Retro Recipes and Traditional Fare

Weekend Baking: Caramel Krispies

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by Sue Doeden

caramel-kirspies.jpgSurprised? I know. I wouldn’t normally post a recipe for sweet bars made with crisp rice cereal and marshmallows. I’m going to a family reunion. There will be lots of kids there — little ones and big ones, too, if you know what I mean. Kids love rice krispie bars. I’m taking a very light, bright and healthful cabbage salad, too. So, it will all balance out in the sugar and calorie department.

This recipe came to me from a friend sometime in the early 1980′s. My boys were at a rice krispie bar stage of their lives. That stage coincided with a “not-much-time-to-bake” time in my life.

No-bake Caramel Krispies are made by making two layers of the rice krispie, butter and marshmallow mixture in jelly-roll pans. A filling of caramel, more butter and a can of sweetened condensed milk is heated together and when the caramels are melted, the mixture gets poured over one of the layers that has been sprinkled with more mini-marshmallows.

Rhubarb Buckle with Ginger Crumb

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by Susan Salzman

bucklerhubarb.jpgIt’s rhubarb season. I took me a while but I have discovered rhubarb. And what I have discovered is that I like them. I like them in a crisp, in a buckle, in a muffin, stewed with other fruit, and in a pie. The word rhubarb was a turn off for me. I don’t know why. I just had a visceral aversion to it.

Then one evening, while out with some of my best friends, at one of my favorite restaurants – Gjelina – we ordered the strawberry rhubarb crisp for dessert. There were several other sweet treats on the table that night, but it was this particular dessert that blew our taste buds away. And it is forever etched in my memory. Cannot wait to go back. I’ll order a few of my favorite small bites and this crisp.

I picked up some rhubarb at the farmers market last weekend. Came home with it and the rest of my loot, and sat down in my comfy, oversized, vintage leather chair. I opened up one of my favorite books; rustic fruit desserts and searched for something to make. I earmarked the rhubarb buckle with ginger crumb as well as the rhubarb oat and pecan crumble.

In celebration of mother’s day, I made the buckle. What could be more satisfying than a piece of this cake, along with a cup of tea for a Sunday afternoon snack? I really can’t think of anything more satisfying...

Cucumber Salad

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by James Farmer III

cucumbersalad.jpgCool as a cucumber…and on the hottest of summer days, a refreshing and cool treat is hard to pass up. Thinly sliced, set on ice, and seasoned with a dash of basil, salt, and pepper, this easy breezy salad is sure to be a hit at your table…it is at this Farmer’s table!

With summer in full swing, produce is bountiful and delicious, and sometimes, the best way to enjoy the bounty is through a simple yet very elegant salad. Shallots or Vidalias make for lovely complements to this dish and a bath of white balsamic vinegar is the perfect dressing. I sweeten the vinegar with “just a spoonful of sugar” and this step actually adds a depth of flavor and volume as well, contrasting the bitter, salty, and tangy of the onions, cucumbers, and vinegar. If you love onions, go with Vidalias…if you like onions, stick with shallots for a milder flavor – it’s a winner either way. A few leaves of basil, shredded or julienned add that marvelous dose of flavor that only fresh garden herbs can…the small leaves of African Blue basil are tres magnifique yet any good basil will do!

This strikingly beautiful dish has a special place in my heart, for it is one of the first things I ever learned how to prepare. The soft green and cool white of the cucumbers, their opalescence of sorts, the ice chips, the crisp onions and sharp vinegar made for a sensual dish – engaging sight, smell, taste, and touch.

Roots of New Year’s Food Traditons

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by James Farmer III

“Eat poor that day, eat rich the rest of the year… Rice for riches and peas for peace.” – Old Southern saying for New Year’s Menu

newyearsfood.jpgCollard greens, black eyed peas, cornbread and pork are the foodstuffs of the South, rich in legend, lore, and superstition. Money or not, every Southern family I know dines on these same vittles for their New Year’s supper. Not too poor of eating if I say so myself.

According to this Farmer, the New Year’s Day menu is a Southern supper at its finest. Steeped in tradition, flavored with history, and doused with a touch of superstition, this meal encompasses the South’s ebb and flow of classicism and eccentricity–a meal of our heritage. Here in America’s Deep South, the cultures of Europe, Africa and the Native Americans combine with their respected refinements and sentimentalities making this meal fit to usher in a new year.

Growing up in rural Middle Georgia, we knew our food’s legacy before it arrived on our tables. This Farm to Table movement of late has always been the custom for those of us raised in a more bucolic fashion. We know our farmers and growers. In his blessings before a meal, my brother-in-law’s father always gives thanks for “not only the hands that prepared the food but grew it as well...” whereas our New Year’s meal is of no exception.

Steamed Artichokes with Dijon Vinaigrette

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by Joseph Erdos

steamedartichokes.jpg Most people look at an artichoke and think: "What do I do with this?" But artichokes only look intimidating, they're actually easy to prepare once you know how. Originally from the Mediterranean, artichokes have a history that dates back to Roman times. There are countless cultivated varieties, especially in Italy, where artichokes are enjoyed in many different preparations including raw salads, stuffed and baked, steamed, grilled, etc. In the States we have just two varieties: the large globe and small baby. The simplest way to prepare artichokes is steaming. Not only is it easy to do, the method also retains the subtle flavors that make artichokes so revered.

Artichokes make a fun party food since they require a hands-on approach. Each leaf is removed one by one and nibbled on. Once all the leaves have been removed, and the choke has been scraped away, only the heart remains. The heart and the stem have the most flavor. The leaves are not entirely edible, so you need to use your teeth to scrape the bit of flesh from each leaf. Typically steamed artichokes are served with melted butter or hollandaise, but I like to dip into Dijon vinaigrette, which is much lighter. Serve steamed artichokes as an appetizer for any occasion.

Classic Lasagna

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by Joseph Erdos
lasagna.jpg

Casseroles make some of the most practical and delicious all-in-one meals. When you have a dish like lasagna, you really don't need sides, the lasagna takes all the attention. The thing that makes lasagna so popular is its ability to bring joy to everyone who eats it. I've never met a person who didn't like lasagna. It has to be all that cheese and sauce melted together between layers and layers of pasta. Most people would agree that lasagna is Italy's answer to comfort food. Not to mention it's practically a sanctified Italian-American specialty.

Perfect Hash Browns

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by Laura Zolnoski

hashbrowns.jpgI found the secret to the crispiest, most delicious home fries.

It all started with a late night binge. I was still hungry (or maybe just bored…) after dinner one night, so I decided to make a baked potato. While I was waiting, I snacked on about a million other things, and when my potato was ready, I wasn’t hungry anymore. The potato spent the night in the fridge.

While I was thinking about breakfast the next morning, I decided to see what I could whip up with the potato…and wow, if you want a quick and easy breakfast side, this is the way to go!

Strawberry Charlotte Russe

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by James Farmer III

strawberrycharlotte.jpgLeave it to my grandmother’s generation to have a delicious dessert with gelatin. A standby ingredient of the “greatest generation,” gelatin is often forgotten these days. Yet, this one ingredient provides a fantastic texture and appearance for dessert dishes. Strawberry Charlotte Russe is an “oldie but goodie,” for its name is derivative of Russian royalty and French culinary prowess.

With strawberries coming into season here in the Deep South, this Farmer is exploring a few old faithful recipes. A Charlotte Russe is delicious with any in season berry (black, blue or rasp) but especially good with strawberries. Though there are methods of ringing the mousse like dessert with additional lady fingers, tying with ribbons, and presenting in more formal fashions, I simply prefer to mound this delicacy in a pretty serving dish, scoop onto lovely dessert serving pieces, eat and enjoy the very essence of the season. There is something special about using family pieces, and my Mimi’s great Aunt Mamie's china is just the token for a dainty dessert. Though highly elegant, this dessert is severely easy to prepare and it's sure to be a hit with you and yours.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake

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by Cathy Pollak

chocolatecake.jpg Wow is all I can say.  I don't think you'll ever go back to a boxed cake after making this one.  It's fantastic.  It's what grandma used to make with it's one-of-a-kind flavor and "Betty Crocker" looks.

No mixer required.  No eggs even.  The oil in the ingredients keeps it moist and it keeps well...not that there are going to be leftovers.

It's really, really fabulous.  Just remember when you are baking from scratch...do not overmix, measure exactly, sift your dry ingredients (especially the cocoa which tends to be clumpy) and follow directions.  Your cake will be amazing and you will not go back to the box mix.

Lemon Chiffon Cake

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by James Moore

lemonchiffoncake.jpgChiffon cakes are airy, moist, and delicious. They have an interesting history too. Harry Baker, a Los Angeles insurance agent turned caterer, is credited with the original chiffon cake in 1927.

For two decades he carefully guarded his secret recipe, making his special cake only for Hollywood screen stars and for the famous Brown Derby Restaurant.

In 1947, he agreed to sell the recipe to General Mills. They released the secret recipe in the May 1948 Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, and it became a nationwide sensation.

 

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