Rolled oats mix

And now from the 1960s comes a homemade mix to use for baking biscuits, muffins, and cookies. This is from the USDA booklet published in 1962. It’s title is Family Meals at Low Cost. I have substituted butter for the shortening. Some of the recipes call for canned meat and dried eggs. Mom would send off for booklets like these from the state’s university agriculture extension center. I do not know if she made this mix. She did make the biscuit mix as her notes on the changes she made to the ingredient amounts are in here.

I made half the recipe and was able to use my KitchenAid stand mixer.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (just because!)
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon salt
  • 3/4 cups butter, slightly softened but not too much

First I stirred the dry ingredients together and then the butter until it looked crumbly. Store in closed container in the refrigerator. Supposedly this will keep for one month. I immediately used half to make oatmeal cookies. I will most likely try the muffins next. For biscuits one adds water, for muffins add egg and water, and for cookies add egg, water and sugar. See below.

  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats mix
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg, beaten (or not!)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips and 1/3cup raisins

Combine all ingredients and stir just enough to moisten dry ingredients. This was a wet cookie dough. Drop dough in teaspoonfuls on a greased baking sheet for 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees F.

This made exactly 24 cookies. I used a medium cookie scoop to portion out the cookies. I baked 12 and put the other 12 cookie dough balls in a freezer bag to bake later. This makes a very tasty oatmeal cookie.

Lemon Bread

This weekend’s treat from Mom’s green recipe notebook is lemon bread. The clipping is from the back of a Kroger flour bag from who knows when? Mom collected a lot of these recipe clippings and sometimes hand wrote and/or typed them out in red or black ink with her own adjustments. I don’t know how many of these she actually made. So this journey is for her. Thanks Mom for all the baked goodies that you did make and the ones you may have hoped to bake.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk, I used unsweetened almond milk.
  • Grated rind of one lemon, it’s juice, and additional 1/3 cup sugar

This apparently doubles as bread or cake according to the recipe. We ate it almost all in one day; it was so tasty!

Preheat oven to 325 but I put it at 350 degrees F. Grease 9 inch x 5 inch loaf pan. I put a piece of parchment paper lengthwise to aid in removing loaf from the pan after baking.

Mix dry ingredients together in medium bowl. Cream butter and sugar then add eggs one at a time beating well each time. Here is where I added the lemon extract. Add dry ingredients alternately with the milk. I forgot to add the lemon rind. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes.

At this time warm the lemon juice and dissolve the 1/3 cup sugar in it. Here is where I added the lemon zest. This works nicely in a 1 cup Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Pour this over the loaf and return to the oven for 5-8 more minutes.

The best beef bourguignon ever

This does not follow my theme for the year but I just had to share/brag/boast/whatever!

In a Dutch Oven sauté a handful of bacon ends and pieces with a teaspoon of jarred minced garlic. Add 2 small onions chopped in large chunks and continue cooking until onions are semi-tender. Set aside in a bowl. Dredge 1-2 pounds of beef stew meat chunks (from a Top Butt) in ½ cup flour with some salt and pepper. Add a bit more oil to the pot and brown the beef, turning once. Set this aside in the bowl with the bacon/onion mixture. Add one cup of red wine to the pot and deglaze the pan scraping the brown bits on the bottom. Add the beef, bacon, and onion mixture back into the pot along with 2 small potatoes chopped in large chunks and 2 small carrots which have been peeled and cut into one-inch chunks. Cover this with 2 cups of beef broth and 1-2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce. Add more broth if necessary to just cover the goodies in the pot but not to drown them. Stir and bring to boil. Reduce heat and let simmer. This was allowed to simmer for the two risings of the home-made bread dough. Meanwhile in separate skillet place 2 tablespoons of butter and sauté 4 large baby bella mushrooms which have been sliced. Cook just until mushrooms are slightly softened and browned. Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce and set aside. When ready to put the bread in the oven, or after two hours, stir the mushrooms into the pot along with the reserved flour from the dredging of the beef. Continue to simmer the pot for the duration of the bread baking or 30-35 minutes.

We ate most of this before taking a picture. Here is what the leftover in the pot looks like. But no, the pic is not appetizing so I am not posting it, and this stew was fantastic. I do not generally rave about my own cooking but this was aromatic, flavorful, and rich-tasting. I served this with a homemade loaf of bread which is essential to clean the bowl to get every last drop!

Scones and the plan for 2022

Happy New Year!

I wanted a theme for my blog writing this year and wanted one that I would follow through with. I had tried writing through Betty Crocker but found the main dish recipes basic and bland, or more exactly, not exciting nor creative. Well, after all that cookbook is for basic cooking anyway. I have a number of cookbooks and would like to cook through them but commitment is the issue. I like to cook/bake what strikes my fancy. I thought of going through the recipe notebook of my collected recipes but then the thought “I could go through my mom’s green notebook” popped into my mind and stuck.

I got it out and read through the pages. She has put these in sections but the labels are faded and not easily read. I picked out several recipes in each section that are of interest. This is her baking collection. Although I did find in here a small booklet from the USDA on “Family Meals at Low Cost” using pantry staples published in 1962. These menus and recipes are to feed a family of five for three meals a day. No snacks included! These often use “canned chopped meat” which I do not have or buy or plan doing so! Lard and shortening are in most of these as well. In 1962 Mom was feeding a family of six on the minor salary of my Dad who was a social worker at the Children’s Home. Mom was by default a home economist, otherwise known as a homemaker. Erroneously described in some circles as “non-working”.

Today’s recipe is from the first section of the notebook which appears to be “breads and muffins”. I have chosen “raspberry jam scones” but will make them with blackberry fruit spread. I have altered the recipe slightly but not by much. This is a fancy scone recipe.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon each baking powder and sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • butter: 1/2 cup cold for the dough and 1 1/2 Tablespoons, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used unsweetened plain oatmilk)
  • 1/2 cup thick jam (I used fruit spread, about 1/3 cup)
  • sugar

Mix the dry ingredients together and cut in the 1/2 cup of butter. Being a more modern baker I took the lazy way and actually used my KitchenAid mixer to do this. Beat eggs slightly with the milk and add to the dry ingredients and mix until a soft dough forms. Turn this out on a floured surface and divide into two. Roll each section into a 10 inch circle. Place one half in a cake pan or baking pan. I used a 10-inch spring form pan. Brush with the softened butter and spread the jam on top. Place the other circle on this and spread the top with the rest of the softened butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake in a hot oven at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

Notes for future reference:

  • this recipe could be easily halved and made as a single layer scone, perhaps in an 6-8 inch circle.
  • any kind of jam can be used, obviously.
  • possibly reduce the salt to 1/2 teaspoon
  • cinnamon sugar for the top might be a nice taste treat especially if making this in a single layer.

Local Meat: venison stew

The son-in-law hunts and got himself a nice buck. I want him to use all the meat so he gives me some. This deer gave me ground venison and stew meat. So I made a stew.

Stews are simply soups with larger cuts of meat and vegetables and less liquid. They are super simple to make especially when using a crockpot.

  • a pound (?) or packet of meat cut into stew sized chunks
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 stalks celery cut into chunks
  • 6 small potatoes cut into chunks
  • 6 parsnips cut into chunks
  • 1 medium onion cut into chunks
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups water or more to almost cover
  • 1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved

Throw all this into the crockpot and cook on low for 8-9 hours. Voila!

I served this with homemade Sally Lunn bread.

Hot Milk Sponge Cake

I wanted to bake a cake. I wanted to try something new. I looked at my Soulard Market cookbook and found the 12th street hot milk cake and decided to try it. The first time I made this I halved the recipe. I remember my sister mentioned she uses this recipe. I then called her up and asked if it really called for so little butter. She then reminded me that this is a sponge cake and that she actually uses our mother’s Hot Milk Sponge cake recipe. The key to success, she said, was to aerate the eggs long enough.

I then went to my mother’s recipe notebook and found the Hot Milk Sponge recipe. The ingredients are almost the same as Soulard’s, except the typo in Soulard of “1 teaspoon flour” which most likely is the salt, except it calls for a “dash of salt” later in the ingredient list and it did not say when to add the vanilla. A bit confusing but when I made the half recipe it came out beautifully. We ate that one before taking a picture.

I made the full recipe in a greased 9×13-inch cake pan as directed in the Soulard book. Mom’s recipe calls for an ungreased 9-10 inch tube pan. There is also a difference in directions in putting together the batter. I used the Soulard because I knew that one worked. I have not had much luck with sponge cakes before but this one is going to be a repeat!

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour (or sifted cake flour)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter per Soulard (2 Tablespoons per Mom’s)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (or 2)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix butter and milk in saucepan or pyrex (for microwave) and heat until butter melts. This takes 1-2 minutes in the microwave. In the mixer bowl put the eggs and beat 5-8 minutes and then slowly add the sugar. This will look fluffy when ready. Now fold in the dry ingredients except the baking powder. I mixed this in on low speed for 30 seconds. Stir in the hot milk mixture. This is where to add the vanilla. Now fold in the baking powder and allow to stand for 10 minutes “to allow the baking powder to expand”.

Pour batter in a greased 9×13 inch pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Frost with icing of your choice. My choice of frosting is a super easy chocolate one from a King Arthur Flour sales flyer. Melt one stick of butter in a saucepan. Stir in ¼ cup cocoa and 6 tablespoons buttermilk or plain yogurt. Bring to a boil and boil for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in 4 cups confectioner’s sugar. This makes a wonderful fudge like frosting.

Variations: one can use coconut oil in place of the butter. This will give the cake a slight coconut flavor, a very mild one. It using coconut oil in place of the butter in the frosting this will be a stronger coconut flavor. I like the combination of chocolate and coconut. It is one of my favorite combinations.

Vegetable Beef Soup and 60-minute rolls

What is for supper when I’ve used up everything in the produce drawer, the meats in the freezer are too big to thaw quickly, and I have to be at work?  It’s a cold rainy fall day so soup seems in order. But what soup to make with frozen mixed vegetables as the main ingredient? There’s not even a potato in the house!

Building a soup, as my sister says, can be an adventure in creativity.  Here’s what I found to use. I had a half a box of beef broth in the fridge. There were remains of green onions in the produce drawer. I found a bit of ground beef hanging about the fridge freezer. Earlier I had found the ground turkey and mistook it for an Italian sausage, hubby had made sausage and peppers a few weeks before, so it was still in the freezer waiting for a use.

  • Beef broth, enough to cover the ingredients in the crock pot, about 2-4 cups;
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • White ends of two green onions, sliced
  • One garlic clove, minced
  • 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes, these had basil, oregano, and garlic seasonings
  • ¼ pound ground beef
  • ½-3/4  pound ground turkey
  • Fresh herbs, parsley and spicy oregano

I sautéed the onion and garlic with the ground meats until the meats were browned. I used a bit of olive oil in the pan as well. I put this and the rest of the ingredients in the crock pot and covered with the beef broth. I set this on low and let it cook all day.

Sixty minute rolls are a staple from the Fleischmann’s Yeast bread book my Mom gave me eons ago. These are a tasty dinner roll that does not take hours and hours to make.

  • 3 ½ to 4 ½ cups of flour
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 packages yeast; I use instant yeast which is 3 teaspoons plus a scant bit more.
  • 1 cup milk; I did not have milk of any kind in my refrigerator so I opened a can of evaporated milk
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ stick butter  = ¼ cup

Mix 1 ½ cups flour and next three ingredients in the mixer bowl. Heat the milk, water, and butter until very warm (120-130 degrees F). Gradually add to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Add ½ cup flour and beat at high speed for 2 minutes. Stir in enough additional flour to make soft dough and knead until smooth and elastic. I do all of this in the KitchenAid with the dough hook. Place in greased bowl and cover; let rise 15 minutes.

At this stage I read that that first rise is to be done by placing the dough bowl in a pan of hot water.  This is news to me! I have been making these rolls forever and have never done that. One thing about making bread and knowing how it works, I apparently mostly read the ingredients, skim over the directions, add up the rising and baking times, and just go about the business of baking bread. So this time I did put the bowl in a pan of hot water mainly because it was a cold and rainy day.

After rising, turn dough out on lightly floured board and shape into rolls as you like. The recipe gives directions for Curlicues and Lucky Clovers. I decide on Lucky Clovers. Divide dough into 24 pieces, shape into balls, put in greased muffin tins, cut crosswise into the top of the dough almost to the bottom.

Cover and let rise for another 15 minutes. Bake these in a 425 degree oven about 12 minutes or until done. Remove from pan and cool on wire racks.

Dinner is served!

Flan…or is it cake?

I got the pan for free at the Dump. You know how some municipal dumps have a “free shack” where reasonable items can be donated for others to take at will. This was my prize find along with a Trivia game of facts from the 1940s through the 1990s which proves to me how much I should remember but don’t!

We like flan. Flan is like custard, crème caramel. I find the pan where it had been hiding in my overfull kitchen cabinet. I have these ingredients. I’m making flan. This will be the dessert for the week, not counting the apple pie made 3 days ago which we have since eaten. 

In making the recipe I do wonder about flour and butter in a custard, but forge ahead. I did not separate the eggs very well so there are two whole eggs with one egg yolk. Otherwise all is as is printed on the pan.

This is a light sponge-y cake. I look up flan on the internet and find some pictures of this pan since the title of the pan is Nordic Flan Pan. But flan is custard. Or cake with custard.  This pan and cake are designed to be topped with fruit, custard, ice cream, etc. I sprinkle this one with powdered sugar for the first taste. The second slices are topped with jam and marmalade. It’s a nice light dessert, but it is not flan!

Soulard Veggie Stew, my way

We got gifted fresh garden vegetables and then got the weekly produce delivery. There were lots of tomatoes and some were eaten in salads and on sandwiches. A big hearty thank you to all the gardeners out there!

Soups and stews are an easy way to use up vegetables. I went through my handy-dandy Soulard Market Cookbook and found a veggie stew. This sounded good so this was the plan for the weekend, along with home baked crusty bread. For the bread I am making a French baguette.

For those interested, Soulard Market is St. Louis’ oldest public farmer’s market operating since 1799. It is a fabulous place to visit on Saturday mornings when visiting family in the area.

Basically vegetable soup can use any vegetables you have hanging about. For this recipe I substituted okra for the eggplant, added a green pepper, used veggie broth for the water, omitted the tomato paste and brown sugar. I used several hefty shakes of a dried Italian seasoning since my basil plant is pretty much useless.

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 2 carrots, cut in rounds
  • 3 okra, sliced in rounds
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 2 shakes of salt
  • several hefty shakes of Italian seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups, or thereabouts, chopped tomatoes,
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 4-5 quartered tomatillos
  • about 1 cup broccoli flowerets
  • 2 cups vegetable broth

First sauté a Mirepoix of the onion, one carrot, celery, garlic, and bell pepper in a bit of olive oil for about 8 minutes. I chose to cook this soup in a crockpot so I added the potatoes and the other carrot to the pot first. Add the Mirepoix and the other vegetables ending with the zucchini and the broccoli. Add seasonings. Add 2 cups of vegetable broth. Cook on low for 7-8 hours. Very nice soup!

(The original recipe instructs to put all vegetables except zucchini and broccoli in a large Dutch oven with the seasonings and liquid and bring to a boil. Then reduce to simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Then add the zucchini and broccoli, a can of tomato paste and 2 Tablespoons brown sugar and cook until broccoli is tender.)

More custard, with fall flavors

This recipe is adapted from the Eating Well Magazine print edition Fall 2002.

Maple-Pumpkin Custards with Crystallized Ginger

  • 1 1/2 cups milk; I used half-and-half
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree; freeze the remaining puree for later use.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • whipped cream and crystallized ginger to serve

For this custard a bain marie is used so put the kettle on to boil. I did not line the roasting pan with a towel, nor did I heat the milk to steaming.

Whisk eggs and syrup until smooth. Add the milk or half-and-half, pumpkin puree, spices and salt. Whisk until blended. Divide between 6 custard cups or ramekins and place in the roasting pan. Pour boiling water to half-way up the sides of the custard cups. Bake at 325 degrees F for 45-50 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 45 minutes. Then refrigerate for at least one hour.

This was absolutely delicious. The texture was a combination of pudding and custard in my opinion.