Made last week from a recipe similar to this one.
Made last week from a recipe similar to this one.
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.
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
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!
Well, after all fifty state capitols being assaulted last week as predicted by the FBI and an extremely excited media, along with an inauguration that was marred by violent, huge mobs of country overthrowers and coup starters, I’m in the mood for some coffee cake.
When my grandmother died many years ago and we were doing her death cleaning, I wanted just a few things – the collection of antique beer steins, the stand mixer and the box of recipes. I was fortunately granted all of the above. Today’s recipe is one that grandma got from one Clara Jensen according to the index card, a person I don’t necessarily remember. This coffee cake turned out really good, but in general, most coffee cake, to me at least, has a ceiling as far as quality and taste goes. It is very easy to make and of course you can alter to your taste but this is pretty solid.
2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
Sift all of these dry ingredients together. Mix that with:
2/3 cup room temperature shortening
1 cup buttermilk
Put in a 9×13.
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Sprinkle topping on top of dough.
Bake at 350 for 25-30 mins. I went 28 and it turned out just fine.
As you form your administration, I have one recommendation for you: hire my friend Mike Lotus.
Who is Mike Lotus?
Mike Lotus is a fierce and passionate servant of Jesus Christ, patriot, and father. He loves his God, these United States of America, and his wife and five children.
Though these loves are the center of his world, they might not strike you as things that should single him out as someone worthy of your attention. Great to have, you might say, but why should I care? Many of the fellow citizens of our America, the greatest nation of history, love and serve their God, love and serve this nation, and love and serve their spouse and children. Many of those, in the wise (and weary) words of my own beloved mother, herself a mother of six, have been crazy (and devoted) enough to have given this republic five citizens as Michael and Jean Lotus have.
My, you New Yorkers are a tough lot. Let me mention a few of the many things that should persuade you to hire Mike Lotus.
In his day-time job, he is Michael J. Lotus, attorney at law, practicing in Chicago, Illinois. He is an experienced warrior of law, fighting for the same overlooked Midwesterners whose love of country allowed you to pierce Mrs. Clinton’s formidable blue wall and win the presidency over the near universal scorn of those that have led this great nation into shame.
On top of the demands of his law practice and his large and busy family, Mike has also somehow found enough time to be a fearless advocate for the conservative cause and loyal volunteer for the Illinois Republican Party. This can be a lonely and thankless job, especially in the harsh blue wilderness of Mrs. Clinton’s birthplace and President Obama’s chosen hometown. Yet he continues to go out, watch the local polls, and fight the good fight for the GOP in a town run by Democrats so dedicated to civil rights that they believe that no-shows, the dead, and the fictional deserve the equal right to vote in our nation’s elections. In a town where the dead rose en mass for JFK in 1960, Lotus-scale exorcisms are too small on their own to stop legions of the dearly departed pressed into voting one more time for the city machine. But you become a determined and experienced exorcist in the face of such chronic outrages and, in the demon-haunted swamp you are descending into, you need all the great exorcists you can get.
Mike is a fighter in the arena of ideas. With his good friend James C. Bennett, he wrote America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century—Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come. In America 3.0, Mike and Jim lay out one road toward making America great again. While they differ in some details from your emerging plan to keep America great into this new millennium and beyond, in the larger thrust and spirit of their program they are in accord with the direction you want to take this country: up. It never hurts to have men of practical affairs who can double as men of practical ideas on your side. In Mike (and Jim), you’d hire a man who hits these two and other marks. Consider it a multitude-to-one deal, something well within your art.
Mike and I differ on a few points of policy. For example, I’m a mercantilist and a protectionist and he’s a staunch advocate of free trade. We’ve had some energetic debates on this and other topics. Yet Mike has always been a good sport even when, as I too frequently do, I get lost in rhetorical excess. When the tide, as it sometimes but rarely does, goes against him, he salutes and does his duty like a good soldier and carries on with your ideas as if they were his own. It is a rare quality in these days where comprehensive indoctrination is often mistaken for thorough education and a brave and uncanny ability to regurgitate the views of the entrenched and powerful on demand is conflated with intelligence and insight that Mike can mix independence of mind and loyalty without leaving either shortchanged.
You can’t fake authenticity, as your opponent in the recent presidential election so readily demonstrated.
Hire Mike Lotus. You won’t be disappointed.
Lynn C. Rees
Murray, Utah, USA
December 11, 2016
“Miso kilo, parakhalo,” which means “Half a kilo, please” was the single most useful phrase I learned. Every neighborhood in Athens had its own farmer’s market on a certain day of the week: in Sourmena, it was on Saturday, in Glyphada on Thursday, but in Ano Glyphada, where we lived in a second-floor apartment set in Kyria Venetia’s garden of citrus and olive trees, our market was on Tuesday mornings. Very early in the day, around 5AM, a two-block stretch of road would blocked off, and the venders would set up their small tables, covered with faded canvas awnings, all along the sidewalks, each offering their own produce specialty: piles of seasonal fruit and vegetables, eggs, mounds of lemons and fresh-cut herbs.
My then pre-K aged daughter Blondie and I lived in Athens from March 1983 to September 1985. It was a follow-on assignment to Hellenikon Air Base (now closed) to a year that I spent at Sondrestrom, Greenland, forty miles north of the Arctic Circle. All during that year of separation, I had promised her that we would go to Athens together, and live in a house on a hill, with lemon and olive trees all around and a view of the sea, and we would be happy.
We did, and we were, and these are the things I learned and remember.
Athens is a large and mostly modern city, 7/8th of it built up since 1945, with smog to rival Los Angeles and sheer noise to equal New York. All the neat old historic buildings are buried among the modern construction like one of those party favor balls made of crepe, which you unwind to find various little toys hidden in the layers. The park in the heart of the city is the Zappeion garden, lush and green, with a pond of ducks and a tiny children’s’ library. The Zappeion is full of cats, at which we used to marvel, as they were all so fat and tame. One afternoon when my daughter and I were walking back to catch our bus to the suburbs, we kept noticing the cats slinking out of the bushes by the dozen, looking expectantly at us. A young couple came into the gardens by one of the gates from Vassilias Amelia Avenue, staggering under the weight of three or four plastic shopping bags in each hand, and the cats gathered purposefully. The young couple set down the bags, took out can openers and began opening cans of cat food. They did this every other day, or so: the young man was English and worked nearby. He and his girlfriend came to feed the cats every day or so, having taken it over from an elderly Greek lady some years before, and the local ASPCA chapter (composed mostly of other expat English) worked to trap and neuter as many as possible.
That’s why, I’m sorry to say, if you want a truly great, hot, crisp doughnut, chances are you’re going to have to make it yourself. Like anything involving deep-frying, D.I.Y. doughnuts are a bit of a project, but they’re less work than you might think. And once you’ve mastered the basic recipe — this one is for fluffy yeasted doughnuts, as opposed to the denser cake variety — you can geek out to your heart’s content on the glazes, toppings and fillings.
Happily the NYT article actually links to some recipes.
My aunt has a great recipe for sufganiyot, which are a sort of jam-filled Israeli yeast donut that’s traditionally made for Hannukah, at least by my aunt. I ought to ask her for it.
Continuing on the theme of recipes from my grandmother’s recipe box, today we have Lori’s Amish Peanut Butter Cookies.
I honestly have no idea why these are “Amish” – I guess Lori got the recipe from an Amish woman somewhere along the way.
First off, the ingredients:
1.5 cups shortening
4 tsp vanilla
2 cups crunchy peanut butter
2 cups sugar
5 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 cups brown sugar
3 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs, well beaten
There were no instructions on this card, so I just began mixing stuff together. I finally used my grandmother’s old standing mixer, pictured below.
I am guessing it is from the 60’s but don’t really know. It is a heavy beast – that much I do know.
As you can see from the ingredient list above, this recipe is GIANT. It barely all fit in the mixing bowl, and I needed to use my hands at times to prevent all of the batter from overflowing, but it all worked out in the end.
The card then said make loose balls with a tablespoon and flatten them with a sugared cup. Bake @350 for 8-10 minutes. I made mine a little larger and ended up with about 85 cookies. Here are most of them.
These are outstanding and will not last long.
Cross posted at LITGM.
I have mentioned before that my grandmother died a few years ago and one of the best things I received when we were cleaning out her house was a giant box of recipes. In the box are some recipes from her friends as well. Yesterday I tried Maxine’s Fresh Orange Squares and they came out pretty well.
I bought a giant bag of oranges from Costco last week and frankly, they are pretty bad. I hate wasting, so went to the recipe box to look up a recipe to try to use a few of them.
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup flour
2/3 cup finely chopped peeled orange (about 1 large)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
*Orange glaze: Mix 2 tbsp. grated orange peel, 1/3 cup sifted confectioners sugar and 2 tsp water until smooth
Heat oven to 350. In small mixing bowl, beat sugar and egg on high for 3 minutes. Stir in flour, orange and nuts. Spread in greased 9x9x2 pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. While warm spread with glaze. Cool, cut into 1.5″ squares.
Below is the finished product:
The squares were pretty dense. I substituted almonds for the walnuts because that is what I had laying around and it worked fine. The orange glaze is delicious on top. I imagine this would be even better with good oranges.
Cross posted at LITGM.
(For a Friday, a little change from the usual – a post about traveling, history, and an insufficient command of French … but an appreciation for good food and small country inns. This is included my ebook “Travels With Blondie.”)
I have been flipping over the pages of my battered Hallwag Euro-Guide, attempting to reconstruct my hopscotch itinerary on little back roads across France, at the wheel of the VEV in the early autumn of 1985. I avoided the big cities, before and after Paris, and the major highways. For a foreign driver, Paris was a nerve-wracking, impenetrable urban jungle, a tangle of streets and roundabouts, and the major highways were toll-roads and expensive; much less fraught to follow the little-trafficked country roads from town to town to town. We ghosted along those two-lane country roads as much as a bright orange Volvo sedan can be said to ghost, the trunk and the back seat packed with mine and my daughter’s luggage, a basket of books, a large bottle of Metaxa brandy (a departing gift from Kyria Paniyioti, our Athens landlord) and two boxes of china and kitchen gadgets purchased from that holiest of holies of French kitchenware shops, Dehillerin in the Rue Coquilliere.
From Chartres and the wondrous cathedral, I went more or less south towards the Loire; the most direct way would been a secondary road to Chateaudun, and an even more secondary road directly from there to Blois, through a green countryside lightly touched with autumn gold, where the fields of wheat and silage had been already mown down to stubble. The road wound through gentle ranges of hills, and stands of enormous trees. Here at a turn of the road was a dainty and Disney-perfect chateau, with a wall and a terrace and a steep-sloped blue-slate roof trimmed with pepper-pot turrets, an enchanting dollhouse of a chateau, set among its’ own shady green grove. There was no historic marker, no sign of habitation, nothing to welcome the sightseer, and then the road went around a bend and it was out of sight, as fleeting as a vision.
Blois was set on hills, a charming small town of antique buildings, none more than two or three stories tall, and I seemed to come into it very abruptly late in the afternoon. Suddenly there were buildings replacing the fields on either side. At the first corner, I turned left, followed the signpost pointing to the town center; might as well find a place to spend the night. As soon as I turned the corner and thought this, I spotted the little hotel, fronting right on the narrow sidewalk. It had two Michelin stars, which was good enough for me (plain, clean, comfortable and cheap) and was called the Golden… well, the golden something or other. I didn’t recognise the French word; truth to tell, I didn’t recognize most of them, just the words for foods and cooking, mostly, and could pronounce rather fewer.
Ducal refried beans are the official refried beans of the Chicagoboyz blog.
That is what they were called in towns and cities in Spain – the main plaza or town square, which served as the center of civic life, around which were ranged the important civic buildings, the biggest church; this the regular market place, the assembly area for every kind of public spectacle imaginable over the centuries. Every plaza mayor in every Spanish town is alike and yet different; different in size and shape, and in the confirmation of the buildings around it. Some are bare and paved in cobbles, and some have trees and gardens in them now.
(Part of this essay is in a collection of reminiscences about living overseas – but Greece to me was very special, even in spite of a certain problem with terrorism in the 1980s. The opportunities to visit the Parthenon regularly, as well as other classical sites … well, I used to feel sorry for people coming through on a whirlwind tour. They had only a week or two to spend in Greece, but I had almost three years.)
(This year my daughter and I decided to afflict our neighbors with Christmas cookies again – in years past we have done herb vinegars and oils, pickles and preserves and home-made cheeses and bread.)
Pecan Angel Slices
(from Joy of Cooking – 1975 Edition)
Cream together until well-blended: ½ cup butter and ¼ cup sugar
Beat in well: 1 egg and ½ teasp vanilla
Combine and add to the above: 1 ¼ cup sifted flour and 1/8 teasp salt
Pat dough evenly into a greased 9×12 inch pan and bake at 350° for fifteen minutes. Remove from oven.
Combine: 2 beaten eggs, 1 ½ cup brown sugar, ½ cup flaked cocoanut, 1 cup chopped pecans, 2 Tbsp. flour, ½ teasp double acting baking powder, ½ teasp salt and 1 teasp vanilla.
Pour over cookie layer and return to oven for 25 minutes
Combine 1 ½ cup sifted confectioner’s sugar with sufficient lemon juice to make a smooth, runny glaze. Pour over warm cookie/pecan/coconut layer and allow to set.
When cool, cut into bars or squares. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays … and bon appetite!
So, I had a book club meeting in Fredericksburg, Texas, this morning – which was a blast for me personally, as it was one of my own books that they had read for the monthly selection. Just about everyone in the group came to the discussion, which was a definite coup for the member who had contacted me with a question about one of my website pages.
(This piece was part of a much longer essay about life in Greece when I was stationed at Hellenikon AB in the early 1980s. I posted it originally on The Daily Brief, and also rewrote much later to include in a collection of pieces about travel, people and history for Kindle.)
Christmas in Greece barely rates, in intensity it falls somewhere between Arbor Day or Valentines’ Day in the United States: A holiday for sure, but nothing much to make an enormous fuss over, and not for more than a day or two. But Greek Orthodox Easter, in Greece – now that is a major, major holiday. The devout enter into increasingly rigorous fasts during Lent, businesses and government offices for a couple of weeks, everyone goes to their home village, an elaborate feast is prepared for Easter Sunday, the bakeries prepare a special circular pastry adorned with red-dyed eggs, everyone gets new clothes, spring is coming after a soggy, miserable winter never pictured in the tourist brochures. Oh, it’s a major holiday blowout, all right. From Thursday of Holy Week on, AFRTS-Radio conforms to local custom, of only airing increasingly somber music. By Good Friday and Saturday, we are down to gloomy classical pieces, while outside the base, the streets are nearly deserted, traffic down to a trickle and all the shops and storefronts with their iron shutters and grilles drawn down.
I made a pretty successful run at Grandma’s rye bread a few weeks ago and decided to look at something else in her box of recipes to try out.
My wife has an annoying habit of wanting sweets for breakfast. Maybe it is me but I just don’t like them in the morning. She loves a sweet roll or whatever with her coffee. So I decided on the Streusel Layered Coffee Cake as my next try. The recipe looked simple and I had most of the ingredients laying around. Here is the ingredient list:
A few days ago here I asked a question about what “1 yeast” was in my grandmothers rye bread recipe. The comments held a lot of good information and I am happy to report that one packet of yeast worked just fine.
Below the fold are a bunch of photos from my first run at Grandma’s rye bread and some random thoughts I had along the way. Forgive some of the photos for not being centered or perfect in advance, as since my hands were pretty dirty and I had my 8 year old daughter assisting me with the camera.
When my grandmother died several years ago one of the things I wanted most when we cleaned out her house was the giant box of hand written recipes. I got it.
Many of these go back to when she was a poor child back in the early twentieth century in Munich.
I was running through them the other day and found one for rye bread.
I have never made bread in my life, but I think this could be fun. No bread machine here, we are going to do it the old fashioned way.
The directions look pretty straightforward. But I have one question that maybe the ChicagoBoyz mind hive can help me with.
The first step is to start the yeast. The card says to dissolve the yeast in warm water. The ingredient list says to use one cup of water with “1 yeast”.
I am guessing that one yeast means one packet of yeast? Any help or advice you can provide is appreciated – below the fold are photos of the recipe card. You can click on them for larger versions.
2 large boxes of Vanilla Jell-O Cook & Serve Pudding & Pie Filling
1 quart of half-and-half
1/2 cup (or so) of milk
1 bunch of ripe bananas
1 box of vanilla wafers
This is a lovely recipe for a whole chicken, butterflied and baked on a layer of seasoned, sauteed onions and slices of stout artisanal bread – which we will have for supper tonight, with leftovers reserved for another evening. I found it in an old issue of “Cuisine at Home”, where it had been taken from Ari Weinzweig’s “Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eating”. Enjoy… but take note that the bread has to be very sturdy. My local supermarket bakery does a very nice ciabetta loaf that works well.
-Grate a couple of potatoes.
-Chop some onion.
-Mix potato and onion in a bowl with egg, salt and pepper.
-Fry, making sure to flatten the latkes for quick and even cooking.
I am continually amazed by the level of fear, contempt, and anger that many educated/urban/upper-middle-class people demonstrate toward Christians and rural people (especially southerners.) This complex of negative emotions often greatly exceeds anything that these same people feel toward radical Islamists or dangerous rogue-state governments. I’m not a Christian myself, or really a religious person at all, but I’d think that one would be a lot more worried about people who want to cut your head off, blow you up, or at a bare minimum shut down your freedom of speech than about people who want to talk to you about Jesus (or Nascar!)
It seems that there are quite a few people who vote Democratic, even when their domestic and foreign-policy views are not closely aligned with those of the Democratic Party, because they view the Republican Party and its candidates as being dominated by Christians and “rednecks.”
What is the origin of this anti-Christian anti-“redneck” feeling? Some have suggested that it’s a matter of oikophobia…the aversion to the familiar, or “”the repudiation of inheritance and home,” as philosopher Roger Scruton uses the term. I think this is doubtless true in some cases: the kid who grew up in a rural Christian home and wants to make a clean break with his family heritage, or the individual who grew up in an oppressively-conformist Bible Belt community. But I think such cases represent a relatively small part of the category of people I’m talking about here. A fervently anti-Christian, anti-Southern individual who grew up in New York or Boston or San Francisco is unlikely to be motivated by oikophobia–indeed, far from being excessively familiar, Christians and Southern people are likely as exotic to him as the most remote tribes of New Guinea.
Equally exotic, but much safer to sneer at…and here, I think, we have the explanation for much though not all of the anti-Christian anti-Southern bigotry: It is a safe outlet for the unfortunately-common human tendency to look down on members of an out group. Safer socially than bigotry against Black people or gays or those New Guinea tribesmen; much less likely to earn you the disapproval of authority figures in school or work or of your neighbors. Safer physically than saying anything negative about Muslims, as you’re much less likely to face violent retaliation.