Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Coming Attractions

Here's a quick look at the first two contest recipes!  The contest starts January 1st!



Also, to get in the mood for our Viennese Pastry Challenge, watch "From Vienna: The New Year's Celebration 2011" on Great Performances Saturday evening on PBS.

Until Saturday!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Way to a Man's Heart...

So, back in July I announced I was going to be cooking from A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband to explore what prescriptive literature was telling Americans to eat when our domicile was built.  Here's what I made before I decided to eat less calories (for, like, a month) because my annual thyroid exam was coming up, which is kind of like not brushing your teeth for a year and then brushing, flossing and mouthwashing for the month leading up to a dentist's appointment.

Chapter XXX (August) - A Cool Summer Day
Pork Chops
Escalloped Potatoes
Baked Apples

Chapter XXXII (August) - Bettina Attends a Morning Wedding
Fried Chicken
New Potatoes
Creamed Peas

Chapter XLI (August) - Bettina Entertains State Fair Visitors
Cold Fried Chicken
Corn on the Cob
Chocolate Cookies (pictured below)

I'm in a bit of a rush because I have to go prepare tonight's dinner, but if you are interested in any of the recipes, just let me know!  This is probably my last post before Christmas, so I hope everyone has a wonderful vacation.  Don't forget: the contest starts soon!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Trifling Matter

Any day I get to use my estate-sale champagne coupes is a good day. You'll remember, I had a Boston Cream Pie near-disaster a while ago.  Thankfully, I'm the kind of person who knows just what to do with cake crumbs!  These aren't really trifles, because they're missing the required fruit and/or jam layer.  They're actually a Southern dessert (my recipe is inspired by The Williamsburg Cookbook) called "Tipsy Parson" or "Tipsy Squire."  Naturally enough, Paul and I have christened this dessert "Squire Western."  ("Rouse yourself from this pastoral torpor, sir!" is one of our hands-down favorite quotations.)  Bonus: this is super-simple to make.

This amounts in this recipe are for an entire cake and entire recipe of custard and will serve 12-16 people and fill a trifle dish nicely.  Just halve the recipe if you are in the situation I was in!

Squire Western
Two 8"-round cake layers or one 8x8" cake (I used the One-Egg Cake recipe here.)*
1 recipe Custard Filling, completely cooled
1/2 cup cream sherry (I use Harvey's Bristol Cream because it's cheap and has a royal warrant.)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup slivered almonds

First, place the slivered almonds on a baking sheet and toast under the broiler until lightly browned (keep an eye on it.) Set aside.

Crumble the cake into the bottom of a trifle dish or into the bottom of individual dessert dishes.  Set aside.

Using a whisk, aggressively beat the custard filling while you pour in the obscene amount of sherry.  Pour this lusciousness over the crumbled cake, cover and place in the fridge.  You can do all of this several hours to a few days in advance.  Wait at least the several hours to let the sherry custard soak into the cake.

Just before serving, beat the heavy cream to not-quite-soft-peak territory.  It should be thickened but not too stiff.  Pour it on top of the sherry custard-soaked cake and, if you're using the trifle dish, spread it around evenly.  Top with the toasted almonds.  Enjoy!

*It's best if the cake is a little stale, so leave it wrapped and on the counter for a couple days or freeze for use later.  Stale cake will soak up the boozy custard better than fresh cake, which is very important.


Recommendation for a double feature:

Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes (1938)
Carol Reed's Night Train to Munich (1940)

Margaret Lockwood stars in both films.  In The Lady Vanishes, she witnesses the disappearance of a fellow train passenger and enlists Michael Redgrave in the search.  In Night Train to Munich, Lockwood escapes from a concentration camp with Paul Henreid, but needs the help of Rex Harrison to escape the Gestapo.  Keep an eye out for Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne, who play Charters and Caldicott, a pair of cricket-obsessed Englishmen, in both films.

These films would be great for a family movie night over the holidays.  They're kid- and grandparent-appropriate and thoroughly enjoyable for everyone.  Both movies are available on DVD from the Criterion Collection and The Lady Vanishes is available on Netflix Watch Instantly and from The Internet Archive.


In case you missed yesterday's post, be sure to read about my brand-spanking-new contest!

Tipsy Squire on FoodistaTipsy Squire

Sunday, December 19, 2010

An invitation to join me in my kitchen adventures...

The holiday season is probably the only time most people even think about Austria--The Sound of Music is usually on TV around Christmas and then PBS airs the annual Vienna Philharmonic New Year's Day Concert.  I, however, have an obsession with Viennese coffeehouses (Kaffeehäuser) and all things Alpine (I blame The Lawrence Welk Show* and, of course, The Sound of Music).  My first Foods of the World purchase was The Cooking of Vienna's Empire, I have a copy of Lilly Joss Reich's sadly-out-of-print The Viennese Pastry Cookbook on order from Amazon and I've checked out  Kaffeehaus and The Classic Art of Viennese Pastry from the library.  On Friday, I bought a springform cake tin.  I'm ready to go!


After Christmas, I'm going to start baking my way through The Viennese Pastry Cookbook.  I hope you'll join me!  If you do decide to make one of the recipes, leave a comment on the post for the recipe you chose (and tell me why you chose that particular recipe) and how it turned out (and why).  If you take a photo or write a blog entry, be sure to include a link.  You can sign up for one of the photo-sharing websites for free.  At the end of each month (starting with January), I'll randomly select a "hey-I-tried-that" comment from that month's posts and the person who wrote the selected comment will receive a Viennese-baking-related prize.  The more recipes you try, the more chances to win!  You don't have to have an account to comment, either, just be sure to leave your name!  I don't generally get many comments, so there's a good statistical chance of winning.

Stay tuned for the first baking assignment!