Saturday, March 31, 2012

Easy Recipes for Sweet or Savory Crepes

Crepes have been around for a long time and each country has their own version of the crepe.  They were truly made famous by a French chef who invented Crepes Suzette.  There are 2 ways to make crepes, the sweet way with wheat flour for desserts and the crepes gallette way with buckwheat flour for savory dishes.1  Most Americans think making crepes is some sort of wizardry, harder than it really is.  If you can make a pancake, you can make crepes.  It is however helpful to have some specialist equipment such as a crepe pan.  Crepe pans are flat with very low sides that make it easier to flip the crepes when they are cooking.  The pans can be found in non-stick and blued steel versions.  I recommend the non-stick for beginners because the blued steel pans require a bit of seasoning before use.  Also helpful is to have a long thin metal spatula called an icing spatula.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Baked Bean Spammich

I don't know how of God's green Earth anyone can find this appetizing.  The ad says "Husband home for lunch?... Pamper him like this"  Pamper?  If my wife served this to me, and she's from the Philippines so she's served me some weird stuff, I think I'd just start going out for lunch.  And what is that on the side, a "man-style salad of lettuce, canned peach and cottage cheese."  Oh, thank you for cleaning that up because I could have swore it looked like sliced croquet ball on a bed of vaguely green crepe paper and topped with foaming insulation.  This really deserves to be in the gallery of regrettable food because even the artistic side of it is lacking.  Now don't get me wrong, I like Spam, I don't buy it so often because of the price but it's nice sliced thin and fried crisp with breakfast.  Occasionally I might entertain having a spam sandwich but I'm in no way ready to take the plunge and have spam sushi like in Hawaii. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fried Salmon Cakes or Croquettes

This is a recipe that I have had for many years now.  Transcribed from my grandmothers original handwritten card from the early 1930's before it faded into oblivion, it has to be one of the oldest family recipes I own.  These cakes were all the rage during the depression years since canned salmon was relatively inexpensive.  You can still make these inexpensively if you shop around a bit.  The Wal-Mart Supercenter near me had the Double Q brand pink salmon for $2.58/ 1# can.  I highly reccomend the Double Q brand if you can find it because it's made by Peter Pan Seafoods and is a much better quality product.  The can I purchased actually was canned in Dillingham, Ak where I work during the summer.  Although these can be made with canned Red Salmon, I advise against it because the cost it just too high and you're not really gaining anything in using red salmon.  Remoulade is the perfect sauce to accompany this recipe.  It's been a Creole tradition since Napoleonic times and had many variations although I stuck with the traditional Creole one.1  The recipe I used can be found HERE.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Country Chicken Fried Steak Recipe

This was a challenge levied by one of my likers on Facebook to come up with a good chicken fried steak recipe... Challenge accepted.  It had been literally over 20 years since I had eaten chick friend steak and even the mere mention of it conjures up thoughts of white haired Southern gentlemen in their seersucker suits and lapel pins sipping mint juleps on the verandah.  Well it's not as bad as all that.  It's certainly a recipe that goes back quite a bit but started out as a way of making use of tougher cuts of meat.  I used sirloin when I made it and although it was good, I think if I do it again I'd make use of the more traditional round steak.  The key to an awesome crispness is the double dip coating method and of course the meal is not complete without the gravy.  Far from being the nasty wallpaper paste gravy found in so called Southern restaurants, this is a creamy bechamel, the original incarnation of White Sauce.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Exericse Equipment?

I have to laugh when I read this article or that article about what kind of exercise equipment you need or don't need.  Yes the marketeers are always at their shenanigans trying to get us to buy the next best thing.  What if I don't want to buy the next best thing?  What if I'd rather use the next old thing?  I'm vintage and I'm frugal.  If I don't have it, I'll probably buy it if I can't make it, but if I have something already I'll get some use out of it guaranteed.  So here's my exercise equipment:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Crisco Chicken Croquette Recipe

When I first made this recipe I was a little concerned about the mixture being damp.  As it turns out there was no need for it, just make these a little beforehand and refrigerate and they will be perfect.  I served mine with a Bechamel Sauce and it really made the meal sing.  The recipe itself is from the ad above, however I had to make a couple of modifications to get it to work but it's essentially the same recipe.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Recipe: Poached Fish with Welsh Parsley Sauce

This is a recipe that seems like so much trouble but is really simple to prepare if you do some things beforehand.  My wife was working this day and did not get home until after 7pm and I had dinner on the table by 8.  For the fish, Salmon is traditional but I balk at smothering such a tasty fish in a cream sauce.  I prefer one with a nice white flesh, Cod, Whiting, Perch, Halibut, etc. (I used Cod).  Leftover sauce can be kept and tastes delicious over some scrambled eggs the next morning.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Recipe: New Orleans Style Coffee With Chicory

1899 Cafe du Monde Ad
Last Sunday on the Sunday Stealing Meme, I wrote about my favorite thing in the morning being Coffee and Chicory.  I also mentioned this a few times whilst commenting on other blogs that participate in Sunday Stealing.  I was rewarded with puzzled looks... well I know you can't actually look at someone on the internet but hey I have a vivid imagination and most people must have thought I had lobsters coming out of my ears.  I must be a displaced Cajun at heart since it's nigh on impossible to find chicory outside of Louisiana.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Welsh Rarebit

I apologize if I'm short today but it's a very busy day and I won't get a chance to sit until after 3pm.  Here's the Welsh Rarebit recipe...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Caught In A Snowdrift

In 1926 the war between Shortening and Lard was in it's 5th year.  Both were fighting for supremacy in the hearts and minds of housewives across America.  The main brands of lard were Armour and Swift's and on the opposing side was Crisco, Spry and Snowdrift.  I don't really know what happened to Spry and Snowdrift over the years.  Most likely they were gobbled up by Crisco leaving them the dominant force in shortening.  As for the war between lard and shortening, shortening won by default once WWII started as lard was needed for the war effort.  Post WWII eating habits changed and eventually both lard and shortening were relegated to the wayside as olive oil became the dominant fat in our cooking, followed soon thereafter by canola oil and the virtual horde of so called healthy oils that have infiltrated the market like Grapeseed Oil.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Aqua Vitae: Water Is Life

Doctors love to keep changing their minds.  First pasta is bad for you because of the sauce, then it's the sauce is god for you and the noodles are bad, etc etc etc. The American heard of barking seals that consumes every bit of drivel from the medical community is all to happy to parrot the belief of the moment as it is was God's writ on the tablets.  Whatever happened to thinking for yourself?  I suppose it went out of fashion along with personal responsibility, lost in the tide of people who want someone else to think for them so they can pursue the travails of Snooki, you know the important stuff.  Which brings me to the subject of water.  For many years now it's been the standard 8 glasses a day and you can achieve miracles, or so says the medical moffs in all their glory.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Baked BBQ Pork Chops & Fried Apples

This is an easy recipe to do for dinner one night.  Make up the BBQ sauce and just store it in the fridge and you'll have it around whenever you need it.  The sauce is a take on Carolina Low-Country Sauce and being such is much thinner than the thick sauces sold in the store.  Store bought sauces, in addition to being full of chemical garbage, are finishing sauces, not meant to be cooked with as they turn into chewey goop.  This sauce will thicken a bit while cooking in the oven and after separating the fat can be used as a garnish for the chops.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Crab House Maryland Crabcakes

Even though I live in Jacksonville I'm from Maryland originally, as a matter of fact most people in Jacksonville are from somewhere else.  Being from Maryland I do love crab cakes but the ones you see in stores and restaurants around here go from mildly passable to pathetic and everything in between.  The problem lies with a few things, over reliance on expensive crab meat, the use of too much fillers, i.e. bread crumbs, and the wrong seasoning.  Every true Marylander knows that to make the perfect crab cake you shun the Special and Jumbo Lump Crab meat at $21 to the pound and buy claw at $10 to the pound.  Claw meat is the most tender, most delicate and has the best flavor.  In the recipe you use just enough crab meat to bring the pattie together but never enough to make a bready cake.  And as for the seasoning, Old Bay, that ubiquitous seafood seasoning that can be found everywhere from frontier Alaska to Davao City, Philippines, has too much ginger in it to make it respectable crab seasoning.  For the authentic Maryland flavor you Phillips Seasoning1 or Wye River Seasoning.2 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

1950's Beef Stroganoff Recipe

Most everyone loves the beefy creamy taste of Beef Stroganoff.  A kind of one pot casserole cooked on the stove it satisfies a family and uses less electricity (or gas) to cook than a traditional casserole cooked in the oven.  This recipe will be similar to many that populate the internet with the exception that it is back to basics with fresh wholesome ingredients rather than an over-reliance on canned mushroom soup like so many recipes that I see.  Beef tenderloin can be found on sale sometimes but we usually buy a large pack of it from BJ's Wholesale Club.  If it's too much money to be considered then you can substitute Sirloin Steak instead just increase the simmering time.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce

I don't buy Worcestershire Sauce that often and the last time I bought it I was reduced to purchasing some French's which is ok, but lacks the depth of flavor of the original Lea & Perrins.  The reason I bought a different brand was because Lea & Perrins had sullied their recipe by adding High Fructose Corn Syrup.  I had written about this before in "A Saucy Picture" when writing about A-1 steak sauce, which incidentally was originally a thick version of Worcestershire sauce.  I finally ran out of the French's sauce last week and had to go buy another bottle, lucky I decided to take a look at the label of Lea & Perrins because they're back to using sugar in their recipe.  This is a great turn of events as yet another company bows to the demands of the consumers and gets rid of High Fructose Corn Syrup in their formula.  I used it for the first time when I made some Mock Maryland Crabcakes on Friday (recipe will be posted Thursday).  This is when I discovered that Lea & Perrins went one step further than eliminating HFCS, they also went back to their original recipe which is a bit spicier than what was previously available and so much more flavorful than French's.1

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sunday Stealing: The Dawning of the Age Of Aquarius MEME

Today we ripped off a blogger who pens Not My Year Off. She added questions and credited a few tags. But, it was probably stolen there as well. So, of course, that will be as far as we go. Tracing back our theft's thieves might take some time. Take the time to comment on other player's posts. It's a great way to make new friends! Link back to us at Sunday Stealing!

A Guide to Buying Pots & Pans

Pots and pans in the early 1900's were simple, you had cast iron, steel, and baked porcelain enamel.  Aluminum cookware first appeared in the very early 1900's but it was frowned upon by most homemakers and so relegated to restaurant use next to the copper pans.  Today though we have a dazzling array of pots and pans available to us made out of every type of metal conceivable.  It can be truly daunting when trying to choose what is best for your kitchen.  I write this as a guide to steer you in the right direction.  Everyone is different in their needs which is why I don't suggest getting a set of pots and pans but buying them individually instead.  You will be able to secure better quality pots by buying individually and you will have a set that is tailored to your needs.  Remember, when choosing pots and pans for your use, go for practical, hard wearing cookware.  Too much cookware on the market today is of disposable quality or is made to be "bling bling" showy but gives horrible results when used.  The best made pots and pans will last a lifetime.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Wartime Savings With Kraft Cream Cheese

I like cream cheese from time to time.  I'm old school about it though and prefer it on a bagel in the morning with some thin sliced honey ham and fresh sliced tomatoes.  According to this ad it's smart wartime savings to get the cheese that processed fresh... Well I suppose so but you still had to spend ration points to get it.  Kraft made their name by not selling in bulk like other manufacturers did.  They strategically located their plants near major cities and packaged them there.  That way, in theory, you were supposed to get the freshest product possible.  I'm sure it worked because Kraft dominated the cheese market for decades and is still a powerhouse today.  However, it's not the same product.  Here in Jacksonville we have The Fresh Market and they make their own brand of cream cheese.  In a side by side taste test the TFM cheese won hands down.  The Kraft product as it's made today just tastes more chemical and a bit sour.  The Fresh Market cream cheese was light and sweet and oh so rich.  It's not necessarily organic, just made by a company that cares about their product not profit margins.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Fish Tacos and Homemade Flour Totillas Recipe

We continue our Lenten season parade of fish recipes this week with a great recipe for fish tacos.  I defrosted the fish overnight and in the morning set up the marinade and let it soak until dinner.  Cooking time is quick and easy if done on a grill or in the oven.  You can buy your own tortillas but I became disenchanted with what is available in the store, bleached and bromated flour and lots of preservatives.  It doesn't take long to make your own flour tortillas at home, just a little effort in rolling them out.  For other fish recipes check out Piccadilly Circus Fish 'n Chips, Salmon l'Orange, and Jacksonville Garlic Shrimp.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Spaghetti With Prosciutto Recipe

I was looking for something different for dinner the other night and as I had acquired a few packages of prosciutto when they were on bogo at Publix I thought this was the best dish to try first.  Although it has tomatoes in it the sauce is a spicy olive oil based sauce familiar to Southern Italian cuisine.  Serve with some good crusty Italian bread to mop up the olive oil and you're in heaven.

Spaghetti With Prosciutto de Parma (Parma Ham)

8oz Spaghetti Noodles
8 Thin slices of Parma Ham, julienned
4-5 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and sliced thin
6 Campari Tomatoes, quartered
1/4C Chopped Fresh Italian Parsley
1/3C Good Quality Virgin Olive Oil
1tsp Hot Pepper Flakes

Cook you spaghetti according to box directions, drain, cover and put aside.  In frying pan heat your oil until shimmering and add garlic.  Fry garlic 1 min until fragrant and add chili flakes.  Keep sauteing until garlic is tasted a nice brown color.  Reduce heat and add tomatoes and ham, fry with residual heat until tomatoes and ham are wilted about a minute.  Add drained spaghetti and parsley and stir well until mixed.  Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese.  This recipe yields a moderately spicy dish.  Adjust the pepper flakes up or down according to your taste.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Secret to a Perfect Hamburger

I used to like going to fast food places a little too much because of time constraints on cooking dinner, and well I just liked it a little too much.  After I started The Vintage Diet though the whole idea of fast food became repulsive to me.  I learned, I studied and soon discovered all the gross things that go into your standard fast food hamburger.  No thanks, I'm done.  Now a hamburger is a treat, something we have maybe once every 2 weeks and always made from scratch at home.  There is no all encompassing "secret" to the perfect burger, but there are a few things you can do to go from ordinary to nirvanic.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Love Boat Now Serving Maxwell House Coffee

It's not really the love boat but I got your attention now, or perhaps you ran away screaming at the mere mention of that old sitcom.  I found this ad to be interesting because Maxwell House coffee ads never depicted ships.  Usually it was some domestic dinner scene because back in the old days people used to drink coffee morning noon and night.  I suppose Maxwell House was a better brand back then, it certainly was famous enough, but I wouldn't touch it.  I prefer my coffee fresh ground and even though the Maxwell House Factory is here in town I still prefer a better grade of coffee in my morning cup.  I admit it, I'm a coffee snob.  I also have a preference for New Orleans style coffee with chicory.  There's something about drinking a good chicory coffee that just makes the coffee so smooth.  Besides, that Maxwell House stuff they sell in the stores, how long has it been sitting on the shelf?  There's also a very good reason coffee is the high selling point of an SS Leviathan voyage.  It was 1923 and prohibition was is full swing.  No alcohol was allowed to be served on US registered vessels plying the 7 seas (that sucks).

Friday, March 2, 2012

An Ode To Old Time Shaving

I want to take a break from talking about vintage recipes and such to talk about something else near and dear to my heart, vintage shaving.  I first was interested in vintage wet shaving about 5 years ago.  Dissapointed by the poor quality of disposable razors I searched for something different that made sense and I discovered that vintage wet shaving was very much alive and well.  You can buy your mach5 or 8 bladed razors and what are they?  Manufacturers gimmicks meant to part you from your money with promises of the closest shaves ever. Complete and utter flummery in other words!  In reality, our grandfathers knew what we have forgotten... A old style razor fitted with a good quality double edge blade gives a better, closer shave than these new disposables can even hope to achieve... and at a fraction of the price as well!  You can also leave the men's facial washes in the drawer.  A good shaving soap or cream when applied with a good quality badger hair brush is supremely effective at exfoliating the skin.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Jacksonville Traditional Garlic Shrimp Recipe

Garlic shrimp is a ubiquitous fixture here in Jacksonville and is arguably the food the city is most known for.  Many people argue the origins of the dish saying it's some sort of Caribbean fare but few can look back on the pages of history and realize that is tapas cuisine from Spain.  There is an abundance of shrimp in the waters off the First Coast and so it stands to reason the first Spanish colonists would have used them to make Gabas al Ajillo and this recipe was passed down through the years until it became a part of the consciousness of Jacksonville residents.  This recipe is a distillation of a couple different recipes to make something like the original Spanish settlers would have cooked.  Served over Angel Hair Pasta, it makes a night light dinner bursting with flavor.  As always, you can adjust the ingredients to suit your taste.  This recipe comes out rather spicy so change the spice according to your tastes.

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