August 1, 2011

A Dream Kitchen...For the Love of Jadite!

Grandmother had a jadite butter dish......so this is my inspiration for a homestyle kitchen!

A Maine House Mosaic

One of my comfort zones is remembering my grandmother's kitchen. Grandmother Grace would awake around 5:00 AM every morning. She would dress in one of her floral cotton dresses, a handmade little apron, stockings and a pair of old stocky-heeled shoes, then head straight downstairs to the kitchen to prepare the coffee which you could hear perking away in the stainless steel percolator. She had a huge white range which Mother and Daddy had given her when they lived in Vicksburg. Oh, I loved that range. It had everything....room on the top of the range, where the percolator was placed, a space for mixing up a cake, and a gigantic oven. I suppose this might be an exaggeration since I was quite small at the time. I would love to have such a range in a new kitchen. Then the day's cooking would begin. The aroma of a roast chicken or roast beef complimented by fresh potatoes, onions and carrots would waft through the house, all the way to the upstairs bedrooms. This is what got us up most summer mornings. Lunch was always a huge dinner during those days. Grandaddy and Uncle Byron would walk across the street from the sawmill at 12 Noon sharp. They would come in through the backporch, the screen door would squeak as they entered the kitchen, ready for their lunch. After carefully "washing up", they were seated at the formal dining table, never the kitchen table, and enjoyed the savory meal grandmother had prepared which always included her creamy coleslaw (made with real heavy whipping cream, sugar and vinegar), two different meats, an array of lucious vegetables and topped off with a little homemade dessert served in little china bowls. As I think back on this, I wonder where she mustered her energy to prepare this type of meal everyday, for both lunch and dinner! Of course, they did not have a dishwasher at that time..their house was an old farmstyle house built in the late 1800's. There were no kitchen cabinets, only a large white farm sink that was under the large kitchen window and this unit had built in cabinets and drawers on either side of the sink. She had a small china cabinet which held all of her dishes. I can envision this as if it were yesterday. It brings me great comfort, thinking of their kitchen, and my grandparents.   Yes, I am at home in this style!

It's all about being vintage today!

Estelle's Cheesey Hamburger Hash
1 pound lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 bag (1 pound, 4 ounces) frozen diced potatoes with onions
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained
1 Tbsp. pizza seasoning or Italian seasoning
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded pizza cheese blend (mozzarella and Cheddar cheeses)
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

In 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook beef over medium-high heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until brown; drain. Remove beef and drippings from skillet. Melt butter in same skillet. Add potatoes. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until almost tender. Stir in beef, tomatoes and pizza seasoning. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until thoroughly heated through.
Sprinkle with cheese and parsley. Cover and heat until cheese is melted.

Brown Sugar Apple Pie
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter , cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. sugar
6 to 7 Tbsp. cold milk
3 1/4 pounds (10 to 12 medium) Granny Smith
 or Golden Delicious or Cortland apples , peeled, cored, and cut into 16ths
1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg yolk
1 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
Vanilla ice cream

To make crust: In a food processor combine flour, butter, salt, and sugar; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk and pulse just until dough forms a ball (if necessary, add 1 tablespoon more of milk until texture becomes doughy). Form dough into two discs and wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 400°. Position oven rack to lowest rung. Line a large baking sheet with foil.

To make filling: Combine apples, lemon zest, juice, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, vanilla, brown sugar, and flour in a large bowl. Let sit 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To make pie: Roll out 1 disc of dough onto a lightly floured surface; shape into a 12-inch circle. Center it in a 9-inch deep-dish pan (preferably glass). Spoon apple mixture onto crust, mounding apples in the center. Carefully place a second circle of apples on top. Using your finger, dab water around rim of crust. Roll out remaining dough into a 12-inch circle and place over apples. Make slits in top to allow steam to escape. Press crusts together at rim; trim overhang to 1 inch. Fold overhang under and crimp edges decoratively with fingers.

Combine egg yolk and milk and brush top of crust. Sprinkle with sugar. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake 50 to 55 minutes. Check after 30 minutes to see if top crust is getting too brown. If so, tent pie loosely with foil and continue cooking for remaining time. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 1/2 hour. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.


  1. Estelle,
    Found your blog most accidentally searching for toile valance ideas and I discovered so much more!!
    Your decorating, recipes, and beautiful thoughts blew me away!!! Wish you were closer to help me with my home !!
    Thank you for your awesome sentiments. I especially love your garden quote. You have inspired me!!!
    I must go back and read more of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
    Eleanor Marino

  2. Thank you so very much Eleanor! This just made my day to hear such lovely comments and that you enjoyed the posts. I think that is what I enjoy most about blogging....meeting new friends and gathering ideas from others....it inspires me too! Many blessings from Estelle's!


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