Thursday, December 31, 2009

Midnight Ahoy!

The assemblage of the pickle boat fleet is coming along swimmingly for tonight!
[see this morning's post for the retro recipe]

New Years Feast for the Eyes!

Welcome to the final countdown. Of calories. All bets are off until midnight. Eat what you want, in whatever quantity you desire. I'm desiring the appetizers from my Good Housekeeping Appetizer Book (c)'58 - it's chock full of irresistible canapes, hors d'oeuvres and nibblers [love that term!] and I've got my eye on a few to take to our party tonight.Bologna Lillies
Cut thin bologna slices into 2" circles. Fold each bologna circle, then insert a think strip of pickle to represent the stamen of a lily [talk about Freudian finger foods]. Fasten at the base with a pick. Refrigerate until needed.

Pennywise Frankfurters
On each pick, put a thin slice of frankfurter, a thin slice of pickle, another slice of frankfurter. Top with a long piece of pickle [I assure you, I did not choose these apps with Freud in mind, no matter how it looks]. Refrigerate until serving time.

Pickle Boats
From top of each small sweet gherkin, cut off thin lengthwise slice. Then scoop out center of each gherkin and fill with softened cream cheese. Refrigerate until serving time.
To serve: Into cream cheese in each gherkin, insert triangle of thinly sliced salami or cervelat as "sail."

And when the gents are throwing back a few Old Styles to wash down the finger foods, gussy up one [or more] of these dainty drinks for yourself [from way before midnight until well into the new year]:

Champagne Cocktail
1 Lump of sugar
2 Dashes bitters
Chilled champagne
Lemon wedge
Toss lump of sugar into champagne glass, add dashes of bitters, chilled champagne and twist of lemon.

May your New Year's kiss be deep and your heart be light tonight!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Technicolor Cook Book Dreams

Look at this dandy my swell friend Jackie so gracefully handed me this afternoon from its kitchen perch in her diggy loft downtown! The American Woman's Cook Book (c)'60 is a technicolor foodie's dream come true. Here, let me show you -The editors of this sea foam green bible were so proud of the illustrious illustrations that the first entry in the book gives props to the pictures:
"The full-color illustrations in The American Woman's Cook Book reproduce with striking fidelity the tempting texture of nicely browned chicken, the appetizing hue of roast beef done to a turn, and the verdant [this word is new to copywriters & crossword gurus, I'm sure] crispness of leafy salads. They show precisely how attractive a properly prepared dish should appear when served."
Yes, yes they do.

Expect exploration of this book [856 pages!], chapter by chapter, in 2010!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Vintage Love

Today is my anniversary - our anniversary. 14 years ago we tied the proverbial knot [although just 3 1/2 years ago my ob tied another important knot, but it wasn't as romantic]. I am a lucky girl, with a husband who is handsome in looks and personality, and one helluva daddy to boot.

In celebration of the holidays and the wedding bells that chimed on December 29 '95, he thrifted this fabulous gift for me. It's so kitschy I could kiss it. And him.
Wondering how one ought to celebrate the anniversary of their wedding day, I turned to the pages of Betty Crocker's Party Book (c)'60 and found these anny reception requirements for 100 guests:
  • 18 qt salad
  • 12 doz rolls
  • 10 pt green olives
  • 4 large cans ripe olives
  • 11 doz fancy cakes
  • 4 lb bon bons
  • 4 lb salted nuts
  • 3 lb coffee
  • 1 qt cream
  • 1 pkg sugar

I think we'll opt for dinner out - I'd hate for anyone to go to all the trouble [and get hernias lifting those lbs of bon bons, nuts, coffee and salad]!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Party Glass? You Bet Your Ass!

[this post is a bit crass]
What are all the swingers wearing these days? Who in the hell knows. But here's what all the swingers were wearing back IN the day [to keep their hands free to toss their keys into "the bowl"] -I wish I could take credit for this goody, but my friend Dally found this goody in his grandpa's vintage bar. Oh the tales I'm sure a gent from that decade could tell about the "better things" done while his hands hung free from the cocktail glass casually dangling around his neck.

Just where is the fill line on this thing? And what if you have to bend over [to pick up the cocktail weenie that dropped]? Was it suggested on the party invite that all guests RSVP, BYOB and wear stain-resistant garb barring a fuzzy navel disaster [I assure you I am not intentionally digressing here...]? I hope so.

Has anyone, anyone, ever come across this stem[less]ware? I would love to know if you know anyone with Swinger Party Glass mojo, to tell me so!

In the meantime, I'll share a finger food recipe [hey, if your hands are free] from Good Housekeeping's After Ten P.M. Cook Book [refreshments designed with guests in mind - just like the Swinger] (c)'58 & yes, I picked it purposely and by title alone...

One-Two-Three Balls
Use soft cream cheese, mixture of cream cheese and blue cheese or sharp-cheese spread. Add grated onion or curry to taste. Shape into small balls or little logs. Roll balls in any of the following; refrigerate.
  • Snipped parsley or chives
  • Grated carrots or radishes
  • Short slivers of salami, bologna or other ready-to-eat meat
  • Chopped pecans, walnuts or toasted almonds
  • Chopped ripe, green or stuffed olives
  • Finely chopped, hard-cooked eggs, mixed with paprika
  • Flaked coconut [what? please explain, GH]
  • Crushed cornflakes or potato chips
I don't know about you, but I think it looks like New Year's Eve is shaping up to be a ball!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

What Cooking Means to a Woman [circa '1926]

And I quote [from the Silver Cross Cook Book of Moline, Illinois]...
"Cooking means the patience of Job and the persistence of the Pilgrim fathers. It means the endurance, the long suffering and the martyrdom of Joan of Arc. It means the steaming and stewing and baking and boiling thrice daily - springs, summers, autumns and winters - year after year, decade after decade. It means desperation, perspiration, and resignation. It means a crown and a harp and a clear title to an estate in Heaven."
Huh? I thought it simply meant my husband gets dishwashing duty. Does that mean I'm going to hell?

It's good to hear kitchen-ness is next to godliness on a Sunday, eh?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays All Around!

May your table - and glass - be full this week & all year long!From my kitchen to yours - Merry, Merry Kitschmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tipsy Tuesday with a Punch!

Happy Holidays to you & yours! If you're like most of us, you can use a coping mechanism - or two - to get through the hustle & bustle. Have I got one for you!

This punch is sure to [unknowingly?] lift holiday spirits during your dysfunctional [or highly functional] family celebration befitting of the season.
Holidaze Punch
What you need:
1 ice ring [yes, yes - use your favorite mold for this one, just fill it on party morning & freeze!]
40 ounces bottle grape juice
48 ounces can pineapple juice
2 liter bottle of ginger ale
2 oranges
2 limes
1 fifth [yes!] of your favorite vodka

What you need to do:
Slice oranges & limes into thin rounds - set aside [the fruit, not you]. Place ice ring in bottom of punch bowl, add juices - then ginger ale and VODKA! Float orange & lime slices and serve.

This is traditionally a Mardi Gras punch - so it ought to deliver just the zing you need to survive any host of family functions.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Green with Envy. And Jell-O.

There's always room for Jell-O. It knows no singular season, celebration or mealtime. Lucky us.

This holiday is no exception. We pre-Christmas-ed with my family this weekend and somewhere between Ben & Marge's squeals of excitement over their Legos and handmade [by some sweet old lady] Barbie wardrobe [complete with a wedding gown and tiny pairs of panties] I was presented with all kinds of Jell-O retro from my mom. Don't you just giggle when you think of these ladies [maids? puh-leze] lining up to wiggle and jiggle their jello out of the molds? I can't wait to dish up this recipe tonight from my mini Quick, Easy, Jell-O Wonder Dishes book (c)'30 in these granny green sundae cups:
Lime Mallow Sponge
[not the most mouth-watering adjectives & noun combo, is it?]
1 package Lime Jell-O
10 marshmallows, finely cut
1 pint boiling water

Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water. Add marshmallows [we used minis] and stir until dissolved. Chill until cold [newsflash!] and syrupy. Place in bowl of cracked ice or ice water and whip with rotary egg beater until fluffy and thick like whipped cream. Turn into molds. Chill until form. Unmold. Serve with the marshmallow sauce if desired.

Here's the mallow-mold the kids and I are fashioning this morning. Doesn't look to whippy, but I'm sure it will taste whippy! Can you imagine the decadence of Lime Jell-O during the depression?! Now we know three things are certain: death, taxes and Jell-O!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ultmate Kitsch for Uber Bohemians: The Kolache

We're celebrating my Gramps' 80th birthday this weekend. And in his eyes two things in life are certain - polka music & Kolaches.

Kolaches are classic, Czech wheel-shaped cakes - simple sweet buns made from yeasted dough - usually with a fruit or poppy seed filling. [yay! opiates - an ingredient as important as monosodiumglutimate] in mid-century cooking & baking]
My mom is treating Gramps, friends & family to 80 of them from my his mom's [my great granny Lena] recipe. How's that for retro? Here we go...
[a labor of love. heavy on the labor - but you'll love them]
2 cups scalded milk
2 pkgs. regular rise yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup mashed potatoes
1/2 cup potato water (water potatoes were boiled in)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
Dissolve sugar and shortening in scalded milk while hot. Cool slightly and beat in yeast mixture, potatoes and potato water and two eggs.
Sift together:
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Beat flour mixture into yeast mixture with whisk until well blended
Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1/2 hour until bubbly
Add 4-5 cups to make a soft dough
Work with wooden spoon, not hands
Place dough in covered bowl overnight in refrigerator
Day 2: Lightly knead dough on floured surface
Do not over work dough
Roll out to thickness of 1/2 inch
Cut into circles with small juice glass
Place dough disks on lightly greased cookie sheet
Using finger press out area in center of disk
Add 1 teaspoon of filling of choice
Let rise covered lightly with wax paper
Bake kolaches in order of assembly at 350 degrees 10-12m Remove from oven to cooling rack.
Rub doughy outer edges of rolls with butter
Sprinkle centers with coconut
Set to cool

Put a little Czech in your next celebration - hit the kitchen for some kolaches!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Breezy. Trees-y. Pretty.

You know I can't resist a beautiful blue sky.

And I absolutely could not resist nature's clothes line.

I'm pleased as punch at how these pictures of my aprons came out.May you make the most of this bea-u-ti-ful day [in honor of clear skies, springy-ish temps - for a few hours- and Mr. Rogers]!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Short, Cool One!

I wish I was talking about myself.

I'm talking about a swell pair of juice glasses I received as a holiday gifty from my dear friend Brian & his super wife Sherri.

In keeping with the kitschy spirit of his mom [I worked for his parents at their corner drugstore in high school - and our folks are forever friends to this day] he passed on to me these two short sweeties:
I love the rise & shine look of these bright orange, yellow & green cactus. They're making a regular appearance around here every morning!

Do you still have some pieces of your kiddie breakfast collections? Do share.

Now time to transition from oj to joe - have a great morning!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

All Ginger. No Fred.

But you can get your fill of Fred when you watch Holiday Inn this season [and you so should].And while you're under the influence of Bing, enjoy a wedge of this cakey goody from Cooking with Sour Cream and Buttermilk by the Culinary Arts Institute (c)'56:

Buttermilk Nut GingerbreadPrepare a 9x9x2-in cake pan [physically, not mentally - right?].
Coarsely chop and set aside
3/4 cup (about 3oz) pecans or walnuts
Sift together and set aside
2 cups sifted flour 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ginger 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon allspice 1/4 teaspoon cloves
Cream until softened
1/3 cup butter
Add gradually, creaming until fluffy after each addition
2/3 cup firmly backed brown sugar
Add gradually, beating well after each addition, a mixture of
1 egg, well beaten 1/2 cup molasses
3/4 cup buttermilk
Beating only until smooth after each addition, alternately add dry ingredients in fourths, buttermilk in thirds, to creamed mixture. Finally beat only until smooth (do not overbeat). Blend in the nuts [sounds like something Snoop Dogg would say, eh?]. Turn batter into pan.

Bake at 350 degrees 35 to 45 min., or until cake tests done.

Cool; remove from pan as directed [by who? the kitchen dictator?]. To serve, cut into 3-in. squares. If desired, top each serving with Vanilla Cream Topping [don't worry, I've got your back here].

This gingerbread is classic, just like Holiday Inn. I got liberal [I am a flaming one] with the molasses, ginger and allspice, so it has just a little extra zing - if you like that sort of thing. And since I opted out of whipping up the Vanilla Cream Topping, I grabbed a fresh container of Cool Whip and added a teaspoon of vanilla plus a few shakes of cinnamon and ginger. Viola! Instant, fancy, fluff. As much as I adore gingerbread boy cookys, this light cake carries a lot of chutzpah - and would make a damn fine breakfast.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's Tipsy Tuesday!

How about saddling up with a Rob Roy?Rob Roy

2 1/2 ounces Scotch

1 1/2 teaspoons sweet Vermouth

1 maraschino cherry

In a mixing glass half filled with ice cubes, combine the scotch and vermouth. Stir well. Strain into cocktail glass & garnish with a cherry!

This cocktail oughta put a little hitch in your giddyap this holiday season! Cheers!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Granny Ties One On

I can't wait to show you this crocheted beauty. So, why am I?
This apron was crafted - and worn - by my great granny [my mom's grandma]. Isn't it dear? And about as perky as you can get with a crochet hook. It's in pristine condition and almost too pretty to wear. Almost.

My granny [Lena] was a small gal, who lived in a [in her words - I love them] "titty pink" house in a tiny town near her eclectic sister Elsie [whose costume jewelry collection I covet]. My great grandpa owned and operated the local meat locker and while she passed early in the 80s [before I reached my eye-rolling teens] I have some vivid memories of sitting on their front porch swing, spending the night on the sleeping porch, having breakfast in their nook and watching her rhubarb plants grow and grow and grow. To a 7-year old it was small town utopia.

I hope this jogs your great granny memories, kitschy and otherwise.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Red & Green & Bleu

Last night we had a heckuva lot of holiday cheer with friends after the kids were snuggled in their beds.

We nibbled on the fruit(spoon)cake -Tossed back a few sidecars & burst into 70s & 80s song -& Never did get through the first hand of pitch.
But we did get through all the appetizers - pimento dip, bacon-wrapped dates & water chestnuts, and this bleu cheese spread [a recipe clipped from the Sunday paper a few weeks back]:

Bleu Cheese Spread
1/2 cup cottage cheese
6 oz bleu cheese crumbles
4 oz low-fat cream cheese, cubed
2 slices bacon, crumbled
2 green onions, chopped

Blend cottage cheese in mini food processor until smooth. Spoon into a microwave-safe bowl, add bleu and cream cheeses. Microwave on high 1-2 minutes (until mixture is heated through). Stir midway through cooking. Pour into a small bowl and garnish with bacon and green onions [I just mided those savory flavors right in!].

It. Is. Amazing.

May all your holiday parties be hearty!


Saturday, December 12, 2009

F*@#^*g Fruitcake!


It smelled so good.

It looked so beautiful [in the eye of its kitschy beholder].

It wouldn't come out of the damn mold in one piece.Maybe there is something to be said about using all that waxed paper. And maybe the sides need to be greased giddily. Maybe next year.

So for tonight's Christmas & Cards party it will be saturated with brandy & honey - and presented by the spoonful, not the slice.

Don't let me discourage you from fixing your own festive fruitcake - simply be sure you get a hold on the mold.

Off to do a little more party prep - I can't wait until after bedtime! Once the kids are tucked all snug in their beds a few fabulous friends [including Amy & Rachel - have you seen what they're up to this season?] will be by to indulge in holiday cheer with spirits and snacks and a few hands of pitch.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fruit Candy & Brandy

Santa can't wait.Me either. Cross your fingers that my first fruitcake [ever. and for most people, it's likely never.] comes out of the oven - and the mold - even prettier than it looks pre-bake.

It's the centerpiece for a cards & cocktails shin-dig we're throwing for a few friends Saturday night and I need it to sit and soak for 36 hours.

You might want to cross fingers on both hands. One for taste, and one for prying it out of the mold.

While I'm waiting for it to bake [and you'll have to wait for Saturday for the big reveal], I'll jot down the recipe for you. This one is out of my holiday pocket bible Good Housekeeping's Christmas Cook Book (c)'58

Fruitcake Confection
1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teasp. salt
1/2 teasp. double-acting baking powder [sounds pretty important. it's really just plain bp.]
1/8 teasp. allspice
1/8 teasp. nutmeg
1/3 cup soft shortening
3 tablesp. brown sugar
3 tablesp. honey
2 eggs, unbeaten [like Tiger Woods before he hopped in his car that fateful night]
2 tablesp. orange juice
1 cup diced preserved pineapple
1/2 cup diced preserved orange peel
1/2 cup diced preserved lemon peel
1/4 cup diced preserved citron [hold on, I was thinking "wtf?" too**]
1 cup candied cherries
3 1/2 cups pecan halves

**There is one [and only one] amazing thing about the baking aisle at WalMart. It houses [for just over $4] a giant container of all the aforementioned candied, diced, preserved fruits + citron. And I bought it shamelessly. I'm sure the modern housewife circa '58 would have done the same if she had it at her fingertips in the grocery aisle. Go ahead. Cheat this time.

Start heating oven to 300 degrees. With 2 thicknesses waxed paper [I just greased my mold and avoided this since I wasn't using a circular cake pan or planning to gift this fruity hockey puck], line 1 1/4" deep 8" layer-cake pan; then grease.

Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, allspice and nutmeg.

With electric mixer at medium speed (or with spoon - if you've got big she-guns), thoroughly mix shortening with sugar, then with honey and eggs, until very light and fluffy - about 4 min. altogether. Then, at low speed, beat in, alternately, flour mixture and orange juice just until smooth. Spread one third of batter over bottom of cake pan. To rest of batter, add fruits and pecans, reserving few cherries and pecans for top; pile mixture on top of batter in pan, packing down and leveling top.

Decorate with reserved cherries and nuts. Cover with brown paper; tie securely [I'm still scratching my head on this one, so feel free to improvise or ignore this piece - be your own best housekeeper here]. Set in shallow pan of hot water (water should be only one fourth depth of cake pan). Bake 1 hr. Remove from water; bake 1 hr. longer or until done. When done brush with hot corn syrup. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Remove from pan; peel off paper.

Wait! Don't do anything until you follow this important piece of advice: soak the candied fruits in brandy [about 2 tablesp.] for a bit before adding it to the batter. And use more brandy [yep, keep raiding the gents wetbar] to brush the cake post-bake! Keep it [and quite possibly yourself] lush.

Until Saturday, may all your fruit be candied and brandied -

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Betty in My Mailbox

What do we have here?Why, it's Betty Crocker's Party Book (c)'60 - in my hot little hand!

It's absolutely the most fabulous hostess-y Betty book I could ever hope to thrift - and I received it as a gift from one of my most ravishing readers, Barbara! The illustrations are the ultimate in adorable kitsch. Lookie here [against the most beautiful blue sky backdrop today]:
Thanks so very, lady! I can't wait to share it with you all -


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Eat an Orphan

Yesterday the family got crazy with the cooky cutters and baked our annual batch of gingerbread men - gorging on flour sprinkled dough scraps [hey, it's egg-free] along the way. My favorite recipe is [surprise!] straight out of the Betty Crocker Boys and Girls Cookbook (circa '65).
Gingerbread Boys
Mix thoroughly in bowl:
1/2 cup soft shortening
1/2 cup sugar
Mix in:
1/2 cup dark molasses
1/4 cup water
Stir together in another bowl:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soda
3/4 teaspoon ginger [I usually get crazy with the ginger and amp it up to 2 teaspoons. Mother knows best.]
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
Mix the dry ingredients into molasses mixture.
Chill [dough - but you could chill, too] 2 to 3 hours.
Heat over to 375 degrees.
Lightly grease a baking sheet.

Divide dough into 3 portions. (Place 2 portions of dough in refrigerator until ready to use.) On a lightly floured board [or your entire kitchen table], roll out dough with floured rolling pin. Roll to 1/4-inch thickness. (For easiest rolling, use a lightly floured cloth-covered board and rolling pin).

Cut with a gingbread-boy cutter dipped in flour [or whatever shape says "happy holidays" or "eat me!" to you]. With wide spatula, carefully place gingerbread boys on prepared baking sheet [or you will be cussing these ginger gents].

After your little boys are lined up on the baking sheet, add eyes and buttons of raisins, red cinnamon candies or bits of gumdrops. And for boys that are running, carefully push up a leg on each. Dough arms, turned up at an angle, make boys that wave "hello" as they come out of the oven. [um, is this disturbing you, too? thanks, Betty for warping a Christmas tradition].

Bake 10 [for softer cookys] to 12 [for crisper cookys] minutes.

Cool slightly, then carefully remove from baking sheet. Cool on wire rack. Make outlines for collar, cuffs, belt and shoes with creamy frosting.

Makes about 15 Gingebread Boys [why, oh why must we be so sexist when naming cookies?!]

[my family, abstract and in gingerbread, left to right: margie, ben, heidi & tom]

Do a good deed. Put some orphans in your cookie jar!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tipsy Tuesday!

Too much time with the kids driving you to drink? Try today's vintage cocktail!The Sidecar:
1oz Cointreau
1/2oz Lemon juice
2oz Cognac

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass.

[please do not swill, put your baby in it's pram and proceed to motor down the street to the grocery for more lemon juice - unless it's 1961]

Monday, December 7, 2009

Snowball Fight!

Your friends will be fighting over servings of this snowy, sugary threesome from Good Housekeeping's Christmas Cook Book (c)'58!

Marshmallow Snowballs
[their way]
Day before or early in day [wha? which day? why? wth?]: Stick each large marshmallow on long kitchen fork; hold in steam of boiling water till sticky; drop onto flaked coconut, tinted pink or green, toasted or left as is. Roll over and over until coated on all sides. Place on waxed paper until firm.

[my way]
Jab marshmallows in center with mini candy canes or peppermint sticks [good for ridding one's self of angst]. Soften up canned frosting and spoon over marshmallows. Dredge in coconut color of choice.

That whole hold-your-mallow-over-the-sauna-until-it-softens thing wasn't working for me. At all. So like a stand-up comic wannabe on mic night, I improvised. And the result? Cavity-quality confection perfection!

[And the kids loved the quick create/consume turnaround time]

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Appetite for Andy

This weekend Tommy & I went to the Andy Warhol exhibit at Union Station. I've been a fan since junior high, watching his "15 Minutes" short show on MTV, sketching Campbell's soup cans in art class and turning the pages of his diary. He was as endearing as he was odd.

His appetite for art included cookbook illustrations circa '61. And was I ever charmed when I found out this eclectic pop artist lent his line drawings to Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Cookbook when my Grammie handed her well-worn copy over to me years ago. What a treasure! Here is the most charming illustration I've ever seen of finger foods. Ala Andrew Warhol, to boot. Enjoy -[ugh. my camera focus doesn't do this party tray justice!]

"Art is what you can get away with." - Andy Warhol

"So is dinner." - Heidi

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Little Drummer Boy...

... carnivore-style!

The meat-eaters in your nucleus are sure to enjoy Better Homes & Gardens' "mock drumsticks" found in their Junior Cook Book for the Hostess and Host of Tomorrow (c)'63 [all the better to groom the kids to cater to daddy-o].
[Be warned. This recipe reads a bit like it was written by a 6th grader with attention deficit disorder.]

Everyday Drumsticks
You'll need:
1 pound ground beef
12 soda crackers
1 teaspoon salt
6 wooden skewers
1 egg
3 slices of bacon

Take out:
mixing bowl
wooden spoon
paper or plastic bag
rolling pin
waxed paper
baking pan
kitchen scissors [resist the urge to run]
pot holders

[1] Set oven to 450 degrees. This recipe will serve six.
[2] Put ground beef, salt, egg in bowl. Stir gently, thoroughly. Divide into six parts.

[3] Put crackers in bag and roll with a rolling pin. Place crumbs on waxed paper.
[4] Shape meat mix around skewers. Roll in crumbs. Put in a creased baking pan.
[5] Bake 15 minutes. Add bacon slices. Bake 15 minutes.

[6] Someone left out step 6 - which I can only assume is remove drumsticks from oven and arrange in an atomic starburst on a platter - the most visually appealing foodstuff display of the '60s.

Like at the state fair, the stick makes this mass of meat tastier. We couldn't resist the urge to drum with this hands-on hamburger, so we tapped out a little ditty on our plates. It fell a bit flat - so we finished them off caveman-style w/our hands. Next time? I'll fancy it up by putting cheese in the middle [bleu? sharp cheddar? feta? any/all of that!] and a little french onion soup in the mix - because there will be a next time.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Tie One On

Sure, I'm giving you the green light for happy hour [whatever hour suits you], but I'm also going to start using Fridays to show-off my favorite aprons.

In the spirit of the season, I'm kicking off my "tie one on" series with my absolute favorite family apron...My Grammie's Christmas short skirt.

This perky red & white striped cotton apron is pepermint-stick inspired. The green tree reminds me of the simple construction paper cutouts that we glitter up around here. And what lady of the house can resist jingling when she walks?

Marge & I take turns in this during our baking mini-marathons. I think it's sweet how it looks high-waisted on her.
I hope this inspires you to tie one on in the kitchen this weekend as you kickoff your holiday baking!

Good Morning!

Have a fun, fabulous Friday!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Picky Holiday Appetizers

I've picked out a few funky appetizers from Good Housekeeping's Christmas Cook Book (c)'58 with flavors that even a frilly toothpick can't mask. Whaddaya think of . . .

Dipsy Noodles
Blend 1 3-oz pkg. cream cheese, softened, with 2 teasp. anchovy paste; season to taste with cayenne pepper. Shape mixture into 20 small balls; refrigerate. Just before serving, roll cheese balls in 1 cup coarsely broken chow-mein noodles. Makes 20

Beetchovies [you read that right]
Refrigerate 1 can tiny whole beets. Drain, then string 1 beet and 1 rolled anchovy each toothpick. Refrigerate.

Are you starting to wonder why these finger foods require so much refrigeration? Is it a mercury/anchovy scare? Is it so that the cold will numb your tastebuds when the snack is attacked? I dare you to find out.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cooky Quickie

Sounds a little dirty [it does contain nuts], but trust me - it's sweet!

Here's a speedy cooky recipe [yep, that's one of those quirky 50s spellings] from Better Homes & Garden's Snacks and Refreshments cook book (c)'63 that will put a wink in your Wednesday:
Pecan Danties
[pinkies up, people!]

1 egg white
dash salt
1 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups pecan halves

Beat egg white with salt until soft peaks form. Add brown sugar in two additions, beating lightly after each. (Mixture will be much thinner than for meringue.) Stir in nuts and drop, 2 inches apart, from a teaspoon onto a greased cooky sheet [told you]. Bake in very slow oven (250) about 30 minutes. Remove from cooky sheet immediately. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

See? This recipe is so speedy, that it quickly frees up some time for you to touch up your makeup, clasp your pearls and vacuum your home - whew!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tipsy Tuesday

(pic courtesy VI203)
Okay. So maybe I can't stop at one. I have to bring you another round [humor your hostess] - it is Tipsy Tuesday, all! And you're sure to go ape for this cocktail . . .

The Monkey Gland
[maybe it's better that we don't trouble anyone for the whys and hows here]
  • 1-1/2 ounces dry gin
  • 1-1/2 ounces orange juice [squeeze your own - the fresher the juice, the funkier the monkey]
  • 1 teaspoon real pomegranate grenadine
  • 1 teaspoon absinthe or pastis [an anise-flavored booze - good 'n plenty-esque]

Shake vigorously in an iced cocktail shaker, and strain into a small cocktail glass.

Go ahead, go bananas - and pour another!

(thanks to Vintage Cocktails and Hidden Spirits for this dandy elixir idea)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Save Some for Santa

You'd be smiling, too. If you had these cookies from Good Housekeeping's Christmas Cook Book (c)'58 up to your chin. This paperback is full of "selections to brighten the holiday season." Really. It is. And here's the first tasty testament to it -
Peanut-Butter Krinkles
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teasp. baking soda
1/2 teasp. salt
1/2 cup soft shortening
1/2 teasp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup smooth - or crunch-style peanut butter [I like mine like I like my gents, smooth]
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, unbeaten [I had to borrow one from my neighbor. Nice lady.]
confectioner's sugar

Start heating oven to 375 degrees [some might call that preheating, but who am I to judge?]. Sift together flour, soda and salt. With electric mixer at medium speed [or with spoon - but at what speed? Oh the tragedy of not knowing], thoroughly mix shortening with vanilla, peanut butter, brown and granulated sugar, and egg until very light and fluffy. At low speed, or "blend," [what a group of electric mixer showoffs] beat in flour mixture just until mixed. Form into 1/2" balls. Place 2" apart on greased cookie sheets. Bake 12 min., or until light brown [wait - isn't peanut butter light brown?]. Cool; roll in confectioners' sugar. Makes 6 1/2 doz [that is an outright lie].

These don't stick to the roof of your mouth, they melt in them. Santa won't need a milk chaser to wash these down. Wow. I have never tasted peanut butter done better. With the silky aid of [ugh - don't think about it] vegetable shortening these cookies are like Johnny Depp in Chocolat: smooth. Have I mentioned that these holiday cookies are smooth? And that they freeze well? And that they are smooth? Well they do. And they are. I am also demanding you triple the recipe, because I didn't get 6-and-a-half dozen balls [does any lady?] from this recipe. Just a mere 2.

Skirt Chaser

I'm pretty keen on Christmas - you, too?

This weekend my mom, Marge & I avoided the black Friday brouhaha and opted to thrift instead. I brought home this bevy of goods from Nebraska thanks to fam, flea markets & the dav store...The frilly aprons were my great Granny & great aunt Elsie's - the striped belonged to my mom, so it's being passed on to Marge! The felt tree skirt [adorned with angels, trees, reindeer, peppermint sticks & the like] is from the thrift store, my Gramps grabbed up the fat strainer at a tag sale and a fam friend picked up the Betty Crocker cake mix cookbook [can't wait to share that one!] - the gold recipe notebook is a goody from my sister-in-law. What a bounty!

Here's a closer look at the fab strainer - it puts me in the mood for a little meat.
I can't wait to tie my apron on and dish out some holiday favorites from Betty and company!

For now, it's back to the tinsel...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cranberries + Gelatain = [heart]

Yesterday just thinking about Thanksgiving feasting was turning my stomach. I so wanted to bring you this dish [a mold!!] in person. But my hostessing has to miss the mostess-ing part on this post and you must trust in this retro recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Cook Book (c)'59.
Cranberry Ring
1 package strawberry-flavored gelatin
1 cup hot water
1 10 1/2 or 11 ounce can (about 1 cup) frozen cranberry relish
1 13 1/2 or 14 ounce can (1 1/2 cups) crushed pineapple
1 package lemon-flavored gelatin
1 1/4 cups boiling water [and this is decidedly different than hot water how?]
2 cups tiny marshmallows [before mini became a bitty buzzword]
1 3 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped

First layer: Dissolve strawberry-flavored gelatin in hot water. Add cranberry relish, dash salt. Pour in to 6 1/2-cup ring mold. chill till firm.

Second layer: Drain pineapple, reserving syrup. Dissolve lemon-flavored gelatin in boiling water; add marshmallows and stir till melted; add reserved syrup. Chill until partially set. Blend cream cheese, mayonnaise, dash salt; add to marshmallow mixture. Stir in pineapple (if mixture is thin, chill till it mounds slightly when spooned.) Fold in whipped cream. Pour over first layer; chill until firm. Unmold. Serves 10 to 12.

I've got a feeling that this will be more flavorful and as charming as a Knox beauty - and you won't need to leave your apron on as long because it looks to be a little less work, too. Whew. These citrus-y flavors help trump the bitter of the cranberry while turning out its sweet spot. Truth be told, it's the mayonnaise on the ingredient list that yucks me out, but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and when you're making your turkey-lurkey leftover sandwiches on Friday, you can hold the mayo and slather on some cranberry ring.

So add this to your marketing list before you dash off to the grocery to-day!

A Winner & A Wanna-Be

Congratulations, Barbara [that was my gmas name, too] - she'll get her hot little hands on a pot-warmer from the kitschen! I appreciated hearing what warms everyone on Thanksgiving. And I hope you let that cozy feeling follow you through the year.

I also got a warm feeling from my friend Rachel the coolest paper-ista you'll ever meet [who also has a big, big, big place in her heart for vintage goodies]. She has given me a nod at the kreativ blogger nom. There are some neat-o things to share when given this opportunity. But first, the necessaries:
  1. thank the person who nominated you for this award [see above, miss rachel]
  2. copy the logo and place it on your blog
  3. link to the person who nominated you for this award
  4. name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting
  5. nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers
  6. post links to the 7 blogs you nominate
  7. leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated
7 things about me that people might find interesting:
  1. i wouldn't mind being a crazy cat lady, but ironically my cat oona [who we've had since she was 4 weeks old] has never layed on my lap voluntarily in 12 years.
  2. i wrote the little kid activities you find in your sonic wacky pack for a couple of years, also scribed for kids menus at chilis, houlihans, chick-fil-a and the like [all before i even had kids]
  3. i gave my kids names with options [ben can go w/benjamin, ben, benny - but not benji (my fear is his high school sweetie will call him benji and it will make my skin crawl) & marge can go w/marjory, margie, marge] because my name is a one-namer [but i still love it, mom]
  4. love sweet pickle relish, hate sweet pickles; hate dill pickle relish, love dill pickles
  5. i am a crafter wanna-be, try as i might - i can never quite get it right [it's better for the world that i don't have a singer sewing machine]
  6. i am glad margie is her own stylsit - i couldn't pull together outfits like that if i tried [i'm a little envious]
  7. i love riding my bike. it makes me feel 10 years old every time!
7 blogs I can't keep my eyes off of/am nominating [bookmark them asap!]:
nellie loves vintage
[va-va-va-vintage inspiration, personal goodies and couture thrift store redux galore from a dear friend i met when ben was born, we've all been playing ever since]
rachie's place
[visit my friend rachel for an eyeful of sweet, inspiring, creative everything - plus paper crafting galore]
kitchen retro
[get a laugh from lidian every day! the writer in me envies the wit she turns out of retro ads]
vintage goodness
[a blog for all the vintage geeks! that's her banner and she sticks to it - yay!]
queen of fifty cents
[eye candy for 60s & 70s thrifters - satisfies my appetite every day]
bluebird vintage
[beautiful, inspiring, pretty much perfection]
the elegant thrifter
[a kc export [i'm an implant], stan is my fave thrifting gent - it's great to see nyc thrifting through his eyes]

Whew! I'm worn out - but so excited to share all these fabby bloggers with you!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tipsy Tuesday!

I feel like I've had too much to drink already - but it's a 24hr bug. Ugh. As promised last week, we're swapping Tippy Tuesday for Tipsy Tuesday! Fab timing since most have a long weekend off - or at the very least will be in close confines with their fam.

So throw one back while you throw a few candy canes on der tanenbaum post turkey time this weekend. It's about as retro as you can go from The White House Cookbook (c) 1887]

What to grab:
  • 12 eggs
  • white sugar
  • 1 glass of brandy
  • 1 glass of old whisky
  • 1 grated nutmeg
  • 3 pints of rich milk

What to do with it:

Beat the yolks of the eggs very light, stir in as much white sugar as they will dissolve, pour in gradually brandy to cook the egg, old whisky, nutmeg, and rich milk. Beat the whites to a froth and stir in last.

Keep in mind, festive friend, that this recipe is fit for a pitcher or punchbowl - one wo/man alone could [and should not] consume this much of any cocktail. If you do, you're sure to see Santa up on the rooftop.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Yammed if you do. Damned if you don't.

Sweet potatoes with marshmallows do have a whole lotta vintage charm - but I worry about enough things sticking in my teeth at the turkey table. So I channeled Betty for a sweet plan b. Here's what she had for me in Betty Crocker's All-Time Favorites (c) '71 The best recipes - by popular demand. If you're like me, you demand second, third, hell - when no one is looking fourths - on Thanksgiving. And you'll be licking the china where this sweet side sits.

[that shadow is me lurking over your shoulder, wanting to snatch your sweet potato bake]

Sweet Potato-Applesauce Bake
1 pound sweet potatoes or yams (about 3 medium) or 1 can vacuum-pack sweet potatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can (8 ounces) applesauce
1/3 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/4 cup chopped nuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter or margarine

If using fresh sweet potatoes [I did] or yams, cook unpared potatoes until tender, 30 or 35 minutes. Drain and cool slightly. Slip off skins.

Heat oven to 375. Cut each sweet potato lengthwise in half. Place halves in an ungreased baking dish, 8x8x2 inches. Sprinkle with salt and spread applesauce on potatoes. Mix sugar, nuts and cinnamon and sprinkle over the applesauce. Dot with butter and cover with aluminum foil. Bake 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Your ratio of turkey to sweet potato shopping should be 1:1. If you pick up a 15lb bird, tote home 15lbs of yams. The recipe is that easy. And that tasty. The flavors are sweet without being syrupy and the pecan is such a petite, non-offensive nut [unlike Bruno's pair] that its crunch adds to the crave of this dish. It will be amazing as the base of a left-over casserole. So hold a bit back because leftovers are not likely. And on this Thanksgiving, give thanks to Betty. Where would we be without her?