Good Eats #2

This, unlike the previous good eats, has a provenance, in that it is taken from Nava Atlas’ Vegetariana which I had ordered from a book catalog when stationed in Greece. I shopped in the weekly neighborhood street market, where the vegetables, fruits, eggs and cheese and all were inexpensive and often straight from the farm or orchard. We ate vegetarian, often for weeks at a time. This was one of our very favorite soups. Sometimes I have made up a gift basket for a friend or hostess of all the premeasured or prepped necessary ingredients and included this recipe with it.  

Winter Lentil & Brown Rice Soup

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Good Eats #1

For a number of years, I copied out interesting recipes by hand in a series of small books with lined pages and casebound covers. Many of them came from cooking magazines, such as Gourmet, but many came from the pages of various newspapers, to include the Stars and Stripes – from which I dimly recall reading one for a heavy, dark Caribbean Christmas fruitcake. It is in my mind that the woman who had originated it had a nice local business making and selling these fruitcakes – perhaps she had a cookbook published, and the S&S had merely published an extract from it. Anyway, I copied the recipe from a clipping, into the oldest of my hand-written books, which dates from my first hitch in the Air Force.

Caribbean Dark Fruitcake

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Finnish Pecan Balls

Winter has fully set in here in flyover country and we are in the midst of our first and hopefully only polar vortex of the season. This gives plenty of inside time, and time for me to dive into my grandmother’s recipe box.

Today we have Finnish Pecan Balls. I have no idea why the are Finnish, and honestly didn’t know what I was getting into when I started this one. When they were finished I said to myself “oh thooooose” when I realized that these where the dry, crumbly, sugary, tasty things that were on every single Christmas cookie platter I had ever seen since I was a wee lad.

1/2 lb. butter
4 tbsp sugar
2 cups pastry flour (I used regular flour and it worked just fine)
1 tbsp vanilla
2 cup pecans cut coarse (I used almonds as my spousal unit overbought and they turned out great)

Cream butter and sugar. Add flour, vanilla and nuts. Roll in hands size of butter balls (I went around an inch to an inch and a half). Bake 15 to 20 minutes in hot oven (come on grandma). I went 18 minutes at 350. Roll in powdered sugar while hot. Makes 3 doz.

I ended up with 29. Super easy and delicious. Have a napkin handy or eat over garbage can.

Your “It’s Gonna Be A While Before You Get Vaccinated” Banana Cherry Nut Bread Recipe

I have been rewarded with many correct calls so far while watching the botched and hilarious clownshow that is the vaccination rollout. Just about every single thing I predicted would come to pass, has. These predictions included:
1) Sensational tales of adverse reactions to a vanishingly tiny amount of people (I’m guessing these are the same communists that can’t eat peanuts)
2) Freezers “breaking down” and/or vaccines getting “misplaced” and heroic technicians vaccinating random people (Does anyone really believe these stories? Or at a minimum doesn’t everyone assume we are missing at least part of the story?). The media always, always has to have a hero.
3) Ridiculous systems and classifications of those supposed to receive the vaccine
4) Logistic and other failures
I have worked in industrial distribution all of my adult life, and know a thing or two about logistics. I also know a thing or two about government. I can’t think of too many worse combinations than logistics and government. Naturally, and predictably, the vaccination program is a total and complete farce. If we just would have left it to Walgreens and/or CVS and let them make some money at it, the whole shebang would probably be done by now, subject to availability of the vaccines of course. The whole debacle makes me sigh out loud, and creates hunger. I looked through grandmas recipe box and found a recipe that worked perfectly as I had exactly three bananas that were “on sale”, so to say, in my fruit basket.

This recipe is attributed to Alice Petersen, and is marked by my grandmother on the card as “very good”. I agree. It is very good.
Banana Cherry Nut Bread
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 10 oz jar cherries and juice – leave the cherries whole *I love ingredients like this. Upon going to the supermarket, it quickly becomes apparent that cherries are not sold in jars anymore, nor in 10 oz sizes. I saw a 15 oz can but was then faced with the choice of cherries in heavy syrup or water. I chose water and it worked out. I just cut the 15 oz can down to 2/3 (and naturally, began to snack down the other 1/3 of the can, before having to give some to my spousal unit, who threatened to burn my possessions in the street if I ate them all). I’m guessing back when grandma wrote this one up that the packaging for cherries was quite different than it is today.
1/2 cup butter or margarine
3 mashed bananas
2 cups flour
1 tsp soda
1/2 cup walnuts

Cream the sugar and butter; add eggs; mix. Then add bananas and mix thoroughly. Blend in flour and soda. Add cherries, juice and nuts and stir until mixed. Pour into 2 small loaf pans and bake one hour at 350.

Super simple and rewarding. Enjoy!