Ginger-Limeade

If you are looking for a delicious, refreshing, non-alcoholic drink to enjoy, here it is!

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love to drink Ginger Beer. It’s non-alcoholic, sharp, and refreshing. Similar to that is my very favorite drink (similar to Ginger Beer) is Ginger Limeade.

You can buy this drink in a bottle in many of our Hawaiian stores. It is made locally, and it’s very similar to Ginger Beer, but it will never surpass the taste of freshly made in your own kitchen.

I can only give you the approximate proportions I use, and you may need to experiment for your own tastes. If you wish, lemons could probably be substituted for limes, but I have never tried it. I have limes, and I prefer limes, so that’s what I use.

The piece of ginger I use is about 3/4 the size of the one in the picture above. Peel it, then slice it into thin circles.

Put these in a saucepan, add about 1 cup of sugar, more or less to taste (I use Splenda or Monkfruit or Erythritol for this). Fill to about an inch from the top with water. Simmer until it has reduced by about half.

Let it cool while you squeeze the juice from about 8-10 limes. Add the juice to the ginger syrup. I add either a liter of seltzer water or diet tonic (my preference).

Serve over ice for one of the most delightful drinks you’ll find anywhere. There is almost always a pitcher of it waiting in my fridge!

A hui hou!

Clara’s Dilly Bread

Herb Garden

This is a wonderfully fragrant and delicious bread that originated with my mother years ago. “Clara” was a woman in a church where my father was pastor, and she had given this recipe to my mother. This is something I look forward to making now that I have an oven again.

I have added Mother’s comments, some of them seem a bit old-fashioned. Plus she always wrote her recipes out on onion-skin paper, making it extremely difficult to read! I think you can enlarge the picture of the recipe to get an idea of what I had to translate.

This was a staple in my home when I was growing up and she sent this to me when I was a young bride. I had to laugh when I read her last comment about how to eat the loaf! I’d forgotten that.

Recipe on Onion Skin

Mix 1 package dry yeast with ¼ cup warm water.

Add 1 cup creamed cottage cheese OR 1 cup clabbered milk heated to lukewarm, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon minced fresh onion.

Mix in 1 tablespoon butter, 2 teaspoons dill seed, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 unbeaten egg, ¼ teaspoon soda, and 4-5 cups flour (more or less to make the right consistency of bread dough.)

Combine all in a mixing bowl, let rise until double in bulk in warm place (50-60 minutes).

Punch down and put into 2 greased loaf pans, or 1 loaf pan and 1 greased round casserole.

Let rise a bit, then bake in 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes until done.

Remove from oven and butter tops thoroughly while hot and sprinkle with lots of salt.

This is a lovely bread to give as a gift, or to slice for a party.

The final note on my mother’s recipe: “If the family isn’t around, eat one loaf yourself and save the other until they get home.”  There was never any left over for sandwiches to take to school.

A hui hou!

WASSAIL

This recipe has made its way through several generations and I’ve passed it on to my own children. My oldest daughter said she’s already gone through three (maybe more) batches this holiday season. I’ve also given it as gifts to friends and neighbors.

Just smelling it as you walk into the house is enough to put you in a holiday frame of mind!

Wassail Recipe

Juice 2 oranges and 2 lemons. Set juice aside to add later

Slice rinds and boil in 6 cups of water with 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 T of cloves, 1 cup sugar (for alternate, see note below). Simmer for an hour.

Add citrus juice and 1 gallon of cider or apple juice. Warm it – don’t boil.

Note: In place of sugar, I use Monk Fruit or Erythritol. You might want to use maple syrup or honey, too.

Enjoy!

A hui hou!

Sourdough Cranberry Rolls

If you look back over the fourteen years of this blog, you’ll see articles on travel, saints, food, writing, gardening, and so much more. In its recent renovation, I have intended for this blog to follow my path of writing as well as to encourage others to also write. And yet, occasionally I want to include something of the “old” blog features. Don’t be surprised if you find something like “Sourdough Cranberry Rolls” in the middle of my ramblings about writing.

I love anything made with sourdough. When I lived in Alaska, I was given a starter that dated back to the 1800s (at least that’s what I was told, but Alaska is known for yarns as big as the state). At any rate, it had been going a long time, and was deliciously sour. I have made sourdough chocolate cake, sourdough fruitcake, sourdough pancakes and waffles, sourdough breads – any recipe I can get my hands on.

The sourdough starter or madre that I use now also came from Alaska, this time from a friend who used to live there, too. This recipe was adapted from The Tassahara Bread Book and I used dried cranberries instead of raisins. Their original recipe calls for fermenting the raisins, so I wasn’t sure if it would work to ferment the dried cranberries. I imagine you could use dried blueberries, as well.

The Tassahara bakers seem to keep a sourdough raisin roll starter on hand at all times, and this might add to the flavor each time it is used. I probably won’t make this recipe as often as they do, so I didn’t keep anything out for the next time, other than replenishing the regular madre as usual.

Sourdough Cranberry Rolls

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup sourdough starter
1 3/4 cups water and fermented cranberries *
2/3 cup dry cranberries
Whole wheat flour as needed for kneading.

Mix the salt and cinnamon with the flour. Put the sourdough starter on top of the flour and stir in the water from the cranberries, a little at a time to form a soft dough.

When the mixture is too thick to stir, work with your hands and knead for several minutes. Add the fermented cranberries, and knead a bit more. Add the dry cranberries, and knead them in, too.

Keep the dough on the moist side as much as possible, but add more flour as needed to keep it from being too sticky to work with. Let the dough sit for 20 minutes or so.

Divide the dough into twelve pieces for large scones. Shape into balls and place on an oiled baking sheet. Cover with a damp towel and let them sit overnight, at least 15 hours or more.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes until well browned.

* Fermenting the Dried Cranberries: Place 1/2 cup of dried cranberries in 2 cups of water. Cover and let sit for 3-4 days, unrefrigerated. Stir daily. Don’t change the water because it will be used in the recipe.

NOTES:
1) This may seem like a long drawn-out process, but it only takes a few minutes each day, rather than taking up a whole day of preparation. I tried this recipe for Sourdough Cranberry Rolls with great trepidation, but it was so easy! I’d like to try another dried fruit. I mentioned blueberries above, but wonder about chopping up something like dried mango or ginger. Oh my!

2) The damp towel part didn’t work well for me. It seemed to weigh down the rolls too much, so I took it off and it worked better. I think my tea towel was too thick, not thin like the old flour sack towels my grandmother used.

3) I got twenty large rolls/scones instead of twelve. Also, the recipe calls them “rolls,” but I think they are more like scones, so that’s what I call them. Whatever you want to call them, they were delicious!

4) After they were cool, I wrapped each one in waxed paper and froze them. They are warm and ready to eat after about 20-25 seconds in the microwave. Slather with butter and enjoy!

A hui hou!

Lucy

Orange Sauerkraut

Those of you who have been following this blog since its first post  may wonder why I’m reposting some of the old ones. I’m in the middle of selling my home and buying another, so while my time is taken up with house-hunting, I probably won’t be creating many original posts.

If you are new to my blog, then I hope you enjoy these posts and recommend me to your friends.

I first made this recipe back in June of 1964. How do I know? I always date my cookbook recipes the first time I try it and give the family rating. This one rated very high with everyone!

How do recipes become our own? After so many years, we tend to add, subtract, or substitute from the original. Who knows at what point they become ours and not something from a cookbook?

I adapted this one from an old cookbook I had featuring recipes from Luchow’s German restaurant in New York, first published in 1952. You can see the splattered pages. The real name of the recipe is something more sophisticated, but my kids named it “orange sauerkraut” because of the color it turns out to be.

Even people who don’t think they like sauerkraut seem to love this recipe, probably because the sour cream softens the sharp tang of the kraut. Try it yourself and see what you think!

ORANGE SAUERKRAUT

2 pounds of lean beef cut into small 1-inch squares
4 tablespoons of butter (I substitute olive oil)
2 cups sliced onions
1 clove garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste, although sauerkraut usually has enough salt
1 15-oz. can tomatoes
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons chopped caraway seeds
2 cups sauerkraut

Sauté beef in butter or olive oil until lightly browned.

Add onions and cook 5 minutes.

Add garlic, salt, pepper, and tomatoes, plus enough water to barely cover the mixture.

Cook slowly until meat is almost done and the sauce reduced, usually about 30-45 minutes. Stir frequently.

When sauce is cooked down, add sour cream, paprika, and caraway seeds. Simmer ½ hour longer.

Mix in sauerkraut and cook until everything is heated to the right temperature.
Makes a wonderful family meal served with steamed red potatoes, or traditional German style with mashed potatoes.

A hui hou!

Gazpacho with Crumbled Feta Cheese

This is a post I try to include every few years because it is so delicious!

I learned about Gazpacho when I first moved to California in 1960. It was a huge fad at that time, and I was knocked over by it! It’s been given a number of names, including “liquid salad,” but whatever you call it, it’s simply delicious!

This may seem like a summer-only dish to many of the mainlanders, but in California, and especially here in Hawai`i, we can eat it year-round.

The beauty of a healthy serving of Gazpacho is that you can put almost any kind of raw veggie into it. Take your pick from:

fresh tomatoes (about 2-3 pounds cut into quarters, skin and all – or canned, peeled tomatoes) cucumber
carrots
onion
bell peppers (I used a combination of orange, red, yellow baby bells)
garlic
maybe a Jalepeño for a little kick?

Zap it up in a blender or food processor until thick and chunky.

Store it in the fridge until it’s good and cold.

Ladle it into a bowl, top with crumbled feta and sprigs of cilantro.

To go with this, I like to serve a good loaf of crunchy rustic bread fresh from the oven, and maybe a big hunk of sharp cheese.

Dig in!

A hui hou!

Cinco de Mayo – Easy Shredded Pork for Tacos

Hola!

Whether you celebrate Cinco de Mayo (Fifth of May) or not, it’s almost always appropriate to eat Mexican food. I honestly believe I must have had a former life as a Mexican because I could eat that food three (or more) times a day.

So I look forward to Cinco de Mayo each year to give me a valid excuse for my Mexican indulgence!

Because I was usually in a hurry to eat something when I came home from a long day of teaching, or even today as a stay-at-home author, one of the easiest meals for me to make is a simple pulled pork taco from my slow cooker.

I start out with the meat from pork steaks or chops, cubed in 1-inch pieces. (You also could use beef or chicken.) Then I dump in a 24 ounce jar of either red or green salsa (any style). The “heat” depends on your taste, but mine usually goes for the hottest.

To this you can add a bit of chopped onion, garlic, or more spice. I generally toss in two or three of the tiny Thai peppers from my garden. Uh…I like spicy!

Cover and cook on low all day until you get home – eight to 10 hours.

Sometimes I put it in a bowl, top with sour cream and chopped cilantro to eat like soup. If I plan to do this, I add a can of drained corn or black beans to the pot (or both).

If I want it as a taco or tostado, then the pork is so tender you hardly have to shred it. Spoon it in or on a warmed up tortilla, add chopped lettuce, grated Mexican cheese, a dollop of sour cream, chopped cilantro, and maybe even another spoon of salsa.

I could eat a dozen of these, but I’ll try to contain myself!

These two photos were taken in the patio of Tres Hombres in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, which sadly no longer exists. That was my “go to” place for Mexican food when I was in town. Each year, if it was your birthday, they would bring out this enormous (and heavy) sombrero for you to wear. Then they sang to you and took pictures!

Hasta luego!

Jambalaya & Black-Eyed Peas

This week we will celebrate Fat Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday, more commonly known as Mardi Gras. I’m not from New Orleans, but I spent enough years in the Deep South to have this celebration in my soul. Since I won’t be there to toss beads or join in the festivities on Bourbon Street this year, I plan to do something to feel like I have truly honored the day.

Usually, this dish contains ham and/or shrimp, and/or chicken, and/or sausage. The only thing I could come up with this time was one lone sausage, so that’s what I used. Fortunately, when I added about a cup of black-eyed peas leftover from New Year’s Day, I found pieces of ham.

These are the basic ingredients but just use what you have. You could find many versions of this dish online, or you can dig around in your kitchen and come up with the basic ingredients of a traditional Jambalaya. This makes enough for a couple servings.

You can add the seasoning for your own taste, but I like spicy!

My Version of Jambalaya

Into a slow cooker, I put:

  • 1 can non-fat chicken broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 large sliced spicy sausage
  • 1 cup Jasmine Brown Rice blended with Wild Rice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 diced garlic cloves
    2 diced baby bell peppers
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • A handful of chopped parsley
  • 2 broken bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (more or less to your taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

All of this cooked for 4-5 hours on high. The last 30 minutes, I put in the pre-cooked black-eyed peas. I think you could put it on low for 8-9 hours if you wanted to leave it all day. Any bean can be added, but somehow the black-eyed peas seemed more in keeping with New Orleans.

“Laissez les bon temps rouler” (let the good times roll), as any good New Orleanian would say, until the beginning of Lent.

A hui hou!

Orange Bread

When I was in high school, I worked as a Saturday receptionist for one of the local optometrists who was also a member of my father’s church, which was probably the reason he gave me the job. His wife was known to be a great cook, so this is the recipe from Bea Henderson of Litchfield, Illinois – one I’ve made for many years.

This recipe became a staple when I lived on my boat. It was not only a delicious and fast bread to whip up in my tiny galley, but it used up the orange peels instead of tossing them overboard. Jokingly, I called it my “garbage bread,” but it is anything but garbage!

Decades later, I’m still making this bread and it continues to be one of my favorites. The picture above shows it fresh out of the oven.

Orange Bread

¾ cup orange rind, cut into fine strips
1 ½ cup sugar
1 cup water

Boil the above until tender.

Add 2 tablespoons butter and ½ teaspoon salt. Cool.

Beat 1 egg and add cooled orange mixture.

Mix together:
3 cups flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder

Stir – put in loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.

Good for “teas,” sliced thin and buttered (my mother’s words)

My Note: Many “heirloom” recipes don’t give specific instructions on what to do if the batter is too thick, what size pan to use, and the like. I think the thickness depends on how long you let the orange peels simmer. If it’s too thick, I add either water or a little orange juice when I’m mixing. But do expect this to be a thick dough. I sprayed my loaf pans with a canola oil spray to help it come out easier.

I’m afraid my loaves never last until a “tea.” It’s just too good not to eat warm and fresh out of the oven! It’s all I can do to limit myself to one (or two) slices right out of the oven. Also, I usually double the recipe and freeze one loaf for later. It makes great toast or just sliced up and eaten cold. This is absolutely a wonderful, simple bread to make, and tastes like autumn.

A hui hou!

My Cookbook Addiction

I confess! I’m addicted to books! But I have read all the books I own and continue to use them all as reference and/or for teaching.

My addiction carries over into cookbooks, and I doubt if there is even one of these books that hasn’t been used for at least one recipe. Like many cooks, I use recipes mostly for guidance to come up with my own variation. My cooking has never been an exact science.

The shelves of cookbooks shown above were in my kitchen/dining area when I lived in Ocean View, and I had another shelf of cookbooks in another bookcase, because there wasn’t room for them all here. I’ve even been known to borrow cookbooks from the library to read!

When I moved onto my boat from a large house in the late 70s, I gave a book box of cookbooks to each of my four children. This is what I have left!

I know I could probably find the same recipes online, but there is something deeply soul-satisfying about sitting down and reading through an old book of recipes that my mother, or grandmother used. Tucked into each book are other recipes given to me by friends, or that I have cut out of a magazine.

Yes, I think you can say I’m addicted!

Now, you may think that with all these recipes at my disposal, I’d be cooking delicious dishes every day. The fact is, I usually have only myself to cook for and if I ate the way I’d like to cook, I’d be as wide as the channel between here and Maui!

So this week, instead of sharing a recipe with you, I thought I’d tell you about my favorite books on these shelves, and even tell you about some of the recipes in them that I love.

Probably the oldest book I have is a little booklet from the Metropolitan Insurance Company; I think I inherited it from my great-grandmother. Several of my books date back to the 30s, and many of what I have date to the 50s, when I was a young woman. My first Christmas as a married woman in 1955, I received the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook, a three-ring binder that is barely holding together.

I also love my specialty books, like Mme. Bégué’s Recipes of Old New Orleans Creole Cookery, from 1953. You wouldn’t believe how many pages are spattered with oil and tomato paste! One recipe from that book is “Shrimp Creole” and someday I’ll post that because I make it often.

I have quite a few Mexican cookbooks, but my favorite is Elena’s Secrets of Mexican Cooking by Elena Zelayeta, blind, but she kept on cooking. Her “Caserola De Pollo Y Elote” (Chicken and Corn Casserole) is full of green chiles and wonderful!

Farm Journal’s Complete Pie Cookbook is another tattered book on my shelves, also full of messy pages! And Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook probably has most of the comfort foods I make.

The Rodale Cookbook published by the Rodale Press is where I go for breads and other wholesome foods. I have several other of the Rodale books and they are all great.

As I peruse the books, it’s fun to see how many phases and stages of eating I’ve gone through. You will find vegetarian/vegan books, low-fat books, low-carb books, and all sorts of specialized diet books, all of which I still read and sometimes use. Then there are the regional books that show where I’ve lived – Guam, Alaska, Arizona, California, Down East, Deep South, the Orient.

Even though I still buy new cookbooks, I still go back to my old “tried-and-true” standards when I want to make something special for friends. Maybe someday I’ll stop reading my cookbooks like novels (which is what I do!) and actually use them for more cooking.

Now I’m anxious to go find a new recipe to try for you!

A hui hou!