Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sunshine. In a cookie.

The sun is shining and the curb is begging for a lemonade stand [mixers optional]. Or these Pillsbury-inspired cookies. Every time I pass a plate of these little circles of sunshine, more compliments are dropped than crumbs on the floor [and you'd eat these cookie crumbs off the floor]. Make it a double dandy and sandwich vanilla ice cream between two of these softies. I just did.Lemonade Cookies
1 Pillsbury lemon cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
juice glass

Combine cake mix, eggs and oil until just moist. Roll into balls - and roll balls in granulated sugar. Tap each ball lightly with a juice glass [oh, stop]. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Slaw on the Side

Here's a pretty progressive recipe from [surprise!] the Better Homes & Garden Barbecue Book (c)'65 for one snazzy slaw:Blue Cheese Slaw
6 cups shredded cabbage
2 tablespoons chopped pimento
2 tablespoons chopped green onion tops
1/2 cup dairy sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
dash salt
1 4-ounce package blue cheese, crumbled (1 cup)

Combine cabbage, pimento, and onion tops. Chill thoroughly. Mix together remaining ingredients; chill. Pour over cabbage and toss slightly. If desired [why oh why?], garnish with slices of hard-cooked egg and Bologna ruffles [I skipped the ruffles]. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
This slaw was fierce and fabulous - just like the 60s. I wonder if all this 'chill' time allotted really translates to 'have another cocktail while you wait' time. Merely venturing a guess...

Tipsy Tuesday: Ole!

Brave a few of these, any day of the week -Bullfighter
2 1/2 oz gin or vodka
1/2 oz manzanilla sherry
olive or lemon peel

Stir the ingredients well with ice. Strain into a chilled glass. Serve with an olive or a twist of lemon peel. Drink until you see red - or feel a siesta coming on.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Me Likey Chinese Ribs

In an effort to continually celebrate spring, I headed back out to the grill last night to try yet another of Better Homes & Garden's Barbecue Book (c)'65 sauces & rib rub...
Chinese Smoked Ribs: [definitely inhale]
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup catsup
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons grated fresh gingerroot or 2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon msg [no likey that one]
Barbecue Rub:
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon each paprika, monosodium glutamate [why is it that the take-out is so proud to be anti-msg in '10 when in '65 it was all the rage?], tumeric and celery seed
Dash dry mustard

6 pounds loin back ribs or spareribs [or fatty, boneless ribs you found on sale that will later show their true colors]

For Ginger Sauce, mix first 6 ingredients and let stand overnight to mellow the flavor.
For Barbecue Rub, combine sugar and seasonings. rub the ribs with this mixture, let stand 2 hours, or till done, brushing occasionally with the Ginger Sauce and let stand about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Here's a little WTF part that I ignored and opted instead for grilling meat over direct heat: Hang the ribs in a Chinese oven which uses wood as fuel - split logs of oak, hickory, or fruitwood. Smoke spareribs about 1 1/2 hours or loin back ribs about 2 hours, or till done, brushing occasionally with the sauce. Keep fire at about 325 degrees. Snip ribs in serving pieces. Makes 6 or 7 servings.

Okay. Rub + marinade = makes you want a side of won-tons. It really is that good. The cheap meat messed with perfection. I can only assume that if I had my hands on a 'Chinese oven' that it would have done nothing less than go karate on our tastebuds.

Stumble back tomorrow for Tipsy Tuesday -- with a side of coleslaw [it's not as nasty as it sounds]!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Titty Pink Pictures

Per my promise, here's a handful of pictures of my Granny & Grandpa's titty pink house in Table Rock, Nebraska [albeit a bit blurry, like my memory]. They make me want to sit on the porch and swing the day away.
My Gramie & Gramps with Granny & Grandpa in '64 [they're my Gramps' folks]My mom with Granny, same skirt, same year.My mom, uncle Mike & Gramie by the sleeping porch '66.Me, Granny & my brother Jamie Mother's Day '83.My 10th birthday, July '84 [my mom's in the blue sundress holding the doll my Granny made me - and that's my awesome Aunt Elsie's head in her armpit].

What are some of your pinkest memories?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Retro Bloom

I celebrated the close of cabin fever this week by picking up some purple pansies at the market and plopping them into this retro poppy pot. Marge couldn't wait to fling a little spring your way -Have a pretty perky Saturday!

Friday, March 26, 2010

WTF?! Were the Angels Thinking?

That nifty, thrifty dessert is an Angel Cake-Pie [and it's not as lame as its name]! How does one accomplish that technicolor cutie from Good Housekeeping's Ten P.M Cook Book (c)'58? Just so.1 10" angel food cake
1 envelope unflavored gelatine
1/2 cup cold water
4 teasp fresh, frozen or canned lemon juice
2 pkg thawed frozen raspberries or strawberries
1/8 teasp salt
2 egg whites
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
1/2 cup heavy cream whipped
1 banana, sliced
1 cup flaked coconut

Early in day: Cut cake horizontally into 2 even layers. Hollow out both sections, leaving shells not quite 1" thick. Fill in tube hole in bottom of each shell with bits of cake. Sprinkle gelatine over cold water in glass measuring cup to soften. Stir over hot water until dissolved. Add, with lemon juice, to fruit. Refrigerate until partially thickened. Add salt to egg whites; beat until stiff. Fold, with 1 cream, whipped into fruit mixture. Refrigerate a few minutes; thenheap in cake shells. Refrigerate until well chilled.

To serve: Arrange cake-pies [couldn't they have come up with a way cooler name?] on serving tray. Decorate with 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped. Garnish pie with banana slices. [Then chase with a nightcap cocktail of choice!]

And that, friends, is WTF is for dessert tonight!

WTF?! Friday: WTF is for Dessert?

WTF is this fluff?!I'll be back after dinner [suitable, eh?] to let you in on its sweet secret.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Comfort Carbs for Children

Mother Nature went bi-polar on us in the midwest, so on what became a rainy, gloomy day Marge & I whipped a little something that the Culinary Arts Institute (c) '65 just knew the children would love:
Macaroni & Cheese au Gratin
[it's a bit of a 12 step program to complete, so plan to hang close to the kitchen for a while, perhaps with a special mommy cocktail in hand]
Thoroughly grease a 2-qt casserole.
Grate and set aside
1/2 lb Cheddar cheese [about 2 cups, grated]
Melt in a small skillet
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
Stir in and set aside
1/2 cup [about 1 slice] fine, dry bread crumbs
For Macaroni - Heat to boiling in a large saucepan
3 qts. water 1 tablespoon salt
Add gradually
2 cups [8oz pkg] uncooked macaroni
Boil rapidly uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes. Test tenderness by pressing a piece [that's what he said] against side of a pan with a fork or spoon. Drain by turning into a colander or large sieve.
While macaroni is cooking, prepare a Thin White Sauce [was that a band in the 70s?] - Melt in a saucepan
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
Stir in all at one time
2 tablespoons flour 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon monosodium glutamate [children love msg!]
Heat until mixture bubbles. Remove from heat and gradually blend in 2 cups milk
Return to heat and bring rapidly to boiling, stirring constantly; cook 1 to 2 minutes longer. Cool slightly. Stir grated cheese all at one time into slightly cooled white sauce. Blend cheese sauce mixture with cooked macaroni and turn into casserole. Sprinkle buttered crumbs around edge of casserole.

Bake at 350 degrees about 20 minutes or until crumbs are lightly browned.

I went by the book on this. But I'm starting to judge the tastebuds of the 60s because it was a bit bland - but still carby and rich, so of course I spooned up a more-than-ample serving for myself, and the kids gave it a thumbs up. Next go-round I'll add some snazzier cheeses, lots of pepper, spinach and an extra tablespoon of butter [what the hell!]. Now slip on your houseshoes and stir up something just as comfy for yourself.

Titty Pink Picnic!

Have I talked about my aunt Elsie yet? She was my great aunt, sister to my great granny, the one who lived in the titty pink house with the sleeping porch, rhubarb garden and fruit cellar.

I generally [and lovingly, really, really lovingly] refer to her as, "my dead aunt Elsie" because, well, I'm not one to sugarcoat anything. She and I are joined by sign. Both cancers, both heavy into her costume jewelry and both [although I didn't recognize it much at the tender age of 8] pretty snarky. Love her. Miss her. So lucky she was a part of my life!
Last weekend my mom passed on to me another 'aunt Elsie' goodie. Her set of titty pink [sorry, I love that crass, crazy description of pink - do you think Crayola will ever go for it?] picnic cups. I can not wait for another sunny day to take 'em outside full of tea, or, well, whatever suits me at the moment [Tipsy Tuesday comes to mind...]. So I had to share.I'm going to root through some pics of my Granny Lena's house & her sister Elsie and share those later in the week. Until then, I hope your day tickles you pink!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Savory Soak

Spring has sprung [for the day] and since there was officially no snow to slosh through on the way to the grill tonight, we got our carnivore fix - steak.

I shopped around for something savory to soak our Kansas beef in, and found this recipe just in thyme [har] in the Better Homes & Gardens Barbecue Book (c)'65Rosemary Marinade
Combine 1/4 cup of salad oil, 1/4 cup wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons crushed rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/2 cup sliced onion.
Makes enough for 1 1/2 to 2 pounds meat [and that's all this lady can handle].

The result? Meaty. And, rosemary-y [and really swell with a sweet potato on the side]. Pee Wee Herman would like this dish. We did.

Tipsy Tuesday: Hey, Kool-Aid!

Here's a 70s retro cocktail that'll have you saying "OH-YEAH" And after enough, quite possibly busting through a few walls. Take that, cabin fever.Kool-Aid
3/4 oz vodka or Southern Comfort
3/4 oz amaretto
1 oz cranberry juice

Fill a highball glass with ice. Add vodka or Southern Comfort [or if you have a tolerance level like Kool-Aid Man, both]. Stir & add cranberry juice. Tell the kids to get their own.

I'll be back tonight after grilling on the deck -- serving up a bbq recipe.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Have Clutch, Will Travel

What a weekend! Lots of quality family time and some extra hours spent with friends, too. Lots of catching up to do...

My friend Rachel at rachiesplace tagged me to see what's in my bag. I have to admit, lately I've gotten lazy about slinging a bag over my shoulder to go out & about - so I'm dissecting my go-to wallet clutch that my husband got me for a holiday treat last year.It's a bright, springy green [you wouldn't know it by the looks of this pic] so it cheers me up to carry it. Here's a smattering of what I cram inside: my favorite pics of Ben & Marge, lip balm, a couple of fairy bandaids, all the legalities & credit cards a girl could ever want, some checks that need to go to the bank and a note Ben wrote me last spring "My Mommy Awesome." Peering at that always makes a kinda crappy moment pretty sweet.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Road Trip!

For the final sliver of spring break, we're schlepping our stuff in the sedan to the cornhusker state for a few days & nights with my family. Have any of you had the pleasure of passing through Nebraska? The land of the nation's only roller skating museum, birthplace of kool-aid and Johnny Carson [and 311!] and fusion of farm and big-city livin'? I hope so!We can't wait to celebrate my niece & nephew's tandem birthdays, spend quality time with my parents & grandparents and have drinks with friends I wish we could see more often!

I'll be back next week with some real kitschy treats - until then, spring for some time outside, it's going to be a dandy day!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Looking to put a little Irish on your menu? Me, too. I'm thinking of incorporating a recipe from this fine Boyle's Famous Corned Beef Recipe Book [a KC staple] into my day:Will I whip up their fine 'last-minute corned beef spaghetti supper,' or 'luncheon salad mold' [oh the horror] or the 'corned beef and corn casserole'? Maybe not. I'm leaning towards this tummy-turner:

Corned Beef Party Strips
Cut cooked Boyle's Famous Corned Beef [or whatever's on hand] into finger length strips about half an inch thick. Dip in batter made of 1 cup prepared pancake mix, 3/4 cup beer and 1/4 tsp salt. [I'm pretty sure they'll come right up and co-mingle with your beer later in the day, but until then, what the hey?!]

To all of you who will belly up to the bar into the wee hours, I offer a toast to raise your green brew - and your party strips - to:

May you have all the happiness
and luck that life can hold—
And at the end of all your rainbows
may you find a pot of gold!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tipsy Tuesday: A Swinging Cocktail

This fruity cocktail circa '69 is best consumed in your own front yard.
The Porchclimber
1 ounce tequila
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce Galliano
1 ounce orange juice
1 orange slice [retro girls love their garnish]

Pour all liquids into a cocktail shaker. Shake. Strain. Serve over ice in a large wineglass [to bring an air of class to front porch drinking] garnished with orange slice. Drink until you sway.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I've got the Kitchen Aid Mixer Blues

We're coming out from under the paint tape, I've done some tweaking in the kitchen & living rooms and am really digging my frame retro do-over project. Here goes...

Ben & Marge give the old gold frame the brush-off:I eyeball the blues - hoping they're soul mates:& frame another really fun piece I got from the Salvation Army for $1.50 which just happens to include a hint of blue and a streak of the mushroom-y brown we used in the living room:I've gotta say I'm pretty okay with how it all turned out. Now I'm down to just one more heaping helping of kitchen crap to put away --- then I'll be opening the cookbooks back up!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

My Lucky Day

Our postman just knocked on the door. And handed me a package!

Inside wrapped in teal tissue [yay] was the most fantastic find from Etsy:
A funky, fully-functioning, flowery clock for the freshly painted kitchen!

We're coming out from under the semi-gloss and finding the perky paint job to be pretty perfect.

Here's a sneaky peek at the color:I've got a couple of small projects to finish up next week before I'm feeling the suburban bit of retro redux. In the meantime, it's off to the St. Pat's primer parade with friends & my little family.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

WTF?!? Friday: Neatly Wrapped Mold

Whose bright idea was the carrot [or oddly-stiff bacon] bow on this gelatine master-loaf?Come back at happy hour for the big, really nasty, reveal.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kitschen Makeover

Okay. I have to confess why I've been avoiding the kitchen. It's all in the name of kitsch, so we're cool.

For longer than I care to admit, I've had issues with my 'angry red' kitchen & living space. It has been leaving a bitter taste in my mouth and oft my attitude reflects it. I have no one to blame but myself, as I chose this grouchy color when we moved to [humor me, please] suburbia over 5 years ago. So, I took it as a sign to remake-over our digs when I happened upon a pair of the most amazing wall hangings straight outta the 60s at my favorite flea market in town.Who wouldn't be inspired by these pretty partridges? So This week we've got a pretty cool painter friend helping us with the highs and lows of priming and painting over our living space with a deeper shade of the mushroom-y putty color in the partridge pic & we're taking the light turquoise into the kitchen. I love the shag orange color, too, so last night I painted it over the dull grey tile around our fireplace.

I'm also going to frame a few technicolor cookbook picts. Right now, I've got some retro lobster cookbooks framed. But they're angry red, too - so I'm going back to my bungalow roots with new art in the old frames.

I can't wait to share -- so hang in there! As soon as the partridge family comes to nest on our walls, I'll show them off.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tipsy Tuesday: [wo]Man's Best Friend

Warning: 'Hair of the Dog' remedy may be necessary the morning after indulging in these sweet cocktails!
Pink Puppy
Cracked ice
Crabapple juice

Fill champagne glasses 1/2 full with cracked ice. Add champagne & 4 teaspoons crabapple juice. Stir. Float 2oz vodka on top - like a breezy, boozy cloud.

[this recipe comes from the Five Oaks restaurant in Greenwich Village circa '69]

Monday, March 8, 2010

Muffin Top

Marge & I are dividing our springtime between the park and the kitchen. This morning we're making muffins. Blueberry-Lemon muffins. With oatmeal topping. It smells pretty perfect in our house!Here's a similar recipe gleaned from the pages of Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book (c)'65

Best-ever Blueberry Muffins
1 3/4 cups sifted enriched flour [we went hippie and used whole wheat]
2 tablespoons sugar [we amped that up to satisfy our sweet teeth, to about 1/2 cup]
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 well-beaten egg [make like Steven Segal and kick that egg's ass]
3/4 cup milk [we went w/skim to make up for the sugar -- right]
1/3 cup salad oil or melted shortening [opted for pure, delicious butter here, we heart dairy]
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Sift dry ingredients into mixing bowl; make well in center. Combine egg, milk and salad oil. Add all at once to dry ingredients. Stir quickly and only till dry ingredients are moistened. Gently [who would beat-down a blueberry?] stir 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries into muffin batter. Fill greased muffin pans or paper bake cups 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. Makes 12.

[This morning I added 1/2 cup of quick-cook oats and a dash of both lemon juice and cinnamon, then made a quick, crunchy topping with 2T melted butter, 1/2 cup oats, 2T brown sugar & another pinch of cinnamon. Follow my lead, if you like...]

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Couture on the Couch

What are you doing tonight?I'm getting an eyeful of the Oscars. Who do you have your eye on?

[p.s.: i.o.u. dinner this week, stay tuned...]

Friday, March 5, 2010

WTF?! Weenie stringer.

So, wtf is going on with the weenies this Friday?

Well...per the Better Homes & Gardens Barbecue Book (c)'65, the most clever way to marinade and bbq wurst for a crowd is on a string. And hanging them them from a wire hanger [ouch! wire is a conductor] in some fashion similar to, and familiar like, a mobile makes for symmetrical grilling.

So before your gent puts his Johnson[ville] on the grill this season, suggest he string the old boys up!

Have a helluva weekend!

Stan's the Man!

I got a cheap thrill when Marge opened up the mailbox today and a beautifully lettered and smartly wrapped package was peeking out. It was a goodie from NYC [I have such big apple love/envy] and my kitschy kindred spirit friend Stan [aka the elegant thrifter]!

I got a little hitch in my giddyap when I opened it up [thx for the Gene Autry postcard enclosure] and found this:
The Greenwich Village Cookbook (c)'69

I can't wait to page through it on the deck this afternoon - I can only imagine the funky fabulous recipes I'll find, groomed from Greenwich restaurants in the 60s! This gift of thrift made my day so much better than okay!