Monday, December 23, 2013

The Eleventh Day of Kitschmas: Cookies!

Santy Claus Cookies, etc
contributed by Mrs. Andrew J. White, Columbus, OH
We got a little neighborly help today in baking cookies, chiefly Mrs. White's Santy Claus cookies. Which kind of look like aliens now that I closely examine the photo above. Though a treasured part of my childhood, I never actually saw the assembly process, so I had to piece it together with a lot of guesswork and second-hand information.

The recipe, though, is genuine, and written in Mrs. White's own hand.  You will also need a Santa-face cookie cutter, available in a thrift shop near you (or on ebay

Now, then:
Sift together 4 1/2 cups flour which has been sifted and measured, with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon baking soda.

Separately, cream 1 cup shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 3 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla & 1/2 teaspoon lemon or almond extract (I used almond).

Combine mixtures. Shape into roll 3 inches in diameter. Wrap in wax paper and chill. Cut cookies and bake at 350 till done (About 10-12 minutes).

Decoration instructions will follow in the video.

We also made gingerbread men, I'll let you look up your own recipe for that.

I'll warn you that the Santa cookie dough is very dry, almost like a shortbread, so you can't dawdle. Let it chill about 2 hours, then get right to work.  The longer it sits in the fridge, the drier it gets, so your last batch is likely to look like terra cotta.

Also, try and enlist helpers!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Tenth Day of Kitschmas

Hors d'oerves
 Schmerke contributed by Mrs. Shawn Steadman, Florence, SC
Oyster Bobs and Kielbasa bites contributed by Dr. Husband 
No time to chat, Dr. Husband and I are running ourselves ragged, between our filming Kitschmas songs and our busy holiday social calendar!  We always like to have something simple around the house to either take with us to parties, or to entertain last-minute guests that may drop by.  So today we have a couple of kitschy snacky items from Dr. Husband's family, as well as one reader submission.

Dr. Husband's finger foods are easy as can be:
Polska Kielbasa
1 package Polska Kielbasa (beef or turkey)
Slice kielbasa into rounds, about 1 inch thick. Brown in skillet. Serve with toothpicks.

Oyster Bobs
1 can fancy smoked oysters
1/4 pound swiss cheese, cubed
1 can pineapple chunks (optional)
On toothpicks, spear 1 oyster and one cube cheese. Add 1 chunk pineapple if desired.

And, the reader submission, Schmerke:
2 blocks of cream cheese, softened
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
Finely chopped pimento-stuffed green olives, to taste (about half a jar)
Grated or finely chopped onion to taste (a tablespoon?)
1 Tbsp mayonaise
milk or olive brine to help make it spreadable
Combine all ingredients, serve with crackers. (Usually Ritz)

You'll have to decide for yourself if the ingredients appeal to you, but here's what we thought. Plus a guest performer!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Ninth Day of Kitschmas: Yuletide Mold

Yuletide Mold
Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Cookbook
Not a lot to say about this, it's pretty dismal, as you'll see in the video. For a more festive and pleasing avocado-based mold, you'd be better off with the Avocado Strawberry Ring, or variation thereof.

1 1/2 enveloped unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
3/4 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon grated onion
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
2 1/2 cups mashed ripe avocado
1 cup dairy sour cream
1 cup salad dressing or mayonnaise

Soften gelatin in cold water; dissolve in boiling water. Add lemon juice, salt, onion, and Tabasco. Cool to room temperature; stir in avocado, sour cream, and salad dressing. Turn into six-cup mold; chill till firm.  Unmold on greens; trim platter with orange sections.

Tastes like salty mayonnaise. In gelatin. Best to avoid.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Eighth Day of Kitschmas: 'Christmas Story' Red Cabbage

'Christmas Story' Red Cabbage
Woman's Home Companion Cook Book (1944)
Who doesn't love A Christmas Story (I mean, besides Communists, and people offended by shocking Asian stereotypes)?  If, like me, you spend Christmas Day having back-to-back showings of the film running in the background while you go about your business, then you'll remember the dinner scene where red cabbage is featured prominently.

For authenticity's sake, I used a wartime recipe for "savory red cabbage", found in the 1944 edition of the Woman's Home Companion Cook Book. The first ingredient is bacon fat, how could it go wrong?

Bacon fat, 3 tablespoons
Onions, medium-sized, sliced, 2
Lemon juice or vinegar, 1/2 cup (I used cider vinegar)
Water or grape juice, 1/2 cup (I used red wine)
Salt, 2 teaspoons
Sugar, 2 tablespoons
Paprika, dash
Red Cabbage, shredded, 4 to 6 cups

Heat fat in a saucepan; add onions and cook about 10 minutes or until soft and lightly browned. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and cook 20 to 25 minutes or until cabbage is tender. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Tempting as it was to go whole hog and make meatloaf meatloaf double beetloaf as well, we served this with pork chops and sweet potato fries. A perfect accompaniment for a mid-winter meal, and Dr. Husband agrees!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Seventh Day of Kitschmas; Christmas Island Coconut Shrimp

Christmas Island Coconut Shrimp
contributed by Dr. Bobb
Remind me next year that pledging to post 12 recipes and 12 songs in 12 days can be somewhat all-consuming, especially when one spends half the week living six hours away from Dr. Husband, and has only been in residence in the Historic test kitchen for three days now.

Which is to say, I may or may not have just co-opted something we were going to have for dinner anyway into a Kitschmas blog post. 

I have no idea if coconuts grow on Christmas Island; I indeed have no idea where Christmas Island even is, or in fact if it even exists in reality, or is just an Ella Fitzgerald song. I think I'll go Google it right now.
Okay, I'm back. Christmas Island does, indeed, have coconuts, as well as the largest living arthropod in the world, the Coconut Crab. So next year you can look forward to Christmas Island Crab Cakes on the sixth day.

I bake my coconut shrimp (it helps me maintain the illusion that I'm eating healthier) and serve it with a sweet-ish accompaniment, like orange marmalade, cranberry sauce, or maybe even Jezebel sauce if you want a little kick. 

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups flaked sweetened coconut3 egg whites, beaten until foamy
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Rinse and dry shrimp with paper towels. Mix cornstarch, salt, and cayenne pepper in a shallow bow; pour coconut flakes in a separate shallow bowl. Working with one shrimp at a time, dredge it in the cornstarch mixture, then dip it in the egg white, and roll it in the coconut, making sure to coat the shrimp well. Place on the prepared baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining shrimp. Bake the shrimp until they are bright pink on the outside and the meat is no longer transparent in the center and the coconut is browned, 15 to 20 minutes, flipping the shrimp halfway through.

One thing's for sure, it's a man-pleaser:

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Sixth Day of Kitschmas: Cheese Stuff

Red Christmas Cheese Ball/
Green Christmas Cheese "Ball"
from Southern Living Party Snacks Cookbook (1974)
I suppose the first thing you'll notice in the above photo is that there is only one thing that can accurately be described as a cheese ball - though I followed to the letter the directions in the 1974 Southern Living Party Snacks Cookbook, the "Green Christmas Cheese Ball" essentially turned to sludge. Think it's o easy to spoil my party, Southern Living?  WELL THINK AGAIN.

Here are the recipes, as they appear on pages 62 and 63, respectively:

Red Christmas Ball
1/2 pound natural Cheddar cheese, finely shredded
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons sherry (I used Lillet Blanc, since it's what I had on hand.)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pitted ripe olives
Dash onion salt (didn't have any, so feel free to omit)
Dash celery salt
Dash garlic salt (used garlic powder)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried beef
Combine cheeses, sherry, olives, salts, and Worcestershire sauce; mix on medium speed of electric mixer. Shape mixture into a ball; wrap in heavy-duty aluminum foil; refrigerate overnight or until needed. About 30 minutes before serving time, remove foil; reshape into a ball; roll ball in dried beef, coating well.

Green Christmas Ball
1 (1/4 pound) wedge natural blue cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon minced celery
2 or 3 scallions, including tops, finely chopped
2 tablespoons commercial sour cream
3 (5-ounce) jars blue cheese spread
1 cup coarsely chopped parsley
Combine blue cheese, celery, scallions, sour cream, and blue cheese spread until fluffy; mix on medium speed of electric mixer. Shape into a ball, wrap in heavy-duty aluminum foil, and refrigerate overnight. At serving time, remove foil and reshape into a ball; roll in parsley until completely coated.

As noted above, the green variety never was a ball, and could not be coaxed into being one. Still delicious, though, so I served it as a dip, topping it with a wreath made of parsley and pimientos. Here's what Dr. Husband thinks!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Fifth Day of Kitschmas: Grammy Tudor's Cranberry Bread

Grammy Tudor's Cranberry Bread
contributed by Grammy Tudor (via Better Homes & Gardens)
Dr. Husband takes over the cooking today,  sharing fond memories of his Grammy and her cranberry bread (so, I mean, it's pretty sappy sweet today. Come back tomorrow for the comedy.)

Here's the recipe, straight from the Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book:

3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. finely shredded orange peel
1 beaten egg
 1 2/3 cups milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
3/4 cup chopped nuts
1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries 

In a mixing bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and orange peel. In another bowl combine beaten egg, milk, and cooking oil. Add to flour mixture, stirring til just combined. Stir nuts and cranberries into batter. Pour batter into greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 1 to 1 1/4 hours til a toothpick inserted near the loaf center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes; cool thoroughly on wire racks. Wrap and store overnight before slicing. Makes 1 large loaf, 2 small loaves, or 6 mini loaves.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Fourth Day of Kitschmas: Frozen Fruitcake Salad

Frozen Fruitcake Salad
from Vintage Recipe Cards
There's a fantastic blog out there called Vintage Recipe Cards, and honestly, if I were lazier I could just pretty much lift all my recipes from there.  (I mean, I AM pretty lazy, but.)  I saw a picture of this one and just couldn't resist trying it out.

1 cup dairy sour cream
1/2 of a 4 1/2-ounce container frozen whipped dessert topping, thawed
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 15 1/2-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
2 medium bananas, chopped
1/2 cup red candied cherries, sliced
1/2 cup green candied cherries, sliced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In mixing bowl blend together sour cream, dessert topping, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla. Fold in fruit and nuts. Turn into 4 1/2-cup ring mold. Cover; freeze several hours or overnight. Unmold onto lettuce-lined plate. Garnish with additional candied cherries, if desired. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 8 servings.

You should be forewarned that there's really very little salad-y about this. It's very sweet, and of course, frozen, so it's better conceived of as dessert, I think.  And a little goes a long way - so, much like fruitcake, the leftovers will likely be in my freezer until I move.

Here, Dr. Husband and I try it out while talking about nothing:

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Third Day of Kitschmas: Eggnog Jell-O Shots

Eggnog Jell-O Shots
from Jelly Shot Test Kitchen
When you're hosting your holiday parties, you'll want to keep everything classy. And nothing speaks class and elegance like cubes of gelatin with booze in them.

Today's recipe comes from the delightful Jelly Shot Test Kitchen, well worth a click for all the recipes.  I should also alert you to be on the lookout in the gelatin aisle of your local grocery.  Our friends at the Jell-O corporations have finally responded to the demand for alcoholic flavors, and have three new selections intended for the sophisticated set - Margarita, Strawberry Daquiri, and Piña Colada. If you buy a box of each, you get a free mold which makes the cute little pyramids in the photo above.  But the fun doesn't end there - right now, if you buy six small or three large boxes of Jell-O, and flavor, you get a mold to make Christmas-y shapes. And if I haven't convinced you by now, trust me that you DO need six boxes of Jell-O in the house at all times.

So, to make the shots:

1/2 cup water
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin powder
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup eggnog
1/2 cup brandy, rum, or bourbon (I used bourbon)

If using molds, prepare them by spraying lightly with cooking oil spray, or wiping each mold cavity with a little vegetable oil.  Next, wipe each mold cavity clean with a paper towels.  This will leave the slightest reside which will aid in un-molding the gelatin without affecting the taste or appearance of your jelly shots.  (If you are using a loaf pan, no prep is needed.)

Place the mold on a stable, movable flat surface, such as a cookie sheet or cooling rack before filling with the jelly shot mixture.
Pour water in saucepan and sprinkle with gelatin.  Allow to soak for a minute or two.  Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is fully dissolved (about 5 minutes).  Stir in the sweetened condensed milk.  Remove from heat, and add the eggnog and liquor, stirring to fully incorporate. 

Pour into pan and refrigerate until fully set, several hours or overnight.

To serve, unmold or cut into squares. 

Garnish with nutmeg, if desired.

We had a few technical difficulties with the song for today. There IS a song, just not a Christmas song. Unless you consider Christmas to encompass everything in the world that is delightful, then you're in luck!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Second Day of Kitschmas: Poinsettia Salad

Poinsettia Salad
from 500 Delicious Salad Recipes (1954)
Isn't this adorable?  It's from the wonderful 500 Delicious Salad Recipes, published in 1954, a pamphlet-sized cornucopia of wonderful ideas (longtime readers will remember the zero-scream rated Banana-Salmon Salad, from the same book.).

It's a little labor-intensive, mostly because of the paper-thin slicing of the pears, but worth it. Here's the recipe:

1 (1 lb 13 oz) can pear halves in syrup
1/2 cup red cinnamon drops (red hot candies)
3 tablespoon vinegar
1 bunch watercress
4 teaspoons grated sharp cheese
French dressing

Combine syrup from pears with cinnamon candies and vinegar and heat to boiling. Cut each pear half into 4 lengthwise slices to represent petals and simmer in syrup 20 minutes or until colored. Chill. 

Arrange watercress on 4 salad plates. On each arrange 8 petals, clockwise, each curving toward the center to represent a flower. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon grated cheese in center of each flower and serve with dressing. Serves 4

I'm not so down with the idea of the French dressing, and didn't feel like I was missing anything by leaving it out.  So add it or not as you wish.

And now, what you all came here for. Stay for the song at the end!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Li'l Cups Boys

By popular demand:

The First Day of Kitschmas: Spaghetti-O-Ho-Hos!

contributed by Dr. Bobb, Sharpsburg, MD
If you've spent any time on Pinterest (and you know you have, ladies...I myself have not, as it's a lady thing) you've undoubtedly come across the following picture
which has been sent to me about a billion times, usually with the subject line "Please Dr. Bobb won't you make this".

Well, try as I might've, I could find plenty of examples of the picture, but no recipe attached.  My best lead suggested that the recipe could be found in 'White Trash Cooking' by Ernest Matthew Mickler, but tracking down a copy of said book proved futile. So I had to make up the recipe on my own.

I basically just made a standard aspic recipe, using a can of Spaghetti-O's instead of tomato juice. Now, cold Spaghetti-O's right out of the can were a beloved staple of my teenage years, so I assumed the mold would turn out to be something like that, only Jell-O-ier. 

Sadly, it was not the case. I thought that the Spaghetti-O's themselves would provide enough flavor to counterbalance the blandness of the plain gelatin. But maybe I should have erred on the side of extravagance and used lemon Jell-O, or put some salt and sugar and vinegar in the mix, or something.

Here's what I did, in a nutshell:

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold watert
1 can Spaghetti-Os
1 can Vienna sausages
spray cheese (American flavor)

In saucepan, sprinkle unflavored gelatin over 1/4 cup cold water; let stand 1 minute. Over low heat,  stir until gelatin is completely dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in Spaghetti-Os.
Pour into 5 1/2cup ring mold or bowl; chill until firm, about 4 hours. To serve, unmold and if desired, fill with your favorite salad greens, or cut-up fresh vegetables. Arrange Vienna sausages around outside of ring to simulate candles; add spray cheese for "flames".

Dr. Husband, it turns out, is not a fan of Spaghetti-Os in any form. So there's that. Not that I blame him, as it really wasn't very good (the mold, that is. But I can highly recommend Vienna sausages doused with spray cheese.) Here's the assembly process. And stay tuned for the song at the end!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Thanksgiving De-Brief

Forgive the delay in getting this up, but I've been so distraught over the events of Thanksgiving - namely, making a recipe of my own creation, which I've made before, and when made before was universally beloved and admired. But this time...well, something went wrong, I don't know exactly what.

First, though, a taste (no pun intended) of something that never goes wrong, Mother's Microwave Liver Pate (no accent on the e, as in my family, pate is pronounced to rhyme with eight.) Here's Dr. Husband and Mother with the instructions:
In case you missed anything, here's the recipe:
2 lbs. chicken livers
a lot of green onions
a lot of garlic
2 tblsp. half and half
2 tblsp. dry sherry
 Combine chicken livers, green onions, and garlic. Cook on defrost setting in microwave until livers are done. In blender, add liver mixture, half and half, and sherry. Blend until smooth.
 A Jewish Thanksgiving guest declared that it was nothing like traditional chopped liver, but who cares? Once tasted, no one can stop eating it. Plus Mother says it's delicious and DON'T QUESTION HER.

Now then, for my Pumpkin Mold fail. As I said, I've made this before, and it was the highlight of the dessert table.  Here are the ingredients and instructions:

1 3-ounce package lemon gelatin
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons sugar 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 

1 cup canned pumpkin 
1 small tub Cool Whip
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Dissolve Jello in boiling water; add sugar and spice. Add pumpkin, mixing well. Chill until slightly thickened. Fold in Cool Whip and nuts. Pour into mold or clean bowl and refrigerate until firm.

And here's a triumphant picture of the last time I made it:
And here's the reaction of an unsuspecting Thanksgiving dinner guest, tasting what I made using the exact same recipe. He gives it a 3 rating, but I think he was trying to be nice. I mean, if the first bite is awful, it's pretty much a failure, right?
That's all for this time, remember that the 12 days of Kitschmas start on December 13!

Oh but hey! If you're in the Carolina Research Triangle area, come out and hear me sing next weekend with Voices of Chapel Hill!