Thursday, December 31, 2009
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.
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.
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]:
1 Lump of sugar
2 Dashes bitters
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
"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
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
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...
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.
I don't know about you, but I think it looks like New Year's Eve is shaping up to be a ball!
- 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
Sunday, December 27, 2009
"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
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
This punch is sure to [unknowingly?] lift holiday spirits during your dysfunctional [or highly functional] family celebration befitting of the season.
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
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
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
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...
2 cups scalded milk
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
[my family, abstract and in gingerbread, left to right: margie, ben, heidi & tom]
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
1/2oz Lemon juice
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
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.
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
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
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.]
1 pound ground beef
12 soda crackers
1 teaspoon salt
6 wooden skewers
3 slices of bacon
paper or plastic bag
kitchen scissors [resist the urge to run]
 Set oven to 450 degrees. This recipe will serve six.
 Put ground beef, salt, egg in bowl. Stir gently, thoroughly. Divide into six parts.
 Put crackers in bag and roll with a rolling pin. Place crumbs on waxed paper.
 Shape meat mix around skewers. Roll in crumbs. Put in a creased baking pan.
 Bake 15 minutes. Add bacon slices. Bake 15 minutes.
 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
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!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
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
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:
[pinkies up, people!]
1 egg white
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
[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)