Monday, May 23, 2011

Aprons and Appetizers

Good morning!
Wonder Bread apron for sale at

Today I will be exploring MORE aprons,
apron trivia,
apron adventures,
The two just seem to go hand in hand,
as I can seldom make an appetizer without making a mess.

kitschy retro Kitchen Apron for sale at

Let's start with
Tempura Fillet Bites
"Mix Butter with Love" by Joyce Landorf

This recipe comes from my very first cookbook-that-was-all-mine.
It has a bit of history for me.

When we first moved to Arizona, we lived at a camp above Prescott -
'Ponderosa Pines Camp'. Dad was the Camp Director.
Then fall came, and I had to go back to school, in Phoenix, AZ -
yet another new school, trying to find friends, fit in, etc.
I hated it every time.
Oh well- moving, new schools, new people - that is a big part of what made me who I am today.
At the time however, I sure didn't see the overall picture!

Fast forward 3 years -  now it was off to high school!
North (Phoenix) High School.
It was a few miles to the high school. Rather than ride a bus with a bunch of kids I didn't know, I chose to walk.  Most mornings either Mom or Dad would drop me off. Later, my sister would come pick me up in the morning and drop me off.
I walked home most of the time.
Well, as I mentioned, this was Phoenix, Arizona.
Think hot.
Think walking several miles on concrete sidewalks in the afternoon.
Think Phoenix reaches its high temperature around 3 pm.
Just the time I'm walking home.
Think hot!
Dad had an office about half-way home at the Baptist main office. Truly, I can't remember if it was Southern Baptist, General Conference Baptist, or some other kind of Baptist. But these were the Baptists that owned Ponderosa Pines, so Dad had an office in the Phoenix headquarters.
The first floor was a bookstore.
Yee Haw!!!
I loved books. I still love books!
There was a very very nice woman who managed the bookstore. Dad introduced us, and it was a friendship from then on. Funny quirk of the brain, I can't remember her exact name, but I think it was Mrs. Jackson.

Okay, long story trying to make it shorter.
One day I stopped in for a minute of air conditioning and cool water break. Dad was there, and came down to the bookstore. He said I could have any book I wanted. WOW.
I always looked at the books, so I knew which one I wanted -
'Mix Butter with Love' by Joyce Landorf
My very first, all my own, cookbook!
You see, I had been preparing pretty much all the meals for the family for around 3 years by that time. Of course, it was only Mom and Dad for the last bit, as Cindy had moved out.
Mom was in the hospital there quite a bit. So after Cindy moved out it was just me and Dad, when Mom was in the hospital. (Doctor's Hospital)
The house rule was that whoever cooked didn't have to wash dishes.
Oh yeah, that was good. I hated to wash dishes, so you can be sure I cooked all the time!  I still hate washing dishes!
One night I decided to try this recipe. This is where the apron adventure comes in.
I had never cooked fish (mom didn't like it). I certainly had never cooked anything with a batter like tempura.
After dinner - which was quite good by the way - Dad had to clean up, see house rule above. Poor Dad.
I had grease up on the ceiling. Tempura batter and frying grease all over the counters, the floor, the cabinets, the stove....what a mess.
And Dad never complained one little bit.  Miss that man.
On to the recipe!
Tempura Fillets:
1 lb. fish fillets, cut into 4 pieces, or smaller bite size pieces for appetizers
vegetable oil for deep fat frying
1 bottle soy sauce
1 package Japanese Tempura Batter Mix (look in the Asian food aisle)
with love:
Heat oil in your electric skillet or fry pan to 365'.
Whip up one small bowl of batter using box/package directions. Set aside in the fridge to keep chilled.
Cut fish into small pieces for handling. Coat lightly with flour.
(The success of tempura depends on icy cold batter and very hot oil.)
Dip floured fish into batter and fry in hot oil.
Wear an apron!!!
Cook only a few minutes on each side using tongs. Batter will be crisp but not brown. Fish will flake easily with a fork.
Place fish on a warmed platter covered with paper toweling to absorb oil and set in warm oven (turned off).
Serve with a small side dish of soy sauce. Add a few drops of water to the soy sauce if it's too strong.
Dip battered, cooked fish into it and enjoy!

You can use different vegetables and even bananas dipped in the batter and fried the same way. Some of Joyce's favorites are carrot and celery sticks, sliced eggplant, cauliflower, sliced zucchini squash, long fresh green beans.
The vegetables are cooked - but not to death! so they taste full of flavor.

vintage apron with embroidery detail,

Okay, not happy.
blogspot is having issues
It only saved and published about half of my blog.
First I couldn't have any setting but the 'center' setting for type.
okay, I can deal.
But losing my blog? did I mention grrrrrr.....
Well, the upside is, you get some info but not as much chit chat from me!
Pre-purchase plain butcher style apron.
Here is a photo of 3 that are decorated, but in the butcher style apron:

Pre-wash apron, using NO FABRIC SOFTENER.
Now you have a blank canvas to have lots of fun with!
Some ideas:
Stamp with fabric ink and large stamps

Doodle embroidery - using embroidery floss randomly stitch motifs and fancy stitches all over the butcher apron

Doodle sewing - see above, only use colorful thread in your sewing machine.
Perfect time to play with all those fancy stitches you've never tried!

Using fabric ink pads, or acrylic paints mixed with a make-it-washable additive, (You can find these in the same aisle as acrylic craft paints.) make prints with cut up veggies and fruit. Here is a simple tutorial:

Colorful patches - cut cotton fabric into large shapes like triangle, circle, square, etc. Place randomly over apron; pin in place. Leaving a 1/4" border, stitch all around each shape. When washed, the 1/4" border should fray nicely.

Using fabric crayons, draw or trace from a coloring book a simple picture. Fill in with color, or just make the outline bright colors.

Here is a simple apron with applique from Crafts n Things, Dec 2010:

Click on the photos so you can read the directions.
Re-size the pattern to fit your apron.

Elizabeth, a vintage paperdoll

Jane in rain gear and apron, from The turned-intos vintage book:

I love the delicate watercolors in this book!
Well, since I've been at this blog for twice as long as normal, due to the re-posting, I think I'll quit for the day.
Tomorrow -

The Deep Fried Mozzarella recipe that blogspot lost,

2 FREE vintage paperdolls, with lots of clothes -
and aprons of course!

some apron trivia and.....who knows?


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