THE SWEET BREAD THAT’S SO GOOD THAT I KEPT EATING IT UNTIL I GOT FOUNDERED

You all are getting some lagniappe here, lagniappe meaning (in case there are some readers out there who haven’t heard that word) a bonus…the bonus being a good recipe, a word you might not hear very often, and a little family reminiscing. 🙂

Now, I would hazard that many people know about lagniappe, but how many are familiar with the word “foundered”?

My father used this word a LOT and we, the daughters, still use the word today when the situation calls for it. So, what does it mean?

The way Daddy used the word “foundered” is this way:

“I ate so much of that fried fish and those hushpuppies that I got foundered.” Or, “if you keep eating that watermelon you’re going to get foundered on it.”

The meaning of the word “foundered” can probably be gleaned by the context in the above sentences. Simply put, “foundered” means you ate so much (often of a rich food) that you just feel blah, uncomfortable, kind of queasy, blechhh. You usually don’t end up throwing up or anything, you just feel like “I sure wish I hadn’t made such a pig of myself and kept on eating like a hog at the trough”. Probably the best cure for foundering is a ginger ale, maybe a Coke. After being foundered, next time you ate something later on in the day, it would probably be just some saltines, or soda crackers, as Daddy usually called them.

Well, being the driven and inquisitive person that I am, I thought “hmmmm…this word is so familiar to me, but I wonder if it’s in the dictionary?” And, wonder of wonders, it is.

From Merriam-Webster:

founder: to disable (an animal) especially by excessive feeding

Since Daddy was a farmer and farmed crops and had cows and pigs (cattle and hogs? I vacillate between the two), this might be the source for him of using this word in referring to human overeating.

Or maybe it was a word that was common anyway in this rural area back in the 1920s and 1930s when he was growing up. Whatever, if we’re sitting around stuffing toasted pecans or boiled peanuts in our mouths like somebody’s going to take them away from us, one of the sisters will usually look at the other and say “you better quit eating so much, you’re gone get foundered, and it’ll be your own fault.” No sympathy here!!

Well, why don’t we just mosey on to the sweet bread recipe referenced in the post title? And, because I’ve spent so much time explaining “foundered”, let’s just present the recipe without any more yip-yap, as I say. Just a warning, though…if you eat too much of it and get foundered, it’s your own fault. Man! I got some Mrs. Hate-ness going on there! 🙂

SWEET OLIVE OIL QUICK BREAD

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured sultana raisins
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • unsalted butter for loaf pan
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts

 

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the sugar. Add the eggs, milk, and olive oil, and beat well.

Toss the raisins in a little flour to coat them lightly. Add the raisins and lemon zest to the flour and egg mixture and stir to distribute evenly.

Butter and flour a loaf pan. Transfer the batter into the pan and smooth the surface. Sprinkle the top with pine nuts. Bake for 55 mintues, or until a thin skewer inserted in the center comes out dry. Let cool for a few minutes. Unmold and cool on a rack.

(www.epicurious.com from Desserts and Sweet Snacks: Rustic, Italian Style by Viana La Place)

 

I mix this bread by hand using a whisk (don’t over beat, no need to use mixer, just mix lightly) and use Bertolli extra light tasting olive oil, not extra-virgin olive oil. I’ve also substituted currants or dried cherries for the raisins/skipped the pine nuts or used almonds, and it’s really good if you sprinkle the top of loaf generously with powdered sugar when it comes out of the oven.

 

Foundered…you’ve been warned.

 


EGG SALAD…IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MOUTH FEEL

Mrs. Hate says “Yowza, baby” on that title!! 

But truly, that is exactly what is deemed an important factor in delicious egg salad, according to The New Best Recipe: All-New Edition, 2nd Edition, pages 121-122.

I came to egg salad late in life, in that I’m not particularly what I’d call “wrapped up” in eating eggs. Deviled eggs are good most any time, every month or so an omelette, or maybe a fried egg, fried ’til it begs for the torture to end, with lots of mustard and cheese on Sunbeam bread and then grilled, is something I might have a craving for once every ten years, but other than that, I’m not an egg fiend.

One day last year, however, I thought “you know, why not be brave, get over the perceived eggy-ness of egg salad, and just make the stuff”.

Here’s what happened…I didn’t use a recipe because I thought it would be so easy to just add a little mayonnaise and some (yuk) sweet pickle relish (which I really pretty much loathe, but seems to be de rigeur in egg-type recipes in the South) and whatever else seemed appropriate and mash it all together.

No matter how many times I tried, the darn stuff never tasted worth a flip. I’m not even sure if some days it tasted better than others; the whole experience was just puzzling and nightmarish and therefore I’ve blocked it.

Salvation came the day I was flipping through The New Best Recipe: All-New Edition. The recipe called for capers, not sweet pickle relish (YES!!), some grainy mustard (yum), some other things I would leave out due to family peculiarities (Mrs. Hate…ever considerate), and this very important statement:

“Eggs diced into small cubes (just under 1/2″) gave the salad the full mouth feel we had been seeking.”

With apologies to a certain blogger (the throw-down here 🙂 )…oh shoot, might as well say it’s Toby at Plate Fodder…who said “The finer you get the eggs, the better your salad will be”, I respectfully disagree.

THIS was part of what had been missing for me…the mouth feel!! Makes perfect sense!! Not too big of a chunk, because then you might think of little baby chicks running around enjoying life and then you’d gag, but not too fine, because then it might coat your tongue like a cross between pureed baby/elder food and something the cat couldn’t digest.

I’ve made this egg salad plenty of times since The Discovery of the Perfect Egg Salad Recipe, Complete with Full Mouth Feel, and I’m not tired of it yet. Just keep in mind that my version uses only:

  • eggs
  • mayonnaise
  • mustard
  • capers

One day I’ll probably get around to adding a few of the things I leave out of the basic recipe, but that would be when the celery- and onion-haters in this household go somewhere for a day or two, and I’m not seeing that happening any time soon. Plus, I refuse to make separate little bowls for each according to his taste; I mean, isn’t celery innocuous enough so that if it were finely chopped into flea-sized pieces it could cause no harm?? The answer here from the other household members is No. Celery is an abomination.

And now, for your gustatory pleasure, the recipe.

 

CLASSIC EGG SALAD

  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 TBLSP minced red onion
  • 1 TBLSP minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 medium celery rib, chopped fine
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • ground black pepper

**note: I add 2 TBLSP capers (1 of 4 recipe variations for egg salad in The New Best Recipe) and have never chopped or rinsed them as recipe states; I also salt to taste after mixing all together

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together in medium bowl.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

*****

Now I’m wondering…is there such a thing on WordPress as a definitive smack-down throw-down recipe contest for certain foods?? Where there’s an entry deadline and voting and comments and blahblahblah etc etc etc?? This is called “Mrs. Hate’s mind is wandering”, because I’m a believer in everybody has their own taste buds, what’s sauce for the goose may not be sauce for the gander, one man’s jicama is another man’s bile, and so on and so forth. Therefore, contests are just one of those things that may exist in part to satisfy the gladiator urge in us to WIN!! Or, if we’re sitting on the sidelines all fat and happy (metaphorically speaking), we want to BACK a winner.

Whoa Nelly…I think it’s time to rein my wandering mind in and close with the famous statement by Rodney King: “can’t we just all get along?”.

Radishes and scallions and dill and curry and cilantro and anchovies and bacon and shallots and watercress. All getting along together in the four variations of Classic Egg Salad.

Hated not to share with folks what the other variations included, but “not ganna” type out all the combinations and permutations!! Unless someone requests!! Then I’ll be glad to do it!! Just writing these sentences to enjoy using exclamation points!!


HEART AND SOUL PIMENTO CHEESE…OFFICIALLY DUBBED THE BEST SNACK FOOD IN GEORGIA

Lawzy lawzy!! How many patients of Mrs. Hate sprang back to life after eating one of her pimento cheese sandwiches!! Sometimes hospital food just wasn’t what the patient wanted or needed…wanted in that people GENERALLY get tired of eating the same thing over and over, and needed in that pimento cheese is just flat-out comfort food, and folks need comforting when they’re feeling down.

I was so fortunate to work in a hospital setting where, as I would tell folks, “if it’s okay with the doctor and nurses and okay with the patient’s family and okay with the patient” then pimento cheese (or other home-cooked foods) is coming.

Then I would further assure the patient and all concerned that I tied a big linen dish towel, like a do-rag, over my wild tresses so that the food being prepared would be “hair-free”. That’s almost as important as having clean hands.

Is this TMI (too much information)?? “I’m sorry”, but my hair sheds at the drop of a hat, and there’s nothing more unappetizing than someone else’s hair in your food.

Mrs. Hate and her washed-clean hands and do-ragged hair now present the recipe for pimento cheese. And it can be eaten plain with soda crackers, stuffed into celery, or made into sandwiches; let your imagination be the limit.

  • sharp cheddar cheese
  • medium cheddar cheese
  • diced pimentos, drained
  • mayonnaise (Duke’s)
  • cayenne pepper


Grate the cheese (a food processor works great for this)…use one and that’s half the battle of making pimento cheese. 

Mix together the cheese, pimentos, mayonnaise, and dashes of cayenne pepper to taste.

If making sandwiches, it’s hard to beat white bread for pimento cheese. Sunbeam is the classic in Mrs. Hate’s mind and what she ate all growing up.

And ONCE AGAIN all the proportions are to the cook’s taste!! If you mix it up with love and pretend like you are making it for hospital patients who are just miserable and restless and depressed and bored and hurting and worried and all the other feelings that are normal when one is in the hospital, the pimento cheese will be JUST RIGHT. You will have given of your heart and soul when making it, and therefore it will turn out perfect.

 

 

HATE POINT:  storebought pimento cheese in the little round flat plastic containers where the mixture is smushed into a paste

 

LOVE POINT:  food processors when useful

 


HOW MATT MADE BISCUITS, CIRCA 1962

Mrs. Hate looooves biscuits. You can’t say it any plainer than that.

How do I love thee, O Biscuit?

Let me count the ways:

  • biscuits with butter
  • biscuits with blackberry jelly
  • biscuits with crabapple jelly
  • biscuits with fig preserves
  • biscuits with honey
  • biscuits with Flowing Gold syrup
  • biscuits with pan sausage
  • biscuits with country ham
  • biscuits leftover, halved, buttered, and put under broiler the next day

And then, of course, you’ve got throwing in some stale biscuits when making your dressing at Thanksgiving and Christmas AND, every now and then, playing around with turning them into a sort of biscuit pudding.

Picture a small country town in South Georgia circa 1962. There’s a farm—not too big, not too little—with a maid (who now would be referred to as a housekeeper)—not too skinny, not too fat (and this description is important for reasons discussed later)—wearing a white uniform. There will never be a better biscuit maker than Matt, point said.

Mrs. Hate remembers Matt as representing security, stability, love, kindness—all attributes we all need to possess, and our possession begins by having them demonstrated to us by others. Matt was a part of the nascency of these attributes in Mrs. Hate; her talent in biscuit-making was perfection, but her kindness and love superseded even biscuits. Love and kindness are eternal, the eating of a biscuit temporal. But the memories of those biscuits and the loving hands that made them…goodness gracious, what memories…

Now, as all good cooks have the talent of making things looks easy (in other words, things you THINK are so simple, but in reality there’s a knack to it so that sometimes you end up banging your head against the wall and say “why can’t I just COOK this and make it turn out right? there’s ONLY THREE LITTLE INGREDIENTS!!! Mrs. Hate’s getting worked up a little here in case you couldn’t tell), Matt didn’t disappoint in making biscuit-making look easy.

So what are the three little ingredients for Matt’s biscuits that can make strong women cry—and then headbutt the wall??

 

  • White Lily self-rising flour

  • Crisco shortening

  • buttermilk (whole please, not fat-free)

 

 

alas…no image of Land O’Lakes whole buttermilk could be found,

so just imagine your local grocery store’s buttermilk pictured here

**sidebar** of course, it’s much more traditional to use plain (all-purpose) White Lily flour and add your baking powder and salt, but MY MAMA said it was okay to use self-rising flour, and MY MAMA was as Old South scratch cooking as there could be.  R.I.P. Mimi—we still talk about you, dream about you, wonder about you, analyze you.

So, back to the biscuits.

Now Matt could make biscuits without measuring…of course!!  (headbutt time on the coolness and savoir faire of no measuring)

She would pour the flour into a what we called dough bowl, which was an old (again, of course!! wasn’t EVERYTHING old in Mrs. Hate’s childhood??) wooden bowl with dimpled gouges here and there. The gouges sure didn’t come from biscuit making, because all of that’s “by hand”, but probably just came from handling and slamming the bowl around when throwing it in the cabinet. (“Throwing” is showing up more and more in these little stories—one would think there was a lot of VIOLENCE and PASSION and SOUTHERN GOTHIC-NESS going on in the household, but no, it was just a busy little place.)

So, back to the biscuits for the second time.

**second sidebar** the buttermilk should be cold (don’t get it out beforehand to come to room temperature like you would generally do with cake-making), and IMPORTANT NOTE:  always keep the Crisco in the refrigerator…you want it to be cold for biscuit making, and refrigeration also keeps it from going a little rancid.

Spoon in some Crisco (shortening) and get those little fingertips working. You want to just riffff the Crisco into the flour with a delicate touch of thumb rolling the Crisco over the fingertips, primarily the index and middle fingers, with a little ring finger action for extra riffff.  Little finger not really necessary. Think on that statement.

You will have MAGICALLY known how much Crisco was necessary. If your magic levels are low on biscuit-making day, let’s say a couple of big spoonfuls (a little over 1/4 cup) of Crisco—the size of spoon you dish up vegetables with—and the flour (backtracking here) should be maybe 2 cups would do’ya.

And, if you’re a voracious, insatiable, manic, lunatic-crazy cookbook reader, surely you will have read all through the years about “work the shortening into the flour mixture until there are pea-sized lumps, but they don’t have to all be exactly the same size, you need some variation for flakiness blahblahblah”. All that is true. Plus (and often you will read this) you don’t want to overwork the dough; toughness results. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but toughness should not be in the heart of a biscuit.

Okay, and moving right along…

Get the buttermilk out of the refrigerator (whole, remember—the thought of low-fat buttermilk makes Mrs. Hate hate), shake it up good (so all the yummy fat is distributed), and pour in enough (about 1 cup) to make a slightly sticky dough when stirred with a fork (there’s that magic fork again which, after having tended to the hoecakes, is now tending to the biscuits—that fork earns its keep in this kitchen!!). And some folks even have special forks treasured for biscuit making and other cooking odds and ends…Mrs. Hate has HEARD of this and even seen a PICTURE of this…and the fork just looks like an old broke-down fork with maybe a tine or two missing. Will wonders never cease!!

So, you’ve stirred the dough, it’s sticky (searching for comparable analogy here—is that a somewhat redundant pairing of words?—and failing miserably), and now time to get a little creative like you did with the hoecakes.

Get the dough board out (not bowl), flour it with a handful of flour and swoop it around on the board, throw the dough on the board, dust your hands with flour, and lightly, gently knead for a few turns. So pretty when it’s done right. It goes from a sticky and slighty damp-ish looking mess to an immaculately smooth ball with a dull flour finish, if you do it right…just saying. Just thinking about that smooth dough ball takes Mrs. Hate back back back to that time in her childhood when she and her parents and her sisters and Matt were healthy and energetic and young.

Rolling pin or pat out the dough?? Let’s end up with a rolling pin, with a little flour dusted on it. Put your dough ball on the floured board, pat it with your hands a little to get the thing started, then lightly press/roll with pin.

The dough needs to be in the neighborhood of ⅜” thick. You can go a little more or less thick depending on your vision of a perfect biscuit. Personal preference is perfectly proper here (looove that alliteration…if any reader has seen Brideshead Revisited—the one with Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews—the Anthony Blanche character was a m-m-m-master of stuttering alliteration).

Cut the biscuits out. A 2-3” biscuit cutter is recommended. However, in a pinch, one could take an old (Good Lordamercy, were Mrs. Hate’s folks packrats with old stuff  or WHAT?!?!?!?) jelly jar, place it on the dough, and use a sharp knife tip to cut around the jar rim. Eureka!!! Biscuits!!!

Place the biscuits—all touching, please, all cozy and nestled next to each other—in a cast iron SKILLET, not a SPIDER (see hoecake post). Or, entirely okay to put the biscuits in old aluminum pie plate or even a 9×13 Pyrex dish. Some people like to spritz the pie plate or Pyrex with a little Pam—hmmmm on that, as Matt sure didn’t use any of that Pam stuff back in 1962. And please be advised here that a biscuit pan is kind of whatever, but cornbread is really only made in an iron skillet. Sometimes at holidays a Pyrex dish is okay for cornbread because the sad truth is it’s going to be crumbled up for dressing anyway, but for eating cornbread on its own, you really, really need an iron skillet to develop the crispy cornbread crust…another post, another day, and another alliteration.

You’re looking at probably a dozen biscuits here, maybe fewer. Just depending.

An oven temperature of 500 degrees sounds mighty high, but it works.

And before oven-time, some people melt some butter in a bowl (confession: microwave) and use fingertips (why bother using a brush?) to slide some butter around on the top of raw biscuit.

Handy Tip:  it would behoove you to always have some Land O’Lakes butter on hand, and unsalted is really all you need—most of the time, like 99.9% of the time.


 

Almost done, you hanging-in-there readers you!!

Take the biscuits out when golden-y brown on top (ten-ish minutes or so).

And as good as they are same-morning/dinner/supper made, they are equally as delicious next morning prepared this way:

Split them, put a little softened butter on cut surface, put on cookie sheet with tin foil on it (or you can get all free-spirited and just put them on whatever…skillet, cookie sheet, old roasting tray, it’s okay), have that oven on BROIL, place in oven with door kind of cracked open and check verrrry frequently—it won’t take long. You just want them lightly toastified with a little crunchy thing going on. Heavenly.

And why was it important to describe Matt as being not too skinny and not too fat??

Matt, that precious angel on Earth, developed stomach cancer. Mrs. Hate’s mother and Matt were very close, and MHM (trying out this acronym here for brevity and typing efficiency) talked so long and so hard to Matt about going to the doctor, but Matt was a Jehovah’s Witness, and there are lots of Witness beliefs about medical procedures, blood transfusions, etcetera. No matter how much Matt loved MHM, she just couldn’t bring herself to go to the doctor.

So the wonderful Matt got cancer-skinny, but with a swollen stomach. In the saddest of ways, she was both too skinny and too fat. However, she was still perfect, of course, because love and kindness exist no matter our physical condition.

HATE POINT:  canned biscuits

LOVE POINT:  Matt and the memory of her sweet face