Archive for the ‘recipe’ Tag

The Nearly Lost Recipe   6 comments

Juanita Boring Mowry, 1984.

Juanita Boring Mowry, 1984.

Growing up, there were two certainties when there was a Sunday dinner at Grandma Mowry’s: homemade Lemon Meringue Pie, and Chocolate Pie.

Chocolate Pie for the win, of course.

The problem was that Grandma didn’t have the recipe written down, and didn’t use measuring cups. She simply put the ingredients in the bowl until they “looked right,” or into her hands until they “felt right.” That’s how she cooked the World’s Best Pie.

So how do you bring that legacy forward?

Enter Velda, the big city girl who married Grandma’s only Grandson and moved with him to California. Fortunately, Velda was also fearless. She asked her Grandmother-in-law to demonstrate the recipe, and actually guesstimated the ingredient quantities and created a recipe card by watching her make a pie.

It was 1980.

Velda does not consider herself a pastry chef, but she does agree to make the World’s Best Pie twice each year. All was going well, until a kitchen accident nearly became a kitchen CATASTROPHE. The recipe card Velda wrote in 1980 – the only written copy of THE recipe – got caught in a Christmas cookie crossfire, and ended up stuck to the bottom of a cookie sheet.

And then she baked it at 350* for 12 minutes.

The recipe card was severely damaged. Discolored. Corners flaked away. We almost lost this Most Important Family Recipe due to a moment of kitchen chaos.


Enter the next generation, and the younger soon-to-be Mrs M asked Velda for a copy of all of her recipes. The result: the printed Mowry Family Cookbook, which was published in 2008. That saved Velda’s recipes from future cookie dough disasters, plus a host of classic friend & family recipes were added, to boot.

And then Mr M’s Woodshop got going at a furious pace … and I had another idea.

Here’s the latest from the shop: the laser engraved recipe board. It’s meant for display on the recipe side, and can be used on the flip side. Finished size is 8″ x 12″ x 3/4″.

Get me a copy of your recipe written on a plain, unfolded sheet of paper using a extra fine point black Sharpie, and I can do the rest. After all, if you are fortunate enough to be from a family that does Christmas baking, you should never have to chance losing your Most Important Family Recipe in the process!

Recipe Board 15 - 01. Hard Maple. 8" x 12" x 3/4".

Recipe Board 15 – 01. Hard Maple. 8″ x 12″ x 3/4″.

The written recipe you supply will be digitally scanned and converted to a graphic for the laser engraver. If the writing is pretty, that’s great … but if it’s illegible, there’s nothing I can do about that!


Grandma Mowry’s Chocolate Pie

Your Family’s Stuff

Treasuring Family Photos

Velda’s Green Beans   2 comments


  • Two slices of bacon
  • 1/4 of a medium onion
  • 1 pound of fresh green beans
  • Season salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste


Slice & dice bacon into small pieces. Brown in medium skillet until golden. Add finely minced onion. Saute until translucent. Snip stem ends off of green beans. Leave whole, or cut into 2″ pieces. Add to skillet. Season with season salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir fry 2-3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water. Cover & cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until green beans are tender.

Posted January 9, 2014 by henrymowry in Recipes

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Scarlet Queen   Leave a comment

A salad and a radio show. Who knew?

Posted November 22, 2013 by henrymowry in Media, Recipes

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MrsMowry’s Brussels Sprouts   1 comment

We had a discussion about whether this was Mrs. Mowry’s recipe, or MrsMowry’s recipe … and MrsMowry won! This is a wonderful way to serve these little cabbages.


  • 1.5 pounds, fresh Brussels sprouts
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 5 oz pancetta
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • shallot salt
  • salt & pepper


Rinse & quarter Brussels sprouts. Heat large skillet, medium heat. Add olive oil & red pepper flakes. Add pancetta. Stir until pancetta is lightly browned and crisp. Add shallot. Stir until shallot is translucent. Sprinkle shallot salt. Pour Brussels sprouts into skillet. Drizzle top with olive oil; stir to coat. Stir occasionally over medium heat, 5-6 minutes. Add a couple tablespoons of water, salt and pepper. Cover skillet and cook 2-4 minutes until Brussels sprouts are fork tender.

Velda’s Celery Root Soup   4 comments

This is a wonderful soup, but the presentation makes it better!

This is a wonderful soup, but the presentation makes it better!

One of the few good things that came from my recent work trips to Chicago was a discovery of what has become my favorite, favorite soup.  Wikipedia tells me that the common name is incorrect:  Celery Root Soup is properly called Celeriac Soup.

Celery RootCome to find out, the main ingredient isn’t really celery, it’s a cousin of celery called celeriac.  It’s commonly grown in Europe and Africa … and you should find some at your well-stocked local grocery.

I asked Velda to re-create what I found at the South Water Kitchen in Chicago, and she’s improved upon my memory.  This is a wonderful soup.

Velda commented that the immersion blender that she bought when she began making  this soup was the best kitchen tool she’s purchased.  And, BELIEVE ME, her cupboards are stuffed with kitchen gadgets.  If she says her immersion blender is a good tool, I’d pay attention.


  • 1 large celery root, peeled & cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 of an onion, minced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 3 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 t Thyme
  • 1 t salt to taste
  • 1/2 t fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup sherry or Madeira
  • optional: 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Olive oil, truffle oil, grated Parmesan and Durkee french fried onions


Saute onion, shallot and garlic over medium heat in olive oil until soft but not brown.  Add celery root and celery.  Add 1/2 cup sherry or Madeira.  Cover with broth, simmer 20 minutes until tender.

Add thyme, salt & pepper to taste. Puree using a stick blender or food processor.  Add milk, cream and butter.  Continue to puree until smooth. Add more milk to get to desired consistency.

Top with drizzled olive oil, a few drops of truffle oil, grated Parmesan and Durkee french fried onions.

A sliced celeriac with the shoots removed.

A sliced celeriac with the shoots removed.

Hunting Mushrooms with Grandpa   10 comments

Grandpa & me

Grandpa & I, 1968. Wrong vegetable, but that’s what a hunting expedition looked like (Though the ’59 Olds didn’t go to the ditches! Grandpa drove the tractor, or we walked.)

I really had no clue.

It’s just what we did.  Spring rains would come, and then Grandpa Mowry and I would go tromp through the undergrowth.  We had a small family farm that was riddled with ditches between the fields of corn, soy beans and clover.  The clover field was right by the potato patch, and the ditch that was between them is where I remember the hunting was good.

That’s also where the wild blackberry bushes were.

And thus began my love of two wild & wonderful treats: blackberries and morel mushrooms.

Blackberries are relatively common, of course, and I enjoy them year-round.  About once a decade, I can convince Velda to make a blackberry pie.  I think I’m due again in 2017.

Morel 3Mushrooms are also common, and we’ve enjoyed them in all manner of dishes.  Morel mushrooms were missing, though.  How come?

When I was walking by Grandpa’s side, it was really easy.  In the bushy undergrowth of the ditch, we would look for bumps in the leafy mulch.  Once in a while, the mushrooms were already revealed, poking their caps through the detritus of the ditch.  Most of the time, however, our search was for an unexpected mound of leaves.  We would brush the top aside, and occasionally be rewarded with a lovely pale, spongy-looking mushroom cap poking out.  We had found a Morchella esculenta, the yellow morel.

And I had no idea what we had found.  I just knew they tasted great!  On a good day we’d gather a mess of mushrooms for our family of six.  Mom, Dad, Sis and I would get to have a great dinner at Grandma & Grandpa’s house.  The mushrooms, as I recall, were always fried.  For you doubters … don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Come to find out, those morels would be the last I would have for many, many years.  Generally, you can’t buy fresh morels.  No one — NO ONE — knows how to grow them, so the only morels offered for sale are gathered in the wild, just as I did with Grandpa.

Last May, we found dried morels for sale in an old bean store. Great store, Rancho Gordo, in Napa, CA.  They had dried morels for sale:  one ounce for $16.

And so we bought what I think is the most expensive ingredient Velda’s ever used.  She found a recipe from the Barefoot Contessa for Chicken & Morels that was utterly scrumptious.  She did the Velda tweaks, of course: more wine, less fat, etc.  The whole family was there for a great dinner.  It just doesn’t get any better.

More information about morels:Morel 2

The Great Morel

Wikipedia: Morchella

Hunting in the Ozarks

More recipes:

Mushroom Appreciation

Chicken Scallopine with Morels

Kitchen Confidante

Mycological Society of San Francisco


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