Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

The Joy of Peeling Spuds

As soon as I viewed the famous “potato peeling video,” I was ready to peel me some potatoes. Happily, my opportunity to peel boiled pots appeared a few days later in the form of making potato salad for the church bar-b-que. All Sunday School members who contributed potato salad used the same recipe for the sake of consistency.

Implementing the peeling trick, and trying out a new potato salad recipe was fun, especially since the potato salad turned out so good that I wanted to eat the whole bowl myself. And I needn’t have worried about the poppy seeds—they might just be the “secret” ingredient. The recipe is from a 1950s Austin Heritage cookbook.


4 medium potatoes
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 large white onion, chopped
2 stalks celery,chopped
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 cup mayonaise
1/2 cup sour cream

Steam or boil potatoes in peelings until tender. Peel and slice thinly. Sprinkle with vinegar while still warm. Let cool or refrigerate over night. Add other ingredients in order and toss lightly. Refrigerate several hours before serving.

Serves 8.


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Cranberry Happening

A blizzard flurry of big, fat snow flakes was the perfect accompaniment to fresh, out-of-the oven cranberry nut bread. Now it’s all a lovely memory. Here’s the recipe so that you can create your own memories.

This recipe is of the pass-along type: from Aunt Margaret’s dear friend, Ann, to Grandmother Rachel to Aunt Margaret to me to you and . . . I barely grabbed the picture before it all disappeared.


2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soda
Juice of one orange with enough water to make 1 cup liquid
Grated rind of one orange (about two tablespoons)
2 tablespoons shortening, melted
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups coarsely chopped cranberries

Sift first 5 ingredients together into a large bowl. Add liquid and beaten egg. Blend well. Add chopped pecans and cranberries.

Bake in a greased loaf pan at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Let cool in pan about 15 minutes before removing from pan. Wrap in foil or plastic wrap for 24 hours before cutting and serving.

Obviously, the bread was consumed straight from the oven. I’m sure that it would have been even better 24 hours later.

I reduced the sugar to 3/4 cup, and replaced 1 tablespoon of flour with 1 tablespoon of wheat germ.

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Bouncing Berries

Fresh Cranberry-Apricot Sauce
October means fresh cranberries are ushered into the produce section at the grocery store. Bags of Ocean Spray cranberries mean it’s time to make a batch of “Fresh Cranberry-Apricot Sauce.” Canned cranberry sauce was satisfactory, until I met up with a recipe that results in something delightful to eat before Thanksgiving and after Christmas, or for however long your stash of frozen, fresh cranberries lasts.

Good cranberries bounce. Rotten ones just sit where they are dropped. In order for cranberries to make it to the grocery store, they have to bounce over four-inch barriers multiple times. Those that can’t clear the hurdle are rejected. Cranberries are one of only three fruits considered to be native to America, and Cranberry Jello is the only flavor made with real fruit instead of artificial flavoring.

According to my penciled notes in my cookbook, I made the following recipe for the first time, Thanksgiving, 1991. Another note written by Hannah says, “Thanksgiving 2005 all by Hannah ‘cept chopping apricots.” I remember that she had fun listening to the distinctive popping of the cranberry skins splitting as they heated.

The sauce is also good on ice cream or stirred into plain yogurt, and it’s a nice contribution to a church pot luck. Just take the recipe along because someone will surely ask for it.


1 (12-ounce) package of fresh cranberries
8 ounces dried apricots, chopped
1 1/4 cups sugar*
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a Dutch oven; cook over medium heat, stirring contantly, until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve sauce warm or cold with poultry or pork. Yield: 4 cups.

Mrs.Thomas Byrd
Nashville, Tennessee.

From Southern Living 1987 Annual Recipes, p. 243
*If anybody makes it using sugar substitute, I would like to know the measurements.

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Washing Fluid 001

Washing Fluid.

Two Table spoonful of coal oil, one table spoonful of Babbit’s Potash, two table spoonful of Salsoda, four gallons of water.

Directions for use—to the water add the last named ingredient with sufficient soap to lather; stir well, then add the other ingredient; stir & mix well, soak the clothes, rub soap on all the solid soiled spots, boil well stir while boiling take out in warm water & rinse well. G. W. Young.

I wonder if Grandpa George was the clothes washer for the family, or perhaps his job was to concoct the washing fluid. “Babbit’s Potash” is lye. Salsoda, or washing soda, was a common cleanser. I read that taxidermists immerse animal skulls in a solution of salsoda and boiling water to break down the meaty tissue and degrease the bones.

Between the lye, the salsoda, and the boiling water, I suppose the clothes got really clean. The whole process sounds like a lot of work.

I am the keeper of Grandma’s Bookcase and this is what I found.

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Fresh and Fruity

Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to make Cantaloupe Ice Cream.

Looks like it’s time to get serious about making Cantaloupe Ice Cream while the melons are still in the produce section. Choose one of these recipes at Serving-Ice-Cream.com or RecipeKey.com, and have a taste-testing party.

Grandmother also made ice cream and sherbet in her refrigerator freezer. Here’s one of her recipes that I remember helping her make in metal ice cube trays. (It uses buttermilk instead of cream, but it doesn’t taste like buttermilk.)


2 cups buttermilk
1 cup sugar
1 9-ounce can crushed pineapple
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon unflavored gelatine
2 tablespoons water
1 stiff-beaten egg white


Combine buttermilk, sugar, pineapple, and vanilla extract; add gelatine, softened in cold water and dissolved over hot water. Fold in egg white. Freeze firm in automatic refrigerator about 3 to 4 hours. Stir once during freezing. Serves 4 to 6.

I’m off to the grocery store to buy a cantaloupe. Let me know how your batch turns out. 🙂

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It’s Hot, But We’re Cool

Yeah, it’s hot in Texas but we’re keeping cool with Key Lime Frozen Yogurt. Hannah and a friend had fun making frozen yogurt sandwiches today. I’ll be glad when they’re all gone so that I won’t keep thinking about how I’ll eat just one more.

1 (32-oz.) container whole milk French vanila yogurt (Southern Living used Stonyfield Farm Organic Whole Milk French Vanilla Yogurt)*
1 (14-oz.) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup Key lime juice (Southern Living used Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice)*


1. Whisk together all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well-blended. Pour mixture into the freezer container of a 1 1/2-quart electric ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. (Instructions and times will vary.) Cover and freeze until desired firmness.*

2. Press a scoop of the frozen yogurt between graham cracker squares and return to freezer until firm.

*We used Horizon Whole Milk Vanilla Yogurt, and freshly squeezed Key lime juice. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, the yogurt mixture would freeze fine in a metal bowl placed in the freezer, as long as it was stirred every ten minutes or so to insure a smooth quality.

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Preserved Lemons

176I was introduced to the idea of pickled lemons twenty-five years ago. The recipe, dated 1878, was included in a cookbook that I acquired when Mark and I visted San Augustine, Florida, during our honeymoon. The intimidating directions required the lemons to dry until “they are black, and look good for nothing,” and the pickling or preserving process required an entire year. I occasionaly read the recipe for entertainment, and wondered who thought up such a thing as pickled lemons.

Recently, I learned that pickled/preserved lemons are a Moroccan condiment. When I found a recipe that promised results in a mere six weeks, I knew it was to time to preserve some lemons. It didn’t take long for Hannah and me to make them since no cooking was involved. While waiting for the lemons to attain preserved status by way of salt and their own tart juices, the fruit casts a sunshiney glow in my kitchen.

About 15 organic lemons plus a few extra for juicing
1 17.6 ounce container of Morton Coarse Sea Salt
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
2 dried bay leaves
3 cardamom pods
3 dried chili peppers
5 whole cloves
10 coriander seeds
1 1/2 quart jar with tight fitting lid
preserved lemons 006 Sterilize jar.

Layer 3/8-inch of salt at the bottom of the jar, and add two or three whole spices to it.

Slice off tops and bottoms of lemons. Stand each lemon on it’s end, and slice down the middle, stopping about 3/8 inch from the bottom. Slice again as if cutting the lemon in quarters, and, as before, stop before cutting all the way through.

Stuff the slits of the lemon with as much salt as it will hold, about 1 tablespoon.

Pack lemons firmly in the jar, sprinkling salt and spices between each layer. As the lemons are packed into the jar, juice from the squashed lemons will begin to cover the fruits. Squeeze additional lemon juice, if needed, from the extra lemons to cover the top layer by about 1/4 inch.

Secure the lid tightly, and leave on the countertop for six weeks. Gently shake the jar daily to mix the ingredients. Refrigerate at the end of six weeks. They will last in the refrigerator for at least six months.

To Use: Rinse lemons peels, and scrape away the flesh. Slice the peel thinly, or chop finely, and add to sauted vegetables. Combine chopped peel with butter, or olive oil, along with fresh herbs; spread on grilled or broiled fish. Add the flavorful juice to other dishes, keeping in mind that the juice is salty, and additional salt may not be needed.

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