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A less-sweet pecan pie

I use my currant tart recipe, which is brown sugar, 1 egg, and melted butter, you add the cup of dried currants, and bake, Exact recipe as copied over the phone with my mother, is:
pie crust (we use tenderflake lard recipe) 1 cup of dried currants, 1 cup brown sugar (lightly packed) 1/4 cup melted butter 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla (or flavouring of your choice) sugar vanilla, and eggs into the bowl, beat until well mixed, add the currants and then butter, fill the raw pastry cups, bake 35 min at 350 F or if using mini muffin tins about 20 minutes. I actually bake them at 450 F for 15-20 minutes instead. The filling is not runny, and I've substituted the currants with pecans and placed a couple of pecan halves on top. This will make 24 regular tarts 20 in my mother's cast iron muffin pan, and easily 30 or more mini tarts. I don't like corn syrup and won't use it. But these taste good, the filling is sort of gooey and solid but tasty and if you toast the nuts before chopping they are even better, more flavour but watch carefully. You can also use Watkins Butter Pecan flavouring if you are so lucky as to have some, this makes the pecan flavour more intense, you can add it with the vanilla or in place of!

Nov 01, 2013
EvaB in Home Cooking

How to Sharpen on a Water Stone Like a Master

My brother sharpened knives for everyone in the family, he did it with only a fine stone, no water, no precise angles etc. They stayed sharp longer than with a knife sharpener thing, and he despised the hones from the knife sets, saying that was how you got bellies (spots on the knife that weren't even) and I can believe that, as my mother had a French Chefs knife that she loaned to a friend, and when it came back, it had a huge curve in the middle of the blade from hone sharpening. And the friend knew how to sharpen knives.

May 17, 2013
EvaB in Features

Storing butter outside of fridge

I'm 61 and have never kept butter in the fridge for other than storage of several pounds bought to have on hand. Most of the time I freeze the extra's and then when I want to have butter I take out a frozen pound, put into a keeper dish (I have a rectangular refrigerator dish in glass with a lid) put the pound in and have it on the counter or table. Lately I have been buying butter portions like they serve in the restaurants, and those are kept in a large plastic bin on the counter, with the rest of the over 700 portion box simply on a shelf in my basement. My mother never used anything but a saucer with half a pound of butter on it, and when they had cows, the butter was in a small crock in the cool, with what was needed for several days dished out onto a saucer or small sauce dish and placed on the counter. No covers, and it can get damn hot up here, over 86 degrees sometimes for days with hot nights, it was over 32C the other day which is around 90F and my butter was fine in a non airconditioned house on the counter. The only time I have extra soft butter is when the temps hit 90+ for several days, but its never rancid, only hard to get onto the bread or toast.
By the way my mother was a cook in several places over the years, and they usually kept a can on the stove top or grill with melted butter and a paint brush (clean natural bristles) to butter the toast with, when it got low they just added a fresh pound of butter. This is great for adding butter to veggies, some over mashed potatoes, or corn on the cob, and of course garlic toast, regular toast and so forth. Probably frowned upon these days, but it works well.

May 10, 2013
EvaB in General Topics

Is Light Roast Coffee Better Than Dark?

I drink my coffee black, but even if I drank it with milk and sugar, I still wouldn't like the over roasted bitter stuff that everyone is so happy to get. I prefer a nice medium roast, with enough coffee used to produce a robust cup, the problem with the milder roasts is not the lack of roasting, or the over use of water, its mainly the fact that people are cheap with the coffee, I use over half a cup for a small pot, and it makes a nice cup of coffee, but the local cafeteria uses a pound for a huge coffee maker, which makes coffee that is so weak and awful that its not worth paying for. By the same token, the Starbucks coffee is barely drinkable because its so bitter and nasty that it needs something to improve it. Its a matter of taste, but people have been coerced into thinking that coffee needs to be espresso, or so over roasted it tastes terrible or its not the coffee but your sophistication if you don't like it. Its not that people like it really but they think they ought to so they drink it that way! I think the best coffee I ever drank was made in a regular percolator pot from Pyrex, cooked on a gas stove and deemed done when the smell was just so! It was made with soft water from the dam and with regular coffee from the store, it was the most deluxe coffee in the world.

Mar 15, 2013
EvaB in Features

How to Sanitize Vintage Wood Utensils

Wooden cutting boards are essentailly sanitary by themselves. They do contain a thing that actually kills bacteria, depending on the board, buy Maple, oak or birch to get this effect. Otherwise do what my cafeteria cook did, scrub the boards with Ajax, or any cleaner with bleach the gritty cleaner gets into tiny cracks you can't see, then rinse extremely well with hot clean water, several times, and let air dry overnight. the steam counter had white pine and so did the large cook table, and it was scrubbed daily in such a manner, and never did we have any problems with bacteria or e coli etc.
I don't recommend the microwave for sterilizing, but it works well for blanching vegetables. The suggestion to set in the sun is a good one, especially if you have a long time for it to sit, wash first and sit to dry. Much better than trying to microwave or use a plastic board. I don't use anything plastic I can get metal or ceramic, glass is nice, but it dulls knives, and plastic is just not my thing.

Jul 30, 2012
EvaB in Features

Chouquettes

I have made these the old fashioned way with the eggs beaten in without a mixer, they are delicious anyway you do them. My mother always made a cream filling of vanilla cream, but I've eaten them plain, with savoury cream sauce (ham, and mixed veggies) and with whipped cream. I never floured the baking sheet and rarely did more than a thin wipe of butter or oil, but parchment would be wonderful. I fully appreciate parchment paper since finding it!
I you made them larger and without the sugar, filling them with creamed crab or lobster bisque would be a great way to use them. Also chipped beef and gravy (just make the gravy with flour and thicker) and any other variation of meat and sauce you can think of. Tuna or egg salad would make a wonderful small bite for the buffet.

May 06, 2010
EvaB in Recipes

Help with shortcakes for strawberry shortcakes that spread too much

This may be a tiny bit late, but I love biscuit shortcakes, and found a really old recipe on how to make them, you make your biscuits (2 c flour, 4 tsp baking powder (slightly rounded) 1/2 tsp salt, 3-6 ounces of butter or to your taste the more butter the flakier the biscuit, and 7/8 cup of water (not milk or buttermilk) (7/8 cup is a full cup with 2 T removed) mix the biscuits after sifting the dry ingredients together (you can add a bit of sugar up to you, but not more than 1/4 cup) add the water, don't overmix, and then roll out and cut out the biscuits with a 3 or 4 inch cutter, place half the dozen cut biscuits on the baking sheet, butter the tops, and place the other half on top of those, bake in a 450F oven for 20 minutes and cool. the butter makes the top biscuit come off neatly and the shortcake is ready for the filling!

By the way these work well in a BBQ but cut the time to about half as the grill with the tip acts like a convection oven and cooks faster. But its sure cooler in the middle of summer to bake them outside.

Mar 22, 2010
EvaB in Home Cooking

Pecan Pie without Corn Syrup

Its nice to see a pecan pie recipe without the syrup, I will just about bet that it wasn't made with corn syrup in the good old days. maybe sorghum syrup or molasses but not corn syrup! I personally don't like corn syrup in anything! Don't think its good for you and am pleased to see a recipe that doesn't use it. Try using the same recipe for pecan pie as I do for currant tarts, 2/3c brown sugar, 1 egg, 1/2 c butter melted and beat all then add the 1 cup currants, or in the case of the pecan pie the chopped pecans, dip into pie crust cups (for tarts) or a pie shell for the pie, top with whole pecan halves and enjoy. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes to brown the crusts well, don't like underdone crusts either.

Sep 13, 2009
EvaB in Features