Applehood and Motherpie

Though I’ve cooked half of the dishes for next week’s Junior League cookbook from Portland, Oregon, a number of things have been distracting me from the kitchen lately.  There’s the good:  one last round of canning, late summer trips to the beach and evenings out with old friends visiting from out of town.  And then there’s the bad:  work, and the Los Angeles Dodgers’s insistence upon stinking up the room during the last week of the regular season.



Losing an 11-1 blowout against the Pittsburgh Pirates just makes a fan lose her appetite.

However, this pleasant little drink – half fruity cocktail, half beer slushy – from the Junior League of Rochester’s Applehood and Motherpie does help to ease the sting.


A favorite with everyone who’s tried it

1 6-ounce can frozen limeade concentrate
6 ounces light rum
1 12-ounce can beer
lemon or lime slices for garnish

1. Whirl all ingredients in blender.
2. Serve over crushed ice.
3. Garnish with slice of lemon or lime in each glass.

— Kay B. Edwards

Back to business next week with a look at Portland cooking then and now.  First, a meal from the Junior League of Portland’s Cooked to Taste, first published in 1954, followed up by a more contemporary meal with recipes from From Portland’s Palate (1992).


There were so many good fall recipes in the Junior League of Rochester‘s Applehood and Motherpie, that I had no choice but to make two dinners to accommodate all of them.

The first meal began with an impossibly decadent, brilliant twist on that old standby, beef stew.

Batter-Up Beef Pie

The batter bakes up to a golden, cheesy circle around the pie.

Batter-Up Beef Pie

Batter-Up Beef Pie

2 cups cooked beef, cut in 1/2 to 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup cooked onions
1 cup cooked carrots, cut in chunks
1 cup cooked potatoes, cut in chunks
1 cup beef gravy
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup (4-ounce package) grated Cheddar cheese
1 T. dried minced onion
1 T. sugar

1. Combine beef, onions, carrots, potatoes, and gravy. Set aside.
2. Melt butter in bottom of 8-inch square baking dish in oven.
3. Combine remaining ingredients in mixing bowl. Stir until blended and pour into baking dish.
4. Pour beef mixture over batter. Do not stir.
5. Bake and serve.

Temperature: 350 degrees
Time: 60 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

Hint: Leftover beef stew can be substituted for first five ingredients.

— Priscilla L. Minster

Surprisingly, this dish is a lot more wholesome, and a lot less heavy than you might expect.  The cheesy crust is like two treats in one:  the parts on the bottom soak up the beef gravy and juices like dumplings, and the parts around the edges of the pan are crisp on the outside and tender and light inside, like good cheese biscuits.

For a side dish, I made this squash and apple casserole, which could easily pull double duty as dessert.

Baked Squash and Apple Casserole

Easy, different, with good blend of spices.

Baked Squash and Apple Casserole

Baked Squash and Apple Casserole

1 small butternut squash (2 pounds or less)
2 apples (cored, peeled, and sliced)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cold margarine
1 T. flour
1 t. salt
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg

1. Pare, seed, and cut squash into small slices.
2. Place squash and apple slices in oblong baking dish (7 x 11-inch).
3. Blend rest of ingredients with fork, fingers, or pastry cutter until crumbly.
4. Distribute over squash and apple. Prepare to here until ready to bake.
5. Cover and bake.

Temperature: 350 degrees
Time: 45 to 50 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

— Phyllis Connelly

I didn’t realize my camera lens had fogged up when I took this picture, so unfortunately, the photo doesn’t do justice to how pretty this dish is when it comes out of the oven.  But here’s what it looked like before I sprinkled the brown sugar crumblies over top.

squash and apple unbaked

And, of course, with that combination of butternut squash, apples, brown sugar and spices, it smells amazing.  With this and the beef pie in the oven at the same time, I would not have been the least bit surprised if a gang of trick-or-treaters had materialized on my door, and taken me on a hayride to a corn maze.

And if they had, I would have had treats ready for them.

Til McCutcheon’s Ginger Cookies

My mother’s aunt Til had a bake shop in Valois, New York in the mid-1800s. This is the ginger cookie recipe from her shop.

Til McCutcheon's Ginger Cookies (with a little tribute to former Rochesteran Emma Goldman)

Til McCutcheon's Ginger Cookies (with a little tribute to former Rochesteran Emma Goldman)

8 cups sifted flour
3 t. ginger
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
1 t. salt
1 cup sugar
2 cups molasses
1 cup shortening
3 t. baking soda
2/3 cup hot water
1 egg

1. Combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Make a well in center.
2. Stir in sugar and molasses.
3. Add shortening. Pour in hot water that has been combined with soda, and mix.
4. Add egg. Stir until completely blended. Dough will be soft and sticky.
5. Chill thoroughly.
6. Roll out on floured pastry cloth or board until 1/4-inch thick. Cut with large round cookie cutter.
7. Sprinkle with sugar. For an added touch, place a dab of jam in center of each cookie. Bake on greased cookie sheet.

Temperature: 400 degrees
Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 5 dozen

Hint: These keep a long time in airtight containers.

— Bernice Bridges

My absolute favorite Junior League recipes are ones that have an interesting family history to go along with them.  If they’re over 150 years old, and delicious, too, well, that’s just icing on top.

Fittingly, it was a ginger cookie that got me into old cookbooks in the first place.  When I was 11, my parents took my sister and I on a family vacation to Colonial Williamsburg, where we learned how wheels and barrels were made in olden times (and lest you think my parents are the kind of people who substitute chocolate with carob, give oranges as Christmas presents, and force their kids to go on educational vacations, there was a trip to Virginia Beach and Busch Gardens in there, too).  I was fascinated by all of it, but my eyes really lit up when we got to the bakery, learned about Colonial kitchens, and bought ginger cookies.

When I saw that there was a Colonial cookbook for sale, AND it included the recipe for the ginger cookies I’d just eaten, I was shelling out my hard-earned lawn-mowing, house-cleaning, babysitting cash before my parents could raise an eyebrow over the fact that their preteen daughter was buying a cookbook written in whirly-scripted King’s English (e.g. “Fift the flour”), and would probably force them to choke down many an ill-fated Sally Lunn before the summer was out.

I am pleased to see that they still sell it in the Williamsburg souvenir shops.

raleighrecipesFor our second meal from Applehood and Motherpie, I made another fall recipe featuring one of my favorite flavor combinations in the universe.  If ever I were taken with the notion to open a restaurant with an overly precious name, I would call it Apple & Onion, and I would serve Batter-Up Beef Pie, Baked Squash and Apple Casserole, and this.

Apple Sausage Jumble

A piquant palate pleaser.

Apple Sausage Jumble

Apple Sausage Jumble

2 pounds Kielbasa (sausage)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 35-ounce jar chunky applesauce
1/4 cup finely chopped onion (or 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes)

1. Cut sausage into 1/2-inch pieces.
2. Combine sugar, applesauce, and onion in an oven-proof casserole.
3. Mix in sausage pieces; bake.
4. Transfer to a chafing dish or fondue pot at serving time.

Temperature: 325 degrees
Time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours
Yield: 8 to 10 servings

— Ginny Y. Gray

Though the recipe calls for jarred applesauce, my feelings on applesauce are similar to my feelings on pie crust:  just man up and make it yourself.

There’s nothing to it – just peel, core, and dice up about 8-10 apples (Macintosh and Northern Spy are my favorite cooking apples, but Fuji or Granny Smith will do in a pinch), and cook them in a Dutch oven with a little brown sugar and cinnamon for 40 minutes.  Mash them with a potato masher, or puree in a food processor, and you’re all set.  It will make enough for this recipe, and if you’re halving it like I did, you’ll have a little applesauce leftover for lunch.

The last recipe from the Junior League of Rochester that I made this week is not technically a fall recipe, but as, technically, it’s barely fall, I figured it could slide.  Besides, I like asparagus, I like tomatoes, and I like bacon, so what’s not to like?

Asparagus-Tomato Skillet

Refreshing and light.

Asparagus-Tomato Skillet

Asparagus-Tomato Skillet

3 slices bacon
1/4 cup sliced green onions
3 T. vinegar
1 T. water
2 t. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus
2 medium tomatoes

1. Cook bacon until crisp. Remove and crumble.
2. Saute onion in drippings until tender.
3. Add bacon, vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil.
4. Add asparagus. Cover and cook five minutes.
5. Cut tomatoes in eighths. Add to skillet and cook, covered, for 3 minutes.
6. Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 servings

— Alice K. Smith

On Top Chef, I’ve noticed that at Judges’ Table, one of the judges (usually Gail) will sometimes remark that a dish is “really within his/her comfort zone,” and say it like that’s a bad thing.  After nearly six months of cooking things that are, for the most part, not within my comfort zone, can I just say how pleasant and refreshingly easy it was to spend this week cooking food that I knew would be delicious the second I read the recipe?

Though I grew up about three hours away from you, people of Rochester, I say to you now:  You are my kind of people.  And I like the way you cook.

applehood and motherpieAfter a summer of Southern, Southwestern, and West Coast cooking, I find myself drawn to the Northeastern region of the country now that there’s a little chill in the evening air.  With the change in the weather, I find myself craving ginger cookies, beef stews that simmer all afternoon, and apples.  Apple cider, apple crisp, apples with pork chops, Macintosh, Gala, and Northern Spy – basically apples in any form.

And so this week, I turn to the first edition of the Junior League of Rochester’s Applehood and Motherpie:  Handpicked Recipes from Upstate New York (1981).  In the introduction, the editors write, “The Genesee Valley yields a rich harvest of produce.  Perhaps most well known is the upstate apple in its many varieties.  In this book, in addition to all types of cookery, you will find many recipes which feature the apple to its fullest potential.”

In addition to apples, the introduction points out, the area is also the nation’s leading producer of cabbage for sauerkraut, and boasts one of the largest centers of wine production outside of California.

I was poking around the library, and learned that some of the more interesting people in American history once called Rochester home.  During the 1840s and 1850s, Frederick Douglass owned a home here, and published the North Star, a weekly newspaper printed with the motto “Right is of no sex – Truth is of no color – God is the Father of us all, and we are all Brethren.” During his time in Rochester, Douglass fought alongside women’s organizations in the city for the abolitionist cause and women’s rights.  One of those women happened to be none other than Susan B. Anthony.

And in 1885, a young Lithuanian woman immigrated to the United States, settled in Rochester, and found brutal, low-paying work in one of the city’s garment factories.

Teenage Emma Goldman

Teenage Emma Goldman

The book where I found this image includes the capition, “‘Red Emma’ lived in Rochester for only a few years, but harsh experiences and impressions she gained in the city’s clothing industry helped shape her anarchist career.”

True, 19th century Rochester was home to bucolic fruit orchards and progressive ideals, but it was also proudly at the center of the industrialist movement in the United States.

Chamber of Commerce ad for the City of Rochester, 1940

Chamber of Commerce ad for the City of Rochester, 1940

Perhaps the most famous and enduring of these corporate ventures was the brainchild of an amateur photographer turned inventor and entrepreneur, founded in the early 1880s.

George Eastman's, Rochester 1883

George Eastman's offices, Rochester 1883

And a lovely early ad for Kodak camera, circa 1890s – “You press the button, we do the rest”:


An appropriate wedding present

Is there anything you can’t find at the library?

As much as I’ve enjoyed the past few months of farmers markets, canning, frozen pies, poisson cru, and boat drinks from my Junior League cookbooks, I’m really looking forward to digging into some cookbooks from northern states for the next few weeks.  I grew up in Pennsylvania, after all, and know firsthand that even though summer gets all the attention, there’s nothing more comforting than food that tastes like fall.

View recipes and photos from the Junior League of Rochester’s Applehood and Motherpie (Batter Up Beef Pie, Baked Squash and Apple Casserole, Til McCutcheon’s Ginger Cookies, Apple Sausage Jumble, Asparagus Tomato Skillet)