Friday, November 29, 2013

Chestnuts Roasting In Your Corningware, French Bisque Nipping at Your Nose

Corny title, I know.  Especially since it's Thanksgiving, but I can't help it.  Every time I roast chestnuts in the oven, that song pops into my head.  So, grab some Chestnuts and sing along.....

Honestly, I usually do a lot more than this on a 1/2 sheet or full sheet baking pan, but Corningware works just as well and I only need a small amount for the recipe I am making.  Besides, it gives me a chance to use the 1 piece of French Bisque that I have.  :-)

Roasting Chestnuts

12-15 Chestnuts
a sharp Knife
425F degree oven
Corningware F-4-B French White (Bisque or Bleu) Roaster or a P-35-B Broil and Bake Tray

Preheat the oven to 425F degrees, then take a sharp knife and cut an 'X' on the flat side of the Chestnut.

Place them all, evenly spaced, in am F-4-B French White Roaster (or P-35-B)

Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the 'X' you cut peels back and the Chestnuts smell kind of like toast.

Place the hot Chestnuts in a towel....

And give them a good whack on the counter.

This should loosen the shell and pericarpus enough to peel them. (chestnuts have a sort of "double" shell)

Peel them you must must must while they are hot, cause once they cool, the pericarpus begins to adhere to the Chestnut again.

There you have it..... Roasted and peeled Chestnuts.  Not my best peeling job, but I was in a hurry.  I had a lot of other things on my plate to get done.  In the grand scheme of things, it's OK this time.  These Chestnuts are destined for chopping anyway, because they are going into my next dish....  Cauliflower Au Gratin (in French White II)

Where is your Corningware??

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The A-B-Cs of Vintage Corning Ware - Corning Ware Model Numbers

Do you know your A B Cs?  

A - is for post 1972 Corning Ware, when they straightened the sides and widened the handles (the lids have larger knobs too) Later, the stamp would be embossed under the handle.

B - is for Buffet Servers which sometimes have Centura Lids on them... Merry Mushroom pattern was also marked with a B- as were some of the Spice o' Life pieces (These are round with detachable handles)

C - is for the Centura casserole/saucepan line, both round and square shapes, in plain white and patterns like Summerhill, Lynnwood, April Tulip, Evening Song, Shangri-La and Laurel.  

However, these items were discontinued in 1977.  As a result ..........

C - was re-used for the Classic Elegance line in the mid 80's.  The design is similar to French White, but without the vertical ribbing. These are printed with designs like Mille Fleur (below left), Jardin, Deco (below right) and Sticks.

CW- is for the French White II line (mid 90s) which is designed similar to French White, but with flared sides. The pieces themselves are unmarked, however their lids give away their series designation.

DC - is for the Designer Casseroles from the late 70's which look similar to the French White line, minus the vertical ribbing.  The 4 known designs are April, Blue Heather, Indian Summer and Meadow. 

DO - is for the Cookmates flat ground bottom Dutch Oven made prior to 1972, when the KA prefix was added.  Thus these have P series lugs.  Usually found in white, these were sold with the "Counter that Cooks".

F - is for the French White line that appeared in 1978 and includes French White, French Bleu, Classic Black and French Bisque. 

G is for the original series letter given to the "Everyday Gourmet" line "French White".  This letter designation was changed to the "F" series for French White shortly after the release. 

H - is for Bake & Broil platters from the Casual Elegance Line (L-series), I think.  I have only seen one (the H-15, below) and I bought the piece for my mother cause it was the "Vineyard" design.  (She likes grape stuff)

I - is for the Australian exclusive casserole dishes. Of which there were two sizes; a 1 1/2 and a 2 1/2 quart marked as I-1 & I-2 respectively.  They seem to have only been available in Cornflower, Spice O' Life and Wildflower.

JCP - is for the JC Penney exclusive khaki colored candlewicking design from around 1970.  Only known pieces at this time are 1 quart (JCP-1B) and 2 1/2 cup Petite pan (JCP-43B). No further information is available at this time.

K - is for Cookmates.... See KA, below.

KA- is for Cookmates made for the "Counter that Cooks" made after 1972.  These pieces have flat ground bottoms like the SKs for the Electromatic Skillet and the SP, DO, SMs for "Counter that Cooks".  These are usually in all white and have A series lugs.  Pieces are sometimes marked with a K only, as in the case of the Teapot & Kettle.  The K or KA is usually followed by a second 2 letter abbreviation...  TP for the Teapot, TK for the Tea Kettle, SK for Skillet, SP for Saucepan or DO for Dutch Oven

L - is for the flared rimmed Casual Elegance Line from the mid 90s with the embossed decorations on the flared rims. (ie. White Flora, Calypso & Vineyard)  These also have strange looking handles on their lids.

M - is for Microwave cookware.  Such as the M-68 dual spout sauce pot. (Which I believe may have been the replacement for the original "Saucemaker" as well)  It is unclear how many different pieces exist with only an M designation, as they were further broken down into MCs, MRs, and MWs depending on the intended function.

MC - is for Microwave Casserole dishes and includes grill pans (that are not microwave browners) as well as the Fast Food containers.

MR - is for specialty Microwave Racks...  I know of only the MR-1, MR-2 & MR-3.

MW - is for Microwave Browners.  These are specially designed pieces with tin oxide applied to the bottom.  These pieces are preheated in the microwave so the tin oxide can heat up and brown your food while you finish nuking it.  While pieces, like griddles and platters had their own designations (MW-1, MW-2), some pieces, like skillets, were prefixed with MW.  For instance, an A-10 "10 inch skillet", that had the Tin Oxide added to the bottom to convert it into a  browner became...  MW-A-10.

N - is for Rangetopper Saucepans & Skillets (from mid-70's to early 80s) with the Aluminum fused bottom (sometimes encased in pyroceram too)

P - is for the Original Corningware that ran from the 1962 through 1971; though some pieces stayed P- models all the way through 1999 like the Menuettes, Petites & Grab-its.

PP - is for the Cookmates Petite Pans with the flat ground bottoms.  Dates of manufacture unknown as the petite pans did not change after 1972, but much later in the 90s when the tops of the lugs were flattened.

S - is for the round saucepans (shaped like Visions) that are also known as Corning "Rangetop" (not Rangetoppers) from the mid to late 80's with pyroceram handles (instead of the detachable one) This change was made after Visions hit the market and the Visions style built in handle met with public approval. All of these are marked in liters instead of quarts. Though the name of the line is similar the S series does not have an aluminum clad bottom.  Known pieces are S-81, S-1.5, S-2.5 saucepans and the S-10 skillet.

SK - is for the Original Electromatic Skillets pans and Cookmates with P series lugs and a flat ground bottom.  (SK-10) with no K or KA Cookmate designation.  Made prior to 1972 when the KA prefix was added

SM - is for Cookmates Saucemakers with flat ground bottoms.  These were made prior to 1972 when the KA prefix was added to the Cookmate line.  I do not know if they were manufactured after 1972.

SP - is for Cookmates Saucepans with flat ground bottoms made prior to 1972 when the KA prefix was added, thus they have small P series lugs. 

TP - is for Cookmates Teapot.  Though usually prefixed with a K.

TK - is for Cookmates Tea Kettle with the flat ground bottom.

U - if for the mystery that just recently surfaced on the Corningware Facebook group... No idea, but they are out there.  I saw a U-5 on eBay.  The U appears to stand for "Unclad" rangetopper (meaning they contain no aluminum.  Pieces range from the U-1-B, U-1 1/2-B, U-2 1/2-B and U-5-B.  All of which look exactly like the N-series rangetoppers, minus the aluminum cladding on the bottom.  To date, neither the 8 or 10 inch skillets have appeared in the U-series.  The U-1 1/2-B was used as an employee Christmas piece in 1983.

V - is for Visions cookware in both Amber and Cranberry, though I know of at least 1 piece of White Visions; the "Chicken Fryer" with the waffle bottom. (V-12)

W - is for the infamous Wheat pattern on the P series Corningware pieces.  Intended as the original design for Corningware, since market research test pieces had been well received, haste to bring the product to marked forced the Cornflower design to be used instead.  It appears to have been revisited later; being manufactured between 1962 and 1970.  Thought to be an exclusive of the Bon Marche in Seattle, WA.  It may have been sold by other "discounter" stores such as Fred Meyer (also in the Pacific NW).

XYZ - are for the ones that you eXamine and ask yourself whY you cannot find a mark on them.  They are more than likely Generation Zed.  French White II falls into this category, as there are no actual model numbers on the modified French White design released in the late 90's just as Corning Consumer Products was sold to Borden, Inc. which later reorganized into World Kitchen, LLC (and more recently into "Corelle Brands") began peddling stoneware facsimiles of the original French White. Some of the smaller original style French White ramekins fall into this category as well..... The 4oz and 7oz sizes are an excellent example.

Now you know your Corning Ware A B Cs, next time won't you sing with me......

Where is your Corning Ware??

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The "Proof" Is In The Pudding - Butter Rum Drenched Apricot Almond Cake

I really hesitate to call this a "Pudding Cake", cause it's SO much more than that.  I think of pudding cakes as having actual pudding under the cake layer..  Like a Brownie Pudding cake.  While this is technically in the same venue as a Brownie Pudding cake, the result is slightly different.  It's not so much a "pudding" that forms underneath as it is a gooey buttery rum laced sauce of complete and utter deliciousness.  One that MUST be spooned liberally over the richly dense brown sugar cake studded with apricots and almonds that miraculously floats upon the sea of said buttery rum laced deliciousness.

I mean, seriously, it is a little slice of heaven drenched in more heaven and then topped with a whipped cream cloud!

Break out that Corningware though, cause your gonna need it.  While I do not normally promote Pyrex on this site, being dedicated to Corningware and all, a set of Pyrex Opalene nesting bowls will probably be of great benefit (cause your gonna need three of them).  I picked a hodgepodge when I started.  2 Cinderella style and 1 regular style.

The most important thing for this recipe is the Corningware Utility 8x8 Pan (P-322).  It comes out perfectly every time.  In metal, the cake gets overdone and dry. When baked in clear glass the rum sauce tends to coagulate. Personally, I think it is because the rum sauce is shy.  If your peeking at it through the bottom of the glass baking dish, it has an anxiety attack and seizes up.  The opacity of Corningware will make the sauce feel safely hidden from prying eyes; it won't even know you are there.  Thus, it will stay nice and relaxed until you break through the cake's surface and dive in.  ;-)

Butter Rum Drenched Apricot Almond Cake
(Rum Pudding Cake)

1 1/2 cups AP Flour
1 1/2 cups Brown Sugar, divided
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
2 grates of Nutmeg
1/8 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 cup sliced Almonds
8 oz unsulphured dried Apricots, chopped
4 TB unsalted Butter, sliced into chunks
2 1/2 cups Boiling Water, divided
1/2 cup Dark Rum
1 tsp Vanilla extract
 ~For serving Whipped Cream

Corningware 6 cup Teapot (P-104)
Corningware 8x8 Utility Pan (P-322)
~optional 2 cup Pyrex Measuring Pitcher
~optional 4 quart, 2.5 quart & 1.5 quart Pyrex Cinderella Bowls (or other mixing bowls)

Preheat the Oven to 350F degrees.
Fill the 6 cup Teapot (P-104) with water and set over medium-high flame to bring the water to a boil.

In the large mixing bowl (4 quart), combing Flour, 1/2 cup of the Brown Sugar, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt, Cinnamon and Nutmeg.

Stir with a whisk to combine.

Add the Almonds and give them a toss with the dry ingredients, then set the bowl aside.

In the medium mixing bowl (2.5 quart), place chopped Apricots and the Butter, then set aside.

In the smallest bowl (1.5 quart), place 1 cup of Brown Sugar and set aside.

Once the Water comes to a boil your ready.  So when the water is boiling, measure out 1 cup into a Pyrex pitcher or other measuring device.

Return the 6 cup Teapot (P-104) to the flame so the water continues to boil.

Pour the boiling water over the Apricots and Butter.

Stir until the Butter is completely melted.

Measure out 1/4 cup Dark Rum.

Add the Rum along with the Vanilla, to the Apricot/Butter mixture and stir to combine.

Pour the Apricot/Butter/Rum mixture over the dry ingredients.

Stir until well combined.

Pour the batter into an ungreased 8x8 inch Utility Pan (P-322).

Spread the batter evenly with a spatula.

Remove the 6 cup Teapot (P-104) from the flame and pour 1 1/2 cups of the boiling water into the Pyrex pitcher (or other measuring device).

Pour the boiling water over the Brown Sugar in the small bowl.

Stir until completely dissolved.

Pour the "syrup" very slowly over the cake batter.

It's OK, if there are a few batter pieces floating, but try to keep it to a minimum.

Carefully move the 8x8 Utility Pan (P-322) into the preheated oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

You will notice that after the first 10 minutes, the cake and the syrup will have traded places.  (I told you it was shy... it's already trying to hide in the bottom of the pan where you cannot see it)

When the cake is done (when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs) remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.

Cut in and watch the sauce flow........

Move a piece to a plate and spoon the unctuous Butter Rum sauce over the top.

Serve with a dollop of Whipped Cream.

MMM!!!   MMM!!! Magic on a plate!!!

Where is your Corningware??