Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Foodys Helping Foodys or the Sour Cream vs.Yoghurt Evaluation

I published the best recipe I know for Banana Cake and it generated the following discussion. I heart my readers. I am thrilled to have foody pen pals.

Banana Art by Zazzle

Sour cream substitute by pdh

It's Sunday morning, & I'm suddenly feeling a need for McGovern-inspired banana cake ... but I have no sour cream. I have some plain yogurt, & will substitute that ... should work according the intertubes.

My concern is more profound, though. Since you are a student of the politics of food, can you tell me if the substitution will be politically correct?

Please let me know how it goes by Yours Truly

Politically correct. But there is something about the fat in the sour cream and the taste of sour cream that makes it essential, I think. However, I am a fan of experimentation. I look forward to your analysis of the sour cream situation.

So I need two cakes, I guess by pdh

Actually, I think I will try the experiment. Today, with yogurt ... then with sour cream after my next trip to the market. I will let you know my opinion after a proper comparison.

Drain the yogurt by UnionJok

Years ago, a native of the Middle East showed me how to "thicken" yogurt for use in the standard recipe for baba ganooj and hummus. The traditional process consists of removing the whey by placing the yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined strainer over a bowl. The result is pretty much the same as "Greek" yogurt, and the whey can be used for other things. Even when made from fat-free yogurt, the texture and taste of the result make it a good substitute for sour cream in baking, salad dressings, dips, or desserts.

More convenient, if somewhat less effective, is to dig a well down the side of the container with an iced tea spoon, periodically pouring off the whey accumulating there. In this method, the top layer of yogurt becomes thick and creamy.

The denouement by pdh

Some time ago you posted the McGovern Banana Cake recipe to DailyKos.
I inquired about substituting plain yogurt for the sour cream which I
did not have available. Another dkos poster suggested draining the
yogurt in a cheese cloth to get a more appropriate texture, which
sounded like a sensible thing to do. So I prepared a banana cake with
the drained yogurt, & found it quite satisfactory.

Not trusting my memory of the taste of banana cakes past, I prepared
two cakes the same day, & sampled them both at the same time. It was
very close, but the sour cream did seem to give a slightly better
result. I expect that the flavor added by the sour cream counts for
more than the fat since there is 1/2 cup of shortening already in the
recipe, but didn't test any other variations. Next time I think I'll
add some chopped walnuts, though.

So my conclusion is that Dannon yogurt (plain whole milk kind) drained
in a wire mesh strainer lined with a paper coffee filter is a
satisfactory substitute for sour cream in recipes where the sour cream
is not a main ingredient. One would not slather a baked potato with
the densified yogurt & expect a sour cream experience, though.

I almost always keep some yogurt around because one of my favorite
snacks is yogurt with berries. In fact, I've prepared little single-
serving sized packets of whole berry cranberry sauce for the freezer
for those times when fresh berries are scarce. I'm sure I'll be
repeating the McGovern cake ... & using the pseudo sour cream in other
places, too!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

"Asparagus inspires gentle thoughts." - Charles Lamb

Homegrown Asparagus becomes available in Pennsylvania April through June. It is at its best in May. A list of pick-your-own farms in Eastern Pennsylvania can be found HERE. 

Every Asparagus lover has favorite ways to eat Asparagus. This recipe for Chinese Asparagus Salad is one of my favorites.

The photograph comes from Petr Kratochvil. 

Chinese Asparagus Salad

2 pounds fresh Asparagus
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Vinegar (Cider or White Wine are good)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Sesame Oil

Some folks peel Asparagus and you can if you want to. I never do. I just snap it. Wash the Asparagus well. Cut the spears diagonally across in 1 1/2 inch lengths. Cook the pieces of Asparagus for one minute in boiling water. Then drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Mix all the other ingredients (soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, salt and oil) together in a large bowl. Add Asparagus and toss.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Irish Potato Candy is a Philadelphia Tradition

Irish Potato Candy is a Philadelphia tradition made every Spring. Delicious. Indeed, Philadelphians created the candy, some of whom may have been Irish.

You can buy O'Ryan's made Irish Potato Candy at the market or online. Potatoes can also be purchased at Christopher's Chocolates.

Or you can make this simple candy at home. The recipe is fun to do with children. No hot stove. No special equipment. No exotic ingredients. If you want the recipe made with real potatoes, you can find it HERE.


1⁄4 cup softened Butter
4 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1(16 ounce) package Confectioners' Sugar
7 ounces sweetened flaked Coconut (2 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoon ground Cinnamon
2 tablespoon Cocoa

NOTE: Be sure to use regular cream cheese, not whipped or reduced fat type. Leave it out to come to room temperature for easier creaming. 

In a large bowl, cream together the Butter and Cream Cheese. Add Vanilla and Confectioners' Sugar. Beat until mixture forms a ball. Stir in Coconut with a spoon.

Roll the mixture between your hands to form small potato-shaped candies or roll into small balls. Place Cinnamon and Cocoa in a shallow dish and roll the balls in it. Place the balls on a cookie sheet and chill for about 1 hour or until firm. If you prefer "dirtier potatoes" roll the candy a second time after they have chilled. You can also add a few chopped Nuts to look like 'eyes' if you want to get really artistic.  

Treacle Bread

Treacle Bread is a slightly sweet Irish Soda Bread. It seemed an appropriate recipe for March because it is the month in which we celebrate St. Patrick"s Day. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and most Americans pretend we are Irish for a day every year. 

A thin slice of this bread well buttered and a cup of black tea in the afternoon is one of the finer pleasures in life. This bread toasts nicely too when it is a bit hard.

Miss Peggy Daum's Treacle Bread

3 cups sifted all purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon granulated Sugar
1 scant teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup Molasses
1 cup Buttermilk, divided

Sift all purpose flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, and baking power into a large bowl. Thoroughly mix in whole wheat flour. Warm the molasses a bit and combine it with 1/2 the buttermilk. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and stir in the buttermilk mixture. You want a soft dough. So add the other bit of buttermilk as needed.

Turn out on a floured board. Knead only enough to shape into a ball. You do not want to develop gluten. Flatten the ball of dough into a circle 11/2 inches thick. Place into a greased and floured 8-9 inch baking pan. Dough does not have to fill the pan. Cut a cross 3/8 inch thick across the top and down the sides of the loaf.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake bread 40 to 45 minutes or until bread is browned and loaf sounds hollow when you knock on it. Best sliced thin and lightly buttered, toasted or untoasted.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Fun with Food

It is Spring and Easter is coming soon. Now is the time for Peep Jousting. To arms!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

I fell on November 13 and sustained a concussion. I am meant to rest my brain and do little for the next few weeks.

It is go slow holiday around here until I can write, read and think better.

Merry Christmas Cat

cat haiku
You never feed me. 
Perhaps I'll sleep on your face.
That will sure show you.

You must scratch me there! 
Yes, above my tail!
Behold, elevator butt.

The rule for today: 
Touch my tail, I shred your hand.
New rule tomorrow.

In deep sleep hear sound 
cat vomit hairball somewhere
will find in morning.

Grace personified. 
I leap into the window.
I meant to do that.

Blur of motion, then -- 
silence, me, a paper bag.
What is so funny?

The mighty hunter 
Returns with gifts of plump birds --
your foot just squashed one.

You're always typing. 
Well, let's see you ignore my
sitting on your hands.

My small cardboard box. 
You cannot see me if I
can just hide my head.

Terrible battle. 
I fought for hours. Come and see!
What's a 'term paper?'

Small brave carnivores 
Kill pine cones and mosquitoes,
Fear vacuum cleaner

I want to be close 
to you. Can I fit my head
inside your armpit?

Wanna go outside. 
Oh, poop! Help! I got outside!
Let me back inside!

Oh no! Big One 
has been trapped by newspaper!
Cat to the rescue!

Humans are so strange. 
Mine lies still in bed, then screams;
My claws are not that sharp.

mail welcome: admin @

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Christmas Eve Salad

This was the salad served at Christmas Eve Dinner to Stanford-in-Mexico students in 1972. Recipe from Steve and Pilar Stein of Latin Studies.

Ensalada de Noche Buena

4 small Apples, cored and sliced
4 medium Oranges, peeled and separated in sections
3 cups of canned Pineapple, drained
4 small Bananans, sliced
3 tablespoons Sugar
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
Romaine Lettuce leaves
2 cups canned Betts, drained
1/4 cup Peanuts

Combine the first six ingredients in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate until they are cold. At the moment of serving cover a salad bowl with the Lettuce leaves, mix carefully the Fruits and the Beets, and place the mixture over the Letttuce. Sprinkle Peanuts on top and serve immediately. Serves 12.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Jasmine Liqueur and Organic Rum

We entertain more in the Winter Holiday Season and we go to more parties. I like to bring a unique hostess gift and make interesting new cocktails. So I am repeating this.

Corporate distillers use additives that ordinary folks would not use, if we made our own spirits. An excellent cookbook which has a chapter on home liqueur making is Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine. Making liqueur at home used to be common in American life as this scene from Arsenic and Old Lace attests:

Greenbar Organic Distillery makes their own Vodka, Gin, Tequila, Liqueurs and Bitters without additives, using classic distillery techniques and all organic ingredients. 

A bottle of anything Greenbar makes would be a welcome hostess gift. I have nothing to gain from any transaction you make with Greenbar beyond the success of the company. Quality counts.

TRU Jasmine Martini

1 1/4 oz TRU vodka
1 oz FRUITLAB jasmine liqueur
1/4 oz simple syrup
Glass Types: (Martini/Coupe)
Shake + strain into a martini glass
Garnish with an edible flower

Philadelphia Opera Company - Musical Interlude for Attitude Adjustment

There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats. - Albert Schweitzer
I shop at Reading Terminal Market weekly for fresh ground coffee and real bread. Iovine's for fresh produce. The Amish butcher for breakfast sausage and honey. Then I eat lunch at Pearl's Oyster Bar. Music and good food is Paradise.

I love the City of Brotherly Love. You never know when a random act of culture by the Philadelphia Opera Company may appear. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Orange Bread

This Orange Bread is delicious all by itself or spread with Cream Cheese or Peanut Butter. Quick breads are generally easy to make. This one requires cutting the flour into the shortening which is an extra step. Worth the work.

Orange Bread

4 cups Flour
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Shortening
2 Eggs
1 cup Milk
1 cup Candied Orange Peel
1/3 cup Syrup from Orange Peel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, sand and sugar. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture. Beat eggs thoroughly and add milk to them. Mix with flour mixture and stir in candied peel and syrup. Fold into loaf pan and bake 45 minutes.

Zucchini Bread and Butter Pickles

I love Bread and Butter Pickles. I have always made them made with Cucumber. This is the perfect recipe for those who have so many Zucchini in the garden that the neighbors refuse to take anymore and hide when they see you coming. 
The origin of the name and the spread of their popularity in the United States is attributed to Omar and Cora Fanning, a pair of Illinois cucumber farmers who started selling sweet and sour pickles in the 1920s and filed for the trademark Fanning's Bread and Butter Pickles in 1923 (though the recipe and similar ones are probably much older). The story attached to the name is that the Fannings survived rough years by making the pickles with their surplus of undersized cucumbers and bartering them with their grocer for staples such as bread and butter. - wikipedia
Zucchini Bread and Butter Pickles 

1 large Onion, sliced 1/8 inch thick
6 cups small Zucchini, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1/4 cup Salt
2 cups Cider Vinegar
1 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Turmeric
1 teaspoon Celery Seed
1 teaspoon Mustard Seed 

Place the Zucchini and Onion in a large bowl. Salt thoroughly.  Cover and leave overnight. Combine all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Add Zucchini and Onions  to the pickling brine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Pack pickles into hot sterilized pint jars. Fill jars to 1/2 inch of the top with pickling brine and seal. These pickles make excellent bread and butter sandwiches.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Simpson-Fletcher's Soul Food Stuffings

I love Philadelphia. If you poke around in corners of the city, you can find unexpected treasures. I found Simpson-Fletcher's Soul Food Recipes at the Tacony Library Book Sale. 

Find out about the Church that created the cookbook here if you want to know more about the particulars. Just scroll on down past the chicken coop.

Simpson-Fletcher's Soul Food Recipes devotes a whole chapter to Stuffings. I produce the recipes verbatim. I am making the Fish or the Capon. I hate Turkey. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sweet Potato Stuffing the Jamaican Way
from Ms. Thelma Graham

1 and 1/4 cups mashed Sweet Potatoes
7 slices toasted Bread cubes
6 links Pork Sausage
2 tablespoons Water
1/4 teaspoon crushed Marjoram leaves
1/2 cup finely chopped Celery
1 finely chopped Onion
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Sage
1/2 teaspoon ground Thyme
2 tablespoons Butter
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Salt

Combine toasted Bread cubes and Celery with mashed Sweet Potatoes. Mix and set aside. In a frying pan, put Sausage links and cold Water. Cover and cook for 10 minutes then pour off any fat and break links into small parts. Add chopped Onion to the pan and cook until Sausage is browned and onions are clear. Remove from heat and add all the seasoning. Mix well. Now add Sausage mix to the Sweet Potato mixture. Blend well and stuffing is ready for stuffing a large Capon.

Sweet Pickle Stuffing for Baked Fish
from Albert the Chef

2 cups Rye or Whole Wheat Bread crumbs
1 cup Sweet Pickles, minced
2 Celery Stalks, chopped
2 tablespoons Onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Sage (optional )
2 tablespoons melted Butter

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly. Toss the crumbs so they are well coated with melted butter. Stuff the Fish cavity. This is enough for a 3 pound Bass or Trout.

Wisconsin Bars

I found this recipe in a regional cookbook entitled Cooking Wisconsin Style published by the Wisconsin State Journal. It was published in 1985 as a compendium of 30 years of the Journal's collected recipes. I do not know if one can still obtain a copy.

Wisconsin produces about a quarter of America's cheese. I am not surprised that this apple dessert contains two kinds of cheese and butter. And if cut in larger portions, is best served with iced cream. Wisconsin is the Dairy State.

This recipe courtesy of Mrs. Lawrence Eberle of Lone Rock. The painting is by Dennis Plamann, a Wisconsin Artist, and it is entitled Frank Fox's Farm.

Wisconsin Bars

1/4 cup Sugar  
1 cup Butter
2 Egg Yolks
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 cups Flour
4 cooking Apples, medium sized
1/2 pound Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 Egg Whites
1 and 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
1/4 cup Cream Cheese

Combine the butter, egg yolks, baking powder, salt, flour. Blend until a crumbly mixture is formed. Put half the mixture in a 13x9 inch cake pan and press it down. Reserve the remainder.

Grate together in one bowl the apples and the cheddar cheese. Discard the cores and only the larger pieces of the apple peelings. Add the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Mix well. Spread this mixture as the second layer in the cake pan. Spread the remaining crumbly mixture to form the third layer.

Whip egg whites until peaks are formed. Gradually add powdered sugar and cream cheese, beating continuously. Spoon this topping over the contents of the cake pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Yield 3 dozen bars. 
Note: These can be cut into bars or served in larger portions with ice cream or whipped cream.

Roasted Pumpkin Guts

I am seeing beautiful pumpkins in the market so I am doing this again. Note: you can roast the seeds of any hard Winter squash.

When I was a child, you could buy a box of roasted Indian Brand Pumpkin Seeds at the corner candy store. The box the seeds came in had a beautiful illustration of an American Indian in full Chief's headdress.

When you get done carving that pumpkin for Halloween or just to make a pie, you can roast your own pumpkin seeds. Roasted pumpkin seeds are so good.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

1 and 1/2 cups raw whole Pumpkin Seeds
2 teaspoons Butter, melted
Pinch Salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).

Toss seeds in a bowl with the melted butter and salt. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown; stir occasionally.

This recipe comes from - for my money the best recipe site on the net. Cooks share their variations on the recipe and their opinions of the recipe's quality.

Cooks also share practical tips for recipe execution like this tip below. There are a lot of creative cooks in the world. This tip is from Valerie's Kitchen.

If you've never roasted pumpkin seeds before here are my tips. When you carve your pumpkins scoop the seeds into a colander and the guts onto newspaper. Inevitably some of the guts will be mixed in with the seeds but when you run water over them it's separated out pretty easily. After you drain the rinsed seeds, pour them onto a large, dry cookie sheet and let them sit for 24 hours or so to dry out. Now you can pick out the remaining pieces of pumpkin stuff that didn't get pulled out earlier and they will roast better if they are not wet when they go in the oven. My family prefers them seasoned with garlic salt in place of regular salt but you can use whatever suits your taste. So good!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Poor Man's Turkey

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.” ― Abraham Lincoln
This recipe comes from Karen Rock and Recipes of the Liberty Bell Chapter #266 - Vietnam Veterans of America.

This might taste awfully good on those days when you are sick of leftover Turkey and you have some stuffing left. I never have any stuffing left. And I hate Turkey. Might have to improvise.

I suppose you could make some stuffing just for this dish. Might by yummy. I like the whole idea.

Poor Man's Turkey

1 pound Ground Beef
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs
1 Egg
1 small Onion, chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 cup cooked Stuffing
1 slice raw Bacon (optional)

Combine first five ingredients and form into one loaf. Cut in half lengthwise and insert Stuffing into the middle of the loaf. Put back into shape and bake one hour at 375 degrees. Place strip of Bacon on top of meatloaf to keep it from drying out. Serves 4.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Happy Belated Birthday Lord Ganesh

 I am so happy to have found a fine blog Simple Indian Recipes. I was looking for Pumpkin recipes that could be entrees or candy perhaps. Fall is the time to eat Squash and Pumpkin. I share my find with you, cher Reader.

I found an entire page of Pumpkin recipes that truly go from Soup to Nuts. You want to go there if you cook for Vegans and Vegetarians at Holiday time. I plan to make a Curry.

I am so happy to share Lord Ganesh made in Pumpkins for your enjoyment. See the dancing at the festival 2015 below:

Simple as Pie - Cranberry Walnut Thanksgiving Pie

Every year this recipe saves this cook's life. So I republish it every year at Holiday time so someone new can find it. Enjoy.

When I first encountered this recipe, I scoffed. Nothing this easy could be all that good, I thought. The easy in this pie is no pastry to make. I was so wrong. Make this once and it will become a holiday favorite.

This recipe meets my standards (simple to make, no exotic ingredients, dynamite result). The sweet tart taste is divine. The pie has a texture like a soft shortbread cookie with fruit.

For cooks who have to turn out good food for their family on short notice in a regular kind of way, this recipe is a godsend. I found this recipe in a regional cookbook. It came from Mary Yeaple of York Friends Meeting. Mary Yeaple says of this recipe "I always make two pies at a time because they don't last long."

Cranberry Walnut Pie

1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen Cranberries
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup chopped Walnuts
1 Egg
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup all purpose Flour
1/3 cup Butter, melted *

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9 inch pie plate and layer cranberries on the bottom. Sprinkle with brown sugar and nuts. In a bowl, beat egg until thick; gradually add sugar, beating until thoroughly blended. Stir in flour and melted butter; blend well. Pour or spoon over the cranberries. Do not stir. Do not worry if the batter does not cover each berry and nut. The high butter content and lack of leavening make the batter relax and become more liquid when heated. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into wedges and serve with ice cream or whipped topping. English custard sauce would be good too.

* Note: 5 1/3 tablespoons to be exact - I eyeball it with the help of the little tablespoon marks on the butter label. Be sure to use a 9 inch pie pan. Do not take the pie out too soon or it will be too soft. Let it cool completely before slicing. A pie server is useful.

Holiday Hospitality and Party Punch

The Holiday Party Season has arrived with Thanksgiving. Punches are elegant and perfect for Celebrations of all kinds.

These Party Punches come from Charleston Receipts. I heartily recommend this cookbook. It is the encyclopedia of Southern comfort. Proceeds from the sale of Charleston Receipts cookbook go to many worthy community projects of the Junior League of Charleston. I receive no payment.

Never forget that Punch stock should be poured over a block of ice and served cold cold cold. The only exception is the Coffee Punch below.

Coffee Punch

1 gallon strong Coffee
1 quart Cream
2 quarts Vanilla Ice Cream
5 teaspoons Vanilla
5 tablespoons Sugar

Chill Coffee. Whip Cream, add Sugar and Vanilla. Place Ice Cream and whipped Cream in punch bowl and pour Coffee over it. Mix well before serving. ( If block Ice Cream is used, slice it into thin slices before placing in the punch bowl. ) 50-60 servings.
– Mrs. S. Edward Izard Jr. (Anne Kirk)

Otranto Club Punch

1 pound loaf Sugar
1 quart strong Green Tea
Juice of 12 Lemons, strained
1-2 quarts carbonated Water
1 pint Peach Brandy
1 quart heavy or light Rum
2 quarts Brandy or Rye Whiskey

Dissolve the Sugar in the Tea; add Lemon Juice, Peach Brandy, Rum and the Brandy or Rye Whiskey. Use an abundance of ice, adding a liberal quantity of carbonated Water. 50-70 Servings.
- Louis Y. Davison Jr.

Cotillion Club Punch

1/4 pound Gunpowder (Green) Tea (makes 5 quarts)
1 quart Cherries
2 dozen Lemons, juice
1/2 pint Fruit Syrup
12 quarts carbonated Water
6-8 quarts Rye Whiskey
1/2 pint Rum
1 pound Sugar made into thick syrup

Pour 5 quarts boiling Water onto the Tea, bring this to a boil; remove from fire at once and let stand until strong enough. Strain and, when cool, add juice of Lemons, Syrup from the Cherries and also the Rye and Rum. Sweeten to taste with any Fruit Syrup; add Sugary syrup and Cherries. Bottle this stock and keep on ice until ready to serve. Pour over block of ice, add one quart Carbonated Water to one quart of stock. This stock can be kept indefinitely if bottled and sealed. Yield 275-300 servings.
- A Charleston Gentleman

Saturday, October 17, 2015

World Food Day Poster Contest for Children 2015

These are my favorite posters. You can pick your favorites by going HERE. You can also find out how your child or your classroom can participate at the WFD website.

The 2015 World Food Day theme is:

“Social Protection and agriculture: breaking the cycle of rural poverty”

Social Protection has been chosen as the theme of this year’s World Food Day (WFD) to highlight its importance in reducing rural poverty and granting access to food or means to buy food.

Social protection can be defined as a range of solutions, often combined with each others, —such as work opportunities, provision of food, money and services— that are designed to support the vulnerable and help the poor in society move out of hunger and poverty. If you click HERE, you can see other World Food Day winners.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Halloween Gets Black Joe Cake

Old Black Joe is a parlor song by Stephen Foster (1826–1864). It was published by Firth, Pond & Co. of New York in 1853. I posted the song below sung by the Paul Robeson in mighty voice. I think the name of this cake is a pun.

Joe is American slang for coffee. I do not find this cake recipe in modern cookbooks; I find it in old regional cookbooks from the 30s and 40s. I think the omission is deliberate. You cannot sell cake mixes if making a scratch cake is this easy. This cake is not too sweet. I like a slice for breakfast right out of the fridge. Trust me, you will too. Black cake for a black and scary night. Boo!

 Black Joe Cake

Mix together:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

Make a well in the dry ingredients and then add, then mix with a spoon:
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup milk

Add, then mix again with a spoon: one cup black coffee. 

Pour into two greased 9 inch layer cake pans or 10x13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about forty minutes for large pan, 15 to 20 minutes for 9 inch layer cake pans. Be sure to test for doneness and do not overbake. If a knife blade comes out clean: it is Done! This batter is too loose for a tube pan.

Serve Black Joe Cake with sweet vanilla flavored whipped cream. If you want to get really fancy, make the layers and fill the space between the layers with raspberry jam and fresh raspberries.

Frost Black Joe Cake with Chocolate Frosting Helen Evans Brown:

Helen Evans Brown was a food writer in the 1950s. If you can find one of her coookbooks, buy it immediately and never let it go. This icing sets up fine when cool, never hardens and remains glossy. It is a wonder frosting. Sometimes I add a teaspoon of vanilla or dark rum.

Melt one 15 ounce package of milk chocolate or semi-sweet chips in a bowl over warm water. Blend the melted chocolate with one cup of sour cream.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Mrs. Austine Sutton's Cider Sauce

Mrs. Austine Sutton's Cider Sauce for Ham or Pork Dishes

3 tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 tablspoon Corn Starch
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves
1 cup Apple Cider
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice

Thoroughly mix Sugar, Corn Starch, Salt and Spices together. Stir in the Cider and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring all the time. Remove from heat. Let mixture cool until it is thick and clear. Then stir in Lemon Juice. It is then ready to serve.

Scary Spiders and Chocolate Mice

Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love to decorate. And every year I search for inexpensive dramatic decorations that cost next to nothing. Every year I find new creations on the Net. 

This year Spiders are a theme. Last year, chicken wire Ghosts were all the rage. I think Spiders are really scary and that, after all, is the point. 

Go HERE to learn how to make the Spider Crown. I am making this for a grown daughter. 

Go HERE for a Giant Spider Web made out of trash bags. I am making this for my front door.

Sure you can pay $12.00 and get a web ready made but where is the fun in that? Why shop when you have the makings of giant spiders at home already.

Last but not least, make Spider Web Cupcakes. You can find a recipe for them and Chocolate Mice at Food and Wine's Halloween Desserts. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Chicken Mushrooms

Mushrooms are beautiful and they taste divine. We have a brand new urban farmer and food purveyor in Philly and you can see their logo on the right.

Their blog is Chicken Mushrooms. If you go there, you will learn more about Mushrooms than you ever thought you wanted to know. 

You will find recipes for Mushroom delicacies there. You can buy a kit to grow Mushrooms. You can find out about Mushroom Seminars teaching how to find wild edible Mushrooms and how to grow your own at home.

I love Mycopolitan's Statement of Purpose:

In short we’re building Philly’s first mushroom farm where we plan to:

1-Grow gourmet varieties for local restaurants and a retail establishment or two

2- Grow and make stuff for hobbyist mushroom growers of all levels

3- Research new varieties such as the namesake of this blog which hasn’t had much press lately

4- Research new agricultural and environmental applications for fungi

5- Go wherever the mushrooms lead us.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Halloween Decorations

Halloween is my favorite holiday. How could it not be so? The air is crisp, the harvest is home and dressing up your hearth or porch.. Here are some pictures and websites to help you plan your decorations and help you celebrate. 

The Zombie Brain Pumpkin comes from 

Pumpkins can be carved and they can be painted, etc.

Oil based glossy house paint works the best, especially if you want to put your pumpkins outside on the porch. Oil based paint is durable, glossy and adheres well to pumpkin rind. A decorated pumpkin will last without rotting from Halloween through Thanksgiving.

Glossy acrylic paint is a good choice if you are working with children. It washes off.  Do not buy small containers of hobbyist paints unless you are only going to paint one or two pumpkins. Go to an art supply store for premixed acrylic paints in a wide variety of exotic colors in a generous size.

Halloween Gets Devil Sauce and a Soul Fondue

I have a charming small cookbook entitled The Gourmet Fondue Cookbook by B. Arthur Paull. This cookbook was written in the 70s during the Fondue craze. It was sold at Fante's here in Philly.

I am bringing Fondue back for my private little Halloween Party.  Mr. Paull's recipes are not long on quantities and procedure. They are terse. I produce them verbatim. The intrepid Foody will not be deterred. These two are adventurous and very good.

This is a savory Fondue in which the bits of food (chunks of bread, shrimp, cheese, tofu, veggies etc.) are individually cooked by the diner.

Soul Fondue

1/2 cup pureed Chicken Liver
1 minced Onion
1 teaspoon Cayenne
1/4 cup Brandy
1/2 cup Butter
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup Tomato Paste
1/2 cup Cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt to taste.

Pan fry onion in butter. Add flour and stir fry 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, salt, cayenne, Worcestershire, chicken liver and cream. Stir constantly for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add cheese. Stir until cheese melts. Add brandy.

Devil Sauce

Combine tomato sauce, vinegar, sugar, horseradish and garlic. Pour into a serving dish, cover and chill.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Green Sauce (Sauce Verte)

I made Salsa Criolla yesterday to accompany a roast.  It started me thinking about Fresh or Uncooked Sauces and how good and easy they are. I did the Green Sauce below in a food processor.

I served this Green Sauce from Silvana Franco's cookbook Salsas and Ketchups with Grilled Shrimp and Filet Mignon at a dinner party I catered. I always make it fresh before service. I discovered I had no lemon and substituted a small Tangerine. Such an inspired-by-emergency solution. So good. I believe this cookbook, published in 1995, is out of print. It is worth searching for, if only for the Banana Ketchup recipe.

Green Sauce (Salsa Verde)

6 Scallions, finely chopped
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 Green Chilies, finely chopped
6 tablespoons chopped fresh Cilantro
6 tablespoons chopped fresh Parsley
1 tablespoon capers, well drained and finely chopped
4 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Lemon, freshly squeezed juice and grated peel (or one Tangerine)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a large serving bowl and toss together. Season to taste and serve immediately.