Category: Marion Cunningham

Bannocks — A Tribute to Marion Cunningham (Reposted from my Dinner Place blog)

Bannocks — A Tribute to Marion Cunningham (Reposted from my Dinner Place blog)

A little apricot preserves…

 I never knew Marion Cunningham personally, but after my Mom, she pretty much taught me to cook and, perhaps more truly, to bake.  She died this last week (July 11, 2012–Read the LA Times obituary here) at the age of 90 after a lifetime of cooking, writing, and testing recipes for her cookbooks (Fanny Farmer, Fanny Farmer Baking Book, The Breakfast Book, etc.) and for her long-lived column in The San Francisco Chronicle.  She encouraged several generations of home cooks to… well, to just go on and cook.  Set the table and eat at home, please and thank you.



Her books and recipes were not cute, though they were entertaining.  They weren’t novelesque, though they were terribly readable.  They were always sort of like Goldilocks’ favorite bed–just right.  Accurate, concise, occasionally gently witty…above all correct, well-tested, and usable. If I couldn’t remember the formula for cobbler topping, I grabbed The Fanny Farmer Baking Book.  For goodness sake, I STILL grab it.  If I was testing my own blueberry muffin recipe, I looked no further than Marion Cunningham for comparison. Not just because I knew the recipe would work, but because her entire life’s belief in feeding oneself and one’s loved ones well was warmed up, stirred in, and firmly baked into each and every page.

Food is a topic of conversation, she said. It can be an imprint that you pass onto someone else. It can be a shared experience. Sitting down and eating together is a binding quality for a family. Eating on the run doesn’t cover all the bases it should.

She never was a star chef on “Chopped,” (though she did have a cooking show, “Cunningham and Company,” on the Food Network) and she didn’t have lots of restaurants named after her, but all who knew her work respected and loved both her and the food-at-home she championed.  She worked with James Beard as his assistant for years, traveled with Alice Waters, and claimed Judith Jones as an editor.  Why she didn’t make Gourmet Live’s list of the 50 Women Game-Changers in Food was always beyond me.  So, Marion, my very own hero, in your tasty and fine memory, I today share your great Bannocks recipe for all far and wide.  I know there are delectable aromas whispering your name wafting toward heaven from all over the world today– and always.  Thanks for the food and even more for encouraging the life that goes with it.  God speed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 A bit about Bannocks:  A Scottish, gluten-free flat and buttery bread that can be used as a breakfast treat with butter and jam or honey, it’s also a fine cracker for cheese, and a crunchy-buttery (not sweet) shortbread for anytime.  Before home had ovens, bannocks were cooked on a girdle..like a griddle, but hung over the heating surface with chains.  Bannocks were then cooked more like pancakes.  You might try it when camping.   If you’re a Dorothy Sayers fan, the British mystery writer mentions bannocks being cooked on a girdle in the book HAVE HIS CARCASE

Bannocks perhaps are a bit like scones in shape as they’re triangular, though they are not tall and bread-like, and rather only about a crispy  1/4 -1/3″ thick.  Lovely with soupI make these in the food processor in just a few minutes.  The recipe works fine at sea level and at altitude as is.
 

photo courtesy Gourmet

Bannocks by Marion Cunningham from The Breakfast Book
 
 

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1/2 cup water

 
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, toss the oats, flour, and salt together with a fork. Cut the cold butter into small pieces, toss it into the flour mixture, and rub it in until coarse bits form. Stir in the water until all the flour is absorbed.  (Can be done in the food processor if desired.) 
Gather the rough dough together and put it on a board lightly dusted with oat flour. Knead about 6 times. Divide the dough in half and pat each half into a circle about ¼- inch thick. Cut each circle into 4 wedges and arrange the wedges 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet. Bake about 20 minutes or until lightly colored.

 “Cooking is one of the legacies we can leave to the future, and I would like to be remembered for my baking. We all know we’re not immortal, but after I’m gone, I would like my son and daughter to be able to say, ‘Our mother made real yeast bread for breakfast.’”
  ~Marion Cunningham

Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself,
Alyce

Ask me about Dessert

Ask me about Dessert

Lemon-Syrup Pound Cake with Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream and Blueberry Drizzle

    What’s the fun of catering dessert?  What’s not the fun of catering dessert?  But I DO LOVE TO HAVE A REASON to make dessert.  And I adore having a reason to try something I love or have never done before; dessert for two is so different than dessert for a group.  We simply don’t need a whole pie (well, Dave would argue with that.)  We don’t want a whole cake or two quarts of ice cream, which is what my new ice cream maker makes.  But if I’m asked to bring dessert or have a catering job, I get to do the whole shebang. (Scroll down for Lemon-Syrup Pound Cake with Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream and Blueberry Drizzle.)

Seasonal crostatas — free-form pie

Creme Brulee avec  Torch.
Added art is free.
Chocolate-Hazelnut Torte
Elvis Presley’s Favorite Cake–Pound Cake I serve with Peaches and Fresh Ginger Ice Cream come summer.

 

Lemon Tart for a Birthday?

Individual Pear-Orange Crostatas.   They’re flavored with lemon or orange and have a streusel topping with or without almonds.
Coffee Cup Pies
Pagliacci’s New York Cheesecake

Any kind of whole pie

I start with numbers.  How many people?  When?  Where?  What’s the menu? 

The menu was tenderloin and fennel gratin with a carrot salad starter.  One that I blogged, in fact.  I thought that left me scotfree to make whatever I wanted.  The meal wasn’t so heavy that I needed to do a baby shot of custard and squeensy-tweentsy cookies.  It wasn’t so light that I needed to make tiramisu.  I offered several options:

 Bread Pudding!
Jam Tart?
Basket of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies!!!

or….

–Chocolate pots de creme and ginger cookies
–Lemon poundcake and strawberry ice cream
–Fig-Brandy Vanilla Pudding with Skinny Fluted Shortbread
–Apple-Sour Cream-Walnut Pie w or w/out homemade vanilla ice cream
–Apple Tart w or without cinnamon ice cream
–Espresso pots de creme and milk chocolate chip-pecan cookies
–God’s Own Brownies or God’s Own Brownie Sundaes
–Chocolate-Dipped Salty Shortbread and Coffee Gelato
–Whole Lemon Tart

–Jam Tart
 

You can ask for pot pie, too, if you need dinner.   Here:  Turkey Roasted Vegetable

about the lemon-syrup pound cake, strawberry ice cream and blueberry drizzle:

 The choice this time was Lemon pound cake and strawberry ice cream.  After 2 seconds thought, I added a blueberry drizzle–for color and a flavor pop.   Instead of reinventing any wheels, I took two or three recipes and decided on my method. I like SILVER PALATE’S Lemon Pound Cake, but it was made in a bundt pan and I really wanted loaf pound cake as my group was small and a second loaf could go in the freezer.  I checked out Ina Garten’s Lemon Cake from her The Barefoot Contessa PARTIES book and ended up with a mixture of the two recipes aided by Marion Cunningham’s from Fanny Farmer Baking Book, which is my easy go-to for most things.   In fact, I end up with both the bundt cake and loaf cakes because I mis-read Ina’s instructions, which were a bit confusing.  The ingredient list doesn’t let you know that you’ll be using that 3/4 cup lemon juice in two parts.  Ditto sugar.  So when I dumped all the sugar in the Kitchen Aid, the extra bundt cake was born.  And while it’s obvious from the ingredient list there’s a glaze, it’s not so obvious there’s a syrup, too.  I just re-write the recipe to suit me.  No problem; the choir likes to eat, as does Word Team.  Tonight, I’ll bring the big bundt cake and a couple of pots of coffee.
 

How many cakes are you baking?  As many as it takes to get it right.

 Lemon Syrup Poundcake (new name):  all done.  Now I just have to make strawberry ice cream.
Ah gee.  And…a Blueberry Drizzle.   Could life be any more fun?
 

Pound Cake with Syrup and Glaze
Adding the last of the berries to the ice cream maker.  I use David Lebovitz ice cream recipes almost all the time, but this one is in the book that came with the Cuisinart 2qt ice cream maker.  The strawberries are marinated with lemon; half are mashed for freezing with the cream and sugar, and half are added during the last five minutes.
Blueberry Drizzle (instructions below)

Lemon-Syrup Pound Cake with Strawberry Ice Cream (Homemade) and Blueberry Drizzle

 Blueberry Drizzle:  Place one pint fresh blueberries (cleaned and picked over) in a medium saucepan with 1/4 cup each water and granulated sugar.  If you like, you can add a large piece of lemon peel or a cinnamon stick, but for this recipe, the blueberries are best left to their own devices.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and reduce heat to low, simmering and stirring the berries about 15 minutes.  When they’re softened, breaking apart, and a bit thicker, remove from heat and mash with a potato masher.   Strain the mixture over a small bowl.   Reserve the crushed berries for your peanut butter toast and use the strained liquid for your “drizzle,” which is also good on pancakes or English muffins.

Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood
Yesterday it was 60 and gorgeous.  Today it’s rainy and freezy and so gray.
I have no new pics of the dogs, but they are filthy.  Friday:  groomer.

New art in my kitchen.  Did I already show you this?
Cold Chickadees
This is melted…and we now have Minnesota Mush.

Here’s a Salmon Salad I made the other day for supper.  It might make the blog.

 Sing a new song, read my Lenten Blog
Alyce