Cookies, biscuits help satisfy whole-grain recipe needs

June 12, 2013 

Sometimes yard sales yield treasures or at least a cookbook or two that is a must buy. Of course, with me, cookbooks are always a must buy.

Mary Beth Greenleaf of Bradenton discovered a real find years ago at a Wisconsin yard sale. Not only has it helped her family, it can now help reader Mary F. Jones, also of Bradenton.

"I have a wonderful little paperback book that I purchased at a yard sale in Wisconsin many years ago. It's called 'Cooking with Wholegrains,' published in 1951," Greenleaf said. "I've used many of the recipes in the book and will share a couple with your reader. My all-time favorite, which I made so many times for my egg-allergic son that the pages are all stained from splatters, is Aunt Delia's Molasses Cookies."

This cookbook, according to amazon.com, was published first in 1947 and is considered the primer for whole grain cooking then and now. Authors Vrest Orton and wife Mildred Ellen Orton operated a water-powered grist mill and founded the Old Vermont Country Store and mail-order catalog in Weston, Vt. Mildred Orton lived to be 99; she died in 2010.

According to a May 15, 2010, article in The New York Times, the Ortons used the stone-ground grains from their mill to test the cookbook's recipes on a wood-burning stove.

New and used copies of the reprinted versions are available online from 1 cent and up, plus shipping.

Greenleaf certainly found a treasure at that yard sale.

AUNT DELIA'S MOLASSES COOKIES

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup milk

3-1/4 cups whole-wheat flour

1- 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon nutmeg

Cream butter or margarine, add sugar and cream together. Add molasses and beat thoroughly. Add milk; beat again. Sift whole-wheat flour, measure into sifter; add other dry ingredients. Sift into batter and beat well. Mixture should be a thick drop batter.

Drop by teaspoonfuls on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 12 minutes. When done, remove to wire racks immediately to cool. The spices can be varied to taste. Skip the cloves for a milder flavor. I've even added a cup of raisins to the batter. These cookies are a nice softer texture. I use this recipe to also make miniature gingerbread men with a cookie press or roll it out to make larger gingerbread men.

-- Submitted by Mary Beth Greenleaf

"Here's a recipe that sounds delicious, but I don't remember whether or not I've made it myself," Greenleaf said.

SOY FLOUR AND WHEAT BISCUITS

1 cup soy flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons baking powder

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 tablespoons brown sugar, honey or maple syrup

3/4 cup orange juice

Sift the soy and wheat flours separately, measure into a flour sifter, add salt and baking powder and sift all together into a bowl. Blend butter or margarine into dry ingredients with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Mix together the orange juice and sweetening (maple syrup is best, but brown sugar or honey are also good). Pour the liquid into the flour mixture. Stir up quickly and beat for a minute or so. The mixture should be quite stiff but still moist. A little more or less orange juice may be needed. Drop by tablespoonfuls into buttered pan and flatten down with floured spoon or hands to about 1/2 inch thickness. Bake at 475 degrees for 15 minutes.

-- Submitted by Mary Beth Greenleaf

And now for the plain biscuit recipe:

BAKING POWDER BISCUITS

2 cups whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons baking powder

4 tablespoons shortening

1 cup milk (approximately)

Sift whole-wheat flour, measure, add salt and baking powder and sift again. Blend in shortening, then add enough milk to make a moist dough. Turn onto a floured board, pat or roll out to 1/2-inch thickness, cut out biscuits and bake at 475 degrees for about 15 minutes.

-- Submitted by Mary Beth Greenleaf

"I've quoted these recipes exactly from the book. You may want to edit them to more modern cookbook language if you use them," Greenleaf said. "This little 70-page book by Mildred Ellen Orton has recipes for cookies, cakes, muffins, puddings, breads, etc. If your reader wants some other specific recipe, I'll be glad to offer it to her."

More wash-day beans

"I missed the call for red beans recipes, but I'm proud of this one, and it's easier than many I've seen," Don Hammack said. "There's minimum prep work, but it takes a while with the soak and cooking.

"This is a recipe my mom gave to me. It's easy to double up to increase the yield. Red beans are always better the second day. We usually make a double batch, then freeze about half for later," he said.

RED BEANS

1 pound dry kidney beans

1 pound sausage (I prefer kielbasa and sometimes use a couple of pounds)

1 green pepper

1 onion

Salt

Pepper

Tabasco sauce

Garlic powder

Crushed red pepper

In a 5-quart slow cooker, soak the red beans. Add 1/2 tablespoon each: salt, pepper, garlic powder and red pepper and cover the beans with water (and several inches over, as they swell significantly). Zap the pot with Tabasco (I let it rip in there, again sorry with the measurements). Let soak at least overnight, and I usually try to do it for the better part of 24 hours. It affects the tenderness of the beans.

In the morning, drain the beans and return to the pot. Chop the pepper and onion, slice the sausage, add to the pot. Add another round of seasonings (some folks use a bay leaf, too; I don't). Cover the beans and veggies again with water. You don't need to do much other than just barely cover them now.

Cook. You can set the slow cooker on low and let them cook all day. Sometimes I'll start them on high, check at lunch and turn it down to low. In the last hour or two, you can take a look at the "soupiness" of the red beans. About an hour before you serve the beans, you can take a ladle or potato masher and smash some of the beans to help create a creamier sauce. You should taste it then and tweak any seasonings you like, too.

Cook up some rice. Set up the buffet line: rice, beans and Tabasco.

-- Submitted by Don Hammack

Blueberry jam, please

A reader wants a good recipe for blueberry jam. Readers, please share your recipes.

Andrea Yeager, who can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net, takes contributions or requests at Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567. If requesting a recipe, include the name or describe it.

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