Monday, December 31, 2007

When the Sun's Comin' Up, Got Cakes on the Griddle...

2008 is going to be a good year, or at least one filled with new classic recipes. My family and friends were kind to me this Christmas, giving me many classic cookbooks and you are going to be introduced to a lot of new ones in the coming days and weeks. But we'll start with a classic recipe for griddle cakes from a truly classic cookbook, Three Meals a Day: Cooking, Table, Toilet, Health. As the title suggests, this book is more than just recipes. If you're like my husband you'll ask the whole car ride home, "TOILET?! What does that have to do with cooking? TOILET!?" But you're not like my husband, so I trust you'll just enjoy this recipe and look forward to reading excerpts from it in the future.

This copy of Three Meals was given to me by a friend (she's my husband's boss, too, so shouldn't we be the ones giving her super cool gifts?). She collects classic Spanish and French primers and travel books, but for some reason picked this book up years ago. She wrote a very kind note about the book and how she never quite understood why she bought it. I'm glad she held onto it, because it is an amazing gift an an amazing book.

I always thought griddle cakes were the same thing as pancakes, but these definitely aren't the pancakes I know. The recipe says they are light and fluffy but, well, they aren't. They are rather heavy, but they do puff up quite a bit. You can see from the list of ingredients that there aren't any eggs or sweetener, and the only fat is from the buttermilk, but the corn meal provides a certain amount of sweetness and different texture. I just put a little maple syrup on mine, as you can see in the picture above, but my husband topped his with peanut butter and apple butter and a little syrup, he was shocked, shocked I tell you, that after eating six (!!) of these that he felt full most of the day. The cakes are large enough that you can cut them in half and toast them like an English muffin. Yum.

Griddle Cakes
Adapted from Three Meals a Day: Cooking, Table, Toilet, Health, sometime in the 1890's. I cut the recipe in half and it made about 12 good size cakes. The batter is really, really thick, so you can add more water and they will be more pancake like, bubbling up when they are done on one side. The thick batter can be scooped onto the griddle using an ice cream scoop and cooked at a lower temperature for a little longer. I used half whole wheat flour, and half white flour and the balance seemed about right; all white flour would probably make a lighter cake.

1 quart of buttermilk
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs baking soda
1 cup corn meal
5 cups flour

Beat all ingredients together, until most of the lumps are gone. Preheat a griddle over medium heat. Pour about 1/2 cup of batter onto the griddle and cook on one side for a couple minutes. After flipping the cake, press down slightly with the spatula. Cook until done.

Just So My Mom Can Say, "I Told You So"

You'll notice some changes to this site, most noticeably the ads on the side of the page and a button indicating that this blog is a Foodbuzz featured publisher. What does this mean?

First, it means my mom can say "I told you so," because from the beginning she was convinced that this blog was more than just me writing to my friends and family. When I was contacted by Foodbuzz a couple months ago about entering into an all official-like relationship I kept it quiet for awhile trying to figure out what it meant for me and this blog.

Basically, it means I have a chance to really give this thing a try, finding more readers for Classic Cookery. Foodbuzz has no editorial say and they don't care how much I post, which I was worried about because during finals or other hectic times I go underground and "cooking" means pouring soy milk on a bowl of cereal.

The ad thing we are still working out. This is a food site, not a political one, so I will keep my opinions to myself but I will say I want ads to reflect to the extent possible my choices as a consumer. I am trying to be realistic about this, knowing there won't be ads for my CSA or local farmer's market or anything; on the other hand, I can't in good conscience have ads from any businesses I boycott or am opposed to for other reasons. This may take some adjustment and renegotiating, so bear with me. The people at Foodbuzz have been great to work with and I'm looking forward to working with them.

Check out this and other food blogs, restaurant reviews and other food stuff at Foodbuzz.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Oh no! I Have to Bring Something!

My Christmas gift to you is this trio of super easy, super fast sweets to mix up and take with you to every home you visit this holiday season. If you throw the gingerbread in the oven, make the Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars, take the gingerbread out of the oven and make the Coconut Drop cookies you can have all three of these treats done in about 2 hours.
Most of the ingredients are probably floating around your cupboard already. A couple weeks ago, my husband was startled to come home and find on the counter a big jar of creamy hydrogenated sweetened peanut butter because I read that our usual natural peanut butter shouldn't be used in cookies. But now I have a big jar of creamy hydrogenated sweetened peanut butter begging to be used, and the Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars use a full cup of it. I see more of these in our future.

Quick Gingerbread
Adapted from Kitchen Tested Recipes: By the Home Economists of the Famous Sunbeam Mixmaster The King of Food Mixers, 1933. As you can see in the picture I added a glaze to mine. The glaze is a little melted butter, a little water, a smidge of lemon extract, and a lot of confectioner's sugar. I glazed the gingerbread while warm so some of it melted into it.

1/2 c molasses
1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 c flour
1 egg
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 c butter filled to 1 c with boiling water

Heat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into a greased 8" x 8" baking pan. Bake 30 minutes.

Coconut Drops
Adapted from Festive Foods: Wisconsin Gas Company, 1971. I did not have cans of coconut so I used about 12 oz of sweetened coconut in a bag and it worked just fine. I dipped the bottoms in melted dark chocolate. These would be really good with added craisins or pecans.

4 cans (3 1/2 oz each) coconut
1 can (15 oz) sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 325. Mix coconut and condensed milk. Drop about a tablespoonful at a time on a greased baking sheet. Bake about 20 minutes.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Adapted from Festive Foods: Wisconsin Gas Company, 1971. I didn't have rice cereal or corn flakes on hand so I substituted 3 cups of another cereal (a high fiber one, so treat eaters beware!).

1/2 c light corn syrup
1/4 c brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups rice cereal
1 cup corn flake cereal, slightly crushed
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine syrup, sugar and salt in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter, extract, cereal and chocolate bits. Press into buttered 9" x 9" pan. Chill about one hour. Cut into small squares.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Most Used Recipe: Baked Brown Rice

If you come here only to read classic recipes and can't bear the thought of a new recipe, avert your eyes.

For those of you still with me, I am going to share my most used recipe: oven baked brown rice. Many people have sung the glories of rice cookers to me and I'm sure they are very nice and do their job very well. But I have a galley kitchen in a condo and really don't have the space to have any one-hit wonders kitchen appliances (yes, I know I have an apple peeler-corer-slicer but that belongs to my husband and it's teeny).

I found this recipe in the Cook's Illustrated The Best Light Recipe Cookbook and really can't believe we used to eat the mushy brown rice I used to cook in a pot on the stove. We have brown rice once a week or more so I often double the recipe and reheat it as necessary. In the summer, I don't like heating up the kitchen for this long so I sometimes use the Pampered Chef rice cooker in the microwave but it's got nothing on this recipe. Follow the directions exactly and you will have a pan full of perfectly cooked individual grains of brown rice.

The picture above is of our dinner last night a simple stir fry made with Brussels sprouts, tofu, and red peppers. My friends will tell you I wear a lot of brown, I am boring like that, but a picture of brown rice is even more boring so you get this festive picture that has little to do with the recipe below.

Oven-Baked Brown Rice
Adapted from The Best Light Recipe. This is one recipe I follow exactly (except I use a stone baking pan, not a glass one). Normally, brown rice calls for a 2:1 ratio of water to rice but not here. Trust me...just trust the Cook's Illustrated people.

1 1/2 cups brown rice
2 1/3 cups water
1 Tbs olive oil

Heat the oven to 375. Spread the rice in an 8" square glass dish. Bring the water and oil to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in a little salt. Pour the water over the rice. Cover the baking dish with a double layer of foil. Bake about one hour.

Remove the dish from the oven and uncover (there will be a lot of steam). Fluff the rice with a fork, cover with a clean dish towel and let stand for five minutes. Uncover and let stand for five more minutes before serving.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ode to Soy Nog

Soy to The World*

Soy to the world, Silk nog is here!
Now pour yourself a cup;
Let every fridge be stocked with nog,
Add some bourbon and drink up,
Add some bourbon and drink up,
Add some bourbon, add bourbon, and drink up!

Soy nog's healthy, no cholesterol,
Better than the real stuff!
A fifth the fat, half the calories
Drink it, it will make you buff,
Drink it, it will make you buff,
Drink it, oh drink it, it will make you buff!

*No chickens or cows were harmed in making this song, but three poor little cats had to hear me sing it to make sure it worked to the tune. It doesn't. Suggestions for improvement are welcome.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Butterless Kitchen

Between Thanksgiving and New Year's most of us find ourselves making and sampling (or scarfing) mounds of fatty foods. Given the current array of butter and cream cheese coming to room temperature on my counter right now in anticipation of hours of baking, Classic Cook's home is no exception. Thus, a newer book in my collection, "Gourmet Cookery for a Low-Fat Diet" offers a brief contrast to this seasons eatings. This book from 1961 shares dire warnings about the dangers of fat and gives us confidence to "[g]o into [our] butterless kitchen without despair, for now it can be done."

And, oh, the joy these authors have for fat free cooking! We will become the "Columbus of the kitchen, a Magellan of the markets" using this book that is destined to "become a kind of classic, a pioneer, a Dan'l Boone of what to eat and how to eat it." Oh my. That's a lot from one cookbook.

Here's something many people can get behind: the importance of alcohol. They dismiss the "Puritans" among us who don't drink alcohol because the authors "do like enlightenment, and heed to the dictum of science which says that alcohol is the purest food known." Well there we have it. It's scientific! I'm enlightened! Now bring on the bourbon!

But first, a recipe. My potato repertoire is pretty limited: oven baked potatoes or mashed potatoes. This recipe for Casserole Potatoes really isn't outstanding, it's just, well, potatoes in milk. The beauty of it how easy it is to modify, making it a good basic recipe to have. Get rid of the caraway seeds and add garlic or a little cumin or thyme. Add a little cheese and butter (ignore the fat free crowd!).

And remember, "ignore the dull, dreary rules, regulations and restrictions of the diet books and still feel confident entering the Kingdom of King Pausole."

Casserole Potatoes
Adapted from Gourmet Cookery for a Low-Fat Diet, 1961. Modify, modify, modify this recipe. I think more than anything it gives you the confidence that you don't need a recipe to make potatoes.

White potatoes
Caraway seeds
Skim milk

Preheat oven to 375. Slice some raw potatoes into a lightly buttered casserole. Cut them thin. Scatter some caraway seeds and salt in between the layers and pour in skim milk to a depth of about one inch. Cover, place in 375 oven for 30 minutes. Stir potatoes. Recover and place in oven for another 20 to 30 minutes.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Recipes Listed by Cook Book

A periodically updated list of my cook books and the recipes that come from each one.

250 Ways to Serve Vegetables

Mashed Turnips

Better Homes and Gardens: Recipes from Famous Places

Pumpkin Muffins

The Bisquick Cookbook, 1964

Apple Slump

Boston Cooking School Cook Book

Book Review
Chocolate Cake
Cranberry Sauce
Curried Green Tomatoes
Eggless Chocolate Cake
Fifty Basic Recipes
Mashed Potato Baskets
Orange Frosting
Peach Muffins
Rhubarb Filling
Sauteed Mushrooms and Green Beans
Scalloped Sweet Potatoes and Apples
Snow Cake
Southern Corn Pudding

Festive Foods: Wisconsin Gas Company

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Coconut Drops

Gourmet Cookery for a Low-Fat Diet, 1961

Casserole Potatoes

Just How: A Key to the Cook-Books

Tapioca Pudding

Kitchen Tested Recipes

Baking Powder Biscuits
Party Cookies
Quick Gingerbread

Purity Cookbook: The Complete Guide to Canadian Cooking

Tangy Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Putting Food By, 1974

Sun-Cooked Strawberry Jam

Rumford Complete Cookbook

Flaky Pastry
Oatmeal Crisps

Slenderella Cook Book
Book Review
Cucumber Salad
Onion Soup
Whole Wheat Bread

Three Meals a Day: Cooking, Table, Toilet, Health

Floor Wax
Frugal Graham Flour Muffins
Griddle Cakes

Weight Watchers Cook Book
Mushroom Puree

Recipe cards, new cook books and other miscellaneous recipes

Brown Sugar Cookies
Sweet Potato Pecan Burgers
Oven-Baked Brown Rice

Veganizing Classic Recipes

Most people who know me know I make a lot of vegan recipes. One vegan friend jokingly (at least I hope it was a joke) that I only get invited to parties because I bring good vegan baked goods. Alas, there are very few vegan recipes on this site and I decided not to tag the ones that are. Many of them can easily be veganized so I like to think of most of them as potentially vegan. Some substitutions are pretty easy--margarine for butter--and some are trickier. Check out my favorite site on the topic at the Post Punk Kitchen.

Friday, December 7, 2007


I have not given up on cooking or caught a train to Clarksville or spontaneously combusted or [insert event here]. It is simply the end of the semester crunch time and I am living on oatmeal and take-out. Surely you understand.

I will be back soon.

From my home to yours, you will find a very special message here.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Last Minute Visitor Cookies

A few weeks ago I was surprised to find a heavy envelope in the mail from my great aunt. She wrote to say she and my great uncle don't have a computer so my Dad had sent her a print out of an entry I had written about her mother, my great-grandmother. In the envelope there were some of my great-grandmother's hand written recipe cards, and my great aunt also wrote her memories of each of the recipes.

The one I'm sharing today is for Brown Sugar Cookies. My aunt wrote that they were "light little things" and that her "father enjoyed them with his coffee." They come together very quickly and use basic ingredients that most people have on hand.

They are also a great "last minute visitor cookie" because they are what is often referred to as an icebox cookie. That is, you make the dough and put it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. The recipe said it makes three rolls, but I made four and they are good sized cookies. Though I can't say for sure, I think these will be fine baked from the freezer. I have two in my freezer now so I should know soon enough.

A little digression here...I made some icebox cookies years ago and had a roll of them waiting in the freezer for visitors. My parents unexpectedly dropped by when I wasn't home. My boyfriend baked the cookies and, no doubt, impressed them even though I had done all the hard work. I still married him.

Now, if you have a special classic recipe to share with me, you might just get a delivery like the one my aunt and uncle are about to get. (I also added some cashew brittle that I made this morning if you're wondering what else is in that tin.)

Brown Sugar Cookies

Adapted from a recipe card from my great-grandmother. You may be able to see from the card that the recipe is devoid of certain directions like how to bake them, so I made those parts up. She also suggested adding a "little more" butter which I did not do, but I'm sure that would make them even better. I used pecans but any nut you like would probably work here. Feel free to improvise; I think Grandma Reardon would like that.

1/4 cup boiling water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup butter or margarine
2 eggs
1 cup nuts
2 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour

Mix together the boiling water and baking soda. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, cream the sugars and butter. Mix in the eggs. Add the nuts and vanilla and mix well. Stir in the flour. Stir in the water and baking soda mixture.

Divide the dough into four equal portions. Roll about 1 1/2" thick. Wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for an hour or more.

Preheat the oven to 350. Slice and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake about 12 minutes, until light brown. Baking time may be longer depending on how cold the dough is.

Does Anyone Have a Recipe for These?

A very special recipe is coming soon, but for now, I hope you enjoy this...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Smells Like Christmas

The first time I had these cookies was at a holiday party about seven or eight years ago. After biting into one, I found the hostess and started babbling about how great they are, how the spices are just right, and they are soft and chewy, and on an on. Now that I think about it, it's a little embarrassing. I mean, it's a cookie. These cookies are perfect to make and mail to friends and family or just to have sitting around during the holidays, since they require aging of at least one week and do well sitting in a tin for a month or so.

The woman who gave me this recipe is really...neat. I don't know how else to describe her. She is an emergency room nurse, and seems equally at home talking about grody emergency room stuff and the finer points of baking. Her husband is the kind of guy who has a special room to smoke his cigars and drinks hard liquor on the rocks and listens to old jazz records, in a classy, not a stuffy way. When I asked for this recipes she wrote it down for me on a little card which I laminated and dang-it, I'm glad I did since I pull it out every year. You'll do the same, I guarantee.

White whole wheat or whole wheat flour can be nicely substituted in this recipe, though I suggest you use about 2 cups whole wheat flour and 1 cup all purpose flour for a lighter cookie. Chop, chop, chop the fruit peels; it's a messy, sticky business but worth it. I use almond meal in place of the chopped almonds. You'll notice this cookie has no oil or butter, so it's actually a very low fat cookie, though I haven't calculated the nutritional value. These cookies pack nicely in tins and can be mailed or just sit around your house for the holiday season. They only get better!

1 egg
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup dark molasses
3 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1/2 cup finely chopped mixed fruit peels
Lemon glaze (recipe below)

Beat egg in a small bowl on high speed about one minute. Add brown sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in honey and molasses. Stir together flour, cinnamon, soda, cloves, ginger, and cardamom in a large bowl. Add beaten mixture and stir by hand to combine. Stir in almonds and fruit peels. Cover and chill dough three hours.

Preheat oven to 350. Divide dough in half. Roll on a lightly floured board to make a 12" x 8" rectangle. Cut into 2" squares and bake on greased cookie sheets at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for one minute. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and brush with lemon glaze while still warm. Age cookies in a tin for at least one week.

Lemon glaze: Combine 1 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1 Tbs melted butter, and 2T lemon juice. Add enough water to make glaze drizzling consistency.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Food Hangover

Thanksgiving is over. The classic recipes were good. The new recipes were good. It's time for a long winter's nap.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

It's no surprise that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays: it's all about food. And I especially love when we host Thanksgiving, because I get to spend months thinking about the menu, and weeks planning the details, and days shopping, and scheduling, and, finally, cooking.

All this comes in the midst of my semester at school, a time when projects are being finished and papers are being written and research proposals are being submitted, making it a stressful time. But making Thanksgiving dinner gives me something to look forward to. It also gives me something to make lists for and organize and I love that. My day planner has had notes in it for months, my recipes and cookbooks are stacked in one place, and I have a fairly neatly organized plan including a shopping list and a schedule starting with things to prepare on Tuesday, and on Wednesday night, and a full list of what to do as the day progresses on Thursday. Yes, I may have an illness but don't worry, you can't catch it.

This year I will be making a mix of new and classic recipes. And I have no pictures (though I posted my shopping list in case you're nosy) because I haven't started cooking yet, but I didn't see why I would post Thanksgiving recipes after Thanksgiving so I wanted to share these now.

Orange-Pecan French Toast Casserole

Graham crackers with pumpkin cream cheese dip
Fresh veggies with spinach dip
A few kinds of cheese with honey and bread
Goat cheese and tomato on puff pastry

Scalloped sweet potatoes and apples (recipe below)
Corn pudding (recipe below)
Cranberry sauce (recipe below)
Brussels sprouts
Mushroom, fennel, and parmesan stuffing
Creamed pearl onions (my parents will bring these)
Mashed potatoes (chosen because they can be made ahead)

Cranberry ginger upside down cake
Pumpkin something or other (my parents will bring this)

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes and Apples
Adapted from the Boston Cooking School Cook Book.

2 cups boiled sweet potatoes, cut in 1/4 inch slices
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups sour apples, sliced thin
4 Tbs butter
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350. Put half the potatoes in a buttered baking dish, cover with half the apples, sprinkle with half the sugar, dot with half the butter, sprinkle with half the salt. Repeat. Cover and bake 30 minutes in moderate oven (350). Uncover and bake until apples are soft and top is brown.

Southern Corn Pudding
Adapted from the Boston Cooking School Cook Book. I will note here that I have no idea how long it takes because I've never made it, and I will be cooking it at 350 because that seems to be what the oven will be set at. I will give it at least 45 minutes to cook, but will adjust it as necessary.

2 cups corn
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 Tbs melted butter
2 cups scalded milk
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Combine ingredients. Bake in buttered dish in slow oven (325) until firm.

Cranberry Sauce
Adapted from the Boston Cooking School Cook Book.

3 cups cranberries
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup boiling water

Pick over and wash cranberries. Cook with sugar and water 10 minutes. Watch to prevent boiling over. Skim and cool.

Green Tomato Contest Update

I am not a winner, but it was an honor just to be nominated.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Having friends over for brunch is one of my favorite ways to entertain. I don't feel pressured to make fancy food and I don't fall asleep during the party. And if brunch is followed by a rocking game of Guitar Hero III, well, even better! In case you're wondering, I ROCK!

Ahem. Back to brunch food.

I like to keep it simple, so we had pretty standard fare: eggs baked with gruyere and onion fresh chives from our CSA, fried green tomatoes also from our CSA, upside down cranberry ginger cake made using this recipe, biscuits, cooked apples, and what we affectionately call "half-eaten" banana bread (a lovely chocolate-chip banana bread that our guests brought and apologized for taste-testing--who can blame them?).

Two recipes are classics: cooked apples from Slenderella and biscuits from Kitchen Tested Recipes. The apple recipe was simple and just okay, so I won't bore you with the details. But I am providing the biscuit recipe below because they're worth making. I made no ingredient substitutions in this recipe but because I don't have a stand mixer (someday, someday) I just beat everything by hand and it turned out just fine. As a matter of fact, I imagine the only reason this includes mixer instructions is because it's in a Mixmaster cookbook because I've always read that one should be careful not to overmix biscuits.

Baking Powder Biscuits
Adapted from Kitchen Tested Recipes: By the Home Economists of the Famous Sunbeam Mixmaster, 1933. The one reason I hesitated to post this is because it calls for 4 teaspoons of baking powder. If you use the standard stuff you buy in the grocery store the flavor might be off because you will taste the aluminum in it. I highly recommend for your tastebuds and your health that you buy non-aluminum baking powder like this one. I'm placing my preparing-for-holiday-baking order with King Arthur soon so if you know me in real life and want me to order some for you, I will.

I think you could use butter instead of shortening, or try a shortening without trans-fats like this one.

Also, I suggest sifting the flour before measuring. I prefer recipes that list ingredients by weight but since most of them don't I've found that sifting, or at least stirring the flour and lightly scooping it into the measuring cup, is more likely to get you the right amount of flour.

2 cups flour (sift before measuring)
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 Tbs shortening
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450. Place flour, baking powder, and salt in large mixing bowl. Mix on low for one minute or whisk together. Cut shortening to small pieces, then mix on medium for 3 minutes (or blend by hand with a pastry blender). Add 1/2 of the milk, working only enough to combine the ingredients. Add the rest of the milk and mix.

Turn out on a floured board, pat or roll about 3/4 inch thick, and cut with biscuit cutter.

Bake for 15 minutes at 450.

Friday, November 9, 2007

I'm a Finalist!

I can't believe it. I entered a green tomato recipe contest on one of my favorite sites: Apartment Therapy Kitchen. I'm a finalist. Wow! Check out my entry here.

Edited to add: Here's the link to the voting:

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Make These Cupcakes

I'm not a chocolate pusher, I'm not really a chocolate lover (I mean, yeah, I eat it but I'd rather have a good lemon cake or something). But when I finished mixing all the ingredients together I knew something was different about this recipe. The batter was thick, almost like pudding.

When I scooped them into the pans they held their shape like little scoops of ice cream. This is no ordinary chocolate cake. I sometimes find chocolate cake too rich, too heavy, too fudge like. If that sounds good to you maybe this isn't your thing, but give it a try. These are more souffle like, without feeling empty and airy, more like collapsed soufflees.

They are topped with a simple chocolate frosting, but powdered sugar or anything you normally put on a chocolate cake would be just fine.

The recommended substitutions and changes included below are in the original recipe. I used dark brown sugar instead of white, and 4 squares of chocolate. Oh, and please tell me you have cake flour in the house. If you don't, run and buy some. Go on now.

Chocolate Cake (Basic Recipe)
Adapted from the Boston Cooking School Cook-Book, 1948. The recipe calls for 3 squares chocolate, but it doesn't specify what kind. I used bittersweet but there may be enough sugar to get away with using unsweetened.

1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
2 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
3 squares chocolate, melted, or 1/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp vanilla

If desired, increase sugar to 2 cups. Use brown sugar if preferred. Chocolate may be increased to 4 squares. Use coffee or water in place of milk.

Heat oven to 325. Beat egg whites until stiff and set aside. Cream butter, add sugar and chocolate gradually. Beat in egg yolks. Mix and sift dry ingredients together, and add alternately with liquid to butter mixture. Fold in beaten egg whites. Bake in shallow pan or two 9-inch pans about 30 minutes.

Chocolate Frosting
2 squares chocolate
1 Tbs butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
Confectioner's sugar

Combine chocolate, butter, and milk in top of double boiler and cook until chocolate is melted. Stir well; let stand until lukewarm. Mix in vanilla. Beat in sugar until mixture is right consistency to spread.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Surest Sign of Fall

Last fall when we got green tomatoes from our CSA I wasn't sure how to use them. So, of course, I made fried green tomatoes and they were fine, good even, but I didn't quite get the hype. This year I decided to become more adventurous and when green tomatoes were on our pick-up list yesterday afternoon I started thinking about all the compotes and salsas and preserves and other green tomato recipes I've been browsing getting ready for this day.

Is it any surprise that I turned to the Boston Cooking-School Cook Book for a recipe? I know, I know, you are wondering if I have any other cook books and I assure you I do, I just find this one has everything I need. Avocado mousse? Page 144. Honeycomb pudding? Page 553. English monkey? Page 127. And need I remind you that there is a whole chapter on Gingerbread and Doughnuts?

If you follow this little story to the end, you will get a peak at a non-classic cooking idea since the stuff you see on this site is only a small portion of my cooking. So we'll start with a classic recipe, but we'll end with one of my improvs.

Curried Green Tomatoes
Adapted from the Boston Cooking School Cook Book.

2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs minced onion
1 tsp curry powder
2 cups green tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper

Melt butter, add onion and cook slowly until yellow. Add curry powder and tomatoes and cook until heated thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Now here is where the recipe ends and it would be fine served over rice or scooped up with naan. But because I had a whole tray full of peppers roasting in the oven and because I was trying to be a little creative for a contest I wanted to enter this recipe in, I decided to use the curried tomatoes as the start of a soup.

To the tomatoes I added:
5 cups or so of roasted peppers, mostly red but a couple small green, yellow and orange ones
2 cloves of roasted garlic, smashed
1 can of garbanzo beans
Cayenne pepper

I let this simmer a bit over medium-low heat, then added:

1 cup light coconut milk
more seasoning to taste

Using an immersion blender, I blended the soup until it was smooth but still had nice big pieces of pepper, tomatoes, and whole beans. And I got this...

Friday, November 2, 2007

Slimming Bread

How does one make slimming bread? By following the recipe from the Slenderella cook book of course! What makes this bread different? Hmmm, the ingredients look like just about any whole wheat bread recipe. You mix it and knead it and let it rise. Looks pretty normal to me.

Oh. Here it is at the end of the recipe. "Each loaf makes 27 slices 1/3 inch thick--30 calories each." Bread sliced 1/3 inch thick? Riiiiiight.

Whole-Wheat Bread or Rolls
Adapted from the Slenderalla Cookbook, 1957.

1 package yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 cup skim milk
1 Tbs butter or margarine
2 cups sifted whole wheat flour
1 cup sifted flour

Combine the yeast, sugar, salt, and water. Stir until yeast dissolves. Scald the milk; add the butter and let cool. Add the yeast mixture and the flour. Beat until smooth. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, then turn dough over. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk. Punch down.

You can chill part of the dough up to 1 week. This will make 2 loaves or 24 rolls.

For rolls: Break dough into small pieces and put in muffin pans. Cover and let double in bulk. Bake at 400 about 20 minutes.

For bread: Divide the dough into 2, shape and place in 2 loaf plans. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Remove from pans at once and let cool on a cake rack.

A few tips from the Classic Cook...

If you are like me and do not have a stand mixer (yet) I highly recommend you buy a dough whisk. I use this one from King Arthur Flour and I really can't believe I used to mix bread dough with a wooden spoon.

The dough will feel quite sticky when you first start kneading it (see first picture). It may need a little extra flour but try to keep kneading and not add extra flour unless it absolutely needs it. Eventually, the dough will become smooth and elastic (see second picture). I've read that it's really difficult to over knead the bread if you do it by hand so don't be afraid to keep going.

Finally, an easy way to shape rolls is to roll the dough into little balls and put three in each muffin cup.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Consider this your early Halloween present. These cupcakes are a white cake called Snow Cake and they are topped with orange icing (orange flavor, not just color). The Snow Cake recipe is very light and airy thanks to whipped egg whites, and would do really well layered with raspberry preserves and fluffy white icing, or maybe a milk chocolate frosting.

The icing is very simple and has a more subtle orange flavor than I wanted, but is still very good. Now look away Mom, because I am going to let you in on a little secret about this has egg white in it. Ack! If you are willing to risk salmonella you will find it sets up quite nicely.

I had big plans for this little cupcake. It was supposed to be topped with candied orange dipped in chocolate for a grown up Halloween look. We have dozens of mandarin oranges on our counter but there they will sit as school work interfered with my plans. Priorities, people. So these cupcakes just got a little sprinkle of black sugar and I called it a day.

Snow Cake
Adapted from the Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, 1948.

3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 350. Beat egg whites until stiff. Add 1/2 the sugar and set aside. Cream butter and add remaining sugar gradually, beating constantly. Mix and sift dry ingredients and add alternately with milk. Add vanilla. Fold in egg whites. For cupcakes, bake about 30 minutes.

Orange Frosting
Grated rind 1 orange
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbs orange juice
1 egg white
confectioner's sugar

Add rind to fruit juice and let stand 15 minutes. Strain. Add gradually to egg yolk while beating it. Stir in sugar until right consistency to spread. Beat until very smooth.