Monday, April 30, 2012


Cinco de Mayo is  Saturday and it's a great excuse for an impromptu party!  Mexican food is one of Grandma's favorite things to cook.  Here's a little inspiration for you, from Tortilla Soup one of Grandma's favorite movies:

If you plan to serve Guacamole, though, head on out to the store in the next day or two to pick up your avocados. They are not often available at the perfect degree of ripeness to serve the same day that you buy them.

 The nice folks over at  Hass Avocados have a page that shows just how to tell when your avocados are perfect and how to choose the ones that will be ready when you want them to be!  They have lots of recipes too, but nothing beats Grandma's Perfect Guacamole (recipe developed by her daughter, not ever quite so good when Grandma makes it but scrumptious nonetheless!)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Just a quick post to let everyone know that I've had so many people ask where the "good books" I review are, I've added them all to Grandma's Goodies - the tab is at the top of the page. Everything listed is something Grandma has rated 3, 4 or 5 stars. I'm in the middle of sorting them out and adding reviews to each, but for now, there's the list. I'll be updating it often as Grandma does more reviews and finds more Goodies. In general, 5 stars mean a book is excellent, 4 stars means that it is almost excellent and 3 stars means that it could use some work but may be of interest to some people. Meanwhile, it is a gorgeous sunny day here in Vermont. The view from the window is spectacular. Hope you're having a great day!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Found: One Dough Hook!

A couple of days ago I started a post called "I Can't Find The Dough Hook!"  With this and that,  Grandma never got around to finishing that post.  Meanwhile, the lost has thankfully been found (Have I told you how much trouble moving is?)  and Grandma is having a Bread Baking Day, since the cupboard is a bit thin when it comes to baked goods at the minute.  Somehow Ham Salad on Babka just doesn't seem quite the thing for lunch!

Grandma is constantly asked to recommend bread baking cookbooks.  Every time she mentions Bagels or English Muffins somebody asks for the recipe.  She's had questions about the luscious rolls in the picture she is using for an icon (couldn't find anything else with the "real" computer in storage!).  Earlier today, Grandma reviewed a little Kindle bread baking cookbook and mentioned that a brand spanking new book that arrived on her front porch yesterday afternoon and promised that she would reveal the book . .  so, in the interest of answering all these questions for posterity, here goes.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Readers Write

Every now and again someone writes to Grandma with a question she thinks lots of people might be interested in.  Here's one from Joan:

Hi Grandma,

What is better? A ham hock cooked German style or a pork hock cooked German style? Both are from the pig, but what is the difference between the ham hock and the pock hock? What happens to a ham that is cured? And a ham that is not cooked?

The skin on the pork hock if cooked correctly is wonderful when it is nice and crisp. I guess I can say that for the ham hock too.

Thanks for your response.

 Hi Joan - I guess "better" is relative. A ham hock is a pork hock that has been cured and sometimes smoked. (All ham is pork but all pork is not ham.) The hock is the narrow bit of the leg between what on a human would be the ankle and the knee. They're fairly meaty, pretty bony, take well to long, slow cooking and are usually pretty cheap - at least in comparison.

The "ham" word can be confusing because it refers to the part of the pig's anatomy that is either the buttocks and thigh area or sometimes the "shoulder and upper arm" from the front of the pig, though that is much more commonly called a Pork Shoulder. Ham that has not been cured is called "fresh ham." They are usually cooked much like you would cook a pork roast.