Tag Archive | cooking

In the Kitchen Tonight…Jefferson Davis Pie

I absolutely love Southern food.  Southern culture.  Southern…everything!

Growing up in Virginia and having a stepmother who was a native Virginian as well, it was a special treat to always have biscuits and gravy…macaroni and cheese…fried chicken…fried okra…mashed potatoes…and the pies? They were amazing! It was funny when my dad decided that he needed to go on a healthier diet due to his cholesterol issues and my stepmother had to figure out how to cook without Crisco. How does one cook without Crisco? 🙂

When I came across the recipe for Jefferson Davis Pie it reminded me immediately of the comforts of home and growing up in the South. It is very sweet, rich and yummy – all things that are so sinfully delicious! I love the history of it as well and knowing that the recipe was used by Jefferson Davis’ family was really interesting.

You can read more about the history of the pie right here courtesy of Sweet Tea and Cornbread.

Hope you get a chance to make it in your kitchen and taste the yumminess! Enjoy!

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In the Kitchen Tonight…

In the kitchen tonight making something Southern (and oh so yummy!) that was once enjoyed by a famous person in the Civil War era and it’s his family recipe. Can’t wait to share with you later! #historicalcooking #civilwar #historicalrecipes 🇺🇸

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In the Kitchen Tonight…Thomas Jefferson’s Marinated Asparagus

It is so much fun being able to make (and taste!) things that our ancestors once enjoyed. To be able to eat something that Thomas Jefferson enjoyed? Well, this is way too cool!

Thomas Jefferson had quite an exquisite taste for all things – especially food and he really enjoyed the French cuisine when he was the Minister to France from 1785 to 1789. One of his favorites was this French style marinated asparagus.

To read more about the history of Thomas Jefferson’s love for asparagus and view the recipe you can click here.

We had a lot of fun making it in the kitchen. It was very simple recipe to make and would make a perfect side dish. The only problem I had was…I didn’t know how to boil an egg correctly! I can do many things but boiling an egg was an issue 🙂

The next time you host a party or have to bring something for a potluck make this wonderful recipe and let people know…oh this is just a little something Thomas Jefferson liked.

In the Kitchen Tonight…Poor Man’s Cake

My mother recently turned 80 years old and was reflecting on the types of food her mother once made for her.  Her fondest memory was of her mother making something called “Poor Man’s Cake.”  It was the war years and families couldn’t afford the luxuries of many items and had to learn to do without.  Poor Man’s Cake (also called “Depression Cake”) was a popular staple in many homes in this era and as a child, my mother loved it because it was all they could afford to make at home. My mother often comments on how they didn’t know they lacked for anything financially because there was just so much love in the house.

The cake was perfect because it used what most people had in their kitchen which were the common ingredients of: flour, sugar, spices and raisins.  Eggs were not included in the recipe.

When my mother was telling me the story about the cake her mother once made for her and how she hadn’t had it since childhood, I put my “internet sleuth” hat on and researched all about Poor Man’s Cake.  I was looking for an authentic recipe that had not been modernized too much and I came across a wonderful article about a man who made the cake using his mothers recipe and well…be still my heart! This is the recipe that I used to make the cake with right here.

As soon as I made the cake, I decided to surprise my mom by shipping it off to her so that she could enjoy it. She enjoyed the cake and even shared it with her neighbors.

In the Kitchen Tonight…Onion Soup

I believe winter has officially arrived in Virginia! Tonight was the perfect night to make something wonderful to keep us warm – so why not make a pot of yummy soup 🙂 Tonight we stepped back in time and made something that was most likely enjoyed by the Washington family – how cool is that?

While researching recipes today I was looking for something that was not complex and had only a few ingredients. So – this recipe for Onion Soup was perfect and I found it on the Mount Vernon website.  It most likely was made in the Washington household and was a recipe included in the Hannah Glasse cookbook, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Simple,which was first published in 1747 and went on to become a best seller for a century after it was published.

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The recipe was very easy and I truly recommend you try it at home. If you have onions (a lot!), flour and broth? You are all set…here is the actual recipe:

Onion Soup

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 1/2 pounds onions, peeled and coarsely chopped (7 to 8 cups)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups water
2 cups Basic Beef Stock
1 teaspoon salt
1 slice bread, toasted and diced
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. When the butter is sizzling, add the onions, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often to prevent them from sticking to the pan, until they are very soft and caramelized. Add the flour, stirring to coat the onions, and cook for about 1 minute.
  2. While onions are cooking, combine the water and stock, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When the onions are ready, mix them into the hot stock, stirring until well combined.
  3. Pour a little of the hot stock into the skillet and stir, scraping up any onion particles that remain. Pour the stock into the stock and onions, and add the salt.
  4. Stir in the diced toast, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Combine the egg yolks and vinegar. Gradually blend 1/2 to 1 cup of the hot soup into the egg yolk-and-vinegar mixture, stirring constantly to prevent the yolks from curdling. Stir the mixture into the soup, and simmer for several minutes until the soup thickens just slightly, stirring constantly. Again, do not let the soup boil, or the egg yolks will curdle.
  6. Season with pepper and additional salt, if necessary, and serve hot.

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Of course we have our fun pictures from the kitchen tonight. Thank you to my ever so patient husband for cutting the soooooo many onions and for being my official taste tester.

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We started with the basic…

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My hubby chopped and chopped (and chopped!) 

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Fabulous onions 

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My ever so faithful cast iron skillet was wonderful tonight – here we are getting ready to saute the onions 

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caramelized onions – after about 15 minutes.  Then added flour for minute. 

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In a separate large pot – added the broth and water 

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The water, broth and onion combination 

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Chopped toast is added to the soup…

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along with egg yolks and vinegar 

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We have soup! 

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and my hubby loved it! Success! 

In the Kitchen Tonight…Making Soap!

My husband is a retired Marine who is truly a “jack of all trades” type of guy.  He loves to play his guitar (taught himself!) and he is great at coloring my hair (much to his chagrin) and makes the best steak and baked potatoes. He also is an expert who knows how to turn my frowns upside down.  He likes to dabble in things that interest him – like when he was building his own drones and there was a time he enjoyed painting birdhouses.  The best thing he has ever done though with his array of many talents is making soap.  He is so meticulous in all that he does and unlike me, he is incredibly patient (and this requires patience).

The greatest part of being married to a soap maker is that we never run out of soap and also – we know exactly what is used for the ingredients.  Its truly a labor of love for my guy and I am so proud of him for his creativity and passion.

So tonight, I wanted to give you a peek on his soap making adventure and also share with you his own personal recipe (with pictures!)

Vanilla Scented Cold Process Soap

Ingredients:

Canola Oil – 23.1 oz

Castor Oil – 12.6 oz

Palm Oil – 69.3 oz

Shea Butter12.6 oz

Lye – 16.35 oz

Water (mixed with Lye) – 38.8

Vanilla scent – 7 oz

Mica White Color – 5 tablespoons

Types of colors that can be used:

Micas, Oxides and ultramarines,Titanium dioxide, Neons

(I used a 9lb soap mold and soap cutter that I purchased from Soapequipment.com)

Directions:

  1. Suit up in safety goggles, gloves and long sleeves.
  2. Add the lye to the water. Stir well taking precautions to not breathe in the fumes. Set the mixture to the side and allow it to cool to approximately 110F. You can put the lye water mixture outside if you are not in a well ventilated area.
  3. Add all your oils together and melt. Allow them to cool to approximately 110F, or within 5 degrees of the lye water.
  4. Add the lye water mixture to the melted oils, carefully. Stir vigorously until trace occurs. Trace looks like a thin pudding. A stick blender will help speed trace along. If you are stirring by hand, these recipes may take up to an hour to trace.
  5. Pour your traced soap mixture into your molds. Pop out after 3 to 5 days and allow to sit for a full 4 to 6 weeks to cure and finish

After I poured the soap mixture into the soap mold, I smoothed the mixture with a rubber spatula, and then covered the mold with wax paper and let the soap cure for three days before I took the soap loaves out of the mold.  I then placed one soap loaf at a time into the soap cutter and cut each loaf into 13 bars of soap, for a total of 39 bars of soap from the three loaves.  I then placed the cut bars of soap into a plastic container and covered them with wax paper.  I’ll let the soap cure for two weeks, and then it will be ready to use.

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In the Kitchen Tonight…Gingerbread

While researching on what to make in the kitchen today – I came across a delightful (and easy!) recipe for Gingerbread that was used during the Civil War era. If they could, families of the Union soldiers would often send small care packages of gingerbread, socks, soaps and other food items from home.  Since Gingerbread required molasses, it was a popular staple to make being that molasses was much cheaper to purchase than sugar in the Civil War era. This is why Molasses Cookies were also a popular item back in this era.

Here is the recipe that was used today:

Gingerbread

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of butter (used for greasing the pan)

2 1/2 cups of flour

1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda

1/2 cup of butter

1 1/4 cups of molasses*

1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoon of allspice

1 cup of very hot water

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″ square baking pan with the butter (1 tablespoon).  In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, soda and spices, and cut in softened butter to the four mixture with a fork.  Combine molasses, egg and water in a small mixing  bowl.  Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir well.  Pour the batter into a baking pan and bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Makes 9 servings. (Source: http://www.totalgettysburg.com)

*It seemed as if everyone in town was making something with molasses this weekend and after going to 3 stores…I relented and looked online for a molasses replacement (who knew that molasses was so popular in my small town??!!) Here is what I used as a replacement for molasses in this recipe:

1 1/4 cup dark corn syrup (you can also use honey or maple syrup)

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup water