Sunday, July 27, 2014

Birthday Dinner with the family: Potato Triumph

Cooking is like shopping. You get to a point where unless you LOVE (truly LOVE) something and there are no maybes or ifs (maybe it will look good with my green skirt or if I had red shoes to go with this.. hahah, or my if thought- if I lost 10 lbs!) then you buy it - or in the case of cooking - you'll make it again.

But really, there is no point in wasting the time or money on something you don't unconditionally love. (which really is the same for cooking and shopping) I hate throwing out good food that went bad because of a recipe!  This recipe didn't go bad, but I won't make it again.

Potato Triumph - it sounded like a winner to me!
Potato Triumph

It's from the Culinary Arts Institute Cookbook under the Boiled Potatoes section, which is good to know, since they don't suggest anything in the recipe about which potatoes to use or how they are cooked... so, I had some leeway on the type of potato.

To boil potatoes (as per the book):
In order to retain the fullest food value, cook potatoes in rapidly boiling water, with skins on or scraped off.  Use only enough water to cover.  If skins are to be removed, pare very thin and drop at once into boiling salted water.  Save the drained water in which pared potatoes have been cooked to make gravies, soups, or bread, as it is rich in minerals.
I chose about 25 baby potatoes and boiled them as directed in salted water. Then dumped all the wonderful Triumph ingredients in a pot and let it simmer until the butter had melted.

I didn't have any fresh parsley, so I used dry and I didn't have chives, so I used some sauteed shallots, (which I stole from the Rinktum Ditty). I don't think it affected the flavour at all...maybe it matters, but I don't think I have a refined enough palate for it to make a difference.
Potato Triumph

The flavour was just ok to me, I found the potatoes too oily and overall a bit bland.  Perhaps if I had made more potatoes since the sauce makes a lot then I could of tasted more flavour and less oil. It was definitely more than what I needed. I was feeding 4, not 14!

The kids seemed to like it ok enough, but perhaps they were being nice. I just didn't like it enough to make it a Keeper.

Potato Triumph
Culinary Arts Institute Cookbook - 1950 (pg 483)

  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

  1. Combine all ingredients
  2. Pour over potatoes and serve hot.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Birthday Dinner with the family: Pineapple Nut Stuffing

This whole dinner thing was not living up to my expectations. Hahah, I had hoped for better than 1 good recipe out of the 5 old recipes I tried.

This stuffing could of been the was so close, but I'm here to follow recipes and learn a few new things that I wouldn't have doing my own thing, but I knew...I really really 100% knew in my love of stuffing heart that there was not enough liquid in this stuffing to make it moist. I knew...just knew...and proved it!

Well, this is a very pretty looking stuffing, but the recipe is a bit dry, as you can guess from my previous comments :)  I will try this again, but right now my rule of thumb is that anything I cook or bake has to come from one of the old cookbooks it has to be a new-to-me old recipe. So, I won't get around to trying this again for quite a while.  (Things my mom specifically requests are the exception)
Pineapple Nut Stuffing

No where in the cook book  (granted I only looked in the Stuffing section...haha which makes perfect sense to me) could I find information on cooking stuffing outside of the inside of a turkey or chicken. Guess back in the day, you ate what could fit in the bird and to heck with the extra bits.  Since I was following the recipe exactly, I ignored my desire to add a lot more fluid and just went with the butter and eggs that the recipe called for. 

Normally, when I make extra stuffing, I put it in the pan, covered with tinfoil,  and cook it for about 30 - 40 mins. It always turns out great. For this, since I was using it in the Stuffed Crown Roast of Frankfurters, I cooked it covered about 15 minutes and then 'stuffed' it in the crown...which I then topped off with a TINY sprinkle of water...and tinfoil.  I really really hoped the bread cubes would soften, but there just wasn't enough liquid... I think I'm done talking about the liquid (or lack thereof) for now.

Even the ingredients look pretty!

I wasn't sure how much 1 canned pimiento was. I only had the option of a bottled diced pimiento, so I used a few tablespoons of it, drained.
Pineapple Nut Stuffing ingredients

Add the 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp paprika, and the dash of cayenne to the bread, pineapple, pimiento, celery, and walnut mixture.  I used yummy smoked paprika.
Pineapple Nut Stuffing - adding spices

Melt the butter and stir in the unbeaten eggs (to the butter) before adding it to the bread mix. Odd, not the way I would have done it, but that's what the cook book said to do.  It looks good though...but ...just butter and eggs!?

Maybe I should take a look at how they cook their birds, because maybe a lot of moisture comes from that....enough, enough, enough already...hahah, I know :)
Pineapple Nut Stuffing - adding eggs

I baked the stuffing for about 15 minutes at 350 F, covered in tinfoil.
pineapple nut stuffing - baked

Now you get to put the stuffing in something :)  I chose the Stuffed Crown Roast of Frankfurters. At this point I did SPRINKLE it with a TINY bit of water....less than a tablespoon. I couldn't help myself!
Pineapple Nut Stuffing in the Stuffed Crown Roast of Frankfurters

I then covered it with a hat of tinfoil and baked for another 15 - 20 (until the hotdogs were done).

Pineapple Nut Stuffing
Culinary Arts Institute Cook Book - 1950 (pg 448)

  • 4 cups dry bread; 1/2" cubes
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 3/4 cup pineapple wedges
  • 1/2 cup walnut meats, finely chopped
  • 1 canned pimiento, chopped
  • Dash cayenne
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 eggs

  1. Combine bread, celery, pineapple, walnut meats, pimiento, and seasonings
  2. Melt butter, remove from heat, stir in unbeaten eggs, and add to bread mixture.
  3. Toss lightly


Use as stuffing for turkey, chicken, or duck.

Use chopped cooked bacon instead of nuts, reduce salt to 1/2 tsp and add grated onion or use red ir green pepper instead of pimiento.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Birthday dinner with the family: Stuffed Crown Roast of Frankfurters with Pineapple and Nut Stuffing

Ok, perhaps serving this for dinner on my sisters birthday wasn't the best present she received, but it was interesting...kind of...maybe :) I do think my picture of the Crown is a wee bit more appetizing than the original, sorry...but those hotdogs/sausages just look nasty in black and white!

Hahah, the recipe states:  "A crown roast of wieners is an ideal solution for guest problems when the budget is low.I can pretty much guess the family is going to rethink coming over for dinner again :) So...yes, it is an ideal solution for guests problems!

The stuffed crown is fairly simple, and might go over well for kids at a party or BBQ, but really, not so much for adults.  The original recipe calls for sauerkraut, but since they also add other options you can use, I chose stuffing. I picked a Pineapple and Nut stuffing from the same book - Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook - 1950.

Perhaps if I had chose sausages over beef wieners it might of been better too.  Ahh well, it's not about making the best food, but making what is in the cookbook :)  I'll keep telling myself that!

I cut the hotdogs in half since there was no way 4 of us would eat 20 or so hotdogs and figured it would be more stable that way too.

I carefully ran the thread through the bottom of the hotdogs and then another line through the top part and then pulled them all fairly tight in a row. Thread goes through hotdogs very easily, but they feel delicate, like the thread will tear through if you aren't careful.

It was easier to bundle them all up and then stand them upright before trying to stand them in a circle. The cut part of the hotdog definitely made them more stable for standing on end.  Building the crown was the best part of it,  truly an epic creation! ;)

Once they were all set in a circle, I tied the strings together to keep them a bit more in shape.

At this point, I carefully added the stuffing and then stretched out a piece of bacon so it would wrap around the entire crown roast.  It looks fairly impressive for just hotdogs and stuffing. I was a wee bit proud of that...but ... coming out of the oven a few of the hotdogs did split off the thread, so one side was sadly sagging.

I put a little tinfoil tent over the stuffing so it wouldn't dry out too much. It still ended up being dry, but I'm pretty sure that was the stuffing recipe's fault and not the cooking.

Overall, it tasted like hotdogs with dry stuffing with it. Nothing spectacular at all. Choosing a hotdog/sausage product that tastes good just baked in the oven would probably help this beauty improve in flavour too :)

As an extra, due to worry over people going hungry, I made a side dish of potatoes - Potato Triumph!

Sadly, I didn't get around to doing the baked banana's - the weather here has been hot! Having the oven on for the stuffing and Crown Roast was long enough. Instead I tossed a bunch of frozen bananas in a food processor and whipped them up. YUM! Light and airy :)

Stuffed Crown Roast of Frankfurters
Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook 1950 (pg 387)

  • 20 Frankfurters
  • 2 cups cooked Sauerkraut
  1. Arrange frankfurters side by side, with curved side up.
  2. Using large needle and string, sew through all the frankfurters 1/2 inch from the bottom and 1/2 inch from the top.
  3. Tie ends of the top string together, bringing first and last frankfurter of the row together.
  4. Repeat with bottom row.
  5. Stand frankfurters on end to form a crown. (Concave side should be out)
  6. Fill center of crown with sauerkraut.
  7. Bake filled crown in moderate oven (375 F) about 20 minutes. 
Serves 10

Fill crown with stuffing, creamed cabbage, creamed cauliflower or Potato Balls instead of sauerkraut.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Birthday dinner with the family: Appetizer: Rinktum Ditty

With a name like Rinktum Ditty, I had to try it.

A search of the word origin doesn't bring up anything conclusive, but it appears to be a common phrase in certain areas. From the following forum, the most common explanation was from Texas and they all had the same idea of what the meaning of Rinktum was.
If you get a haircut, you better say "Rinktums" or "no rinctums, no returns" before someone notices :) Otherwise...someone else could rub the back of your head with their knuckles (to the point of pain).

Makes me think none too fondly of noogies from my childhood!

Other usages from other places:
  • a gadget or simple but useful machine or tool. Aka a thingie-ma-bob
  • can be used like 'rinky-dink' - something cheaply made
  • can be used like 'gong-show' - a complete disorganized mess of people
  • Slang form for calling someone an A-hole
  • A dish consisting of cheese, tomatoes, onion, egg, and pepper, on toast

Most of the reviews I've seen on the web are favourable, but I admit that some of the images are less than appealing. The less appealing ones look like a very orange-red cheese melted over toast, the others look more like a tapenade. I'm guessing this is due to how fine the onions and tomatoes are chopped, as well as the colour of the cheese used.  Well...mine falls in to the less appealing looking category :) To me it looks a bit like ...umm ...barf ...BUT, I was actually impressed that it tastes better than it looks, and everyone had second helpings of it, so, that in my opinion means I would make it again - perhaps not for guests (because of how it looks), but for family.
RInktum Ditty

The recipe is in The American Woman's Cook Book and The Culinary Arts Encyclopedic Cook Book - both edited by Ruth Berolzheimer (Director, Culinary Arts Institute).  The only difference is that in the AW Cook Book it calls for 1/2 lb of grated cheese, whereas the CAE states 1/2 lb American Cheese grated.  I'm not American - I'm a proud Canadian, so I don't know what American Cheese is...except to guess it comes from Jersey cows  ;)

No Name Nacho Cheese
I chose to use grated nacho cheese and measured it out on a scale. (8 oz = 1/2 lb = about 2 cups of grated cheese).

I set the cheese aside while I cooked the onions up in butter and cooked the tomatoes.

I wasn't sure how to just make '2 cups of cooked tomatoes', so I threw about 2.5 cups of chopped tomatoes in a pot and let them simmer until mushy.

I added the spices and onions to the tomatoes and then stirred in the cheese, stirring constantly until melted, then added in the egg - which I don't think was needed. It was odd, and I was worried that it would cook when I stirred it in, but I guess the little ditty was cool enough that it didn't. It seemed a bit liquidy when putting it on the toast, but it didn't run off to much.

For the toast, I melted butter and brushed it on both sides of some sour dough bread slices, that I then popped in the oven and baked at 350 F until somewhat brown - flipping once. (haha, I needed the oven for the Stuffed Crown Roast of Frankfurters, so I didn't want to lose the 'preheating' by changing the temperature)

It makes quite a bit too. I'd say at least 3 cups worth. As an appetizer, we only used about 1 cup of it.

Rinktum Ditty
American Woman's Cook Book - 1948 (pg 378)
Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook - 1950  (pg

  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups cooked tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 lb cheese, grated
  • 1 egg beaten

  1. Cook onion in butter until tender
  2. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, and sugar and heat
  3. Add cheese and cook until melted, stirring constantly.
  4. Add egg slowly, stirring constantly, and cook 1 minute longer
  5. Serve on buttered toast.

Note: Serves 4 (4 hungry people eating 3/4 of a cup of it each!)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Birthday dinner with the family - First up: Strawberry and Pineapple Cocktail

Strawberry and Pineapple Cocktail
 I decided to help celebrate my sisters birthday by inviting over her son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, for an interesting 1950's recipe laden birthday dinner. 

First up was the Strawberry and Pineapple Cocktail.  I thought it odd to be called a cocktail without alcohol in it, but heck...I wasn't alive and drinking in 1948!

Overall, I'm not sure how well the cocktail went over. The kids are doing a sugar-fast, so I didn't add any sugar to sweeten the drink...and as a drink - it's dangerous! Chunks of fruit hiding out of sight might make you wonder how well you know the heimlich maneuver!

I personally didn't mind the taste of it. It was a bit tart, but not overly so, but I probably wouldn't make it again. I don't see a need to cut up fruit and mix juices together, it was a lot of extra work for a so so drink. I'd rather just have a straight up glass of orange juice.  Guess I'm lazy that way :)

I followed the instructions as shown below, using small chunks of strawberry and pineapple in the bottom of the glass and then using a strawberry and pineapple ring for garnish.  I wish there were pictures of this drink in the book, because I don't think I garnished correctly....the pineapple ring and strawberry, I'm glad I added the toothpick to the strawberry, plus it made it easier to eat the other fruit out of the bottom of the glass.

Strawberry and Pineapple Cocktail
The American Woman's Cook Book - 1948 (pg 163)

  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup diced pineapple
  • sugar
  • 1 cup strawberries

  1. Combine the orange and lemon juice sweetened to taste, keeping the mixture rather tart.
  2. Chill.
  3. Wash and drain the strawberries and hull them.
  4. At serving time cute the berries in half (except six large ones), mix well with pineapple, place in glasses and cover with the fruit juice.
  5. One large, perfect berry set on a tiny circle of pineapple may decorate the top of each cocktail.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mom's Jelly Roll

I wanted to make a Jelly Roll or something since I have a bunch of homemade blueberry and raspberry jam sitting around, and since I haven't made any of my moms recipes, I figured this would be a good recipe to test out since I knew she had one written down.

This recipe comes from the little blue exercise book.

I wasn't sure I would be able to make it since it's really hard to decipher, but I worked it out. Well, I think I did :)

I wrote out everything I could understand, checked which ingredients were in the instructions and vice versa and then put it all together.  The only ingredient I'm unsure of is the lemon zest...or whatever it is, because I can't find it in the instructions and there is no mention of some other ingredient that I am missing from the list.  Also, for the second sugar on the list, I'm guessing icing sugar to decorate the top with, although I have seen some jelly roll recipes where they sprinkle it over the jam before rolling also.

What I love about this, is that my mom tried to figure it out again too! She copied over some of the faded writing, but then left off.

So, off to the market for the ingredients...a stick of butter, a container of milk, a loaf of bread... for those of you who remember sesame street.
Once all the ingredients are collected. Mix all the dry ingredients together. I added the lemon zest to the flour, stirred it all up to combine and let it sit while I moved on to the eggs.

Separate the 3 eggs - whites and yolks.  Beat the egg whites until stiff and then fold in 1/2 cup of sugar.

Mix the yolks and cold water together and then add in 14 cup of sugar and mix until foamy.

Fold the yolk mix in to the whites

Once that's all done, gently fold in the flour.  On a greased pan with a greased parchment - spread out the batter. It's bubbly feeling and looking, very much like pancake batter. At first I thought it wouldn't spread, but it puffs up and fills in the thinner spots.  It still needs to be spread evenly or it will get crispy in spots when it cooks.

My mom's instructions don't give any information on what to do once cooked and there were two different trains of thought in other recipes I looked at.  I chose option 1 listed below, but I think option 2 would of worked just as well... since I was only using jam. If I was using whipped cream or something that would melt, then option 1 for sure.
  1. Once out of the oven, cut off crispy edges and then roll in a clean towel until cooled. Once cooled, unroll, and spread with jam
  2. Once out of the oven, cut off crispy edges, spread with jam, and then roll while still warm.

Having chosen option 1, once it cooled, I unrolled it and spread with blueberry jam.

Roll up lengthwise, placing open edge down and garnish.

All that's left is to bring the Jelly Roll to mom.

Mom's Jelly Roll
The recipe and instructions are how she wrote it out.

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest*
  • sugar*
  • 3/4 cup jelly

  1. Sift together flour, b.powder, and salt
  2. Beat egg whites until stiff. Gradually fold in 1/2 cup sugar.
  3. Mix egg yolks with water. Add in 1/4 cup sugar and beat until foamy.
  4. Fold egg yolk mix into egg white.
  5. Fold in flour mix.
  6. Bake 25 minutes @ 350 F

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Matrimony Cake, Date Shortbread, or Date Squares?

I love to bake, but I have issues!
In Toronto, I could bake as much as I wanted and then take it in to work. It would disappear lickety-split! But here, in BC, I really don't know anyone and I'm working from home. So...what to make and whom to give it to? Sure, I can pawn off some on my mom - she has a sweet tooth, but eventually I'll end up filling her freezer...or make her go into a diabetic coma! 

My sister and I are trying to lose weight, not gain more...and I'd rather have the calories of a Canadian 67 beer instead of sweets.  Hahah, just sayin'

I can't let that stop me! Tally-ho and carry-on!

Today's choice is Date Shortbread (Matrimonial Cake) from the Five Roses Flour Cookbook. Personally I can see the Matrimonial Cake name being more in keeping with the squares, or as I knew them growing up: Date Squares.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I've always viewed shortbread as a melt in your mouth biscuit type of cookie or bar...definitely not something with fruit.

Either way, perhaps these Date Square/Shortbread/Matrimonial Cakes will taste like the ones I remember my mom making!

The recipe for the crust is separate from the date filling in the cook book.  The date filling is actually used in quite a few of the recipes, which is why it's separate, I guess :)

So, moving on...

The filling:  Put 1/2 lb dates (chopped finely), 1/2 cup cold water, 2 tbsp brown sugar, grated rind of 1/2 an orange in a small pan,  and cook over moderate heat until thick and smooth. Add in 2 tbsp orange juice and 1 tsp lemon juice. That's all well and good, but not what I did.

I kind of messed up, I was supposed to add the juice once all the cooking was complete, but in my excitement I dumped everything in to the pot. I think it worked though! Also...I think moderate heat is to high as it was bubbling away and I thought it would burn before softening. In other recipes, it says bring to a boil and then simmer, so...that's what I did.  Also...I didn't have an orange, I forgot I ate it hahaha, so I used the zest of 2 lemons instead.  I did however have orange juice, so that part of the recipe is correct.

My filling: Put 1/2 lb dates (chopped finely), 1/2 cup cold water, 2 tbsp brown sugar,  zest of 2 lemons, 2 tbsp orange juice, and 1 tsp of lemon juice in a small pan. Cook on moderate heat until sauce begins to bubble and then simmer, stirring frequently.

I left it simmering for about 5 minutes while I got the dry ingredients ready, then left the filling to cool.

Sift your  1 1/2 cups flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp baking soda together in a bowl. Then add in the 1 cup of butter.  Make it all wonderfully crumbly using your fingertips. 

Add in the 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 1/2 cups of coarse oatmeal and mix until well combined.

The original recipe called for an 8 X 14 pan, which I didn't have, so I used a 9 X 13. I think it makes the bars quite thin. I think most people who make this probably do it in a 8 X 8 or 9 X 9 pan nowadays. Back in the day..haha, someones day.. not MINE! It was probably a very economical way to make a dessert stretch out for twice as many people and still taste as good. make a lot for guests at a wedding, is named Matrimony Cake after all...  I digress...

Press half the batter into the bottom of a greased pan. I greased, lined with parchment, and then greased again so I could easily remove the cake for cooling.

Spread the cooled date mixture onto the bars. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND using a spatula! I tried with the wooden spoon and it pulled up the crust, and also tried with my fingers..hahaha, bloody mess that was! My sister had to scrape my gooped up fingers off with the spatula, it wasn't pretty! :)  Apologies for the blurry picture.

Press the rest of the dough onto the date filling.  I really do think the 8 X 14 or 9 X 13 is stretching it thin. You can see the filling peaking out!
Bake for 30 - 40 minutes at 325 F and then turn up the heat just to brown at the end. I didn't need to, I baked mine 30 minutes and it was, for me, brown sister's oven is wonky though. You need to set the dial somewhere around 235 for the oven to heat to 350 F... so, I was guessing a bit to make it 325 F.

I took it out to cool. The parchment helped lift it out onto the rack. Even though it's thin, it looks yummy!

Date Shortbread (Matrimony Cake)
Five Roses Flour Cook Book - 1938 (page 69)


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2  cups old fashioned oatmeal

  1. Sift flour, baking powder, soda, and salt
  2. Rub in butter with the tips of your fingers
  3. Add sugar and oatmeal, mix well.
  4. Spread half the mixture in a greased shallow pan (about 8 X 14 inches) and pat to make smooth.
  5. Cover with cooled Date Filling, spreading it evenly, then cover with remaining crumbs, pat to make smooth.
  6. Bake at 325 F for 30 - 35 minutes.
  7. Increase heat slightly and bake for a few minutes longer to lightly brown the mixture.
  8. Cut in squares while hot and allow the shortbread to cool in the pan.

Date Filling
Five Roses Flour Cook Book - 1938 (page 58)

  • 1/2 lb chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Grated rind of 1/2 orange
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  1. Cook dates, water, orange rind, and sugar in a small saucepan, over a moderate heat until thick and smooth
  2. Remove from fire
  3. Add fruit juices; mix well.
  4. Cool before spreading

 My Note: These are the exact instructions from the book, my modifications are in the descriptive text :) Enjoy!