Sunday, July 25, 2010

Country Deer & Crab Apple Jelly


I never get tired of the view from my windows.  I spotted this Momma deer and her little one munching on crab apples.  I hope they leave me some for jelly!

Crab Apple Jelly

Set out a large, heavy sauce pot, six 8-oz. jelly glasses and a jelly bag.  You can make a jelly bag by cutting a double thickness of cheesecloth about 36 in. long and fold it in half.  Dip the cloth into hot water and wring well.  Put a large strainer or colander over a bowl and lay the cloth in the strainer or colander.

Rinse, remove stem ends and cut into quarters enough crab apples to make 3 quarts chopped.  Do not remove cores or peel.  Add to pot with 3 cups water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender.  Remove mixture and strain through jelly bag. 

Wash and sterilize jelly glasses. (see below) When juice has strained through jelly bag, melt over simmering water about 1/4 lb. paraffin.  Measure 4 cups of juice into the sauce pot.  Put sauce pot water over high heat and heat until very hot.  Add 3 cups sugar.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Continue cooking rapidly until sirup responds to jelly test (see below).  Remove from heat and skim off any foam. Immediately fill the drained jelly glasses and cover with paraffin.  (see below)

Jelly Test – Dip spoon into boiling liquid; lift it out and tip it to allow mixture to run over edge.  At first, the sirup will run off in a thin stream.  When the last two drops in the spoon run together or ‘sheet’ the mixture should be removed from the heat.  Always remove the pan from the heat while testing.

Sterilize Jars or Glasses – Put a rack or folded dish towel onto bottom of large sauce pot or kettle.  Place clean jars or glasses on the rack or towel.  Pour boiling water over them and boil 15 minutes, keeping jars or glasses covered with water at all times; if more water is needed, add boiling water.  Drain jars or glasses – using long-handled tongs, carefully remove one jar or glass at a time and thoroughly drain.  Set right side up on coiling rack away from drafts.

Seal with Paraffin – Immediately after draining glasses, pour the mixture to within 1/2 in of top.  With a clean, damp cloth or paper towel, remove any particles of food that may be on the inside of glass above surface of mixture.  Immediately pour enough melted paraffin onto the top of mixture to make a layer about 1/.8 in. thick on each glass.  When paraffin has cooled completely, pour enough melted paraffin over the first layer to make another layer about 1/8 in thick.  Carefully tilt glasses to distribute paraffin evenly over the top and seal it to edges of the glass. Cool glasses away from drafts.  Label and cover glasses; store in a cool, dry place.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tasty Treats

Mom spent several years away from the hollow. During these years she worked as a waitress/server in some upscale restaurants. She could pile plates three and four deep on one arm! And, she brought home lots of simple appetizer ideas. One of her favorites was a pineapple ring on a lettuce leaf. She would pile up cottage cheese in the center. As a child I thought this was her invention. Years later I found it on the menu at an old-fashioned steak house. In fact, their 'starters' sounded a lot like what Mom served us back in the hollow. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. I hope you enjoy these vintage recipes.
Olive Teasers
Coat large stuffed olives with softened cream cheese. Roll in finely chopped nuts. Chill in refrigerator. Insert toothpicks before serving.

Stuff Celery Spears
Blend together softened cream cheese and milk. Mix in a few grains celery salt, few drops Worcestershire sauce and very finely chopped radish and green pepper or pimiento and parsley. Stuff cleaned celery with the cheese mixture.

Smoked Cheese Blossoms
Soften smoked cheese and mix with chopped pimiento, sweet pickle and crisp crumbled bacon. Roll into small balls and chill in refrigerator. Insert toothpicks before serving.

Bacon-Wrapped Olives
Wrap pimiento or almond-stuffed olives in pieces of bacon. Fasten with picks. Put in shallow baking dish. Bake or broil until bacon is done. (Tip: soak toothpicks in water for 15 minutes before using to keep from burning)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Vintage Treasures from Sunflower Sue


Sunflower Sue sent me this great collection of vintage cook booklets and recipe clippings.  Some date back to the 1970’s.  So, did you ever think you’d consider the 1970’s as vintage?  Maybe I should say retro!  I’m going through these and will be posting some new recipes soon.  Here’s one that sounds too interesting not to try.

Coffee Coconut Squares

Trim crust from slice of bread.  Cut slice into four squares.  Place two squares on top of each other and brush entire piece with mixture of sweetened condensed milk mixed with 1 tsp. of instant coffee.  Roll squares in shredded coconut.  Toast in oven.  Garnish with pecan half.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Taking a Step Back

 Paducah Mural river bank indians (2)

Summer is definitely the time for travel.  Most of our trips out of the hollow involved visiting relatives rather than tourist destinations.  Whether you are headed ‘down home’ or to the beach, you learn a lot about small towns along the way.  Paducah is, and always will be, a river town.  It’s hard to escape the mark made by the Ohio River in this town’s history.  Even if you could, the giant wall keeping downtown safe is a constant reminder of what was and what could be again.  Ravaged by floods in the past, the citizens of Paducah built a wall along the river as it winds through downtown. 

Paducah Wall

The wall stands waiting for the next deluge and it’s duty to protect Paducah from rising water.

Paducah wall close up

Driving through it gives you a sense of Jurassic Park.  But, in this instance, the raging monster is the Ohio River.

Paducah Street near Wall

The streets of downtown travel along the wall protected from the River.  Driving through it brings you right to the edge of the river, a waterside park and up close views of river traffic.


The wall itself is decorated with murals that depict Paducah’s rich history.  Each mural is different.  Some are so realistic that you feel like you could step right into the scene and become part of history itself.

Paducah Mural river bank

This one depicts scenes from one of the great floods in the 1930’s that devastated the town.

Paducah Mural floods

This one depicts clippings from the town newspaper.  They are so realistic that it seems as if you are looking at a scrapbook.

Paducah Mural newspaper up close

Take a step back and you can tell it’s part of the wall.


Paducah has taken the time to revitalized its downtown.  Its flat streets make for an easy walking tour of the area.  Museums and shops are plentiful.  It’s a downtown definitely worth visiting again.  A driving tour of the area also lets you enjoy the rich history as seen in the many historic houses along tree lined streets.  Every once in a while something different pops up that reminds you of the past.

Texaco Star

When it does, you appreciate a town that has taken the time to preserve its history.  I hope you enjoyed the pictures.  To learn more about Paducah, visit