Here and Back Again

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I haven’t posted in a while for many reasons. One of the main ones is the fact that it is summer and my parents have a limited amount of internet access. Another is the fact that I just spent the last week in New Orleans going on a Youth conference with my church. It was a lot of fun and I swear it was cooler down there that it was up here. This is my second time in New Orleans, the first was a year after Katrina and I went down with a group to help rebuild. Now I didn’t get to see much past the French Quarter, mainly because when you with a group of 5,500 teenagers you do not let them wander too much. It was a little disappointing to travel for two days and not get to see more of the wonderful historical city. However, I did enjoy wandering around the downtown district and check out some of the traditional sights of a classic Southern city.

My personal favourite was looking at some of the candy shops and buying some pralines. Of course I really shouldn’t be eating so much sugar on a regular basis, but I had to treat myself.

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These are some beauties from a shop in New Orleans and I’m still salivating over the taste. However, the cost of these treats are too much for my budget (with some of the better prices beings $10 a dozen) So I’m going to start looking for some easy recipes for this candies. Hopefully they won’t be too fussy like other candies.

While I would never go down during Mardi Gras season, because like 0ther college-age hallmarks such as the migration during spring break, I find it slightly distasteful and slightly dangerous (since I don’t trust a combination of strange new city, tons of drinking to excess and the sexual drive of the events). However, if I was going on a trip with friends I wouldn’t mind revisiting New Orleans while taking safety precautions. It is a beautiful place with a great deal of history and is worth visiting. That being said trying to find a souvenir for my twelve-year-old sister was close to impossible.

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Recipe Wednesday — Pink Éclairs

A lovely pink eclair from Sweetapolita.

As part of Tulip and Thistle’s first Recipe Wednesday, we give you pink eclairs from Sweetapolita. We can’t wait to try these! 

            

Pink Éclairs

Yield: 12-14 4-inch éclairs

For the Vanilla Pastry Cream

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

5 egg yolks

1 cup whole milk

1 cup half-and-half

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the Pâte à Choux

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 large eggs

For the Glaze

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Pink food coloring gel

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add the egg yolks and whisk until combined; set aside.

2. Combine the milk and half-and-half in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until it simmers. Whisk half of the hot milk into the egg mixture. Return egg-milk mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens and two or three large bubbles appear on the surface. Whisk in the vanilla and butter. Pour the mixture into a heatproof bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator until set, at least 3 hours.

3. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan, combine 3/4 cup water, butter, sugar, and salt over medium-high heat and cook, stirring, until the mixture just comes to a boil. Quickly stir in the flour and continue to stir until the mixture comes together and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to stir for 2 minutes more (a film may form on the bottom of the pan–this is okay).

4. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until the mixture cools slightly and the steam disappears, about 3 minutes.

5. Slowly add the eggs, one at a time, mixing to completely incorporate after each addition. Stop mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle as necessary.

6. Spoon the batter into a pastry bag or resealable plastic bag fitted with a round tip (Wilton Round Tip #1a). Pipe 12 to 14 straight 4-inch lines, spaced 2 inches apart, onto the baking sheet.

7. Bake for 15 minutes, do not open the oven door. At this point, the éclairs will be puffed and golden brown. Reduce the heat to 350°F and bake until éclairs appear dry and are a deep golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes more. Do not underbake; this may cause the éclairs to collapse. Let cool completely on pan.

8. When éclairs have cooled, use a small skewer to poke a hold in either end of each one. Gently move the skewer around the inside the éclair to clear a space for the cream.

9. Spoon the cooled pastry cream into a pastry bag or resealable plastic bag fitted with a Wilton Round Tip #230. Fill éclairs with pastry cream from both ends, taking care to not overfill.

10. In a medium bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar and 1 to 2 tablespoons of water until smooth. Stir in a few drops of pink food coloring until the desired color is achieved. Hold an éclair over the bowl of glaze, spoon the glaze over it, and spread to coat the top. Place the éclairs in individual rectangular treat cups and arrange on a rectangular platter in a single layer. Replenish platter as necessary.

Recipes from 1929

I’ve had this little McCall’s magazine for about a year now. I really enjoy looking at magazines in general, and getting my hands on an old magazine is even better.

McCall’s magazine October 1929

McCall’s might be a pattern maker, but I think the company really likes to think about food, too. There’s at least a dozen recipe pages written for the magazine, and then another dozen or so advertisements that contain recipes one way or another.

A Calumet baking powder ad that contains a recipe for coconut cake. Yum!

I really think this recipe for a Coconut Cake sounds excellent. And the drawing is really charming.

Coconut Cake (3 eggs)

2 cups sifted Swans Down Cake flour

2 teaspoons Calumet Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup butter or other shortening

1 cup sugar

3 eggs, unbeaten

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 can (1 1/2 cups) Baker’s Coconut, Southern Style

Sift flour once, measure, add baking powder and salt, and sift together three times. Cream butter throughly, add sugar gradually and cream after each addition. Add flour alternately with milk, a small amount at a time. Beat well after each addition. Add vanilla. Bake in two greased 9-inch layer pans, 25 to 30 minutes in moderate oven (375°F). Spread boiled frosting between layers and on top and side of cake. Sprinkle thickly with coconut while frosting is still soft. Double the recipe for three 10-inch layers.

A Crisco ad with recipes for different cakes (made with Crisco, of course).

This advertisement for Crisco has five different recipes (all made with Crisco!), but what really caught my attention is the descriptions before each recipe.

Try this on your husband

There’s at least one man in every family who thinks it isn’t masculine to like sweets. But a cake like this flavored with coffee and put together with Crisco, whose own pure flavor allows the taste of the coffee to predominate, is truly a “man’s cake”.

Perhaps Ramses II ate some of these

“The charming art of cake baking probably originated with the Egyptians,” says an old cook book called “The Pantropheon or the History of Food.” Gorgeously sweet and filled with spices were these Egyptian cakes. Can’t you imagine an old Egyptian cook puzzling out the hieroglyphs which meant Yum Yum Gems? And then hunting around for the spiciest spices, the sweetest honey and a delicate shortening. No hunting around for a delicate shortening now–for your corner grocer has Crisco with its fresh, sweet flavor, sealed in an air-tight can, a fresher, sweeter flavor than you ever imagined a shortening could have!

The copy writers for this Crisco advertisement probably had a lot of fun. And the ad worked on me! I stopped and read when I saw “Perhaps Ramses II ate some of these.”

“Who could resist dainty salads like these?” Made with canned asparagus. I actually could resist them, thank-you-very-much.

This is a less appetising advertisement. Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables, but canned asparagus doesn’t look too good. But then maybe I’m just stuck on how good the cakes look.

A recipe for Uncooked Fondant. The colors on this drawing are very pretty. I’m wishing that I had some pink mixing bowls iwth purple stripes.

Where is the magical place where you can mail in for the recipe booklet 83 years later? Even though I’d most likely have thousands of dollars spent on mail in dress patterns, I sure would like to have some vintage recipe booklets.

Uncooked Fondant

Basic Recipe

1 1/4 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar

1/4 cup Eagle Brand Condensed Milk

Blend sifted confectioner’s sugar gradually into Condensed Milk, using a fork. During the mixing add desired flavoring—Vanilla, maple, peppermint, wintergreen, orange, coffee, cinnamon, etc.

From this Basic Fondant make Cream Mints…Nut Bonbons…French Fruit Slices…Stuffed Dates…Stuffed Prunes…Coconut Patties…Maple Wafers…and many others.

Campbell’s Soup, 1929 edition.

And, to round it all off, a Campbell’s soup advertisement. The yellow sun ray-esque background against the red tomato is really striking.

Fifties recipies

 

In one of my classes “Media and Power: the history of the modern era” we just finished the simulation that went with the paper I discussed last week. Basically my class and I simulated a panel discussion on whether the atomic bomb should be used on Japan. Anyway my prof brought up another project we are going to do this year, which will be getting together and making a meal based totally on food that was popular in the 40’s and 50’s. He mentioned such delicacies as Twinkies suspended in jello and the wonders of such drinks as the atomic cocktail. Because we can’t have alcoholic beverages at the meal due to college procedure and the realitive young age of the class I decided to find some “fun” fifties alternatives and came up with this.

I came across a version of this ad in the book "The 100 Greates Advertisements" This version came from Life magazine in the 70's but the original idea was in the 50's.

I am really looking forward to the dinner, even though most of the food looks kinda-gross. Anyway if anyone has old recipes from the 40’s and 50’s I’d love to get some. I have to choose something to make and I don’t think I want to go with something traditionally thought of as coming from the 50’s such as this jello salad.

I will never understand the 50's and 60's generations love of mixing anything and everything with jello.

And so you all have something a little less stomach turning here is a picture of my grandparents in all their 50’s regalia.

I don't know when this was taken. I'll assume sometime in the 50's because my mother was born in '61 and she was the youngest of 7.