Thursday, March 31, 2011

Clam Cakes

We also had clam cakes for first cousin once removed. It actually calls for canned clams, so I didn't have to do the search through multiple venues for ingredients routine. I prefer Rhode Island Clam Cakes, which I made this summer. These were okay, but rather liquid-y, partly due to my not reading the recipe all the way through in advance.

One is supposed to chill the clam cake mixture for at least 2 hours, and let the cakes dry out four 15 minutes after dipping them in egg and bread crumbs. I skipped that step entirely since I had to toss the bread crumbs intended for dipping into the mixture to get it to hold together.So while the Rhode Island Clam Cakes were luxuriously puffy, these Massachusetts Clam Cakes were flat. They were okay. People seemed to like them.They probably would have been better with the egg and bread crumb dipping. If you decide to make them, give yourself plenty of time

Clam Cakes

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons minced shallot

1 1/4 cup bread crumbs

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup cream

2 seven ounce cans minced clams, drained

1/2 cup minced celery

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

1 egg beaten and diluted with one tablespoon water

fat for deep frying

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan and saute the shallot in the butter until soft but not browned.

2. Add one-half cup of the bread crumbs, the lightly beaten eggs, the cream, clams, celery, lemon juice, parsley , salt and pepper. Chill the mixture at least two hours.

3. Shape into eight two-inch cakes. Dip the cakes into the remaining crumbs and then into the remaining egg. Coast the cakes with crumbs a second time. Allow the cakes to dry out for fifteen minutes.

4. Fry the cakes, a few at a time, until golden brown in deep fat heated to 375 degrees. Drain. Makes four servings

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rutabaga Pie

Rutabaga Pie! Are you serious? Rutabaga Pie? Or, as my daughter asked, "Are you going to tell people what's in it?" The answer is, yes. I made this on Tuesday evening for Wednesday when my first cousin once removed came down from New York on a business trip. Son and fiance and daughter all came to dinner, and we had a high old time laughing about the antics of her two year old and looking at my parents' 1942 wedding pictures. FCOR is about 35. She was born right after I got out of college, and I used to spend a lot of time hanging out at her parents' house. So, as cousins should be, I am someone she has known all her life. Her mother is the sister of my cousin Cricket, my one blog follower. If her mother ever gave me any cooking advice, she would be referred to as my Boston cousin. Anyhow, although I refrained from Rutabaga Pie all these years (and Rutabaga Salad, and Pot Roast with mashed rutabagas as well), on closer examination, one will notice it has all the same ingredients as pumpkin pie. Of course, except for rutabaga instead of pumpkin. Anyway, it tastes pretty much like pumpkin pie. The rutabaga taste (and smell) is disseminated in the cooking and mashing of the rutabagas. The recipe says to sieve the rutabagas. Don't bother. Just make sure you cook them enough so they will be chewed up by the blender. So, if you have a surplus of rutabagas, (which frankly seems unlikely unless you live on a rutabaga farm) here's something new to do with them. Rutabaga Pie 1 1/2 cups cooked, mashed, and sieved (unnecessary) rutabaga or yellow turnip 1 cup light brown sugar 2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses, 2 eggs lightly beaten 1 1/4 cups light cream 1/2 teaspoon ginger 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon cloves 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 unbaked deep nine inch pie shell 1/2 cup heavy cream whipped sliced filberts 1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 2. Beat together the rutabaga, brown sugar, molasses, eggs, light cream, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt and vanilla. Pour into the pie shell and bake fifteen minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees and bake about forty minutes longer, or until set. Do not over bake. 3. Cool. Serve topped with the whipped cream and sliced filberts. Makes six servings.

Hot Apple and Potato Salad

This week has been a perfect whirlwind of blog related cookery, which just goes to prove that I could do this faster if I would put my mind to it. But that is true of just about anything. I could get better scores on my teacher evaluations if I put my mind to it. Anyhow, Hot Apple and Potato Salad is... a dish that one needs to monitor the cooking of the potatoes for.

I got on the phone with my friend Juliette while they were cooking. She told me that she, her mother, her two sisters and her husband are all coming to Son's wedding in May. Should be fun. As a result, the potatoes were more fit for mashing than potato salad. I am not terribly open to innovations in potato salad. German potato salad doesn't cut it at all. The various different deli potato salads such as three cheese are okay, but not great. Red bliss potato salad is about the best. This potato salad is not very potato salad-y, meaning it has no mayo. But, since the weather has been cold, windy and rainy, it is a good dish for a chilly night.

Hot Apple Potato Salad
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 cup boiling water
3 cups sliced cooked potatoes
1 cup diced celery
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 slices bacon
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
3 unpeeled red apples cored and diced

1. Place the raisins in abowl, pour the boiling water over rasins and let stand three minutes. Drain.
2. Combine the potatoes, celery, parsley, salt and pepper in a skillet.
3. In another skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Add the cider vinegar, tarragon vinegar, sugar and lemon rind and bring to a boil.
4. Pour over the potato mixture. Heat gently. Add the apples and raisins and heat mixture to serving temperature.
Makes 8 servings.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Golden Cabbage

Monday night brought Golden Cabbage, which for some unknown reason I had viewed with suspicion. It's pretty simple. Shred cabbage, cook for an hour, make a cheese sauce and bake. The combination of cooking the cabbage for an hour and the cheese sauce gives it a mashed pototoey consistancy. It's good reheated too. It was very good. I didn't take a picture because it was very white food. I chose to serve it with pork chops on our everyday china, which is all white.

I got home relatively early for me after a satisfying hour with my first tutee, Elisa, who has been faithfully doing her homework without a glimmer of understanding as to what it was all about. She showed signs of being able to count money. I used my early arrival time to go down and work on the blog, not to start dinner.So when I went back upstairs and discovered that the cabbage had to boil for an hour, and then, "bake until thoroughly heated." I was somewhat dismayed.

My husband teases me about how, when he cooks, dinner is on the table when I get home. When I cook, no matter when he gets home, we eat around 9. So, this was another later than necessary meal.

Golden Cabbage

2 pounds white or green cabbage

2 quarts water

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons plus one teaspoon salt

2 cups milk

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup butter

1/4 pound Swiss cheese, grated

1. Remove and discard the core from the cabbage. Shred or chop cabbage finely and combine it with the water, sugar and one and one-half tablespoons of the salt. Bring to aboil, cover and cook over low heat one hour. Remove cabbage and drain thoroughly in a colander.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

3. Combine the nmilk, cornstarch, butter and remaining salt. Bring to aboil over moderate heat, stirring. Combine with drained cabbage. Stir in all but four tablespoons grated cheese and blend well. Poour cabbage mixture into a buttered 71/2 by 12 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake just until thoroughly heated. Run the dish briefly under the broiler and serve hot. Makes six servings.

Egg Chowder

Egg Chowder is a monument to the inventiveness of the farm wife. Imagine being on a farm in Maine in the dead of winter. There are no more vegetables except the root veggies. All you have is potatoes. There's no fish, either because you live too far from the coast to buy it, or because the boats are frozen in by the ice. So what can you put in your basic potato, onion, milk chowder to make it a little different, to give it a little spark? Eggs! Egg chowder is the chowder base (milk, potatoes, onions) with eggs carefully broken into it and allowed to poach. It's cheap, easy and tasty. What more can you want from a soup? There are several (6,000,000 if you believe Google,) variations on this on the Internet. One, at, involves making sort of a casserole and using dark rum as a flavoring agent. Several use hardboiled eggs. I had no idea until I started snooping through the book for unmade recipes, that there even was such a thing as Egg Chowder. Egg Chowder 3/4 cup diced salt pork 1 onion thinly sliced 3 potatoes, sliced 4 cups milk, scalded freshly ground black pepper to taste 4 eggs pilot crackers 1. Cook the salt pork until it releases some of the fat, but do not allow to become crisp. 2. Add the onion and potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, ten minutes. Add the milk and pepper and cook gently until potatoes are tender.3. Break eggs into simmering mixture and cook three minutes. Serve with crackers. Makes 4 servings.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tartar Sauce

On Saturday night, we had salmon and spinach with fennel. Aha, I thought. Tartar Sauce! Quick and easy recipe that knocks off another one and builds my monthly total. Also, tartar sauce goes well with salmon. I followed the recipe except, I used one cup of mayonnaise instead of 1 1/2 cups. I only wanted a cup of tartar sauce. I recommend this. The pickle and onion and the rest of the ingredients are concentrated in less mayonnaise so the tartar sauce has more of a punch. Just two random observations are, capers are hard to cut up, and cornichons (little French pickles) are too. Tartar Sauce 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise 2 tablespoons chopped sour pickle 1 teaspoon finely minced onion 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped capers 1 teaspoon chopped chives 1 teaspoon mustard, preferably Dijon or Dusseldorf 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped tarragon Lemon juice to taste 1 hard cooked egg, sieved
1. Combine all ingredients and chill. Makes about two cups.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cole Slaw with Cooked Dressing

This salad, much favored by badgers, predates mayonnaise and things like olive oil in the farm kitchen. If you are the kind of person who stays up at night wondering what cole slaw originally tasted like, this will answer your question.
I had been planning to make this for weeks. It's possible that the cabbage was left over from the corned beef and cabbage that we had before we had corned beef hash. Luckily, cabbage has wonderful keeping qualities. You just shave off the black parts and chop up the rest.
My husband has been leaving early all week, since the Congress of the United States has been having one of its "District Work Periods" i.e. hit lobbyists up for money times, so he got to leave at 5:00 like a civilized person. Normally, he leaves between 8:30 and 9:00 pm, so we keep European hours. But this past week, he did all the cooking, so we would actually be finished with dinner and washed up by 8:15.
Well, all good things must come to an end, including district work periods, so tonight, I made dinner and got around to the cole slaw with cooked dressing. Don't be afraid of the double boiler. The dressing takes around 15 to 20 minutes to thicken. Just keep the water under the double boiler, which, in my house is whatever bowl I can lay my hands on, sitting on top of one of my pots, just simmering. You don't want it at a rolling boil, but not boiling means the stuff does not thicken.
Luckily, I happened to have a Campbell's Soup can with a little bacon fat sitting on the counter. We actually don't eat that much bacon. Two weeks ago, when I was home sick for a day with a cold, I cooked some bacon that was hanging around in the refrigerator, and made a bacon sandwich, which was really good. And, I kept the drippings. Back in the Berkshires, my mother kept one of those old coffee cans, that is wider and shorter than today's coffee cans, on the back of the stove, and put all the bacon fat in it. After it was full, she put it in the freezer and brought it out in the wintertime to feed the birds. One year, she complained vociferously about starlings flinging bacon fat onto the siding of the house.
Anyhow, this recipe calls for bacon fat, and is the better for it.
If you are wondering about the badgers, my husband unearthed them in the depths of daughter's closet, which is slowly being emptied out and the contents taken to school for "store" where kids will presumably buy with play money whatever detritus the teachers bring in from their overloaded houses. In a fit of whimsy he arranged them around the cole slaw.

Cole Slaw with Cooked Dressing

Cooked Dressing
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons bacon drippings or butter
1/4 cup cider vinegar
4 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 green pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 red sweet pepper, diced
1 teaspoon salt

1. To prepare cooked dressing, combine the egg and milk. In the top of a double boiler, mix together the flour, sugar, salt , mustard and cayenne. Stir in the milk mixture.
2. Cook over hot water, stirring until mixture thickens, Do not boil. Stir in the bacon drippings or butter and vinegar. Cool.
3. Combine the slaw ingredients in a bowl and toss well.
4. Stir in enough of the cooled dressing to moisten well.
Makes 8 servings.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Baked Bean Soup

I made this soup on Sunday evening after my daughter and I came back from visiting a friend of hers in Pennsylvania who just had her second child at 26. The friend looked completely exhausted, as did her husband. I wanted to buy them an on site grandmother to take care of the one year old, but had to make do with dinner on Saturday night and lunch after church on Sunday.
The baked beans had been in the freezer left over from Baked Beans II, just waiting to be made into baked bean soup. For some reason, I chose Sunday night to remember my vows to make two recipes four times a week for 39 weeks to get finished with the Northeast. If you have been a faithful reader, you will notice that this schedule was never adhered to, but most months I was better about cranking out recipes than I have been this March.
When I set out to make the soup, I thought mistakenly that the whole thing went into the blender. I didn't find out differently until I got to step 2, which was to put the canned tomatoes into the blender. I probably would have minced the onion instead of just chopping it had I been aware. It was a red onion anyway, which my husband prefers for salad. He did the shopping this weekend because I was in Pa. and forgot to buy onions. The red onion worked fine, and larger pieced did not distract.
The beans sort of disintegrate in the cooking so this is more of a French style blended soup than you would think. One could use canned baked beans if one wished, not desiring to go through the whole rigamarole of baking beans. About the half clove of garlic. Pu-lease. Use a whole one. Use two. Whatever.

Baked Bean Soup

2 cups cold baked beans
2 medium-size onions, minced
1/2 clove of garlic
4 cups cold water
2 cups canned tomatoes
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Place the beans, onions, garlic and water in a saucepan and simmer about thirty minutes.
2. Heat the tomatoes, put through an electric blender or food mill and add to the bean mixture.
3. Mix the flour and butter together and add a little of the hot soup. Return all to the pan and cook, stirring, until soup thickens. Season with salt and pepper.
1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Striped Bass with Minced Clam Stuffing

This dish was the main course of the dinner party. We invited two sets of old friends, Anne, who used to be my husband's boss in the high and far off times, and her husband, Kent, and Carolyn, who used to work with him, and her husband, Len. As you can imagine, there was a lot of conversation about how much better things used to be, especially Congress.
It's hard to think of the Congress of the 80s as a paragon of bipartisanship and equity, but compared to the smarmy little twerps of today with their stupid posturing about family values while they are all sending shirtless pictures of themselves to young women they met on line and having relations with their staff members, Bob Michael et al. practically qualified for the Phil Hart award. (FYI. There is no Phil Hart award. If there was, it would be given to great guys and women in Congress.)
But it was very nice to see our friends. The whole fish thing, as usual, was somewhat fraught. I bought the ingredients at Whole Foods in a just before they closed foray and practically had heart failure when I saw they did not have raw clams. They had canned clams, so the panic was for naught. The problem with these dinners, when I am making four or five dishes for one meal is the pacing. I left the fish until 6:15, and neither of us could remember when we had asked people to come. I went belting up stairs at quarter to seven and made a washed and brushed appearance at 7:15 when everyone was sitting in the livingroom drinking wine.
But we haven't had a cooking disaster yet. This is not an overly complicated recipe. The fish dude guts the fish and decapitates it, and the stuffing is really simple. The directions say "lace with string." Now, my mother used to do that occasionally to chickens or turkeys. You stick in little skewers and then use string to lace it up like a boot. My advice is, you don't have to bother. The stuffing stays in just fine with a couple of toothpicks. About the soft bread crumbs. Just run some slices of French bread through the Cuisinart.

Striped Bass with Minced Clam Stuffing

1 four to six pound striped bass, cleaned
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 five ounce cans minced clams
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup butter melted
4 cups soft bread crumbs
2 tablespoons lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Wipe the fish with a damp paper towel. Sprinkle cavity with salt and pepper. Drain the clams, reserving the liquor.
3. Cook the onion and celery in half the butter until tender. stir in the bread crumbs until butter is absorbed. Toss crumbs until they brown slightly. Stir in the lemn juice, clams and enought clam liquor to moisten. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Spoon stuffing into cavity of fish. Close with skewers or lace with string. Brush fish with remaining butter. Bake in pan lined with aluminum foil fifty to 70 minutes or until fish flackes easily when tested with a fork. Serves 6 to 8.

Almond Soup

For the soup of our dinner party, I took refuge in the south, the next section of the cookbook. There remain several soup recipes in the New England Section. However, nearly all of them contain shellfish. And, as mentioned before, my husband can't eat shellfish. I finagled the clams in the stuffing by dividing the stuffing in two parts, one with clams and one without. The stuffing without clams got stuffed into the fish and the stuffing with clams was passed to the non shellfish allergic. I figured it was kind of crummy to have not one, but two dishes that the poor man couldn't eat in his own house. So, almond soup.
This is a fast and easy recipe that can be completed in less than an hour. One needs a food processor or blender. The recipe gives the option of mashing the cooked chicken breast together with the almonds with a wooden spoon. As if!!! Use a food processor. It was well received at our dinner party. As far as grating the almonds go, I bought slivered almonds and ran them through the food processor with the chicken.

Almond Soup

1 large whole chicken breast
2 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 rib celery
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup blanched almonds, finely grated (see food processor)
1 cup heavy cream

1. Place the chicken breast in a skillet with the broth, bay leaf, celery , salt and pepper.
2. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer fifteen minutes. Remove chicken from the bone and mash together with the almonds with a wooden spoon or in an electric blender. Mix in two tablespoons of the cream.
3. Strain the chicken broth and add gradually while stirring to the chicken-almond mixture. Bring to a boil and add the remaining cream. Reheat but do not boil.
Makes four large servings or six smallish ones.

Strawberry Glaze

In order for strawberry glaze to work properly, one needs to be able to buy the kind of frozen strawberries that were sold in the 60s. They came in a rectangular box and when they defrosted, juice went all over the place. Nowadays, the frozen strawberries have much less juice. What makes the glaze glazy is liberal amounts of juice. Now, the recipe says the cook can use cherry juice. I did not try that, not knowing that the modern frozen strawberry lacks juice, so I had to use water. The result was not as brilliantly glazy as I would have wished.
The glaze, of course, went on the cheesecake. The cheesecake, the glaze, the almond soup and the striped bass stuffed with minced clams were all part of the menu of our latest dinner party and effort by my husband to market the blog.
This is a simple recipe. It is possible that I didn't cook it long enough to get the effect I wanted. Also, I didn't strain the juice or what juice there was, so instead of being translucent, the glaze was sort of cloudy. However, it was simple to execute and a tasty addition to the Deluxe Cheesecake. There are four other, unmade recipes for cheesecake on the same page, so readers can expect several cheesecake recipes in the coming months.

Strawberry Glaze

2 one -pound cartons frozen whole strawberries, thawed
cherry juice or water
2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot

1. Drain the strawberries very well, reserving the juice. Add the cherry juice or water to it until liquid measures two cups. Set berries aside.
2. Slowly mix the cornstarch with the liquid in a small pan. Gradually bring the mixture to a boil, stirring, and cook two to three minutes, or until thick and translucent. Cool and chill. Fold in the strawberries.
Makes three cups.

Deluxe Cheesecake

I have actually never made a baked cheesecake before. Craig Clairborne's New York Times Cookbook has a recipe for cheesecake made with gelatin. I used to make that in the high and far off times when we occasionally ate deserts. Baked cheesecakes always seemed sort of dry and mealy to me, so I didn't leap in to make it earlier. This cheesecake is delicious and neither dry nor mealy. It does take a long time to make. This is a real, make the day before type of recipe, and due to my husband's desire not to have the day of the dinner party be what my son calls a goat rodeo, I started making it around 9:30 on Friday night. We ended up going to bed well after midnight, so I would recommend not only making this the day before the party, but starting it at 6:00 when you get home from work.
It has several steps. The first is the crust. As usual, I had issues with the pastry. The recipe is supposed to make enough pastry for the bottom and sides of a 9 inch springform pan. It didn't. My husband, who is much better at pastry than I am, suggested after hearing me swear and fuss, that I should just use all the dough for the bottom of the pan and not bother with the side, which is what I did. The recipe calls for no liquid at all to hold the pastry together. I couldn't figure out how exactly one was supposed to get this mass of crumbs to adhere to each other. I started adding tablespoonsful of ice water. After two, I got it to hang together enough so I could pat the dough over the bottom of the springform pan. Then, you have to bake the crust, while you get to work on the filling.
The first step of preparing the filling says to beat 5 eight-ounce packages of cream cheese until fluffy. Unless you have some sort of industrial strength mixer, this seems like a great way to burn out your mixer. I began beating in the eggs, one by one, and was then able to beat the cream cheese. Even so, I had to stop every couple of minutes and unclog the beaters from their masses of cream cheese.
The recipe says bake for 8 to 10 minutes at 475 then turn the temperature down to 200 and bake for an hour. Then, the cook is supposed to turn off the oven, leave the cheesecake in the oven with the oven door ajar for another 30 minutes. I left it in overnight, and it was not overdone. This is a terrific recipe. Both we and the guests loved it. As my husband was putting it away, he snaffled at least one extra piece, possibly two.

Deluxe Cheesecake

one cup of flour
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 cup butter
1 egg yolk lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
5 eight ounce packages cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. To prepare crust, combine the flour, sugar and lemon rind. Cut in the butter until mixture is crumbly. Add the egg yok and vanilla. Mix.
3. Pat one-third of the dough over bottom of a nine-inch springform pan with sides removed. Bake about six minutes, or until golden. Cool.
4. Butter the sides of the pan and attach to the bottom. Pat remaining dough around sides to a height of two inches.
5. Increase the oven heat to 475 degrees.
6. To prepare filling, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the vanilla and lemon rind.
7. Combine the sugar, flour and salt. Gradually blend into the cheese mixture. Beat in the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, and the cream. Beat until smooth and creamy.
8. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake eight to ten minutes, or until top edge is golden.
9. Reduce the oven heat to 200 degrees. Bake one hour longer, or until set.( This means until it's not wobbling around when you shake it gently. Turn off the oven and allow cake to remain thirty minutes in the oven with the door ajar.
10. Cool cake on a rack. Chill before serving, Top with a fruit glaze (recipes above) if desired.
Makes 8 servings.