MAY 30, 2012–WATERMELON GRANITA AND APPLE BROWN BETTY
4:30 a.m. in the morning. That is when this day started. It started with Eloise needing the “stomach bucket”. This continued every half hour until at 10:30. At that time, I called the doctor because she had developed a rash and a fever of 100.1 F.
There were no appointments until 4:50 that afternoon. That was a long wait, and I grew worried. Then the receptionist called back and asked if I could get there in 20 minutes. The drive is more like 30 minutes, but I of course said, “YES!”
One doctor came in. She decided to do a throat swab for strep. I thought, “It’s strep throat.” The result was negative.
She called a second doctor in, and together they asked more questions. They asked her to move her head back and forth. “OH NO! I thought of meningitis.” They wanted to do a finger prick. The results came back with a very high white blood count.
More talking. A third doctor came in and asked about tick bites. I remembered that Eloise had a tick bite about a month before. “PLEASE DON’T LET IT BE LIMES DISEASE”, I prayed. The doctors dismissed the tick bite as a month ago was too long ago to be Limes Disease. They consulted and decided that I could take her home. I didn’t even know that they were thinking of hospitalizing her! BUT, they wanted her to come back in tomorrow morning for another blood test. Then I thought, “leukemia.” I asked. They paused. (I hate it when doctors pause!) Then they said, “We just want another look at her as her white blood count is extremely high and we don’t know why. Also her red rash has turned purple, and she has thrown up 5 times during this doctor’s visit.”
I tried not to worry. I called home to let The Hunni know the news. I prayed. He prayed.
And for having her finger pricked, I stopped by the drug store and bought Eloise a bottle of blue nail polish–not the cheap $1.99 kind, but the $5.95 kind. I promised her a pedicure that afternoon.
I arrived home at 1:45 to a mown yard and a cleaned living room. We were having a houseful of company this weekend. I decided to not call the house guests until we visited the doctor tomorrow.
I needed comfort food. I heated up the brisket. We ate it on Pretzel Rolls that I found at our local gourmet grocery store. I loved the rolls, and they added a nice dimension to the TANGY TOMATO BRISKET. Here is a recipe from Tasty Kitchen if you want to try to make some pretzel rolls.
(Photo from here.)
After lunch I started WATERMELON GRANITA. My nephew was coming up for the weekend and he has milk and soy allergies. I wanted a dessert that we all could enjoy, and WATERMELON GRANITA (pg. 120) has only watermelon, sugar, and limes as its ingredients.
After all the ingredients are put in a blender, you then freeze the mixture in a shallow pan. As the mixture freezes, you scrap up the frozen part. I didn’t get around to scraping it every couple of hours, but waited until the mixture was frozen.
And although it is wonderful without any additions, I needed a “pick-me-up”, so here I am drinking WATERMELON GRANITA with the left over “Mt. Dew” (from PW’s APPLE DUMPLINGS recipe) splashed over the top. Now I included this note specifically for my Father-in-law. “Dear Dad, You can tell from this photo that I did not try to drive and take a photograph at the same time, but took the photo before I pulled out of the driveway. That is not the case when I apply my make-up. Sincerely, Your Daughter-in-law.”
The afternoon was busy with our business. Busy. Busy. Busy. But the good news is that Eloise started looking and feeling better. I finally got around to the pedicure I promised. I don’t know when the last time you had a finger prick for a blood test, but it hurts. She kept saying, “My finger keeps banging.” (throbbing). I do not know how diabetics do it.
Supper. I needed some more comfort food. I was still worrying a bit about Eloise.
APPLE BROWN BETTY (pg. 250) sounded perfect.
And it was perfect. So simple and so simply good.
Pioneer Woman’s recipe called for “wheat bread”, but I had some sourdough bread that I needed to use up, so I used sourdough bread. The recipe calls for Granny Smith apples. I used to be able to bite right into a Granny Smith apple, but now they tingle my sensitive teeth. I do, however, love them for baking and applesauce. I love an all Granny Smith applesauce.
So who was Granny Smith? And how did she make such good apples?
Granny Smith apples are unique in that when mature, they are still green. This makes it rather hard to tell when they are ripe. When cut, a Granny Smith apple’s flesh will stay crisp longer than most apples. Granny Smith apples are also noted for their “tangy” taste. A Granny Smith apple tree, when cared for properly, can live for about 50 years. (from here.) “The tree is thought to be a hybrid of Malus sylvestris, the European Wild Apple, (a crab apple) with the domestic apple M. domestica as the polleniser.” (from Wikipedia)
“The cultivar originated in Eastwood, New South Wales, Australia (now a suburb of Sydney) in 1868 from a chance seedlingpropagated by Kentish-born Maria Ann Smith (née Sherwood, b. 1799, d. 9 March 1870), from whom comes the name. Widely propagated in New Zealand, it was introduced to the United Kingdom c. 1935 and the United States in 1972 by Grady Auvil. The advent of the Granny Smith Apple is celebrated annually in Eastwood with the Granny Smith Festival.” (from Wikipedia)
If you want to learn more about Granny Smith, click here to read more.
And now a little history on APPLE BROWN BETTY. A “Betty” is a baked pudding. It is a classic American dish with its history dating back to Medieval times. References to this recipe (19th century cookbooks) state that it is a quick recipe for the family, but not for company or holidays. North American Pioneers found APPLE BROWN BETTYS easy to make as they had staple ingredients and dried apples could be used. The first mention found of an APPLE BROWN BETTY is mentioned in 1864. (from here.)
Put a layer of sweetened apple sauce in a buttered dish, add a few lumps of butter, then a layer of cracker crumbs sprinkled with a little cinnamon, then layer of sauce, etc., making the last
layer of crumbs; bake in oven, and eat with cold, sweetened
—Buckeye Cookery, Estelle Woods Wilcox, facsimile 1877
edition [Applewood Books:Bedford MA] (p. 197)[NOTE: Compare with Swiss Pudding, 1853.]” (from here.)
A cookbook in 1923 mentions a recipe very similar to Pioneer Woman’s
“Brown Betty (four portions) (A delicious and economical dessert for the home meal.)
Two cups soft bread crumbs
Two and one-half cups peeled diced apples
One cup water
Two level tablespoons butter
One-half cup sugar
One level teaspoon ground cinnamon
One-fourth level teaspoon grated nutmeg
One tablespoon lemon juice.
Mix all the ingredients, and place in a buttered baking-dish. Bake in a moderate oven for forty minutes or until the apples are soft. Serve warm with Hard Sauce or Cream.”
—Bettina’s Best Desserts, Louise Bennett Weaver and Helen
Cowles LeCron [A.L. Burt Company:New York] 1923 (p. 15)
So there is your history lesson for the day.
But I am going to leave you hanging on the results of Eloise’s second blood test because I was left hanging.
COMMENTS: The WATERMELON GRANITA was very easy to make and very good. The kids thought it could have more sugar, and probably prefered ice cream to GRANITA, but all the adults loved it. I served it with a lime wedge to squeeze over the top. I always have loved APPLE BROWN BETTY. I think of it as more of a fall/winter dessert. Unlike the 19th century cookbooks, I think this dessert can be served to company.
One last comment. I think is appropriate that Pioneer Woman included a pioneer recipe in her cookbook “Food From My Frontier.”