June 5, 2014 Added today: my recipe for MUSTARD – Home made, Easier than you might believe.

Here is the link to the page with my Master Mustard recipe.

I have been meaning to add this to the list of recipes for some time but I had managed to “lose” some of the photos.

This might look complicated to begin with but since it is done in several steps that can be spread out over a few days, it is really not that difficult.  And people are always impressed when they learn you have made your own mustard from scratch.

Next post will be about home made mayonnaise both plain and the garlic version so popular in France.

 

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ENORMOUS Staub cast iron French Oven (Oval)

This is a WEIGHTY and very LARGE  oval “French” oven or “Cocotte” (a “Dutch” oven is round)  that I bought quite a few years ago when I was still preparing game for some hunters I knew (their wives wanted nothing to do with learning to cook game.)   And I would prepare the roast or haunch or “saddle” of venison or elk or a “leg” of boar (like an extra-large ham) because this would hold it and smaller roasting pans would not.  (I also had a couple of large Magnalite roasters but they have high domed covers and some of the ovens these folks had were not tall enough inside to hold the taller roaster.)

Apparently this 12.5 quart oval vessel is no longer being marketed by Staub in the U.S. because it does not appear on the official Staub web site.  I found French sites that I think offer it, but as I do not read French and did not want to go through the translation process, I am guessing.   It was costly when I got it but I certainly enjoyed using it.

It weighs almost 30 pounds EMPTY (with the lid) and I have difficulty lifting it as it is and certainly would be unable to pick it up and move it with anything in it.

It does an amazing job on BRAISING tough meats that have to be cooked long and low to achieve the tenderness that only this cooking process can achieve (and is essential with most large game animals).  There are “drip spikes” on the underside of the lid so that condensed liquids will be distributed evenly over the entire interior and the lid fits snugly into the oven so there is little loss of moisture over the extended cooking time.   It can also be used on the stove top – over two burners – for an extra large soup or chili pot.

The material of which it is made is practically indestructible.  It will crack or break if dropped on a cement floor or struck with a sledge hammer, but otherwise, it is a tough piece of iron and it is coated so it will not rust and DOES NOT REQUIRE SEASONING.  It’s not truly enameled – except on the outer bottom – it has a tough ceramic coating that is similar to interior surfaces in glass kilns where it is important to avoid any flaking of the kiln material onto the glass being fired.  And, it can go into the freezer, with a prepared roast to keep it chilled for transport and then into the oven – I advise a cold oven to start, then set the heat and time.   This is far superior to the LeCreuset and other enameled cast iron that does stain when cooking certain foods and may craze and chip over time with resulting rust spots.  The lid handle is safe to 500°F. in the oven but can be removed if it is to be used in a hotter oven – a friend who has a smaller one uses it in his wood-fired pizza oven for baking huge loaves of artisan bread.

I’m going to put it in an ebay auction, as soon as I can figure out how to package it securely (needs a heavy duty box) and the shipping is going to be expensive.  Meanwhile, I’m admiring it because it is a handsome piece of cookware.

It’s 19 3/8″ overall length, including the handles. The body is 16″ x 11 5/8″ and height with the lid is 7 1/2″.

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STAUB oval oven

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STAUB oval oven2

STAUB oval oven1

 

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May 20, 2014 More “Heavy Metal” Cast iron, that is…

I have more cast iron but am posting photos of this one PLATED skillet because it is an illustration of how the manufacturer wished to appeal to people who wanted something more esthetically appealing on a visual basis.

This one is fairly early, I am not quite sure of the exact date but the slant Griswold trademark and the rim on the bottom indicate the range of years.

GR.Erie Plated 8 SLANT1 GR.Erie Plated 8 SLANT

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May 18, 2014 — An Update to “Other Small Appliances”

When I first wrote about “other small appliances”  on this page,  I mentioned that some of the early appliances had “screw-in” plugs that were intended to be used in a light socket.

If you were born after 1950, you probably have no idea, unless you have seen some of the old movies that show a SINGLE cord hanging from the ceiling with a bare light bulb – which was the way old homes were “electrified” on the cheap, with the electric wires fastened to walls and ceilings and with a “drop” line for lights or for electric appliances.

I have three Hankscraft egg cookers, ceramic bodies with electric elements to boil water so the eggs cook in steam.   The earliest came with one of those screw-type plugs.  Unless one had a “duplex” or “Y” socket, there was either light or appliance and using both was tricky because if the circuit was overloaded it would burn out the fuse and early fuses were expensive.  If one was renting a room, often the owner installed coin-oprated electric “boxes” so one had to use a coin to connect to the electricity.

This photo shows all three of the Hankscraft cookers along with some egg cups that were manufactured to match.

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The one in the center is the earliest.  Model # 599.  It also has a cup on top in which the water was placed – so it dripped down onto the heating element.

Hankscraft #599 early

Hankscraft 599 top cup

Hankscraft 599 interior

 

 

Hankscraft 599 egg plate

Hankscraft No 599

and the infamous “plug” which is rarely seen.

Hankscraft 599 plug

 

Next is the model 815, in which the water was added directly to the cooking bowl AFTER the appliance was plugged in.  Then the cover was placed over the eggs.  It states that after the water has steamed away, the current will shut off.  I’ve tried this and the current did not turn off until well after the element was completely dry.  I would advise using a timer and turning it off manually, if anyone wants to try using one of these.  I don’t have the metal egg plate for boiled eggs in the shell for this one, only the poaching cup.  And there is a chip on one of the little “lugs” that holds the poaching cup in the chamber.

Hankscraft 815-2

Hankscraft 815-3

Hankscraft 815-4

Hankscraft 815-1

In this one you can see the slot that has been cut into the dome so the handle for the poaching cup will be outside the chamber (and is supposed to stay cool) and the handle of course makes it easier to pick up and carry.

 

Hankscraft 815

 

Lastly, there is the Model 874, which has the metal egg plate but no poaching cup and there is no slot in the dome so I assume the poaching cup did not have a handle – and might have been awkward to retrieve when hot…

This one says to put the water in BEFORE plugging in, which I think is wise.  It also states that when cooking is done the current will shut off and in this one it did.  Apparently the sensor still works.

This one is a yellow that was popular in the 1930s and in fact matches the Fiesta yellow and has the same ribbed design that appeared on some Fiesta pieces.  I can only find one matching egg cup but I am sure I have a set of 4… somewhere.

Hankscraft No 874-2 Hankscraft No 874

 

 

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May 17, 2014 More HALL CHINA stuff.

 

Small “institutional” pieces (restaurant ware) are much less expensive than other Hall China items, even though many are older and not always easy to find in decent shape.  They are small enough so that one can have an extensive collection and it will not take up a lot of room.  I began collecting these in the 1980s and probably got my last pieces about 8 years ago, shortly before I retired from my job.

I like the little cream pitchers and milk “cans” that were on almost every restaurant table and counter when I was a child.

Also the small individual covered casseroles, the open “gratines” and the neat little condiment containers and the custard cups.  The little black covered mustard pot in matte black is especially cute – it holds about 2 tablespoons or so of mustard – or other condiment.  I have used it for the extremely hot Indonesian sambals which are used in very small amounts.

There is also a brown glaze milk jug – holds 20 ounces – which has an Art Deco design but this was manufactured in the 1950s or ’60s.

Hall smalls

Hall cups

Hall cups marks

Custard & Condiment Hall Mustard pot  Hall Milk jug2 Hall Milk jug

Hall Milk jug3 Hall Milk jug4

 

 

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May 16, 2014 Cookie Jars and some more teapot photos

This cute little duck, dressed in yellow raingear, was made by Metlox.  I got him as part of  a “lot” of several diverse items, bowls, etc., back in the ’90s.

Metlox DUCKMetlox DUCK1 Metlox DUCK2

This is a “Cattail” cookie jar made by Universal potteries and sold through Sears.  The Cattail design was very popular and is seen on many items.

Cattail cookie Cattail closeup Cattail cookie1Cattail cookie3

And this is a large cookie jar with a Basenji – received as a gift years ago.

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These are some of the teapots in my previous post – closeup views as they did not show up well in the early photos.

Both made by Hall China.

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May 14, 2014 More TEAPOTS! From storage

Got some of my teapots out of storage today. These were carefully wrapped and boxed up in 1999 and have been virtually inaccessible since because of a bunch of heavy items in front of the shelves on which the boxes were stored. Today those big items were hauled away (donated to Grace resource center) and I had free access to see what has been hidden for fifteen years. I know there are more, but it was quite warm and I wasn’t able to spend longer digging through boxes.
Most of the teapots are Hall China. One is an H. J. Wood, Burslem, EnglandScan-140515-0001

 

TEAPOTS!10 TEAPOTS!9 TEAPOTS!8 TEAPOTS!7 TEAPOTS!6 TEAPOTS!5 TEAPOTS!4 TEAPOTS!3 TEAPOTS!2 TEAPOTS!1 TEAPOTS!

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May 12, 2014 Antique coffee roaster now on ebay.

Coffee Roaster3

I’ve owned this old coffee roaster (also can be used for chestnuts) for quite a few years – never used it because someone had given it a coat of black paint and in my opinion it needed to be removed prior to exposing it to heat.

I think it was painted to keep it from rusting and to make it look more presentable for display.

This one has a ring that holds the “axle” that allows the roaster to be turned, using the handle – which is long enough to keep the hand well away from the heat, something not as evident on some similar roasters…

It holds at most half a pound of coffee beans – that is, it will hold more but they need to be loose in the drum to roast evenly.  I put some coffee beans in the drum and figured that the optimal amount would be about 6 ounces but it could be stretched to 8.

The drum is 6 1/2 inches long and 4 1/4 inches in diameter.

Coffee Roaster

Coffee Roaster5

Coffee Roaster6 Coffee Roaster2 Coffee Roaster4

 

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May 11, 2014 – Foolproof 2-ingredient cream biscuits.

These are virtually foolproof.   Note:  Most biscuit recipes are cooked at a higher temp – 450 and above, for a shorter time.  In my opinion this often leaves the center of the biscuit a bit soggy and I don’t like the texture, especially if they are no longer hot.

Self-Rising flour – – 2 cups (Make sure this ingredient is fresh, otherwise they won’t rise.)
Heavy cream – – 1 cup  (Absolutely must use HEAVY cream or Manufacturing Cream because this substitutes for the fat in other biscuit recipes.)

Mix just till blended – turn out dough onto floured board
fold and knead 4 or 5 times.
Pat out into half inch slab.
Fold in half and press out or roll to 1/2 inch thick.
ALLOW TO REST FOR 5 MINUTES Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
With a sharp biscuit cutter cut into rounds
OR with a sharp knife cut crossways into squares.
Transfer to a baking pan with sides just touching.
Bake for 12 minutes – turn pan back to front
Bake another 10 minutes or until biscuits are the color in
the second photo.
They should split naturally – because of that “fold” before cutting.

Optional:  Add a rounded tablespoon of sugar to the dry ingredients, or a bit more, to make a sweeter biscuit (cut larger) which is great for strawberry shortcake (or other fruit mashed, sweetened and served on cake or shortcake.)

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I will be adding some bits and pieces to the Page: All the “LITTLE” things, UTENSILS, etc.

Here are some of the “utility” or “cooking” forks I have collected (and used) during the past 50 years.  As with many of the other items, I have more but it requires a bit of a search to winkle them all out of their hiding places. I have a Victorian toasting fork – which I actually had my hands on just a few weeks ago – which has now gone missing.  Not in the drawer where it has lived for many years – along with several other items from that era.  Weird. This group includes a “pusher” fork at the far left – it has a device that pushing whatever has been impaled on the tines, off onto a plate.   There are cooking forks with two three and four tines, a serving fork with a green bakelite handle.   The all metal fork 6th from the right is a “pastry-blending” fork, quite thick and intended to cut fats into dry ingredients.  I never found it to be that easy to use but the idea is good and I believe they are still being made.  These were made between 1930 and 1990, except for the chef’s fork with the extra long tines and 3 rivets in the handle that I purchased in 2001 and the “extension” fork that I bought a couple of years ago (along with a matching spoon).

FORKS Next up!   KNIVES!

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