Well Christmas Eve is upon us and I am up bright and early to do the frying and baking. During these health conscious times you would think that I had better sense, but it is what it is.
I'm not much of a baker mind you, it is too exact. I fancy myself as more of an all around cook. Never really measure too much, eyeball and taste test mostly. So far, it has seemed to work out and I have not had to throw out too many meals over the years. There was that one time though when Ronnie Brown was over and asked why did we have pea gravel slung out in the yard like that. I told him that was not pea gravel thank you, that was navy beans that I tried to cook. They were in the yard because they were the taste and texture of pea gravel, so maybe I shouldn't have corrected him.
Either way, here I am, up and at em'. We are broke as haints this year so the holiday season will truly be gifts from the heart and that is what lands me in the kitchen this morning frying and baking. I'm frying peach pies for my daddy and making Bizcochos for my momma.
Fried peach pies, I could do in my sleep, chop up dried peaches and put them on the stove to stew in water, sugar and cinnamon until they are the texture of a thick jam. Roll out biscuit dough and fry em up. Well, at least that is how I like mine to be. Biscochos, well that's a whole other ball game. I haven't participated in the making of these, since I was a kid. Biscochos are cookies by the way. Mexican wedding cookies to be exact, but when I was a kid we seemed to make them at Christmas time. I remember my mom saying that is what they did, so here we are diding them.
As I read through the recipe this morning I vaugely remember all the steps which are simple and few, and the ingredients, which are familiar but shocking. The first item on the list is Lard. One whole pound of it. Not Crisco or shortening of another kind, LARD. Right away I'm thinking, well won't these melt in your mouth!
You cream the lard together with 1 cup of sugar and once that is done you add a tablespoon of crushed cinnamon stick, crushed anise seed 2 eggs, 1 jigger of wine------whoa. A jigger of wine. Crap, I forgot about it having wine. Pretty sure there is no wine here. Now I vaugely remember my mom substituting grape juice back in the day when necessary. No, that won't do, I'm not getting showered and dressed for a jigger of grape juice.....Crap.
So off I go on a scavenger hunt looking for something that could pass for wine. I stop to stir the peaches on the stove when I notice that Ray, when cleaning out the cabinets this week has placed a tall box that says Naturally Pomegranate on the counter by the stove. I have an "Aha" moment and read the label. I had forgotten I even had this stuff. Wonder if it is still good? Wonder when I bought it? Some things should not be dwelt on too long and I think this falls into that category. Have yall ever heard of this stuff? The box says that "Naturally Pomegranate contains all the natural goodness of the fruit concentrate and pomegranate seed and has recently been acclaimed for its health benefits, in particular, for its antioxidant potential." Well, what better ingredient to add to a cookie recipe that calls for a pound of lard!
I open the bottle, take a sniff and decide it smells as fresh as if it were bottled just last week. I'm too lazy to look up how much a jigger is so I hope its close to a shot and pour a good shot of the stuff into the bowl. I wonder if there are enough good qualities in the pomegranate juice to counter act the lard in the cookies? I wonder if anyone that eats these cookies is gonna say, hmmmm, what is that hint of something I taste? Could it be wine? No, I know! Pomegranate! Probably not.
I have been known to creatively substitute ingredients before...sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I have a good feeling about this one though!
Well, here comes Abby scooching down the hall half awake. She says what's that smell? Are you cooking sweet potatoes? No, I tell her, peaches for pies. She makes a face, she prefers blackberry fried pies, I'm sure there will be at least a couple of those made today also.
Well, I better get crack-a-lackin. Have a Very Merry Christmas and please remember that Jesus IS the reason for the season.