Wednesday, July 4, 2012

 Is your FLAG flying? 
Happy Independence Day!

Once I became an adult, a wife and mother, I suddenly became aware of my parent’s ability to handle 2 jobs, 3 children and all of their activities, and a large home. I do know that most husbands today help with raising the children, but how many do the weekly grocery shopping for a family of five? Or take a teenage daughter to Macy’s to by a dress for the Christmas Formal? Both Mom and Dad worked, so they each took their duties and worked them into their daily schedules. I can honestly say I never heard one cross word between the two of them….how rare is that! I do remember more than a few cross words aimed at me….I hated to hear “Virginia Katherine!”

I was the middle child, stuck between a perfect sister and a perfect brother. What can I say…..someone needed to keep their lives from being boring!

I could go on about my amazing parents, but I really want to tell you about their talents in the kitchen. Dad was raised by an award winning professional cook, who was never afraid of hard work. They owned a drugstore that was more lunch counter/café than drugs. Grandmother did all of the cooking, including making hundreds of pies every week.

My Mom’s mother was a farmer’s wife who cooked for not only a large family with 5 children, but she cooked for the farmhands. She made homemade sausage, cured meats, and canned foods from her garden so she could feed her family during the winter months.

So, you see, both of my parents grew up around excellent food, and watched the action in the kitchen often enough to have learned a thing or two. If I could tell you about our holiday meals complete with tastes and aromas, you would swoon! But my favorite meals were on Sunday, right after church. My Mom’s fried chicken was absolutely the finest I have ever tasted. (Does the word “lard” ring a bell?) And Pot Roast straight from heaven, along with little beautifully browned potatoes and carrots cooked right along side the beef.. Today, I have yet to reach that powerful beefy flavor, and I make a pretty good pot roast!
The food was wonderful in the 1950s! Oh sure, we had Tuna Noodle Casserole, and Liver and Onions, but not as a steady diet. Dad did lots of  grilling and became famous for his ¾ pound hamburgers! His abilities in the kitchen were astounding!

All of this makes me remember desserts of that era. Some of my favorites were Lemon Meringue Pie, Mom’s warm Gingerbread, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, and her heavenly Applesauce Cake!

Virginia Johnston’s Applesauce Cake (with golden raisins and black walnuts.)

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, well beaten
3/4 cup applesauce
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon each of salt, cinnamon, ground cloves, and allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup black walnuts…(I am from Missouri, you know)

Cream the shortening and sugar until fluffy. Blend in the well beaten egg. Sift together the flour and spices.
Dissolve the soda in the boiling water and add alternately with the dry ingredients into the shortening/sugar mixture.
Add raisins and nuts.
Pour into a 7"greased pan and bake about 50 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

(Now, I don’t actually own a 7”cake pan. They are available on line, but really, with a cake as wonderful as this one, why not double the recipe and bake it in a 9”x13” pan? Just check the center of the cake with a toothpick to control baking time.)

So, here I am, in Kansas, the temperature is 100+ degrees and the wind is blowing like a son-of-a …gun. It is way too hot to turn on the oven; they are cancelling most of the fireworks displays for the 4th due to the heat and the lack of rain! So I’m thinking ice cream! Nice cooling lemony ice cream…..ahhhhhhh, yes!

Lemon Gelato

6 lemons - zested and juiced (approx 1/2 cup lemon zest and 1 cup lemon juice)
6 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
2 1/2 cups half and half
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sugar

Whisk your egg yolks, heavy cream together into a bowl and set aside. Into a large sauce pan add half and half, lemon zest and sugar. Heat over medium heat stirring frequently until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add some of the warm half and half mixture to the egg yolk mixture into order to temper. GRADUALLY add the egg yolk mixture into the half and half mixture and stir well to combine. Return to medium heat and cook until mixture thickens. Remove from heat stir in vanilla extract.
Allow pan to cool slightly cover with saran wrap and place into the fridge to cool completely. When you're ready to make your gelato stir in the lemon juice and follow instructions on your gelato maker!
You do have an electric ice cream maker don’t you? If not, you are missing out on one of life’s greatest treats….homemade ice cream!

I am back in my painting studio, at last. Today I signed a new abstract I just completed this afternoon. It is a very good feeling!

I will be participating in the Art and Wine stroll in Paola, Kansas July 14th from 6 to 9pm. The newly remodeled G! Gallery will be showing the works of David Gross, the owner, Claud Davis and me. The wine will be provided by Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery, and the food will be provided by Molly’s Table ….and me! It should be a fun evening, so join us if you can. There will be art and wine in many of the shops around the Town Square.

The G! Gallery is right above the Miami County Historical  Museum at 12 East Peoria Street.  2nd floor.

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Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
oil painting by Kay Tucker

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek
Oil Painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection


oil painting by Kay Tucker

Kansas Storm

Kansas Storm
oil painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection

Watercolor Collage

Watercolor Collage

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time
48"x36" sculptural painting by Kay Tucker