Mom’s Favorites II

Quick note: Sam Zell, he of Tribune Company infamy, is departing once the company he drove to bankruptcy finally emerges from the pit. He hopes his successor enjoys “the media business” more than he did. Maybe if he had learned something about it before diving in greedy little paws first, the outcome would have been better for the company and for him.

On the main topic, I forgot to mention in the first “Mom’s Favorites” that I’ve noted sources for all these recipes where I’ve been able to locate them. Also I’ve noted the many, many  variations.

Mother did a star turn every time she baked, and particularly when she created muffins in any form. We always had blueberry muffins hanging around when the fruit was in season. The best ones came from Maine, courtesy of our neighbor Mr. Burton who made regular trips back to his home state.

The rest of the year muffins came from whatever caught her fancy. Here’s a recipe from 1988. She said that with a piece of cheese, these goodies could serve as a complete meal.

Whole Wheat Muffins

2 cups ww flour …

1 /4 cup cooking oil

1/ 4 cup molasses

4 tsps. baking powder

3 /4 cup milk

1 cup raisins

2 eggs

She didn’t include mixing or baking instructions, but her normal method was to sift the flour and sift again with the baking powder. Beat the eggs well (sometimes she separated the yolks and folded the whites in at the end), add to them the oil, molasses and milk. Stir into the dry ingredients with a minimum number of strokes. If eggs are separated, gently fold the whites in after blending wet and dry ingredients. Sprinkle a little flour on the raisins and add them carefully.

Bake in a muffin tin in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Let cool in the tin for some minutes before removing. Makes 12 muffins.

Peas

We frequently had fresh peas from one garden or another. Those little goodies were so fresh that one could eat them right out of the shell. If they made it to the stove, Mother would put butter, shredded lettuce, and a bit of onion, thinly sliced, in the bottom of a sauce pan. Cook until the lettuce wilted. Add the peas and some parsley and cook for maybe five minutes. This dish is like eating little bits of sugar.

On the very rare occasions when we had leftover fish she made Kedgeree. It seems to have come from India, via Britain. Here’s her variation, which uses lobster. I don’t recall that we ever had any leftover lobster …

Kedgeree

2 cups cooked rice

1 lb. cooked, flaked lobster or cod fillets (or other white-fleshed fish)

4 minced hard-cooked eggs

1 /4 cup butter

1 /4 cup cream (I substitute undiluted evaporated milk)

2 tablespoons minced parsley

salt and pepper

Heat these ingredients in a double boiler

A variation on the broccoli and pasta dish that she ate at a restaurant in Old Saybrook that no longer exists consisted of  shrimp, mushrooms, broccoli, garlic in a cheese sauce over bow-tie pasta.

Couscous

Another favorite that I put together consisted of couscous with the requisite bean accompaniment. Proportions vary, but this will work for one can of chick peas.

Finely chop one medium onion and a half-cup (more or less) each of green pepper, celery, carrots. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy skillet and add the onion. Once it’s coated, add the other vegetables and sauté for five minutes over medium heat. Add minced garlic and continue cooking until the onion is wilted. While the vegetables are cooking, heat a half cup of stock. I use vegetable but chicken is OK, too. Squeeze half a lemon and mix with the heated broth. Rinse the chick peas. Add to the vegetables along with the stock, a teaspoon of dried mint (1 tablespoon if fresh), a half teaspoon of paprika and a quarter teaspoon (or less) of cayenne pepper and black pepper to taste. Stir in two chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned. Bring to a boil , lower heat and simmer for one-half hour. This dish tastes even better the next day.

For the couscous, bring water with a teaspoon of olive oil to a boil and add couscous according to the package directions. Turn off heat and let sit for five minutes. Fluff with a fork. Dish the couscous onto each plate and add the beans.

Note: I do not add salt but feel free to do so.

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