Sunday, June 24, 2012

Golden Mushroom Sausage Supper

I needed to save some money on groceries this week. I had spent a bit more on my mini-vacation than planned so I had to be a little thrifty. What better time to break out grandma’s cookbook. I would say a big part of what my grandmother focused on with these recipes was feeding her three boys and husband for not too much money.

I also wanted something that would have easy leftovers so I wouldn’t have to cook too much during the week as I'm expecting to be pretty busy in the evenings.
I thought I would take a stab at some of the clippings in this book and decided on a casserole/rice dish and some cookies (that I will write about later). I would say the vintage of this recipe is some time in the 70s judging from the dates on some of the other recipes. I wish I had more of the pages – I love old magazines and advertisements.

And why did I make this one? Because all the ingredients probably came to less than $8 and I was pretty sure I could feed myself for a while. And hey – frozen peas – a vegetable!

There isn’t too much to say about this recipe – I started by browning the sausages. I gotta say that I’m going to have to stay away from sausages. I haven’t been eating much meat lately and I wasn’t so big on the sausages.

Next was mixing in the rice until it became a bit translucent and then the magic ingredient – soup! I tried to add lots of thyme and fresh ground pepper to add a different flavour.

That’s it. Let it simmer and throw in some frozen peas at some point and – voila. A magazine-published recipe from the 70s. And the flavour? Yep – soup n’rice n’sausage.

I made an attempt to add some flavour from a bottle of reduced balsamic vinegar I made as part of a French Laundry recipe (yep - grandma's cookbook meets French Laundry).

Oh and it does have longevity. Today is my third day of having it for dinner. I might be over it pretty soon… tomorrow night will be its last night.

(P.S. I promise the cookies are better!)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lemon Chiffon Pie

I opened the cookbook to the second recipe in the pie section – Lemon Chiffon Pie. I thought this would be interesting as it contains some techniques that I hadn’t used before but really wanted to try.

Here is a close up of the recipe – I’ll include a copy of it at the end of this post.

And the ingredients.

I started off by making a graham cracker crust. I think I’m starting to perfect these crusts and I made sure to really butter the pie plate this time so I wouldn’t be chipping it out of the pan. And I do love graham crackers… so yum!

Now it’s time to make the pseudo lemon curd. I’m going to start by blooming the gelatine. I’ve never worked with straight gelatine before (only pre-packaged jello). I was concerned about how long this was going to sit before using it and if that was okay – but I’m following the recipe and it seemed to work.

Next I separated four eggs and then put the yolks with some sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice and a touch of salt into my metal pan to use on my double boiler.

And then I whisked like hell. I don’t really know if I cooked it long enough. I know it got foamy and thicker – not sure if it got as thick as it should have been – but I was satisfied that it was cooked through. I then sprinkled in the bloomed gelatine and cooled it in the fridge.

Next to address these egg whites. This was easy – just whip the egg whites with sugar. It didn’t say how long to whip so I did it in my favourite dark blue Kitchenaid mixer to the soft peak stage.

And now to… wait what? Aw crap. Why do so many recipes include uncooked eggs?! In this case uncooked eggs whites. Sigh. Okay. I’ll trust you grandma.

I lighten up the egg white mixture with a bit of the pseudo-curd before folding the curd into the whites. It looks light and fluffy and almost overflows the pie plate. I really wish I could forget about those egg whites.

Now it chills for a few hours. And while it does – let me tell you about my kitchen.

I don’t know if anyone notices the background of my photos – but let me show you my kitchen (properly shown in retro-photo form).

Yes. It’s ugly. It has linoleum floor, minty green countertops and wallpapered backsplash with dusty rose and minty green flowers. Yep. It’s quite something. But you know what? It kind of goes with this experiment! Suddenly it almost feels right.

So it time to pull out the pie. It looks pretty – light and glossy and not at all artificial coloured (remember the pink pie!).

I pull out a slice. I’m very happy with how it looks (especially that my crust doesn’t stick!).

Let’s look at this through retro glasses.

Yep still pretty.

And how did it taste? Light and fluffy and lemony and delicious. It was another winner (if you don’t mind the raw eggs) and I was proud of how well it turned out. Also – I ate it last night and I’m not sick – so I guess it’s all okay!

I’m off to get another slice now!


Lemon Chiffon Pie

1 Tablespoon (package) gelatine
½ cup cold water

In Double boiler put
4 egg yolks
½ cup white sugar
Juice of one lemon
Grate rind ½ lemon

Stir and cook over boiling water and beat with eggbeater continually till thick and foamy. Take off and add gelatine mixture. Cool.

Beat 4 egg whites.

Add ½ cup white sugar. Blend in with other mixture.

Put in graham wafer shell and place in fridge several hours.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Betty's Barbecued Short Ribs

Don’t be fooled by the name – these short ribs never touch a barbecue – it’s all about the homemade barbecue sauce!

For the third recipe from Grandma G’s cookbook I decided to do two things: 1. Choose the very first recipe from the cookbook, and 2. Choose a recipe that looks like it will be good.

Betty’s Barbecued Short Ribs (yes, another recipe named for a friend) looks like it will be good and has a minimum of processed ingredients. I’ve also been interested in cooking short ribs as I’ve never tried it before but I see it in so many cookbooks and magazines.

So here are my assembled ingredients (except for the flour and the garlic cloves – oops). You can see there is ketchup – but that is pretty standard in a barbecue sauce. So really, no jello and no canned soup – it sounds like a winner already!

I didn’t need two whole packs of the short ribs so some were wrapped and frozen for a future meal.

I decided first to get all my chopping done. And it was really a minimal amount of chopping. I added one more garlic clove than in the recipe – but I like garlic.

I could just pop it all in one bowl since it all went in at the same time.

I chopped the short ribs up. I am ridiculously happy with how good this meat looks.

Now it’s time to brown the meat. I use two pans so I could brown without crowding. By the way – can I tell you how much I love the fact that the recipe just says ‘brown in fat’. I know that the recipes were made for her to follow – but I love that there are certain things that need to be known about cooking to make my Grandma G’s recipes. It makes me feel like I have a certain amount of kitchen knowledge. I chose to brown in canola oil for the high smoke point.

I loved the way this meat looked as it was browning. It looked so good. I loved the way it started to pull away from the bones and really got a good dark brown colour. It did not, however, take the 15 to 20 minutes the recipe said.

In the recipe it just kind of says to put all the other ingredients in at this point. I decided to pull the meat out and spend a minute toasting the mustard seeds then cooking the chopped veggies for a bit to pull up the browned meat bits on the bottom of the pan. Then all the other ingredients and the meat went in. and I was to simmer for 1.5 hours or more.

I ended up simmering it for closer to two hours because I was testing it to see when the bones basically fell out. It was smelling so so good.

At the end I pulled the meat out and made a slurry of flour and some tomato juice (or spicy V8 which was what I had on hand) to mix in and thicken the sauce.

I decided to serve it with simple jasmine rice and I put a few celery leaves on for some freshness and colour.

So how was it? Oh goodness… it was amazing. Grandma G really came through on this one. It was like meaty heaven. It was so well balance and I could have eaten the whole bowl. I am salivating thinking about the leftovers in the fridge right now.

I will definitely make this again. It was so easy - I will probably make the recipe to the browning point and then do the rest in a slow cooker in the future. Short ribs will be a part of my repertoire from now on.

Thank you Grandma – this was deliciously yummy.



Buy 2 lbs short ribs

Brown in fat until well coloured 15 to 20 minutes


2 tsp salt
1 chopped onion
1/2 cup celery
1/2 chopped green pepper
1 clove chopped garlic or scant 1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp mustard seed
1/2 cup catsup
1/2 cup tomato juice
1 tsp soya sauce
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp vinegar or lemon
2 tsp brown sugar

Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours or little longer.

Lift meat and bones out and skim fat off.

Thicken with 2 tablespoons flour and 1/4 cup tomato juice mixed.

Melissa's Notes: It took much less time to brown the meat.

I added two cloves of garlic.

After browning the meat I toasted the mustard seed and then sweated the onion, green pepper, celery and garlic in the pot before adding everything else and making sure the brown bits were scraped off the bottom.