Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pumpkin Pie with Cottage Cheese

Thanksgiving 2011 may have set a record for the number of cookbook dishes produced at one meal. There were five, if you include mayonnaise, which I needed for Crevettes Paula. I have to say, I have been eying this recipe for pumpkin pie with cottage cheese for years, and have always dismissed it. Now that I finally made it, I see that dismissing it was a good thing.
The main thing that makes this recipe different from other pumpkin pie recipes is not the cottage cheese, which is probably a good, lower calorie option than the traditional canned milk, but the fact that it does not have any sugar at all in it. It does have a teaspoon of salt and a quarter of a cup of sherry. All this combines to make a not very desserty pumpkin pie.
My son, who always reviews the dishes, said it was very salty. "What did you do to it?" he demanded. My husband said we ought to just throw away the leftover pie.
He said I should say in the review, "Believe me, you don't want to eat this. I cooked this so you wouldn't have to."
Now, given Hewlitt's tendency to not test her recipes, I don't know if the lack of sugar was intentional, or merely a typo.
What I can say about this recipe that's positive, is, if you cut the salt down to a quarter of a teaspoon, left out the sherry and put in artificial sweetener, you would have a lower calorie pumpkin pie that might taste good. I would test it well before Thanksgiving before I sprang it on diabetic Aunt Minnie.
I made the pie on Wednesday night. For some reason, even though I preheated the oven, the pie didn't set. I kept having to come back to the oven, test the pie by sticking a wooden skewer into it, and set the timer for ten more minutes. Finally, I took my husband's advice and just turned the oven off and left the pie in the oven overnight. Luckily I remembered to take it out for the cookathon that ensued the following morning. Also luckily, the mice that have returned to our stove like the swallows to Capistrano did not eat it.

Pumpkin Pie with Cottage Cheese

2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup cottage cheese, sieved
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt (way too much)
1/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup dry sherry (believe me, it doesn't do anything for the pie. Leave it out.)
1 unbaked nine-inch pie shell
whipped cream

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Mix the pumpkin with the cottage cheese, ginger, cinnamon, salt and sour cream.
3. Beat the eggs with the milk and sherry and gradually stir into the pumpkin mixture. Pour into the pie shell.
4. Bake ten minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake thirty minutes longer or until set. Cool and chill. Serve cold, garnished with whipped cream. Makes six to eight servings.

Scalloped Sweets and Cranberries

This was presented as an alternative to the traditional sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top. Nobody actually said much about it one way or the other. Through not reading the recipe, I mashed the sweet potatoes. They are not supposed to be mashed, although it doesn't really make much difference one way or the other.
While I was peeling and mashing, my husband was eviscerating the turkey, having read in the New York Times that turkey cooks better if you split it in half. It was actually very good, although it deprived the guests of the sight of the Norman Rockwell like turkey. We don't plonk it down and carve it at the table anyway. Bob carves it before we eat and then everyone serves themselves. It did taste better. If you want to do it next year, get yourself a really good pair of shears, because you have to cut out the backbone.
You have to make homemade cranberry sauce to make this recipe. This is not a major event. You can set it to boil while you do something else, like make a last pass with the vacuum cleaner or scrub off the sinister looking streaks on the floor, which is what I was doing when the first guest arrived.

Scalloped Sweets and Cranberries

6 sweet potatoes cooked, peeled and sliced lengthwise
1 1/2 cups homemade whole cranberry sauce
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon grated orange rind
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoon butter

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Place the sweet potato slices in a greased two-quart casserole.
3. Combine the cranberry sauce, water, brown sugar, orange rind and cinnamon in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer five minutes.
4. Add the butter and pour over sweet potatoes. Bake twenty minutes. Makes six servings.


This mayonnaise is not as mayonnaise-y as the mayonnaise I made in the spring of 2010. I think it was called Blender Mayonnaise. Make mayonnaise in the blender. It's much easier, and it seems to come out better. My excuse is, I was following the directions, which said beat with a wire whisk, rotary beater, or electric mixer.
The recipe says that the cook is to place a half teaspoon of dry mustard in a bowl with a teaspoon of cold water and let it sit for ten minutes. I did that. I was pretty meticulous in following the directions, but the mayonnaise turned out thin. Maybe it is supposed to be that way. I don't know.
I had one nervous moment when I dumped about a teaspoon of cayenne pepper into the mix instead of a pinch, as required. It was okay, not incredibly hot, but hot enough to make the mayonnaise interesting.


1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon cold water
2 egg yolks
salt to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons wine vinegar or lemon juice
1 1/4 cups peanut oil or vegetable oil

1. Place the mustard in a mixing bowl. Add the water to make a paste. Let stand ten minutes.
2. Add the egg yolks, salt, cayenne and have the vinegar or lemon juice. Start beating with a wire whisk, rotary beater or electric mixer, gradually adding the oil. Continue beating, adding the oil and remaining vinegar alternatively until all the ingredients are used. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, cayenne or vinegar if desired.
Makes one and one-half cups.

Crevettes Paula

I decided, rather than the more traditional soup, I would serve some kind of shellfish as an appetizer. Why not? The Pilgrims learned to catch shellfish from their Indian sponsors. Besides, I don't think there remains a single Thanksgiving-y soup left uncooked. We had pumpkin soup for Thanksgiving in 1987, corn soup in 1994, turnip and potato soup in 2004, and cream of spinach in 1991. The turnip and potato soup inspired the terrific line from my son, after he suspiciously asked me what was in it, and I stoutly told him it was potato soup, he said, "I'm not not going to eat it." Meaning, he was going to eat it.
So on Wednesday night, after my daughter picked me up from school at 5:00, rescuing me from the clutches of Miguel and Anthony, the tutoring kids, we went off to the seafood market to buy shrimp. I made the mistake of asking the seafood market how much I needed. If you remember the lobster rolls of May 2010, the seafood market has a habit of, shall we say, making sure that the consumer won't run out of what ever it is they are making. They sold me two and a quarter pounds, all they had left. Considering that Crevettes Paula came at the beginning of a heavy meal with a lot of side dishes, I think one pound would have been plenty.
The recipe calls for a cup of shrimp to serve three people. I think each person had at least a cup of shrimp, maybe more. So after I put the rolls in the refrigerator to rise, I began shelling shrimp. And shelling shrimp. And shelling shrimp. Shelling shrimp can be time consuming.
I cooked the shrimp according to directions in The Joy of Cooking, which says to boil them three to four minutes, or before they begin to curl up.
Mrs. Joy has a formula for figuring out how much shrimp in the shell translates to how much cooked shrimp. According to her, 2 to 2 1/2 pounds of fresh shrimp turns into one pound of cooked shrimp, or two cups. I should have read her first.
After I boiled the shrimp, I made the mayonnaise. My rule is, make mayonnaise in the blender. It comes out better. However, this said to make it with a mixer in a bowl, so I did. It was thin. However, no one complained. So I mixed the mayonnaise and the other ingredients, tossed it with the freshly cooked shrimp and stuck it in the refrigerator. Everyone seemed to like it except for daughter-in-law, who, after all, had just come from Thanksgiving dinner at her mother's, and maybe decided that she could skip the appetizer. A sensible approach.

Crevettes Paula

1 cup homemade mayonnaise
1 teaspoon finely grated onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon catchup
1 tablespoon cognac
1 cup cooked, shelled and deveined shrimp
lettuce cups

Combine the mayonnaise, onion, garlic, catchup and cognac in a bowl. Add the shrimp, toss and chill. Serve in lettuce cups. Makes three servings.

Pumpkin Rolls

Do not look for the full Thanksgiving dinner in this blog. Those recipes, for the turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce, were cooked 30 years ago. I believe I have made every single stuffing or "dressing" as they call it in the Midwest, recipe in this cookbook. In fact, the only recipe for turkey is Roast Oregon Turkey with sausage dressing, and I made that before I started putting dates next to the recipes. It just has a check mark.
I do remember Thanksgiving of what must have been 1978, when Bob and I lived in a huge, cheap apartment on Q Street in Georgetown. I was working on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and we had turkey and oyster stuffing. This was before Bob became allergic to shellfish.
Anyhow, this is strictly side dish land. I suppose, if it was going to be truly useful to the general public, I would have made my entire Thanksgiving dinner two weeks early just to blog about it. However, this is not the food section of The Washington Post. Thanksgiving dinner gets made on Thanksgiving. Also, I don't have that many readers.
When I planned the menu, I went through the cookbook asking Bob, my husband, if I could make various dishes. His response was invariably, "Make anything you want." Well, this was not exactly true, because I wanted to jettison the traditional beans cooked for a million years in favor of greens. He said okay to the greens, but somehow the beans cooked for a million years ended up still on the menu. Which was actually not such a bad thing because I never got around to the greens in the frenzy of rolls, appetizer, stuffing, yams, etc.
Well, Pumpkin Rolls were a huge success. In spite of the fact that people were probably trying to moderate their intake, and two of the guests had been to a Thanksgiving dinner previously, the diners fell upon them with glad cries and began buttering like crazy.
This is a day before recipe, which I did not read through, so thus did not begin to make the day before, as instructed. We rolled out of bed about 9:00, ate a leisurely breakfast and got to work. I started the rolls first, got the dough going and popped them into a crowded refrigerator. We invited people for 4:30 and ate around 5:30 so they probably rose about 4-5 hours. Especially if you were making the rolls for evening dinner as opposed to a midday Thanksgiving dinner, you could begin them the day you intended to eat them.
Not starting them the day before was not a problem. The dough rose in the refrigerator, I divided it into 32 equal portions, and it rose again outside the refrigerator. The rolls were a lovely deep yellow color from the pumpkin and they baked in less time than called for by the recipe. I was sitting in the living room chatting with the guests when I suddenly started to smell a burning smell. It came from one pan of rolls that were on a bottom shelf. Don't try to bake stuff on the bottom shelf. It seems to burn. People ate them nonetheless, and we foisted off the leftover burnt ones on our son and daughter-in-law the lawyers. This is a great recipe. You should definitely make this for next year's Thanksgiving dinner, or a fall harvest festival dinner, should you be hosting one.

Pumpkin Rolls

1 cup canned or homemade pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk, scalded
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup melted shortening
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
5 cups flour
melted butter

1. Day before, combine the pumpkin, sugar, salt and milk in a large bowl and beat until smooth and lukewarm.
2. Dissolve the yeast in the water and add to the lukewarm mixture. Add the shortening and lemon rind and mix well.
3. Add about half the flour and beat until batter is smooth. Add remaining flour to make a soft dough. Mix well with the hands or a wooden spoon. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk. Cover dough with waxed paper and a towel and chill overnight in the refrigerator.
4. Next day, shape the dough by dividing into thirty-two equal portions. For cloverleaf rolls, make three balls out of each portion and drop into greased medium-size muffin tins. The dough may be made into other shapes if desired.
5. Brush the top of the rolls with melted butter. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about one and one-quarter hours.
6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
7. Bake rolls twenty-five to thirty minutes, or until done. Brush with melted butter and cool on a rack. Makes thirty-two.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cucumber Salad

This is cucumber salad from Minnesota. Simple, easy, go for it. My husband, Bob, picked it out. He put in some sugar, but not as much as called for by the recipe. Even though he is a Midwesterner by birth, he does not go for much sugar in salads. You might try adjusting the recipe to your taste.

Cucumber Salad

2 medium-size cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1. Sprinkle the cucumbers lightly with salt. Let stand ten minutes. Rinse, drain and place in serving dish.
2. Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, sugar and pepper and let stand five minutes. Pour over cucumbers and sprinkle with the parsley. Chill two hours. Makes six servings.

Chuck's Roasted Sweet Peppers

Here we ventured all the way to Northern California, and doctored the recipe to make a very good, light appetizer that doesn't stuff the guests or break the bank. My husband took Chuck's recipe and spread goat cheese and pine nuts on top. It was terrific. Chuck's way is fine too, but I liked the goat cheese and the pine nuts. Please note that this is a day before recipe. You have to roast the peppers over the burners on your stove before you start to make this recipe.

Chuck's Roasted Sweet Peppers

4 red sweet peppers
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

1. Day before, or early in the day, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place the peppers on the oven shelf.(Or put them on the burner over an open flame.) Let roast thirty minutes. (The open flame takes less time.) or until the skins puff up and the peppers look slightly charred. (Over the open flame, they will look extremely charred.)
2. With potholders or asbestos gloves (??!!) hold the hot peppers and gently peel off the skin, saving all the juice that is released. Remove and discard the seeds. Slice the peppers into thin strips and arrange in a baking dish with the juice.
3. Sprinkle with the garlic, salt, pepper and oil and refrigerate, covered until serving time.
4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
5. Bake pepper strips, uncovered, twenty minutes, or until bubbling hot. Makes four servings.

Crab Stew

Another yummy New Jersey crab recipe. You really can't go wrong with crab meat and cream. I wonder if New Jersey still has its crabbing grounds. The crabbing grounds of the Chesapeake Bay are sadly depleted if the price of crab is any indication. I made this for a dinner party on Saturday night with several old friends, including Mary, a very old friend that I knew when my son was in nursery school. I actually hadn't seen her for three years.
After everyone came in and was introduced, the living room was kind of crowded, and Mary ended up in the passage between the kitchen and the living room. I grabbed her and hauled her into the addition for a tete-a-tete. After about twenty minutes, I realized that I was supposed to be cooking, and got after the crab.
It's one of these make at the last minute recipes. I had chopped up the tomatoes, shallots and mushrooms, sauteed them, and then added more tomatoes, shallots and mushrooms when my husband expostulated that we would not have nearly enough for nine people. Just before the main course, with a satisfying buzz of conversation emanating from the dining room, I added the crab and the cream. The cognac caused some consternation when I discovered we didn't have any. I was ready to stop at a liquor store and get some around 4:00 when I realized we also didn't have cream of tartar for the cake. Bob said don't worry about it, and produced a large bottle of what is probably cooking brandy, so I put that in.
It turned out that we had plenty for nine people, who were really eight because my husband, as already mentioned, does not eat shellfish. I ladled it on rather gingerly for the first few diners and was embarrassed to discover that when everyone had been served, I had a couple of hefty spoonfuls left. I tried to offer the guests a little more, but they declined. So I even had some left over for a much more deluxe lunch than my normal ham and cheese sandwich.
This is a very simple recipe that takes no more than a half an hour to make. Everyone seemed to like it.

The picture shows the stew in midpreparation, before I added the cream and the crab. In the flurry of trying to get food on the table, it's sometimes hard to remember to photograph it.

Crab Stew

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots or scallions, including green part
4 white mushrooms, thinly sliced
Juice of half a lemon
2 ripe tomatoes, peeled seeded and cubed
1 pound lump crap beat, picked over to remove bits of shell and cartilage
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
Tabasco sauce to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons warm cognac
cooked rice

1. Heat the butter in the skillet or chafing dish and add the shallots or scallions. Cook about three minutes and add the mushrooms. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and cook briefly, stirring. Add the tomatoes and simmer five minutes.
2. Add the crab meat, but treat it gently so as not to break up the lumps. Add the parsley and chives and simmer five minutes. Stir in the cream and Tabasco and add salt and pepper. Add the cognac and ignite it. Serve stew immediately with rice. Makes four to six serving.

Honey Chocolate Cake

In the late 80s, Saint Augustine's, my church, was involved in a soup kitchen called So Others Might Eat. Once a month, the parishioners brought in hot dogs, beans and cake to feed the homeless. To have something to do, and instill a social conscious in my 6 year old, he and I made cakes for SOME. We cranked out some huge number of cakes with the scrawl "for SOME" written in pencil next to the date.
Presumably I had some kind of a system in choosing which cakes to make. Either I was scared off by the long list of ingredients, or honey chocolate didn't sound good to me, and by extension, to homeless people. Anyway, honey chocolate cake was not one of the many flavors that got made in the 80s, so it was waiting for me on Friday night when I got down to making the dessert.
I didn't get around to making the cake until after 9:30 because after Bob got home, we went to Whole Foods to buy a few things for the dinner party and incidentally, our dinner. After spending a hundred dollars on what seemed like a few odds and ends, including a $32 pound of crab meat, we came home and I got to work. I sifted and beat and added and stirred, pausing just before I added the baking soda to eat some reheated manicotti. Finally, about 10:30, I got the cake into the oven and sat down in the wing chair to take a nap until it was ready to come out.
The cake turned out beautifully. The combination of honey, chocolate and orange rind forms an interesting, complex taste. There was no problem with skimpy batter. I was able to fill both cake pans to a respectable depth.
I didn't get around to frosting it until about 4:00 the following afternoon. The frosting is what is known as seven minute frosting, because it has to be beaten for 7 minutes over boiling water in order for the frosting to thicken. The recipe does indicate that the cook will be beating for more than seven minutes. I timed myself, and it took ten minutes to get a vaguely spreadable icing. The icing was white and thick. It sloooowly trickled down the side of the cake. My husband made the honey crumb topping and baked it in the oven until it became crispy. The guests loved it.

Honey Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup honey
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup orange juice
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup minus one tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
Honey Crumb Topping
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. To prepare cake, beat the shortening and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, very well. Stir in the vanilla, honey and orange rind.
3. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Stir dry ingredients into batter alternately with the sour cream and orange juice.
4. Divide the batter between two greased and floured nine-inch layer pans. Bake twenty-five to thirty minutes, or until done.
5. Let stand on a rack.
6. To prepare frosting, place all ingredients in the top of a double boiler over rapidly boiling water.
7. Beat constantly for about seven minutes, remove from the heat and continue to beat until frosting is the correct consistency for filling and frosting the layers. (In my case, about ten minutes.)
8. Meanwhile, increase the oven heat to 400 degrees. Combine the ingredients for the crumb topping and spread on a baking sheet. Bake twelve to fifteen minutes, stirring every three minutes.
9. The crumb topping may be stirred into the frosting before using to fill and frost the layers or may be sprinkled over the filling and the frosted cake. Makes ten servings.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ham Croquettes with Egg Sauce

Croquettes never featured in my growing up. The only person I know who makes them is Mrs. Curtiss. Her family demands them every Christmas. The only place I've ever had them in the United States is at Jaleo, the tapas restaurant and those were cod croquettes. However, in the Netherlands you can buy croquettes at every corner restaurant. I like them, but my husband is crazy about them.
I decided to branch out of New England, at least for our dinners at home, and made ham croquettes with egg sauce. This is another one of those what do we do with the leftover stuff recipes. Naturally, we didn't have leftover ham, but the Smithfield corporation, in its wisdom, has figured out that people will buy slices of their ham, even if they won't buy a whole ham. So, with a plastic wrapped slice of Smithfield ham and the food processor, I was in business.
Mrs. Curtiss made the croquettes seem like a real production, but they aren't too bad. You have to make a white sauce and mix in the ground meat, and then chill it. But thanks to the fact that my husband has been getting home close to 9:00 pm, I was able to make the sauce, mix in the ground meat, chill it and fry it.
The only drawback to making croquettes is knowing what to do with the leftover oil. You can't pour it down the drain like they do in Leicester Square, in London. A couple of years ago, the British sanitary authorities discovered a huge, boxcar sized lump of congealed fat in the drains under the square. I left it sitting on the stove for a couple of days, and finally poured it back into the bottle it came in and deposited same into the trash.
The croquettes have a couple of steps, but they are not difficult to make. With their egg sauce, they are very tasty. My husband was delighted.

Ham Croquettes with Egg Sauce

3/4 plus one third cups butter
3/4 cup flour
3 1/2 cups milk or light cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 1/2 cups finely ground cooked country ham
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
4 eggs lightly beaten
dry bread crumbs
fat or oil for deep-frying
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 green pepper, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
light cream
6 hard -cooked eggs, chopped

1. Melt three-quarters cup of butter and blend in the flour. Gradually stir in the milk or cream. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil, stirring, three minutes.
. Place the ham in a bowl and add Worcestershire, mustard and one and one-half cups of the sauce mixed with two of the lightly beaten eggs. Set remaining sauce over hot water.
3. Mix ham and sauce and set aside to cool. Chill. Shape the cooled mixture into croquettes, dip in remaining eggs and then in the bread crumbs. Repeat if necessary to get a good coating.
4. Fry a few croquettes at a time until golden, using a fry basket, in fat or oil heated to 365 degrees. Drain on paper towels.
5. Heat remaining butter in a skillet and saute the onion in it until tender. Add the mushrooms, green pepper, sage and marjoram and cook until vegetables are tender.
5. Add enough light cream to reserved sauce to make pouring consistency. Stir in cooked vegetables and chopped eggs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve separately with croquettes. Serves six.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Rich Tea Loaf

I had been meaning to make Rich Tea Loaf for over a year. However, it needed some kind of occasion to get it eaten. We don't entertain at tea, or even have what might be recognized as afternoon tea the way my New York aunt did. Up until late in her life, she got out the tea pot and tray and sat down in her huge, elegant but homey living room with the floor to ceiling windows looking out on the garden and had tea. Friends dropped by to chat, and one might meet all kinds of unexpected people.
But we don't do that. Desdefortunamente, as they say in Spanish. However, St. Margaret's, my husband's church, was celebrating its big Sunday, St. Margaret's Sunday, and put out a call for baked goods for the extra special post service refreshments. And since I was already making the Lizzies for my church bazaar this seemed like a good opportunity to knock off yet another recipe.
This is a hardy recipe. Even though I did a bunch of things I shouldn't have done, it turned out fine, a lovely, fine crumbed, pale yellow loaf with a subtle lemon flavor.
Instead of starting it before the Lizzies, because I knew it was a yeast bread and had to rise, I started it after the Lizzies. Then, we went out at 6:00 pm to the goodbye party for the church's interim minister. So instead of letting it rise for an hour, I let it rise for 12 hours. Amazingly even though I didn't oil the surface of the dough to keep it from drying out, it rose beautifully in the pan and didn't have flecks of crusty dried dough mixed through it.
I would say, do pay special attention to the instructions that say "Gradually stir in the flour to make a soft dough." I dumped in the two cups of flour and got a hard dough to which I had to add more milk. Also, the recipe says use the dough hook on your mixer. I don't have a dough hook on my mixer. I didn't knead it very long, not more than a couple of minutes.
This would be an excellent addition to a brunch, a breakfast buffet, or even a special afternoon tea. Altogether, it probably takes about four hours, so you could make it the day before and put it in the refrigerator, or make it in the morning for your afternoon tea.

Rich Tea Loaf

1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/3 cup milk, scalded
1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter

1 egg lightly beaten

2 egg yolks

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

1/4 teaspoon lemon extract

3 cups flour, approximately

1. Dissolve the yeast in the water.

2 Place the milk in a large bowl and add the sugar and butter. Stir to melt butter and dissolve sugar and let cool to lukewarm.

3. Beat the egg and egg yolks together and add to the yeast. Stir into the milk mixture. Add the salt, lemon peel and lemon extract.

4. Gradually stir in the flour to make a soft dough. Beat in the bowl with dough hook of electric mixer or with a wooden spoon until smooth.

5. Place the dough in a clean greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about one and one-quarter hours.

6. Knock dough down and knead lightly on a floured board. Roll into a 10-by-14 inch rectangle and roll up from the short end. Tuck the ends under and place in a greased 9-by-5-by-3 inch loaf pan.

7. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about one hour.

8. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

9. Bake ten minutes, reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees. and bake thirty minutes longer or until done. Cool on a rack. Makes one loaf.

Friday, November 11, 2011


A call for baked goods at the church bake sale had me perking up my ears and mentally looking for New England recipes I could foist off on unsuspecting eaters. After all, Jonathan, the acupuncturist, could only be expected to eat so many cookies. He has already eaten sooo many cookies!!
On Veterans Day, after a satisfying morning of folding and putting away the innumerable baskets of clean clothes that are secreted around our house, I got down to baking.
Lizzies are fruitcakes in the form of cookies. A cursory glance at Google indicates that there does not seem to be an established kind of cookie called the Lizzie. They were in fact, a kind of cookie I had never heard of, eaten or seen. So, at one point during the process of making them, I wondered if this was the way they were supposed to turn out. The recipe makes what doesn't seem like very much of a firm dough, into which the cook mixes a pound of raisins, three-quarters of a cup of candied cherries and candied pineapple, and three cups of pecans.
I was wondering if there was enough dough to hold everything together. I also tripled the amount of milk called for just so I could mix everything up. (We're talking about 4 1/2 tablespoons of milk as versus 1 1/2 tablespoons in the original recipes. ) It worked out just fine, and was practically the first time in my career as an amateur baker that I actually made the number of cookies predicted in the recipe. That was because the cookie dough and all its fillings was not very good raw. Not like raw chocolate chip dough or sugar cookie dough. That stuff's good!
I was nearly brought up short at the beginning, when the first set of directions told me to pour half a cup of whiskey over a pound of raisins. I dug around in the pantry, uncovering the two, half empty raisin containers that I was pretty sure were in there. Okay, now for the whiskey. That could have been a problem. My husband and I are not big drinkers. In fact, because of a problem with blood clotting, he is not supposed to drink liquor at all.
I went to the bar and, lo and behold, there was not one, but two bottles of whiskey, left behind by my son when he married and moved out. Okay, raisins set to soak.
Next on the list of item searches were the spices. I have a goodly number of spices. We have enough whole cloves to stick in glazed ham for at least two years. The recipe called for ground cloves, which we also have. Then, it called for allspice. We also have allspice, but it is whole allspice. My husband dug out the ceramic mortar and pestle and ground away, producing a teaspoon of ground allspice in short order.
I followed the instructions to sift the flour, also sifting the allspice shells out of the mix, and mixed away with the mixer. The dough was so stiff it forced the mixer to grind almost to a halt, growling and protesting. When I lifted the beaters out of the dough to clear them and keep from burning out the motor, bits of dough flicked over my hand, the toaster and the coffee maker.
Finally I got all the candied cherries, pineapple, raisins and pecans mixed into the dough and plopped it onto the baking pans. The directions say to bake for 15 minutes or until browned and done. Browned took a while longer than 15 minutes, but what I discovered was that browning made them crispy, which they were not supposed to be. So the second and third batches got cooked for 15 minutes.
Even though I am not crazy about cookies with candied fruit in them, these were good with a vaguely gingerbready taste from the spices. They seemed to be popular. My husband dropped them off at the bazaar around 9 am and when I got there around 1:00, they were not in evidence.


1 pound raisins
1/2 cup whisky
1/4 cup butter
3/4 light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons milk (or more)
3/4 pound candied cherries
3/4 pound candied pineapple
3 cups chopped pecans

1. Soak the raisins in the whisky one hour until plump.
2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
3. Cream the butter and gradually beat in the brown sugar . Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
4. Sift the flour with the baking soda and spices. Add to creamed mixture alternately with the milk.
5. Add the plumped raisins, candied cherries, candied pineapple, and pecans. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto buttered baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes or until browned and done. Cool on a rack. Store in airtight container or freeze. Makes about 4 dozen.