Category Archives: Food

√-1 2³ Σ π

√-1  2³  Σ  π  … and it tasted good.

A few weeks ago, a vendor at the market was selling persimmon pulp and persimmon cookbooks. She had samples too, which was a big selling point, because I had never tasted persimmon pudding before. I had heard of it, mostly acquaintances mentioning that their grandmothers made it as a special holiday treat. Usually these were people whose families had been farmers. Persimmons were completely out of my realm of experience.

So, I handed her some money and she gave me two cups of frozen pulp and a cookbook Old-Fashioned Persimmon Recipes (Bear Wallow Books, Indianapolis, © 1978). There were a few pages about “persimmon country” and the lore of persimmons, but it didn’t give enough information to satisfy my curiosity. Where’s a food anthropologist when you need one? I did find some more information on the internets, including that early pioneers didn’t like the fruit at first, but learned from the Algonquins that the bitter fruit became a sweet treat if it was left on the tree until late fall.

What more could be more fitting for a Thanksgiving feast? Besides, you must have pie at Thanksgiving!
It wasn’t difficult to make. Mix some sugar, eggs, milk, spices together. Add some flour.

Step 1: Mix wet ingredients together & then add flour & baking powder.

Pour into a crust and bake!

Step 2: Put in pie shell. Step 3: Bake. Step 4: Enjoy.

I thought I had snapped a picture of the finished product, but all I have is what it looked like before it cooked. So imagine this, with the dough now a crust, baked to a nice golden tone. The pecans had a bit more brown on them than what I would have anticipated, but that just made it look more homemade.

I baked a pie. I ate some pie (√-1 2³  Σ π).  And it was good!

Thanksgiving Persimmon Pie:, From Old-Fashioned Persimmon Recipes
1 9 inch unbaked pie shell
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 c milk,
1 c persimmon pulp
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/3 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg

Mix sugar, egg, vanilla, milk and pulp. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon. Gradually combine into wet ingredients. Pour in pie shell. Top with pecans. Bake 350 F for 30 – 35 minutes. Serve with whipped cream.

While I was looking for some history and traditions on persimmons, I found two things that I found particularly interesting.

There were three regiments in the Civil War known as the “Persimmon Regiment” because they looked for persimmons when they made camp.  In the case of the Indiana 100th, on their way to the Battle of Vicksburg, the persimmons they collected helped to feed them once supply lines were cut off by the Confederate Armies.

And I found this love poem:  Persimmons, by Li-Young Lee.

In sixth grade Mrs. Walker
slapped the back of my head
and made me stand in the corner
for not knowing the difference
between persimmon and precision.
How to choose

persimmons. This is precision.
Ripe ones are soft and brown-spotted.
Sniff the bottoms. The sweet one
will be fragrant.

Read the rest here.

I can rock a roux — and a stew

As I thought about making dinner this evening, about having too many vegetables in my fridge, and about preparing something for my family while I am away meditating in the beauty of southern Indiana woods this weekend, I realized that I only had one option: head to the cookbookcase for one of my favorite cookbooks. Besides all that, I was just in the mood to do some creative cooking.

One might argue that I have far more cookbooks than one person needs, but I like to read them. My go-to cookbook, though, is Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food. Second in line? Without question, it is Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food. I just love that someone can write a 800 page cookbook about “everything” and then create a sequel that is just as long — and just as good!

So, what did I make? Let’s look at what I had:

Okra gets such a bad rap. Slimy? It can be if it’s old or if it isn’t cooked correctly. It also has a rep for being fibrous. Stringy and slimy? Doesn’t sound very appealing, does it? But, okra is one of those foods that I think most people would like if they had it prepared correctly. And it isn’t difficult to do. Be sure to buy smaller pieces of okra, prepare it when it is fresh, and don’t overcook it.

I started with a recipe for Okra Stew with Roux (How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, page 324). From using Bittman’s cookbooks, I’ve learned about three things: technique, quality ingredients, and flavor profiles. When I was first learning to cook (not all that long ago!), understanding these gave me confidence to experiment with a base recipe. I didn’t have as much okra as the recipe called for, nor did I have enough tomatoes. But, I did have some green beans, having frozen several pounds bought at the farmers’ market earlier this summer. The recipe stated that any green bean was an acceptable substitute. I also had a zucchini that I thought was going to end up in a quick bread. It’s destiny was elsewhere. I needed one large onion, but only had a smallish one. I immediately targeted one of the monster-sized shallots in the bin to accompany the similar-sized onion.

First step was to lightly brown — golden is the actual color you want — the onion and shallot slices. After removing most of them from the pot, I began a roux. Roux used to terrify me. “Can you make a roux?” was something that Emeril used to say on his early Food TV program. That did nothing to convince me that I could. Roux, it turns out, is actually very easy.

For some people though, like me, the patience to make one is the difficult part! It takes time and constant stirring.

For this recipe, 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup flour, cooked over low heat with nearly non-stop stirring for about 10 minutes gives you the perfect base for a vegetable stew. Eventually the flour and oil mixture begins to thicken and brown. Bittman advises that you stir until the mixture “darkens to the color of tea and becomes quite fragrant”.

 It is a nutty scent, not a burnt odor.  If you begin to burn the flour, turn down the heat! If you burn it, throw it out and try again; it’s only oil and flour. You could make this stew without it, but you’ll miss the depth of flavor and the thickening you get from the roux.

When the roux was ready, I added the okra to the pot and seared it.

After a few minutes, I added garlic. A few minutes after that, I added some cherry tomatoes and 2 cans of diced tomatoes in their juices (any tomatoes would do) and some oregano.

Then I deviated from Bittman’s recipe, adding the thawed green beans,

the zucchini,

1 cup of Hoosier Momma Bloody Mary mix and about 1/2 cup of water.

Hoosier Momma’s is an Indianapolis company that I first became acquainted with at the local Farmers’ Market. Although they only sell in 7 states right now, they’re quickly expanding. If they aren’t in your area, you can buy online. Not only does this mix make a great Bloody Mary, but both the original and spicy versions are great to cook with. It is vegetarian and gluten-free, if those things are important to you. I certainly recommend this great mix. It’s not your father’s bloody mary mix!

I brought all the ingredients to a boil, then turned the heat to low, covered and let it stew for about 45 minutes.

The result? Delicious!

Ingredients for original recipe:
6 T extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, thickly sliced
1 pound okra
2 T chopped garlic
4 cups chopped tomato
1 T minced fresh oregano

I added:
1 large zucchini, chopped
1 cup green beans
1 shallot
1 cup Hoosier Momma Bloody Mary Mix

* So you know — and so that I’m following governmental rules — I have received no compensation for use or mention of any products in this post.

By Any Other Name…

My father used to routinely ask my mother what was for dinner. Her favorite name for leftovers was “Clean Out the Fridge”. If she said this to a child likely to turn up her nose, it was “goulash”. Where she got the idea that goulash was throw everything into a pot, I will likely never know.

One day, my father asked: What do you call that?

When he received the usual answer, he chided: Can’t you call it anything more appealing?

That was met by a roll of the eyes. And followed by a wink towards me. From the next several days my mother and I would wait to hear the question: What do you call that? so that we could respond with the most outrageous thing we could think of.

One harried day, when Mom was in no mood to play, my father offered his usual query.

Whatever you want to call it! she said tersely. It’s ham. Cheese. Some leftover veggies. It’s one of a kind. If you want everything to have a name, give it one!

But I’m not creative! my father pleaded.

Ham au gratin, my mother said. It’s not a masterpiece. It’s dinner.

But everything you serve is a masterpiece to me. You’re an artist!, he replied, trying to lighten the mood.

I had to add to the conversation: If it’s a masterpiece, name it! It’s abstract. Call it Etude #27. Or Nude Descending the Staircase.  Like something you’d see in a museum.

My father, wisely, retreated without a word as my mother and I burst into laughter.

Always a place on my cookbook shelf for Madame Childs.

My mom was a great home cook, but she rarely did anything fancy. I know I must have some memories mixed up, because it seemed like we had eggs for breakfast nearly every day. Yet, I know that she would only buy three dozen to feed 9 for the week. While Mom did her everyday magic at the stove, I was fascinated by shows like The Galloping Gourmet or Julia Childs. They seemed so far removed from our kitchen table that it didn’t seem like it was even in the same realm.

Today marks the 100th birthday of the inimitable Julia Childs. As I watched this clip from the 1980’s — it’s so Julia; so Letterman — I remembered Etude #27. Just like my Mom, Julia could think on her feet and figure out how to make chicken salad out of something else.

h/t to Open Culture for leading me to the YouTube link! (Open Culture is great. Be warned: you’ll spend time there — and not regret a thing!) Be sure to watch to see what Julia says she does with food that doesn’t turn out right.

By any other name, when faced with malfunctioning equipment, a hamburger can be Steak Tartare Au Gratin. That is if you are a chef like Julia Childs, or you have an ebullient, joyous personality and know that a good part of cooking, like so much in life, is confidence peppered with a great sense of humor.

One of my favorite restaurant meals. (Travel theme: Food)

One day, a few weeks before my 40th birthday, my husband told me that he had a gift for me, a surprise. It involves a plane trip, your passport, and food. I’ve already checked with your mother; she’ll babysit for the week.

Well, I hate surprises and emphatically said that I would not go anywhere if I didn’t know where, arguing that I would find out once at the airport, so it might as well be at home. My mother said I was being a baby. My boss told me that I wasn’t being adventurous. My husband finally gave in: he had made reservations on my birthday at Le Café Jules Verne, the Michelin-starred restaurant at the Eiffel Tower.

We arrived in Paris the day before my birthday and started to plot out our week. Several museums were on our list — The Louvre, Musée Rodin, Musée Picasso, the d’Orsay. We knew that we wanted to go to Giverny to see Monet’s gardens and tried to figure out the best day to go. We went to the Jules Verne and enjoyed a lovely lunch overlooking Paris. It was fun to do something so extravagant — lunch at an expensive restaurant in Paris to celebrate a birthday — but I don’t remember much about the experience other than we had good food and an enjoyable time, although the restaurant seemed a bit touristy.

The next day we were moving at too leisurely a pace to get to the train station on time to catch the train to Giverny, so we changed our plans, thinking that we wouldn’t make it to the gardens this trip. But, the next day, a bright sunny day without a cloud in the sky, we decided spur-of-the-moment to see if we could catch the morning train. We made it to Gare St Lazare with just enough time to spare and settled into the 45 minutes trip through the countryside.

To say that the gardens are magnificent is an understatement bordering on redundancy. Even for the viewer who doesn’t like Impressionistic art, Monet’s paintings depict a gloriously lush vegetation, full of color, light, and texture. It isn’t hard to imagine what the gardens might be like. But, on a beautiful Spring day, they are even better than that! The house itself isn’t much, but it is the same structure where Monet lived. If you visit hoping to see Impressionist Masterpieces, you will be disappointed. Monet’s works are in museums and collections throughout the world, but his home in Giverny is only decorated with reproductions. And, even at the dawn of this century a large portion of the house was devoted to the requisite tourist gift shop.

After we maneuvered our way through the house and past shoppers in the gift shop (zee big spendurhs as a French tour guide was overheard saying), we spent a few hours in the gardens. Unlike the house, the gardens are a delight to stroll through. Paths that lead through rose gardens. Paths that lead to ponds. Row after row of a colorful, scented sensory assault. And, of course, there is the famous Japanese bridge and waterlilies.

When we were finished with our walk, we could have rushed back via taxi to the train station, or we could have waited a few hours to catch the bus. We opted to stay and wander through Giverny, hoping to find a little restaurant to have a bite to eat. What we found, instead, was a beautiful French country house with a wonderful restaurant. Le Jardin de Giverny was only a five-minute stroll from the Monet house. We had taken the other fork in the road, wanting a meandering route back to the main road where we were told we would find a café. So, you might say that it was serendipity that we saw a path that lead to a garden and then noticed a car park and a restaurant sign. We continued down the drive to Le Jardin de Giverny.

I don’t remember the specific things we had for each of the courses, except for the fois gros appetizers and the truly exquisite chocolates for dessert. But, I do remember that we had a four-course meal with champagne. The restaurant was charming, and with only two or three other tables seated, it seemed that our little table in front of the large window was our own private dining room. The wait staff spoke little English, but they were as attentive as possible. With my scarce-remembered high-school French we figured out how to communicate our menu selections. We looked out over the rose garden and the dappled ginkgo trees and enjoyed wonderful food and a peaceful afternoon.

More than 10 years later, both my husband and I would quickly list this among our best meals ever. I think it says something about my dining priorities that I don’t remember the entrée. I’m not sure that I have that sort of sense-memory for food tastes. For me, dining is much more than the food: it is the presentation, the surroundings, a friendly and informed wait staff, a chef who prepares not a meal, but an experience.  Fine dining  doesn’t have to be a Michelin rated restaurant, or prepared using the latest culinary technique, but an opportunity to remember a point in time: where you were, who you were with, what you felt.

Sadly, based on an internet search, it doesn’t appear that this restaurant still exists and even if it does, I’m not sure that I’d make a trip to Giverny just to dine there.   But,  if I’m ever in the French countryside again, I hope that I’ll stumble upon another out-of-the-way restaurant, a place that is fine dining not because of the food prep or the view or the decor are prized by a guide book, but because it provides an amiable, pleasant, complete experience to accompany the food.  Fine dining is memorable dining.

This is my submission for Ailsa’s weekly travel theme. This week’s theme? You guessed it: food.

I don’t have any photos of the restaurant, but I do have some of Monet’s gardens. Most of these were taken by my husband.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Create

This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo challenge is CREATE. This is a timely topic, as I was thinking last night about how many things are creative even when we don’t think of them as crafty or artistic.

I decided several months ago that I would try canning this summer.  I’ve thought about this previous summers walking through the abundant farmers’ markets, but I had never thought about it seriously.  The overabundance of ripe berries right now prompted me to buy an enormous amount of them. “It’s now or never” I thought, although I suppose it really is a “now or sometime” sort of endeavor.   I bought 9 cups of raspberries and thought I would start looking for canning equipment.   The berries continuing to ripen in my fridge sent me to the grocery to buy a stock pot and jars last night.   The canning had become “now-or-never” for this bunch of berries.

Looking at various recipes, it seemed so simple:  berries, sugar, boil.   Most steps in cooking are simple, but you have to know the specifics and be precise — and sometimes patient.

I cleaned the new jars and lids, placing the jars in a warm oven and the lids in a pan on the stove.  I started the water boil in the stock pot knowing that it would take a long time to bring the water to a boil.  I was using a 20 quart stock, so it was a lot of water!  I started cooking the berries and 6 cups of sugar.

One has a lot of time to think when stirring 9 cups of berries, but this isn’t a job to leave unattended.  They hold their shape for a few minutes, but they quickly turn to a mush as you stir.   Just as quickly, the sugar begins to melt and before long you have a pot of warm berry liquid.

A slow process

The recipe called for stirring frequently until the mixture thickened, about 10 – 15 minutes of boiling. It started a very slow boil and maintained this for about 5 minutes. A bubble would rise and pop, rise and pop, but it wasn’t a full on boil for a long time. Then, it was very bubbly and as liquid as juice.

The faster boil continued for about 5 – 7 minutes. Suddenly, the tone of the boil changed. I looked up to see that the mixture, while still very runny, was beginning to change slightly in tone, and appeared very seedy. I continued to stir and continued to refer to the recipe.

“How is this suppose to look? What does it mean that it will fall off like a sheet?” I thought. “Will I know when it is done?”

After 10 minutes, I put a teaspoon of the mixture on a chilled plate, as instructed, and put it in the freezer for 1 minute. The edges were suppose to crinkle and appear set. They didn’t — so back to the boil. I tried again in 5 minutes. This time I understood — it was exactly as described. I stopped the boil and took my jars out of the oven.

I filled each jar carefully, glad that I had bought the jar grip set with the wide-mouth funnel. It made the messy task easier. I carefully filled the jars, measured the distance between the preserves and the top of the jar, and put the lids and rings in place. The water was boiling now in the canner and I carefully lowered the jars, put the lid on and waited. “A watched pot never boils”. Or so it seemed.

Finally, I heard the unmistakable sound of water roiling in a pan over fire. I set the timer and began to clean up the mess I had made in the kitchen. I had just a bit that hadn’t fit in the jars and I could see that it was setting up the way you expect preserves to congeal. After the kitchen had been cleaned and the jars cooled, I treated myself to a spoonful of it on top of a scoop of ice cream. Yum!

More than I can eat in a year

The 11 jars of jam — one jar didn’t make it through the boiling process, the lid having come loose — are lined up on my counter. I heard a few of them “ping” last night as they cooled, the created vacuum pulling the lid securely in place. I can’t wait to open one of them to eat. In a few weeks, once I’m sure that this worked the way it was supposed to and I don’t have 11 jars of spoiled preserves, I’ll likely give a few of these away.

This isn’t the type of thing that I usually create. While cooking can be enjoyable to me, often it is just a task. Engaging in a process like this though — going from berry to jam — is a creative act, one that I’m glad I tried. Although it isn’t difficult, it takes a long time in a hot kitchen. I don’t know that I’ll do this regularly, but I’m ready to try a few other canning adventures. I’m sure I’ll enjoy this creation for many months with the occasional small bit of raspberry jam on my toast.

The one where I try to write about food

Part of our Saturday routine  — “our” referring to my spouse & I, not some royal ‘we’ — is to go to the Farmers’ Market and the butcher shop.   Additional stops may be at a supermarket, though I try to avoid those on the weekend.  In the winter, this routine changes slightly since there aren’t many fresh vegetables around. We are, however, fortunate that there is a Winter Market downtown.  Although the vegetable crops are sparse, we still go to get farm fresh eggs, fresh-baked bread, and sometimes out-of-the-ordinary items that other vendors may be selling.

Back in November, I noticed that a local charcuterier was selling merquez sausage.  I had only had merquez, a spicy Moroccan lamb and beef (or sometimes pork) treat, a few times in restaurants.  I’d never seen it in stores around here.  Not knowing how I was going to prepare it, I bought a 1 lb package and figured I’d spend the afternoon researching what I was going to serve for dinner.   I didn’t have to search long!   Although there were many recipes on the web that I could have used, what evolved is a combination of several recipes.  Since I first tried the following dish, it has been a favorite in my house.    This recipe is for 2 plentiful servings; adjust as meets your needs.

Place four merquez sausages with a 1/4 cup of water in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook slowly — about 25 minutes.  The water will have evaporated and the sausages browned and heated thoroughly.

The pleasant aroma of these spicy sausages will fill your kitchen!

In another pan, bring water to a boil and add leafy greens to blanch for 1 minute.  I think this is best with a hardy kale, but have used collard, spinach and Red Russian kale.  Red Russian Kale, pictured in the photos below, was a bit too delicate for this dish in my opinion.

Drain the greens and reserve one cup of the cooking liquid.    Admire how pretty the liquid looks.   Cool the greens and then chiffonade.  If using something like Dino Kale, you may want to remove the leaves from the stems before blanching.  Don’t throw them away —  just add to the boiling water for an extra 2 – 3 minutes before the leaves.

Reserved liquid from the greens. Looks like mint tea!

In a skillet, sauté 1 onion and 1 -2 gloves of garlic.  I think that butter always adds a nice richness to sautéed onions, but olive oil is perfectly fine.   When the onion is a nice brown color, add 1/2 t of red pepper flakes, 1 t of cumin, 1 t of cinnamon. Continue cooking for 1 -2 minutes.  Then add any combination of the following:  red raisins, golden raisins, chopped apricots, chopped figs.   My favorite is figs and apricots, but I will throw in raisins too if I have some on hand.  I didn’t have any last Saturday, so I added dried cherries, which was a flavorful change for this dish.   Stir for another minute or two, add the greens, and the reserved liquid.   It should come to a boil quickly; reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 5 minutes.

The cinnamon and cumin will blend nicely with the onions, adding a sweetness that balances with the red pepper.

This dish comes together quickly & is very colorful!

Cook 1 cup of couscous according to directions on the package; usually 1 cup water, 1 cup couscous. Most couscous suggests adding butter; I usually don’t.   I like the look of the tri-color couscous, but plain tastes the same on my palate; I’d use either in this dish.   By the time that the couscous is done, the sausage should be too.   Plate the greens & fruit combo on top of the couscous, and then top with sausage.   If you like to have wine with dinner, a Rioja or a Shiraz would be a good choice.  For something non-alcoholic, consider a traditional Moroccan mint tea.


If you can’t find merquez in your area, substitute another spicy sausage, such as Spanish Chorizo or andouille.

Eat…Drink…Be Merry

This week’s Photo Friday Challenge is: EAT.

After trying several times in recent weeks to get decent pictures of food, I have come to understand why there are people called “food stylists”. Getting a picture of food is easy. Making it look appetizing is a completely different thing.

Fresh from the Farmers' Market


The veggies photo was taken in ’09; the drinks photo a few weeks ago. My dinner this evening? Photos will not be published, but it tasted better than it looked.

Remember: Everything in moderation.

What Might Be the Best Cranberry Sauce Ever

One of the things that I like the most about a traditional Thanksgiving dinner is cranberries. But, if you are discussing cranberries with me, don’t even think about calling that jelly goo cranberries.

I always make cranberries for my extended family’s Thanksgiving Day dinner, mostly because I don’t want to be served goo. A few years ago, I chanced upon the following recipe for cranberries and it is my go-to means of preparing the delicious little phytochemical-filled bog berries. This recipe comes from Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat, with adjustments for US measurements, and my own twists.

2 12-oz packages of fresh cranberries
5 Tbsp butter (unsalted, preferably)
1.5 c sugar
zest of 2 medium oranges
Juice for 1.5 oranges (eat the other half or use as garnish)
1 1/4 c water
2-3 Tbsp Grand Marnier (Nigella says it’s optional; I suppose it could be)

Bring to a boil. The berries will begin to pop. Lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and taste. Add more sugar if you think it needs it. Let it cool. It will seem very watery, but it will congeal as it cools. Enjoy!

Thanksgiving Traditions and Root Vegetables

Writing today over at Open Salon. Click to read my Thanksgiving essay Helen and the Rutabagas.

That's not a turnip!

Is there a special dish that is always on your family’s Thanksgiving table? Let me know in the comments!

Adventures in the Culinary Arts I

I have a cookbook collection, that at first glance, to some, seems a least an embarrassing amassment of gastronomic knowledge or, at worst case, the sign of an unchecked obsession. Long before I learned how to cook, I collected cook books, with the hope of some day actually using them. Even without any plans to cook, when not in search of a recipe, I still will peruse a cookbook. But, I must confess, there are several that I have never used.

My very first cookbook was bought in the Spring of 1980, in a Covent Garden junk shop (long since gone, I assume, as this was the tattered Covent Garden of the past, not the gentrified Covent Garden of today) called The Inside Out Shoppe. I had wandered through there one day with a friend and found The Covent Garden Cookbook, an intriguing volume, with illustrations that seem much like today’s graphic novels, that not only discusses the proper treatment, storage and preparation of vegetables, but also discusses the long history of the Covent Garden market.

I don’t remember what else I bought on that trip to England and doubt that I still have anything but photographs and a framed brass rubbing stored somewhere in my basement, but I still have this cookbook. And, I was hooked! Since then, cookbooks are just about the only item that I’m likely to bring home from a trip.

Which is how I acquired, apparently from the note I wrote in the front cover in 2004, The Monticello Cook Book, which claims on the front to contain recipes of great Worth and of the widest Variety. Secrets of the delectable Dishes from Ancient & Modern times by the good Ladies of the City of Charlottesville and the County of Albemarle.

Yesterday, with an abundance of blueberries in my kitchen, I decided to make blueberry jam. Surely one of the simplest things to do, as all you need is a pot, some blueberries and a heat source. You may want a bit of sugar if they are too tart, or a bit of lemon if you need to add some acidity, but blueberries, pot, and heat are all that are needed — and some patience as you slowly reduce the berries to a wonderful, bubbly, thick jam. The kind of jam that you can’t wait to eat. The kind a jam that you don’t care if it isn’t going to last more than a few days — you will eat it before it spoils. The kind of jam that cries out to be put on some kind of bread, fresh out of the oven. Which is how I happened, while scanning my kitchen book case (yes, it is a full book case, in my kitchen!), I came across The Monticello CookBook, which appears to have never been put to use in my kitchen.

It was late in the afternoon, and I had no yeast nor desire to venture out to the store, so a quick bread was the obvious choice and I quickly settled upon the recipe for “Nut Bread”. But, since I’m not a chemist — err, I mean, a baker — I didn’t really think through this recipe before I began. It wasn’t until I added the milk and the egg that I started to wonder. Really? Only 1 egg? Only 1 cup of milk? as I started to mix what I expected to be a batter, but was really a dough. 3.5 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 3.5 t baking powder, 1 cup nuts, 1 egg, 1 cup milk: that makes a very dry dough!

Putting my concerns behind, and realizing that I had enough time to get rid of the evidence of another baking failure before anyone else was home, I decided to proceed with the recipe. And you know what? It was funny looking. It wasn’t like any nut bread that I’ve ever had, but it was good. The perfect complement to my blueberry jam.

What it was, regardless of what the good ladies of Albemarle thought when they put together this collection in 1950, is a scone. I pulled the King Arthur Flour Cookbook off the shelf this afternoon to read what they have to say about scones. “The oldest quick bread”, the book said, and that if one could master a quick bread dough, one should be able to make easy work of a quick bread batter. As for the basic King Arthur scone recipe, it was amazingly like the one I used, except it called for butter, with the precise measurement of “2 to 8 tablespoons (each end of the spectrum is fine…)”.
(edited: I was corrected by my SO (hereafter to be referred to as Mr. Foodie) that the King Arthur was his cookbook!)
Regardless of what you call it, I think I did an okay job with it and there is yet another cookbook on my shelves that I can say I have used.