Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pineapple Cake

There are a few things to talk about with this Pineapple Cake recipe.  I could start with the "recipe card" itself.  Remember how I have mentioned that my Grandma would put a recipe on anything, well this is another example,  this recipe is written on the back of a "Continuing Census Card".  I can't determine when this census card was completed, and I wonder if it was actually used for anything.  I notice a few things, like the phone number is only 5 digits...even I remember when we didn't need to dial 10 numbers to reach some one.  Other information captured on the card includes basic information, Family Name, Occupation, Race, Address, names of children, ages, sex, place of birth and how far to schooI. I believe my Grandpa must have been the one involved in the census as the individuals information has been typed by that old black typewriter I remember so well. But, as these cards were either discarded or no longer needed, my Grandma realized they would make perfect recipe cards...thus the cake recipe on the back.
On to the cake itself, all I can say is YUMMY!  and Bubba agrees.  Admittedly, I frosted this cake with cream cheese frosting and let's admit it...I could put cream cheese frosting on the recipe card and it would taste good.  This is yet another easy, make that super easy recipe.  The only real challenge is one I have faced before with my Grandma's recipes, she lists the same ingredient twice with two different measures.  After searching for similar recipes (again, thank goodness for Google), I believe that the two measures should have been combined versus perhaps being two different ingredients or one of them could have been vanilla (which by the way, I did this research after making the cake, so it could have been even better).  I also cut this recipe in half which was easy math (even though my Grandma knows I could do more complicated math...after all, I had a good teacher!)
Pineapple Cake
2 c. sugar
2 c. flour
1 T. soda
3/4 T. soda
1/2 c oil
2 eggs
1 large #2 1/2 can crushed pineapple
Mix dry ing. & add oil, eggs, pineapple (juice too) mix thoroughly. Bake in greased & floured pan. 25-30 min. 350 degrees.  Recipe from Bertha Fullerton, long time friend of my Grandma.
In cutting this in half, I used a small can of crushed pineapple and I used baking powder for the smaller soda measurement (wouldn't do that again).  1/2 of the recipe is perfect in an 8x8 baking dish.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


This screaming green recipe has been jumping out of my Grandma's recipe box at me for months just says "make me, make me". So this weekend, I finally gave in and made this  Cobbler, Peach Cobbler as a matter of fact. It took me two, yes, two, tries, but I think I did a decent job. As you can read, this is another one of those easy recipes, almost too easy and I have gotten so used to "no directions" that when this recipe actually had some, I didn't see them. That led to me undercooking the first cobbler. The 2nd attempt turned out better.  Bubba, to no surprise, was looking forward to rating this dish, but as it came out of the oven and he took a look at it, it was clear this wasn't what he expected. He was expecting what I would call a crisp or a crumble. As I researched cobblers and crisps, I found that Bubba's confusion was not uncommon.  Cobblers, Crisps, Crumbles and Brown Betty's (as well as various other dishes) have a long history, back to the first American settlers.  They brought recipes like English steamed puddings with them but because they couldn't find all the necessary ingredients they would improvise, resulting in what became these traditional American dishes.  They are meant to be juicy and to use the fruits of the season (apples, berries, peaches, etc) and topped with some sort of crust, usually a biscuit crust (cobbler) or a combination of nuts, flour and sugar/spices (crisp).  Of note: my cobbler didn't have that "juicy" texture, which is why Bubba rated this lower than your average dessert.  I attribute the lack of juice to my cooking skills, not the recipe. 
3 tbs Butter (melted in an 8x8 pan)
1 C flour
1/2 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 C milk
Mix until mostly smooth, spoon over butter
1 #303 can peaches over batter, don't stir.
Bake 1 hour, 15 minutes at 375 degrees, or maybe 350 degrees.
I did not include the juice from the peaches, which I think is why my cobbler lacked that "juiciness"

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fudge Squares

My Grandma had me at "fudge". She loved fudge, she loved chocolate and these  Fudge Squares were definitely chocolatey.  Now, I literally cooked these 3 times, just trying to get them "done".   If only there were some directions to go with the ingredients, I wouldn't have to resort to such measures.  But as you know, I've become accustomed to recipes with only the ingredients. As I think about how my grandma would react, I think she would probably just laugh and encourage me as I was scooping these out of the pan.  I know this, because I have witnessed her cooking and re-cooking fudge, trying to get it to set up.  When you look at my typed recipe, along with my Grandma's hand written recipe, you will see just what I had to work with on this one.  As I have said...this is a journey, this is fun, and you just have to keep your sense of humor..Bubba didn't rate these...he didn't care for the gooey mess even if it is chocolate and I would never let big brown dog eat this so he couldn't provide a rating either.  I haven't given up.  I will try these again! I'm also going to check out my mom's brownie recipe...I think it might be this..With Directions!!

Fudge Squares
2 Sq. Choc
8 tsp butter
1 C. sugar
2 unbeaten eggs
1 C. flour
1/2 tsp B.P.
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 C. nuts
Melt Choc and butter. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Baking Powder Biscuits

I will admit, I have a weakness for carbohydrates, and in particular I just love rolls, bread and biscuits.  There was a period of time when you could count on me to purchase a can or two of those Pillsbury biscuits  or recently the kind that are frozen in the bag.  But I suppose these simple "luxuries" didn't always exist for my Grandma, so it's no wonder there are lots of bread and biscuit recipes in her recipe box.  Today I decided to take on one of her biscuit recipes, Baking Powder Biscuits.  These aren't hard to make, but there is an art to making good fluffy biscuits, and I have not mastered it.  After some reading, I made a second batch of these, just to see if I could get them to raise and be fluffier than my first batch.  The secret seems to be in how cold the shortening is and making sure you don't "over work" the dough. I also read that using a hot oven helps the biscuits raise.  Of course, my Grandma's recipe doesn't have all these details and didn't give an oven temperature.  I wish I could say that my 2nd batch was perfect, but I think I need to make a few more batches before I can declare perfection (now I know why Bisquick and canned/frozen biscuits are so popular).Here's the recipe and a picture...but today's there's another story to the biscuits...thanks to the dogs.
Baking Powder Biscuits
2 c. flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp shortening
3/4 to 1 cup milk or water and milk
Sift dry ingredients, cut in shortening.  Add milk gradually mixing with knife.  Dough should be as soft as can be handled without sticking.  Turn on to lightly floured board.  Roll 3/4 inch thick.  Bake in hot oven 12 to 15 minutes.
Ok, so now the rest of the many who take food pictures know, the best pictures happen when you find a spot where the natural light comes through.  Today, that place was in my front room on the coffee table.  The biscuits were staged and I was waiting for the perfect light.  In doing so, I walked away for awhile and was planning to come back when the sun came out.  Good news was the sun came out and I was ready to snap a few photos, but as I looked down at the bowl, my biscuits were MISSING, GONE, I was left with Jelly...I was shocked...and then I saw the crumbs on the floor and one big happy 100 lb (plus 3 biscuits) chocolate lab.  He gave them a passing grade...I am gonna have to break the news to Bubba that he's been replaced.
This is the recipe I followed.  As you can see, it is pretty torn, tattered and dirty...that means it must have gotten some use.  The other clipping was filed away right there with the recipe card...always good to have a back-up!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Beef Brisket

It is yet another baseball weekend, but this time the team is on the road, so it gives me a chance to accomplish several things.  Some fun things like cooking goodies from my Grandma's recipe boxes and some not so fun TAXES..Ugh.  All, while listening to baseball.  While looking for things to make today, I found several recipes that peaked my interest and so I started with this super easy brisket recipe...I mean, really easy.  So easy, it would probably never appear in a real "foodies" recipe box, but this brisket can create such a wonderful "fragrance" throughout the house I think if you try it, it will find a place in your recipe box.  It  smells oohh, so good as the onion and mushroom soups meld with the smell of the brisket.  The recipe card has 2 recipes on it, one for this brisket and a recipe for chicken is on the other side.  I stuck to the easy one today. Try this one!  I think you'll like it and I have no doubt my Grandma smelled this one cooking today.
Beef Brisket
1 lean brisket 
1/2 pkg lipton onion soup mix (I used more than 1/2 the pkg)
1 can cream of mushroom (I used 98% fat free and it was just great with this)
Put both on top of brisket, which is placed on large piece heavy aluminum foil.
Bake 45 minutes at 450 degrees - then 2 hours at 325 degrees or until done.

How Old is Old?

As I was wandering through my Grandma's Recipe boxes today, I found an old newspaper clipping that had a couple of recipes on it.  I could tell by the color of the paper that it must be very old.  It was quite yellow, almost brown.  As I tried to figure out how old these recipes might be, I turned the clipping over hoping to find some sort of date.  As luck would have it, there wasn't a date anywhere to be found, so I decided to do some research.  Now remember, my Grandma was a 1st grade teacher, and as I have been cooking my way through her recipe boxes, I often feel that she is still "teaching".  Today was one of those moments for sure. The clipping which was titled "Queries from Homemakers" by Mary Cook, included 2 recipes, one for an "Applesauce Fruit Cake" and one for "White Cake".  Mary Cook reminds us that it is always an excellent idea to have a fruit cake or white cake on hand as a refreshment during the Holidays.  Clue #1.  As I turned the newspaper clipping over, there is a partial news article titled "Seabees Get High Praise - President, Leaders Note Anniversary".  As I read through what is left of the article, the President, is none other than President Roosevelt (aaahh, but which President Roosevelt?) Well, there are a couple of clues to help me figure that out (but, my Grandma is making me work a bit on this). One clue is the reference to Pearl Harbor, which leads me to Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Not to mention that if this was   Theodore Roosevelt, this piece of newspaper would be over 100 years old.  Now, to narrow this down a little more, this article is about the 2nd anniversary of the creation of the 1st regiment of the Seabees.  Through the miracle of "Google", I was quickly able to learn that Admiral Ben Moreell, requested the authority to activate, organize and man a unique, very special organization that would support the Navy and Marines in remote locations on December 28, 1941.  This organization became knows as the Seabees.  So there you have it...these recipes are about 67 years old.
Applesauce Fruit Cake
Three cups sifted flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon cloves, 2 cups chopped nut meats, 2 cups chopped raisins, 1 cup chopped dates, 1/2 cup shortening, 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 1 cup sliced gumdrops, 4 ounces mixed candied fruits, 2 eggs well eaten, 2 cups thick applesauce.
Mix and sift flour, soda, salt and spices; mix about one-half cup of this mixture with the nut meats and fruits. Cream shortening, gradually add sugar and cream until light.  Beat in eggs.  Add flour, alternately with applesauce (drained of excess juice) beating well after each addition. Beat in fruit-nut mixture.  Turn into greased loaf plans and bake in moderately slow oven 325 degrees, one and one-half hours or until done.  Makes two small loaves.  Place a pan of water in the oven during first 30 minutes of baking.

White Cake
One-half cup shortening, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup white corn syrup, 6 tablespoons milk, 2 cups pastry flour, 3 egg whites, 2 teaspoons double acting or 3 teaspoons single acting baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Cream shortening and add sugar gradually while creaming.  Add corn syrup and beat vigorously. Sift dry ingredients together.  Mix flavoring and milk and add alternately with dry ingredients to sugar mixture.  Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.  Pour into two greased, floured layer cake pans.  Bake in 375 degree oven 20 minutes.  For loaf cake bake 45 to 55 minutes at 350 degrees.

I won't be making either of these this week, but will keep these recipes in mind for my "fruit cake" loving friends...who I have yet to meet and one day I might make the "white cake" recipe as the sound of the cake and sherbet sound like a great combination.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Slow Down

As the baseball season get's underway, this is the first time I have struggled to find time to thumb through the recipe boxes, make a decision, study the recipe card (because I usually have to do some research to figure out the "how" part), go shopping and cook/bake.  This weekend is Bubba's home opener, 2 games on Saturday and one on Sunday.  I did my grocery shopping on Friday night, with out a grocery list, so I really don't know if I will have the ingredients to make something, should I find that weekend recipe to cook. So, for only the 2nd time since starting this blog, I may be at a loss for words.  We don't even have plans to make something for the Superbowl game.  I admit I feel like I might be letting my Grandma down by not cooking something this weekend but when I truly think about what she would say, I know she would want me to be at the game, cheering the coach and the team on!  Stay tuned and let's hope I get to share some winning scores!
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