Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Reader's Questions: Kitchen Help

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. ~Abraham Lincoln

Today I have some great questions from readers!

I have a question, I often have to prepare scalloped potatoes or potato salad for a group of 20 people. How do I know how many pounds of potatoes I need to buy? I have checked cookbooks with help sections and they only give the quarts amount in prepared form. I need the basics. ~Maurine

The recipe below is for 20 servings, so I think you could go with a general rule of 5 pounds in recipes that serve this many people. It's a very basic potato salad that you can add your own variations to.

Potato Salad for a Crowd

5 pounds potatoes, peeled
1 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 cup dill pickle relish
3/4 cup prepared yellow mustard
12 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
2 cups chopped celery

Place the potatoes into a large pot, and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain and cool. In a large bowl, stir together mayonnaise, relish, mustard, hard-cooked eggs and celery. Cut the potatoes into cubes, and add to the bowl. Mix gently until coated. Makes 20 servings.

As a child, cans listed a can size. Number 3, number 10 etc. Many of the recipes passed down in my family were written this way and I don't know how much product this is. Does anyone have a list of the amounts that were in these cans. I remember how fond I was of some of grandmas meals and would like to be able to make these recipes for my family. ~Sarah

This is the information I found and it should help!

No. 1 = 1 1/4 cups or 10 1/2 to 12 ounces
No. 2 = 2 1/2 cups or 20 ounces
No. 2 1/2 = 3 1/2 cups or 27 to 29 ounces
No. 3 = 5 3/4 cups or 51 ounces
No. 10 = 3 quarts or 6 1/2 pounds to 7 pounds and 5 ounces
No. 300 = 1 3/4 cups or 14 to 16 ounces
No. 303 = 2 cups or 16 to 17 ounces

Quite a few years ago, I used to make a Friendship Cake. You added fruit and sugar to the starter and then after about a month you were able to make the actual cake. I no longer have any starter nor do I know anyone that has it. I remember reading a long time ago about making the starter using brandy and fruit. Do you know of this recipe or one that will make the starter? ~Ellen

There are variations all over the internet and in my cookbooks for Friendship Cake but this one sounds like what you are looking for:

Brandied Friendship Cake and Starter

1 1/2 cup Brandy
1 can (1-lb) peaches with juice (up to)
7 1/2 cup sugar; divided
1 can (1-lb) pineapple tidbits or chunks; with juice
1 can (1-lb) fruit cocktail; with juice
1 jar (10-oz) Maraschino cherries
1 box yellow cake mix (up to)
3/4 cup oil (up to)
4 eggs
1 pack (small) vanilla instant pudding
1 1/2 cup fruit from starter
1 cup nuts; chopped

For starter: Mix thoroughly brandy, peaches with juice and 2 to 2 1/2 cups of the sugar. Put in glass jar loosely covered. Let stand 10 days at room temperature. Stir every day. On the 11th day, add 2 to 2 1/2 more cups sugar and pineapple with juice. Stir every day. On the 21st day add remaining 2 to 2 1/2 cups sugar, fruit cocktail with juice and Maraschino cherries. Stir every day. On the 31st day, drain juice; save for starter or give to a friend. Use fruit for cakes. This makes enough for 3 to 5 cakes. Fruit can be frozen to keep or is great over ice cream. Starter can be kept in refrigerator 4 weeks.

Cake: Mix together cake mix, oil, eggs, pudding mix, 1-1/2 cups fruit from starter and nuts. Grease and flour Bundt or angel food cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown.

On OFL we have some neat tidbits on April Fools Day:

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