Monthly Archives: September 2012

In Which I Don’t Cook Anything

I apologize for the lack of images here, but I had no time to cook yesterday. I wound up eating cold leftovers for dinner, and sharing in someone else’s birthday cake for dessert.  So, how about an untested recipe or two?

Autumn is upon us, or at least it’s trying in this neck of the woods. Our forecast high today was only 55°F, but we should be back in the mid-80s this weekend. As we get ready for the cooler weather, let’s pull a few tasty-sounding warm recipes from Portable Electric Cookery (1970). If you make any of these, please let us know how it turned out!

Corn Pudding
(6 servings)
3 eggs
3 tbs melted butter
1 tbs sugar
1½ tsp salt
1â…“ cups milk, scalded
¼-slice small onion
1½ cups whole kernel corn
Butter a 2-quart casserole. Put eggs into blender, cover, process at Stir until beaten. Add remaining ingredients; cover, process at Whip only until corn is thoroughly mixed into batter. Pour into casserole. Bake 1 hour 10 minutes in preheated 350°F oven.

Pennsylvania Red Cabbage
(6 servings)
1 medium head red cabbage, chopped
½ tsp caraway seeds
½ cup vinegar
½ cup brown sugar
1½ tsp salt
dash pepper
2 medium apples, cored and quartered
2 tbs salad oil or bacon drippings
Put cabbage and caraway seeds in saucepan. Put ½ cup water and the remaining ingredients into blender. Cover and process at Chop until apples are coarsely chopped. Pour over cabbage. Cover and simmer 1 hour.

Nut Macaroons
(5 dozen)
2 eggs
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
3 cups finely ground Brazil nuts, pecans or walnuts
Preheat oven to 325°F.  Put eggs, salt and vanilla into large mixer bowl. Beat on high (10) for 2 minutes. Beat in sugar gradually, beating 1 minute. Add nuts, blend in on low (1). Drop by small teaspoonfulls onto well-greased and floured cookie sheet, pushing batter off spoon with rubber scraper. Bake about 10 minutes. Cool a few seconds, but remove while soft.
(ED NOTE: This recipe seems more similar to one for macarons than for macaroons, but that it contains egg yolks is curious indeed.)

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Advertuesday!

Advertuesday? I think that should be nominated for Worst Portmanteau, 2012. However, what we have here are (vintage) advertisements, and it is Tuesday. The only thing that any of these ads have in common is that they all appear in the May, 1948 issue of Woman’s Home Companion. And that the magazine is too big to fit on my scanner, so rather than scans these are instead hasty photos, complete with uneven lighting and occasional glare. I hope you enjoy the look back! (Click each image to make with the biggering.)

Bon Ami scouring powder, 1948. STILL hasn’t scratched yet!

A model smile on Mrs. Ralph (Nicki) Ellis, by Ipana toothpaste, 1948.

Battle “infectious dandruff” with Listerine Antiseptic, 1948

Promise of a lifetime sparkle from Oxydol, 1948. Just what is IN this stuff?

Trade box tops (and a penny) for a Quikut paring knife, from Spic and Span cleanser. 1948.

Skip the dishes! Until you get Dreft dishwashing soap, that is. 1948.

Wanda Hendrix’s winning smile is the result of Pepsodent toothpaste (ahem, “dental cream”), don’t you know? 1948.

Invitation to make “Hash Mounds” for lunch with Armour corned beef hash, 1948

If it’s lovely to wear…it’s worth Ivory Flakes care. 1948.

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Monday Rounderp

Monday AFTERNOON rounderp. I had a busy morning today, and I can’t pre-write and schedule the Rounderp as I have to actually experience the weekend first!

Let’s see, how did this weekend pass? Friday evening was spent touring a house, closed upon that day, by some friends. They chose very well, as the house is a 1949 charmer with coved ceilings and lovely scalloped trim (and gold-flake Formica, be still my heart!) in the kitchen. It also fulfills perfectly their rather unusual “wants” list, including an oversized garage and no front yard. The house has a front yard, but it’s been expertly xeriscaped and will require only limited maintenance to keep some evergreen shrubbery in check. Many congratulations to them on their new home!

Breakfast with friends, errands, and a little therapeutic vintage shopping took up most of Saturday’s daylight hours. Even though I cannot fit a single stitch more on my garment rack of unlisted inventory, I couldn’t pass up the gold Lurex 2-piece outfit that I stumbled upon, so look for it to appear in the shop sooner or later. The condition isn’t up to my usual standard, but it’s still solid and I’ll sell it for a price that considers the wear and tear on it. Saturday night was spent listening to very good music, played from vinyl, at a friend’s house. There was a bit of a spatial conflict ’twixt a humorously flung LP and Woody’s face, but both sides survived to continue on for the rest of the night.

Sunday was the Broncos‘ first game of the season, and I really couldn’t possibly have cared less about it. However, I was plied with home-made cake and good company, so I whipped up a batch of my mom’s “Taco Salad” (not tacos, not really salad) and a snacky time was had.

I’ve been doing a bit of production and layout work over the last month or so for CooperHouse, and it’s been such a pleasure! Their design style is clean and crisp but still friendly and accessible, and I’ve admired for some time now their aesthetic in general. To be invited to work on some of their projects has been gratifying. To find them to be such professionals to work for and with is the icing on the proverbial cake. And I’m not sucking up, really. This is all the truth, and I thought what better way to tell them than publicly?

Now for the week’s tentative schedule:

TUESDAY – Scannin’ around. I have a growing collection of vintage magazines, and it’s not fair that only I get to view these advertisements and articles!

WEDNESDAY – Vintage Victuals! I don’t yet know what I’ll cook for you. Do you have any requests? I’m here to please! But get to requestin’, as I’ll have to do the cooking on Tuesday in order to write this post on time.

THURSDAY – It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Well, it is if you’re a crafter! We’ll dig into my STACK of vintage Christmas craft magazine to see what we see.

FRIDAY – Shoes and Pie Test Kitchen P0rn! I accidentally left out an item last time, and have since acquired something new (to the kitchen). Have a look!

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Reminiscin’ Racing

Click to visit the site.

I promised your guys I’d put up some semblance of a web site for the race team, and I have, although I’m still missing copious amounts of content. Jim has a very well organized scrapbook of his racing career going back to 1968, but I’ve not yet gotten it from him to scan. Jim and Johnnie are both slacking (SLACKING, GUYS) about getting me their bio information. And so on. ::coughVIDEOcough::

Anyway, I don’t do web sites. Or websites, depending on your preference/age/involvement in the medium. The Reminiscin’ site is built in iWeb, which is limited, outdated, unsupported,  and the only program I’ve yet worked with that is dumbed down enough for my firmly-embedded-in-print mind. Let’s not even talk about the tears I was in during my first (and therefore last) day of Dreamweaver class. I was excited about Muse until I opened it up to start playing and went “Huh?” Right, so anyway. iWeb. Which means it’s best viewed in Chrome or Safari. When viewed in Firefox, a few drop shadows go wonky. I haven’t tested any other browser. I did this as a freebie, remember? You get what you pay for. :)

There are changes I still want to make. There may be more changes based on your suggestions. The site is most certainly not done, but at least it’s live. You can peek at it. So, like, go. Peek. Especially if you have any interest in blown alcohol front-engine dragsters. Which, really, you should. C’mon, you can’t deny how bitchin’ they are.*

___________________

*Unless you’ve ridden for 6 hours in an un-air-conditioned truck so you can “sleep” in a tent in a drought-ridden field approximately ¼ mile away from the busiest freight railroad tracks you’ve ever in your life encountered, then sweat all day and reek of DEET and pee in a stinky Portalet® just to watch your boyfriend on the track for all of 7 seconds at a time. In which case the “bitchin’” reverts to its other definition. ;)

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Baklava Ice Cream and Fruit Flies

You’ll be happy to know those aren’t related. Well, outside of their both occurring in the Shoes And Pie Test Kitchen. And my not being particularly pleased with either.

Baklava Ice Cream

The thought process went like this: Hmm, what to do with this leftover baklava? (I usually work from home, so bringing it to the office for the cubicle gophers isn’t an option.) I know, I’ll make ice cream! A vanilla base, with the baklava chopped into chunks. And instead of white sugar, I’ll sweeten the vanilla base with honey. No, the baklava has enough honey in it. It’s already incredibly sweet, for that matter. I’ll cut the sugar in the ice cream way down.

I’ve learned from years of ice cream experiments that a combination of heavy cream and whole milk is the way to go. Every time I try to “lighten” the fat content, the resulting ice cream is too icy and not enough creamy. For this recipe, I bought the required heavy cream, but decided to go with the 1% milk I already had in my refrigerator. I can add rennet to balance the lower fat content. But nooOOOoo, I decide to skip that step.

I reach for my sugar canister and…it’s empty. Empty. The Test Kitchen manager* is so fired. I don’t want to use much sugar anyway, but I need something. I glance at the brown sugar. No, too rich in combination with the baklava. Okay then, confectioners’ sugar, it is. ¼ cup.

Okay, time to add the vanilla, at which point I decide that rose water would be a better compliment to the pistachio/honey mix that is baklava. I don’t even have sugar, you can believe I don’t have rose water. Vanilla it is. And my secret ingredient: a shot of whiskey to keep the ripened ice cream from being rock hard.

Not terrible, but not a winner.

Stir stir stir. Pour into Cuisinart** ice cream freezer. Churn churn churn churn. Add the chopped baklava. Churn churn. Pour into a freezer-safe container, ripen for two hours. Open it back up, scoop (I’m already not liking the texture), take a bite…blargh. Too icy, too sweet, too much baklava. Back to the drawing board. Or not. The recipe came about as a way to use up leftovers, not because I really wanted baklava ice cream. Now, honey-butter ice cream with pistachios, there’s something I may try to work out!

Fruit Flies

All spring and summer long, I’ve been tending to a relatively healthy heirloom yellow pear tomato plant. I’ve been leaving the ripe tomatoes on the vine, because one pear tomato at a time isn’t very satisfying. But I am ready to take in the full harvest and chow down. As soon as I get home from the race in Kearney.

When I get home, there are 3 pear tomatoes greeting me on my front stoop. It seems that the tomato vines could only hold on for so long, and the time has come. I grab a bowl, pick all of the tomatoes, and see that there are what look like tiny, short hairs on some of them. Pollen from something? I blow. Nothing. When I take them inside and rinse them, I see that some of the “hairs” are still attached. I decide they must be a pest of some sort, and soak the tomatoes in water overnight to drown whatever the remaining little things are. The next morning I drain the now-clean tomatoes, and leave the colander on counter (because you should never refrigerate tomatoes. Sucks the flavor right out of ’em.). Evening approaches, and I’m so excited to have pear tomatoes and fresh mozzarella for dinner! With some fresh basil, a splash of aged balsamic, some cracked pepper…go away, little fly…and some sea salt…shoo, fly! And your friend! And…hey, what’s going on here? My kitchen is swarming*** with fruit flies! I check the tomatoes, and see that some have split open and are looking rather spent. Into the compost bin they go, my dreams of fresh tomatoey dinner dashed.

Too many flies OUTSIDE, not enough INSIDE.

I run to Teh Intarwubs for advice. I set out a bowl of apple cider vinegar spiked with a couple of drops of dish soap. I check the trap a couple of hours later to find the flies congregating near the bowl, but not touching the vinegar. I try home remedy #2 which involves a deeper receptacle, and adding a paper cone that the flies can’t fly back out of. I go to bed. In the morning, I’m greeted by a fruit fly party on the cone, but only 4 inside the contraption. I hear that patience is a virtue, so I’m not getting rid of the vertical trap, but I’m adding home remedy #3: a shallow bowl of vinegar with the addition of a plastic-wrap “lid” to trap the suckers who don’t drown of their own volition. They will not win.

__________________

*me

**I went through 4 or 5 ice cream makers, manual and electric, before I settled on the Cuisinart. I’ve been using it for years now, and don’t have a single complaint. Well, I wish it had come in red back when I bought mine. :)

***If 30 or so make a swarm, and it sure feels like it

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1972 Raleigh Sports

My hair has never not been unruly.

When I was wee, I had a (hand-me-down) red Murray tricycle. When my knees started hitting the handlebars, I graduated to a (hand-me-down) violet Schwinn Hollywood with coaster brakes. I loved that bike. I loved everything about that bike. Every spring I would sit in the driveway with a bottle of chrome polish and a shop rag, and my tiny fingers would lovingly polish the fenders, the wheels, the spokes. And eventually it, too, was too small. When I was in 6th or 7th grade, I got my very first New Bike. Again a Schwinn, my silver Sprint had a full 10 speeds. This was moving up in the world! It was…okay. A perfectly serviceable bike, and I rode many miles on it. It didn’t have the pizazz and style of the Hollywood, but having gears was a bonus. I eventually outgrew the Sprint and on the very rare occasion that called for a teenager on a bike, I’d borrow my sister’s semi-abandoned Schwinn Collegiate. At that point in time, the only adults who rode bikes did it for sport and I was no athlete.

1971 Schwinn Hollywood: “Graceful styling and a delight to ride.”

Fast forward a number of years, and mountain biking has taken off. At the time that I move to Colorado, my dad and his wife bequeath to me one of their two Giant Iguanas, with the statement that “I think it’s the law that you have to have one of these if you live in Boulder, right?” I am blissed. But I am still no athlete. I ride it to and from the supermarket on occasion, and that’s it. After throwing myself off the bike twice (and with great flourish), and feeling the pain of a beyond-empty wallet, I sell the Iguana for a piddling amount of cold, hard cash and pay a phone bill with it.

A few years later, my then-boyfriend secretly joins forces with my dad to buy me a new bike for Christmas. I am the very happy owner of a silver 1999 Trek 800, which still has the knobby tires for gripping the dirt but a somewhat more upright position which is better for my weak shoulders. We take it out on a couple of (flat) trails, and I ride it around the neighborhood in the evenings from time to time. I still have that bike, and it’s still in great shape, mostly because I so rarely ride it. It’s just too technical for me. No, what I really want is something more reminiscent of my old Hollywood, but with a few gears. I don’t need a lot, just, say, 3. But it has to have fenders. And a basket on the front, to hold a grocery bag. So I start window shopping. Used bikes on Craigslist cost just as much (and more) than some new bikes, plus carry the desperate need for a tune-up, so I stick with new models. Cruisers have the right look, but they’re heavy and clunky and single speed. Dutch-style bikes (think Electra Amsterdam) have the look and sometimes the gears, but the price tag is prohibitive. Pashleys are gorgeous all around, but there’s that dastardly price tag again. So I look. And I look. And I look.

Last Wednesday, on a whim, I search Craigslist again. I’d long ago learned to leave out the word “cruiser,” as that only brings up ads for crappy old bikes that people are asking astronomical amounts for (and I don’t really want a cruiser anyway). But for some reason, “cruiser” is what I type in. And there are the expected ads for $200 rust buckets that will require another $200-300 of work just to get running. At the bottom of the page is the header “Few LOCAL results found. Here are some from NEARBY areas…” and there, there is The Ad. The headline reads Vintage Raleigh Sport Bike Cruiser – $50. I click the ad. I see the photo (of a road bike, not a cruiser). I fall in love. I call the number in the ad, and get voicemail. I wait. I wait. I wait. I wonder if I’d misspoken my callback number. I wait. The next morning, I call again. Live person this time! I ask a few questions. I get the answers I’m hoping for. I make arrangements, and that Friday, I pick up My New Bike, a 1972 Raleigh Sports ladies (step-through) model in Coffee. Functional 3-speed Sturmey-Archer hub. Made in merry olde England.

Rideable, but this will someday be a “before” photo.

It’s missing its original Brooks saddle, frame pump and “touring bag.” It rattles. It’s dented, it’s scratched, it’s greasy and dusty and has a few bird feathers stuck to it. It’s beautiful. I’ll be getting new tires first thing, and then will start adding/replacing parts as need determines and budget allows. Stay tuned!

1972 Raleigh catalog, page 12

1972 Raleigh catalog, page 13

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Filed under family, nostalgia, shopping, sports, vintage

TUESDAY Rounderp

(Due to the long Labor Day weekend, Monday’s Rounderp has been rescheduled to today.)

Hey there, kats and kittens! Did you notice that I skipped out on Thursday’s and Friday’s posts last week? You see, Thursday was supposed to be a progress report on how far I’d come with the race team’s hero card, and I simply hadn’t gotten very far. Trying to determine the appropriate size turned out to take far longer than I’d expected, as it turns out there isn’t really a “standard” holder available for these things. Well, Pit Pal makes a telescoping hero card stand, but at a price that will make you choke. An image search for other team’s stands turned up a whole lot of custom-built jobbies. That’s the problem with racers: they can’t stop hot-rodding stuff. :) Anyway, I’d wanted to finish the web site before working on the hero cards, but that’s been held up because trying to get content from these guys is like pulling teeth. However, I discovered over the weekend that one of the drivers has been giving out the web address (which once pointed to a half-built site filled with misinformation and FPO photos, posted only for my own testing purposes and since taken down). I’ve asked repeatedly for content, so aside from physically standing over a team member while watching him gather files and info for me, I’m at a loss as to how to move forward with that project. All I can do for now is put up some lame home page, which roughly outlines what should be there, someday. Heck, I was putting the site together as a favor to them, so if they let the domain registry expire without ever posting a thing, it’s not really my problem.

Does it look hot? Because it’s about 104° out. Give or take 1,000 degrees.

Speaking of the weekend, and the race team: it was another race weekend, this time in Kearney, Nebraska. It appeared to be a charming and fairly vibrant town, but the race track is never in town. Surrounded by corn and soybean fields, sizzling under oppressive heat during the days, and our nights punctuated by the continual passing of freight trains. The guys got in a few good passes and impressed the crowd. While I do love watching them make a pass, I am so tired of the long drives, the heat, the bugs, and the stench of Portalets. I’ll go to the last race this season, but I think that may be it for me. The bloom is well off the rose.

After years of glowing reviews from friends and family members, I made an impulse purchase and bought myself a (refurbished, therefore half price) Dyson vacuum to replace the Phantom which has been sitting in a non-functioning state* since mid July. Now, while I realize that’s a whole lot of weeks to be collecting dust and cat fur, I am certain that the first pass with the Dyson pulled up stuff from the last decade. I am both impressed, and grossed out.

Here’s where I’ll try to take us this week:

WEDNESDAY – Summer is quickly fleeting, and I’ve made exactly 0 batches of ice cream. I’ll remedy that with…baklava ice cream! That sounds good, right? I sure think so!

THURSDAY – I got a new (to me) bike last week! Woo! Read all about it, and my related glee!

FRIDAY – Fiiiine, we’ll take a look at how much I can cobble together for this race team web site that I was once so excited about, before I realized that I was the only one who cared.

_______________________

*The Phantom ingested its belt. I have a replacement belt, but the boyfriend, who promised that he’d help me remove the pieces of the old one and replace it, has been slacking in his extramural helping-out duties. Note: the dishwasher that has been sitting in my back yard for over a year. Could I have politely left out this footnote? Yes, but while I’m tickled by the favors being offered in the first place, my disappointment and frustration at the lack of follow through is growing exponentially. It is a surface sign of deeper problems that are no longer going ignored. I know I don’t usually blog about this stuff, please pardon my inappropriate venting.

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Filed under camping, day job, design, food, life-threatening clutter, pet peeves