Cinnamon Chess Pie

September 28th, 2009
by: Sue

I remember eating this pie at the Overton’s home right after WWII. It was always served with coffee, which Mem would cool by saucering it a little at a time so I could sit in his lap and have real coffee laced with cream and sugar. We visited the Overton’s very often and always had a delicious piece of pie or cake and coffee. That was the only time I was allowed to have coffee, so I always looked forward to our visits. We served this pie for most holidays and never grew tired of it.

1 cup sugar
1 heaping Tablespoon flour
1 large can condensed milk
3 beaten egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 unbaked pie crust

Add sugar to flour, whisk in milk, egg yolks, cinnamon and vanilla.
Pour into unbaked pie crust, and bake at 400 for 5 minutes, lower heat to 325 and bake until center is firm.

Variation: Make meringue of 3 egg whites, and spread on baked pie. Bake in oven until meringue is lightly browned.

Note: The crust will do better if you prebake it. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with dried beans. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, remove from oven and remove paper and beans. Brush the crust with beaten egg, then pour in filling; bake at 325 until center is set.

Squash with Tomatoes, Onion, and Peppers

September 27th, 2009
by: Sue

I used this recipe a lot when we lived on the farm and I had an abundance of all the ingredients in my garden. Dad lived on the farm with us at one time, and he would come in mid-morning and ask, “What’s for lunch?” I’d say, “I don’t know, Dad, what sounds good to you?” He always replied, “Squash!” and I would make this dish for him.

2 cups squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 3/4 inch slices
1/2 onion, chopped
1 large tomato, diced
1 bell pepper, diced, (or jalapenos if you want some spice)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 chicken bouillion cubes (not needed if you cook in chicken broth)
salt and pepper to taste

Place prepared vegetables into a saucepan; add water or chicken broth to cover and remainder of ingredients. Bring to a gentle boil over medium low heat and cook until tender. Don’t overcook! Vegetables are best when cooked to tender but not beyond.

Hope you’re getting some of these in heaven, Dad!

Watkins Never Fail Frosting

September 27th, 2009
by: Sue

This recipe is dedicated to my Mom. I often rode with her as a child as she made the rounds selling Watkins flavorings and products to the farmer’s wives in our part of West Texas. I could even do the black pepper demo to show that Watkins pepper will never make you sneeze! Vanilla, black pepper, and pie mixes were big sellers. This frosting was used in our Dad’s favorite birthday cake: white layer cake topped with this frosting and with strawberry preserves, coconut and pecans between the layers. I still make this cake but with thin sliced fresh strawberries instead of preserves.

1 cup sugar
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 Tablespoons cold water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Place sugar and unbeaten egg whites, cream of tartar, and water in top of double boiler. Beat with mixer until soft glossy peaks form. Remove from heat, add vanilla and beat for another minute. Spread on cake or cupcakes. This icing will be soft and glossy for a while but by the next day it begins to crust over and be a little grainy.

Mema’s yeast rolls

September 27th, 2009
by: Sue

No holiday meal was complete without my sweet Mother In Law’s rolls. The first meal I ate at her table consisted of fried chicken (lightly fried then baked in the oven), fresh black eyed peas, homemade cream style corn, rice with celery and onions sauteed in butter, and these rolls served with home churned butter. The rolls just melted in my mouth. Dessert was chocolate meringue pie so good your eyes would roll back in your head. When the meal was over all the females pitched in and cleaned up the kitchen and got to know each other. I was in love with Darrell and his family after this meal if not before.

1/4 cup warm water
1 package dry yeast
3 cups flour
1 cup scalded milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup lard (yes, LARD) Crisco will do, though

Place yeast in cup with 1/4 cup warm water to proof the yeast. If it begins to bubble, it is good yeast. Put sugar, salt, and lard in mixing bowl. Add scalded milk and let cool to lukewarm. Add eggs and yeast mixture to the milk mixture and beat in 1 1/2 cups flour with the mixer. Add 1 1/2 more cups flour, beating until moist. Turn out on floured surface and work in more flour 1/2 cup at a time as needed to make a soft dough. This will be softer than bread dough. Turn into greased bowl, cover and let rise at room temperature until double.

Punch dough down and put on a floured surface, pinching off 2 small balls of dough to make divided rolls. Place two balls in each muffin tin depression, let rise until double (again at room temperature), and bake at 325 until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush tops with melted butter.

Alternate method: Roll out dough, and cut with round biscuit cutter. These may be baked in biscuit shapes or creased and folded over to bake in a folded shape.

Creamy Fudge

September 27th, 2009
by: Sue

This recipe takes the guess work out of fudge. You don’t need a candy thermometer, you just need to time how long you cook it. One some days, it takes it longer to set (I guess it depends on the humidity and barometric pressure). But it always does set up and remains creamy after being cut. I like to cut these into small 1 inch or smaller squares and serve in a mini muffin paper liners. So good you had better double the recipe; good for gifts at Christmas and to gift your guests as they leave your house.

1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup (1 small can) evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter
1 jar regular size (approx 7 ozs.) marshamallow crème
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 12 oz. size semi-sweet chocolate (2 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Combine sugar, milk, butter, marshmallow crème and salt in a saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture has boiled for exactly 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add chocolate pieces and vanilla and stir until chocolate is melted. Stir in walnuts. Turn into buttered 9 inch square pan. Let stand until firm, then cut into squares. This recipe can be doubled.

English Toffee

September 27th, 2009
by: Sue

My sister, Rose, in one of our many conversations about what we were cooking and why, shared with me her love of her son Tim and his allergy to some nuts. She made English toffee for him with almonds on top, so he could have Christmas candy without breaking out in hives. This recipe is the culmination of a search for the best toffee recipe. Almost no one makes toffee any more, and if you serve this to guests they have no idea what they’re eating. I think that’s a plus!

10 tablespoons butter (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cold water
1 1 /2 cup sliced almonds, divided
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 dash salt
1 (6 ounce) bag milk chocolate chops (1cup)

Generously butter a cookie sheet.

Place butter, sugar and water into a heavy pan over medium heat. Bringing to a bubbling boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula, about 10 minutes. Remove spoon and cook to soft crack stage (275) or when mixture resembles the color of peanut butter and will create hard brittle threads when dropped into cold water. Remove from heat and add 1 cup nuts, vanilla, and salt. Stir well, then pour onto prepared cookie sheet and spread to 1/4 inch thickness. Cool slightly, sprinkle chocolate chips on top then spread chocolate as it melts. Sprinkle 1/2 cup sliced almonds on top of chocolate mixture, press the nuts down into chocolate mix. Cool completely in the refrigerator, then break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

German Apple Pie

September 27th, 2009
by: Sue

This apple pie is the pie of my dreams. It’s important to choose the freshest apples available with a firm texture and the sweet tart flavor that resembles pineapple. Unfortunately the best apples for this run about $3 a pound, but it’s worth it! If you’re going to the trouble to make it, do it with the best possible ingredients.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 3 tablespoons ice water

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
6 cups thinly sliced peeled tart applies (1/4″) approximately 6 apples
1 cup heavy cream

Whipped cream optional to top.

In a small bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in the shortening until crumbly. Add vanilla. Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball. Roll out pastry to fit a 9 inch pie plate. Transfer pastry to pie plate, trim to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Pinch or flute edges to make a pretty edge.

For filling, combine the sugar, flour and the cinnamon. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of this mix into the crust. Layer with half the apples, then sprinkle with half the remaining sugar mixture. Repeat layers. Pour cream over all.

Bake at 450 for ten minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 50-60 more minutes until apples are tender. Cool and store in the refrigerator. Top with whipped cream if desired. Delicious!

Sara Jeanne’s version of the alleged Grandmother Mitchell’s oatmeal cookies

September 27th, 2009
by: Sue

Note: As Sara Jeanne says, this is an “adapted and modified” recipe and she and she alone is responsible for all the trash talk in this recipe

6 sticks of real salted butter (not that fake stuff)
3 cups of firmly packed organic brown sugar
1 1/2 cups granulated organic “kind of white but not real white ’cause it’s organic” sugar
6 brown organically raised range free eggs (the big ones of course)
1/4 cup of Mexican vanilla (it’s a lot but it’s worth it)
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons of baking soda (not the container from the fridge)
5 teaspoons of cinnamon (a lot but it smells incredible)
2 teaspoons of nutmeg (subtle but sublime)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (We’re God’s people for God’s sake)
1 Huge 2 lb. 10 oz. container of Old Fashioned Quaker Oats (not the quick or the insant kind)
1 Big old box of raisins (you know, like 4 inches high) or Crasins are great
As many pecans as you can afford. 4-6 cups of pecans or walnuts (when you use craisins use walnuts for a cleaner, crisper, lighter flair with a sharp after-bite). Politically incorrect comment has been deleted because Sara Jeanne has decided she will not discuss politics any more.

Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Beat the butter and sugars in that huge Kitchenaid mixer until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt with a fork until you think it’s incorporated and then mix it some more for about 30 seconds. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the egg/sugar stuff and mix on low. Add raisins or craisins and mix well. Add the oats a little at a time. This is where it gets tricky. Just add enough to mix it in slowly. Stop when your mixing bowl is about to overflow and cause an electric over-load in the West Texas grid. Transfer the cookie mixture to a very large roasting pan and slowly by hand (with gloves or zip lock baggies on your hands) mix in the rest of the oats. Don’t wipe your nose at this point. Add the nuts and mix it together, packing it down and compressing the dough into a big tight mound. You want really stiff dough because the end result will be be a little tiny mound of a cookie that will make you slap your pappy. A flat cookie is your enemy, it lacks soul.

Take a soup spoon and dig enough dough to make a ball in the palm of your hand. Place on a cookie sheet, the heavier the better. I like the Pampered Chef baking stone and a big cast iron pan. That really bakes the bottom well. Bake for ONLY 13-15 minutes (no more!) and remove. They need to be a dark golden brown because the interior dough should be soft and done. Place on a piece of the El Paso Times or Denver City Press to cool. Don’t use the Houston Chronicle because they will instantly develop mold, completely fall apart, and weep without cause. While they are hot coax them back into a little mound. That makes them hold together when times get tough. Cool for about 30 minutes and then flip them over so that the bottoms can dry out a bit. Take a load off and sit down and cool off. You’ve been at it for about 4 hours. Pour yourself a big glass of milk or a glass of wine if you happen to be Mimi.

Things your Grandmother never told you

September 27th, 2009
by: Sue

**Toast oats for 15 minutes on a cookie sheet in 350 degree oven for an enhanced cookie flavor.

**Bake the turkey or chicken breast down for juicier white meat.

**Drain cooked vegetables soon after cooking so they remain crisp, not soggy. Save water for soup stock.

**Add hot milk while mashing potatoes; cold milk makes them soggy.

**A bay leaf inside the flour canister will keep it dry and drive away bugs.

**Old potatoes won’t discolor if you add a slice of lemon to the water as you boil them.

**Toast nuts in a skillet for enhanced nutty flavor.

**Prebake piecrusts for custard pies to prevent a soggy crust.

**Brush unbaked piecrusts with egg to prevent soggy crust and present a shiny appearance.

** Out of mayonnaise? Make it yourself!! 1 whole egg to 1 cup of oil and 1 T lemon juice, process in blender or food processer or beat with electric mixer. You’ll never buy mayo again.

**Get an oven thermometer so you can make sure your baked goods are cooking at the proper temperature.

**If your pie crusts are browning too rapidly, place a sheet of aluminum foil over the pie to slow the browning process.

**Use ice cream scoops to ensure uniform size when scooping cookie dough to put on the baking sheets.

**When Martha Stewart says, “It’s Easy!” take it with a grain of salt.

**When making cookies to take to work/school, bake three times the number you need to take. The man of the house will need them.

**When in doubt about what to do with your Mother’s recipe, close your eyes and remember what she and it looked like when she made it. You’ll be amazed.

**When you don’t know what to talk about, talk about food. When you do know what to talk about, it’s usually food. When you plan, you plan your food. When you shop, you buy food. When you feel bad, you eat food. When you feel good, you buy lots of food. When you celebrate, you have parties with food. When Christmas comes, you eat lots of good food. When you lose weight, you think about food. When you don’t, you eat even more food. You can cut out a lot of things, but you can’t cut out food. Food is good.

**Keep your money pinned to your drawers. (words of wisdom from Festus)

**Do things that need to be did. (words of wisdom from Festus)

**When in doubt about what to cook, put some olive oil in a skillet and saute some onion. Something will come to you when you smell the onion cooking.

Chicken and buttermilk dumplings

September 27th, 2009
by: Sue

I love the tang of buttermilk in these rolled dumplings. Since you use self-rising flour, they have some fluffiness to them without being too biscuit-like. Chicken and dumplings have been my favorite comfort food since I was a little kid. There are lots of recipes around to short cut the dumpling preparation but I don’t like any of them. Flour tortillas or canned biscuits don’t cut it as dumplings at the Barron house, we want made from scratch dumplings and a whole chicken cooked until tender. I like to follow Julia Child’s instructions when boiling a chicken–cover with water and bring to a boil. On top of the water will be the scummy stuff you don’t want in the broth, so you pour off all the first boil water, and start all over again with clean water. That way you don’t have to waste a lot of time skimming off the crud and your broth is clear and beautiful.

1 small chicken
Water for boiling the chicken, to cover
Salt to taste
3-4 celery sticks, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 cups self rising flour
3 – 4 Tablespoons butter shortening or butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
white pepper
Kosher salt
parsley or dried chives

Slowly simmer chicken in soup pot, adding salt to taste. When tender, remove chicken from the broth and remove the meat, cutting into small pieces and returning to the broth.

Pour flour into bowl. Cut in shortening or butter with pastry cutter and stir in parsley or chives if desired. Make a hole in the middle of the flour mixture and add buttermilk with 1 egg gently beaten into it to form a doughy consistency (like biscuit dough). Sprinkle flour on cutting board. Roll dough into a thin sheet and cut into squares. Let rest for 10 minutes. Add celery, onion, and carrot to broth. Simmer on medium heat. Drop dumplings one square at a time into boiling broth. Add salt, white pepper and black pepper to taste and simmer until tender, uncovered and unstirred. If you stir this mixture, your dumplings will disintegrate.

Note: You can stew chicken breasts in chicken broth if you do not wish to cook a whole chicken but the chicken flavor will not be as intense and you won’t have the gelatin from the bones to thicken the broth.