Not Grandma Mabel’s Recipe Box

I didn’t enter this contest hosted by the Mason-Dixon Knitting ladies, because the only recipe box in my life that would have qualified resides two hours away, with a niece.  It was my mom’s recipe box, a vintage, dented, 1950s deal in that sort of sick pink that was popular then, and it is full of classic delights, most of them containing bacon grease, undrained ground beef (sometimes both), and pounds o’ butter.  Better if that thing isn’t around here to give me ideas!

I do have my own recipe collection, though.  It’s sort of a mess, but better than it was when I kept in in a pile in a manila folder.  It’s this binder:

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Which opens to reveal tabs and pockets, thusly:

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As you can see, I alternate between slovenly stuffing of the pockets with stuff I rip from Bon Appetit (the baked penne recipe sticking up there is from 1994, and I still make it) and neatly writing out my own recipes or adaptations (the one you see on the right, nicely laminated, is my jambalaya recipe).  This is quite consistent with my slob/obsessive-compulsive dual persona.

Today I won’t be cooking anything from the binder, but I will be making a tried and true favorite adapted from His Mexican Cooking Highness, Mr. Bayless, from this book:

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As you can see, I’m a fan of the sticky note method of recipe remembrance.  I’m going to make a lentil salad today for a late afternoon football gathering involving other Mexican goodies (margaritas anyone?).  The salad is roughly based on Rick’s (yeah, I call him by his first name) base recipe for lentil cakes.  Here’s what I do:

Cook up 1/2 pound of brown lentils according to package directions.  I cook in some chicken stock instead of all water, plus a bay leaf.  I try to judge the amount of liquid right so that when the lentils are cooked through, there’s just a little cooking liquid left.  Enough to keep them from drying out entirely, but not enough so that they are soupy.

You can eat them this way, which is what my kids like, or you can make them into a salad.  Toss them with some chopped onion or garlic (Rick would have you roast and carmelize the aromatics – yummy but not necessary), chopped cilantro, and a simple dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. 

Oddly delectable and addictive.  If you’re a legume fan – I know some people are either not fans, or are freaked out by the notion of bean-y items.  Really, they are delicious, and very good for you.  Try!  Enjoy!

Coming up next:  The Bowl of Yarny Goodness and Other Knittin’ Stuff. 

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2 Comments

Filed under Cookery

2 responses to “Not Grandma Mabel’s Recipe Box

  1. I’m a big legume fan and I LOVE lentils!…. I’ll eat them nearly anyway they’re served, I’ve actually never seen a lentil dish I didn’t love…
    Bobby will eat them only because they’re put in front of him, he’ll eat most anything but I don’t think they’re a favourite of his….

  2. Mmmm. Your lentil salad recipe sounds very good. I may even have some cilantro in the rotter, err, vegetable drawer. So far, I’ve only made soups from various colors of lentils but your recipe may appear on my table this weekend. Thanks.

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