Snip, Rip, Clip, and Dip (into)
I’m here today to discuss something many of us do (no, not that), and that is collect recipes from the newspaper, a magazine or maybe from the Internet (which we then feel obliged to print). I assume that most of you dear readers do one of the activities mentioned in our headline. It’s one thing to do this with material that arrives in your mailbox, but too often I’ll pick up a magazine in a doctor’s office and turn to the food section, only to find some ragged remnants in the folds (crudely and cruelly torn out). Sometimes the page has been removed so cleanly you can hardly see the slits. I know, there are little knives that do the trick and t in handbags or pockets. Spoiler alert: I do own one of these, though it sits, unused, in a drawer.
If I page through a magazine while waiting in a physician’s waiting room (and the waits seem to get longer each year), I have been known, on occasion, if I spy a “must try” recipe in one of the semi-ancient magazines on view, to ask at the desk if someone will copy it for me. I feel guilty, but I’ve never been turned down, and the nurse/aide and I usually end up discussing favorite recipes and the starring role kale is playing in our healthy living cuisine these days.
Well, there you are with a pile of paper, and the problem now becomes one of storage. row the thing in a drawer or carefully file in folders that may be labeled the classic cookbook way: hors d’oeuvre/appetizers; soups; main courses; and desserts. Or you may modify your treasures and add folders for brunch, salads, casseroles, cakes, pies—and so on. Back in the day when my home’s square footage rivaled Buckingham Palace (just kidding, but by golly I had room), I bought a used file cabinet and stuck it in a corner of the garage. Only problem is I rarely filed, so the treasures lay in piles in the drawers. OK, I’ll now leave the confessional
What I did carefully file away in a drawer were the brochures I used to hand out when I did cooking demonstrations, featuring Corning cookware, in the big department stores—those days now, mostly, in my mother’s words—“of Blessed Memory.” As you read the recipes, just imagine putting them together on an improvised table, using a hot plate and the store’s combination microwave and conventional oven. I might be found by taking left at woman’s unmentionables, then a long corridor and a turn right when you see the spatulas.
Irish Bread and Butter Pudding
Seasonal, yes, but great any time of the year. My mom, Genevieve McCloskey, would approve.
1/3 cup golden raisins
2 Tbsps. Irish whiskey, dark rum, or brandy
2 Tbsps. butter (try Irish butter) at room temperature
8 slices stale (or leave on the counter for a couple of hours) raisin bread
1⁄4 cup finely chopped candied citron, or dried pineapple, or apricots
1 3⁄4 cups whole milk, divided
1⁄4 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon (I usually double this)
Powdered sugar for topping
Soak the raisins in the whiskey for about 1 hour or more. Butter each slice of bread. Cut into quarters and arrange in a casserole measuring about 9 inches across. Pyrex or Corning Ware are my favorite of course! Sprinkle with half of the macerated raisins, unabsorbed whiskey, and half the citron. Top with remaining bread, raisins, unabsorbed whiskey, and citron. Pour 1 cup of the milk over all and let soak 10 minutes. Microwave remaining 3⁄4 cup of milk and the cream, uncovered, in a 1-quart glass measure 2 to 2 1⁄2 minutes until small bubbles appear around the edges (do not allow to boil). Meanwhile, beat together the eggs and granulated sugar until it is a pale yellow color. Mix in the vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Gradually stir hot milk into egg mixture; pour over bread, pushing it underneath liquid. Microwave, covered, on medium (50 percent) about 11 to 12 minutes, rotating casserole one quarter every 3 minutes if your appliance doesn’t have a turntable. Cook until a 1-inch border around the edges is set.
Pudding’s center will set on standing.
Cover cooked pudding with foil and let stand 10 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar. Top, if desired, with whipped cream. (I desire!) Makes 6 servings.
Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Mustard
This is a favorite—and so quick to fix—entrée. For years I made this with chicken breasts, halved. But I find thighs have so much better flavor. Suit yourself.
6 chicken thighs skinned and boned
Salt and freshly ground pepper to season chicken
2 Tbsps. unsalted butter
1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream
4 tsps. coarse-seeded mustard (or use Dijon if preferred)
2 Tbsps. lemon marmalade
1⁄2 tsp. salt for the sauce
1⁄4 tsp. white pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil (like canola)
1 Tbsp. each finely minced chives, Italian parsley, or green onion for garnish
Dry thighs with paper towel then salt and pepper them. Melt butter in a large skillet. Whisk together cream, mustard, marmalade, salt, white pepper, and cayenne. Sauté the chicken on medium high, smooth side down first, for about 3 minutes on each side. You may have to do this in batches. Pour the cream mixture over the chicken. Reduce over medium heat until thighs are tender and sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with garnish. Delicious!
I loved performing, and I loved the recipes. I did them so often I’m sure I’d pass the “cooking with a blindfold” test, though I don’t recommend using that test when demonstrating your knife skills.