A Special Recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie

Thanks to the good friend who passed on to me an old cook book that belonged to her grandmother. It was published by the Grand Union Tea Company sometime after 1872, and is identified as The Young Wifes’ Own Cook Book,  “a practical cookery book of today, with minute directions on how to buy, dress, cook, serve and carve, with 300 standard recipes…”

One of my favorites so far is for Lemon Meringue Pie. (In the book it’s actually spelled “maringue”,) but it’s the method of preparation that I found most interesting.  Here’s the recipe right from the book, including punctuation:

“Boil three lemons until they are soft enough for a straw to penetrate the rind, mash them up fine with a tablespoon of butter, one cup and a half of powdered sugar, and the yolks of six eggs; make a thin crust, put in the mixture and bake it; when cool, beat up the whites of the eggs with one and a half cups of powdered sugar and spread it over the pie; brown it a nice color.”

There you have it. An entire recipe in one sentence, in one paragraph.  The young wives of yesteryear must have known a lot more about cooking when they got married than recent generations, me included.

I will try this one day and let you know how it comes out!

Your friend in the kitchen,


Apricot Coconut Bars

I just added a recipe to my “Gotta Try This” list. It’s for Apricot Coconut Bars from the 1930′s in a little cookbook called “Mama’s in the Kitchen; Weird & Wonderful Home Cooking 1900-1950.”

It isn’t one of the weird ones, but I’ll get to those later.

To make the crust:

Whisk together: 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup oats, 1/4 cup sugar
Cut 1/2 cup butter in dry mix

Press into 9 inch square baking pan and bake at 350 until lightly browned. (Maybe 10 minutes? I’ll let you know after I actually make it!)

For the filling:

Dice 1 cup dried apricots and simmer in a small amount of water for 5 minutes, then drain and let cool.
Whisk together:    1/3 cup flour       1/2 teaspoon baking powder       1/4 teaspoon salt
In a larger separate bowl, beat 2 eggs;  add 1/2 cup brown sugar & 1 teaspoon almond extract.
Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture, then the apricots and 1/2 cup flaked coconut and mix well.
Spread onto the baked crust, sprinkle with an additional 1/2 cup coconut and bake at 350 for approximately 25 minutes.  Cool and cut into bars.

If you try this before I do, let me know how you liked it!

Your friend in the kitchen,





Home Made Salad Dressing – Yummy!

At a recent Make-a-Memory Cooking Party, we celebrated a mother’s birthday. Her grown daughters planned it as a surprise – a cooking class followed by a special lunch. This is a woman who has always cooked from scratch and has spent a lot of time in the kitchen. The daughters’ one requirement was that I fix dishes their Mom had never prepared. It was fun to plan her surprise cooking class and lunch.
One of the things I did was make homemade salad dressing for a very simple four-ingredient salad. It was a hit!
Here’s the recipe with some easy tips included:  Don’t let the long list of ingredients throw you – it goes together easily and is truly worth the effort!
1 head Romaine lettuce
1/2 bunch spinach leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup croutons
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar (TIP: If you have more lemon juice than vinegar, reverse the amounts; no problem)
3 Tablespoons lemon juice (TIP: can be fresh or bottled)
1 clove garlic, minced (TIP:  ok to use 1/8 teaspoon dried garlic instead (spice dept of grocery store, labeled as minced garlic)
2 teaspoons minced fresh chives (TIP: ok to use tops of green onions)
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Place all dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. (TIP: I put plastic wrap between the jar and the lid to prevent any leakage.)
Shake well and refrigerate.
Shake again and add dressing to salad ingredients just before serving.
This recipe serves 6-8.  For a smaller salad, prepare fewer greens, add less cheese and fewer croutons. Add a small amount of dressing, toss and taste, until you have as much as you desire.  Keep unused portion in the fridge and use again later. Just shake it well and label.
Your friend in the kitchen!
While you’re here, check out this page: www.jeanskitchen.net/make-a-memory-cooking-parties

Beets & Eggs – A Simple Salad

I recently purchased an egg slicer. Haven’t had one for years and don’t need one very often. I’ve been slicing eggs with a knife. But I have to say, the slicer does a beautiful job of creating even, smooth slices. The yolk seems less inclined to separate from the white and makes the egg easier to handle.

Anyway, buying the slicer made me remember one of my favorite salads growing up and gave me a good reason to make it:  Beets & Eggs   Here’s how Mom did it:

1. She would shred lettuce and spread it out on a large plate.
2. Open and drain a couple of cans of sliced pickled beets (we were a big family).
3. Take hardboiled eggs out of the refrigerator; peel, then slice them crosswise.
4.  Lay a slice of beet and a slice of egg alternately in a circle around the outer section of the lettuce lined plate. If there was room on the plate, she’d make a second circle inside the first. If there was still more room, she’d pile the remaining beets and a few egg slices in  the very center.
5. She added a few dollops of mayonnaise here and there and it was ready to serve.

If you don’t like pickled beets, you can make this with plain, cooked and sliced beets. It’s a very pretty salad. You can also do the same presentation on individual salad plates with the dollop of mayo in the center.



Pepperoni Sandwiches – Weird But Wonderful

Last night was the 4th time these sandwiches have been on my menu and again, they were a big hit. Just 4 ingredients and simple enough that my 8 year old grandson put them together for me when we visited in May.

The recipe is from another food blogger and I apologize that I don’t remember who, but I’m so glad I found it. Thanks to all my friends who have trusted me on this one!

Cinnamon bread – Yep, it comes with raisins.
Pepperoni slices – regular or turkey – I put 9 slices per sandwich
Swiss cheese slices – 2 per sandwich

Original recipe called for spicy mustard on one slice of the bread. I made them that way the first time and then tried my tomato jam instead and liked it better.

Make the sandwiches, spread with butter and grill as for grilled cheese. Use medium-low heat or the bread will brown too quickly and the cheese won’t be melted.

Let me know how you like it!







Dress Up Your Tamale Pie

My friend Jeannette made tamale pie for us and the sauce she put on the cornbread topping after it was baked made me want to eat the whole pan. Summer in Tucson may not be the time to try this out, but keep it in mind – it is really good! Different than salsa and a little on the sweet side.

While your tamale pie is baking in the oven, mix together in a 2 cup glass dish:

3/4 cup catsup
up to 1/4 cup diced onion
3 1/2 tablespoons French salad dressing
1 teaspoon sugar
a sprinkle of chili or cayenne pepper – to taste

Cook in microwave 2 -3 minutes on low until onions are cooked and sauce is hot.

When casserole comes out of the oven, pour on the sauce. Another addition you can make to tamale pie is to pile on shredded lettuce, then chopped tomatoes and finish it off with a squiggle of sour cream.  Makes it into a one-pot dinner and turns it into something special.




Easy and Delicious Pea Salad

I serve this often and it’s always a hit. Our grandkids loved it and no one was more surprised than I was.  It has 5 basic ingredients (plus salad dressing and lettuce leaves to serve it on) that together delight the taste buds. I hope you’ll try it soon.

It calls for petite frozen peas, but you can use regular size peas. Don’t even think about using canned peas, however. And don’t cook them, not even for a minute!

Ingredients:   1 (10-ounce) package petite frozen peas, thawed
1 cup diced celery or chopped water chestnuts
1/4 cup chopped green onion
3/4 cup chopped salted cashews or macadamia nuts
1/4 cup crumbled, crisply fried bacon
Ranch Dressing
6 lettuce leaves – iceberg, romaine or butter

Combine peas, celery and green onions. Add 1/2 cup dressing and chill. At serving time, add nuts, bacon and more dressing.  Serve on individual lettuce leaves.

Serves 6



Super Simple Appetizer

My husband came up with this one night when we were expecting company for dinner and got a call that one couple would be late. I hadn’t planned an appetizer, but he came up with this one and it’s been a favorite ever since. (Makes a quick and easy snack, too.)

Only three ingredients:  Scoops tortilla chips  -   your salsa choice  -   shredded cheese

Put the chips in a single layer in a shallow dish or on a large plate.
Put a pinch of cheese on each chip.
Spoon about a 1/2 teaspoon of salsa on top.

Microwave for 10-15 seconds. Serve.

Let me know how you like them!



Trisha Yearwood’s Yummy Cole Slaw

This recipe came from one of Trisha’s cookbooks. It is delicious, easy and requires no shredding! I’ve prepared it in my cooking classes and it’s always very well received.


1 small head green cabbage – chopped rather than shredded – much quicker!
8 green onions, finely chopped
1/ cup sliced almonds
2 three ounce packages ramen noodles

Mix all ingredients in large bowl. At serving time, add dressing (below).


1/2 cup salad oil
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons wine vinegar (could be red or white)
1 teaspoon salt & 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Place all ingredients in a small jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake well and refrigerate. Shake again just before serving.

All About “Fluffies”

This is a recipe for very fun dollar-sized pancakes called “Fluffies.” Kids and adults love them. They’re a bit more trouble than normal pancakes, but worth it. Try them on a weekend!
1/4 c flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 large eggs, whites separated from yolks
1/2 cup sour cream
Oil for cooking them
Mix dry ingredients with whisk in medium large bowl
Beat egg yolks and sour cream in small bowl
In third bowl, beat egg whites to soft peak stage
Put 2 t oil in nonstick skillet on med-low heat while you do the following:
Stir egg yolk mixture into flour mixture, just until combined – batter will be slightly lumpy with visible streaks of flour Fold egg whites into the batter – do not overmix
As soon as pan is hot and you have batter ready, drop by tablespoons into the pan. They will brown and rise amazingly high and lopsided. (This is good.) Flip once to cook other side and serve immediately.
This recipe came from a book called, “America’s Lost Recipes” and was submitted by Dawn Karrington of Kissimmee, Florida. Her grandmother used to make Fluffies for her. I’m glad she passed the recipe along. So are my grandkids!