Monday, September 2, 2013

Monday Sundries: Terrifying Midwestern Cookery!

I visited my grandmother and parents last week and we made four boils of sour cherry jam. Three jars are mine, all mine! *cackles*

Amazing Vintage Midwestern Cookery

We also dug through my great-grandmother's recipe file and found some truly amazing examples of mid-century Midwestern cooking. I particularly like this one. I mean, it never would have occurred to me to combine lemon Jello, canned corned beef, onions and mayonnaise! I'm almost tempted to make it because it's so disgusting sounding.

I'm also comforted to know that I have a recipe to make potato soup for an army, should the need arise. I love any recipe that lists ingredients by the gallon rather than the cup. My grandmother has no idea why she or her mother had this recipe in there, and no-one in our family has a Cheaper-by-the-Dozen scenario where one needs to whip up 4 gallons of soup in one go.

Thrifty Food Plan Challenge

I went to BJ's and some other stores and did my monthly grocery stock up: cod, chicken drumsticks, pesto, ground beef, chicken breasts, flour, ham, mozzarella, milk, pasta, butter, eggs, parmesan, spinach, kale, cheese tortellini, Haagen-Dasz ice cream bars, sweet Italian sausage, hot Italian sausage, red wine, white wine and onions. The goal is to not shop any more this month except for fresh fruits and vegetables and milk, which seems doable, given that the freezer is currently groaning with food. I've spent $255.18 of $380.20 toward my Thrifty Food Plan Challenge.

My Mother Saves the Day

Despite being a fairly serious baker, I do not own a complete set of measuring cups or spoons. I've been relying on eyeballing things and metric recipes where I can use my kitchen scale. Out of frustration, I texted my mother and asked her to please buy me a set of cups, spoons and liquid measures for my birthday, and she was sweet enough to hit up the dollar store and buy my all three, and doubles of everything. Best. Present. Ever.

Cooked Lately:

Beautiful burger buns: Subbed half the white flour for whole wheat, omitted the sesame seeds, and made a double-batch. Shaped half the dough into hamburger buns and half into hot dog rolls and got 8 of each. Very tasty, though next time I'd make something crustier for rolls.

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce: I omitted the mirin because I didn't have any, and made a double batch. CodeMonkey felt that it was too sweet. If you make this, halve the cornstarch because this gelled up like mad. Soy Vay and Trader Joe's Soyaki (pretty sure these are the same thing) are both much tastier, though unavailable in my area. I wouldn't make this again.

Fast and Easy Puffed Pastry: I made this so I had wrappers for some spinach, feta and ricotta bourekas I decided to make. (To use up some frozen spinach and milk.) It's cheaper than buying puff pastry, particularly if you want one of the high-end brands that uses real butter. Very easy, though nowhere near as flaky as a real laminated dough. I doubled the recipe, but needed another 4oz of yogurt besides that to make the dough come together. A double batch was enough to wrap 32 bourekas.

Margaret's Oatmeal Hotcakes: After I made ricotta cheese to go in the bourekas, I had four cups of whey left over. You can substitute whey 1:1 for buttermilk in most recipes, so a double batch (Notice a pattern here? I never cook single batches). My mother has been making these for years, and they're fantastic and SO easy, since you mix the batter the night before. I skipped the dried fruit because we didn't have any. They freeze beautifully, so I froze them on cookie sheets and I've been thawing them in a skillet and serving with maple syrup for breakfasts. They're very hearty, so you don't need more than one.

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