Posts Tagged ‘Mary Parker’

I Confess!

Monday, November 23rd, 2015


I have a confession to make that may seem a little sacrilegious, particularly at this time of year as everyone is gearing up for Thanksgiving.

I’m not a fan of pie.

I love fruit. I just don’t really see the point of putting it into a pastry crust. I dutifully make pies in the summer, of course, because friends and family members enjoy eating them. And at this time of year, pies are de rigueur; they fairly shriek “Thanksgiving.” So I bake them—and I try to be cheerful while doing so.

Sometimes I cheat, however. This recipe is an example of that cheating.

Nantucket Cranberry Pie is something I learned to make from my late neighborhood matriarch Mary Parker, a.k.a. Gam. What I love about it is … it isn’t really a pie. It’s more a cross between a cake and a huge cookie.

It’s also remarkably easy to put together—no rolling of crust, just a bit of washing, a bit of tossing, and a bit of whisking. Try it, and the pie part of your Thanksgiving preparation will be a snap.

I love the recipe so much I put it in my Pudding Hollow Cookbook, which makes a lovely holiday (or hostess) gift, by the way. Sorry to blow my own horn, but it IS that time of year, and as most of you know selling books is how I make my living!

Ashley Kohl and I had fun making (and tasting) the pie recently on Mass Appeal. (See video below!).

I wish you all a Thanksgiving full of fun, family, and of course gratitude. And maybe a tiny piece of pie.


Nantucket Cranberry Pie


2 cups raw cranberries
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional but good)
3/4 cup melted sweet butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract


Grease a 9- or 10-inch pie plate. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash and pick over the cranberries. Put them in the bottom of the pie plate. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the sugar and the walnuts. Make a batter of the remaining ingredients, first combining the butter and the remaining sugar and then adding the eggs, flour, and flavoring. Pour the batter over the cranberries.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Top with whipped cream. (Ice cream works well, too. Or just serve it alone.) Serves 8.

And now … the video:

Tangy Ranch Salad Dressing

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010


After my recent LENGTHY post on Lillian Hellman and pot roast I believe my readers and I deserve something short and simple today.
I’m nibbling on any greenery I can get my hands on at this time of year–usually augmented with apples, nuts, and dried fruit. So I thought I’d share with you my most recent salad dressing.
A few days ago I had a hankering to make the ranch dressing my neighborhood matriarch, Mary Parker (a.k.a. Gam), used to make. Hers was the first ranch dressing I ever tasted, about 30 years ago. I loved its smoothness, its tang (from buttermilk), and its gorgeous flecks of herbs.
Unfortunately, the file that contained Gam’s recipe has mysteriously disappeared from the Tinky laptop. The laptop is not, alas, the most reliable of electronic devices.
Instead I used some of what I remembered from Gam, took a look at a few other recipes in cookbooks, and came up with my own version of the dressing.
It isn’t exactly Gam’s formula, but it certainly perks up a salad. You’ll find it a little thinner than commercial ranch dressings (which probably contain mysterious thickening agents). It still adheres nicely to a lettuce leaf or a carrot stick. And its complex, fresh flavor beats that of any bottled dressing I’ve ever tried.
Cutting the Herbs

Cutting the Herbs

Not Gam’s Salad Dressing
fresh herbs to taste (I used 1 handful parsley, 1 handful dill, and a few basil leaves)
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup mayonnaise (low fat is fine if you’re dieting)
1/2 cup sour cream (I should think Greek yogurt would also work very nicely, although I haven’t tried it)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt
several turns of the pepper grinder
several drops of Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch sugar
1 pinch paprika
Chop the herbs as finely as you can. I do this by crowding them into a small, narrow glass (like a juice glass) and sticking my scissors into the glass. You may need to chop your herbs in batches.
Combine the herbs with the other ingredients in a blender and process until the mixture is smooth. Place the dressing in a covered jar and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours before using it.
Makes a little more than 2 cups of dressing. Use within a few days.
I love having herbs on my window sill at this time of year!

I love having herbs on my window sill at this time of year!

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