Sunday, October 10, 2010

9 & 10 October 1956 “Jam, Chocolate Cake, Left-Over Pie, and Bread: From Field to Slice”

 womancanning I realized I forgot to share my finished Jam and recipe with you the other day. While speaking of canning I must tell you about my first incident with canning. I sometimes forget, now well into my second year of life in the 1950’s, that it was not that long ago I could hardly boil water.
My vintage friend and I had decided to try some canning early on in my 1955 year. We both had never done it before and only had some basic books to use. We were so careful measuring and preparing the jars and I set my then ‘new’ vintage canning pot with rack to boil. We carefully lowered our first set of jam into the water, eager to make our first batch. Then, we waited…and waited. We heard no pops and could see the lids were not indented, so we simply went onto more prep work for more jam.
I forgot to mention, this was late in the evening that we had decided to do this. We were also working on some art projects for a craft fair we were going to go to the next day. So, time went by. When it reached midnight and no indenting lids, I told my friend to go home and I would stay up and baby-sit our first batch of jam.
At around 1 a.m. I simply gave up and took the jars out. Thinking we had made some horrible mistake. When I removed the jam you could see the liquid in the jars boiling inside. Oh, well and off to bed.
The next morning, when I came down to make breakfast, it was like Christmas morning when I noticed the jars had all popped in the night and were happily dented in! Needless to say, that batch of jam was VERY cooked, but it was then that I learned the ‘popping’ didn’t happen until a few minutes after you remove them from the boiling water. I feel I have come a long way. That is also why I feel like any of you out there who can barely boil water that why to try the adventure into cooking and doing more for yourself, don’t worry. It is possible and rather fun along the way.
Now, my jam. I had mentioned I was in the middle of using up the peaches I had received from my MIL from her little fruit orchard. I also had some leftover rhubarb I had picked at our local farm early Summer that I hadn’t used, so simply froze the full stalks. I decided to combine the two. Thus, Peach Rhubarb Jam.
Here is the recipe:
50sgal Rhubarb & Peach Jam
  • 1/2 cup rhubarb diced
  • 4 cups mashed peaches
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • Lemon zest
  • 4 Tbs liquid pectin
Get your big canning pot boiling. (any pot large enough to have boiling water that will cover the lids of whatever size jar you are using) I have an old large metal canning pot with the metal rack insert that you lift the jars in and out. I bought it at a local sale for a few dollars. They are not expensive and as usual, I always try for vintage, as I know it will last. But, they do have new variety that are nice. I have some books and Canning equipment in the Corner Store HERE if you would like to check that out.
I blanched my peaches first. This makes canning peaches much easier. Especially if you are doing a large patch. This recipe makes 6-7 8oz. jars.
Set water to rolling boil and then drop in peaches for about 5 minutes. I found with these peaches, as they were more ‘natural’ (that is not overgrown for the consumer market, just an old peach tree in my MIL yard that yields small little plum sized peaches) it took a little longer. Have an ice water bath ready and simply plunge the peaches in. The skin should slide off fairly easy. I also find this really prepares the peaches to be mashed. With a firmer store bought peach the mashing might need some cooking to achieve it. But with these, the were rather mushy when I was done and simply cut out the pit and sliced/smashed them into my measuring cup to get about 4 cups.
Cut rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces and cook with 1/4 cup lemon juice (I like fresh lemon juice, but you can use bottled in a pinch). Cook this until it is soft, about five minutes or so.
Now place the peaches and the sugar into the pan with the rhubarb and bring to a boil. Then, simply spoon into clean and dry canning jars, wipe mouths of jars clean and dry, put on the lid and place in your large pot of boiling water for canning. Make sure the lids are under the boiling water. I boil for 10 minutes then take out and wait for the fun little ‘pop’ sound. Always laughing, of course, recalling that first batch of ‘all-night’ jam with a friend.
I forgot to mention. I used liquid pectin in this recipe but you could also use powdered. The trick is:
4 tsp powdered pectin = 2 TBS of liquid pectin.
Also, remember that when you use DRY PECTIN you add it to the juice of fruit before heating. Then after you have brought it to a bowl add the sugar.
When using LIQUID PECTIN you add the sugar and juice/fruit together and THEN boil and add the liquid pectin AFTER. It took some research to find this out, as I had both liquid and powdered pectin depending on the recipes I had found and the other day had only liquid left. So, I hope this  helps you out.
darkchocolatecake I made a new chocolate cake recipe the other day that I really like. It was nice and dense and very old fashioned tasting, though the recipe was new. I made the frosting through an error and was, as usual, happy with it. I often find when I run up against a problem, in this case I had less confectioners sugar than I had thought (forgetting I had used some the previous day). So, without enough sugar to stiffen it into a good firm spreadable frosting, it basically became icing.
Though it was a simply mixer frosting, I then treated it like a 7 minute frosting, but added no eggs. I simply put it in a double boiler (for me that is a pot with boiling water with a smaller pot set in) and used my electric mixer for 7 minutes.
This was the Frosting recipe I used:
1 stick butter
4 tbsp. cocoa
1/3 c. milk
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt

Combine butter, cocoa and milk in saucepan and heat until butter has melted. Beat in sugar, vanilla, and salt, beating until ready to spread.
But, then I found out I did not have 1 lb. of sugar and had already made the liquid ingredients. Shame on me, for I should have had all my ingredients out first. I am so used to baking and cooking and usually try to stick to my lists for pantry and shelf so I assume there will be ingredients there. I had forgot, however, that the previous day I had used up some confectioners/powdered sugar unexpectedly.
So, to that I added marshmallows broken up and then put it in the double boiler. It made a thicker liquid, which I poured onto my cake. When it set, it was a beautiful smooth as glass surface. A good trick with such liquid icing on a cage, is to pierce the cake with something, a knife or the small ends of your beaters, so the icing drips and sets into the cake, this is wonderful.
Dark Chocolate Cake
  • 3/4  cup  butter, softened
  • 3    eggs
  • 2  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 3/4  cup  unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 3/4  teaspoon  baking powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 2  cups  sugar
  • 2  teaspoons  vanilla
  • 1-1/2  cups  milk
  •     Chocolate-Sour Cream Frosting (see recipe below)
1. Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly grease bottoms of three 8-inch round baking pans or two 8x8x2-inch square or 9x1-1/2-inch round cake pans. Line bottom of pans with waxed paper. Grease and lightly flour waxed paper and sides of pans. Or grease one 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Set pan(s) aside.
2. In a mixing bowl stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder; and salt; set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating on medium speed until well combined (3 to 4 minutes). Scrape sides of bowl; continue beating on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition (about 1 minute total). Beat in vanilla.
4. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to beaten mixture, beating on low speed just until combined after each addition. Beat on medium to high speed for 20 seconds more. Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan(s).
5. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 35 to 40 minutes for 8-inch square pans and the 13x9x2-inch pan, 30 to 35 minutes for 8- or 9-inch round pans, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cake layers in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Peel off waxed paper. Cool thoroughly on wire racks. Or place 13x9x2-inch cake in pan on a wire rack; cool thoroughly. Frost with desired frosting. Makes 12 to 16 servings.
As I am doing a recipe post, I figured I might as well share last night’s dinner with you. I had made a slow cooker meal of corned beef, potatoes, corn and onions the previous night. It was quite good. Then, as I usually do, Hubby gets another version of the previous night’s dinner for his lunch the next day. Now, I had quite a bit of the meal left and I did not want to simply serve that leftover again in the same form, so I made one of my good ole’ stand by’s. I call it ‘left over pie’.
Basically, I make a very simply in the pan pastry and then fill it with the leftovers. In this case I baked the crust for ten minutes and then shredded the corned beef along the bottom. Took all the corn and potatoes and mashed them. Then I put a layer of green beans over the meat and topped with the whipped potatoes and grated a bit of leftover cheese along the top.
leftoverpie  This is always a fun and easy way to use up leftovers. You can, of course, make a top layer crust as well, but in this case, it was more of a sheppards pie affair and the browned potatoes and cheese on top are so yummy.
leftoverpieslice This might actually look rather bad to anyone who doesn’t eat meat, but I assure it, it was quite good.
This is my old make in the pan pastry. This recipe is for a two layered pie, so for this pie I simply cut back the ingredients to:

1 1/2 C Flour
1 1/2 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 C  Salad Oil
2 Tbs milk
patapie recipe Both versions are so easy to make and you can whip it up rather fast. Company will always be impressed with homemade pie, rather savory or sweet, and this actually makes a very light and flaky crust.
Now, just for fun, this interesting video.This isn’t a vintage video, but it is an interesting watch. This gentleman in UK used his allotment to grow wheat and he takes you from seed to loaf. A great teaching tool for you homeschoolers just to show a very small version of wheat to bread production. Also very interesting how he uses some garden machines and modifies them to work in the wheat process. Obviously not practical for many of us, but very interesting none the less.
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