Lemon Butter Cookies;
Zesty Baked Trout
Dutch Apple Pie
Watching People Eat
by Sally D. Ketchum
Writers are supposed to observe human
nature, therefore, food writers should watch people shop, cook and
eat. Watching people eat, I suppose, has been my guilty pleasure long
before I was considered a writer. I was pondering this the other day
when I was having coffee with 13 men. (I counted.)
I had a very early appointment for my dog at the vet’s and found that
I would have a long wait. I yearned for a cup of coffee. The only
place open so early was a truck stop café, new to me, and that was
fine. When I opened the door, 13 male heads swung around from the
counter seats to me at the door. They were started at the feminine
invasion. Big mouth, that I am, I blurted out: “What is it? Ladies’
day?” They guffawed, and swung back to their coffee on the counter.
I got my coffee and sat at the only table, a tiny one in a corner. I
didn’t eavesdrop. In fact, I was immediately struck by the rough
musicality of their voices while they slurped coffee in the infrequent
pauses. The men were obviously joined in camaraderie, and it was also
clear most knew each other and this was a regular morning affair. The
sound and rhythm of their voices was reminded me of a drinking song
from a light opera—The Student Prince, perhaps. In waves, there was
some sort of an overture, a joke or bit of gossip perhaps, then a
crescendo of laughter punctuated by a snort or two. I could tell that
there was sort of a leader, the counter conductor, changing subject
and tone between sips of coffee. I also heard a duet, two men in a
teasing contest. It was wonderful watching them enjoy their morning
There is a caveat, however. Most people don’t like being watched,
certainly not studied while they eat. I was recently reminded of
this. A picture of a baby, nearly a toddler, the daughter of a former
student, crossed my desk the other day. The dark haired child was
stunningly lovely, not cute. She was sitting on a lawn in a beautiful,
rather classic, baby dress. The child obviously realized that she was
being photographed. There was no doubt about it. While one hand was
gathering red-sauced spaghetti into her mouth, the other, fingers
spread, was gently smearing sauce over her lovely dress, and her
_expression was utter disdain, even contempt, at being spied on during
such a pleasure as hands-on pasta. The photo is a treasure. Worth a
thousand words? You bet. But the words are, “How rude you are to watch
love to eat at the finest possible restaurants once in a while, and I
save to do so.
There, I can watch two types of people eat their gourmet offerings.
Group one: The people who can afford to dine fine frequently. They
know their food. They are precise in evaluations of each dish—taste,
texture, plating and innovation. They are also comfortable eaters.
Enjoyment comes before manners, although they are mannerly enough,
sort of Emily Post with gusto. They dig in, but some magic keeps the
sauce from their shirts.
Group two, includes me: These dinners are unaccustomed to some of the
silver-- a thingy to open clams, an extra plate (What’s this for?) or
being served a portion of something so small that it looks as if you
are supposed to either swallow it in one bite or put it in your purse.
From the first group, one learns the joy of eating well comes with
practice, practice that few of us can afford. The second group is
need manners that the food deserves, many of us do.
The food deserves excellent service, too, and the truly great
restaurants know that service complements the food. This is to say
that the waiters, the maitre 'd and the sommeliers (especially) are
well trained. They have instincts about diners. Should they stand
back? Should they hover in case advice on forks is needed, or
questions asked, “What is this that I am eating?” This type of
service is wonderful; it takes care of one’s every preference. It is a
now, with the heat and humidity of August, I leave you with
simplicity—a pleasant lemon cookie, easy to make, to pick up with
fingers and to eat. I’ll be watching you. Enjoy.
½ cup sugar
½ cup powdered sugar
¾ cup butter (preferred) or margarine, softened
¼ cup oil
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2-½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
Yellow decorating sugar (optional)
large bowl, beat sugar, powdered sugar, butter and oil until light and
fluffy. Add lemon peel, lemon juice and egg; blend well. Stir in
flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; mix well. Cover with
plastic wrap, refrigerate 1 hour for easier handling.
oven to 350 degrees. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in decorator
sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350
for 7-12 minutes or until set. Immediately remove from cookie
sheets. Makes about 3 ½ dozen cookies.
--“The Complete Book of Baking,” Pillsbury
by Portia Little
Enjoy today's catch baked with a
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 1/2 pounds trout fillets
3/4 teaspoon lemon and pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt butter with lemon juice in shallow pan. Coast both sides
of fillets with butter mixture. Lay fillets side by side,
overlapping slightly if necessary, in pan. Mix spices
together; sprinkle over fillets. Bake 20-25 minutes or until
fish flakes and is done. Serves 5-6.
Note: This recipe also works well
with other fish fillets, such s catfish.
Fact and Fancy
by Sally D. Ketchum
If it’s the
parts that make the whole, you could put that whole 20 lb., bronzed
turkey in the middle of the table and you still won’t have Thanksgiving
dinner. Although there seems to be a turkey on the cover of about every
magazine except “Popular Mechanics,” “TIME” and “Gentleman’s Quarterly,”
(They sometimes put human turkeys on their covers.), I think it is the
side dishes that turn the turkey into a feast. We all know that certain
things are mandatory: mashed potatoes, stuffing in the bird (call it
dressing if it is in separate dish), and pies.
Because He-Who-Must-Be-Fed is sage addict, and I have to double
stuffing, super-sage half, cover the breast of the bird Extreme Sage and
bake the rest under foil. It’s ok, he eats it for breakfast for three or
four days. HWMBF also has certain side dishes that must be on the
Thanksgiving table even if we don’t have them again for months. Also,
these sides and relishes must be served a certain way. For instance,
bread and butter pickles, dills and pimento-stuff olives always go in a
cut glass, Victorian relish dish that has three divided sections. There
are other olives, too, green, black and Kalamata, but they do not go in
that glass dish.
Other families have olive “musts,” too. For those with youngsters,
pitted black olives for children are mandatory. It wouldn’t be
Thanksgiving with out black olives on their ten little fingers. I
believe this practice stops when either they are 16 or when their
fingers are too big to wiggle into those little holes.
Like the other givens, pumpkin pie is traditional because of that song
about going to Grandmother’s. (Why does Grandmother always have to do
all the work? Perhaps now she isn’t.) But I’ve notice lately that
pumpkin cheesecakes appear more and more. Sure, the cheesecakes are more
complicated than pies, but pumpkin ones are pretty easy to make for
cheesecakes. HWMBF likes pumpkin cheesecake and Dutch Apple Pie (mince,
too at Christmas).
While cooking for the holidays, a wife knows that her mother in-law
hovers over her (Mother-in-laws always arrive early.), whether over the
wife’s shoulder at the stove or glaring down from behind the Great Stove
and Oven in the skies. I know that many husbands, like HWMBF, restrain
from saying, “My mother didn’t make it that way.” But wives know
that’s what they are thinking. Wives read their husbands signals well.
An arched eyebrow while examining Brussels sprouts; a loud, “Ahem…” when
the yams come out of the oven; and a sigh, seeing the creamed onions.
Uh-huh, all signals to say “my mother always made it better.”
Now, HWMBF is usually very pleased with my cooking, but I know his likes
and dislikes. I know that the cranberry sauce should be lumpy with
berries, not smooth, that most pies require something called “real
whipped cream,” and that Cool whip is first cousin to plastic. So,
succinctly our Thanksgivings includes, along with the turkey, the above
relishes and also celery hearts and tiny sweet jerkins. Yams (without
marshmallows) are ok, but skip any cooked carrots, and include braised
leeks as sides. I add two favorites of mine: spiced apples (Theodore
Roosevelt’s favorite) and spiced peaches.
I like the crabapples so much that one year I was frustrated that the
markets didn’t have them. My friend, Pat Amos, whose family has orchards
in Williamsburg, was kind enough to drive me around the orchard’s paths
until we came to a crab apple tree that she recommended. That ride is a
very pleasant memory. The spiced crabapples on the table always bring
back that lovely sunny autumn afternoon.
So it will be easy for me Thanksgiving, the 20 lb farm-raised bird is
ordered, the ingredients for the sides are on hand, and HWMBF will be
around, too. He always comes to the kitchen to see if his stuffing is
just right, “I need,” he says, “to give you some sage advice.”
Dutch Apple Pie
Sprinkle ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese into you usual piecrust. Spread
cheese around, pushing some up the sides of the crust. Reserve in
freezer while making filling.
Filling: 4-6 large tart (Granny Smith) apples, peeled, cored and
Put 1-teaspoon cinnamon, ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, and 2
tablespoons cornstarch into a large bowl. Mix well.
Sprinkle 1-teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon lemon juice over the mix. Add
apples to the bowl. Melt 4 Tbs. melted butter and pour mixture over the
apples. Turn all with spatula to coat apples. Spoon mixture into
reserved piecrust. With fork, arrange apples in a neat heap, higher in
the center. Sprinkle topping over the apples and bake 1 hour and 15
minute at 350 degrees. Put drip pan on shelf below pie.
Topping: In a small bowl, put ½ cup sugar, ¾ cup flour, and
1/3 cup butter, cold and chopped. Cut together (or use fingers) until
the topping lumps are pea size. Sprinkle over the pie.
in this column:
Plums Are Good
by Sally D. Ketchum
is greener on the other side of the fence.” While we adults pretty much
understand this is a natural yearning to be ignored, it is a passionate
feeling in childhood that is a big nag for a little kid. I longed for
certain things, some reasonable, like Nancy’s naturally curly hair (I was
tortured with Toni home permanents.), and some quite silly, to see a real
wrestling match (Surely, it wasn’t fake as my father said.), and to have a
horse (We lived in the city.) One longing involved food. I yearned for a
certain meal, and this brings me to my subject today: plums.
background: My middle class mom was usually able to come up with gingersnaps
or sugar cookies (on occasion a Fig Newton from my father’s hoard) for
occasional treats for me and my childhood friend, Jutta. Jutta is German,
and her family kept many of the customs of that country. Most fascinated me,
as foreign things arouse the curiosity of children. So when we played at
Jutta’s house and her mother offered us saltines, common salt crackers, I
thought they were nearly magical just because Jutta’s mom handed them out.
My mother was disappointed with me when I related news of this great treat,
and perplexed that I valued saltines over the gingersnaps. This was, she
explained, a case of “greener grass the other side of the fence.” (I realize
now, of course, that my mother was a Cookie Snob, and that saltines are,
perhaps, healthier than many other things.)
invited to Jutta’s table for a simple supper, heated canned purple plums
were served over egg noodles as the entrée. How marvelously strange, I
thought, hot purple food. I wondered what other strange things people eat in
other countries. When I related this menu to my mother, she was peeved and
asked me some serious meat and potato questions about dinners. I’ve kept
touch with Jutta through adulthood, but it was only recently that I
mentioned the noodles and plums.
Jutta had to think a moment. “Oh yeah, I remember that.”
“Was it an old German recipe?” I asked.
she laughed. “My mom was very frugal. We were helping a lot of relatives in
German after the war, too. Money was short. So mom just cooked noodles and
threw whatever was in the cupboard over them. We had some strange stuff.
That night it was canned purple plums.” I was let down, of course, and I
lost my desire for more plums on noodles. (However, I have learned that
plums are the choice of fruit in Central Europe to incorporate in meat
recipes, especially recipes for pork and poultry, as in pork stew and goose
stuffing. Some of these recipes may seem strange to Americans. On the other
hand, they are showing up on many fine dining menus.) But plums, plums
without noodles? Oh, boy! I love them whether purple, burgundy, green and
nearly black. I am very happy: it’s plum time now.
Plums go far back into history. In fact, during the Middle Ages, the word,
“plum” meant every type of fruit that could be dried, including raisins. So
the Christmas plum pudding might not have any plums in it at all! A variety
of dried fruits were common since drying food was a main type of preserving
food before refrigeration, and many wild plums, easily obtainable, were
edible. Cherries, peaches, apricots are also members of the plum genus (Prunus
domestica), and of interest to us in cherry country, since the plum is
considered closest to the cherry, the main difference being size.
the cuisines of other countries are entering American cooking, I think we
will see more recipes with plums accompanying fatty meats, in stuffings for
poultry and in some stews. Still, these days, it’s still great simply to
have a bowl of colorful plums sitting on the kitchen table. Just now
recipes for plums are all over, in magazines and online and traded at
parties. I notice that they are for dishes that are especially delicious and
that, although some recipes are long, they are quite easy. I’m going to try
a few—one plum of a kitchen task.
He-Who-Must-Be-Fed put by 30 quarts of dill pickles (not icebox
pickles) last summer. He was not satisfied with their “crunch.” He would
like reader tips on producing a crisp, crunch dill pickle.
Ketchum is a northern Michigan food writer. A Green Gage plum tree grows
outside her kitchen window.
Fresh Plum Crumb
5 cups chopped, pitted plums
2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons milk
¾ cup rolled oats
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup margarine or butter, melted.
to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 13 x 9 inch pan. In medium bowl, combine
plums and tapioca; set aside. In large bowl, lightly beat eggs; stir in
sugar, flour, nutmeg and milk. Gently fold in plum mixture. Pour into
greased pan. In medium bowl, combine rolled oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and
salt; mix well. Stir in margarine; sprinkle over plum mixture. Bake at 375
degrees for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
by Sally D.
first. Being an ardent lover of food and a morning person, too, breakfast
is my immediate daily concern. In fact, opening my eyes mornings to greet
the world is a, “Hey, I’m awake, I’m alive and I’m hungry,” experience. So
I’m focusing on breakfast today, but first I want to reminisce about
breakfast nooks. Unless you live in a rather old house, the breakfast nook
is probably a thing of the past, and I think that’s too bad.
home had a breakfast nook, one with a window looking out onto a rather
ordinary back yard. But the nook was a comforting place because it brought
everyone together for meals. Although the house had a large dining room, Mom
only served special dinners there, holiday feasts and a few Sunday meals.
Usually, we ate in the nook.
have heard that breakfast nooks are coming back into favor now, it seems to
me that kitchen islands have mostly replaced nooks in homes. It is true, as
John Donne so poetically (and clearly) wrote, “No man is an island entire to
itself.” This is especially true at breakfasting at kitchen islands
because, there, island eating means life rushes by and swirls around you.
There you are, donut in hand, when a passing child elbows you to attention
to display a new loose tooth. Shortly thereafter, an approaching teen, who
intends to unload a back pack that seems to hold supplies needed for another
Lewis and Clark expedition and gym shoes, forces you to shift, mug and
donut, to the island’s end. Finally, the spouse comes down to the island to
eat, and to first shake the comic section of the newspaper in your face
before he disappears behind it. No, islands are not for me; I’ll take a
nook any day, any meal.
shelters, even hiding places, from the realities of a hard world. Nooks urge
us to gather together, whether refuge for a young family, empty nesters or a
single person and a neighbor dropping by for coffee. Most of all, I think
that nooks are snuggle spots for children and also places for the child in
each of us.
nooks lead me to the subject of breakfasts. As I recall, in my childhood,
we set the table with two boxes of cereal (one for dad that no one else
could chew) and the usual juice glasses, coffee cups on saucers, etc. A
couple of mornings a week, pancakes or waffles glorified breakfast, but I
don’t recall breakfast for guests. My mother didn’t thrive on bed and
breakfast. However, I love houseguests and making breakfast for the
gatherings around my large table that He-Who-Must-Be-Fed built for me. (We
have no nook.) Since HWMBF is a night person and I am morning, we have only
coffee together as he starts his day and I have a second cup with him.
But, I go all
out for guests. I really love doing so. It isn’t difficult, my easy
philosophy is lots of food, dishes in general categories with diets out the
window. (I think that since I offer variety, dieters can pick their
requirements. Not leading them into temptation is not my responsibility as
hostess.) So I have my numerous categories: breads/pastries, beverages,
meats, eggs, fruits, staples (sugars, syrups) and, always, a surprise.
Bacon, sausage links and ham comprise meat (Canadian bacon is too expensive
for me.). Beverages are the usual drinks and juices, although I do keep
caffeine-free and green tea in bags handy. I like to jazz up store-bought
jumbo-sized tubed cinnamon rolls by unrolling them and adding chopped nuts
or fruit (dried cherries or apricots, chopped dates, etc.) and re-rolling
them before baking them. I also serve rye and multi-grain toast and a
breakfast cake. A secret: I bake a favorite cake, from a mix or a doctored
mix and served it unfrosted with butter on the table. Spice and butter
pecan cake mixes work well. Further, rustic as we are, I like to serve it
half “pulled” apart by fingers. Folks get the idea and seem to think it’s
Pesto along side the rye toast. Mimosas along side pure orange juice.
Fresh berry and melon cups using as many kinds of berries as you can find.
A spoonful or turkey or chicken salad on a cucumber slice. A quiche with
herbs, especially parsley and oregano. Thin apple slices in blueberry
pancakes or muffins. O’Brien potatoes (home-fried and flecked with red and
like extremes. I’d love a morning cup of coffee in a nook across from HWMBF;
but also, I love a houseful of company gathered for a large breakfast at my
kitchen table. Time is here for summer guests, and that means good times,
starting at breakfast.
The author says that her largest
challenge is to cook a large breakfast with hot dishes to serve outdoors in
northern Michigan. Easiest is a one-pan breakfast over a campfire.
½ cup evaporated or whole milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
One 7-ounce can sliced mushrooms,
1 ounce real bacon pieces
(half of a 2
Half of a 4-ounce can of sliced
1 frozen 9-inch pie crust.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In
a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk, cheese, mushrooms, bacon
and olives. Pour into the frozen crust. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a
knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Serves 6.
Recipe by Laura Karr, “The Can Opener Gourmet”
in this column: Apricot Cookies;
Citrus Spinach Salad
3/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp. salt
2 egg yolks
2 cups flour
1 pkg. dry yeast
1/2 cup half and half (milk)
1 package dried apricots1/2 cup
1/4 cup sugar
Preheat over to 375°.
flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in butter. Dissolve yeast in warm milk. Beat
egg yolks in a separate bowl. Add milk-yeast mixture and eggs to flour. Mix
well. Refrigerate for several hours. Cook dried apricots in water and sugar
for 15 minutes. Run through a food processor to make apricots into a paste.
Spread sugar on a flat surface and roll the dough out thin--1/8". Roll in
sugar instead of flour. (If it is too sticky, mix a small amount of flour
with the sugar on the rolling surface.) Cut into 2" squares. Place a dab of
apricot paste in the center of each dough square. Fold over two opposite
corners of dough to overlap the apricot filling. Bake for about 10 minutes.
Edges will just begin to turn brown. Store open to air to prevent cookies
from becoming soggy.
by Portia Little
Make this salad up ahead of time, then add the
dressing and toss just before serving.
pounds fresh spinach, washed
8-ounce can mandarin oranges,
8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts,
small red onion, sliced
Prepared salad dressing,
or see recipe below
Break spinach into bite-size pieces. Combine
spinach, oranges, water chestnuts, and onion rings. Cover and chill. Toss
with dressing to serve. Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish.
Note: For a delicious dressing, combine 1/4 cups
salad oil, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons orange juice, 1
tablespoon soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard.
Author and Gardener
Sally D. Ketchum
A Practical Student Success Guide for
by Sally D. Ketchum
this column: Gazpacho,
chilled Mexican Soup;
BBQ Marinade; Fantastic Fudge Pie;
Good 'n Easy Scallop Bake
RECIPES ON PAGE 1
+All-American Apple Pie
Chocolate Chip Cookies
+Thanksgiving Dutch Apple Pie
RECIPES ON PAGE 3
+Black and Tan Frosting for Cookies
+Game Day Slow
Cooker Chicken Salad
Recipes for Hunters
From the forest to the table
Chilled Mexican Soup
by Kas Winters
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
3-5 green onions (or 1 small yellow onion
1 - 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
Chop vegetables finely. Add tomato sauce
and a cup of cold water. Stir in spices. (Adjust spices to taste. You
can also add green chilies or a little hot salsa if desired.) Chill
and serve with tortilla chips on the side.
B B Q Marinade
by Kas Winters
Beef chunks or steak
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 Tbls. soy sauce
1-2 cloves fresh garlic
(or 1 tsp. garlic
1/4 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbls. lemon juice
1 small onion
Mix 2 cups of boiling water and dissolve beef
bouillon cubes in the water. Add soy sauce and lemon juice. Mince the
garlic and stir it into the bouillon. Sprinkle in thyme, oregano and
salt. Marinate beef chunks or steak in the mixture overnight in the
refrigerator. Baste while grilling. Beef chunks can be placed on
skewers for grilling.
A rich, soft,
chocolaty dessert you can whip up in no time at all. Serve warm topped
with vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
packets pre-melted unsweetened chocolate, or 2 ounces unsweetened baking
1/2 cup flour
Preheat oven to
375°. With electric mixer, beat butter or margarine and sugar together
until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beat 2 minutes longer on
high speed. Mix in flour and chocolate just until blended. Spread in a
9-inch greased pie pan. Bake 20 minutes in glass pan or 15 minutes in
metal pan. Cool slightly before serving. Makes 6-8 servings.
Recipes, Roses & Rhyme
by Portia Little
Good 'n Easy
by Portia Little
Homemade seasoned bread crumbs make this
lovely dish even better.
1 cup (about) seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter or margarine,
1 1/2 pounds scallops
2 to 3 eggs, beaten with fork
Preheat oven to 450°. Toss bread crumbs with 3
tablespoons melted butter. Dip scallops in beaten eggs, then roll in
buttered crumbs. Scatter in single layer in baking dish, drizzle with
remaining butter, and bake for 15 minutes or until browned and crisp.
Note: Saute some chopped onion, green
pepper, and celery and add to crumb mixture for extra flavor.
Recipes & Rhyme
FOOD FUN FOR KIDS
& TEENS DIRECTORY