Wednesday, May 20, 2009

All About The Savory Roaster

When I go thrifting, I like to go alone and with no other mission other than having a few hours mingling with the stuff. The stuff either speaks to me or it doesn't, but all stuff has a voice, you just have to look and listen. The Savory roaster and I fell for one another with just one touch. Just look at the smooth shoulders, the Venus of roasters, this roaster is a grand dame and I love her. The only trouble was I did not know much about her, so a-researching I went and this is what I found. She was made by Republic metalware company of Buffalo New York around 1908. Here is an ad in Home furnishing review of the time.

Home Furnishing Review: “Republic Metalware Co. Every buyer of house furnishing goods knows that the Republic Metalware Company of Buffalo NY manufactures the Savory Roaster. The sale of the roaster has been so enormous during the past year that there is not a housewife from Maine to California who does not know of these roasters. The Republic Metalware Company does not stop with the make of Savory Roasters however, but manufactures also the famous Hustler Ash Sifters. This is a rotary sifter that sifts out the coal clean without dust or dirt. The ashes are put in a hopper and the boy or woman of the house turns the handle which revolves a heavy galvanized sifter dropping the ashes into the barrel and throwing the unburned coal into a waiting coal skuttle. It is lots of fun to work one of these ash sifters and they will more than pay for themselves within a short time. The Republic Metalware Company also makes galvanized ash cans with broad tripple corrugated reinforced strips securely riveted on with large malleable drop handles. These are the best and strongest ash cans made and the entire equipment is one that should be known to every house furnishing dealer in the trade. Full particulars regarding this and the many other metal ware specialties manufactured by the Republic Metalware Company may be obtained by writing to this firm.

No Text

Well it seems that royalty money was at the core of a dispute over the patient rights to the Savory roaster. The inventor of the Savory roaster, was a man named Mathy. He hammered out the orginal roasters in his home and sold them with the name “Savory” stamped into them. He later entered an agreement with the Republic Metalware company for the manufacture of the roasters. Mathy agreed to let Republic manufacture the pans in return for royalties but held on to the patent. Something went wrong between the two parties and Mathy went before the court of appeals, his contention was that the patent and “Savory ” trademark was still his and he had not abandoned or forfeited his rights to the contract. Republic Metalware tried to prove other wise. As best I can tell the judges ruled in favor of Mathy. Read it for yourself and correct me if I have re-capped anything incorrectly. Below is the drawing from the patent office. Click on the image or name to view and read the source. Including his claims for the roaster.


One final note: a Savory roaster testimonial.

 Re: What is the most unusual cooking utensil/item you own?    

I have about 10 or more Savory Roasters. My mother had one that was her grandmother's. When I left home, I was lost because she WOULDN'T GIVE IT TO ME!!! When my daughter was 4 and my son was an infant, while traveling through central Missouri on our way back to Texas from Illinois, I found 2 roasters in the same town. They traveled back to Houston under my children's feet. It took me another 12 years to find another. The best are the enamel glazed roasters that come in white, blues, red, yellow, green. They come in 3 sizes–regular large, junior and a tiny one. When my children get married or go off on their own, they'll be given their own roasters so they'll never say anything bad about me–at least regarding my hoarding of the Savory Roaster. I cannot dry out a turkey or chicken no matter what I do. They're wonderful. I don't mind sharing since I'm sure I have plenty in my own stock!

To visit this site go to-

“Kitchen Kut-Outs!” Anthropomorphic Perfection!

Dear friends I must say that I am ecstatic to have come across this unexpected spread in "The Complete Crumb Comics Volume 4, Mr Sixties". I thought to start my summer reading with this
inspirational work by the master of all underground comics, R. Crumb My personal thanks to goes out to Mr Crumb for making the world a lot more interesting. So hey, go to , type in the complete Crumb, and get into the summer groove!
Click on pictures for a larger view, you may want to buy a sketch pad.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Amana Recipes: Prune Drop Cookies

The joy of discovery has no rivals except the joy of being thankful. Imagine yourself as a desert prospector and you find a gold nugget after many a month with little hope—a moment of blessed joy. With the current economic climate, I have like millions, tightened the belt to save a buck. My gold nuggets now come from the thrift shop instead of Barnes and Nobel. The Amana Recipes cook book is one such nugget. A search on the internet indicated that many book sellers have this title for sale, for cheap, so if you desire a copy it is yours for what I paid the thrift shop. But, no matter, this is a delightful volume that has won my imagination. The history of the Amana settlers began in this country in 1842, German immigrants here for reasons of religious freedom. This utopian history alone is intriguing and there is much on the internet to read. But only the cookbook will let you smell and taste what the Amana community kitchens were serving up. My joy prompts me to share a recipe, and I am thankful that I can do that much.

Zwetchen Kecks:
Prune Drop Cookies

2/3 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar (I used dark)
1 cup white sugar
2 well beaten eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour milk (I used buttermilk)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
*1 cup chopped cooked prunes
3 1/2 cups flour (I used “WhiteLily” all purpose)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped nutmeats (I used pecans)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
*1/4 heaping teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add the beaten eggs. Mix well. Dissolve soda in milk and add with the remaining ingredients. Drop by teaspoons on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes in moderate oven, 350 degrees.

*Cooks notes;
Cook a heaping cup of whole prunes in a 1/4 cup water, bring to a simmer and stir until the liquid is cooked off, cool then chop.

The recipe did not call for any salt. Salt is probably not necessary but, as a flavor enhancer I decided to add a small amount.

Why the baking soda was added to the buttermilk is beyond me. My process is: Have all ingredients at room temperature. Cream the butter with the sugar then add eggs and vanilla. In another bowl combine all dry ingredients, flour, baking power, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In additions of thirds add flour mixture and buttermilk to butter-sugar-egg mixture.Then add the prunes and nut meats, do not over mix.

The results are a moist cake like cookie, not super sweet, a spice cookie presence, you could easily mistake the prunes for raisins, good with an afternoon tea or coffee.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Algerian Semolina Bread

Khobz El Dar: (Homemade Bread) Algerian Semolina Bread is originally from the blog titled 64 square foot kitchen. Warda's version is made with baking powder. I decided to convert the recipe to a yeast bread because I imagined an original, perhaps ancient recipe would have been made with yeast rather than baking powder.

Warda is absolutely right to want to coat her body with a perfume that contains the essence of anise and orange. Eating this bread is nothing short of a sensual experience. Thick slices slathered with butter and a cup of tea will turn an ordinary afternoon into an event you will want to share.

Algerian Semolina Bread
.256 grams fine durum semolina flour
.256 grams unbleached all purpose flour
.104 grams sugar
.010 grams salt
.216 scalded and cooled whole milk
2 eggs or approx 104 grams large eggs
.140 grams unsalted butter room temperature
.012 grams anise seeds
.008 grams orange zest, or ground candied orange peels
.012 grams of instant yeast

yields a little over two pounds (1.118 grams) of dough suitable for one two pound Panettone paper form as pictured or, this recipe will make two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 Pullman loaves.

weight and mix all the dry ingredients
scald the milk and cool
bring eggs and butter to room temperature

Beat the eggs and cool milk together. Slowly add to the dry ingredients. The dough will be on the stiff side. Knead 10 to 12 minutes. Add butter and work into the dough. The dough will go crazy and your hands will be greasy, but stay with it for another ten minutes and the dough will incorporate the butter and become extremely supple. knead for five more minutes. Shape into a nice ball, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise a half hour fold the dough over on itself and let rest for another half hour. The temperature should be approximately 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from the bowl and knead for about one minute. Shape into round or divide for loaf pans. Place into pans or Panettone paper. Preheat the oven to 370 degrees. When the loaves are light and fully risen transfer to the oven and bake 15 minutes until the top shows light browning. Reduce the heat to 350, rotate the loaves and tent with aluminum foil. Total baking time for 2 lb Panettone form is approximately 55 minutes. If in doubt check with a probe thermometer. Bread is done at approximately 200-210 degrees. For the loaf pans bake for 35 minutes using the turn and tent procedure.

As with all breads, hydration and bake times will vary. The advantage of making smaller loaves is a shorter bake time with less exterior browning. Feel free to increase the anise and orange zest to your liking.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Enlightened Taste: Aloo Bonda

Nita and Raj, our Indian cooking guides from Casa Italia in Sarasota Florida.

A plate of Aloo Bonda accompanied by Cilantro Chutney.

Enlightenment comes when you least expect it. It came to me recently in the form of taste. My guide, a lovely women named Nita, standing at the head of a stainless steel table, is conducting an Indian cooking class. Raj, her devoted assistant and husband, stands nearby watching over the simmering pots. We roll across the Indian landscape as she explains India’s exotic aroma and tastes. All this in the confines of an Italian market.

Nita and Raj own Casa Italia in Sarasota, they carry many classic Italian favorites including a special autumnal first pressing of olive oil called Picolo Molino. Once the oil is sold, there is no more until next year. Every Thursday, Nita prepares Indian meals and offers them “to go”. From what I have heard, people wait in line for a taste of her home made dishes.

In short, Nita’s classes follow a tradition in the history of Casa Italia. Italian cooking classes have long been a feature at the store, most recently taught by Gulliano Hazan, son of cookbook author Marcella Hazan. Nita teaches in a way that lifts the veil of mystery and intimidation, of Indian cuisine. My misconceptions of “exotic” washed away as the pleasure of bright fresh flavors filled my senses.

By the time the class is finished, doors to culinary thinking open for me, revealing new methods and flavors. Enlightenment is to awaken.

Nita has graciously allowed me to publish her taste bud awakening recipe for “Aloo Bonda” Savoury Potato Dumplings. Here it is.

Sometimes the potato dumplings come out looking like little sputniks. This was a favorite among the class.

Aloo Bonda (Savoury Potato Dumplings)
serves 4-6

1 lb potatoes
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 tsp amchoor powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbs finely chopped cilantro
1 tbs finely chopped jalapeño pepper
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 tbs finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tbs lemon juice

for the batter
1 cup gram flour (besan)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp baking powder
approx 1 cup water.

1. Boil the potatoes in their jackets until tender. Drain and let them cool. When cool, peel and coarsely mash them. Transfer to a wide bowl and add peas and all the dry spices, ginger, jalapño and lemon juice. Mix well, making sure all the spices are evenly distributed.

2. Make small balls, about 1 inch across, and keep in a plate. Cover with plastic wrap.

3 Sieve gram flour into a bowl and add salt, cayenne pepper and baking powder. Mix thoroughly. Now gradually add water to make a thick batter.

4. In a deep frying pan, heat enough oil to be about 2 inches deep. When hot, dip one potato ball at a time in the batter and carefully drop it in hot oil. Put enough balls to fill the pan in a single layer. Turn heat to medium and fry bondas till golden brown. Drain well and serve with cilantro chutney.

Cilantro Chutney:
serves 6
2 cups chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 fresh hot green chili or j jalapeño pepper
1 tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1–4 tbs water

1) Blend all ingredients in a food processor until you have a smooth paste. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
2) Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Note: all the spices here can be adjusted for personal preference. This recipe is lively and your mouth will wake up to the zing of spices.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Espresso Peanut Brittle For A Winter Afternoon

So often when a loved one departs, they take with them secret knowledge. When my father passed away along with him went the peanut brittle recipe. My niece, the last eye witness, claimed she saw him add Sanka brand decaffeinated coffee. Consequently the peanut brittle recipe has become the subject of family debate, no one is quite sure if the coffee was added or not. Now, I have an idea that coffee really was a part of dad’s recipe. Today Dieter made an espresso peanut brittle. Wondering about the mystery of the Sanka, he poured a fresh brewed cup of morning espresso into the recipe to see how it would taste. Of the three peanut brittle flavors he made today; plain, coconut and coffee, the coffee flavored was best.

Dieter’s Espresso Peanut Brittle:
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup fresh brewed espresso
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 cups roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
Combine sugar, corn syrup, salt, and espresso in 3 quart medium or heavy weight sauce pan. Cook and stir until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to boil. Add butter. Stir constantly until the recipe reaches 280 degrees. Add peanuts and continue to stir, the mixture will become thick, rapid stirring is essential, to prevent scorching. When the reaches 305 degrees, remove from heat and quickly stir in baking soda, mixing thoroughly. Immediately pour and spread with spoon onto two sheet pans lined with parchment. As the mixture cools, begin stretching by lifting and pulling from edges. Use a spatula to lift the edges. The mixture is hot! Cool and break it into pieces. Makes 2-1/2 pounds.

One of the recipes Dieter referenced was Jimmy Carter’s favorite peanut brittle from “The Peanut Cookbook”. I was delighted to see the cover illustration was done by Edward Gorey. Thank you Dorothy C. Frank for including this presidential gem. (Published by Clarkson N. Potter, Inc. / 1976)

Jimmy Carter’s favorite Peanut Brittle:
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup white corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 cups raw peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Boil the sugar, water, and syrup until it spins a thread. Add peanuts and stir continuously until syrup turns golden brown. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Stir until butter melts.

Pour up on two cookie sheets with sides. As mixture begins to harden around edges, pull until thin.

A recipe for peanut brittle is described alongside a discussion of the beginning of the menstrual period in this Lydia E. Pinkham's pamphlet from the late 1800’s.

Pamphlets like this one, provided useful recipes interspersed with product testimonials and recommendations, a useful booklet not likely to be thrown away. This advertising format seems have morphed into our current day infomercial. Lydia E. Pinkham's was a vegetable compound, “Blood Medicine” given for just about everything. Here it is suggested to help every month for weakness during menstrual periods. “Many a woman has suffered years of misery because as a girl she was allowed to sit around with wet feet, lift heavy articles, overwork and over study. If any girl at that time suffers from pain or other disturbances Lydia E.Pinkham's Vegetable Compound should be given.

We all know the benefit of veggies but believe me when I tell you a hefty dose of espresso peanut brittle will wash away your winter blues, amen!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

D I Y Coffee Roasting

Extreme DIY coffee roasters from Sweet Maria’s home coffee roasting supplies.

We pulled our old dusty coffee roaster out of storage with the intent of roasting our own coffee again after a couple of years of buying commercial coffee. After the first roast, I asked myself why did we ever stop home roasting? With the help of Sweet Maria’s and roasting our own beans, we are drinking coffee that puts all trendy wifi coffee houses to shame. We roasted a bag of green Ethiopian Organic DP Bonko “Black Sun” coffee beans. What a wonderful fruity flavor that I have not experienced in any commercially available coffee. Sweet Maria’s provides more information on green coffee beans and home roasting than anything imaginable. Plus it is a bonus to support fair trade and organic coffee growers.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Retro Anthropomorphic Valentines

Having tea and a happy hotdog are two things you should consider this Valentines day. Our anthropomorphic collection grows.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Atomic Coffee

We were at a friend's last night and spotted a strange looking object on top of the fridge. It is an espresso maker called the “Atomic”. He bought this in New York in the 1986 and paid an entire $120.00. Now that was pricey then. He said he used to take it camping all the time. He is a lucky guy. After looking around the internet, I found this coffee pot is much sought after and loved throughout the world. An updated version is going to be released out of Australia called the “Otto”priced at $595.00. Another Italian version is available called “La Sorrentina” designed in the late 1940's. This one is available for $450.00. Versions made cira 1940 of the “Atomic” are selling for up to $800.00. We love this coffee maker.