Cooks share their favorite cornbread, pancake and pickle recipes
Hello, mid-month readers.
* There is nothing like a good neighbor, as an Anonymous Exchanger asserts. “We get a lot of eggs from a neighbor’s hens, and my wife mentioned a recipe called Sardou eggs. [involving creamed spinach, artichoke hearts, poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce]. Sounds pretty complicated, and I wonder if any of your readers have an easy version. “
* Daisy LaNieve inherited a cast iron pan that was put in the dishwasher; AE discovered rust on the edges of his Le Creuset enameled cast iron pan. Our correspondents are both wondering how we would rehabilitate the cast iron, whether it is just the margins or the entire pan, after improper use.
* In today’s letter, one of you noted an inescapable culinary fact: “Experience pays off. As every recruit has known and lamented, you can’t start with experience, so learning to cook can include a few batches that end up in the trash. This morning I remember some newlyweds’ attempt at mashed potatoes that I beat into submission and also into something like glue. Now after many tries I only use an old fashioned potato masher.
So tell us, don’t you, one thing you’ve learned from experience in your kitchen.
CAST IRON BREAD
I’ll call the next writer, who prefers anonymity, CIH – for Cast Iron Heir. And where cast iron pans are mentioned, a cornbread commentary usually follows. This is Mr. Heir’s version.
1 1/2 cups self-rising cornmeal (I use Three Rivers brand)
1 cup of milk or less
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon bacon juice
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the pan in the oven to heat.
In a bowl, add the cornmeal and half the milk to make the dough.
Add the egg, mix well and add the rest of the milk to make a paste that will flow. If the dough is too firm, the bread will be dry and hard. If it’s too wet, it will be soggy in the middle. This is where the experience pays off.
When the oven and pan are hot, add the cooking juices for a few minutes. Smoking is a good temperature.
Remove from oven and stir to coat bottom and sides of pan. Do not let the pan cool. Add the dough to a depth of about 1 1/2 inches. I throw away the leftover dough.
Bake, 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is golden but not hard. Cooking times may vary, so watch carefully.
Remove when finished and immediately return to a plate. The bread should fall on the plate. Set the pan aside to cool in the air.
DEVOITION TO THE STOVE
Jane Guthrie, who has a vast knowledge of cooking, began today’s missive: “I have to add my two cents to the care of the black iron stoves.
“I read for fun and enjoy a good detective read. A favorite author is John Lescroart. I suspect he’s the cook behind the cooking skills of his character Dismas Hardy.
Dismas cooks simple and tantalizing meals in his black iron pan and always, always the meal ends with the cleaning of his beloved, empty and dry pan. He adds a lot of table salt, then scrubs the pan, rinses and dries.
“And I keep my pan upside down in the back of the oven.”
In this lively discussion of cast iron, emerged one of my favorite poems, shared by its author Laurie Vaughen. This is such a pan and the first stanza goes like this: “What is passed on has weight.” / Black as coal and heavy to hang, / a pan remembers the oil, the cure, the waiting, / the generations of hunger, words of grace. “
Yeah. What is transmitted carries weight, in the kitchen and perhaps in every room of the house.
Kathleen Maxwell of Lakesite lovingly described her father and her culinary specialty, and she also shared a creative way of honoring her cuisine, especially her French pancakes. In the process, she painted a portrait of a fascinating man.
“He and mom danced on Broadway when they were young, and he studied cooking in France in his twenties. He taught English for many years and made chocolate candies until he was 90. believe he is in heaven serving his brandy chocolates as often as possible.
“My dad was 94 when he wrote his recipe for me. I had it put on napkins for my sisters and brothers for Christmas last year. Mom and dad lived with me until mom dies and dad remarries – at 91 – and moved on his own.
“Adults and adults used to see which one could eat the most pancakes in one place. He usually served them sweet, but I’m sure they would also be delicious savory.”
3 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1 cup of flour
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup milk
5 tablespoons of melted butter
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of sugar (if using as a dessert)
Mix all the ingredients together in a blender. Store in a quart jar in the refrigerator overnight.
When you’re ready to make pancakes, heat an 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium to high heat. (Depending on the pancake pan, spraying it with cooking spray is optional.)
Slowly pour the batter into the pan using about 3 tablespoons of batter. The mixture will barely cover an 8 inch pan as you tilt and swirl until the pancake is no longer shiny. Lift with a spatula and transfer to a plate lined with parchment paper. Stack the pancakes or place them on plates, fill them with the fruit filling or any flavorful filling you want, then roll up and serve. You can dust the sweet pancakes with powdered sugar.
It may take a bit of practice, but you can take advantage of the ones that tear.
Betty Domal wrote from Moore County, Tennessee.
“It’s a favorite cucumber recipe in our family and wherever I take it to potlucks. It’s in the cookbook ‘Dining With Pioneers’ Volume II, copyright 1986.
“This recipe is really easy to make. I have a bowl of it in the fridge now.”
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of celery seeds or celery salt (optional, I omit)
2 cups of sugar
1 1/2 cup white vinegar (or half apple cider, half white)
7 cups thinly sliced peeled cucumbers (about 4 whole)
1 to 2 sliced onions (I like sweet onions)
2 green peppers, thinly sliced (optional, I never use them)
Combine the salt, celery seeds, sugar and vinegar.
Add the cucumbers, onions and peppers.
It’s best if it’s prepared a few hours in advance and even better prepared a day or two before serving. It will keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator, although it never lasts that long in my family.
Remarks: I prefer English cucumbers if available, 2 to 3 depending on the size. I also used about 8 pickled cucumbers. I like to have 2 to 3 cups each of cucumbers and onions. You could have a little more of either, depending on what your family likes.
That’s all for today, but there’s always next week, so all of you come.
* Sardou easy eggs
* Rehabilitation of cast iron
* Cooking lessons taught by experience
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