Monday, November 24, 2014

Granny 101: Homemade Gravy

I don't like to brag, (Okay, I totally like to brag.) but this granny is known far and wide for making really great sauces and gravies.  It's only fair, because I can't bake worth a darn.  (Don't report that to the Granny's Union, or they might try to take back my card.)

I'm just surprised at how many people claim they can't make good gravy, because honestly, it's not rocket surgery.  But if you are one of those people, let me show you how it's done.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Some Befores and a Whole Bunch of Afters

It's been quite a while since Granny posted anything about painting, but in fact, Granny has been painting like a mad fool!  That's because Granny was asked to contribute some painted objects to the Annual Church Christmas Bazaar.

Granny's church lady friends have been very busy this year assembling a motley collection of -- to be brutally honest -- some very ugly wooden things from garage sales (or maybe just their garages), from thrift stores, and who knows where else...

In other words, MY SPECIALTY!

Quite the bizarre mix, no pun intended!  (Oh, okay.  It was totally intended.)  But if there is anything that a bit of chalk paint and dark wax can't dress up, I haven't found it yet!  Allow me to illustrate:

It all began with a couple of pegged wooden shelves with heart cut-outs.   "Can you just paint these black?" they asked.  Well, no I can't.  But I can paint them Graphite.  And distress them with sandpaper.  And gloss them up with a 50/50 mixture of dark and clear wax...

Next they asked, "Could you do something with this old toy cradle?

How about this grungy sports memorabilia shelf?"

Yet another heart-cutout pegged shelf,

a shapely, little candle holder,         

and a box for what purpose no one knows.

A small wooden mirror,

and a nautical-themed clock just begging for a transformation!

And finally, a distressed, little hutch with yet more heart cutouts,  

and an old-fashioned coffee grinder.

To tie it all together, I whipped up a collection of chalk painted Christmas tree ornaments using the same colors as some of the larger pieces.

I'm proud to say my work was much appreciated, nicely displayed and...

I can't wait for next year!

Retro Fabulous Trio of Deviled Eggs

When I was a kid in the 1960's, no party or family gathering was considered complete without a big plate of halved, cooked egg whites filled in the center with a paste made from mashed egg yolks, jarred mayo and hot dog relish.  I said it then, and I still say it today:    BLECCHH!

Fast forward a few (okay, more than a few) decades, and Deviled Eggs seem to be making a comeback of sorts.  I have seen them on the menu of many a chic, innovative, fine-dining restaurant, but today's Deviled Eggs have nothing in common with the mid-century monstrosities my mama used to make.  (And to that I say glory hallelujah!  Sorry, ma'am, but it's time someone told you.)

Today's deviled eggs come in dozens of delicious varieties, using any number of inventive modern ingredients, but no matter which direction you want to go, It all starts with perfect hard-boiled eggs.

Here's a fun fact:  stuffed eggs have been around forever, but the term "deviled" came into use in the 18th century when eggs were most often stuffed with mustard, pepper and other zesty ingredients.  The resulting spiciness was considered devilishly delicious.  Now you know.

To make one dozen each of my trio of deviled eggs you need 18 large hard-boiled eggs -- cooled, peeled, and sliced in half lengthwise.  Remove the egg yolks and divide them evenly into three small mixing bowls, six whole yolks per bowl.  Mash the egg yolks, and then add in the following ingredients to mix together three different fillings:

Filling #1
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon of citrus vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard,
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried dill weed
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt

Filling #2
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce
  • 1/4 cup of softened butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt

Filling #3
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tablespoon of finely minced green onion
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon of finely minced fresh parsley
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt

Spoon each of the fillings into a piping bag with a star tip, and pipe evenly into the center of 12 hard boiled egg white halves.  (If you don't want to bother with a piping bag, just spoon it in.  It's all good.)

Before arranging the filled egg halves onto a serving plate, you will want to garnish each flavor to differentiate one from the other (and also to make your dish look pretty.)  I like using a sprinkle of paprika on #1, a tiny spoonful of minced sweet gherkins on #2, and a slice of black or green olive on #3.

And then stand back and watch these things get eaten up like it's 1965.  Some things never go out of style.

Perfect Hard-boiled Eggs

We like hard-boiled eggs.  They are the basis for one of my family's favorite retro recipes:  a Trio of Deviled Eggs.

Sliced, they are one of my favorite ingredients to jazz up a simple dinner salad.  Blended, they can be used to thicken up a runny salad dressing.  Overcooked, they develop an ugly green ring around the yolk...

..and though it is harmless, it is also to be avoided.  So let me tell you how.