Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Food: Recipes, cookbook reviews, food notes, and restaurant reviews with a heavy emphasis on San Diego. Unless otherwise noted, I have personally tried each recipe that gets its own page, but not necessarily recipes listed as part of a cookbook review.

Southern Living Cookbook for Two—Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

I’m not sure, but I think I see far more cookbooks for one than for two, whether it’s for the college student or the apartment-dweller, or bachelor. The only other cookbook for two I can think of off-hand is the lost-in-its-era Saucepans and the Single Girl, which is not really focused on cooking for two but on cooking for one: the date a woman wishes to turn into a husband. That there should also be enough food for the woman is mostly afterthought.

In Southern Living’s Cookbook for Two, Audrey P. Stehle makes a genuinely good stab at rewriting good recipes from their normal four to six or six to eight into recipes that work well for a couple, without leftovers. I’d say that the book was ahead of its time, but it’s probably destined forever to be a book in search of a market. The mass of couples today don’t seem to be saving until they’re no longer a couple, but use their excess income to eat out, not cook. And this is a real cookbook: you still need a full kitchen to use it, with a full complement of cooking equipment: a double boiler, a roasting pan, pastry pans, muffin pans, hand blender, and so on.

Converting good recipes into recipes for two that don’t involve leftovers or splitting ingredients such as eggs in half is hard work, but when it works it’s pretty impressive. Earlier this week I made some Greek avgolemono soup. It wasn’t bad; it could have been better, but that would have meant putting chicken into it as well, and that would have meant using more ingredients—such as chicken—that would have meant some leftovers.

And in its defense, I both enjoyed it and it was by far the easiest avgolemono soup recipe I’ve ever seen.

On Sunday I made some Italian custard with fruit. Making custard to put over fruit for two people means using all of two egg yolks. Using a handheld blender on two egg yolks in a double boiler is very much scraping the bottom of the pan! Perhaps this is why the recipe goes heavy on the Grand Marnier. But it turned out great, especially since I flipped ahead in the book and used the two egg whites to make some meringue in the toaster oven. The meringue was meant for coconut meringue pie, but laying it half on top of the fruit custard worked very well.

Lemon Tea Bread from O’Donnell Angel Food Cookbook—Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Angel Food cookbook cover

I found this spiral-bound cookbook at the local Half Price Books annual warehouse sale. I almost didn’t pick it up, but the juxtaposition of the angel eating batter and the subtitle, A Collection of the greatest recipes from: the White House, Wives of Air Force Dignitaries and O’Donnell Angels, caused me to give it a once-through.

Angel Food was created and written by the General Emmett O’Donnell Angel Flight. We are a non-profit organization whose purposes are to support the Air Force, our 300th A.F.R.O.T.C. Detachment, our university, and our country.

This cookbook is a collection of the greatest recipes from the White House, from wives of Air Force Dignitaries, and from our O’Donnell Angels.

Special thanks go to Mrs. Mary Jane Lewis and to Lt. Gerry J. Kellner, whose ideas and help originated and inspired our cookbook.

Rosalyn Allen

I’m a sucker for hand-written cookbooks, and the recipes looked both basic and interesting—at least, once I could decipher the writing—including a Kentucky Derby Pie filled with chocolate but not mint right across from a Lemon Chiffon Pie.

It is filled with recipes such as might be found at pot lucks or get-togethers, such as Celestial Salad, Blond Brownies, Jello Salad, and Oriental Meatballs.

The Lemon Tea Bread I’ve reproduced here is the best I’ve had, and about as easy to make as you can get.

The “White House and Air Force dignitaries” recipes include Liver Deluxe from Mrs. Betty Ford, First Lady; Chicken Casserole from Mrs. W.A. Temple—wife of Major General William A. Temple, vice commander of the Eighth Air Force, based in Louisiana; and Crabmeat Appetizer and Shrimp a la Dino from Mrs. James M. Breedlove, wife of Major General James M. Breedlove, Commander of the U.S. Air Forces Southern Command. There are a few others who I don’t recognize, and can’t be sure about because everything is in handwriting!

This is an obscure book—it has no ISBN and an Internet search brings up only a handful of references—but if you happen to run across it, I’d recommend taking a look.

Kitchen-Aid attachment stuck because pin extends too far—Thursday, October 30th, 2014
Kitchen-Aid attachment pin

The pin needs to slide behind the wall to the right, so that the attachment can slide down the groove visible just past the wall. If the pin extends further outward, it can’t get past the wall, and the attachment cannot be removed.

It’s a warm day in Texas, so I’m baking bread today. At the end of kneading the bread in my Kitchen-Aid, I go to remove the dough hook, and it won’t come out. It looks as though the pin that holds the hook in place has extended outward so that the attachment can no longer rotate into the groove that lets it detach.

This is apparently not an uncommon problem with Kitchen-Aid pins. After pounding on it a few times with a screwdriver, a quick search of the Internet brought the suggestion that maybe I’ve run the Kitchen-Aid for so long that the pin expanded from the heat and needs to cool.

That seemed—and was—utterly crazy. Yes, metal expands, but it shouldn’t expand that much. However, other suggestions involved using WD–40 or rust remover on the pin. That led me to believe that the pin can move on its own; a closer look at how attachments attach, and if the pin moved outward, it would move past the attacher rim and block the attachment from rotating far enough to be removed.

Realign Kitchen-Aid pin

A small c-clamp can push the pin back into alignment with little effort.

Since I was pretty sure that the pin hadn’t moved and then rusted after twenty minutes, I eschewed the harsh chemicals and got a small C-clamp and screwdriver. It fixed the problem in a few seconds. Most clamps nowadays seem to come with easy twist-bars, so you may not need a screwdriver.

My clamp opens about 1.5 inches; a smaller one should work fine, a larger one might be unwieldy.

The photos show the fix: attach the clamp so that the moveable arm is on the Kitchen-Aid’s attachment pin and the immovable arm is to the back of attachment neck. Tighten the clamp by hand, and then, if the pin doesn’t move when tightening by hand, tighten using the screwdriver until the pin moves in. If the pin has only recently moved out, it shouldn’t take much force to push it back in.

Pie crust cookies—Thursday, December 20th, 2012

My pie crust recipe, in order, I think, to make it easy to remember, ends up making three crusts. I almost always make either one pie, two pies, or a covered pie—i.e., never more than two crusts. Then I freeze the remaining dough ball(s). I made some applie pie about a week and a half ago, and forgot to freeze the remaining crust—I put it in the refrigerator thinking to make a berry pie in the next day or two, and it completely slipped my mind until last night.

Why, I thought, do I need a filling? The crust is often the best part of a pie. So I rolled it out and took out some cookie cutters, sprinkled sugar over the top, and baked them for about ten minutes at 400°F. Then I sprinkled them with powdered sugar, and, once they cooled, put them in a ziploc bag with a little more powdered sugar.

They’re very tasty—the sugar on the outside makes them just sweet enough, and they’re just like pie crust. I expect they’d be good with frosting as well.

I did not use any flour in the cookie cutters and they stuck a little when pulling them away from the cookie cutters. When I do this again I’m going to sprinkle the granulated sugar over the crust before cutting, and if that doesn’t help I’ll dip the cutters in flour each time.

Coops West Texas Barbeque—Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

I was saddened to learn last week that Huffman’s BBQ in Lincoln Park closed earlier this year, so I did a search to see if San Diego has acquired any new barbeque places besides Phil’s1. The reviews of Coops West Texas Barbeque convinced me to head out this weekend. The drive to Lemon Grove is a quick one, and it was a beautiful day.

They’ve got a lot of choices; we picked up two two-meat plates, knowing we wouldn’t finish them, so that we could try four meats and four sides, and have some great leftovers. We had the pork ribs, rib tips, texas sausage, and brisket. For sides, we chose potato salad, coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, and red beans and rice.

The mac & cheese side was quite good, as was the potato salad. The coleslaw was more vinegary than I like. The beans and rice was average. Our two-meat plate also came with corn bread. It is not homemade but they’re honest about it, and it’s still good. Finally, while you can buy sodas, they also have unlimited sweet tea, and it’s among the better sweet tea I’ve had, both in restaurants and homemade.

The meat was great, and it continued to be great the next day. The brisket was very close to the West Texas BBQ I had in February in Fort Stockton, Texas2. The sausage was homemade and flavorful; the pork ribs and rib tips were tender without being mushy. It’s definitely a place I want to go to again.

Like the only other West Texas barbecue I’ve had, the meat is served without covering it in sauce; they use a dry rub. There are two sauces at the table, both very similar. One tasted slightly smokier than the other. They’re advertised as milder and spicier. I enjoyed them both; but make sure you try the meat without the sauce first—it stands on its own.

It’s difficult, when eating that much good food, to save room for desert, but since Lemon Grove isn’t in walking distance I made sure to save room for one dessert. We had the peach cobbler. Very nice, very homey and warm. I want to try the buttermilk pie next time.

Chocolate cookies (for breakfast)—Saturday, April 14th, 2012

These cookies should be crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. You’ve got a decent amount of leeway with this recipe; if you leave it in for a few minutes too long they’ll be fine. Less chewy and more crunchy, but still very good.

A mixer, either a hand-mixer or a stand mixer, will turn this into a very quick recipe. And also give you one more thing to lick in the morning.

This makes about two baking sheets full of cookies, depending on how much of the batter you eat.

I stole this recipe from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, changing things around for what I have in my cupboard/refrigerator. I exchanged yogurt for the milk (full-fat yogurt, of course) and cocoa powder for the unsweetened chocolate. Then a bit more butter and vanilla because I like butter and vanilla (and because I’m using cocoa powder instead of chocolate).

The Fannie Farmer Cookbook is a great basic cookbook; when I can’t find something in my weird books, I tend to use Fannie Farmer.

Bacon fat tortillas?—Thursday, April 5th, 2012

“I prefer lard but have used coconut oil. That’s good too. Just don’t ever use margarine. For anything. Margarine is gross.”

Every once in a while I get the urge to make flour tortillas, and fail. Will have to try again! I have some bacon fat waiting for just such a project…

Diolinda’s Kitchen—Sunday, February 26th, 2012

“I love dark chocolate. These are my thoughts on the chocolate and food world.”

From turnip tater tots to bacon-wrapped dates, hard to go wrong with these recipes. Diolinda Monteiro is also an accomplished chocolatier, so pay attention to what what she has to say about chocolates especially!

Did you know that “diet” meant a “deliberative assembly” historically? That’s how you get wonderful turns of phrase like “The Diet of Worms”. Worms, Germany was where the diet was held.

I’d like to think that The Chocolate Diet is both a style of eating and a decision-making process.

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