prefer butter) and poaching the eggs in the chili sauce. Not a bad idea, and prevents the eggs from breaking as you scrape them out of the pan, since they are neatly nestled in the chili sauce. Being snowed in gives one an excuse to eat things like this for breakfast, arguing that it is helping to keep you warm.
Today, we had a breakthrough. The Berkshire Farmer called her New York cousin, (one of many actually) who advised her that she just had to boil the fruit in sugar syrup some more. So, after cleaning up the kitchen once again, I dumped three pints of f in ss into a sauce pan and started boiling. Now, for all you failed jelly makers out there reading this (if anyone is) the trick is to keep boiling. Also be careful, because at some point the stuff will boil over, so you have to keep it at a very low heat.
It probably boiled for another 30-40 minutes. (A useful blogger would have noted the time. Sorry folks.) And, lo and behold, it started doing that falling off the spoon thing in clots as advertised by the cookbook! The problem seems to be with the times. The book says test after ten minutes of boiling, so naturally, the uninitiated jelly maker things something should be happening after 10 or 15 or 20 minutes.
Since this recipe is making a vast quantity of marmalade, obviously, you have to boil longer. Once the 3 pints started jelling, I scraped the paraffin off the other jars, dumped the paraffin on the tea towel that was stiff with dried syrup from the last time, and started boiling down the rest of it in the big pot. So, as soon as the big pot jells, I will go back to melting paraffin and pouring neat little amounts on the marmalade in the clean jars, newly sterilized by the dishwasher.
Grapefruit Sherbet
After that, still squelching around the kitchen floor made sticky by two evolutions of marmalade manufacture, I turned to Grapefruit Sherbet. I told you I started all this as a way to get rid of huge quantities of grapefruit. It's my son's birthday party tonight, and my daughter is on a gluten and dairy free diet. So, grapefruit sherbet.
I have never made homemade ice cream, except in that handy little French ice cream maker, which my husband finally induced me to give away because we hadn't used it in three years. I boiled a cup of sugar with a cup of water, beat 2 egg whites into soft peaks, beat another cup of sugar into it, squeezed two cups of grapefruit juice, and tried to grate grapefuit peel. My husband leapt into the breach while I complained about how it's hard to grate stuff, and chopped a huge pile of peal into tiny little fragments. Then, I poured the sugar syrup and juice into the egg whites and wound up with something liquidy the color of high gloss white paint. Also, it appeared that it had separated. Hmm.
Right now, it's freezing in shallow pans. When it forms a mush, it has to be dumped into a bowl and beaten until smooth. Then, refrozen. We'll see what we come up with.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Grapefruit Marmalade

Today, I made Grapefruit Marmalade. Let me just say, right here, that I have never been much of a hand with jams and jellies. Basically the stuff never jells. I end up with berries in sugar syrup. And today was not, unfortunately, the exception to the rule. I measured the mixture, and found that I had 18 cups of water/fruit solution. I added one cup of sugar for each cup of solution. I boiled. And nothing happened.
What was supposed to happen was, the stuff would thicken, after ten minutes of boiling. I would be able to tell it was thickening because, when I scooped up a spoonful and let it cool, it would converge into one big glop in the middle of the spoon. Before it was ready, it would come down in two separate streams.
I found these instructions singularly unhelpful, since my solution was not coming down in two separate streams. It was coming down in one drip in the middle of the spoon. I suggest that anyone interested in doing this consult The Joy of Cooking, which has a full page on making jam, and a helpful diagram. The diagram shows gloppy looking jam on a spoon, coming off the spoon in two streams, and then coming off the spoon in one cohesive mass.
I consulted the Internet. The postings that I looked at had less information than my cookbook, although one of them had a chart indicating that this stuff should jell in 20 minutes. So after I had let it boil for more than a half an hour, I started pouring it into its sterilized jars. It looked beautiful, a lovely clear orange substance (liquid, let's be honest.) But it poured into the jars like water. Well, thought I as I poured melted parafin onto the liquid in the jars, perhaps it will jell as it sits.
Then I trudged off through the snow to get my hair cut. When I came back, four hours later, the solution in the jars was still liquid. And will probably stay that way. I have 16 jars of grapefruit, orange and lemon bits in sugar water. The Berkshire Farmer's husband suggests boiling the contents of each jar as it is opened and mixing it with corn starch. He also produced a memorable quote on eating. "Almost everything is available. Whether or not anyone wants to eat it is a separate matter." This could be the motto for this blog.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Beginning

Somewhere around 1974 or 1975 my mother gave me three cookbooks. There was The New York Times Cookbook by Craig Clairborne, The New York Times Menu Cookbook, and The New York Times Heritage Cookbook by Jean Hewitt. I used Craig a lot, to reproduce the dishes my mother made. I used the menu cookbook and the Heritage cookbook rarely. I do remember, at Thanksgiving, possibly 1976, finding out that the Heritage cookbook was good for recipes that used up random ingredients. I remember making three or four dishes using cranberries, including pork chops with cranberries, and something called Cape Cod Cranberry Pie, which was really more like cake batter poured over cranberries and sugar. It was good. People liked it.
Later on, I bought too much celery and made Celery Chowder, from Florida. It was like clam chowder, only with celery.
I began to read the book, and it conjured up a way of life that I was enthralled with, at least theoretically. I grew up on a dairy farm in Massachusetts, and as a child, I imagined having my own farm, and growing all my own food, canning preserves, and in general leading the sort of life immortalized by Laura Ingalls Wilder in Farmer Boy. Even when I was a kid, I canned applesauce, and tried to make bread. My mother, who was a New York debutant before she was a farmer's wife, was amused by all this earnestness.
Of course, when I was a teenager, I quickly became aware that Sheffield, Massachusetts was not where it was at, and that nothing ever, ever happened there. For college, I was off to the quasi big city, Washington, DC, where I went to anti-war rallies and invited total strangers to sleep on my dorm room floor.
But the land still had an appeal. I started a community garden. My boyfriend and I drove out to pick your own places to buy tomatoes to can spaghetti sauce. I could have gone back to Massachusetts and worked on the farm. It would have been awkward. My father had retired and rented the farm. I would have had to live with my parents. Basically, I liked the idea of all that hard work rather than the reality of it. I had experienced the reality. I had gotten up at 6:00 am to run the chopper to feed the cows. I had driven the tractor for haying. I had weeded the garden and fed the calves and done the milking. I wanted a more exciting life.
But I still liked the idea of all that, and the Heritage Cookbook was one way of putting me in touch with what I liked to call my roots, (which I ironically pronounced ruts.) So sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s, way before Julie Powell, I decided I would cook every recipe in the book.
The New York Times Heritage Cookbook is organized by the regions of America; the Northeast, the South, the Midwest, Mountain/Northern Plains, Southwest and Northwest. Within each of those chapters, it presented appetizers and soups, meat, poultry and main dishes, vegetables, main dish accompaniments and salads, breads, pies cakes, desserts and cookies, and miscellaneous, which is stuffing, pickles, relishes, and stuff like Elderberry Wine from Nebraska. Unlike Julie Powell, I set no deadline, and approached things in no organized fashion. Basically, I made things that I or my family would want to eat.
I raced through the meat chapters in the 80s, cooking some things again and again, like Baked Pork Chops with Rice, from Iowa and Pork Chops and Potato Casserole, from, again, Iowa. That page has brown spots scattered around the page and a big brown stain spread over the recipe for Braised Stuffed Pork Chops on the opposite page. The 80s and the 90s were also big for the desserts. My family as a general rule did not eat desserts, so I used the book for special events, and donations to the soup kitchen. Two whole pages of cake recipes, from Greta's Chocolate Cake to Grandmother's Sorghum Cake have the designation "for SOME" scrawled over the title with the date. My little son and I baked the cakes together, and I told him how the men who came for lunch would reach for a slice of his cake.
For a while I adopted a tradition of having a friend or two over for New Years Day lunch, serving cake, and telling fortunes which involved carving tiny ships out of walnut shells. In 1992, I made Buckeye Maple Syrup Cake. In 1989, I made Orange Cake from Florida.
Other holidays were marked by other dishes. We used to invite our friend Constance and her children for Christmas dinner. After dinner always involved uproarious games of Pictionary during which I laughed until I couldn't breathe. In 1995 I made Trifle Royal. For Thanksgiving, I worked my way through the array of stuffings and "dressings," and the traditional pies. In 1984 I made St. Louis Pumpkin Pie and in 2002, Frozen Pumpkin Pie. In 1989, we invited our neighbors, Nancy and Dave and their kids for Thanksgiving and I made Cranberry-Pumpkin Chiffon Pie.
We had another Christmas tradition for a while, of taking some baked good (my husband and I used to refer to them as "baked bads," to the firefighters, because they had to work on Christmas. On Christmas Day, 1994, we took Cinnamon Rolls, Plain and Fancy (I don't remember which) to the firefighters.
Sometimes I had to be creative. My husband Bob won't touch eggplant, and suspiciously prods dishes he suspects might contain it. I remember taking an eggplant dish to a first grade potluck, because he wouldn't have to eat it. I used a whole series of Blue and Gold dinners, and post Scout Sunday receptions , to foist various foods on an unsuspecting clientele. The post Scout Sunday receptions were great for running through the hors d'oeurves. On February 7, 1993 I made Cheese-Olive Appetizers, which seems to involve wrapping green olives in pastry and baking them. Hmm. In 1991 I made Cheese Straws, in 1992, Quiche a la Roma, which is quiche with tomato, green pepper, salami, cheddar cheese and oregeno, and in 1994, Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms.
But, in the 2000s, my efforts petered out. I had made most of the stuff that anyone would eat. My son had graduated from Boy Scouts and the recipes that were left were A. weird, and B. full of hard to get ingredients, like elk steak.
Then came the twin influences of the BIG SNOW of 2010, and Julie and Julia. I happened to finish reading Julie and Julia on the night the BIG SNOW began. A week earlier I had bought a case of what I thought were oranges to help out a friend's daughter's school fundraiser. They turned out to be grapefruit. I like grapefruit as well as anyone, but my husband can't eat them. So between my daughter and me, we were looking at eating one grapefruit a day. I didn't think that would finish them before the rot got to them. So I thought of the Heritage Cookbook.
It did have some recipes for grapefruit, ones that I hadn't made. There is Grapefruit Sherbet, Strawberry Grapefruit Mousse, and Grapefruit Marmelade. I considered each, and then began leafing through the book. Not all the recipes were weird. Some of them looked pretty good. Why hadn't I ever made New Mexican Corn Bread, which features a can of cream-style corn as well as the usual ingredients? Or Orange Nut Bread? Or Chick-Peas with Chilies? I could do this. Of course there were some things that I probably could not do. While I could get my husband to eat Texas Liver, which sounds pretty good, Morcilla (Blood Pudding) which features 4 cups of hog's blood is clearly a non starter. That is, assuming I could get 4 cups of hog's blood in the District of Columbia. That reminds me of the time I was supposed to procure a turkey killed by a Muslim for Thanksgiving dinner.
So I started up again, on Saturday morning with Huevos Rancheros. This recipe is just fried eggs on corn tortillas with salsa. Even Noel, my daughter, who is on a dairy and gluten free diet could eat it. Easy-peasy. How come I never made that? My next effort was going to be Salt Rising Bread. The Heritage Cookbook is not given to comments on the food, but Erma Rombauer Beck, the author of The Joy of Cooking, (whom Meryl Streep, in the person of Julia Childs, called Mrs. Joy) referred to an "assortment of smells" created by a friend addicted to making salt rising bread. So, I knew I could expect odors.
I went back into the kitchen after breakfast and read the recipe for Salt Rising Bread. It started out, "Day before, place the potatoes, cornmeal, sugar baking soda, etc in a plastic or ceramic container." Usually the words Day before were what did me in. Not this time. It was Saturday morning. The levening agent, which was what the potatoes and all that other stuff was to make, could do its thing overnight and I could make the bread Sunday. I sliced my potatoes, sprinkled the corn meal, boiled and poured the water, and put all aside on the counter.
The instructions continued, "The mixture will foam up. Do not continue if the mixture is not working." Despite the fact that I turned the oven to 170 degrees to keep the mixture warm, it did not foam. I probably should not have flushed the mess down the downstairs toilet, because it has been somewhat turgid since. Hmm.
So, Sunday, what with the Superbowl and all, I didn't make anything. I did get the ingredients for grapefruit marmalade, which was, "1 grapefruit, 1 orange, 1 lemon and sugar." I picked up a two pound box of sugar at the gas station on Saturday, after stumbling through the ruts of the snow. However, I didn't really read the recipe until Monday morning (no school), when I read the second step, after cut up all the fruit really small, which was let it soak for 12 hours. Hmmm. Then, I didn't read the third step until this evening. The third step involves measuring the massive amount of material you have, and then adding one cup of sugar for every cup of fruit and water. Obviously, two pounds is not going to cut it. So, the marmalade will soak for 24 hours, not 12, and then, I'll go out and get a five pound bag of sugar, which should be up to the job.
Along the way, I searched for canning jars, and dumped out about 8 jars of Fuling Mill Farm Chili Sauce, which I made in 2005 and never really used. Bob protested briefly, but I pointed out that the chili sauce had turned brown on the top, and he agreed that we should ditch it. So, there's no school tomorrow, so I'll get after the marmalade then.