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You Say Dumpin’s, I Say Dumplings!

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By Gini Raineycookbook_junkie[1]

I’m sitting here this afternoon having a George Carlin moment – well, actually it’s lasted longer than a moment.  For those of you who might not know who George Carlin was, in my humble opinion the all-time champ of the oxymoron and euphonisms.  Some of my favorites of his were jumbo shrimp and non-dairy creamer.  So, I’m sitting here, leafing through the Austin, Texas Junior League Cookbook that was published in 1987 by Junior League Publications of Austin, and I’m looking at a lot of the recipes through Carlin eyes.  It’s a lovely 585 page cookbook, with one glaring omission, in my opinion, absolutely no photographs and no color.  It’s nice and neat, but I guess I’d really like to see some finished product.  In its defense, I will say there are a bazillion interesting recipes with plenty of helpful hints scattered throughout.

However, and here’s where the Carlin comes in, some of the recipe names are leaving me wondering “where did that come from?” or “why would you do that?”  For instance, Redeemer Bread, Never Fail Pie Shell (wanna bet?), Raspberry Carrots, Cinnamon Quickies, Fruited Pot Roast, and Celestial Potato Soup.  Then, I’m also left wondering about South of the Border temptationsLasagna that has a variation that includes chopped pecans and raisins, and instead of lasagna noodles the recipe calls for tortillas.  Why?  This recipe no more resembles lasagna than it does cheese cake, so why not give it a south of the border name?  Also, scattered throughout are several recipes that are classified as “A Collection Classic,” and I’m left wondering what makes it a classic.  This is not to say this is a bad cookbook, I guess this is just the reflection of the mood of someone who isn’t sure if she either didn’t shampoo her hair this morning in the shower or just didn’t rinse out the shampoo!

And, as a person who grew up with light and fluffy egg dumplings in my chicken and _______ , it’s still difficult for me to see a recipe, like the one in this book, that calls for dumplings made from strips of tortillas or even cut up refrigerator biscuits.  So, here’s one of my mom’s best recipes that I do believe we will be having for dinner.  She would boil a whole chicken, skin on, bones in, to make her broth, but I’m going to take the easy way out and use a 14.5 ounce can of chicken broth.  First I’m going to boil 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, along with a small, diced onion, a couple diced carrots, a couple diced celery ribs, a tablespoon of dried parsley flakes (or 3 tablespoons minced fresh) in enough water to cover, until done.  After the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut into small bite-size pieces.  Add a can of chicken broth and the chicken back into the reserved water and vegetables and bring to a boil.  Mix together ¾ cup flour and 1 cup water (use a plastic bowl with lid and shake like crazy) and gradually stir into the broth/chicken mix.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Reduce heat to a simmer.

Now, for the dumpin’s (as a friend of my calls them).  Break 3 eggs into a bowl and add about ¼ cup of water and whisk and stir into the eggs 1 ½ cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons baking powder until well blended.  Dipping a spoon in the broth each time, drop the batter by tablespoons into broth.  Cover and let cook for another 20 minutes, or until the dumpin’s are done.  Then enjoy – we just did!



A Good Pounding!


By Gini Rainey

Good grief, that’s exactly what I deserve.  I have been so over-whelmed with life in the past few months – okay, this year – that I have neglected to do what I love doing – writing!  So, apparently it took an email to our editor/publisher to get me off high center.  She forwarded this email to me on June 24th and it comes from an editor named Jess Miller who just happens to be associated with  Jen Reviews is the authority on everything food, fitness and home and has been featured in some mind-blowing (my mind, anyway!) publications such as Forbes, Fast Company, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Greatist, Reader’s Digest, MindBodyGreen, Livestrong, Bustle, Lifehacker, Wikihow, and oh my goodness, many many more. 

Jess email says “I was doing research on pound cake recipes and just finished reading your wonderful blog post: In that article, I noticed that you cited a solid post that I’ve read in the past:  We just published a delicious cranberry pound cake with orange glaze recipe complete with step-by-step pictures and detailed instructions. It is completely free and you can find it here:  If you like the recipe we’d be humbled if you cited us in your article.” 

The gauntlet was thrown and I tried it.  I baked it last night and it is yummy.  Of course, knowing me, you know I have to pull in a cookbook of some sort, and for those of you out there who don’t know where the name “Pound Cake” comes from, I pulled out my earliest reference that I have, which is a replica of “American Cookery” written by Amelia Simmons in 1796. It’s really interesting to leaf through this book and try to read some of the recipes.  It is actually a photocopy of the original and along with various spots and stains, the letter “f” is used in place of the letter “s.”  Originally, a pound cake called for one pound of sugar, one pound of butter, one pound of flour, one pound or ten eggs, one gill of rose water and spices to your taste. (Hence pound cake!) We are told to watch it well (remember – wood burning stoves/ovens back then) It will bake in a slow oven in 15 minutes. 

The recipe referred to by Jess is a bit different and perhaps produces a much lighter version than the 1796 version.  What you will need to do to make Jess’s recipe is to begin with a 350° pre-heated oven and a lightly greased and floured 12×4 inch loaf pan.  Then in a bowl, whisk together 1 ¾ cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt.  In another bowl, cream 9 ounces of softened butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon orange zest until light and fluffy.  Then slowly add in 4 eggs plus 2 yolks (at room temp), followed by 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar. Then alternating between the flour mixture and ¼ cup room temp milk, gradually add to the sugar/egg mixture.  Lightly dredge in flour 1 ¼ cups of washed and dried fresh cranberries (because fresh cranberries aren’t on the market at this time, I substituted rehydrated dried cranberries and I think they did well) and gently fold into the mixture.  Pour into the pan and bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  For the glaze, combine 2 cups of powdered sugar with 2 ½ tablespoons of fresh orange juice, and using a small spoon, drizzle over the completely cooled cake. 

This is one yummy cake – the unexpected tartness is a wonderful compliment to the buttery richness of the cake and would serve you well at a winter holiday meal – or even right now in the middle of the hot Texas summer along with a bowl of home-made ice cream! 

ben wheeler
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Smith’s Bar-B-Que Opens in Jacksonville

Smith’s Bar-B-Que had a great Ribbon Cutting on Friday, April 5. Smith’s Bar-B-Que is owned and operated by Gary Smith and has been in business for 11 years. They started in the Exxon parking lot but has now found a home at the Travis Towers parking lot at 558 S. Ragsdale. They serve ribs, brisket, sausage, pulled pork and their famous stuffed baked potato. You can also add beans, potato salad and peach cobbler. They also offer catering with no event being too big or too small. Gary Smith is a culinary school graduate, food service manager and the 1st to obtain his vendors permit from the City of Jacksonville. Hours are Friday and Saturday 11 am until…..

They are at 558 S. Ragsdale in Jacksonville, Texas and can be reached at 903.944.0036.

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Artists in the Kitchen


By Gini Rainey

I have many passions in my life, mostly leaning toward my right brain, but after working for over 25 years as a business manager/owner, my left brain seems to have shoved a lot of those passions to the side, but trust me – they’re still there!  So, when I come across a cookbook that has wonderful recipes that are paired up with amazing works of art from the National Gallery of Art, you can be sure this is one book I had to have. 

With notable chefs such as Julia Child, Jeremiah Tower and Alice Waters creating dishes and menus to compliment the art of Matisse, Pissaro, and Gauguin, to name a few, you can only imagine what a lovely and creative book this must be. 

While using paintings of the obvious subjects, such as Vollon’s Mound of Butter and Jean Simeon Chardin’s Still Life with Game for inspiration, I think the recipes that truly intrigue me are from the chefs who viewed such paintings as Raoul Dufy’s The Basket and Mary Cassatt’s Afternoon Tea Party, let their imaginations run wild and came up with what might have been in the basket or what Cassatt might served at her Tea Party. 

Pablo Picasso’s Le Gourmet was the inspiration for Nancy Silverton’s Butterscotch Sauce that would make a delicious topping for a bread pudding or a dish of Blue Bell’s Homemade Vanilla ice cream. To make the sauce, combine 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 ½ tablespoons light corn syrup, and 2 ½ tablespoons Scotch whisky in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, swirling the pan occasionally until the mixture just begins to smoke and turns an amber color.  Meanwhile, place 1 ¼ cup heavy (whipping) cream in another large saucepan, split a vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scrape its seeds into the and then add the pod.  Add 1 cup of butter and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and set aside until needed.

When the sugar mixture reaches the proper color, immediately stop its cooking by whisking in the cream mixture in small amounts, waiting a few seconds between additions to prevent it from boiling over.  Once all the cream mixture is incorporated, simmer the sauce for 5 minutes.  Whisk in ½ cup of butter until combined.  The sauce will keep for several weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  To reheat, place the sauce in a bowl over simmering water.  If desired, add some toasted pecans or add a dash of sea salt to taste, and wow, you have got something really yummy going on there. 



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