Thrifted Find: Fire King Meadow Green

I try not to collect Fire King. Even though I love a lot of the patterns, it’s functionally the same as Pyrex — and I already have a lot of Pyrex. I don’t have the space to collect both!

Still, I’ve managed to accumulate a few pieces. In this case, I picked up the oval casserole lid first at Goodwill, thinking it would fit another dish I had (which turned out to be round, not oval — damn that memory of mine). As a result I was on the hunt for an oval casserole to match the lid. I ended up finding it in the Meadow Green pattern (along with an 8×8 baking dish) on Goodwill’s online auction site.

Fire King is also known for jadeite, a type of pale green milk glass tableware first produced in the 1940s, as well as peach lustre, a line of iridescent orange ovenware that came in a huge array of shapes and sizes. I also recently learned that Anchor Hocking, manufacturer of Fire King, briefly made a line of cookware similar to Corning Ware — so naturally I am dying to get my hands on some. I will be keeping my eyes peeled in the thrift stores!

Creamy Broccoli, Kale and Potato Soup

This recipe started as a desire to recreate the homemade cream of broccoli soup I had growing up. These days, all you ever see is broccoli cheddar soup — but the soup I know and love is pure broccoli and cream, no cheese required.

So when I picked up a copy of The Frugal Gourmet at Hope Thrift recently, I was delighted to find that Jeff Smith’s recipe for cream of broccoli soup is the one I remember (in fact, I’m pretty sure my parents had the same book in their kitchen). Of course, I can’t help but tweak things, and I found myself wondering how green the soup would turn out with the addition of some kale, among other changes. The answer is … very green!

I recommend serving with garlic bread or a nice crusty baguette.

Serves 6

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Ingredients

2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb kale (about 1 bunch), stemmed and finely chopped
1 1/2 lb broccoli, finely chopped (including peeled stems and any leaves)
1 large russet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
1 cup heavy cream
salt
pepper
optional garnishes: fresh parsley, croutons

In a dutch oven over medium-high heat, saute onions and celery in the butter until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Stir in the kale a handful at a time and cook until wilted, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the broccoli, potato, chicken broth, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, until the kale, potatoes and broccoli are very tender, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender (or in a regular blender) until your desired level of smoothness.

Return to low heat and stir in the cream, cooking until the soup is hot. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley and/or croutons.

Pictured: Corning Ware Fresh Cut P-43-B Petite Pan (x2), Corning Ware Blue Cornflower P-41-B Petite Pan, Pyrex 508 Measuring Cup

 

Braised Cardamom Chicken

One of my favorite cookbooks is Raghavan Iyer’s 660 Curries — our family loves Indian food, and every single thing we have tried from the book has been pretty fantastic. I should note that the recipes aren’t all “curries” in the traditional Americanized sense, meaning they don’t all have heavy sauces. There’s a terrific array of rice dishes, for example.

One dish we have made again and again is Iyer’s Cardamom-Scented Chicken with Ginger and Garlic. And while it’s great as is, we have also branched out and used the same spices in other ways. Here I’ve adapted the recipe for an oven-braised version.

This recipe requires a trip to an Indian grocery store — if you have one nearby, it’s well worth a visit. You’ll find a ton of good quality spices in large quantities, usually at much lower prices than other stores, and a lot of them (cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, etc.) cross over into other types of cooking. And you’ll find stuff that’s hard to get anywhere else. (You can also shop online from a store like Kalustyan’s — I have not tried it, but it was recommended by The Kitchn.)

In particular, you’ll need some whole red chiles (spice level: medium to hot) and green cardamom pods:

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Cardamom pods are sometimes used whole, but for this recipe you open up the pods and extract the black seeds. Your reward for a few minutes of work is seeds that are much more pungent and aromatic, and they are one of the main flavors of the dish.

The recipe also calls for ghee, a type of clarified butter that you can buy from an Indian grocery or make yourself. Making ghee is super easy: Alton Brown has a recipe here on the Food Network website.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tsp whole cardamom seeds
6 whole Indian red chiles
2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated
1 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp canola oil
8 chicken drumsticks or mix of drumsticks and bone-in thighs, skins removed
1 tbsp ghee
3 bay leaves
2 whole cinnamon sticks
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Grind the cardamom seeds with three of the chiles (a coffee grinder works best if you have one strictly for spices; otherwise you’ll need to start with ground cardamom, chop up the chiles yourself and grind with a mortar and pestle). Add the ginger, garlic, turmeric, salt and oil and stir to form a paste. Rub the chicken with the paste and marinate for at least two hours (preferably overnight).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large oven-safe skillet over low heat, melt the ghee. Add the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks and remaining chiles. Top with the chicken and onions. Move the skillet to the oven and bake until the chicken braises in its own juices and reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees and is almost falling off the bone, about 1 hour. Top with cilantro and serve.

Pictured: Corning Ware Spice O’ Life A-10-B Skillet, Pyrex Royal Wheat 063 Divided Dish

Thrifted Find: Corning Ware Dutch Oven

It was a rainy day today, so we headed to Savers for a little family thrifting. My husband headed to the electronics, my daughter to the toys, and I made my usual beeline to the ovenware. Our local Savers is often a pretty good source of Corning Ware — I find stuff I can’t believe other people have passed up. Today certainly didn’t disappoint: They had a P-34-B dutch oven in one of my favorite patterns, Floral Bouquet Third Edition. It’s in pristine condition, with a lid, and the original roasting rack! Imagine how easily the racks get separated from their pots — so finding them together was a big score.

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Interestingly, the walls and bottom of the pot are thinner than other pieces — perhaps designed more for the oven than the stovetop. It can still go on the stove, though, if kept at a lower temperature. I’ve found that Corning Ware generally gets plenty hot even at a medium-to-low burner setting.

I can’t wait to roast a chicken in this thing, and then make gravy in the same pan!

Roasted Carrots and Potatoes with Carrot Top Pesto

For a few Saturdays in a row, I’ve watched people flock to the carrots in the vegetable booth at our neighborhood farmers’ market — brilliant orange specimens, stubby, with a ton a fresh leafy greens attached. So this weekend, I bought them too. It was the perfect opportunity to make the carrot top pesto I’d seen in a Bon Appetit recipe, which I’ve adapted here.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1-2 lbs carrots with tops, trimmed and peeled
1 lb russet potatoes, partially peeled (about 2 large)
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp olive oil
salt
pepper
1/4 cup (packed) fresh basil
1/4 cup (packed) fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Move a rack to the top third of the oven.

Cut the potatoes into half-inch slices. If your carrots are skinny, cut into 2- to 3-inch chunks; if they are fat, cut on the diagonal into half-inch slices. Toss in 2 tbsp olive oil and spread out in an even layer on a baking sheet.

Roast until the carrots and potatoes are tender and browned, about 30-40 minutes.

In a food processor, combine 1 cup (packed) of the carrot tops (leaves and tender stems only), basil, parsley, garlic, Parmesan and 1/4 cup olive oil. Pulse until you have a coarse puree. Season with salt and pepper.

Let the carrots and potatoes cool slightly, then toss with the pesto and serve.

Pictured: Glasbake Vegetable Medley J2024 Rectangular Baking Dish, Pyrex Spring Blossom 043 Oval Casserole

Thrifted Find: Pyr-O-Rey Brown Daisy

Pyr-O-Rey (aka Dynaware) was made by a Mexican company called Vitrocrisa (later known as Crisa), which was acquired by Libbey in 2006. It’s hard to find information on Pyr-O-Rey in general, and I’ve only ever seen it in this Brown Daisy pattern. Most collectors seem to regard it as a Pyrex/Fire King knockoff, judging from the name especially. Still, I think it’s charming and I couldn’t pass up this piece at Hope Thrift the other day. Hey, it’s the perfect dish for some Pickle & Cheese Party Spread!

There are a few snippets of information on Pyr-O-Rey over at Pyrex Love and The Pyrex Collector.

Pickle & Cheese Party Spread

This pickle-infused cheese spread was inspired by the old-fashioned cheese ball — and more specifically, this dill pickle cheese ball from Delish. I’ve modified the recipe slightly to serve in a casserole dish — because while cheese balls are retro cool, Pyrex is prettier.

The recipe makes enough for a party; for a smaller group, a half batch will do. Note: I made the bacon optional because while it’s visually appealing, I don’t think it adds that much to the flavor of the spread. The bacon loses its crunch pretty quickly in the refrigerator, so if you’re making the dish ahead of time, it may be better to omit.

Ingredients

2 8-oz blocks cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup mozzarella, shredded
3 tbsp fresh dill, chopped fine
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 cup dill pickles, chopped fine (about 3 whole baby dills)
1 tbsp pickle juice
salt
pepper
6-8 slices cooked bacon, chopped fine (optional)

Set cream cheese out to bring to room temperature. If desired, chop the cheddar and mozzarella into finer pieces.

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of the cheddar with the mozzarella, garlic powder, paprika and 1 tbsp of the dill, and stir until mixed. Stir in the pickles and pickle juice. Add the cream cheese and stir until thoroughly incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon the mixture into a small casserole dish and spread around in an even layer. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

For the topping, combine the bacon with 1/4-1/2 cup cheddar and 1-2 tbsp dill (amount depends on the diameter of your casserole dish — if it’s large like a pie plate, use more; if it’s small like a ramekin, use less). Sprinkle the topping over the spread and serve.

Pictured: Pyrex Spring Blossom 472 Cinderella Round Casserole, Pyrex Spring Blossom 503 Refrigerator Dish, Pyrex Spring Blossom 443 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Spring Blossom 401 Round Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware P-185-B Snack-It Plate