Retro Rhubarb Pie

When I think of rhubarb I think of Aunt Rose. She was my Dad’s oldest sister and the matriarch of the family. The first time I ate rhubarb was a family summer trip to Kansas. It was odd tasting, intriguing,and it grew in her back yard to boot!

I have two rhubarb plants in my garden. It is a rite of spring to see the shoots burst forward into a lovely plant. I usually mix it with a fruit from the berry family to make a pie, crisp or cobbler. Then I ran across a 100-year old recipe in a blog I follow A Hundred Years Ago. My old soul was touched by this recipe so I had to try. The pictures below left: Aunt Rose and my Grandpa and right: me, my sister and my Grandpa celebrating my 11th birthday. We had matching cherry smock tops ūüôā

This recipe is unique as it uses raisins to accompany the rhubarb. Never seen that before.

So here we go.

Left to right pictures:

1 1/2 C rhubarb and 1 C golden raisins

1 C sugar, 1 egg, 1 TBSP cornstarch, 1 tsp vanilla

Blending the two mixtures into one bowl

Continuing the retro theme, I made the pie crusts from Jiffy pie crust mix $0.38 on sale, original price $0.84. The Jiffy Mix products were established in 1930 but the Chelsea Milling Company  was a traditional flour mill, established in 1901 in Chelsea, Michigan. If you want to learn the history of the company watch this video for a virtual tour.  My mom was a Jiffy consumer, she may have grown up with it during the depression.

Pictures left: Jiffy Pie crust mix and right: my retro milk glass pie plate with the crust.

Brush the pie crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar atop. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake an addtional 20-30 minutes.

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Patty’s Points:

  1. Rhubarb has a high water content so addition of cornstarch, flour, arrowroot, or tapioca are used as traditional thickeners for the filling. Most recipes call for 3 TBSP but this recipe called for 1 TBSP. The addition of the raisins added a “sponge” for soaking up additional liquid. Raisins can hold a lot of liquid. I almost wonder if any thickener would have been needed with the raisins as part of the recipe. As a result, there wasn’t much “bubbling” through the vents that I am used to when I know the pie is done.
  2. I liked the raisins as part of the filling. It allowed the rhubarb to be slightly sweetened and still taste the rhubarb. In most berry-rhubarb recipes you can’t taste the rhubarb at all.
  3. I made adjustments to the filling by adding vanilla and reducing the sugar content to 3/4 C. The egg made the filling custard-like and contributed to the thickening.
  4. The Jiffy crust – all you add is cold water – 4-5 TBSP. ¬†The ingredients are wheat flour, hydrogenated lard, salt, and preservatives. I wonder how that lard gets pulverized into a grain mixture? It was a pretty wet mixture. In retrospect, I should’ve added 1 TBSP at a time into the cold food processor and checked the consistency. ¬†I refrigerated the dough for 30 minutes before rolling it out although the directions indicate that you don’t have to. I added flour to the board before rolling it out which helped. It was a very tender crust and was easy to place in the pie plate.
  5. The pie crust was dry, the filling was moist and compact, but very little juiciness. ¬†If I made this again I would use a different crust and eliminate the thickener. The raisin-rhubarb combo was good but it needed something. ¬†Maybe it needed something like Julia would’ve used, ¬†“With enough butter, anything is good.”

Irish Pub Party

Irish Pub CookbookEveryone claims to be Irish on St Patrick’s Day but I actually am an Irish descendent. My mother let everyone she knew of her heritage and she was quite proud. ¬†Char gave me this great cookbook awhile back and it was time to crack it open. We tried many of the dishes inside and a few others to make up our early St. Patrick’s Day party.

The menu was Guinness Beef Stew, Corned Beef and Cabbage, Potatoes and Carrots, Brown Soda Bread, Irish Soda Bread, Molasses Bread, Traditional Colcannon, Colcannon with Kale, Buttered Kale with chives & lemon, Buttered Vegetables, Apple Cake, Chocolate Stout Cake, Homemade Irish Cream, Irish Coffee, Smithwick beer, Jameson’s whiskey, Kerry butter and Irish cheese.

Since time was of the essence most items were made in advance before the cooking club members gathered. The group project was a soda bread throw down. Before we started working we had to loosen up and make Irish Cream.  Remember when I made it last Christmas? Same recipe. It was a treat to see everyone marvel at how much whiskey and cream went into it!

Now that we were relaxed, we dove into the soda bread. Traditional soda bread has four ingredients. That’s it. The other ¬†had nine.

Irish Soda Bread from The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook  Parragon Books 2012

  • 1 lb ¬†(450 g) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 400 ml (14 oz) buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place parchment paper atop or prepare an oiled baking sheet.

Sift the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.  Make a well in the centre and pour in most of the buttermilk . Mix well with hands. The dough should be soft but not too wet. Reserve then add, if necessary the remaining buttermilk.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly. Shape into an 8 inch (20 cm) round. Place the loaf atop the making tray. With a serrated knife cut a cross into the top. Bake for 25-30 mintes under golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm.

two soda breads

Brown on the left, Traditional on the right.

Brown Soda Bread from Cook’s Country¬†February/March 2013

  • 2 C flour
  • 1 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 C toasted wheat germ
  • 3 TBSP sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 3/4 C buttermilk
  • 3 TBSP¬†melted butter

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, wheat germ, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in large bowl. Combine buttermilk and 2 tablespoons melted butter in 2-cup liquid measuring cup.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula until dough just comes together. Turn out dough onto lightly floured counter and knead until cohesive mass forms, about 8 turns. Pat dough into 7-inch round and transfer to prepared sheet. Using sharp serrated knife, make ¬ľ-inch-deep cross about 5 inches long on top of loaf. Bake until skewer inserted in center comes out clean and loaf registers 195 degrees, 45 to 50 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking.

Remove bread from oven. Brush with remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter. Transfer loaf to wire rack and let cool for at least 1 hour.

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Traditional on the left, Brown on the right

Guiness Beef Stew

corned beef

Dessert table\ Irish Coffee

Patty’s Points:

1. General consensus of the party guests were that both breads were good, just different. The brown bread was very hearty. The traditional was lighter. Both were great slathered in butter! I favored the traditional myself.

2. The day before, a couple of members were at another potluck and tasted other soda bread versions. Some with currents or raisins and some with caraway. Soda bread is how your family made it special and traditional for you.

3.  I used bread flour. I think it helps the texture of any bread you make at home.

4. I had never made soda bread before this challenge. Hard to believe? It could have been because my mother’s father was Irish and the traditional foods didn’t get passed down through him. She loved Bailey’s Irish Cream though ūüôā

5. This was an European cookbook, so many of the ingredients are in metric. It is always good to have a scale for dry ingredients. I’m a nurse so the liquids are easy for me to convert.

Mary B

Happy St Patrick's Day

How joyful that spring is nearly here. On St Patrick’s Day we Think Green. But as my mother used to say Think Irish!

The Polish Dinner Party

Babuska doll

The Fearless Cookers have three members who are of Polish descent with family names of Bilikiewicz, Figinski, Wisniewski. It was just a matter of time before we had a Polish celebration.

Last fall when we went to a Polish restaurant to celebrate Joy’s birthday at Cracovia. ¬†We decided right there we would have our Polish dinner party. Now that the holidays are over, we could focus on cooking and learning some new recipes. We picked a weekend with no football and gathered the group and spouses.

All good cooking adventures begin with a shopping trip. We started at the Chicago Market in our neighborhood. The website link is all in Polish.

Chicago Market

Authentic Polish food, shipped in  from Chicago distributers, the hometown of the owner, Krystyna. What a wonderful, gracious person who helped us with our shopping list. There were also Polish-Colorado food items like locally produced honey.

owner of Chicago Market

Menu

Golumbki (pronounced gwumb – key)

Polish sausage and sauerkraut

Pierogis

Potatoes

Cold beet borscht

Chruscki

Belvedere Vodka

IMG_3662Golumbki, aka stuffed cabbage or cabbage rolls, are numerous in versions. We made spicy, medium and plain versions; some with or without tomato sauce.

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Next up were Chrusckis. These lovely delicate fried pastries that took a village to make.

mixing the dough

kneading the dough

cutting the dough

making the bow ties

frying

draining

finished chrusckis

Patty’s Points:

1.  I had never heard of Cabbage rolls until I was an adult and thought they sounded odd. But, if you grew up in Chicago, Baltimore or Philadelphia you would find pockets of Polish heritage. Cabbage rolls to me, were akin to church ladies gathering together to make, sell or serve for a potluck. If you searched the internet you would also find that different types of cabbage rolls native to some South Pacific and Asian cultures as well.

2. I had never understood how to separate the cabbage leaves from the head until I saw this website on how to softened cabbage leaves. Boy, did that help!

3. ¬†Wrapping cabbage leaves around the stuffing of meat can be done two ways: like wrapping a burrito or “pinning” the leaves together with a toothpick while steaming. It depends on how large the cabbage leaf is that you are working with. You can steamed them on a stove top, bake in the oven, or heat in a crockpot. Pretty versatile. You can make them plain or place a tomato sauce atop.

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4. Chrusckis are also a group project. Joy said that they should never be made solo. As you can see in the above pictures, there are many steps involved. Mixing the ingredients, kneading the dough, rolling it to a proper thickness, frying at the right temperature, draining and sprinkling with icing sugar. We actually used a pasta roller to get it a good thickness.

5. There are numerous recipes for chrusckis some have baking powder, some without. Joy referenced a recipe from a friend from  her teenage years .

Bow Ties from Alvena Brudzinski 

1 heaping TBSP butter

4 whole eggs

1 oz whiskey

1 tsp vanilla

4 C flour

3 TBSP baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 small can Pet (evaporated) milk (about 6 oz)

Directions:

Mix butter, eggs, vanilla, and whiskey.

Mix flour, salt, and baking powder.

Add dry mix to egg mix gradually at the same time add the evaporated milk gradually.

Knead the dough

Roll thin, cut into strips, cut a slit and pull one end of the dough through the slit.

Fry in vegetable oil or Crisco (325 degrees)

Drain on paper towels or paper bags

Dust heavily with powdered sugar.

Joy kept us organized with all the menu items to combine. A Polish village of Fearless Cooks

Chruscki makers

the babushka picture

Oh we all donned a babushka before sitting down to eat.

the spread

 Belvedere vodka is Polish vodka We kept cold in the front yard snow bank.

Belvedere vodka

I think that is a lovely picture worth advertisement in a magazine eh?

The Korean Dinner Party

Kimona wine bottle cover

The Korean Dinner Party was a two-part adventure. The first party was held at Seoul Barbeque in April.

The thought of making the food for an actual Korean party was a little overwhelming. We thought we would partake in one of the best Korean restaurants in Denver first.

at the restaurant

Look at all the little side dishes that go with the sliced beef!!!

Seoul Barbeque

While we munched on all the delicious food, I showed this article from Bon Appétit about hosting a Korean dinner party.  After a short discussion we decided that we could put this party together! Barb volunteered to host.

Fast forward five months….

Shopping at M Mart

All adventures must start with shopping. M Mart is a Korean/Japanese Grocery Store.  We let Barb take the lead with shopping she had more experience. She and her husband adopted their son from Korea. Barb has visited Korea twice and raised her son by exposing him to his native land. M Mart has a great choice of meat and authentic Korean ingredients.  The meat for bulgolgi is thinly sliced rib eye steak on the cross grain.

stacks of rice

stacks of rice

IMG_3202Korean radishes

After filling our baskets we ventured over to the H Mart which is a large Asian grocery market. It was huge. The produce and kitchen wares were overwhelming. What fun it was!

long green beans

Really long green beans

tons of wares

Asian housewares

Now, lets get¬†down to cooking. ¬†First with the rice. ¬†This is a Korean rice cooker – the Cuckoo.¬†Three minutes before the rice was cooked,¬†the top shot off steam. Then it spoke in Korean that the rice was done (I’m guessing) and it tweeted “Cuckoo!” So cute!

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This is when it is good to have a lot of people in the kitchen… chopping and shredding and mixing ingredients.

chopped vegetables

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Bibimbap

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Doenjang Jjigae soup

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Bulgolgi

Doenjang Jjigae

Rice starch water:¬† rinse¬†rice once with water and drain.¬† Add a 1/2 cup of water again, toss and swirl around the rice for 30 seconds. You will see the water¬†turning milk-like.¬† Add 2 cups o water and swirl to collect all the starch from the rice. Drain to save the¬†starch water in a bowl (it doesn’t say how much rice¬†to start with – we used a couple of cups of dry).

2 cups rice starch water (see above)
6-7 dried anchovies (cute little silver fish)
1 piece (3″) dried sea kelp
2 generous TBSP Doenjang (soybean paste)
1/2 package (4 oz)¬†firm tofu, cut into 1″ cubes
1/2 onion diced
1/2 zucchini diced
1 tsp Korean chili flakes
1 garlic clove chopped
1 green or red chili¬†sliced (I didn’t use this)
1/2 package enoki mushrooms or one handful of any mushrooms sliced
1/2 Asian leek or 1 green onion sliced

Directions:

1.  Bring small 1 quart stone or heavy bottom pot over medium high heat.  Toast the anchovies for 1 minute and pour the rice starch water into the pot.  Add the sea kelp and bring to boil; simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove the anchovies and sea kelp and discard them.
2.  Using a course mesh strainer, mash the Doenjang paste into the pot so it incorporates into the stock. Add onion, zucchini, chili flakes and let them boil.  Add tofu, garlic, chili and cook for 2 minutes.
3.  Lastly add enoki mushrooms and green onion.  Remove the pot from heat and serve hot with rice.

Patty’s Points:

1. The key to a good Bulgolgi is how the meat is cut. Barb said that she once purchased a ribeye at a local market and tried to get the butcher to cut it thinly on the cross grain. It didn’t turn out that well. ¬†This is where an authentic Korean market shines.

2. The bibimbap bowl is made of granite. It is heavy-duty so it can be heated on the stove top. It has a specific handle that looks like a clamp, to transfer it to a serving plate. The hot bowl crisps the cooked rice, then each ingredient is added and topped with a fried egg. Prior to eating, all the ingredients are cooked when mixed together.

3. The Doenjang Jjigae reminded me of Miso Soup (which is Japanese). The difference is that all the ingredients are Korean based.  The fish broth was easier than I thought. The dried anchovies were cute.  Anchovies and kelp were added to the rice water but removed/strained before combining the ingredients.

4. Barb said that everywhere they went in Korea, they were served watermelon for dessert. Our dessert was watermelon, Asian pear and a matcha tea roll cake.  They were nice and light sweets after a full meal.

5. The key to our successful party was gathering together to prepare it. We all brought our own knives and cutting boards to keep up with all the chopping. All week I thought about how much fun the party was; it brought a smile to my face ūüôā

ŽďúžĄłžöĒ
deuseyo
“bon appetit”: French ¬Ľ Korean

Another Award

liebster-award

I am the slowest person on the planet at replying to award nominations from other bloggers.

From My Kitchen To Yours nominated me six weeks ago for a Liebster Award. How sweet!

“The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers…

Nominees of the Liebster Award must…

  1. Post 11 things about themselves.
  2. Answer the questions that the tagger/nominator has posted for them.
  3. Create 11 questions and choose (nominate) 11 blogs of 200 followers or less and link them in the post.
  4. Go to their page and tell them.

My 11 questions to you all

What is your favorite food to cook?

Lately it has been veggies.

What is your favorite food to eat?

Jelly or Jam, and specifically Ginger Jelly (I know really?)

What was your favorite childhood book?

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler by E. L Konigsburg

Why did you start your blog?

I turned 50 years old and I felt that I had no significance in the world. I have been told that I am funny,  have a talent with writing and good ideas. I thought the blog would help me express my feelings formally.

How do you decide what to cook?

My cooking is intuitional based. I grew up loving beets, green beans, cucumbers and corn because we grew them in our garden. I was in 4-H sewing, knitting, baking, and learning to cook anything with hamburgers or pork. I was raised on the outskirts of a small town with a state university, my Dad was a country boy and my Mom was a small city girl. I am a combo of city and country  Рloving both.

How often do you go to the grocery store?

Anywhere from weekly to two to three times a week. Because I work full-time my “play time” in the kitchen varies from none to several times during the week.

What is your biggest dream?

I like living in a balance and I must have a creative outlet. I have this blog for my creative outlet but I also am a healthcare professional relishing in both worlds.

Recipes or no recipes?

If I get into a groove I can be inspired and throw ingredients together easily. When I’m¬†stressed I have to look at the cookbook or recipe literally.

What is your favorite color?

Blue. It always has been and always be.

What do you hope comes out of your blogging?

I’m a late bloomer to writing and blogging. But, I have been told that I have an interesting point of view.

What is your favorite holiday?

St Patrick’s Day. My mother is Irish and her loves were a big influence in my life. I celebrated St Patrick’s Day this year in New Orleans. That was interesting. There were a total of four different St. Patrick’s Day parades in the city over the weekend. People throw cabbage as well as bead necklaces.

I nominate the following blogs for the Liebster Blog award:

Here are the following eleven questions to answer:

1. What is you go-to comfort food?

2. What recipe or food are you afraid to cook?

3. What is your favorite movie?

4. Are you a cat or dog person?

5. If you had a dinner party, which three  people would you invite (dead or alive) ?

6. If you won the lottery, how would you spend your money?

7. Who is your favorite TV chef?

8. What is your favorite candy?

9. What is your favorite childhood memory?

10. What was your favorite song?

11. What inspires you?

Happy Spring everyone!

Old Year. New Year. Thank you fellow bloggers.

I work full-time at another job and this blog post is a creative outlet to a crazy world. I thank everyone who stops by and admires what I do to share my thoughts and talents with the blogging world.

In November 21, 2012 Life is Short Eat Hard  nominated me for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Make sure and check out her blog. She is an Aussie living in Arizona. Thanks very much.
very-inspiring-blogger-award1

In November 11, 2012 Virginia Views, a city girl who lives in the Virginia countryside, nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award.

liebster-blog-award

In December 10,2012¬†The Food Gypsy¬†a writer’s journey into experimental cooking nominated me for the Liebster Award.

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For my thanks I have responded in the following way:

  • Link back to the blogger who gave you this award
  • Post the award to your blog
  • Post 11 things about yourself.
  • ¬†Nominate 11 people and have them answer the same questions about themselves.
  • Go to their pages and tell them they have been chosen.

Gosh. Thanks. I am going to combine all of these awards into one response. I’ll do the best I can.

1)    If you could go anywhere in the world and stay for a month, where would you choose to go?

Australia because our son just moved there. Second choice would be Europe because I have never been there.

2)    What is your hobby?  Baking. Knitting.

3)    What was your childhood dream? To be a singer and a nurse. The nurse won out.

4)    What was the best gift you ever received?

A Christmas ornament, a fishing reel and a marriage proposal as one gift December 1985.

5)    What is your favorite movie?

Something’s Gotta Give, Wizard of Oz and Pride and Prejudice. If these movies are on TV I stop everything to watch them.

6)    Who is the person who inspired you the most?

I have been inspired by strong women: my three aunts ‚Äď my father‚Äôs sisters and my nursing instructors. My aunts were all different one never married but was the matriarch of the family; one married, had a family had a strong faith and I am her spitting image; and one had a professional career when it was rare for women to have one, married late in life and is the wise sage of the family.

My nursing instructors showed me how to be a caring person, be a strong woman leader and to face your fears.

7)    What is your favorite dessert?

Pure dark chocolate with orange.

8)    What is your favorite quote?

‚ÄúThe single biggest problem in communication is the illusion it has taken place.‚Ä̬†George Bernard Shaw

This quote ends all my email messages at work. Work email is where messages can be promoted to help a project move forward, but also be misinterpreted and cause rifts in team building. I pride myself in speaking the truth and keeping communication lines open.

9)    What do you do for relaxation?

Take a bubble bath.

10) What is your favorite remembered scent/smell from childhood?

Snickerdoodles baking.

11) If you could be a character in a book, who would you choose to be?

This is tough because I really enjoy biographies of real people. Probably Julia Child because her life was so interesting. She serve in WWII where she met her husband Paul, she traveled the world, she learned to cook when women didn’t become chefs, and she was a late bloomer.

I admire the following bloggers:

JannaTWrites – My most faithful follower and commenter

jothetartqueen РAnother faithful follower and wonderful cook/chef.

theseasidebaker РA baker and food photographer living in California, we met at the BlogHer Food Conference in Seattle.

boulderfoodie РAn engineer who cooks and eats fresh local foods and restaurants in Colorado

Marinating Online РA chef living and cooking in Colorado foothills

Mama’s Empty Nest¬†– Nuff said? I can totally relate.

The Hungry Australian РA freelance writer, blogger, cook and photographer in Melbourne.

Nurse Frugal РA nurse and blogger living frugally in California and working on paying off the house.

Sugar and Spice Baking – A social worker living in England, bakes a lot and works out a lot.

Los Rodriguez Life – A couple living in Kentucky with a bilingual blog who post on their lives, music and photography.

Piglet in Portugal  РAn American posting on gardening, cooking and living in Portugal.

Happy New Year of connecting with each other through blogging. And as the Brits say Keep Calm and Carry On.