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Meal in a Kettle

Meaty Baked Beans (North Carolina Cassoulet)

January 17, 2017
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Born and raised in London and cooking by the time he was 14, chef Tom Condron of The Liberty  in Charlotte, N.C., has worked under eight Michelin-starred chefs. That gives these “meaty baked beans” a pedigree–they’re really a North Carolina cassoulet. Put the kettle on early in the morning on a rainy day to start the ham stock and by suppertime, you’ll have this rich, meaty stew ready. Continue Reading…

Bread Box

Date Nut Bread Baked in a Can

December 29, 2016
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Because the result is so moist, baking and/or steaming bread in cans is an old-fashioned tradition people still ask about. Initially, two readers–Sandra S. and Mary S.– requested this recipe they remembered seeing in the ChicagoTribune 47 years ago, and more requests have showed up since. We’ve adapted the recipe to include instructions from an earlier, 1953 recipe that suggests covering the tops of the cans with a greased baking sheet. Continue Reading…

Cookie Kitchen

Gingerbread Cookies

December 23, 2016
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My boys love gingerbread–the dark rich flavor of the cookie, and, the poses they can bend and flex the classic-cookie-guys arms and legs before baking. Lately, I’ve been baking gingerbread forests for the gingerbread boys to wander in, too. Continue Reading…

Soup Kitchen

Beef Mushroom Barley Soup

December 18, 2016
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Enhanced with curry, dried mushrooms and bacon, this beef-barley soup from long-gone Helen’s Olde Lantern in Blue Island, IL, was requested by reader John S. He remembered it having a lot more bacon : ) You can always add more. Continue Reading…

Love From the Lunchroom

Potato Turbate

December 14, 2016
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Since I ran the recipe for this Pinellas County, FL school cafeteria lunchroom favorite, I’ve heard from more than a dozen readers who fondly remember the dish. Susant T., who attended Starkey Elementary in Pinellas County, FL, in the early 1960s, asked for it first, so Susan: know that you have a lot of grateful cohorts who appreciate your request. Cafeteria-hot-dish-wise, potato turbate is basically a stripped-down version of shepherds pie Continue Reading…

Meaty Mainstays

Kirk Douglas’ Favorite Meatloaf

December 9, 2016
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Loved chatting with Monica Eng about finding vintage recipes for her podcast with Louisa Chu–listen to the segment here (the vintage recipe chat starts at the 18 minute mark.) “Chewing the Fat.” Here’s one of the featured stories (links to more of the featured recipe stories are included in the last paragraph below):

Before there was Michael Douglas (Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct and a zillion more movies,) there was Kirk Douglas, a 1940s matinee idol with the deep cleft in his chin some of my boys have, but dislike. (They call it a “butt chin”…) If it weren’t for Ant Man, in which Michael had a nice role, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which Noah considers “epic” for it’s crude special effects (first sci-fi shot in Cinemascope), my kids would be unfamiliar with either of these actors. But back in the seventies, Kirk was still, very much, a familiar film legend. Which is where this meatloaf comes in… Continue Reading…

Vintage Veg

Sunchokes Two Ways: Soup & Smashed Potato

December 9, 2016
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Earthy, sexy, silky, sunchokes beguile. To me, they’re like truffles in their scent and ability to make you crave just a little bit more. Peeled, simmered and pureed, these unlovely-looking little lumps transform into a beautifully aromatic soup. Or simmered and smashed with spinach, potato and garlic they make a delicious, original side. Continue Reading…

Breakfast Buns

Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns

December 9, 2016
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In a typical day, Shelby McCreedy might deal with, oh, money laundering, public indecency, intoxication, and some kind of theft. A special agent for the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation,  McCreedy “deals with bad guys all day.” But at home? “I’m like Betty Crocker—with a gun,” she jokes. Continue Reading…

Appetizers & Snacks

Wine-Poached Pears

December 9, 2016
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As far back as the 15th century, English cooks discovered that wine-poaching hard pears made them both tender and palatable. One Syon Abbey recipe had cooks: “pare wardens (hard cooking pears) clean, seethe them in red wine till they be tender, then take them up and put them in a pot; put thereto wine of Crete or Vernage (Verona)…powder of sugar and powder of ginger and let them boil awhile and then serve forth.” Continue Reading…