Friday, December 2, 2011

Grandma Lee's Apricot Kugel Recipe

This is my grandmother's kugel recipe. She was very pleased when I asked for it years ago- as I was hosting my first Seder and wanted to wow my mostly non- Jewish friends. They were thrilled with the kugel, and miffed by the frozen Boca Burger on the Seder plate. I was vegetarian at the time and would not visit a butcher for a shank bone.
It has been on the menu for nearly every event since. Requested for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's brunch, Ides of March brunch (togas optional), April Fool's brunch, and so many other festive, food centered events.
I'm probably breaking some sort of unwritten code for good granddaughters by posting this recipe, but you'll thank me.

What is kugel?
For the uninitiated, it's a slightly sweet, dairy laden noodle pudding. Now stop drooling.

16 oz package medium egg noodles, cooked
6 oz Philadelphia cream cheese (Grandma specified! A block is 8 oz- feel free to use the entire thing. I do.)
6 eggs
1- 1/2 sticks of meted butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups milk
2 cans of apricot halves, drained (I buy the ones in fruit juice)
1 can (at least 12 oz, 16 is better) of apricot nectar (in a pinch, peach nectar can be used- it's usually easier to find)

Optional topping ingredients: (I forgo this step because the kugel doesn't need it. Though tasty either way.)
3 cups crushed corn flakes
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 stick melted butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
mix together and set aside

Grease a large casserole dish- using the empty butter wrappers works perfectly.
Put cooked and drained egg noodles in buttered casserole, pour and stir in melted butter.
Cream the cream cheese with the sugar.
Add the beaten eggs and thoroughly mix together.
Add the milk and apricot nectar to the mix, pour over buttered egg noodles.
Arrange the apricot halves on the top.
Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon, or the corn flake crack mixture, or both.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for at least 1 hour, up to 90 minutes or so- based on the shape of your dish.
If given a gentle shake, the pudding should be set. The top will brown slightly.

Honestly, it's the perfect comfort food. Chock- full of carbohydrates and fatty dairy, with a pleasant fruit flavor. Wonderful with turkey, garlic confit brisket, pot roast, even pork roast. Not to mention at any temperature as leftovers...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Signage Now!

This past Friday was the 48th Annual Delaware Antiques show, so I decided to play hooky and peruse pieces I had no intention of buying.
Once I stopped drooling on the Deco jewelry - and that took quite a while - I explored the other booths.
Many of my favorite finds of the day were antique and salvaged signs. Of course, I'm at the "I don't need more furniture, but wouldn't mind more artwork." stage of decorating my 1961 ranch house. At least until that next piece of Mid- Century furniture is unearthed...
Some of the dealers looked like they'd strangle you if you attempted photography. At other booths, the lighting was less than helpful.
Enough blathering. Signage now!

 Yeah, it's a mirrored sign. That I could look at every single day.

 Subtle Deco Era perfection. This would look amazing in my kitchen.

 With this sign hanging immediately below it.

 The eye is eerily beautiful. And "At Dinner" just rocks.

 This screams "loo" to me, but could work in any room.

 Some charming smalls.

 Maybe over a kitchen window? Not too near the Deco GIN sign, obviously.

 A bit rustic for my taste, but still lovely.

 The one sign that took my breath away. This would look amazing hanging over the bar cart in my dining room. At $900, I will keep looking for the perfect piece of art.

A rather large glass sided display box. For storing stuff. And things.

So. Pleasing.

As an aside, it took me less than a week to get this post written and posted. Which might be some kind of record. Granted, it's my first blog post in over 3 weeks. I blame the cuteness of George and Vlad.

See? It's insanely hard to concentrate on anything else.
Enjoy the rest of your week!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Nice, um, joystick. SEGA!

By now, you've grown used to my obsession with retro and vintage print ads with, shall we say, questionable copy and/ or imagery.
Even I was shocked into momentary silence when reading the copy on these two SEGA adverts.
Without further ado...

Here's to an enjoyable weekend, no matter how you choose to spend it.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The September News Round- Up

It's been a lengthy 25 days since my last post.

I'm a year older.

My kitten, Captain Vladimir Sparklypants, is 11 ounces heavier- now a whopping 3 lbs., 15 oz. of danger!

I can't wait for temperatures to start cooling off.

 Some guy will look awesome in these CRAZY wool plaid bell bottoms, with cuffed hems. 37" waist, 32" inseam, with a 2.25" cuff and 1.5" hem so there is room for lengthening if needed. Did I mention 24" belled leg openings? Coming soon...

 Not to mention these custom- made burgundy leather Cowboy- style boots, circa 1970s. I can attest, they are about a modern US Women's 7 1/2 B, as they fit me perfectly. I do have the willpower to list these for sale. I do have the willpower to list these for sale.

Coca- Cola fans are in for a real treat! I've recently unearthed a handful of vintage trays, the earliest one dates to 1921. Shown above is a selection with winter scene (because I miss snow and long to wear outerwear) from 1941. I have a bit of artist research to do, but these trays will also be listing soon.

I've also changed my shop avatars. Mr. McMoosey is still a beloved part of my office and will be dressed up seasonally. Sometimes inflatable deer heads simply need some time off. Keeping with the deer theme- with a found antler and copper pipe fitting, which will be seen in photos of hanging items in the near future.

So as not to spoil you with too much info all at once, that's all for now. Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Earthquakes, Hurricanes and Updates, oh my!

Hello everyone!
It's been a whirlwind (no pun intended) couple of weeks since my last blog post.
I live in Maryland, and on 8/23, there was a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in nearby Virginia, which was felt as far away as parts of Canada. I'm an east coast gal, so the first (smaller) one had me thinking there were jets overhead. I went outside and saw nothing- about then my brainwaves computed "earthquake". I got back inside and the second, much larger and longer quake hit.
No damage here and very little in the larger metropolitan areas nearby. I must say, it was kind of cool.
Do I want to experience an earthquake everyday? Absolutely not. Do I realize they can cause catastrophic damage. Hell yes.

Mother nature wasn't done yet- Hurricane Irene ripped up the coast and left us drenched throughout most of the weekend. While most of the rain and high winds were gone by Sunday morning, so was the power. Luckily, it was out for about 12 hours total. Not so lucky? Comcast services being down for 5 days. I was without Internet, phone or cable until late Wednesday afternoon (and going slightly crazy not being able to work). Once everything was restored, responding to inquiries and updating the shops was the first item of business.

So what's on the plate for this week? I'm starting to get Fall items online.
Like this incredible 1940s wool suit.

And this amazing 1960s cheetah print trench coat.

For the guys, this MOD geometric belt will update any look (and hold up your pants).

It's not a big secret, this short sleeved wool flannel, circa 1950s, is AWESOME!

I've been a bit neglectful of ObjectRetro of late- but this orange task lamp more than makes up for it.

My birthday is later this week, so there might be more photos of this years' version of my favorite birthday cake. And, for those paying attention on Facebook and Twitter, there might be a special gift for you. Because I'm generous. It won't be any of my cake, though, becasue sharing is not my forte.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Like Buttah!

Butter dish from worldvintage.

I love butter. (Um, who doesn't?) And there are some fabulous brands on the market. Homemade butter is a personal favorite, with it's softer flavor and texture. A lower melting point and extra creaminess? Yes, please!
Did you know you can easily make butter at home? Here's how:*

 Pour heavy cream (preferably organic) into a bowl, cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let ripen on the counter for 6+ hours.

 Use a metal whisk and whisk by hand, past the whipped cream stage. No need to aerate, just stir rapidly.

 The butterfat will begin to clump, leaving buttermilk behind.

 Strain through cheesecloth and a strainer; buttermilk will drain through into a bowl below.

 Pick up butter within the cheesecloth and squeeze out any excess buttermilk.

 Rinse under cool water, let drain.

 Clean (or switch) bowl, remove butter from cheesecloth. At this point, you can add salt for salted butter, or a mix of herbs for a compound butter.

 Transfer to wax paper, form into a log and roll up.

 Allow to chill in the fridge. 4 cups of heavy cream will yield nearly 1 lb. of butter, plus about 1- 1/2 cups of buttermilk.

With this batch of leftover buttermilk, I marinated chicken for frying. A buttermilk cake recipe was tempting, as were biscuts.
How will you enjoy your homemade butter?
What will you do with the leftover buttermilk?

*This post was written for my new column on the Vintage Market Team blog (and will post there tomorrow), but everyone loves butter so it's posting here too.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Stocking the bar- Your vintage home

Reposted from my columnn for The Vintage Market Team.

Drum roll please... Introducing our newest column!
Each week, we'll offer one of the following:
-a classic cocktail recipe
-tips for entertaining
-recipes for seasonal or holiday dishes
-scary retro foods and the creative cookbooks that inspired them
-simple recipes that will make you seem like the perfect homemaker

Since it's always 5 pm somewhere, let's start with bar basics- a list of ingredients that should be on hand at any home bar.

Gin, Vodka, Brandy, Whiskey, Rum, Tequila, Vermouth (both dry and sweet), Liqueurs, Fruit brandies

Tonic, Diet Tonic, Bitter lemon, Ginger Ale, Seven-Up, Cola, Mineral water (still and sparkling), Soda water/ Seltzer

Lemon juice is a MUST!, Freshly squeezed orange juice, Grapefruit juice, Lime juice (Rose's), Tropical juices (mango, passion fruit, etc.), Pineapple juice (unsweetened), Tomato juice (I prefer Spicy V8)

Other basics:
Fruit syrups, Assorted fruit (lemons, limes, oranges, cherries), Super fine sugar, Sugar cubes

Have the ingredients and skill set? The finishing touch is proper bar ware. And by proper, I mean vintage.

These striped glasses from jenscloset are perfect for swank cocktails!

DoNotDestroy has this set of low balls, ready for any "on the rocks" beverage.

Drink like your favorite fictional ad exec with these roly- poly glasses from ObjectRetro.

Liven things up with this pristine set of high ball glasses from hazelhome!

This frosted set from CheekyVintageCloset will get any soiree started.

Still feeling flustered? Get the tools AND tricks with this set from collectique.

Until next week... Here's a hint- We'll be making BUTTER! XOXO, retrotrend

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cocktails and kittens

Last weekend was a whirlwind of activity. A friend's birthday was celebrated in style at Columbia Room, followed by what might have been the perfect dinner at Ben's Chili Bowl.
My new kitten arrived from Allentown, PA., along with her nearly identical sister, who I watched for the weekend while her new owner was at the beach.
I'll show you my weekend in photos instead of blathering on. All photos from the bar are unintentionally artsy as no flashes are allowed.

 We started with cucumber infused water and a cool towel. Our first cocktail was based on a turn of the century recipe- lemon bitters, gin and cane sugar punch- very refreshing.

 The second drink of the evening was a blackberry crumble, with bourbon, house made blackberry syrup, hand crushed ice, mint, and blackberries, finished with a dusting of powdered sugar. You can see part of our hostess, the lovely Katie, spanking the mint in the background.

 The finished product.

 For your third beverage, you can ask for something specific, or tell your host what flavors you like. I'm a huge gin snob and love a more bitter flavor. My ingredients are shown above (absinthe not shown).

 And my hand crafted cocktail- Oxley cold distilled gin, Americano (slightly bitter, herbed fortified wine), Cointreau, a bit of absinthe (which I normally hate) and a cherry, shaken with hand crushed ice and strained into a Josephine glass. Another thing to adore about Columbia Room? They make many of their ingredients and use lots of vintage glassware.

 Yes, I ate both chili dogs. With cheese, onions and hot sauce. And very little else the rest of the weekend. I've been eating at Ben's for a really long time (originally as a vegetarian eating veggie chili over fries after indie rock shows in the early 1990s) and it seems to somehow- impossibly- improve with every visit. Can't wait to go back!

Introducing Captain Vladimir Sparklypants, or Vlad for short. She weighed 2 lbs. a week ago and is as sweet as can be. Now between 7- 8 weeks old, and starting to investigate the house on her own. Monkey!