DURING my newspaper days, a field I entered quite by chance, but grew to love, pressure was my live-in companion. The only respite from spot news and covering endless meetings, were my columns and weekly feature stories. There was a "Round Town" column, another called "People Watching" and a third known as "Stove Stories" from which this book got its name.
Up until this chapter I have written in peace and solitude, a far cry from the pressure of the old and with which I would no longer cope, if I indeed, I could cope.
This "Miscellany" section, however, has been frequently interrupted but pleasantly. Today it was feeding a hungry, growing granddaughter, doing three loads of wash, changing a bed, and starting to defrost a refrigerator that at this point has more frost than food.
About my granddaughter, she is a lovely child, with a delightful sense of humor, a genuine concern for others and a gargantuan appetite for a dainty ten-year old. Llara is here for her R&F&R. She wanted to be a bit more specific than the military's R&R and spells her version out as, "Rest, Food and Relaxation."
She started off the day with eight slices of bacon, a chocolate pop tart, a slice of toast and a glass of orange juice. Some leftover chicken soup filled in the gap when she found that was the last of the bacon.
A hour later she raised the refrigerator and came up with orange juice, cream cheese and chive and a pickle. Potato chips completed his snack.
After another 60 minutes a cry went up for "Pizza please!" And it isn't lunchtime yet! This will probably be a grilled cheese sandwich or two, carrot sticks, more potato chips, a pickle and chocolate milk. She's already suggested tacos for the mid-afternoon snack. We'll discuss dinner later.
But about this chapter. It's filled with recipes that didn't fall easily into specific categories.
The so different stuffed peppers could have been in in the "All About Vegetables" but actually they make a delicious entree.
Where to put the absolutely delectable corn fritters recipe or the Muenster pie? Or the ice bowl? Or the elegant puffy French toast?
Mention of the latter brings to mind the morning I rushed my adult son, the victim of as severe a case of hives as I've ever seen, to a nearby emergency room. Covered with thumb-sized welts and looking like a victim of a wasp war, J was treated and released and emerged from the visit hungry. Wheat else? So we stopped at a diner where he frequently breakfasts.
After perusing the stained and spotted menu, I asked the waitress if the French toast was the puffy type only to be greeted with a look of total puzzlement.
"Just give her an English muffin," J said. And then in an aside to me, "You don't get anything fancy here, mother, just keep quiet and eat your muffin." It came with a tiny, tiny packet of apple jelly.
Don't imagine I'd better ask for orange marmalade," I ventured with a sigh.
"Eat," he said, and I ate.
Let's begin with puffy French toast.
PUFFY FRENCH TOAST
"I know how, it's my mother's recipe," she said, turning her rapt gaze from the white capped ocean, "but I don't have it. My sister Ruth has it."
"Well for heaven's sake, get it please," I pleaded. And six months later she did. And here it is:
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 egg
- slices of white bread, thicker than thin.
What a way to start a day!
STUFFED PEPPERS ABOUT
- About 2 cups crumbs
- 2 or 3 tbsp. grated Italian cheese. Romano recommended.
- About 2 tsps. parsley flakes
Add about 3/4 cup canned tomatoes.
Add 1 tsp. olive oil.
Mix until moist.
Wash and dry six average peppers.
Cut in half, remove seeds, parboil for five minute and stuff 3/4 full.
Lay in greased pan and put in preheated 375° oven. Bake about one hour or until test done.
HOMEMADE BLENDER MAYONNAISEYou can have all the store-bought mayonnaise you want, but there's nothing to compare with the homemade version, particularly if it's this easy-to-make and delicious recipe. Puts zing in your salads, zip in your sandwiches and is elegant anytime you want a dollop of mayonnaise. A great gift for friends who aren't at home in the kitchen.
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup vinegar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 to 4 drops Tabasco
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. dry mustard
- 2 cups oil, divided
- 4 cups fresh cranberries (pick over and remove any soft berries)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup cold water
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 baking soda
Then without lifting or moving the cover, remove from the heat and set aside until COMPLETELY cold.
The cranberries will be like cherries and luscious. Pour into scalded jars and seal with paraffin. Make out a gift list and your friends will love you even more. Save some for yourself, of course.
FIRE AND ICE TOMATOES
I lost this recipe during my West Virginia residency and was most upset and even more distraught when the friend who gave it to me, confessed, she had lost hers. Even our combined efforts at reconstructing the recipe went for naught. So imagine my delight when I found it in a women's magazine. Jeannie and were so pleased that we made it immediately.
- 6 tomatoes quartered
- 1 large green pepper sliced in rings
- 1 large red onion sliced in rings
- 1 1/2 tsps. celery salt
- 1 1/2 tsps. mustard seed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/8 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 water
- 1 large cucumber
Call it a powerhouse of nutrients that provides energy galore.
You can buy commercial brands, but I think I prefer this. I'm hooked on granola and have been instrumental in hooking others. This is my preference for the crunchy energy builder, but I've listed optional additions below.
- 4 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup cashew pieces
- 1/2 cup what germ
- 1/2 cup dried shredded coconut
- 2 tbsp. nonfat powdered milk
- 1/2 cup Safflower oil
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1 tbsp. vanilla
Place oil and honey in a sauce pan and warm the mixture over low heat, just until blended and runny.
Stir in vanilla.
Pour over granola and mix well.
Spread in one or two large shallow baking pans no more than 1/2 inch thick.
Bake in a preheated 325° oven 20-25 minutes until golden.
Stir several times while baking.
Remove from the oven and stir several times while cooling to prevent sticking to the pan.
When completely cooled and crisp, store in airtight containers.
Serve with milk or yoghurt, fresh fruit or just a snack as is.
OPTIONS: 1/2 to 1 cup raisins, 1/2 cup chopped dried fruits (dates, figs, apricots, apples) If you elect to use any or all of these, add them to the mixture after you remove them from the oven).
Now imagine a clambake on an apartment balcony or a home patio. It can be done, has been done often and this is how. This is for one serving so multiply as your needs dictate.
- 1 24x24 inch square heavy-duty foil.
- 1 24x24 inch square cheesecloth
- 10-12 small steamer clams (desanded*)
- 1 1-lb lobster
- 1 ear corn
- 1 unpeeled small to medium potato
- 1/4 water (sea water if possible, otherwise add salt)
Add scrubbed and desanded clams, lobster, corn desilked but with a thin layer of husk remaining, potato.
Pour water over all.
Seal foil well, crimping edges thoroughly.
Place on a barbecue fire about four inches from the coals. Cook 1/2 hour on one side, turn and cook another 1/2 hour more.
Check for doneness which should be, but if not, reseal and turn to grill.
Each package serves one generously. Some add a frankfurter to the package, but I DON'T!
Whatever, this is much fun and elegant eating!
*To assure removing sand from the clams, place in a pan of salty water for half an hour with corn meal sprinkled on top.
Everyone loves this, everyone: Easy to make and even easier to consume in quantities more than you need, but it's so delicious. You'll be surprised the first time you make this, pleasantly, and I'm not going to tell you what it will be.
- 4 oz Muenster cheese shredded
- 1 egg beaten
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup chopped pepperoni or salami
- 1/4 tsp. oregano
Serve as a luncheon entree of Sunday night supper with a crisp green salad or maybe cut in thin wedges for a different cocktail tidbit.
The original recipe, clipped from a long-forgotten newspaper said, "Makes a lot." Well it wasn't enough on that occasion, six of us devoured these easy to make fritters and could have eaten more!
- 1 can cream style corn
- 18 saltine crackers
- 2 eggs
- Salt, pepper, Tabasco
- Vegetable oil
Add beaten eggs, sale, pepper and Tabasco. This is great to fix the night before and refrigerate so that the crackers really absorb the moisture.
You don't have to do it this way, though, but do allow some "setting" time.
Drop by spoonfuls into a frying pan well covered with hot oil.
Cook slowly until nicely browned, turn and brown the other side. Serve with syrup or plain with butter.
CRACKER CRUST QUICHE
this saltine version, it's different and a nice change from pie crust. Some people serve a crab meat sauce with this. It's elegant but not necessary.
- 30 saltines crushed
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 3 cups Swiss cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup hot milk (not scalded)
- 1 tsp. salt
- Dash pepper
- 4-5 drops Tabasco
- 3 beaten eggs
IMPORTANT: Let stand five minutes before slicing