Baking Up a Storm

Some weeks I feel like I never leave the kitchen, yet I know that isn’t true. I know this because the groceries don’t seem to diminish in some ways and well, there is pizza night and scrounge night and “we’ve been in the car all day” night.

However, this weekend proved an exception in some ways. I had a lot of car time. Really, I am moving walking distance to every kid activity and their jobs ASAP-be handy if they went to school, activities, etc somewhere near the Great Lakes Commissary. It would also be handy if it was somewhere with decent weather. Ah well, I will just plot my move to walking distance to activities instead. Add in a closer nursing facility for my sister as well. Hours free in my week.

In any case, I did manage to bake this weekend.

1. Lemon Cheese Cake My great grandmoth1er’s recipe, the birthday cake requested by the newly 16-year-old. I made it in a bundt pan and used the “filling” as frosting. This got a better reception from the rest of the family this time as the cheddar didn’t “candy” and instead was smoothly incorporated in.The cake stuck stubbornly to the pan so there was some ickyness to the final look–but it was tasty.

2. TWO horrifyingly bright Halloween Bundt Cakes. Unfortunately, the one meant for the Girl Scout meeting had an untimely demise on the asphalt on the way into the meeting.

3. Liquid Cinnamon Rolls that didn’t come out so liquid this time–probably because there was an accidental purchase of a nearly identical looking can of crescent rolls that were NOT Pillsbury. They were dry and soaked up some of the liquidy goodness. Also, no one was up when the bake time was done, so they had time to set, making them more like the “Sopapilla Cheesecake” of the original recipe title.

None of these things took too much time to make, though clean up was a disaster. Not my department though! ;-)

I did make healthy food as well though–in particular one “Oh my, I need to use these veggies and now” creation.

I took:

green onions (3)
a head of cauliflower

3 yellow squash
1 pt cherry tomatoes
Fresh Spinach
1 pkg Sweet Italian Sausage

Sauteed it together, served it over whole grain pasta. It worked.




Fried Japanese Rice

I am feeling a bit peasanty today, so I grabbed The Peasant Cookbook by Marian Tracy (1955) from the shelf. I skipped the soup section and came upon this recipe for “Japanese Fried Rice.” I ponder the authenticity of it because I don’t associate bacon, celery, and parsley with Japan. Perhaps my otaku son can enlighten me. In any case, it sounds like a fabulous, inexpensive, and easy option for fried rice with a bit of a different flavor profile than your usual. Besides, it has BACON.

Some other things to love about this recipe:

  • It uses up odds and ends from the fridge.
  • The “leave a thick film” of bacon grease in the pan. What recipe says THAT anymore?
  • You can easily add other leftover vegetables, tofu, meat, etc to the recipe.

Fried Japanese Rice

3 strips bacon, diced
1 large onion, chopped fine
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
1/3 cup coarsely chopped celery
1 cup diced cooked meat, preferably chicken, pork or beef
2 cups cooked rice (leftover rice may be used)
Soy sauce
salt and pepper
2 whole eggs

Saute the bacon and pour off most of the fat. Leave a thick film covering the bottom of the skillet, add the onion, parsley, and celery. Stir around until the onion and celery are pale yellow and partly cooked, but still crisp. Add the meat and rice. Season with soy sauce, salt and pepper, heat briefly, break the eggs onto the mixture and scramble over low heat until the eggs are cooked.

Serves 4.

Strawberry Parfait Supreme – or Raspberry or Peach

Strawberries finally appear to be in season in our neck of the woods. Prices have dropped in any case. Time to bring out the strawberry desserts. Sometimes you want something other than to make sweet biscuits for strawberry shortcake–the only way to make strawberry shortcake in my world. Instead, a nice frozen strawberry parfait sounds perfect. This one might fit the bill for you too, if raspberries or peaches strike your fancy instead.

Strawberry Parfait Supreme

6 egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups crushed strawberries
1 pt (2 cups) heavy cream
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (I skip this)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat yolks in  top of double boiler; set aside.

Combine granulated sugar, water and salt in 1-qt saucepan. Pace over heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Boil without stirring to soft ball stage. Beat syrup into yolks gradually. Cook over simmering water, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Cool. Add strawberries; chill.

Whip cream partially; add superfine sugar gradually, beating until cream stands in peaks. Fold into strawberry mixture. Add extracts. Turn parfait into deep freezing tray or mold. Freeze 3-4 hours without stirring. Yield: 8 servings

Golden Peach Parfait: Substitute mashed peach pulp for strawberries and increase almond extract to 1/2 teaspoon.

Red Raspberry Parfait: Put 1 pint washed and drained red raspberries through sieve to remove seeds and make about 1 cup puree to substitute for strawberries. Substitute 1/2 tsp raspberry extract for vanilla and add 4-5 drops red food coloring before turning into freezing tray.

From Domino Sugar Spoon Recipes, 1962

Breast of Chicken Perigourdine

I don’t know about you, but cooking isn’t high on my list right now. With end of the school year activities and the unpredictable heat, cooking is more assembling something for dinner with as little heat as possible.

If you happen to run the air conditioner and need a company dish–this one from my great-grandmother’s files works as a lovely fancy dish. Use fresh truffles and mushrooms if your farmer’s market is in season and has them. (Our farmer’s market woefully doesn’t start until the LAST Sunday in June.) The recipe truly does forgive all types of mushrooms. The result: a rich and delicious dish to feed your guests.

Breast of Chicken Perigourdine

8 whole chicken breasts
1 can condensed chicken broth, undiluted
1/4 cup dried mushrooms
1/2 cup water
2 canned truffles, cut up
3 tablespoons dry sherry
butter or margarine
8 large mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablesp0on light cream
2 egg yolks
Dash cayenne
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Bone the chicken bones (or have your butcher do it.) Simmer bones in chicken broth, covered, about 1 hour. (or substitute your rich chicken stock of choice) Discard bones. Let dried mushrooms stand in water 1 hour and the truffles in sherry for an hour. In a small amount of butter in your large oven safe skillet, brown chicken breasts on both sides, adding butter as needed. Remove. Add more butter to skillet and saute sliced mushrooms until golden, remove.

Into drippings in same skillet, stir flour, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, dried mushrooms plus liquid, 1 cup chicken broth (add water if necessary, to make 1 cup), light cream. Cook, stirring, over medium heat till thickened and smooth.

Place chicken breasts in sauce and simmer gently, covered, about 2o min or until chicken is tender. Add truffles with sherry and drained, sauteed mushrooms.

Meanwhile preheat broiler 1o min. Make hollandaise sauce; beat egg yolks in small bowl till thick; add 1/4 teaspoon salt and cayenne. Add 1/4 cup melted butter, about 1 teaspoon at a time, beating constantly. Combine remaining 1/4 cup melted butter and lemon juice. Slowly add, about 2 teaspoons at a time to yolk mixture, beating constantly. Spread over chicken. Run under the broiler a few minutes to brown. Makes 8 servings.