Recipes from the books and from the Wingate table. Enjoy!
Homemade chai tea is my favorite writer nectar. This
make-your-own mix was developed by my mom. The great thing about
it, as opposed to most commercial chai mixes, is that this is
unsweetened and much lower in fat. You can add the sweetener of
your choice and you can make it with caffeinated or decaf instant tea.
A little jar with a bow around it makes a great, inexpensive
Christmas gift that keeps on giving, or a sweet share-around item at
your ladies' gathering or book club.
Lisa's Favorite Writer Nectar -- Mom's Make Your Own Chai Tea Mix
Grandma Rose’s Sourdough Bread
When I make this easy sourdough bread, I’m often reminded of my
grandmother and her story of her marital breakdown with my grandfather,
because she was too proud to admit she didn’t know how to make yeast
bread. A recipe arrived on a flour sack shortly thereafter,
fortunately, and the marriage was saved.
1cup bread or all purpose flour
1 cup warm water
1 tsp yeast
Mix starter and let stand 48 hours, longer if you wish bread to be a bit more sour
5 cups bread or all purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
1 Tbs salt
1 ½ cup warm water
1 cup starter mixture
Mix dry ingredients, then add water and starter. Cover mixing bowl and let rise until at least doubled (1 to 2 hours). Knead thoroughly on a flour dusted counter and cut in half to make two loaves. Put in greased bread pans. Let rise until rounded (1 to 2 hours). Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, until brown. Remove and cool on wire rack.
From TENDING ROSES by Lisa Wingate: “Bread, like a good life, can only be created by honest measure, patience, warmth, and time.” –Grandma Rose
Mrs. Hawthorne’s Famous Biscuits
One of my favorite scenes in TEXAS COOKING is the scene in which Mrs. Hawthorne teaches poor Collie, who hates to cook, about biscuit therapy—a unique way to put life’s unpalatable elements into perspective. Mrs. Hawthorne might have borrowed this recipe from my mother-in-law, whose biscuits are out of this world.
Sift together: 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 ½ tsp baking powder ½ tsp salt
Cut in 1/3 cup shortening until mixture resembles coarse corn meal. Add ¾ cup milk and blend until flour is moistened. Turn out on lightly floured board. Knead 30 seconds and roll ¾ inches thick. Cut with biscuit cutter and place in lightly greased pan. Bake at 475 for 12 to 15 minutes.
From Texas Cooking: “This isn’t cooking, it’s therapy. You start out
with a bunch of things that taste bad on their own—flour, shortening,
dash of salt and so forth. You mix them together and get something that
looks like it’ll always be a mess. Then you work on it for a while… and
cut it out, piece by piece, until it’s all lined up in the pan, orderly
and just as it should be… Kind of gives you faith in the ability of a
mess to work into something good.” --Mrs. Hawthorne
Lone Star Café’s Magical Buttermilk Pie
In each of the books, there is an element that is slightly magical—that could be explained by mere coincidence, or could be a bit of divine intervention in the lives of the characters. As always, I present the facts and leave you to decide on which side of the fence you’d like to fall. In Lone Star Café, it’s the coffee and food at the café that works a bit of heavenly magic between Laura Draper and her oh-so-stubborn father, Hardy.
9 inch unbaked pie shell
½ cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 rounded Tbsp, flour
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla dash nutmeg (optional)
Soften butter, add sugar, cream together well. Add flour and eggs, beat well. Stir in buttermilk, vanilla, and nutmeg. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. Cool completely before serving. This pie is also wonderful with a handful of chocolate chips, a handful of chopped nuts, and a handful of cocoanut added to the pie shell before you pour the filling in. It will melt in your mouth!
From LONE STAR CAFÉ by Lisa Wingate: “I knew your father would appreciate the pie.
Our buttermilk pie cures a multitude of ills.” -Hasselene Goodnight
Grandma’s Banana Oatmeal Cookies
When Grandma Rose wasn’t sharing life wisdom, writing the Baptist
Buzz, or listening to the whispers in the sycamores, she loved to spend
time at the local grocery store, digging through rotten fruits and
vegetables, gleaning freebies that the produce man was about to throw
away. Rotten bananas were an especially treasured find. She often used
them to bake these banana oatmeal cookies, which she invented, and was
very proud of because the only thing that “costs” (is expensive) in the
recipe is a few chocolate chips. In THE LANGUAGE OF SYCAMORES,
granddaughters Kate and Karen renew their childhood bonds by attempting
to bake a batch of Grandma’s banana oatmeal cookies. At my
grandmother’s funeral, my cousin, Judy, baked my grandmother’s cookies.
Judy probably paid for her bananas, but as we ate the cookies we all
smiled and thought of long afternoons with Grandma. No matter where you
are in life, there is something timeless about the taste and smell of a
recipe your grandmother always made.
1 cup flour
½ cup mashed ripe banana
1 1/4 cup sugar
1tsp baking soda
½ tsp cinnamon
2 cups rolled oats
½ cup soft shortening or stick margarine
3 Tbsp milk
½ package chocolate chips (or raisins—healthier, but we kids were always disappointed when the black things in the cookies turned out to be raisins ;o)
Mix ingredients. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, until lightly browned on top.
From THE LANGUAGE OF SYCAMORES: “Mrs. Jaans scoffed, pushing the cookie platter closer to the kids. “Oh, let him have a cookie. It’s a special occasion.” She smiled at Alex. “Here, sweet, have a cookie. They’re good for you. Got bananas in ‘em.” It was exactly the kind of thing Grandma Rose would have said…