Monday, November 30, 2015

Cécile's French Onion Soup

A time consuming treat, but totally worth while in the end!

One last thing before we head into the fun that is December and all the spice and seasoning of the holiday spirit! I've been wanting to try my hand at making French onion soup for a while, and like many of the things I want to make, I just haven't been able to get around to it. Until now! And let me tell you, it was worth every minute spent staring at the stove wondering what's taking these onions so long to cook?

But best of all, I didn't have to go out and buy special bowls to cook this in. The recipe I found suggests an easy way to get all that gruyere flavor without the hassle of finding just the right dish to serve it in. Always a good thing for my wallet and my cabinets!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Jane's Indian Pudding

A colonial classic that's become a bit hard to find!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Although Thanksgiving isn't usually my favorite holiday, I have a special extra long post for you today, featuring the comeback of a traditional family holiday dish and a trip to none other than Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts! Hosting the post today will be Jane, my custom character from the 17th century.

Again, Jane is actually from Jamestown in about 1614, so she predates the Pilgrims by six years and probably would never have even thought to visit New England. But since I live here, I've been having a lot of fun going to different historical sites that celebrate and educate people about the very early days of European colonization of North America. And while we've got a lot of different places to visit, one of the best is Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Plimoth Plantation is much like Colonial Williamsburg and other living history museums, with costumed interpreters and regular staff members happy to tell you all about the early days of the Pilgrims and Wampanoag. I hadn't been since I was very small, and honestly all I really remember of it was speaking to a Pilgrim about... something in their garden, and being miserably, miserably hot. Needless to say, I was excited to see it from an adult perspective.

Of course, part of this trip was also to do a little bit of research into Indian pudding, a Thanksgiving staple of my mom's family that has, for whatever reason, fallen out of favor. But more on that in a little bit! First, we're taking a trip back in time...

Friday, November 20, 2015

Julie's Cheese Fondue

Just the thing to make dinner a little more interesting than usual!

Nothing says 1970's quite like a good cheese fondue. Don't believe me? It's so iconic to the period that American Girl actually used to make a fondue set for Julie, which now demands pretty frightening prices on the second hand market. Where's my BeForever reboot of that set, AG?

As a fan of things that involve hot, melty cheese (and you're going to be seeing another in a couple days, stay tuned!), I am unsurprisingly a fan of fondue, and a little bit bummed that it's less of a novelty people seek out in this day and age. I'm sure my waistline isn't, but making a pilgrimage to Melting Pot isn't always something I can work in, even if I do find myself craving it a lot.

But as the proud owner of an electric fondue pot, I can happily take a trip back to the days of the fondue party, and force the rest of my family to come along with me without getting in the car and heading to a restaurant! Everybody wins!

Except when it comes time to do the dishes, I suppose...  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Ivy's Chinese Almond Cookies

Crispy cookies with tasty almond flavor!

When I was a kid, I definitely fantasized about making some of the food my favorite AG characters talked about making and enjoying in their books. I know I've talked about this before, so it's probably not news or especially surprising to my readers, but it really was a big dream of mine. Now that I'm an adult who doesn't need supervision in the kitchen (most of the time), I get to actually put those plans in action, and it's always fun when I have an official AG recipe to go off of to help make these creations.

Of course, sometimes those recipes haven't worked out that well for me in the past, so I always go in with a little bit of informed risk. Considering the way these cookies are presented in the books, it actually might have been appropriate to run into a minor disaster while baking them!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Felicity's Beefsteak Pie

Get in touch with our culinary roots!

A few years ago, one of my Australian acquaintances (who later became my lovely girlfriend) mused about how odd it is that Americans just don't have meat pies or pasties as a staple item on most restaurant's menus. They're very common in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, and other former English colonies, but why not the US? This question has stuck with me, because it really does baffle me a little bit. We Americans are a very pie loving people, but for most of us, when we hear pie, we think of fruit pies.

Okay, okay, we do have chicken pot pies, and occasionally something a little more like a meat hand pie might show up on an American menu, but once upon a time, we used to eat meat pies just as much as our British cousins. Pies were - and are - a convenient way of preparing food, and early British settlers to the New World definitely brought their favorite recipes along with them. Although it's less common now, Felicity definitely would have enjoyed savory pies for main courses, and the recipe I made today is from her cookbook!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Molly's Moon Pie Mug Cake

Happy 92nd birthday, Eugene Sledge!

Two months ago, I told you all about John Basilone, Medal of Honor recipient and one of my favorite historical figures from World War II. Today, I'm going to introduce you all to my favorite historical figure from the 40's... who also happens to be a central character in HBO's The Pacific. Which I swear was a coincidence! Sledge and I actually go back to before I'd watched the miniseries, in the early days of the avalanche of enthusiasm for all things 1940's I've been caught up in over the last few years.

Obviously this is not a wholly authentic recipe from World War II, or even Sledge's childhood, but it is inspired by something that's a staple of Southern food culture: Moon Pies! They're harder to find up here, but this mug cake means we can all get a taste of one of Sledge's favorite snacks regardless of where you live.