Like many people, at the end of the year I try to get a new perspective on what is in front of me. I try to get to the bottom of things.
In other words, at the end of the year, I clean my desk.
It is not so much a cleaning as it is a consolidation. Instead of many stacks of paper I now have one or two stacks.
One stack contains papers with information on projects that I am really going to accomplish next year. Like not lose my weekly appointment calendar.
I lost the one for 1990 about a month ago. Somehow my life went on. But I am going to get another one for the New Year. A man who doesn't have an appointment calendar, even one with blank pages, is telling the world how little he plans.
The other stack is letters from folks that I meant to get in print, as soon as I found the time. Since my calendar doesn't show any conflicts, it is time for the last mail call of 1990.
!Scotch and oatmeal on New Year's From: Laura M. Wilke, Phoenix
Column on holiday drinks.
Dear Happy Eater,
A few years ago a transplanted Scottish friend of ours started making something called "Atholl brose" for the holidays. We love it and drink it eagerly.
She said Atholl brose is a traditional Scottish New Year's drink named for the Duke of Atholl. But my sister who lives in Scotland says she has never heard of it. She does say that there is a New Year's Eve tradition of going from house to house, having a drink and a chat. People go all night long until they . . . fall asleep. She said if you don't want to entertain your neighbors . . . you have to turn out your lights and pretend you are not home.
Anyway if they are not drinking Atholl brose any more in Scotland, I'm awfully glad we have the recipe. It is a wonderful drink to sip by the fire on a snowy day.
2 cups oatmeal
lTC 3 cups cold water (enough to make the mixture watery)
1 cup half and half
2 cups heavy cream
4 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cups Scotch whiskey
Soak oatmeal for at least 1 hour in the water. Strain through a regular kitchen sieve. Discard oatmeal "trash." Add honey to oatmeal juice, mix until smooth. Add everything else and mix well. Allow to "mature" overnight in the refrigerator for a smoother taste. Shake or stir well before serving.
Oatmeal, honey, Scotch -- it sounds like a health drink.
Oyster hunters From: Martha McAllister, Berlin,
and Mary Taylor, Baltimore
Re: Column on oyster cook-off in Leonardtown.
Dear Happy Eater,
Please reprint the address where people can get the cookbook of oyster recipes from the October oyster festival.
Eater replies: The address for the 31-page booklet is Oyster Cook-Off, P.O. Box 653, Department of Economic and Community Development, Leonardtown 20650. The cost is $3 per book.
Cake that is the top banana From: Joyce E. Jurus,
Re: Column saying I wanted to visit Mom more often and eat her
banana cake and whipped cream cake.
Dear Happy Eater,
You made me long for the taste of banana and whipped cream cake. Is there any way to get this recipe?
Eater replies: I called Mom, who said, "It is just a basic yellow cake with sweet whipped cream frosting and bananas placed on top."
I asked her about the other cake, the one she made for my 10th birthday. The one that had bananas in it. She said she couldn't remember any such cake, pointing out that my 10th birthday was many years ago.
So I searched around until I found the total banana cake in the "Fannie Farmer Baking Book." I read the recipe to Mom. She approved, and promised to bake one for me, next time I visit
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs separated
1 cup mashed banana (about 3 medium, soft bananas)
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
whipped cream for frosting
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
Cream the shortening, then slowly add the sugar and beat until the mixture is smooth. Beat in the egg yolks, then the mashed banana and buttermilk and mix well.
Stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and add to the banana mixture. Beat until smooth.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they are stiff but moist. Plop the beaten whites on top of the batter and begin folding them in. When the whites are almost incorporated, sprinkle on the nuts, if using, and continue folding until blended.
Spread evenly in the prepared cake pans and bake for 30 to 3 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for about 5 minutes, then turn out on a rack to cool completely.
Fill the cake with banana cream filling, made as follows:
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks slightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 large banana peeled, mashed and beaten smooth
Heat milk to scalding in heavy-bottomed saucepan. Combine the sugar, flour and salt in mixing bowl and blend well. Gradually add the hot milk, stirring constantly until well blended. Pour the mixture into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, or until very thick and smooth. Add a little of the hot mixture to the yolks and stir briskly to blend. Pour the yolk mixture into the saucepan and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. It is OK if it boils.
Remove from heat; add the butter, blend well. When the filling has cooled add lemon juice and the banana. Place a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap directly on the surface of the filling to prevent a film from forming. Cool completely before using, and refrigerate for storage. You will have enough to fill an 8- or 9-inch layer cake.
Frost with whipped cream.