Friday, July 21, 2017

"MWAH" and Cauliflower Cheese Pie


"MWAH!"

Anyone else remember the kiss that Dinah Shore ended every show with?

I was in front of our first television set the whole hour when Dinah Shore was live on NBC in the evening, beginning in 1951, and didn't miss many until her show ended in 1961. I think I knew every word of "See the USA in Your Chevrolet" that she sang during each show.

After all, Nashville claimed her since she moved here when she was in the 5th grade and went on to graduate from Vanderbilt University in 1938, the school's first Jewish cheerleader. 

I remain a Dinah Shore fan and use her cookbook constantly. One of my favorite recipes is for her daughter Melissa's Cauliflower Cheese Pie. I'm not crazy about cauliflower, folks. I'm a potato lover. But this pie has a potato crust. 

Winner!


I made two of these pies on July 4th, using goat cheese and lactose free milk for RH's, so I almost doubled Dinah's recipe.

First I went to my pots of herbs on the kitchen porch and picked a big bunch of herbs, basil, parsley and thyme. Washed them and the cauliflower.


Then grated a pile of peeled russet potatoes. I don't have room on my kitchen counters to keep my food processor out now so decided to do these by hand, only took about 20 minutes.


Put them in a colander to let moisture drip out while preparing the vegetables. 

Chop an onion for the filling and grate an extra 1/4th cup of onion to add to the potatoes for the crust. 

Melt butter in a skillet and add the chopped onion to cook while you cut the cauliflower in small florets. Mince a clove or two of garlic and chop your herbs.

Add the cauliflower, garlic and herbs to the onions.


Add salt and fresh ground black pepper if you wish--I do. Cauliflower is bland and needs seasoning. Cook the cauliflower mixture, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Oil or grease a 9" pie pan. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the potatoes and grated onion in a bowl, stir in 1 egg, beaten. 

Then build your potato crust with your fingers, pressing up along side of pie pan as well as the bottom. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake about 40 minutes, I got my small one too brown. It does have to cook again later and will brown more then.


Mix your custard: 2 eggs, beaten and 1/4 cup milk, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

Spread about 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese in bottom of crust, pour the cooked cauliflower mix on top of the cheese, top with about 3/4 cup more grated cheese on top.

Then pour the custard on top of that and dust with paprika.

Bake 35-40 minutes or until set. 





That last picture was terrible but the Cauliflower Cheese Pie was delicious!

What other recipes are favorites of mine from The Dinah Shore Cookbook?

A to-die-for Salmon Mousse on Molded Cucumber Salad

Sea Sandwiches that take tuna fish out of the ordinary

Oliver's Potatoes

Toad in the Hole

Broccoli Rice Casserole

Picadillo with Rice and Black Beans

Spanish Rice, I could make a meal on this

Breads, breads, breads and a sourdough recipe almost as good as Mama's

Desserts, desserts, desserts

In addition to great recipes, there are little tidbits about her friends,
        like Telly. Do you remember Telly Savalas? "Who loves ya, baby?"

I loved Telly and his family recipe for Avgolemono is in this cookbook,
          pure comfort food.


I sometimes wonder about the label "comfort food." I mean, shouldn't all food be comfort food. If any food is not comfort food I think we need to find a way to make it better. 

A salad can be made awesome enough to be comfort food.

Even bran muffins can be comfort food--put streusel topping on it, for pete's sake! 

Should food be a chore to eat? What do you say? I say heaven forbid!

I bet Dinah would agree with me.




Thursday, July 13, 2017

A Pond With No Name

"So many people who go afield for enjoyment

leave it behind them at home."

David Grayson in A Countryman's Year


I don't think I will ever take this view for granted.

When I let Otis and Milo out every morning
I look at it.

When I wash dishes I see it from
my kitchen window.

All through the summer day,
we watch purple martins soar above it.
We dread the day they return to Sao Paulo.

But in the fall Mr. & Mrs. Smith,
two Canadian geese,
may return to the pond.

Sometimes,
not often enough 😉,
two little granddaughters return
to enjoy the pond.

When we've been very very good,
at the end of the day
there are watercolor sunsets
reflecting on the surface.

At dusk,
Otis and Milo, RH and I,
take one last turn around the yard
and say goodnight to the pond.

It has no name.

It is our neighbor's pond
although it is closer to our door than his,
our view of it is better than his,
and he said I could name it. 
He's so nice to share it with us.
He also brings us pecan pies and blackberries.

I hope to never leave enjoyment behind me
searching for it afield.

So much of it is here at home.


What would you name it if you were me?







Sunday, July 9, 2017

Lee Bailey's Blackberry Cobbler



"Going to Lee Bailey's is like going home...
when going home is what it's cracked up to be.
It's that comfortable and welcoming."
Amy Gross

I have six of Lee Bailey's cookbooks and hope to someday own every single one.

Before there was Martha, there was Lee,
legendary lifestyle writer. 
His books make me feel exactly how Amy Gross wrote, like I've walked in his door and known immediately that there would be good conversation and good food--
all done with such ease that you know you're not a bother.




His Country Weekends was my first Lee Bailey book.

And his Peach Cobbler the first recipe I tried years ago,
best cobbler dough ever!

You use the same dough for his Blackberry Cobbler
and it's well worth passing on.

Cobbler Batter:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons frozen, unsalted butter
4 tablespoons frozen Crisco
4 to 5 tablespoons ice water


Lee suggests making the dough in a food processor but I just mix the flour and salt in a bowl and use my old little pastry cutter to cut in the butter and Crisco. Then stir in the ice water until you can form it in a ball. Either refrigerate until ready to roll out, or I go ahead and roll it out right away.

Put the whole round of dough over a large pie plate and let it hang over. You're going to just fold the excess over the top after the filling is put in.



So easy! 

And if you have a neighbor like we do who brings you fresh-picked blackberries, count your blessings.


For the blackberry filling, none is easier than Lee's:

6 cups washed blackberries
(I only had 3 cups)
3/4 cups sugar (I used less)
1/4 cup unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
Dump berries into the dough in pie pan.
Sprinkle sugar over.
Fold excess pastry over top.
Dot with pats of butter.
Sprinkle a little sugar on top of pastry.
Bake for 45 minutes, don't over brown.

Be sure to put some aluminum foil on
bottom rack to catch any spills.


The last step is to enjoy,
either with vanilla ice cream or without.

And enjoy, we did.

Blackberry Cobbler, summer is officially here!








Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Birthday USA!


Let freedom ring!

Happy Independence Day to those of us in the USA!

I hope your day is filled to the seams with good food, good friends, good times and good thoughts about this dear battered proud worried staunch confused determined hardworking friendly leery strong tired capable introvert extrovert passionate independent gullible intelligent exacerbated hopeful pessimistic busybody standoffish openhearted stingy generous country called the United States of America.

With all her faults I'll take her any day, any time and lots of other people must feel that way too, else why would so many want so badly to come here?

I refuse to be discouraged by all the silly and serious arguments in Washington. Believe me, there were plenty of those when this nation's birthing was being hammered out in 1776. 

But I do wish they'd get over it, don't you?

I heard someone out there say, "When pigs fly!"

Enough of that. I'll get back to my small sphere of influence and talk about getting ready for the Fourth here in our small cottage.




That was my Fourth of July table at the old house in Valley View. I'm not sure what it will look like this year, haven't gotten that far yet. I left the red bowls, the white placemats and the red white and blue quilt behind when we downsized and moved.

I even left my beautiful huge old 48 star flag behind. There's no room here to store seasonal decorations so I won't be buying any. Even my Christmas boxes are stacked to the ceiling in a corner of my writing room because I refuse to put them in the attic. They will be undergoing a serious vetting process this coming December.

I got out the one Fourth of July decoration I've saved--a tiny painting I did decades ago. I only painted when I was pregnant so it was done during one of those pregnancies.




I love it, amateurish as it is. I want to sing the Star Spangled Banner when I look at it and watch James Cagney one more time in Yankee Doodle Dandy.

I left all my beautiful flag bunting behind when we moved but just had to buy one inexpensive piece for the front porch. I can roll it up and store it on the tower of Christmas boxes that are right behind my chair now.




A patriotic flower arrangement was easy.....the long hedge row along a good part of our road frontage is filled with blackberries.




Could any florist arrangement be better than this?

Our kitchen already has its share of blue and red but I put a few of the blue and red Fenton tumblers in the kitchen window for the sun to shine on. And this pretty plant cooperated by re-blooming just in time for the Fourth. What is its name? I downsized my memory when we moved too. Left part of it behind. No sense in overloading my brain, right?




And that is about the extent of my Fourth of July decor for now. Except for a pretty card I always prop up somewhere...

Before I show it, have any of you caught the goofs here  on this post? It was too late to catch it when I noticed it and I was not going to edit photos again. Let me show you the last photo that I was able to do correctly.




Notice that this photo properly says "Happy Fourth of July from Across the Way"?

And that the others all say "Dewena's Window"? 

It gets confusing sometimes writing two blogs. 

But I know you'll forgive me and not be too harsh in your judgement because after all, only a few of you know about this little bitty forgotten blog.

Don't you feel special?

Happy Fourth to my fellow Americans!

And for those who are from another land, thank you for reading anyway!

What's for supper here tonight?

       Salmon cooked outside on the grill 
               Cauliflower custard pie with potato crust (one with goat cheese for RH
               and gruyere for me.)
                        Simple leaf lettuce salad with vinaigrette
                                And a blueberry pie
And that's it. 
                         

Friday, June 23, 2017

"Time Enough for Dreaming"


There are certain times in the year when dreams seem possible,
even seem destined to come true.

June is one of them,
maybe because of the leftover emotions
from childhood--
School is out! Summer is here!

June seems like a new beginning.

Is that why so many weddings are in June?

Our dear Gladys Taber wrote:

"...in June one feels the security
that summer has just begun,
there is time enough for dreaming."

I do a lot of dreaming when I look through my vintage magazine collection
and the June issues are my second favorite.
Christmas issues claim first place with me.

I'm still a sucker for Bride covers and the above one from The Ladies' Home Journal
issue of June 1951 was my happy place this morning as I wait for the heavy rains and predicted strong weather to arrive.

We got up at 5:30 a.m. to get some things done before we lost the sunshine.
It's been a beautiful June morning and RH got a few plants in the ground before breakfast. 

I clipped some long legged herbs before the rains could beat them down.


Flowers on the tarragon were already weighing it down and they make a pretty bouquet 
in my kitchen window.
Did you know the flowers are edible too?

I can snip them for my salad dressings this week and maybe some for the pork chops RH plans on cooking for us because the sage needs to grow some more before harvesting.

I hope the model above,
bride Francine de Fere in her 
Christian Dior gown,
had her wedding dreams come true.

I didn't have a Christian Dior wedding gown but I did have a smaller version of her bridal bouquet.

Stephanotis was standard bridal bouquet flowers back then, and a decade later mine had it with gardenias--divine scent!

Looking out the window now, I see the rains have arrived. I hope people in the way of these storms are safe.
Tropical Storm Cindy has already claimed the life of a 10-year old boy, his and his parents' dreams ended.

Cherish your beautiful dreams.

I'm going to dream this summer
and I hope you do too.

Summer has just begun!




Friday, June 2, 2017

Schrafft's Oatmeal Cookies

Sometimes I just want a simple homemade oatmeal cookie.



No gourmet ingredients in it, please.

Just the old basic Schrafft's oatmeal cookie.

I turn to the recipe in Evans Jones' biography of James Beard,
my favorite chef of all time.




Jones says that "Cookies were more than the understandable sweet bites that bring passing comfort to most children--
they remained one of Jim's mild passions."

James Beard loved Schrafft's Oatmeal Cookies and so do I.

1. Cream 1/4 lb butter and 1 cup sugar together.
            [or 3/4 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar]

2. Add 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla and beat till light and fluffy.

3. Stir in 1 1/2 cup oats [old-fashioned, not quick cooking]

4. Mix and stir together 1 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder,
          1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon,
          1/2 teaspoon allspice.

5. Add the butter and sugar mixture and 1/4 cup milk to the flour mixture
          and beat till well blended.

6. Stir in 1 cup raisins and 1 cup chopped walnuts.

7. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheet, 1 1/2 inch apart.

8. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 12 minutes.
     
          Remove and cool on racks.

           

Other than Jim's own books about his life, Evan Jones'
Epicurean Delight, The Life and Times of James Beard,
is my next favorite book about this complex man who taught
so many people how to cook good food.

Including a simple homemade oatmeal cookie.




Wednesday, March 29, 2017

An Ordinary Life: Sunlight on the Breakfast Table



"The only difference between
an extraordinary life
and an ordinary one
is the extraordinary pleasures
you find in ordinary things."

Veronique Vienne

















Dear One, or Two, or Three........

What was your extraordinary pleasure today?

                   Wishing you many,

                              Dewena

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Abomination

And lo, there was an Abomination that fell

upon the United States of America,


causing much travail.


Tempers rose,


depression fell.


Men gnashed their teeth in vain.


Women muttered and moaned

and screamed for a cup of coffee.


And the Abomination was called

TIME CHANGE SUNDAY.


It's here, friends.

Maybe a nap will help.


Wake up there, sleepyhead!

"Bah, leave me alone, will ya?
And did you get permission to take my picture?"

Shhh, go back to sleep....

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Long Love

Theirs was a long love.




I can't vouch for the early years,
I wasn't there then.

But a few years after this photograph was taken,
a dozen cousins and numerous uncles and aunts present,
I saw evidence that there was more than sweet smiles
between my grandfather and grandmother.

We were all outside awaiting home-churned ice cream,
aunts talking up a Tennessee tornado,
uncles joking and wondering if the ice cream was ready,
cousins pairing off by age.

No one was paying much attention to the old couple,
but I saw.

I saw Grandpa walk behind Grandma's folding chair,
bend and kiss the top of her head.

And with a mischievous smile he.....

he slid a hand in the bodice of her dress.

She slapped his hand away and fussed,
"Oh, William!"

He smiled and walked away.

There was a sparkle in Grandma's eye.