Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sugar/Butter Pie

When we were growing up, many of our weekends were spent in Matador, Texas, where one set of our grandparents lived for their whole lives, and our other grandmother spent many years.   Nannie and Daddy John (aka Olive and John Russell) lived in a small, shotgun home with a single bedroom and an enclosed sleeping porch for the children.  The cabinets in the kitchen had been specially built for Nannie who stood on tiptoes at about 5'2", so even as teenagers we had to stoop a little when working alongside her in the one small wall of cabinets and about 24" of counter space on either side of a sink.  Nannie never loved to cook, she preferred to be outdoors in her yard or garden, but that didn't keep her from turning out some wonderful culinary creations.  

She made ice cream from a cooked custard and froze it in her ice trays, taking them out to stir several times so that ice crystals wouldn't form.  It was a wonderful treat after a hot morning working cattle.  I intend to share this and several of her other creations in the days to come, but the most outstanding treat to me was the sugar/butter pie.   It was actually the left-over pastry crust from cobbler.  I don't ever remember her making pies, but she turned out cobblers that were sweet and had the most luscious crust. 

I think she probably made extra crust to line the pie pan and slather with butter and sugar and cinnamon and then pop in the oven.  As you walked in the back door and passed Daddy John in his rocking chair in the kitchen, in front of you was the range and sitting there would be a cobbler and a sugar/butter pie to be enjoyed on the spot.  We would just break off pieces and scatter crumbs all over the kitchen.  I can't even remember getting fussed at for making a mess.  Our love of this confection would always bring a shy smile to the face of our grandmother. 

As adults we have talked about the freedom we had to explore at their house and the extra things they would do to create new experiences.  There are books of stories from that little house.

Recipe of the day:

Sugar/Butter Pie

  1. Pastry for a 9 inch pie pan.                                                                                                         Use scraps mashed together and folded over at the edges to complete the crust.
  2. Melt enough butter to thoroughly coat the sides and bottom of the crust
  3. Sprinkle liberally on all surfaces with sugar and sprinkle with cinnamon.
  4. Bake in a 375 degree oven until barely brown.
  5. Enjoy and Share.....

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Family Gathering at Hotel Matador and Beyond

Cox/Russell Reunion 2012 

Swimming in Perkins pool

Each one teach one....
Every family needs a water feature

Time for movies

Cousins...Generation 1 with Mom

Cousins...Generation 2

Cousins.....Generation 3
The Hotel was shut down to the public June 22-24th so we could visit with family....and what a family gathering we had.  Our first intention when we purchased the hotel was that it would be a place for familyto stay during holidays, and it was finally used for that purpose. Everyone was relaxed, and the cousins from the Russell side all stayed at the Hotel so the talking went on late into the night.  It reminded me of the days when they all were relegated to Mom's basement at Christmas.  Another time we will talk about the wild stories that came from that basement.

We missed Jeremy and his family as well as Luke, but trust they can join us next year.   Maurice's children were not able to come in from Missouri and Huntsville, but they sent emails and good wishes.  Perhaps next year they can be here as well. 

We had some sad moments as we reflected on our loss of Don, but his spirit was there amongst us.

The food was outstanding.  I am going to share several of the recipes in the next weeks, and some of them will probably make it into our next cookbook.(Do you have one of current cookbooks, Conversations from the Kitchen?)

This time, however, I am going to award the Outstanding Culinary Award to Ron Cox for his beans and brilliant wit when sharing a recipe.   You have got to try these.

Smoker Beans

1 1/2 lb peppered bacon
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 white onion
6 cans Bush's original baked beans
1/2 C Adams brisket rub
6 bottles or cans of Shiner Bock

Dice bacon and onion ( I prefer larger pieces of onion)
(Add one beer to the cook.)
In a large cast-iron dutch oven brown hamburger and bacon.
Add onion and cook until it starts to become translucent.
(Add one beer to the cook.)
Pour off most of the grease.
Add beans and 2 T of seasoning.
Place uncovered in smoker at low heat (between 150 and 225) for up to six hours. Stir and taste regularly to make sure smoke flavor does not become too intense
(Add 3 beers to the cook during this time.)
Toward the end of cooking (30min to 1hr form end) add more seasoning to taste.
Cover and keep warm in smoker until time to serve.
(Add remainder of the beer to the cook.)

If using mesquite a long smoke time can make things bitter therefore as little as two hours may suffice.
For oak, plan on smoking longer. Some say that mesquite is too harsh too smoke with. I say they need to learn how to cook.

I found beer makes you a much better cook. Either the cook drinks enough they do not care no one likes the food, or better yet the guests drink so much they will eat anything. The later can be more expensive but you will waste less food.