Let’s go from dogs to dads.
Last week’s column featured homemade dog treats. This week’s column, because Sunday is Father’s Day, looks at recipes for our paternal family member.
Dads deserve as much attention as man’s best friend.
George Washington, our first president (1789-97), is considered “the father of our country.”
Oddly enough, Washington did not have children of his own, but he raised the two children of his wife, Martha.
And as we all know, stepdads can be the best fathers.
George’s favorite breakfast was mush cakes.
Nelly Custis Lewis, his stepgranddaughter, wrote, "He rose before sunrise, always wrote or read until 7 in summer or half past 7 in winter. His breakfast was then ready — he ate three small mush cakes (Indian meal), swimming in butter and honey, and drank three cups of tea without cream.”
Food anthropologists have confirmed that "mush cakes" were synonymous with hoecakes.
This recipe, courtesy of mountvernon.org, is a modern adaptation of the 18th-century original recipe.
• 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
• 2 1/2 cups white cornmeal, divided
• 3 to 4 cups lukewarm water
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
• Melted butter for drizzling and serving
• Honey or maple syrup for serving
Mix yeast and 1 1/4 cups cornmeal in a large bowl. Add 1 cup lukewarm water, stirring to combine thoroughly. Mix in 1/2 cup more water, if needed, to give the mixture the consistency of pancake batter. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least eight hours, or overnight.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
When ready to finish the hoecakes, begin by adding 1/2 to 1 cup of the remaining water to the batter. Stir in the salt and egg, blending thoroughly. Gradually add remaining 1 1/4 cups cornmeal, alternating with enough additional lukewarm water to make a mixture that is the consistency of waffle batter. Cover with a towel and set aside at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.
Heat a griddle to medium-high heat and lightly grease it with lard or vegetable shortening. Preparing one hoecake at a time, drop a scant 1/4 cup batter onto the griddle and cook on one side for about five minutes, or until lightly browned. With a spatula, turn the hoecake over and continue cooking another four to five minutes, until browned.
Place the hoecake on a platter and set it in the oven to keep warm while making the rest of the batch. Drizzle each batch with melted butter.
Serve the hoecakes warm, drizzled with melted butter and honey or maple syrup.
One of the most popular television shows in the 1950s was “Father Knows Best,” starring Robert Young. The show revolved around the Andersons, a middle-class family living in the Midwestern town of Springfield.
Young played James "Jim" Anderson Sr., Jane Wyatt played his wife, Margaret, Elinor Donahue was Betty "Princess" Anderson, Billy Gray played James “Bud” Anderson Jr. and Lauren Chapman was Kathy "Kitten" Anderson.
Donahue wrote a cookbook, “In the Kitchen With Elinor Donahue: Favorite Memories and Recipes from a Life in Hollywood,” in 1998.
The following recipe honors her TV dad.
Robert Young's Favorite Creamy Clam Chowder
• 1 1/ 4 cups peeled, diced potatoes
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/3 cup chopped celery
• 1/3 cup chopped onion
• 1 tablespoon reduced-calorie margarine
• 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated skim milk
• 1 cup skim milk
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch
• 1 can (10 ounces) whole shelled clams, drained (discarding the clam juice lowers the sodium level)
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
In a Dutch oven, combine the potato, water, celery, onion and margarine. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
In a small bowl combine evaporated skim milk, skim milk and cornstarch. Add the milk mixture to the potato mixture. Add the clams, salt and pepper.
Cover over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Ladle the chowder into individual bowls, and serve with water crackers, if desired.
Makes 5 cups (about 176 calories per 1-cup serving).
Robert F. Kennedy, who died 50 years ago this month, fathered 11 children with his wife, Ethel.
The younger brother of President John F. Kennedy, he was appointed by his brother as U.S. attorney general in 1961. After his brother's death, Robert Kennedy was elected as a senator from New York in 1964. RFK was shot shortly after midnight June 5, 1968, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, following the celebration of his victory in the Democratic presidential primary in California.
On the campaign trail, Kennedy liked to end the day by eating a big bowl of ice cream. His favorite flavor was chocolate.
If your dad loves rich chocolate ice cream, plan ahead. This recipe from Epicurious takes five days before it’s ready, but Dad’s worth it, right?
Chocolate Ice Cream
• 7 ounces dark chocolate (70 percent to 75 percent cacao), finely chopped
• 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
• 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 6 large egg yolks
• 13 tablespoons sugar, divided
• 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Place chocolate in a medium metal bowl. Set bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir chocolate until melted and smooth. Set melted chocolate aside; let cool slightly.
Whisk milk and cocoa powder in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat until mixture begins to boil; set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks and 7 tablespoons sugar in another medium bowl until very thick ribbons form, about two minutes. Whisking constantly, gradually add hot milk mixture to egg yolk mixture. Return mixture to saucepan. Add melted chocolate and whisk to blend. Stir over low heat until slightly thickened and an instant-read thermometer registers 175 degrees, about five minutes. Transfer chocolate custard to a large bowl and place over another large bowl of ice water. Stir until chocolate custard is cool.
Bring remaining 6 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons water to a boil in a small heavy, deep saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush (do not stir), until a dark amber color forms, about five minutes.
Gradually whisk in cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Whisk caramel into chocolate custard. Strain into a large container; cover and chill for two days.
Process custard in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to another container. Freeze for three days before eating.
Makes about 4 cups.
George Foreman is known to the masses for his fat-reducing grills that bear his name, but he also stands as one of the greatest boxers ever.
The Marshall, Texas, native used the Olympic stage as his coming-out party and easily won gold in 1968. He won his first 40 professional fights and became the world heavyweight champion with a second-round knockout of then-undefeated Joe Frazier in 1973. His first loss was to Muhammad Ali in 1974. Foreman retired in 1977, but returned to the ring a decade later. In 1994, with a 10th-round knockout of Michael Moorer, he became the oldest heavyweight champ in history. His record stands at 76-5 with 68 knockouts.
The two-time world heavyweight champion has 12 children, five sons and seven daughters. His five sons are George Jr. George III, George IV, George V and George VI.
What do you feed all those Georges?
• 1 tablespoon diced red bell pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1 tablespoon coarse-grain Dijon mustard
• 1 egg white
• 1 green onion, thinly sliced
• 1/4 cup mayonnaise
• 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
• 2 salmon fillets (5 ounces each), cut in 1-inch pieces
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 to 3 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
• Optional toppings: basil sprouts, 1 avocado (sliced), shredded red cabbage
• 2 teaspoons plain yogurt
Combine mayonnaise and Sriracha sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.
Place remaining ingredients in a food processor with metal S blade. Pulse chop to a coarse ground texture. Shape mixture into four (3-inch diameter) patties about 1/2-inch thick.
Attach bottom grill plate to a Grill and Broil and preheat on high broil to 375 degrees.
Cook salmon burgers eight to 10 minutes, turning over halfway through cooking until done.
Spread cut side of buns with Sriracha mayonnaise. Fill buns with salmon burgers and shredded red cabbage, basil sprouts or sliced avocado, if desired.
Makes four servings.
Who’s the best movie dad ever?
You might say it’s Atticus Finch (played by Gregory Peck) in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The widowed lawyer with two children (Mary Badham, Phillip Alford) defends a falsely accused black man in 1930s Alabama. He didn’t win his case, even though he proved his client could not have committed the crime. Atticus was a smart, dignified, honest and caring father.
Call me crazy, but I think the best movie dad is Vito Corleone in “The Godfather.” He has three sons, Sonny (James Caan), Fredo (John Cazale) and Michael (Al Pacino), and a daughter, Connie (Talia Shire). Then there’s Tom Hagen (played by Robert Duvall), who was found living on the street as an 11 year-old and unofficially adopted by Don Vito Corleone.
An orphan himself, Don Vito is known as a kind, generous man who lives by a strict moral code of loyalty to friends and, above all, family.
As he said to his godson, Johnny Fontane, “A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.”
The film features one of the best film lines ever: “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”
Here is “Cake Boss” star Buddy Valastro’s cannoli recipe.
• 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring the dough and work surface
• 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 2 tablespoons lard, plus enough for frying
• 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
• 2 extra-large eggs, divided
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
• Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
• 2 cups fresh ricotta
• 2/3 cup granulated sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/3 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
Place flour, granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons lard, vinegar, 1 egg, cinnamon and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment. Mix on low-medium speed until well-combined, about 10 minutes.
Remove the dough from the bowl, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to three hours, to soften the dough and make it less elastic.
Lightly coat the dough with flour and roll it through a pasta machine set to the thickest setting (usually No. 1). If you do not have a pasta machine, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out as thin as possible on a lightly floured surface, to no more than 1/8-inch thick.
Using a 4-inch round cookie cutter, punch circles out of the dough. Working with one circle at a time, grasp the circles at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions and gently pull into an oval 5 inches long.
Gather up the excess dough, knead it together, roll it out and cut ovals again. You should have 10 ovals.
Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl. Fill a wide, deep, heavy pot 2/3 full of lard (the pot should be wide and/or deep enough to hold 4 cannoli shells without crowding or touching) and set over medium-high heat. Heat the lard to 350 degrees to 375 degrees. Line a large plate or platter with paper towels.
Wrap one oval lengthwise around a 6-inch long, 3/4-to-1-inch diameter wooden dowel. Be very careful to wrap it loosely, leaving a little space between the dowel and the pastry dough so that, when fried, the inside will be cooked as well. Use a pastry brush to paint one end of the shell with egg. Pull the egg-brushed-end over the opposite-end and press them together, sealing the shell around the dowel. Repeat with two more dowels and shells.
Carefully lower the dowels into the oil and fry the shells until golden-brown, turning them with a slotted spoon as they fry, approximately 10 minutes. Use the spoon to carefully remove the dowels from the lard and transfer them to the paper towel-lined plate to cool.
When the shells are cool enough to touch, approximately 10 minutes, pull the dowels out.
(Repeat shaping, frying and cooling for two more batches, frying three more in the second batch, and four in the last, until all shells have been fried and removed from the dowels.)
To make the cannoli cream, place the ricotta, sugar and cinnamon in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, use a hand mixer.) Paddle on low to medium speed until the sugar is completely dissolved, two to three minutes. Take care not to overmix or the mixture will become soft and runny.
Add the chips and paddle just until evenly distributed, about 30 seconds.
Place the cannoli cream in a pastry bag fitted with the No. 7 plain tip. Carefully insert the tip halfway into one shell and pipe the cream in, pulling the tip out to fill all the way to the end. Insert the tip in the other side of the shell, to the center and pipe and pull again to ensure the shell is completely filled from end to end. Repeat with the remaining shells.
Dust the finished cannoli with confectioners’ sugar and serve.
Makes 10 servings.
Note: Don’t feel like frying? You can purchase cannoli shells and fill them with the cannoli cream.
To my sons and all the other dads out there, Happy Father’s Day!.
Looking for a recipe? Have one you’d like to share? Write to Potluck, Times Record, P.O. Box 1359, Fort Smith, AR 72902. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.