Cooking with My Great Kid

In addition to being a computer genius (I even call him from work for help with Facebook), my son is a wonderful cook. Last night he and I were in the kitchen, listening to Dave Brubeck and Duke Ellington and making food, and I had a spectacular time. I didn’t even mind washing the dishes.

One of the items we made was Lil’s Rice Casserole, which I found in an old cookbook. It’s really good!

Lil’s Rice Casserole

1-1/2 cups rice
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
3 cups hot vegetable or chicken broth (must be hot)
1 Tbsp. oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4-8 sliced mushrooms (depending on how much you like mushrooms)
1 small package of peas, thawed

Cook onions until soft. Add mushrooms, tomatoes and rice and mix. Add hot stock, salt and pepper to taste.

Pour mixture into a pot and place in a 400-degree oven. Cook 20 minutes. Add peas and cook five more minutes.

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Cookies and Milk and Mildred Bailey

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Mildred Bailey was one of the greats. I love her voice, especially on this Benny Goodman classic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7jM35qI9Yg.

When you start to feel down, it’s great to listen to a song like this and remember everything good in life – notably that we are not involved in a world war. Enjoy some cookies and milk while you hear the music, and life is just about perfect.

My husband has celiac disease, and I’m always in search of interesting and not-too-difficult-to-prepare gluten-free recipes. Here’s one for cookies.

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookies

2 oz. sugar
4 oz. butter or margarine
2 oz. maple syrup
8 oz. gluten-free oatmeal
2 oz. sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
Under low heat, warm margarine, sugar and maple syrup in a pot. DO NOT BOIL.
Remove pan from stove and gently stir in oatmeal and sunflower seeds.
Press mixture into the bottom of a well-greased dish. It should be about 1/8” thick.
As soon as mixture is cool to the touch, cut into cookies.

Makes about 20.

Gooder Than Delicious

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Everyone should have a sister like Rebecca (pictured here).
She’s my kid sister, and our interests are so different it’s hard to believe we grew up in the same home. She likes yoga and books about spirituality. I only do exercise when I feel I absolutely must, and then I whine about it for hours, and I like reading about history.

Still, Becca is the only one I can really talk to about life’s big challenges like motherhood – and our own mother, who we love but who drives us totally crazy.

One time I was looking through Becca’s favorite recipes and I found one for salmon. A little girl, the daughter of guests to whom she had served this dish, called it “gooder than delicious.” Becca thought that was cute; it made me want to throw up.
Still, it’s a very good fish recipe, so give it a try.

Yummy Fish

6 salmon fillets
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 Tbsp. melted butter or margarine
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. white wine or water

Mix last five ingredients, then pour over fish. Marinate for an hour or more.
Cook on middle rack in oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

From Lentils to Duck and Back Again

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I’m always amused when I see WWII recipes that suggest ways in which easily found ingredients can supposedly be transformed into tasting like difficult-to-find ones, like lentils into duck. (I have to say, though, that I do have a recipe that truly makes mushrooms taste like chicken liver!) What creativity, though, at a time when life was so bleak.

I love lentils for their own taste, as does everyone in my family. This week we will have them with sausages and vegetarian sausages, and they are always tasty in soup, like this very delicious one.
This recipe is also great to freeze. It tastes perfectly fresh every time.

Lentil Soup

2 cups chopped carrots
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 T. olive oil
2 cups lentils (soaked for one hour or overnight, and rinsed)
2 quarts water
1 Tablespoon sea salt
6 oz. tomato paste
1/4 tsp. dill
1 garlic clove, crushed (or more if desired)

Saute carrots, onions and celery in olive oil in a large stock pot. Add garlic, lentils, water and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 2 hours or until tender. Add tomato paste and dill. Stir and simmer until heated through.

A Delicious New Egg Salad

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I am always humbled when I see how homemakers in WWII Britain managed to make breakfast, lunch and dinner for their families. Really, what did they have to fix three decent meals a day?

SPAM, of course, and while that takes its share of abuse, dried eggs are what leave me taken aback.
So I am very grateful when I go to the grocery store and pick up as many fresh eggs as I like.
Here’s a recipe for a salad that my husband created. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s delicious and simple!

2 avocados, peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed
5 hard-boiled eggs, diced
¼ cup Italian salad dressing

Combine and add salt to taste. (Ingredients can be adjusted, but these are the quantities we prefer).

A Great Journalist’s Scones

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World War II was won by the masses – those brave armies in the Allied forces – and also thanks to exceptional individuals like Gil Winant, Alan Turing and Edward R. Murrow.

Murrow was not only a brilliant reporter, he was an extraordinary human being – a man deeply moved by suffering, a man who refused to stay silent in the face of hatred and persecution.

Edward R. Murrow’s Oatmeal Scones
(Originally published in radio station WFBL’s “The Cook Book of the Stars” in 1945)

1 cup cooked oatmeal
2/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups flour (use more if dough is too sticky)
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons honey

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Mix the milk into the cooked oatmeal, and add the salt and melted butter.
3. Add the flour and baking powder. Mix well, and add the honey. If the dough seems very stick at this point, add more flour.
4. On a well-floured board, roll the dough into a circle 1/2-inch thick. Cut into wedges with a floured knife, or use a biscuit cutter or an upside-down glass to cut into circles.
5. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until browned.

Note: If you have any scones left over, they reheat very nicely. They also make a surprisingly good base for blueberry shortcake: gently heat a cup or so of blueberries with a quarter-cup of sugar and a tiny bit of water. Layer the shortcakes: bottom half of a scone, warm blueberry sauce, top half, whipped cream, fresh blueberries. Yum.

Yield: Twelve 2-1/2 inch circle scones

We’ll Eat Again

patten Some years ago I worked as a reporter, and I once created a family section that included recipes from WWII.

I wanted to include a few dishes from We’ll Eat Again, by Marguerite Patten, which contains recipes and food tips from WWII. So I wrote to Ms. Patten and asked permission to reprint a recipe or two.

What a lovely person she is! She was so gracious and responsive. Not only did she allow me to reprint the recipes, she sent me a copy of her second cookbook, which focuses on food after the war, and wrote me a wonderful letter. (To thank her, I sent her a kosher cookbook which, I’m happy to say, I think she really enjoyed.)

You may have seen Marguerite Patten on the BBC’s “The 1940s House” or heard of her books. If not, please be sure to take a look at We’ll Eat Again. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Meanwhile, here’s a recipe from the cookbook:

Cheese Pancakes

4 oz. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs (2 level tablespoons dried egg mixed with 4 tablespoons water)
1/2 pint milk
4 oz. grated cheese
salt to taste
fat for frying

Method: Blend the flour, baking powder and mixed eggs smoothly, add sufficient milk to make a thick, smooth batter. Beat for 10 minutes. Add rest of milk, the grated cheese and salt. Heat a little fat in the frying pan till smoking hot, pour in a thin layer of batter, fry until golden brown on both sides. Turn out, roll, serve with a sprinkling of shredded cheese. Continue until all the batter is used.