My Blog List

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


What's your favorite cookbook? That's hard to answer. The one I rely on is an old Good Housekeeping cookbook that my mom had. It's lost it's front cover and spine and apparently the front matter, so I can't tell you the copyright date. But it's got all the basics--white sauce, roast a turkey, cuts of beef and how to cook them, tuna casserole--okay, nobody likes that any more except me. I also like my old edition of Joy of Cooking--my oldest son tried to convince me to let him buy me a new one so he could have the old one, but I refused. I like most of the Southern Living cookbooks, especially one on entertaining--yes, it too was Mom's. And there are others I go to for specific recipes: Calf Fries to Caviar for fruit salads, an old one I can't remember the title of for German potato salad, and so on.
But the one I treasure most is a book my brother brought me a while back: Tasty Treasures, compiled by The Women's Auxiliaries to the Chicago Osteopathic Hospital. There's no copyright or year given but I bet it was when I was about twelve or so, for it's my break into print: there's a recipe for "hot party dip" and there it is, in writing, my signature--Judy MacBain. Mom pretty much put this book together, and she's everywhere in it, though she thought it would look bad if she was there too often, so she called herself Penelope Jones. Penelope contributed such recipes as mushroom cheese caps--I fix those to this day and Jordan loves them. Penelope also suggested avocado mayonnaise: 1/2 of an avocado with 1 cup mayonnaise, salt and sugar to taste and 2 Tbsp. lemon juice. I'm pretty sure I'd cut out the sugar and at least use the whole avocado, if not two. Several of my aunts names appear, and I'll never know if Mom used their recipes or just their names. She also assumed the pen name of Gourmet Grace to give little cooking hints, such as: A zippy sauce for corned beef hash casserole: 2 Tbsp. chili sauce spices with a dash of Coleman's mustard. But nowhere could I find a recipe for corned beef hash casserole--even if I had wanted to. Gourmet Grace also suggests sprinkling sage on pork chops before baking them or "about 2 Tbsp. chopped anchovies spreaad over tomato filling for pizza is delectable." Now, I love anchovies--but is this my mother talking?
Mom included a few recipes under her own name and here's the best: Everlasting Rolls. It's great for those who think they can't make dinner rolls.

Mom's basic roll dough
2 pkg. granular yeast
1/2 c. warm water
Pinch of sugar
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk, plus enough water to make 4 cups (nowadays I use “light” milk)
1 scant c. vegetable oil
1 c. sugar
Dissolve yeast in water (add just a pinch of sugar to help the yeast work) and let it rise about five minutes. Mix milk and water, oil, and sugar. Add dissolved yeast. Stir in enough flour to make a thin batter, the consistency of cake batter. Let this rise in a warm place until bubbles appear on the surface (probably 1 hour—check it at 30 minutes).
Separately, mix
1 c. flour
1 tsp. salt (or less)
1 heaping tsp. baking powder
1 level tsp. baking soda
 Sift seasoned flour into first mixture. Keep adding flour until it is too stiff to stir with a spoon. Knead well. Don't let the dough get stiff with too much flour, or your rolls will be heavy. This dough will keep a week or so in the refrigerator but watch out--it grows and spreads.
This can be used for dinner rolls, either cloverleaf or rolled out, or coffee cakes. Mom's most popular use was for Christmas coffee cakes--more about that as the season nears.
And those cheese-stuffed mushrooms? Mix grated sharp cheddar, a bit of dry mustard, a dash of Worcestershire, chopped green onions, and enough mayonnaise to bind. Bake in a moderate overn until mushrooms are soft and cheese begins to brown. Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment