Sunday, January 29, 2017

From a Clear Lake Kitchen--Treats from the 1950s for the Winter Dance Party Celebration

It's Winter Dance Party Week here in Clear Lake. This annual event at the Historic Surf Ballroom celebrates the cultural contributions of the three rock and roll musicians--J.P. Richardson, Richie Valens, and Buddy Holly-- with concerts, dances, and a memorial trip to the nearby field where the plane carrying the artists crashed on February 2, 1959.

There are events Wednesday through Sunday. You can find more information about the Dance Party history and events at this site:

Music wasn't the only thing that changed during this exciting decade. Foods became fun, too. Chips leapt out of a sack, cheesy slices in flat cardboard boxes emerged from newly built pizzerias, and paper-wrapped steaming burgers in soft buns were bought by the bag full at fifteen cents a piece.

While grown-ups may not have been exactly enamored of the sock-hop boppers dancing to 45s in basement rec rooms, they did enjoy whipping up tasty refreshments quickly from their pantry basics.

So to celebrate this party weekend, I opened up my copy of Potluck Paradise which features recipes adapted from community cookbooks of that decade, tuned into the oldies, and made a couple of my favorite treats.

 Shrimp and Cucumber Salad 
1950s homemakers would have pulled the pimento and a can of shrimp from the pantry. 
Today we can use canned, frozen, or even fresh shrimp. 

Shrimp and Avocado Salad
2 tablespoons non-fat cream cheese
2 tablespoons non-fat mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/8 teaspoon cumin, or more to taste
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1 cup small salad shrimp
1/3 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 teaspoon minced dill gherkin pickle, low sodium version
1 Haas avocado

Combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise and seasonings in a small mixing bowl. Reserve a couple of shrimp for garnish and chop the rest into three or four pieces. Add the remaining ingredients and carefully mix until shrimp and vegetables are coated with the dressing mixture. Cut the avocado in half. Remove pit. With a small spoon, scoop out about half of the avocado flesh, chop and mix with shrimp. Make it a little easier to eat by scoring the remaining avocado in a criss-cross pattern Mound shrimp mixture into avocado shell, garnish, and serve with crackers or your favorite chips. Refrigerate any leftover filling and eat within two days.


Cranberry Pineapple Sipper  
This non-alcoholic cocktail is a refreshing way to stay awake 
just to be sure those teenagers made it home safely before curfew!

Cranberry Pineapple Sipper

2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
2 cups cranberry juice cocktail
1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine all ingredients. Chill for at least one hours. When ready to serve, strain to remove the cloves and serve over ice, or in a wine glass.

Copyright 2017 Rae Katherine Eighmey. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Celebrate National Chocolate Cake Day with this Magic Chocolate Cake!

 From a Clear Lake kitchen window---Yup! that's snow all right!

After looking through my kitchen window at the winter wonderland, I was delighted to learn through the magic of the Web that today Friday, January 27, 2017 is National Chocolate Cake Day.    Well, that's just what the doctor ordered to help get over the exercise from shoveling and show throwing 15 inches of heavy snow the past two days.

Ah but what kind of cake to make? "Easy does it" ruled the day as I leafed through my copy of Potluck Paradise and landed on an old time favorite. Magic Chocolate Cake! This rich cake has a wonderful texture that stands up to chocolate frosting or ice cream. It freezes well... if any is left over.

It couldn't be easier to make. No mixer, no mixing bowl. Just an eight- or nine-inch square pan,  a handful of ingredients you probably have in your pantry. and a fork to mix it all up with. Oh! and the oven, of course.

Magic Chocolate Cake
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons cocoa powder--not instant cocoa mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup all-purpose vegetable oil, such as Wesson
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt into an ungreased 8x8- or 9x9-inch pan. Make three depressions in these ingredients. Pour the oil into one, the vinegar in another and vanilla in the third. Gently pour the milk over the entire pan and stir carefully with a fork until all ingredients are well blended into a slightly lumpy batter. Bake until cake is firm in the center, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool and frost with ready made frosting or this chocolate cream frosting. 

Chocolate Cream Frosting

3 tablespoons butter
3 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
2 to 3 cups sifted powdered sugar.

In a 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. Add brown sugar and water, increase heat to medium and bring to the boiling point, stirring from time to time. Boil for three minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm Add enough sifted powdered sugar to make a spreading consistency. This makes enough frosting for two cakes. It can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks or frozen.for two months. 

Happy National Chocolate Cake Day!

Copyright 2017  Rae Katherine Eighmey, all rights reserved.