Posts Tagged ‘Tinky Weisblat’

Extravagant Pies!

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

pie-flyer-web

Things are humming here in Hawley, Massachusetts. In just over a week—on Sunday, October 9—the Sons & Daughters of Hawley will host the Hawley Gentlemen’s Pie and Tart Extravaganza!

This event is modeled after our occasional pudding contest. It was inspired by two sentences I turned up in an old book many years ago while doing research for Hawley’s bicentennial.

In about 1920 in “A Sketch of the [Hawley] Ladies Aid,” Mattie Carter White recalled, “At one time there was a contest for the women sawing wood. The men had a pie baking contest. Mr. Clarence Gould got the prize for making the best pie.”

For years several of Hawley’s men—my friend Peter in particular—have lobbied for a revival of the pie-baking contest. No one has lobbied for a revival of the wood-sawing contest so we’re ignoring that. But we are at last holding a men’s pie contest as a fundraiser for the ongoing restoration of the Hawley Meeting House.

It will be open to men and boys who come from other places, of course. And it should offer fun for women as well as men.

The day will include a tour of historic sites, a sumptuous lunch, a pie parade, and an entertainment in which we reenact the circumstances of the original pie contest.

Of course, we have no idea what those circumstances were. We don’t even know what kind of pie Clarence Gould made or precisely when he made it. That won’t stop us from telling a fun story involving music, vegetarianism, and a chicken named Jerusha.

Please join us if you can—and spread the word! It may be another 100 years before we revive the contest once more.

Making Pie with Michael Collins

Making Pie with Michael Collins

Here is a recipe to get male readers started. It comes from my friend Michael Collins, now semi-retired as a chef. Michael’s main responsibility is cooking filling breakfasts for the guests at the Bed and Breakfast establishment he and his partner Tony now run at their home in Colrain.

Michael came on Mass Appeal with me this week to show how quickly one can assemble a pie. I prepared my Rustic Apple Tart, and he threw together this quiche-like concoction. The herbs and the mushrooms gave it rich flavor. And we had fun as always cooking together.

Michael's Pie

Michael’s Pie

Michael’s Breakfast Pie

from Chef Michael Collins at the Barrel Shop Gallery Airbnb

Ingredients:

4 to 5 strips of bacon
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (Shitake or the mushroom of your choice)
uncooked top and bottom pie crusts
4 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, crumbled
1 teaspoon fresh basil, crumbled
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, crumbled
a few gratings of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Fry the bacon in a pan. Take it out, but do not remove the grease from the pan. Drain the bacon on paper towels, and crumble it. Sauté the mushrooms in the remaining bacon grease. Return the crumbled bacon to the pan, and toss.

Place the fried bacon and mushrooms in the bottom pie crust. Whisk together the eggs, milk, herbs, and seasonings. Pour the egg mixture over the bacon and mushrooms.

Place top crust on the pie. Make a few holes in the top for ventilation.

Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees, and bake for about 30 minutes more, until golden brown.

Serves 6 to 8.

And now the video….

Cocoa with Friends

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Cocoa with Friendsweb

Peaches are still in high season here in western Massachusetts so I have been on the lookout for new peach ideas. I got a delicious one from Dave MacDonald of Highland Barbecue in Northfield. (If Highland were closer to my home, I would be in serious dietary peril; Dave’s barbecue is versatile and authentically Southern.)

His peach lemonade is perfect for a summer day, tart and refreshing with just enough sweetness. The lemon flavor dominates brightly, but one can taste the peaches and the ginger as well.

Why is a post about lemonade called “Cocoa with Friends”? Because when I went to Mass Appeal on Wednesday to make the lemonade I took my adorable new puppy, Miss Cocoa Chanel. Yes, I know the original Chanel spelled her name “Coco,” but I do love giving my pets culinary names so I deviated just a tad. I kept the designer’s surname. Basic black is always chic.

baby on bedweb

Cocoa came from Mulberry Farm, the birthplace of my dear, late Truffle. Breeder Carol Bobrowski really wanted to keep the little black girl for herself, but in the end she decided that I needed the puppy more than she did. We picked Cocoa up on Monday, and two days later she visited the TV station. (Her life is very exciting, but I already know that she can handle excitement.)

My sister-in-law Leigh and nephew Michael were visiting, along with Michael’s friend Carson, so Cocoa had plenty of attention while I was on camera. And Michael and Carson helped with my prep in the kitchen, making a simple recipe even easier.

boysatworkweb

You can watch the video below, along with the one for panzanella, for which I provided the recipe a few years back. Meanwhile, be assured that Cocoa and the peach lemonade were huge hits with everyone at WWLP-TV.

Peach Lemonadeeb

Peach Lemonade

Ingredients:

4 cups water 2 cups coarsely chopped local peaches 3/4 cup sugar 1 1-inch chunk ginger, peeled and grated (or diced if you must, but Dave thinks grating gives better flavor, and I’m inclined to agree) 1 cup lemon juice (from about 6 lemons; grate some of the zest to use as the syrup cools) lots of ice

Instructions:

Place the water, peaches, sugar, and ginger in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer the syrup for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove it from the heat, and add the lemon zest.

When the mixture has cooled, blend it thoroughly in a regular or immersion blender until it is smooth. Chill the result thoroughly.

Sieve the cold puree through cheesecloth or a very fine strainer to release the peach syrup. (You may discard the pulp.) Stir in the lemon juice, and pour over ice.

Serves 6 ish.

wwlpboysweb

Here is the lemonade video:

And here is the one for the panzanella:

In Memoriam Pimiento Cheese

Friday, July 13th, 2012

The ingredients before mixing…….

Last Saturday my family and I gave a gala party to celebrate the life of my mother Jan (a.k.a. Taffy), who died in December. We delighted in good food, good drink, and good company.

Being basically lazy, I asked guests to bring food, which they did in abundance. Pam brought tea sandwiches, Debbie brought potato salad, Trina brought the biggest green salad I have ever seen, Ruth brought shrimp, Peter brought MORE shrimp in a salad with artichokes and cilantro pesto, Mary Stuart brought quinoa, Leslie brought delicate cookies, Mardi and David brought watermelon, and so on.

SOMEBODY brought champagne. (I have no idea who, but it was very nice indeed.)

My family supplied tubs of Bart’s ice cream with homemade sauces and tested a recipe from our friend Lark Fleury for pimiento cheese.

Lark tells me that after fried chicken this cheese is the most popular funeral-related food among her neighbors in coastal Alabama. (I wasn’t about to mess with fried chicken in hot weather!)

Her recipe is quite different from my usual one; the mustard, onion, and relish add complexity to the spread. I gave most of the cheese to our friend Pam to put in some of her tea sandwiches, but my family also tried a bit on crackers. I know my mother would have approved.

If you’d like to read more about the party, visit my non-food blog for a full report.

Lark’s Alabamian Pimiento Cheese

Ingredients:

1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated (it won’t surprise regular readers to learn that I grated it rather coarsely, I’m sure)
1/4 cup of grated onion
1 4-ounce jar diced pimentos drained (I may have used a little extra pimiento)
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
1/4 cup mayonnaise (more or less)
a dash of pepper

Instructions:

Combine all the ingredients, beginning with just a dab of mayonnaise and adding more until the cheese is spreadable.

Spread on bread/crackers or make small sandwiches. Store leftovers in the fridge.

Makes about 1 quart.

I THOUGHT I had taken a photo of the cheese in its final state, but it’s not in my camera. So here’s a better picture, of the day’s honoree, taken last year….

Mrs. Baker’s Applesauce

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

 
Today I’m doing something I’ve never done before, revising an old post. I have quite a few apples on hand (although not as many as I did two years ago, when I originally posted this recipe). So I’m returning to the recipe myself and thought readers might like to come along.
 
When I first posted it, I didn’t have any regular readers—so I don’t know how many of you, if any, have looked at it.
 
Here are my words (slightly edited) from October 2008:
 
This year has seen the most abundant apple harvest I can recall in our corner of New England. My neighbor Alice speculates that our literal windfall of apples has something to do with the hatching of swarms of bees just as the apple trees blossomed last spring.
 
All I know is that our apple trees, most of which are older than anyone living on our road, suddenly acted like fertile teenagers.
 
Naturally, my mother and I have made large quantities of applesauce. Applesauce is the perfect fall comfort food, and it’s amazingly easy to make, especially if you have a food mill. Food mills render the peeling and coring of apples completely unnecessary.
 
The skin, core, and seeds of the apple cook along with the sauce, adding flavor to the end product, and then get pushed out and discarded. The residue left in the food mill is surprisingly small.
 
If you don’t have a food mill, you will have to peel and core your apples. On the other hand, you will end up with lumpy applesauce, which some people prefer to the smoother version.
 
As you can see in the photographs above and below, my food mill requires me to push the apple pulp manually through the holes in the mill. My neighbor Peter has a relatively high-tech machine with a crank that does most of the work. Either type of mill is definitely worth purchasing. 
 
My applesauce is named after Abigail Baker, who lived around the corner from our property in Hawley, Massachusetts, in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Mrs. Baker is famous (in our corner of the world, at any rate) for creating the winning pudding in a late 18th-century pudding contest that gave our district, Pudding Hollow, its name.
 

 
When my friend Judith Russell and I began work on our Pudding Hollow Cookbook, Judy suggested that we include a recipe for Mrs. Baker’s applesauce. Somehow it slipped through the cracks then so I’m rectifying that omission here on my blog.
 
I have portrayed Mrs. Baker several times in the entertainment that accompanies our revived pudding contest. And I see her grave every time I visit my what my nephew Michael calls my father’s “burial crypt” in the Pudding Hollow Cemetery. Hawley’s most celebrated cook is therefore seldom out of my thoughts. 

Judy, too, is in my thoughts a lot, especially at this time of year. She died in the autumn of 1994, but her colorful folk art and sunny spirit live on in our hills, in our hearts, and in my cookbook.

 
Mrs. Baker’s Windfall Applesauce
 
Ingredients:
 
enough apples to make 6 generous cups of cut-up apples (preferably more than 1 variety)
1 cinnamon stick
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup cider plus additional cider as needed
maple syrup to taste, depending on the tartness of your apples (I used 2 tablespoons for the batch pictured here, which was relatively sweet)
 
Instructions:
 
Wash the apples and quarter them (actually, I tend to cut them into eighths if they are at all big). Remove any bad spots, but don’t worry about cutting out the core and seeds if you have a food mill. 

Place the apple pieces, the cinnamon stick, the salt, and the cider in a 4-quart pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer over low heat, covered, and simmer it until the apples soften, checking frequently to see whether you need to add more cider to keep the sauce from burning. The cooking time will depend on the type and age of your apples and how many of them you are using. A 6-cup batch may take as little as 25 minutes, but a larger, firmer batch can take up to an hour.
 
Let the apples cool for a few minutes; then run them through a food mill. Discard the pulp and seeds (excellent pig food or compost!), and place the sauce in a saucepan. Add maple syrup to taste, and heat until the syrup dissolves, stirring to keep the syrup from burning.
 
If you want to can your sauce, reheat it to the boiling point, ladle it into sterilized jars, and process pint jars in a boiling-water bath for 20 minutes. 

The yield will depend on your apples. Six generous cups of apple pieces provide about 1 pint of sauce. Feel free to multiply this recipe if your apple harvest is copious.


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Thinking Ahead in 2010

Monday, January 4th, 2010

resolvedweb

 
New Year’s Resolutions can be tricky things. If we take them too seriously—try to turn our lives around completely—they can be dangerously difficult to maintain.
 
Instead of making impossible resolutions this January, therefore, I’m using the turn of the year for reflection and planning. Naturally, In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens is coming in for its share of both activities.
 
This weekend I looked over many of my posts from the past year or so in an effort to figure out where the blog goes from here. I have selected several types of post that have turned out to be very popular with readers, with me, or with both.
 
Here they are, in alphabetical order:
 
Characters I Have Known such as Florette Zuelke and Sylvia Hubbell;
 
Comfort Food like Faith’s Tunafish & Noodles or Irish Stew;
 
Contributions from Friends & Readers, such as Erin’s Pizza or Mike’s Louisiana Red Beans & Rice;
 
Historical Figures, Events, and Places, including Susan B. Anthony and George Washington’s Gristmill;
 
Holidays, from Mardi Gras to Oatmeal Month (I know oatmeal month isn’t technically a holiday, but we did celebrate it last year!);
 
Local and Seasonal Foods, from Rhubarb to Squash;
 
Songs and Music, including such popular standards as “September Song” and “Moon River”;
 
TV and Film Figures and Foods, featuring people like Vivian Vance and Harriet Nelson.
 
In the next year I hope to touch on each of these categories at least once a month (which probably means I’ll get to them once every other month; I AM a procrastinator!).
 
I’ll also be continuing my monthly Twelve Cookies of Christmas series.
 
And naturally I’ll frequently have to resort to posting a recipe for What We Just Ate.
 
Some people might argue that each of my categories could spark its own blog. It’s always been both a weakness and a strength of mine that I have many, many passions.
 
This scattered interest makes it hard for me to focus at times. I think it makes me a more interesting person, cook, and writer, however.
 
As the year goes by I hope regular readers—and even irregular readers—will help me build up the different categories. Please let me know which of them you favor.
 
And of course please tell me what I have left out that you’d like to read about.
 
Two of the categories—Contributions from Readers & Friends and The Twelve Cookies of Christmas—will depend on you in large part for contributions. The name of this blog is In OUR Grandmothers’ Kitchens, after all. Please consider submitting a recipe (with background information) to me in the next few months.
 
I hope together we’ll have a delicious new year!
 
Paula Rice, the Supreme Leader of the Meat Counter at Avery's, slices dried beef.
Paula Rice, the Senior Slicer at the Meat Counter at Avery’s, slices dried beef.

 
Frizzled Beef

 
Since I’ve spent so much time mulling over the past year recently today’s recipe naturally falls into the What We Just Ate category (although it’s also highly eligible for Comfort Food!).
 
My mother and I invited friends to supper Saturday night. What with snow falling outside and lots of work to do, we didn’t have much opportunity to shop or cook that day.
 
So we ended up with Frizzled Beef (a.k.a. chipped beef, a.k.a. S.O.S. or Same Old … um … Stuff).
 
Our local general store, Avery’s, stocks lovely dried beef at this time of year. The nice folks behind the meat counter will slice as much or as little as one likes.
 
The beef saves for weeks so it’s a great fallback food on snowy days. And it cooks up in minutes.
 
The recipe I used for the beef came from Gam, our neighborhood matriarch, as did Saturday’s oyster recipe. (I used to stay at her house a lot at this time of year so I guess I’m thinking of her!)
 
If you want to vary it, you may sauté a little onion and/or celery in butter in your frying pan before you add more butter and the dried beef.
 
You may also throw cooked peas and/or a pinch of thyme into the final product.
 
Frizzled beef may be eaten over biscuits, puff pastry, cornbread, or a baked potato. My mother and I had just baked some fresh oatmeal bread the other evening so we served it on toast. A salad and brownies completed our supper.
 
The guests didn’t complain about the simplicity of the meal. It was warm and tasty. And it was enhanced by candlelight and conversation. (Don’t forget those important ingredients when you serve it yourself.)
 
Ingredients:
 
1/2 pound dried beef
a pat of butter the size of an egg
flour as needed
1 egg yolk beaten into 1 cup milk (plus a little more if needed) and 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
freshly ground pepper to taste
 
Instructions:
 
If you are averse to a lot of salt, rinse the beef carefully and pat it dry. Dried beef is heavily cured (that’s why it lasts so long) so it can be very salty.
 
Melt the butter in a medium frying pan. When it is hot, add the beef and toss it around to coat it in the butter.
 
Dust the warm beef with flour and toss it around for a minute or two. Pour in the egg mixture. Bring the mixture just to the boil, adding a bit more milk if it looks very thick; then dish it up.
 
Serves 4.
 
frizzleweb

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