sweet and sour cabbage

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Recipe

Your tastebuds will dance a sweet and savory tango induced by the dynamic pairing of brown sugar and bacon – both wrapped in a blankety “zing” of vinegar and a sprinkling of caraway seed.

Indeed, cabbage has a bad rap. Why, the lips seem to curl at the very mention of its name! And while cabbage made a lot of appearances at depression era tables, there are some quite redeeming qualities of cabbage including protecting against stress, lowering the risk of diabetes and heart disease, and helping create a healthier complexion. I’m in!

the cabbage craze

Perhaps the biggest cabbage morale booster started in the 1970s. This was the golden era where the origins of the Cabbage Patch Kids kingdom was born. During this time I was preoccupied with skateboarding or patiently staring at the fruitless gems never born by my rock tumbler. Simultaneously a multi-billion dollar business was emerging thanks to the help of “Bunnybees” sprinkling magic dust on top of cabbages. Hey, don’t make fun of the messenger!

While your sweet and sour cabbage is chilling in the fridge you can enjoy the earliest Cabbage Patch Kids video I could locate (below) plus a video revealing the lesser-known story behind the pudgy dolls.

foodie tips

  Dressing tip: We didn’t notice the dressing turning clear per the instructions below; just make sure you don’t overcook it; in 3-4 minutes ours was done.

  This dish is best consumed the same day it’s made; the chopped cabbage will gradually lose its crisp the longer it sits.

  Love sweet and sour? Celebrate the flavorful ying and yang by clicking here for more of Mom’s recipes!

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Close Up

A Cool, Star-Like Design, Compliments Of Cabbage

i. ingredients (per serving)

6 slices | bacon
3 tablespoons | bacon drippings, reserved from bacon (above)
2 tablespoons | white onion, chopped
½ cup | brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon | corn starch
1 teaspoon | salt
¼ cup | water
⅓ cup | vinegar
6 cups | red cabbage, shredded
1 teaspoon | caraway seeds

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Caraway Seeds

A Caraway Seed Close Up

ii. what to do

1. Cook the bacon until crisp. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings in the skillet then drain the excess. Cool then crumble the bacon and set it aside while we prepare our dressing.

2. To the drippings add the onion, brown sugar, corn starch, salt, water, and the vinegar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and clear. Remove the dressing from heat and cool.

3. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, caraway seeds. Add the crumbled bacon and the cooled dressing. Toss well and chill.

Yields 6 1-cup servings! I paired my cabbage with a nice home-grilled cheeseburger, which complimented the sweet and savory cabbage perfectly!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

A Sweet and Sour Cabbage Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Sweet and Sour Cabbage Recipe (note the back – Woman’s Day Magazine!)

And here are the videos I promised!


eggplant parmigiana

An Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Aubergine Supreme

Found on the same page of Mom’s cookbook as this savory pepper steak recipe is this eggplant parmigiana recipe.

We Americans often shorten words down to make them easier to pronounce:

    • When referring to cheese, “Parmigiana” (Italian origin) is shortened to simply “Parmesan”. But somehow saying “parmigiana” just makes anything made with it sound fancier … and tastier.
    • “Aubergine” (British English) is known as “Eggplant” this side of the big pond <– I’m pointing to Texas. I’d rather refer to my walls being the color of aubergine than eggplant. Any day, hands down.
    • Shaking My HeadWhen in Italy “Rome” is “Roma,” “Naples” is “Napoli” and “Florence” is Firenze.” On my first trip to Italy in 2006 I had a full on adult melt-down in the Naples train station when I thought we couldn’t purchase a ticket to Florence … only to discover a few minutes later that Firenze and Florence were the same city. Finger to forehead! Still shaking my head to this day.

While I’ve spent much of my recent adult life researching and traveling Italy, I look for ways to incorporate the Italian romance language into my everyday life as often as I can, so while the use of “eggplant parmigiana” would appear to be on the decline according to Google Ngram Viewer, I can assure you this dish will be making a repeat appearance in my kitchen … and more importantly in my belly. :)

This dish hails from southern Italy’s regions of Campania and Sicily. Layers of cheese and tomato sauce? Count me IN!

foodie tips ~

❤  While the debate over whether to salt (sweat) or not salt your eggplant rolls on, this recipe doesn’t call for it. Once your eggplant is layered between tomato and cheese, even the discriminating pallet shouldn’t notice any eggplant bitterness.

❤  Love eggplant? Check out more of Mom’s recipes here at Betty’s Cook Nook using the nav at left!

i. ingredients

2 tablespoons | unsalted butter (Falfurrias brand butter, per Betty’s Mom “Nanny” – she is my grandmother)
½ cup | onion, chopped
1 clove | garlic, crushed
1 pound | ground beef chuck
1 can (~1 pound 1 ounce) | Italian-style tomatoes, undrained
6 ounce can | tomato paste
2 teaspoons | dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon | dried basil leaves
1 ½ teaspoons | salt
¼ teaspoon | pepper
1 cup | water
1 tablespoon | brown sugar
1 large | eggplant (about 1 pound in size)
| cage free eggs, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon | water
½ cup | dried bread crumbs
1 ¼ cups | parmesan cheese, grated
¼ cup | salad oil (vegetable oil)
8 ounces | mozzarella cheese, grated

ii. what to do

1. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Sauté the onion, garlic and beef chuck until the meat is no longer red (about 5 minutes).

2. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, brown sugar and the water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes.

3. Let’s get the oven preheating to 350°F. Lightly grease a 13″ x 9″ baking dish and set aside.

4. Wash the eggplant and leave the peel on. Cut the eggplant crosswise into slices about ½” thick and set aside.

5. In a pie plate, combine the eggs and 1 tablespoon more water; mix well.

6. Are you ready to bread? On a sheet of waxed paper, combine the bread crumbs with ½ cup of the parmesan cheese and mix well. Dip the eggplant slices into the egg mixture and coat well. Then dip into the breadcrumb mixture, coating evenly.

7. In a new pan sauté the eggplant slices a few at a time in 1 tablespoon of hot oil until golden brown and crisp on both sides. Add more oil as needed.

8. Arrange half of the eggplant slices in the bottom of the prepared dish. Sprinkle with half of the remaining parmesan cheese. Top each slice with half of the mozzarella cheese; cover with half of the tomato sauce.

9. Arrange the remaining eggplant slices over the tomato sauce. Cover with the rest of the parmesan, and the tomato sauce.

10. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes. Arrange the remaining mozzarella over the top; bake 20 minute longer, or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Yields 6 servings

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A scan of Mom’s original recipe clipping.


texas praline cake

A Texas Praline Cake Recipe from Betty's Cook Nook

Texas Praline Cake (before it’s frosted)


Texas : It’s A State Of Mind

Growing up in Texas I had no clue the true passion folks have for our country state. Nowadays it seems like most everything comes in the shape of Texas these days.

Blocks of cheese. Stepping stones. Sunglasses. Pencils. Coasters. Coffee Tables. Swimming pools. In the kitchen some of my most prized possessions include a Texas-shaped cutting board, ice cube trays, pasta, cookie cutters, a hamburger press and my very, very special Texas waffle maker. I’m not kidding!

A Texas Shaped Waffle

My Very Own Chocolate Chip Pecan Waffle. Mine! Mine! Mine!
PS ~ I just ate the Texas Panhandle!

For this recipe, when I saw “Texas” in the name I instinctively knew what I had to do – cut the cake into my favorite shape.

But sadly, when I realized this cake is actually made from a bundt pan (not a sheet cake), I decided to spare you all my creative talents attempting to “Tex-afy” this dish.

foodie tips ~

  If this were “fight club” turned “cooking club” the 1st rule of cooking club would be to clearly list all ingredients in your ingredients list! This is not the first time I skimmed a recipe (below), rushed to the store to fill-in my ingredient holes then when making the dish I discover that there were more ingredients buried deep, deep down in the recipe’s body copy. [ insert angry face here ]. This is my own fault of course and I hopefully will remember to read recipes from A-to-Z next time. Just note that I included all ingredients below – including those for the Whipped Cream Imperial – to make it easy for you to have the ingredient essentials at the ready. [ insert happy face here ].

A Texas Praline Cake Recipe from Betty's Cook Nook  Instant coffee granules? Me, either. But surprisingly they worked magic in this dish. What else am I missing here? Coffee granule brownies? Instant coffee toffee (if only)? Chili con carne con coffee? That’s just wrong.

i. ingredients

for the cake

2 sticks (1 cup) | butter, softened (my Grandmother Nanny insisted on Falfurrias brand butter)
1 cup | Imperial brand brown sugar
½ cup | Imperial brand granulated sugar
| cage free eggs
1 ½ teaspoons | vanilla
1 ½ cups | water
1 tablespoon | instant coffee granules (this is not a typo)
4 cups | all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon | cocoa powder
5 teaspoons | baking powder
1 teaspoon | salt
1 cup | pecans, coarsely chopped

for the cream topping

1 cup | heavy cream
⅛ teaspoon | salt
½ teaspoon | vanilla
½ cup | Imperial brand brown sugar, sieved (sifted or strained)

ii. what to do

0. Heat It Up: Preheat oven to 350°F.

1. Make Dough: In a large mixing bowl using low speed, cream butter with the brown and white sugars until well combined. On high speed, add the eggs and cream them about five minutes. Add the vanilla, water and coffee granules and mix on low speed just to combine. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Add the dry mix to the wet mix on low speed just until all ingredients are well combined. Stir in the pecans by hand.

3. To Bake: Pour the dough into a 10″ tube pan that’s been greased on the bottom only. Bake in preheated oven about 55 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool your cake in the pan on a metal/wood cooling rack.

4. To Frost: To make the “Whipped Cream Imperial” topping combine by hand the four topping ingredients above (heavy cream, salt, vanilla and brown sugar). Chill the frosting mixture for 1 hour in the fridge. Beat with a chilled beater until stiff.

Serves: 12 or more slices of Texas Praline Cake

I hope you enjoy this recipe!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

PS ~ If you’re still reading this recipe you may be wondering why I didn’t include a picture of the cake frosted. Well, me and my gas oven are at odds these days and I think the thermostat is shot and my cake was over-cooked. It still had a good flavor but it was dry so I didn’t frost the cake. This is my second fail proving to me that creating kitchen masterpieces is not as easy as it sounds – especially when your oven hates you. My first fail? These red candy apples. Just looking at a picture of them makes my stomach sad.

A Texas Praline Cake Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Recipe

 


pineapple cookies

A Pineapple Cookie Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook
Fabulously Fruity

I had never heard of a pineapple cookie before but when Joe found this recipe in Mom’s cookbook I was excited; we had all the ingredients in our kitchen meaning treat consumption was near. We just needed to get the featured ingredient – the pineapple.

A quick trip to the store and back we started cookie production … Lah de dah … I was following the recipe and noticed that it ended at the bottom of the page Mom tore out of a magazine and there was no continuation of the recipe – no extra page! Click here to hear the sound in my head when I realized the recipe was incomplete!

I scoured the front and back of the page (below) containing the recipe and noticed a small callout for folks to send their old-fashioned family recipes to “Southern Living” – and if their recipe was used they would receive $5/each. Note to self: Southern Living. I also noticed a Lemon Jell-O Peachy Cream Salad recipe with a copyright of 1979. Note to self: 1979. With these two data nuggets I should have been lucky enough to find the recipe but the interwebs did not produce; I couldn’t find any record of the recipe – not even on SouthernLiving.comBut I found this one, which helped me interpret and fill-in the gaps.

Pineapple is one of my most favorite fruits of all. I hope you give this recipe a whirl!

foodie tips ~

Morton Iodized Salt ~ When It Rains It Pours

 I added the nuts. “Nuts” is an abbreviation for Texas Pecans, y’all.

I read several online complaints about cookies like these being soggy and wet. Follow these instructions! Make sure and DRAIN the pineapple. I had no problems with soggy cookies!

 I recently purchased a cookie scoop which makes forming cookies a snap. Give it a squeeze and see!

 I’m confident iodized salt was used back in the day. Today I’m a salt lover and have five salt varieties in my kitchen. I used a kosher salt for these cookies and was treated to a little kick of salt in-between the pineapple nuggets. I liked.

i. ingredients

1 ¾ cups | all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon | soda
¼ teaspoon | baking powder
¼ teaspoon | salt
½ cup | brown sugar, firmly packed
½ cup | sugar
½ cup | shortening
1 | cage free egg
1 teaspoon | vanilla extract
½ cup | crushed pineapple, drained
½ cup | chopped nuts (these are not optional says me)

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 375°F.

1. Combine flour, soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.

2. Combine sugars and shortening in a large mixing bowl (I used my Kitchen Aid); cream until light and … [ here’s where I pick up with the rest of the instructions ] … chunky.

3. Beat egg and vanilla into creamed mixture.

4. By hand stir-in the pineapple and nuts.

5. Fold-in half of the dry ingredients from step 1 above into the creamy mixture. Hand mix until well blended. Add/mix/blend the last half of dry ingredients.

6. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of the cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet.

7. Bake until light golden brown, about 12-15 minutes. If the first tray turns out a bit crispy, reduce the baking time on the next go.

Yields: About 24 cookies

A Scan Of Mom's Pineapple Cookies Recipe From A 1979 Issue Of Southern Living


bbq baked pork chops

A BBQ Baked Pork Chop recipe from Betty's Cook Nook

Pork. The Other White Meat.

I did some research and found out that “The Other White Meat” campaign debuted in 1987 – the same year Mom died and after she would have cooked this dish in the kitchen. So I guess you could call Mom a pork visionary. :)

Pork. The other white meat.I learned that this ad campaign has been one of the top 5 most memorable promotional taglines in the history of contemporary advertising. I can promise you that as an ad guy, that’s a huge accomplishment.

So lean meat and tagline aside, Mom was making pork in the Kiker kitchen and she was throwing fat into the mix … pre Paula Dean. I can see why – this bbq pork chop recipe holds its own, with or without bones.

This dish was so tender I could actually cut my chop with a fork. Well worth the wait coming out of the oven. Enjoy!

i. ingredients

4 | pork chops (Mom would have used chops with bones)
to season | fat for skillet
⅓ cup | celery, diced
½ | lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons | brown sugar
½ teaspoon | salt
½ teaspoon | mustard
⅛ teaspoon | black pepper (I added more)
2 cans | hunt’s tomato sauce
½ cup | water

Barbecue Baked Pork Chops From Betty's Cook Nook

The Pork Chops Are About To Go Into The Oven

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 350°F.

1. Brown the pork chops in the fat.

2. Transfer chops to a shallow greased baking dish that has a cover.

3. Sprinkle chops with celery, lemon juice, brown sugar and the seasonings. Pour tomato sauce and water over the chops.

4. Cover and bake in oven 75 minutes or until chops are tender.

Yields: 4 Servings

foodie tip ~

 You’ll have leftover sauce from this recipe. Make good use of it on pasta or as a dip for grilled veggies.

Here’s a scan of Mom’s original recipe:

A scan of Mom's original BBQ Baked Pork Chop recipe card

Barbecue Baked Pork Chops From Betty's Cook Nook

Plated and ready to eat!
Chef’s Note: On the side is the tasty Blue Cheese and Bacon Twice Baked Potato. The recipe is also here at BCN!

 


sweet and sour grapes

so sweet... so sour... so easy to make!You’ll Go “Ape” For These Grapes

There are only a handful of recipes that I can recall from childhood memory. You’re looking at one of them.

You may at first grimace at the idea of sour cream with grapes… but the sweet and sour taste was one of the earliest I can remember and topped with brown sugar, it was very easy to get me to eat them!

I remember mom serving this grape salad in her white Pfaltzgraff Heritage style custard cups. I’ve still kept her dinnerware all these years as the simple style withstands the test of time.

You can serve this as a side to the main course, but I think this is best enjoyed as a dismount from the table ~ a dessert!

i. ingredients

1 pound | washed green grapes, chilled
8 ounces | sour cream
½ teaspoon | vanilla
1 cup | brown sugar
optional ~ ½ cup | texas pecans, chopped

ii. what to do

1. In a large mixing bowl, mix the sour cream and vanilla until well blended.

2. Gently fold-in the grapes and coat well.

3. Transfer the grape mixture into individual-sized serving cups or onto a wide and flat serving platter (for folks to serve themselves).

4. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top… and the pecans, if desired. Try and ensure you get the brown sugar on top of the grapes (merely blending the sugar into the mixture will cause the sugar to dissolve).

Makes A Great Summer Treat

Foodie Tips ~

♥ Make sure and serve this treat chilled.

 You can double the recipe depending on how many folks you’re serving.

 As a young study, I don’t quite remember the pecans in mom’s original rendition of this, but it’s possible I forgot. I found a similar recipe during research online and feel that mom would approve; who doesn’t love the crispy crunch of Texas pecans? Today’s version of this treat calls for 4 ounces of sour cream and 4 ounces of softened creamed cheese (vs. 8 ounces of only sour cream). You can decide what tastes best.

If you love sour cream, why not test out the mom’s frozen fruit delight ice cream? No churning required!





bohemian-creole pralines

pralines in the makin'    Being a native Texan guarantees you certain inalienable rights; using “crutch words” like y’all and “fixin’, wearing jeans and boots for any occasion… and the insatiable love of the praline.

For me, Christmastime was trimmed with midnight mass, tamales, the yearning for snow and the sweet, sweet treats that mom would make. It was a season of indulgence for the tummy.

This recipe is from Elouise and Frank Kallina’s kitchen. Mr. Kallina was one of dad’s great friends in the oil and gas biz. I remember visiting their house on Oak Park Drive more than once. Good people.

i. ingredients

3 cups | light brown sugar
1 cup | heavy cream
¼ cup | butter
2 tablespoons | light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon | salt
1 teaspoon | vanilla
1 1/2 cups | toasted texas pecan halves

ii. what to dopralines in the oven

1. In a large, heavy saucepan, mix sugar cream, butter corn syrup and salt.

2. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally ’till the mixture reaches a soft ball stage (about 234 F on a candy thermometer).

3. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.

4. Add vanilla and pecans.

5. Beat until the praline mixture looses its gloss.

6. Spoon onto wax paper to form patties. Let cool.

Enjoy!

Foodie Tip ~

Make sure and heat the mixture to the soft ball stage. I was in a rush to eat these and the sugar was a bit gritty because I didn’t heat it up all the way.

elouise and frank's bohemian-creole praline recipe