Monday Meals

(I’m reviving the blog in anticipation of the publication of a new book, the date of which is uncertain. The plan for the blog is to devote different days of the week to different subjects. Monday’s “m” will remind me to write about meals in the broadest sense, that is, about food and cooking.)

Every January I resolve that I’m going to try new recipes in the new year, delving into my neglected cookbooks. “Every January” tells you how successful I’ve been.

Retiring from teaching seems like a new beginning, almost like a new year. Inspired again to explore those cookbooks, I recently pulled Food Editors’ Favorites: Treasured Recipes off the kitchen shelf. Published to benefit the Newspaper Food Editors and Writers Association, reprinted in 1983 on behalf of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, this book features favorite home-cooked dishes of food editors around the country.  One of them is a delicious bundt cake I have often made. For several years, I offered it for a friend for her birthday, after she expressed delight in it the first time. And a super critical older woman of my acquaintance, known for her cooking skills, asked me for the recipe after I brought it to a church event years ago. That woman’s request for my recipe was like winning a culinary Pulitzer Prize.

I’ve also stirred up for the occasional party this book’s curry dip, submitted by Peggy Dunn of the Milwaukee Journal. Because the cake and the curry have been successes, you’d think I’d try other recipes, but, alas, I’ve barely sampled them. Last week, I cracked open the book and put together the Southwest Salad (Jane Baker, the Phoenix Gazette). As is often the case, I didn’t have all the ingredients and wouldn’t have wanted to include hot pepper sauce and chopped chilies anyway; still, the result was satisfying. I’ll add the recipe below.

While I had the book open, I made the old favorite bundt cake as well. It’s simple and dependable. The only challenge it presents is the directive to beat for 10 minutes, an arm-fatiguing time if you don’t own a stand mixer. As a result, I usually cheat. Seven to eight minutes seems to work just fine.  

Bundt Cake

2 cups sugar 2 cups flour 1 cup softened butter 5 room temperature eggs

1 tablespoon flavoring (vanilla, lemon, or almond extract, or a mixture thereof)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease bundt pan generously, even nonstick ones. Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth, about 10 minutes. Pour into prepared pan. Bake about 1 hour or until cake is done, i.e., the temperature has reached 200 to 210 degrees.

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7 Responses to Monday Meals

  1. Kathy says:

    No, she hasn’t. But, Fran, you know this person. Her initials are PT.

  2. Fran Lissemore says:

    A few cookbooks I have I use for only one or two recipes. I could copy/take a picture of those few recipes and then get rid of the book. No way. I don’t have a lot of cookbooks but those i have i like to read even if I don’t actually cook from them. And, yes, Kathy- being asked for a recipe from someone with a critical eye is high compliment indeed. Has she asked for your brownie recipe?

  3. Kathy says:

    Thanks for the comments!

  4. Kathy says:

    Southwest Salad. (I took the “Southwest” out of the salad when I deleted the chili peppers and hot sauce!)
    1 lb. cooked small shell macaroni several dashes hot pepper sauce
    3/4 c. red wine vinegar 2-3 tablespoons chopped green chiles
    1/4 c. oil salt and pepper to taste
    1 c. sliced celery 1 can drained garbanzo beans
    1/2 c. chopped green pepper 1/2 cup chopped black olives
    6 green onions, sliced, with tops 1 12-oz can corn, drained
    1/4 t. Worcestershire sauce 1/3 cup (approx.) mayonnaise

    Mix all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days. (I served after about an hour.)

  5. Barb Ewing Cockroft says:

    Thank you, Kathy! Well now I know what I will make for your Sept 4 birthday cake! Thank you!

  6. Roger Talbott says:

    So good to see this. I’ll look forward to hearing from you through this blog. I can see our shelf of cookbooks from where I’m sitting. I suspect that we may use an average of 1 recipe per cookbook on a semi-regular basis. So, owning a whole cookbook for one recipe seems a little extravagant. Maybe we should see if we could increase the average to 2 recipes.

  7. Sarah Becker says:

    Great to hear from you again! I own a few dozen cookbooks, my hobby, so I know whereof you speak. Recently I took out a grab bag of six cookbooks from the library and ran into a cuisine I would never have considered before: African cooking. The book In Bibi’s Kitchen by Hawa Hassan exposed me to cooking as it exists in the African countries bordering the Indian Ocean. I learned fun facts, such as that Somalia was formerly an Italian colony, so they used the same lasagna recipe that we use here! I picked up a curry-like spice blend called Xawaash (pron. HA-wash), which I have used to flavor ground beef. Just goes to show that there is always time to learn new ideas!

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