Sunday, July 31, 2016

Samantha Makes the Roosevelt's Fat Rascals

A presidential family favorite!

Love him or hate him, there's no question that Teddy Roosevelt was probably the most influential American in Samantha's era. As the youngest US President, he presented a certain vitality to the American public that was just as exciting and interesting to them as his colorful personality and military background. Part of his appeal was that he had a large, young family, all of which were the subject of media attention and enthusiasm... not always in a good way!

For that reason, I've been really interested in featuring a Roosevelt family recipe on the blog for a while now. There are a couple floating around the internet for the interested, but I decided to go with this one because I had no idea what a fat rascal was. Was it a scone? Biscuit? Cookie? No idea! So I dove in and gave it a shot.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Emily's Cream Tea

The perfect light meal, any time of year!

I really enjoy tea, both the drink and the semi formal meal by the same name. Living in the States, it's relatively uncommon to be invited to or have an afternoon tea that comes with sandwiches and treats unless we're going out of our way to have a special occasion, but the handful of times I've had opportunity to enjoy high tea, boy, have I enjoyed it.

As it turns out, there's a simpler, more informal version of tea you can enjoy that's known as cream tea, Devonshire tea, Devon cream tea or Cornish cream tea. The tradition's history is a little murky, but it seems to have gotten its start in Devon back in the 1100's with just bread and jam, well before tea had been imported to Britain! Essentially, it's just a scone (or scones) with cream, jam and tea, and it's a nice way to tide yourself over if you've had to skip lunch or are having a late dinner... or if you're just in the mood for some tea and a tasty baked good!

Although this tradition is especially popular in Devon and Cornwall, it's not unusual to hear people talking about a Devonshire tea in the UK or other Commonwealth countries like Australia. It was kind of a dark, moody day, so I decided it seemed like a good day to give this tradition a whirl.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Maryellen's Key Lime Pie

An easy way to bring a Florida favorite into your home!

I've had very mixed experiences making pie. Some of them have turned out awesome, and some have been kind of a hot mess. Key lime pie was a dish that I was totally intimidated to try making, because in the past, I've usually seen it served in the form of a curd and a meringue topping. I'd like to think that I'm pretty brave in the kitchen, but sometimes, you just want something simple and easy, you know what I mean?

Fortunately, I stumbled upon a really simple version that sounded and looked delicious. No fussing with making a curd or a meringue, and thus the perfect thing for me to make for a Sunday dinner dessert.

Easy, time saving recipes are what the 50's are all about, for better or worse, so although this isn't an authentically 50's recipe, I think it's something Maryellen - a Florida native - and her family would approve of!

Well, except for one thing.

I didn't have key limes.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Cécile's Beignets

Also known - as per Lottie LaBouff - as Tiana's Man Catching Beignets.

I've always been intensely intimidated when it comes to deep frying. Frying anything in oil is bad enough because if not done properly, it makes a huge mess, can start fires, and might leave you with annoying or extremely painful burns all over your hands, wrists, face, etc.

So, needless to say, I've always talked myself down from trying to make any doughnuts, especially after the mess I made making latkes for Hanukkah in 2013, when I was quasi forbidden from ever frying anything ever again because the oil took so long to clean up.

Well, that changed. I'm still not sure I'm ever going to become a deep frying guru or rabid enthusiast, but I did give it a shot, and things went pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. Somewhat ironically, the person who encouraged me to give this a try was my mom, the person who originally said she never wanted me to fry anything ever again! It turns out with the proper equipment, deep frying is not as hard as it seems and can create some pretty tasty treats to enjoy in the comfort of your own home.

Even if it's still a lot to clean up. And kind of makes your house smell like oil for hours and hours.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Grace's Flourless Chocolate Cake

Or, the dessert I promised my sister I'd make three years ago. Sorry, Abby!

July has worked out to feature two recipes I'd never thought I'd make in my own kitchen that turned out pretty darn amazing, if I do say so myself. You'll see the next one in a couple days, but right now, I want to take a minute to talk about one of the best desserts I've ever made. I know, I know, I say that basically every other week, but every once and a while, I really truly mean it.

Okay, I actually mean it every time I've said it, because I have made and eaten a lot of really fun, tasty stuff.

But this kind of holds a special place in my heart because it really was never something I thought would be simple and delicious to make and eat at home. I'm sure most of us have at least seen if not tasted a flourless chocolate cake at a restaurant. It's a pretty standard dessert offering, usually paired with raspberry sauce and/or vanilla ice cream, and I've enjoyed it many a time, figuring hey, this probably doesn't turn up on people's picnic tables because it must be really hard to make.

As it turns out, not only is that not true at all, but you probably have all the ingredients to make it in your own home right now! Talk about awesome, right? My life is never going to be the same.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Ivy's Impossible Pie

Another badly named baking science experiment!

As I said back when I made my vinegar pie and my ship's biscuits, some of the recipes I've got on the docket for A Peek into the Pantry I'm not trying out because I expect them to taste delicious or already know I love. No, some are more culinary and historical science experiments, where I go in knowing things might either be a total disaster, or at least taste like one. After all, there have to be some dishes that have fallen out of favor with the American public for a reason, right?

Take impossible pie. This confusingly named dish first came on people's radar in the late 60's, and blossomed onto the culinary scene in the 70's, meaning it's definitely something Ivy and Julie would have run into, or at least heard of. I stumbled upon it while looking through the Food Timeline, one of the best resources on the internet for food history and historical recipes, and was immediately intrigued by this unusual sounding recipe. Not only did it sound like a really interesting experiment, but the fact that coconut was a primary ingredient made me think hey, this might turn out to be my new favorite pie!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Molly's Atomic Green Chile Cheeseburgers

Don't worry, they're not radioactive!

Is any other food quite as perfect as a good hamburger? I don't think so, and I'm pretty sure the popularity of burger chains and shops prove I'm not alone in thinking this. While they're not my hands down favorite food of all time (here's looking at you, chili), after going a few weeks without, I often find myself craving a nice, juicy burger with crisp lettuce, melty cheese, and definitely some tomato and onion in there. One of the things I miss most about going to college is the burger place near my dorm room. There was really nothing better after a long, long week of arguing about World War II and educating people about why Jamestown is worth studying than stopping by UBurger and bringing home dinner.

Apparently, this particular burger was also enjoyed by people looking for a good snack after a long day's work, and can easily be enjoyed by you today on Fourth of July, Memorial Day, or any traditionally cookout oriented holiday. Or just any day of the week! It's super simple, while also putting enough of a spin on the classic burger that I can definitely see why it was popular with certain scientists hanging out in New Mexico during World War II. Read on to find out more!