Thursday, June 30, 2011

Vintage Recipe Thursday/Life this Week: June 27, 1938

I got lucky, because the June 27th (1938) issue of Life magazine has two recipes in it: Gem Tossed Salad and Gin Juleps.

1938 drink, 1938 telephone

First off, the gin juleps were a disaster.  Don't get me wrong.  I love gin (as you probably know if you read this blog with any regularity), but I fully believe gin is made to be mixed.  Sipping straight gin with some ice and mint is not my idea of a refreshing drink.  "Refreshing" drinks don't burn.  That's what's great about a Gin and Tonic or a Gin and French or a White Lady.  I've never had a mint julep before, though, because I'm not the biggest fan of bourbon unless it's got lots of soda in it or if it's in a baked good.  Paul didn't like his gin julep either, but if you'd like to try it, the instructions are at the link above.

an individual bowl of Gem Tossed Salad

I was worried about the Gem Tossed Salad, but it turned out to be pretty tasty.  The recipe sounds like it was created by an insane person: lettuce, watercress, avocado, olives, vinaigrette dressing (OK so far), grapefruit sections and pineapple tidbits.  To be honest, though, it's pretty typical of the twentieth-century salad.  I used everything except the watercress, because ours had gone all manky in the fridge.  I don't have a recipe; I just put in the amount of everything that looked right.  As for the "French dressing," I used a 3 to 1 extra-virgin olive oil to lemon juice mix and added salt and pepper and "Italian herb mix."  Once you get the salad all tossed together, everything tastes like dressing and avocado.  Not a bad thing.


Reading "America: Millions of Its People Set Out to See Their Country" made me realize I need to do a lot more domestic exploring.  The only attraction I've been to on the list is Emporia, Kansas.  That is, if eating at the Pizza Hut counts, which I doubt.  Which attractions have you seen?


The Tivo is back.  It turns out that the big electrical storm we had actually fried the outlet that powered the TV, which threw the HDMI port (which was connected to the Tivo) out of whack.  We turned off the breakers last night and Paul opened up the outlet and we discovered that there was a bare wire in there touching a rusty screw.  Fabulous.  We plugged the TV into a different outlet and now everything (except that poor HDMI port) is hunky dory.  I'm now waiting on the landlords to arrive to fix our dangerous outlet.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Movie Recommendations: July 2011

To all of you who've asked, our Tivo is still out despite two visits from cable repairmen.  Paul's on the phone with Tivo right now, because our cable is no longer electrically charged, but the Tivo is making sparks when the cable is brought anywhere near it.  It blew out an HDMI port on the TV Saturday.  Hopefully, it will be up and running soon, because there are a lot of movies I'd like to record!

All times are CST; all movies are on TCM.

  • Strangers on a Train (F 7/1 2:00 p.m.) Super-creepy Robert Walker traps Farley Granger in a murder plot.  Not to be missed.
  • Tom Jones (Sa 7/2 7:45 a.m.) an excellent, very funny adaptation of the Henry Fielding classic
  • Pygmalion (Sa 7/2 8:45 p.m.) better than My Fair Lady, even without the Cecil Beaton costumes, Rex Harrison and Jeremy Brett
  • To Be or Not to Be (Su 7/3 3:45 a.m.) Jack Benny and Carole Lombard star in this Ernst Lubitsch comedy about Polish actors who get caught up in the resistance movement during the German invasion
  • On the Town (Su 7/3 12:00 p.m.) one of those Gene Kelly/Frank Sinatra musicals, but this one has Ann Miller
  • The Scarlet Coat (M 7/4 11:15 a.m.) I'm only recommending this one because George Sanders is in it--as a British spy during the American Revolution; it's total crap
  • Summertime (Tu 7/5 1:45 p.m.) Katherine Hepburn falls for Rossano Brazzi (who wouldn't?) while vacationing in Venice
  • Doctor Zhivago (Tu 7/5 3:30 p.m.) Be prepared for "Somewhere My Love" to be stuck in your head for days; it really is a good movie, though
  • The Sheik (W 7/6 12:00 a.m.)
  • That Forsyte Woman (W 7/6 11:00 a.m.) Errol Flynn gets the thankless task of playing Soames Forsyte; Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon co-star as Irene and Young Jolyon; the Masterpiece Theatre version is better, but doesn't have Errol Flynn

  • The Scarlet Pimpernel (F 7/8 10:45 a.m.) So my favorite Pimpernel is the 1982 Anthony Andrews/Jane Seymour one, but Leslie Howard does a fantastic job in this version (if you can stand Merle Oberon as Lady Blakeney)
  • It's Love I'm After (F 7/8 12:30 p.m.) a bit of an oddball film--Leslie Howard and Bette Davis in a romantic comedy
  • Casablanca (Su 7/10 5:00 p.m.) Play it, Sam!
  • The Bride Wore Red (Th 7/14 5:00 p.m.) A ridiculous plot in which a saloon girl (Joan Crawford) poses as an aristocrat, but ends up falling for mailman Franchot Tone; I really liked it, though
  • Road to Morocco (Th 7/14 9:00 p.m.) Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, silly jokes: I love it

  • The Saint Strikes Back (Sa 7/16 5:00 a.m.)  I get all the Saint movies confused, but it stars George Sanders, who makes a damn good Simon Templar (take that, Val Kilmer)
  • Mogambo (Sa 7/16 9:15 p.m.) Paul and I spent a lazy, rainy Sunday morning watching this remake of Red Dust; great on-location filming
  • The Male Animal (Su 7/17 8:15 p.m.) Henry Fonda is a college professor who has to battle stupid university trustees and his wife's (Olivia de Havilland) former suitor
  • A Face in the Crowd (Tu 7/19 5:45 a.m.) You MUST see this film.  It is one of the most amazing movies I've ever seen. Andy Griffith plays against type to perfection and Patricia Neal and Walter Matthau are magnificent; Elia Kazan was a genius.

  • The Son of the Sheik (F 7/22 1:00 a.m.)
  • Victor/Victoria (Tu 7/26 12:00 p.m.) James Garner falls for female female-impersonator Julie Andrews
  • Ivanhoe (Sa 7/30 3:00 p.m.) This movie is pretty much terrible, but it has George Sanders in it.  You might want to read the hokey book instead.
  • All Quiet on the Western Front (Sa 7/30 7:00 p.m.) devastating portrayal of the horrors of World War I; I won't be re-watching it, but if you haven't seen it, you probably should
  • Road to Utopia (Su 7/31 7:00 p.m.) Another Bob Hope/Bing Crosby/Dorothy Lamour road movie
There are actually a good number of films I haven't seen that will be on this month.  So, I'm excited about that.  Here's a list of new-to-me George Sanders movies I'll be recording for possible inclusion in the next film fest:
  • Action in Arabia (Th 7/7 8:30 p.m.)
  • Trunk to Cairo (F 7/8 12:00 a.m.)
  • King Richard and the Crusaders (W 7/27 12:30 a.m.)
For Lisa, here's a photo of an all-grown-up Ty Power (twenty-two in the photo in my last post, twenty-eight in this still from The Black Swan):


    In the spirit of full disclosure, I'm a bit biased toward Tyrone; this portrait was in my locker in high school along with numerous Errol Flynn photos:

    Saturday, June 25, 2011

    Forever Nigella: Nursery Fish Pie

    Thanks to Kat at Housewife Confidential for hosting the sixth Forever Nigella Blogging Event.  
    The Official Forever Nigella page is at Maison Cupcake.

    I've talked about the problems associated with seafood in a landlocked state before, but that evidently hasn't kept me from attempted to add fish and seafood to our meals.  I decided I'd like to make Nigella Lawson's Nursery Fish Pie, because a) it's so very British, b) I've never had fish pie before, nursery or otherwise, and c) I was slightly afraid of it.  We didn't eat a lot of fish at my parents' house (also in a landlocked state), so I had no idea if poached fish (and poached smoked fish) in a cheesy béchamel sauce covered in cheesy mashed potatoes was something I would like or not.  Thankfully, since the smoked rainbow trout was so expensive, the pie was very tasty.  I had to use smoked rainbow trout instead of smoked haddock, because our grocery store didn't have any smoked haddock and the fishmonger by our house promised to get some for me and didn't.  Also, I used U.S. wild-caught Atlantic pollock instead of the fresh haddock because that was the whitefish that was available this week that comes from a country with rules about food safety.  Plus it was on sale for $3 per pound, so I think I got a pretty good deal.

    I forgot to hard-boil eggs, so I had to leave those out (so maybe I didn't get a truly authentic Nursery Fish Pie), but added extra green peas to make up for it.  I actually followed the recipe for the most part; I only made 1/4 recipe and discovered it was enough for four people, not two.  I didn't want to risk four packages of smoked rainbow trout on a dish I'd never tried before!  Half of a Nigella-sized serving was plenty (even for the husband), because the dish is very dense and rich.  I did double the amount of milk for the poaching and the béchamel.

    Single-serving Nursery Fish Pie with a side of Carottes étuvées au beurre from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

    The sky east of our house last Saturday evening

    In other news, we had a storm last Saturday night that messed with our cable signal.  According to the Tivo people, the signal is strong enough to get a picture to the television, but not strong enough to allow the Tivo to record it.  So--I've been largely without film-recording capacity all week.  I even had to record a George Sanders movie with the upstairs VCR.  The cable technician is supposed to come out this afternoon to adjust our signal strength.  Fingers crossed that it actually works...

    Speaking of George Sanders movies, I did manage to record Lloyd's of London (1936) before the Tivo went on strike.  Lloyd's of London is suitably British and maritime to go with a Nursery Fish Pie, I should think.  First-billed Freddie Bartholomew (who was the biggest star out of the cast at the time) plays Jonathan Blake, portrayed as an adult by Tyrone Power (a baby-faced twenty-two-year-old in his first starring role).  Blake goes from waiting tables in his aunt's tavern to working as an errand-boy for the syndicates at Lloyd's Coffee House to English spy and leader of his own ship-insuring syndicate.  Quite a life!  I don't know much about the historical accuracy of the script, but if other 1930s productions are any indication, I wouldn't try using this film as a source for a paper!  George Sanders, in his first American production, tries to throw a wrench into the works as the suitably caddish (what else?) husband of Jonathan Blake's lady love, played by Madeleine Carroll.  All in all, this is a solidly entertaining film.  I enjoyed it.  Keep an eye out for Una O'Connor and C. Aubrey Smith in small, but deliciously fun, roles.

    George Sanders and Tyrone Power face off; Madeleine Carroll intercedes

    Lloyd's of London is not available on DVD, but is shown on Turner Classic Movies.

    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    Breakfast Club: Finnish Blueberry-Filled Buns (Mustikkapiiraat)

    Helen at Fuss Free Flavours started Breakfast Club last year, but this is my first time to participate. Thanks to Nayna at for hosting Breakfast Club #12: Berries.

    Finnish Blueberry Buns

    I fully intended to post a recipe for my adaptation of this recipe (I made it in the bread machine), but I think I need another go-round. I loved the idea of putting cardamom in the dough, but I don't think there was enough, because I couldn't taste it at all. Also, the blueberry filling wasn't as tasty as I had hoped. It has a whopping 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in it and I could definitely taste it. They're not bad, but they're not as good as I hoped they would be, but they're promising enough to tweak a bit and try again.

    The recipe is from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas, which I picked up in Lindsborg ("Little Sweden USA") in December when Paul and I drove up there for the St. Lucia festival. It's a really cute little town that has a wonderfully preserved downtown that's very pedestrian-friendly. Lindsborg is about 72 miles north and a bit west of Wichita and 20 miles south of Salina.  It's cold there in December.

    Naturally, I didn't take my camera, but here's a photo I found on flickr of Lindsborg's Main Street in the summer. The little painted horse is one of many "Wild" Dalas in downtown Lindsborg. You can click on the photo to enlarge.

    Main Street, Lindsborg, Kansas

    This is where we had a yummy lunch, a cinnamon roll and lots of coffee:

    Another of the dalas:


    We also visited the McPherson County Old Mill Museum which included a tour of the town's old flour mill:
    Old Mill

    We had a really awesome tour guide who currently works at one of the flour mills in Salina. He was one of the most knowledgable history museum guides I've ever met.

    My favorite part of the museum, though, was the charmingly absurd and slightly creepy cabinet of curiosities directly past the museum gift shop (where I bought the cookbook). There's an entire room full of mangey taxidermal examples of local wildlife from birds to bobcats. Everyone else did a quick once-over, commented with disgust and moved on.  Paul and I examined every sparrow, snake and skunk. To us, it went a little way toward making up for the fact that we hadn't heard of Deyrolle until after we had been to Paris. Alas, I could find no photos online. I guess I'll just have to go back and take some in a crafty manner. I promise not to use a flash.

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Life This Week: June 20, 1938

    Poster from Wikipedia

    This weekend, Paul asked me if there were any movies I'd like to go see.  I couldn't think of anything and neither could he.  Evidently, this isn't a new problem.  The year 1938 saw the cinematic rerelease of many older films due to cuts made in the film industry.  There were 60 fewer films made in 1938 than in 1937 and something had to fill the gap.  These rereleased films performed better than most of the new releases.  Life magazine writes, "In Chicago [Rudolph Valentino's] Son of the Sheik outranked such new features as Test Pilot and Robin Hood."

    The Son of the Sheik and its predecessor, The Sheik, are two of Valentino's best-known roles.  The Sheik made him a star; The Son of Sheik turned out to be the last film he ever made.  Both films are set in Algeria (when it was still a French colony).  Valentino plays Sheik Ahmed in both films, as well as Sheik Ahmed's son Ahmed in The Son of the Sheik.  I had no idea split-screen technology was so advanced in 1926.  Both films were rereleased in 1938 and were edited to conform to the production code.  I wish I could have seen the original cuts of both films, but they're still pretty racy compared to films made in 1938.

    Still from The Sheik from Wikipedia

    Although they do propagate common negative stereotypes of Arab men and commit most of the sins outlined in Edward Said's Orientalism, what I find most disturbing is the unenlightened attitude both films have toward rape.*  No wonder our society still has trouble with "no means no."  It's important to think of the morals of a film as a product of the time in which it was produced, but that doesn't mean that I have to like the conclusion at which both films arrive: "Love thy rapist."  These two movies really got me thinking about what is "child-appropriate" in the world of classic cinema.  I certainly wouldn't want children watching either of these films without having a serious discussion about racism and sexual violence.

    Poster from Wikipedia

    All of that being said, I have to admit that both The Sheik and The Son of the Sheik are entertaining movies, and not just compared to other silent films.  I like to think of the first few minutes of any silent film as an acclimatization period where the viewer gets used to the crazy makeup, the silly facial expressions and having to read the title cards.  In a bad silent movie, all of these things bother me right through and I often give up and stop watching.  The Sheik and The Son of the Sheik had short acclimatization periods.  I genuinely enjoyed watching both of them, even if I wasn't crazy about the "message."  That's what's great about being an adult, right?  Making the attempt to separate the medium from the message?  The medium is awesome 1920s orientalist fantasy filmmaking; the message is just appalling.

    Both films are available on DVD.  The Sheik airs July 5th  and The Son of Sheik airs July 21st, both on TCM.  The Sheik is available to watch (for free!) at Internet Archive:


    For dinner, we're off to another part of Africa--

    Moroccan Pilaf

    Here's my next leftover roast beef recipe.  I have one more, which I'll try to post later this week.  Iceberg Lettuce with Grecian Dressing goes well with the pilaf (we're getting really multicultural now).  You could also use lamb in the pilaf.  I didn't give amounts for the seasonings, because I just sprinkled them in.  The cinnamon gives a nice musky heat, but be careful to just use a little bit--you don't want your pilaf to taste like Christmas potpourri.

    Moroccan Pilaf

    *I feel it's only fair to point out that both films are adaptations of books by E.M. Hull.  In the book The Sheik, Lady Diana is kidnapped and repeatedly raped by Ahmed.  They eventually realize they love each other.  Ick.

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    Vintage Recipe Thursday: Leftovers

    Here's a menu from Modern Meal Maker (from 1935), to help use up leftovers from the roast beef from my last post.

    Minced Beef Sandwich
    Raw Vegetable Salad
    Fresh Cherries
    Coffee, Tea or Milk

    My "raw vegetable" was lettuce, because that's what I had.  With only two people in our house, we often have to eat the same vegetable several meals in a row to use it up before it goes bad!  The original recipe uses cabbage, carrots and celery and I'll have to try it soon.  The vinaigrette is adapted from the one in Mastering the Art of French Cooking: 3 parts olive oil, 1 part white wine vinegar, salt and pepper, a bit of Dijon mustard and a sprinkling of fresh or dried herbs.  It's important to use good olive oil and good vinegar, which cost significantly more than their cheap counterparts, but the taste is worth it.

    To make the Minced Beef Sandwich, just toast one thick slice of good white bread per person and top with beef in gravy:

    Make the gravy by melting 2 teaspoons of leftover beef drippings with 1 teaspoon of butter over low heat in a saucepan.  Then, whisk in 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour (plus a pinch of salt and pepper) and cook over low heat two minutes.  Take off the heat and gradually whisk in 1 1/2 cups beef stock and return to the heat.  Bring to a boil, boil one minute, add the chopped beef (1/4 to 1/3 lb) and turn heat down so mixture simmers 5 to 10 minutes to heat the beef and reduce the gravy.  Serves 2.

    Sorry there's no photo.  I didn't get a good one!

    Because I'm not the biggest fan of cherries and I had a punnet of past-it strawberries, I adapted two recipes* from BBC Good Food for Strawberry Jellies.  What could be more vintage meal appropriate than something with gelatin in it?  I ended up using Simply Lemonade instead of apple juice, because our grocery store didn't have any small bottles of apple juice.  If you would like to use homemade lemonade, I would be really excited about that.

    Strawberry-Lemonade Jellies

    The leftover cooked strawberries don't look very pretty (they'll be quite mushy and drained of color), but they taste pretty darn good.

    Eddie Condon playing at his eponymous club in New York, 1946

    I've been listening to Eddie Condon this week.  I have a soft spot for Dixieland jazz.  I really don't know why, unless it was all that Lawrence Welk viewing at an impressionable age.

    An Eddie Condon playlist from

    This post is linked to Vintage Recipe Thursday.  Be sure to check it out--just click on the image.

    *Strawberry Jellies recipe 1, Strawberry Jellies recipe 2

    Very Good RecipesVery Good Recipes tags: beef, bread, lettuce, strawberry, lemonade, gelatin

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Sunday Roast

    We had decent (for the time of year) weather Saturday and Sunday. The highs were only in the mid-eighties, which is rather cool compared to the rest of last week when the high temperatures were 99˚ to 101˚.  I thought I would use the relatively cool weather on Sunday to make a roast and, thus, be able to use the leftovers for the rest of the week and not have to turn on the oven in the heat.  Stay tuned for my leftovers recipes.

    I started with this June Sunday Dinner menu in Modern Meal Maker:

    Roast Rump of Beef
    Browned Potatoes
    Carrots and Peas
    Finger Rolls
    Tomato and Cucumber Salad
    Angel Dainty
    Coffee, Tea or Milk

    I used my Old English Roast Beef recipe but left out the parsnips and I used two potatoes per person, since I used smaller potatoes.  Rather than make finger rolls, I just made Yorkshire Pudding, since it's made in the same pan as the roast, at the same temperature.

    I did leave out the tomato and cucumber salad, because we had a good amount of food already and neither of us likes cucumbers or raw tomatoes.  I also left out the Angel Dainty, a "filled Angel Food Cake with a fresh strawberry gelatine center," because I had a suspicion we wouldn't be hungry for dessert, anyway!  However, if I were making this for guests, I would definitely include dessert and a salad!

    The carrots and peas were made on the stovetop while the Yorkshire pudding was baking.  I just trimmed and scraped one carrot per person and cut them into "coins" and boiled them six minutes, then added 1/2 cup frozen peas per person and boiled another two minutes.  I strained the vegetables and put them back in the pan over low heat with 1/2 tablespoon butter per person, 1 teaspoon sugar per person and salt and pepper and stirred until the butter melted.

    Thanks to Netflix Watch Instantly, I've managed to get my husband addicted to Sherlock and Downton Abbey, so he's looking forward to this season of Masterpiece Theatre as much as I am.  Paul picked the Sherlock episode "The Great Game" to watch Sunday night to go with our roast beef.

    Since the weather was so nice Saturday, we went with friends to Riverfest for fair food, Eddie Money and fireworks.  Turns out I knew more Eddie Money songs than I thought.  The people-watching is always fascinating, as well.  You can see some of the people we saw at the People of Riverfest website.

    Very Good RecipesVery Good Recipes tags: peas, carrots, beef, potato

    Saturday, June 11, 2011

    Traditional British Food: Sussex Potato and Cheese Cakes

    Bacon, Sussex Potato and Cheese Cakes, Poached Eggs
    (I also served this with a green salad with walnut-balsamic vinaigrette.)

    Because Sussex Potato and Cheese Cakes are baked, they're really just cheesy, potato-y biscuits, not what you'd normally think of as a potato cake.  They're really yummy, though.

    Paul poached the eggs because he can nearly always manage to crack an egg without breaking the yolk.  He is very, very patient and takes the longest of anyone I've ever seen to crack an egg.  I can't watch him do it, because I start wanting to yell, "Hurry up and crack it already!!!"  I just wallop the egg on the counter and frequently end up shoving my fingers directly into the yolk.  Not great for poached eggs.  We just use our large (13") covered skillet, fill it halfway with water, bring to a boil, salt the water, slide the eggs in one at a time with a saucer, then turn the heat down and simmer the eggs (covered) for 5 minutes.  You'll definitely want a slotted spoon to get the eggs out.  Even though they look a bit funky, I like the texture better than with an egg poacher.  Plus, if you go the "old school" route, you don't have to buy extra equipment.

    Sussex Potato and Cheese Cakes

    Jean Simmons (1947)
    Jean Simmons on the set of Uncle Silas
    To continue the British theme, I recorded Uncle Silas from TCM (they're showing Jean Simmons movies every Tuesday this month).  Based on Sheridan Le Fanu's gothic novel, which I shamefully have not read, Uncle Silas has more in common with Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights than H.E. Bates's genial My Uncle Silas.

    The film version of Uncle Silas was made in 1947 and stars a young and very pretty Jean Simmons as Caroline Ruthyn, who comes into a large sum of money, which would go to her unscrupulous Uncle Silas (Derrick de Marney) if anything were to happen to her.  Caroline, unaware of Silas's evil nature, goes to live with her uncle, who is cooking up something nasty for poor Caroline, aided by his dissolute son (Manning Whiley) and an evil cognac-swilling French governess, Madame de la Rougierre, played to perfection by Katina Paxinou.  Will the dashing Lord Richard Ilbury (Derek Bond) come to the rescue in time?

    I was surprised at how engrossing this film turned out to be.  The sets are wonderfully decorated and the atmosphere is saturated with gloom and foreboding.  Uncle Silas would be perfect for a dark and stormy night.  Now I need to read the book!

    Jean Simmons (1947)
    Studio portrait of Jean Simmons in 1947
    Uncle Silas is available on DVD.

    Very Good RecipesVery Good Recipes tags: potatoes, cheddar, shallot, onion, egg

    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    Vintage Recipe Thursday: Creamed Eggs

    I wanted to make this dish for two reasons:

    1. Because of our CSA, eggs are the cheapest, easiest-to-obtain, ethical protein source I have.
    2. People just don't make things like this anymore.  

    Start with a 1/2"-thick slice of good white bread.  Toast it and put a good amount (about 1/2 tablespoon) butter on it.
    Top bread with two hard-boiled eggs, sliced in quarters.
    Top the eggs with Medium White Sauce and parsley.  Eat immediately, because there's nothing worse than cold béchamel covering cold eggs.

    This recipe for Creamed Eggs comes from my 1950 Betty Crocker cookbook. Make sure everything is ready at about the same time (see recipes below), so that this dish is as hot as possible. I started the eggs first and when the eggs had a few minutes left, I started the sauce. After the sauce had boiled for a minute, I started the toast. You can peel the eggs while the toast toasts and the sauce heats.

    I boiled my eggs for seven minutes, so the yolks stay a bit gooey and I don't get those icky green rings around the yolk. Just bring water to a boil and set the eggs down in it with a slotted spoon, keep boiling 7 minutes, then take the eggs out (with a slotted spoon, not with your hands!) and cool under running water before peeling. You'll need two eggs per person for this recipe. Eggs should also be a couple of weeks old, so that peeling is easier.

    Make 1 cup Medium White Sauce (enough for two servings of creamed eggs) like this:

    • Melt two tablespoons unsalted butter over medium-low heat, then whisk in two tablespoons of all-purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
    • Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in 1 cup whole milk. Return to the hob.
    • Bring sauce to a boil and boil for one minute. Turn heat down to low, stirring frequently. You can keep it on low for 5 to 10 minutes, while you finish getting everything else together.
    I was skeptical, but this dish is pretty tasty. It's what one would call "good, honest food," meaning that the predominant flavors are fat and salt. It's not terribly exciting, but it's quick and a good way to make two eggs feel like a good amount of food--classic WASP cooking.

    To further illustrate my point, click here for a review in The New York Times (March 23, 1986) of Perfection Salad (recommended to me by Laura), in which the reviewer discusses the snazzy cousin of Creamed Eggs, Eggs à la Goldenrod. The only difference is that in Eggs à la Goldenrod, the yolks are taken out of the eggs and then sieved over the top of the dish as a garnish. I would have tried it, but I was afraid my yolks weren't firm enough.

    This post is linked to Vintage Recipe Thursday.  Be sure to check it out--just click on the image.

    Another big hit of 1950 was Teresa Brewer's "Music! Music! Music!" of which I am intimately familiar due to many choir rehearsals. Because of all those years in honor choir/show choir/madrigal choir/church choir, I have songs stuck in my head most of the time (and sometimes I even have matching choreography).

    Very Good RecipesVery Good Recipes tags: egg, bread

    Monday, June 6, 2011

    Queen Elizabeth Date Cake

    Queen Elizabeth Date Cake

    This is my first Monthly Mingle and I'm really excited to see what everyone else will make!  Nina at My Easy Cooking has decided the theme this month will be:

    Since apples aren't in season here, I thought I would make something that just has apples in a supporting role, which was perfect because I wanted to make Queen Elizabeth Date Cake for the upcoming Trooping the Colour, this Saturday, June 11th. Even though Queen Elizabeth's birthday is in April, it's officially celebrated in June (less chance of rain!). Since I don't get the BBC, I won't get to see the parade on Saturday, but here is a clip from last year's ceremony:

    There's more information and a couple of videos at the royal family's official website.

    Now, back to the cake--
    I'm really rather turned off by all the celebrity name-dropping on Little Venice Cake Company's website, but I thought the recipe for Queen Elizabeth Date Cake sounded promising. The adaptations I made were mostly to make it simpler for those of us who use imperial units and to use what I had (regular raisins instead of golden raisins, crystallized ginger instead of fresh). However, I also lowered the baking temperature, because I find it really helps to keep fruitcakes moist.

    The cake turned out to be really lovely with a bright, lemony flavor and a very moist texture. It's fabulous for breakfast or tea.

    Queen Elizabeth Date Cake

    This recipe is also available at

    Very Good RecipesVery Good Recipes tags: cake, dates, raisins, ginger, apple, lemon

    Saturday, June 4, 2011

    Dinner and a Movie: The Ghost Goes West

    Poster from Russian Wikipedia

    Who doesn't love Robert Donat?  Plus, the producer is Alexander Korda, who made movies so British only a Hungarian refugee could have made them.  Seriously.  Look up "more English than the English" and you'll probably find Alexander Korda.  He was even knighted by George VI.  Here's a page from Vivien: The Life of Vivien Leigh by Alexander Walker (p. 75):

    Korda produced some schlock (That Hamilton Woman, starring Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier and directed by Korda himself, springs to mind), but The Ghost Goes West was directed and co-written by René Clair, which probably helped things a bit.  It's one of the most pleasant "ghost stories" ever, so you don't have to worry about scaring the children.  What makes this film so pleasant is that Robert Donat is just so darn charming.  Love him.  And, no production was ever harmed by adding Eugene Pallette to the cast list.

    Pallette plays an American grocery-chain owner, Joe Martin, whose daughter, Peggy, convinces him to buy the castle currently owned by Donald Glourie (Robert Donat) and haunted by his ancestor Murdoch (also Robert Donat).  The ghost goes west when the Martins decide to move the castle all the way to Florida.  Hijinks, romance (both Donald and Murdoch are interested in pretty Peggy) and lots of dressing up in tartan fill the 95 minute runtime.

    The Ghost Goes West isn't available on DVD, but it is shown on TCM.  You could also watch it on YouTube:

    Since the movie was "Scottish," the meal probably ought to be "Scottish," too.  Here's my Scottish Lobster Newberg:

    The grocery store had frozen steamed Canadian lobster on sale, so I bought some as a treat.  We don't get to eat a lot of seafood, because we're so far inland that it's super-expensive, has to be flown in, and a lot of it is from China and/or isn't caught sustainably.  Our state wildlife department actually warns against eating the fish caught here in Wichita based on mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls in fish, and lead and cadmium in shellfish.  Pollution: 1; local food: 0.

    Well, on to the cooking.  The original Lobster Newberg was introduced to the Gilded Age American public via Delmonico's.  This lobster is flavored with whisky, which, to my mind, makes it Scottish.  The original instructions say "grain not malt."  Good luck finding an exclusively Scottish grain whisky here in the States.  However, most blended Scotches are heavily grain whisky or you could just use Bourbon, which is what I did because Paul complains about the "peatiness" of Johnnie Walker and won't drink it.

    Scottish Lobster Newberg

    P.S. I also think this preparation would work really well with leftover roast chicken or other types of seafood.

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