A good book for when you are resting from all that cooking and getting the house ready for the holidays.
Since we have been living our 1943 one year history project I have finally learned to settle my brain down so I can read a book. I have never in my life been able to concentrate to read a book until now.
My new book is called A Basket Brigade Christmas by Judith Miller, Nancy Moser and Stephanie Grace Whitson.
It is Inspired by the true story of the Basket Brigade Women of Decatur, Illinois.
It is when the country was embroiled in civil war and the year was 1862.
There has been much to do around the house and we just finished with Thanksgiving and moving on to the Christmas season.
For Thanksgiving I had to save up on butter to be able to bake our traditional pound cake and pecan pie. I normally bake other pies and cakes but this year with the 1943 shortage of butter I was lucky to stretch it to make what I did. To save on butter I made a 1940s sweet potato cake. The one pictured above in the middle with powdered sugar.
We did not have turkey this year because in 1943 things were more simple with the war going on. We had baked chicken and I mixed up our traditional cornbread dressing.
We had mustard greens, cranberry sauce, cooked squash and onions and peas. It was a feast.
I made a butter pie crust for the pecan pie
Save the extra pie crust for a tart. Just put in the refrigerator or freezer if you can't get to it right away.
The pound cake took the most ingredients since it requires many eggs and butter but it sure was good.
Two days after Thanksgiving was over we made potato pancakes with the leftover mashed potatoes. My husband likes to cook too and awhile back he wanted me to show him how to make the potato pancakes and now he can do it with ease.
Since I cannot post all of the recipes right now I will just tell you how to make a few things. For the potato pancakes, if you have about a cup or two of leftover potatoes just add 2 eggs, 3 tablespoons flour, chopped onion, however much onion you like, we used 3 spring onions because we had some to use up and if needed you can thin it down a bit with a bit of milk. But saying this, the batter should be thicker than pancake batter but thin enough so that it will cook in the middle. Don't use milk if the egg was enough to thin it down. Just cook them as you would pancakes in an oiled skillet. Do not fry them in oil, just rub a little oil in the pan. This is a good way to use up your left over potatoes.
With the extra broth and leftover chicken I made chicken and dumplings.
I did not take pictures before we ate but there was a little left over that I put in a dish. This was simple drop dumplings. My Father was from up north and my Mother from down south so the dumplings I made was the type my Father liked to eat.
All I do is make a biscuit dough but just a bit thicker and drop a heaping tablespoon into bubbling broth and not stir it or anything just don't let it boil over and cook it on low for about 20 minutes with a cover on the pot. There is a biscuit recipe on my website under cooking from scratch. Just don't use as much buttermilk so it will be thicker.
The Sweet Potato cake
Boil one or two sweet potato with skins on until you can pierce a thin knife through the sweet potato.
Remove the skins then mash and remove one cup of the mashed sweet potatoes to use for the cake. So it reads, 1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
Place potatoes in a mixing bowl and let them cool down
Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees
Then add 4 tablespoons softened butter, 2/3 cup of sugar, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, just under 1/8 teaspoon cloves or use a pinch of cloves and 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger or a pinch, 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Beat the butter spice mixture then add two eggs, one at a time, and beat again. Put 1 and 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons baking powder in a bowl and with a fork mix together then add slowly to the wet mixture and beat again.
Butter or oil a 8 x 8 inch baking pan, I like to use pyrex but any type of baking pan will do. Pour the batter and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes.
When the cake is cool sprinkle powdered sugar over the cake.
There are some good books with ww2 recipes. There is a version of this cake, mine is just a little bit different, in a book called Grandma's Wartime Baking Book. It has many old fashioned recipes that were cooked during WWII which used less oil, sugar and butter.
It is a very good book and would recommend it if you are interested in old fashioned cooking or cooking during the early 1940s. It has many good recipes. I purchased it to find a good red velvet cake for Christmas so I could stay in the 1940s theme.