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Jul 9 / Kevin Piotrowski

Cavalcade of Food – Making a Pound Cake

A few weeks ago, we took a trip to North Carolina to visit family and friends. While there, I had an opportunity to meet up with Hans, another vintage appliance collector and a great Southern cook. He prepared an incredible lunch for us, and then, using one of his vintage mixers (a 1956 Kenmore), made a wonderful pound cake.

Pound Cake recipe

Jun 23 / Kevin Piotrowski

Cavalcade of Food – Easy Spinach Pie

Here is a no-fuss variation on spinach pie. Unlike the traditional methods that includes phyllo dough and feta cheese, this simplified version still delivers a wonderful spinach taste with the easy of using a regular pastry crust. You can also make this ahead, and it reheats very well.

Easy Spinach Pie recipe

Jun 16 / Kevin Piotrowski

Cavalcade of Food: Rhubarb-Banana Bread

After finding a big stack of ripe bananas on sale for 89¢ at my local market, I knew there was going to be some serious banana bread baking in my future. And since it also happens to be rhubarb season here in Michigan, I decided to add this wonderfully tart spring crop to the sweet banana bread. It’s a great combination!

Rhubarb Banana Bread Recipe

Jun 2 / Kevin Piotrowski

Cavalcade of Food – Annual Vintage Stove Exchange

Some people collect stamps. Others collect teddy bears, shot glasses or posts cards. I collect stoves and refrigerators (among way too many other things).

Like many other people who collect things, the greatest pleasure in collecting isn’t the actual getting, it’s the finding. And along the way of finding these wonderful vintage appliances, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to meet so many interesting and engaging people. Sometimes an old stove comes with a great story about the person who purchased it, or cooked on it for decades. Other times it’s just an outdated fridge taken out of service years ago that’s sitting in a corner of a dirty garage. No matter the situation, at some point in time these enameled and chrome laden boxes helped to provide a person, a family, with the food that sustained them.

Beyond their essential function, these appliances reflect the style and technology of their time. They are beautiful pieces of industrial design, many of them manufactured by divisions of American automobile companies during the boon post-WWII years. One only needs to move a few of these vintage appliances to understand how their construction differs from those being built today! They were built heavy and made to last a long time. Like the cars of the same era, styles changed from year to year. So while they were built to last, many weren’t styled to last. Colors went from white to a rainbow of pastels – petal pink, sea foam green, turquoise, canary yellow to a movement into earth tones and darker colors like harvest gold, avocado green and coppertone. And like the good American consumers we are, many of us kept up with the latest styles and hauled our out of fashion stoves and refrigerators to the basement, garage or cottage.

So, what is the good in having this collection of vintage appliances if I don’t use them? Exactly! Each spring, when we open open the cottage for the summer season, we change out the stove. While it takes a bit of effort, it gives me the chance to put these beautiful old ranges into service and enjoy them. This year, we removed the 1955 Crosley range that had been in the cottage kitchen for the past year and replaced it with a 1953 Kelvinator range. Here’s to another season of great meals on a vintage stove!

 

May 20 / Kevin Piotrowski

Cavalcade of Food – J.L. Hudson’s Maurice Salad

A staple on the J.L. Hudson’s dining room menu for decades, the Maurice Salad was a favorite of generations of shoppers. Ham, turkey, Swiss cheese and sweet gherkins piled on top of crisp lettuce and topped with a very special dressing made this salad something people still talk about when they remember Hudson’s!

Hudsons Maurice Salad recipe

May 14 / Kevin Piotrowski

Cavalcade of Food – J.L. Hudson’s Canadian Cheese Soup

For generations of Detroiters, the J.L. Hudson’s department store in the heart of downtown was more than an incredible shopping experience, it was a landmark. Whether you went there at Christmas to see Santa, or to buy your first good suit, Hudson’s was as much a part of Detroit as the auto industry.

Among the many recollections people have, are the wonderful things Hudson’s offered in their restaurants. The Canadian Cheese Soup was a longtime favorite on the Hudson’s menu, and making it again took us back to those wonderful days on Hudson’s 13th floor. This is part 1 of 2 in remembering J.L. Hudson’s – in part 2 of 2 we recreate the department store’s famous Maurice salad.

Hudsons Canadian Cheese Soup recipe

May 8 / Kevin Piotrowski

Cavalcade of Food – Hamburger Pie

Hi Everyone! It’s been sometime since Cavalcade of Food has posted to WSU Blogs, but rest assured that we’ve been cookin’ right along! As a matter of fact, we just posted our 153rd episode on our YouTube channel. Unfortunately, time hasn’t allowed me to post episodes across many additional platforms, but I’ve been missing food-talking with my Wayne State family, so I’m going to try to post with more regularity.

This tasty meal-in-one dish hamburger pie recipe has been a long-time comfort food favorite for many of us. Some people refer to this as “Shepard’s Pie,” but in my mind that dish always contains ground lamb. You could use that, of course, but this recipe uses ground chuck and with the high price of beef, this is a great way to stretch the meat budget. If you wanted a lower fat version, you could easily use ground turkey.

For those of you who just want the recipe, here ’tis:

Hamburger Pie recipe

Jun 9 / Kevin Piotrowski

Cavalcade of Food – Dill Couscous

We have had a number of requests to cook more side dishes in addition to the main courses and desserts. When we were cooking up our Greek Meatloaf I realized that I didn’t have any potatoes, so looking around the pantry I found a bag of couscous. Decision made!
When I first had couscous many years ago, I was under the mistaken impression that it was some sort of grain. It is actually a form of pasta made of semolina in granular form. I’m not sure of its origin, but it is very popular in North African cuisine. On its own, couscous is pretty bland tasting so often it is served underneath meat or vegetables. It can also be infused with flavorful ingredients, cooked in stock and many other options to give it a more substantial taste. Because couscous is granular, it cooks quickly and easily.
It happens that we had a lot of fresh dill and parsley on hand, so we wanted to add these flavors to the couscous along with some other things we had on hand. Almonds and raisins also added some crunch, sweetness and texture.

 


Dill Couscous
First, make a pesto using fresh herbs that you will cook with the couscous:
1 cup of fresh dill (you could also use basil or mint)
½ cup of fresh parsley
2 TBSP almonds or walnuts
1 clove of garlic or a small shallot
1 lemon, zest removed and juiced reserved
¾ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
Put everything in a food processor except the lemon and combine. This will be a loose kind of sauce, not thick as some pesto can be. Give it a taste, add more salt and pepper as preferred and, if you want a little more lemon flavor, add some of the reserved lemon juice. Once you’re good with the flavor, set mixture aside.
Now you can make the couscous:
2 cups chicken stock or broth
2 cups couscous
Dill pesto mixture
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
½ golden raisins
Put chicken stock and dill pesto mixture in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add couscous, stir and cover pot. Let stand for about seven minutes. Remove lid and add almonds and raisins – fluff with fork to make sure everything is mixed together. Serve immediately.

May 29 / Kevin Piotrowski

Cavalcade of Food: Greek-Style Meatloaf

Making meatloaf is like putting a blank canvas on an easel and following your inspiration. It lends itself to countless variations, limited only by your imagination or maybe what you might have on-hand at the moment. Most cooks have a favorite meatloaf recipe, and there are many terrific methods for putting a meatloaf together.

The meat used in a meatloaf offers many creative options. You can use a single meat – like ground beef – or a combination that might include a little ground pork, veal or lamb. I’ve had meatloaf that incorporated ground ham and crumbled fried bacon. Then you have all kinds of vegetables, cheese and seasonings that you can throw in the mix.

Generally, most meatloaf recipes call for ingredients that help bind the meat together, keep it moist and extend (when you’re a little short on meat!) the volume. Often these are ingredients like beaten eggs, milk, and breadcrumbs, but you could use a number of alternatives.

This meatloaf was inspired by our love of the many wonderful flavors of Greek food. It includes a number of herbs and spices common in Greek cuisine, along with things like Kalamata olives and feta cheese.

 

CLICK HERE for Cavalcade of Food Greek Meatloaf video

 

Greek-Style Meatloaf

1 ½ lb. ground chuck

½ lb. ground pork (could also use ground lamb)

1 cup milk

2 eggs, beaten

1 medium onion, diced and sautéed until soft and brown in 3 TBSP. butter

1 cup crushed saltine crackers (could also use breadcrumbs)

1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped

4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

1 tsp. each of the following: salt, pepper, cinnamon, oregano and tarragon

1 ½ tsp. ground cumin

½ tsp. thyme

1 tomato, sliced

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the sliced tomato. Combine with clean hands GENTLY until everything is just mixed. Transfer mixture to a large sheet pan or 9×13 baking dish that has been coated with non-stick spray. Shape mixture into loaf shape with hands and place in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Remove from oven, place slices of tomato on top of meatloaf and return to oven for another 20 minutes. Remove and LET REST for 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.

 

Dec 19 / Kevin Piotrowski

Cavalcade of Food – Holiday Cookies: Pfeffernusse

Baking cookies for the holiday season is always a milestone on the calendar. Many families have different traditions when it comes to cookies, and my only tradition is to bake up a few favorites and also try something new each year. The new cookie in the mix this year is pfeffernusse.

While the recipe is new to me, the pfeffernusse has a very long holiday tradition. I thought it was of German origin, but someone said it actually came from the Netherlands. Either way, it has a wonderful old-fashioned texture and taste!

 

 

Pfeffernusse
¾ cup molasses
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
2 eggs
4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cloves
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp finely ground black pepper

Cook molasses and butter until butter melts in a large pot or Dutch oven over low heat, stirring constantly. When butter has melted, remove from heat and allow to cool.

Whisk or sift flour, sugar, baking soda, and spices together in a large mixing bowl.

When the molasses and butter have cooled to room temperature; stir mixture back together again if it separates. Add 2 beaten eggs; stir to combine. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix together to combine. Dough will be firm, so you’ll need to use some muscle.

Refrigerate dough for 1 hour. Form chilled dough into balls and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake at 375º for 10-12 minutes. If you put two cookie sheets in the oven at one time, make sure to rotate them halfway through baking.

Allow cookies to cool for 2 minutes on baking sheet then remove cookies from cookie sheets with a spatula and place on wire cooling racks.

Once cookies are completely cool, roll them in powdered sugar. You can do this by placing about ½ cup powdered sugar into a gallon-size Ziplock bag with about six cookies at a time; gently toss them around until well-coated with powdered sugar.