Another in the sometime series from “Annie Cooper’s Recipe Scrapbook.” The foods are all mentioned in my still-in-heavy-rewrite novel. Claire holds a tender spot in her heart for this recipe and for one particular member of the family it came from. Enjoy!
Butternut Squash with Apples
from the kitchen of Claire Jordan
Auntie Claire isn’t much of a cook and I was surprised when Mom told me this favorite fall recipe was hers. When I asked Auntie Claire about its origin, she got a faraway look in her eyes and said it came from the mother of an old college friend. Somehow I got the feeling that there was more to the story.
About 1 ½ pounds butternut squash, peeled and chopped. About 5 cups. Many produce departments now carry peeled and chopped squash.
4 medium tart apples, chopped.
½ cup dried cranberries, cherries, raisins, or combination
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 ½ tsp. grated fresh ginger or 1 Tbsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. salt (or more to taste)
1/8 tsp. black (or more to taste)
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1/3 cup brown sugar
¼ cup butter or margarine
Directions: In a slow-cooker combine all ingredients and stir. Cover and cook on low setting for 3-4 hours or on high for 1 ½ hours.
from the kitchen of Fran McCormack and Libby McCormack Cooper
I’m not sure where the original came from, but Mom called it “Oatmeal Cake.” My girls call it “Camping Cake” since we always took it camping. Mom made it in an aluminum pan with a sliding lid, like the one pictured below, so even on camping trips it stayed wonderfully moist and un-squashed. No small feat. It is definitely not figure-friendly, but it does contain oatmeal, so perhaps Mom thought it qualified as healthy for that reason alone. Note: If you leave the knife in the pan, the cake seems to disappear by inches, not whole slices. Just sayin’.
Another entry in the recipe scrapbook, this time from Annie’s dad, Jack.
from the kitchen of Jackson Cooper, Esq.
This Posolebecame a Nevada Daytradition at our house when friends stopped by after the parade. Libby always makes several pans of cornbread to accompany it. It’s easy to make ahead. I think it tastes better on the second day anyway. Moreover, the recipe can be readily multiplied and adjusted to suit individual tastes and dietary preferences. In fact, I’m not sure anyone knew the difference the year I made one pot of a vegetarian version for our Nora. I simply left out the chicken, subbed veggie broth and replaced the chorizo with Soyrizo.
1 lb. chicken thighs
1 lb. chorizo (sometimes this is a little too spicy, so maybe 1/2 pound)
1 each green and red pepper
2 c dry white wine
1 large can green or red enchilada sauce. (I usually use red)
1 large can hominy
1 can tomatillos (or tomatoes if you can’t find them)
1 large can chicken broth
Assorted garnishes prepped and ready to add when serving: Shredded lettuce or cabbage, chopped onion, cilantro, avocados, tortilla chips, sliced radishes, and limes cut into wedges.
Cook the chicken and debone.
Sauté the sausage, peppers, and onions.
Throw it all together in a big crock pot, soup pot, or Dutch oven with the wine, enchilada sauce, hominy, tomatillos and broth. Let it simmer all day.
Let individuals serve themselves, topping with condiments as desired. Squeeze on a little lime juice. Serve with cornbread.
Why novel? Because the cornmeal is mixed in, not made into cornbread batter and spread on top. Well, that and the fact that this food memory comes from one of the characters in my novel.
From the kitchen of Libby McCormack Cooper
While this wasn’t necessarily my favorite thing when I was growing, it now definitely qualifies as comfort food. I’ve adapted it a bit here–using Rotele tomatoes makes up for other seasoning–but it’s still pretty much as my mom made it. We like it topped with a little sour cream and served on a bed of shredded lettuce. Mom served it with a wedge of iceberg lettuce topped with a dollop of mayo that she called a “salad.” Times and food tastes have changed.
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 small yellow or white onion, chopped
1 large can of diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 regular can of Rotele tomatoes with the added chilies, with liquid
1 regular can of corn, with liquid
1 regular can of whole or sliced large black olives, drained
yellow cornmeal (approximately ¾ to 1 cup)
1 cup or more shredded cheddar
Brown the meat with onion. Drain.
Add the contents of all the cans. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
Start sprinkling corn meal in the while stirring. Just add in small amounts until the mixture thickens and the boil bubbles make a very distinctive pfff sound. There is no exact measurement for this. Sorry. As soon as it pfffs, remove from heat.
Grease or spray a 9×13 baking pan. Scoop the mixture in and smooth it. Or if you are using an ovenproof skillet, you can save washing up an extra pan.
Sprinkle top generously with cheese.
Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. It does not have to bake long because it is already hot.
Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, another scrapbook page from Annie.
Scones from the kitchen of Libby McCormack Cooper
These are so easy to make, especially if you have a stand mixer. I made them every year for St. Patrick’s Day at school. With only half a stick of butter for a big batch, they are pretty low in fat, if you worry about such things. And people tell me they have magical healing qualities so are the perfect gift to take to an ailing friend.
4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbsp. butter
1 cup raisins
1 3/4 cup buttermilk (or milk soured with 2 Tbsp. vinegar or lemon juice)
Preheat oven to 400.
Mix dry ingredients. Cut in butter. Add raisins. Add milk and egg. Mix until dough forms.
Knead 2-3 minutes on floured board. Divide dough in half. Pat each half into a flat circle, about 12 inches across.
Cut each circle into 12-16 wedges. This is the shape my grandmother made her scones. At this point you can sprinkle them with course sugar, such as Demerara, if you like.
Bake 10 minutes on lightly greased or sprayed cookie sheet. As soon as they are cool, place them in a zippered plastic bag. Serve with marmalade, raspberry jam or lemon curd.
Variations: Raisins can be replaced with currents, dried cranberries, or other fruit. The cranberries work especially well if you substitute a little orange juice for some of the liquid and add a bit of grated orange peel. I’ve also added nuts or chocolate chips from time to time.
Quick Fudge Cookies From the kitchen of Libby McCormack Cooper Aunt Ellie made these for family picnics, but I think every Home Ec class in the 1950s and 60s made them too. They are great to make in the summer because you don’t have to turn on the oven and heat up the house. And who doesn’t like peanut butter and chocolate? You can even call them “healthy” because of the oatmeal, right? I think they’re gluten-free, too. Who knew?!
Mixture #1: 2 cups sugar
3 Tablespoons cocoa
¼ cup margarine or butter
½ cup milk
Mixture #2: 1 tsp vanilla
½ cup crunchy peanut butter
3 cups quick oatmeal
Cook Mixture #1 at rolling boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add Mixture #2. Mix well and drop by spoonful (or use that scoop again) onto wax paper. Let set until firm and cool.
Another page from Annie Cooper’s Recipe Scrapbook. You might begin to see why Libby struggles with her weight.
Fluffy White Icing From the kitchens of Fran McCormack & Libby McCormack Cooper I’m not sure where my mom got this unusual frosting recipe, but it was always a hit, especially when piled high on chocolate cake. Unlike regular buttercream, it stays soft and fluffy instead of developing a crust. And since I don’t keep Crisco around (does anyone?), I just use more butter.
3 heaping Tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
¼ cup Crisco (I substitute more butter here, another half stick)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Bring flour and milk to soft boil in saucepan and cook until thickened. Cool completely. Transfer to mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients. Beat until fluffy.