Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Favorite Cookbook

When I married my husband, I married into an extensive library. Among his books, was the cookbook, The More with Less Cookbook, written by Doris Janzen Longacre. Mrs. Longacre is a Mennonite with a degree in home economics who has served in this capacity in Vietnam and Indonesia. She writes in her preface:

At it's best, [the book] tells us that Mennonites -- a people who care about the hungry -- are on a search. We are looking for ways to live more simply and joyfully, ways that grow out of our tradition but take their shape from living faith and the demands of our hungry world.

As a young bride I read the first section of the book on hunger, overspending, overeating, and overcomplicating our lives. Before any recipes are given, the author shares her wisdom regarding nutrition and healthy diets. She throws in nutritional charts along with pithy sayings from Mennonite grandmothers.

My favorite part of the book, naturally, is the more than 260 pages of recipes. I learned how to bake bread, cook lentils, make a white sauce, and prepare our favorite freezer jam. I pull it out for the quiche recipe, waffles using cottage cheese and a rich oatmeal cake recipe used often for birthdays. Many pages are tagged with Post-It notes, the cover and table of contents are missing, and food spills have caused a couple of pages to stick together. One writer commented that this is her "scratch and sniff" cookbook for all of its use and subsequent spills.

In my mind, this is the kind of no-nonsense cookbook that all moms should have. I also have some of those let's-doctor-up-a-Kraft-food-product cooking magazines, but they don't teach you how to cook like this book does.

Here's my one of my favorite recipes from this book:

OATMEAL CAKE
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine and let stand 20 minutes:
1 cup quick oatmeal
1 1/4 cup boiling water

Cream toghether until fluffy:
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla

Add oatmeal mixture. Beat well.

Sift together:
1 1/2 cup flour
1 t. soda
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon

Add to creamed mixture and beat well. Pour into greased and floured 9 x 13" cake pan. Bake 35 minutes or until tests done.

Coconut Topping:
Combine:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup margarine or butter
1/4 cup cream or mile
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 cup coconut
Spread on hot cake and broil 2 - 4 minutes until brown and bubbly. Watch very closely.

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

All Purpose Quiche

Not all of my family loves quiche, but they will all eat it without complaining. (which is pretty good considering my family of 9!) Quiche works for me because 1) I can add a variety of ingredients (veggies, meats, etc) and 2) I take a short cut by using pre-made pie crusts.

My original, before variations, recipe comes from the More-with-Less cookbook. Here's my recipe:

All Purpose Quiche
1 9" pie crust (I use Pillsbury's pre-made crusts)
3 eggs
2 cups milk/dairy products (at least half of it should be milk)
1 cup sauteed veggies/ meat/ etc.
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Line the pie plate with the crust. Fold under the edges. Cover the bottom of the crust with the extra ingredients. Top with shredded cheese. Mix eggs, dairy products and seasonings; pour into crust. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. The quiche will be done when the crust is brown and a knife comes out of the center clean. Let it cool 5 minutes before serving.

This last week I made a quiche with Swiss chard, onions, garlic, and sharp cheddar cheese. I also made one with tomatoes, broccoli, bacon and Swiss cheese. We have a lot of vegetables ready in the garden, so I anticipate more quiches this summer.