1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Recipe Roundup from the Heart of a 4-H-er

Daughter's heart-healthy Christmas gift basket, emptied of its goodies

After some discussion with my sister and many requests by Daughter to put favorite family recipes online, I will begin to do just that. I mention my sister because I wanted to check with her first in case she had any objections. She has been wanting to get a family cookbook published for some time now with entries from all members--at least the adult ones--but we, as a family, can't seem to get our act together and comply with her wishes. Daughter wants her favorite recipes in one place where she can find them with a few keystrokes rather than searching through a wooden box filled with worn-out, food-stained index cards. Some of them get misplaced too, stuck in between pages of cookbooks to mark some other recipe.

Two of my all-time favorites--most often prepared--are for piecrust and sweet roll dough. Both of them are versatile. The piecrust recipe can be used for dessert pies or main dishes (quiche, for instance). The sweet roll dough can be prepared as dinner rolls or filled with fruit and sugar/spice mixtures for breakfast or dessert. I've been preparing this recipe since my stint in 4-H when I was a teenager. I won a trip to the Illinois State Fair as a prize for winning third place in the Jackson County food demonstration. Whoop-de-do! As I recall, "heart" is one of the H's in 4-H. Does anyone remember what the other three stand for?

As you can probably tell from the ingredients, these recipes would probably not qualify as being "heart-healthy," but if comfort and joy have any value for keeping the old pump working then maybe they shouldn't be entirely eliminated from a diet. Everything in moderation is my motto. It works well with just about anything, including cooking:

Water-Whip Double Piecrust

3/4 cup vegetable shortening (I use Crisco)
1/4 cup boiling water
1 Tablespoon milk
2 cups all-purpose (unbleached) flour
1 teaspoon salt

Measure the shortening in a medium bowl. Add boiling water and milk and whip with a fork until mixture resembles sour cream. Stir in flour and salt until mixture "rounds up" into a ball. Divide in half and place one-half between two pieces of wax paper. Wipe counter top with a wet dishrag and place paper on the moist (not wet) surface. Roll out dough with rolling pin until piece will fit into a 9-inch pie plate and overlap it slightly. Dough will probably be about 1/4-inch thick. Peel off top paper and invert dough onto pie plate, letting it settle in, and then carefully remove other paper. Roll out the other half similarly. It may be used as a top crust or as the base for another pie. Trim and crimp edge as desired. Fill and bake as directed by recipes calling for empty pie shells or double crusts. This recipe is fairly "forgiving" (doesn't usually get tough), but it shouldn't be over-whipped or rolled out repeatedly. You don't want to develop the gluten (glue-like stuff made of proteins in the flour) like you would in the next recipe:

Sweet Roll Dough

Two packets of active dry yeast (not rapid-rise)
1/2 cup of hot water (not boiling but more than lukewarm)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups milk, heated to more than lukewarm
2 large eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour (may use half whole-wheat)
2 teaspoons salt

Dissolve yeast in water. Set aside. Combine sugar, shortening, and heated milk in a large bowl. Stir vigorously for a couple of minutes. Add eggs and beat them into the mixture. Add dissolved yeast and about half of the flour and all of the salt. Stir until mixture is thick. Add almost all of the remaining flour and stir until mixture "rounds up" in the bowl. Put some of the remaining flour on counter and turn dough out of bowl. Begin kneading, adding flour as necessary to keep dough from being too sticky but don't be extravagant with it. Depending on the humidity level in the kitchen and type of flour used, you may need a little more or less than 4 cups of flour. Whole-wheat flour makes the dough a little drier, so less is better. More economical, you might say. My dad once told me that peasants used to console themselves with the thought that their dark bread was healthier than what their "betters" were eating. The whiter their bread, the quicker they're dead was a little rhyme from childhood that still comes to mind today when I make food choices. Continue kneading until dough is smooth and not sticky. Wash mixing bowl and dry. Add a little olive oil to the bowl and place dough in it, turning it over until oil covers the dough. This will keep it from sticking to the bowl. Cover dough lightly with plastic wrap and then a dish towel. Place in warm, dry location to rise for about one and a half hours, until dough doubles in size. Lightly punch the dough down and let rise again for about one-half hour. Divide dough into about four pieces and roll out as desired. I usually make crescent rolls by rolling out each piece into a circle, buttering it, and cutting small wedge shapes which are then rolled up, beginning from the wide end. Place rolls on ungreased baking sheets and cover with paper towels and then dish towels. Let rise until double (about 30 minutes) in a warm, dry location. Bake in a preheated 400-degree (Fahrenheit) oven for about 8-10 minutes. Remove immediately from baking sheets, cool on rack for storage (they freeze well), or enjoy them hot from the oven, slathered in butter! 

Cryptothecia rubrocincta, Christmas lichen, seen at Leon Sinks Geological Area

Mushrooms, maybe Lepista irina, seen at Leon Sinks Geological Area
If my recipes aren't heart-healthy, at least Mother Nature comes through with spectacular results. According to this site, HeartHealthyOnline, researchers have discovered that mushrooms of all things have heart-protective ingredients in them. For starters, there is ergothioneine (isn't that a mouthful?), an antioxidant. Yes, it's true: we start oxidizing or "rusting" inside as we get older. No wonder I creak so much when I move. Then chitin, which is a cholesterol-lowering carbohydrate, helps out. And let's not forget beta-glutan (a chemical associated with healthy hearts), high-quality proteins, vitamins, and unsaturated fatty acids. Selenium is another "ingredient" that protects against cancer.

Mushrooms have never been high on SAM's list of favorite foods. I usually have to sneak them into my quiches and other main dish pies. He doesn't complain too much as long as I don't get carried away. The sweet roll dough, though, is definitely not mushroom territory, unless I use it to make calzone. Now there's a thought!

The writer of this blog does not assume any liability whatsoever for readers' overindulgence and possible weight gain. She's too busy trying to control her own voracious appetite. Please eat responsibly.


  1. "Head, hands, heart, and health"?? I'm not sure about the "health" part, but the other two are right. Another tie between us, W2W--I have many fond memories of 4-H, and I never would have learned to cook or sew without all those years of practicing for the shows...and now I can't remember what they were called. I can remember making so many batches of muffins and later yeast rolls to get them just right so I could earn that blue ribbon:) Congrats on winning the food demonstration! I never made it to the State Fair with any of my cooking, but did go twice with sewing projects I'd made. Thanks for a trip down memory lane this morning.

  2. I forgot to add--do help your sister with that cookbook! You'll be so glad you did. My aunt compiled two cookbooks for heart-healthy cooking some years ago. In them, though, are some recipes from my grandmother, which are priceless. Every time I see the recipe for date pinwheel cookies, a flood of happy memories of Grandma and her kitchen come back to me.

  3. Hey, that's a wonderful idea...putting up your recipes! Though I'm not much of a cook, I like to eat/enjoy good food :) Here's wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year!

  4. In her youth, my daughter hated 'shrooms and called them "fungus" which of course they are.
    Now all grown up both of us enthusiastic foodies, she and I both have embraced their culinary value. Here's to another year of growing, eating, gardening and learning. May your 2011 provide abundance to all.

  5. Oh my. Crisco! It's been years since I've seen that around our house for pic crust making or anything else. Now we husbands aren't utterly stupid so the liklihood of me mentioning my mom's recipe which probably (before Crisco was invented) used LARD is nil. Still there is something to be said for such "comfort food" ingredients..... they add real flavor. Maybe dying happily isn't all bad.

  6. That's good to know. I was going to make chocolate fondants with home made ice cream this weekend. I guess I'd better have some mushrooms first!

  7. This is a fun post, W2W, with recipes, memories, humor, and nutritional information. Love it all! I was reminded of Jack LaLanne (how do you spell his name?) an early exercise guru on TV for many years and still peppy and dispensing advice in his 90s. He recommended eating a large serving of mushrooms every day and swears they still keep him healthy and strong.

  8. PLEASE EAT RESPONSIBLY needs to be the fast food chains motto!!!

    Neat lichen and shrooms!

    I need all the help I can get to stay healthy...but I do eat a lot of them!

    Interesting side note which I still find odd to this day: When I was around 20, I had an ultra wonderful boyfriend who was both color blind and had no sense of smell...except mushrooms! He liked them sauteed in butter, so you better believe I was doing a lot of sauteeing! He was a really neat guy...wonder whatever happened to him! My mushroom man!!! :)

  9. What a wonderful way to preserve family recipes. Happy New Year to you!

  10. Great idea, Ingrid! I can use all the help I can get in the kitchen. Hey, that Christmas Lichen is awesome! I've never see anything quite like it. Mushrooms are favorites of mine!! Thanks for the info. I'll just have to eat more of them!! Happy New Year!! ~karen

  11. Rose, thanks for pitching in with the correct answer. Sorry it took me so long to respond. Family stuff going on. You know, I never did learn how to sew properly. My mom wasn't about to allow me to practice on her machine, and I was discouraged from taking Home Ec in school. Oh, well! At least I can feed my family if not clothe them. I would be happy to help my sister with the cookbook project. Maybe it would inspire some of the more secretive members of our family to come out of hiding and gather 'round the table. I'm glad my post evoked some good memories for you!

    Happy New Year, Mr. S! We're getting a good dose of rain today. Hooray!

    Thanks, RGB! I hope you would consider sharing some of your favorite recipes. I'm not such a great cook either, but I love to eat (doesn't everybody?) and talk about food. Happy New Year to you and your family!

  12. WS, I still haven't convinced my son or husband that mushrooms are wonderful, but I won't stop trying. Persistence will pay off someday. Thank you for the wonderful New Year wish/prayer! I hope your 2011 blessings multiply like rabbits!

    TB, I think my mom may have used lard at one point, and I know my mother-in-law did. That's what was readily available, and I'm still not convinced that the more processed stuff (hydrogenated vegetable oil) is any better for you than the animal fat. It's probably the level of activity after eating that has more impact on a person's health than what's consumed. "Walk it off," is my favorite motto, besides the one about moderation.

    IG, I hope you're enjoying that chocolate and ice cream and didn't forget the mushrooms--before the dessert, not with, of course!

    Thanks, Mary. I'm glad you liked the post. We bought one of Jack's juicers in 2010 with good intentions of using it at least three times a week. The juice is just so-so, but the pulp, now, is what I really like. I'll have to post some recipes for what I make with it.

  13. Julie, I figured you for a mushroom lover! I think they must be good for the disposition, and yours is one of the sweetest I've seen. That is kind of curious about your mushroom man. It sounds like it would be a good story to write. A character in one of my short stories has a similar condition, but she's not nearly as nice as your young man seems to be.

    Hi, Tina! Happy New Year to you and your family!

    Karen, if your cooking skill is anything like that of your artwork or sewing, I doubt if you need any help in the kitchen:) I'm happy that you liked the post. May your 2011 be filled with health and happiness!

  14. Just make sure wherever you put them that they are "mobile compatible." Everyone seems to be doing things with their cell phones starting in the 2010s.

  15. Mr. S, I don't have a fancy phone, and I've never even texted on it (gasp!). I'm sure that some members of the family will be able to do just the sort of thing you're talking about with their iPhones and whatnot. Maybe I'll catch up one of these days:)

  16. Hi Walk2write..thank you for sharing these cusines..though I may admit that I am the one with some gluttonous attitude, I am not good at trying new dishes...Hope that your daughter would publish a cookbook very soon..and the endline was funny..