Monday, June 22, 2015

Pork Chops and Scalloped Potatoes

My sister nicely reminded me yesterday that I've been slacking off on this blog.  So I figured I better remedy that quick!

A month or so ago I dug out a recipe my Aunt had written out for my mom for Pork Chops and Scalloped Potatoes. By the looks of the paper, it's been in my mom's possession for quite a while.

To be honest, I didn't use Cream of Chicken Soup. I went across the highway to the market and Cream of Chicken soup was like $3.49 a can or something outstandingly crazy, but they had a sale on Cream of Mushroom for $1.50 or less, I can't really remember now. I thought I had written this all up somewhat before, but I guess I didn't …dang, old age and my failing memory! …so…anyways, I used Cream of Mushroom soup instead.

As a side note, I think my oven was failing then. I think it was cooking at a lower temp than it should of been. It was the next day or so that I went to make biscuits and the oven died completely…I tried cooking the biscuits in a frying pan…not recommended…really, just don't do it :) I should of just froze the dough. *Sigh* Lesson learned :)

Back to the pork chops - the recipe is quite simple and straight forward.

Chop up some onions and slice some potatoes. Have I mentioned before that I really hate onions? I didn't use a lot of them.  Do you like the fancy picture taking, I used my green and white cutting mats and just slid them close together :)

Next layer the potatoes and onions in a greased 9 X 13 dish.

Spread the 2 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup over the potatoes and onions.

Costco has the most amazing pork chops. They are so thick that I had to cut them in half (one I cut in 3) just to make them the thickness of regular grocery store pork chops for this recipe, but if you get a chance to get some, definitely try them on the barbeque - so delicious! (and no need to cut them in half) YUM!

Dunk the pork chops in milk and then in seasoned bread crumbs (sage, parsley, and seasoning salt).

Place them on the potatoes and soup, cover with foil and bake for an hour or so at 350 degrees.

Remove foil and bake for another 10 mins or so until pork chops crisp up a bit.

Serve and enjoy. I think this would work with Cream of Chicken, Cream of Potato, Cream of Celery, etc. Pick whichever soup you like. It's a pretty simple recipe to get in the oven after work.

My mom used to make something similar with rice instead of the potatoes. It was basically the same recipe though.

Hopefully this makes my sister happy and she can have some faux Scalloped Potatoes and pork chips with some very real memories :)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Banana Bread Bake Off - Five Roses vs Purity

I love Banana Bread that actually tastes like it has bananas in it. Not big mushy chunks, but a nice banana flavour through the bread. Yum, combined with the soft crunchiness of walnuts - yummy in my tummy. Oooh, can't forget the crust bit either....give me a minute, must go eat a slice...or two...for testing!

Banana Bread Bake Off
Purity on the left, Five Roses on the right

I had a bunch of ripe bananas, more than enough for just one loaf.  I have a go to recipe, but this is about the cookbooks, so..which one to make? Why not a loaf from each book, right? Right!

I decided to make them both at the same time, so I kept everything divided left and right so I wouldnt mix anything up! haha, it could easily happen, I don't know how many times I've recounted cups of flour when making bread because I wasn't paying attention.

I gathered up all the ingredients and then got started.  The only real difference in the recipes are the amounts of flour, bananas, etc.

I wont bore you with the step by step of each. The actual steps for making them were pretty much identical. Put all the dry together. Mix all the wet with the mashed bananas and then mix those together and put in oven.

The Purity Banana bread has more flour, more bananas, more baking powder etc. And this can be seen in the batter - it's more frothy and gassy looking....

while baking;  you can really see the height of the loafs...

Five Roses on the left, Purity on the right

and when cooling and getting ready for my tummy....

Purity on the left, Five Roses on the right

I figured the crust of the Five Roses would be darker, since it took a few more minutes baking before the toothpick inserted came out clean, but I really didn't think there would be such a difference on the inside.

Purity on the left, Five Roses on the right

The Purity loaf is a lot darker than the Five Roses loaf.

The big question...taste. That's really all that matters in the end. Well, these are both good breads, not great, but good.  I think perhaps adding nutmeg or cinnamon would help too.  Don't get me wrong, they were good enough that I shared them, but I won't make them again.

For me, they just don't seem banana-eee enough. I think though, If I had to choose, I would go with the Five Roses loaf since I prefer the denser texture. The difference between the two breads for banana flavour really isn't a big enough difference for it to matter to me.

Five Roses Purity
TASTE 60% banana flavour 65% banana flavour
TEXTURE Denser, sturdier, my preference Moister - could become gummy if undercooked
CRUST Ok, as expected More flavourful, better crunch

I still have half a loaf in my freezer, which I think I'll take with me when I go visit family in April. Other wise it will just stare guiltily at me every single time I open the door of the fridge. Every single time...calling out to me...Eat Me....



Thursday, February 5, 2015

Prize Butter Tarts

I love butter tarts - there, I've said it. Aloud. To you.

The ones I like best are the ones where the brown sugar is dissolved completely so there is no grainy sugar texture; gooey with just the right amount of runniness.  Everyone has their favorite family recipe and this one is mine.

99% of the time I can find someone who makes anything I can make 100 times better than I could make it. Hahah, now that's a sentence! I keep trying though, but these tarts, to me... are as good - if not better - than any I've found. The only improvement on what is written here is when the filling is paired with a homemade crust, but I had a bunch of tart shells in the freezer...and really, I'm thinking you won't mind, since you can't really taste what I'll have to trust me and make them for yourself! :)

The recipe I love is from the 1970's Five Roses Flour cook book and it must of held the test of time because it was in their 1938 cook book also. The only difference is that the cooking temperature changed to 375 F instead of starting at 450 F and being turned down to 350 F.   I go the easy route and bake at 375 for the entire time. Just easier than babysitting the tarts in the oven...but you are free to try the other way too.

The ingredients are simple and most likely you have everything in your cupboard right now to get started. I doubled the recipe and used raisins instead of currents ...and added some walnuts, but that's just my preference.

I've seen other recipes that do not mention melting the butter, which could be the issue I've encountered with grainy tasting tarts. The 1938 recipe below doesn't state melting the butter but the newer version does. I'm not sure if they meant to use room temperature butter or every housewife just knew to melt it. I personally think the latter; in 1938 I'm pretty sure you left the house being able to cook and bake,  unlike nowadays.

Prize Butter Tarts - ingredients

Mix everything together, except the raisins/currents, making sure the brown sugar is blended and well dissolved.  I'm using darker brown sugar, so the mix doesn't look all that appealing, but it is yummy none-the-less.

Prize Butter Tarts - blended sugar mixture

Stir in the raisins/currents and nuts (if you want them).

Prize Butter Tarts - mixture with nuts

Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or grease your muffin tins if you are making your own pastry.  Fill the tart shells 2/3 full. A single batch of the butter tart mixture should make 12 tarts.

Prize Butter Tarts - Ready for the oven

Bake 375 F for 20 minutes or 450 F for 8 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350 F and watch over them until they are nicely browned.

Prize Butter Tart

Let cool on the pan for a few minutes and then move to a baking sheet to cool a bit more. Careful, they have to cool a bit or the hot melted sugar can burn! After a sufficient amount of time - try not to eat more than one!

Prize Butter Tarts
Five Roses Flour - 1938 (pg 144)

Prize Butter Tarts - Five Roses Flour - 1938
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sifted brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp milk of cream
  • 12 cup currents
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pastry shells

Mix ingredients together and place spoonfuls of the mixture in patty tins which have been lined with rich pastry or cookie dough. Bake in a hot oven (450 F) for 8 minutes; reduce temperature to 350 deg F. and bake until pastry is delicately browned.

To make Taffy Tarts, use the same mixture with currents omitted.

Prize Butter Tarts - Five Roses Flour - 1970's

Monday, February 2, 2015

Sweetpotato Biscuits

I love sweetpotato; boiled, mashed, or roasted. So why not biscuits?

I found a recipe in the Culinary Arts Institute cookbook that I thought would be interesting to try and it didn't have a lot of ingredients either. Might I add that I still need to figure out the lighting in my place, but I'm a bit lazy – sorry :)

I gathered up all the ingredients, boiled and mashed the sweetpotatoes and set them aside to cool. 

Sweetpotato biscuits ingredients

I mixed up the flour, salt, and baking powder and set the oven to preheat. I 'cut' in the shortening using the tips of my fingers until it looked like coarse corn meal. For some reason I find this very satisfying and I like the feel of the flour and shortening at this stage, it makes me want to run my fingers through it. Sadly, it will melt the shortening or butter if I give in to that temptation :)

Sweetpotato biscuits flour and shortening

I mixed the milk with the mashed potatoes and was rightfully skeptical, it's a wee (by wee I mean A LOT) gloppy - that's my technical term for goopy runny mess.

I added the orange goop to the flour mixture and stirred quickly as the directions indicated. With the baking powder it became airy, but very sticky.  I think the recipe really needs more flour. I scraped it out onto the counter with a lot of flour. I think I must of added at least another 1/2 a cup or more. before I could pat it out enough to cut and not have it stick to everything. Kneading wasn't really a priority or feasible.

I used a cute little cup that I had purchased at Ikea years ago to cut the dough. I think it was a kids cup and came in a package of three. I loved them because of the little round bubbles encircling the bottom. I never use them really, they sit in my cupboard until I need something like this. I drink out of coffee cups all the time instead of glasses, go figure?! A few times when I've needed tea candle holders I have used the little cups and they worked great. So they weren't a total waste of money, Ha ha ha!

Sweetpotato biscuit dough

 I think the recipe as written needs some adjusting. I checked online and similar recipes start off with 2 cups of flour and the same amount of milk and sweetpotato, so I think this one just slipped by without product testing. 

They look pretty sad getting ready to go in the oven. :(

Sweetpotato biscuits ready for the oven

But...they baked up better than I hoped and puffed up slightly. Taste wise, hrmmm.. I think the batter would go amazingly well as dumplings cooked on the top of a stew, but they are nothing special as a biscuit.

Sweetpotato biscuits

90 - 95  calories / 5 grams of fat each - give or take :)

Sweetpotato Biscuits
Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook - 1950 (pg 158)

  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour 
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder 
  • 3/4 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 cup shortening (cold) 
  • 1.5 cups sweet potato (mashed)
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together
  2. Cut in shortening.
  3. Combine milk and sweetpotatoes.
  4. Add to first mixture and stir quickly.
  5. Knead lightly, using as little flour as possible on board.
  6. Roll out to 1/2" thickness, cut with floured cutter.
  7. Place on greased baking sheet and bake in hot oven (425 F) for 12-15 minutes
Makes 25 biscuits.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Lemon Cake Mix Snickerdoodles

Well, this recipe isn't from one of my mom's cookbooks - although I can't say for sure,  a few of the cookbooks do include a lot of prepackaged food recipes, and housewives of that time were no doubt looking for some way to spice up that plain old can of peas, but this isn't about peas, it's about making simple cookies. Simple soft yummy cookies!

Lemon Cake Mix Snickerdoodles

I wanted to try this recipe for quite a while and this turned out to be the day. I had to work the 2am shift for two nights so it completely messes up my system since I'm not all geared up for it. I didn't have the motivation for anything with more than a few ingredients and wanted minimal cleanup.

You can find this recipe all over the web; the only difference is in the brand of cake mix they tell you to use.  The recipe doesn't call for vanilla, but I added a teaspoon anyways.

I had a No Name brand Lemon Cake mix so I decided to use that. Yes, No Name is an in-store brand name in Canada :) I lived in a town once that sold Beer beer too :)

Basically you get all the ingredients together and combine the sugar and cinnamon separately.  

Combine the cake mix, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup of oil and 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon-sugar mixture in large bowl. Mix until well blended. The batter will be really soft, but not sticky. It's easy to roll in your hands, but hard to make a perfect ball shape, but that's ok, the cookie dough will get flattened slightly.

Roll into 1 - 1.5" dough balls and then roll in reserved sugar-cinnamon mixture to coat.

Lemon Cake Mix Snickerdoodle dough ball in sugar

Place on parchment covered (or greased) cookie sheet about 2" apart. Gently press down on the cookie with the bottom of a glass.

Lemon Cake Mix Snickerdoodles ready for the oven

Bake for 8 - 9 minutes in a 375 F oven.  ENJOY! 

Lemon Cake Mix Snickerdoodles

  • 3 Tbsp. sugar 
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon  
  • 1 package Yellow cake mix (or whatever kind you Lemon or Chocolate)  
  • 2 large eggs  
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease baking sheets. 
  2. Blend sugar and cinnamon in small bowl; set aside. 
  3. Combine cake mix, eggs, oil and 1 tablespoon cinnamon-sugar mixture in large bowl with wooden spoon until blended.
  4. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in remaining cinnamon sugar mixture. Place 2-inches apart on prepared pans. If desired, flatten balls with bottom of a glass. 
  5. Bake 8 to 9 minutes or until set. Cool cookies 1 minute on pan. Cool completely on wire rack. 
  6. Baking Tip: Use a 1 to 1-1/4-inch scoop to form dough into balls. For best results, bake one baking sheet at a time. If baking two sheets together, rotate pans halfway through baking.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Potato Carrot Mold with Tomato Sauce

Happy New Year!  I wish you all the love that can fill your heart, laughter that makes you pee your pants, and happiness that causes your cheeks to hurt!

The holidays are mostly over, I say mostly because I still have my Christmas tree up :) Who knows, I might keep it up until the snow melts!

I had a nice quiet dinner with my mom on Christmas day. We had Turkey and all the fixings. It was nice. I didn't know what to get her - there isn't much a person with terminal cancer needs except a miracle and more time, neither of which I can provide. My sister had a good suggestion, so I went with all the Christmas treats my mom loves (sardines, oysters, crackers, roasted nuts, etc) and put them all together in a gift tray. She seemed to like it :)

I worked between Christmas and New Years and I spent a bit more time crocheting. I'm addicted to it lately. I feel so old! haha - but I did make and sell 2 hats and a doggie jacket without trying and sent off 2 hats/2 headbands to Ontario. Seriously...I need a life ;)

Now, knowing I have no life, I decided it was time to make something from the cookbooks that was simple and would get me back to the crochet hook quicker. Just kidding...haha, I had a lot of potatoes to get rid of.

At first I figured I would just make the Potato and Carrot mold, foregoing the tomato sauce since it sounds like an odd combination, but really, the potatoes and carrots mashed together are just that, mashed carrots and potatoes and nothing special. But YUM, perhaps I just had a craving for tomatoes or something, but it was SO GOOD with the potatoes and carrots. I couldn't stop eating it! YUM YUM YUM.  I think this is my new way of eating mashed carrots/potatoes! It may not look all that appetizing, but it filled my tummy with love :)

Potato Carrot Mold with Tomato Sauce

I didn't follow the tomato sauce recipe listed below since I didn't have any canned tomatoes, but I did have a can of tomato sauce (not to be confused with pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, or tomato paste). I sauteed some garlic and then added it with onion flakes, salt and pepper to the sauce. It was simple and lovely.

Carrots and Potatoes

The recipe calls for 3 medium carrots and 3 medium potatoes. Argg, I hate that. It's so arbitrary and I have no idea what the average medium potato/carrot size was n 1950's. I don't even know what the average is in 2015! So, best guess as shown above. 

I chopped them up nicely and boiled them in salted water until tender. They do look pretty sitting in the pot ready to go :)

I gave away my hand mixer to a guy I dated last year...didn't work out, move on, so I was left with the options of using my kitchenaid ( or unpacking my food processor (, so the immersion blender was the only other choice...and I'm happy to say that it works wonderfully for this!

If you don't know the average medium carrot and potato size in 1950, you may want to add more or less warm milk to the mixture as you blend. I added the cup full and it was a bit too much, but really, it only changed the consistency, not the flavour.

I put the mix in two casserole dishes to bake. They came out of the oven looking the same as they went in. There was no browning on top. Possibly due to the extra milk.

Potato Carrot mold
Ready for oven
Potato Carrot mold
Out of Oven
It's not the most appetizing of foods with the tomato sauce on it, but I recommend giving it a shot.

Potato Carrot Mold
Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook - 1950 (pg 482)

  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  1. Pare potatoes and carrots and cook together in boiling salted water until tender; mash.
  2. Add milk, butter, salt, and pepper; beat until fluffy.
  3. Pour into greased casserole and bake in moderate oven (350 F) 20 minutes, or until browned.
  4. Serve with Tomato Sauce.  For 4.

Tomato Sauce
Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook - 1950 (pg 490)

  • 2 1/2 cups canned tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves, 2 tbsp fat
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  1. Cook tomatoes, onion, and cloves together for 10 minutes. 
  2. Melt fat, add flour, salt, and pepper and blend.
  3. Add tomato mixture and cook 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly.
  4. Strain.
  5. Makes 1 cup sauce.