These are so decadent! They look wonderful!
This is a photo I bought online of Sorrento Terrace in Dalkey, The Terrace sits at the north end of Killiney Bay, and you can see Dalkey Island in the background. Over the years, the terrace has been painted different colors. I think I liked it best when each of the connecting terrace houses was painted a different color, some of them pink or purple. These days the entire terrace is painted white, as you can see.
This photo was taken in 1918 in Seattle, Washington. My great aunt was visiting her daughter and family, and I suspect she was staying at the boarding house which is shown on the left. There are other photos which clearly show the sign that is only partly shown here, and it says “McDorris Rooming House.” Ednah was on her second husband by this time, and unfortunately (or fortunately!), the marriage did not last very long.
Look at the stone building in the background and the statue that is atop it. Also note the wooden sidewalk. When I visited Seattle the first time, we went on a tour and were told about the wooden sidewalks which were put down in the streets to prevent people from having to walk in all the mud. You can see the mud in the street here.
I love cranberries, although it’s a taste I did not develop until I was well into my 30’s. When I saw this recipe in Good Housekeeping magazine a couple of years ago, I went for it! I made the first batch according to the recipe. For a second batch, I left out the nutmeg and added sage instead and stirred in about 2/3 cup of dried cranberries, making sure I got at least one dried cranberry in each meatball when I baked them. Much to my surprise, the second batch with sage and dried cranberries were gone in minutes after putting them out on my appetizer table! The recipe below is the original one with nutmeg. I have switched out the black pepper for white pepper because I like the white pepper better. I have also made these with ground turkey breast, which I think actually goes with the flavor of sage and cranberries better.
CRANBERRY MEATBALLS with CREAMY CRANBERRY SAUCE
1-1/4 pounds ground beef sirloin
1/3 cup dried bread crumbs (I always use Panko these days)
1/4 cup grated onion
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and white pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cranberry preserves or cranberry sauce (not the jelled kind)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a jelly roll pan with foil, spray lightly with nonstick spray. In bowl, combine beef, bread crumbs, onion, egg, nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and white pepper. Combine thoroughly. With tablespoon size cookie dough scoop, scoop mixture into balls, placing on pan, 1/2 inch apart. Spray meatballs with non-stick spray. Roast 20 to 25 minutes or until cooked through (165 degrees F).
Stir remaining ingredients in bowl except parsley. Garnish meatballs with parsley, serve with sauce.
I made this minestrone today and it’s simmering now. I substituted baby spinach leaves for the kale as I am not a big fan of kale, no matter how good it is for me. This is not dissimilar to the Melis Family Minestrone that I posted several days ago…the soup that the Melis Family of Sardinia eat every day for lunch. They are the family that are documented to live longer than any other known family on earth. Their soup has a lot of fennel in it, which I think has a lot of good benefits to it. See my earlier post for a commentary on same.
When my grandmother died in 1921 at the age of 40, my grandfather, Eli Shank, remarried a couple of years later. The woman he married, Carrie Massey, was a widow with three children, Finis, Hayden and Burniece. Eli had eight children left without a mother. Eldest daughter, Laura, married a short time after Eli married Carrie, leaving only seven kids to join with Carrie’s family of three children. Eli and Carrie went on to have three more kids, Walter, Warren and Jean. The photo above shows Eli and Carrie with sons Walter and Warren on the Shank farm outside of Phillipsburg, Laclede County, Missouri. This was taken some time in the late 1930’s. Walter went on to join the Navy during World War II and after returning to Missouri, he was killed in a freak car accident while coming home to Phillipsburg from Lebanon. He was a passenger in his step cousin’s car when a deer jumped across the road, striking the windshield with its foot. This was back before tempered glass, and a shard of glass went into Walter’s neck and he bled to death there on the road. Very sad. He was only 21 when he died.
This is an easy appetizer which people raved about when I made it for the first time at Christmas. I used Italian flavored breadsticks which complimented the prosciutto and Parmesan. The recipe came from Good Housekeeping magazine. I made these ahead of time and refrigerated for a couple of hours. However, you would not want to refrigerate them for a prolonged period or the breadsticks might get a little soggy.
EASY PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED BREADSTICKS
30 thick breadsticks
3/4 pound sliced prosciutto
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Place oven rack four inches from broiler heat source. Preheat broiler on high. Wrap each breadstick from top to bottom with prosciutto. Place on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Broil 30 seconds to one minute or until Parmesan has melted. Serve warm, but they are good at room temperature, too.
The Irish Sea was crashing against the rocks at Sandycove, County Dublin, Ireland on this day. I took this photo very near the James Joyce Museum in the Martello Tower. Note the intrepid walker in the right foreground.
This is a photo of my brother, Larry Marlin, taken about 1958 or very early 1959; He bought this 1957 Chevy and handed the family’s 1940 Chevy over to my brother, Richard so I think it’s probably 1958. Larry worked for Standard Oil stations which subsequently became Chevron.
This is another easy, quick appetizer from Good Housekeeping magazine. I had some friends over before Christmas for appetizers, and these were great to make ahead of time. I switched out the black pepper for white pepper because white pepper gives you a little kick. The next time I make these, I am going to add a little dry mustard to the mix, just to see what happens.
CHEDDAR CRAB PUFFS
3/4 cup water
4 tablespoons butter, cut up
salt and white pepper
3/4 cup flour
3 large eggs
1 cup shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese
6 oz picked over crabmeat.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a 3 quart saucepan, combine water, butter and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Heat to boiling on medium heat. Remove from heat and add flour and stir until a ball forms. Stir in eggs, one at a time, until dough is smooth and shiny. Stir in Cheddar and crab. With a tablespoon size cookie scoop, scoop mixture into balls onto parchment, spacing one inch apart. Bake 25 to 30 mintes or until golden brown, switching sheets on racks halfway through. Serve warm. To make ahead, place dough in resealable plastic bag, freeze up to one month. Can be frozen after baked. Reheat frozen puffs in 400 degree F oven 8 to 10 minutes.
I was standing on the rocks at Sandycove, County Dublin, Ireland when I took this photo looking south toward the shore of Dalkey. Bulloch Harbour is hidden behind the rocks on the right. On wild and windy days like this when there is also a cloud cover, it’s hard to get good color, so I have removed it all together and posted the black and white version below. I think I like it better. What do you think?
This is the Lawrence Ferrier Family some time in the 1940’s in Missouri. From left, Kenny, Junior, Eva Lee, Lawrence (Tex) and Bertie Ferrier. By the time I was born (or by the time I began to have memory of these people), Lawrence was dead, Bertie had remarried, and most of the family had moved to California. Here they look like they are either on their way to or from church, and again, they are showing off the family car! Lawrence Ferrier was my grandmother’s brother, so he would have been my great uncle.
I have not tried this recipe yet, but it sounds wonderful. It’s from Taste of Home magazine. The woman who submitted it says that even when someone in the family other than their mother volunteers to make apple pie, they always make sure their mom makes hers, too!
MOM’s MAPLE APPLE PIE
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnmon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 medium tart apples, peeled and thinly sliced (about 2-1/4 pounds)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 – 14 oz package refrigerated pie pastry
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
warm maple syrup, optional
Combine first five ingredients. In another bowl, toss apples with lemon juice. Add sugar mixture and toss to coat.
Unroll one pastry sheet into a 9 inch pie plate, trim even with rim. Add filling. Dot with butter, then drizzle with 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Unroll remaining pastry and place over filling. Trim, seal and flute edge. Cut slits in top, brush pastry with one tablespoon maple syrup.
Bake at 425 degrees F for 40 to 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cover pie loosely with foil during the last 20 minutes if needed to prevent overbrowning. Remove foil, cool on wire rack. If desired, serve with warm maple syrup.
This photo was taken February 14, 2010 and has my Aunt Laura, Aunt Mabel and Uncle Press posing for the photographer. Laura (Laura Leona Shank McGrew) is the eldest, born in 1901, she was the premature baby who was not expected to live. She went on to be 97 years of age before she died. She was just past 8 years of age when this photo was taken. Aunt Mabel (Mabel Ada Shank Rich Carlisle) is on the left, and was 5 years and 9 months old. Press (Harvey Preston Shank) is on the right, was 4 years old. There was a baby boy born prematurely before Laura who died, and two more baby boys in between Laura and Mabel who died at birth. The next six kids all survived (Press, Marguerite, Minnie, Anna (my mother), Virgil and Geneva), though Minnie, born in 1912, was “sickly and puny” according to one of her mother’s letters. She lived well into her 90’s. The last baby boy also died after only a couple months of life, and his mother then succumbed to death about two months later, leaving a grieving husband and eight children.
This is the lemon curd recipe that I use most often. I was surprised to see it in Southern Living magazine recently, exactly the same recipe, right down to the zest of six lemons! If you are not familiar with lemon curd, it is basically the same as lemon pie filling, give or take. The recipe below can be done in the microwave or on the stovetop, though I always do it on the stove. Lemon curd can be used for cake or cupcake fillings, trifles or just spread on a muffin, scone or tea bread of some sort. I love it!
QUICK and EASY LEMON CURD
Grate the zest from 6 lemons to equal 2 tablespoons. Cut lemons in half, squeeze juice to equal one cup.
Beat 1/2 cup butter, softened, and 2 cups sugar at medium speed until blended. Add 4 eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Gradually add lemon juice, beating at low speed until just blended, stir in zest. Mixture will look curdled. Transfer to a 3 quart microwave safe bowl.
Microwave on high for 5 minutes, stirring at 1 minute intervals. Then microwave another 1 to 2 minutes, stirring at 30 second intervals until thickened (coats the back of a spoon) and starts to mound slightly when stirred.
Place plastic directly onto curd and chill 4 hours or until firm. Store in airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Makes 2 cups.
Stovetop method: prepare as directed but instead of microwaving, transfer to a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, about 15 minutes until thickened. Then refrigerate as directed.
This is an old sepia photo on an advertising card for the Gresham Hotel, O’Connell Street, Dublin, Ireland. From the look of the cars, I would estimate it was taken some time in the 1920’s. Note that every room had central heating, hot and cold water, and a telephone, but not necessarily a bathroom in every room! When I first start going to Ireland in the 1990’s, I often walked up to O’Connell Street and then over to Mary’s Street and Moore Street to do some shopping. Sometimes I would walk back to the Gresham at lunch time or at the end of the afternoon. The hotel was a little bit worn and tattered back then and I have not been in it in many years, but it is still going strong and is used frequently as a hotel stopover for tour groups.
Here is a photo of a group of boys living at the State Training School in Chehalis, Washington in 1921, when my great aunt, Anna L. Faulkner, worked there as a cook and as a teacher of domestic science. She is second from the left. In the photo below, she is standing with three of the older boys — again behind the bushes!
Someone gave me a lot of Meyer lemons recently. They are wonderfully sweet and juicey because they were originally developed by crossing a lemon with an orange. If you are lucky to get them from someone’s tree, you will save a lot of money as they do tend to be very expensive. They don’t last a long time after being picked, so I refrigerated a few and reamed the rest and froze a few containers of juice for use later. I pulled out the recipe below and made it last week and got good reviews for my efforts. I posted it a few months ago but here it is again. The most time consuming part is making the graham cracker crust.
This is a recipe that my mother made a lot when she was older. It’s easy to make and does not require turning the oven on, so it’s great for summer as well as holidays. She made her own graham cracker crusts by combining graham cracker crumbs, a little sugar and melted butter, then pressing into a pie dish and baking until lightly browned. With a gluten free pie crust, the whole pie is gluten free.
SOUR CREAM LEMON PIE
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1-1/4 cups milk
3 eggs slightly beaten
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup margarine
1 cup sour cream
1 ready made graham cracker pie crust
In a 2 quart saucepan, stir together sugar and corn starch. Gradually stir in milk until smooth. Stir in next 3 ingredients. Add margarine. Stirring constantly, bring to boil over medium heat and boil one minute. Pour into large bowl and cover the surface of this mixture with waxed paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate 40 to 50 minutes or until cool but not set. Fold in sour cream. Turn into pie crust. Refrigeratoe 2 hours or until firm. Garnish with whipped cream. Servce six.
If you go back to my May 20, 2012 post, you will see a photo of my great aunt, Anna L. Falkner, when she worked at the State Training School in Chehalis, Washington in 1921. She cooked and taught domestic science, and the photo shows her in her unform with her kitchen tools. I think this photo is priceless, and it hangs in a prominent place in my kitchen. Aunt Annie only worked about a year at the State Training School. After that she moved to San Francisco where her daughter (Ednah) and grand daughter (Ruthanna Lewis) had settled. By this time, Ednah had divorced husband number three, Mr. Schick, and had resumed her first married name, Ednh Lewis.
The above photo is one of several snapshots I will be posting over the next few days from the State Training School in 1921. That’s Aunt Annie on the far right and the seven boys are dressed for her cooking class! Photo below shows Aunt Annie on her own. I am not sure why they took photos standing around and behind bushes, but it seems to be habitual for the period…either bushes or automobiles in a lot of the photos!
I watch GOOD MORNING AMERICA each morning from 7 to 8 am, then I switch to the TODAY Show for an hour. I used to watch TODAY exclusively, but with the departures over the years of Katie Couric, Meredith Vieira, and finally Anne Curry, I just don’t like their first hour line up any longer. And truth be told…I cannot stand watching Savannah Guthrie. I am sure she’s a lovely person, but for some reason, I just cannot take her seriously. It probably has something to do with her running, screaming across their outdoor plaza when they had frogs on the show for a Mark Twain Calavaras County segment. I mean, no doubt the woman is making millions…yet she ran, screaming, away from a frog when someone pointed it in her direction. That’s what I think of when she’s attempting to do a serious interview and it always makes me turn to something else. So I started watching GMA from 7 to 8. I go back to TODAY at 8 am and watch their special interest segments if they are presented by someone other than S.G.
It was during one of TODAY’s 8 am hour segments on longevity that I recently came across this recipe. They were interviewing Dan Buettner, who has written a book about the five places in the world where people live the longest: Ikaria, Greece; the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica; Okinawa (Japan) where the women live especially long and eat more tofu than anywhere else in the world; Loma Linda, California where there is a high concentration of Seventh Day Adventists who do not eat meat; and then the island of Sardinia (the Ogliastra Region), off the Italian coast. On Sardinia, one family has been studied for a few decades…the Melis Family…where the men live to be a 100 or more, and they do not die from heart disease, cancer or Alzheimer’s…they die from old age. Buettner noted that meat is eaten once a week on Sunday, not every day; fish is eaten occasionally but not in large quantities – 3 or 4 oz at most; and they drink the local wine made from Grenache grapes with every meal…yes, every meal! They eat unleavened bread, cheese made from goat’s milk and lots and lots of fruits and vegetables. They also eat whatever is growing in their own garden at any given time of the year, and every day they eat at least one cup of beans in the family minestrone soup. They use a lot of fava beans, cranberry beans and chickpeas (garbanzos) in this soup, but the experts say any type of bean is just fine. Lentils are also good.
When they did a demonstration making the soup on TODAY, they emphasized the use of fennel, as this is also something they eat in many, many dishes. And when I say they emphasized fennel, I mean they REALLY EMPHASIZED the fennel.
So I went to the store to buy fresh fennel and guess what? Had to go to three markets before I finally found one that had it in the produce department. It has a licorice like flavor and is sometimes called Aniseed or aniset; it comes in a couple of varieties but true fennel grows with an edible bulb on the bottom and leafy stalks on top. On tv they used the fern-like shoots from the stalks in the minestrone, but I also chopped up a little of the bulb and threw it in as I have sometimes baked fennel with other root vegetables and found the flavor very nice…it just isn’t something I use as a go to all the time.
The recipe below did not come with specific instructions, but I cooked the onion and garlic in the olive oil and then started throwing things in, using the juice the tomatoes were packed in for liquid. And even though there is a lot of tomato in the soup, it doesn’t taste so much of tomato once it has simmered for a few hours. If the broth looks low, add some water half way through.
I learned something interesting while the minestrone was simmering…that fennel has a very calming effect. I moved recently and am still living among boxes…sealed boxes, partially unpacked boxes, empty boxes…lots of boxes. My two house cats, Lucy and Boomer, did not take the move (or the downsize) well. They don’t particularly like each other under the best of circumstances, but in our last residence, they had plenty of room to have their own space. Now with less space and a new environment, tempers are short and for the first few weeks (after Lucy decided she was not going to live in the master closet for the rest of her life), there was a lot of hissing, spitting and growling when the two were in the same room at the same time. And I cannot emphasize the words “A LOT” enough! Also, Boomer would leap on Lucy (half his size– 18.8 pounds v. 8 pounds) for no apparent reason…just to exert his male dominance in the new space, I think. I ordered cat pheromone diffusers online and waited for them to arrive (this helped calm them down the last time we moved). In the meantime, I was simmering the soup…
The cats aren’t the only ones feeling the stress of moving…I was not far behind them. As the aroma of the heavily fennel-infused minestrone was spreading throughout the house, I suddenly realized that I was feeling less stressed for the first time in months! I had a bowl of soup with a glass of wine containing Grenache grapes, and I actually felt RELAXED! Then I noticed something amazing…the two enemy cats were sitting together in the dining room, their noses occasionally in the air, sniffing the minestrone aroma! No hissing, no spitting, no growling, no surprise attacks! By the next morning, most of the aroma had left the kitchen, and they were back to hissing at each other again. I went online and researched fennel and found that it is often used for its calming effect in aromatherapy. Interesting. Even more interesting…I have been eating the soup for lunch most days the past week and in the afternoons, my blood pressure, which normally goes up after lunch, dropped to a very acceptable level whenever I ate the soup. I am sure this has something to do with why the Sardinians live longer than the rest of us…
I made a much larger batch, undercooked the beans slightly (after soaking for a few hours) so they would not become mushy with reheating, froze it in smaller containers, and I sprinkled a little grated Pecorino cheese (sheep’s milk) on top with some white pepper. Oh…don’t use salt and pepper to season the soup until AFTER it is cooked and you are ready to serve it. I don’t find it really needs salt. This is another tip from the Sardinians.
If you want to find out more about Dan Buettner and his book, simply google Sardinian longevity diet and all sorts of articles will come up. There are also lists of foods from all five “longevity” areas online. The Seventh Day Adventists, for example, do eat salmon but no meat of any kind. A recent study showed that Seventh Day Adventists who ate fish once per week lived longer than total vegetarians. They also eat a lot of sour dough bread (not the yeast kind) and whole grains including oatmeal and whole wheat bread. The Japanese eat tofu, green tea, Shitake mushrooms and brown rice. The Costa Ricans and Greeks eat more fish, but like the Sardinians, not in huge quantities. Lots of beans, rice and squash for the Costa Ricans.
There has also been a study about combining olive oil with cooked tomatoes, which is also supposed to be very beneficial, and this recipe covers that theory as well.
Anyway, here the recipe. The soup is actually quite good, and since I really like Minestrone to begin with, I can see doing all sorts of things with it throughout the year (i.e. cauliflower florets and chopped baby spinach).
MELIS FAMILY MINESTRONE
1/2 cup dried peeled fava beans
1/2 cup dried cranberry beans
1/3 cup dried chickpeas
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped (about one cup)
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 medium celery stalks, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 – 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
3 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and diced
1-1/2 cups chopped fennel
1/4 cup loosely packed fredh Italian flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
2/3 cup Sardinian fregula, Israeli couscous or acini di pepe pasta
1/2 teaspoon salt (if desired, after simmered)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (add after simmering)
1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 2 oz).
Let me know if you try this soup!