Sunday, July 26, 2009

Love, Laughter & Blueberry Pie

I love blueberries. I especially love to freeze them for a chilly snack or to use in smoothies. That's what I ended up doing with this batch. Even as I washed and prepared them for freezing, I couldn't help remembering a blueberry pie Mom made years ago. This was back when the world was larger than today, but somehow we had a lot more time on our hands. Time to make a homemade pie crust. Time to sit and visit with relatives over a cup of coffee. Whenever my Aunt or Grandma visited, most of the time was spent in the kitchen. The house wasn't perfect and the food wasn't prepared before they arrived. It seems to me that part of the joy of those visits was three women cooking up food and chatting a mile a minute. I remember Daddy saying he'd never heard so much talking and laughing in all his life. Isn't that what life is all about? Looking back, those moments that seemed so small at the time stand out in my memory. A simplier time filled with love, laughter and blueberry pie.
Mom's Blueberry Pie
Pastry for 2-crust pie (8-inch)
4 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed & drained
4 teaspoons lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup sifted flour
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Sprinkle lemon juice over blueberries & toss. Mix sugar, flour, lemon peel, cinnamon, nutmeg & salt. Gently toss in blueberries. Turn mixture into a pastry shell, heaping slightly at center. Dot with butter. Top with additional pastry crust, crimping around edges to seal. Pierce top crust with a fork in several places. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 30 to 35 minutes longer or until crust is light golden brown. Cool on cooling rack.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Home Grown Green Beans

These are 'home grown' green beans a friend gave me recently. You can tell they are 'home grown' because they're not the perfect specimens you find in cans at your grocery store. It doesn't get much fresher than this! Maybe it's the fact that they're 'organic' without trying to be or the fact that I spent a wonderful hour snapping them, but these are the best beans I've had in a very long time.

Just cooking these green beans brought back memories of my Grandmother's kitchen and Summer canning. One Summer we had so many beans, Mom and Grandma harvested them by the clothes basket full while I snapped beans and manned the pressure cooker. For years there was always a quart jar of green beans to be found in the basement. Add a dab of bacon drippings, simmer for a couple of hours, and you have the perfect vegetable. Try it sometime with store canned beans if fresh aren't available. You'll have a taste of Summer and make some memories of your own.

Friday, July 10, 2009


I'm always on the lookout for recipes in our local paper, especially since they published one of mine from my Simple Cookery blog. This weeks food section had a long article on MSG (monosodium glutamate). I was surprised to find out the flavor enhancer has been around since 1908. Personally, I don't really get along with this additive or with sulfites. While I won't fall over with an allergic reaction to either, in moderate quantities, my face will flush almost immediately. Eventually I'll end up with a headache. Small quantities found in soups or other foods don't seem to bother me much. It's probably more a matter of 'layered' exposure to MSG. For instance, I probably get a lot more exposure at a food buffet than in a can of cream of mushroom soup.
Growing up, we always had a can of Ac'cent in the kitchen. Mom and Grandma used it a lot in their meat dishes. I always thought of it more as a meat tenderizer for cheap cuts of meat than a flavor enhancer. At some point Mom stopped using it, and I've never used it in any recipes. I was surprised to find that a lot of my friends still use it. In one of Mom's cookbooks every meat, poultry and fish dish calls for Ac'cent. I always just omitted the ingredient not knowing what to substitue for it. Lately I've been thinking maybe I'm missing something. A little tenderizing, a little flavor, a little trouble breathing.....Next thing you know someone will tell me Worcestershire sauce has anchovies in it.
Meat Muffins
1 and 1/4 pounds ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
3 slices bread torn into pieces (about 2 cups)
1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Accent
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Mix all ingredients together and divide into 12 equal portions. Pack lightly into muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, blend together 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar and 1/3 cup ketchup. After about 20 minutes of baking time, spoon 2 teaspoons of ketchup mixture on top of each muffin and continue baking for another 20 minutes. Total baking time approximately 40 minutes.