Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Amma's Persimmon Bars

This recipe came from my friend in California, and since we moved back to the Rocky Mountains, I have not been able to make it because I could not get the right kind of persimmons.

The only thing I could find were the flat variety, which never get soft enough to make this recipe from.

These are the RIGHT kind of persimmons.

When you get them, try to get four that are all at the same stage of ripeness so they all reach the perfect ready stage at the same time.

When you bring them home, set them out on the counter and let them get really soft -- like an over ripe tomato -- then they are ready.

To get the "pulp", use a very sharp knife to cut an "X" at the top of each persimmon and squeeze the pulp out into a bowl (sort of like squeezing the last of the toothpaste out of the tube). For every cup of pulp, mix in 1 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice to keep it from getting dark. It takes about 4 large ones to get the required 1 cup of pulp for this recipe.

Once you have that, you're ready to begin:

Ingredients for Bars:
1 cup fresh pulp (with lemon juice added)
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
8 ounces dates, chopped fine
1 1/3 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1 cup chopped nuts

Ingredients for Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbls lemon juice

How To:

Mix persimmon pulp/lemon mixture with the baking soda and set aside.

Lightly beat egg. Add sugar, oil and dates and mix.

Combine dry ingredients and add to eggs in small amounts, alternating with persimmon mixture.

Continue to combine until well blended, then stir in the nuts.

Spread into greased, floured jelly roll pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Cool for 5 minutes

Mix glaze and spread over warm bars.

Cool completely then cut into squares.


1. The finished bars will freeze well, just be sure to seperate with parchment or wax paper to keep the glaze from sticking them all together.

2. Fresh persimmons can be frozen whole -- just stick them in the freezer in their skins -- when you are ready to use, set them on the counter in a container and let them defrost.

3. You can freeze the pulp and lemon mixture too.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Oatmeal Lace Cookies

{Edited Dec 21, 2009: I made these following the recipe exactly. I got 31 cookies and they are pretty big. Next time I'm going to use just a half a teaspoon of dough for each one, and see if they aren't a better size.

Also, Mammy used to take these off the pans and put them on brown paper to cool, which gave the excess oil a chance to soak into the paper. I used a cooling rack, which I don't like as well -- got to find some brown paper to cool them on next time.

But the taste? Yup, a step right back into my childhood! And I'll probably try making them and adding about half a cup of coconut to the recipe next time.}
I've been searching for this recipe for years.

It was one Mammy used to make for Pappy --- light, thin, crispy

and lost to history -- or so it seemed!

My mother has been going through boxes of papers from my grandmother --- she found this in the box --- YIPPEE!!

1/2 cup oleo
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbls flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbls milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup old fashion (rolled) oatmeal

How To:

Cream oleo and sugar together until smooth

Blend in flour, salt, milk and vanilla until well mixed

stir in oatmeal

drop by teaspoonfuls on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart (these are going to SPREAD!)

bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes

cool on pan for 2 to 3 minutes then remove from pan (this gives them time to "set up")

makes 4 dozen

in her notes, Mammy had written that you could substitute coconut for the oatmeal, but I don't remember her ever actually making them that way.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gma's Boston Style Clam Chowder

I like clam chowder -- especially the Boston Style ones.

This recipe came from my mother

3" cube of salt pork or an equivalent amount of bacon (about 1/4 pound)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cans of clams
1/2 pound (about 2 large) carrots, cubed
4 large potatoes, cubed
1 quart of milk

How to:

Cut the salt pork or bacon into small pieces, brown in the pan until browned

Add the chopped onion and cook until tender (do not brown)

Drain the clams and set aside, add the liquid to the pan

Add carrots and potatoes and enough water to cover, cook until the potatoes are tender (10 to 20 minutes depending on the size of the pieces and your altitude)

Add clams and milk, heat but DO NOT boil

enjoy with crusty bread

Monday, November 09, 2009

Product Reviews

Before I start here, let me say that none of the companies whose products I'm going to talk about gave me anything for free (but I'd be willing to accept something!)

This little gadget has been widely advertised on TV in our area.

It snaps over the top of an opened can of soda, and it's supposed to make the can spill proof and keep the "fizz" in if you don't drink the whole can.

Most of the places I'd seen it you could only by a 12 pack (and just why would I ever have 12 cans of soda open at once?!), but our new ACE Hardware store had them available individually at their recent Grand Opening.

It snaps on really easily -- I would highly recommend washing the entire top of the soda can before you snap it on as whatever you're drinking will probably come into contact with that surface as you drink out of it.

The spill proof part works pretty well, it fits tight -- in fact I had to work at it to get it off after the can was empty.

The keeping the fizz in part was about as effective as returning an opened and reclosed bottle of soda to the refridgerator. If there was a lot of fizz in the original, a lot will be retained. If you buy the cheap store brand sodas that don't have as much fizz in the first place, the result is less fizz.

I still can't see a use for a dozen of these, but having one is good since I never drink an entire 12 ounce can all at once.

So, I'd give this a B- grade.

These, on the other hand, get an A+

I saw an ad in the coupon section of our paper and when I visited our local Walmart, they had these (on an introductory sale)

A serving is 5 crackers

While I sort of expected that they would be like the standard Ritz cracker with a little sugar and cinnamon on top, they are actually quite a bit lighter, almost the consistancy of good pie crust.

They are not over sweet, and that serving size is just about right.

(Yes, these might be a logical candidate for squirting whipped cream on!)

I would definately buy these again, especially if I can get a coupon for them.

My daughter was asking about the attachment her dad uses to grind meat.

We don't buy hamburger or ground meat at the grocery -- there have been too many issues with e coli in ground meat that comes out of the big processing plants, and we just don't want to go there.

We buy chuck roast to make hamburger out of.

The DH cuts the meat into strips that are the right size to go through the grinder and then we put the hamburger into portion sized packages in the freezer.

We originally bought this attachment for our Kitchen Aid because we were going to make pasta with it, and that part of the attachment was a big disappointment -- the meat grinding part however has more than paid for this little gadget.

We had been receiving this magazine in the mail for quite a while, having signed up for it on line, and it was a free.

It arrived about every three months and was full of recipes, ideas and lots of coupons -- all for Kraft foods -- a sort of giant advertising brochure.

When our copy arrived last week, there was a bill. Evidently from now on to get this you will have to pay for them to send you their advertising.

Needless to say, I will not be paying for it.

I will miss the coupons and some of the recipes, but I refuse to pay for them to advertise to me.

Have you used any new products lately? I'd love to hear what you think!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Nick's "Death by Chocolate" Cookies

This recipe has been several years in the development. Every time I think he's made it perfect, he adds some little twist and it gets even better.

Our daughter gave the recipe it's name and it has become a holiday treat.

1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3 eggs
2 tsp Mexican vanilla (Mexican vanilla has a different flavor and goes great with chocolate!)
1 1/2 cup butter flavored Crisco
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 cups flour
1 cup chopped pecans
12 ounces dark chocolate chips (semi sweet)
12 ounces white chocolate chips
12 ounces milk chocolate chunks

How to:

In stand mixer, cream together Crisco and sugars until smooth.

Add eggs, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and baking soda and mix well.

Blend in oats.

Add flour a little at a time and mix well.

Mix in pecans and chocolates.

Drop by heaped teaspoons (we have a small scoop that works great) on ungreased cookie sheets (silpats or parchment paper is highly recommended!)

Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

Cool on a rack.

Makes 120 cookies.

You could make these larger, adjust the baking time accordingly.