Holiday Treats

Time for holiday treats!  I’m not a baker by any means, so when I thought about posting a recipe for cookies or bars I wanted to find something with few ingredients and limited instructions.  Bingo ! Marjorie Standish saves the day again.  Here is her recipe for Quick Party Bars which is featured in her book Cooking Down East.  Enjoy.

Quick Party Bars

1 stick margarine

½ cup light brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup flour

½ cup oatmeal

1 cup chocolate bits

Nuts

Cream shortening.  Add light brown sugar.  Add vanilla, egg and beat until light and creamy.  Add sifted flour, fold in oatmeal.  No baking powder in recipe.  Turn into buttered 8 by 8 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Place pan on rack to cook.  Then spread 1 cup semisweet chocolate bits, melted, all over top of baked bars.  Sprinkle chopped nuts on top.  Cool and cut into bars.

 

Apple Crisp

Fall is in the air and apple crisp should be in your oven on its way to the table.  Want a simple recipe from the best Maine cook book?  Here is the Marjorie Standish recipe from Cooking Down East.

APPLE CRISP

Place in buttered baking dish:

4 cups sliced apples

Sprinkle with:

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

¼ cup water

Combine ¾ cup sifted all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter

Use pastry blender for mixing flour, sugar and butter.

Turn mixture over apple slices.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  Serve warm with cream, ice cream or sauce.

Serves 6

Thanksgiving and Marjorie Standish

Thanksgiving and Marjorie Standish.  While the two are not necessarily tied to each other, I do associate both of them with good comfort food.  So as Thanksgiving approaches, I will share with you Marjorie’s recipe for Baked Acorn Squash.  It’s about as simple and delicious as you can get.  It is also featured in the new book, Cooking Maine Style which is edited by Sandra Oliver and features classic recipes of Marjorie Standish.  You can check it out at the Gardiner Public Library.

BAKED ACORN SQUASH

Wash the squash, cut in half lengthwise, remove seeds using a spoon.  Wash once more, turn squash upside-down in a baking pan, pour ¼ inch cold water in pan.

Bake at 400 degrees for ½ hour.  Remove from oven, turn squash right side up.  Salt and pepper it, sprinkle with brown sugar (maple syrup is good, too).  Place piece of butter in each half.  Return to oven, bake 30 minutes longer.  Serve.

 

Cook Out Time!

One of the many joys of summer is planning and enjoying a meal outside, with or without a BBQ.  One of my favorite dishes is Potato Salad because of the many variations that can be made.  Here is the recipe for Creamy Potato Salad featured in the book “The Great Potluck Cookbook”  from Good Housekeeping.  Come borrow this book or enjoy another one of the many waiting for you at the Gardiner Public Library.

 

CREAMY POTATO SALAD

Makes 10 side-dish servings

 

4 pounds red potatoes, unpeeled

2 ½ tsp salt

1/3 cup cider vinegar

1 Tbl sugar

1 Tbl spicy brown mustard

¼ tsp ground black pepper

½ cup mayo

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced crosswise

 

  1. In 4-quart saucepan, place potatoes, 2 tsp salt, and enough water to cover; heat to boiling over high heat.  Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, 10 to 15 minutes.  Drain; cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large serving bowl, combine vinegar, sugar, mustard, pepper, mayo, and remaining ½ tsp salt.
  3. When potatoes are cooked enough to handle, cut each into quarters or eights if large.  Add celery and warm potatoes to dressing in bowl; gently stir with rubber spatula until well coated.  Let potato mixture stand 30 minutes to absorb dressing, stirring occasionally.
  4. Cover and refrigerate until completely cold, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

 

A 1 Diner

In 2006 a local publisher, Tilbury House, published a book by Sarah Rolph that celebrated a local diner, the A 1 Diner.  The book gives a history of the diner featuring both those who work behind the counter and those in the kitchen.  Many recipes that have become customer favorites are revealed in the book.  Below is one of them.  For more of these wonderful recipes and to enjoy the history of this local institution, visit the library to borrow the book, A 1 Diner: real food, recipes, and recollections by Sarah Rolph.

Hazel Newell’s Squash Custard Pie:
This pie is unusual in that it separates during cooking into a squash layer and a custard layer.
5 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1 cup canned squash puree (fresh squash has too much moisture)
1 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1  9 inch pie shell, uncooked (bottom only)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the eggs and the sugar with a whisk.
Add the squash, the milk, the cream, and the vanilla, and mix, but do not beat.
Pour into the large pie shell and bake for 60-60 minutes until just set.  Chill before serving.

Picnic Like It’s 1928!

Green grass, blooming buds, and sunny skies all make us want to get outside and savor every minute.  In the Archives, the budding season makes us look at old treasures with new eyes.  This week, a 1928 cookbook compiled by Christ Church Parish Helpers made me wonder what tasty treats might make a perfect step-back-in-time picnic.

Here’s a selection of some of the most seasonally appropriate offerings for an outing.  See if anything strikes your fancy and let us know how they turn out (we’d be happy to taste test samples!)   And while we’re on the subject, what are some of your own long-standing family favorites?  Share some with us on Facebook — and have a very Happy Picnic Season!

  

This is the most marked-up recipe in the book – it must be good!

 

 

Enjoy!
Dawn Thistle, Special Collections Librarian

 

Fiddlehead Time!

 

It’s that time of year….Fiddlehead time!  Even though we may take for granted here in Maine the selecting, gathering, and cooking of these tasty spring morsels, it might not be a bad idea to review some “official” words on the process.  Here’s a link to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Bulletin #4198, Facts on Fiddleheads.  I’ll bet there is at least one fact there that you didn’t know.  Enjoy the recipes at the end of the article.

Facts on Fiddleheads 

Thanksgiving Recipe

How about something different on the Thanksgiving table this year.  The library has a wide selection of cookbooks to peruse.  Try something new!  It may become a new family classic.

From Celebrate! by Sheila Lukins, here is a very easy recipe for
Orange-Ginger Cranberries
2 pounds fresh cranberries, picked over and rinsed
4 cups sugar
2 cups fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
1.       Divide the ingredients evenly between two heavy saucepans and stir well.  Cook over medium heat until the berries pop open, about 10 minutes.
2.       Skim the foam off the surface with a metal spoon.  Cool to room temperature.  Then refrigerate, covered, for as long as 2 months.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Note:  I prefer to cook the cranberries in small batches for better texture
Happy Thanksgiving!
 Scott Handville, Assistant Library Director

Salad Time!

 Summer time is salad time . . . . and nothing beats the comfort foods of Maine like those featured in the cookbooks of Marjorie Standish.  Cooking Down East was published in 1969; Keep Cooking – The Maine Way was published in 1973.  Both books are available at the Gardiner Public Library.  Try the recipe that follows for macaroni salad or check out one of the titles to look for other down home comfort foods from Maine.

MACARONI SALAD
2 cups elbow macaroni
½ cup mayo
1 tbl lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
¼ tsp diced pimiento
¼ tsp celery seed
¼ cup diced green pepper
1 cup finely diced celery
1 slice onion, finely minced
Cook elbow macaroni, rinse with cold water and drain.  Mix mayo with lemon juice, salt and sugar.  Combine cooked macaroni, vegetables, celery seed and mayo mixture, blending thoroughly.  This may be stored covered in fridge for overnight or all day.  You may want to add other seasonings, such as chopped dill pickle or chopped sweet pickle.  Chopped cucumber and chopped fresh tomato add interesting flavors, too.
Serve on crisp lettuce leaves.  This recipe makes 6 to 8 servings.

Autumn means it’s soup time!

As the temperatures drop, the phrase “Soup is good food” runs through my mind.  There is nothing like a delicious bowl of soup to warm you up on a chilly day.  The library has at least three books dedicated to only soup recipes:  Maine-Course Soups & Stews by Dorothy Ivens, Saved by Soup by Judith Barrett, and Lee Bailey’s Soup Meals by Lee Bailey.  Of course any general cookbook will also have great section of soup recipes.  They are so varied in scope, can be so easy to throw together, and can be stretched to feed many.
Some soups that are given in one of these three books are:
Summer squash soup with fresh herbs (uses basically 4 ingredients)
Cabbage-soup-diet soup
Steak and mushroom dinner soup
Sweet and sour meatball soup
YUM.
Scott Handville, Assistant Director