Sunday, May 25, 2014

Pie Times Two!

Yesterday I made two pies.  One apple and one cherry.  It may sound like a lot of work but my thinking is the kitchen was already going to be a mess and the simple vintage recipes I used don't require too many ingredients so why not?

First the crust.  I used my 1950 edition of Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook.  When I picked it up at an estate sale three older ladies stopped me on the way to the register and shared that they each had received this cookbook as a shower gift back in the 60's and it was their favorite.  They were darling and had been friends since high school.  So sweet!  Anyway, here's what you need:

Just 4 ingredients!

I followed the original recipe to a T except I had to use more water.  When you're working with 60 year old recipes and using new ingredients like non-hydrogenated shortening things may need to be altered.  Pie crust can be tricky too.  You don't want to handle it too much so add more water as soon as you see you need it and keep the mixing to a minimum.  This isn't like kneading bread.  Work it until it comes together and then s-t-o-p.

Here's the recipe:

Click to enlarge.

Mix the flour and salt.  Then cut in the shortening.  Here's a video showing how to cut in the shortening with a whisk.  If you have a pastry blender use it.  You can also use a fork.

Add the iced water to the starting with 4 tablespoons if making the 9 inch crust recipe and 3 tablespoons if making the 8 inch crust recipe.  Then add more water 2 tablespoons at a time until the dough holds together.  (DO NOT even think about using a mixer!!!  See the note above about pie crust.) Wrap it in plastic or use immediately.

Next I made the filling for the cherry pie.  It's from my mother's 1962 Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook.  There aren't many notes in the book so I'm not sure if my mom used it a lot but it was always in the kitchen.  Until I took it of course!  Anyhoo here's the recipe:

I followed the recipe as it was written except I added another can of cherries (6 cups total) while keeping the sauce the same and I omitted the almond extract and the red food coloring.  You'll also notice how in the instructions it says to add salt to the flour and cherry juice.  Well I just noticed this now so I left that out too.  I tasted the sauce before I mixed in the cherries and it tasted good so I say the salt's optional.  Here's a picture of my ingredients:

Yes, that's it.  FOUR ingredients!
Follow the instructions above.  Here's a video showing how thick the sauce should be:

You may notice a few cherries in the sauce.  This is because I decided the syrup wasn't thick enough and had to take them out to heat it a bit more.  I was afraid the cherries would fall apart if I left them in for the second heating.  It was simple to remove the cherries with a fine mesh strainer, in case you have the same problem!

Pour the cherries and syrup into your crust lined pie pan and top with a second crust.**  Either use small cookie cutters to make holes for steam to escape or cut slits with a knife.

**Woah, girl!  How do I do that?  Ok here's how you roll out pie dough.  Sprinkle a little flour on your clean counter.  Cut the ball of dough in half.  Flatten one half with your fingers and then flatten more with a rolling pin or a hard plastic cup.  Try to get the thickness even.  You may need to turn the dough to get a round shape.  Use a flat metal spatula if necessary to loosen the dough from the counter without breaking.  If it does break just pinch it back together.  When it's the right size carefully lift one side off the counter, using the spatula if you need to unstick it, and fold it on top of the other side.  Then loosen the second side.  You should then be able to lift the entire pie crust and lay it in the pie pan.  Unfold.  Gently flatten the dough and trim the sides.  Then roll out the the top crust roll out the same way, pour in your filling,  lay it on top, and pinch both crusts together.  There are tools you can buy to make pretty fluted pie trim or just use the tips of your thumbs.

I didn't get to take a picture of the cherry pie before my son stuck his little finger in it (little stinker!) but you'll see it in the background in the video below where I talk about filling the apple pie.

Now it's time for apple pie!  I found this recipe in the 1962 Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook too.  I think it's pretty perfect!  Ha ha...

And here's what I used:

I followed the directions in the original recipe (not the Red-Hot Apple Pie!) so just click on the recipe picture to enlarge.  Here's a video before the top crust is added.  Note the cherry pie before it was mauled by a naughty little boy.

Here's the yummy apple pie!  I used colored red and blue sugar for the top for a festive touch.

I had some extra apples and pie crust so I made a mini one.  Yummmm…..  I came down this morning to see one of my daughters eating a little slice for breakfast.  "It's like fruit, Mom!"  I suppose she could have chosen a worse breakfast.  ;)

While I had the time to spend in the kitchen making both pies at once you may not.  You can always divide up the tasks by making the dough for the crust the day before.  Or you could buy a ready-made crust in the dough section of your dairy aisle.  I prefer homemade pie crust but the Immaculate Baking Company's pie crust is pretty good when I just don't have the time.  Another time saver is to mix all of the dry ingredients (like the sugar mixture for the apple pie) beforehand.

So, what do you think?  Is it pie time in your house?!?!

I hope everyone has a fun and relaxing holiday weekend.  And for all our military service men and women, THANK YOU!!


Friday, May 16, 2014

For my cyber buddy Averyl! Chick-Pea Sauce from Women's Day May 1951

One of my readers, Averyl, who writes the wonderful blog Outdated by Design, requested I post this recipe.  I haven't tried it but Averyl may so check out her blog!

Here you go, Averyl!

If anyone else tries this recipe chime in below in the comments.  :)


PS.  Averyl also wrote one of my all time favorite blogs, American Women Didn't Get Fat in the 1950's, and Snark-free Cookery.  She's busy writing more books and isn't adding new material but both blogs, and her book, are great reads!  Check them out when you can.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day, a brief book review, and a fun link!

It's Mothers Day 2014.  Luckily I'm still lolly-gagging in bed after having enjoyed a yummy breakfast complete with eggs, toast, grapefruit, coffee, and the sound of the smoke detector .  (I happily stayed put and let hubby explain it to the firemen.)  My adorable fourth child, who is the inspiration for the image choice above, is cuddled up with me taking a nap.

I'm hoping to round up the troops for a bike ride this afternoon but I may just milk this Mothers Day for all it's worth and stay in bed a bit longer.  I'm reading an enchanting and well written book entitled The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells about a 32 year old woman in 1985 who, after losing her twin brother to AIDS and breaking up with her boyfriend of 10 years, slips into a deep depression.   (Sounds like a downer doesn't it?  It's not!)  Her treatment takes her on a time travel journey in which she lives her life as a 1918 housewife and a 1941 wife and mother.  The time periods (1918 right after WWI and 1941 when WWII begins) in which she travels lets the 1985 Greta see herself shaped by the world around her.  Very thought provoking!

Just for fun I found this-  "True Cost of Being a Mom" by Nivene Judeh.

I love that Nivene included diamonds under the cost of living heading!  Go check out the whole article using the link above.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday!


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Meat Sauce, Women's Day May 1951

This week's recipe comes from an article in the May 1951 issue of Women's Day entitled, 16 Spaghetti Sauces.  They all looked pretty good expect for the "Chick-Pea Sauce" (As much as I like chick peas I just can't fathom them in anything else but salad.  I'm such a modern gal!)  The "Bread-Crumb Meat Sauce" just seemed weird.  Seemed like it would be dry.   Anyway, I chose the Meat Sauce, per hubby's request.  (The Tuna-Fish Sauce kind of freaked him out. I thought it would be a nice meatless meal.  Maybe that's what scared him!  NO MEAT??  Well this had "flavor".  But I'm getting ahead of myself...)

Here's what you need:

I made a few changes to the recipe.  I omitted the green pepper as hubby absolutely hates it.  I'm not a big fan either so it's ok with me to leave it out.  Also I didn't have any crushed red pepper so I substituted cayenne pepper.  Just a dash.  At first it was a bit much but mellowed out with cooking and added depth to the flavor.  

Here's the original recipe:

Here are my ingredients:
1 Onion, really large, chopped
3 Cloves garlic (Each of the Dorot frozen garlic is 1 small clove.  Adjust accordingly if using fresh garlic.)
Olive oil
1LB Ground beef
5C Canned tomates
1.5C Tomato sauce
1/4C Fresh parsley, chopped
1t Basil 
1/2t Thyme
1T Salt (seems like a lot but it wasn't)
1/4t Pepper
Dash of Cayenne pepper

First let me talk about that onion.  The original recipe called for 2 onions.  As you know from my previous diversions into onion sizing I believe that onions were much smaller back in the '50's.  When I looked around my kitchen for an onion I saw that I only had a huge monster onion that appeared to be  genetically modified to grow bigger and faster.  But happily it wasn't. It was just a big organic onion.   Here's what it looked like chopped up:

I estimate it's 4-5 cups.
Cook the ground beef in a large pot over a medium high heat.  Drain the beef and set aside.  Add a little olive oil to the pot and heat to medium again.  Add chopped onions and garlic.  Sauté until fragrant.  Here's some video!

Then add the meat back into the pot.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Stir well and simmer covered for 90 minutes.  

This makes a lot of sauce.  The original recipe said to use with a pound of spaghetti but I had a lot left over even with a healthy spaghetti to sauce ratio.  Here's what our plates looked like:

I would estimate this recipe made about 10 servings for us.  I put about half in the freezer to make a quick dinner later.  Hubby asked for me to save some in the fridge for his lunch the next day too.   I haven't tried the frozen sauce yet but if it's like most tomato based meat sauce it probably freezes well and will taste just as yummy as when it's made fresh.  

Guess what?  Everyone loved it!  Hubby even said it had enough flavor.  Seriously.  And this was after a week of work travel eating in restaurants!  (I really think it kills his tastebuds.)  Must be the long cooking time because I was afraid the amount of herbs wasn't enough.  I usually use a lot more when I wing it tossing canned tomatoes with bottled Italian seasoning.  The flavors really melded well together and as I mentioned the cayenne added some depth to the flavor without making the sauce spicy.