Saturday, October 22, 2011

Food Friday: Bacon and Cottage Cheese Sandwich

They say that bacon can go with just about everything. I'm not totally convinced that bacon is a good match for all things but am open to different combinations even those that include desserts with bacon like bacon doughnuts and chocolate covered bacon.

Today's Food Friday come from the cookbook highlighted last week, Recipe from Our Redeemer's (sic). Bacon and Cottage Cheese Sandwich is fairly easy to make, all you need is bacon, cottage cheese, onion salt, chives and bread. I would probably try this recipe and am curious if any of my readers have had it. I found a group on Facebook, On the 8th Day God Created Bacon and one of the members did post that her grandmother frequently made this sandwich.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Food Friday: Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

I'm very lucky because my parents are constantly on the lookout for community cookbooks for me. At a recent library book sale they purchased a stack for me and one of them has quickly become my favorite.

Recipes from Our Redeemer's (sic). Our Redeemer's Lutheran Church Cook Book. Benson, Minnesota (1964) is a collection of 246 pages of recipes. All types of recipes are represented here, lots of desserts (I mean LOTS of desserts) and even a smorgasbord section (I'm a huge fan of smorgasbord). One of the reasons I like this cookbook is that a woman bought it for her friend and then she annotated the recipes so that her friend would know which ones were the good and very good ones. She also marked which recipes were from her family, which she notes are all very good. What a great idea, to give the cookbook as a gift and then annotate it for your friend. 

So this Food Friday is a recipe I would gladly try. In honor of Thanksgiving next month today's recipe is for Pumpkin Chiffon Pie. 

I have to also say I like the little tip below this recipe that remarks that if your pie crust doesn't turn out or the filling isn't right just top it with whipped cream or ice cream. Wise words indeed.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Three Minute Gazpacho

Made a trip to Andy's and got some beautiful little cucumbers I've never seen before. They had a bumpy, leathery skin and firm flesh, almost like a zucchini, but small, inoffensive seeds. About half the size of a salad cucumber, they tasted great and were much less watery than the waxy green dildos normally available. I sat down to watch a baseball game and ponder what to do with them. When Heather summoned me and claimed to be near death from hunger, it gave me a perfect opportunity to try my hand at a gazpacho, provided I could complete the task in three minutes*, the length of a commercial break.**

I peeled two stout little fellows, cut them into segments and put them in the carafe of the blender. Their tiny, feeble little pips saved me the trouble of de-seeding them, a task that may have taken several seconds. To the cucumbers I added a smashed clove of garlic, a small purple heirloom tomato, half a small sweet onion, a cigar-butt-sized hunk of ginger and the flesh of both a fresh jalapeno and a little red cherry pepper, all cut into pieces. The peppers came from the alley. Way to go alley. I pulsed the vegetables for a bit to break them up, then added salt, pepper, Sriracha, olive and sesame oil, the juice of a lime and a glug of spicy V8.

Before juicing the lime I grated the zest and reserved it for later. Grating the zest off a lime has the same effect as massaging the pulp, which makes the lime give up more of its juice. If you're not using zest for anything you can just roll the lime on the countertop and crush it a little. Also, get one of those little lime squeezer things from the Mexican supermercado. They cost a buck or two and are super efficient at getting lime juice out of limes. Liquefying raw vegetables works best if there are smallish pieces in a wet medium rather than trying to turn big hunks directly into liquid. That usually just results in the blade whirring past the bigger pieces while punishing the puree, resulting in unpalatable chunks surrounded by overworked paste, so it's worth it to do the puree in two stages, first to coarsely chop the pieces, then with a little added liquid to make it smooth.

Another trick for pulsing larger batches, especially in a food processor rather than a blender, is to add some crushed ice with the vegetables at the beginning of the process. The ice pieces act as auxiliary blades to help break up the vegetables while preventing the soup from getting hot from the friction of the blade and motor. Keeping the vegetables cool is critical in a gazpacho, otherwise the cells break down and the soup separates into ugly layers of water and fibrous matter. Gazpacho needs to retain some hint of its constituent ingredients in the body of the soup, otherwise it's just salty Jamba Juice. I didn't bother with ice this time because it was a small batch and I was determined not to spend too long on it.

I finished processing the soup and poured it into a bowl on top of some finely-sliced scallions and the reserved lime zest. There was very little foam, but I skimmed off what there was and tasted the soup. It was bright and complex and satisfying, and the oil made the flavors linger a little on the palate while providing body. I was happy with it as it was, but in future iterations I may try adding a little fish sauce to see if that makes the flavors hang around even more. Tasting the gazpacho gave me the idea that this would be really good as a savory sorbet, so I need to get some into Tim Mydhuiette's hands before everything goes out of season.

The alley bounty provided me with an assortment of peppers to dice for garnish, so I made a tiny brunoise of green jalapeno, orange serrano and red cherry pepper and sprinkled them on the gazpacho along with some chopped tarragon from the alley. I finished the garnish with a little dollop of Greek Yogurt and a sprig of mint.

And I made it back in time to see the Yankees dump one.

(vg) (v) without yogurt

** Overheard re: Bishop and actress.
** We have TiVo but I like a challenge.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Food Friday: Tomato Milk

One of my historical food interests is the foods served during World War II. This is an interesting time food wise because people had to not only make due with what they had but they had to do it while  using ration coupons, food substitutes and enduring shortages.

One recipe I have seen in more than one cookbook from this time is for Tomato Milk also named Milk with Tomato Juice. I'm not sure why this ever seemed like a good idea except that it probably allowed one to stretch what little they had.

The recipe is always pretty much the same. It's basically tomato juice, milk and a pinch of salt or sugar (depending on your preference). The following is the recipe from Metropolitan Cook Book issued by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. Notice that there is also a recipe for Milk with Fruit Juice. Another cookbook I saw with this Tomato Milk recipe framed it in the idea that it was the perfect snack for children. (My opinion is it is not a good snack for kids unless you want your children running around yelling about how gross it is-for more on this, see below).

I had mentioned this recipe to my mom who voluntered to give a try since she had all the ingrediants handy. Well we just happened to be at my parent's house one day and she said "let's all try it." Well, what was I going to do? I couldn't just say, "hey mom you try it because I'm pretty sure it's really gross." So my mom, my youngest son (he loves to try weird foods) and I bellied up to the kitchen counter where she mixed the recipe using a pinch of salt. (The rest of the men in our family went outside to look at the garden, yeah right).

Now, I like all of the ingredients involved in this recipe. I love tomato juice. I like milk in my cereal and I love a good dose of sugar. This combination of ingredients reminds me of a drink some of the local Vietnamese restaurants have that is basically an avocado smoothie. I like avocados and I like smoothies, just not certain that avocado smoothie is the best idea for me. The same is true for tomato milk.

So why did I try it? Well I honestly wanted to figure out what was so appealing about that combination. I wanted to see if I could imagine serving it to kids as a "wholesome" snack. I wanted to take a drink of a World War II recipe.

So we tried it. The final result? Two of us felt sick to our stomachs the whole night and the third person ran around yelling about how gross it was. I'll let you figure out who was who.

Basically, it did have this creamy/acidic taste that I found pretty heavy. The taste is probably one you could imagine.

When I asked my Facebook friends if anyone had ever drank this, I didn't have anybody admitting to it but they did name off recipes that were similar ingredients-wise  including a tomato gravy that includes milk.

The moral of this tale is that you should always be cautious when trying the foods of your ancestors. At least don't make plans for later in the day if your going to try something unusual. But it should also give you an appreciation of what they might have ate out of duty.